by Dr. Ilil Arbel, Ph.D.
"Initiated." The son of Jared, and father of Methuselah.1 Enoch, a pious teacher, scribe and leader of his people, is famed for the part he took in the tragedy of the fallen angels (see Watchers). Living during a time of great sins, around the Flood, he had visited Heaven more than once. However, the time was ripe for a most significant trip. One night, two angels woke him up and commanded him to prepare for his journey. They took him on their wings, and showed him all the Heavens and their inhabitants, including a side trip to Paradise and to the place of punishment and torture of the sinners, which strangely enough was located not too far from paradise.* He observed the activity of the sun and the moon, and made a visit of consolation to rebellious angels, the Grigori, succeeding in bringing them closer to God. After the tour, the great angels Gabriel and Michael lead him straight to the Throne of God.
Sitting next to God, Enoch was instructed in wisdom, and using his skills as a scribe, prepared three hundred and sixty-six books. When he learned everything, a most significant thing happened. God revealed to him great secrets — some of which are even kept secret from the angels. These included the secrets of Creation, the duration of time the world will survive, and what will happen after its demise. At the end of these discussions, Enoch returned to earth for a limited time, to instruct everyone, including his sons, in all he learned. After thirty days, the angels returned him to Heaven.
And then the divine transformation took place. Additional wisdom and spiritual qualities caused Enoch's height and breadth to become equal to the height and breadth of the earth. God attached thirty-six wings to his body, and gave him three hundred and sixty-five eyes, each as bright as the sun. His body turned into celestial fire — flesh, veins, bones, hair, all metamorphosed to glorious flame. Sparks emanated from him, and storms, whirlwind, and thunder encircled his form. The angels dressed him in magnificent garments, including a crown, and arranged his throne. A heavenly herald proclaimed that from then on his name would no longer be Enoch, but Metatron, and that all angels must obey him, as second only to God.
* Some say that the enjoyment of Paradise would be enhanced by witnessing the suffering of the punished wicked. This makes little sense in Judaism, a religion that stresses mercy and the love of one's neighbor above all things, but it may be a throwback to a more savage past.
- 1 Enoch (Ethiopic).
- 2 Enoch (Slavonic).
- Gershom Scholem. (1974). Kabbalah. Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem.
- Ginzberg, Louis. (1998). Legends of the Jews. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London