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(Last updated 02/24/02)


Two disputed concepts regarding Messiah are; his blood being shed to bring atonement, and his death bringing atonement for many people. The latter argument can be addressed by pointing to the laws concerning the cities of refuge (Numbers, chapter 35). When someone was accused of manslaughter, they could keep themselves alive by retreating to one of these cities. Upon the death of the High Priest, their previous actions were considered atoned for, and they could legally go free. (We address the Zohar's support for this notion of bringing atonement to others, below.)

Scripture gives us an interesting link that connects the aspect of Messiah to the pillar in Jacob's dream. The term Messiah means, anointed one. Note what takes place in the following texts, first from Jacob's dream, then from Exodus when the High Priesthood is established:

Genesis 28:18-19 - And Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone which he had made his pillows, and made it a standing pillar, and poured oil upon its top, and he called the name of that place Bethel, [house of God,] and yet, Luz [is] the name of the city at the first.

Exodus 29:4-7 - And Aaron and his sons you will bring near unto the opening of the tent of meeting, and will bathe them with water; and will take the garments, and will clothed Aaron with the coat, and the upper robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and will gird him with the girdle of the ephod, and will set the mitre on his head, and will put the holy crown on the mitre, and will take the anointing oil, and will pour it on his head, and will anoint him.

Both the High Priest and the mystical pillar of Jacob's are anointed ones (i.e., "Messiahs"). Each functions in the role of Messiah, as the connection (covenant) between God and man.


The idea of a single Tzaddik atoning for his entire generation is found in Kabbalistic literature. In the classic text, Derech Hashem (The Way of God), Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, goes as far as stating that there can even be a "more highly perfected Tzaddik," who can not only atone for his generation, but even for all the generations of men:

"... suffering and pain may be imposed on a tzaddik as an atonement for his entire generation. This tzaddik must then accept this suffering with love for the benefit of his generation, just as he accepts the suffering imposed upon him for his own sake. In doing so, he benefits his generation by atoning for it, and at the same time is himself elevated to a very great degree ... In addition, there is a special, higher type of suffering that comes to a tzaddik who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above. This suffering comes to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole." 1

The following Zohar passage speaks of a Tzaddik dying for the sins of others, specifically calling him "the arm." By the shed blood of this "arm," healing is brought to the rest of "the body," which is said to be mankind. The text also says that God smites one righteous man to bring atonement for all men of his generation, and associates this man with the servant of Isaiah, chapter 53, a classic (and often disputed) Messianic passage:

Soncino Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a – Why is it that whenever sinners multiply in the world and punishment impends over the world, the virtuous among them are smitten for them, as we have learnt, that for the guilt of the generation the holy and righteous are seized upon? Why should this be? If because they do not reprove mankind for their evil deeds, how many are there who do reprove but are not listened to (though the righteous do humble themselves before them)? If it is in order that there may be no one to shield them, let them not die and let them not be seized for their sins, since it is a satisfaction to the righteous to see their destruction. He replied: It is true that for the guilt of the generation the righteous are seized upon, but we may explain this on the analogy of the limbs of the body. When all the limbs are in pain and suffering from sickness one limb has to be smitten in order that all may be healed. Which is the one? The arm. The arm is smitten and blood is drawn from it, and this is healing for all the limbs of the body. So men are like limbs of one body. When God desires to give healing to the world He smites one righteous man among them with disease and suffering, and through him gives healing to all, as it is written, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities... and with his stripes we are healed" (Isa. LIII, 5). A righteous man is never afflicted save to bring healing to his generation and to make atonement for it, for the "other side" prefers that punishment should light upon the virtuous man rather than on any other, for then it cares not for the whole world on account of the joy it finds in having power over him.

(See "Connection to Yom Kippur" below for more on the last sentence of the above section.)

Isaiah chapter 53 (quoted above) begins with mention of the "arm of the Lord":

Isaiah 53:1 - Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Just prior to this verse, Isaiah had prophesied that this arm of the Lord would one day be revealed to the nations, and that this "arm" is salvation:

Isaiah 52:9-10 - Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Even earlier in the book of Isaiah we see:

Isaiah 33:2 - O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Isaiah makes clear that no man could provide this salvation, thus God Himself is salvation and intercessor (mediator) for man. This arm of salvation is also contains the aspect of vengeance/justice:

Isaiah 59:15-17 - Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.

The "arm" of God (or "hand" of God) appears early on in Scripture, as being associated with redemption/salvation, which in turn has a relationship with vengeance/justice:

Exodus 6:6 - Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments.

Exodus 15:1-19 - Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

The relationship between salvation and judgment is consistent with the role of Yeshua, who will return for salvation and judgment:

Hebrews 9:28 - So Messiah was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

John 5:25-29 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Isaiah associates the arm of the Lord to the actions of God against Egypt and "the dragon":

Isaiah 51:5-15 - My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab [Egypt], and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name.

Isaiah repeats the theme of God providing salvation (there being "none to help" with this), and ties this to the future day of vengeance. He associates God's own arm as being the one who comes from Edom and who treads the winepress. This flow of this passage speaks of redemption/salvation coming from God, His "arm," the angel of His presence, and the Father:

Isaiah 63:1-19 - Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

Isaiah (above) establishes that the one coming from "Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah," is God Himself. However, as we have seen in a previous section of this study, this same one coming to deliver judgment by way of Edom is associated with both the Shekinah and the Messiah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 52a - And in the future all of them shall be delivered up, as it says: "Who is this that cometh from Edom...?" (Isa. LXIII, 1). And this indeed is the significance of the words: "And he went behind them"- that the Shekinah will uproot them all at the end of days.’

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 238a - HE HATH WASHED HIS GARMENT IN WINE . With this may be compared the verse: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?” (IS. LXIII, 1); and also: “I have trodden the winepress alone, etc.” (Ibid. 3). “Wine” here alludes to the side of Geburah, of stern justice which will be visited on the idolatrous nations. AND HIS VESTURE IN THE BLOOD OF GRAPE . This is the lower-world tree, the judgement court which is called “grapes”, in which the “wine” is kept. Thus the Messiah will be clothed in both to crush beneath him all the idolatrous peoples and kings.

Earlier in Isaiah, vengeance comes by way of a number of aspects of God. This passage is particularly fascinating when viewed kabbalistically, as it contains elements of Tipheret, Da'at Yesod, Malkut, and the Ruach haKodesh (i.e., John 16:7-11), all of which are associated with the "middle pillar" of the Godhead:

Isaiah 30:27-33 - Behold, the name of YHWH [Tipheret] cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue [Da'at] as a devouring fire: And his breath, [Ruach haKodesh] as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of YHWH, to the mighty One of Israel. [Tipheret] And YHWH shall cause his glorious voice [Tipheret] to be heard, and shall shew the lightning down of his arm, [Yesod] with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones [Malkut]. For through the voice of YHWH [Tipheret] shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod [Yesod]. And in every place where the grounded staff [Yesod] shall pass, which YHWH shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of YHWH, [Ruach haKodesh] like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.


The last sentence of a Zohar passage mentioned at the beginning of this section (see: Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a, above), is reflective of the Yom Kippur sacrifice, which as explained in several places in the Zohar, was performed to "satisfy" the demonic realm. It is important to recall that this sacrifice could only be performed by the High Priest, thus making a connection, between the High Priest, Divine Tzaddik and Messiah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 184a - ‘Observe this: the goat which the Israelites sent down to Azazel, into that desert, was sent with the intention of giving to the "other side" a portion, so pacifying and keeping it occupied that it might not do harm to the sons of the Kingdom.

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 185a - And as the Israelites gave Satan a portion in order that he might leave them alone and in peace, so also did they give a portion to the pagan nations (the offering of seventy oxen on the Feast of Tabernacles for the seventy nations) in order that they might leave them alone here on earth below

Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page l02a - R. Jose said: ‘It is written, "And he shall put on the two he-goats lots". This would seem to be a great honour for Azazel. Have you ever seen a slave cast lots with his master? Usually the servant takes only what his master gives him. The fact, however, is that because Samael is ready on this day with his accusations, and so that he should not have any grievance, he is given a portion in this way.

Zohar Appendix III - The Designations and The Categories, 3c - The distinction between ‘right’ and ‘left’ in the Zohar corresponds, not only to the distinction between reward and punishment in the next world, but also between good and evil, and specifically moral good and evil in this world. Samael, the power of evil, the tempter, the accuser, the evil Serpent, is placed on the left and is identified with the grade Geburah. Now Samael is represented as the opponent not of Hesed but of Tifereth. He is the Great Dragon, who on New Year swallows the Moon, that is, prevents the union of the Matrona with the Holy King, until Israel by their sacrifice on the Day of Atonement induce him to desist.

Speaking in the context of Yom Kippur, the book of Hebrews expresses that the Yom Kippur sacrifice of Yeshua was superior to that of the annual animal sacrifice. Both provided forgiveness of sin, and both required faith. The difference, as Hebrews explains, is that Yeshua's work, being the shed blood of the Divine Tzaddik (and mediator), effected a "permanent" atonement for those who trust in Him and walk in the way of Torah:

Hebrews 9:14-15 - How much more, then, will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Messiah is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 12:22-24 - But, ye came to Mount Zion, and to a city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of messengers, to the company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled, and to God the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to a mediator of a new covenant -- Yeshua, and to blood of sprinkling, speaking better things than that of Abel!

(We offer a deeper analysis of these Hebrews passages later in this study.)


An important concept to recall here, is that the things in the heavenly realm are represent in this physical world. We discussed earlier in our Revelation background notes how the physical elements of the temple and priesthood were copies of those things Moses was shown existed in the heavens.

This raises the question; If the objects of atonement and salvation pre-existed creation of the earth in the heavenlies and were given to us in our realm of time and space, what about the actions associated with atonement as well? If this atonement was carried out prior to creation, then Who but God Himself (in some form of the Sephirot) would be the one to do this? Note that the Isaiah passage quoted above (Isaiah 59:15-16) speaks of this salvation as having already occurred.

Jewish literature, states the the concept of Teshuvah, (commonly caleld "repentance," but more precisely "return to God"), pre-existed the world (along with the name of Messiah, and the Torah as mentioned earlier). The following modern Hassidic commentary sheds light on the "eternal nature" of Teshuvah:

Where does the enormous potency of teshuvah come from? How can it erase the past, change the present, mold the future - recreate, as it were? The power of teshuvah derives from its transcendent nature. Like Torah, teshuvah preceded the Creation. It is not part of the world, of Creation, of a creative process. It is beyond time, beyond space, rooted in infinity. In the sphere of infinity, past and present fade into oblivion. Teshuvah is in the heart, in the mind It takes knowledge to separate right from wrong. Only the wise know to distinguish between holy and profane, between pure and impure. Thus teshuvah is identical with binah. The ba'al teshuvah ("Lord of Repentance") becomes aware that sin is a partition between G-d and man. Sin disturbs the balance of the universe, sundering its unity. "He who transgresses the precepts of the Torah causes a defect, as it were, above; a defect below; a defect in himself; a defect to all worlds." The word teshuvah can be read as tashuv-hey - returning, restoring the "hey" ... for when man sins he causes the letter hey to be removed from the Divine Name. The Divine Name, the manifestation of G-dliness, is no longer whole. The hey has been severed, leaving the other three letters to spell hoy, the Biblical exclamation for woe. (The word teshuvah is divisible into these two components: tashuv-hey. Note that the letter hey represents the physical world: this world was created with the hey, because it is like an exedra (closed on three sides and open on the fourth), and whosoever wishes to go astray may do so (has the choice to let himself fall through the open bottom of the hey). 2

Numerous passages of the "New Testament" show both the atonement provided by the divine Tzaddik, as well as the Kingdom set aside for the righteous, stem from the "foundation of the world":

Revelation 13:8 - And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

1 Peter 1:18-20 - Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

Matthew 25:34 - Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

John 17:24 - Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory [i.e., Kingdom], which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

The relationship between the concepts of eternal Foundation ("the starting-point of the world") and Covenant, were discussed in the first section of this Yesod study. (See Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, page 222a in that study section).

Yeshua associates His shed blood (affecting many, reflecting the Zohar passage above), with the theme of covenant:

Matthew 26:28 - This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The association between the covenant and the "smiting of the Tzaddik" (re: Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a, mentioned above), in order to bring atonement, adds an interesting wrinkle to this verse:

Hebrews 9:16 - For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.

Paul establishes Yeshua's work with the eternal foundation/covenant, quoting from the same "servant song" portion of Isaiah:

Romans 11:26-27 - and so all Israel shall be saved, according as it hath been written, `There shall come forth out of Sion he who is delivering, and he shall turn away impiety from Jacob, and this to them is the covenant from Me, when I may take away their sins.'

Paul also associates the blood atonement of the divine Tzaddik, Yeshua, with bringing peace. As mentioned in an earlier segment of this study, it is the Sephirah of Yesod-Tzaddik that brings peace and tranquility: 3

Colossians 1:19-20 - For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Paul uses the concept of "God smiting one Righteous man," (re: Zohar, Bemidbar, Section 3, Page 218a, mentioned above), in his Romans letter, arguing further that if one man (Adam) can corrupt many, then atonement for many can also come from one Tzaddik who bears righteousness:

Romans 5:14-21 - Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Yeshua haMashiach, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Yeshua haMashiach.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Yeshua haMashiach our Lord.


One of the peculiarities regarding Yeshua being the final Yom Kippur sacrifice for salvation, is that He died at the time of Pesakh (Passover) and not at Yom Kippur. There is a deep mystical connection between these two Feasts, as alluded to in the Zohar:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 39b - ON THE TENTH DAY OF THIS MONTH THEY SHALL TAKE TO THEM A LAMB. According to R. Abba, the tenth day was chosen because on this day the Jubilee illumines the Moon (i.e. Binah communicates light to Malkuth); for of the Jubilee it is written: "On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement" (Lev. XXIII, 27).

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 40b - "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement" (Lev. XXIII, 27), with the words, "In the tenth day of this month" (Ex. XII, 3), used in regard to the Passover lamb; for the one "tenth day" is dependent on the other.

Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 69b - IN THE SEVENTH MONTH ON THE TENTH DAY OF THE MONTH. The allusion of the “tenth” is as we have explained. We have learnt that on this day all joy and all illumination and all forgiveness depend on the Supernal Mother from whom issue all springs. Then all the lights shine with glad brightness until all is firmly established, and all judgements are also bathed in light and punishment is not inflicted. It is written: “Howbeit (ach) on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement, and ye shall afflict your souls” (Lev. XXIII, 27). What is the force here of the word ach (only)? When used in connection with the Passover (Ex. XII, 15) we derive from it the lesson that on half of the day preceding the Passover the eating of leaven is permitted and on half it is forbidden. [Tr. note: v. T.B. Pesahim, 28b.] Shall we say that here also it teaches that half the day eating is permitted and half forbidden?’ R. Simeon replied: ‘It goes here with the words “ye shall afflict your souls”, and signifies that the real affliction is only in the second half of the day.’

As Yom Kippur is associated with the High Priest unifying Tipheret and Malkut, by gaining the advantage on haSatan (via the scapegoat sent to him [Azazel]), in kabbalistic writings, Passover is seen as the time of the defeat of the demonic realm as well as unification of Tipheret and Malkut.

Author David Ariel writes,

If the Days of Awe and Sukkot are part of a process of unification, Pesah (Passover) is a theurgic drama of vanquishing of evil and demonic forces ... Jewish mystics invested the holiday with special significance. For them it symbolized a victory over the demonic forces that prevail in the world as a result of the separation of Malkut and Tiferet. ... The many rituals of Pesah are linked to the symbolism of redemption from evil. The paschal lamb was slaughtered in ancient times and eaten on the holiday. A vestige of this practice, which was abandoned after the destruction of the second Temple, can be found in the roasted shankbone that is placed on a special plate at the seder table. Jewish mystics describe this as a theurgic ritual that destroys the powers of evil. ... The slaughter of the lamb is the first ritual performed on the holiday and indicates that the "husks" must be destroyed in order for the Sefirot to escape from their dominion. ... The seder is a theurgic ritual designed to reunite the Shekinah with Tiferet. 4

In terms of the sequence of events, Passover precedes Yom Kippur (i.e., in the religious calendar), as the evil realm must be dealt with before the unification process (which includes the gentile nations, who are deceived by haSatan), can go forward.

Note that Yeshua's disciples were not allowed to go to the nations until after His death:

Matthew 10:5-6 - ... Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 28:19 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations ...

Modern Hassidic commentary reflects how the essence of Yom Kippur is not so much associated with the defeat of the evil realm, as it is with salvation, expressed in terms of our soul "bonding" or "cleaving" with God:

Yom Kippur coincides with the giving of the second tablets. We can explain the connection between the two by noting that the repentance of Yom Kippur surpasses even "higher repentance" since it follows the "lower repentance" of the month of Elul and the days of selichot, and also the "higher repentance" of Rosh Hashanah and the Ten Days of Repentance. "Higher repentance," as often explained, is the cleaving of the soul to its Divine source, not repentance for sin, and it corresponds to the verse "The spirit will return to G-d Who gave it." It stems from the essence of the soul, the "yechidah," which is "unity to unify You." This is the link between Yom Kippur and the Torah (the second tablets), for the Torah joins G-d and Israel, so that they are "entirely one," as expressed in the phrase "the one people to affirm Your Oneness." 5

Yom Kippur is a day in which "there is no license for the forces of evil to incriminate." If the ketoret was offered by the Kohen Gadol in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, its ultimate function could not be the sublimation of evil. The sublimation of evil is something that only the ketoret can achieve, but this is not the sum of its purpose and function. The word ketoret means "bonding"; the essence of the ketoret is the pristine yearning of the soul of man to cleave to G-d--a yearning that emanates from the innermost sanctum of the soul and is thus free of all constraints and restraints, of all that inhibits and limits us when we relate to something with the more external elements of our being. Its purity and perfection are what give the ketoret the power to sweeten the foulest of odors, but dealing with evil is not what it is all about. On the contrary, its highest expression is in the utterly evil-free environment of the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. 6

The order of these mystical events is also reflected in the book of Hebrews, which shows how sin had to be dealt with (when Yeshua came) before the ultimate salvation can take effect (when He returns):

Hebrews 9:24-28 - For Messiah is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Messiah was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Expressed another way, the salvation that will come at Yom Kippur, follows our repentance and forgiveness:

Yom Kippur is called a "mikvah," for, whereas teshuvah (repentance) earns us Divine forgiveness and the right to continue, atonement wipes the slate clean, and gives us a fresh start. 7

Returning to the idea of the shedding of the blood defeating the evil realm, the Zohar makes the interesting statement that a "thought" (i.e., God Himself providing atonement/salvation), only achieves its heavenly result, when carried out in physical action on earth (i.e., Yeshua descending from the heavenlies to be the Yom Kippur sacrifice):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 35b - FOR THE LORD WILL PASS THROUGH.... R. Jose commented on the expression, “The Lord shall see the blood ... and pass over”. ‘Does God then’, he said, ‘require a sign? Are not all secrets revealed to Him? The explanation, however, is that only when a thought-be it good or evil-is translated into action, does it bring about its due result above, whether for reward or punishment, saving only the intention of idolatry, of which it says, “Take heed to yourselves that your heart be not deceived” (Deut. Xl, I6).’ As to the significance of the hyssop, R. Jose explained that all the streets and market-places of the Egyptians were filled with idols, and all their houses with implements of magic to link them with lower “crowns”, and therefore it was necessary to purge the doors with the hyssop, in order that these powers might be exorcised; and this was done in three places, namely upon the lintel and the two side-posts. THEREFORE THE LORD WILL PASS OVER THE DOOR AND WILL NOT SUFFER THE DESTROYER TO COME IN UNTO YOUR HOUSES, because he will see the design of His Holy Name upon the door. Said R. Judah: ‘But if so, why was blood only required, seeing that, as we have been taught, the divine attributes are symbolized by three colours, white, red, and a colour which is between the two and combines both?’ R. Jose replied: ‘The blood was of two kinds, that of circumcision and that of the Passover lamb, the former symbolizing mercy and the latter justice.’ ‘Not so,’ rejoined R. Judah. ‘It is even as we have been taught, that the Holy One made the blood a symbol of mercy, as if there were white in it, and therefore it says: “And when I passed by thee and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee: In thy blood live” (Ezek. XVI, 6). To this end was the door smeared with blood in three places, viz. on two sides and in the middle.’ R. Hezekiah, however, held that two kinds of blood appeared on the doors to represent the two “crowns” which were manifested at that moment in the regions above. R. Jose maintained that it was one crown consisting of two sides blended, viz. mercy and justice. Said R. Abba: ‘In how many ways does the Holy One show His lovingkindness to His people! A man builds a house; says the Holy One to him: “Write My Name and put it upon thy door (mezuzah), and thou wilt sit inside thy house and I will sit outside thy door and protect thee!” And here, in connection with the Passover, He says: “You inscribe on your doors the sign of the mystery of My Faith and I shall protect you from the outside!” They inscribed the likeness of the Holy Name in the form of the letter He’. As the Holy Name was then turned from Mercy to Judgement, chastisement came into (God's) view at that time. Everything was turned into red, as a symbol of vengeance on Israel's enemy. Esoterically speaking, it is fitting to show below the colour corresponding to the state above, whether mercy or judgement. And as it was then even so shall it be in the future, as it says: “Who is this that cometh from Edom (=Rome), with dyed garments from Bozra?” (Isa. LXIII, I); for He will clothe Himself entirely in judgement to avenge His people.’

Note that the passage above again associates God Himself as being the One who will one day "come from Edom with dyed garments from Bozra." As seen in our earlier studies, this avenger is the Messiah and/or the Shekinah.

The following passage has a similar theme of blood vanquishing evil, but bears careful examination. Note that the last crown (the Sephirah of Malkut) is associated with evil. As discussed earlier, this has to do with the Kingdom (Malkut) presently having both good and evil in it (as taught by Yeshua). As also mentioned in a previous section of this study, the "other side" (demonic realm) still cleaves to the Shekinah:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 39b - ON THE TENTH DAY OF THIS MONTH THEY SHALL TAKE TO THEM A LAMB. According to R. Abba, the tenth day was chosen because on this day the Jubilee illumines the Moon (i.e. Binah communicates light to Malkuth); for of the Jubilee it is written: “On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement” (Lev. XXIII, 27). “They shall take a lamb.” Why a lamb? Because it symbolized the power of the lowest “crown”, which the Holy One broke, the “crown” to which all the other inferior “crowns" cling, forming the unholy triad signified by the phrase, “lambs, menservants, and womenservants”, sent by Jacob to Esau, as a sop, as it were, to the evil powers which the latter represented. The Holy One said: “Do ye perform this act of slaughtering the Passover lamb, and I myself will nullify its power above. Do ye let it pass through fire (v. 8) here below, and I shall lead the impure principality which it represents through the fiery Stream.” And why was the lamb to be tied up on the tenth day and slaughtered on the fourteenth? Because, according to R. Abba, the four days corresponded to the four hundred years that Israel was subjected to the power of Egypt. And why was the slaughter performed in the evening? Because that is the time when judgement predominates above and below, and also because it was at this time (“between the evenings”) that Israel's exiles were foretold to Abraham, as it is written: “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham, and lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him” (Gen. xv, I 2). “Horror” signifies one supernal “crown” which represents Egypt; “darkness” is a second such, representing Babylon; and “great” refers to the Edomite (Roman) exile, which was to be the hardest of all. Thus it is seen that the Israelites did not go out of Egypt until all the supernal powers and principalities which were Israel's enemies had been brought to nought; but when these things had come to pass the people were freed from their domination and brought under the holy and heavenly sway of the Holy One, blessed be He, and were joined to Him and to Him alone, as it is written: “For unto me the children of Israel are servants; they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt” (Lev. xxv, 55).

Note the association made in the above passage, between this lowest crown and the "lamb." The act of slaughtering the lamb below, nullifies the powers of the evil realm above. Here we see the lamb representing both good (the innocent sacrifice provided by God) and bad, (the lamb stood for the Egyptian evil powers).

This type of "dual imagery" is also seen regarding Yeshua who compares Himself to the image of the serpent held up by Moses:

John 3:13-17 - And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

The association between the serpent held up by Moses and the Messiah is found in kabbalistic literature:

"When shall we be avenge? When our righteous Messiah shall come, who is likened to a serpent; a serpent will come and take his revenge on a serpent." 8

The kabbalistic concept here is that Messiah will have a superior knowledge of the demonic realm (thus "likening" Him to that realm), and thus be able to vanquish it.

This same serpent theme is found in the Zohar with regard to Jacob (a type of Messiah), and his dealings with Esau:

Zohar I (Toledot) 137b - And come and see: Because Esau was drawn after that serpent, Jacob dealt with him crookedly, like the serpent, who is wise and deals crookedly, as you say, "the serpent was cunning..." -- wise. So Jacob's actions toward him were like a serpent to him.

Interestingly, the numerical value (in Hebrew Gammatria) for "Messiah," and for "serpent," both come to 358.9

The blood of the Passover lamb defeating the evil realm is also found in this next passage, which also speaks of a future and final redemption:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Raya Mehemna, Page 41b - THIS IS THE ORDINANCE OF THE PASSOVER: THERE SHALL NO STRANGER EAT THEREOF. This commandment is a memorial of the Passover of Egypt. The lamb had to be kept from the tenth day of the month, because on that date the moon begins to increase her light until the fifteenth day, when she is in her full strength. The lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth, “between the evenings”, namely at an hour when judgement hangs over the world. It signified the removal of the impurity from the holy sign (of the circumcision). Therefore “no uncircumcised person should eat thereof” (v. 48); for this sacrifice was brought by sons of the covenant, in order to break down the power of the “other side”, to remove the “foreskin,” from the sign of the holy covenant. When the Holy One came to Egypt He saw the blood of the Passover lamb smeared on the door, as well as the blood of the covenant, and the doors purged with hyssop, in order, as has already been explained, that the powers of impurity might be exorcised at the time of the supreme redemption of Israel. This memorial of the past redemption is, however, at the same time a sign and a token of the future Redemption, when the Holy One will “slaughter” the evil inclination once and for all. And because He killed all the firstborn of the “other side”, He ordered that the firstborn of Israel should be redeemed, so that nothing of that “side” should cleave to them. In all things He watched over Israel like a father over his children.

Lastly, should there be any doubt regarding a Hebraic opinion of the "suffering servant" of Isaiah's text being the Messiah, and that this Messiah brings atonement in place of the (destroyed) Temple, the Zohar has this to say:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 212a - ‘The souls in Lower Paradise, on every New Moon and Sabbath day, go about and ascend to the spot called "Walls of Jerusalem", where there are a great many chieftains and legions mounting guard, as written: "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem" (Isa. LXII, 6). They mount up as far as that spot, but do not enter it until their purging is complete. There they prostrate themselves, drink in ecstatically of the celestial radiance, and then return into Paradise. They also at times go forth, roaming about the world and viewing the bodies of the sinners undergoing their punishment. So Scripture says: "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh" (Ibid. LXVI, 24). They continue to roam about, casting their glance on those who are victims of pain and disease, who suffer for their belief in the unity of their Master. They then return and make all this known to the Messiah. When the Messiah hears of the great suffering of Israel in their dispersion, and of the wicked amongst them who seek not to know their Master, he weeps aloud on account of those wicked ones amongst them, as it is written: "But he was wounded because of our transgression, he was crushed because of our iniquities" (Ibid. LIII, 5). The souls then return to their place. The Messiah, on his part, enters a certain Hall in the Garden of Eden, called the Hall of the Afflicted. There he calls for all the diseases and pains and sufferings of Israel, bidding them settle on himself, which they do. And were it not that he thus eases the burden from Israel, taking it on himself, no one could endure the sufferings meted out to Israel in expiation on account of their neglect of the Torah. So Scripture says; "Surely our diseases he did bear", etc. (Ibid. LIII, 4). A similar function was performed by R. Eleazar here on earth. For, indeed, beyond number are the chastisements awaiting every man daily for the neglect of the Torah, all of which descended into the world at the time when the Torah was given. As long as Israel were in the Holy Land, by means of the Temple service and sacrifices they averted all evil diseases and afflictions from the world. Now it is the Messiah who is the means of averting them from mankind until the time when a man quits this world and receives his punishment, as already said. When a man's sins are so numerous that he has to pass through the nethermost compartments of Gehinnom in order to receive heavier punishment corresponding to the contamination of his soul, a more intense fire is kindled in order to consume that contamination. The destroying angels make use for this purpose of fiery rods, so as to expel that contamination. Woe to the soul that is subjected to such punishment! Happy are those who guard the precepts of the Torah!

1. Derech Hashem (The Way of God), Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, translated and annotated by Aryeh Kaplan, Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1997, p. 122.

2. From, "The Dynamics of Teshuvah" (Essays on the month of Elul), Chabad Lubavitch,

3. Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 240, (citation from Toledot, 28a-b).

4. The Mystic Quest, An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, David S. Ariel, Jason Aronson publishers, London, 1988, pp. 157-159.

5. From, "The Second Tablets," (Thoughts and Insights on Yom Kippur), Chabad Lubavitch,

6. From, "Return," (Inner Dimensions of Yom Kippur), Chabad Lubavitch,

7. Perceptions On The Parsha, Parshas Netzavim - Vayeilech Plenty of Redeeming Values, Rabbi Pinchas Winston,

8. Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics, Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p. 17, (citation from Ta'amei ha-Te'amin, by Rabbi Isaac ha-Kohen).

9. The Hebrew Letters, Channels of Creative Consciousness, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Gal Einai Publications, Jerusalem, 1990, p. 313.