The gemarah in moed katan (28b-29a) records two statements regarding the experience of death either being as difficult as passing a (knotted?) rope through a hole [Rashi explains this refers to ropes uses in docking ships] or as releasing a cable through a hole [this chord is one holding two adjacent ships together] א"ר חנינא קשה יציאת נשמה מן הגוף כציפורי בפי הוושט רבי יוחנן אמר כפטירי בפי וושט
My questions are:
- How do these Rabbis know what death is like?
- Why did they choose this specific symbolism?
- Earlier the gemarah describes death as taking a hair from milk. The Maharsha explains the descrepancy with the former being the experience of the tzaddik and the latter that of the wicked. However this does not seem to be experientially true. What other explanation can there be?