The first 18 verses of John chapter 1 include several mystical concepts of Torah not defined in the written text of the Tanakh or New Testament. In this section, we offer explanation to each idea as it comes up, building a proper foundation, ‘precept upon precept.’ This section of John’s gospel is unique. It may be said that it has more in common with the book of Revelation than with the rest of John or the other three gospels.
1. In the beginning was the word, And the word was with G-d. And the word was G-d. 2. It was in the beginning with G-d. 3 All things were made through it, and without it was not anything made that has been made. 4. In it was life, and the life was the light of men. 5. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it. 6. There was a man sent from G-d, whose name was Yochanan. 7. He came as a witness, to testify concerning the light, so that through it all men might believe. 8. He himself was not the light, but he came as a witness of the light. 9. For that was the true light that gives life to every man who comes into the world. 10. He was in the world, and the world was made through him and the world did not recognize him. 11. He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. 12. Yet, to those who received him, he gave them the right to become children of G-d; to those who believe in his name, 13. who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of G-d. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, and grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah. 18 No one has seen G-d at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
1:1 In the beginning was the word, And the word was with G-d. And the word was G-d.
The first verse contains three clauses and four concepts, which the text indicates are interrelated:
- the beginning
- the word being ‘in the beginning’
- the word being ‘with’ G-d
- the concept that the word ‘was’ G-d
1:1a In the beginning was the word
The first section of the verse introduces two concepts in relationship: “the beginning,” and “the word.”
As G-d has no ‘beginning,’ this could refer to either;
- the onset of “Creation” in terms of Genesis 1:1, or
- the idea of “existence,” prior to the actual Creation.
The latter would include things that came into existence prior to the Creation of the physical world. We find this idea in the Talmud, where the idea of the ‘Name’ of the Messiah, relates to things such as: function, power, authority, etc. (Note the headers throughout this chapter study marked, “Function of the Name of Messiah.”)
We see ‘the Messiah’ established as a primordial concept:
“Seven things were created before the world was created, and these are they: The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah. The Torah, for it is written, The Lord made me [the Torah] as the beginning of his way. Repentance, for it is written, Before the mountains were brought forth, and it is written, Thou turnest man to contrition, and sayest, Repent, ye children of men. The Garden of Eden, as it is written, And the Lord planted a garden in Eden from aforetime. The Gehenna, for it is written, For Gehenna is ordered of old. The Throne of Glory and the Temple, for it is written, Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, Thou place of our sanctuary. The name of the Messiah, as it is written, His [the Messiah’s] name shall endure forever, and has existed before the sun!”
Talmud Pesachim 54a
The first subject mentioned in the Talmud citation above is the ‘Torah’ itself. The term “Torah” here carries with it an idea different than what we normally consider, that being the five books of Moses, ‘the Word of G-d.’ Here, ‘Torah’ is considered to be the totality of the revelation of G-d. This is not in conflict with what was given at Sinai as each is ‘contained’ within the other.
The sages teach that this primordial Torah served as a ‘blueprint’ for the entire creation, establishing the connection between ‘the beginning’ and the ‘word’:
“The Holy One, Blessed is He, looked into the Torah and created the world.”
(Bereishis Rabbah 1:2)
The Torah begins with the words, ‘With the Torah,’ [which is called ‘beginning’], G-d created heaven and earth.
Eitz Yosef ad loc; cf. Rashi, Genesis 1:1
Though not directly mentioned in this text, related to the idea of ‘the beginning,’ is “Wisdom” (Hebrew: “Chochmah”) which we shall see links a number of themes together:
““The Lord possessed me (Wisdom, v.1ff) at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth; While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, Then I was beside Him, a master architect; And I was daily His delight,
“In wisdom you have made them all.”
“The beginning is Wisdom [and Wisdom is] fear of HaShem”
By examining how Wisdom relates to ‘the beginning’ and ‘the Word,’ we can establish further connectivity. As will see, ‘Wisdom’ in this context is not about ‘know how’ but rather represents the idea of singularity, the ‘point’ of the beginning of creation.
Thus, Wisdom carries with it the concepts of singularity with ‘nothing’ before it.
“Wisdom comes into being from nothing (ayin).”
This ‘nothingness’ relates to ‘Keter’ (Crown) and the concept of ‘pre-existence’ with Wisdom being the first singular point within ‘existence’:
“Chochmah is regarded as the first creative act of the infinite, Ein Sof (see verse 1:4 below) and, as such, is frequently referred to as reishit (beginning). Keter Elyon, G-d’s will, is first channeled through Chochmah.”
Tanya I, Ch.35
Rabbi Moses De Leon declared that;
“The beginning of existence is the mystery of the hidden point which is called Chochmah … and from a single point you can draw out all things.
Wisdom of The Zohar I:281, I. Tishby
The Zohar explains that this Wisdom is G-d’s primordial thought. “When G-d designed to create the Universe, his thought encompassed all worlds at once, and by means of this thought were they all created, as it says:
“By this thought – which is his Wisdom – were this world and the upper world created.”
“When the most secret of secrets (Keter) sought to be revealed, He made, first of all, a single point, and this became thought. He made all the designs there. He made all the engravings there.”
Elaborating on Pesachim 54a (above) the sages make the connection between the Torah and Wisdom, citing Proverbs:
“Seven things were created before the world: [the first is] the Torah… whence do we know about the Torah? Because it is said (Prov 8:22): HaShem acquired me, the beginning of his way, before his works of old. The word ‘Before’ [kedem; i.e. Ancient times] means before the world was made.”
Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 3; cf. Pesachim 54a
Other sources also connect Wisdom, the Torah and the beginning:
“The Torah is Wisdom, and is therefore the “head” of creation . . . It might be thought that the Torah was created only to rectify creation as it already exists. If this were so, the Torah would have been created after the earth. But actually, the Torah was the blueprint of creation, and therefore preceded it.”
Aryeh Kaplan’s commentary on the the Bahir #10, pg. 96.
“It is written, ‘G-d by wisdom founded the earth,’ (Proverbs 3:19). Wisdom is nothing other than Torah. Its name was AMON (architect) before the world was created, as it is written ‘I was by Him as an architect/AMON (Proverbs 8:30)
Quotation from Isaac the Blind, as cited in “Trajectories of Mysticism in Theory and Literature,” P. Leonard, p. 122.
This may be compared to a country which received its supplies from ass-drivers, who used to ask each other, What was the market price to-day? Thus those who supplied on the sixth day would ask of those who supplied on the fifth day; the fifth of the fourth, the fourth of the third, the third of the second, the second of the first; but of whom was the first day supplier to ask? Surely of the citizens who were engaged in the public affairs of the country! Thus the works of each day asked one another, Which creatures did the Holy One, blessed be He, create among you to-day? The sixth asked of the fifth, the fifth of the fourth, the fourth of the third, the third of the second, and the second of the first. Of what was the first to ask? Surely of the Torah, which preceded the creation of the world by two thousand years, as it is written, Then I [sc. the Torah] was by Him, as a nursling, and I was His delight day after day (Pro. VIII, 30) now the day of the Lord is a thousand years, as it is said, For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past (Ps. XC, 4). That is the meaning of Knowest thou this of old time? The Torah knows what was before the creation of the world, but you have no business to inquire about aught save Since man was placed upon earth. R. Leazar said in Bar Sira’s name: About what is too great for thee inquire not; what is too hard for thee investigate not; about what is too wonderful for thee know not; of what is hidden from thee ask not; study what was permitted thee; thou hast no business with hidden things.
Midrash Rabbah Genesis 8:1
Another aspect of Wisdom in this context is that not only were things created “by” Wisdom, but there exists within this ‘point’ the potential for all to come. (Mirroring the “Big Bang” concept of creation in physical science.):
“Scripture relates that God has created the world ‘be-Chochmah’ (with wisdom, Psalm 104:24, Proverbs 3:19) which the Kabbalists interpreted to mean “by Chochmah” (making Chochmah the instrument of creation) and “in Chochmah” (making it the potentiality of being in all things).”
Mystical Concepts in Chassidim, Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p. 838.
The same concept of inclusion is applied to the Torah:
“Ben Bag Bag would say: turn it and turn it again, for all is in it; see through it; grow old and worn in it; do not budge from it, for there is nothing that works better than it. (Avos 5, 22) While the actual words of the Mishnah are cryptic, it is clear that Ben Bag Bag is discussing the sublimity of the Torah. He seems to be advising us to delve in Torah study because everything is contained within the Torah.”
Finally, and this will become quite relevant soon, the tzaddik who connects the earthly and spiritual wolds is associated with the aspect of Wisdom.
“The tzadik in this world, by virtue of having reached the level of Mah (chokMAH/wisdom & self-negation) – thus becoming attached to the supernal wisdom – becomes the intermediary through which the Heavenly abundance comes to this world when he himself exists.”
Chassidic Dimensions – Vol 3, Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p. 109
1:1b … And the word was with G-d
The second part of the verse introduces a type of relationship, one between the Word/Torah and G-d. The Midrash Rabbah describes this multifaceted word אומן (AMON) mentioned above, as also meaning a nursling, covered, hidden, great (in addition to craftsman or architect).
The Artscroll commentary to Proverbs comments:
“I was a nursing beside him. The Torah was like God’s beloved child, nurtured by Him and His source of constant delight (metzudos).”
Artscroll Commentary to Proverbs 8:30, Volume I, Mesorah Publishers, pg 156.
Midrashic sources personify the Torah, speaking of its intimacy with G-d in the process of Creation:
The Torah declares: I was the working tool of the Holy One, blessed be He. In human practice, when a mortal king builds a palace, he builds it not with his own skill but with the skill of an architect. The architect moreover does not build it out of his head, but employs plans and diagrams to know how to arrange the chambers and the wicket doors. Thus God consulted the Torah and created the world, while the Torah declares,
Midrash Rabbah Genesis 1:1
“Therefore, the interpretation follows that if the name of the Torah is “Beginning,” then the passage may be interpreted, “With the Torah G-d created the heavens and the earth”. The Midrash says metaphorically that “G-d took counsel with the Torah in order to create the World [as it is written (Prov 8:30): I was with him as an architect].”
Prikei D’Rabbi Eliezer 3; cf. Bereshit Rabbah 1:1
1:1c … And the word was G-d.
The final section of the first verse introduces a peculiar concept that raises similar key questions:
- As every ‘thing’ was created by G-d, how can it be said than any thing ‘was/is G-d?’
- “How can something ‘separate from G-d’ also ‘be G-d?’
As with everything Torah-related, particularly mystical ideas. this association must be understood within the framework of Hebraic spiritual concepts and language.
The Zohar mentions the unity between G-d, Torah, Wisdom and the will of G-d.
“The Torah and Blessed Holy one are one, and this is the Torah: Wisdom and God’s Will”
Zohar III:152a; cf. Zohar II:60a
The above Zohar text is interesting as it may also be seen as representing the ‘Mochin’ (upper three Sefirot) as follows:
- Keter: G-d’s will (pre-existence)
- Chokmah: Wisdom the singular point containing all of creation
- Binah: The expansion of the Torah (from Chokmah & Keter) into creation.
The Zohar also explains that the Torah is the ‘Name’ of HaShem, and “He and his Name are one.” The concept of ‘Name’ having to do with (the revelation of) G-d’s Power, Authority, Mercy, etc.):
“For the Torah is the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. As the Name of the Holy One is engraved in the Ten Words (creative utterances) of Creation, so is the whole Torah engraved in the Ten Words (Decalogue), and these Ten Words are the Name of the Holy One, and the whole Torah is thus one Name, the Holy Name of G-d Himself. Blessed is he who is worthy of her, the Torah, for he will be worthy of the Holy Name. Said R. Jose: This means that he will be worthy of the Holy One Himself, as He and His Name are one. Blessed be His Name for ever and ever. Amen.”
Zohar, Shemoth 90b
“Rabbi Elazar said, ‘They went out into the wilderness to gaze and perceive, but the Holy One, blessed be He, removed His precious splendor from there. They went in order to conceive Him, but did not find Him. We have learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, is called ‘Torah’. Therefore, water is Torah, and Torah is the Holy One, blessed be He.”
Zohar, Shemot 2:60a
1:2 It was in the beginning with G-d.
Verse 2 reiterates what we were told, and brings all three elements (the Word/Torah,’ the ‘Beginning’ and G-d) together concisely, presenting the unity of the “Name.” Most Christian Bibles (as well as the ‘Complete Jewish Bible,’ with Tyndale’s translation being an interesting exception), translate the Greek pronouns in verse 2 and 3 as ‘he/him’ based on either their theological ideas (i.e., “Jesus is G-d”) or a lack of knowledge regarding the subjects discussed above and how the connection is made to later verses related to a human, specifically Yeshua, as this text presents.
However, the Greek terms used are not specific and the pronoun may be rendered as; ‘it, this, he, she, him, her, as well as other ways.’ As we show in this study, Torah literature discusses these concepts and ‘it’ is referring primarily to the Torah and/or wisdom in similar context.
This does not discount a relationship between this ‘beginning’ and other spiritual concepts. In fact there is a connection between the ideas mentioned so far and that of the ‘tzaddik’ (righteous person) as well as ‘the messiah.’
However, It is critical to establish the correct foundation with these opening verses from historic Jewish Torah concepts, before delving into things that emanate from them. As we will see, these same sources make a connection to the tzaddik and the mashiach specifically, with regard to being a conduit of the ‘Torah, light and life,’ mentioned in this chapter.
For instance, mention of messiah as a force of creation is found in the midrash on Genesis:
AND THE SPIRIT OF G-D HOVERED (Genesis 1:2): this alludes to the spirit of Messiah, as you read, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him (Isaiah 11:2). In the merit of what will [this spirit] eventually come? [For the sake of that which] HOVERED OVER THE FACE OF THE WATERS, i.e. in the merit of repentance which is likened to water, as it is written, Pour out thy heart like water (Lamentations 2:19).
Midrash Rabbah,Genesis 2:4
We see in the same text, that this same spirit of Messiah is closely associated with man and in turn with a well-recognized verse from Isaiah:
That is consistent with the view of R. Simeon b. Lakish, for he said: ‘And the spirit of God hovered’ (1:2) refers to the soul of Adam, as you read, And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him (Isa. 40:2).
Midrash Rabbah Genesis 8:1
1:3 All things were made through it, and without it was not anything made that has been made.
The text refers to the process of creation, as it relates to the elements mentioned in verse 2. We are told that creation came about by way of the Torah and Wisdom which are ‘inseparable’ from G-d.
In addition to what we’ve already discussed:
“By the Word of HaShem the Heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”
“Torah is the tool by which the world was created.”
“The Torah proclaims: I was by Him an architect, through me He created the world!”
1:4 In it was life, and the life was the light of men.
The first concept of “light” is that preceding existence, called the ‘Ohr Ein Sof’ – the light of Ein Sof (‘without end’). Ein Sof is the ‘concept’ of G-d prior to existence and beyond all understanding and descriptive words. This is beyond the scope of this study.
We learn that the first spiritual light ‘within Creation’ is called ‘Ohr Haganuz’ – the ‘Hidden Light.’ This light could heal the sick, feed the hungry, create something from nothing and “see from one end of the world to another.” G-d realized that the evil people of the world would abuse its power, so He sealed it away (from evil people) and promised it to be a reward for the righteous in the Olam Haba (World to Come).
“G-d saw that the wicked were unworthy of enjoying it and therefore set it aside for the use of the righteous in the World to Come.”
Gemara, Mesechta Chagigah 12b, quoted by Rashi in Parshat Bereishet (1:4)
Verse 4 is the first of several ‘transition’ verses that extend the meaning of concepts and link them to others. The immediate context states that as ‘all things’ emanated from the Torah (verse 3), this includes the idea of ‘life.’ Thus, the Torah contains ‘life’ within it. This life is associated with the Ohr Haganuz, which the text calls the ‘light of men’ indicating the latter may have ‘access’ to it. The latter clause may be seen as either the light itself, or a reference to something or someone that serves as a conduit for this light into creation, providing this access.
Though ‘hidden away,’ the righteous can, to varying degrees, access this light in our world:
“He made a separation in the illumination of the light, that it should not flow or give off light except for the righteous, whose actions draw it down and make it shine. However, the actions of the evil block it, leaving them in darkness, and this itself was the hiding of the light.”
Sefer HaKlallim, Klal 18, Anaf 8, Os 4
As Rebbe Nachman taught:
“In the physical world in which we reside, G-d created opposing forces and gave man the free will to choose between them: to choose light from darkness, right from wrong, good from evil. When a person discerns the light from the darkness, he is a positive force in Creation. He is on the way to realizing the truth, the path of true righteousness. For the individual who completely triumphs in his endeavors to overcome his physical desires, G-d created the world. He is the tzaddik.
Crossing the Narrow Bridge, pp. 313,314
The term, ‘light of men,’ can also be a title corresponding to a person who acts as a conduit of the Ohr Haganuz. The Zohar refers to the main character of its text, Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai, as the “Holy Lamp” (butzina kadisha) over twenty times. This appears through multiple sections:
“He answered: I do not know, because I have not learnt this from the Holy Lamp. But let us both go to the Holy Lamp. So they went, and when they came to R. Simeon they put their question to him.”
Zohar Bereshith 235b
“Concerning this mystery, the Holy Lamp (R. Simeon) gave us the following explanation:”
Zohar, Shemoth 150a
“R. Abba lifted up his voice and wept, saying: My master, my master, holy lamp, alas for the world when thou shalt depart from it, alas for the generation which shall be orphaned of thee!”
Zohar, Vayikra 100b
The relationship between ‘light’ and ‘life’ will be explored in verse 9.
1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.
Here, the symbolism of ‘light and darkness’ can refer to either the light of G-d penetrating the darkness of sin in the world, or again, the righteousness of a tzaddik (the conduit for the light) which is further associated with the messiah:
“Light denotes the deeds of the tzaddikim, darkness the deeds of the rashaim. R. Abba of Serungayya said: And the light dwelleth with him” alludes to the royal Messiah.”
Bereshit Rabbah 1:6
This light, with its power of ‘life,’ is directly related to the mashiach in terms of what was previously discussed.
“The assembly of Israel said before the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘Master of the World, in the future I will be delighted in Your light because of the Torah that You gave me, which is called “fountain of life” (Ps.36:10). What is the meaning of “in Your light we see light?” For what light is Israel waiting? This is the light of Mashiach, as it says, ‘And G-d saw the light that it was good.’ This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, observed Mashiach and his deeds before the creation of the world and concealed His Mashiach under His throne until his generation.”
Pesikta Rabbati 36
“Olive oil for the light…” (Ex.27:20) – this is King Mashiach, who is also called ‘Green olive tree’ (Jer.11:16). He is called pure oil because he will light up the darkness for Israel as it says, “That you may say to the prisoners, go forth” (Isa.49:9), and it also says, “The Gentiles shall come to your light” (Isa.60:3).
Otzar Midrashim 138
The combination of themes in the first five verses prepares us for the transition about to occur in the text.
1:6-8 There was a man sent from G-d, whose name was Yochanan. He came as a witness, to testify concerning the light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light, but he came as a witness of the light.
(See the Introduction regarding the relationship of John/Yochanan to the authorship of the text.)
Having established several concepts related to the primordial Torah, the text now shifts focus to the relationship between the spiritual and physical worlds. Here the phrase, “…He himself was not the light,” introduces the potential of relationship between a human and the Ohr Haganuz. This is especially true of ‘tzaddikim,’ those righteous individuals who live entirely spiritual lives dedicated to G-d. The text continues to weave its way from the ‘beginning’ of the first verse, to the hidden ‘light that is the life of men,’ (v. 4) to the idea of connecting to this beginning.
This concept, associating the tzaddik to the beginning, takes on deep mystical dimensions. Here we see a connection made between the tzaddik and the Torah, which as we saw was ‘consulted’ by G-d at the time of creation:
“The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world” (Proverbs 10:25). The Holy One, blessed-be-He, took counsel with this soul in the creation of His Universe, as it is written: “With whom did He take counsel, who gave Him understanding and guided Him in the way of judgment?” (Isaiah 40:14). (Genesis Rabbah 8:6)
“The Seventh Pillar: The Tzaddik” http://www.breslov.org/the-seventh-pillar-the-tzaddik/
Not only was the tzaddik part of the creative process with G-d, creation itself is said to have been created for such a person:
“R’ Elazar also said: Even for the sake of a single tzaddik this world would have been created, for it says, “G-d saw that the light was good” (Gen.1:4). [R’ Elazar expounds,] “G-d saw that the light should remain in existence because there was good [i.e., a tzaddik],” and the word “good” refers to a tzaddik, for it says, “Say to the tzaddik that he is good” (Isaiah 3:10).”
Ein Yaakov, Tzaddikim pg. 200
Function #1 of the Name of Messiah: Conduit of Light
The ultimate expression of this idea is found in the consummate tzaddik – the messiah. Thus one of the ’functions’ related to the ‘name’ of the Messiah (re: Pesachim 54a above) is that of a conduit of the ‘light of creation’:
For it says, “The tzaddik, [even if he is the only one], is the foundation (‘Yesod’ = conduit) of the world” (Pro.10:25). Who is this tzaddik for whom’s sake the world endures and for whom the world was created? It is taught, “The world was created only for Mashiach”
(Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a).
The soul of Mashiach preceded the world. (Pesachim 54a) It is the root of the souls of Israel, and the entire Creation, (Exodus Rabbah 40:3) for “The entire universe was only created to attend him” (Berakhot 6b).
The Seventh Pillar: The Tzaddik, http://www.breslov.org/the-seventh-pillar-the-tzaddik/
1:9 – For that was the true light that gives life to every man who comes into the world.
Function #2 of the Name of Messiah: Life-Force of Creation
The concept of the light of creation being the ‘life-giving’ force is reflected in the 13th century text, “Sha’are Orah” (“Gates of Light”), section II. Here we find a direction connection to the power of the soul of messiah giving life to all creatures:
“Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature.”(Gen. 1:24). For this verse, by virtue of the upper wisdom, includes the soul of all that moves and crawls on the earth, the life-force of all species of fish, fowl, beasts and domesticated animals as well as the animal soul that dwells within man. One must also include the upper soul that dwells within man which is called the Neshamah. Therefore this verse was interpreted … ‘The verse is referring to the soul of the Messiah’.”
“Sha’are Orah,” Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla, translated by Avi Weinstein, Altimira Press, London, 1994, p. 55.
This life-force ‘energy’ of Messiah, associated with eternal life, proceeds through the words of the written Torah to mankind and connects us back to the beginning:
“There is a living spirit inside of the Torah, and when a person says the words of the Torah, this living spirit, Mashiach energy, immortality, Divine Inspiration, connects with and speaks through him, which enlivens the universe and connects it to its inner source.”
Chok L’Yisrael, B’reishit Day 4, pg.20
Function #3 of the Name of Messiah: Bringing Tikkun to Creation
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov taught that the soul of Mashiach originates, from the level of Keter (Atik), the loftiest point prior to creation. (See notes to 1:1a). Here we see another aspect of the ‘name’ (function, authority) of the messiah, to bring tikkun (rectification) to creation:
“This is absolutely necessary, for Mashiach must be able to transcend anything and everything in the world – even and especially all evil that was ever perpetrated – to rectify and perfect all mankind.”
Mashiach – Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?, Chaim Kramer, Breslov Resarch Institute, Jerusalem, p. 18.
“The Keter (Arikh Anpin) is the loftiest Parfutz. But the ARI writes, Keter actually has two levels, a lower level corresponding to Arikh Anpin and an upper level, the intellect of Arikh Anpin, which corresponds to Atik. Atik is referred to in the holy writings by several names: Atik (“The Ancient One”), Atik Yomin (“The Ancient of Days”), Atika Kadisha (“The Holy Ancient One”). … The connection between Mashiach and Atik is learned from Daniel’s vision: “A man came and he approached (the level of) the Ancient of Days …” Rashi explains that this refers to Mashiach, who will minister justice to the entire world. … Atik thus transcends anything that we can conceive — giving and receiving, right and left, reward and punishment, and so on. At this level there is neither past or future. Everything is in the present. And, as we have seen, every part of Creation, from the first constriction, until the lowest level of the world of Asiyah, is contained within Keter. Thus Atik includes all time and space — yet transcends it all. The soul of Mashiach “resides” within Atik, and it is from this level that all his powers will be drawn. And, since he transcends time and space, Mashiach can transcend every transgression ever committed and rectify it — for since he can transcend everything ever done, he can bring each person to a state prior to his having sinned. … With this power inherent in this exalted level, Mashiach will be able to bring the world to a state of perfection.”
Mashiach – Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?, pp. 208-209.
This power of Tikkun through the soul of the messiah is directly associated with the previously discussed themes of wisdom and Torah being ‘consulted’ at the time of creation:
“The Holy One, blessed-be-He, took counsel with this soul (Messiah’s) in the creation of His Universe, as it is written: “With whom did He take counsel, who gave Him understanding and guided Him in the way of judgment?” (Isaiah 40:14, Bereshit Rabbah 8:6). He (Messiah) gave G-d a guarantee that he will repair the Universe. (Tikkuney Zohar 69, 111b; Zohar, III:216a)”
The Seventh Pillar: The Tzaddik, http://www.breslov.org/the-seventh-pillar-the-tzaddik/
1:10 – It/he was in the world, and the world was made through it/him and the world did not recognize it/him.
The next key verse critical to the transition mentioned above. In the translation, we find the same Greek pronoun that can be translated ‘it’ or ‘him.’ Context determines which is appropriate. Earlier, as John was presenting a midrash on the concept of the primordial Torah, the pronoun ‘it’ was appropriate. In this verse, either it/him or its/his would be correct as the text is now also associating those concepts with a human being.
This concealed light found in the very beginning, which the Sages say is the light of Mashiach can only be seen by the righteous, who will be the ones to enjoy its goodness.
As it says,
“How abundant is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You.”
The Baal Shem Tov says concerning this light and its difficulty being accepted:
“It is written, ‘The path of the tzaddik is as the glean of sunlight, that shines ever brighter until the height of the day’ (Pro.4:18). That is, the sun itself shines in its place equally, both at the onset of the day and in the middle. The only thing that obstructs it is the earth, which stands between us and the sun. Therefore, its light does not shine so brightly at dawn – only a little bit – until it spreads across the earth. The same holds true of the tzaddik. In himself, he is always shinning: the blockage is only on the part of the receivers. This too is due to the obstruction of the earth – that is, this world. For the people are sunk in this world, and are unable to receive the light of the tzaddik.”
Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer on Devarim, pg.118.
Kol HaTor relates this to the blindness of Yosef’s brothers and connects this to mashiach not being recognized:
“Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him — This is one of the traits of Yosef not only in his own generation, but in every generation, i.e., that Mashiach ben Yosef recognizes his brothers, but they do not recognize him. This is the work of Satan, who hides the characteristics of Mashiach ben Yosef so that the footsteps of the Mashiach are not recognized and are even belittled because of our many sins. (See below 103). Otherwise, our troubles would already have ended. Were Israel to recognize Yosef, that is, the footsteps of ben Yosef the Mashiach which is the ingathering of the exiles etc., then we would already have been redeemed with a complete redemption.”
Kol HaTor 2:39, translated by R’ Yechiel Bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg. 37
Kol HaTor notes that even the scholars will be struck with blindness,
“How strong is the force of the Sitra Achra that he managed to hide from the eyes of our holy forefathers the danger of the klipot layers: from the eyes of our forefather Abraham, the klipa of Ismael; from the eyes of our forefather Isaac, the klipa of Esau; and from the eyes of our forefather Jacob, the klipa of the terafim. During the footsteps of the Mashiach, the Sitra Achra becomes even stronger, in order to strike Biblical scholars with blindness.”
Kol HaTor 5, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg. 122
THE NATURE OF TORAH LANGUAGE
Understanding the nature of the language of the Torah and Torah literature (including this gospel) is imperative to avoiding gross error. The idea of connecting a human being to G-d, and the actions of G-d is not uncommon.
Don’t be confused when you have various questions about the True Tzaddik, for the Tzaddikim are compared to their Creator, and just as there are hard questions about G-d, so, too, must there be hard questions about the Tzaddik.
Likutay Etzot, Tzaddik 103 as cited in, “The True Tzaddik – Selected Thoughts from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov,” Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser
There is much written about Moses in this regard. Another such person is Jacob.
Regarding the clause, “and the world was made through him,” there are midrashim that speak of Jacob being part of the process of creation:
“See what is written, Not like these is the portion of Jacob, For it is he who formed all things.”
Rabbi Pinehas ha-Kohen bar Hamma
“Jacob was a partner with his Creator in everything.”
Some make even stronger expressions, speaking of Jacob in terms of being a divine partner of G-d and seated in the heavenly throne:
For thou art a prince together with G-d, thy features being engraven on high.
Genesis Rabbah 78:3
There is none like G-d O’ Jeshurun (a name for Jacob): Israel says, There is none like G-d, and the Holy Spirit responds, except Jeshurun.
Sifre on Deuteronomy
The angels descended and saw his (Jacob’s) image. They said, “Certainly this is the form (surah) and this is the image (demut) engraved upon the throne of glory.” All of them responded and said, “Bless the Lord, G-d of Israel.”
There is a Scriptural text bearing on this: Since thou art precious in My sight, and honourable, etc. (Isaiah 43:4). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Jacob: Jacob, thou art exceedingly precious in my sight. For I have, as it were, set thine image on My throne, and by thy name the angels praise Me and say: Blessed be the Lord, the G-d of Israel, from everlasting and to everlasting (Psalm 41:14).
Numbers Rabbah 4:1
1:11 – He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.
This continues the thought of verse 10, however applying the lack of recognition in a more personal way. (“His own” rather than “the world.” See verse 10 regarding pronouns.)
The connection between the light and the conduit of that light (the tzaddik/mashiach) continues:
“And G-d divided between the light and the darkness.’ The Midrash continues, ‘What is light? It is the deeds of the tzaddikim. And what is darkness? It is the deeds of the r’shaim.’
Midrash Rabbah Genesis 3:8
The objections to the tzaddik among those in his generation is well established:
“From the days of the very first leader and shepherd of Israel, Moses, there has generally always been some opposition to the tzadik-leader. He was not always properly recognized by all in his generation. Oftentimes he arouse enmity, jealous and opposition. This happens not only in terms of plain people … quite frequently the opposition comes also and especially so, from scholars and leaders. … This is part of the Providential design and plan.”
Chassidic Dimensions – Volume Three,” by Jacob Immanuel Schochet, p. 116
The True Tzaddik has the power of attraction, to draw the whole world back to the L-rd and to His Torah. The reason that people are far from him and not drawn to him is due to the repulsive force that is equal and opposite to the attractive power of the Tzaddik. For there are people who, by their words and actions, separate and distance others from the True Tzaddik. The main strength of the repulsive force comes from arrogance, vulgarity, and honor-seeking, because a person fears that he will lose honor and that he will be disgraced if he draws near to the Truth. Therefore, one who wants to know the real Truth should throw down his knowledge and recall his unworthiness and lowliness truthfully, as well as everything that has happened to him since he was create. The controversy against the Tzaddikim is beneficial, since it protects them from becoming revealed and publicized more than necessary. Although their opponents want to cover them up completely and remove them from the world, G-d forbid, the Blessed L-rd doesn’t abandon them to their opponents’ hands.
Likutay Etzot, Tzaddik 103 as cited in, “The True Tzaddik – Selected Thoughts from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov,” Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odessa, p. 85
“If the Jews merit redemption, they will immediately recognize Mashiach by his signs and wonders. If they are unworthy, however, his authenticity will be questioned.”
Rabbi Yehudah Chayoun, Otzros Acharis HaYamim, When Moshiach Comes. Targum/Feldheim, pg. 119
A discussion of light and darkness, those accepting and rejecting etc., emerges in the dialogue with Nicodemus in Chapter 3.
1:12 – Yet, to those who received him, he gave them the right to become children of G-d; to those who believe in his name.
The parallel continues between ‘light’ and the tzaddik/mashiach. Here we see a continuation of the thought from verses 10 and 11, contrasting those who received him/it with those who did not.
Function #4 of the Name of Messiah: Enabling Teshuvah
The closeness of the Tzadik to G-d enables a connection for those associated with him to return to the path of G-d. Note the reference to “whoever is included in this true name” as it relates to, “those who received him” and “those who believe in his name” from verse 12, as well as the reference to truth (‘true glory’) and grace which appear in a later verse:
“The True Tzaddik is the glory, beauty, and grace of the entire world. He is the owner of the world, for he is like the oewner of the Holy Temple. He illuminates the Holy Temple, as well as the entire world, because he is truly the world’s light, glory, beauty, and grace. When this Tzaddik’s name is publicized and made great in the world, the Blessed One’s Name is therefore made great. The more the Tzaddik’s name is aggrandized and glorifies, likewise the Name of G-d is further aggrandized and glorified. Whoever is included in this true name, which is the true glory and grace of the world, by drawing himself near to the Tzaddik, his eyes are opened and he begins to look at himself. He looks at all of his traits and the way he does or does not control them, and thereby has the vision and ability to repent for all the bad traits that have blemished his soul. He then merits to see the greatness of the Blessed Creator and to look at the whole world, for the eyes and mind are opened by the True Tzaddik, who shines throughout the whole world.”
Likutay Etzot, Tzaddik 103 as cited in, “The True Tzaddik – Selected Thoughts from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov,” Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odessa, p. 106
The benefit of associating with a tzaddik extends past the death to the extent of extracting the person from gehennom:
“Reb Noson writes: What is the meaning of the verses (Psalms 16:10): “You will not abandon me to the abyss (Gehennom), for You will not allow Your chassid to see the pit (Genehhom)”? If one is a pious chassid, why should he descend to Gehennom? And if both parts of the verse refer to the same person, why the redundancy? Reb Noson answers: Someone who is attached to the True Tzaddik will not stay in Gehennom. If he must suffer punishment, it will not last forever, for the Tzaddik will take him out. Why? Because, “You, G-d will not allow Your chassid – the Tzaddik – to suffer Gehennom.” Since I am attached to the Tzaddik, the Tzaddik must come to take me out. He cannot remain, “for You do not wish him to see Gehennom.” Thus my attachment to the Tzaddik is my after-life insurance policy against Gehennom (Likutey Halakhot, Hashkamat HaBoker 4:4).
Crossing The Narrow Bridge, Chaim Kramer, pp. 342,343.
There is also the concept that the ultimately this level of atonement comes via the Messiah:
“The rectification will be by Mashiach son of David who will raise the yoke of repentance (as was said in Moed Katan 16b) and Mashiach will be the only one who, through his repentance, the entire world is forgiven (as was said in Yoma 86b). That is, he will cause all of Israel to have thoughts of repentance.”
Pri Tzaddik, Shlach Lecha 12
There is a degree of pro-active response required (i.e., “receiving him,” “believing in his name (authority/merit) to benefit from the tzaddik/mashiach:
“It seems to me that I heard in the name of the rabbi and preacher Mendel from Bar, the following interpretation of the verse, ‘Those who pass through the valley of weeping…’ (Psalm 84:7). Just as the tzaddik descends to the doors of Gehinnom to bring up the souls of the wicked who, because of him, had previously harbored thoughts of tshuvah (repentance); so it is that in this world every day or at certain times the tzaddik descends from his rung in order to join himself with those lesser in degree, for when he again ascends to his rung, he brings them up as well. But it is only possible for one to ascend with him if he too joins himself to the tzaddik, for he who does not wish to join himself to him surely will not ascend with him. Thus the Talmud teaches, ‘He who despises a scholar has no remedy for his wounds.’”
Toldot Yaakov Yosef, 118d
“Attachment to the tzaddik is a most significant principle. It helps man ascend on the ladder of piety and holiness to his preordained goal of attachment to G-d (Gen.28:12; Jn.1:51). It offers man concrete means to remain forever aware of ultimate reality, of his ultimate nature and purpose in life. The tzaddik is a physician of the soul, providing both preventative and therapeutic medicine for man’s soul.”
Hilchot De’ot 2:1; Shemonah Perakim, ch.3
Function #5 of the Name of Messiah: Eradicating the Sitra Achra
In addition to being the light force of creation and bringing tikkun to the world, the ‘name’ (function, power, authority) of Mashiach will eradicate the forces of the Sitra Achra (‘other side’, i.e. ‘evil realm).
“What is meant by ‘in Thy light do we see light’? What light is it that the congregation of Israel looks for as from a watchtower? It is the light of Mashiach, of which it is said, ‘And G-d saw the light that it was good’ (Gen 1:4). This verse proves that the Holy One, blessed be He, contemplated the Mashiach and his works before the world was created, and then under His throne of glory put away His Mashiach until the time of the generation in which he will appear. Satan asked the Holy One, blessed be He, for whom is the light which is put away under Thy throne of glory? G-d replied: For him who will turn thee back and put thee to utter shame. Satan said: Master of the universe, show him to me. G-d replied: Come and see him. And when he saw him, Satan was shaken, and he fell upon his face and said: Surely this is the Mashiach who will cause me and all the counterparts in heaven of the princes of the earth’s nations to be swallowed up in Gehenna…in that hour all the princely counterparts of the nations, in agitation, will say to Him: Master of the universe, who is this through whose power we are to be swallowed up? What is his name? What kind of being is he?”
Pesikta Rabbati 36.1, Yale University Press, pg. 677-678
One should take note from the above text that although haSatan ‘believes’ in the reality of Mashiach, it is of no benefit to him. “Belief” in Torah is about ‘connection’ (i.e., ‘knowing/da’at’) than mental/emotional acknowledgment, i.e., “… to those who received him.”
This connection is achieved through teshuvah (‘return’):
“In truth, within the depths of life there gleams every moment a new light of the upper level of repentance, just as a new light surges within all the worlds in their fullness to renew them, and in accordance with the degree of this light of repentance and the abundance of wisdom and sanctity therein- so shall the souls be filled with treasures of new life. The fruit of the most exalted culture in ethic and deed develops and progresses from amidst the surging of this light. Consequently, the light of the entire world and its renewal in all its forms at all times and instances are contingent upon repentance, and how much more so does this apply to the light of Messiah and the salvation of Israel, the renascence of the nation and the land, the language and the literature, which all emerge from the source of repentance- and from the depths they shall be uplifted to the heavens of exalted repentance.”
Orot HaTeshuvah 4:11
13. who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of G-d.
Again reflective of the Nicodemus dialogue in chapter 3, here regarding being born of the Spirit of G-d:
“Yeshua answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of G-d … “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of G-d. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Function #6 of the Name of Messiah: The “Word” Becoming Flesh and Sweetening of Judgment
The ‘Word’ (i.e., Light, the all-inclusive Wisdom, etc.) comes into the world via the tzaddik. Specifically, the tzaadik (whose name/authority) can take the “Word” (the primordial all-inclusive Wisdom) and transform the judgments based on its decrees into “kindness and compassion” – “chesed and rachamim/tiferet” – which are respectively equivalent to ‘grace and truth.’
“Rebbe Nachman teaches: People travel to the tzaddik for Rosh HaShanah. The reason is as follows: decrees pertaining to the entire year are issued on Rosh HaShanah. As such, this is the main time for mitigating and “sweetening” any decree. Now, sweetening must take place at its source, in Thought on High, and can only be accomplished when we purify our own thoughts. Yet, try as we might, the only way we can achieve this purity of thought is through the tzaddik. So, we travel to tzaddikim for Rosh HaShanah in order to purify our minds, and this about kindness and compassion for the entire year.”
From Likutey Moharan 1:211
“On Rosh HaShanah, all of creation comes before G-d to be judged (Rosh HaShanah 16a). We are judged for every act, every word, even every thought. If we truly believe this, we know that we have cause for concern. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichov used to say, “When Elul comes around, I feel it [the fear] in my shoulders” (Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Rosen). So what are we to do? Repent. But, if things are as bad as we think they are, what chance do we have? The charge sheet is a few pages long, maybe even a few reams long. The credit sheet is at best so-so. Is there really any hope of repenting for everything. Rebbe Nachman teaches: Each judgment, each decree, is a constriction, having its own precise and specific means by which it can be mitigated. This is because a decree can only be sweetened at its source, and the source of each judgment is limited to a specific part of Upper Wisdom. Someone who wishes to set aside each and every judgment and transform it into compassion and kindness must rise to each of these sources, individually. There is, however, a Seikhel HaKollel (an All Inclusive Wisdom) which surpasses all individual Wisdoms. Someone who attains this Seikhel HaKollel is capable of sweetening all decrees, because all individual judgments emanate from this Inclusive Wisdom. This is why people travel to the tzaddikim for Rosh HaShanah. Each person comes with his individual constriction, his own good and bad. Because the tzaddik can rise to the highest of sources, he is the embodiment the Seikhel HaKollel. He can take each constriction, each judgment and decree, and sweeten it.”
From Likutey Moharan 1:61:6,7
This sweetening of the decrees of judgment, as a role of “G-d’s Son’ (the tzaddik/mashiach) is summarized in chapter 3, where the benefit of accepting G-d’s provision through the tsaddik, and danger of rejecting this, are stated:
“For G-d so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For G-d did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of G-d’s one and only Son.”
“Grace and Truth” reflect the Sefirot of Chesed and Tiferet, from the right and center of the ‘Tree of Life.’ See verse 12 above and verse 17 below.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
Regarding ‘preceding John,’ see comments in verse 1, on the origins of the “Name of Mashiach.” As mentioned, the concept of “name” relates to “authority.” As the authority of mashiach is greater than John’s, in this sense John says he is ‘preferred.’
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.
See previous notes to verse 14 from Likutey Moharan, regarding the constriction of the Torah and its judgment with relation to ‘grace and truth’ (chesed and rachamim/tiferet).
Many Christian Bibles interject the word “but” in verse 17 (“… through Moses, but …”, which is not supported by the Greek text) as if to set the Torah at odds with Yeshua. The point being made here is regarding the function of the commands of the Torah, which are ‘restrictions,’ and thus relate to the ‘left’ side of the Tree of Life. As restriction (‘tsimtsum’) always precedes the revelation of truth, this verse is depicting a ‘flow’ and not a ‘contrast.’
The concept of “opposites working together” is explained as part of this teaching on creation. Here, we see the same three concepts as in verse 16 and in the same order. Din (Gevurah, restriction) begins the process. Then come ‘Chesed/Grace and Rachamim/Truth to complete the circuit. These great truths are then ‘enclothed within a physical body” to fulfill the will of G-d:
“We should try to envision Creation as a process which proceeds from one sabbatical state of balance and harmony to another. The first “Shabbat” — identifiable with the infinite expanse of Divine Light that initially permeated all reality — was a reflection of G‑d’s “first thought” regarding the imminent Creation that was to follow: that it be constructed upon the principle of “din” — strict measure contributing to ideal form. The symmetry implied by this program was one of perfect uniformity, as inspired by the absolute Oneness of the Divine Light out of which it was conceived. A deeper intention, however, emerged with G‑d’s decision to jointly apply, together with din, the principle of rachamim — Divine compassion. It was this attribute that was responsible for the “tolerant” form that Creation eventually took — one which accommodated the imperfections of finite material reality. Having begun its “descent,” the universe set out on the mysterious course toward the “Shabbat-to-come” when the world will be redeemed from its restlessness and turbulence. The above depiction of the opposing principles at work in Creation is reflected in the famous Midrash describing how the two attributes of chesed (“Benevolence”) and emmet (“Truth”) appeared before G‑d prior to Creation and argued over whether the world should indeed be brought into being. Truth demanded that this world not be created as it would eventually become filled with the “asymmetry” of lies and falsehood; Benevolence, arguing that a material creation can never justify itself, demanded that the world be created nonetheless if only by merit of G‑d’s Kindness as well as the opportunity it gives us to enrich one another. The Midrash concludes of course with G‑d’s favoring the position of Benevolence as He proceeds to “cast Truth to the ground” — an act that reflects His desire that strict idealism be tempered by empathy and consideration for the limitations of finite existence. Implicit in this act is the wish that “Benevolence and Truth meet each other, Justice and Peace kiss; that Truth spring out of the earth and Justice look down from Heaven” (Psalm 85:11-12). It is the revealed symmetry between Benevolence and Truth that will grace Creation as it enters into its eternal Shabbat-day. Recognizing Creation’s true purpose and destiny necessitates that the Divine Soul enclothe itself within a physical body. Only then can man fulfill G‑d’s Will through the grounded pursuit of Torah and mitzvah service. Ultimately the fulfillment of this mandate will serve to arouse a revolutionary Divine spirit laying dormant within the universe. The successful awakening of this spirit will expose G‑d’s true intention in generating the descent of Creation: the ultimate sanctification of His Name and Kingdom along with the ascent of Mankind and all reality to a plane infinitely higher than that from which they initially set out.”
Where Kabbalah Kisses Science by Yitzchak Ginsburgh, http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3064/jewish/Where-Kabbalah-Kisses-Science.htm/mobile/false
The greatness of Moshe and that of Mashiach have similarly great ‘soul roots’:
“And, the truth is, even this doesn’t tell the whole story. What was really lost with the death of Moshe Rabbeinu was a single individual capable of bringing the redemption, single-handedly. According to tradition, Moshe’s spiritual greatness was so superlative that he was able to tap into spiritual energy sources so powerful that he could have, had the Jewish people been ready and willing, ushered in the Final Redemption right then and there. This was because The level of Moshe Rabbeinu was from the Ohr HaGanuz itself — the Hidden Light of creation. Therefore, says the Talmud, the Torah was given through him, as well as all chidushei Torah (Torah novella) throughout time. This is the way the more esoteric side of Torah phrases it: … He was from the “Mystery of the Upper Emanation” of Adam HaRishon, which was withdrawn as a result of the sin. Had the Jewish people not sinned [with the golden calf, then] Moshe would have entered the land and would have been in a position to return the world to perfection from before the [Adam’s] sin. (Dayah 2:277b). Because, as the Arizal explains, it all comes down to soul “roots,” that is, the level within the Sefiros from which one’s soul originates, and Moshe’s descended from the heights of the sefirah, Chochmah. This is why the Talmud made the comparison between the light Moshe emanated at birth and the Hidden Light of creation. It took such a high-level soul to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt, and, according to the Arizal, it will take such a high-level soul to redeem the world once again, in the Days of Moshiach.”
Perceptions -Parashas Zos HaBrochah – Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah, Rabbi Pinchas Winston
Following the instruction of Moshe, the tzadikkim and/or mashiach, all rest in the preeminent aspect of faith:
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
“One who attached himself to the true tzaddikim has true faith. Mashiach is the true tzaddik. One who accepts Mashiach will receive from him pure faith, and will not have misplaced his faith.”
Mashiach – Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?, Chaim Kramer, p. 86.
18 No one has seen G-d at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
The concept of ‘Son of G-d’ relates to the mashiach:
“Another image of a new-born king is found in the second chapter of Psalms where we find a description of the king as G-d’s anointed. The king in the psalm tells us, ‘G-d told me, “You are my son, today i have fathered you.” This verse was interpreted in the Talmud as describing the future messiah.”
The Scroll of Secrets: The Hidden Messianic Vision of R. Nachman of Breslav, Zvi Mark, p.130
Mashiach’s greatness is said to be greater than the wisdom of Solomon, who relates to the level of ‘sitting on the throne of G-d.’
“He will be loftier than Solomon, who dignity was so lofty that he is said to, ‘sit on the throne of the Lord.’ (1 Chronicles 29:23). But the King Messiah, in his all-comprehending intelligence, will be loftier than Solomon. (He will be) exceedingly above the ministering angels, because that same comprehensive intelligence will approach (God) more nearly than theirs.”
Moshe Kohen ibn Crispin, Vol. 1, pp. 97,98, cited in Driver and Neubaauer, pp. 101-103
The messiah (the “Son of Man”) is seen as coming from the throne of heaven, and to be returned again:
“The fifth interpretation makes it refer to the Messiah. come hither, approach to a royal state, and eat of the bread: refers to the bread of royalty; and dip thy morsel in vinegar, refers to his sufferings; as it is said, But he was wounded because of our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5) and she sat beside the reaper, for he will be deprived of his sovereignty for a time, as it is said, For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken (Zechariah 14:2) and they reached her parched corn, means that he will be restored to his throne, as it is said, and he shall smite the land with the rod of his mouth (Isaiah 11:4).”
Midrash Rabbah Ruth, Vol 6, Freedman & Simon, pp. 61,64
This is also reflective of the discussion in chapter 3:
“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”
John 1:18 and 3:13 make the connection ‘from the past’ (i.e., 1:1a above) to the level of the heaven(s) Beriah and heavenly court. This is outlined in this Breslover teaching on the tzaddik/mashiach:
“The seventh fundamental is attachment to the True Tzaddik: 1. The soul of Mashiach preceded the world. It is the root of the souls of Israel, and the entire Creation, for “The entire universe was only created to attend him (Berakhot 6b) and “The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world” (Proverbs 10:25). 2. The Holy One, blessed-be-He, took counsel with this soul in the creation of His Universe, as it is written: “With whom did He take counsel, who gave Him understanding and guided Him in the way of judgment?” (Isaiah 40:14). 3. He gave God a guarantee that he will repair the Universe. … 6. He is the Heavenly Court. … 8. He reveals prayer, as it is written: “And I am prayer” (Psalm 109:4). 9. He is the Chariot of the Shechinah. 10. He is the Holiness. 11. He is the vitality of the whole universe. 12. Through him all devotions rise up to Heaven. 13. All arousal to Teshuvah is through him. …”
Rabbi Yitzhak Breiter, Seven Pillars of Faith, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 37-38, http://www.breslov.org/the-seventh-pillar-the-tzaddik/
The term “Son of man,” was a title of nobility given for man. The name ‘Adam’ consists of the letters Aleph, Daleth, Mem, which is an acrostic for Adam, Moses, and David. This follows the lineage of messiah. Within Adam were all the souls of mankind. He was thus also called Adam Kadmon or Primordial Man. The aspect of Messiah ben Joseph directly relates to Adam:
“Adam as we know ate of the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil and thus brought death to the world. Mashiah Ben Yosef as the true “son of man” (Adam) follows in his footsteps and like every other human being since Eden is destined to “go the way of all the earth.” Mashiah Ben David on the other hand is said to eat from the Tree of Life and as such will introduce to the world the radical removal of the concept of what we know as death.”
The Teachings About Mashiah Ben Yosef, Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok, http://www.koshertorah.com/PDF/mashiah-ben-yosef.pdf