MESSIAH - PART 6
TIKKUN OF THE TORAH
(Last updated 5/25/01)
The necessity of tikkun of the Godhead (as discussed in the previous section), is
reflected in a need of tikkun of the Torah, which emanates from the Godhead. The source of
the Supernal Torah is Ze'er Anpin, or if you will, the Sephirah of Tipheret,
which as we have seen is associated with the name YHWH. The Torah itself is thus said to
suffer from "untempered judgment."
In the Idra portion of the Zohar, Rabbi Simeon says of the relationship between the
state of the Godhead and that of the Torah:
Why is it "time to act for YHVH?" Because "they have violated your
Torah." What is meant by "they have violated Your Torah?" It refers to the
Supernal Torah, which is nullified if the tikkun of this Name is not performed, This is
said to Attik Yomin (the Ancient of Days.) 1
The "call" to repair Ze'er Anpin (Tipheret) and thus the Torah, goes
to Attik Yomin (the "Ancient of Days"), the highest level of Arikh
Anpin. For this to occur, Arikh Anpin must itself first undergo tikkun. (The
process of tikkun flows from Arikh Anpin to Ze'er Anpin, then to the
Torah, and finally to creation.)
Author Yehuda Liebes points out that according to the Zohar, there is much more to the
commandments of the Torah than what is learned "at the surface." In fact, to not
attempt to penetrate the mysteries of God and creation (through the deeper levels of
Torah) would lead to Torah becoming meaningless. (This is similar to the warnings found in
the book of Hebrews).
Liebes states the following:
The Zohar's view, would seem to be that concern with the mitsvot [commandments]
alone, to the exclusion of their profound mysteries, would lead to the nullification of
the Torah. This was also one of the major impulses for the appearance of the Kabbala: the
feeling that an exclusive concern with the Torah as such would become meaningless and
ultimately repugnant, and this would lead to the Torah quite literally being nullified.
Liebes goes on to say the following about Torah needing Tikkun:
This relationship between the tikkun of the Torah and that of the world, is present
in earlier literature as well. For example: The world is to exist for six thousand years
-- two thousand of chaos (tohu), two thousand of Torah, and two thousand of the Messianic
era" (Sanhedrin 97a). Here the years of Torah, are the years between tohu and the
Messianic period. The author of the Zohar would seem to have built upon this statement,
seeing himself as standing at the boundary marking the end of the years of Torah and the
beginning of those of the Messianic era. The Torah at this point stood in danger of
nullification, which would have meant the return of the days of tohu. 3
The issue of the mundane performance of the commandments of the Torah, void of their
deeper concerns, especially love and mercy toward one's fellow man, is found in the first
chapter of Isaiah:
Isaiah 1:10-23 - Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom;
give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude
of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and
the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he
goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my
courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and
sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn
meeting Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto
me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes
from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to
do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the
fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the
LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red
like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good
of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the
mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full
of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross,
thy wine mixed with water: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every
one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth
the cause of the widow come unto them.
A comparison may be made between Liebes comments and the words of Isaiah, with
statements made by Yeshua to His fellow Pharisees. Early on in Matthew's gospel we see
Yeshua rebuking them, by quoting the prophet Hosea, who had a similar lament against the
people as Isaiah did:
Matthew 9:13 - But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have
mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to
A bit later in the gospel, we see a second rebuke along the same lines. (Evidently, the
Pharisees did not follow His instruction from 9:13 above):
Matthew 12:7 - But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have
mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
Yeshua accuses the Pharisees of His day, of "shutting up the Kingdom" (i.e.,
a nullification of Torah) by missing the deeper meaning of the Torah commandments (i.e.,
what Yehuda Liebes calls "profound mysteries."):
Matthew 23:13 - But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in
yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Matthew 23:23 - Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of
the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the
Note that in the latter verse ("... and not to leave the other undone"),
Yeshua does not do away with the Torah of Sinai. He tells the Pharisees to seek the deeper
meaning while continuing to follow what the Torah says to do. Yeshua refers to the
weightier matters of the Torah being; judgment, mercy, and faith. These are
representative of the three pillars of the kabbalistic Tree of Life. (Judgment = the left
column, Mercy = the right column, Faith = the central column.)
Yeshua is pointing out that the purpose of the Torah commandments was to teach us about
the Tree of Life (the Sephirot), which in turn instructs us on a deeper level of
This is seen when we look at the original context of Yeshua's words or rebuke (above),
which are a citation from the prophet Hosea, who also speaks of Torah to be carried out in
love, with its purpose being to lead man to a deeper knowledge of God:
Hosea 6:1-6 - Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath
torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he
revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then
shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the
morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the
earth. O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your
goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed
them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as
the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of
God more than burnt offerings.
There is a highly charged kabbalistic connection between Yeshua's words in Matthew and
those of Hosea. First of all, note that the word for "knowledge" in Hosea 6:6,
is "Da'at" - the representative Sephirah emanating from
the Sephirah of Binah-Understanding, that is equated with the Ruach haKodesh.
Even more interesting, is that the quotation from Hosea, comes immediately after the
mention of being raised up "on the third day." As was discussed in the previous section regarding Abraham and the Akeidah), the
"third day" is associated with the "third Sephirah" of
Binah-Understanding, and representative of the future resurrection.
In addition to this, returning to Yeshua's words, He states that He is calling
"sinners to repentance." As we have seen, "repentance"
is another concept linked to Binah, which (as discussed in the previous section), is of
greater effect following the tikkun that Yeshua performed with His own sacrificial death.
Yeshua's rebuke in Matthew 12:7, equates the Pharisees performing the commandments
apart from "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith,"
with being ignorant (a lack of "da'at," i.e., Hosea 6:6), of who He was
and how service to Him was equivalent to service to God and of a higher service than that
associated with the physical Temple of God.
Here are the preceding verses:
Matthew 12:1-6 - At that time Yeshua went on the sabbath day
through the corn; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn and
to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that
which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read
what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into
the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither
for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law,
how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are
blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
The above is one of the more controversial sections of Scripture and is often used as
"proof" that Yeshua could not be the true Messiah, as He and His disciples
wilfully broke Torah by working on the Sabbath. We discuss this specific account in
detail, in the next section of this study.
THE SUPERNAL TORAH
The Zohar teaches that there are several "layers" in the Torah, each
associated with an essence of the Divine.
As Yehuda Liebes explains:
The lowest level is the Torah's outer garments which are the stories of the Torah
in their plain sense; their supernal source lies not in the sefirot but in the heavens and
their hosts (the stars, spheres or angels). The stratum beneath the garments is the body,
comprising of the mitsvot, which are called "gufei Torah," the "bodies of
the Torah," their souce is the Shekinah. Beneath the body is the "soul,"
which is the true essence of the Torah, and has its origin in Tif'eret. The fourth stratum
is the "soul of the soul" of the Torah, and it originates in Attika Kaddisha.
The term Attika Kaddisha in the above text refers to "The Holy Ancient One" (Aramaic). In some
contexts, this term is a synonym for "the Ancient of Days" (Attik Yomin), or for
the Sephirah of Keter in general.5
The Zohar indicates that the possibility to see "the soul of the Torah" (that
derived from Tipheret), exists in this world (as was occasioned at Mount Sinai), but
experiencing the "soul of the soul," is reserved for the world to come.
The following comments on this subject show that there is a "higher" (or
"deeper") level of Torah, and offers a rebuke of those who do not look beyond
the "outer garments" or even the "body" of the Torah, to the actual
"soul" of the Torah. This censure is strikingly familiar to Yeshua's rebuke of
the Pharisees over the same issues:
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 151b-152a - AND THE LORD
SPOKE TO MOSES IN THE WILDERNESS OF SINAI, ETC. Said R. Abba: Why was the command
regarding the paschal lamb repeated here after it had been given them once whilst they
were still in Egypt? The reason is that the Israelites thought that that command was
intended only for the one year in Egypt and not for future years. Hence, "in the
wilderness of Sinai... of the second year: the command was renewed to indicate that
it was to be kept throughout the generations. In the first month of the second
year contains a sublime mystery. The month signifies the Moon, [Tr. note: Malkuth.]
and the year points to the Sun [Tr. note: Tifereth.] that sheds his rays on the Moon. Thus
it happened at the time when all the precepts of the Torah were delivered to Israel.
Said R. Simeon: Alas for the man who regards the Torah as a book of mere tales and
everyday matters! If that were so, we, even we could compose a torah dealing with everyday
affairs, and of even greater excellence. Nay, even the princes of the world possess books
of greater worth which we could use as a model for composing some such torah.
The Torah, however, contains in all its words supernal truths and sublime
mysteries. Observe the perfect balancing of the upper and the lower worlds.
Israel here below is balanced by the angels on high, of whom it says: who makest thy
angels into winds (Ps. CIV, 4). For the angels in descending on earth put on
themselves earthly garments, as otherwise they could not stay in this world, nor could the
world endure them. Now, if thus it is with the angels, how much more so must it be
with the Torah - the Torah that created them, that created all the worlds and is
the means by which these are sustained. Thus had the Torah not clothed herself in garments
of this world the world could not endure it. The stories of the Torah are thus only her
outer garments, and whoever looks upon that garment as being the Torah itself, woe
to that man-such a one will have no portion in the next world.
David thus said: Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out
of thy law (Ps. CXIX, 18), to wit, the things that are beneath the garment. Observe
this. The garments worn by a man are the most visible part of him, and senseless people
looking at the man do not seem to see more in him than the garments. But in truth the
pride of the garments is the body of the man, and the pride of the body is the soul.
Similarly the Torah has a body made up of the precepts of the Torah, called gufe torah
(bodies, main principles of the Torah), and that body is enveloped in garments made up of
worldly narrations. The senseless people only see the garment, the mere narrations; those
who are somewhat wiser penetrate as far as the body.
But the really wise, the servants of the most high King, those who stood on Mount
Sinai, penetrate right through to the soul, the root principle of all, namely, to the real
Torah. In the future the same are destined to penetrate even to the super-soul (soul of
the soul) of the Torah. Observe that in a similar way in the supernal world there is
garment, body, soul and super-soul. The heavens and their hosts are the outer garment, the
Community of Israel [i.e., Malkut] is the body which receives the soul, to wit,
the Glory of Israel [i.e., Tipheret] ; and the super-soul is the
Ancient Holy One. All these are interlocked within each other. Woe to the sinners who
consider the Torah as mere worldly tales, who only see its outer garment; happy are the
righteous who fix their gaze on the Torah proper. Wine cannot be kept save in a jar; so
the Torah needs an outer garment. These are the stories and narratives, but it
behoves us to penetrate beneath them.
Noted Kabbalist, Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi, expresses a similar viewpoint:
It has been said that the words of the Torah are like a fine garment, and that
beneath the weave is the soul, which is God. While a natural man may be familiar with the
Scriptures to a remarkable degree it does not mean, as we have noted, that he perceives
their inner content. He may obey all the Commandments scrupulously, and this is to his
credit; but it does not mean he comprehends what the Law is really about. This requires a
shift in view, a process of conversion that will enable him, not only to perceive the
anatomy of the body and its workings, but to glimpse the soul within the body. 6
At the higher level of Tipheret, is the deeper study of the Torah, (i.e., Kabbalah).
This level of understanding is associated with receiving of the "higher soul" (the Neshemah), which as we have
discussed in given through Tipheret.
A person at this level can begin to experience a
knowledge of God similar to Adam's, as it was the Neshemah that God breathed into Him:
Genesis 2:7 - And the LORD God formed man of the dust
of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; [neshmat
hayyim] and man became a living soul [nefesh hayyah].
As mentioned in that earlier part of our study, such a person is
considered linked to Tipheret and is even thought of as being greater than the prophets.
Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Section 2, Page 35a - What,
now, is the difference between those who study the Torah and faithful prophets? The former
are ever superior, since they stand on a higher level. Those who study the Torah stand in
a place called Tifereth (Beauty), which is the pillar of all faith, whereas the prophets
stand lower in the place called Nezah (Victory) and Hod (Majesty); and those who merely
speak in the spirit of holiness stand lower still. He who studies the Torah needs neither
peace offerings nor burnt offerings, since the Torah is superior to all and the bond of
faith; wherefore it is written Her ways are ways of pleasantness
and all her paths are peace (Prov. III, 17), and also, Great peace have they
which love thy law and they have no occasion for stumbling (Ps. CXIX, 165).
Note that the Zohar (above) goes as far as saying
that a person studying Torah does not require the usual sacrifices of reconciliation to
God. Without an understanding of the levels of Torah, and context of this teaching, such a
statement would be considered antinomian in spirit (which the Hebrew Zohar is not of
As Yehuda Liebes states of the Zohar's view of
"... it speaks, rather, of deepening the
Torah we possess and tempering it by means of a profound mystical vision."
The Zohar holds a view of a "Supernal
Torah" (from which the Torah given to us at Mount Sinai is a reflection). This
earthly/historical Torah is to the Supernal Torah, what the earthly Temple, artifacts,
priesthood, its functions (and defects!), are to the Supernal ones. Thus, the Zohar
supports the concept of the Supernal "Melchizadek priesthood" (from which the
Levitical priesthood was patterned), as described in the "New Testament" book of
Kabbalistically, the "defect in the Torah" is said to be one of untempered
judgment that is corrected through the tikkun of Arikh Anpin, which upon shining
its light on Ze'er Anpin, softens the harsh judgments of the latter (when it is
separated from the former).
Interestingly, the Zohar credits this tikkun to the actions of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai,
who preached the return of love and mercy as the "missing ingredient," that was
key to correctly following Torah. The "New Testament" of course, credits the
same teaching to Yeshua.
Although tikkun has been brought to the Torah, we are still not experiencing its
understanding in a state that is both complete and requiring no effort. In the time
following the arrival of Messiah, it will be apprehended intuitively, requiring no effort
on the part on those below, as it will flow freely from above all at once.8
This of course, is the New Covenant (related to the Sephirah of Binah), a time when no
one will have to tell anyone about God. This is also a time of full forgiveness, when (due
to the tikkun of the Godhead), we have full access to Binah/repentance without effort on
our part as the Torah will be fully within us:
Jeremiah 31:31-34 - Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I
will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not
according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by
the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I
was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their
inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my
people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother,
saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the
greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember
their sin no more.
This "Supernal Torah" that has been
mentioned throughout this study, is the Torah of Messiah, a concept found
throughout Jewish literature.
For example: 9
Genesis Rabbah 98:9 - When he,
about whom it is written, "Lowly and riding upon an ass" (Zechariah 9:9) will
come ... he will elucidate for them the words of the Tora ... and elucidate for them their
Ecclesiastes Rabbah 11:1 - The
whole Tora which you learn in this world is vanity against the Torah of the World to Come.
For in this world a man learns Tora and forgets, but in the Furture to Come (he will not
forget), as it is written, "I will put My Tora in their inward parts and in their
heart I will write it." (Jeremeiah 31:33).
Midrash Alpha Beta diR. Akiba, BhM 3:27-29 -
In the future the Holy One, blessed be He, will sit in the Garden of Eden and
expound (the Torah) ... the Holy One, blessed be He, will expound to them the meanings of
a new Tora which he will give them through the Messiah.
Hesed l'Avraham (Abraham Azulai) 13c-14a -
This is the secret of the Tora which the Holy One, blessed be He, will renew for Israel
... The Torah will remain in her place. But at present her words are combined in physical
combinations, as they were needed for this physical world. But in the future, when the
children of Adam will divest themselves of this physical body and will ascend and attain
to the mystery of the body which Adam the first man had before he sinned, then they will
become adepts in the mystery of the Torah, when that which is hidden will be revealed.
Yemenite Midrash, pp. 349-350 -
In the future, the Holy One, blessed be He, will seat the Messiah in the supernal Yeshiva
(House os Study), and they will call him "the Lord," just as they call the
creator ... And the Messiah will sit in the Yeshiva, and all those who walk on the earth
will come and sit before him to hear a new Torah and new commandments and the deep wisdom
which he teaches Israel.
As seen throughout these quotations (above) and other texts presented earlier in this
study, their is a deeper level of Torah which is possible to attain glimpses of now (by
attaining the level of Tipheret), but will be fully realized when Messiah himself appears
to explain it to all.
THE CASE OF YESHUA AND HIS DISCIPLES
We return to the case of Yeshua, whom some today accuse of violating the Torah, and
thus disqualifying himself as being a true Messiah. Perhaps the most controversial issue
is found in the following account, where he "makes allowance" for his disciples
to break the Sabbath:
Matthew 12:1-8 - At that time Yeshua went through the grainfields
on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to
eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your
disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" But He said to them,
"Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him
to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you
not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and
are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than
the temple. But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and not
sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is
Lord even of the Sabbath."
Yeshua's disciples are clearly "working on the Sabbath," a violation of the
Torah given at Mount Sinai. He allows for this, and cites two examples in His/their
defense. (It is important to note that these two explanations are not isolated as He deals
with this issue throughout His arguments with the Pharisees as we will discuss.)
Yeshua compares the actions of His disciples to the priests who work in the Temple on
the Sabbath, and also to David, who ate the Bread of the Face (allowed only to the
We will first address the latter, as recounted in 1 Samuel:
1 Samuel 21:1-9 - Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest.
And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and
no one is with you?" So David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The king has
ordered me on some business, and said to me, "Do not let anyone know anything about
the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.' And I have directed my
young men to such and such a place. Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five
loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found." And the priest answered David
and said, "There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young
men have at least kept themselves from women." Then David answered the priest, and
said to him, "Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out.
And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though
it was consecrated in the vessel this day." So the priest gave him holy bread; for
there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the LORD, in
order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away. Now a certain man
of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD. And his name was
Doeg, an Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul. And David said to
Ahimelech, "Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither
my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste." So the
priest said, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of
Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it.
For there is no other except that one here." And David said, "There is
none like it; give it to me."
Regarding how David cound violate the Torah in such a fashion, the Talmud offers the
explanation that his life was in danger. (This is often cited to dismiss Yeshua's
rationale for citing the account of David, as the lives of Yeshua and His disciples were
not in any danger.)
Regardless of that particular opinion in the Talmud, Yeshua's argument is valid, as we
will now explain.
Even though Saul was in pursuit of David's life, at the time David partook of the Bread
of the Face, he was not faced with starvation (which would justify him eating this Holy
Bread). Nor does he state to the High Priest, Ahimelech, that his life is in immediate
danger, which would have given Ahimelech a "reason" to allow Torah to be
Ahimelech himself says he knew nothing about David's life being in danger:
1 Samuel 22:11-15 - So the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest,
the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests who were in Nob. And they all
came to the king. And Saul said, "Hear now, son of Ahitub!" He answered,
"Here I am, my lord." Then Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired
against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and
have inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as it is
this day?" So Ahimelech answered the king and said, "And who among all your
servants is as faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, who goes at your bidding,
and is honorable in your house? Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? Far be
it from me! Let not the king impute anything to his servant, or to any in the
house of my father. For your servant knew nothing of all this, little or
The summation of the events over these two chapters is as such:
- David asks Ahimelech to break Torah by giving him of the Bread of the Face
- Ahimelech obliges David, thus "breaking the Torah"
- Ahimelech reveals to Saul that he knew David to be a true man of God at the time that
David came to him
- Ahimelech therefore did not need to consult with God about David's intentions
As Ahimelech himself says that he did not view David's situation as being one of
"life or death," why would he break Torah by offering the Bread of the Face to
David? Critical in answering this are David's own words, regarding why he was entitled to
violate the Torah in this fashion:
1 Samuel 21:2 - The king has ordered me on some business
1 Samuel 21:8 - For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons
with me, because the king's business required haste.
As David was not on a mission from Saul the King, there would seem to be two ways to
interpret his words. Either he was lying, or the "king" David is on a mission
for, is not King Saul, but the "heavenly King" (who is kabbalistically
identified with Tipheret, source of the Supernal Torah).
If David was lying, simply looking to be fed and to acquire a sword, and thus ate of
the Bread of the Face, it would certainly be difficult to defend his actions. Why not tell
Ahimelech the truth? As the p'shat of the text stands, Ahimelech and David are both quite
If we look beyond the p'shat of these verses however, we see something else -- a
principle called "violating the Torah for the sake of heaven," that is,
in order to fulfill God's perfect plan.
"VIOLATING TORAH" FOR THE SAKE
OF HEAVEN (THE LORD)
One of the most interesting concepts found in both Talmud and Kabbalah, is that of
"violating Torah for the sake of heaven." (Also, "for the sake of the
Lord"). Such a statement may sound contradictory on the surface, but as we will show
is grounded in Scripture and supported in Talmud.
There are several categories of reasons, why the breaking of Torah, may be allowable:
- When two Torah commandments conflict, the higher one takes precedence
- When the fulfilment of a commandment could cause harm to someone, a person may be
excused from certain commands
- Where the Torah of Mount Sinai (which is a shadow of the Supernal Torah) is violated in
order to accomplish God's ultimate plan as revealed within the Supernal Torah
An example of the first type involves the commandment to circumcise a son. What happens
if this act (which is "work") occurs on the Sabbath, when "work" is
not permitted? In this case, the command of circumcision is the "higher command"
and takes precedense - circumcisions are performed on Shabbat.
The same principle is true for the priests working in the Temple on Shabbat. (One of
Yeshua's arguments.) As they "work" on Shabbat, they are "violating
Torah." However, this "work" is allowed in order to fulfill the higher
Torah commands regarding the Temple.
An example of the second type would be if someone was in very poor health and fasting
could jeopardize their life. God commanded Yom Kippur to be a day of "afflicitng our
souls," which is commonly interpreted to be fasting. What to do? The principle of
"life" takes precedence, and the person is excused from that commandment.
Another example of this second type would be if someone were hiding from an evil person
and you knew where they were concealed. If that evil person asked if you knew where they
were, to say "no" would be lying, which is a sin. However, to reveal their
location would cause them unjust harm. In this case, to "break Torah" by lying
is the appropriate behavior. A Biblical case here is Rahab, who hid Joshua and Caleb.
The third type would include actions by a righteous person, which are done in order to
bring about God's ultimate will. A "minor" example would be the actions of
Joseph, who "framed" his brother Benjamin, by having his personal cup placed in
his sibling's sack. God's ultimate purpose involved bringing Jacob and all of his family
coming to Egypt. This was accomplished by the "breaking of Torah" (bearing a
false witness against Benjamin) by Joseph.
There are deeper aspects of this last aspect however. An example, addressed in Talmud,
is seen in the actions of Elijah on Mount Carmel, who offered sacrifices away from the
As mentioned by author Yehuda Liebes (citing Rashi), Elijah's actions were a blatant
violation of Torah.
"It is time to act for the Lord, for they have violated Your Torah." This
verse had been applied already in the Talmud to cases wherein it was necessary to violate
certain mitsvot for the sake of heaven: "They have violated your Torah". Why?
Because 'it is time to act for the Lord'" (Berakhot 63a). Rashi comments: "An
example is that of Elijah on Mt. Carmel, who sacrificed on a high place, even though
this is forbidden, for he sought to retrain Israel for the sake of the Holy One, blessed
be He." According to this interpretation, the word heferu, "they violated,"
should be read haferu, in the imperative voice, and not in the past tense as in the
Masoretic text. 10
This concept of "breaking Torah" because it is "time to act for the
Lord," is alluded to in the Talmud which says:
Menahot 99a-b - There are times when the abrogation of the Torah
is its foundation.
An even more direct statement found in Talmud, states the following concerning a
"tried and true" prophet of God:
Sanhedrin 90a - R. Abbahu said in R. Johanan's name; In every
matter, if a prophet tells you to transgress the commands of the Torah, obey him,
with the exception of idolatry.
(Note: Footnote 18 to the above verse in the Soncino Talmud cites the actions of Elijah
on Mount Carmel as an example of this type.)
Why would the Talmud make such statements as the above two? The Talmud correctly
recognizes that there is more than one "level" of Torah. The 613 commands of the
historical Torah, given at Mount Sinai, are at one level. At another, more sublime level,
is the Supernal Torah - the deeper level of understanding that reveals God's
ultimate plan. (i.e., the Torah of Messiah which is the Torah of Binah, and Torah of Mount
Zion as referred to in Galatians and Hebrews - see below.)
Returning to the issue of Yeshua defending his diciples actions, of "picking
grain" on the Sabbath. He uses a kal v'chomer argument stating that if
David's actions (as well as those of the priests who work on Shabbat) are acceptable
"violations" of the Torah from Sinai (as they were done in service to the
"King"), how much more acceptable is the behavior of His disciples, who serve
Him, the heavenly King, who is Himself collectively the Supernal Torah (Chokhmah),
Supernal Temple (Binah), Divine Tzaddik (Yesod) and Son of God (Tipheret).
This relationship of Messiah to multiple Sephirot is seen throughout Jewish literature.
Talmud Bab. Bath. - "Three are called by the name of the Holy
One, blessed be he (Tipheret), and they are: the righteous one (Yesod),
the Messiah, and Jerusalem (Malkut/Binah)." 11
The words of Yeshua and actions of His disciples do not invalidate the Torah of Sinai,
nor the commands regarding the Sabbath, which are still to be followed. The sole issue
here surrounds Him and the relationship between the "Torah of Sinai" and the
"Torah of Messiah," which is the Supernal Torah.
The Torah of Sinai, which is the Torah of this World, was given due to sin, and
accomodates much of man's sin in its teachings. As stated earlier, the Supernal Torah is
at a "different level" than the historical Torah.
A good example of this issue of "different levels of Torah," is seen when
comparing Ezekiel's Temple (the Millennial Temple), to those in the past (and also
the Tabernacle). Rabbinic analysis recognizes that there are several "violations of
Torah" with how Ezekiel's Temple functions. Reconciling them is not so easy, without
an understanding of thje Supernal Torah.
For instance, the Stone Edition Chumash commentary on Ezekiel's Temple, states
The commentators note that several of the laws pronounced by Ezekiel contradict the
laws of Torah, a clear contradiction of the principle that the commandments of the Torah
are eternal and immutable ... the Messianic era is shrouded in mystery: therefore
the simple meaning of this passage must remain hidden from us until, in the words of Rabbi
Yochanan in Menachos 45a, the prophet Elijah will come and reveal it to us. 12
A newly translated (Hebrew into English) classic, Mishkney Elyon (entitled
"Secrets of the Future Temple"), also shows how Ezekiel's Temple is an anomaly
with regard to the Torah:
Even the mishnaic sages were perplexed by difficulties in Ezekiel's prophecies,
including certain apparent contradictions to the Halachah. In the words of the Talmud:
"Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav: Hananiah ben Hizkiah is most certainly
remembered for good, for if it were not for him, the Book of Ezekiel would have been
removed from the canon because his words seem to contradict the Torah. What did Hananiah
do? They brought him up three hundred barrels of oil (for light and food) and he sat in an
attic and reconciled all the dificulties." (Shabbat 13b and see Menachot 45). 13
As Ezekiel's Temple is of a "different level," than either of the first two
Temples (or the Tabernacle), there are corresponding variations regarding its functions,
service, priestly attire, etc. Although each Temple differs from the others, they are all
mystically "contained within one another:"
The earthly Sanctuary depends upon the upper Sanctuary, and that Upper Sanctuary in
turn upon another Upper Sanctuary, which is the most exalted of all. All of them are
included in one another, and this is the meaning of the verse, (Exodus 26:6): 'And the
Sanctuary was One" 14
When Yeshua walked the earth, (as Divinity in a "human Tabernacle"), He
represented a "higher level" of the Temple (as He stated in Matthew 12:7-8), and
thus a higher level of the Torah, one that takes "precedence" over the Torah of
Sinai, but does not "contradict it." (i.e., To every thing there is a
season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven - Ecclesiastes 3:1.)
The idea of the Supernal Temple, (which does not actually "leave" it place)
being contained within the physical presence of Yeshua, is mirrored in Ezekiel's Temple.
This coming (Millennial) Temple is said to consist of a physical, earthly structure, that
coexists in the heavenly realm:
However, in time to come, not only will the two Temples be similar, but the Upper
House will extend until it reaches the lower world. This is the meaning of the saying of
our Rabbis thatthe third Temple will be the work of the hands of God. For the Heavenly
Temple will not be uprooted from its place. Rather, it will extend until it reaches the
lower world, and then around it will be built a physical structure as fitting in this
material world, and the two structures will be joined and become one and will never again
separate. God's glory will be fully revealed there, as it is writeen, "And the glory
of God will be revealed, and all flesh will see" (Isaiah 40:5). Then there will be
complete peace and happiness forever. 15
(The above text of course parallels Revelation chapter 21.)
Returning to the issue of "service to the King" and the Supernal Torah, we
turn to another portion of Matthew's account, regarding the actions of Yeshua's disciples
regarding fasting. Note the first verse of this section (discussed earlier) leading up to
Matthew 9:13-17 - But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will
have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to
repentance. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees
fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Yeshua said unto them, Can the children of the
bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when
the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece
of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the
garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else
the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine
into new bottles, and both are preserved.
In the above section, Yeshua considers the actions of His disciples as correct within
the Torah that he represents. (See also our Matthew study for
more on the above section.)
We find this principle repeated in another account. Here, the Torah of Sinai called for
the payment of the Temple tax on the part each man. Yeshua excuses his disciples, for the
same reason he allowed them to pick grain on Shabbat - they are in service to Him (the
"King"), who is physically among men on the earth for a brief time:
Matthew 17:24-27 - And when they were come to Capernaum, they that
received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He
saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Yeshua prevented him, saying, What
thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their
own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Yeshua saith unto him,
Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the
sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast
opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me
In another example, Yeshua points to the error of the Pharisees and supremacy of the
Supernal Torah when he chastises them again for this (using metaphorical language), in the
later portions of Matthew's account. The lesson here is that those things from the earthly
realm are a type of "subset" of that in the Supernal Realm. This is indicated by
his comment regarding the altar (representing the Supernal realm) and those things on it
(the earthly realm):
Matthew 23:16-22 - Woe to you, blind guides, who say,
"Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the
temple, he is obliged to perform it.' Fools and blind! For which is greater,
the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, "Whoever swears by
the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to
perform it.' Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that
sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it
and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and
by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of
God and by Him who sits on it.
If Yeshua is indeed who He says He is (understood kabbalistically as being the
"middle pillar of the Godhead"), then the Torah and Temple that exist in this
realm, which are both "temporary," are a shadow of their Supernal selves, and
therefore "subservient" to Him. Thus the issue is not one of him unjustifiably
"breaking" the Torah of Sinai, as there is a "Supernal Torah" of
Messiah, that He is adhering to and teaching.
As He concisely stated, the Pharisees would have known who and what He was, if they had
looked into the Supernal Torah at the essence of God:
Matthew 12:6-8 - Yet I say to you that in this place there is One
greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, "I desire mercy and
not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord
even of the Sabbath."
BACK TO THE FUTURE
We return to the book of Hebrews, this time a portion within chapter 12. With a
knowledge of the different levels of Torah understanding, we see that the metaphorical
comparison between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion, is a comparison between the earthly Torah
of judgment, (Sinai, associated with Malkut) and the "rectified" Torah, (Zion,
which in this context is heavenly Jerusalem - associated with Binah:
Hebrews 12: 18-29:
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with
fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the
voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken
to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a
beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
The "mount" is Mount Sinai, which is associated with Malkut/Kingdom,
the "lower mother." In its current unrectified condition, Malkut is a mixture of
good and evil (as Yeshua taught in His parables). Recall from our previous studies that
when Malkut (the bride) is separated from Tipheret (the groom) the former is a source of
... And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:
But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly
Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
"Zion," "the city of the living God" and "heavenly
Jerusalem" are all associated with Binah, the "upper mother." Binah is
associated with Malkut in its rectified state, when it is freed from the "evil
side" (Brought back to its proper state - i.e., the Jubilee Release, in the
Millennial Sabbath and the Olam Haba.)
Sinai is associated with the original covenant based on the promise of the
people to keep it - which failed. Zion is based on the better promise of Messiah, the
sinless, Divine Tzaddik that was sacrificed to effect tikkun above and below.
"Zion" is a higher level of following Torah and not an abolishment of
Torah (i.e., Matthew 5:17-21; Romans 3:31). Those following Yeshua are to first put their
trust in the atonement He provided, and then follow Torah within this framework of
trust/faith. This includes gentiles who follow Him as well (Acts 15:21), who are now
included in the faith of Israel and its Torah (Ephesians 2:11-12). One who claims an
association with Messiah, and refuses to be a "hearer and doer" of Torah
(thinking he is "free" from it), is considered a liar and outside the will of
God (1 John 2:1-6).
The next three verses are interesting as they show Messiah; a) in the heavenly
realm outside of time, b) connecting the heavenly and earthly realms, and c) in the
... To the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn, which are written in
Here is Yesod as the (Divine) Tzaddik, firstborn from the foundation of the
world (outside of time).
... and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And
to Yeshua the mediator of the new covenant,
Here is Yesod as the Mediator, connecting heaven and earth. The "New
Covenant" is Binah, where all comes together.
... and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that
spake on earth,
Here we have Yesod as the Divine Tzaddik on earth (within time).
... much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from
The voice of God is associated with Tipheret. These earthly and heavenly voices
ultimately are from the same source as the former is the "image of the image"
with regard to the latter. (i.e., the dual role of Metatron, the link between Joseph and
Jacob, etc., as discussed earlier.)
... Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once
more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth
the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those
things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be
The tikkun (i.e., shaking) comes to the heavenlies as well as the earth.
This Kingdom that cannot be moved is the rectified Malkut (when linked back to
the rest of the Godhead), through the actions of Yesod/Tipheret.
... let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly
fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
The consuming fire is Malkut as the Shekinah, when untempered by Tipheret.
Again, "serving God" can only be done in the spirit of truth - through His
The Zohar supports the view that the Torah of Sinai was one of judgment (which is why
the commandments of the Torah are associated with the "left side" of the
Kabbalistic Tree of Life):
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 21b - Our teachers have
asked: Why at the time when Moses went up into Mount Sinai did the theophany take
the form of a flaming fire, which is the symbol of Severity?, The answer given by R. Jacob
was: It was appropriate to the moment, which was one of Severity. R. Jose
said: It was symbolic of the events associated with that spot. For of this spot it
is written: and (he) came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb,, a place of
which it is also written: Also in Horeb ye made the Lord wroth (Deut. IX, 8).
It is written further: And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of
fire out of the midst of a thorn- bush, as a symbol that the wicked are one day to
become as thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire, (Isa. XXXIII,
I2). R. Judah said: We learn from here the mercifulness of the Holy One,
blessed be He, towards the wicked.
The teaching about Sinai and Zion (above) is paralleled in Paul's letter to the
Galatians, a text often used to "prove" that Paul taught against following
Torah. (Which is a complete misinterpretation caused be removing the message from its
Rather than teaching that Torah was no longer the blueprint for the life of the
believer (see Romans 3:31 where Paul maintains it is part of faith in Yeshua), Paul's
message in Galatians is that gentiles do not have to "become Jews first," in
order to come to Messiah. (Our Romans study deals with
this topic in detail.)
Paul is directing these comment to gentiles (Galatians 2:7-8; 4:8), teaching them
against trying to earn one's salvation through the works of the Torah. (An effort
associated with Mount Sinai, as seen in the book of Hebrews [above] - further evidence as
to who wrote the book of Hebrews!):
For it has been written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the maid-servant, and
one by the free-woman, but he who is of the maid-servant, according to flesh has been, and
he who is of the free-woman, through the promise; which things are allegorized, for these
are the two covenants: one, indeed, from mount Sinai, to servitude bringing forth, which
is Hagar; for this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the Jerusalem that
Here Malkut, represented by Sinai, is presented as Shekinah in its present
unrectified form (earthly Jerusalem).
... and is in servitude with her children, and the Jerusalem above is the
free-woman, which is mother of us all,
"Jerusalem above" is Binah as Jubilee, the symbol of
freedom/redemption, and mother to creation (the lower Sephirot and physical realm
... for it hath been written, `Rejoice, O barren, who art not bearing; break forth
and cry, thou who art not travailing, because many are the children of the desolate --
more than of her having the husband.'
Here we go from a "barren" Malkut (separated from her mate, Tipheret)
to the time following its rectification and link to the rest of the Godhead. We discuss
this in detail further down in this section.
And we, brethren, as Isaac, are children of promise, but as then he who was born
according to the flesh did persecute him according to the spirit, so also now; but what
saith the Writing? `Cast forth the maid-servant and her son, for the son of the
maid-servant may not be heir with the son of the free-woman;' then, brethren, we are not a
maid-servant's children, but the free-woman's.
Here is the same message as in Hebrews chapter 9 -- trust in the atonement
provided, and then follow Torah within this framework of trust/faith.
Note the following passage from the Zohar, which mirrors Paul's teachings on the higher
and lower Jerusalem:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 186a - For
Zion and Jerusalem, while one, represent two degrees, the one being the channel of
judgement, the other of mercy; first there issues from one the sound of mercy, and
afterwards there comes forth from the other the voice of judgement, the two forming the
source from which the paths of judgement and mercy issue and diverge.
Paul's message in Galatians is to follow Torah in faith/trust (which comes first, and
is associated with Mount Zion) as he refers to not violating the commands of Torah in the
same letter. Note that these violations of Torah include "uncleanness," which is
brought about in several ways, (including the eating of unkosher food!):
- Galatians 5:19-25 - And manifest also are the works of the flesh,
which are: Adultery, whoredom, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,
strifes, emulations, wraths, rivalries, dissensions, sects, envyings, murders,
drunkennesses, revellings, and such like, of which I tell you before, as I also said
before, that those doing such things the reign of God shall not inherit. And the fruit of
the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness,
temperance: against such there is no law; and those who are Messiah's, the flesh did
crucify with the affections, and the desires; if we may live in the Spirit, in the Spirit
also we may walk;
Paul was also the author of the book of Romans, which makes clear that those who who
turn from Torah, are the ones "in the flesh." Conversely, those who "live
and walk in the Spirit" (i.e., Galatians 5:25 above), are subject to the Torah:
- Romans 8:5-8 - For those who are according to the flesh, the things
of the flesh do mind; and those according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; for the
mind of the flesh is death, and the mind of the Spirit -- life and peace; because the mind
of the flesh is enmity to God, for to the law of God it doth not subject itself, for
neither is it able; and those who are in the flesh are not able to please God.
Returning to the subject of the "barrenness" of Malkut-Shekinah as
represented by Mount Sinai in Hebrews and Galatians. Both the citation from Hebrews 12 and
the one from Galatians 4, are a "midrash" on several passages in the Tenakh that
speak about a transition from a time of barrenness, associated with Israel in exile (with
the Shekina), to one where "many are the children of the desolate -- more than of
her having the husband," the future New Jerusalem.
The first of these is a notable prophecy, not only for its content, but for the one who
spoke it -- the wicked Balaam -- who was made by God to speak the truth concerning the
future of Israel, whose "seed would be in many waters," i.e., consisting of many
Numbers 24:1-9 - Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to
bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face
toward the wilderness. And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped
according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. Then he took up his oracle
and said: "The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, The utterance of the man whose
eyes are opened, The utterance of him who hears the words of God, Who sees the vision of
the Almighty, Who falls down, with eyes wide open: "How lovely are your tents, O
Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens by the
riverside, Like aloes planted by the LORD, Like cedars beside the waters. He shall pour
water from his buckets, And his seed shall be in many waters. "His king shall be
higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted. "God brings him out of Egypt; He
has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break
their bones And pierce them with his arrows. "He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?' "Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he
who curses you."
The prophet Jeremiah, in his discourse about the New Covenant, speaks of the children
of Israel returning from captivity (i.e., exiled with the Shekinah, separate from the rest
of the Godhead). Following the time of Jacob's trouble (commonly called the
"Tribulation" period of the last days), where He corrects them in justice, God
Himself will bring salvation to Israel. He will multiply the numbers of children of Israel
at that time:
Jeremiah 30:1-24 - The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD,
saying, "Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: "Write in a book
for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, the days are
coming,' says the LORD, "that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and
Judah,' says the LORD. "And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to
their fathers, and they shall possess it."' Now these are the words that the LORD
spoke concerning Israel and Judah. "For thus says the LORD: "We have heard a
voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in
labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman
in labor, And all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. "For it shall
come to pass in that day,' Says the LORD of hosts, "That I will break his yoke from
your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they
shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.
"Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD, "Nor be
dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of
their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him
afraid. For I am with you,' says the LORD, "to save you; Though I make a full end of
all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I
will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.' "For
thus says the LORD: "Your affliction is incurable, Your wound is severe. There
is no one to plead your cause, That you may be bound up; You have no healing medicines.
All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the
wound of an enemy, With the chastisement of a cruel one, For the multitude of your
iniquities, Because your sins have increased. Why do you cry about your affliction? Your
sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have
increased, I have done these things to you. "Therefore all those who devour you shall
be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; Those
who plunder you shall become plunder, And all who prey upon you I will make a prey. For I
will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,' says the LORD, "Because they
called you an outcast saying: "This is Zion; No one seeks her."' "Thus says
the LORD: "Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob's tents, And have
mercy on his dwelling places; The city shall be built upon its own mound, And the palace
shall remain according to its own plan. Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving And
the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I
will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as
before, And their congregation shall be established before Me; And I will punish all who
oppress them. Their nobles shall be from among them, And their governor shall come from
their midst; Then I will cause him to draw near, And he shall approach Me; For who is this
who pledged his heart to approach Me?' says the LORD "You shall be My people, And I
will be your God."' Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD Goes forth with fury, A
continuing whirlwind; It will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger
of the LORD will not return until He has done it, And until He has performed the intents
of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.
In Isaiah, chapter 54 (which follows the Messianic passages of the previous chapters in
Isaiah), God tells the barren Israel to sing, as He will enlarge the size of its tents in
order to accomodate a great number of children. This barren "wife forsaken" is
associated with Sinai and the Shekinah in exile with the people. As we will see, this
portion of Isaiah has a great deal of commonality with the vision of the heavenlies that
John experiences in the book of Revelation:
Isaiah chapter 60, points to a future time when the people go
from being associated with the earthly Jerusalem (Malkut-Shekinah) to the New Jerusalem -
the city of the Lord (i.e., Binah). The people themselves are called the City. As we will
discuss later in our study, this corresponds with the last chapters of the book of
Isaiah 54:1-17 - Sing, O barren, You who have not
borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For
more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman," says
the LORD. "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of
your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. For you
shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited. "Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of
your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker
is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of
Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the LORD has called you Like a woman
forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused," Says
your God. "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will
gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting
kindness I will have mercy on you," Says the LORD, your Redeemer. "For this is
like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer
cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For
the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from
you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
"O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your
stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your
pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones. All
your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall
not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely
assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
"Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings
forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon
formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You
shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness
is from Me," Says the LORD.
Isaiah 60:14 - Also the sons of those who afflicted you Shall come
bowing to you, And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your
feet; And they shall call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah goes on to make further statements about the New Jerusalem, which are in
accordance with the end of book of Revelation, again showing "Zion" (or Jacob,
re; Isaiah 59:20), to have many children. This section comes on the heels of Isaiah
chapter 59, which as we
discussed in an earlier section, has to do with the arm of the Lord (God Himself)
being Messiah to His people.
Note the reference to the "sun and moon" which are symbolic of Tipheret and
the Shekinah (Malkut):
Isaiah 60:19-22 - "The sun shall no longer be
your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will
be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down,
Nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the LORD will be your everlasting light, And the
days of your mourning shall be ended. Also your people shall all be righteous; They shall
inherit the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be
glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, And a small one a strong nation. I, the
LORD, will hasten it in its time."
1. Zohar: Ha Idra Rabba Kadisha (The Greater Holy Assembly), 1:11.
2. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, SUNY Press, Albany, 1993, p.
3. ibid, p. 48.
4. ibid, p. 45.
5. Glossary of Kabbalah and Chassidut, http://www.inner.org/glossary/gloss_A.htm.
6. The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc.,
York Beach Maine, 1976, p. 87-88.
7. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, SUNY Press, Albany, 1993, p.
8. ibid, p. 49.
9. These excerpts are taken from a collection presented in, The Messiah
Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1979, pp. 247- 257
10. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, SUNY Press, Albany, 1993, p.
11. The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press,
Detroit, 1979, p. 21
12. Commentary on Haftaras Emor (Ezekiel 44:15-31), The Artscroll
Series/Stone Edition Chumash, Mesorah Publications, 1994, p. 1176.
13. Secrets of the Future Temple (Mishkney Elyon), by Rabbi Moshe Chaim
Luzazatto, translated by Avraham Yehoshua ben Yakov Greenbaum, The Temple Institute and
Azamra Institute, Jerusalem, 1999, pp. 22-23.
14. ibid, p. 20, citation from Zohar Pekudey II, 235a
15. ibid, p. 69.