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And a River Went Out of Eden: Philo’s Midrash on the Four Labors of Wisdom

And a River Went Out of Eden
Philo’s Midrash on the Four Labors of Wisdom
By
James Scott Trimm




My last article introduced the concept of the Four “Labors of Wisdom” also known as the four “virtues” as introduced in the Wisdom of Solomon:

5  If riches are a desirable possession in life,
what is richer than wisdom who effects all things?
6  And if understanding is effective,
who more than she is fashioner of what exists?
7  And if any one loves righteousness,
her labors are virtues;
for she teaches self-control and prudence,
justice and courage;
nothing in life is more profitable for men than these.
(Wisdom of Solomon 8:5-7 RSV)

The first century Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria also composed a beautiful midrash on Genesis 2:8-14 about these four virtues.  These verses of Genesis read:

8 And YHWH Elohim, planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
9 And out of the earth, made YHWH Elohim to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it was parted and became four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pishon: that is it which compasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 And the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasses the whole land of Kush.
14 And the name of the third river is Tigris: that is it which goes toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
(Gen. 2:8-14 HRV)

Philo saw the presence of “an allegorical spirit” in the Torah, and specifically in these verses about the Garden of Eden or Paradise, an allegory in which he saw “…the paradise, made by God, all the plants were endowed in the souls and reason, producing for their fruit the different virtues,…”.  He writes:

(153) …But in the paradise, made by God, all the plants were endowed in the souls and reason, producing for their fruit the different virtues, and, moreover, imperishable wisdom and prudence, by which honourable and dishonourable things are distinguished from one another, and also a life free from disease, and exempt from corruption, and all other qualities corresponding to these already mentioned. (154) And these statements appear to me to be dictated by a philosophy which is symbolical rather than strictly accurate. For no trees of life or of knowledge have ever at any previous time appeared upon the earth, nor is it likely that any will appear hereafter. But I rather conceive that Moses was speaking in an allegorical spirit, intending by his paradise to intimate the dominant character of the soul, which is full of innumerable opinions as this figurative paradise was of trees….
(On Creation 153-154)

Elsewhere Philo writes about the river that went out of Eden to water the garden:

(125) As, therefore, the seeds and plants which are put into the ground grow and blossom through being irrigated, and are thus made fertile for the production of fruits, but if they are deprived of moisture they wither away, so likewise the soul, as it appears when it is watered with the wholesome stream of wisdom, shoots forth, and brings fruit to perfection….
(127) On which account it is said in Genesis, "And a fountain went up from the earth, and watered all the face of the Earth." (Gen. 2:6).  …In this way in truth, it is that the word (Logos) of God irrigates the virtues; for that is the beginning and the fountain of all good actions. (128) And the lawgiver shows this, when he says, "And a river went out of Eden to water the Paradise; and from thence it is divided into four Heads." (Gen. 2:10) For there are four generic virtues: prudence, courage, self-control, and justice. And of these, every single one is a princess and a ruler; and he who has acquired them is, from the moment of the acquisition, a ruler and a king, even if he has no abundance of any kind of treasure; (129) for the meaning of the expression, "it is divided into four heads," is … nor distance; but virtue exhibits the pre-eminence and the power. And these spring from the word  [Logos] of God as from one root, which he compares to a river, on account of the unceasing and everlasting flow of salutary words and doctrines, by which it increases and nourishes the souls that love God.
(Philo; On the Posterity of Cain and His Exile; 125, 127-129)

Notice that Philo says:

And of these, every single one is a princess and a ruler; and he who has acquired them is, from the moment of the acquisition, a ruler and a king, even if he has no abundance of any kind of treasure;

This connects neatly with my last article "Storing up Treasure in Heaven: The Four Labors of Wisdom"


Philo gives a more detailed explanation in Book I of his Allegorical Interpretations (I have quoted the relevant verse from the HRV version for reference):

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it was parted and became four heads.
(Gen. 2:10 HRV)

XIX. (63) "And a river goes forth out of Eden to water the Paradise. From thence it is separated into four heads: the name of the one is Pheison. That is the one which encircles the whole land of Evilat. There is the country where there is gold, and the gold of that land is good. There also are the carbuncle and the sapphire stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon; this is that which encircles the whole land of Ethiopia. And the third river is the Tigris. This is the river which flows in front of the Assyrians. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." (Gen. 2:10-13) In these words Moses intends to sketch out the particular virtues. And they also are four in number, prudence, temperance, courage, and justice. Now the greatest river from which the four branches flow off, is generic virtue, which we have already called goodness; and the four branches are the same number of virtues. (64) Generic virtue, therefore, derives its beginning from Eden, which is the wisdom of God; which rejoices and exults, and triumphs, being delighted at and honoured on account of nothing else, except its Father, God, and the four particular virtues, are branches from the generic virtue, which like a river waters all the good actions of each, with an abundant stream of benefits. (65) Let us examine the expressions of the writer: "A river," says he, "goes forth out of Eden, to water the Paradise." This river is generic goodness; and this issues forth out of the Eden of the wisdom of God, and that is the word of God. For it is according to the word of God, that generic virtue was created. And generic virtue waters the Paradise: that is to say, it waters the particular virtues. But it does not derive its beginnings from any principle of locality, but from a principle of preeminence. For each of the virtues is really and truly a ruler and a queen. And the expression, "is separated," is equivalent to "is marked off by fixed boundaries;" since wisdom appoints them settled limits with reference to what is to be done. Courage with respect to what is to be endured; temperance with reference to what is to be chosen; and justice in respect of what is to be distributed.
(Allegorical  Interpretation I, 63-65)

Philo’s Midrash on Genesis 2:10 teaches that generic virtue goes out as an unceasing and everlasting flow from the Word of Elohim to increase and nourish specific virtues in the souls of those that love Elohim and that from there generic virtue is marked off by fixed boundaries as prudence, courage, self-control, and justice and that each of these is a ruler and a queen that helps us to rule over our passions.  

I have often written about the Word of YHWH called in the Aramaic Targums the MEMRA and by Greek writers like Philo of Alexandria the LOGOS.  See my article on the topic



Abraham’s Faith was in the MEMRA

In Genesis 15:6 we read concerning Avraham:

“And he believed in YHWH, and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
(Gen. 15:6)

The official Targum to this verse paraphrases:

 “And he believed in the Word (Memra) of YHWH. And He counted it to him for righteousness.”
(Gen. 15:6 Targum Onkelos)

And Targum Psedo-Jonathan has:

“And he believed in YHWH, and had faith in the Word (Memra) of YHWH, and He reckoned it to him for righteousness.”
(Gen. 15:6 Targum Pseudo-Jonathan)

Philo of Alexandria made a very interesting comment about this verse (Gen. 15:6):

“It is best, therefore, to trust in God, and not in uncertain reasoning, or unsure conjectures. "Abraham trusted in the Lord, and it was counted to him for Righteousness” (Gen. 15:6) And Moses governed the people, being testified to that he was faithful with his whole house. But if we distrust our own reason (LOGOS, Word), we shall prepare and build ourselves a city of the mind which will destroy the truth.”
(Philo of Alexandria; Allegorical Interpretation, III, 228)

So Abraham’s faith was a rational faith, but what does this really mean?


The Memra is the Mind of YHWH

It is important to understand the MEMRA is the very expression of the Mind of YHWH.  Philo of Alexandria makes this case as follows:

IV. We must mention as much as we can of the matters contained in his account, since to enumerate them all is impossible; for he embraces that beautiful world which is perceptible only by the intellect, as the account of the first day will show: (16) for God, as apprehending beforehand, as a God must do, that there could not exist a good imitation without a good model, and that of the things perceptible to the external senses nothing could be faultless which wax not fashioned with reference to some archetypal idea conceived by the intellect, when he had determined to create this visible world, previously formed that one which is perceptible only by the intellect, in order that so using an incorporeal model formed as far as possible on the image of God, he might then make this corporeal world, a younger likeness of the elder creation, which should embrace as many different genera perceptible to the external senses, as the other world contains of those which are visible only to the intellect. (17) But that world which consists of ideas, it were impious in any degree to attempt to describe or even to imagine: but how it was created, we shall know if we take for our guide a certain image of the things which exist among us. When any city is founded through the exceeding ambition of some king or leader who lays claim to absolute authority, and is at the same time a man of brilliant imagination, eager to display his good fortune, then it happens at times that some man coming up who, from his education, is skilful in architecture, and he, seeing the advantageous character and beauty of the situation, first of all sketches out in his own mind nearly all the parts of the city which is about to be completed--the temples, the gymnasia, the prytanea, and markets, the harbour, the docks, the streets, the arrangement of the walls, the situations of the dwelling houses, and of the public and other buildings. (18) Then, having received in his own mind, as on a waxen tablet, the form of each building, he carries in his heart the image of a city, perceptible as yet only by the intellect, the images of which he stirs up in memory which is innate in him, and, still further, engraving them in his mind like a good workman, keeping his eyes fixed on his model, he begins to raise the city of stones and wood, making the corporeal substances to resemble each of the incorporeal ideas. (19) Now we must form a somewhat similar opinion of God, who, having determined to found a mighty state, first of all conceived its form in his mind, according to which form he made a world perceptible only by the intellect, and then completed one visible to the external senses, using the first one as a model.

V. (20) As therefore the city, when previously shadowed out in the mind of the man of architectural skill had no external place, but was stamped solely in the mind of the workman, so in the same manner neither can the world which existed in ideas have had any other local position except the divine reason (Logos) which made them; for what other place could there be for his powers which should be able to receive and contain, I do not say all, but even any single one of them whatever, in its simple form? (21) And the power and faculty which could be capable of creating the world, has for its origin that good which is founded on truth; for if any one were desirous to investigate the cause on account of which this universe was created, I think that he would come to no erroneous conclusion if he were to say as one of the ancients did say: "That the Father and Creator was good; on which account he did not grudge the substance a share of his own excellent nature, since it had nothing good of itself, but was able to become everything." (22) For the substance was of itself destitute of arrangement, of quality, of animation, of distinctive character, and full of all disorder and confusion; and it received a change and transformation to what is opposite to this condition, and most excellent, being invested with order, quality, animation, resemblance, identity, arrangement, harmony, and everything which belongs to the more excellent idea.
(Philo; On Creation IV, 15b-V, 22)


The Memra is the Rational Order of the Universe

Philo taught that the universe is an effect that must have a cause, i.e. a Creator, and that this Creator has a preference for order as opposed to chaos, as expressed by the order of the universe itself.  Philo speaks of Moses account of the Creation saying:

 (3) And his exordium, as I have already said, is most admirable; embracing the creation of the world, under the idea that the law corresponds to the world and the world to the law, and that a man who is obedient to the law, being, by so doing, a citizen of the world, arranges his actions with reference to the intention of nature, in harmony with which the whole universal world is regulated. (4) Accordingly no one, whether poet or historian, could ever give expression in an adequate manner to the beauty of his ideas respecting the creation of the world; for they surpass all the power of language, and amaze our hearing, being too great and venerable to be adapted to the sense of any created being.
(On Creation 1-4)

Elsewhere Philo writes:

…for he [Moses] was not like any ordinary compiler of history, studying to leave behind him records of ancient transactions as memorials to future ages for the mere sake of affording pleasure without any advantage; but he traced back the most ancient events from the beginning of the world, commencing with the creation of the universe, in order to make known two most necessary principles. First, that the same being was the father and creator of the world, and likewise the lawgiver of truth; secondly, that the man who adhered to these laws, and clung closely to a connection with and obedience to nature, would live in a manner corresponding to the arrangement of the universe with a perfect harmony and union, between his words and his actions and between his actions and his words.
(On the Life of Moses 2, 48)

To Philo Natural Law is revealed in the very order of the universe, which is the Creator’s work, and thus reveals the will of the Creator.  

In his letter to the Romans, Paul also addresses this concept that Natural Law is revealed in the very order of the universe, which is the Creator’s work, and thus reveals the will of the Creator.

[17] For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
[20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
[21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
[22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
[23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
[24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
[25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
[26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
[27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
[28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
[29] Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
[30] Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
[31] Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
[32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
(Romans 1:17-32 KJV)

And after a few other words he says:

[13] (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
[14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
[15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
[16] In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
(Romans 2:13-16 KJV)


Man Connects to the Memra Thru Rational Thought

The Memra was the “likeness of YHWH” which served as the model for man’s creation, as we read in the Targum Jonathan:

And the Word [Memra] of YHWH created man in his likeness,
in the likeness of YHWH, YHWH created,
male and female created He them.
(Targ. Jonathan Gen. 1:27)

Philo of Alexandria elaborates on this idea saying:

XLVIII. (139) And that he is superior to all these animals in regard of his soul, is plain. For God does not seem to have availed himself of any other animal existing in creation as his model in the formation of man; but to have been guided, as I have said before, by his own reason [Logos] alone. On which account, Moses affirms that this man was an image and imitation of God, being breathed into in his face in which is the place of the sensations, by which the Creator endowed the body with a soul. Then, having placed the mind in the dominant part as king, he gave him as a body of satellites, the different powers calculated to perceive colours and sounds, and flavours and odours, and other things of similar kinds, which man could never have distinguished by his own resources without the sensations. And it follows of necessity that an imitation of a perfectly beautiful model must itself be perfectly beautiful, for the word of God surpasses even that beauty which exists in the nature which is perceptible only by the external senses, not being embellished by any adventitious beauty, but being itself, if one must speak the truth, its most exquisite embellishment….

After a few more words, Philo concludes that all men therefore have within them a fragment or emanation from the Memra through which he connects with both the Creator and the Creation through the unique power of rational thought:

LI. (145) We have now then set forth the beauty of the first created man in both respects, in body and soul, if in a way much inferior to the reality, still to the extent of our power, and the best of our ability. And it cannot be but that his descendants, who all partake of his original character, must preserve some traces of their relationship to their father, though they may be but faint. And what is this relationship? (146) Every man in regard of his intellect is connected with divine reason [Logos], being an impression of, or a fragment or a ray of that blessed nature; but in regard of the structure of his body he is connected with the universal world. For he is composed of the same materials as the world, that is of earth, and water, and air and fire, each of the elements having contributed its appropriate part towards the completion of most sufficient materials, which the Creator was to take in order to fashion this visible image.
(Philo On Creation 139, 145-146)

In other words we can connect with the Creator through rational thought, by examining the reflection of His Mind as expressed in the order of his Creation, and by virtue of the fact that the MEMRA, which is the Mind of YHWH is at its very essence rational thought (logic) itself.  This also leads us to the conclusion that the rational man submits his will to be in agreement with the Creator as revealed in the Creation. This does not mean that man has no freewill, but it does mean that the upright and rational man must learn to submit his will to the reality of the world in which we live and adjust to the reality of circumstances.  In such a way a man can be oppressed in the world and remain at peace and even be joyful (more on this later).


Rational thought Produces Torah Virtues

King Solomon wrote:

And if a man love righteousness her [Wisdom’s] labors are virtues: for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice and courage: which are such things, as one can have nothing more profitable in their life.
(Wisdom of Solomon 8:7)

The 4th Book of Maccabees expands on this idea in detail:

15 Reasoning [Logos] is, then, intellect accompanied by a life of rectitude, putting foremost the consideration of wisdom.
16 And wisdom is a knowledge of divine and human things, and of their causes.
17 And this is contained in the education of the law; by means of which we learn divine things reverently, and human things profitably.
18 And the forms of wisdom are prudence, and justice, and courage, and temperance.
19 The leading one of these is prudence; by whose means, indeed, it is that reasoning bears rule over the passions.
(4Maccabees 1:15-19)  

The Tanya of the Rebbe Zalman (founder of Chabad) gives a detailed explanation of this process, saying:

The intellect of the rational soul, which is the faculty that conceives any thing, is given the appellation of chochmah—כ"ח מ"ה— the "potentiality" of "what is." When one brings forth this power from the potential into the actual, that is, when [a person] cogitates with his intellect in order to understand a thing truly and profoundly as it evolves from the concept which he has conceived in his intellect, this is called binah. These [chochmah and binah] are the very "father" and "mother" which give birth to love of G-d, and awe and dread of Him.
(Tanya; Likutei Amarim; Chapter 3)

The Tanya goes on to say:

For when the intellect in the rational soul deeply contemplates and immerses itself exceedingly in the greatness of G-d, how He fills all worlds and encompasses all worlds, and in the presence of Whom everything is considered as nothing— there will be born and aroused in his mind and thought the emotion of awe for the Divine Majesty, to fear and be humble before His blessed greatness, which is without end or limit, and to have the dread of G-d in his heart. Next, his heart will glow with an intense love, like burning coals, with a passion, desire and longing, and a yearning soul, towards the greatness of the blessed En Sof. This constitutes the culminating passion of the soul, of which Scripture speaks, as "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth,.. ." and "My soul thirsteth for G-d,..." and "My soul thirsteth for Thee...."
(Tanya; Likutei Amarim; Chapter 3)

You may recall that the Targum Jonathan had said of the Memra:

And the Word [Memra] of YHWH created man in his likeness,
in the likeness of YHWH, YHWH created,
male and female created He them.
(Targ. Jonathan Gen. 1:27)

This the Memra is the “male and female” image of YHWH.  The Tanya discusses this idea saying:

Da'at, the etymology of which is to be found in the verse: "And Adam knew (yada) Eve," implies attachment and union. That is, one binds his mind with a very firm and strong bond to, and firmly fixes his thought on, the greatness of the blessed En sof, without diverting his mind [from Him]. For even one who is wise and understanding of the greatness of the blessed En Sof, will not— unless he binds his knowledge and fixes his thought with firmness and perseverence— produce in his soul true love and fear, but only vain fancies. Therefore da'at is the basis of the middot and the source of their vitality; it contains chesed and gevurah, that is to say, love with its offshoots and fear with its offshoots.
(Tanya; Likutei Amarim; Chapter 3)

The Tanya teaches that the Wisdom of Torah is like a seed that implants and gestates in the womb of our understanding to produce a knowledge of Torahm just as a father and mother produce a son.  This imagery draws on the very concepts of the Zohar which identify these with three pillars of the Godhead, and with the middle pillar headed by Da’at (knowledge) being identified as the “Son of Yah”.


Emotions Hinder Rational Thought

While rational thought leads us to the Torah and the will of the Creator, emotions, especially negative emotions, can cloud our thinking and impede our ability to live out the virtues that Torah should produce in our lives.  As we read in 4th Maccabees:

3 If, then, reasoning appears to hold the mastery over the passions which stand in the way of temperance, such as gluttony and lust,
4 it surely also and manifestly has the rule over the affections which are contrary to justice, such as malice; and of those which are hindrances to courage, as wrath, and pain, and fear.
(4Macc. 4:3-4)

And as Philo writes:

For these passions are the causes of all good and of all evil; of good when they submit to the authority of dominant reason, and of evil when they break out of bounds and scorn all government and restraint.
(Life of Moses 1; VI, 26)

For this reason Philo taught that circumcision is “…a symbol of the excision of the pleasures which delude the mind…” (Philo on Circumcion)


The Memra is Master of the Emotions

While emotions can impede the clarity of the rational thought that connects us with the Memra and guides us to to live out the virtues that Torah should produce in our lives, there is a solution.  Paul lists one of the “fruits of the Spirit” as “patience” or “self control” or “temperance”  (Gen. 5:23 the second word, in Aramaic M'SAIB'RANUTA and in Greek EGKRATEIA).  

His teaching is in keeping with the teaching of Ben Zoma who, in the Mishnah said: “Who is strong? He who controls his inclinations.”  (m.Avot 4:1)

Moreover we read on 4th Maccabees:


3 If, then, reasoning appears to hold the mastery over the passions which stand in the way of temperance, such as gluttony and lust, …
7 I might prove to you, from may other considerations, that religious reasoning is sole master of the passions; 8 but I shall prove it with the greatest force from the fortitude of Eleazar, and seven brethren, and their mother, who suffered death in defence of virtue. …
13 The question, therefore, is, whether reasoning be absolute master of the passions….
29 And reasoning, the universal husbandman, purging, and pruning these severally, and binding round, and watering, and transplanting, in every way improves the materials of the morals and affections.
30 For reasoning is the leader of the virtues, but it is the sole ruler of the passions. Observe then first, through the very things which stand in the way of temperance, that reasoning is absolute ruler of the passions.
(4Macc. 4:3, 7, 13, 29-30)

Philo also writes that Moses, even before he was commissioned by YHWH, had this mastered self-control over his emotions:

VI. (25) And when he had passed the boundaries of the age of infancy he began to exercise his intellect; not, as some people do, letting his youthful passions roam at large without restraint, although in him they had ten thousand incentives by reason of the abundant means for the gratification of them which royal places supply; but he behaved with temperance and fortitude, as though he had bound them with reins, and thus he restrained their onward impetuosity by force. (26) And he tamed, and appeased, and brought under due command every one of the other passions which are naturally and as far as they are themselves concerned frantic, and violent, and unmanageable. And if any one of them at all excited itself and endeavoured to get free from restraint he administered severe punishment to it, reproving it with severity of language; and, in short, he repressed all the principal impulses and most violent affections of the soul, and kept guard over them as over a restive horse, fearing lest they might break all bounds and get beyond the power of reason which ought to be their guide to restrain them, and so throw everything everywhere into confusion. For these passions are the causes of all good and of all evil; of good when they submit to the authority of dominant reason, and of evil when they break out of bounds and scorn all government and restraint. (27) Very naturally, therefore, those who associated with him and every one who was acquainted with him marvelled at him, being astonished as at a novel spectacle, and inquiring what kind of mind it was that had its abode in his body, and that was set up in it like an image in a shrine; whether it was a human mind or a divine intellect, or something combined of the two; because he had nothing in him resembling the many, but had gone beyond them all and was elevated to a more sublime height. (28) For he never provided his stomach with any luxuries beyond those necessary tributes which nature has appointed to be paid to it, and as to the pleasures of the organs below the stomach he paid no attention to them at all, except as far as the object of having legitimate children was concerned. (29) And being in a most eminent degree a practiser of abstinence and self-denial, and being above all men inclined to ridicule a life of effeminacy and luxury (for he desired to live for his soul alone, and not for his body), he exhibited the doctrines of philosophy in all his daily actions, saying precisely what he thought, and performing such actions only as were consistent with his words, so as to exhibit a perfect harmony between his language and his life, so that as his words were such also was his life, and as his life was such likewise was his language, like people who are playing together in tune on a musical instrument. (Life of Moses 1; VI)

This process is taught in detail by the Rebbe Zalman in the Tanya.


YHWH does not wish us to seek to extinguish emotions but rather to transform them through self-control to enable us to develop clear judgment and inner calm.  Logic, reflection, and concentration are the methods of such self-discipline.


The Memra is Messiah

The Targums also identify this Memra as the Messiah:

Behold, my servant, the Messiah, whom I bring,
my chosen in whom one delights:
as for my Word [MEMRA], I will put my Holy Spirit upon Him;
He shall reveal my judgment unto the nations.
2 He shall not cry aloud, nor raise a clamor,
 and He shall not lift up His voice in the street.
3 The meek who are like a bruised reed He shall not break,
and the poor who are as a glimmering wick with Him, He will not quench:
He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not faint nor be weary,
till He have established judgment in the earth;
and the isles shall wait for His Torah.
(Targum Jonathan to Isaiah 42:1-4)

Likewise Philo of Alexandria identified the Logos as the Messiah:

"The head of all things is the eternal Word (Logos) of the eternal God, under which, as if it were his feet or other limbs, is placed the whole world, over which He passes and firmly stands. Now it is not because Messiah is Lord that He passes and sits over the whole world, for His seat with His Father and God but because for its perfect fullness the world is in need of the care and superintendence of the best ordered dispensation, and for its own complete piety, of the Divine Word (Logos), just as living creatures (need) a head, without which it is impossible to live."
(Q&A on Exodus, II, 117)

So we see that the Messiah is the very incarnation of this Word, as Yochanan writes:

Yochanan (John) writes:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him,
And without him was not any thing made that was made…
And the Word was made 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.
(John 1:1-3, 14 KJV)

And in Revelation he writes:

And he was clothed with a vesture,
dipped in blood: and his name is called
The Word of God.
(Rev. 19:13 KJV)

These statements MEANT something in context of Second Temple Judaism. And they meant something very significant. The concept of the “Word” (Greek: LOGOS; Aramaic: MEMRA; Hebrew: DAVAR) already had a very special and unique meaning in the Second Temple Era. The LOGOS/MEMRA was a very important concept in the Second Temple Era, and if we are to understand what Yochanan (John) is saying, we must understand this concept.

Philo’s Midrash on Genesis 2:10 teaches that generic virtue goes out as an unceasing and everlasting flow from the Word of Elohim to increase and nourish specific virtues in the souls of those that love Elohim and that from there generic virtue is marked off by fixed boundaries as prudence, courage, self-control, and justice and that each of these is a ruler and a queen that helps us to rule over our passions. 

UPDATE (Jan. 20th 5 PM Central)

We got an extension until Monday.

But we must still raise $800

by the end of the Day Monday (Jan. 23rd)!

Emergency Alert !!!

Now more than ever we need you to step up to the plate!

Do not let the principalities and authorities and the possessors of this dark world succeed. Stand with us in standing against the Enemy as we present the truth of Torah and the goodnews of Messiah to this lost world. As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen.

Remember we depend on you to support this work with your contributions, tithes and offerings.

Folks I cannot say this strongly enough, we are contending with the enemy on all fronts over here, and frankly it can feel kind of lonely. We depend on your financial support. 

HaSatan wishes "to steal and to kill and to destroy" (Jn. 10:10) HaSatan knows the time is short and has stepped up his war with those who proclaim both Torah Observance and Faith in Messiah (the two pillars of Nazarene Judaism) (Rev. 12:12, 17; 13:7). But no weapon forged against us will prosper (Is. 54:17).

Help us equip Gideon's army in these last days. Help us continue to put the Hebrew/Aramaic and English of the Heb/Aram NT, Enoch, Jasher and Apocrypha online with Strong's Word numbers!

This ongoing project is made possible by the freewill offerings of people like you. Please consider helping us make this work progress by clicking on the Paypal box on the right column, or by sending donations by paypal to donations@wnae.org or by surface mail to “Nazarene Judaism” to Nazarene Judaism; PO Box 471; Hurst, TX 76053.

Help support our project to put the ancient Aramaic text of the Book of the Enoch (see Jude 1:14-15) up on the internet in interlinear format keyed to Strong's Word Numbers. We started posting this material just recently, and will continue posting more every few days as the work continues. Click here to see it

Also support work like our new project to put all of the Hebrew and Aramaic NT manuscript texts up on the internet in interlinear format keyed to Strong's Word Numbers. We started posting this material just recently, and will continue posting more every few days as the work continues. Click here to see it

And our project to put the original Hebrew of the Book of the Jasher (see Josh. 10:13 & 2Sam. 1:18) up on the internet in interlinear format keyed to Strong's Word Numbers. We started posting this material just recently, and will continue posting more every few days as the work continues. Click here to see it

And our project to put the original Hebrew of the Books of the Apocrypha up on the internet in interlinear format keyed to Strong's Word Numbers. We will start posting this material very soon, and will continue posting more every few days as the work continues. Click here to see it

We are truly "laboring in the Word"!

If you believe in the work we are doing here then now is the time.



Please help us bring the message of Messiah and Torah to a lost world and create Scripture study materials for believers.

Do You Want This Ministry to Continue? We cannot make bricks without straw.

You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at
http://www.nazarenespace.com or donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.


Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

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