The importance of the last waking moment
Disciples know that the way in which they prepare for sleep is very important, because it is the night that determines what the following day will be. Before going to bed, therefore, they put themselves in touch with the invisible world and lay aside all their worries, cares, and sorrows, all the things that have troubled or pained them during the day. They then call to mind any mistakes they may have made during the day, so as to make up for them during the night, and finally they commend themselves into the hands of the Angel of Death – this is the name that the Cabbalah gives to the Angel of Sleep – for each night we die and each morning we rise from the dead.
To go to sleep, to leave the physical body and journey into the other world, is something we practise every single day in order to be ready when the time comes for our true departure to the other world. Someone who does not know how to go to sleep will not know how to die either. There is no difference between dying and going to sleep, except that when we die we leave our present house for good. In sleep we leave it, but we are still attached to it.
Suppose that during the day you have been happy and well disposed and then, for no apparent reason, just as you are dropping off to sleep, you are besieged by feelings of sadness and discouragement. When you wake up the next morning you will be astonished to see that all the good things you experienced the day before have completely vanished, leaving you with a vague impression of something disagreeable.
This shows that it is the experiences of the last minute before you go to sleep that are more important, more significant, than everything that happened during the day.
Suppose, on the other hand, that you did not do at all well during the day, but that before going to sleep, you pray and think of something beneficial which helps you to drop off peacefully: those last few minutes of the day will cleanse and purify you so completely that when you wake up next morning you will be full of good intentions and plans for the day…