revhead.gif (4972 bytes)

(Last updated 7/18/01)

There is a specific and important reason that we have presented the preceding material on Tipheret and that of the following sections. Though many of the Pharisees and other Jews may not have accepted Yeshua when he walked among them, and later Jews have come to reject the Christianized view of Messiah (in the form of an anti-Torah "Jesus"), it is clear that the Jewish sages of the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, and other writings, arrived at conclusions that mirror the teachings of the "New Testament," when the latter is interpreted at the same level.

This is especially true in their teachings on; Yesod, the Tzaddik, Tipheret, Metatron, the "middle pillar," Melchizadek, Boel, and the "Memra." This makes sense, as Yeshua fills the "mold" that the Torah presents of Him. One can only wonder where we would all be in our learning if the the "New Testament" writings had been taught at such a level since their origin, as opposed to the non-Hebraic, anti-Torah interpretation that has been placed on them.

What do the following three Scriptures have in common?

Matthew 1:17 - All the generations, therefore, from Abraham unto David are fourteen generations, and from David unto the Babylonian removal fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian removal unto the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Numbers 33:1-2 - These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.

Exodus 24:9-10 - Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

If the "connection" seems difficult to see - don't worry - it's far from obvious. (Yes, the "answer" will be revealed.) This is a complex section - the reader is encouraged to refer back to previous sections on the Shekinah and Tipheret wherever needed.

One of the more interesting, yet esoteric topics in Bible study, is that of the use of numbers. Most Bible students are aware of certain numbers that have special signficance. Numbers such as 3,7,10,12 and 40, appear often in both the Tenakh and "New Testament." The Jewish mystical writings have a lot to say about numbers and also about the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, including their "role" in creation, their numerical values, combinations of certain letters, and the amount of letters used to form various "names" of God.

The most obvious example would be the four-letter name of God, YHWH. There are also other "names" of God referred to in Judaism, including one with twelve letters, one with forty-two letters, and another containing seventy-two. The focus of this study will be on the forty-two letter name of God, also known as the Unique Name of God.

There is no single name of forty-two letters known in any language. Maimonides concluded that the forty-two letters formed several words, each expressing a definite idea or fundamental attribute of the Supreme Being, and all together providing the true definition of the Divine essence.1

Early commentators say that the forty-two letters are a combination of the first forty-two letters of the Torah. The Name may also be associated with the phrase God used to reply to Moses, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh", ("I Am that I Am"), which comes out to 42 in gematria (doubling the value of the Name Ehyeh, which equals 21 in Hebrew numerology.)

There is an interesting blessing regarding this particular name of God, reminiscent of how the book of Revelation begins with a blessing:

Talmud - Mas. Kiddushin 71a - The forty-two lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights. And he who knows it, is heedful thereof, and observes it in purity, is beloved above and popular below, feared by man, and inherits two worlds, this world and the future world.


The forty-two letter Name of God is closely associated with God and His role in creation. The following verse from the Zohar speaks to this, also describing these letters as being an "ornament," which is another translation of the word Tipheret (Strong's #8597):

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 30a - AND THE EARTH WAS VOID AND WITHOUT FORM. This describes the original state-as it were, the dregs of ink clinging to the point of the pen-in which there was no subsistence, until the world was graven with forty-two letters, all of which are the ornamentation of the Holy Name.

The "New Testament" refers to this being the role of Yeshua:

John 1:3 - All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The "Holy Name" of God (in the Zohar above), also called the Unique Name, is directly associated with Tipheret. (See section below on "The Name at Sinai.")

The Zohar has a section on the creation of all the heavens, which is said to have "six sides." These heavens (which testify to God) are said to hold the mystery of the forty-two letter name of God:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 16a - Up to this point only extend the allusions to the Most Mysterious who carves out and builds and vivifies in mysterious ways, through the esoteric explanation of one verse. From this point onwards bara shith, “he created six”, from the end of heaven to the end thereof, six sides which extend from the supernal mystic essence, through the expansion of creative force from a primal point. Here has been inscribed the mystery of the name of forty-two letters.

The forty-two letters of the Divine Name are also said to be the power (along with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet) behind the Urim and Thummin, which the High Priest used to determine the will of God. Here we see reference to the luminous speculum (mirror) and non-luminous speculum. The former is the clear mirror through which only Moses saw (Tipheret), and the latter the dim mirror (Malkut) through which all other prophets see. (See section below on "The Name at Sinai" for more on this subject):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 234a - R. Judah followed with a discourse on the verse: “The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear him; and his covenant to make them know it” (Ps. xxv, 14). ‘ “The counsel” he said, ‘alludes to the sublime mystical knowledge which remains hidden and undisclosed save for those that fear the Lord continuously and thus prove themselves worthy of these secrets and able to keep them. Observe that the world has been made and established by an engraving of forty-two letters, all of which are the adornment of the Divine Name. These letters combined and soared aloft and dived downwards, forming themselves into crowns in the four directions of the world, so that it might endure. They then went forth and created the upper world and the lower, the world of unification and the world of division. In the latter they are called “mountains of separation” ("bather" - Song of Songs II, 17), which are watered when the south side begins to come near them. The water flows with supernal energy and with ecstatic joy. Whilst the Thought mounts up with exulting joy out of the most Undisclosed One, there flows out of it a spark: the two then come into contact with each other, as explained elsewhere. [Tr. note: Zohar, Exodus, 220b.] These forty-two letters thus constitute the supernal mystical principle; by them were created the upper and the lower worlds, and they indeed constitute the basis and recondite significance of all the worlds. Thus is explained the verse, “The secret of the Lord is to them that fear him; and his covenant to make them know it”, the first part alluding to the undisclosed engraven letters, whereas the latter speaks of the revealed. Now, it is written: “And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgement the Urim and the Thummim” (Ex. XXVIII, 30). The term “Urim” (lit. Iight, illumination) signifies the luminous speculum, which consisted of the engravure of the Divine Name composed of forty-two letters by which the world was created; whereas the Thummim consisted of the non-luminous speculum made of the Divine Name as manifested in the twenty-two letters. The combination of the two is thus called Urim and Thummim. Observe that by the power of these sunken letters were the other letters, namely, the raised letters forming the names of the tribes, now illumined, now darkened. The letters of the Divine Name embrace the mystery of the Torah, and all the worlds are a projection of the mystery of those letters.


The following section explains how the Shekinah accompanied Jacob when he went to Egypt. It is said that "forty-two heavenly attendants," which are associated with the Holy Name of God, were with the Shekinah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 5a - Said R. Simeon: ‘When the Shekinah went down to Egypt, a celestial "living being" (Hayah, cf.Ezek. 1, 5), called "Israel", in form like the patriarch Jacob, went down with Her, accompanied by forty-two heavenly attendants, each of whom bore a letter belonging to the Holy Name. They all descended with Jacob to Egypt, and hence it says “and these are the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt... with Jacob”.’ ... When R. Isaac was once studying with R. Eleazar, the son of R. Simeon, he asked him: ‘Did the Shekinah go down to Egypt with Jacob?’ Said R. Eleazar: ‘Surely! Did not God say to Jacob, "I will go down with thee into Egypt" (Gen. XLVI, 4)?’

One of the mystical interpretations of Exodus 12:40-41, is that the heavenly hosts that accompanied Jacob into Egypt, left with Moses and the children of Israel:

Exodus 12:40-41 - Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.


Next, we have mention of the rod that Moses carried with him. Earlier in our study, we saw how the Zohar said this rod was Metatron, who exercises both mercy (life) and judgment (death). (See section below on The Name in Song of Songs, regarding the colors red and white symbolizing judgment and mercy.)

Here, the rod is said to have the forty-two letter name of God engraved in it:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 8b - “And in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam” (I Chr. XI, 23). This alludes to the divine rod which was in Moses’ hand, and on which there was engraved the divine ineffable Name radiating in various combinations of letters. These same letters were in possession of Bezalel, who was called “weaver”, and his school, as it is written: “Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart... of the craftsman and the skilled workman, and the weaver, etc.” (Exod. XXXV, 35). So that rod had engraved on it the ineffable Name on every side, in forty-two various combinations, which were illumined in different colours.

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 27a - AND THE LORD GOD TOOK THE MAN AND PUT HIM IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, ETC. From whence did he take him? He took him from the four elements which are hinted at in the verse “and from there it parted and became four heads”. God detached him from these and placed him in the Garden of Eden. So does God do now to any man created from the four elements when he repents of his sins and occupies himself with the Torah; God takes him from his original elements, as it is said, “and from there he parts”, i.e. he separates himself from the desires which they inspire, and God places him in his garden, which is the Shekinah, “to dress it”, by means of positive precepts, “and to keep it”, by means of negative precepts. If he keeps the law, he makes himself master of the four elements, and becomes a river from which they are watered, and they obey him and he is their ruler. But if he transgresses the law, they are watered from the bitterness of the tree of evil, which is the evil inclination, and all his limbs are full of bitterness; but when the members of the body are kept holy from the side of good, it may be said of them that “they came to Marah and were not able to drink waters from Marah, for they were bitter” (Ex. XV, 23). Similarly, the study of the Talmud is bitter compared with that of the esoteric wisdom, of which it is said, “And God showed him a tree” (Ibid.); this is a tree of life, and through it “the waters were sweetened”. Similarly of Moses it is written, “And the staff of God was in his hand.” This rod is Metatron, from one side of whom comes life and from the other death.


When Moses received the commandments at Sinai directly from God, he heard (shema) His voice. As seen in our earlier studies, Moses had an intimate understanding of this emanation of God:

Soncino Zohar Appendix III - The Divine Name - It remains to say a few words on the place occupied by the Holy Name, the Tetragrammaton [YHVH], in the scheme of the Zohar. In the Cabbalistic doctrine the name formed by the four Hebrew letters yod, he, vau, he, has a special and intimate connection with the grade of Tifereth, of which it is in the strict sense the proper name. We must understand this to mean that if one could grasp with sufficient clearness the nature of the grade Tifereth, especially as the originator of the neshamah, he would automatically perceive that this is the fitting appellation which should be given to it. To this grade of comprehension Moses and the other prophets actually rose, and this was the basis of their inspiration. There is, however, a difference between the inspiration of Moses and that of the other prophets. Moses was able to grasp the connection between the grade and the Name fully and clearly, but the others only through a haze, as it were, since their comprehension only reached fully to the two inferior grades of Nezah and Hod, the two ‘pillars’ or ‘willows of the brook’, as they are fancifully called.

Jewish mystical literature identifies the voice at Sinai, and the God "seen" at this time, with the sephirah of Tipheret (the sephirah associated with the Messiah). Among the titles given to Tipheret, is the "Great Name," or "Unique Name" of God. The last sephirah (Malkhut/Kingdom) is also known as Atarah, and is entitled the "Honorable Name" of God.

A recent publication2 on the life of the famous Jewish mystic and teacher, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides, also called Ramban), annunciates this thought:

"Moses received his prophecy via the central sephirah of Tifereth, whereas Israel received theirs via the last sefirah of the Atziluth, via Atarah or Malkhuth. ... In slightly different words, all Torah prophecy derives from the Great [Unique] Name, the sefirah of tifereth. Moses, because of his greatness, received Torah prophecy from it directly, whereas Israel, could receive such prophecy only via the Honorable Name, the sefirah of Atarah (Malkut), which serves as a garment to the Sefirah of Tifereth, which so to speak, rests in her."

The author quotes from Nachmanides teachings about the giving of the Ten Commandments:

"And God descended upon Mount Sinai" (Exodus 19:20) - If you will look into this Portion, you will understand that the Great [Unique] Name descended on Mount Sinaia, and rested on it in Fire [Atarah, called "Fire"]. And He [Unique Name] spoke with Moses; and in the whole Portion this Name talks to him. And also Moses' going up ("Moses rose up to God" - 19:3), and his going forth ("Moses [went] led forth the people towards God" [Ibid., v.17]) towards the place of Divine Honor [Atarah] ..."

Nachmanides also makes it a point to associate Tifereth, with coming in a cloud, adding yet another link between Yeshua and Tipheret:

"The correct interpretation in my eyes is, He [God] said to him [Moses]: 'I come to you in a thickening of the cloud, that you approach to the dark cloud, in order that the people may hear My words, and they themselves will be prophets through My words, and they will not have to believe via others.'"


The manna in the wilderness is also associated with the forty-two letter Name of God. The children of Israel in their journey from Sinai to the Promised Land, stopped a total of forty-two times, at each point meeting with God in the form of the Shekinah appearing:

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XXV:5 - and God said, BEHOLD, I WILL CAUSE TO RAIN BREAD FROM HEAVEN FOR YOU. R. Judah b. Shalom the Levite said in the name of R. Jonah, and also R. Levi in the name of R. Hama b. R. Hanina said: The manna descended after [they had travelled] forty-two stages.

This gives us yet another "connection," as in the "New Testament," Yeshua refers to Himself as being this manna:

John 6:33 - For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

During this excursion to the Promised Land, The children of Israel experience their encounter with the evil prophet, Balaam, who offered his services to the king Balak, who had sought him out. The Talmud records that Balak (and Balaam) offered a total of forty-two sacrifices to come against the power(s) that supported Israel:

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 47a - R. Hanina said: On account of the forty-two sacrifices which Balak, king of Moab, offered, were forty-two children cut off from Israel.

The Zohar states the same about Balak and Balaam, and then goes on to explain that the prophet Elisha exacted revenge upon forty-two children for the curses that Balak and Balaam attempted to inflict upon Israel:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 224a - R. Simeon said: ‘Observe that the forty-two offerings brought by Balaam and Balak were offerings diverted from the “other side” towards the Holy One, blessed be He, and so the “other side”, which is called “curse”, had to be repaid these offerings from Israel. This is the inner implication of the verse, “And he (Elisha) looked behind him and saw them” (2 Kings II, 24). That is to say, “behind him”, meaning the “other side”, which stands behind the Shekinah. He turned “and saw them” (the children), as being meet for punishment; “and cursed them in the name of the Lord” (Ibid.), inducing the Divine Name, as it were, to discharge the debt owing to the “other side”, for the latter's offerings which had been diverted to Him. Thus all is made right before the Holy One, blessed be He, and not a single act is lost, whether for good or for evil.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 224b - Straightway “he [Elisha] cursed them in the name of the Lord”. “And there came forth two bears”(2 Kings II, 24)-she bears, as indicated by the feminine numeral sh'tayim, big with offspring, “and tare forty and two children of them” (Ibid.), in correspondence, as has been explained, to the number of offerings brought by Balak.

The Scripture verse in question is from 2 Kings:

2 Kings 2:24 - And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.


Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) is perhaps the most "mysterious" book of the Bible with its dialogue between a man and a woman, filled with sexual imagery. It is a book that clearly holds a deep meaning not found at its literal level. The writings of the Zohar refer to "Song of Songs" as "Holy of Holies," expressing that its words are a depiction of (spiritual) history, involving the unification of God, with the bride (the Shekinah) longing to be united with the bridegroom (Tipheret/Messiah).

In Midrash Rabbah Song of Songs, we see the Shekinah speak of how it met with the children of Israel a total of forty-two times in their wildernesss journey:

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs I:41 - MY MOTHER'S SONS, the sons of my nation, namely the spies, WERE INCENSED AGAINST ME: they attacked me, they filled the Judge with wrath against me. THEYMADE ME KEEPER OF THE VINEYARDS: because I stayed in the wilderness journeying forty-two stages, I was not able to enter the land of Israel. Hence, MY OWN VINEYARD I DID NOT KEEP.

The Zohar alludes to the Song of Songs, chapter 2, verse 1, which says: I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. This section speaks of the lily (shoshana = lily or rose) as being the beloved of the man in the story. The lily is related to the "Community of Israel" (and the Shekinah which resides among them). (See also Song of Solomon 3:3, where he feeds among the lilies [shoshanim]). The colors red and white are associated in the Zohar with the sephirot of judgment and mercy respectively. (Also, as we will discuss later, the color green is associated with the sephirah of Tipheret.)

This opening verse of the Zohar speaks of these 42 legs of the journey in the Wilderness as "42 couplings," and links these to the 42-letter Name, thus giving a sexual connotation associated with the creation of something:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 1a - Rabbi Hizkiah opened his discourse with the text: As a lily among thorns, etc. (S.S. II, 2). ‘What’, he said, ‘does the lily symbolise? It symbolises the Community of Israel. As the lily among thorns is tinged with red and white, so the Community of Israel is visited now with justice and now with mercy; as the lily possesses thirteen leaves, so the Community of Israel is vouchsafed thirteen categories of mercy which surround it on every side. For this reason, the term Elohim (God) mentioned here (in the first verse of Genesis) is separated by thirteen words from the next mention of Elohim, symbolising the thirteen categories of mercy which surround the Community of Israel to protect it. The second mention of Elohim is separated from the third by five words, representing the five strong leaves that surround the lily, symbolic of the five ways of salvation which are the “five gates”. This is alluded to in the verse “I will lift up the cup of salvation” (Ps. CXVI, 13). This is the “cup of benediction”,which has to be raised by five fingers and no more, after the model of the lily, which rests on five strong leaves in the shape of five fingers. Thus the lily is a symbol of the cup of benediction. Immediately after the third mention of Elohim appears the light which, so soon as created, was treasured up and enclosed in that b'rith (covenant) which entered the lily and fructified it, and this is what is called “ tree bearing fruit wherein is the seed thereof”: and this seed is preserved in the very sign of the covenant. And as the ideal covenant was formed through forty-two copulations, so the engraven ineffable name is formed of the forty-two letters of the work of creation.’

Returning to our opening question regarding the "connection" between the verses in Matthew, Numbers and Exodus. In the first verse, we have Matthew listing forty-two generations that led to Messiah. In Numbers, we learn that the children of Israel met with the Shekinah a total of forty-two times in the wilderness. Lastly, in Exodus, we find that the "God of Israel" seen my Moses and the others was that emanation of God represented by the forty-two letter Name.

1. The Kabbalah: The Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews, Adolphe Franck, University Books, 1967, p.19

2. Ramban: Philosopher and Kabbalist, Chayim J. Henoch, Jason Aronson, Inc., London 1998, p.148.