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(Last updated 4/4/01)


In as much as the sixth Sephirah of Tipheret is closely identified with Yeshua, as the embodiment of the entire Godhead (all of the Sephirot), specific aspects associated with Him in the books of the "New Testament," can be seen in each of the Sephirot.

For instance, we see Yeshua in:

  • Chokmah, as Creator and Father (John 1:3; 10:31; 17:21)
  • Binah, as the source of souls and compassionate "motherly" figure (1 Peter 2:25; Matthew 23:37; John 11:33-35)
  • Hesed, as the merciful High Priest at the "right hand" of God (Hebrews 2:17, 4:14, Acts 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1)
  • Gevurah, as the one to whom judgment has been committed (John 5:22)
  • Netzach and Hod, as the "spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10)
  • Malkut, as the "Kingdom of God" physically present before men (Luke 17:21)

Beginning with this section we will take a closer look at the ninth Sephirah - Yesod, most commonly referred to as "foundation." This emanation of God is highly complex, appearing in multiple roles, some of which have dual aspects to them. We will begin in this first section by examining three related concepts that are associated with Yesod; Foundation/Pillar, Righteous One ("Tzaddik"), and Covenant (including circumcision).

In later sections we will focus on Yesod's relationship to Tipheret and Malkut, both similarities and complementary differences, as well as aspects of Yesod associated with Messiah, such as; Living Water, Rock, Manna, Jacob's ladder, the High Priest, Atonement, "the Way, Truth and Life," and "Son of God."

To add credibility to our interpretation of kabbalistic texts and principles, we will be citing numerous references throughout these sections from renouned Hebrew kabbalists such as; Gershom Scholem, Aryeh Kaplan, Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi, Elliot Wolfson and Yitzchak Ginsburgh.


Foundation as Torah-Water

The primary meaning given to the Sephirah of Yesod is that of Foundation. Part of this has to do with its location in the Sephirotic Tree, just above the last Sephirah of Malkut-Kingdom. As Malkut is directly associated with the world (i.e., representing the Shekinah's presence among us), all that comes from God is channeled from the upper Sephirot "through" the Sephirah of Yesod before making its way to Malkut. The only path from heaven above, to Malkut (and thus to us), is through Yesod. (Refer back to the "Tree of Life" diagram of the Sephirot.)

As the receptacle of God's blessings, Malkut is considered the "pool" into which this "life" from God flows to the righteous on earth, amongst whom the Shekinah resides. This life is equated throughout Scripture as Torah (i.e., Deuteronomy 6:2; 17:19; 30:15-20; John 5:24, 6:63, 68; Philippians 2:16; 1 John 1:1). In this way Yesod is the Sephirah that functions to bring God's sustanining blessings to the world. This is why it is called the foundation upon which the world exists.1

On a related note, the month of Shevat corresponds to Tzaddik - "the righteous one." The Tzaddik is said to be a true manifestation God's "water carrier," where water refers to Torah. The month of Shevat is referred to as the "New year for the study of Torah." 2 Interestingly, the corresponding astrological sign for this time of year on the secular calendar is Aquarius - the "water bearer." (This may point to where Jewish and Babylonian paths crossed at one time.)

Foundation as Stone-Pillar

Yesod, as the foundation of the world, is also depicted as a "stone" coming from the heavenly Throne of Glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, [Tipheret]:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 222a - ‘Observe’, he said, ‘that when the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to create the world, He detached one precious stone from underneath His Throne of Glory and plunged it into the Abyss, one end of it remaining fastened therein whilst the other end stood out above; and this other and superior head constituted the nucleus of the world, the point out of which the world started, spreading itself to right and left and into all directions, and by which it is sustained. That nucleus, that stone, is called sh'thyiah (foundation), as it was the starting-point of the world. The name sh'thyiah, furthermore, is a compound of shath (founded) and Kah (God), signifying that the Holy One, blessed be He, made it the foundation and starting-point of the world and all that is therein.

This foundation stone is also called a "pillar," that connects the earthly and heavenly realms. The Bahir offers the following insight, connecting the pillar (foundation) to Tzaddik, and stating that the measure of God's blessing is tied to the measure of righteousness in the world:

Bahir 102 - We learned: There is a single pillar extending from heaven to earth, and its name is Righteous (Tzadik). [This pillar] is named after the righteous. When there are righteous people in the world, then it becomes strong, and when there are not, it becomes weak. It supports the entire world, as it is written, "And Righteousness is the foundation of the world." If it becomes weak, then the world cannot endure. Therefore, even if there is only one righteous person in the world, it is he who supports the world. It is therefore written, "And a righteous one is the foundation of the world."

This concept is also found in the Zohar. Here, the concepts of both the pillar and the waters of blessing are found together:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 184a-185a - The kingdom of heaven, which is the side of holiness, is fixed at two points, one its own and one belonging to the world to come. The upper point is hidden, and therefore it has two points. Under its own point is Jerusalem, the centre of the inhabited world. The point which takes from the hidden supernal Mother is the terrestrial Paradise, which is in the centre of the whole world. In the centre of this Paradise there is a hidden supernal point which is not manifested, and a pillar rises within that point from below, and from thence issue waters which spread to all four sides of the world.

This pillar, reaching from the earth to the heavens, is associated with the pillar seen by Jacob in his dream (Genesis chapter 28). This is addressed further below.


As mentioned, the Sephirah of Yesod is associated with the idea of Tzaddik - meaning "righteous one." The compound term, "Yesod ‘Olam," is the "Righteous One, the Foundation of the World," who upholds God's covenant with the earth and procures sustenance for the living beings upon it.

This is found at the sod-level understanding of the following Proverb:

Proverbs 10:25 - The righteous is the foundation of the world.

Besides being the path "downward," bringing God's blessings (Torah) to the world, via Malkut-Kingdom, Yesod is also depicted as representing the only "path upward," from Malkut to the rest of the Godhead above. (Again, refer back to to the "Tree of Life" diagram.)

Thus, once a person has "sought first the Kingdom" (the Sephirah of Malkut, which is associated with the quality of humility), then "righteousness" (Yesod, the next Sephrah), becomes the next step to a further relationship with God.

The path leading from Malkut to Yesod, is called (the path of) Tzaddik. As stated by Aryeh Kaplan in his commentary to the Bahir:

Here again, "heaven" refers to Zer Anpin, while "earth" is Malkhut-Kingship. But in a more general sense, "earth" is the physical world, while "heaven" is the transcendental. In either case, one who wishes to ascend on high must always travel along the path from Malkhut-Kingship to Yesod-Foundation. Looking at the diagram of paths [the kabbalistic Tree of Life] it is evident that, while there are many paths interconneting the other Sephirot, there is only one path leading from Malkhut-Kingship, the lowest Sefirah, upward, and this is the path leading to Yesod-Foundation. This path is called Tzadik, the Pillar of Righteousness, represented by the letter Tav. 3

This is the same path (way) Yeshua referred to as being hard to find and difficult to maintain:

Matthew 6:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God [i.e., Malkut], and his righteousness [the path of the Tzaddik], and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 7:14 - Because strait is the gate [Malkut or Tzaddik],   and narrow is the way [i.e., the path of the Tzaddik], which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.

The path of the Tzaddik was the way that John the Baptist took, and also preached:

Matthew 21:32 - For John came unto you in the way of righteousness,

Yeshua made clear that He was the path (way) of the Tzadik:

John 14:6 - Yeshua said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.

(We will examine the aspects of the "way, truth and life," in another section of this study.)

The flow of "life" from above is associated with the River of Eden. Its path is outlined in the Zohar as follows:

Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 58a - It is written: “A river went forth from Eden” (Gen. II, 10). It has been laid down that the name of that river is Jubilee, but in the book of Rab Hamnuna the Elder it is called Life, because life issues thence to the world. We have also laid down that the great and mighty Tree in which is food for all is called the Tree of Life, because its roots are in that Life. We have learnt that that river sends forth deep streams with the oil of plenitude to water the Garden and feed the trees and the shoots. These streams flow on and unite in two pillars which are called Jachin and Boaz. Thence the streams flow on and come to rest in a grade called Zaddik, and from hence they flow further till they all are gathered into the place called Sea [Malkut-Kingdom], which is the sea of Wisdom.

King David, having first sought (and attained) the level of Malkut-Kingdom, sought out this deeper relationship. As mentioned, Yesod is linked to the stream of blessings that flows from the upper to the lower worlds. As this steam (the River of Eden) sustains life to the world, Yesod is also called El Hai, ("the Living God") 4

Thus we see David praying:

Psalm 84:2 - My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God [Yesod].

The Zohar speaks of King David seeking Malkut-Kingdom first (in complete humility), in his petition to God:

Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 20a - But, indeed, these words, like all David's words, were uttered in the holy spirit. He was addressing the Kingdom of Heaven [Malkuth], for she is the intermediary between earth and heaven, and whoso has a petition of the King must make it known to her first. Hence David said: “I will acknowledge my sin to thee, the Kingdom of Heaven, and mine iniquity have I not hid from the Righteous One of the universe, and I said, I will confess my sin to the Lord, to wit, the Holy King to whom all peace belongs.” Then it goes on: “And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin”; this was in the highest realm, the place where the Ancient Holy One abides. Thus this verse includes all; and in the same way, whoever prays to the King should unify the Holy Name in his thought, ranging from lower to upper, and from upper to lower, and linking all together, and then his prayer will be granted.’ Said R. Jose: ‘Who has the skill to pray like King David, who used to keep watch at the gate of the King?’ Said R. Hiya to him: ‘Assuredly it is so, and therefore the Torah has taught us the ways of the Holy King that we may know how to seek him, as it says, “After the Lord your God ye shall walk” (Deut. XIII, 4).’

The faith of David is further expressed in terms of "Covenant," the subject of the next section:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 230b - "I have made a covenant with my chosen.,’ This covenant is the secret of faith. Or we may interpret the "chosen one" of the Zaddik from whom issue blessings to all the lower creation, all the holy Hayyoth being blessed from the stream which flows forth to the lower world. "I have sworn unto David my servant", to wit, that he will always be established in this Zaddik, the foundation of the world, save in the time of galuth [diaspora], when the flow of blessing is cut off, and faith is defective, and all joy is banished.


Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 247a - Happy are they who are called righteous, for only he is so called who observes this grade [the Sephirah of Yesod], this sign of the holy covenant. Happy are they in this world and in the world to come.

Based on what we have discussed so far in our Revelation background studies, the "middle pillar of the Godhead," (actually, the entire kabbalistic Tree of Life) is both;

  1. how God reveals Himself to us
  2. our path for becoming "conformed to His image." 5

The connection mentioned above, between the Tree of Life being both the goal (God), and the process (being a "hearer" and "doer" of Torah), is found in a third aspect of Tzaddik -- that of "Covenant," the "bond" between God in heaven and man on earth.

Covenant: Jacob

Perhaps the most clear connection we have of this "pillar" functioning in these two roles, is found in Jacob's dream from Genesis chapter 28. The Zohar associates this "twofold aspect" of Covenant with Jacob's ladder. Jacob reveals that the ladder represents both the Divine (the goal) as well as the "method" we are to make use of to bring ourselves closer to God:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 150b - AND HE WAS AFRAID, AND SAID: HOW FULL OF AWE IS THIS PLACE . The word “place” here has a twofold significance. It refers in the first instance to the place mentioned by Jacob in the preceding verse; but it also refers to the mark of the holy covenant, which should not be left inoperative. (These two significations, however, are only two aspects of one and the same idea.) Jacob then said: THIS IS NONE OTHER THAN THE HOUSE OF GOD , implying: This is not to remain idle; its covenant is not meant to exist in isolation. It is in sooth a godly abode, to be used for the promotion of fecundity and for receiving blessing from all the bodily organs. For indeed this is THE GATE OF HEAVEN , or, in other words, the gate of the Body, the gate assuredly through which pass the blessings downwards, so that it is attached both on high and below: on high, as being the gate of heaven, and below, as being none other than the house of God.” Hence “he was afraid, and said: How full of awe is this place!” But mankind (it may be added) pay no regard to its preciousness, so as thereby to become perfect on high and here below.’

Scripture shows us that God referred to Himself as El Shaddai (another name for Yesod, meaning "God the Provider," through whom blessings come), with the Tzaddikim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This name they knew Him by is tied to the theme of Covenant:

Exodus: 6:2-8 - And God speaketh unto Moses, and saith unto him, `I am YHWH, and I appear unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as El Shaddai; as to My name YHWH, I have not been known to them; and also I have established My covenant with them.

Covenant: Noah

Note: The following section of the Zohar contains several mystical concepts, which will be address in detail in this analysis of chapters four and five of this Revelation study. We will present them here with minimal commentary.

The Zohar begins by citing Scripture's association of the rainbow to the topic of Covenant. It makes the point that this rainbow "preexisted." (As we will later discuss, the themes related to Yesod all stem from "the foundation of the world.") The section goes on to associate the rainbow with the firmament found in Ezekiel's vision of the heavenly realm. Note how the actions of the "mighty beasts" are reminiscent of John's view of heaven in the book of Revelation:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 71b - AND GOD SAID TO NOAH... THIS IS THE TOKEN OF THE COVENANT WHICH I MAKE BETWEEN ME AND YOU... I HAVE SET MY RAINBOW IN THE CLOUD. The past tense "I have set" shows that the bow had already been there. In connection with this passage R. Simeon discoursed on the verse: And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone (Ezek. I, 26). ‘Before this verse,’ he said, ‘we find the words, "And when they went I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty" (Ibid. 24). These are the four sacred and mighty beings called Hayyoth (animals), by whom the firmament is upheld, and whose wings are usually joined together to cover their bodies. When, however, they spread out their wings, a volume of sound swells forth, and they break out into songs of praise, "as the voice of the Almighty", which never becomes silent, as it is written, "so that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent" (Ps. XXX, 13). The tenour of their praises is, "The Lord hath made known his salvation, his righteousness hath he revealed in the sight of the nations" (Ps. XCVIII, 2). It says further: "A noise of tumult like the noise of a host" (Ezek. I, 24), i.e. like the sound of the holy camps when all the supernal armies assemble on high. What is it they declaim? "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory" (Is. VI, 3). They turn to the south and say "holy", they turn to the north and say "holy", they turn to the east and say "holy", they turn to the west and say "blessed". And that firmament rests upon their heads, and in whatever direction it turns, their faces turn also. They turn their faces to the four cardinal points, and all revolve in a circle. The firmament is imprinted, at the four corners of a square, with four figures, of a lion, an eagle, an ox, and a man; and the face of a man is traced in all of them, so that the face of Lion is of Man, the face of Eagle is of Man, and the face of Ox is of Man, all being comprehended in him. Hence it is written: "As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man" (Ezek. I, 10).

The rainbow has a direct association with Metatron in kabbalistic literature:

"The light of this rainbow (qeshet) is great for it derived (from) the light of the intellect and that is the level of Metatron, for the intellect is fixed in him like the holy spirit in the body. Therefroe it says, 'That was teh appearance of the semblance of the Lord' (Ezekiel 1:28). i.e., the derived intellect (sekhel ha-nigzar), for his name is like the name of his Master (cf. B. Sanhedrin 38b), as it says, 'since My name is in him' (exodus 23:21)." (Cf Zohar 3:215a [Ra'aya' Mehemna']: "Certainly the rainbow (qeshet) that is revealed in the exile is none other than Metatron who is called Shaddai.") 6

It is interesting to note that Metatron is also connected to Shaddai (Yesod) in that the two have the same numerical value (314) in Hebrew gematria. (This is the system of number values assigned to the letters of the Hebrew letters.)

Covenant: Joseph

This Zohar goes on to make an interesting comparison between Noah and Joseph, as the latter is the Patriarch directly associated with the Sephirah of Malkut. (See the next section of this Yesod study for a list of which Sephirot each Patriarch is linked to.)

The mention of colors, especially the four colors of green, red, white and sapphire, is significant and is addressed in our text analysis. (Recall that Joseph was given a coat of many colors, which was indicative of his relationship to the rainbow and Yesod.) A connection is made between the sapphire stone of Ezekiel's vision and foundation stone This is Yesod, the pillar of righteousness mentioned earlier in this study:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 71b - Further, the firmament with its enclosed square contains the gamut of all the colours. Outstanding are four colours, each engraved with four translucent signs, both higher and lower. These when decomposed become twelve. They are green, red, white, and sapphire, which is made up of all these colours. Hence it is written, "As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord" (Ibid. I, 28): containing, that is to say, all shades of all colours. The same is referred to in the text I HAVE SET MY BOW IN THE CLOUD. The bow here has a parallel in the text, "But his bow abode firm" (Gen. XLIX, 24), i.e. the covenant of Joseph, because he was a righteous man, had for its symbol the bow, since the bow is linked with the covenant, and the covenant and the righteous are integral in one another. And because Noah was righteous, the sign of his covenant was the bow. (The word vayophozu, mentioned in connection with Joseph, is akin to the term paz (fine gold) in the passage, "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold" (Ps. XIX, 11), and it means that his arms shone with the lustre of the most desirable substance, they shone with the light supernal, since he had observed the covenant; hence he is named "Joseph the righteous".) And the rainbow is therefore called " covenant" because they embrace one another. Like the firmament it is a supernal resplendent glory, a sight of all sights, resembling the hidden one (the Shekinah), containing colours undisclosed and unrevealable. Hence it is not permitted to gaze at the rainbow when it appears in the heavens, as that would be disrespectful to the Shekinah, the hues of the rainbow here below being a replica of the vision of the supernal splendour, which is not for man's gaze. Hence when the earth saw the rainbow as a holy covenant, it was once more firmly established, and therefore God said, AND IT SHALL BE FOR A TOKEN OF A COVENANT BETWEEN GOD, ETC. The three primary colours and the one compounded of them, which we mentioned before, are all one symbol, and they all show themselves in the cloud. "And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone" (Ezek. I, 26). This alludes to the "foundation stone" (eben shethiah), which is the central point of the universe and on which stands the Holy of Holies. "The likeness of a throne", i.e. the supernal holy throne, possessing four supports, and which is symbolic of the Oral Law. "And upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above" (Ibid.); this symbolises the Written Law. From here we learn that copies of the Written Law should rest on copies of the Oral Law (and not vice versa), because the latter is the throne to the former. "As the appearance of a man" refers to the image of Jacob, who sits on it.’


As we will discuss in detail in the next section, Yesod plays the role of "connecting" the Sephirot of Tipheret (the male above) to Malkut (the female below). As such, it is metaphorically associated in kabbalistic writings with the male sexual organ (which connects the "body" of man to the woman). It is thus also identified with circumcision -- the "sign of the covenant."

We conclude this section by presenting a concept regarding the act of physical circumcision, and God's commandment for this to be performed on the eighth day. One reason traditionally given for this, is that by performing the circumcision on the eight day, the child is assured of passing through one Shabbat, from where he gains strength.7

We agree with this reasoning, and present an additional kabbalistic view. As we have already discussed, Shabbat is associated with the Sephirah of Malkut-Kingdom, which is the last Sephirah emanated from God, but the first one we are "pass through." (i.e., "Seek ye first the Kingdom (Malkut) ...") Therefore, a child is guaranteed to "pass through" the first Sephirah of Malkut (by going through Shabbat), before going on to the second (Yesod), as represented by the covenant.

Having reached Yesod, a procees then begins where the child is slowly transitioned from the mother's care to learning from their father. (This is reflective of the male/female aspect of Yesod, which will be discussed later in this study.)

The child continues their training in Torah. This involves hearing and learning the importance of keeping the commandments as well as applying this understanding to their lives and doing things to draw closer to God. The first aspect of this based in learning and obedience, which is associated with the "restrictive" Sephirah of Hod. Performing the commandments and other acts of Torah is linked to the "active" Sephirah of Netzach. Both aspects are required for "balanced growth."

Eventually the child becomes a "son of the Commandments" at his Bar Mitzvah (as likened to Tipheret, the "Son" of Torah).

1. The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, p.175.

2. Kabbalah and Modern Life - Living with the Times: The Month of Shevat, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh,

3. The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, p.161.

4. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 103.

5. Expressed another way; "When it (the Tree of Life) has begun to be part of the aspirant's own being, he can say he knows something of Kabbalah." - The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc. York Beach, Maine, 1976, p.142.

6. Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 137, citation from MS Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana 62, fol 105b.

7. The Bahir: Translation, Introduction and Commentary, Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1979, p.177, (citing Zohar 3:44a).