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YESOD - Part 3

(Last updated 4/8/01)

In this third section, we examine aspects of Yesod that are related to concepts associated with Messiah, such as; Living Water, Rock, Manna, and the "Way, the Truth and the Life."


Yesod is considered to be one of the two primal sources of "living water," the other coming directly from Eyn Sof via the highest Sephirah of Keter/Crown. (See notes on the "River of Eden") The difference between the two is that which is from Keter flows freely, but that from Yesod-Tzaddik  is subjected to certain predermined laws and limits, based on the merited righteousness of those receiving it.1

This function of Yesod is often compared to Joseph, who represents Yesod on the Tree of Life. When Joseph did not control his ego (i.e., in his younger years antagonizing his brothers), things did not go so well for him (being sold into slavery, etc.) Only after going through this ordeal, and learning humility and keeping himself from temptation (i.e., rejecting the advances of his master's wife), did he control his ego, become the Tzadik that God wanted Him to be, and receive enormous blessings from the Source of blessings.2

Yesod-Tzadik, is thus considered to be the "fountain of blessing" or, "fountain of living waters."

Yeshua referred to Himself using this terminology:

John 4:10 - Yeshua answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says this to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.

The "limitation" in receiving blessings, based on a person's merit, is also in accordance with that taught by Yeshua. One who follows Him will become a Tzadik, and source of living water:

John 7:38 - He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.

Note that to, "believe in Him," (as we discuss elsewhere in this study and in our other studies), means to follow the path of Torah. Rewards (either in this life or the next), are related to Torah study and observance. Yeshua, being the Divine Tzaddik, represents the goal of the Torah for us, as Paul stated in his most famous epistle:

Romans 10:4 - For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness for eveyone who trusts." (Jewish New Testament).3

The Tzaddik is also considered "the living Torah," as the hidden light of God, found in the letters of Torah - the foundation of life. 4

The Zohar supports this concept, placing Yesod as the source of this spiritual nourishment:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 135b - ‘The congregation respond: “Blessed is the Lord who is blessed for ever and ever.” The expression “who is blessed” indicates the streaming of blessings from the source of life to the place whence issue nourishment and bounty for all creatures [Yesod]. And why do we call this source “blessed”? Because it sustains and waters ’olam va'ed (lit. for ever and ever), which is the Sabbath eve. In this way blessings are transmitted to this ’olam va'ed from the highest world, so that it attains its full perfection. Thus in this benediction, "blessed" represents the ultimate source whence all blessings emanate ; [Tr. note: Hohmah.] "the Lord" is the centre[Tr. note: Tifereth.] of all the supernal sides; "who is blessed" represents the peace of the house, the fountain of the cistern, [Tr. note: Yesod]. providing completion and nourishment for all, while "for ever and ever" refers to the world below, [Tr. note: Malkuth.] which needs these blessings: the "good oil" of "blessed", "the Lord", and "the Blessed One" is all for this ’olam va'ed. Therefore the whole congregation has to recite this every day; but on Sabbath eve it must be recited with special devotion and gladness, in order that the Sabbath may be fitly blessed by the holy people. When they begin to recite this benediction a voice is heard in all the heavens that are sanctified by the entrance of the Sabbath: "Blessed are ye, holy people, for that ye bless and sanctify on earth below, that thereby many supernal holy hosts may be blessed and sanctified above." Blessed are they in this world and blessed are they in the world to come. The Israelites do not recite this benediction until they are crowned with the crowns of holy souls, as we have said before.

In this next passage, we see Tipheret and Yesod both mentioned as the husband to the Shekinah (Malkut). This passage also contains some mystical insight into the meaning of Hebrew letters, as the abode from which the waters flow, is related to the Hebrew letter "mem," (called "M"):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 133b - What is the place whence they receive this favour? It is a holy supernal region, whence emanate all holy wills and desires. This is known as "every man", who is identical with the "Righteous" [Tzaddik/Yesod], the Lord of the House, whose love is always directed towards the Matrona, like a husband who loves his wife always. "Whose heart is willing": that is, His heart goes out to Her, and Her heart to Him. And although their mutual love is so great that they never separate, yet "ye shall take from Him My heave offering", meaning, "ye should take the Shekinah [Malkut], to dwell with you". The Holy One, blessed be He, [Tipheret] unlike a human husband, who would protest violently should anyone take from him the wife whom he so dearly loves, is greatly pleased when the Shekinah, whom He so loves, is "taken" from the supernal sphere, the abode of Love, to dwell below in the midst of Israel. Happy is the lot of Israel and happy that of all those who are worthy of this. In that case, it might be asked, why does it say, "which ye should take from them" instead of "from Me"? Because the "from them" refers to these two Divine names or grades [Tipheret and Yesod]. Rabbi Yeba the Ancient suggested that meitam (from them) signifies meet M, from the sphere designated by the letter M; the mysterious sphere, the abode of the Righteous One [Tzaddik/Yesod], from whence He draws life to distribute to all the worlds. It is all one mystery, which has been entrusted to the wise.

The letter "M" is the Mem, which means "water" -- in this case, the water of the fountain of life, the river which flows out of Eden (emerging in its central point, at Yesod, which is under the "Tree of Life" (i.e., Tipheret), to water the Garden (the realm of the Shekinah). The "sphere" (Sephirah) of the letter mem as mentioned in the Zohar section above is Yesod (Tzaddik). This flow issues forth through the Covenant of Israel. (See the earlier section on Yesod and Covenant, as well as previous notes on the "River of Eden"):

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 231a - “I have made a covenant with my chosen.’ This covenant is the secret of faith. Or we may interpret the “chosen one” of the Zaddik from whom issue blessings to all the lower creation, all the holy Hayyoth being blessed from the stream which flows forth to the lower world.

The Zohar shows that the Tzaddik both gives and received blessings from above and below. Again, the relationship between Jacob and Joseph (mentioned in the previous section), is important. This  section also mentions the relationship between Binah and Malkut, the "upper and lower Mothers":

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 247a,b - Observe that Joseph received an extra blessing, as it is written: EVEN FROM THE GOD OF THY FATHER, HE SHALL HELP THEE . Jacob gave Joseph an inheritance above and below. The inheritance above was given in these words: “from the God of the father” [Tipheret], the place called “heaven”. He added: “And he shall help thee”, to show that this place would not be exchanged for any other place, and his support would be from this place and from no other. AND WITH THE ALMIGHTY: [Yesod] this signifies another and lower grade, indicated by the word eth (with), from which issue blessings to the world ...

... Up to this point the blessings were given in general; they were now particularized with the words: BLESSINGS OF HEAVEN ABOVE, ETC. THE BLESSINGS OF THY FATHER HAVE PREVAILED ABOVE THE BLESSINGS OF MY PROGENITORS . This was so because Jacob inherited the cream of all more than the other patriarchs, he being perfect in all, and he gave all to Joseph. This was fitting, because the Righteous One [Yesod] takes all and inherits all, and all blessings are deposited with him. He first dispenses blessings above, and all the limbs of the body are disposed so as to receive them, and thus is brought into being the “river which goes forth from Eden”. Why Eden (lit. delight)? Because whenever all the limbs are knit together in harmony and in mutual delight, from top to bottom, then they pour blessings upon it, and it becomes a river which flows forth, literally, from “delight”. Or again, the word “Eden” may refer to the supreme Wisdom, from which the whole flows forth like a river until it reaches this grade, where all is turned to blessing. The two interpretations are practically the same. UNTO THE UTMOST BOUND OF THE EVERLASTING HILLS . Or better, “unto the desire (ta'avath) of, etc.” These everlasting hills are two females [Binah and Malkut], one above and one below, each of whom is called ’olam (a world). The desire of all the limbs of the Body is for those two Mothers [Binah and Malkut] - from below to suck from the higher Mother [Binah], and from above to be linked with the lower Mother [Malkut], both desires being in essence the same. Therefore, THEY SHALL ALL BE ON THE HEAD OF JOSEPH , so that the grade of the Righteous One [Yesod], should be blessed and receive all as befits. Happy are they who are called righteous, for only he is so called who observes this grade, this sign of the holy covenant [Yesod]. Happy are they in this world and in the world to come.

As Tzaddik represents the "route" through which the River of Eden flows into the world, it is also considered the "mediator" among the six Sephirot (i.e., Zer Anpin), that lie above Malkut. 5

Because Tzaddik restores the equilibrium between the upper and lower realms, it (he) is called the true symbol of shalom (peace). Tzaddik is therefore associated with the Messiah, as by bringing peace and harmony in the divine world, God is "truly one" at that moment, and this oneness would be made manifest in our world. 6

As the Tsaddik awakens the world to repent or to fix that which is not whole, this attribute is called Peace, mediating for good between YHWH [Tipheret] and Adonai [Malkut], making peace between them and bringing them near to dwell together without separation or breaking up in the world; and at that hour we find that God is one. 7

Scripture shows that this will ultimately be fulfilled by Messiah (the source of living waters):

Zechariah 14:8-9 - And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

(We will discuss the subject of Messiah bringing tikkun [restoration] to the heavenly realms, in greater detail, in a future section of this study.)


Another aspect of Tzaddik is that of "rock" - specifically the rock from which flow the living waters:

Bahir 193 - And what is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 49:24), "From there is the Shepherd. the Rock of Israel." From "There" is nourished the Rock of Israel. What is the meaning of "from There?" We say that this is the Supernal Righteous One (Tzadik). What is it? It is (the precious stone called) Socheret. And the stone that is below is called Dar.

Paul associates this "rock" that provided nourishment (water) to Yeshua. (This verse shows Paul as having a deep kabbalistic interpretation of the "rock" (or "well") that followed the Children of Israel in their desert wanderings):

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 - Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah.

In Psalm 42 we again see David seeking the "living God." In this case, associating this emanation of God (Yesod) as a rock issuing forth water. The following section also deals with aspects of the soul and how it relates to the Tree of Life. (This is a topic we will address in detail at some later time). For now, the reader should note that as we can elevate our soul from the level of Malkut to Tzadik, David felt his soul was "cast down" (almost in a "literal" sense) from the level of Yesod (the Living God for Whom he thirsted after). He can even "hear" the waterspouts of Yesod (which provide the "health of his countenance"), calling to him:

Psalm 42 - As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

The kabbalistic understanding of Yesod/Foundation as a stone or rock affects a number of Scripture interpretations. The following Zohar section includes all of the following within its discussion on the Foundation stone:

  • the world established on seven pillars (Proverbs 9:1), all of which is mysteriously supported by the Foundation.
  • the holy of holies (also referred to a second time as the place of the Cherubim)
  • the stone the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22)
  • Jacob's pillar (Genesis 28)
  • the Stone with seven eyes (Zechariah 3) These are the "eyes" of the Tzaddik, which are associated with the role of the seven lower Sephirot in the soul of man, 8 as well as the "eyes of the congregation" 9
  • a stone ascending to be crowned (the Tzaddik who receive their crowns)
  • the stones of the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol (Tzaddik as High Priest is discussed in the next section)
  • the "heart of stone" in man (which must be circumcised - i.e., see earlier study on Yesod and Covenant/Circumcision)
  • the two tablets of the Ten Commandments (Torah, the path of the tzaddik)
  • twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel (i.e., Revelation 21)

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 231b - R. Jose discoursed on the verse: Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened ? (Job XXXVIII, 6). He said: ‘When God created the world, He established it on seven pillars, but upon what those pillars rest no one may know, since it is a recondite and inscrutable mystery. The world did not come into being until God took a certain stone, which is called the "foundation stone", and cast it into the abyss so that it held fast there, and from it the world was planted. This is the central point of the universe, and on this point stands the holy of holies. This is the stone referred to in the verses, "Who laid the corner-stone thereof" (Ibid. 6), "the stone of testing, the precious corner-stone" (Is. XXVIII, 16), and "the stone that the builders despise became the head of the corner" (Ps. CXVIII, 22). This stone is compounded of fire, water, and air, and rests on the abyss. Sometimes water flows from it and fills the deep. This stone is set as a sign in the centre of the world. It is referred to in the words, "And Jacob took a stone and set it as a pillar" (Gen. XXXI, 45). Not that he took this stone, which was created from the beginning, but he established it above and below, by making there a "house of God". This stone has on it seven eyes, as it is written, "On one stone seven eyes" (Zech. III, 9), and it is ca11ed "foundation stone", for one thing because the world was planted from it, and for another because God set it as a source of blessing to the world. Now at sunset, the Cherubim which stood in that place used to strike their wings together and spread them out, and when the sound of the beating of their wings was heard above, those angels who chanted hymns in the night began to sing, in order that the glory of God might ascend from below on high. The striking of the Cherubim's wings itself intoned the psalm, "Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord... Iift up your hands to the sanctuary, etc." (Ps. CXXXIII). This was the signal for the heavenly angels to commence. At the second watch the Cherubim again beat their wings, giving the signal to the angels of that watch. The psalm of the Cherubim this time was "They that trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, etc." (Ps. cxxv). At the third watch the Cherubim beat their wings to the words "Hallelukah, praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord" (Ps. CXIII), and then the angels of the third watch commenced to sing, and also all the stars and constellations of the heaven, as it is written: "When the morning stars sung together and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job XXXVIII, 7), and also, "Praise him, all ye stars of light" (Ps. CXLVIII, 3), these being the radiant stars which are appointed to sing at dawn. After them Israel take up the chant below, and so the glory of God ascends both from below and from above, from Israel below in the day, and from the celestial angels above in the night, and so the name of God is fully praised on all sides. As for this stone that we have mentioned, all the angels above and Israel below take hold on it, and it ascends to be crowned in the midst of the patriarchs by day. At night the Holy One, blessed be He [Tipheret], comes to disport Himself with the righteous in the Garden of Eden. Blessed are those who stand at their posts and study the Torah at night, because God and all the righteous in the Garden of Eden listen to the voice of those sons of men who study the Torah.’

That stone we have mentioned is a goodly stone, and it is hinted at in the verse "And thou shalt set in it a setting of stone, four rows of stone" (Ex. XXVIII, 17), because there is another stone of which it is written "And I shall remove the heart of stone, etc." (Ezek. XXXVI, 26). The two tablets of stone were also hewn from this stone; and this was also called "the stone of Israel" (Gen. XLIX, 24), as has been explained. R. Hizkiah quoted the verse: "And the stone shall be according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve" (Ex. XXVIII, 21). He said: ‘These are the precious supernal stones which are called "the stones of the place" (Gen. XXVIII, 11). They were "according to the names of the children of Israel" because just as there are twelve tribes below, so there are twelve tribes above, which are twelve precious stones; and therefore it is written: "Whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, for a testimony unto Israel" (Ps. CXXII, 4), the reference being to the supernal Israel. Further, just as there are twelve hours in the day, so there are twelve hours in the night, in the day above and in the night below, each corresponding to each. These twelve hours of the night are divided into three sets, to each of which belong hierarchies of angels, which take their portion first. Hence, at midnight two ranks stand on one side and two on the other, and a celestial spirit goes forth between them and then all the trees in the garden break forth into song and God enters the garden, as it says: "Then do all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he cometh to judge the earth" (I Chron. XVI, 33), because judgement enters among them and the Garden of Eden is filled therewith. Then the north wind springs up, bringing joy in its train, and it blows through the spice trees and wafts their perfume, and the righteous put on their crowns and feast themselves on the brightness of the "pellucid mirror"- happy are they to be vouchsafed that celestial light! The light of this mirror shines on all sides, and each one of the righteous takes his appropriate portion, each according to his works in this world; and some of them are abashed because of the superior light obtained by their neighbours. When night commences, numbers of officers of judgement arise and roam about the world, and the doors are closed, as we have affirmed. Thus at midnight the side of the north comes down and takes possession of the night until two-thirds of it have passed. Then the side of the south awakes until morning, and then both south and north take hold of it (the Shekinah). Then come Israel here below, and with their prayers and supplications raise it up until it ascends and hides itself among them, and receives blessings from the fountain-head.’

Another text containing various "stone" themes, is Peter's first epistle. He refers to Yeshua as the living stone and chief cornerstone, and His followers, who are to walk the path of the Tzadik, are called living stones, who build up a spiritual house.

The followers of Yeshua are "a royal priesthood" (alluding to the stones on the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol). Peter mentions that the Divine Tzaddik, Yeshua, suffered and died for the atonement of many. (This will be discussed in the next section of our study on Yesod.):

1 Peter chapter 2:1-25 - Having put aside, then, all evil, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes the word's pure milk desire ye, that in it ye may grow, if so be ye did taste that the Lord [is] gracious, to whom coming -- a living stone -- by men, indeed, having been disapproved of, but with God choice, precious, and ye yourselves, as living stones, are built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua haMashiach. Wherefore, also, it is contained in the Writing: `Lo, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, choice, precious, and he who is believing on him may not be put to shame;' to you, then, who are believing [is] the preciousness; and to the unbelieving, a stone that the builders disapproved of, this one did become for the head of a corner, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence -- who are stumbling at the word, being unbelieving, -- to which also they were set; and ye [are] a choice race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired, that the excellences ye may shew forth of Him who out of darkness did call you to His wondrous light; who [were] once not a people, and [are] now the people of God; who had not found kindness, and now have found kindness.

Beloved, I call upon [you], as strangers and sojourners, to keep from the fleshly desires, that war against the soul, having your behaviour among the nations right, that in that which they speak against you as evil-doers, of the good works having beheld, they may glorify God in a day of inspection. Be subject, then, to every human creation, because of the Lord, whether to a king, as the highest, whether to governors, as to those sent through him, for punishment, indeed, of evil-doers, and a praise of those doing good; because, so is the will of God, doing good, to put to silence the ignorance of the foolish men; as free, and not having the freedom as the cloak of the evil, but as servants of God; to all give ye honour; the brotherhood love ye; God fear ye; the king honour ye. The domestics! be subjecting yourselves in all fear to the masters, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the cross; for this [is] gracious, if because of conscience toward God any one doth endure sorrows, suffering unrighteously; for what renown [is it], if sinning and being buffeted, ye do endure [it]? but if, doing good and suffering [for it], ye do endure, this [is] gracious with God, for to this ye were called, because Messiah also did suffer for you, leaving to you an example, that ye may follow his steps, who did not commit sin, nor was guile found in his mouth, who being reviled -- was not reviling again, suffering -- was not threatening, and was committing himself to Him who is judging righteously, who our sins himself did bear in his body, upon the tree, that to the sins having died, to the righteousness we may live; by whose stripes ye were healed, for ye were as sheep going astray, but ye turned back now to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.

Note that Peter also calls Yeshua the, "Shepherd and overseer of our souls," a similar "caretaker" metaphor as given to the Sephirah of Yesod in the Bahir:

Bahir 180 - The "Righteous, Foundation of the world" is in the center. It emanates from the south of the world, and is officer over the other two. In its hand are also the souls of all living things. It is called the Life of Worlds. 10

Gershom Scholem points out the Messianic connection between the Tzaddik being a custodian of souls:

The same idea with a Messianic thrust appears in another Bahir passage, which speaks about the Sephirah of Tsaddik, which is the "foundation of the world": "In His hand is the treasure-house of all souls ..." 11

The presence of these themes shows the same kabbalsitic ideals found in the Zohar and Bahir, also underlie Peter's writings. (See previous section for more about Yesod and the soul.)


The following section of the Zohar contains an interesting comment on the double portion of Manna taken up for the Sabbath. It states that this double portion was not so much twice the quantity as it was two types of bread - earthly and heavenly varieties.

This bread of heaven is said to come by way of the Tzaddik. The Zohar refers to this bread as, "the bread of vau." The letter "vau" is directly associated with Tipheret, as discussed elsewhere in this study. Tipheret, as also mentioned earlier, is the "body" of the male, representing the heavens, therefore this is the "bread of heaven."

The earthly bread is the bread of the Sabbath (Malkut). Again, the theme of the Tzaddik uniting Tipheret and Malkut is seen, this time in the idea of the heavenly and earthly breads being united:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 245b-246b - Now the love of the Community of Israel for God [Malkut] is excited only by the souls of the righteous here on earth, because they come from the side of the king, the side of the male [Yesod-Tipheret]. This excitement reaches the female [Malkut] and stirs her love; and in this way the male awakens the love and affection of the female, and the female is united in love with the male [Yesod-Tipheret]. In the same way, the desire of the female to pour forth lower  waters [from Malkut] to meet the upper waters [from Binah] is only aroused through the souls of the righteous. Happy, therefore, are the righteous in this world and in the world to come, since on them are established upper and lower beings. 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” (Ps. XXXVII, 29).  The Righteous One inherits this earth, and pours upon it blessings every day, and furnishes it with luxuries and delicacies in his flow.

All this is hinted in the words: OUT OF ASHER HIS BREAD SHALL BE FAT, AND HE SHALL YIELD ROYAL DAINTIES . It is from the future world that the stream reaches this Righteous One which enables him to provide luxuries and delicacies to this earth, thus transforming it from “the bread of poverty” into “the bread of luxury”. The name “Asher” (lit. happy) signifies the place which all declare happy, to wit, the future world. In the expression “his bread” the reference of the word “his” is not specified; but we may divide the word lahmo (his bread) into lehem vau, that is, “the bread of vau” (which signifies the heavens) [Tipheret]; hence it is written: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (Ex. XVI, 4). It is from thence that the tree of life is nourished and crowned, and when it receives this nourishment, then it “yields the dainties of the king”. This king is the Community of Israel, who is fed therefrom by the hand of the Righteous One, the sacred grade of the sign of the covenant [Yesod].

In the book of Rab Hamnuna the Elder it says that the bread mentioned here is the Sabbath bread [Malkut], which is double in quantity, as it is written in connection with the manna: “They gathered double bread” (Ex. XVI, 22); that is to say, bread from heaven and bread from earth, the one being “bread of luxury”, the other “bread of poverty”. For on Sabbath the lower bread was united with the upper bread, and one was blessed for the sake of the other. He further said that the Sabbath receives from the celestial Sabbath which flows forth and illumines all, and in this way bread is joined with bread and becomes double.

(Note: The comparison made above between Yesod and "the hand of the Righteous One." This anthropomorphism takes on additional meaning, as we will see in our section on the Divinity of the Messiah.)

In John's gospel, Yeshua discusses the theme of the manna, speaking of the earthly manna, eaten by the people, and a heavenly manna, which he describes as Himself. (Our text study will discuss the themes surrounding manna in even greater detail.)

Note the reference to coming to Yeshua and never hungering or thirsting. This is an allusion to His other words about "eating His flesh" and "drinking His blood." (John 6:53 - obviously highly metaphorical and kabbalistic ideas.) The theme of Torah (His words) equalling life is also present in this section. Note also that many of His followers did not understand this deep (kabbalistic) level of Torah understanding and departed from Him at this point.

The section ends with Peter referring to Yeshua as "the Son of the Living God" (i.e., Son of Yesod). We will address this in a subsequent section to this study of Yesod:

John 6:28-71 - Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Yeshua, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Yeshua therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Yeshua knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Messiah, the Son of the living God.

The following insight from kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, associates the same theme of "eating" with Torah and experiencing a taste of the Kingdom (Shabbat) while alive. Again, the letter "Tav" plays a mystical role regarding these ideas. This meaning of the Tav will be discussed later in this study:

The rectified sense of eating is the special sense of the tzadik, as is said: "The tzadik eats to satisfy his soul." This verse continues: "but the stomach of the wicked is always lacking." The soul-oriented tzadik feels "full" and happy with a little; the body-oriented rasha (wicked-one) never feels "full." Eating from the Tree of Life, the tzadik derives great pleasure ("life" in Torah means "pleasure") from the Divine sparks of light and lifeforce present within the food he eats. In his rectified state of consciousness he is continuously aware that "not on the [physical dimension of] bread alone does man live, but on each utterance of the mouth of G-d does man live." The time of greatest pleasure in partaking of food is on the day of Shabbat. The word for "to satisfy [his soul]" is cognate to the word for "seven," alluding to the seventh day of Shabbat. A true tzadik experiences the pleasure of Shabbat the entire week (in the Zohar, the tzadik is called Shabbat). The word Shevat itself transforms to Shabbat (since the two letters tet and tav, both letters of the tongue, are phonetically interchangeable).12


John 14:6 - Yeshua said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

The Way

The "way" of the Tzaddik has already been explained to be the "path" from Malkut to Yesod. This is the path of righteousness, based on being a hearer and doer of Torah (i.e., Romans 2:13; James 1:22-25). The Sephirot of the Tree of Life, are not only a representation of God, they are also the way for us to learn of God, in that the Torah reveals them.

As stated by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh:

Each of the sefirot possesses both an external as well as an internal dimension. The external dimension of each sefirah is identified with the "functional" role that it plays in the process of Creation; its internal dimension is identified with the hidden motivational force which inspires its activity. Even more so than with respect to the external dimension of the sefirot, their inner dimension can only be appreciated in context of how it manifests itself in the Jewish soul. Given the Divine derivation of our soul, we can understand how an analysis of its essential properties and powers can serve as the best vehicle for achieving insight into G-d’s own inscrutable being. 13

For the one persuing the path of the Tzaddik, the Sephirah of Netzach and Hod work together to give "balance." Netzach, on the "active" right side of the tree of life, is associated with the desire to "push the envelope," in our search of God - this is the "doer." Hod, on the "passive" left side of the Tree, acts to give a strong grounding in the Torah, keeping them "in check." This is the "hearer."

For instance, if Netzach is "weak" in a person, they can get too caught up in rigid dicipline of following commands and not grow in their relationship with God. If Hod is weak, they can in their poorly-grounded exuberance, go off on tangents that lead them into Scriptural error.

The aspiring Tzaddik is not without guidance in how to understand and apply Netzach and Hod. This function belongs to his teacher, called the Maggid. The role of maggid in this teacher-student relationship, is represented by the Sephirah of Tipheret -- which as we have seen earlier has multiple associations with Yeshua, especially in his heavenly role(s).14

The Truth

The Sephirah of Yesod is directly tied to the concept of "truth." In turn, "truth" is associated with the "seal" of God. The Hebrew word for truth is Emet, spelled Alef-Mem-Tav, the first, middle and last letters of the alphabet. This is an important detail, as we will see in out text analysis of Revelation.

The Midrash Rabbah offers the following commentary:

Midrash Rabbah - Deuteronomy I:10 - THE LORD, THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS. Halachah: May a Jew who has been appointed Rabbi or Judge of the community administer justice alone? Thus have our Rabbis learnt: Do not judge alone, for there is only One who judges alone, as it is said, But He is at one with Himself, and who can turn Him (Job XXIII, 13)? What is the meaning of, ’But He is at one with Himself’? Resh Lakish said: God both judges and seals the verdict alone. R. Reuben said: And what is God's seal? Truth (emeth). And why emeth? Emeth consists of the following three letters, alef the first of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, mem the middle, and taw the last, indicating that, as Scripture says, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God (Isa. XLIV, 6).

Yesod's relationship to truth is stated as follows by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh:

The spiritual state identified in Chassidut as corresponding to the sefirah of yesod is that of emet (truth), in the sense of the power to "verify" one's convictions and emotions in action and to achieve true self-fulfillment in life. 15

In another essay on the human soul, Ginsburgh goes on to say:

Emet is the spiritual state associated with the sefirah of yesod. In the words of our sages, "the seal of G-d is truth." The final letters of the three words that conclude the account of Creation--bara Elokim la'asot ("G-d created to do" [Genesis 2:3])--spell emet. G-d created reality "to do," which as interpreted by the sages means that it is incumbent upon us, G-d's creatures, to complete the "doing" (i.e. "rectification") of His Creation. Here, emet, whose three letters are referred to as the beginning, middle and end of the alef-beit, means the actual "verification" ("end" or "seal") and "realization" of G-d's primordial will (the "beginning") in Creation. (Emet in its intellectual sense, represents G-d's plan for reality which follows His will and precedes His seal, and thus corresponds to the "middle" stage of emet). As a spiritual emotion of the soul, emet is thus understood to be the experience of the soul's almost impulsive "drive," at the end of a creative pursuit, to "make it come true." Emet thus entails the experience of self fulfillment in all of one's life endeavors. The tzadik ("foundation of the universe," referred to as the "tzadik emet") is the one granted the power to "decree" that G-d realize and fulfill in actuality all of His good promises to Israel. It is the inner potential of each and every Jew to become such a tzadik emet. Thus emet is the power to realize one's own deepest potential, which is in fact the power of the Jewish soul to bring about the ultimate realization of G-d's potential. 16

The "seal of God" (emet/truth) is also associated with the Yesodic concepts of Covenant and cicumcision:

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XIX:5 - When the Israelites saw that the uncircumcised were disqualified from eating the Passover, they arose with the least possible delay and circumcised all their servants and sons and all those who [subsequently] went out with them, as it says: Thus did all the children of Israel (ib. V, 50).4 It can be compared to a king who arranged a banquet for his friends and who said: ' Unless the invited guests show my seal [on the invitation card], none can enter.’ Similarly, God ordained a feast for them, flesh roast with fire, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, to commemorate their deliverance from trouble; but He commanded: ' Unless the seal of Abraham is inscribed on your flesh, you cannot taste thereof.’ Thereupon all those who had been born in Egypt were immediately circumcised, and concerning these is it said: Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice (Ps. L, 5).

Several verses in the "New Testament" link the concepts of truth and foundation to God's seal:

John 6:27 - Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Ephesians 1:13 - In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30 - And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (i.e., Spirit of truth as found in John 4:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 4:6; 5;6)

2 Timothy 2:19 - Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Messiah depart from iniquity.

The book of Revelation associates the seal of God with a "mark" of God in the foreheads of those who are righteous during the final time of great tribulation on earth:

Revelation 7:3 - Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

Revelation 9:4 - And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

The Zohar associates a "mark upon the forehead" with the rainbow, covenant and ability to enter into His presence.

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 71b - ‘It is written: "And I will look upon it (the rainbow) that I may remember the everlasting covenant." This means that God's desire is constantly for the bow, and that he who is not visible therein will not enter into the presence of his Master. The inner meaning of the words, "And I will look upon it", is to be found in the words, "and set a mark upon the foreheads, etc." (Ezek. IX, 4), so as to be clearly visible.’

In a highly metaphorical passage of the Zohar, the last letter of emet (truth), the Tav, is shown to be the seal upon the heads of the righteous in the last days. It is applied to those who keep God's Torah. (This is supported in Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14):

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 2b - IN THE BEGINNING. Rab Hamnuna the Venerable said: ‘We find here a reversal of the order of the letters of the Alphabet, the first two words Bereshith bara-"in-the-beginning He-created"-commencing with beth, whereas the two words following, Elohim eth-"God the"-commence with aleph. The reason is as follows. When the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to make the world, all the letters of the Alphabet were still embryonic, and for two thousand years the Holy One, blessed be He, had contemplated them and toyed with them. When He came to create the world, all the letters presented themselves before Him in reversed order. The letter Tau advanced in front and pleaded: May it please Thee, O Lord of the world, to place me first in the creation of the world, seeing that I am the concluding letter of EMeTh (Truth) which is engraved upon Thy seal, and seeing that Thou art called by this very name of EMeTh, it is most appropriate for the King to begin with the final letter of EMeTh and to create with me the world. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her: Thou art worthy and deserving, but it is not proper that I begin with thee the creation of the world, since thou art destined to serve as a mark on the foreheads of the faithful ones (vide Ezek. IX, 4) who have kept the Law from Aleph to Tau, and through the absence of this mark the rest will be killed; and, further, thou formest the conclusion of MaWeTh (death).

The Life

Yesod-Tzaddik, in its position between "heaven and earth" (Tipheret and Makut), is both, "the lifeforce of Creation "running" towards its source Above, and the lifeforce returning - downwards." 17

Bahir 180 - The "Righteous, Foundation of the world, is in the center. It emanates from the south of the world, and is officer over the other two. In its hands are also the souls of all living things. It is the Life of Worlds.

Bahir 183 - Why do we say (in the blessing after food), "On all that He created ... (Blessed) is the Life of Worlds." Why do we not say, "On all that you created?" But we bless the Holy One, who grants His wisdom to this "Life of Worlds." It then provides for all.

Commenting on the above, verses, Aryeh Kaplan writes:

"Life of Worlds," represents the Sefirah of Yesod-Foundation ... it is called "Righteous" when passive, and "Life" when active. 18

Gershom Scholem comments on the Bahir's view of the Divine Tzaddik:

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 ... 19

1. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 103-106.

2. The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc. York Beach, Maine, 1976, p.136-137.

3. Romans 10:4 is the most consistently mistranslated verses in Scripture, with Christian translations typically using the erroneous, "Christ is the end of the Law." See our Romans study for details regarding this.

4.On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 137.

5. ibid, p. 134 and p. 285, note 25.

6. ibid, p. 105.

7. ibid, p. 104, quotation from Rabbi Joseph Gilkatilla.

8. The Hebrew Letters, Channels of Creative Consciousness, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Gal Einai Publications, Jerusalem, 1990, p. 119.

9. Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 101.

10. The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, pp. 69-70. The concept of the Tzaddik being the caretaker (i.e., shepherd, gardener) of souls is common to kabbalistic literature.

11. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 205, citation from Bahir 184.

12. Kabbalah and Modern Life - Living with the Times: The Month of Shevat, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,

13. The Powers of the Soul: The Powers in the sould to experience God, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,

14. The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc. York Beach, Maine, 1976, p.75-76, 83, 103, 107, 155.

15. The Divine Emanations--The Ten Sefirot: Yesod "Foundation," Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,

16. The Powers of the Soul: Emet Truth, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,

17. The Mystical Signficance of the Hebrew Letters: Tzadik, The Faith of the Righteous One, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,

18. The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, p.183.

19. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p.98.