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(Last updated 8/30/00)

The subjects of Ezekiel's Chariot  and the Shekinah were discussed in previous sections. The reader may wish to revisit those portions when reviewing the material in this part of our study.


As discussed in our previous sections on Ezekiel's Chariot, the vision the prophet saw was of the angelic realm that "supported" the throne of God. These angels (Seraphim and Ophanim) worked as messengers for God, carrying out His will on the earth. (This was discussed in our study on angels.) As the angels are so close to God and directly involved in serving Him, they are considered to be "part of" of the sephirot of Netzah (on the merciful "right side," made up of the "Hosts of YHWH," generally used by God to bring blessings), and Hod, (on the left side, made up of the "Hosts of ELOHIM," generally used by God to bring judgment.)

The following commentary on the Shema, from the Zohar, mentions Ezekiel's chariot and brings forth a relationship between seventy names and two other names. The seventy are associated with the angelic beings who watch over the nations, and also defend the Shekinah from the nations and the (evil) powers associated with them. These seventy angelic beings were mentioned earlier in our study on the Shekinah and the Menorah. The two other names in this section are related to the Shekinah and to Tipheret. This combination of the heavenly hosts, the Shekinah, and Tipheret (amounting to 70+1+1), brings us to the 72-letter name of God. It would seem that this name is associated with God in His fully unified state, which occurs with the establishment of His Kingdom.

The Zohar section also addresses the interesting fact that in the Torah, the last letter of the first word (the "a" in Shema, which is the Ayin) and the last letter of the last word (the "d" in Echad, which is the Dalet), are both written very large. These two letter combined spell 'ed, which means "witness." Hence, the Shema acts as a witness through time:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 160b-161b - R. Hiya and R. Jose were walking together. Said R. Jose: ‘Let us now think on spiritual matters and talk on the words of the Torah.’ He thereupon began by pointing out that three passages are introduced by the words, Hear, O Israel. "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One" (Deut. VI, 4); "Hear, O Israel, this day thou hast become a people to the Lord thy God" (Ibid. XXVII, 9); and "Hear, O Israel, thou art to pass the Jordan this day" (Ibid. LX, I). ‘Why’, he said, ‘did Moses commence in each of these cases with the word "hear"? In the first, indeed, the word seems appropriate, but what is its point in the other two cases? The truth is that in all three passages it is meant to teach a special lesson. This is obvious in the case of the first, where the word "hear" indicates the unity in the supernal Wisdom of what is above and what is below. The word Shema’ consists of shem (name) and ‘ain (seventy), indicating the combination of this Name and the other seventy from whence it derives blessing. At the recitation of the Shema’, therefore, one must concentrate attention on this union of all the Divine names. For these seventy Names constitute the mystery of the supernal Chariot from whence that Name receives blessing and in which it is contained. Then comes the word Israel, referring, as we have learnt, to "Ancient Israel" (Tifereth), so that this emanation may also be included. So "Hear, O Israel," signifies the union of the Spouse with her Husband (i.e. Malkuth with Tifereth), so that all is in all, and all is one.

... At the time of the recitation of the Shema, a man has to be prepared to proclaim the unity of the Divine Name and to accept the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. On the head of him who thus recites the Shema, to accept the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Shekinah rests-a witness to testify of him before the Holy King that twice daily does he declare the Unity of the Name, and thus, consciously, unite the Above and the Below. Therefore is the letter ‘ain of the Shema written large, and also the daleth, of the ehad (one), which, when put together, make the word ‘ed (witness): a witness before the Holy King. The mystery contained in the words, "The Lord our God, the Lord", the mystery of the Unity in three aspects (lit. "in three sides") has often been referred to by the Holy Lamp (R. Simeon), and we are not permitted to enlarge upon what he has said. However, certain it is, that upon the head of the man who unifies the Name of the Holy One above and below, the Shekinah descends to rest, and to bless him with seven blessings, and to proclaim concerning him: "Thou art my servant, Israel, in whom I am glorified" (Isa. XLIX, 3).’

The Zohar makes another connection to Ezekiel's Chariot, linking it to the "Holy One" of Proverbs chapter 30 (Who has a "Son" [Proverbs 30:4] directly associated with Tipheret). The following reference is an allusion to the Millennium, when the Name of God as well as His creation will all be unified:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 197b - According to another exposition: "Who hath ascended up into heaven?" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, the allusion being contained in the word Mi (Who?), as explained elsewhere. Here in this passage is contained the mystery of the Divine Chariot, consisting of the four directions of the world which are the four primordial elements, all of which depend on that supernal region called Mi (Who?), as already said. ‘Observe this. When the hour arrives at which it pleases the Holy One, blessed be He, to unify the Supernal Chariot, [Tr. note: Al. "to combine the Supernal Chariot with the Lower Chariot".] a voice issues from that divine supernal region called Heaven to assemble all the saints beneath and all the holy chiefs and supernal legions, so that they should all be in readiness together.

The voice that calls the saints and angels together in the Zohar passage above, is quite similar to that found in Revelation:

Revelation 19:1-9 - And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.


The Zohar's comments on Ezekiel's vision provide us with a link between the Chariot and the Shekinah (also called the Matrona). Ezekiel's vision was actually one representing the unity of God (i.e., the "Godhead" or "Tree of Life"), from the aspect of the Shekinah "being raised up." It is further taught here that this was the mystical meaning to the heave offering:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 198a - "the Lord's heave-offering" indicates the Divine Throne, so called because they raise it and cause it to ascend on high. [Tr. note: i.e. from the world of beriah to the world of aziluth]. And it is for this reason that Ezekiel, in his vision of the ascending Hayoth, failed to see what it was that they were taking up with them, since it was the Matrona rising to join the Most High King in hidden and supreme glory. "And let every wise-hearted among you come and make all that the Lord hath commanded." This is an allusion to the sixty well-springs that feed the world and so are enjoined to come and bring with them from the treasury of life, by executing the commands of the Holy One, so as to benefit the world.’

As mentioned earlier in our study, though God's Name is unified in one sense (as Ezekiel was privy to), from our perspective (living in physical time) it is not. Recall that in the mystical Hebrew writings, the letters of the ineffable Name of God, Y-H-V-H (Yod, Hay, Vav, Hay), are said to be related to the various aspects of God. The first letter, the Yod, is directly associated with the unknowable God, called the En Sof. The last (or lower) Hay (or as the Zohar refers to it, the "He") is associated with the Shekina. The Zohar says that the Shekina (signified by the "He"), is in exile with Israel, and its degree of light is dependent on their faith:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 8a-10a - At the period when there is perfection, peace, and harmony, the two names are not separated one from another, and it is forbidden to separate them even in thought and imagination; but now in exile we do separate them, the Matrona from Her Spouse, as She (Shekinah) lies in dust (in exile with Israel). "Apart from thee" being far away from Thee, and being ruled by other powers, "we make mention of thy name" in separation, thy Name being separated from the Name expressed by Beka. All this in the days of exile; for the first exile began during the first Temple, and lasted seventy years, during which time the Mother (the Shekinah) did not brood over Israel, and there was a separation between the Yod and the He, the Yod ascending higher and higher to infinity (En Sof), and the holy Temple above- corresponding to the Temple below-did not send forth living waters, its source being cut off. The seventy years of the first exile corresponded to the seven years which it took to build the first Temple (I K. VI, 38). However, far be it from us to think that during that time the kingdom of Babylon had power in the heavens over Israel.

The fact is that as long as the Temple stood there was a bright light descending from the Supernal Mother, but as soon as it was destroyed, through Israel's sin, and the kingdom of Babylon got the upper hand, that light was covered up and darkness prevailed here below and the angels below ceased from giving out light, and then the power symbolized by the letter Yod of the Holy Name ascended into the upper regions, into the Infinite, and thus during the whole seventy years of exile Israel had no divine light to guide her, and, truly, that was the essence of the exile. When, however, Babylon's power was taken away from her and Israel returned to the Holy Land, a light did shine for her, but it was not as bright as before, being only the emanation of the lower He (Hay) since the whole of Israel did not return to purity to be a "peculiar people" as before. Therefore, the emanation of the supernal Yod did not descend to illumine in the same measure as before, but only a little. Hence Israel were involved in many wars until "the darkness covered the earth" and the lower He was darkened and fell to the ground, and the upper source was removed as before, and the second Temple was destroyed and all its twelve tribes went into exile in the kingdom of Edom. The He also went into exile there, and therefore the exile was prolonged.

This Zohar passage continues with a description of the arrival of the Messiah and advent of the Millennium, with language very reminiscent of that in the book of Revelation:

... ‘A mystery of mysteries has been revealed to them that are wise of heart. The He of the second Temple [the Shekniah] is in exile with her twelve tribes and their hosts. Twelve tribes form a great number, and because the mystery of the He is in them, the exile lasts during this whole number.

... From then the Holy One, blessed be He, [Tipheret] shall begin to do signs and wonders, as we have described. But over Israel those tribulations will come. After that King Messiah shall fight against the whole world, aided by the Right Hand of the Holy One.

... Then the lower He (Shekinah) shall be filled from the upper spring [see section on Rivers of Eden] (the highest Sephiroth), and be crowned and radiate in perfection until the Sabbath of the Lord arrives to gather souls in the joy of holiness throughout this whole seventh millennium. Then the holy spirits of the people of Israel at the fulness of time will be invested with new, holy bodies, and be called "Saints": "And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion and that remaineth in Jerusalem shall be called holy" (Isa. III, 4). These are the veiled mysteries.’

The depiction of the days of Messiah's return include great signs that leave no doubt as to what is occuring. A lack of interest in God's Torah, (equivalent to Yeshua's words in Luke 18:8) is also mentioned:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 9a - On that day the whole earth will be shaken from one end to the other, and thus the whole world will know that the Messiah has revealed himself in the land of Galilee. And all who are diligent in the study of the Torah-and there shall be few such in the world-will gather round him.

... On that day the Messiah will begin to gather the captives from one end of the world to the other: "If any of thine be driven out unto the utmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee" (Deut. xxx, 4). From that day on the Holy One will perform for Israel all the signs and wonders which He performed for them in Egypt: "As in the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt, will I show unto him wonders" (Micah Vll, I5).’

The marriage of the Shekina to the Messiah, and unification of the three pillars of the Godhead, is also linked to the unification of the worlds above and below.

Commenting on the Shema, the Zohar says:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 215b-217b - The term SH e M a’ (hear) is esoterically analysed into SH e M (name) and the letter ‘Ain (= 70), that is, one Name comprising seventy names whilst remaining a unity. "Israel" here signifies "Ancient Israel", [Tipheret] in contrast to "Little Israel", of whom it is written: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him" (Hos. XI, 1). "Ancient Israel" symbolizes the union of the Shekinah with her Spouse, and in pronouncing that name we have to concentrate our mind on the principle of unity, on the union of the two habitations; we have to put all our being, all the members of our body, our complete devotion, into that thought so as to rise and attach ourselves to the En-sof (Infinite), and thus achieve the oneness of the upper and the lower worlds. The words, "the Lord our God" are to reunite all the Members to the place from which they issued, which is the innermost Sanctuary. The same thought is continued in the words, "the Lord is one", in the recital of which we have to make our thoughts range throughout all the grades up to the Infinite (En-sof) in love and fear ...

This same section of the Zohar links all of creation together (regarding the word "One" in the Shema), and mentioned Ezekiel's Chariot as being a representation of this unification:

... As we have learnt, "one" alludes to above, below, and the four quarters of the universe, these being the supernal Chariot, so that all are embraced in a single unity reaching out to the En-sof (Infinite).

Continuing on the subject of the last days, the Zohar contains a very mystical passage about the arrival of Messiah, the lack of faith in the world (Luke 18:8),  the downfall of "Rome" (i.e., Edom/Babylon), and the rescue of Israel and the Shekinah to establish the Kingdom of God:

Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 212b - SEE HIM BUT NOT NOW: since some of these things were fulfilled at that time and some later, while some are left for the Messiah. We have learnt that God will one day build Jerusalem and display a certain fixed star flashing with seventy streamers and seventy flames in the midst of the firmament, and it will shine and flash for seventy days. It will appear on the sixth day of the week on the twenty-fifth of the sixth month, and will disappear on the seventh day after seventy days. On the first day it will be seen in the city of Rome, and on that day three lofty walls of that city shall fall and a mighty palace shall be overthrown, and the ruler of that city shall die. Then that star will become visible throughout the whole world. In that time mighty wars will arise in all quarters of the world, and no faith shall be found among men. When that star shines in the midst of the firmament, a certain powerful king shall arise who will seek domination over all kings and make war on two sides and prevail against them. On the day when the star disappears the Holy Land will be shaken over an area of forty-five miles all round the place where the Temple used to be, and a cave will be laid open beneath the ground from which shall issue a mighty fire to consume the world. From that cave shall spread a great and noble branch which will rule over all the world and to which shall be given the kingship, and the heavenly saints shall gather to it. Then will the King Messiah appear and the kingship shall be given to him. Mankind will then suffer one calamity after another, and the enemies of Israel will prevail, but the spirit of the Messiah shall rise against them and destroy the sinful Edom and burn in fire the land of Seir. Hence it is written, “And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession of his which were his enemies, while Israel doth valiantly”. And in that time the Holy One, blessed be He, shall raise the dead of his people, and death shall be forgotten of them.’ R. Abba said: ‘Why is it written, “For in joy ye shall go out” (Isa. LV, 12)? Because when Israel go out from captivity the Shekinah will go forth with them and they with Her.

Another blessing is found in the Zohar, for those who work to unify the Name of God. Here, the Shekinah is said to bless such a man with seven blessings. The Jewish tradition of a bride circling the groom seven times at their wedding, stems from this mystical teaching. This also adds the understanding of Yeshua's use of the wedding metaphor, concerning His future return (John 14:2).

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 9a - "The Lord our God, the Lord", the mystery of the Unity in three aspects (lit. "in three sides") has often been referred to by the Holy Lamp (R. Simeon), and we are not permitted to enlarge upon what he has said. However, certain it is, that upon the head of the man who unifies the Name of the Holy One above and below, the Shekinah descends to rest, and to bless him with seven blessings, and to proclaim concerning him: "Thou art my servant, Israel, in whom I am glorified" (Isa. XLIX, 3).’


The Song of Songs (also known as the book Song of Solomon) is considered to be a very deep esoteric writing (at the sod level) that is a story of a groom (Messiah/Tipheret) and His bride (the Shekinah/Malkut). Song of Songs is a view of what was, what is, and what is to come, and as such is related to the Yovel year (Jubilee) also is called "Holy of Holies."

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 145b - "The Holy of Holies" above is the mystery of the Supernal Wisdom and Jubilee. Corresponding to this, the Bridegroom and the Bride inherit the inheritance of Father and Mother, but in a reversed manner. The inheritance of the Father passes to the Daughter in the ascension of the Holy Name, wherefore She is also called "Holy" and "Wisdom". The possession of the Mother is inherited by the Son, and is called "the Holies", because He takes all those supernal holy attributes and gathers them up unto Himself, and then takes them to the Bride. Therefore it says: "Song of Songs": "Song" corresponding to the "Holy" and "Songs" to the "Holies", in order that both these aspects may be fused into one whole in manner due. "Which is Solomon's": as has been already pointed out, this refers to the King "whose is the peace". Yet think not that this praise is His, for it ascends to a still more supernal realm. The mystery is as follows. When the Masculine and the Feminine are united as one under the Highest King, then that Supernal King ascends and is filled with all the sanctifications and benedictions, and pours them down below, this being His great pleasure, to be filled with such sanctifications and benedictions and to pour them down below. Therefore the significance of all our prayers and praises is that by means of them the upper Fountain may be filled; for when it is so filled and attains completeness, then the universe below, and all that appertains thereto, is filled also and receives completeness from the completion which has been consummated in the upper sphere.

The world below cannot, indeed, be in a state of harmony except it receive that peace and perfection from above, even as the moon has no light in herself, but shines with the reflected radiance of the sun. All our prayers and intercessions have this purpose, namely, that the region from whence light issues may be invigorated; for then from its reflection all below is supplied. This is the whole significance of Solomon's Canticle, that "the King to whom peace belongs" may be invigorated, for when that is so, all is invigorated from His reflected glory, but otherwise there is no remedy for the moon.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 143a  - ‘On the day when this song [Song of Songs] was revealed the Shekinah descended to earth, as it is written, "And the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud." Why? Because "the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord" (I Kings VIII, 11), On that day this hymn was revealed, and Solomon sang in the power of the Holy Spirit this song wherein is to be found the summary of the whole Torah, of the whole work of Creation, of the mystery of the Patriarchs, of the story of the Egyptian exile, and the Exodus therefrom, and of the Song of the Sea. It is the quintessence of the Decalogue, of the Sinaitic covenant, of the significance of Israel's wanderings through the desert, until their arrival in the Promised Land and the building of the Temple. It contains the crowning of the Holy Name with love and joy, the prophecy of Israel's exile among the nations, of their redemption, of the resurrection of the dead, and of all else until that Day which is "Sabbath to the Lord". All that was, is, and shall be, is contained in it; and, indeed, even that which will take place on the "Seventh Day", which will be the "Lord's Sabbath", is indicated in this song. Therefore we are taught that he who recites a verse from the Song of Songs as a mere drinking song causes the Torah to dress in sackcloth and to complain before the Holy One, blessed be He: "Thy children have turned me into an amusement for a drinking bout." Yea, assuredly the Torah says this. Therefore it behoves the faithful to be wary, and to guard every word of the Song of Songs like a crown upon their heads. It may be asked, why, then, is the Song of Songs placed among the Hagiographa (which are not so sacred as the other two parts of Scripture)? The answer is, because it is the Hymn of Praise sung by the Community of Israel at the time when she is crowned above. Therefore no other hymn is so pleasing to the Holy One as this.

There is an interesting portion in Song of Songs that speaks of their unification coming ever so close to happening, only to fail. The Shekinah is even "beaten" by those who were to be her watchmen.

The Shekinah is speaking in this portion:

Song of Songs 5:4-7 -- My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.