Last update: April 8, 2005
In the next three sections (expounding on the first verse of chapter 14) we will
review certain concepts, as well as introduce new ones, and how they relate to what is
occuring at this stage of John's vision. In the first of these two sections we will focus
on the concept of "the Lamb." In the second part we will primarily examine the
idea of "Mount Zion."
Of particular consequence is the relationship between various partzufim
(singular: partzuf, having to do with "expressions,"
"configurations" or "personifications") of the Sefirah of Yesod,
including the tzaddik (righteous person), the Messiah, "foundation," Mount Zion
and Joseph. We will also examine how these in turn relate to the Sefirah of Malkut
(Kingdom), redemption, judgment, Israel, Esau and the world.1
Some of the material presented here was previously discussed in our background notes on
Messiah (See section VI, Parts 1-8, at http://www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/background.htm.)
We are adding additional references to those within the context of this chapter's themes.
1a Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb
THE LAMB AND REDEMPTION
The book of Revelation uses the specific term "the Lamb" as an idiom for the
Messiah. This is also found in John's gospel. There we find a reference associating the
"Lamb" with one "taking away the sin of the world."
John 1:29 - The next day John saw Yeshua coming toward him, and
said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John's point is "simple" in one respect. He states that one person, Yeshua,
can atone for others. There is a popular misconception that what John is claiming is not a
"Hebraic concept" (much less one person atoning for many, i.e., the "sin of
the world"). In the Torah classic, Derech Hashem ("The Way of God"
by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) the author states:
... suffering and pain may be imposed on a tzaddik (righteous person) as an
atonement for his entire generation. This tzaddik must then accept this suffering with
love for the benefit of his generation, just as he accepts the suffering imposed upon him
for his own sake. In doing so, he benefits his generation by atoning for it, and at the
same time is himself elevated to a very great degree.
Such suffering also includes cases where a tzaddik suffers because his entire
generation deserves great punishments, bordering on annihilation, but is spared via the
tzaddik's suffering. In atoning for his generation through his suffering, this tzaddik
saves these people in this world and also greatly benefits them in the World-to-Come.
In addition, there is a special higher type of suffering that comes to a tzaddik
who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above. This
suffering comes to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading
to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole.
... Beyond that, the merit and power of these tzaddikim is also increased because
of such suffering, and this gives them even greater ability to rectify the damage of
others. They can therefore not only rectify their own generation, but can also correct all
the spiritual damage done from the beginning, from the time of the very first sinners.
Judaism associates the sacrifice of the lamb specifically with the aspect of God's
mercy. Further, the lamb is one of three "pure animals" that were sacrificed,
each linked to on of the patriarchs. The lamb is associated with Jacob (See section below
on "The Divine Jacob"):
life force in the animal, which is called the holy sparks, is properly sacrificed to G-d,
it creates an elevation of all the life force in all the animal kingdom. It is all
elevated to its spiritual source in heaven in order to draw down great influx and blessing
to all Creation. The three pure animals are the cow, goat and lamb. Our sages teach that
these animals correspond to our three Patriarchs, or to the three properties which the
Patriarchs symbolize. The power of the cow corresponds to Abraham, who represents
lovingkindness. The power of the goat corresponds to Isaac, who represents awe. The power
of the lamb corresponds to Jacob, who represents mercy. The very voice of the lamb arouses
mercy. When the lamb is sacrificed it arouses the mercy of G-d to redeem his people from
bondage and slavery. This is why the lamb was chosen especially to be the Passover
In the following passage, the Zohar elaborates on the idea of God selecting a righteous
person to sufffer in order to obtain atonement for his generation. Note the reference to
Isaiah 53 (the "suffering servant") speaking of "one man":
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a Why is it
that whenever sinners multiply in the world and punishment impends over the world, the
virtuous among them are smitten for them, as we have learnt, that for the guilt of the
generation the holy and righteous are seized upon? Why should this be? If because they do
not reprove mankind for their evil deeds, how many are there who do reprove but are not
listened to (though the righteous do humble themselves before them)? If it is in order
that there may be no one to shield them, let them not die and let them not be seized for
their sins, since it is a satisfaction to the righteous to see their destruction. He
replied: It is true that for the guilt of the generation the righteous are seized upon,
but we may explain this on the analogy of the limbs of the body. When all the limbs are in
pain and suffering from sickness one limb has to be smitten in order that all may be
healed. Which is the one? The arm. The arm is smitten and blood is drawn from it, and this
is healing for all the limbs of the body. So men are like limbs of one body. When God
desires to give healing to the world He smites one righteous man among them with disease
and suffering, and through him gives healing to all, as it is written, "But he was
wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities... and with his stripes
we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). A righteous man is never afflicted save to bring
healing to his generation and to make atonement for it, for the "other side"
prefers that punishment should light upon the virtuous man rather than on any other, for
then it cares not for the whole world on account of the joy it finds in having power over
Another passage from the Zohar offers the following:
Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, 177a - AND MOSES SAID UNTO AARON, TAKE
THY CENsER, ETC. R. Hiya adduced here the verse: The wrath of the king is as
messengers of death, but a wise man will pacify it (Proverbs 16:14). How
careful men should be, he said, to abstain from sin and to watch their
actions, for at many periods the world is judged and every day deeds are placed in the
balance and examined on high and recorded before the Almighty; and when the deeds of men
are not approved before the King, wrath arises and judgement is awakened. But if when the
executioners of judgement are ready to strike and wrath impends, there is found in the
generation a righteous man who is inscribed above, then God looks upon him and His wrath
is mollified. He is like a king who is angry with his servants and sends for the
executioner to punish them, but meanwhile the king's friend enters and stands before him,
and when the king sees him his face lights up, and when he begins to speak he is glad. So
when the executioner comes and sees the king all smiling, he goes away and does not
execute judgement, and then the king's friend intercedes for his servants and procures
forgiveness for them.
The model for the "ultimate tzaddik" as described above, found in the corpus
of Hebraic literature, is the Messiah, more specifically, Messiah ben Joseph, the
"suffering Messiah." 4
Further, "true faith" includes a relationship to a tzaddik, particularly the
Messiah, as is also found in Hebraic teachings:
One who attached himself to the true tzaddikim has true faith. Mashiach is the true
tzaddik. One who accepts Mashiach will receive from him pure faith, and will not have
misplaced his faith. 5
It is also taught that a deceased tzaddik continues to merit favor for those alive
(even more so than when he was alive) and that it is possible to "connect" to
the one "above" through prayer - even directly "to" the soul of the
It is certainly permissible to pray to G-d for a
blessing at the gravesite of a tzaddik, in the merit of the tzaddik. In addition one may
directly address the soul of the tzaddik, beseeching him to arouse mercy in heaven. The
Zohar writes that the tzaddik can more effectively arouse Divine mercy after his death
than previously. (See chapter 27 in Igeret Hakodesh of Sefer Hatanya) When one goes to
pray at the gravesite of a tzaddik, it is as if he is entering into yechidus
("private consultation") with that tzaddik. Thus, it is customary to recite
chapter 33 in Psalms at the gravesite. This chapter begins with the verse, Ranenu
tzaddikim baHashem, "May the tzaddikim rejoice in Hashem." The verse refers to
tzadikkim in the plural form, which is understood to refer to the union of the lower
tzaddik -- the soul of the person who comes to pray at the gravesite -- and the higher
tzaddik -- the deceased tzaddik. When a person prays at the gravesite of the tzaddik, the
two souls unite to arouse Divine mercy and to bring down blessing. 6
The great assertion ("mystery") of the New Testament is whereas the Hebrew
sages traditionally viewed Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David (the one who comes to
lead Israel into the Millennial Kingdom) as two different individuals, the texts of the
New Testament teach that the same individual fulfills both roles, or more precisely, the
resurrected Messiah ben Joseph returns as Messiah ben David.
Further, in the book of Acts, it states that Yeshua could have returned at that time
(as Messiah ben David), if Israel would only have done teshuvah (turned to God and His
Peter speaking says:
Acts 3:17-26 - Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in
ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the
mouth of all His prophets, that the Messiah would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent
therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of
refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Yeshua
Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must
receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of
all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to
the fathers, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your
brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it
shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from
among the people.' Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as
have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and
of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, "And in your seed
all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' To you first, God, having raised up His
Servant Yeshua, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your
(The above text implies a "window of opportunity," for Israel, one that would
vanish if they did not take advantage of it. This idea is further discussed in the next
Another place we see the idea of someone atoning for many (or since the beginning of
time) is in the figure of Simeon bar Yohai, the main character of the Zohar. Looking in
the Talmud, we find mention of bar Yohai, his son and an associate of theirs, providing
Talmud - Sukkah 45b - Hezekiah further stated in the name of R.
Jeremiah who said it in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai, I am able to exempt the whole
world from judgment from the day that I was born until now, and were Eliezer, my son, to
be with me [we could exempt it] from the day of the creation of the world to the present
time, and were Jotham the son of Uzziah with us, [we could exempt it] from the creation of
the world to its final end.
We find a similar reference in Midrash, only this time bar Yohai's partners in
redemption are Abraham and one Ahiyah the Shilonite:
Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 35:2 - AND GOD SAID: THIS IS THE TOKEN OF
THE COVENANT... FOR PERPETUAL GENERATIONS- LEDOROTH (IX, 12). R. Judan said: This is
written le-dorath, which thus excludes two generations, the generation of Hezekiah and
that of the Great Synagogue. R. Hezekiah omitted the generation of the Men of the Great
Synagogue and substituted that of R. Simeon b. Yohai. Elijah of blessed memory and R.
Joshua b. Levi were sitting and studying together, when they came to a ruling of R. Simeon
b. Yohai. Said one: ' Here is the author of the ruling: let us go and question him about
it. So Elijah of blessed memory went to him, ' Who is with you? ' he asked. ' The
greatest of his generation, R. Joshua b. Levi, he answered. ' Has the rainbow
appeared in his days? he inquired; ' if it has, he is not worthy of being received
by me. R. Hezekiah related in R. Jeremiah's name: R. Simeon b. Yohai had but to say,
' O field, O field, be filled with gold dinars, and it was filled. R. Hezekiah
related in R. Jeremiah's name: Thus did R. Simeon b. Yohai say: If Abraham is willing, he
can effectively intercede for [all generations] from his days until mine, while I can
intercede for [all generations] from my time until the advent of Messiah. While if he is
not willing, let Ahijah the Shilonite unite with me, and we can intercede for all from the
days of Abraham until those of Messiah. R. Hezekiah said in R. Jeremiah's name: Thus did
R. Simeon b. Yohai say: The world possesses not less than thirty men as righteous as
Abraham. If there are thirty, my son and I are two of them; if ten, my son and I are two
of them; if five, my son and I are two of them; if two, they are my son and I; if there is
but one, it is I.
Note the reference to whether or not a rainbow has appeared at the time of bar Yohai.
The rainbow is another concept linked to the Sefirah of Yesod. The rainbow is a sign of
God's protection - due to their being no one capable of providing this. A sign of an
especially righteous person being alive and providing such protection, is the lack of a
rainbow appearing in his days.
ATONEMENT THROUGH DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS
The idea of someone suffering to provide atonement leads to the question of whether the
actual death of an individual can have similar effect. This concept is also found in
Here are several examples to consider:
- In the Torah, we are given the laws concerning a person guilty of manslaughter, who
flees to the one of the "cities of refuge" in order to escape those wishing to
avenge the death. This person is to remain in the city until the death of the High Priest,
at which point atonement has been made for the manslaughter death, and he is free to leave
- In the Torah we are told of the story of the death of Aaron's two sons who bring
"strange fire" into the Holy of Holies and are killed by God Himself. Moses'
comment following this seems a bit surprising at first, as he casts their deaths in a very
positive note, stating that God was sanctified throught this:
Leviticus 10:3 - Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the Lord
spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come near to me, and before all the
people I will be glorified.
What is significant is that Midrash Rabbah shows that Moses expected God to take
someone's life (to sanctify His name at that time) and that Moses had thought it would be
himself or Aaron who would have have been slain by God:
Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 12:2 - R. Samuel b. Nahman said [of:
THROUGH THEM THAT ARE NIGH UNTO ME I WILL BE SANCTIFIED (10:3)]: This utterance was
addressed to Moses at Sinai, but its application was not known to him until the occurrence
happened, when Moses said to Aaron: My brother, at Sinai, I was told that I would
sanctify this House, and through a great man would I sanctify it, and I thought that
either through me or through you would this House be sanctified, but now [I see that] your
two sons are greater than you or I.
- Furthermore, the Stone Edition Chumash, in its comments to Parsha Acharei
(Leviticus 16:1-18:30), ties the death of Nadab and Abihu to Yom Kippur and atonement, and
brings in the element of "trust" in a fashion similar to how the New Testament
speaks of Yeshua:
The Torah introduces the Yom Kippur service by saying that God spoke to Moses after
the death of Aaron's two sons, Nadab and Abihu, which implies that there was a connection
between that tragedy and the Yom Kippur service ... Why is the death of the righteous
(i.e., Nadab and Abihu) mentioned in conjunction with the chapter of the Yom Kippur
service? Because just as Yom Kippur brings atonement, so the death of the righteous brings
atonement (Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1) ... When a righteosu person such as Nadab and Abihu dies
and his soul ascends to the world of souls, the other righteous souls in Heaven rejoice at
his coming. This good feeling above can inspire a spirit of forgiveness and atonement to
the righteous person's survivors on earth. This is the connection to Yom Kippur. However,
and this is crucial, both Yom Kippur and the death of the righteous bring atonement only
on one condition. Yom Kiippur atones only for people who recognize it as a holy day and
treat it as such; those to whom it is merely a day of refraining from food and work, but
without a spiritual dimension, do not find atonement on Yom Kippur. Similarly, those who
do not honor the righteous in life do not benefit from their ascent to Heaven in death. 7
- Although some argue that Zechariah 12:10 is not a "messianic passage" and/or
that it is incorrectly translated in most Bibles, the Talmud clearly states that the
atoning Messiah ben Joseph is to die, associating his demise with Zechariah 12:10:
Talmud, Mas. Sukkah 52a - What is the cause of the mourning
[mentioned in the last cited verse]? R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point.
One explained, The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, and the other
explained, The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination. It is well according to him
who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well
agrees with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because they have
thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son
- The Zohar presents several examples of the death of a righteous person effecting tikkun
(restoration). In Yehuda Liebes book, Studies in the Zohar, the author cites
Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai's teachings on three righteous men of his day, stating:
Apart from benefiting their own souls, the death of these three sages also brought
about a tikkun of the world ... their deaths parallel that of Rabbi Simeon ... which is a
tikkun of the Shekinah. There too, not only does his soul arrive in Paradise, which is the
Shekinah, but by his death and his dekekut ("clinging" to God) he effects its
... He (bar Yohai) is the Yesod, the basic element that brings about the tikkun and
simultaneously, himself undergoes tikkun, and it is his coupling with the Shekinah that
brings about its redemption. This is clearly a messianic role. 9
(Regarding bar Yohai being "the Yesod" in the above text, see the subsection
below, "Messiah and the Sefirot," for more about the tzaddik being a physical
manifestation of the Divine Sefirah of Yesod.)
- A more recent example of a teacher of Israel believing his death could atone for others,
is that of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a prominent figure in Jewish history. In his English
translation of a book about the rabbi's life, renowned author/teacher Aryeh Kaplan states:
The Rebbe left Breslov on Tuesday morning, arriving in Uman on Thursday, the 5th of
Iyar (May 9, 1810). Uman had been the scene of the great massacre of 1768 where thousands
of Jews had been slaughtered by Gonta and his Haidmacks. Rabbi Nachman said that he now
had the task of rectifying all these souls with his own death. 10
MESSIAH AND THE SEFIROT
Throughour Hebraic studies, that which atones for the world is seen as both the Divine
Sefirah of Yesod as well as the human tzaddik.
As author Yehuda Liebes notes:
In Kabbalistic literature, this pillar is regarded as one of the sefirot, and it is
called Yesod (Foundation) ... This, however, did not dispel the ambiguity presented by the
verse, and the conception of, "the righteous, the everlasting foundation" as
both pillar and terrestrial person persisted. This can be seen for example, in a passage
from Sefer ha-Bahir (120) which, citing two opposing talmudic statements, begins with a
pillar and concludes with a righteous person: "There is one pillar from the earth to
the firmament and Righteous is its name, after the righteous ones, and when there are
righteous persons in the world it gains strength, and when there are not it is weakened,
and it bears the burden of all the world, as it is written, 'Righteous is the foundation
of the world,' and if it is weak the world cannot exist. Therefore even if there is only
one righeous man in the world, he upholds the world." 11
This redemptive aspect of Yesod has a historical Messianic connection, as noted by
Liebes. Speaking of a historic kabbalistic group lead by rabbi Todros Abulafia, he says:
The Messiah's symbolic rung, according to this Kabbalistic circle, was the sefirah
of Yesod. 12
Regarding Rabbi Abulafia's viewpoint on Messiah being both, "righteous and
redeemed" as well as "righteous, foundation of the world," Liebes adds:
The implication here -- and it is not merely on a symbolic level, for he is
speaking, as we shall see, of total identity -- is that the Messiah is an incarnation of
the sefira of Yesod. 13
The above idea, that Messiah is an embodiment of a Sefirah relates to the idea of the
"divinity of Messiah" -- which we must emphasize means radically different
things in Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, someone can be "divine" but not
be "God" (i.e., "Ein Sof"), who of course is indivisible and
THE "NAME" (I.E., AUTHORITY) OF THE ANNOINTED
The Lamb/Messiah, God's annointed, "comes in the name of the Lord." As seen
in our notes on Revelation 5:6, the Lamb is seen as being amidst the Throne of God, as is
God in 4:8-11. This in no way indicates that the Lamb "is God" (in accordance
with Christian theology) but is rather reflective of the Hebraic teaching that the one who
comes in service to the King is given the same reverence as if he were the King.
This idea is seen in the following Jewish proverb that links a servant to his master in
an equivalent manner. Further, those who associate themselves with the servant find
themselves linked to the king and are themselves given exalted status (i.e., 1 Corinthians
A king's servant is a king. Attach yourself to a captain and people will bow down
to you. Become close to one who is annointed (important) and you will become annointed. 14
Examples of divine/godlike status given to men and angels, as found in Hebraic texts,
- In the Torah, Moses is told of the "angel of the Lord" who has "God's
Name in him." Moses is to listen to this angel as he has the same power to forgive
sin that God does.
Exodus 23:20-23 - Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you
in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him
and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My
name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then
I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My
Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the
Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.
- Commenting on the letter "Shin," found on the outside of every mezuzah, the
following Yemenite Midrash also compares Metatron to God:
There are a dalet and a yod in the knots and a shin outside, because they
(together) produce (the divine name) Shaddai. It is on the outside, because it is
Metatron, whose name is like the name of his master, and about whom it was said, "now
I am sending an angel." (Exodus 23:20). He is the "official in charge of the
world, " and he is the lord of the spiritual entities. 15
- Author Elliot Wolfson, citing commentary of Genesis 2:7 as found in Jacob ha-Kohen's Sefer
ha-'Orah, shows another aspect of Metatron being a "lesser version" of God,
to the degree that Adam was made in the image of the former:
"'He blew into his (Adam's) nostrils the breath of life.' this comes to teach
you that this corresponds to the (expression) 'the Lord God' (YHWH Elohim), for the
creation of Adam comes from the small yod, and the small yod from the large yod..."
It would seem that in this context the small yod symbolizes Metatron, in whose image Adam
is created, and the large yod symbolizes the divine essense represented by the yod of the
Tetragrammaton. (YHVH) 16
- Later in the Tenakh, an angel appears whom Joshua falls before. The ground they stand on
is declared "holy" similar to the episode of Moses and the burning bush:
Joshua 5:13-15 - And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho,
that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword
drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our
adversaries?" So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have
now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him,
"What does my Lord say to His servant?" Then the Commander of the LORD's army
said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is
holy." And Joshua did so.
- A teaching that follows along the lines of the proverb of the king's servant (above)
comes from one of the great sages in Jewish history, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. In one of
his discources on Messiah and the Millennial Kingdom, he expounds on how the tzadikim
(righteous ones) will be called Holy, like God:
Regarding the Messianic age, it is written (Isaiah 4:3), "And it will be, that
he who is left in Zion, and he who remains in Jerusalem, 'holy' shall be said to
him." The Talmud teaches us that the angels will chant, "holy, holy, holy,"
before the Tzadikim, just like they do before God (i.e., Rev. 4:8). This is the
plain meaning of the verse. For the Tzadikim who remain faithful before the Messiah's
coming, will deserve this, and much more. 17
- The Talmudic passage cited by Rabbi Nachman makes clear that the Messiah is called,
"the Holy One blessed be He," one of the most common names used for God in
Talmud - Mas. Baba Bathra 75b - Rabbah in the name of R. Johanan
further stated: The righteous will in time to come be called by the name of the Holy One,
blessed be He; for it is said: Every one that is called by My name, and whom I have
created for My glory. I have formed him, yea, I have made him. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said
in the name of R. Johanan: Three were called by the name of the Holy One; blessed be He,
and they are the following: The righteous, the Messiah and Jerusalem. [This may be
inferred as regards] the righteous [from] what has just been said. [As regards] the
Messiah it is written: And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is
our righteousness. [As regards] Jerusalem it is written: It shall be eighteen
thousand reeds round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be the Lord
is there. Do not read, there but its name. R. Eleazar said:
There will come a time when Holy will be said before the righteous as it is
said before the Holy One, blessed be He; for it is said: And it shall come to pass, that
he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called Holy.
In the "Melkizedek Scroll" of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the figure of Melkizedek
is given the status of a divine being.
As stated in the book, The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation:
For our author (of the "Melkizedek Scroll") Melkizedek is an enormously
exalted divine being, to whom are applied names that are generally reserved for God alone,
the Hebrew names El and Elohim. In the author's citation of Isaiah 61:2, which speaks of
"the year of the Lord's favor," "Melkizedek is substituted even for the
most holy name of Israel's God, Yahweh." 18
READ THE MELKIZEDEK SCROLL
- In the classic kabbalistic text, Sha'are Orah ("Gates of Light" -
which we will quote from extensively in this and the next section), we find a discussion
on how the Sefirah of Malkut (related to the name Adonay and associated with "God's
presence on earth") is referred to in a redemptive fashion normally associated with
the Sefirah of Yesod (related to El Chay - "Living God," more associated with
When ADoNaY acts for redemption it is an emisary for EL CHaY. Thus ADoNaY is called
the redeeming messenger (haMaLACH haGoAL), i.e., He is called in the name of the sender. 19
- The Book of Enoch 20 uses the terms; Son of Man,
Elect One, Lord of Spirits and Ancient of Days, quite
Of the Son of Man it says that He accompanied the Ancient
of Days, and to Him righteousness belongs. The Son of Man will overthrow
kings and the powerful and break in pieces the teeth of sinners. He will overthrow those
who do not exalt Him, thereby establishing Himself to be God. He does these things to
those who do not exalt the name of the Lord of Spirits, thus equating Himself
with that entity (Enoch 46:1-4).
The name of this Son of Man was invoked before the sun, stars and signs of
heaven were formed. He is the hope of those who are troubled. All who dwell on the earth
will fall down and worship him, and bless and glorify him. The Elect and "Concealed
One" existed in his presence before the world was created. He reveals to the
saints and the righteous the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits. In his name will the
righteous be preserved, and they will dwell with him forever. (Enoch 48:3-7; 61:12,17).
This Son of Man existed "in secret" since the beginning. He is also
called "son of woman." The elect will stand before him one day (Enoch
61:9-11). People will pray to him and petition him for mercy (Enoch 61:13). He is equated
with the Lord of Spirits (Enoch 61:15-18). He or his name live with the Lord
of Spirits (Enoch 69:1) He is equated with the Messiah (Enoch 48:11).
Of the Elect One it says that He will sit upon the Throne of Glory. Either the
Elect One, or the one speaking this prophecy to Enoch, will dwell in the midst of
them, and change, bless and illuminate the face of heaven forever. He will also change the
face of the earth, bless it, and cause those whom He has elected to dwell upon it.
(Enoch 45:3-5; 50:3, 54:5). Wisdom comes out of his mouth. The Lord of Spirits has
gifted and glorified him (Enoch 50:3). He will be exalted at the end of days (Enoch 50:5).
He is equated with the Messiah (Enoch 51:2-5). He will appear in the presence of
the Lord of Spirits at the end of days (Enoch 51:10). He is also equated with the
Lord of Spirits (Enoch 60:7-16)
Of the Lord of Spirits it says that those who believe in His name will be
declared righteous and be saved (Enoch 43:2; 49:3). Sinners who deny His Name will face
his punishment (Enoch 45:2; 53:7) Those who do not repent before him will perish (Enoch
49:3). The prayers of the righteous (at the end of days - i.e., Revelation 8:4), are said
to ascend to Him (Enoch 47:1) He sits upon the throne of glory and before him the saints
will be judged in righteousness (Enoch 61:2-5). He will issue new garments to the
righteous (Enoch 61:18).
Of the Ancient of Days it says his head was like white wool and his robe
indescribable (Enoch 46:1; 70:12). He is the one who flooded the earth, promised to not do
this again and gave the rainbow (Enoch 54:1-3). He calls himself the Lord of spirits
We find the Messiah connected to this highest level of "Ancient of
Days" from where his power to bring atonement, to all mankind, emanates.
... the Keter (Arikh Anpin) is the loftiest Parfutz. But the ARI
writes, Keter actually has two levels, a lower level corresponding to Arikh Anpin and an
upper level, the intellect of Arikh Anpin, which corresponds to Atik. Atik is referred to
in the holy writings by several names: Atik ("The Ancient One"), Atik Yomin
("The Ancient of Days"), Atika Kadisha ("The Holy Ancient One"). ...
The connection between Mashiach and Atik is learned from Daniel's vision: "A man came
and he approached (the level of) the Ancient of Days ..." Rashi explains that this
refers to Mashiach, who will minister justice to the entire world. ... Atik thus
transcends anything that we can conceive -- giving and receiving, right and left, reward
and punishment, and so on. At this level there is neither past or future. Everything is in
the present. And, as we have seen, every part of Creation, from the first constriction,
until the lowest level of the world of Asiyah, is contained within Keter. Thus Atik
includes all time and space -- yet transcends it all. The soul of Mashiach
"resides" within Atik, and it is from this level that all his powers will be
drawn. And, since he transcends time and space, Mashiach can transcend every transgression
ever committed and rectify it -- for since he can transcend everything ever done, he can
bring each person to a state prior to his having sinned. ... With this power inherent in
this exalted level, Mashiach will be able to bring the world to a state of perfection. 21
THE "DIVINE" JACOB
The clearest example of a Divine status being given to a created being is that of,
"the image of Jacob on the throne." The best source for examples of this is the
book, Along the Path, by Elliot Wolfson. Here we find numerous talmudic, aggadic
and esoteric references to Jacob being likened unto God. 22
Consider the following ideas presented by the author. First we have Jacob seen as
active in the process of Creation (even given sole credit in one source) similar to what
we read of Yeshua in Colossians 1:16 and Ephesians 3:9.
- In Genesis Rabbah 78:3, Jacob is consider a Divine partner of God:
For thou art a prince ("saritha" from sar, a prince) together with God,
thy features being engraven on high.
- We see a similar idea in a citation from Midrash Tanhuma:
Jacob was a partner with his Creator in everything.
- Genesis Rabbah 79:8 has Jacob asserting himself to being "god" (El) on earth:
AND HE ERECTED THERE AN ALTAR, AND CALLED IT EL-ELOHE-ISRAEL (Genesis 33:20). He
[Jacob] declared to Him: Thou art God in the celestial spheres and I am a god in the
- Citing Rabbi Pinehas ha-Kohen bar Hamma, we have a specifice reference to Jacob alone
being the one who "formed" all things.all things ("formation" =
Yetzirah, Jacob himself could thus be seen at the level of Beriah, i.e., Metatron -
"amidst the throne"):
See what is written, Not like these is the portion of Jacob, For it is he who
formed all things.
Next we find examples of divine-like status given to Jacob, comparing him directly to
God, and his image being found in the Throne of God:
- From Sifre on Deuteronomy:
There is none like God O' Jeshurun (a name for Jacob): Israel says, There is none
like God, and the Holy Spirit responds, except Jeshurun.
There is a Scriptural text bearing on this: Since thou art precious in My sight,
and honourable, etc. (Isaiah 43:4). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Jacob: Jacob,
thou art exceedingly precious in my sight. For I have, as it were, set thine image on My
throne, and by thy name the angels praise Me and say: Blessed be the Lord, the God of
Israel, from everlasting and to everlasting (Psalm 41:14).
- From Midrash Yelammedenu:
The angels descended and saw his (Jacob's) image. They said, "Certainly this
is the form (surah) and this is the image (demut) engraved upon the throne of glory."
All of them responded and said, "Bless the Lord, God of Israel."
- From a liturgical poem of Moses ben Eleazar ha-Darshan:
... the Biblical expression "majesty of Israel" (from Lamentations 2:1)
is transformed into a symbol for the icon of Jacob engraved on the throne.
Wolfson's book also shows many "divine" connections between Jacob and
Metatron. Here are but a few:
- From an ancient liturgical poem of Eliezer ben Nathan of Mainz:
In that passage, the angel of the countenance (sar ha-panim) is identified as Jacob
who is said to be inscribed upon the throne and upon the heart of Metatron.
- Citing the writngs of Ibn Ezra:
... in the philosophical thought of Ibn Ezra, the first intellect in the chain of
being is Metatron, also called yosher bere'shit, the demiurge. Thus, the secret to which
Ibn Ezra alludes is the identification of the image of Jacob with Metatron who is the form
of the intellect that stands above the tenth sphere.
- Summarizing Jacob ha-Kohen's commentary on Ezekiel's vision, Wolfson states:
It may be concluded from these passages that the angelic creature named Israel is
the image of Jacob, also named Tif'eret Yisra'el, for it is the lower glory that
correspondes to the upper glory, that is, the sixth emanation likewise called Tif'eret
Yisra'el. Furthermore, according to Jacob ha-Kohen, this creature is described in language
that is used in ancient Jewish esoteric sources to describe Metatron. One may infer,
therefore, that there is a blurring of boundaries separating Metatron and the creature
named Israel. To put the matter in somewhat different terms, the name Israel is an
appropriate designation for Jacob, and thus the image of Jacob is applied to Metatron
and/or the celestial creature.
- From Sefer Pa'neah Raza (Isaac bar Judah ha-Levi):
Ya'aqov (Jacob) is numerically equal (=182) to mal'akh ha-'elohim
("angel of God," i.e., Metatron). This alludes to the fact that his
image is engraved on the throne.
- The following is from Or ha-Sekhel, by the well known kabbalist, Abraham
The secret of "And (the Angel of God) moved (Exodus 14:19), he is the end even
though he is the beginning. The secret is that he is the end of the angels, but he is
still the beginning. He alone is the angel who is called by the name of God (ha-'elohim).
This is the secret of the "jealous God" and he comprises the seven sefirot of
the name (zayyin sefirot ha-shem). Therefore, the image of Jacob engraved on the throne of
glory comprises the seven sefirot.
... the image of Jacob engraved upon the throne is clearly transferred in Abulafia
Note Abulafia's comments above that "the throne of glory comprises the seven
sefirot." Compare this to Revelation 4:5 and 5:6 where the seven spirits of the
Lord are before the throne.
- From Jacob ha-Kohen's commentary on Ezekiel, we find the idea of a "glory
above/beneath the glory," associated with the "middle line." (The middle
column of the kabbalistic Tree of Life, associated with Metatron - see our previous study
on this.) This idea may also reflect the idea of Metatron being called "the lesser
YHVH," as shown above (from 3 Enoch):
Know, my son, that the upper glory that is called the middle line is that which is
called Tif'eret Yisra'el, and the image of Jacob engraved in the holy creatures (the four
creatures of Ezekiel/Revelation that support the throne) is the glory that is below the
upper glory, and it is likewise called Tif'eret Yisra'el.
- As shown in an earlier study, Metatron plays the role of mediator between God and man
through whom all requests from below to above must pass. Citing Sefer ha-Roqeah
by Eleazar ben Judah of Worms:
When Israel pray, the image of Jacob engraved upon the throne advocates (before God
on their behalf).
Finally, a particularly interesting passage is one where Jacob himself is identified as
the ladder in his dream found in Genesis 28:12, thus making the same connection stated by
Yeshua of himself in John 1:51.
- Citing the Midrash Leqah Tov of Tobias ben Eliezer:
"A ladder was set on the ground,' this refers to Jacob our patriarch himself,
'and its top reached the sky,' for the image of his icon was engraved on the throne of
The Zohar links; Jacob's Ladder, Yesod and the Tzaddik, in that they make the
connection between the world above and ours below:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 149b - AND BEHOLD A
LADDER SET UP ON THE EARTH. This ladder signifies the grade on which the other grades rest
(i.e., Yesod), to wit, the Foundation of the world (i.e., the
Tzaddik). AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN , so as to be attached to it. For this
grade (Yesod), is the conclusion of the Body (the upper nine Sefirot)
standing between the upper and the lower world in the same way as the sign of the covenant
is situated at the end of the trunk of the body, between the thighs (i.e., between
Netzah and Hod).
1. An understanding of the associations between the partzufim of
the various Sefirot is critical to the deepest levels of understanding of the Torah. Sha'are
Oreh (Gates of Light) mentioned below is the most comprehensive text dealing
with this subject matter. Also see Along the Path (also mentioned below), page
41, where the concepts of; diadem, Shekinah, glory, prayer, bride, king's daughter,
voice of revelation, kingship, shoe of God, angel of the Lord, image of God and supernal
crown, are all said to be linked.
2. Derech Hashem, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, translation by Aryeh
Kaplan Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1977, pp 123-125. Written in the early eighteenth
century, Derech Hashem is a "classic" in Torah literature and is used
in Orthodox Yeshivas throughout the world.
3. From Lamb Symbolism and the Temple Service, Rabbi
Yitzchak Ginsburgh, http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp3.htm
4. See The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State
University Press, Detroit, 1979, which offers a number of citations concerning the
5. Mashiach - Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?, (an
exposition of the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov), Chaim Kramer, Breslov Resarch
Institute, Jerusalem, p. 86.
6. From Prayer at a Tzaddik's Grave, Rabbi Yitzchak
7. Stone Edition Chumash, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.,
Brooklyn NY, 1994, p. 636.
8. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, State University of New York
Press, 1993, p. 52.
9. ibid, p. 64.
10. Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, translated and annotated by Rabbi Aryeh
Kaplan, Breslov Research Institute, Monsey New York, 1973, pp. 442-443.
11. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, SUNY Press, New York, 1993,
12. ibid, p. 18.
13. ibid, p. 19.
14. Ariel Chumash, Volume 1 (Bereishit-Chaye Sarah), United
Israel Institutes, Jerusalem, 1997, p. 52.
15. From Midrash ha-Be'ur cited in Yemenite Midrash, Philosophical
Commentaries on the Torah, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996, p. 242.
16. Circle in the Square, Studies in the Use of Gender in Kabbalistic
Symbolism, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, 1995, p. 179.
17. Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, translated by Aryeh Kaplan, Breslov
Research Institute, Jerusalem, 1973, p.255.
18. The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, Michael Wise, Martin Abegg
Jr., Edward Cook, Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1996, pp. 455-456.
19. Sha'are Orah ("Gates of Light") by Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla
(13th century) is most notable for associating various terms found throughout the Tenakh
with the ten Sefirot and their associated Names of God, thus "linking" many
portions of the Tenakh at the Sod level.
20. The Book of Enoch The Prophet, translated by Richard Laurence,
Wizards Bookshelf, San Diego, 1995.
21. Mashiach - Who? What? Why? How? Where?
When?, (an exposition of the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov), Chaim Kramer,
Breslov Resarch Institute, Jerusalem, pp. 208-209.
22. Along the Path - Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism and
Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, 1995, pp.1-62
and footnotes pp.111-187.