The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: messiah

Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai! Oy for the Generation that will be Orphaned without You!

Rashbi

“Our Rabbis taught: When our Rabbis entered the vineyard at Yavneh, they said, ‘Torah is destined to be forgotten in Israel, as is said: Look, days are coming, said YHWH, when I will let loose famine in the land, not famine for bread and not thirst for water but for hearing the words of YHWH (Amos 8:10). And it is written: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north to the east they shall roam to seek YHWH’s word, but they shall not find it (ibid., 11).’ … Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai said, ‘Perish the thought that Torah will be forgotten in Israel, as is said: But it shall not be forgotten in the mouth of his seed (Deuteronomy 31:21)” (BT Shabbat 138b).

“כִּי לֹא תִשָּׁכַח מִפִּי זַרְעו But it shall not be forgotten in the mouth of his seedיוֹחַאי (Yoḥai)….

עִיר וְקַדִּישׁ מִן שְׁמַיָּא נָחִת A holy emissary came down from the heavens (Daniel 4:10)—שִׁמְעוֹן (Shim’on)” (Rabbi Naḥman of Bratslav, Liqqutei MoharanLekhu Ḥazu, cf. BT Bava Batra 21a; Zohar 2:149b; 3:58a).

“It was said that Rabbi Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of disciples, from Gevat to Antipatris; and all of them died at the same time because they did not honor each other. The world remained desolate until Rabbi Akiva came to our Rabbis in the South and taught them. These were Rabbi Me’ir, Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Yose, Rabbi Shim’on and Rabbi El’azar son of Shammu’a; and it was they who upheld Torah at that time” (BT Yevamot 62b).

“Whoever separates from Torah is like one who separates from life, and one who separates from Rabbi Shim’on is as if he separates from all…. Woe to the generation from which Rabbi Shim’on departs! For when we are in the presence of Rabbi Shim’on, springs of the heart are open in every direction and all is revealed, but when we separate from him we know nothing and all springs are stopped. Rabbi Ḥizkiyah said, ‘Corresponding to what is written: He held back some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy men, the elders (Numbers 11:25)—like a lamp from which many lamps are lit, while retaining its vitality. Similarly, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai, Master of Lamps, illumines all, yet light does not depart from him and he retains vitality’” (Zohar 2:86b).

“Rabbi Ḥiyya prostrated himself on the ground, kissing the dust and weeping. He cried out, ‘Dust, dust, how stubborn you are, how impudent! All delights of the eye decay in you. All pillars of light in the world you consume and pulverize. How insolent you are! The Holy Lamp who has illumined the world, majestic ruler, prince, whose merit sustains the world, decays in you. O Rabbi Shim’on, radiance of the lamp, radiance of the worlds, you decompose in the dust, yet you subsist and guide the world!’

For a moment he was shocked, and then exclaimed, ‘Dust, dust, do not boast! The pillars of the world will not be surrendered to you. Rabbi Shim’on has not decayed in you! [since the bodies of the righteous do not decay, see BT Bava Metsi’a 84b]” (Zohar 1:4b, cf. ibid. 3:70a–71b).

“One of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai’s disciples forgot what he had learned and went weeping to the cemetery. After this Rabbi Shim’on appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘When you throw three kernels at me I will come to you.’ The disciple went to a dream interpreter, who told him, ‘repeat your chapter three times and Rabbi Shim’on will come to you and you will no longer forget what you have learned’” (Qohelet Rabbah 10:10).

“Wherever son of Yoḥai is found, his companions are there with him, awakened by him, and learning from him” (Zohar Ḥadash 60a).

“The name of Messiah was contemplated [before the creation of the world], as is written, As long as the sun may his name bear seed (Psalms 72:17)” (Bereshit Rabbah 1:4).

“בְּרֵאשִׁית (Bereshit), In the beginning (Genesis 1:1)—an acronym: א״ת רשב״י (or torat Rashbi), the light of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai’s teaching” (Rabbi Naftali Bacharach, Emeq ha-Melekh 63a, cf. Yehudah Leibes, Studies in the Zohar, p. 239–40, n. 68).

“The blessed Holy One has engraved the image of Rabbi Shim’on high above, and his voice ascends on high and is adorned with a holy crown, until the blessed Holy One is crowned with him in all worlds, glorying in him. Of him is written He said to me, ‘You are My servant, Israel, in whom I glory (Isaiah 49:3)….

It has been taught: Before coming to the world, all the righteous of the world are arrayed with their names. And ever since the day that the blessed Holy One created the world, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai had been poised before the blessed Holy One and present with Him. Happy is his share above and below! Of him is written Your father and your mother will rejoice (Proverbs 23:25)—your father is the blessed Holy One; and your mother is Assembly of Israel” (Zohar 3:61b).

“If the Torah had not been given on Mount Sinai, but instead the blessed Holy One had said, ‘Here, the son of Yoḥai is My Torah and My secrets!’ it would have sufficed for the world. Woe when you depart from the world! Who will illumine lamps of Torah? All will darken from that day on. For until King Messiah comes, there will be no generation such as this one, in whose midst Rabbi Shim’on dwells!” (Zohar 3:241b).

“Ḥizkiyah said in the name of Rabbi Yirmeyah: Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai said, ‘I am able לִפְטוֹר (liftor), to exempt, the whole world from judgment from the day that I was born until now, and were El’azar, my son, to be [reckoned] with me from the day of the creation of the world to the present time, and were Jotham son of Uzziah with us, from the creation of the world to its final end…. Ḥizkiyah further stated in the name of Rabbi Yirmeyah who said it in the name of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai, I have seen בְּנֵי עֲלִיָּיה (bnei aliyyah), the sons of ascension, and they are few. If there be a thousand, I and my son are among them; if a hundred, I and my son are among them; and if only two, they are I and my son [cf. Rabbi El’azar of Worms, Ḥokhmah ha-Nefesh, p. 59: ‘He has seen either through a dream question, or as Rabbi Neḥunia son of ha-Qannah (who performed the ancient practice of placing the head between the knees in order to attain a vision of the Chariot, see 1 Kings 18:42 (and Rabbi David Kimḥi, ad loc.); BT Berakhot 34b, Avodah Zarah 17a; Zohar 3:166b; Rav Ḥai Gaon, Otsar ha-Geonim on Ḥagigah 14b; Teshuvot 14–15)]’” (BT Sukkah 45b).

“Rabbi Ḥizkiyah said in Rabbi Yirmeyah’s name: Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai said: If Abraham is willing, he can effectively intercede for [all generations] from his days until mine, while I can intercede for [all generations] from my time until the advent of Messiah. While if he is not willing, let Ahijah the Shilonite unite with me, and we can intercede for all from the days of Abraham until those of Messiah. Rabbi Ḥizkiyah said in Rabbi Yirmeyah’s name: Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai said: The world is unable to endure without thirty [men] righteous like Abraham our father. If there are thirty, my son and I are two of them; if ten, my son and I are two of them; if five, my son and I are two of them; if two, they are my son and I; and but one, I am he” (Bereshit Rabbah 35:2, cf. JT Berakhot 9:2, 13d; BT Sanhedrin 97b; Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 11:5).

“Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘When I am among those Companions of Babylonia, they gather around me and learn subjects openly, and then insert them beneath an impregnable seal of iron, shut tight on all sides. How often have I described to them the pathways of the garden of the Holy King and the supernal pathways! How often have I taught them all those rungs of the righteous in that world! They are called stammerers, like one who stammers with his mouth. But I judge them favorably because they are frightened, for holy air and holy spirit have been withdrawn from them and they suck air and spirit of an alien domain [cf. BT Bava Batra 158b]. Furthermore, a rainbow appears above them and they are unworthy; but to their benefit, I am present in the world, I am the sign of the world, for in my lifetime the world does not dwell in suffering and is not punished by judgment above. After me there will not rise a generation like this one. The world is destined to lack anyone who can protect it, and all kinds of impudent faces will haunt above and below—above, on account of sins of those below and their impudence” (Zohar 1:224b–225a, cf. BT Sotah 49b).

“A band of outlaws cannot abide in the world, for Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai has nullified them. Happy are you, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai, for your Master delights in your glory above all inhabitants of the world! Of Moses is written Moses implored [the presence of YHWH his God] (Exodus 32:21)—implying that he was seized with gout. Whereas you, Rabbi Shim’on, decree and the blessed Holy One fulfills; He decrees and you abolish!” (Zohar 3:15a, cf. BT Mo’ed Qatan 16b).

“Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘All lamps—you Companions, who are in this holy ring—I call the highest heaven and the highest holy earth as witness that I see now what no human has seen since the day that Moses ascended Mount Sinai the second time. I see my face shining like the light of the powerful sun that is destined to radiate healing for the world, as is written: For you who revere My name the sun of righteousness will shine, with healing in its wings (Malachi 3:20). Furthermore, I know that my face is shining, where as Moses did not know or see, as is written: Moses did not know that the skin of his face was radiant (Exodus 34:29)” (Zohar 3:132b, Idra Rabba, cf. BT Bava Batra 12a).

“Now, why is [Rabbi Yehudah son of Rabbi Ila’i] called the first speaker on all occasions? For Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Yose, and Rabbi Shim’on were sitting, and Yehudah son of converts, was sitting near them. Rabbi Yehudah opened, saying, ‘How fine are the works of this people! They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.’ Rabbi Yose was silent. Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai answered and said, ‘All that they made they made for themselves; they built marketplaces, to set prostitutes in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them [cf. BT Bava Batra 10b].’ Now, Yehudah son of converts went and related their talk, which reached the government. They decreed: Yehudah, who exalted [us], shall be exalted, Yose, who was silent, shall be exiled to Sepphoris; Shim’on, who denounced, let him be executed.

He and his son went and hid themselves in the house of study, [and] his wife brought him bread and a mug of water and they dined. [But] when the decree became more severe he said to his son, ‘Women are of unstable temperament: she may be tortured and expose us.’ So they went and hid in a cave [cf. 1 Kings 19]. A miracle occurred and a carob-tree and a spring of water were created for them. They would strip their garments and sit up to their necks in sand. The whole day they studied; when it was time for prayers they robed, covered themselves, prayed, and then removed their garments again, so that they should not wear out. Thus they dwelt twelve years in the cave. Then Elijah came and stood at the opening to the cave and said, ‘Who will inform the son of Yoḥai that the Caesar is dead and his decree annulled?’ So they emerged.

Seeing men ploughing and sowing, they exclaimed, ‘They forsake life eternal and engage in needs of the hour!’ [cf. BT Berakhot 35b]. Every place they gazed upon was immediately burnt up. A heavenly echo came forth and cried out, ‘Have you emerged to destroy My world? Return to your cave!’ So they returned and dwelt there twelve months, saying, ‘The punishment of the wicked in Hell is [limited to] twelve months.’ An echo then issued, saying, ‘Go out from your cave!’ They emerged, and wherever Rabbi El’azar wounded, Rabbi Shim’on healed. He said to him, ‘My son! You and I are sufficient for the world’ [cf. Zohar 3:144b (IR): ‘They rose (from the great assembly), and no place they looked at failed to exude fragrance. Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘From this you can infer that the world is blessed because of us’].

On the eve of the Sabbath before sunset they saw an old man holding two sprigs of myrtle and running at twilight. They asked him, ‘What are these for?’ ‘They are in honor of the Sabbath,’ he replied. ‘Isn’t one enough for you?’ ‘One [is] for Remember [the Sabbath day] (Exodus 20:8), and one for Keep [the Sabbath day] (Deuteronomy 5:12). He said to his son, ‘See how precious the mitsvot are to Israel.’ There minds were set at ease.

Rabbi Pinḥas son of Ya’ir his son-in-law heard and went out to meet him. He took him into the baths and massaged his flesh. Seeing the clefts in his body he wept and the tears streamed from his eyes. ‘Woe to me that I see you in such a state!’ he cried out. He said, ‘Happy are you that you see me so, for if you did not see me in such a state you would not find me so [learned. See the similar expression by Naḥum of Gamzu, see BT Ta’anit 21a]. For originally, when Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai raised a difficulty, Rabbi Pinḥas son of Ya’ir would give him thirteen answers, whereas subsequently when Rabbi Pinḥas son of Ya’ir raised a difficulty, Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai would give him twenty-four answers. He said, ‘Since a miracle has occurred let me go and amend something, for it is written, and Jacob came in שָׁלֵם (shalem), peace [(lit., whole) to the town of Shechem] (Genesis 33:18).’ Rav interpreted: whole in his body, whole financially, and whole in his learning. [וַיִּחַן (Va-yiḥan), and he camped, before the town (ibid.)—read instead:] And he was חַנוּן (ḥanoon), gracious, to the town. Rav said: He instituted coinage for them. Shemu’el said: He instituted markets for them; Rabbi Yoḥanan said: He instituted baths for them. [Rabbi Shim’on asked:] Is there anything to fix?” (BT Shabbat 33b).

“Rabbi Pinḥas used to frequent Rabbi Reḥumai by the shore of Lake Ginnosar [the Sea of Galilee, Lake Kinneret]. He was distinguished, advanced in years, and his eyes had transcended seeing. He said to Rabbi Pinḥas, ‘Truly I have heard that our Companion Yoḥai has a pearl, a precious stone. I gazed at the light of that pearl, issuing like the radiance of the sun from its sheath, illumining the entire world [alluding to Rabbi Shim’on’s emergence from the cave]. That light extends from heaven to earth, illumining the entire world until the Ancient of Days comes and sits fittingly upon the throne. That light is contained totally in your house [since according to the Zohar, Rabbi Shim’on is married to the daughter of Rabbi Pinḥas and thus contained in his house], and from the light contained in your house emanates a fine, threadlike ray, radiating, illumining the entire world [namely Rabbi El’azar son of Rabbi Shim’on]. Happy is your share! Go, my son, go out after that pearl illuminating the world, for the time is ripe.’

He left him and was about to board a boat along with two other men, when he saw two birds come flying over the lake. He shouted to them, ‘Birds, birds, flying over the lake! Have you seen the site of the son of Yoḥai?’ He paused a while, and then said, ‘Birds, birds, go and bring me a reply!’ They flew off.

They embarked, setting off across the lake. Before he had disembarked, those birds returned, and in the mouth of one of them was a note on which was written: ‘The son of Yoḥai has emerged from the cave along with his son Rabbi El’azar.’ He went to him and found him transfigured, his body full of moldy sores. He wept together with him and said, ‘Alas, that I see you so!’ He replied, ‘Happy is my share that you see me so, for had you not seen me so, I would not be so” (Zohar 1:11a–b, cf. ZḤ 59c–60a).

“Our Rabbis have taught: Once Rabbi Yoḥanan was travelling to see Rabbi Shim’on, and Rabbi Yose was walking with him. Rabbi Yose asked him, ‘Where are you going?’ He replied, ‘To see Rabbi Shim’on.’ He said, ‘You are going to see your master of dissension?!’ He replied, ‘Conclude from this that Rabbi Shim’on dissents for the sake of heaven! Since it is so, the love of my heart abides with him’ [cf. M Avot 5:17]” (Zohar Ḥadash 10a–b [MhN]).

“Rabbi Ḥiyya and Rabbi Yose came and prostrated themselves before [Rabbi Shim’on] and kissed his hands. They wept and said ‘Higher and lower engravings raise their heads because of you! The blessed Holy One made Jerusalem below corresponding to the pattern above. Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai made the walls of the city and its gates! Whoever enters does not enter until the gates are opened. Whoever ascends does not ascend until the steps of the walls are firm. It is written: All your males shall appear in the presence of the Lord YHWH (Exodus 34:23)—this is Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai! For whoever is male of males must appear before him’” (Zohar 2:38a).

“Rabbi Yehoshu’a son of Levi met Elijah at the opening of the cave of Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai. He asked him: ‘Have I a portion in the world to come?’ He said, ‘If this lord desires.’ Rabbi Yehoshu’a son of Levi said, ‘I saw two, but heard the voice of a third [the Shekhinah (Rashi)].’ He then asked him, ‘When will the Messiah come?’—‘Go and ask him himself,’ was his reply. ‘Where is he sitting?’—‘At the portal of the city [of Rome (Gra)].’ And by what sign may I recognize him?’—‘He is sitting among the ill, poor, and suffering: everyone of them untie all at once and rebandage them together, whereas he unties and rebandages each separately [before treating the next], thinking, should I be wanted, I must not be delayed [by having to bandage a number of sores].’ So he went to him and greeted him, saying, ‘Peace be upon you, Rabbi and Teacher.’ ‘Peace be upon you son of Levi,’ he replied. ‘When will you come Master?’ he asked, ‘Today,’ was his answer. On his returning to Elijah, he asked, ‘What did he say to you?’—‘Peace be upon you son of Levi,’ he answered. Thereupon he [Elijah] observed, ‘He thereby assured you and your father of [a portion in] the world to come.’ ‘He spoke a lie to me, saying that he would come today, but has not.’ He [Elijah] answered him, ‘This is what he said to you, Today, if you would only heed His voice!’ (Psalms 95:7)” (BT Sanhedrin 98a).

“Even children in the generation of Rabbi Shim’on are worthy of wisdom! Happy are you, Rabbi Shim’on! Woe to the generation from whom you depart!” (Zohar 1:93a).

“Come and enter! Gather for the wedding celebration of Rabbi Shim’on. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest upon their couches (Isaiah 57:2). As he entered the cave [of his burial site], they heard a voice inside: ‘This is the man who shook the earth, who made kingdoms tremble. How many open mouths of accusation in heaven subside today because of you! This is Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai, in whom his Lord glories every day. Happy is his share above and below! How many supernal treasures are preserved for him! Of him is said As for you, go on till the end, and you will rest, and arise for your destiny at the end of days (Daniel 12:13)’” (Zohar 3:296b, Idra Zuta).

“Because [the people of] Israel are destined to taste of this Tree of Life, namely this סֵפֶר הַזֹּהַר (Sefer ha-Zohar), Book of Radiance, they will thereby come forth from exile through [divine] compassion” (Zohar 3:124b, Ra’aya Meheimna Naso).

First Born Ox

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“I have ox and donkey (Genesis 32:6). Ox—מָשׁוּחַ מִלחָמָה (mashuaḥ milḥamah), Anointed for War, as is said, His first born ox is His glory (Deuteronomy 33:17). Donkey—מֶלֶך הַמָשִׁיחַ (Melekh ha-Mashia), the King Messiah, as is said, He is lowly and rides a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)” (Bereshit Rabbah 75:6, cf. Tanḥuma [Buber] 1:54, 179).

Rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, daughter of Jerusalem! Look! Your King is coming to you: He is righteous and victorious. He is lowly and rides on a donkey, on a colt, a young pack animal (Zechariah 9:9).

“The Masters of Mishnah taught: ‘Who is mighty? He who conquers his [evil] impulse’ (M Avot 4:1). And there are those for whom it becomes a חֲמוֹר (ḥamor), donkey, that causes no trouble for its rider, and they are the ones who exert themselves in קַל וָחוֹמֶר (qal va-ḥomer), inference from minor to major. And this is why it is written of Abraham: And saddled his donkey (Genesis 22:3). And this is also why it is said about Messiah: He is lowly and rides on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)” (Zohar 3:237b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

He is lowly and rides on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)—עָנִי (ani), lowly, stands for the Mishnah orders of עֵרוּבִין (eruvin), Mixture [i.e., Sabbath borders], נִדָּה (niddah), Separated [i.e., laws of the menstruate] and יְבָמוֹת (yevamot), Levirates [i.e., laws of marriage between a widow and her brother-in-law]. The rest of the orders of the Mishnah are comprised in these but one is not considered a king until he rides on a horse, which is the Assembly of Israel [cf. Song of Songs 1:9: To my mare among Pharaoh’s chariots I likened you, my friend]….

And when the gulf is open, whoever falls there does not come up. And Messiah the Son of David fell there together with Messiah son of Joseph, of whom one is written: He is lowly and rides on a donkey, and the other is, His first born ox (Deuteronomy 33:17). This is the meaning of: If a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or a donkey fall into it (Exodus 21:33). For that reason Messiah is called בַּר נַפְלֵי (bar nafli), Son of the Fallen [see BT Sanhedrin 96b–97a], and She [Shekhinah] fell with them, and of Her it says, Fallen, not to rise again, is Virgin Israel (Amos 5:2). And you [Faithful Shepherd], the owner of the pit shall pay silver, shall make good to its owner, and the carcass shall be his (Exodus 21:34). The dead refers to Messiah son of Joseph who in the future will be slain [… censored passage]. Joseph, His first born ox is His glory (Deuteronomy 33:17), of whom it says, And they… cast him into a pit (Genesis 37:24)—the evil female. And the pit was empty (ibid.)—the male which is empty, without Torah, but instead has snakes and scorpions in it. This is the fourth exile [of Esau] which is a wicked generation, full of snakes and scorpions, scoundrels like snakes and who are עַקְרַבִּֽים (aqrabim), scorpions, since they עָקוּר (aqoor), uproot, the words of the Rabbis and give false sentence. Of them it says: Her adversaries have become the chief (Lamentations 1:5)” (Zohar 3:276b–279b, Ra’aya Meheimna Ki Tetse).

And the land shall mourn, every clan apart; the clan of the house of David apart, and their wives apart (Zechariah 12:12)…. what is the cause of the mourning?—Rabbi Dosa and the Rabbis disagree. One explained, The cause is the slaying of Messiah son of Joseph [in the war of Gog from the land of Magog prior to the ultimate redemption with the coming of Messiah son of David], and the other explained, The cause is the slaying of the evil impulse. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah son of Joseph, since that well agrees with: And they shall look upon Me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son (ibid., 10); but according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the evil impulse, is this an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep?—as Rabbi Yehudah expounded: In the time yet to come the blessed Holy One will bring the evil impulse and slay it in the presence of the righteous and the wicked. To the righteous it will have the appearance of a towering hill, and to the wicked it will have the appearance of a hair thread. Both the former and the latter will weep; the righteous will weep saying, ‘How were we able to overcome such a towering hill!’ The wicked also will weep saying, ‘How is it that we were unable to conquer this hair thread!’ And the blessed Holy One will also marvel together with them, as is said, Thus says YHWH of armies; If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, would it also be marvelous in My eyes? says YHWH of armies (ibid. 8:6). 

Rav Assi said, ‘The evil impulse is at first like the thread of a spider, but ultimately becomes like cart ropes, as is said, Woe unto them that draw guilt with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope (Isaiah 5:18).’

Our Rabbis taught, the blessed Holy One will say to the Messiah, Son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days), ‘Ask of Me anything, and I will give it to you,’ as is said, Let me tell as is due of YHWH. He said to me: ‘You are My son. I Myself today did beget you. Ask of Me, and I shall give nations as your estate (Psalms 2:7–8). But when he will see that the Messiah son of Joseph is slain, he will say to Him, ‘Master of the World, I ask of You only the gift of life.’ As to life, He would answer him, ‘Your father David has already prophesied this concerning you’, as is said, Life he asked You—You gave him, [length of days for time without end] (Psalms 21:4)” (BT Sukkah 52a).

“And two Messiahs arouse before them. Messiah son of David parallels נֶצַח (Netsaḥ), and is connected with the morning of Abraham [Ḥesed, see Zohar 1:182b on Genesis 22:3] which is: At Your right hand are pleasures for נֶצַח (netsaḥ), evermore (Psalms 16:11). Hod to Gevurah, since to it is attached Messiah Son of Ephraim [synonymous with Messiah son of Joseph]. You [Moses the Faithful Shepherd], are in the middle, and your rung is Tif’eret, for the middle pillar is connected with you, and also Yesod, the Vitality of the Worlds, is on your rung. Ḥokhmah is on the right: ‘Let him who wants to be wise turn south’ (BT Berakhot 30a). Binah is on the left: ‘Let him who wants to be rich turn to the north’ (ibid.)” (Zohar 3:242b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

“And after this a king עַז פָּנִים (‘az panim), brazen faced, will arise for three months, and then the wicked kingdom will rule over Israel for nine months, as it says, Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travails has brought forth: [then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel] (Micah 5:2). And there shall sprout up for them Messiah Son of Joseph, and he will bring them up to Jerusalem. He will rebuild the Temple and offer sacrifices; fire shall descend from heaven and consume their sacrifices, as is written, The lawless sons of your people shall be raised up to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble (Daniel 11:14). If they are not worthy, Messiah Son of Ephraim comes [i.e., Messiah Son of Joseph]; but if they are worthy, Messiah Son of David will come.

A wicked king will arise whose name is Armilus: bald, with small eyes and a skin-blanched forehead; his right ear closed up and his left ear open. If a good person should speak to him, he will turn his closed ear toward him, and if a wicked person should speak to him, he will turn his open ear to him. He is the offspring of the שָׂטָן (satan), adversary, and a stone [statue], and he will come up to Jerusalem and incite war with Messiah Son of Ephraim comes [i.e., Messiah Son of Joseph] at the eastern gate, as is written, And they shall look to me whom they have thrust through (Zechariah 12:10)” (Nistarot shel Rabbi Shim’on bar Yoḥai).

“From the right of Abraham, whose rung is Ḥesed, He takes vengeance on Ishmael and his prince, and from the left of Isaac, whose rung is פַּחַד (paḥad), Terror, He takes vengeance on Esau and his appointed prince by means of two Messiahs, one of whom, Messiah son of David, is from the right, while the other, Messiah son of Joseph, is from the left. And the rung of Jacob that corresponds to them, in the mystery of changing his hands (Genesis 48:14)—the lion, to the left, and the ox to the right, to Ishmael. And since Judah was exiled in Esau, it follows that the right of holiness is with the left of Esau, and likewise the left of holiness is with the impure right of Ishmael. Until שִׁילֹה (Shiloh), come (Genesis 49:10) [cf. BT Sanhedrin 98b]—Shiloh, who is [Moses] the Faithful Shepherd [since the numerical value of שִׁילֹה (Shiloh), is equal to מֹשֶׁה (moshe), Moses], whose rung is Tif’eret Israel [the middle pillar]. He will take vengeance from the motley throng. In these three rungs כֹּהֲנִים לְוִיִּם וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים (kohanimlevi’im, ve-yisraelim), Priests, Levites, and Israelites, will be recalled from the Exile, and with them [His כְּלִי (keli), weapon] He takes vengeance upon Esau, Ishmael, and the motley throng. Just as the motley throng is intermingled with Esau and Ishmael, so Jacob is composed of Abraham and Isaac for he is a mixture of the two of them. So too, Shiloh [Moses the Faithful Shepherd] is intermingled with Messiah son of David and Messiah son of Joseph and he will be the link between the two of them, as at the time that Bilaam saw in his prophecy [see Genesis 49:10]. For thus the two Messiahs are connected with the Faithful Shepherd, like the three patriarchs, in the final exile” (Zohar 3:245a–b, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

“Since they brought it on you and did good things for you, you have suffered for their sakes many troubles so that Messiah son of Joseph shall not be killed, of whom it says, the face of an ox on the left side (Ezekiel 1:10), who is a descendant of Joseph, of whom it says, His first born ox is His glory (Deuteronomy 33:17). That is because he and his descendants shall not be violated among the heathen nations because of the sin of Jeroboam who worshipped idols [cf. 1 Kings], for which he and his seed were to be violated among the idol worshiping nations. For Jeroboam the son of Nebat is a descendant of Joseph and it is because of him that it says of you: But he was wounded because of our transgressions… and by his injury we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). And since Israel include right and left where Your ה (he) and י (yod) are in a state of completion, it behooves You to unite with Her between them. Because he [Jeroboam] has brought out an evil name upon a virgin of Israel, it says of her, and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days (Deuteronomy 22:19), in exile he may not be away from her all his days….

But the Masters of Mishnah do not know the Faithful Shepherd [Moses]. Elijah, an oath upon you in the Name of YHWH and in the explicit Name, reveal him to all the heads of the Masters of Mishnah so they will recognize him and he shall no more יִתְחַלֵּל (yitḥalal), be violated, And he מְחוֹלָל (meḥolal), was wounded, for our transgressions, (Isaiah 53:5). You do not have to receive permission because I am a messenger from the Master of the World, and I know that if you do that, the blessed Holy One will thank you for it and your descendants shall be exalted for it above and below. Do not tarry in doing it, neither a week nor a month, nor a year, but do it immediately!” (Zohar 3:277a–283a, Ra’aya Meheimna Ki Tetse).

“What is meant by, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie (Habakkuk 2:3)?What is [For there is yet a vision for the appointed time] וְיָפֵחַ (ve-yafe’aḥ), and a witness, for the end who is not false (Habakkuk 2:3)? Rabbi Shemu’el son of Naḥmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan: תִּיפָּח (Tippaḥ), blasted, be the bones of those who calculate the end [cf. Rabbi Hillel Rivlin of Shklov in the name of the Gaon of Vilna, Qol ha-Tor 4:2]. For they would say, since the predetermined time has arrived, and yet he has not come, he will never come. But [even so], wait for him, as is written, Though he tarries, wait for him (ibid.). Should you say, ‘We await [his coming] but He does not [come]’: therefore Scripture says, And therefore YHWH shall wait to grant you grace, and therefore He shall rise to show you mercy, [for a God of justice is YHWH] (Isaiah 30:18). But since we look forward to it, as does He, what delays [his coming]? The quality of Justice delays it [because we are not yet worthy]. But since the quality of Justice delays it, why do we await it? To be rewarded [for hoping], as is written, Happy all who wait for Him (Isaiah 30:18).” (BT Sanhedrin 97b).

Six Hundred Sixty and Six

Hoard_of_ancient_gold_coins“[The Egyptian sorcerers’] wisdom was great, and they observed the hour and examined the rungs and saw that in all aspects, בְּשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה (be-shesh Moshe), Moses was in six: in the first six hours of the day, over which they had no power; in six supernal rungs, linked with him. In all aspects he was in six, and in the crowns of the six he was destined to descend from the mountain, as is written: that Moses, בֹשֵׁשׁ (vo-shesh), lagged—[read instead:] was בְּשֵׁשׁ (be-shesh), in sixin coming down from the mountain (Exodus 32:1)” (Zohar 2:191b).

“When sixty years have passed over the threshold of the sixth millenium, the God of Heaven will begin attending the daughter of Jacob. From then, six more years, totaling seventy-three. In sixty-six, King Messiah will appear in the land of Galilee. One star in the East will swallow seven stars in the North, and a flame of black fire will dangle in the sky for sixty days. Wars will be instigated in the North, in which two kings will fall. All nations will join in battle against the daughter of Jacob, to drive her from the world. Of that time it is written: It is a time of distress for Jacob, but he will be delivered from it (Jeremiah 30:7). Then souls will be depleted from the body and will need to be renewed [cf. BT Yevamot 62a: ‘The son of David will not come until all the souls in the body have been depleted, for it is said: For the spirit enwraps itself before Me and the souls that I have made (Isaiah. 57:16)’]. Your mnemonic: All the souls of the house of Jacob who came to Egypt numbered sixty-six (Genesis 46:26–27)” (Zohar 1:116a–18b).

And the Holy Lamp [Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai] said: All the souls of the house of Jacob… numbered sixty-six (Genesis 46:26–27). Sixty—for the awakening of the first Messiah [Son of Joseph]. Six—for the awakening of the second Messiah [Son of David], and this leaves six years until seventy-two. To establish therein the verse: six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit (Leviticus 25:3) [alluding to the ingathering of the exiles]. As is said: Israel is holy to YHWH, the first fruits of his increase (Jeremiah 2:3). 

If it is so what is: רָנּוּ (rannu), sing with gladness, for Jacob (Jeremiah 31:6) [רָנּוּ (rannu) being numerically equivalent to 256]? There are to be four redemptions [cf. Exodus 6:6–7: I will take you out… I will rescue you… I will redeem you… I will take you to Me] corresponding to the four cups of wine at Passover since Israel are scattered into four directions of the world, and those who are among the nations that are far away, will be early, in רנ״ו (two hundred and fifty-six). The next group in sixty; the third in sixty-six; and the fourth in seventy-two.

And these redemptions will be with the four living beings [of the Chariot] in the name of יהוה (YHWH), who rides on them, as is written: that You did ride upon Your horses and Your chariots of rescue (Habakkuk 3:8). Opposite them will awaken below four standards and twelve tribes [cf. Numbers 2:2; Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7], in the mystery of: ‘יְהוָה מֶלֶךְ יְהוָה מָלָךְ יְהוָה יִמְלוֹךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד (Adonai melekh, Adonai malakh, Adonai yimlokh le-olam va-ed), YHWH reigns, YHWH reigned, YHWH will reign for ever and ever’ (Musaf) [cf. Psalms 96:10, 93:1; Exodus 15:18]. There are twelve letters here [i.e., three iterations of יהוה (YHWH)], corresponding to the twelve tribes, and the twelve faces of the three patriarchs about whom it has been said: The patriarchs are the Chariot. And these ten tribes—one thousand years. The other two tribes—two hundred years, and from the twelve letters are suspended the seventy-two names. And these seventy-two are the years after one thousand and two hundred years [the Zohar implies that these were auspicious times for Israel to repent, and that their redemption was dependent on their repentance (Sullam), cf. BT Sanhedrin 98a] (Zohar 3:252a, Ra’aya Meheimna Pineḥas).

The Other Side Always Precedes: Growing, Developing, Protecting the Fruit and Once it has Grown, it is Cast Aside

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Yes, YHWH’s portion is His people [Jacob the parcel of His estate] (Deuteronomy 32:9)—a parable: A king had a field which he leased to land tenants. When they began to steal from it, he took it away from them and leased it to their children. When the children began to act worse than the first, he took it away from them and gave it to their grandchildren. Now a son was born to him and he said to them, ‘Leave my property. You may not stay there. Give me back my portion, so that I may repossess it.’ Thus when our father Abraham came into the world, פְּסוֹלֶת (pesolet), refuse, issued from him—Ishmael and the sons of Keturah. Our father Isaac came into the world, [and] refuse issued from him—Esau and all the princes of Edom who became worse than the first. When Jacob came into the world, refuse did not issue from him, but rather, all his sons were worthy, as is said, And Jacob was a simple man, a dweller in tents (Genesis 25:27)” (Sifrei, Deuteronomy 312).

“The powers of impurity emanate before the powers of purity, for at first the refuse is purified, and afterwards the powers of purity emerge. As is said, Remove the dross from silver, and for the refiner the vessel comes out (Proverbs 25:4). So it is with Cain and Abel, Cain came out first from the refuse which is on the left side, and afterwards Abel who is from the side of Ḥesed, Kindness. And similarly with Esau and Jacob. And it says: Esau came out from the dross of gold. Therefore, Isaac loved Esau for he came from his dregs….

And what is said that ‘He kept building worlds and destroying them [until He created these]’ (Bereshit Rabbah 3:7, 9:2), hints to the powers of impurity which emanated first and were nullified. And of this is written, who are shriveled before their time, their foundation pours out like a river (Job 22:16)” (MS Paris 859, 16a, 42a–43a).

And YHWH said to Samuel, “Look not to his appearance and to his lofty stature, for I have cast him aside. For not as man sees does God see. For man sees with the eyes and YHWH sees with the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

“As for the seed of David, the appearance of colors is reversed. Therefore Samuel erred, as is written: Look not at his appearance (1 Samuel 16:7), for the Other Side was in Eliab, which was not so in David” (Zohar 2:74a).

“At first, Er, firstborn of Judah, was evil (Genesis 38:7) similarly, Mahlon, but not as much. But by these, evil was consumed and good eventually emerged—the one of whom is written goodly to look on, and YHWH is with him (1 Samuel 16:12, 18)” (Zohar 2:103b).

“For Rabbi Abba has said, ‘How many wicked there are in the world who engender more virtuous children than the righteous!” (Zohar 2:12b).

“Here is a mystery. In all actions performed by the blessed Holy One, He begins with the external, and then the kernel within…. The Other Side always precedes: growing, developing, protecting the fruit. Once it has grown, it is cast aside; What the wicked will prepare, the righteous will wear (Job 27:17)—that קְלִפָּה (qelipah), shell, is thrown away and the Righteous One of the world is blessed [cf. BT Pesaḥim 49b]….

Israel is the kernel of the world; Israel arose in thought. Other nations, who are the shell, preceded, as is written: These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Children of Israel (Genesis 36:31)” (Zohar 2:108b).

אָנֹכִי (Anokhi)

“Rabbi Yoḥanan said: אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I [am YHWH your God] (Exodus 20:2)—this is an acronym: אֲנָא נַפְשִׁי כְּתִיבָת יְהָבִית (ana nafshi ketivat yehabit), I give Myself in writing [cf. Zohar 3:73a: ‘There are three rungs, interlinked—the blessed Holy One, Torah, and Israel.’].

The Rabbis interpreted: אֲמִירַה נָעִימָה כְּתִיבָה יֶהִיבַּה (amirah ne’imah ketivah yehibah), Sweet speech, a writing, a gift. Others say, אָנֹכִי (anokhi), I, reversed is: יָהִיבַּה כְּתִיבָה נֶאֱמָנִין אֲמָרֵיהָ (yahibah ketivah ne’emanin amareiah), Scripture was given, steadfast are its words” (BT Shabbat 105a).

“Rabbi Neḥemiah said: What is אָנֹכִי (Anokhi) (Exodus 20:2)? It is the Egyptian language. Why did He use such a word? Like a king of flesh and blood whose son was captured: imprisoned, he labored many days until the king emerged in vengeance to free his son. He brought him back, speaking with him in the captor’s language. So it was with the blessed Holy One; Israel labored all those years in Egypt where they learned the Egyptian language. When the blessed Holy One came to give them the Torah they could not understand. Thus the blessed Holy One spoke to them in the Egyptian language, saying: Behold, I am מָשִׁיחַ (mashiaḥ), He who draws out [cf. Genesis 37:28; Exodus 2:10].

אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I—אֲנוֹךְ (anokh), ‘Who stand here’ [cf. Amos 7:7; Ibn Ezra on Exodus 3:11]. Thus the blessed Holy One opened with the expression ‘אָנֹכִי (anokhi), I, am YHWH your God….

Rabbi Ḥanina son of Papa said: The blessed Holy One appeared to Israel with an angry face, with an impartial face, with a welcoming face, with a playful face…. The blessed Holy One said to them: ‘Though you see Me in all these guises: אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I, am YHWH your God [who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves] (Exodus 20:2). Rabbi Levi said: The blessed Holy One appeared to them like an icon with a face [that could be seen] from any angle—a thousand people gaze at Her and She gazes at all of them.…

David said: YHWH’s voice in power (Psalms 29:4). It is not written YHWH’s voice in His power, but rather YHWH’s voice in power—[according to the capacity] of each and every one. The blessed Holy One said: Even though you hear many voices, know that I am He: אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I, am YHWH your God” (Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 12:24–25).

“Rabbi Yose said, ‘אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I, am YHWH your God (Exodus 20:2). I—Shekhinah, as is written: אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I, Myself will go down with you to Egypt (Genesis 46:4)” (Zohar 2:85a).

“אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I (Exodus 20:2)—Secret of secrets for those who know wisdom: The moment these letters came forth, secretly circling as one, a spark flashed out to engrave. A flowing measure extended ten cubits on this side, and out shot comets inside comets, seventy-one [the numbers correspond to the numerical value of אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I]. Sparks burst out into flashes, up high, beyond, beyond. The flow measured out ten cubits on the other side, and comets shot out in colors as before. And so on every side.

The spark expanded, whirling round and round. Sparks burst into flashes and rose high above. The heavens blazed with all their powers; everything flashed, sparkled as one. Then the spark turned from the side of the south and outlined a curve from the side of the south and outlined a curve from there to the east and from east to north until it circled back to the south as before. Then the spark swirled, disappearing; comets and flashes dimmed” (Zohar Ḥadash 41b).

“אָנֹכִי (Anokhi), I—mystery of two thrones: אֲנִי (ani), כ (kaf) of another throne” (Zohar 2:91a).