Last update: November 18, 2007
While examining the commentaries in this section, the reader should
take note of the mention of both "Wisdom" (the highest of the knowable Sefirot),
"heaven," (Binah) and the Shekina/Holy Spirit/Bride (Malkut, the lowest of the Sefirot).
This is indicative of the full extent of both the "positive" and
"negative" spiritual realms.
1. Then I saw an angel coming
down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
The "pit" is "gehenna" (gehinnom), a place of spiritual punishment
Midrash Rabbah, Genesis I:6 - R. Judah b. Simon quoted: And He
revealeth the deep and secret things-mesatratha (Daniel 2:22). ' The deep things are
the Gehenna, as it is written, But he knoweth not that the shades are there; that in the
depths of the nether world are her guests (Proverbs 9:18). And secret things
refers to the garden of Eden, as it is written, And for a refuge and for a covert
(le-mistor), etc. (Isaiah 4:6).
Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 33:1 - R. Levi said: It [Scripture]
gives a simile for the righteous in their dwelling, and for the wicked in their dwelling.
The righteous in their dwelling: I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high
mountains of Israel shall their fold be (Ezekiel 34:14)- The wicked in their dwelling:
In the day when he went down to the netherworld I caused the deep to mourn and cover
itself for him (ib. 32:15). R. Judah said: Hobalti (I brought) is written: a lid for a
vat is made not of gold or silver but of earthenware, which is the selfsame material. Thus
the wicked are darkness, Gehenna is darkness, and the deep is darkness: hence I brought
the wicked to Gehenna and covered them with the deep: let darkness cover darkness.
Midrash Rabbah, Numbers 10:2 - So the Holy Spirit said through
Solomon, For a harlot is a deep ditch. Why did he call her ' ditch
(shuhah)? In allusion to the text, For her house sinketh down (shahah) unto death
(Proverbs 2:18). Deep? This recalls the text, Her guests are in the depths of
the nether-world (ib. 9:18). A harlot? This refers to a married woman.
A narrow pit ? Because she brings the adulterer down into Gehenna. Hence it is
written, Her steps take hold on the nether-world (ib. 5:5), and the nether-world is
called pit; for it is written, O Lord, Thou broughtest up my soul from the
netherworld; Thou didst keep me alive, that I should not go down to the pit (Psalm
Why has it been said that ' narrow alludes to Gehenna? Because it is broad
underneath and has a narrow opening on top.1 Hence it is written, Yea, if one hath allured
thee from a narrow opening into a broad place, where there is no straitness
Mishna, Avoth Chapter 5 - What is [the difference]
between the disciples of Abraham, our father, and the disciples of Balaam, the wicked. The
disciples of Abraham, our father, enjoy [their share] in this world, and inherit the world
to come, as it is said: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance and that
I may fill their treasuries, but the disciples of Balaam, the wicked, inherit gehinnom,
and descend into the nethermost pit, as it is said: but thou, o God, wilt bring them down
to the nethermost pit; men of blood and deceit shall not live out half their days; but as
for me, I will trust in thee.
Talmud, Yoma 87a - And whosoever causes the community to sin, no
opportunity will be granted him for repentance, lest he be in Gan Eden and his
disciples in Gehinnom, as it is said: A man, that is laden with the blood of any person
shall hasten his steps unto the pit; none will help him.
Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 51:7 - EVEN THE TABERNACLE OF THE
TESTIMONY. What is the meaning of TESTIMONY?--It means the Torah, in which they toil. God
said: I will deliver you from Gehinnom for the sake of the Torah [you study], and
the sacrifices [you bring]. To our patriarch Abraham did God also show the Torah and
Gehinnom, the sacrifices and the various captivities, for it is said, And... behold a
smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between the pieces (Genesis
refers to the Torah and Gehinnom, for it says, And all the people perceived the
thundering, and the lightning, and the voice of the horn, and the mountain smoking; and
when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off (Exodus 20:15).
Gehenna would also seem to be an abode of demons ("shedim") and angels:
Zohar, Bemidbar 154b - Then follows the third standard to the
north. It had for its ensign Ox and was accompanied by the angel Gabriel and his two
chieftains, Kafziel and Hizkiel. The Ox, being of the left side, has horns between his two
eyes, which flame as it were with burning fire; he gores and tramples with his feet
ruthlessly. When he moos there emerge out of the hollow of the great abyss numerous
spirits of wrath who proceed in front in a chorus of shrieking. Seven fiery rivers flow in
front of him, and when thirsty he draws up a whole riverful at one gulp.
Zohar, Bereshith 113b-114a - "...whenever the Holy One sits on the Throne of Judgment to judge the world, Satan, the
seducer of men and angels, is at hand to do mischief and to snatch up
The Zohar also describes an angelic entity named "Duma," assigned as "guardian" over Gehenna:
Zohar, Shemoth 18a - R. Judah said in the name of R. Isaac:
Why did the Egyptians so desire to prevent Israel from multiplying, and what motive
prompted their supernal representative to put such a desire into their hearts? Because he
knew and made known to them that a son would be born to the Israelites through whom
judgement should be brought upon the gods of Egypt; for, according to R. Johanan, when
Moses said that God will exercise judgement against all the gods of
Egypt” (Exodus 22:12), Duma, the celestial Prince of Egypt, ran away four hundred parasangs, and the
Holy One said to him: It is My decree! In that hour his power and his dominion
was taken from him, and he was banished, instead, to the lower regions and appointed over
the realms of Gehenna, as judge of the souls of the wicked.
2. He laid hold
of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a
In this verse as well as the citation from the Zohar below, we see related
manifestations of the evil realm. The dragon manifests as; "the serpent,"
"the devil" and "Satan" among other concepts [the archangel Samael
(poison-god, also called the angel of Esau), the Sitra Achra ("other side" or "evil realm"), the
Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination in humans), etc.
Further, the relationship between human activity and demons (that relates to both being
occupants of Gehenna) is found in the following text, which indicates how
the latter are actually attracted (or even created) by human activity.
Note also the reference to the "mountains of the east" as the source of
demonic activity. Kabbalistically, just as "east" is the "heavenly
direction" (toward Keter/Crown) so to in the mirror image of the Sitra Achra,
"east" is the direction of strength.
Lastly, the idea of such entities being "chained" is also seen in this text:
Zohar, Bereshith 125b-126a - R. Isaac and R. Jose were walking
from Tiberias to Lud. Said R. Isaac: I marvel at the wicked Balaam, how all his
actions proceeded from the side of impurity. We here learn the mystical lesson that all
species of witchcraft are linked up with, and proceed from, the primeval serpent who is
the foul and unclean spirit. Hence all sorceries are called n'hashim (lit. serpents). And
whoever becomes addicted to them pollutes himself, nay more, he has first to become
polluted in order to attract to himself the side of the unclean spirit. For it is a dictum
of our teachers that corresponding to the impulses of a man here are the influences which
he attracts to himself from above. Should his impulse be towards holiness, he attracts to
himself holiness from on high and so he becomes holy; but if his tendency is towards the
side of impurity, he draws down towards himself the unclean spirit and so becomes
polluted. For this reason, in order to draw towards himself the unclean spirit from that
supernal serpent, the wicked Balaam besmirched himself nightly by bestial intercourse with
his ass, and he would then proceed to his divinations and sorceries. To begin with he
would take one of the familiar serpents, tie it up, break its head, and extract its
tongue. Then he would take certain herbs, and burn them as incense. He would then take the
head of the serpent, split it into four sections, and offer it up as a second offering.
Finally, he traced a circle round himself, mumbled some words, and made some gestures,
until he became possessed of the unclean spirits, who told him all that they knew from the
side of the heavenly dragon; and he thus continued his magical practices until he became
possessed of the spirit of the primeval serpent. It is thus that we understand the
passage, he went not, as at the other times, to meet with n'hashim
(enchantments, lit. serpents) (Numbers 24:1). Said R. Jose: Why is it that
many kinds of magic and divination are only found in women? R. Isaac replied:
Thus I have learnt, that when the serpent had intercourse with Eve he injected
defilement into her but not into her husband. R. Jose then went up to R. Isaac and
kissed him, saying, Many a time have I asked this question, but not until now have I
received a real answer. R. Jose further asked him:In which place and from whom
did Balaam derive all his magical practices and knowledge? R. Isaac replied:
He learned it first from his father, but it was in the mountains of the
East, which are in an eastern country, that he obtained a mastery of all the arts of
magic and divination. For those mountains are the abode of the angels Uzza and Azael whom
the Holy One cast down from heaven, and who were chained there in iron fetters. It is they
who impart to the sons of men a knowledge of magic. Hence the Scripture says: From
Aram Balak bringeth me, the King of Moab, from the mountains of the East (Numbers
23:7). But, said R. Jose, is it not written, and he went
not as at the other times to meet with enchantments, but he set his face toward the
wilderness (ibid. 24:1)? Said R. Isaac to him: The lower side, which
comes from the unclean spirit above, was the unclean spirit prevailing in the wilderness
when Israel made the calf in order to defile themselves therewith; and Balaam tried every
device of magic to uproot Israel, but without success.
The following texts presents "Satan" as not only the accuser, but also
one active in tempting men (i.e., 1Peter 5:8) and angels:
Zohar, Bereshith, 113a - AND THE LORD REMEMBERED SARAH AS HE HAD
SAID, ETC. R. Hiya discoursed on the verse: And he showed me Joshua the High priest
standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him
(Zechariah 3:1). This verse, he said, must be carefully pondered.
Joshua the high priest is Joshua the son of Jehozedek; the angel of the
Lord before whom he was standing is the region of the bundle of the
souls of the righteous, which is known as the angel of the Lord;
Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him is the evil tempter who roams
to and fro through the world to snatch up souls and to lure beings to perdition, angels as
well as human beings.
Zohar, Bereshith 113b-114a - So
whenever the Holy One sits on the Throne of Judgement to judge the world, Satan, the
seducer of men and angels, is at hand to do mischief and to snatch up souls. For
from the day that the evil serpent, having enticed Adam, obtained
dominion over man and over the world, he has ever been at work seducing
people from the right path, nor will the world cease to suffer from his
machinations until the Messiah shall come...
1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary
the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
The following text shows the collaboration between the "serpent,"
"Samael" and "Satan," in the temptation of Chava (Eve) in Gan Edan.
Note also the relationship between Adam (the "first tree") and Jacob (the
"second tree" and messianic figure - see notes in previous
study on "The Divine Jacob.") and how Yeshua is spoken of in Romans chapter
5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 15). The extent of the power of Samael is seen in its source
Zohar, Bereshith, 35b - AND THE SERPENT. R. Isaac said: This
is the evil tempter. R. Judah said that it means literally a serpent. They consulted
R. Simeon, and he said to them: Both are correct. It was Samael, and he appeared on
a serpent, for the ideal form of the serpent is the Satan. We have learnt that at that
moment Samael came down from heaven riding on this serpent, and all creatures saw his form
and fled before him. They then entered into conversation with the woman, and the two
brought death into the world. Of a surety Samael brought curses on the world through
Wisdom and destroyed the first tree that God had created in the world. This responsibility
rested on Samael until another holy tree came, namely Jacob, who wrested the blessings
from him, in order that Samael might not be blessed above and Esau below. For Jacob was
the reproduction of Adam, and he had the same beauty as Adam. Therefore as Samael withheld
blessings from the first tree, so Jacob, who was such another tree as Adam, withheld
blessings, both upper and lower, from Samael; and in doing so Jacob but took back his own.
It is written: AND THE SERPENT WAS SUBTLE. This serpent is the evil tempter and the angel
of death. It is because the serpent is the angel of death that it brought death to the
1Corinthians 15: 21-22 - For since by man came death,
by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam
all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive.
Romans 5:12-14 -
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world,
and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all
have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is
not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned
from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the
similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him
that was to come.
3a. and he cast
him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should
deceive the nations no more ...
This text indicates the end of the evil realm's activities as coinciding
with the coming of Messiah:
Zohar, Bereshith 113b-114a - Hence here also it is written,
The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, and not: Behold, I rebuke thee. So
whenever the Holy One sits on the Throne of Judgment to judge the world, Satan, the
seducer of men and angels, is at hand to do mischief and to snatch up souls. For from
the day that the evil serpent, having enticed Adam, obtained dominion over man and over
the world, he has ever been at work seducing people from the right path, nor will the
world cease to suffer from his machinations until the Messiah shall come, when the Holy
One will raise to life those who sleep in the dust in accordance with the verse, He
will swallow up death for ever, etc. (Isaiah 25:8), and the verse, And I will
cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land (Zechariah 13:2). Meanwhile Satan
dominates this world and snatches up the souls of the sons of men.
3b. ... till the
thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little
The Zohar speaks of the serpent having a seven (thousand) year lifespan that is cut
short to six:
Zohar, Shemoth 220a - with him that She brings forth souls, since
he is responsible for the body and she for the soul, and the two are combined. The Serpent
is destined in the future to bring about the birth of the whole of the bodies before its
own time comes, as Scripture says: Before she travailed, she brought forth
(Isaiah 46:7). For, whereas the period of the serpent's gestation is seven years, that
will be at the end of six. And at that hour, when he will have brought about their birth,
he himself will die. Of this, Scripture says: He will swallow up death for
ever (Ibid. 25:8), also Thy dead shall live, my dead bodies shall
arise (Ibid. 26:19).
In order for the messianic kingdom to thrive, the evil realm must be "out of the
way." (Similar to how at Yom Kippur a goat was sent to Azazel to
"distract" him on this one day, so God could deal directly with Israel
without "accusation"). We find this idea present in various texts:
Talmud, Sanhedrin 97a - 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. 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. 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, meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath and it is also said, For a
thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.
Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 41:7 - God then said to Moses: ' In this
world they made idols because of the Evil Inclination in them, but in the millennium I
will uproot from them the Evil Inclination and give them a heart of flesh, as it says, And
I will take away the stony heart from out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of
flesh (Ezekiel 26:26).
The Zohar expresses this time (when the Bride is united to the King) as done "in
Zohar, Shemoth 145b - The Day of the Holy One, blessed be He, is
a thousand years, and this number symbolizes also the River which goes out of Eden. Joseph
was called Righteous after the Moon, the Shekinah, according to a special
agreement between her and the Holy One. Therefore, the Song of Songs is holy of holies,
and there is no verse in this Canticle which does not contain the mystery of the
thousand and five. There are five grades contained in the title, as we have
said. But why is the thousand not indicated? The truth is that this is hidden
and will remain hidden until the Wife (the Shekinah) unites Herself with her Husband.
Therefore Solomon endeavoured to bring that Thousand to the Bride in secret,
by the aid of the mysterious ring whereon is engraved the seal of the supernal wisdom (cf.
Targum on Ecclesiastes 1:7). As soon as he had completed the making of the Holy of Holies below,
the mystery of the Holy of Holies above ascended and was hidden, so that the concealment
of the Union might be complete above and below, according to the Divine purpose.
The following Midrash indicates that the Millennium is also a specific time of
punishment for the nations and purification for the sinful of Israel:
Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 20:1 - AND THE LORD GOD SAID UNTO THE
SERPENT: BECAUSE THOU HAST DONE THIS, CURSED ART THOU FROM AMONG ALL CATTLE, etc. (3:14).
A slanderer shall not be established in the earth; the violent and
wicked man shall be hunted with thrust upon thrust (Psalm 140:12). R. Levi said: In the millennium the Holy
One, blessed be He, will take the nations of the world and hurl them down into Gehenna,
saying to them, ' Why did ye mulct My children? ' and they will answer Him: ' Some of them
were much addicted to slander. Then the Lord will take both and hurl them into
Gehenna. Another interpretation: A slanderer alludes to the serpent, who
uttered slander against his Creator ;Shall not be established in the earth,
as it is written, Upon thy belly shalt thou go; The violent and wicked man shall
be hunted: not ' With a thrust is written, but ' With thrust upon thrust
: Adam was cursed, Eve was cursed, and the serpent was cursed, as it is written, AND
THE LORD GOD SAID UNTO THE SERPENT, etc.
4a. And I saw
thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them ...
The Zohar speaks on the subject of the righteous sitting in judgment:
Zohar, Bereshith 164a - R. Jesse then discoursed on the verse: He
withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous; but with kings upon the throne he setteth
them for ever, and they are exalted (Job 36:7). When, he said, the
domination of the wicked ceases and they perish from the world, then the righteous obtain
dominion, as it says: He preserveth not the life of the wicked, but giveth to the
poor their right (Ibid. 6). The words, He withdraweth not from the righteous
his eye are parallel to the text, The eyes of the Lord are toward the
righteous (Psalm 34:16). But with kings upon the throne; these are the
kings who are, as it were, united to their thrones, and whom He setteth for ever so that
they remain immovably established. And they are exalted, to wit, to rule over
the world so that the throne remains firmly established on its supports. Or, again, it may
mean that they raise the throne and set it up on high so that it should become united to
its proper place and there should thus be a complete unity.
Midrash Rabbah offers the following:
Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 11:8 - The Holy One, blessed be He,
will in the Time to Come sit as in a goren (court-room), with the righteous sitting before
Him, like that [goren mentioned in the verse], Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the
king of Judah sat each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, in a threshing floor--goren
(I Kings 22:10). Were they then sitting in a threshing-floor? Surely, what is intended
is the same as what we have learnt in a Mishnah: The Sanhedrin were seated in the
formation of a semicircular goren, so that they [i.e. the members of the court] could see
one another. [King] Solomon said: I saw Him [as it were] confined in the midst of them;
this is [indicated in] what is written, Her master is known in the gates, as He sitteth
with the elders of the land (Proverbs 31:23).
4b. ... Then I
saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the
word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his
mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a
The concept of "divine service" is well established in Torah. There is also
the idea that the service performed in the last generation immediately preceding the
coming of Messiah, that which helps usher in the redemption, is of a "higher
order." Linked to the service at this time is the idea of "loving God to the
point of self-sacrifice."
The following explains this important concept in detail:
The transcendence of all limitations that will characterize the Era of the
Redemption will be all-encompassing. Therefore, all entities will exist on an infinitely
higher plane during that era than they exist at present. This will affect both the world
at large as well as the realm of Torah.
With regard to the world, there will then be a "new heaven and a new earth."
(Isaiah 65:17) With regard to the Torah [the medium through which the world was created -
"He gazed into Torah and created the world" ( Zohar
II, beginning of 161b)], "new [dimensions of] the Torah will emerge from Me" ( Vayikra Rabba 13:3). This also applies to the
revelation of G-dliness. In the Era of the Redemption, there will be an entirely new
degree of revelation, infinitely higher than the present. All revelations of the present
era have their source in the external level of Atik,
while in the Era of the Redemption, the revelation will stem from the inner dimension of
Atik On this basis, we can understand why the Future Redemption will come about
primarily through the divine service performed during the concluding period of the exile.
Since all matters in the Era of the Redemption will be of an entirely new nature, the
divine service that draws them down must be a new form of service as well.
In the time of the Holy Temple, G-dliness was revealed, as is
written: "Ten miracles were wrought for our ancestors in the Holy Temple," (Avot
5:5). There were miracles apparent to the naked eye, many of them beheld even by the
common people. Therefore, the divine service of Torah and its mitzvot
was an outgrowth of man's ordinary thinking processes. In addition, there was the command
(Deut. 6:5) of "You shall love...your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul
and with all your might," [and as explained in Chasidut,
"with all your might" refers to an unbounded commitment, to the point of mesirut
nefesh, "complete self-sacrifice"]. Nevertheless, since G-dliness was palpably
revealed, even the self-sacrifice that existed in that era could be limited by man's
ordinary thinking processes. This concept holds true as well with regard to those periods
of exile when the darkness of unholiness was not that overwhelming.
This is not the case in the present generation, the generation
that immediately precedes Mashiach's
arrival. For at present, the forces of darkness increase daily, and there are
many challenges that have to be overcome - in particular, the challenge of "Do not be
embarrassed by those who scoff" ( Shulchan
Aruch, Rama) This challenge is made especially difficult to bear by the fact that these scoffers are base and ignoble
individuals. The ability to overcome these
challenges stems from the divine service of self-sacrifice that transcends all limitations
and bounds. This is why the divine service of the generation that immediately precedes
Mashiach's arrival contains a certain dimension of superiority over the divine service
accomplished by the Jewish people in previous generations. In addition, the divine service
within this generation at the very conclusion of the period of exile has an incomparable
advantage. It is so radically different that it is considered a new kind of divine
service. For the divine service in previous generations was related to reason and logic
and the limitations of our revealed soul powers. The divine service at the conclusion of
the period of exile, by contrast, reflects self-sacrifice, which emanates from the
innermost level of the soul.
Through our divine service in the time of exile in general, and
especially through our service at the very end of the exile (at which time the service is
from the innermost degree of the soul), we draw down influence from the innermost level
Above, including the inner dimension of Atik. This will evoke a new dimension within the
Torah as well. The concept of "new dimensions of the Torah will emerge from Me")
will be demonstrated by a new approach to the Torah emphasizing the connection to the
Giver of Torah. (It is possible to explain that this aspect, as well, is accomplished
through the divine service at the conclusion of the exile. For when the service is in a
manner of self-sacrifice, then one's Torah study is lishmah, for its own sake.) The new
dimension of Torah study will in turn lead to an innovation in creation, as well (for
"He gazed into Torah and created the world"), bringing about "a new heaven
and a new earth." May it be G-d's will that this occur most speedily; that our
present deeds and divine service hasten the time when we will greet our Righteous
Mashiach. And then, we will witness the actual fulfillment of the prophecy: "As in
the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders." 1
The Zohar states the following regarding those who enter the Millennium:
Zohar, Bereshith, 119a - Happy are those
who will be left alive at the end of the sixth millennium to enter on
the Sabbath. For that is the day set apart by the Holy One on which to
effect the union of souls and to cull new souls to join those that are
still on earth, as it is written, And it shall come to pass, that he
that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be
called holy, even every one that is written unto life in Jerusalem
5. But the rest
of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the
Resurrection is not directly mentioned in the Tenakh. (Neither is "The
Messiah" for that matter). The Midrash Rabbah shows the relationship between living
according to the Torah, attaining the "Holy Spirit" and resurrection. Note the
relationship between "Holy Spirit" and the Shekinah (the "Bride" or
"Wife") as also mentioned throughout this study.
Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs I:9 - R. Phinehas b. Jair used
to say: Zeal leads to cleanliness, cleanliness leads to purity ; purity leads to holiness;
holiness leads to humility; humility leads to the fear of sin; the fear of sin leads to
saintliness; saintliness leads to the holy spirit; the holy spirit leads to the
resurrection of the dead; the resurrection of the dead leads to Elijah the prophet.
Zeal leads to cleanliness, as it says, And when he hath made an end of atoning
for the holy place (Leviticus 16:20). Cleanliness leads to purity (taharah), as
it says, And the priest shall make atonement for her and she shall be pure-we-taherah (ib.
12:8). ' Purity leads to holiness, as it says, And he shall purify it, and hallow
it (ib. 16:19). Holiness leads to humility, as it says, For thus saith the
High and Lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and
holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isaiah
Humility leads to the fear of sin, as it says, The reward of humility is the fear of
the Lord (Proverbs 12:4). ' The fear of sin leads to saintliness, as it says, Then
thou spokest in a vision to thy saints1 (Psalm 89:20). ' Saintliness leads to the holy
spirit, as it says, Then thou spokest in a vision to thy saints.
The holy spirit leads to the resurrection, as it says, And I will put My
spirit in you and ye shall live (Ezekiel 37:14). The resurrection leads to Elijah
the prophet, of blessed memory, as it says, Behold I will send you Elijah the
prophet, etc. (Malachi 3:23). R. Mathna said: That which wisdom has made a crown to her
head, humility has made a shoe for her foot. That which wisdom has made a crown for
her head, as it says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm
' Humility has made a shoe for her foot, as it is written, The fear of the Lord is
the heel3 of humility (Proverbs 12:4). The resurrection will be through the agency of
Elijah the prophet it is written, Then thou shalt understand the fear of God and find
knowledge of the holy ones; this refers to the holy spirit.
R. Simon said in the name of R. Simeon b. Halafta: [Solomon resembled] a councillor
who was a great favourite at the king's court, and to whom the king once said, Ask
me for anything you want. Said the councillor to himself: If I ask for silver and
gold, he will give me. Said he: I had better ask for the king's daughter, and that
includes everything. Even so, In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night,
and God said: Ask what I shall give thee (I Kings 3:5). Said Solomon to himself: If I
ask for silver and gold and precious stones and pearls, He will give me. But what I will
do is to ask for wisdom, and that will include everything. So it says, Give thy servant
therefore an understanding heart (ib. 9). Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to him:
Solomon, thou hast asked for wisdom and thou hast not asked for wealth and
possessions and the life of thine enemies. As thou livest, wisdom and knowledge are
granted to thee, and thereby I will give thee riches and possessions. Forthwith,
Solomon awoke and, behold, it was a dream (ib. 15). R. Isaac said: [This means that] the
dream stood upon its foundation.1 If an ass brayed, he knew what it meant; if a bird
chirped, he knew what it meant. Straightway, he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark
of the covenant of the Lord and offered up burnt offerings and offered peace-offerings and
made a feast to all his servants (ib.). Said R. Eleazar: From this we learn that a feast
is made to celebrate the conclusion of the reading of the Torah.2 R. Judan said: This is
to show that whoever teaches the Torah publicly merits that the holy spirit should rest on
him. For so did Solomon; he taught, and the holy spirit rested on him, and he composed
three books, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Songs.
6. Blessed and
holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has
no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a
The description of the Millennial Temple, as found in Ezekiel chapters 40-48,
gives us the most information about events surrounding the Temple and
Priesthood at this time. The pre-eminent text on this subject is Mishkney Elyon,
(also called Secrets of the Future Temple) which is available free of
charge from www.azamra.org. Another key resource on the topic of resurrection as it relates to Messiah is The
Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai - now in reprint and available through most online
The Zohar speaks of a "garment" given to those whom are claimed by God at
the time of the resurrection. (See previous studies on the idea of a "garment for the soul.")
As mentioned, this is the time of the union of the "bride" (associated with
the number 7) and the "groom" (associated with the number 6). Interestingly,
the garment itself is given the specific God-name of "Eloah" which has a
numerical value of 42:
Zohar, Shemoth, 96b - And after some time the Holy One takes into
His own guardianship the soul, and the evil power attains mastery over the body. But
eventually body and soul become the possession of the Holy One (in the Resurrection).
She shall not go out as the menservants do. What does this mean? When
the soul emerges from the scales, and the side of righteousness rejoices, the Holy One,
blessed be He, stamps upon her the impress of a seal; and He likewise spreads about her
His costly garment-namely the Holy Name Elohah. This is indicated by the words in the
text, be-bigdo bah (when his garment is upon her, v. 8), for they signify the
costly garment (beged ) of the King. Therewith she is guarded and so cannot be delivered
to a strange nation, but only to Israel. Concerning this it is written:
He guards me like the days of Elohah” (Job 29:2). It is also of this
mystery that we read here: To sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power,
seeing he hath put his garment upon her. As long as this costly garment of the King
adorns her, what power can the evil side have over her?
1. From http://www.kabbalaonline.org/MajorConcepts/messianicera/Transcending_Limitations.asp