Last update: January 30, 2008
1a Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first
heaven and the first earth had passed away...
John's vision passes from the Millenial Kingdom into the Olam Haba - the world
to come. Unlike the seventh Millennium, which remains largely a physical existence, the
Olam Haba, beginning with eighth millennium (the number 8 having to do with the Sefirah
Binah and that which is beyond the physical) is likened to Gan Edan, and not revealed to
There is little in the writings of the sages on this subject - as the Talmud tells us:
Talmud, Berachoth 34b - All the prophets prophesied only for the
days of the Messiah, but as for the world to come, Eye hath not seen, oh God, beside
1b ... and there was no longer any sea.
The absence of the "sea" in this verse is indicative of the
"disappearance" of the "mixed realm," the world of Yetzirah (called
the "sea" or "watery realm" - see preevious studies.) This is the
world of angels that served to "connect" the upper spiritual world of Beriah
(the "throne room" of God) with our physical world (Asiya).
With regard to the unification of the Name of God (yud-hey-vav-hey), the world of
Yetzirah is represented by the letter vav, in between the first hey (Beriah) and the
second hey (Asiyah).
We find in the following text (based on the teachings of the Ari) this
idea of the lack of necessity of this intermediate realm (the sea) and a direct connection
between God and man coming after the soul is released (from hades/sheol, its
"temporary abode") and resurrects.
This is spoken of in terms of the letter vav (the "sea") no longer being
In the Ultimate Future, after the soul returns from its temporary abode in the
afterlife and is resurrected in the rectified physical world, there will be no need for
the soul to experience such "processed" divine consciousness, i.e. there will be
no need for the name Havayah to be spelled out. The hei's of the name will be able to
experience the yud and vav directly, and in fact the vav will not be necessary. In the
Future, the name Havayah will be spelled yud-hei-yud-hei, indicating that both thought and
speech will be able to express divine consciousness in its fullest form. This is alluded
to in the verse, "On that day, G-d [yud-hei-vav-hei] will be [spelled
yud-hei-yud-hei] one, and His Name will be one." (Zechariah 14:9) 2
The following text eloquently speaks of the dramatic change from our current existence
to that of the Olam Haba:
Zohar, Bereshith, 124a - For that grade that intones the chant,
for on that grade He supports Himself, as it were, by His right hand and by His left hand.
When will that Psalm (98:1) be chanted? When the dead will come to life and rise from the
dust; then there will be something new that had never yet been in the world. Said R.
Jose: When the Holy One will avenge Israel on the nations, then will this Psalm be
chanted. For after the resurrection of the dead the world will be perfectly renewed, and
will not be as before, when death prevailed in the world through the influence of the
serpent, through whom the world was defiled and disgraced. Observe this. It is written,
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman (Genesis 3:15). The term ebah
(enmity) is akin to a similar word in the verse, they are passed away as the ships
of ebeh (Job 9:26), for on the great ocean there float numerous ships and boats of
many kinds, and those in which the serpent sails are called ships of ebeh
(enmity). The woman referred to here is the God-fearing woman; thy
seed refers to the idolatrous nations; her seed to Israel; he
shall bruise thy head, to wit, the Holy One, who will one day destroy him, as it is
written: He will swallow up death for ever (Isaiah 25:8), and also, and
I will cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land (Zechariah 13:2). In
the head means in the time to come when the dead will come to life; for then the
world will be the head, since it will be established by the head,
that is, the supernal world. In the heel means now in this world, which is
merely heel and not endowed with permanence, and so the serpent bites and
mankind is in disgrace. See, now, a man's days were created and are located in the
supernal grades, but when they draw to the end of their term, when they reach the
Scriptural limit of threescore and ten (Psalm 90:10), there remains then no grade any more
for them to abide in, and so their pride is but travail and vanity (Ibid.),
and they are as nought. Not so the days of the righteous.
2 I saw the Holy
City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride
beautifully dressed for her husband.
One may ask, If the "bride" is associated with the Sefirah of Malkut and the
"New Jerusalem in Heaven" is associated with the Sefirah of Binah, then why is
Binah also called the bride?
The answer is that the Shekinah, the Divine Presense, has both an "earthly"
(Malkut) and heavenly (Binah) aspect to it, often called "the lower and upper
mother," among other names.
The following texts all discuss this idea in various contexts:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 159b - For the Shekinah is both here
below and on high. The Shekinah on high abides in the twelve holy chariots and the twelve
supernal Hayyoth; the lower Shekinah is among the twelve holy tribes, and thus the upper
Shekinah and the lower Shekinah are intertwined, and both operate together and
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 25a - The glory of the Lord is the lower
Shekinah; his place is the upper Shekinah.
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 29b - WHICH SHALL GO UP AND COME INTO
THINE HOUSE. R. Simeon quoted here the verse: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation
and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, because they were not (Jeremiah
31:15). The Community of Israel is called Rachel, as it says, As a
sheep (rahel) before her shearers is dumb (Isaiah 8:7). Why dumb? Because when other
nations rule over her the voice departs from her and she becomes dumb. Ramah
(lit. high) refers to the Jerusalem which is above. Rachel weeping for her
children: as long as Israel is in exile, Rachel weeps, for she is their Mother.
She refuseth to be comforted over her children for he (singular) is not: it
ought to be they are not (enam); why is the singular used? Because it refers
to Israel's Spouse (God), who is her Voice, and has departed from her and they
live in separation. It was not once only that Rachel wept over Israel, but whenever they
are in exile she weeps over them so.
This next citation expresses the union of the upper and lower Shekinah in terms of the
union of the bride and groom coming at the time of the seventh millennium:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 50b - R. Simeon further gave an
exposition of the verse: The Lord said unto my lord, Sit at my right hand until I make
thine enemies thy footstool (Psalm 110:1). The Lord saith unto my lord:
to wit, the upper grade said to the lower, sit at my right hand, in
order that the West should be linked with the South and the Left with the Right so as to
break the power of the Gentiles. Or again, The Lord is (the celestial) Jacob,
and to my lord is the ark of the covenant, the lord of all the
earth (Joshua 3:11). According to another explanation, the Lord refers
to the Jubilee and my lord to the Sabbatical Year (cf. Exodus 21:5, I
love my lord). The words sit at my right hand are appropriate, because
the Right is located in the Jubilee, and the Sabbatical Year craves to be linked with the
Right. When it first came into being, the Sabbatical Year was not linked securely (to the
supreme power) through either the Right or the Left. So when it sought to secure itself,
the supreme power stretched forth its right arm to meet it and created this world. It is
because it is from the side of the Left that it has no sure basis till the time of the
seventh millennium, when at length it will be linked through the Right. Then the
Sabbatical Year, between the Right and the Left, will be securely based, there will be a
new heaven and a new earth, and it will not depart from there for ever. According to this
explanation, we must take the words sit at my right hand to refer only to a
specified period, viz. till I make thine enemies thy footstool, but not in
perpetuity; for when that event has come to pass, it will not depart from there for ever,
as it is written, for thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the
left (Isaiah 54:3), all being united. Similarly we can interpret the text the
heavens and the earth to mean that the higher Shekinah and the lower Shekinah will
be joined in the union of male and female; this has already been explained, as the
colleagues have noted.
3 And I heard a
loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will
live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their
The connection between the union of spiritual Bride and Groom and the union between God
and His people is described in this section of the Zohar:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 8a - R. Simeon opened his discourse
thus: The heavens declare the glory of God, etc. (Psalm 19:2). He said: The inner
meaning of this verse is as follows. When the bride awakes on the morn of her wedding day,
she begins to prepare her ornaments and decorations with the aid of the companions who
have rejoiced with her all that night, as she with them. On that day there assemble in her
honour hosts upon hosts, awaiting each one of those who have helped in her adornment on
the previous night. As soon as the bride beholds her spouse, the heavens declare the
glory of God. The heavens are the bridegroom, who enters under the
bridal canopy. Declare (meSaPeRim) signifies that they radiate a brilliance
like that of a sapphire, sparkling and scintillating from one end of the world to the
other. The glory of El (God) signifies the glory of the bride which is called
El (God), as it is written and El (God) hath indignation every day (Psalm
7:12); all the days of the year it is called El (God), but now when she enters under the
bridal canopy it is called Glory. It is also at the same time still called El (God),
signifying glory on glory, splendour on splendour, and dominion on dominion. Thus, at that
time when heaven enters into the canopy and irradiates her, all those companions who
joined in her adornment have their names recorded there above, as it is written, and
the firmament showeth his handiwork (Ibid. 19:2), the words his
handiwork being an allusion to those who have entered into a covenant with the
bride. The confederates of the covenant are called the works of his hands, as
we read the work of our hands establish thou it (Psalm 90:17) This is an
allusion to the covenant that is engraven on man's body.
4 He will wipe
every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for
the old order of things has passed away."
With the flow of blessing unhindered (by evil, the mixed realm, etc) all is restored.
This is directly related to the "return" of the "River of Eden" which
is discussed in chapter 22.
Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, 15b - We have learnt as follows.
From the side of the Mother issue emissaries of punishment who are armed with the clubs of
Geburah (Severity), and prevail over Mercy, and then the worlds are defective and there is
conflict between them. But when men amend their ways below, punishment is mitigated and
removed, and mercy is awakened and prevails over the evil which arose from stern
judgement, and then there is joy and consolation, as it is written, And the Lord was
comforted of the evil (Exodus 32:14). When judgement is mitigated, all the Crowns
return to their places and the keys are restored to the Mother, and this is called
repentance (teshubah, lit. returning), and the world is forgiven, since the Mother is in
5 He who was
seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said,
"Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me:
"It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is
thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
The Unity that was at the beginning ("Alpha" - Hebrew: Aleph) and the Unity
found at the end ("Omega" - Hebrew: Tav) come "full circle." As it is
said, "Keter is in Malkut, and Malkut is in Keter."
This concept of completion is similar to the soul's journey from its spiritual root,
into this world, then back:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 236a - R. Eleazar put the following
question to R. Simeon. Since it is known to God that men will die, why does He send
souls down into the world? He answered: This question has been discussed many
times by the teachers, and they have answered it thus. God sends souls down to this world
to declare His glory and takes them back afterwards. This mystery can be explained from
the verse: Drink water from thy cistern and flowing streams from the midst of thy
well (Proverbs 5:15). As we have laid down, the term cistern designates
the place from which the waters do not naturally flow. But they do flow when the soul is
perfected in this world and ascends to the place to which it is attached, for then it is
complete on all sides, above and below. When the soul ascends, the desire of the female is
stirred towards the male, and then water flows from below upwards, and the cistern becomes
a well of flowing waters, and then there is union-and foundation and desire and friendship
and harmony, since through the soul of the righteous that place has been completed, and
the supernal love and affection has been stirred to form a union.
7 He who
overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
The Zohar, commenting on Exodus 15 (the "Song by the Sea"), discusses the
"double meaning" of that verse and its future application to those who overcome
at the end of days inheriting all with God:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 57b - THY RIGHT HAND, O LORD, GLORIFIED IN
POWER, THY RIGHT HAND DASHES IN PIECES THE ENEMY. The form ne'ddari
(glorified) instead of ne'ddar suggests a plural, referring as it does to the
joining of the Left Hand with the Right. Said R. Simeon: It is as we have explained.
Just as man was divided physically, in order that he should receive a wife and both
together form one body, so the Right Hand was divided, as it were, in order that it might
take unto itself the Left and both become one, and therefore it is that God smites and
heals with one and the same Hand. Note that this whole song has a reference both to the
time of its composition and to the future; hence it does not say hath dashed,
but dashes (tirtaz, lit. will dash), i.e. when the Messiah shall arise. The
same applies to the following verse: In the fulness of thy majesty thou wilt
overthrow (taharos) thine opponents; thou wilt send forth (teshalah) thy wrath; it will
devour them like stubble. Thus the words, Thy right hand, O Lord, glorified in
power, refers to this time, to this world; the words Thy right hand will dash
the enemy to the time of the Messiah; ln the fulness of thy majesty thou wilt
overthrow thine opponents to the time of Gog and Magog; Thou wilt send forth
thy wrath, it will devour them like stubble to the time of the resurrection, of
which it says, and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).
Blessed are those who will be left in the world at that time. And who will they be? None
will remain, except the circumcised who have accepted upon themselves the sign of the holy
covenant and have entered into this holy covenant in its two parts, [Tr. note: i.e. the
actual circumcision and the peri'ah, or folding back of the flesh.] as we have pointed
out, and have guarded the covenant against contact with an alien sphere. These will remain
and their names will be written to life eternal, as it says: And it
shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall
be called holy, even everyone that is written to life in Jerusalem
(Isaiah 4:3). Zion and Jerusalem symbolize the two grades
(Foundation and Kingdom) into which he who will be circumcised shall enter. Such shall
remain at that time, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will renew the world with them and
rejoice together with them. Concerning that time it is written: May the glory of the
Lord remain for ever; may the Lord rejoice in his works (Psalm 104:31).
8 But the
cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who
practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liarstheir place will be in the fiery
lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
The idea of "categories" of sinners within Gehenna is illustrated in this
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 150b, 151a - Gehenna has seven doors which
open into seven habitations; and there are also seven types of sinners: evildoers,
worthless ones, sinners, the wicked, corrupters, mockers, and arrogant ones; and
corresponding with them are the habitations in Gehenna, for each kind a particular place,
all according to grade. And over each habitation a special angel is appointed, all being
under the direction of Duma, who has thousands and myriads of angels under him, to punish
sinners according to their deserts.
9 One of the
seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me,
"Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10 And he carried
me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City,
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
The concept of "as above so below" (i.e., Jerusalem) is expounded in this
text which discusses the hidden meaning of the cave of "Machpelah":
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 128b - R. Eleazar asked his father, R.
Simeon, for an explanation of the term Machpelah (lit. twofold, or
folded). How is it, he said, that first it is written
the cave of Machpelah, and subsequently the cave of the field of
Machpelah, implying that the field and not the cave was Machpelah
(doubled)? R. Simeon replied: The term Machpelah belongs properly neither to
the cave nor to the field, but to something else with which both were connected. The cave
belongs to the field, and the field to something else. For the whole of the Land of Israel
and of Jerusalem is folded up beneath it, since it exists both above and below, in the
same way as there is a Jerusalem both above and below, both of the same pattern. The
Jerusalem above has a twofold attachment, above and below; similarly the Jerusalem below
is linked to two sides, higher and lower. Hence it is folded in two; and that field
partakes of the same character, seeing that it is therein situated. The same reference is
contained in the passage, as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed
(Genesis 27:27), to wit, both above and below. Hence its name, field of
folding, but not folded field. Further, the esoteric implication of the
term Machpelah relates it to the Divine Name, in which the letter He is doubled, though
both are as one. It is, indeed, true that the cave was a twofold one, a cave within a
cave, yet the name cave of the field of Machpelah has a different connotation,
as already explained. Abraham, on his part, who knew its true character, in speaking to
the children of Heth called it simply cave of Machpelah, as if to imply merely
double cave, which it also was in fact. Scripture, however, describes it as
the cave of the field of Machpelah, this being its true description. For the
Holy One has disposed all things in such a way that everything in this world should be a
replica of something in the world above, and that the two should be united so that His
glory should be spread above and below. Happy the portion of the righteous in whom the
Holy One finds pleasure both in this world and in the world to come!
11 It shone with
the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a
jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a
great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were
written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
13 There were
three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
14 The wall of
the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the
All in fulfillment of the prophet Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 48:32-35 - And the gates of the city shall be after the
names of the tribes of Israel; three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of
Judah, one gate of Levi. And at the east side there is a measure of four thousand and five
hundred; and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan.
And at the south side there is a measure of four thousand and five hundred; and three
gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. At the west side
there is a measure of four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of
Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. It shall be eighteen thousand measures
around; and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there.
The twelve "gates/foundations" are found expressed as adornment of the Matron
(Jerusalem) in this passage:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 240b - Observe this. The twelve tribes
are the adornment of the Matron. When Jacob was about to depart from the world, and saw
that he was perfected on every side, with Abraham at his right, Isaac at his left, himself
in the centre, and the Shekinah in front of him, he called his sons round him in order
that both the lower and the upper might be fitly adorned.
The number twelve is well associated with Israel and the ideas of "stones,"
"foundations" and fourfold division (according to the cardinal points). This is
seen in the following texts, relating to a number of varied concepts:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 24b - Fire, air, water, and earth
are originally all united one with the other, and there is no separation between them. But
when the earth-dust began to generate its products were no longer united like the supernal
elements, as it says: From thence it was parted and became into four heads
(Genesis 2:10). In this was separation; for the earthy, when it generated in the power of
the three upper elements, brought forth four streams, where precious stones are found.
These precious stones are twelve in number, distributed in all the four cardinal
directions, and corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel: And the stones shall
be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names
(Exodus 28:2I). Observe that though all these supernal sides of which we spoke are united
and bound up one with another, and form the foundation of things above and things below,
yet is air (spirit) superior to them all, as it is the substance of all, without which
nothing would live, and the soul exists only through the spirit, for if the air were to
fail, even for a moment, the soul would not be. This is hinted in the words: Also
when the soul is without knowledge it is not good (Proverbs 19:2): soul without
spirit is not good, and cannot exist. Note, further, that those twelve stones
correspond to the twelve oxen under the sea of brass which was in the Temple (I Kings
7:25). Therefore the princes, the heads of the tribes, sacrificed twelve oxen (Numbers
7:3). All this is a deep mystery, and he who comprehends these words comprehends a mystery
of the supernal wisdom, in which is the root of all things.
The Community of Israel:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 242a - According to another explanation,
the daughters of Jerusalem are the twelve tribes, as we have learnt that
Jerusalem is established on twelve rocks, three on each side (wherefore it is called Hayah
(living one), and these are called the daughters of Jerusalem, and they
testify to the King concerning the Community of Israel, as it is written: The tribes
of the Lord are a testimony unto Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord
The High Priest:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 229b,230a - Now, these supernal twelve
holy tribes were symbolized by the twelve sacred stones. For the twelve tribes below were
the counterpart of those on high, and their names were all engraven on those stones, so
that they were carried by the High Priest. When Jacob was on his way to Haran, Scripture
says of him, and he took some of the stones of the place, and put them under his
head (Genesis 28:11). These were the twelve sacred stones, which were made into one,
as we read later, and this stone (Ibid. 22). All the twelve stones were
absorbed in the one supreme sacred stone that is over them all, of which it is thus
written, and this stone which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house
(Ibid). Hence the High Priest had to put them on his heart as a perpetual reminder of
them, as Scripture says: And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel...
upon his heart... for a memorial before the Lord continually (Exodus 28:29). In all
this the number twelve is of recondite significance: there are twelve stones of a supernal
order in the upper world, concealed in a profound and holy mystery. These form the essence
of the Torah; proceeding from a small, still voice, [Tr. note: Binah.] as said elsewhere.
There is an order of another twelve hidden in a lower world, [Tr. note: The world of
Creation.] after the pattern of the former, but which proceed from a different voice,
designated Stone, as hinted in the words from thence, from the Shepherd, the Stone
of Israel (Ibid. 49:24). This is also the inner significance of the
verse: And thither were all the flocks gathered, and they rolled the stone... and
put the stone again... in its place (Ibid. 19:3). By the stone here is
meant the Shekinah, called tried stone, the stone of Israel, which
Israel roll along and take with them into exile, and then put the stone again in its
place. And so, after the name of the Shekinah all Israel are termed
stones. There are, moreover, stones and stones. There are stones which form
the foundation of a house, of which Scripture says, And the king commanded, and they
quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with hewn
stone (I Kings 5:31); and there are precious supernal stones, to wit, those twelve
stones. These are ranged in four orders, of three each, toward the four directions of the
world. After the same pattern was the arrangement of the standards in the journey of the
Israelites in the wilderness, where the twelve tribes were formed into groups of three
each on each of the four cardinal points. Observe that when the High Priest was wearing
the twelve stones fixed on the breastplate and the ephod, the Shekinah hovered over him.
These twelve stones had engraved on them the names of the twelve tribes, each stone
bearing the name of one of them. The letters were sunk, but when the stones shone they
stood out and became luminous, spelling out what was required. Now, in all the names of
the tribes the letters heth and teth were not to be found, for the reason that the tribes
were without sin (H e T). Said R. Hezekiah: This is reasonable as regards the
heth, but not so in regard to the teth, since it is the initial of tob (good); and,
further, we have learned that the letter teth seen in a dream is a good omen, since at the
beginning of the Torah it is written, And the Lord saw the light that it was
good (Genesis 1:4). Why, then, is that letter absent from the names of the
tribes? R. Hiya said in reply: It is because these two letters adjoin each
other (in the alphabet), and, further, the teth is a letter hidden and withdrawn, as it is
symbolic of the light that is above other lights, of the light of which it is written,
And the Lord saw the light that it was good. Hence it is the light of all the
tribes together, and it could not be engraven on any of them. And, in addition, all the
twelve tribes sprang from a certain undisclosed Apartment which is symbolized by the
letter teth, and so, symbolizing as it does the undisclosed, this letter could not be made
to be seen among them. Observe that all those stones possessed miraculous powers. Thus,
when they became luminous, the face of the High Priest was likewise illumined, and at the
same time the luminous letters stood out. The shining of the High Priest's face was a sign
for all that the luminous letters were of a favourable significance; thereby it was known
whether the High Priest was righteous or not.
Jacob and the order in which he placed his sons:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 235a,b - Observe that Reuben and all the
rest of the twelve tribes were linked with the Shekinah, and when Jacob saw the Shekinah
by him, he called to his twelve sons to join it. From the beginning of the world there was
never so perfect a couch as that of Jacob when he was about to depart from the world.
Abraham was on his right, Isaac on his left, and he was Iying between them with the
Shekinah in front of him. When Jacob saw this, he called his sons and placed them round
the Shekinah and arranged them in perfect order, so that the gathering was complete and
many supernal chariots encompassed them. They then exclaimed: Thine, O Lord, is the
greatness and the power and the glory, etc. (I Chronicles 29:11), whereupon the sun
joined the moon and the east drew near to the west, and the moon was illumined and
attained fullness, and so, as tradition tells us, Jacob our father did not
die. When Jacob saw such perfection as had never been vouchsafed to any other man,
he rejoiced and praised God and blessed each of his sons with the appropriate blessing.
The lower world being patterned on the upper:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 155a - Observe further that all the
twelve tribes are the integral parts of the Community of Israel in this world, to give
full strength to the supernal light, enveloped in blackness, and restore the root
principle of the Whole to its place. All the worlds are built on the same pattern; and
through this relation the lower world was completed on the pattern of the upper world.
The upper and lower Shekinah:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 159b - For the Shekinah is both here
below and on high. The Shekinah on high abides in the twelve holy chariots and the twelve
supernal Hayyoth; the lower Shekinah is among the twelve holy tribes, and thus the upper
Shekinah and the lower Shekinah are intertwined, and both operate together and
simultaneously. Now, when Israel is in exile, the upper Shekinah is not complete because
the lower Shekinah is not complete, and that is what is meant by the Shekinah being in
exile when Israel is in exile. It is like a king who has lost a son, and who as a sign of
his mourning turns over his couch and spreads thistles and thorns on its underside and
then lays himself down on it. Similarly when Israel went into exile and the Temple was
destroyed, God took thorns and thistles and put them underneath Him, as it were, as it is
written: And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the
midst of a thorn-bush (Exodus 3:2), the reason being that Israel was in exile.
Spiritual connections between various stones:
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 231b - That stone we have mentioned is a
goodly stone, and it is hinted at in the verse And thou shalt set in it a setting of
stone, four rows of stone (Exodus 28:17), because there is another stone of which it
is written And I shall remove the heart of stone, etc. (Ezekiel 36:26). The
two tablets of stone were also hewn from this stone; and this was also called the
stone of Israel (Genesis 49:24), as has been explained. R. Hizkiah quoted the verse:
And the stone shall be according to the names of the children of Israel,
twelve (Exodus 28:21). He said: These are the precious supernal stones which
are called the stones of the place (Genesis 28:11). They were according
to the names of the children of Israel because just as there are twelve tribes
below, so there are twelve tribes above, which are twelve precious stones; and therefore
it is written: Whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, for a
testimony unto Israel (Psalm 112:4), the reference being to the supernal Israel.
Further, just as there are twelve hours in the day, so there are twelve hours in the
night, in the day above and in the night below, each corresponding to each. These twelve
hours of the night are divided into three sets, to each of which belong hierarchies of
angels, which take their portion first. Hence, at midnight two ranks stand on one side and
two on the other, and a celestial spirit goes forth between them and then all the trees in
the garden break forth into song and God enters the garden, as it says: Then do all
the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he cometh to judge the earth
(I Chronicles 16:33), because judgement enters among them and the Garden of Eden is filled
therewith. Then the north wind springs up, bringing joy in its train, and it blows through
the spice trees and wafts their perfume, and the righteous put on their crowns and feast
themselves on the brightness of the pellucid mirror-happy are they to be
vouchsafed that celestial light! The light of this mirror shines on all sides, and each
one of the righteous takes his appropriate portion, each according to his works in this
world; and some of them are abashed because of the superior light obtained by their
Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 147b,148a - AND HE TOOK OF THE STONES OF
THE PLACE . This is an allusion to the twelve precious and wondrous stones of the upper
layer, of which it is written, Take you... twelve stones (Joshua 4:3), and
underneath which there are thousands and myriads of hewn stones. Hence it says of
the stones, and not simply the stones. AND PUT THEM UNDER HIS HEAD (lit.
heads). The plural form shows that we should refer the his not to Jacob but to
the place, and understand the heads to be the four cardinal points of the
world: he arranged the stones three to the North, three to the West, three to the South,
and three to the East, and that place or spot was above them so that it should be
established on them. Thereafter he LAY DOWN IN THAT PLACE TO SLEEP , for now that the
couch was properly arranged, he, namely the sun, lay down on it.
15 The angel who
talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.
16 The city was
laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and
found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
17 He measured
its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using.
The expansion of Jerusalem in the World to Come is a common theme in Hebraic writings:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 220a - They shall recognize each other,
and God will clothe every one in embroidered garments; and they will all come and offer up
thanksgiving to their Master in Jerusalem, where there will assemble multitudes upon
multitudes. Jerusalem itself will spread out in all directions, to a further extent even
than when the exiles returned there. When they assemble and offer up praises to their
Master the Holy One, blessed be He, will rejoice in them. So Scripture says: And
they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow unto the goodness of the
Lord, etc. (Jeremiah 31:12), namely, every one to his portion and the portion of his
ancestors. And the possession of Israel will extend till it will reach Damietta of the
Romans, and even there they will study the Torah. All this has already been stated, and it
is in harmony with the Scriptural passage, saying: Awake and sing, ye that dwell in
the dust, etc. (Isaiah 16:19). Blessed be the Lord for evermore! Amen and
Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs 7:11 - Jerusalem will one day
expand on all sides until it reaches the gates of Damascus, and the exiles will come and
rest under it, to fulfil what is written, And Damascus shall be His
resting-place; as if to say, As far as Damascus is His resting-place. What does R.
Johanan make of the verse, And the city shall be builded upon her own mound (Jeremiah
30:18)? [He replies]: It will be like a fig-tree which is narrow below and broad above.1
So Jerusalem will expand on all sides and the exiles will come and rest beneath it, to
fulfil what is said, For thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left
(Isaiah 54:3). This proves expansion in length. What is the proof for breadth? Because it
says, From the tower of Hananel unto the king's winepresses (Zechariah 14:10). R. Zakkai
Rabbah said: Up to the pits of Ripa; up to the winepresses which the supreme King of
kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, pressed. So much for the length and breadth of it.
What about the height? Because it says, And the side-chambers were broader as they wound
about higher and higher (Ezekiel 41:7). It was taught: Jerusalem is destined to expand and
ascend until it reaches the Throne of Glory, until it will say, ' The place is too strait
for me; [give place to me that I may dwell] (Isaiah 49:20).1 R. Jose b. R. Jeremiah
said: We have still not learnt the whole of the glory of Jerusalem. Whence do you learn
its full glory? From [what is said of] its walls, as it says, For I, saith the Lord, will
be unto her a wall of fire round about (Zechariah 2:9).
18 The wall was
made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first
foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth
sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz,
the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve
gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city
was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I did not see
a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
The purpose of the Temple was to make the connection between the physical world and the
spiritual worlds. As this division no longer exists, there is no purpose for a temple.
23 The city does
not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the
Lamb is its lamp.
This "light of the Bride" comes with the arrival of Messiah, resurrection of
the dead and return of the River of Eden:
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 54a,b - THEN SANG MOSES AND THE CHILDREN
OF ISRAEL THIS SONG UNTO THE LORD. Said R. Abba: I have examined all the songs which
Israel sang unto the Holy One, and I find that all of them began with then
(az) (Cf Joshua 10:12; I Kings 8:12; Numbers 21:17.) The reason for this is that all the
wonders, and all the mighty deeds which were done to Israel when the light of the Holy
Ancient One shone in His crowns, are engraved in the letters Aleph and Zain[Tr. note:
Aleph symbolizes the first Sephirah, and Zain the seventh (after the first three), and
when the light of the Crown-the first Sephirah-illumines the seventh, namely
Malkuth-Kingdom, the power of God is manifested.]. Then there is song, the song of all
sides. Yashir (lit. will sing): the tense suggests that this song fitted that
occasion and will also fit the future Redemption, when it will again be sung by Israel.
The expression Moses and Israel proves that the righteous of the past ages,
although they have entered into the highest regions and are united with the Bundle
of life, will all rise again in bodily form and behold the signs and mighty works
which the Holy One shall show to Israel, and sing this hymn. R. Simeon established
this fact by the following verse: And it shall come to pass in that day that the
Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the rest of his people
(Isaiah 11:11). The rest , he said, are the
remnant, the righteous, like Eldad and Medad, who remained in the camp
(Numbers 11:26), the righteous of whom it has been said that the world is sustained by
them, who make themselves mere remainders, as it were. It is they who will be
brought to life again at the future Redemption. And why? Are they not already bound up
with the Bundle of life? Why bring them down to earth again? Let the
experience of the past give the answer. It has pleased the Holy One, in former time, to
send down to earth those spirits and souls who belonged to the highest supernal grade.
Should He not, then, let the spirits of the righteous men come down again in the future
when He will make the crooked straight (i.e. redeem the world)? For, indeed, there
is not a righteous man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not (Ecclesiastes
7:20). And even the sinless ones who only died because of the counsel of the
Serpent [Tr..note: T. B., Sabb. 55b, Benjamin, Amram, Jishai, and Kaleb, David's
son, were sinless and died not for their own sins, but because of the serpent's
counsel, i.e. of original sin] will arise and be counsellors to the
Messiah. Moses and the children of Israel will sing this song. The same is
implied in the words: As in the days of thy going out of the land of Egypt will I
show unto him marvellous things (Micah 7:15), where the him refers to
Moses. Also: I will show him the salvation of God (Psalm 50:24); I will
show him my salvation (Ibid. 91:16). Moses and the children of Israel will then sing
this song unto the Lord: the song of the Matrona to the Holy One, blessed be
He. We have been taught that every one who sings this hymn daily with true devotion will
be worthy to sing it at the Redemption that is to be, for it refers both to the past world
and to the future world; it contains confirmations of faith and mysteries relating to the
days of the Messiah. The Shekinah will sing this song to the Lord, because the King will
receive Her with a radiant countenance. R. Jose said that the Shekinah will praise the
Lord for all the concentration of light and holiness which the Holy King shall direct
towards her. Said R. Judah: If this is the song of the Shekinah, why does it say
that Moses and the children of Israel sang it? Blessed were they that they knew how to
praise Him for all the power and might which the Shekinah receives and shall receive from
Him, the Holy King! According to R. Abba, the singing is to be directed, not to any
of the emanations of the Deity, but to the Holy King in His very essence, as it says,
concerning the song of Moses and the children of Israel, that they sang to the
Lord.R. Jose said that the words this song to the Lord refer to the
river that issues forth from Eden (Genesis 2:10), from which all the abundance
of oil issues to kindle the lights; whereas the words I will sing unto the
Lord (Ibid.) refer to the Supernal Holy King. AND SPAKE, SAYING.: this repetition
denotes that it is to be sung in all generations, in order that it should never be
forgotten, for he who is worthy to sing this song in this world shall be worthy to sing it
in the world to come, and to declare praises with it in the days of the Messiah, when the
Community of Israel will rejoice in the Holy One. Saying means saying at the
time of the Exodus, saying when Israel was in the Holy Land, saying in exile, saying when
Israel will be redeemed, saying in the world to come. I WILL SING UNTO THE LORD. As stated
above, they spoke in the name of the Shekinah, hence the singular. To the
Lord-to the Holy King. For highly exalted is He (gaoh gaah): He ascends to be
crowned with His crowns in order to dispense blessings, and perform wonderful works, and
to be exalted in and through all; exalted in this world, exalted likewise in the world to
come; exalted in order that He may crown Himself with His crowns and be glorified in
The light of God illuminates existence as it was from the time of Creation:
The future kingdom that we hope for has to be one where the people are with
the king, and together with the king we are all in a state that is before the
contraction of Gods infinite light." 3
... to give light on earth. (Genesis 1:17) Rabbi Yitzchak said: It is
written, "The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun; the light of the
sun shall be sevenfold the light of seven days." (Isaiah 30:26) Which "seven
days" are these? The seven days of Creation. According to this view, the verse from
Isaiah explains that the light of the moon which will be revealed in the future (see Zohar
I, p. 45b; III, p. 93a) will equal the light of the sun now, whereas the light of the sun
will be seven times greater than the light which was revealed during the seven days of
Creation. Accordingly, the moon will still be subservient to the sun. Rabbi Yehuda said:
This refers to the seven days of inauguration [miluim, of the First Temple]. Accordingly,
in the future, the light of the moon will equal the light of the sun, and both will be
sevenfold the light that was revealed during the inauguration of the First Temple.
Accordingly, the moon will not need to receive its light from the sun, for it too will be
a luminary. Certainly [the verse refers to] the seven days of inauguration, for then the
world will be completely rectified and the moon will return to its fullness without
blemish [just as it was in the days of the First Temple] Note that the word miluim
literally mans "fulfillment". And when will this be? At the time of which it is
written, "He will destroy death forever" (Isaiah 25:8) [and life will be
eternal]. "On that day G-d will be One and His Name One." (Zachariah 14:9) 4
24 The nations
will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
25 On no day will
its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
26 The glory and
honor of the nations will be brought into it.
27 Nothing impure
will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those
whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Nothing impure can enter as nothing impure exists any longer. Anything not found in the
"Book of Life" has been done away with - the energy from its nefesh being
redistributed in some fashion - as mentioned in the previous chapter notes.
Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, 38a - The Holy One, blessed be He, built
Jerusalem below as a counterpart of the Jerusalem above. He made the walls of the city and
the gates thereof holy. None may enter the city unless the gates be opened for him, nor
ascend unless the steps of the walls are firm.
1. See also: http://www.kabbalaonline.org/MajorConcepts/messianicera/Stages_in_Redemption.asp
2. From http://www.kabbalaonline.org/WeeklyTorah/Ari/Caves_and_Kingship.asp
3. From http://www.inner.org/times/kislev/yatkislev/68-0319.php
4. From http://www.kabbalaonline.org/WeeklyTorah/Zohar/Shining_Like_the_Sun.asp