TIPHERET - ADDITIONAL REFERENCES
- PART 2
(Last updated 3/23/01)
In this section we continue to review references to the
Sephirah of Tipheret in Jewish literature, that can be connected to the Messiah, the
Tenakh, and the "New Testament."
TIPHERET - LIVING WATERS
AND THE "FATHER"
The following section of the Zohar comments on the fifth
commandment to honor father and mother. Much has been written on why this commandment is
within the "first five," which are said to be commandments between God and man
(as opposed to the "second five," considered to be between man and neighbor).
The Zohar extends the idea of "father and mother"
beyond our physical parents, to honoring God, that is both the "masculine" and
"femine" aspects of God (Chokhmah and Binah). Tipheret is referred to in the
context of the living waters of Eden (see previous study section)
that decend from the realm of Eyn Sof. As previously mentioned, in the "New
Testament," Yeshua called Himself the source of living waters. Interestingly, we also
see Tipheret called "the Father" in this section:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 90a -
HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER. R. Hiya connected this command with the words: And
a river went out of Eden to water the garden (Gen. II, 10). The
river he said, is the issue of the fountain which flows perennially
and from whence the whole Garden of Eden is watered, and this issue [Tr. Note:
Tifereth.] of the holy fountain is called Ab- "Father".
(Note: The subject of "living waters" is also
closely associated with the Sephirah of Yesod, which we will discuss in a future section.)
The prophet Isaiah refers to a significant child being called
Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
John makes the following series of mystical references to Yeshua
being one with the Father:
John 1:14 - And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and
we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
John 10:30 - I and my Father are one.
John 14:7-11 - If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father
also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord,
shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Yeshua saith unto him, Have I been so long time
with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen
the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that
I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of
myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in
the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
John 15:23-24 - He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had
not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have
they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
John 17:21-23 - That they all may be one; as thou, Father,
art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may
believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that
they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they
may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast
loved them, as thou hast loved me.
The next Zohar section speaks of the flow of blessings (the
waters of Eden) from Chokhmah (Wisdom) down through Yesod (Foundation), then to Malkut
(Kingdom). This text refers to Tipheret (which is in the middle), as being "the
Note also the role of Yesod, which will be discussed in detail in
the sections of this study:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 135b - The
congregation respond: Blessed is the Lord who is blessed for ever and ever.
The expression who is blessed indicates the streaming of blessings from the
source of life to the place whence issue nourishment and bounty for all creatures. And why
do we call this source blessed? Because it sustains and waters olam
va'ed (lit. for ever and ever), which is the Sabbath eve. In this way blessings are
transmitted to this olam va'ed from the highest world, so that it attains its full
perfection. Thus in this benediction, blessed represents the ultimate source
whence all blessings emanate ; [Tr. note: Hohmah.] the Lord is the
centre [Tr. note: Tifereth.] of all the supernal sides; who is
blessed represents the peace of the house, the fountain of the cistern, [Tr. note:
Yesod]. providing completion and nourishment for all, while for ever and ever
refers to the world below, [Tr. note: Malkuth.] which needs these blessings: the
good oil of blessed, the Lord, and the Blessed
One is all for this olam va'ed. Therefore the whole congregation has to recite
this every day; but on Sabbath eve it must be recited with special devotion and gladness,
in order that the Sabbath may be fitly blessed by the holy people. When they begin to
recite this benediction a voice is heard in all the heavens that are sanctified by the
entrance of the Sabbath: Blessed are ye, holy people, for that ye bless and sanctify
on earth below, that thereby many supernal holy hosts may be blessed and sanctified
above. Blessed are they in this world and blessed are they in the world to come. The
Israelites do not recite this benediction until they are crowned with the crowns
of holy souls, as we have said before. Blessed is the people who is worthy of
them in this world, so that it may merit them in the world to come.
The end of this portion (above) speaks of the faithful as
receiving "crowns," for their faithfulness, which is of course similar to the
teachings of the "New Testament":
2 Timothy 4:8 - Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown
of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not
to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
James1:12 - Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when
he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to
them that love him.
1 Peter 5:4 - And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall
receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Revelation 3:11 - Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which
thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
The language in the Zohar portion (above) concerns; a) Tipheret
(Messiah), b) the "House," c) Yesod (Foundation) and d) God's people sanctifying
themselves so as to act as vessels that can receive God's living waters.
This closely resembles a portion in one of Paul's letters to
2 Timothy 2:19-21 - Nevertheless the
foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are
his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Messiah depart from iniquity.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold
and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel
unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto
every good work.
TIPHERET - THE BRIDEGROOM
The Biblical book Song of Solomon ("Song of Songs") is
considered to be one of the most mystical texts of the Bible. The term "Song of
Songs" is equated with "Holy of Holies." It is evident from its
text that Song of Songs is not meant to be taken at the literal level. Its deeper meaning
is found at a Kaballistic level, where which understands it as being a dialogue between
the Messiah and the Shekinah, who are presently separated, but will become united at the
end of this age, when the Name of God is made One again.
The following text concerns the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4), and two
other verses that also start with the words, "Hear O Israel." The
teaching shows that the Shema is directly tied to the idea of the unification of God's
name, which comes when Tipheret (the husband) and Malkut (the bride) come together in the
Millennium. (This will be discussed in detail in an upcoming section of this study.):
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 160b - R.
Hiya and R. Jose were walking together. Said R. Jose: Let us now think on spiritual
matters and talk on the words of the Torah. He thereupon began by pointing out that
three passages are introduced by the words, Hear, O Israel. Hear O Israel, the Lord
our God, the Lord is One (Deut. VI, 4); Hear, O Israel, this day thou hast
become a people to the Lord thy God (Ibid. XXVII, 9); and Hear, O Israel, thou
art to pass the Jordan this day (Ibid. LX, I). Why, he said, did
Moses commence in each of these cases with the word hear? In the first,
indeed, the word seems appropriate, but what is its point in the other two cases? The
truth is that in all three passages it is meant to teach a special lesson. This is obvious
in the case of the first, where the word hear indicates the unity in
the supernal Wisdom of what is above and what is below. The word Shema
consists of shem (name) and ain (seventy), indicating the combination of this Name
and the other seventy from whence it derives blessing. At the recitation of the
Shema, therefore, one must concentrate attention on this union of all the Divine
names. For these seventy Names constitute the mystery of the supernal Chariot from whence
that Name receives blessing and in which it is contained. Then comes the word Israel,
referring, as we have learnt, to Ancient Israel (Tifereth),
so that this emanation may also be included. So Hear, O Israel, signifies the
union of the Spouse with her Husband (i.e. Malkuth with Tifereth), so
that all is in all, and all is one.
The union of Tipheret to the Shekinah (at the end of this age) is
said to be the union of the "Supernal Sabbath," to the earthly Sabbath,
a time known as Yom Shekulo Shabbat - "a time that is all Sabbath" -
the Kingdom of God on earth. The following text associates Tipheret (which is
"male") with the heavenly Sabbath and the Shekinah (which is "female")
to the earthly Sabbath:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 138a - In
fact, whenever Sabbath is mentioned it refers to the eve of the
Sabbath (i.e. the Shekinah), but when it says the Sabbath day, it
denotes the Supernal Sabbath (i.e. Tifereth). The former is symbolized by
the Female, the latter by the Male. Thus And the children of Israel should keep the
Sabbath (Ex. XXXI, I6) alludes to the Female, which is the night (layla), and
remember the Sabbath day (Ibtd. xx, 8) alludes to the Male. Thus the sabbath
here below sings a hymn to the Sabbath above.
This next reference contains an interesting teaching that says in
the days of Solomon, the sun (Tipheret) was hidden and the moon (the Shekinah) was
present. In the days of Moses however, the moon was "gathered in," while the sun
As mentioned earlier, Moses is the only prophet ever to have
vision "at the level of Tipheret." That being the case, and Tipheret being
linked to the "voice of God," and knowing that Moses "spoke directly with
God," and that according to Paul, the "well" (rock) in the wilderness was
Yeshua, we can see a close association between Moses and Yeshua, the latter of whom, being
Messiah, is associated with Tipheret:
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 181b - When
Miriam departed, the well which accompanied Israel in the wilderness also departed.
Therefore THERE WAS NO WATER FOR THE CONGREGATION, because the well had departed
both above and below. Then the right hand was broken, as it says, Let Aaron
be gathered to his people, and finally the sun was darkened, when God said to Moses,
And die in the mountain, etc. There never was a generation like that in which
Moses was present along with Aaron and Miriam. And think not that there was the like in
the days of Solomon, for in the days of Solomon the Moon held sway but the Sun was
gathered in, whereas in the days of Moses the Moon was gathered in but the Sun held sway.
It is written: And the sun ariseth and the sun goeth down (Eccl. 1, 5). This
signifies, as we have explained, that when the Israelites came forth from Egypt
the Sun [Tr. note: Tifereth.] shone for them and not the Moon, but it went down
in the wilderness. To where, then, was it gathered in? Unto its place,
in order to give light to the Moon. So it was with Moses, and that is the point
of the verse, What profit is there to a man from all his labour, etc. (Ibid.
3). The man here is Joshua, who laboured to give Israel possession of the land
and yet did not succeed in bringing the Moon to fullness, because he laboured for Israel
under the sun, that is, on a lower plane than the sun of Moses, and he did not
really take his place. That being so, what was his glory, seeing that he did not reach
perfection on either side (either of the sun or of the moon)? R. Simeon said: What
is under the sun? This is the moon; and whoever attaches himself to the moon
without the sun, his labour is under the sun assuredly; and this was the
original sin of the world; and hence it says, What profit is there to man in all his
labour, to wit, to the first Adam and all who have followed him.
What is interesting in the above text is the implication that the
sun (Tipheret) departs for the moon (Shekinah) to manifest. This is reminiscent of
Yeshua's words when He was approaching the time of His departure:
John 16:7 - Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for
you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I
depart, I will send him unto you.
As mentioned earlier, the merciful (right) side of God can
"carry the day," when moved by true repentance -- even when His "mind is
made up." The following text shows an example for us, in this life. Although we are
to be conformed to the entire image of God (left and right sides), we too are to bring the
thoughts and actions of the (judgmental) left side "into" the (merciful) right
side, allowing the latter to "have the final say." In this way we fully emulate
God and are acceptable to Him.
This section also teaches, that one cannot wait to do
this after leaving this world. (i.e., And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but
after this the judgment. - Hebrews 9:27.):
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 178a - R.Simeon,
he quoted to him the verse: See life with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of
the life of thy vanity (Eccl. IX, 9). This, he said, is a hint to
a man that he should unite Life with this place, [Tr. note: i.e. Tifereth with
Malkuth.] the measure of day with the measure of night. All Solomon's
words, he went on, are written in wisdom, yet it would seem that here he is
giving the rein to worldliness, and equally in the words that follow: Whatsoever thy
hand findeth to do, do with thy might, for there is no work nor device, etc. How
could the wise Solomon speak thus? But, indeed, all the words of Solomon have a deep inner
significance. What is indicated here is that a man should always merge the left in
the right, and all his actions should be controlled by the right. Thus we
interpret, all that thy hand findeth to do of the left, and that do with
thy might of the right. When a man is careful that all his acts should be towards
the right side, and that he should include the left in the right, then God dwells within
him in this world and brings him into the next world. A man should not say, When I
reach that world I will seek mercy of the King and repent before him, for there is
no work or device or knowledge or wisdom after a man departs from this world, but
if a man desires that the Holy King should illumine him for that world and give him a
share in the world to come, he should strive in this world to place his actions in the
sphere of the right.
The example given above, is that man is to understand and follow
Tipheret. As was already mentioned; "To grasp the Sun (Tipheret) is equivalent to grasping all grades," (Soncino
Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 136a -138b).
Paul taught the same about Yeshua. To "grasp
Him" (by faith) enables us to be like Him ("the image of the invisible
God" - Colossians 1:15), in Whom is the fulness of God (all the
grades/Sephirot), "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead
bodily." (Colossians 2:9):
Ephesians 3:17-19 - That
Messiah may dwell in your hearts by faith; [to "grasp Him"] that
ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is
the breadth, and length, and depth, and height [the dimensions of physical
space as represented by Tipheret]; And to know the love of Messiah, which
passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God
["all of the grades"].
TIPHERET - HIGH PRIEST
The Zohar explains that the purpose of the Priesthood here on
earth was similar to that of Tipheret in the heavenlies, that being to unify the left and
right sides of the Godhead, which in turn unifies the upper and lower worlds (i.e.,
Tipheret and Malkut).
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 244a - It is written:
The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning, and the second lamb shalt thou offer
at even (Num. XXVIII, 4). Prayers have been ordained to correspond to the daily
offerings. Through the impulse from below there is a stirring above, and through the
impulse from above there is a stirring higher up still, until the impulse reaches the
place where the lamp is to be lit and it is lit. Thus by the impulse of the smoke (of the
sacrifice) from below, the lamp is kindled above, and when this is kindled all the other
lamps are kindled and all the worlds are blessed from it. Thus the impulse of the
sacrifice is the mainstay of the world and the blessing of all worlds. When the smoke
commences to rise, the holy forms in charge of the world derive satisfaction, and are
disposed thereby to stir the grades above them; and so the impulse rises until the King
desires to associate with the Matron. Through the yearning of the lower world the lower
waters flow forth to meet the upper waters, for the upper waters do not flow save from the
impulse of the desire from below. Thus mutual desire is kindled and the lower waters flow
to meet the upper waters, and worlds are blest, and all lamps are kindled, and upper and
lower are endowed with blessings. Observe that the function of the priests and
Levites is to unite the Left with the Right. Said R. Hizkiah: That is so,
but I have been told that one rouses the Left and the other the Right, because the union
of male and female is only brought about by Left and Right, as it says: O that his
left hand were under my head, and his right hand should embrace me (S. S. II, 6).
Then male and female are united, and there is mutual desire and worlds are blessed and
upper and lower rejoice. Hence we see that the sacrifice is the support and the mainstay
of the world, and the joy of upper and lower. Said R. Jose: You are certainly
right, and I had heard this before but had forgotten it. This, too, I have learnt, that
nowadays prayer takes the place of sacrifice, and a man should fittingly pronounce the
praise of his Master, and if not, his prayer is no prayer. The most perfect form of
praising God is to unify the Holy Name in the fitting manner, for through this upper and
lower are set in motion, and blessings flow to all worlds.
Midrash Rabbah gives us a direct connection between Tipheret and
the High Priesthood:
Midrash Rabbah - Exodus IX:7 - And the
honour of his excellent (tifereth) majesty, and elsewhere we read: And thou shalt make
holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for splendour and for beauty-tifereth (Ex. XXVIII,
2). Just as the word 'tifereth' in this connection refers to the robes of the High Priest,
so does the word 'tifereth' mentioned in the story of Ahasuerus refer to the robes of the
Midrash Rabbah also connects Tipheret to the one who calmed the
seas (Matthew 8:24-27):
Midrash Rabbah - Esther II:1 - A fool
spendeth all his spirit (Prov. XXIX, 11): this applies to Ahasuerus. But a wise man
stilleth it within him (ib.): this applies to God who calmed Ahasuerus, in the same way as
it says, Who stillest the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their
waves, and the tumult of the peoples (Ps. LXV, 8.). 1. WHEN HE SHOWED THE RICHES OF HIS
GLORIOUS KINGDOM (I, 4). The School of Jannai and Hezekiah both said: He used every day to
open six treasuries and show them the contents. R. Hiyya b. Abba said: He showed them the
accounts of his expenditure. R. Judah b. Simon said: He showed them the dishes of the Land
of Israel. R. Levi said He showed them the priestly robes. It says here, HIS GLORIOUS (TIFERETH)
KINGDOM, and it says elsewhere, And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy
brother, for splendour and for beauty-le-tifereth (Ex. XXVIII, 2). Just as the word 'tifereth'
there refers to the garments of the high priest, so here it refers to the garments
of the high priest.
Concerning the above, the "New Testament" teaches that
Yeshua is our heavenly High Priest, and that we are to be conformed to His image (Romans
8:29). Paul, in his letter to Ephesians, encourages believers to do this by being "strong
in the Lord and in the power of his might."
Paul's description of how we are to do this, is to "put
on" the priestly garments:
- Ephesians 6:10-17: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and
in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that
ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand
therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of
righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all,
taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of
the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the
word of God.