"Hearken to the word of G‑d". Lovers of intellect, fashioners of reverence, flee for yourselves from "Keziv" until "Amana".1 These concepts are befitting for the tables of kings, "Who are the kings? The sages". For I shall say poignant statements, and I will make known the veracity of the true words based on the foundations of the reliable Kabbalistic teachings emanated from the mouth of the "ark of faithful testimony", "great of biblical light", "the revealer of great depths", "the great honored holy wondrous rabbi", "as an angel of G‑d": Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi, known as the Arizal. And from his successor, the father of wisdom, who fulfilled his task as the faithful student "The one who emanates G‑dly light" the honored Rabbi Chaim Vital, of blessed memory. My words shall flow with the pleasantry and harmony of both together. "Hearken yea, and rejuvenate your souls" (Isaiah 55:3) with the words of the Arizal regarding the greatness of the Land of Israel. From just the edge of them you shall see visions of G‑d. For are not his words based upon the passage from the Holy Zohar, "In the firmament above the Land of Israel exists a portal called G'vilon; under it exists seventy other portals with seventy guards at a distance of 2000 cubits, and they don't approach the main portal. G'vilon extends upwards until it reaches the Divine Throne. From that portal towards all directions, until the gates of opening, is referred to as Megadon, where the end of the firmament of the boundary of the land of Israel lies."

The Arizal explains that in the middle of this gate and opening, which is in line with Eretz Yisrael, there is a large opening. Around that opening there are seventy openings from which the seventy nations of the world receive their sustenance (which is only a fraction of the divine influence that flows from that large gate). In that very gate there is a holy curtain which prevents the forces of the Other Side from being nurtured from the influx, as is mentioned in the Zohar (Teruma 141a). This curtain is a garment as well, rather, being that it is holy, therefore the holiness is not revealed in our time.

Eretz Yisrael exists in the middle of the world

The opening is in the middle of the firmament and consequently influences the land underneath it. Yet there is another curtain which functions as a preventative, so that the Other Side shouldn't gain entrance to Eretz Yisrael.

This entrance is in line with the middle of all the firmaments until it reaches the level of "yesod of malchut",2 the holy essential point of all the realms up to the Holy Throne; this is the very path that all souls upon sleeping and prayers use to ascend. Even though the Zohar states elsewhere that "prayers ascend in the east and west", that is in regards to the ascension through the airspace until they all meet under this portal. These firmaments are not moveable. They are permanent, therefore their openings are constantly aligned directly over Eretz Israel. Yet the heavenly bodies do rotate around in the firmaments.

We find that our meaning of a "permanent firmament" refers to the one in which exists that portal. When we refer to the rotating bodies, the rotating is done by the bodies not the firmament. Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Eliezer focus not on the path of orbit, rather the star that follows the path. For they have said, "the astrological zodiacal planetary force has a cycle, not the firmament". For the orbit and planet on its path are referred to as the planet alone. For the planet is the point of the orbit - its soul. The orbit itself is of the aspect of the "Secret of the Igulim (Circles)" 3 of each world.

Rabbi Chaim Vital z"l wrote, "Know that Eretz Yisrael exists in the middle of the world (civilization). Corresponding to it, in the firmament above it in its middle, there is a large opening the size of the land of Israel. It is named G'vilon. From that opening downward there are another seventy gates, totaling 71, which corresponds to the 71 head rabbis of the Sanhedrin. These 71 gates are known as "Shaarei Tzedek (gates of righteousness)", and they are holy gates, for they are not of the portion the nations. Surrounding these gates is a space measuring 2000 cubits [a cubit is a measurement equal to a handbreadth] in each direction, at which point the boundaries of that firmament end. These 2000 cubits are the root of the rabbinic injunction of the city limits.4 At the end of this firmament there is a door that closes off the firmament over Eretz Yisrael; it is open and closed by the Holy One blessed be He. The name of this door is Megadon.

[When Joshua entered the Land of Israel he passed through this door and established one of the blessings in the "grace after meals" known as "Hazan" which concludes "Upon the Land and sustenance". The numerical value of 'sustenance' ("hamazone" = 108) equals Megadon.5 This is the secret of the verse "The name of G‑d is a tower of strength, through it a righteous man shall race and be strong" (Proverbs 18:10). The last three words beginning letters spell the word tzvi (deer). This implies that the tower of strength is called the "Land of the Deer (tzvi)", within which dwells the Name of G‑d, which is the Shechina [The Divine Presence, usually connoting a feminine aspect]. And with it shall run yesod (the foundation)6, which is called the tzadik through the opening and door known as Gvilon Megadon whose numerical value (204) equals the value of tzadik (204). That is the secret of the verse "this is the gate for G‑d, tzadikim (righteous people) shall enter it" (Psalms 118:20).]

Through these seventy one gates are nourished the inhabitants of the Land of Israel. They are in correspondence to the seventy souls of the house of Jacob. The secret of this is that they correspond to the seventy branches of the Etz Hachaim (the supernal tree)7. Therefore each branch has its own gate, and not all Jews are sustained through one gate. The most central opening is opposite the Shechina, which is referred to as "Righteousness shall lodge in it", whereas the remaining seventy are called "gates of righteousness".

Over Israel there is not any shell or membrane separating G‑d from us

Surrounding these gates is a space measuring 2000 cubits in each direction. At which point ends the boundaries of the firmament of Eretz Yisrael. There dwell the seventy overlords each in charge of a different gate. They derive sustenance for their countries from the remnants of the influence that Eretz Yisrael receives, yet they (these overlords) do not actually get close to the gates themselves. The rest of the firmament ends in seventy strips, each ruling force controls the strip for his country. The firmament that corresponds to Eretz Yisrael and all the extensions are all one firmament, but the air-space directly over the land of Israel has those seventy gates around it. The same holds true for all ten levels of heavens all the way up to the Divine Throne. That being so, there is a direct channel open between the land and G‑d's throne. This makes it easy to understand the verse that says; "The eyes of G‑d are observing the land of Israel all year round" (Deut. 11:12). This implies that over Israel there is not any shell or membrane separating G‑d from us. Through this very same channel ascended the incense sacrifice, as well as the scent of all the other sacrifices that were brought in the Holy Temple (made it be speedily rebuilt).