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Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster [1899], at

XV. (1) R. Joshua, son of Levi, said, 'Once upon a time I was walking on my way, when I met the prophet Elijah. He said to me, "Would you like to be brought to the gate of hell?" I answered, "Yes!" So he showed me men hanging by their hair; and he said to me, "These were the men that let their hair grow to adorn themselves for sin." Others were hanging by their eyes; these were they that followed their eyes to sin, and did not set God before them. Others were hanging by their noses; these were they that perfumed themselves to sin. Others were hanging by their tongues; these were they that had slandered. Others were hanging by their hands; these were they that had stolen and robbed. Others were hanging ignominiously; these were they that had committed adultery. Others were hanging by their feet; these were they that had run to sin. He showed me women hanging by their breasts; these were they that uncovered their breasts before men, to make them sin. (2) He showed me further men that were fed on fiery coals; these were they who had blasphemed. Others were forced to eat bitter gall; these were they that ate on fast-days. (3) He showed me further men eating fine sand; they are forced to eat it, and their teeth are broken; and the Almighty says to them, "O ye sinners! when you used to eat that which you stole and robbed it was sweet in your mouth; now you are not able to eat even this," as it is said, "Thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked" (4) He showed me further men who are thrown from fire to

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snow, and from snow to fire; these were they that abused the poor who came to them for assistance; therefore are they thus punished, as it is said, "Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water." He showed me others who were driven from mountain to mountain, as a shepherd leads the flock from one mountain to another. Of these speaks the verse: "They are appointed as a flock for Sheol. Death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall have the dominion over them in the morning, and their form shall be for Sheol to consume, that there be no habitation for it."'

(5) R. Johanan said, For every sin there is an angel appointed to obtain the expiation thereof; one comes first and obtains his expiation, then follows another, and so on until all the sins are expiated. As with a debtor who has many creditors, and who come before the king to claim their debts, and the king delivers him to them, and says, Take him and divide him between yourselves,' so also is the soul delivered in hell to cruel angels, and they divide it among themselves.

(6) Three descend to hell for ever, and do not ascend any more—the man who commits adultery, who blames his neighbour in public, and who is guilty of perjury. Others say, Those who seek honour for themselves by slandering their neighbours, and those who make intrigues between man and wife in order to create strife among them.

(7) On the eve of the Sabbath the sinners are led to two mountains of snow, where they are left until the end of the Sabbath, when they are taken back from there and brought again to their former places. An angel comes and thrusts them back to their former place in hell. Some of them take, however, snow and hide it in their armpits to cool them during the six days of the week, but the Almighty says unto them, 'Woe unto you who steal even in hell,' as it is said, 'Draught and heat consume the snow waters, in Sheol they sin.' That means to say, 'They sin even in Sheol.'

(8) Every twelvemonth the sinners are burned to ashes,

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and the wind disperses them and carries those ashes under the feet of the just, as it is said, 'And ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the sole of your feet.' Afterwards, the soul is returned to them, and they come out black as the blackness of a pot, and they acknowledge the justice of their punishment, and say, 'Thou hast rightly sentenced us and rightly judged us. With Thee is righteousness and with us shame, as it is with us to-day.'

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