Name of Book: Tree of Souls
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Year it was published: 2004
"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)
"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)
Book Three: Myths of Heavens
Part VII: The Landmarks of Heaven
228. The Tent of the Sun
Issue: The sun takes about 500 years to make a journey from one firnament to another. There is also description of the reasons for seasons (G-d turning his face towards or away,) as well what will happen in the future.
229. The Tent of Heaven
Issue: Description of how heaven is shaped like a tent.
230. The Crystal Palace
Issue: Description of what Enoch saw when he ascended to heaven with the angel Michael, which is the heaven of heavens and how it looked.
231. The Celestial Academy
Issue: Description of G-d as a teacher at a celestial academy. Along with G-d, Elijah and Messiah also act as teachers in terms of Torah and law. There is also a story of Rabbah bar Nachmani who died with a pure soul. There is also another story of Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Hiyya who desires to him. Rabbi Hiyya managed to see him in a dream. Upon waking, Rabbi Hiyya went with the angel to witness Rabbi Shimon teaching. Upon going there he meets the Messiah and its agreed he will be given more time on earth.
232. Where Heaven and Earth Meet
Issue: While traveling in a desert Rabbah bar Bar Hannah met a Bedouin who shows him a wheel where heaven and earth meet and there was discovered the wheel of heaven and the Rabbah places a basket. However the basket becomes gone and he is told that next day he will get the basket back, which he does.
To be continued...