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Part 1 - Chapter 3 - Note 16

The portions of the following texts that are the most relevant to the book appear in bold. Other portions that have relevance to the Brit Hadashah ("New Testament") appear in blue.

This one is chock full of meat!  Be sure to read all of it. - YashaNet Staff

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 96b - [Last sentence only; used for context with 97a]

    R. Nahman said to R. Isaac: ‘Have you heard when Bar Nafle35 will come?’ ‘Who is Bar Nafle?’ he asked. ‘Messiah,’ he answered, ‘Do you call Messiah Bar Nafle?’ — ‘Even so,’ he rejoined, ‘as it is written, in that day I will raise up
(35) [Lit., ‘son of the fallen.’ Bar Nafle is generally assumed to represent the Greek **, the ‘son of the clouds;’ cf. Dan. VII, 13, there came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man, which R. Nahman gave a Hebrew connotation.]

Talmud - Mas. Sanhedrin 97a

the tabernacle of David ha-nofeleth [that is fallen].’ 1 He replied, ‘Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e., Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.’

    Our Rabbis taught: in the seven year cycle at the end of which the son of David will come-in the first year, this verse will be fulfilled: And I will cause it to rain upon one city and cause it not to rain upon another city;2 in the second, the arrows of hunger will be sent forth; 3 in the third, a great famine, in the course of which men, women, and children, pious men and saints4 will die, and the Torah will be forgotten by its students; in the fourth, partial plenty;5 in the fifth, great plenty, when men will eat, drink and rejoice, and the Torah will return to its disciples; in the sixth, [Heavenly] sounds; 6 in the seventh, wars; and at the conclusion of the septennate the son of David will come. R. Joseph demurred: But so many septennates have passed, yet has he not come! — Abaye retorted: Were there then [Heavenly] sounds in the sixth and wars in the seventh! Moreover, have they [sc. the troubles] been in this order 7 !

    [Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Lord,’ wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.] 8 it has been taught, R. Judah said: in the generation when the son of David comes, the house of assembly9 will be for harlots, Galilee in ruins, Gablan lie desolate, 10 the border inhabitants11 wander about from city to city, receiving no hospitality, the wisdom of scribes in disfavour, God-fearing men despised, people 12 be dog-faced,13 and truth entirely lacking, as it is written, Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.14 What is meant by ‘yea, truth faileth [ne'edereth 15 ]’? — The Scholars of the School of Rab 16 said: This teaches that it will split up into separate groups 17 and depart.18 What is the meaning of ‘and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey [mishtollel19 ]’? — The School of R. Shila said: He who departs from evil will be dubbed a fool by his fellow-men.20

    Raba said: I used to think at first that there is no truth in the world.21 Whereupon one of the Rabbis, by name of R. Tabuth — others say, by name of R. Tabyomi — who, even if he were given all the treasures of the world, would not lie, told me that he once came to a place called Kushta, 22 in which no one ever told lies, and where no man ever died before his time. Now, he married one of their women, by whom he had two sons. One day his wife was sitting and washing her hair, when a neighbour came and knocked at the door. Thinking to himself that it would not be etiquette [to tell her that his wife was washing herself], he called out, ‘She is not here.’ [As a punishment for this] his two sons died. Then people of that town came to him and questioned him, ‘What is the cause of this?’ So he related to them what had happened. ‘We pray thee,’ they answered, ‘quit this town, and do not incite Death against us.’23

    It has been taught: R. Nehorai said: in the generation when Messiah comes, young men will insult the old, and old men will stand before the young [to give them honour]; daughters will rise up against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. The people shall be dog-faced, and a son will not be abashed in his father's presence.

    It has been taught, R. Nehemiah said: in the generation of Messiah's coming impudence will increase, esteem be perverted, 24 the vine yield its fruit, yet shall wine be dear, 25 and the Kingdom will be converted to heresy 26 with none to rebuke them. This supports R. Isaac, who said: The son of David will not come until the whole world is converted to the belief of the heretics. Raba said: What verse [proves this]? it is all turned white: he is clean. 27

    Our Rabbis taught: For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself of his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left:28 the son of David will not come until denunciators are in abundance. 29 Another interpretation [of their power is gone]: until scholars are few. Another interpretation: until the [last] perutah has gone from the purse. Yet another interpretation: until the redemption is despaired of, for it is written, there is none shut up or left, as — were it possible [to say so] — Israel had neither Supporter nor Helper. Even as R. Zera, who, whenever he chanced upon scholars engaged thereon [I.e., in calculating the time of the Messiah's coming], would say to them: I beg of you, do not postpone it, for it has been taught: Three come unawares:30 Messiah, a found article and a scorpion. 31

    R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 32 Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.33

    It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,’ and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day, 34 meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — 35 and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.36

    The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation; 37 two thousand years the Torah flourished;38 and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era, 39
(1) Amos, IX, 11.
(2) ibid. IV, 7.
(3) I.e., not actual famine, but the first signs thereof, no one being completely satisfied.
(4) Lit., ‘men on whose behalf miracles occur.’ — Jast.
(5) Lit., ‘plenty and no plenty’.
(6) Either Heavenly voices announcing the advent of Messiah, or the blasts of the great Shofar; cf. Isa. XXVII, 13.
(7) Though troubles and evil decrees have come in abundance, they were not in the order prescribed.
(8) Ps. LXXXIX, 52.
(9) Where scholars assemble.
(10) [Gaulan, E. of the Sea of Galilee and the upper Jordan].
(11) The Jews living by the borders of Palestine.
,hzd habt the men of (the Hall of) Hewn Stones, I.e., the Sanhedrin.
(12) Lit., ‘the face of the generation.’
(13) I.e., brazen, without shame of each other.
(14) Isa. LIX, 15.
(16) V. p. 387, n. 7.
ohrsg ohrsg ‘Adarim, ‘adarim. ,rsgb is connected with rsg, meaning ‘drove,’ ‘group.’
(18) Probably meaning that there will be so many conflicting opinions as to what is the truth as to render it, for all practical purposes, inaccessible.
(20) Cf. Job XII, 17: He leadeth counsellors away spoiled (
kkua) and maketh the judges fools. Sholal being parallel to ‘fools’, it bears the same connotation.
(21) I.e., no person always speaks the truth.
(22) Lit., ‘truth’.
(23) Lit., ‘against these men.’
(24) I.e., none shall esteem another. Another opinion: even the most esteemed shall be perverted and deceitful.
(25) Everyone will be drunk, so that in spite of the abundant yield, there will be a scarcity.
(26) [Heb. Minuth. By ‘the Kingdom’ is meant the Roman Empire, and the statement is a remarkable forecast by R. Nehemia (150 C.E.) of the conversion of Rome to Christianity under Constantine the Great in 313; v. however, Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, 207ff.]
(27) Lev. XIII, 13. This refers to leprosy: a white swelling is a symptom of uncleanliness; nevertheless, if the whole skin is so affected, it is declared clean. So here too; when all are heretics, it is a sign that the world is about to be purified by the advent of Messiah.
(28) Deut. XXXII, 36.
(29) ‘When he seeth that their power is gone’ is interpreted as meaning that they will be at the mercy of informers; then God will judge his people — redeem them through the Messiah.
(30) Lit., ‘when the mind is diverted.’
(31) Hence by thinking of him they were postponing his coming.
(32) Isa. II, 11.
(33) Hosea VI, 2: the ‘two days’ meaning two thousand years. Cf. Ps. XC, 4. quoted below.
(34) Ps. XCII, 1.
(35) I.e., the period of complete desolation.
(36) Ps. XC, 4; thus ‘day’ in the preceding verses means a thousand years.
(37) I.e., no Torah. It is a tradition that Abraham was fifty-two years old when he began to convert men to the worship of the true God; from Adam until then, two thousand years elapsed.
(38) I.e., from Abraham's fifty-second year until one hundred and seventy-two years after the destruction of the second Temple. This does not mean that the Torah should cease thereafter, but is mentioned merely to distinguish it from the next era.
(39) I.e., Messiah will come within that period.

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 50b

their mouths before thee.’

R. Simeon proceeded: ‘In the same way the Torah is situated between two houses, one recondite and on high, and the other more accessible. The one on high is the “Great Voice” referred to in the verse, “a great voice which did not cease” (Deut. V, 19)’ This Voice is in the recesses and is not heard or revealed, and when it issues from the throat it utters the aspirate without sound and it flows on without ceasing, though it is so tenuous as to be inaudible. From this issues the Torah, which is the voice of Jacob. The audible voice issues from the inaudible. In due course speech is attached to it, and through the force of that speech it emerges into the open. The voice of Jacob, which is the Torah, is thus attached to two females, to this inner voice which is inaudible, and to this outer voice which is heard.

Strictly speaking, there are two which are inaudible and two which are heard. The two which are not heard are, first, the supernal Wisdom which is located in the Thought and is not disclosed or heard; and secondly the same Wisdom when it issues and discloses itself a little in a whisper which cannot be heard, being then called the “Great Voice”, which is very tenuous and issues in a whisper. The two which are heard are those which issue from this source-the voice of Jacob and the articulation which accompanies it. This “Great Voice” which cannot be heard is a “house” to the supernal Wisdom (the female is always called “house”), and the articulation we have mentioned is a “house” to the Voice of Jacob, which is the Torah, and therefore the Torah commences with the letter beth, which is, as it were, a “house” to it.’ R. Simeon here drew a parallel between the creation of heaven and earth and of woman. ‘ “In the beginning God created”,’ he said, ‘corresponds to “And the Lord God built the side”; “the heavens” corresponds to “and he brought her to the man”; “and the earth” corresponds to “bone from my bone”, since this one assuredly is “the land of the living”.’

R. Simeon further gave an exposition of the verse: The Lord said unto my lord, Sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool (Ps. CX, 1). “The Lord saith unto my lord”: ‘to wit, the upper grade said to the lower, “sit at my right hand”, in order that the West should be linked with the South and the Left with the Right so as to break the power of the Gentiles. Or again, “The Lord” is (the celestial) Jacob, and “to my lord” is “the ark of the covenant, the lord of all the earth” (Josh. III, 11). According to another explanation, “the Lord” refers to the Jubilee and “my lord” to the Sabbatical Year (cf. Ex. XXI, 5, “I love my lord”). The words “sit at my right hand” are appropriate, because the Right is located in the Jubilee, and the Sabbatical Year craves to be linked with the Right. When it first came into being, the Sabbatical Year was not linked securely (to the supreme power) through either the Right or the Left. So when it sought to secure itself, the supreme power stretched forth its right arm to meet it and created this world. It is because it is from the side of the Left that it has no sure basis till the time of the seventh millennium, when at length it will be linked through the Right. Then the Sabbatical Year, between the Right and the Left, will be securely based, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and it will not depart from there for ever. According to this explanation, we must take the words “sit at my right hand” to refer only to a specified period, viz. “till I make thine enemies thy footstool”, but not in perpetuity; for when that event has come to pass, it will not depart from there for ever, as it is written, “for thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left” (Is. LIV, 3), all being united. Similarly we can interpret the text “the heavens and the earth” to mean that the higher Shekinah and the lower Shekinah will be joined in the union of male and female; this has already been explained, as the colleagues have noted.’

They now rose to depart, but R. Simeon said: ‘I have still one thing more to tell you. It says in one place “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire” (Deut. IV, 24), and in another place “Ye that clave to the Lord your God are all of you alive this day” (Deut. IV, 4). The apparent contradiction between these texts has already been discussed among the colleagues, but here is another explanation. It has already been established among the colleagues that there is a fire which consumes fire and destroys it, because there is one sort of fire stronger than another. Pursuing this idea, we may say that he who desires to penetrate to the mystery of the holy unity should contemplate the flame which rises from a burning coal or candle. The flame cannot rise save

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 20b

man puts the sacrificial animal on fire, which is also red; the priest sprinkles the red blood round the altar, but the smoke ascending to heaven is white. Thus the red is turned to white: the attribute of Justice is turned into the attribute of Mercy. Red is indeed the symbol of rigorous justice, and therefore the priests of Baal “cut themselves... till the blood gushed out upon them” (I Kings XVIII, 28).’ R. Isaac said: ‘Red (blood) and white (fat) are offered for sacrifice, and the odour ascends from both. The spices of incense are in part red and in part white-frankincense is white, pure myrrh is red-and the odour ascends from red and white. Moreover, it is written, “To offer unto me the fat and the blood” (Ezek. XLIV, I5)-again white and red. Hence as a substitute for this (since the destruction of the Temple) man sacrifices his own fat and blood (by fasting) and so obtains atonement. As the lily, which is red and white, is turned entirely into white by means of fire, so the sacrificial animal is turned entirely into white (smoke) by means of fire. Also at the present time (when there are no sacrifices) when a man offers in his fast his fat and his blood, the sacrifice has to go through fire if it is to be turned into white (bring down mercy), for, said R. Judah, fasting weakens the limbs and causes the body to burn, and just then is the appropriate time to offer up the fat and the blood on that fire; and it is this which is called “an altar of atonement”. That is why R. Eleazar, when fasting, used to pray: “It is known to Thee, O my God and God of my fathers, that I have offered unto Thee my fat and my blood, and that I have heated them in the warmth of my body's weakness. May it be Thy will that the breath coming out of my mouth at this hour should be counted unto me as if it were the odour ascending from the sacrifice brought on the altar by fire, and grant me favour.” Therefore prayer was instituted to take the place of sacrifices, provided that it is offered with this sacrificial intention.’

We may also explain our text as follows. As thorns are scattered among the lilies, so does the Holy One, blessed be He, permit in His world the wicked to be found among the righteous, for, as without the thorns the lilies could not exist, so would the righteous go unrecognized in the world were it not for the wicked, as R. Judah said: “How are the righteous recognized? By contrast with the wicked I If it were not for the one, the other would not be known.”

Another explanation is that God governs the world for the space of six (the lily, shoshana, has six, shesh, leaves) years (millenniums), and the seventh is the (Messianic) Sabbath of the Lord. AND MOSES TENDED THE FLOCK OF JETHRO HIS FATHER-IN-LAW, THE PRIEST OF MIDIAN. R.Hiya quoted in this connection the verse: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” ‘As the shepherd’, he said, ‘leads the sheep to a good pasture by the water-springs, and deals with them tenderly, so it is written of the heavenly Shepherd, the Holy One, blessed be He, that “In pastures green He makes me lie, He leads me to the streams which run most pleasantly, my soul doth He restore”.’ Said R. Jose: ‘A good shepherd keeps his flock in the open and will not let them stray into private ground, and so God keeps Israel in the straight path and will not let them turn right or left.’ R. Jose also said: ‘If a leader of Israel is a wise shepherd, he willingly takes upon himself the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and leads his flock in accordance with it; but if he is wise in his own conceit, “there is more hope of a fool than of him “ (Prov. XXXVI, I2).’ R. Judah said: ‘Moses was a wise shepherd and knew how to treat his flock. He was like David, who was “tending the sheep” (I Sam. XVI, 11), and because he was very wise,

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