Truth from the Earth Will Spring Up

by tillerofthesoil

043-planting“Rabbi Shim’on said: When the blessed Holy One came to create the human, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and parties, some of them saying, ‘Let him be created,’ whilst others urged, ‘Let him not be created.’ Thus it is written, Kindness and truth have met, justice and peace have kissed (Psalms 85:10). Kindness said, ‘Let him be created, because he will render acts of kindness’; Truth said, ‘Let him not be created, because he is compounded of falsehood’; Justice said, ‘Let him be created, because he will perform just deeds’; Peace said, ‘Let him not be created, because he is full of strife.’ What did the blessed Holy One do? He took Truth and cast it to the earth. Said the ministering angels before the blessed Holy One ‘Master of the Universe! Why do You despise Your seal [cf. BT Shabbat 55a: Truth is the seal of the blessed Holy One]? Let Truth arise from the earth!’ Hence it is written, Truth from the earth תִּצְמָח (titsemaḥ), will spring up (Psalms 85:12) (Bereshit Rabbah 8:6).

Behold the man whose name is צֶמַח (tsemaḥ), Shoot; and he shall יִצְמָח (yitsemaḥ), shoot up, in his place, and he shall build the temple of YHWH (Zechariah 6:12).

“The sages said, ‘If the King Messiah comes from among the living, David will be his name; if he comes from among the dead, it will be David himself.’ Said Rabbi Tanḥuma, ‘I say that the scriptural basis for this teaching is, And keeping faith, with His anointed, to David (Psalms 18:51).’

Rabbi Yehoshua son of Levi said, ‘צֶמַח (tsemaḥ), Shoot, is his name.’ Rabbi Yudan son of Rabbi Ayybo said, ‘מְנַחֵם (menaḥem), Comforter, is his name.’ Said Ḥananiah son of Rabbi Abahu, ‘They do not disagree. The numerical value of the letters of one name equals the numerical value of the other. צֶמַח (tsemaḥ) is equal to מְנַחֵם (Menaḥem)’ [cf. Zohar 3:16a].

And this supports the view of Rabbi Yudan son of Rabbi Ayybo. Once a Jew was plowing and his ox snorted once before him. An Arab who was passing and heard the sound said to him, ‘O son of Judah, O son of Judah. Loosen your ox, and loosen your plow. For today your Temple was destroyed.’ The ox snorted again. He said to him, ‘O son of Judah, O son of Judah. Bind your ox, and bind your plow. For today the King Messiah was born.’ He said to him, ‘What is his name?’ [The Arab replied,] ‘Menaḥem.’ He said to him, ‘And what is his father’s name?’ He said to him, ‘Ḥizqiyah.’ He said to him, ‘Where is he from?’ He said to him, ‘From the royal capital of Bethlehem in Judea.’ He went and sold his ox and sold his plow. And he became a peddler of infants’ clothes. And he went from place to place until he came to that very city. All of the women bought from him. But Menaḥem’s mother did not buy from him. He heard the women saying, ‘O Mother of Menaḥem, O Mother of Menaḥem, come buy for your child.’ She said, ‘I want to choke this enemy of Israel. For on the day he was born the Temple was destroyed.’ He said to her, ‘We are sure that on this day it was destroyed, and on this day it will be rebuilt.’ She said to him, ‘I have no money.’ He said to her, ‘It is of no matter to me. Come and buy for him and if you have no money, pay me when I return.’ After a while he returned. He went up to that place. He said to her, ‘What happened to the infant?’ She said to him, ‘Since the time you saw him a wind came and whisked him away from me.’

Said Rabbi Bun, ‘Why must we learn this from an Arab? Do we not have explicit scriptural evidence for it? And Lebanon with its mighty shall fall (Isaiah 10:34). And what follows this? And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1)’” (JT Berakhot 2:3, 5a cf. Eikhah Rabbah 1:51; Zohar 1:82b).

“Rav [Yehudah ha-Nasi, a descendant of David] said: The world was created only on David’s account. Shemu’el [of the tribe of Levi] said: On Moses’ account; Rabbi Yoḥanan said: For the sake of the Messiah. What is his name?—the House of Rabbi Shila said: His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until שִׁילֹה (Shiloh) comes (Genesis 49:10). The House of Rabbi Yannai said: His name is Yinnon for it is written, May his name be forever. As long as the sun may his name יִנּוֹן (yinnon), bear seed (Psalms 72:17) [cf. Bahir §61, §86]. The House of Rabbi Ḥaninah said: His name is Ḥaninah, as is written, [Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that you know not, neither you nor your fathers; and there shall you serve other gods day and night;where I will not show you חֲנִינָה (ḥaninah), favor (Jeremiah 16:13). Others say: His name is Menaḥem the son of Ḥizqiyah, for it is written, Because the מְנַחֵם (menaem), comforter, that would relieve my life is far from me (Lamentations 1:16) [cf. Abarbanel, Yeshu’ot Meshio, 2:3: the initial letters of these names are an acronym for מָשִׁיחַ (mashiaḥ), Messiah].

The Rabbis said: His name is חִיוְורָא (ḥivvra), White, of the House of Rabbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi], as is written, Yet it was our sickness that he was bearing, our pains that he endured—though we considered him plagued, stricken by God and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4) [i.e., מְצוֹרָע (metsora), skin blanched one (Rashi), see Leviticus 13:45-6; BT Qiddushin 70a]. Rav Naḥman said: if he is of those living [to day], he might be one like myself, as is written, And their nobles shall be from themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them (Jeremiah 30:21) [this description fits Rav Naḥman, who, as the son-in-law of the Resh Galuta, enjoyed great power and prestige]. Rav said: if he is of the living, it would be our holy Rabbi [Yehudah ha-Nasi]; if of the dead, it would have been Daniel the most beloved man. Rav Yehudah said in Rav’s name: The blessed Holy One will raise up another David for them, as is written, But they shall serve YHWH their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them (ibid., 9): not הַקִים (haqim), I raised up, but אָקִים (aqim), I will raise up, is said. Rav Papa said to Abbaye: But it is written, And my servant David shall be their נָשִׂיא (nasi), prince, for ever (Ezekiel 37:25) [and prince is a lower title than king!]—such as caesar and little caesar [i.e., the second David will be the king, and the former David will be his viceroy]” (BT Sanhedrin 98b).

Until שִׁילֹה (Shiloh) comes (Genesis 49:10)—until שַׁי לוֹ (shai lo), tribute to him, come, as is written: All round Him to bring שַׁי (shai), tribute, to the Fearsome One (Psalms 76:12) [cf. Isaiah 18:7]” (Rashi).

“שִׂיחַ (Shiaḥ), plant, of the field (Genesis 2:5)—the first מָשִׁיחַ (mashiaḥ), Messiah, who was not yet on earth. Shrub, of the field (ibid.)—the second Messiah. Why were they not on the earth? Because Moses was not there with them to serve the Shekhinah [called Earth]. Of him, it is written: and there was no human to till the soil (ibid.). The secret is given in: The scepter shall not pass from Judah (Genesis 49:10)—Messiah son of David. Nor the mace from between his legs (ibid.)—Messiah son of Joseph. Until Shiloh comes (ibid.)—Moses, since מֹשֶׁה (Moshe), Moses, is numerically equivalent to שִׁילֹה (Shiloh), Shiloh. וְלוֹ יִקְהַת (Ve-lo yiqehat), and to him the submission, of peoples (ibid.)—the letters [of]: וְלֵוִי קְהָת (ve-Levi qehat), and Levi Kohath [i.e., reaching from Moses, to Kohath and Levi, his ancestors]” (Zohar 1:25b, Tiqqunei ha-Zohar).

“Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai: If Israel kept two Sabbaths according to her halakhot, they would be redeemed immediately, as is said, Thus says YHWH of the eunuch that keep My Sabbaths (Isaiah 56:4), which is followed by, even them will I bring to My holy mountain (ibid., 7)” (BT Shabbat 118b, cf. JT Ta’anit 1:1; 64:1)—מִיָד (miyad), “immediately” is an acrostic: מָשִׁיחַ (mashiaḥ), Messiah (or: מֹשֶׁה [moshe], Moses), יוֹסֵף (yosef), Joseph, דָוִד (david), David.

“[Rabbi Yoḥanan son of Zakkai used to say,] ‘If you have a sapling in your hand, and it is said to you, ‘Behold, there is the Messiah’—go on with your planting, and afterward go out and receive him” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan B, 31).

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