Sar haPanim in the Machzor for Yom Kippur

By Xus Casal
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Sar haPanim in the Machzor for Yom Kippur

Messianics and Rambamists are puzzled about the apparition of someone called “Yeshua Sar haPanim” (Yeshua prince of the presence, or Yeshua prince of the face) in some orthodox prayer books for Yom Kippur and Rosh haShana. This name is in the portion that deals with the order of Shofar blasts, together with Eliyahu the prophet and Sar Memtet (the prince Metatron). These three names come as a triad, after the mention of the angel Tartiel.

For most people, their main concern is the “intrusive” Yeshua; so the fact that the prayer book mentions lots of angelical names is commonly overlooked. This prayer book (or Machzor) is the work of Kabbalists, those who were part of a chain of millennial oral traditions of Jewish mysticism, which in the past came in the form of “Maasei Merkavah”. Therefore, even for some of the prominent Kabbalists of our time, the content of the prayer book can be overwhelming, and if this is true for the Kabbalist, then much more so for the uninitiated, let alone those who haven’t even read the Machzor or are complete ignorant of Judaism.

I myself am not claiming to know everything, but I’ve been blessed to acquire some wisdom from all of my teachers.

The first thing every reader would notice is that the mystical Machzor invokes God’s attributes in the form of angels, to carry the Shofar blasts heavenward. This is what we read some lines before the Shofar blasts:

NOTE: Remember that the names of angels are not meant to be pronounced with the mouth.

“May it be your will, HaShem…that you send me all the pure angels, the ministers who are trusty in their mission and who desire to vindicate your people, Israel. These angels are: the great angel (PaTZPaTZaYaH) who is appointed to draw forth Israel’s merits at the time when your people Israel sounds the Shofar; the great angel (TaSHBaSH) who is appointed to make heard the merits of Israel, to alarm the Satan when they are blown; the great angels (HaDRaNIEL, SaNDaLFON) who are appointed over the Shofar blast, who raise our Shofar blasts before the Throne of your Glory; the angel (SHaMSHIEL) appointed over the ‘teruah’; and the angel (TaRSTEL) appointed over the tekiah-shevarim-teruah-tekiah. May they all be ready for their mission, to raise our Shofar blasts before the heavenly curtain and before the Throne of your Glory…”

After the Shofar blasts, some short versions say:

“”May it be your will that the tekiah-shevarim-teruah-tekiah blasts that we have made sound, be embroidered in the heavenly curtain by the appointed angel (TaRTIEL) and the ministering angel (MemTeT) of the Inner Chamber.”

The long version says:

“May it be your will that the tekiah-shevarim-teruah-tekiah blasts that we have made sound, be embroidered in the heavenly curtain by the appointed angel (TaRTIEL), like the name that was received by the hand of the Prophet Eliyahu (of blessed memory) and Yeshua Sar haPanim, and the prince (MemTeT). And may you be filled with mercy for us. Blessed are you, master of Mercies.”


This prayer appears in many different forms and in many different Siddur’s. As far as I know, it can be found in printed form in one Ashkenaz Machzor from ArtScroll, in Sefer Shem Tov Qatan (1705), in the Standard ‘Kol Bo’ (Hebrew Publishin Co.), in the Kol Bo Rav Pnimim (Zigelheim 1951), in the Ohr Khodosh (1978), in the Machzor Rabbah (Eshkol), and in the Adler English translation (cira 1978) among others. Rav Itzhak Ginsburgh (one of the greatest Kabbalists of our time) uses the “Kol Bo” Siddur, which includes the “Yeshua” formula, and quotes often from it.

The origin of this prayer can be traced back – at least – to the Middle Ages. The Machzor has clear traces of ancient mysticism and its vocabulary corresponds to the Hasidei Ashkenaz school of the 12th century (not to be confused with Shem Tov’s Hassidut). In fact, I believe the prayer to have been composed by the same stream of Kabbalah that was followed by people like Yehuda haHassid, or Rabbi Eleazar of Worms. It seems Abulafia’s and Saadia Gaon’s schools of thought were very similar as well. The Machzor comes from the Hasidei Ashkenaz school of thought (and keep in mind that schools of thought receive their traditions from many previous generations). We must talk of a book that belonged to this esoteric movement: “Sefer haChesheq”.


Every mystical word that appears in the Machzor corresponds to the “Sefer haChesheq” and/or its school of thought.

‘Sefer haChesheq’ (a small book cira 12th/13th century c.e.) is called “Ayin Shmot Shel Memtet” – the 70 names of Memtet – precisely because it is the entire body of interpretation of MemTet’s 70 names, which was prevalent in the Heikhalot literature, together with the traditions of the names of God. The other two books that recount the list of 70 names are the Sefer Heikhalot and the Otiyot d’Rabbi Akiva. The ‘Sefer haChesheq’ exists in many different manuscripts and it was brought to press in 1865 by Meir Epstein. In the Lemberg edition of this book we find not 70 names, but 76, and from the manuscripts one could find even more than that; in accordance with the other lists, one can find 70 names of Enoch and 22 ‘imprints’ – reaching a total of 92 names. Anyone who is able to compare the many different manuscripts with the printed versions will easily see that the text has important variations or omissions.

Let’s use our imagination though, and stop thinking of the manuscripts as a ‘book’ that must be copied verbatim. Rather, let’s see them as personal “notes” taken by those who studied orally. After all, Jewish mysticism is supposed to be studied orally. The same can be said of the different versions of other mystical texts, such as Sefer Yetzirah.

In “Sefer haChesheq” it is emphasized very much the role of the angels as the ones who raise the prayers of Israel before God’s Throne, or into the “Curtain” of the Heavenly Temple, which is before His throne. Here’s where the relationship between Sefer haChesheq and the prayers in the Machzor that accompany the Shofar blasts begins. We have the exact same parallels and terminology, such as the word “Yeriah” (Curtain, Sheet), which is surprisingly preferred over the common term for curtain in this kind of literature: “Pargod”. ‘Yeriah’ is more Scriptural, when referring to the Tabernacle’s curtain, as it says: “the Ark of God dwells within the curtain [betokh haYeriah]” (2S 7:2).

In the ‘Sefer haChesheq’ and its circle we have parallels for all the names of the angels that appear in the Machzor. Sometimes the angelical names appear in the same form, and sometimes appear altered, but all of them are there. For example PaTZPaTZaYaH (This name is an acronym for “From the mouth of the Tzaddiq in heaven to the mouth of the Tzaddiq God speaks Wisdom”). Both texts mention him in connection with the Shofar blasts. This name in gematria equals “Shana” (year) and “haQeren” (the horn) (= 355).

“For when Israel plays the horn with Shofar immediately the book of the merits of Israel is taken and the sacrifice of Isaac is remembered, and God is filled with Compassion (Rahamim) and he rebukes Satan their accuser”
(Sefer haChesheq 3b name 20; see also Rosh haShana 16a).


How about the four names that appear in the section of our interest? The first one, the angel Tartiel, the supervisor of the curtain in the Machzor prayer, appears in the ‘Sefer haChesheq’, spelled “Tatriel” (sefer haChesheq 4b, name 29). This same name appears as one of MemTet’s 70 names in “Otiyot d’Rabbi Akiva” (letter Alef) and in Sefer Heikhalot, where Tatriel is the name number 12 (3rd Enoch 48d:1). This means that the tradition of this angel goes back – at least – to the Taanaic period. While in ‘Sefer haChesheq’ Tatriel is not mentioned as being in charge of the Curtain, it is inferred from the name that appears immediately before him:

Tanriel, which has the Gematria of 300, just as the word for the curtain “haYeriah” (= 300). Because his function is to take every day on the Throne of Glory the curtain of fire dyed in Tekhelet and wash it in the river of fire. In some printed versions it doesn’t appear Tanriel but Hadarniel, which also has the numerical value of 300.

היריעה = הדרניאל = טנריאל = 300

We are going now to talk about the triad: Eliyahu the prophet, Yeshua Sar haPanim, and Sar MemTet (which is Enoch). The reason “Yeshua Sar haPanim” appears in the Machzor’s order of blasts is because this title had to be known in the circle of those who composed the “Sefer haChesheq”. It had reached to them via the Taanaim, and these received it from a 1st century Orthodox and mystical Jewish sect, namely, the Nazarenes, who in the first century were not Christians (as Christianity didn’t exist then). They coexisted with Essenes and with the school of Hillel (which are the cradle of the most important streams of Jewish mysticism).

It is very difficult to argue that the Yeshua mentioned in the Machzor is not the Nazarene. Who else is known in Judaism by this name, that may be considered a Sar haPanim (i.e. someone who is able to stay at the Presence of the Throne)? The only one who shares with Eliyahu and with Enoch the idea of having ascended alive to Heaven is Yeshua the Nazarene. He, like Enoch and Eliyahu is considered to receive the prayers of the people to the Throne of Glory. In fact the Nazarenes say that he sits at the right hand of the Throne, and he takes an active role in the redemption and repentance of the nations and the “lost sheep of Israel” – as we will see.

Rabbi Hayim Eleazar Shapira believed that “Yeshua Sar haPanim” was inserted by Christian missionaries, to whom he calls “instigators”. But his hypothesis is based on the logic that Christians printed out the Jewish Siddurim and inserted material which was unknown to Judaism. We do have important reasons to believe that this Machzor comes from the same Ashkenaz esoteric school that composed the “sefer haChesheq”. It is very unlikely that Christians added such a formula into a Jewish prayer book, because medieval Christians did not consider Yeshua to be an angel; i.e. a “sar haPanim”, but thought of him as God incarnated. The formula found in the Machzor could hurt the feelings of those Christians more than of the Orthodox Jews who used the book in their liturgy. But Christians did not pray from it.

Rabbi Avida in one of his essays studied the many customs that prevailed regarding the order of blasts and regarding their authors, and he noticed that in some places the names of the angels are put in Gematria, corresponding to the group of blasts they are in charge of. Avida also studied the history of these symbols for the blasts ( קשר”ק }תשר”ק{ קש”ק קר”ק ) and discovered they were customary among the Ashkenazim. In some manuscripts, instead of saying simply ‘Eliyahu Z”L’ (i.e. Eliyahu of blessed memory) it says “Eliyahu haNavi Zakhur leTov” (i.e. Eliyahu the Prophet be remembered in good) which increases the Gematria from 89 to 400 (” קר”ק “). Instead of “TaRTIEL”, or “Tartiel Z”L” there can be ‘SHNITEL’ (שניטאל ), which equals 400 in Gematria. Instead of the common “Yeshua” (or “Yeshua Z”L) – which sometimes is emphatically written in a Gematria form “YeSHU”A” (= 386) [or ‘veYeshua’ = 392] – there can be the word “Yeshayahh” (ישעיהה ), again, in order to reach the Gematria of 400 (” קר”ק “).

Although Rabbi Avida somehow concludes that the original names were those whose numerical value equals 400, I think it is a mistake to assume things based only on this. In Kabbalah it is not that simple; things are not ‘one or the other’, but: “All is truth”. We could also consider that the name Yeshua appears in more Siddurs than Yeshayahh. Only by Gematria we cannot conclude which one was first, because it might be that later scribes edited the text to make it fit with the number 400. The signs of designation above mentioned for the Tekiot ( קשר”ק קש”ק קר”ק ) are not as old as the 70 names of MemTet which can be traced back to the 1st Century. And it turns out that only in the Middle Ages these signs received numerical importance.

We know for instance of Tartiel from the Heikhalot literature and from the Sefer haChesheq. The change into SHNITIEL (in some versions of the Machzor) although have their use and reason to be, must be later versions based on Gematria.

Yeshayahh is certainly NOT the original rendering. It is not even a proper expression. Besides, Yeshayahu the Prophet does not fit into the group of Eliyahu and MemTet. Probably the arranger was not happy with the suspicious “Yeshua” and replaced him with a similar name, “Yeshayah” – which also appears in “sefer haChesheq” (8a, name 64) but adapted it (by including an extra letter Hei) to match the Gematria of 400.

Does Yeshua fit in the group of Eliyahu and MemTet? Definitely. He was probably also in the original manuscripts of the Sefer haChesheq, but deleted due to censorship – for many reasons.

The following quote is from a version that I’ve been told appears in the manuscripts but has been omitted in the printed versions. It is mentioned by Yosef Dan in “The secret teachings of the Ashkenazi Hassidim”:

“YeHOEL. Letters of ELiYaHU and-ELoHaI [literally: Ve’ELoHaI]. For everything that Eliyahu reveals is by virtue of Yehoel and-Elohai. And know that YeHOEL judges in the firmament over all the ministering angels (…) Start in the middle of YeHOEL and count by the ‘Yod’ of Sar haPanim and you’ll find “Ve’ELoHaI” and begin in the middle of “Eliyahu” and find “YeHOEL”. He (Yehoel) equals “Ben” (son) in gematria (= 52), for he was a Ben-Adam (son of man), that is: Enoch son of Yared (Hanokh ben Yared). (…) It also equals “Dog” – Kelev ( = 52) – which is “all heart” [for the word Kelev can be broken into “Kulo Lev” – ‘he is all heart’], and barks in Torah like a dog, and he teaches Torah to infants, as it has been taught (Bava Kama 60b) ‘if the dogs are frolicking Eliyahu the prophet has come to the city'”

NOTE: The three names are permutations: If we take the middle letter of YeHOEL (יהואל ) (which is the Vav), and then read the other letters as expanding from it, having the Yod at the end, the permutation forms Ve’ELoHaI (ואלהי ). If you move the Vav at the end, you get the name ELiYaHU (אליהו ), which at the same time is permuted into YeHOEL if the word rotates its axis from the letter ‘Yod’. The exact ratio between these three is absolutely clear. The names Eliyahu and Ve’Elohai are permutations of Yehoel.

The problem here is that “Sar haPanim” is not defined in the text, which makes the description vague. “Ve’ELoHaI” (literally “and-Elohai”) is missing from Berlin’s handwritten manuscript. In other manuscripts it is written instead the word “ELoHeINU” (our God); which doesn’t make any sense. This is another proof that the original text – if there has ever been one – has been altered.


So, in the above paragraph, which deals with the name Yehoel (the first of Enoch’s 70 names in sefer Heikhalot), Yehoel is being associated with another two names that have the exact same letters: “Eliyahu” and “Ve’Elohai”. Enoch (aka Yehoel) and Eliyahu are very well known figures in Judaism. But who is “Ve’ELoHaI”? The answer is concealed in the use of the expression: “the ‘Yod’ of Sar haPanim” (as it says, “and count by the Yod of Sar haPanim and you’ll find Ve’Elohai”). This doesn’t make much sense by its own. But the author is hinting to a third partner for Memtet and Eliyahu, and the mysterious “Yod” of Sar haPanim recalls very much to “Yeshua sar haPanim”. It is impossible not to imagine that the triad that the Sefer haChesheq has in mind is that of “Eliyahu“, “MemTet” (aka Yehoel) and “Yeshua Sar haPanim” (aka Ve’elohai) – just like in the Machzor prayer, but in this case the name of Yeshua was reduced into a mere letter “Yod”. Interesting consideration is that the names share the gematria of 52, which is the gematria of “Messiah” [Mashiakh] in ordinal numbers.

So, we have seen in the above quote that Yehoel (+Eliyahu +Ve’Elohai) is called “Son” (Ben) and “Dog” (Kelev). These appellations have been used to refer to Yeshua in Hebrew literature, especially among the Ashkenazim (the Ari for instance). Rabbi Nathan Shapira (in his book “Megaleh Amuqot”) and Shimson of Ostropoli spoke at length of the connections between MemTet and Eliyahu and both of them being called “Son”, and of Yeshua (Sar haPanim) being connected with ‘Messiah ben Yosef’. While at first sight the relationship with Yeshua seems negative, things are more than what they seem to be. We know that “the Son” is the title by which Yeshua is commonly known in Christianity; a term that in Kabbalah makes reference to the Partzuf of Zeir Anpin, and in the Shiur Qoma and Heikhalot literature is used for those to whom Eliyahu the Prophet reveals the mysteries of the Torah (such as was the case with Shimon bar Yohai). In the Yehoel portion of Sefer haChesheq we have seen that negative connotations can be interpreted in Kedusha (in holiness) – which is really a teaching from the Zohar – because the appellation of “Dog” (Kelev) is interpreted in a positive manner, as meaning “he is all heart”. In fact, in the writings of Nathan Shapira it is somewhere written that in Gematria “Eliyahu = Ben = Kelev = 52”. Eliyahu could eliminate the “evil dog”; which is the power of Esav [and the religion of Esav is that of Yeshu, the Christian “son”]:

“Transferring the power of Esav, who is a dog [Kelev]… it is written in the Gemara (Bava Kama 60b), When dogs howl, the Angel of Death has come to the city, but when the dogs are frolicking Eliyahu the Prophet has come to the city. For Eliyahu beArbah – [reaches] in four [flights] {{taken from Berakhot 4b, where it is written (based in part on Dn 9:21) that ‘Michael reaches his goal in one [flight], Gavriel in two, Eliyahu in four and the Angel of Death in eight, although in the time of a plague he reaches in one’.}} And by this {i.e. ‘Eliyahu beArbah’ – lit. ‘Eliyahu is in four’} what is meant is the world of Assiyah, which is the fourth world; in the secret of ABiYA; the four Kabbalistic worlds (Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiyah – cf. Is 43:7, 45:18), where it is used the name “Ben” (son) [for Zeir Anpin] which has the same numerical value as Eliyahu (=52)”.
(“Megaleh Amuqot”, Ofan 124, page 40b).


We can draw all the parallels and see from both Christian and Jewish sources that the triad composed by Eliyahu, MemTet and Yeshua is not a complete innovation of the Machzor prayer. Even more! By doing this, we learn the role they fulfill in this liturgy.

In “sefer Karnayim” (within the ‘Likutei Shoshanim’ 22b) Rabbi Samson of Ostropoli speaks of an angel named Yehoshua. This angel has the duty to protect the righteous, and he descends to Gehinom to correct and to bring up the souls of the wicked {for according to our tradition only those who fall into the level called Avadon are unable to get out of Gehinom, but the rest are purged}. Notice here that in Hassidut the Tzaddiq who constantly engages in the rectification of his disciples’ soul will redeem from Sheol those who have faith in him (cf. Likutei halakhot I [Orakh Hayim: Hilkhot Hashkamat haBoker 4:4] pp 9-10), but the role of descending to Sheol in order to rescue the wicked souls is something only assigned in Christianity to Yeshua. The connection is obvious, especially keeping in mind that “Yeshua” is sometimes used in Scripture as the Aramaic form of “Yehoshua”.

The medieval Ashkenazi Jews participated in several debates with Christians and knew pretty well all of these stories.

About Yeshua, he certainly ended up in the Machzor prayer because the Hasidei Ashkenaz received about him a tradition that predates the separation of Christianity from Judaism. But this whole idea of Yeshua being an angel should fall as a surprise to those Christians who came later and didn’t understand the concept. In fact, some of the fathers of the church debated against what people call “Judeo-Christian heresies” among which we find the idea of Yeshua being an angel (cf. Epiphanius, Haer 30:16.4f). Even the Christian Arians (before Nicea’s Council) thought of Yeshua as the primary angel. Certainly Yeshua and Enoch share more things than what people think to know, but probably they misunderstand the connection. Memtet’s priestly role in heaven is attributed to Yeshua in the New Testament, as well as MemTet’s aspect of being “HaShem Qatan” (see for instance the Epistle to the Hebrews, which shares many ideas with the Enochian literature, especially the book of secrets of Enoch, Yovel and the esoteric Heikhalot literature).

Enoch/MemTet is the corrector of Adam’s sin in Heikhalot literature (cf. 2Enoc 64:5), and once again, this is Yeshua’s role in the New Testament (cf. Rom 5:12-15).

The triad “Eliyahu – Yeshua – Enoch” is found in the Judeo-Christian ‘Apocalypse of Peter’ (written during Bar Kokhva’s revolt), which is an interpretation of “the Two witnesses” (of Revelation 11:3).

My witness is in heaven and my testifier is on high” (Yov 16:19) – in this verse “my witness” (Edi) has the gematria of ‘Enoch’ [Hanokh], “and my testifier” (veshahadi) has the gematria of ‘Mitatron’ (the long spelling of MemTet). The Shaar haGilgulim explains here: “my witness [Edi] is Enoch “and my testifier on highs” is Eliyahu, because he too is a heavenly angel [i.e. Sandalfon]” (Shaar haGilgulim 31:7a).

The Divine trio

The triad of the Machzor appears in the New Testament itself.

Think for a moment about the Transfiguration story (Mt 17), when Yeshua is transformed into his heavenly counterpart (i.e. into his angelical body). One of the concepts revealed in the Enochian tradition and in the Heikhalot literature is that people – and especially the Messiah – have a heavenly angelical counterpart. Everything has its heavenly counterpart, as we are told that when Israel built the Tabernacle, another Tabernacle was established in heaven. We exist in all levels of creation. The physical body is carved in the world of Assiyah, angels are carved in the world of Yetzirah, and the souls are carved in the world of Beriah.


NOTE: When God created the worlds he made it in four different stages – represented in the four letters of the Sacred Name. The first stage was called Atzilut (whose dominant Partzuf is Abba [father]) – which is the Abstract Concept behind creation. It is basically the Purpose, where everything is Pure and good and evil are all one. All still exists within the realm of Divinity where there’s no individuality. Then there’s the world of Beriah (whose dominant Partzuf is Ima [mother]) – where all the abstract forms from Atzilut start to take shape and therefore individuality begins. Here is where Souls are carved and the manifestation of the different channels of Divine flows of energy (seraphim) take place. The next stage is the world of Yetzirah (whose dominant Partzuf is Zeir Anpin [the small face, or ‘the Son’]) – a world of emotions where angels are carved and where there is the Lower Gan Eden for the abode of righteous souls who merit to visualize its Light – as it was the case for the prophet Ekhezqel. And finally the lower world is that of Assiyah (whose dominant Partzuf is Malkhut [the kingdom])- where all the Divine flow of energy from the above worlds flows down through the angels, bringing as a result the manifestation of our physical and independent world.


Enoch – who ascended and became MemTet – was sent back to earth for a while to write down his book, and he was a complete human being of flesh and blood when he descended to earth, but at the same time he was an angel in Heaven who has seen the Lord’s Glory (2Enoch 39:3-6).

In the vision of the Ladder, the angels who descended saw Yaqov “sleeping” in Earth and those who ascended saw him being installed “on Heaven” (cf. Bereshit Rabbah 68:12; Targ. Neofit on Bereshit 28:12 [140]). The angelical counterpart of Yaqov is the angel ‘Israel’; who exists even before Yaqov the patriarch was born (cf. Prayer of Yosef 1:5-9 [II:713] [from Origen’s texts]; cf. Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 35). No need to mention Eliyahu the prophet, who ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire. He “is [the spark incarnation of] an angel from the hosts of God, and after that he himself became a heavenly angel” (cf. Shaar haGilgulim 31:7a) and he reveals mysteries of the Torah to the sages, and is present in every Jewish circumcision (cf. Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 29; Shulkhan Arukh Yore Deah 265:11). Of Moshe the Torah says that after staying 3 periods of 40 days fasting in the presence of HaShem “the skin of his face became radiant” (Ex 34:30-35), because his natural physical functioning was elevated to that of an angel (cf. Likutei Sikhot vol 36, p 172). The Enochian version of Messiah’s angelical force, called ‘the One’, is discussed at length in Hanokh (chapters 37 to 71), and we learn from this that all these righteous people are ‘spark’ incarnations of angelical forces that precede the creation of the world.

“The Zohar explains in the beginning of parashat Noah, in the tosefta of the verse ‘ Noah Noah’ (Gn 6:9) that every righteous person has two Ruakhs, one on earth below and one in Heaven above ” (Shaar haGilgulim 31:7a).

Let’s go back to the Transfiguration story. The Gospel says that Yeshua’s angelical body was revealed. His clothes became shining and white as snow, and Eliyahu and Moshe (משה ) appeared beside him. In reality MoSHeH is an acronym for “Memtet Sar Hapanim” ( מטט שר הפנים ). In all forms of Judaism, whether in the Talmudic or in Heikhalot literature, or even in our modern Kabbalah, these kind of acronyms are really abundant, so one should not be surprised for this. After all, it makes sense that “MemTet Sar haPanim” gives us the acronym of Moshe, because the ancient book of Yovel says that “the Sar haPanim” was the one who brought the revelation to Moshe (cf. Yovel 1:26, 2:18). The angel who taught Wisdom to Moshe was Zagnuga-el, which is one of MemTet’s names (cf. Targum Yonathan on Ex 3:2). Hayim Vital clearly says that “Enoch was Moshe’s teacher because he was in a higher level than him” (cf. Likutei Torah Vilna 19a), and this angel is identified as Moshe’s super-soul, as it is explained in the school of the Vilna Gaon that each person’s angel is their own Neshama which is in Heaven and some sparks of it descend to guide and enlighten a man (cf. Gra’s commentary on Sefer Yetzirah 1:1, ofan 3, 3a).

In short, the Moshe that appears in the transfiguration is our Enoch/Memtet; Moshe’s angelical super-soul. The transfiguration event was something of mystical nature, a Merkavah experience if you wish. Notice that the Gospel doesn’t even bother to record the conversation that took place between these three characters. Notice how the cloud covers them all and the heavenly voice says “this is my son”, because these three form a unity.

In the non-canonical Talmudic tractate “Derech Eretz Zutta” (chapter 1), it is related that there were nine who entered alive to the Gan Eden, and the first three are Enoch, Eliyahu and the Messiah. And how can it be that no one notices this? Which Messiah do we know that went alive to heaven except Yeshua the Nazarene? Like our sages say: “in his sharpness he overlooked the obvious” (Eruvin 90a).

Rabbi Nathan Shapira talks of three “Sarei Panim” (princes of the Presence). The first in the world of Assiyah, the second in the world of Yetzirah and the third in the world of Beriah (cf. Megaleh Amuqot on ‘va’Etkhanan’, Ofan 112+). The first two have been properly identified as Enoch/Memtet and Eliyahu. The third one is not clear. At one point he is identified with the angel Akatriel (cf. Ofan 14), but in Ofan 111 Eliyahu and Enoch appear as two “witnesses” who outstand as “Sarei haPanim” of the worlds of Assiyah and Yetzirah. Enoch works out of Yetzirah, and Eliyahu works out of Assiyah in order to bring the lofty truth to the lower realms. In addition there’s a third witness, after the verse “according to two witnesses or three witnesses shall a man be put to death” (Dt 17:6). And who the third witness is? He is called Korakh. The role of these three is to testify about the deeds of the souls who ascend to Gan Eden, and for such a duty it was necessary to select three character that had been “in this world” whose testimony is faithful. Eliyahu and Enoch stand in the way of the souls that go directly to Gan Eden (i.e. the good Jewish souls). But Korakh descends to Sheol to give testimony to those souls who cannot go to Gan Eden without first being purged in Gehenna. Nowhere else is this attribute found in the character of Korakh, except if Korakh is a code name for Yeshua, in which case we have a second source for this statement; namely, the New Testament itself (cf. Eph 4:9-10, 1P 3:19). In this story, the trio is once again composed of Eliyahu, Yeshua and MemTet.

If the third witness is in the world of Beriah, where souls are carved and things are mixed up, it is understandable that someone with a “faithful testimony” is called by the name of “Korakh”.

Rabbi Samson explicitly identifies Korakh with Yeshu in his commentary on Rabbi Menahem’s work. Among other things he notices that the expression “the man” (ha’Ish) which is used to refer Korakh (Nm 16:22) equals 316 in Gematria, which is the Gematria of “Yeshu”. Yeshu is in this sense seen as “the Messiah of the gentiles”. And even though at face value their depiction of Yeshua could not be more negative, the truth is that it conceals lots of supernal and positive mysteries. But Yeshua’s concealment and process of being unrecognized is part of the role he fulfils as Messiah ben Yosef (cf. Kol haTor 2:39), as it is written: “Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him” (Gn 42:8).

So far we have seen from both Jewish and Christian sources that there’s an underground and unspoken tradition that connects Yeshua with Enoch and Eliyahu as angelical forces.

But it was necessary for Yeshua to be split and concealed. It is important to notice that in the Hasidei Ashkenaz Judaism, God is incorporeal, invisible, and beyond eternity. In other words, unreachable. The Shiur Qoma literature (which deals with God’s body and God’s parts) is supposed to be interpreted allegorically. All that exists and all that we know (even about God) has been emanated from him (it is the same idea depicted in the Zoharic Kabbalah, but differently expressed). In the practice this means that the angels and the superior forces are God’s manifestations, emanations or attributes. In order to be visible or understood, God filters his glory, his infinite Light through different stages of creation, and keeps it in finite vessels.

The Sarei haPanim (princes of the Presence) are special angelical forces that are able to stand in the very Presence of HaShem. The 70 names of MemTet correspond to 70 names (attributes) of God – as it is written “my name is in him” – and these correspond to the 70 angelical sparks that emanate from him. But we don’t worship MemTet, nor any of his Sparks, for there are not two powers in Heaven.

In light of this, and having Christianity in mind, removing Yeshua from the later versions of the Machzor was an act of Qiddush haShem, in order to prevent what is called “the nurture of the Klipot”. The Nurture of the Klipot has to do with filling empty klipot with sinful negative and idolatrous thoughts, which would cause the sin of creating a molten image of God; i.e an idol (Lv 19:4). We have to make clear that there was a human Yeshua, a real man of flesh and blood, who, according to Yaqov Emden, “did a double good to the world” (cf. Sefer Olam Rabbah vezuta); because he was an observant Jewish Rabbi, not different from the Pharisees, whose main message was that of repentance. His community promoted the Torah observance to the Jews and the observance of the 7 Noahide Laws to the gentiles. And because of him the entire world has been filled with the knowledge of the one true God, and the Jewish concepts of Torah, Messiah, Piety and Mitzvot. He was handed to the Romans and died as a martyr. Then, according to his testimony, experienced the Tekhiat haMetim (the final resurrection) and was raised to the right hand of the Throne of Glory becoming “Sar haPanim”, in the likeness of the verse: “Sit at my right hand” (Psalm 110), hence, being elevated to a level higher than any of the angels, because the “soul” is higher than the “angels”.

However, he was betrayed and given to Rome (which is Edom, which is Esav), his very soul was deformed by the Christians who came after him (because Christianity is the religion of Edom, which is Esav). If Yeshua is delivered to Esav, then he is no longer in holiness. As it says: (Gn 25:26) וידו אחזת בעקב עשו ויקרא שמו יעקב “His hand held the heel of Esav and his name was called Yaqov”. Here we have the acronym of “Yeshua” (ישוע ) going from left to right (as judgment comes from the left side). Yeshua is stretched between Yaqov and Esav, and the Ayin of his name falls on the first letter of ‘Esav’ (עשו ). The gematria of the letter Ayin is 70 and stands for the 70 nations of the world (cf. Gn 10). Therefore in Judaism Yeshua lost the ‘Ayin’ and became Yeshu, in the aspect of the Body. Let’s say, for the sake of understanding that he was rejected from the lower world of Assiyah. So now he only represents the right side of the world of Yetzirah and this [angelical force] is called “Yeshua Sar haPanim” [which is what we read in the Machzor], and it controls the 70 [ע] nations of the world only because of their faith in Yeshu. The force Samael [i.e. the force called Satan, who is the angel of Esav] completes him on the left and controls the secular part of the 70 nations. This is in the aspect of Sar haPanim, who have two faces (Sar haPanim can be read as “Prince of two faces”). Thus the Zohar says that Moshe’s staff (in this case representing MemTet) had life in one side and death on the other. Such is the double identity of Yeshu/Yeshua. The Christian version of Yeshua (Yeshu) did all the opposite of what the historical Yeshua came to do. Yeshua the Christian caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the Lord.

On the other hand, no other Rabbi has ever been more influential in the world to cause people to repent and to come under the wings of the Shekhina than the Nazarene, in whose merits thousands of lost sheep of Israel return to the way every single year. Now Yeshua is still fulfilling his role over the 70 nations, as mentioned above.

This role has to do with the concept known as “Messiah ben Yosef”. When Adam was in Gan Eden – an almost perfect spiritual reality – he had the duty to “dress it and to keep it” (Gn 2:15), he had to elevate and to transcend something that was already “whole”. Adam was the “Messiah” of Gan Eden. But when he fell, all creation shattered with him. So now Adam has to restore what he destroyed and redeem what he lost before resuming his task of spiritual elevation. The cosmic power in charge of restoring and redeeming is called “Messiah ben Yosef”; who prepares the way for ‘Messiah ben David’, who is in charge of elevating and transcending.

In the Vilna Gaon’s school of thought it is explained that MemTet is the angel that represents Messiah ben Yosef:

“The Messiah ben Yosef from above is MemTet Sar haPanim, as it is known that Yosef is [a spark incarnation of] MemTet [cf. Shaar haGilgulim 31:7b]. Both of them are from the light of above and from the Sefirah of Yesod, being active in the war against [the spiritual force in charge of destroying the people of God, called] Armilus”
(Kol haTor 1:20).

It is for this reason that Enoch is called “redeemer of the sins of Adam and helper of your household” (2Enoch 64:5). Eliyahu the prophet in the same manner is supposed to come back before Messiah ben David, to “prepare the way”. He has also the duty of restoration, as it says, “and he will [come to] turn the hearts of the fathers upon the sons” (Malachi 4:5). Eliyahu the Prophet serves the purpose of “spiritually reviving and sustaining [the force called] Messiah ben Yosef, this is because Eliyahu and Messiah ben Yosef share the same soul-root hence Eliyahu is “the fatherly heart” and Messiah ben Yosef “upon the sons”; namely, the Messiah ben Yosef as it is manifested in each generation. Therefore the phrase: “Fatherly heart over the sons” (לב אבות על בנים ) equals in Gematria: “a testimony for Yosef [Yehosef]” (עדות ביהוסף ) = 643 (cf. Kol haTor 2:71).

It is in the aspect of Messiah ben Yosef that Yeshua descends to Sheol to testify ‘truth’ to those souls who will be redeemed from Gehenna. We have seen then how the three names mentioned in the Machzor prayer are clearly interconnected in the Aggadah, in the mysticism, in the soul root, in the sefirotic worlds and are part of the redemptive cosmic force known as “Messiah ben Yosef”.

Xus Casal
Spain, 2015