According to Jewish folklore, when Moses first stepped into the cloud at the top of Mount Sinai, he was confronted by the angel Kemuel, known as the ‘gatekeeper’. Kemuel, the Guardian of the Threshold between Heaven and Earth, tried to prevent Moses from passing, claiming he did not belong there. Moses explained that he was there with God’s permission to receive the Torah, but Kemuel still did not want to let him pass, so Moses struck him down and destroyed him. Thus did Moses open the door of the Threshold, so that all could follow. Next, he met the angel Hadarniel, who, with his fellow angels (representing the level of the Planets), angrily demanded to know what he was doing there. Moses cried out in fear and almost fell back into the cloud, but God heard him and became angry with Hadarniel, for Hadarniel had been very quarrelsome ever since Adam was created! [some esotericists claim that tensions among the planets are the root cause of tensions that we feel on Earth]. When Hadarniel learned that Moses was there with God’s permission, he begged pardon, and even offered to escort Moses. He took him as far as the next great angel, Sandalfon, but he could not go further lest Sandalfon’s flame scorch him. Sandalfon, who binds human prayers into garlands for God’s crown, is so large that it would take a human being 500 years to cross over him. (He represents the level of Being of the Sun, ‘Sol’, which nurtures the Earth). Again Moses was frightened, but again the Lord came to him, and stood with him until he had safely passed the flames. After Sandalfon, Moses came to the stream of fire, Rigyon. (The river is the Upper Threshold, between ‘Heaven’ and the ‘Heaven above Heaven’, or, more concretely, between the level of our Solar System and the Beyond). It is said that every morning the angels dip in the river, are purified, and arise anew. God came again, and by His Holy Grace Moses passed the river without injury. Moses was then in the realm of pure Being. There he met the angel Raziel, whose job is to reveal the secrets of his Master, to make known to the world what is decreed by God. He stands before God, where he sees and hears everything. Moses trembled when he beheld Raziel, but God helped him pass unhurt. Moses then came to the Angels of Terror who surround the Throne of Glory (the level of the Dark Night of the Soul, just before all attachment is relinquished and one attains union with God), the strongest and mightiest of the angels. They questioned Moses about his mission, but God told him to hold tightly to His Throne and answer their charges. In the end, they acknowledged that it was right for mankind to receive the Torah. Moses stayed forty days [the number Forty symbolizes ‘a long, long time’] and learned the Torah from God Himself, before bringing it down the mountain. He had blazed the trail for Israel to follow, all the way to the Throne of Glory.