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(Last updated 12/7/01)


The concept of God "providing His own salvation," (see previous citation from Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 56a), ties back to the Akeidah, Abraham's binding of his son Isaac upon the altar. (The Akeidah (Genesis 22) is read every year at the Feast of Rosh haShana. Jewish history says the Akeidah itself took place on Rosh haShana.)

In this section of the Zohar, Abraham comments that there was a future sacrifice yet to occur, that being God's own sacrifice. As we will discuss in the next section, this is the "Lamb of God" who takes away the sins of the world:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 120a - ON THE THIRD DAY ABRAHAM LIFTED UP HIS EYES, AND SAW THE PLACE AFAR OFF. As we have already been told that Abraham went to the place, all this seems superfluous. But the truth is that “the third day” means the third generation, i.e. Jacob, and the words “he saw the place from afar” are parallel to the expression “from afar the Lord appeared unto me” (Jer. XXXI, 3). Or again, “the place” alludes to Jacob, of whom it is written, “and he took one of the stones of the place” (Gen. XXVIII, 11). For Abraham scrutinized the “third day”, which is the third grade, and he beheld Jacob, who was destined to descend from him. “Afar off”, to wit, at some distant time, and not soon. R. Eleazar said to R. Judah: ‘What credit is herein ascribed to Abraham, if whilst about to bind Isaac he saw that Jacob was destined to descend from him?’ R. Judah replied: ‘Indeed Abraham did see Jacob, since even before that Abraham was endowed with the higher Wisdom; and now he scrutinized the third day, which is the third grade, in order to make sure. And indeed he did see him, but now only “from afar”, for the reason that he was going to bind Isaac, and he did not wish to question the ways of the Holy One. “Afar off”, that is, he saw him through a “dim glass” only, and therefore only partially; for if the “clear glass” had been resting upon the “dim glass”, Abraham would have seen him properly.

The “clear glass” did not function on this occasion, because this is the grade of Jacob, who, not yet being born, had not reached that grade; and also in order that Abraham's reward might be all the greater. AND THEY CAME TO THE PLACE WHICH GOD HAD TOLD HIM OF, ETC. Here it is intimated that although Abraham had some vision of Jacob, yet he said to himself, “Assuredly the Holy One knows another way which will serve.’ Forthwith, therefore, ABRAHAM BUILT THE ALTAR THERE. Before this it is written: AND ISAAC SPOKE UNTO ABRAHAM HIS FATHER, AND SAID, MY FATHER. As explained elsewhere, the reason why Abraham did not respond to him immediately was because the normal compassion of a father towards a son left him, and hence he simply said: ‘Here I am, my son”, implying that the quality of mercy in him had been transmuted into rigour. AND ABRAHAM SAID. It is not written: “and his father said”, which shows again that he was regarding him not as his father but as his adversary. GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR HIMSELF THE LAMB FOR A BURNT OFFERING, MY SON. He should have said: “provide for us”, but what he meant was, “God will provide for Himself when necessary, but for the present it is going to be my son and nothing else.”

The above text includes several deep concepts, including Abraham "looking into the future, upon the "third day," (also called the "third grade," which is the third Sephirah of Binah-Understanding). The Sephirah of Binah is associated with several subjects including; Jubilee, New Jerusalem, Yom Kippur and establishment of God's kingdom on earth - all Messianic themes - as well as the "future" with regard to time.

We have already established the link between Jacob and Yeshua, via their relationship to Tipheret. This is also indicated in the above text as "the clear glass," (the "lucid mirror"), one of the names given to Tipheret. Abraham can be said to have seen the day of Messiah. Abraham only saw into the future by way of the "dim glass" which is associated with either Yesod or Malkut. Recall that in Exodus 6:2, God tells Moses that He revealed Himself to Abraham only as Shaddai (Yesod) and not YHWH (Tipheret).

Yeshua mentioned Abraham's vision in a verse where He placed Himself on a par with divinity:

John 8:56-58 - Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Yeshua said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

In as much as the above portion of the Zohar speaks of Abraham looking "forward" to the day of Messiah, the following portion, also involving the Akeidah, looks "back." Here, the ram that Abraham sacrificed at a particular point "in time," is said to have been pre-ordained and manifested itself in time and space at the time Abraham needed it. (Judaism teaches that God often provides the solution before the problem even manifests itself.)

Again, we refer to the idea mentioned earlier, that if the element of sacrifice pre-existed since the foundation of the world, the actual work of sacrifice/atonement did as well. (i.e., Yeshua being the "lamb slain since the foundation of the world." - Revelation 13:8.)

The text mentions, "the angel of His presence" (here seen as the Shekinah, though having association with Metatron), having determined in advance to partake of the suffering of Israel. The passage goes on to say that God (the Holy One blessed be He - i.e., Tipheret) will proclaim to the world the salvation of God:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 120b - Straightway, however, ABRAHAM LIFTED UP HIS EYES AND LOOKED AND BEHELD BEHIND HIM A RAM, ETC. We have been taught that that ram was created at twilight (on the sixth day of Creation), and he was of the first year, as it is written, “one he-lamb of the first year” (Num. VII, 63), thus being according to requirement. But if so, how could he have been created at twilight? The truth is that from that time it was pre-ordained that that ram should be at hand at the moment when Abraham should require it. The same applies to all those things said to have come into being “at twilight”, which in reality means that they were then predestined to appear at the requisite moment. R. Judah further discoursed on the verse: In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them (Is. LXIII, 9). He said: ‘This is the translation of the k'ri, hut according to the k'thib we should translate, “He was not afflicted.” The lesson to be derived from this variation is that Israel's affliction reaches the Holy One even in the place above which is beyond affliction or perturbation.

“And the angel of his presence saved them.” If He is together with them in their affliction, how can it be said that He saves them? Observe, however, that it is not written, “He saves them”, but “he saved them”, that is, He determined in advance to partake in their sufferings. For whenever Israel is in exile the Shekinah accompanies them, as it is written, “Then the Lord thy God will return (v’-shab) with thy captivity” (Deut. XXX, 3). According to another explanation, “The angel of his presence” signifies the Shekinah, which accompanies them in exile. Hence in the Scripture the words “and I have remembered my covenant” (Ex. VI, 5) are immediately followed by “and now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; moreover, I have seen” (Ex. III, 9). It is also written, “And God remembered his covenant” (Ibid. II, 24), referring to the Shekinah, “with Abraham” (Ibid.), symbolic of South-west, “with Isaac” (Ibid.), symbolic of North-west, “and with Jacob” (Ibid.), symbolising the complete and perfect union. The Holy One, blessed be He, will one day send forth a voice to proclaim to the world the words, “For he said, Surely, they are my people, children that will not deal falsely; so he was their saviour” (Is. LXIII, 8). Blessed be the Lord for evermore, Amen and Amen.’

As mentioned, in addition to being called "grades," the Sephirot are also known as "gates" or "doors," as it is through them that we approach God in order to be conformed to His image and grow in intimacy with Him.

The following section of the Zohar, gives additional insight into the Sephirah of Yesod (known as Shaddai), being the door that leads to the other Supernal doors, and how Abraham was able to gain insight through this door:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 103a - ‘The "gates" mentioned in this passage (Prov. 31:23) are the same as the gates in the passage, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates" (Ps. XXIV, 7), and refer to the supernal grades by and through which alone a knowledge of the Almighty is possible to man, and but for which man could not commune with God. Similarly, man's soul cannot be known directly, save through the members of the body, which are the grades forming the instruments of the soul. The soul is thus known and unknown. So it is with the Holy One, blessed be He, since He is the Soul of souls, the Spirit of spirits, covered and veiled from anyone; nevertheless, through those gates, which are doors for the soul, the Holy One makes Himself known. For there is door within door, grade behind grade, through which the glory of the Holy One is made known. Hence here "the tent door" is the door of righteousness, referred to in the words, "Open to me the gates of righteousness" (Ps. CXVIII, 19), and this is the first entrance door: through this door a view is opened to all the other supernal doors. He who succeeds in entering this door is privileged to know both it and all the other doors, since they all repose on this one.

At the present time this door remains unknown because Israel is in exile; and therefore all the other doors are removed from them, so that they cannot know or commune; but when Israel return from exile, all the supernal grades are destined to rest harmoniously upon this one. Then men will obtain a knowledge of the precious supernal wisdom of which hitherto they wist not, as it is written, "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Is. XI, 2). All these are destined to rest on this lower door which is the "tent door"; all too will rest upon the Messiah in order that he may judge the world, as it is written, "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, etc." (Ibid. 4). Thus when the good tidings were brought to Abraham, it was that grade which brought them, as we have deduced from the fact that the word vayomer (and he said) is used without a specific subject in the passage "And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round."

We learn the following from this above passage:

  • The Sephirot, also called gates or grades, are provided by the infinite Eyn Sof as a means for finite man to understand Him.
  • Man's body (which he can understand) is to his soul (which he cannot comprehend) as the gates are to the Eyn Sof.
  • These grades are presented not so much in a "linear fashion," but as one within the next, such as a circle within a circle (i.e., Ezekiel's vision of a "wheel within a wheel").
  • The gate of righteousness (Yesod) is the entrance way to other gates/grades, leading to God.
  • Israel is blind to this gate to righteousness in its current exile. (Romans 11:25)
  • When Israel returns from exile (i.e. Romans 11:26) there will be a unification of all God's creation, including the various grades (gates) of the heavenly realm.
  • At that time, all of these grades will "rest upon" this single gate of righteousness, which is the tent door (facing "east," the direction of Tipheret and the other Sephirot).
  • All these grades will also rest upon the Messiah, showing Him to be intimately linked to the gate of righteousness, the Sephirah of Yesod.
  • The "good tidings" were brought to Abraham by this single grade. These "good tidings" are the "gospel," which we have already discussed is associated with the Sephirah of Binah and the Jubilee Release, which is "Messiah's Day."
  • As Messiah is Himself linked to this grade, this explains how Yeshua could have brought the gospel to Abraham, including revelation of "His day" (John 8:56).


In a Pesakh (Passover) commentary for this year (5761/2001), Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, speaking of how the element of "time" restricts our view of reality and God (and how God is not restricted by this), gives the following example:

The physical world is bound by time and place. These parameters do not exist in the spiritual realm and they, of course, do not bind Hashem, in the least. We can, to a certain degree, understand that Hashem is not bound by space since mankind, to a certain degree, has overcome the parameters of space. We live in a world of CNN's global village. We can, in real time, observe events that are occurring on the other side of the globe. As such, we can somewhat understand that Hashem is not bound by that parameter. Existing beyond time, on the other hand, being that we are totally bound by it, is most difficult to understand. We remember the past, surmise about the future and exist in the split-second known as the present. However, the true reality for those not bound by this parameter is that the past, present and future all exist simultaneously! Rav Dessler offers an illuminating understanding of this idea. He explains that it can be compared to a map of the world covered by a large paper with a small 'window' cut out. This window is only large enough to reveal one city of this world map. By moving the paper, the city that had been revealed becomes covered as the next city comes into view. The cities that were in view, the city that is in view and the cities that will come into view all exist simultaneously. They are only hidden from us. Time is the cloak that inexorably moves over the map of our lives, relegating the past to our memory while revealing the present and concealing the future. This time-cloak of concealment only obscures the physical realm. No such cloak exists in the spiritual domain. 1

As discussed earlier, God has revealed Himself in stages through history. To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He revealed Himself at the level of Shaddai (Yesod). Only with Moses, was He revealed at the level of YHWH (Tipheret):

Exodus: 6:2 - 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;

The key point here, is that although God was revealed as "Shaddai" to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He still "existed" as YHWH at that time. Later, when He reveals Himself as YHWH to Moses, He does not cease "being" Shaddai. All of these emanations of God existed (and continue to exist) together, and each contains aspects of the other(s). (I.e., "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father" - John 14:9). Partly, due to the restrictions of time in our physical universe, we "see" God in different ways at different times in history. (See above example quoted by Rabbi Ciner.)

As all of the Sephirot are emanations of the same God and thus share characteristics, they nonetheless represent distinct aspects and perform different "functions" of God. As Scripture, and other Hebrew writings, show that the Sephirot are revealed at different times in history, it can be said that God, making Himself known to man in different forms, causes His plan of atonement/salvation to "play out" in history one step at a time.

Just as our own spiritual journey begins with the Malkut (i.e., "Seek ye first the Kingdom ..."), and ascends "up the pillar" through Yesod, toward Tipheret and ultimately Keter, God's revelation of Himself "descends" through the Sephirot, beginning with Keter and descending "down the pillar" to Malkut.

Author Yehuda Liebes, in his book, Studies in the Zohar, explains the concept of spiritual history in terms of a journey through the Sephirot:

"The Zohar describes the unfolding of the generations as a descent through the body of the Holy One, at the End of Days the process will reach his feet [Malkut] and the Messiah will arrive." 2

Prior to this "arrival" at Malkut (see above), this "unfolding of generations" through the kabbalistic Tree of Life must pass through Yesod. (This role of Yesod was discussed in a previous section.) We will now associate this aspect of Yesod (which as discussed is identified with "Tzaddik" - the righteous one), with God's salvation plan through time.

Yehuda Liebes (who is a teacher of Jewish mysticism at Hebrew University of Jerusalem), writes of a Messianic figure who is "not exactly" Messiah. In the opening paragraphs of his classic work, Studies in the Zohar, he mentions:

"... a messianic figure who is actively engaged in the process of the world's tikkun [restoration]. While he is not the Messiah himself -- the latter will come only after the tikkun -- it is he who paves the way for redemption and makes it possible." 3

The Zohar speaks to great lengths of Simeon bar Yohai, a second century rabbi who is said to have been the only righteous man of his day. Although many "messianic" attributes are associated with Rabbi bar Yohai, he is seen in the limited role of one who, "absolves the world of judgment until the advent of Messiah." 4

According to Liebes, Rabbi bar Yohai also taught at length about;

"... the mystery of the Godhead and on the sefirot during history and exiles of the Jewish people, and finally, from an examination of the letters of the Tetragrammaton in combination with other calculations, determines the date of the End of Days. The End would occur in several stages." 5

According to Liebes, the second century gathering and teachings of bar Yohai and his followers, called the Idra, is considered in the Zohar, as a singular event, greater even than the assembly of the Israelites at Mt. Sinai for the giving of the Torah. The Idra did not represent the advent of Messiah, but a "stage preparatory to it." (This will be discussed in more detail later in this study). 6

Another aspect that Liebes brings forth, is that of the "mysterious aspect" of the Tzaddik, who not only does not reveal secrets, but he himself is called a secret and is guarded in secrecy. The Tzaddik is the "concealed aspect of the Godhead." (As opposed to Malkut - the revealed aspect.) 7

This "concealed aspect of Tzaddik" is reflected in several themes. This includes Yesod as the phallus image, which modesty dictates is kept hidden. Another is shown in a story of the letters of the Torah who vied to be first letter of the Torah. The letter Tsadde asked to be first, as it is associated with the foundation of the world. God responded by saying, "Tsadde, you are tsadi and you are tsaddik (righteous), but you must be concealed; you may not be so exposed." 8

Liebes mentions how the letter tsadde is formed of the letters yod and nun, which are male and female joined back to back. (As mentioned earlier, Yesod has both male and female characteristics.)

What is especially interesting is this observation of Liebes':

This "back to back" form represents a defect, and the tsadde is thus not to be revealed until that defect is corrected. 9

Elsewhere, Liebes writes of the "two aspects" of the pillar of called Tzaddik - one of a "terrestrial person" and the other of a "cosmic or divine force." He mentions that the talmudic statement regarding the "Righteous being the foundation of the world," is not clear as to whether it is referring to a cosmic pillar or righteous human being. Liebes points out that in the Zohar, Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai is considered to be this pillar upon whose righteousness the world was maintained during his generation.10

Liebes cites the following passage from the Bahir (120) that speaks of "the righteous, the everlasting foundation," as being both a divine pillar and a terrestrial person: 11

There is one pillar from the earth to the firmament and Righteousness is its name, after the righteous ones, and when there are righteous persons in the world it gains strength, and when there are not it is weakened, and it bears the burden of all the world, as it is written, "Righteousness is the foundation of the world," and if it is weak the world cannot exist. Therefore even if there is only one righteous man in the world, he upholds the world.

What is perhaps most interesting is that Liebes presents the idea, found in the kabbalistic school of Rabbi Todros, who taught that Messiah is "an incarnation of the sefirah of Yesod," thus bringing a definite Divine aspect to the Messiah:

The Messiah's symbolic rung, according to this kabbalistic circle, was the Sefira of Yesod. Especially relevant in this context is a statement by Todros Abulafia: "None of the commentators I have seen say what is the name of the Messiah [who is mentioned in the Talmud among the things that were created before the creation of the world], but I tell you by the true way [i.e, Kabbala] that his name is Righteous (Zaddik), for it is written: "He is righteous and redeemed" (Zech. 9:9); "Righteous, foundation of the world"; and "The righteous shall live by his faith (Hab. 2:4). Rabbi Todros is not claiming that the Messiah's name had not been stated explicitly before him, for several names -- Menahem [comforter], for example -- are mentioned in the Midrash, and several others were added in Rabbi Todros' Kabbalistic circle. We even find the name Righteous in the Midrash as a name of the Messiah. What had not been stated explicitly before Rabbi Todros was able to do so on the basis of Kabbala is the name of the Messiah who was created before he world. The implications here -- and it is not merely on a symbolic level, for he is speaking, as we shall see, of total identity -- is that the Messiah is an incarnation of the sefira of Yesod. 12


Author Aryeh Kaplan, in his book, Ramban, Philosopher and Kabbalist, expands on the same ideas presented by Yehuda Liebes, by showing how God's work, through the Sephirot, did not end at the time of creation, but continues "within time" in history as we experience it:

The early kabbalists established a principle, in that the activity of the sefiroth of the Divine Atziluth, neither ended with their emanation at the time of Creation nor with the later developmental phases. ... Another rule states that each sefirah represents a certain attribute in the array of forces of the hidden divinity of Ein Sof, corresponding to His revelation in the world of Atziluth. Moreover, each sefirah includes all the others, arranged around her, with her being at the center as a kind of auxiliary escort. 13

Rabbi Pinchas Winston also supports the idea of the relationship between history and the Sephirot:

... the Ten Sefiros that act as spiritual filters for G-d's light to make reality and ultimately, our lives possible, also contain the "data" for distinct periods of time in history. Thus, the sefirah of Chesed governed the first one thousand years of history, Gevurah the second, and so forth until the sixth millennium, which is rooted in the sefirah of Yesod. 14

Our "spiritual distance" (in the "lowest heaven," near Malkut and away from Keter/Eyn Sof), causes us to see God, those things associated with Him and His plan, in a very "fractured" way. There is one God, yet we see various emanations of Him via the Sephirot. We also view His Feasts (Passover, Shavuot, Rosh haShana, Yom Kippur, Succot) as being very distinct, yet (as we shall discuss in detail further on), they are part of one plan and are unified in the heavenly realm.

Rabbi Moshe Miller, in his commentary on the Zohar, explains how our view of God is affected by which of the "four worlds" we are viewing Him in:

"... the higher the world or plane of reality, the greater the unity and infinity of God that is revealed or manifest there. Nevertheless, since all worlds are the result of a constriction and lessening of the Infinite Light (the Eyn Sof), they are all, in one sense or another, limited and defined. That is to say, the revelation of God is less or more limited, depending on which world is referred to. Therefore the word for "world" in Hebrew, "olam," is etymologically related to the word "he'elem," meaning hiddeness, or concealment -- referring to the concealment of God's Infinite Light, so that in the higher worlds the Infinite Light is more revealed, and in the lower worlds the Infinite Light is less revealed. 15

The Book of Enoch 16 is an interesting resource that gives insight into the various "views" of God from our point of view. Enoch mentions four entities, Son of Man, Elect One, Lord of Spirits and Ancient of Days, within his vision of the heavenlies.

In the Book of Enoch, the four titles are quite interchangeable. This would reflect the more unified view of God that he experienced when he received his vision.

For instance:

  • Of the Son of Man it says that He accompanied the Ancient of Days, and to Him righteousness belongs. The Son of Man will overthrow kings and the powerful and break in pieces the teeth of sinners. He will overthrow those who do not exalt Him, thereby establishing Himself to be God. He does these things to those who do not exalt the name of the Lord of Spirits, thus equating Himself with that entity (Enoch 46:1-4).

The name of this Son of Man was invoked before the sun, stars and signs of heaven were formed. He is the hope of those who are troubled. All who dwell on the earth will fall down and worship him, and bless and glorify him. The Elect and "Concealed One" existed in his presence before the world was created. He reveals to the saints and the righteous the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits. In his name will the righteous be preserved, and they will dwell with him forever. (Enoch 48:3-7; 61:12,17).

This Son of Man existed "in secret" since the beginning. He is also called "son of woman."  The elect will stand before him one day (Enoch 61:9-11). People will pray to him and petition him for mercy (Enoch 61:13). He is equated with the Lord of Spirits (Enoch 61:15-18). He or his name live with the Lord of Spirits (Enoch 69:1) He is equated with the Messiah (Enoch 48:11).

  • Of the Elect One it says that He will sit upon the Throne of Glory. Either the Elect One, or the one speaking this prophecy to Enoch, will dwell in the midst of them, and change, bless and illuminate the face of heaven forever. He will also change the face of the earth, bless it, and cause those whom He has elected to dwell upon it.  (Enoch 45:3-5; 50:3, 54:5). Wisdom comes out of his mouth. The Lord of Spirits has gifted and glorified him (Enoch 50:3). He will be exalted at the end of days (Enoch 50:5). He is equated with the Messiah (Enoch 51:2-5). He will appear in the presence of the Lord of Spirits at the end of days (Enoch 51:10). He is also equated with the Lord of Spirits (Enoch 60:7-16)
  • Of the Lord of Spirits it says that those who believe in His name will be declared righteous and be saved (Enoch 43:2; 49:3). Sinners who deny His Name will face his punishment (Enoch 45:2; 53:7) Those who do not repent before him will perish (Enoch 49:3). The prayers of the righteous (at the end of days - i.e., Revelation 8:4), are said to ascend to Him (Enoch 47:1) He sits upon the throne of glory. Before him the saints will be judged in righteousness (Enoch 61:2-5). He will issue new garments to the righteous (Enoch 61:18).
  • Of the Ancient of Days it says his head was like white wool and his robe indescribable (Enoch 46:1; 70:12). He is the one who flooded the earth, promised to not do this again and gave the rainbow (Enoch 54:1-3). He calls himself the Lord of spirits (Enoch 54:4).

Enoch also establishes three of these entities as separate from each other in one verse:

Enoch 48:2 - In that hour was this Son of man invoked before the Lord of spirits, and his name in the presence of the Ancient of days.

Author Daniel C. Matt makes a statement that would reflect well upon what is seen in Enoch:

At the deepest levels of divinity, all opposites and distinctions vanish, overwhelmed by oneness. 17


The Zohar connects the Sephirot of Chokhmah, Tipheret and Yesod as bringing God's blessings (via the mystical "River of Eden"), to the world (i.e., Malkut). These blessings descend throughout history and culminate in the eternal Shabbat when they are no longer "intermittent."

The following passage transcends time and ties together; the Sephirot, God's blessings through history and the future blessings of the Olam Haba (World to Come). Note also the close relationship between Tipheret and Yesod (as mentioned earlier) within this context. Both are "the Lord," but they are viewed in different roles. This is discussed further on in this section:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 135b - ‘The congregation respond: “Blessed is the Lord who is blessed for ever and ever.” The expression “who is blessed” indicates the streaming of blessings from the source of life to the place whence issue nourishment and bounty for all creatures. And why do we call this source “blessed”? Because it sustains and waters ’olam va'ed (lit. for ever and ever), which is the Sabbath eve. In this way blessings are transmitted to this ’olam va'ed from the highest world, so that it attains its full perfection. Thus in this benediction, “blessed” represents the ultimate source whence all blessings emanate ; [Tr. note: Hohmah.] “the Lord” is the centre [Tr. note: Tifereth.] of all the supernal sides; “who is blessed” represents the peace of the house, the fountain of the cistern, [Tr. note: Yesod] providing completion and nourishment for all, while “for ever and ever” refers to the world below, [Tr. note: Malkuth.] which needs these blessings: the “good oil” of “blessed”, “the Lord”, and “the Blessed One” is all for this ’olam va'ed. Therefore the whole congregation has to recite this every day; but on Sabbath eve it must be recited with special devotion and gladness, in order that the Sabbath may be fitly blessed by the holy people. When they begin to recite this benediction a voice is heard in all the heavens that are sanctified by the entrance of the Sabbath: “Blessed are ye, holy people, for that ye bless and sanctify on earth below, that thereby many supernal holy hosts may be blessed and sanctified above.” Blessed are they in this world and blessed are they in the world to come. The Israelites do not recite this benediction until they are crowned with the crowns of holy souls, as we have said before. Blessed is the people who is worthy of them in this world, so that it may merit them in the world to come.

We know that the blessings that stem from the "waters of Eden" are for atonement: 18

Zechariah 13:1 - In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

This water is associated with God's "grace." One of many examples of this is from the Zohar:

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2,Page 64b - R. Abba further said: ‘We know that “water” everywhere symbolizes God's kindness, “Grace”

God's grace in turn, is related to salvation, which comes by "faith":

Ephesians 2:8 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Habakkuk 2:4 - Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

This "faith" connects back to the River of Eden:

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 141a - "And thou shalt be like a watered garden" (Is. LVIII, 11), that is, like the celestial garden whose supernal waters never fail, but flow on for ever and ever; "and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Ibid.), alluding to the river that issues from Eden and flows on for all eternity. Observe that the "well of living waters" is a symbol within a symbol for guiding faith. There is the well which is the very source of the waters [Yesod], and there is the well which is fed by that source of water [Malkut]. There are thus two grades, which are, however, really one with two aspects, male and female, in fitting union. The well and the issue of waters are one, designated by the name of "well", it being at once the supernal never-ceasing fountain and the well that is filled by it. And whoever gazes at that well gazes at the true object of faith. This is the symbol which the patriarchs transmitted in digging the well, in such a way as to indicate that the source and the well are indissoluble.

In the above passage, note that the "well" is associated with Yesod (the Divine Tzaddik), and is called, "the true object of faith."

Paul states that this well (also called the rock), was Messiah, his true "object of faith":

1 Corinthians 10:4 - And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Messiah.

As mentioned, another place we find time transcended involves the Feasts of the Lord. From our perspective (within space and time) we view these as a series of very different events and practices, scattered throughout the year. This is not the case in the heavenly realm however.

As author David Ariel states, the Feasts have a unified purpose:

Every ritual aspect of the Jewish liturgical year is related to the unification of Tiferet and Malkhut and to the restoration of divine harmony. 19

The Zohar states that all the feasts, though separate and distinct within time, are united with one purpose in the heavenly realm, associating them with the Sabbath and the Shema, which speaks of the (coming) unification of the Name of God (as discussed earlier in out studies):

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 135b - The six [Feast] Days are but a preparation for her [the great Sabbath]. As they are united above in "One", so she is unified below in the mystery of "one", to correspond to them above. The Holy One, blessed be He, who is One above, does not take His seat upon the Throne of Glory, until She has entered within the mystery of the One in accordance with His very essence of Oneness, to be the One in One. This, as we have said, is the significance of the words: "The Lord is One, and His Name is One." It is the mystery of the Sabbath, which is united with the mystery of the One so that it may be the organ of this Oneness.

Judaism recognizes a seven thousand year timetable of history. This is divided into 2,000 years of "chaos," (Adam to Abraham), followed by 2,000 of strict Torah, then 2,000 of the "days of Messiah," leading to His appearance and the final 1,000 year Shabbat.

The mysterious part of this equation concerns the "marker" that appears after the 4,000th year, (when Yeshua happened to be on the scene). If the Messiah did not appear at that time, then what happened to launch this "era of Messiah" which is in preparation for Him? The answer is the Divine Tzaddik, who is also the Messiah, though not revealed to us in His full capacity "at this time."

This idea of Messiah existing in one role, only to be completely revealed as the Messiah at a later time is not foreign to Hebraic thinking:

Nahmanides clearly distinguishes between the one who was born and in the future will be the Messiah, and the Messiah's actual revelation due to the fulfillment of his mission, which would make him the actual Messiah. This idea is also expressed by (Rabbi Abraham) Abulafia when he says: "And he said that the Messiah will arrive immediately for he is already born." We may conclude that Abulafia also conceived of two stages in the career of the Messiah: his birth, when he apparently has been destined to be a Messiah, and his arrival. His birth makes him the Messiah "in potentia" and his arrival makes him the actual Messiah. 20

This dual role of the Messiah, first coming as the suffering/atoning Tzaddik, and then later the victorious Messiah, is how Yeshua explained Himself:

Mark 9:12 - Then He answered and told them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?

Luke 17:24-25 - For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

Luke 24:44-47 - Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

(Interestingly, the Sephirah of "Binah" is alluded to in multiple places in the above text, i.e., "understanding," "the third day," "repentance," "Jerusalem.")

We conclude with the following insightful commentary on the subject of "time," from the Chabad-Lubavitch:

We are accustomed to regarding time as a string of segments second follows second, hour follows hour, Monday follows Sunday. Special days--Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Passover--each have their place in the sequence of days and months portrayed by our calendar, preceded and followed by the "ordinary" days that separate them. This, however, is a most perfunctory perception of time, just as a description of the human body in purely physical terms--hair, skin, bone, blood, flesh, sinew and brain tissue classified solely by their spatial juxtaposition to each other--is a most superficial vision of man. Time is a complex organism whose various organs and faculties interact with each other, each fulfilling its individual function and imparting its effect upon the whole. G-d created the whole of time--every age, millennium, century, year and second of it--as a single, multifaceted body. It is only that we, finite and temporal creatures that we are, encounter its "limbs," "organs" and "cells" one at a time, regarding the past as passed because we have passed through it, and the future as yet to be because we have yet to experience it. Just as time, as a whole, consitutes a integral organism, so it is with the various time-bodies--the day, the week, the month, the year, etc.--designed by the Creator of time as distinct components of the universal time-body. Each of these has its own "head," a neurological center which generates, processes and controls the stimuli and experiences of its "body." So if we learn to be sensitive to the structure of time, we can transcend the "sequential" timeline of our lives. If, upon entering the "head" of a particular time-body, we imbue it with a certain quality and stimulate its potential in a certain way, we can profoundly affect the days and experiences of that entire time-body, whether they lie in our "future" or our "past." 21

1. Parsha-Insights - Pesach, Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, (, 2001.

2. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, SUNY Press, Albany, 1993, p. 164, citing Zohar II 9a-b, II 258a.

3. ibid, pp. 1-2.

4. ibid, p. 10.

5. ibid, p. 8.

6. ibid, p. 51.

7. ibid, p. 27.

8. ibid, p. 28.

9. ibid, p. 174.

10. ibid. p. 13. The similarities between Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai in the Zohar, and Yeshua of the "New Testament" are many. These include his teaching the aspect of mercy regarding the Torah, commanding his disciples to "love one another," being the "only righteous man of his time," and the departure of his soul bringing tikkun to the upper worlds.

11. ibid, p. 14.

12. ibid, pp. 18-19.

13. Ramban, Philosopher and Kabbalist, Chayim J. Henoch, Jason Aronson Inc, Jerusalem, 1998, p. 359.

14. Perceptions on the Parsha: Parshas Shoftim, Judging by the Situation, Rabbi Pinchas Winston,

15. Zohar: Selections translated and annotated by Moshe Miller, Moshe L. Miller, Fiftieth Gate Publications and Seminars, Morristown, NJ, 2000, p.39.

16. The Book of Enoch The Prophet, translated by Richard Laurence, Wizards Bookshelf, San Diego, 1995.

17. The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism, Daniel C. Matt, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1996, p.167.

18. See Waters of Eden, The Mystery of the Mikvah, Aryeh Kaplan, NCSY/Orthodox Union, 1976, for a detailed study of this subject.

19. The Mystic Quest, An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, David S. Ariel, Jason Aronson publishers, London, 1988, p. 162.

20. Messianic Mystics, Moshe Idel, Yale Univesity Press, London, 1998, p. 61. Interestingly, Nahmanides used this argument in his debate against Christian claims concerning "Jesus." For an insightful look at this debate, we recommend the video, "The Disputation," as described on the YashanNet Reading List.

21. From,   The Neurology Of Time, Chabad-Lubavitch.