MESSIAH - PART 3
(Last updated 11/29/01)
HAND OF GOD
The Zohar further establishes a relationship between
Tzaddik and God. Commenting on verses in Exodus 15:2, the Zohar associates the Divine
Tzaddik with God's "right hand," and God Himself:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 55a - MY STRENGTH AND
SONG IS KAH [Yah]. R. Jose said: The Yod and the He [the Sephirot of Chokhmah and Binah] in the Divine Name
are mingled, and one is contained in the other and they are never separated, being for
ever united in love, being the source whence emanate all those streams and springs of
blessing and satisfaction to the universe. The waters of these springs never
deceive (Isaiah 58:11). Hence: and He became my salvation, since
for this purpose and unto this end the Holy King reveals His power below, and the
Right Hand is moved to perform marvellous deeds. THIS IS MY GOD AND I WILL
MAKE HIM A HABITATION; THE GOD OF MY FATHER, AND I WILL EXALT HIM. This is
my God refers to the Zaddik, from whom blessings emanate on the married
state; and I will make him a habitation in the place where love is found,
namely in the Sanctuary. The God of my father, and I will exalt him was said
by Moses (the Levite) in regard to the supernal sphere whence the Levites derive, so that
in this way there should be symmetry and perfection in that place. R. Isaac said that
and he became my salvation refers to the Holy King, as in Isaiah 12:2.
The term "Kah" in this portion above,
is equivalent to "Yah," one of the names for God. (See
previous section for the relationship of Yah with both the "Father" and
"Mother" aspects of God.) Also, the phrase, "This is my God,"
is specifically, "This is my EL." The Zohar quotation regarding the Holy
King granting salvation (in Isaiah 12:2), is to God.
The similar names of God (YAH-YHWH, EL), are also found in this verse:
Isaiah 12:2 - Behold, EL is my salvation; I will trust, and not be
afraid: for YAH YHWH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
YHWH, LORD, TREE OF LIFE
The name given to Messiah by God, is associated with the Righteous Tzaddik, and with
the name YHWH itself:
Jeremiah 23:5-6 - Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I
will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel
shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, YHWH our
Midrash Rabbah confirms that the branch (shoot) of David ("YHWH our
Righteousness"), is speaking of Messiah:
Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XVIII:21 - Behold, a man whose name is
the shoot (zemah), and who shall shoot up (yizmah), etc. (Zech. VI, 12). This
refers to the Messiah, of whom it also says, I will raise unto David a righteous
shoot (zemah zaddik), and he shall reign as king and prosper, and he shall execute justice
and righteousness in the land.
The Messiah is called "the Lord" among other titles, in the following
Midrash. Note the reference to the future name of "the city" (Jerusalem) as
being "the Lord is there." This is the same prophetic view as seen in
Revelation, chapter 21:
Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations I:51 - BECAUSE THE COMFORTER IS FAR
FROM ME, EVEN HE THAT SHOULD REFRESH MY SOUL. What is the name of King Messiah? R.
Abba b. Kahana said: His name is the Lord; as it is stated, And this
is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jer. XXIII, 6). For
R. Levi said: It is good for a province when its name is identical with that of its king,
and the name of its king identical with that of its God. It is good for a province
when its name is identical with that of its king, as it is written, And the
name of the city from that day shall be the Lord is there (Ezek. XLVIII, 35).
And the name of its king identical with that of its God, as it is stated,
And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our
righteousness. R. Joshua b. Levi said: His name is ' Shoot; as it is stated,
Behold, a man whose name is Shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the
temple of the Lord (Zech. VI, 12). R. Judan said in the name of R. Aibu: His name is
Comforter; as it is said, THE COMFORTER IS FAR FROM ME. R. Hanina said: They
do not really differ, because the numerical value of the names is the same, so that
'Comforter' is identical with 'Shoot.
- Revelation 21:22-23 - And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God
Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither
of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the
The above text from the
Midrash on Lamentations,1 is immediately followed by the following mysterious
tale about the Messiah dying around the time of the destruction of the second Temple:
Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations I:51 - The
following story supports what R. Judan said in the name of R. Aibu: It happened that a man
was ploughing, when one of his oxen lowed. An Arab passed by and asked, What are
you? He answered, I am a Jew. He said to him, Unharness your ox
and untie your plough [as a mark of mourning]. ' Why? ' he asked. ' Because the
Temple of the Jews is destroyed. He inquired, From where do you know
this? He answered, I know it from the lowing of your ox. While he was
conversing with him, the ox lowed again. The Arab said to him, Harness your ox and
tie up your plough, because the deliverer of the Jews is born. What is his
name? he asked; and he answered, His name is "Comforter".
What is his father's name? He answered, ' Hezekiah. ' Where do they
live? ' He answered, In Birath Arba in Bethlehem of Judah. The man sold
his oxen and plough and bought felt garments for children. He journeyed from one city to
another and from one province to another until he reached that place. All the villagers
came to buy garments from him, but the mother of that child made no purchase of him. He
asked her, Why do you not buy children's felt garments? She answered, '
Because a hard fate is in store for my child.1 Why? he asked; and she
answered, Because close on his coming the Temple was destroyed. He said to
her, We trust in the Lord of the Universe that as close on his coming it was
destroyed so close on his coming it will be rebuilt. He continued, Take some
of these felt garments for your child and after some days I will come to your house to
collect the money. She took some and departed. After some days the man said, I
will go and see how the child is getting on. He came to the woman and asked, ' How
is the child? ' She answered, ' Did I not tell you that a hard fate is in store for him?
Misfortune has dogged him. From the time [you left] there have been strong winds and a
whirlwind came and carried him off. He said to her, ' Did I not tell you at his
coming [the Temple] was destroyed and at his coming it will be rebuilt? R. Abun
said: Why should I learn this from an Arab when there is an explicit text wherein it is
stated, And Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one (Isa. X, 34), which is followed by, And
there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out
of his roots (ib. XI, 1)? The school of R. Shila said: The Messiah's name is
Shiloh, as it is stated, Until Shiloh come (Gen. XLIX, 10), where the word is
spelt Shlh. The School of R. Hanina said: His name is ' Haninah , as it is stated, I
will not give you Haninah (Jer. XVI, 13). The School of R. Jannai said: His name is '
Yinnon ; for it is written, E'er the sun was, his name is Yinnon (Ps. LXXII, 17). R.
Biba of Sergunieh said: His name is ' Nehirah , as it is stated, And the light
(nehorah) dwelleth with Him (Dan. II, 22), where the word is spelt nehirah. R. Judah b. R.
Simon said in the name of R. Samuel b. R. Isaac: King Messiah, whether he be of those
still living or of those who are dead, bears the name of David. R. Tanhuma said: I will
give his reason, viz. Great salvation giveth He to His king; and showeth mercy to His
Messiah (PS. XVIII, 51), and the text continues, not and to David but to David
and to his seed, for evermore.
Yitzchak Ginsburgh, who heads a kabbalah institute in Israel,2 adds some
interesting insight to the subject of Messiah, linking the Tree of Life (which as we have
seen is the Divine Tzaddik) to the Messiah, and the "righteous shoot" of David.
His text follows in blue colored font:
wicked Bila'am's final statement (Numbers 24:l7) opens with a prophecy concerning
two Mashiachs (King David and the ultimate redeemer, King Mashiach, a
descendant from King David):
it, but not now;
I behold it, but not in the near future.
A star shall go forth from Jacob,
and a staff [shevet] shall arise in Israel.
original Hebrew, this statement contains 12 words, hinting at the 12 Jewish months of the
year. The eleventh word of the series--shevet ("staff")--parallels and
hints at the eleventh month of the Jewish year--Shevat. During this month, we
celebrate the "New Year of the Trees," hinting at the New year of the Tree of
Life. The Tree of Life symbolizes the Mashiach, the descendent of
King David, about whom it is stated, "A man whose name is Tzemach ['growth'],
and who shall grow up (Yitzmach) out of his place" (Zechariah 6:l2).
(Interestingly, the verse we have been discussing (Numbers 24:l7) continues, "and he
will crush" [U'machatz] which contains the same letters as the Hebrew word VeTzamach--
"and he will grow").
Hebrew letter with which G-d created the month of Shevat--according to the
Kabbalistic text, Sefer Yetzira--is the letter tzadik (whose name means
"the righteous one") about which it states, "The Tzadik is the
foundation of the world" (Proverbs l0:25). Furthermore, "The Tzadik eats
to satisfy his soul" (Proverbs l3:25); the sense of "eating" is the special
sense of the month of Shevat, and when one eats of the fruits of the Tree
of Life, one "lives eternally." (i.e., John 6:54 - YashaNet)
letter tzadik alludes to the Tree of Life [in that it is the second of the two
Hebrew letters that form the word "tree" in Hebrew; its shape represents a tree;
and furthermore, it is the 18th letter of the alphabet, 18 being the numerical
value of the word for life, (chai)], which is in the midst of the Garden of Eden
(the "garden" of the souls of Israel, out of whose midst sprouts the soul of Mashiach,
the tree of life).
at the conclusion of the section in the Mishnah Torah entitled "The Laws of
Kings" (Chapter ll, Halacha 1), states:
Mashiach will rise forth and return the Kingdom of David to its former state
Torah testifies [in several places] concerning him [the King Mashiach]
them,] in the portion of Bila'am whose prophecies concern two messianic figures: the first
Mashiach is King David who saved Israel from its oppressors; the final Mashiach will rise
forth from his [King David's] descendents and save Israel in the end of days. Bila'am
prophesizes: 'I see it, but not now'-- this refers to King David; 'I behold it, but not in
the near future'-- this refers to the King Mashiach; 'A star shall go forth from Jacob'--
this refers to King David; 'and a staff shall arise in Israel'-- this refers to the King
we find that "I behold it" parallels "a staff will arise" (both
referring to the King Mashiach) relating to the Kabbalistic idea that the Jewish
tribe paralleling the month of Shevat is Asher (cognate to the Hebrew word
for "I behold it"--ashurenu).3
(See previous section regarding "Asher" and the
manna from heaven.)
VOICE OF GOD, SUSTAINER, CREATOR
Speaking of the "seven voices" of God (which
we will discuss later in our Revelation text analysis), another modern kabbalistic author
supports the notion of Messiah's divinity. Messiah is associated with the pillar of Jacob
(also called the "axis mundi"), and defined as an "element of God"
(i.e., part of the divine Godhead):
"... the seven voices correspond to the seven
lower emanations, and the seventh one is the Shekinah. Having correlated the seventh voice
with the Shekinah, it is reasonable to posit that the sixth voice corresponds to Yesod,
the divine phallus that overflows to the Shekinah. If the sixth emanation is indeed Yesod,
it is significant that the Messiah is mentioned precisely in conjunction with this
gradation: the traditional savior (mashiah) is identified as the Righteous (Saddiq) in the
divine pleroma, the cosmic pillar or axis mundi. Not only is the redeemer a nationalist,
religious, and political hero, he is the element of God that sustains all
The last portion of the above quotation is similar to
what we find in the book of Hebrews, which states that Yeshua, as Son of God, sustains all
Hebrews 1:3a - The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the
exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Gershom Scholem's, "On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead," cites
from the Bahir, which establishes this same "Righteous One" as the God
involved with creation:
"... the Righteous One who is the foundation of the world is in the middle
(i.e., between Netsah and Hod), and it emerges from the South of the world (i.e.,
apparently the direction of Hesed, God's grace), and he is the prince (i.e., ruler) of
both. And in his hand he holds the souls of all living things, for he is the Life of the
World, and every term of Creation spoken about (in Scripture), takes place through him. And
of him it is written, "and he ceased from work and rested" (Exod.
31:17), for he is the principle of the Sabbath. 5
In earlier sections of this study on Yesod, we discussed how at the very beginning of
the creation of the world, God first created the "foundation." Kabbalistically,
this may be interpreted as Yesod (foundation) emanating from Tipheret (the Holy One,
blessed be He), as the latter precedes Yesod in the "Tree of Life" that
begins with Keter, Chokhmah, Binah, etc.
The following section of the Zohar alludes to the various "stages" of
creation, including the "creation" of Yesod-Foundation by Tipheret (the Holy
One, blessed be He):
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 222a - Observe, he said,
that when the Holy One, blessed be He, [Tipheret] was
about to create the world, He detached one precious stone from underneath His Throne of
Glory and plunged it into the Abyss, one end of it remaining fastened therein whilst the
other end stood out above; and this other and superior head constituted the nucleus of the
world, the point out of which the world started, spreading itself to right and left and
into all directions, and by which it is sustained. That nucleus, that stone, is
called sh'thyiah (foundation) [Yesod], as it was the starting-point of
the world. The name sh'thyiah, furthermore, is a compound of shath (founded) and Kah
(God), signifying that the Holy One, blessed be He, made it the foundation and
starting-point of the world and all that is therein.
Although creation itself is usually associated with the Sefirah of Chokhmah-Wisdom
(Psalm 104:24; 135:5; Proverbs 3:19; 9:1), the Sefirah of Tsaddik Yesod 'Olam is
the medium through which creation was "activated."
The entirety of the creation process is said to have come through the path of the Four
- Beginning in Azilut-Emanation - Chokhamah-Wisdom, the Father. Chokhmah
is on the level of Ayin ["nothingness," the aspect of Keter, the
Sephirah that cannot be known]. From this "nothingness," all things came forth,
including the remaining Sephirot. 6
- to Beriah-Creation - Binah-Understanding, which differentiated the
"oneness" of Chokmah, and "gives birth" to lower seven Sephirot,
creation, and all souls (i.e., "Jerusalem above, the Mother of all" -
- to Yezirah-Formation - "Zer Anpin," the six Sephirot that
create physical space, represented by Tipheret-Beauty. Once space is defined the final
part of creation can take place. 7 Yesod-Foundation is the lowest Sephirah of
Zer Anpin, and as explained earlier in this section, is the
"male counterpart" to the female (Malkut) below, the pillar (axis mundi)
descending to earth, and the "starting point of the world" below.
- to Asiyah-Making - where from Yesod-Foundation above, "the
image comes into being and casts shape, life, and will into the materiality of
ETERNAL LIGHT OF THE WORLD, MEDIATOR
Gershom Scholem states:
Several Kabbalistic traditions recognize "the Righteous One" as being the
first "created being," and associate this with the primordial light
made on the first day of creation, which was then "hidden away" for a later
time. God saw that the world could not exist without this Foundation, which is called
In his letter to the Colossians, Paul makes the same point as Scholem does, associating
the theme of firstborn (being before all things), to the one by whom all things
were created and are sustained (in both the heavenly realm of Hesed and the earthly realm
of Yesod). Paul speaks of Yeshua combining elements of Tipheret, (the image of the
invisible God), and Yesod-Tzaddik (the firstborn of every creature.)
As mentioned already, Yesod is the image of the image with regard to Tipheret:
Colossians 1:15-17 - Who is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and
that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or
principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before
all things, and by him all things consist.
This concept of the divine Tzaddik being associated with the "light" formed
at the beginning of creation is also mentioned by John, who alludes to the Messiah's
- John 1:1-15 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by
him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life
was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it
not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to
bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light,
but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every
man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and
the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe
on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will
of man, but of God. 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
bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after
me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
As mentioned in the previous section of this Yesod
study, Gershom Scholem associates the term "the Eternally Living One" (based
on Daniel 12:7), to the divine Tzaddik, who is the "life" to the souls of men
(i.e., John 1:4 above):
In Sefer ha-Bahir, the term [Tzaddik]
shifts its meaning to "Life of the Universe." We find here for the first time
the symbolism of life -- a symbolism that from then on remained associated with the figure
of the Tsaddik, life is connected with the master of souls. This, source, from which all
souls come, is also the primal ground from which the life of all worlds derives. This
"life" is the mediator by which God's strength operates in all things ... 10
Note the last portion from Scholem above, where he is
again in agreement with the "New Testament" writers, this time concerning the
role of the divine Tzaddik as mediator between God and all things:
1 Timothy 2:5 - For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua;
The "life" and blessing that the divine
Tzaddik brings, are to his righteous followers. The following passage speaks of the
heavenly Tzaddik, and corresponding earthly Tzadikkim, as mutually inheriting the earth:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 245b - Hence it is
written: The righteous man is the foundation of the world (Prov. x, 25).
Esoterically speaking, the Zaddik is the foundation of the upper world and the foundation
of the lower world, and the Community of Israel contains the Zaddik from above and from
below. The righteous one from this side and the righteous one from that side inherit her,
as it is written: The righteous shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37:29).
The above idea is consistent with Yeshua's words in
chapter 2 of Revelation, where He speaks of both Himself and his righteous followers
inheriting the earth and ruling the nations:
Revelation 2:26-28 - and he
who is overcoming, and who is keeping unto the end my works, I will give to him authority
over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron -- as the vessels of the
potter they shall be broken -- as I also have received from my Father; and I will give to
him the morning star.
DESCENT FROM HEAVEN
Throught the various background studies prior to this one on Yesod, we have mentioned
the role of the mystical personage of Metatron, including his relationship with Tipheret.
In this part of our study we established a connection between Metatron and characteristics
of Yesod such as the covenant, Shaddai and mediator. We also
mentioned the peculiar theme related to the idea of the Tzaddik "descending to
The Bahir, offers this following comment, concerning an "aspect" of
Bahir 33 - They said to him: It is written (Lamentations 2:1),
"He threw the beauty of Israel from heaven to the earth." From here we see that
it fell. He replied: If you have read, you did not review, and if you reviewed, you did
not go over it a third time. What does this resemble? A king had a beautiful crown on his
head and a beautiful cloak on his shoulders. When he heard evil tidings he cast the crown
from his head and the cloak from his shoulders.
Commenting on the term "beauty of Israel," in the above Bahir
verse, author Aryeh Kaplan explains that the "beauty of Israel" cast
down to earth by God, is the Sephirah of Tipheret:
Here it is seen to be identified with the "beauty of Israel," which is
the Sefirah of Tiferet-Beauty. This is one of the six Sefirot associated with Zer Anpin,
which is usually called "heaven." The answer is that the true meaning of this
verse is actually "He cast from heaven to earth the beauty of Israel." 11
Author Elliot Wolfson, cites a kabbalistic text to show that the beauty of Israel
(cast down to earth) is none other than Metatron:
It is found in the midrash that the king said, "are you becoming haughty on
account of the diadem that you gave Me? Behold, I will cast the diadem below, as it says,
'He cast down from heaven to earth the majesty [beauty] of Israel.' This is the one
creature whose name is Israel, for the Holy One, blessed be He, took it and threw it to
the earth. The secret of the matter is as it is found in the Pirqe Hehhalot concerning the
diadem that the Holy One, blessed be He, places on the head of Metatron, which is called
Israel. And this is the secret of 'Israel in whom I glory' (Isaiah 49:3)." 12
Kabbalistic literature associates Metatron with both Tipheret and Yesod, and at times,
Malkut. Commenting on this "muliple personalities" of Metatron, Elliot Wolfson
One may infer therefore, that there is a blurring of boundaries separating Metatron
and the creature that is named Israel. To put the matter in somewhat different terms, the
name Israel is an appropriate designation for Jacob, and thus the image of Jacob is
applied to Metatron and/or the celestial creature. (of Ezekiel's vision) 13
As Metatron has already been linked to the Sephirah of Yesod, this association to the beauty
of Israel adds additional insight into the mystical connection between Tipheret and
Yesod. As we have shown that Yesod is connected to Messiah, we then have a connection
between Tipheret and Messiah as well. (See previous study on the
relationship and similarities between these two Sephirah.)
Commenting on the integrated relationship between the Sephirot of Tipheret and Yesod
(both represented by Metatron), Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsbergh states:
In Kabbalah, the third day, tiferet ("beauty"), is the origin of the
sixth day, yesod ("foundation"). Tiferet and Yesod totally integrate in the
secret of the "middle line" - "the body and the brit are considered
Metatron is also called the head of the angels of God. It was he that appeared as a man
to Joshua, who in turn bowed in worship, calling him "Adon" (sovereign). The
presence of Metatron even made the ground Joshua was standing on holy (i.e., Moses and the
bush at Mount Sinai).
What we have is an actual case of, "Sephirot (divinity) in the flesh":
- Joshua 5:13-15 - Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and
saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him
and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," he replied,
"but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come."
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message
does my Lord have for his servant?" The commander of the LORD's army replied,
"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And
Joshua did so.
The relationship of Metatron to God (i.e., to the Divine Sephirot of Tipheret, Yesod
and also Malkut), is so intimate, it provoked the following discussion in the Talmud,
where someone suggested to a rabbi that Metatron was worthy of worship:
Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 38b - R. Nahman said: He who is as skilled
in refuting the Minim [heretics] as is R. Idith, let him do so; but not
otherwise. Once a Min said to R. Idith: It is written, And unto Moses He said, Come up to
the Lord. But surely it should have stated, Come up unto me! It was Metatron [who
said that], he replied, whose name is similar to that of his Master, for it is written,
For my name is in him. But if so, [he retorted,] we should worship him! The same passage,
however, replied R. Idith says: Be not rebellious against him, i.e., exchange Me
not for him. But if so, why is it stated: He will not pardon your transgression? He
answered: By our troth we would not accept him even as a messenger, for it is written, And
he said unto him, If Thy [personal] presence go not etc.
Author Moshe Idel describes the connection between Metatron and the Messiah throughout
Hebraic historical writings:
A recurrent figure in the apocalyptic literature, whose eshatalogical role has not
drawn due attention from scholars, is the archangel Metatron. Though some of its features
refelct earleir traditions, its emergence in Jewish angelology as the prince of the divine
countenance was a momentous development that was destined to influence some interesting
themes in later Messianism.
... The emergence of a median world, mythic in some of its characteristics,
facilitated the commerce between man and God as it reformulated many of the earlier divine
interventions in human affairs into angelic missions. The divine intervention in history
was now attributed to the Messiah as part of a theophanic mode, or myth ...
... The assumption of the existence of a continuum between God and some of the
angels is paramount not only for a better understanding of ancient Jewish angelology, but
also for the more adequate apprehension of Kabbalistic theories of emanation as an inner
divine process. The relation between Metatron and God should be understood against the
background this conception. Thus Metatron as the angel of the divine countenance is
organically related to this divine limb and as such deserves the theophanic function of
the divine face in the Bible. 15
ASCENT TO HEAVEN
The theme of ascending and descending is found in another following section of the
Zohar, which speaks of the divine Yesod (called Zion in this text, as explained
by the Soncino translators), being taken away from Israel, following the
destruction of the second Temple, only to return to her later. (Note that this section is
commentary on Isaiah 52:8, within the midst of the "servant song" of Isaiah.)
Here again, the Zohar refers to Yesod (Tzaddik) being the God of salvation,
specifically stating that this salvation is God's own salvation:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth,
Section 2,Page 56a - R. Judah sat one day at the feet of R. Simeon, and
he began to expound the following verse: The voice of thy watchmen, they lifted up their
voices, they shall sing altogether... when the Lord shall return to Zion (Isaiah 52:8).
These watchmen , he said, are those who watch
for the time when the Holy One will build His House once again. The use of the past tense
lifted, where we should rather have expected the future shall
lift, conveys the lesson that he who has lifted up his voice in weeping and
lamentation over the destruction of the Temple shall be worthy to be numbered among those
of whom it says they shall sing altogether, and to enjoy the privilege of
beholding the Holy One when He shall inhabit His House once more. The words when the
Lord returns (to) Zion are to be understood as meaning when the Lord brings
back Zion. For when the earthly Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Community of Israel
was scattered over the face of the earth, the Holy King drew Zion [Tr. Note: According to
the commentators, in this place Zion=Yesod.] up to Himself and stretched it out before
Him, because the Community of Israel was banished. When, however, the Community of Israel
shall be restored, the Holy King will restore Zion to its place, to unite itself with her
in perfect bliss; and the children of Israel will sing: He is my God, and I
have prepared for Him an habitation. Concerning this it is written: This is
the Lord, we have waited for him, let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation (Isa.
xxv, 9) - meaning, literally, in His own salvation.
Another interesting text regarding an "ascent" into the heavenlies comes from
the book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 30:4 - Who went up to heaven, and came down? Who has
gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound waters in a garment? Who established all
ends of the earth? What [is] His name? and what His son's name? Surely thou knowest!
Commenting on the above, the Zohar states that the one who went up and came down can be
either Moses (Tzaddik-Yesod), to the Holy One (God/Tipheret) or "the four
elements," which is a reference to the Shekinah-Malkut:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 79b - R.
Jose applied the verse, Who hath ascended, etc., first to Moses, then to the
Holy One, and finally to the four elements, and I saw that thou, Master, didst bless
him! Said R. Simeon: What he said was perfectly true. All the applications
signify one and the same thing, since they all have their root and fulfilment in the Holy
One, and they are all practically equivalent.
The "New Testament" speaks of this one, who decended and ascended, as being
John 3:13 - And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that
came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Ephesians 4:10 - He that descended is the same also that ascended
up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.
The answer given to the question posed in Proverbs 30, "What is His son's
name?", is given as Tipheret, who represents the "Son" of
Chokmah-Wisdom (the Father) and Binah-Understanding (the Mother):
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 79b -
R. Jesse was deeply impressed by these words and said: Now I see that this is indeed
so. And I have also heard it on another occasion from the mouth of the Master. But what is
the meaning of the words, And what is his son's name? R. Simeon
replied: The inner meaning of this I myself have taught my son, R. Eleazar.
I pray thee, tell it to me, for I did ask thee concerning it in a dream, but when I
awoke I had forgotten thine answer. And now, when I tell thee, wilt thou
remember it? I surely will, replied R. Jesse, I always remember
what my Mastor tells me. Said R. Simeon: The words must be understood in the
light of the expression, My first-born son Israel (Ex. IV, 22), and
Israel, in whom I am glorified (Isa. XLIX, 3). Israel here refers
to the supernal world, and it is this which is called son. Whereupon R. Jesse
replied: With all due respect to the Master, this is a secret which I already
know. But yet again he forgot it. He was much perturbed. But when he went into his
house and lay down to sleep, he saw in his dream an haggadic book, wherein it was written:
Wisdom (Hokmah) and glory (Tifereth) in His sanctuary. When he awoke, he
straightway went to R. Simeon, kissed his hand, and said: This night I saw in my
dream an haggadic book wherein were written the words: Wisdom and glory in His
sanctuary, Wisdom above, Glory below, and in His
sanctuary at the side. This I saw in a dream, and I found it on my lips when I
awoke. Said R. Simeon to him: Until this time thou wast too young to join the
company of the reapers of the field, but now everything has been shown unto
thee! Thus the meaning is: Wisdom (Hokmah) is His Name and Glory (Tifereth) the
name of His son.
As we have seen, there is an equivalency between Tipheret and
Yesod, the latter being an image of the image, etc. (This is very evident in the figure of
Metatron). Therefore, Tipheret, the "Son" above, is reflected in Yesod, the
Divine Tzaddik, the "son" who functions in this world.
SON OF GOD
We have also discussed the principle concerning how "things" and
"events" in the heavenly realm (outside of time), must play themselves out in
the physical realm (in time) in order for them to take their designated effect above.
(Which in turn then affect events below, i.e., prayer from below causes action in the
heavenly realm, which then effects the circumstances of the one praying.)
Turning to Matthew's gospel, we see the high priest questioning Yeshua, during which
time he (the High Priest) associates the "Messiah" with being the Son of
God, and indirectly, Son of the living God:
Matthew 26:63 - But Yeshua held his peace, And the high priest
answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou
tell us whether thou be the Messiah, the Son of God.
The above "New Testament" verse indicate a deep knowledge of kabbalistic
concepts on the part of the High Priest. We have also shown kabbalistic concepts found in
the writings of Paul and John, as well as in the words spoken by Yeshua Himself. The Zohar
also makes reference to kabbalistic schools of thought in the early second century, under
the maggid, Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai. The evidence at hand indicates that there was a deep
understanding of Torah at the Sod-level at the time of the second temple. 16
In two places, Yeshua (the divine Tzaddik), is specifically called "Son of the
Living God," by His Talmidim:
Matthew 16:16 - And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 6:69 - And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ,
the Son of the living God.
The Zohar offers a connection between the Tzaddik and title of "son of
God," or "son of a living man," associating this with the
Divine title of Zaddik, the life of the universe, (as discussed
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 6a - He thereupon began
to discourse on the verse: And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, etc. (II Sam. XXIII, 20).
This verse, he said, has been well explained-in addition to its literal
meaning-to signify high mysteries of the Torah. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada
(i.e. son of God, son of knowing-God) contains an allusion to wisdom, and is a symbolic
appellation which influences its bearer. The son of a living man indicates the
Zaddik, the life of the universe.
The concept of a divine Messiah is firmly grounded in Hebraic writings. As Moshe Idel
In a Talmudic text the Messiah is called by the name Tetragrammaton (YHVH), in a
Midrash he is called by the divine name "Adonai, My Lord," while elsewhere he is
designated "El." On the other hand, God is widely described in Judaism as the
Redeemer, go'el, a term sometimes applied to an angel or a human redemmer. These common
appellations, as well as the different views on the preexistence of the Messiah, may point
to a much more substantial link between the divine and a Messianic personae. 17
In some instances, the Messiah has been conceived also as the representative of the
divine in this world. The very fact that the phrase "meshiyah YHWH" recurs in
the sources shows that special connection between him and God. 18
1. Midrash Rabbah consists of commentaries on the Torah
as well as several other texts from the Tenakh. These writings, along with the Talmud,
Zohar and entire Tenakh, may be purchased on CD-ROM from www.davka.com.
2. Gal Einai Institute, Kfar Chabad, Israel. Website: www.inner.org
3. Kabbalah and Modern Life - Living with the Times: A Torah Message for the Month of Shevat, "And a Staff Shall Arise in
Israel," Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, http://www.inner.org/times/shevat/shevat59.htm
4. Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth,
Symbolism, and Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press,
Albany, 1995, p. 83.
5. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom
Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p.96.
6. Sefer Yitzirah, The Book of Creation, In Theory and Practice, Aryeh
Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Maine, 1990, p.132.
7. ibid, p.143.
8. The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc.
York Beach, Maine, 1976, p.32.
9. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom
Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 100-101.
10. ibid, p.98
11. The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan,
Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, p.109.
12. Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and
Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p.
13. ibid, p. 25
14. The Mystical Signficance of the Hebrew Letters: Tzadik, The Faith of the
Righteous One, Rabbi Yitzchak
15. Messianic Mystics, Moshe Idel, Yale University Press, London, 1998,
16. The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc.
York Beach, Maine, 1976, p.95.
17. Messianic Mystics, Moshe Idel, Yale University Press, London, 1998,
18. ibid, p. 41.