Mashiach: Connected to Heaven

Hora’ah – הוראה – Teaching

Mashiach is regarded as a connection between heaven and earth, akin to the Sulam Yaacov – the ladder in Jacob’s dream of Genesis 28.

The following page notations are from “Chassidic Dimensions – Volume Three,” Jacob Immanuel Schochet

“Little wonder then, that the torah makes attachment to tzaddikim a religious obligation by ordaining ‘cleave unto G-d’ (Deut 11:22): How is it possible to say that? But you cleave unto the sages and it will be accounted to you as though you cleave to Him.”

“The stature of tzaddikim is thus seen to be extraordinarily sublime. They are on the highest level of perfection attainable to created entities, superior even to that of ministering angels … they sanctify themselves in the Divine Holiness and in turn Divine holiness attaches itself to them. They are altogether holy. Their body is holy. Their neshama is holy of holies and ruach hakodesh rests upon them in this world and in the next.”
p. 100

“The tzaddik is essentially a spiritual person. … The tzaddik is thus joined to the spiritual reality. On the other hand he is also a soul in a body living in this physical world, which joins him to the earth as well. In that sense then, the tzaddik becomes an intermediary, the common denominator that is able to join the physical and the spiritual, the heaven and the earth. He is the channel by means of which heaven and earth can relate to one another, the means by which Divine emanations are channeled to the world. Thus he becomes and is the foundation of the tzaddik. He binds all worlds together. All emanations that flow from one world to the other, even from the most high, go through the tzaddik.”
p. 104

“The tzaddik is like the ladder in Jacob’s dream, of which it is said, ‘Ascended and descended on it.’ For just as he is able to bring down the effluence and to extend it, so he is able to cause his whole generation to ascend.”
p. 106

“This is the tzaddik who is able to join and bind together all worlds. As he himself is bound up with G-d on the one hand, and with the worlds on the other, he joins them all to Divinity. Thus he is the intermediary between them, the channel or funnel that serves as the passageway in both directions.”
p. 108

“The tzaddik 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.”
p. 109

“Even as the tzaddik is the path for Divine influences to the world in general, so he is also an intermediary for the people of his generation to ascend to Divinity.”
p. 109

“How apt then, the Baal Shem Tov’s interpretation of Psalms 118:20, ‘This is the gate to G-d, tzaddikim. Tzaddikim are the gate to G-d’.”
p. 111

“(The tzaddik) … elevates them and attaches them to G-d. He is merely like a ladder through which it is easy to ascend.”
p. 114.

“The tzaddik, the leader and shepherd of Israel, is the very heart of all the people of Israel. Thus he is the very specific channel connecting above and below.”
p. 115

“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

“The Talmud discusses the following verse from the Torah: “You should attach yourself to Him, [i.e., to G-d],” and asks, “How can one attach oneself to G-d? G-d is compared to fire, so how can you attach yourself to fire?”  It is explained there that the way to become connected to G-d is by attaching and connecting oneself to a tzaddik. Connecting to a tzaddik is neither “un-Jewish” nor a spiritual luxury for a select group of truth seekers; on the contrary, it is the only method prescribed by the Torah to become truly connected to G-d. This idea — commonly thought to be the exclusive domain of chassidic teachings and practice — is a basic principle outlined in the Talmud, the ultimate authority of Jewish law. Nevertheless, the question still remains: Why should a Jew place so much importance on a human being of flesh and blood? Why should such a large part of his Jewish practice focus on being connected to a tzaddik? Why not just focus directly on G-d? … This can be explained with a powerful statement from the Talmud which states that the passing of a tzaddik is equivalent to the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash: The fast of the fifth (month) refers to Tishah B’Av, for on that date the house of our G-d was burned. The fast of the seventh (month) refers to the third of Tishrei, for on that date, Gedaliah Ben Achikam was assassinated…. The [latter] day is included here to teach you that the death of the righteous is equivalent to the burning of the house of our G-d. It is an obvious deduction that if the passing of a tzaddik is like the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, then the life of the tzaddik must also be similar to the purpose and function of the Beis HaMikdash.”
“A Tzaddik and His Students: The Rebbe-Chassid Relationship,” Rabbi Shloma Majeski

“The bond which we seek to create with the Tzaddik is a spiritual one. In this sense, it is like the bond each Jew wants to create between himself and G-d.”
Crossing the Narrow Bridge, Chaim Kramer, p. 328

We find direct comparison between this ladder and Jacob himself in this messianic reference to Jacob:

“A ladder was set on the ground,’ this refers to Jacob our patriarch himself, ‘and its top reached the sky,’ for the image of his icon was engraved on the throne of glory.”
From “Midrash Leqah Tov” of Tobias ben Eliezer, as cited in “Along the Path – Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism and Hermeneutics,” Elliot R. Wolfson, State University of New York Press, 1995.

The Zohar offers the following on this matter, relating the ladder back to Yesod/Foundation:

AND BEHOLD A LADDER SET UP ON THE EARTH. This ladder signifies the grade on which the other grades rest (i.e., Yesod), to wit, the “Foundation of the world” (the Tzaddik). AND THE TOP OF IT REACHED TO HEAVEN , so as to be attached to it. For this grade (Yesod), is the conclusion of the Body (the upper nine Sefirot) standing between the upper and the lower world in the same way as the sign of the covenant is situated at the end of the trunk of the body, between the thighs (i.e., between Netzah and Hod).
Zohar, Bereshith 149b

New Testament

Yeshua refers to himself in terms of Sulam Yacov, ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ making a connection between heaven and earth:

“But I know you, that you do not have the love of G-d in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only G-d? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
John 5:42-47

“And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
John 1:51