Having the Spirit of Messiah Within Us
James Scott Trimm
We read in the Psalms:
11 (51:9) Hide Your face from my sins:
and blot out all my iniquities.
12 (51:10) Create me a clean heart, O Elohim:
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
13 (51:11) Cast me not away from Your presence:
and take not Your Ruach HaKodesh from me.
14 (51:12) Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation:
and let a willing spirit uphold me!
(Ps. 51:11-14(9-12) HRV)
The Zohar says concerning these verses:
R. Judah opened a discourse on the verse: Create me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Ps. 51:12). ‘The term “a clean heart”,’ he said, ‘finds its parallel in the passage: “Give thy servant therefore an understanding heart” (I Kings 3:9), and also in: “But he that is of merry heart hath a continual feast” (Prov. 15:15).
This is assuredly the clean heart which David asked for. “And renew a steadfast spirit within me” indicates the spirit spoken of in the passage: “and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2), this being, as has been pointed out, the spirit of the Messiah; the same is alluded to in the promise: “And a new spirit will I put within you” (Ez. 36:26). David thus prayed for that steadfast spirit,
since on the sinister side there is the unclean spirit called the spirit of perverseness that leads people astray, that unclean spirit referred to in the statement: “The Lord hath mingled within her a spirit of perverseness” (Is. 19:14). David thus prayed: “and renew within me a spirit of steadfastness”. The term “renew” also alludes to the renewal of the moon, a period which contains the assurance that David, King of Israel, is alive and in being.’
Now there are several important things we see in this portion of Zohar. We see that the Spirit of Elohim that hovered over the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2 was the Spirit of Messiah, and in this we see not only the preexistence of Messiah, but the deity of Messiah as well. Moreover we see the preexistant Spirit of the Messiah as the Creator.
We also see in this passage of Zohar, a reference to the conflict between the Yetzer Ra (Evil Inclination) and the Yetzer Tov (Good Inclination).
And as we read in the Tanya:
Just as two kings wage war over a town,
which each wishes to capture and rule,
that is to say, to dominate its inhabitants according to his will,
so that they obey him in all that he decrees for them,
so do the two souls— the Divine and the vitalising animal soul...
wage war against each other over the body and all its limbs.
(Tanya Chapter 9)
It is this evil inclination that David refers to in the Psalms when he writes:
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
The phrases “in iniquity” and “in sin” could also be translated “with iniquity” and “with sin” meaning that man was born with an evil inclination.
This Yetzer HaRa (evil inclination) finds a comrade in our primal animal soul.
But you can have a second soul which is a ready comrade for the Yetzer Tov. As we read in the Tanya:
The second soul of a Jew is truly a part of Eloah above, as it is written, "And He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," (Gen. 2:7) and "Thou didst breathe it [the soul] into me." (b.Berachot 60b). And it is written in the Zohar, "He who exhales, exhales from within him," that is to say, from his inwardness and his innermost, for it is something of his internal and innermost vitality that man emits through exhaling with force.
(Tanya LA 2)
In the previous chapter the Tanya refers to this second soul, saying that these two souls are the “souls” referenced in Isaiah 57:16:
For I will not contend forever,
neither will I be always wroth:
for the spirit that enwraps itself is from Me,
and the souls which I have made.
(Is. 57:16 HRV)
This concept of a Second Soul is also found in the Zohar as follows:
It behooves a man to labor in the study of the Torah, to strive to make progress in it daily, so as thereby to fortify his soul and his spirit: for when a man occupies himself in the study of the Torah, he becomes endowed with an additional and holy soul, as it is written: “the movement of living creatures”, that is, a soul (nefesh) derived from the holy center called “living” (hayah). Not so is it with the man who does not occupy himself with the study of the Torah: such a man has no holy soul, and the heavenly holiness does not rest upon him. But when a man earnestly studies the Torah, then the motion of his lips wins for him that “living soul” and he becomes as one of the holy angels, as it is written: “Bless the Lord, ye angels of his” (Ps. 103:20), to wit, those who occupy themselves in the study of the Torah, and who are therefore called His angels on earth. The same are alluded to in the words: “and let birds fly on the earth”. So much for his reward in this world. As regards the other world, we have been taught that the Holy One, blessed be He, will provide them with wings as of eagles, enabling them to fly across the whole universe, as it is written: “But they that wait for YHWH shall renew their strength, then shall mount up with wings as eagles” (Is. 40:31). This, then, is the interpretation of that which is written: “Let the waters swarm with the movement of living creatures”: the Torah, which is symbolized by water, possesses the virtue of implanting in her devotees a mobile soul derived from the place called “living” (hayah), as has already been said. David alluded to this when he said: “Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim”, so that I may be devoted to the Torah, and thus “renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:12).
According to the Zohar this second soul is alluded to in Psalm 51 in the phrase “and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Here we see that this second soul strives against the Yetzer HaRa (evil inclination) mentioned just a few verses earlier in 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Ps. 51:5)
And the Zohar had earlier revealed to us that this Divine Soul within us is the Spirit of Messiah.
In the Eighteenth Century Rabbi Yisrael (Israel) ben Eliezer (known as the Baal Shem Tov "Master of the Good Name" or simply “the Besht”) began an effort to restore Chasidic Judaism within Rabbinic Judaism. He taught that Judaism must be centered not simply around doing the Torah, but around feeling the Torah.
The Baal Shem Tov was once asked: "Why is it that chassidim burst into song and dance at the slightest provocation? Is this the behavior of a healthy, sane individual?"
The Baal Shem Tov responded with a story:
Once, a musician came to town—a musician of great but unknown talent. He stood on a street corner and began to play.
Those who stopped to listen could not tear themselves away, and soon a large crowd stood enthralled by the glorious music whose equal they had never heard. Before long they were moving to its rhythm, and the entire street was transformed into a dancing mass of humanity.
A deaf man walking by wondered: Has the world gone mad? Why are the townspeople jumping up and down, waving their arms and turning in circles in middle of the street?
"Chassidim," concluded the Baal Shem Tov, "are moved by the melody that issues forth from every creature in Elohim's creation. If this makes them appear mad to those with less sensitive ears, should they therefore cease to dance?"
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi was the first Rebbe of the Chabad movement. Rebbe Zalman was a student of Dovber of
Mezeritch who had in turn been a student of the Baal Shem Tov. In 1797 Rebbe Zalman wrote The Tanya, a work which came to be the foundation for Chabad Chassidic Judaism. The purpose of the Tanya is to give a rational basis for the outpouring of Chasidic joy which was itself the basis for the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. The purpose of the Tanya was to take the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and bring them into a logical focus, and thus create a logical basis for Chasidic joy.
The Tanya teaches:
So, allegorically speaking, have the souls of Jews risen in the [Divine] thought, as it is written, "My firstborn
son is Israel," (Ex. 4:22) and "Ye are children unto the YHWH your Elohim" (Deut. 14:1). That is to say, just as a
child is derived from his father's brain, so— to use an anthropomorphism— the soul of each Israelite is derived from Elohim's (blessed be He) thought and wisdom.
(Tanya; Likutei Amarim; Chapter 2)
This passage draws from two Torah passages:
Then you shall say to Pharaoh,
“Thus says YHWH:
‘Israel is my first-born son.
I have said to you, ‘Let My son go,
That he may worship Me,’
Yet you refuse to let him go.
Now I will slay your first-born son.’”
(Sh’mot (Ex.) 4:22-23 HRV)
You are the children of YHWH your Elohim.
You shall not cut yourselves,
nor make any baldness between your eyes, for the dead.
(Deut. 14:1 HRV))
The Tanya is speaking here of a "second soul" which each Jew has. Remember, in the Tanya a "Jew" is one whose religion is Judaism. This "second soul" is described in the Tanya as a spark of Elohim, and is identifiable with the Ruach HaKodesh which believers recieve. The Tanya is saying here that this second "soul" derives from the Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding of YHWH.
Then in the next chapter the Tanya says:
Similarly is it with the human soul, which is divided in two— sechel (intellect) and middot (emotional attributes).
The intellect includes chochmah, binah and da'at (ChaBaD), whilst the middot [emotions] are love of Elohim, dread
and awe of Him, glorification of Him, and so forth. ChaBaD [the intellectual faculties] are called "mothers" and
source of the middot, for the latter are "offspring" of the former.
The explanation of the matter is as follows:
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 Elohim, and awe and dread of Him....
Da'at (knowledge), 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)
Here the Tanya is telling us that Wisdom (chochmah) and Understaning (binah) are like a Father and Mother brought together in Knowledge (da'at) so as to bring forth a "Son" and that this "Son" is the second soul, which enters into a believer, bringing forth an outpouring of emotion in the form of Fear (repect) of YHWH and Love culminating in Chasidic Joy!
The Tanya presuposes that its readers are familiar with the Zohar which teaches.
The Shema says:
SH’MA YISRAEL YHWH ELOHEYNU YHWH ECHAD
“Hear O Israel, YHWH, our Elohim, YHWH is one (ECHAD)”
Now let us explore how this passage is understood by the Zohar:
The [profession of] unity that every day is [a profession of] unity
is to be understood and to be perceived. We have said in many places
that this prayer is a profession of Unity that is proclaimed:
”Hear O Yisrael, YHWH“ first, [then] “Eloheynu” [and] “YHWH” they are all One and thus He is called “One”.
Behold, these are three names, how can they be one? Is it because we call them one? (literally: And also concerning the proclamation that we call them one?). How these are one can only through the vision of the Holy Sprit be known. And these are through the vision of the closed eye (or the hidden eye) To make known that these three are one.
And this is the mystery of the voice that is heard. The voice is one. And is three GAUNIN: fire and air and water. And all these are one in the mystery of the voice.
And also here “YHWH, Eloheynu, YHWH” these are One. Three GAUNIN that are One. And this is the voice of the act of a son of man in [proclaiming] the Unity.
And to which he sees by the Unity of the “All” from Eyn Sof (the Inifinite One) to the end of the “All”. Because of the voice in which it is done, in these are three that are one.
And this is the [profession] of the daily profession of Unity that is revealed in the mystery of the Holy Spirit.
And there are many GAUNIN that are a Unity, and all of them are true, what the one does, that the other does, and what that one does, the other does.
(The Aramaic word GA’UN (sing.)/GAUNIN (plural) comes from the word for “color” and refer to an “aspect, element, substance, essence”. )
Thus the Zohar understands the Sh’ma to mean that YHWH, Elohim and YHWH are three GA’UNIN. This section of the Zohar also recalls a reading from the Sefer Yetzirah:
Three “mothers”: Alef; Mem and Shin
Their foundation is a pan of merit
a pan of liability
and the tongue of decree deciding between them.
(Sefer Yetzirah 3:1)
Three “mothers”, Alef, Mem, Shin
in the universe are air, water, fire…
(Sefer Yetzirah 3:4a)
(Note: The letter SHIN has a gematria (numerical value) of 300 which is the same as the gematria of the phrase ”Ruach Elohim” (the Spirit of Elohim).)
As it we will demonstrate the “tongue of decree deciding between them” is the Middle Pillar of the Godhead, which reconciles the two outer pillars of the Godhead, and through which flows the “offspring” of the love and fear of YHWH and their derivatives.
The Zohar also calls these three GAUNIN the three pillars of the Godhead. The Zohar teaches that the two outer pillars are reconciled by the middle pillar just as the “tongue of decree” decides between the two pans of the scale in the Sefer Yetzirah. The Zohar reads as follows:
Why, it may be asked, was it necessary to repeat the word “light”
in this verse? The answer is that the first “light” refers to the
primordial light which is of the Right Hand, and is destined for
the “end of days”; while the second “light” refers to the Left Hand,
which issues from the Right.
The next words, “And God saw the light that it was good” (Gen. 1:4),
refer to the pillar which standing midway between them,
writes both sides, and therefore when the unity of the three,
right, left, and middle, was complete, “it was good”, since there
could be no completion until the third had appeared to remove
the strife between Right and Left, as it is written, “And God separated
between the light and between the darkness.” …
This is the Middle Pillar: Ki Tov (that it was good) threw light
above and below and on all other sides, in virtue of YHWH,
the name which embraces all sides.
According to the Zohar the Middle Pillar of the Godhead is the Son of Yah:
Better is a neighbor that is near, than a brother far off.
This neighbor is the Middle Pillar in the Godhead,
which is the Son of Yah.
The Zohar also says of the Son of YHWH:
The Holy One, blessed be He, has a son, whose glory (tifret)
shines from one end of the world to another. He is a great
and mighty tree, whose head reaches heaven, and whose roots
are set in the holy ground, and his name is “Mispar” and his
place is in the uppermost heaven… as it is written, “The heavens
declare (me-SaPRim) the glory (tifret) of Elohim” (Ps. 19:1).
Were it not for this “Mispar” there would be neither hosts
nor offspring in any of the worlds.
This Zohar passage is intended to recall a passage from the Bahir:
Why are they called Sephirot?
Because it is written (Ps. 19:2),
“The heavens declare (me-SaPRim) the glory (tifret) of God.”
The Zohar also says concerning the Son of Yah:
"We may also translate "he who withholds blessings
from the Son" (Prov. 11:26), whom the Father and Mother
have CROWNED and blessed with many blessings,
and concerning whom they commanded, "Kiss the SON
lest he be angry" (Ps. 2:12), since he is invested
with judgment (GEVURAH) and with mercy (CHESED)"
According to the first century Jewish writer Philo, this firstborn Son of Elohim is also known as “The Word. Philo Writes of the Word (Logos):
For there are, as it seems, two temples belonging to God; one being this world, in which the high priest is the divine word, his own firstborn son. The other is the rational soul, the priest of which is the real true man,
(On Dreams 215)
And if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, neverthless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his Firstborn Word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for He is called, "the Authority", and "the Name of God", and "the Word", and "man according to God's image", and "He who sees Israel". . . For even if we are not yet suitable to be called the sons of God, still we may deserve to be called the children of his eternal image, of his most sacred Word; for the image of God is his most ancient word.
( On the Confusion of Tongues XXVIII:146-147)
Thus, indeed, being a shepherd is a good thing, so that it is justly attributed, not only to kings, and to wise men, and to souls who are perfectly purified, but also to God, the ruler of all things; and he who confirms this is not any ordinary person, but a prophet, whom it is good to believe, he namely who wrote the psalms; for he speaks thus, "The Lord is my shepherd, and he shall cause me to lack Nothing;" (Ps. 23:1.) and let every one in his turn say the same thing,
for it is very becoming to every man who loves God to study such a song as this, but above all this world should sing it. For God, like a shepherd and a king, governs (as if they were a flock of sheep) the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and all the plants, and living creatures that are in them, whether mortal or divine; and he regulates the nature of the heaven, and the periodical revolutions of the sun and moon, and the variations and harmonious movements of the other stars, ruling them according to law and justice; appointing, as their immediate superintendent, his own right reason, his first-born son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king; for it is said somewhere, "Behold, I am he! I will send my messenger before thy face, who shall keep thee in the Road."(Ex. 23:20.)
(On Husbandry 50-51)
Furthermore Philo tells us that “The Word” (Logos) and the Messiah are one and the same:
"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)
The Tanya is telling us that Wisdom (chochmah) and Understaning (binah) known in the Zohar as Father and Mother are brought together in Knowledge (da'at) so as to bring forth a "Son" and that this "Son" is the second soul, which enters into a believer and makes him part of Israel, bringing forth an outpouring of emotion in the form of Fear (respect) of YHWH and Love culminating in Chasidic Joy!
Here we see that this second soul strives against the Yetzer HaRa (evil inclination) mentioned just a few verses earlier in 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Ps. 51:5)
Now a spirit (ruach) is not a soul (nefesh) but it appears that according to the Zohar that there is in fact a spirit (ruach) attached to this second soul (nefesh) and from these verses we see that this spirit (ruach) is in fact the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Likewise the Ketivim Netzarim (Writings of the Nazarenes, known as the “New Testament”) indicate that Believers are endowed with a second spirit, i.e. the Ruach HaKodesh.
This second soul and second spirit are reinforcements to help the Yetzer Tov as we read in Ezekiel:
17 Therefore say, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: I will even gather you from the
peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered: and I will give you the land of Yisra’el.
18 And they shall come there, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof, and all the abominations thereof, from thence.
19 And I will give them--one heart--and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will remove the--stony heart--out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh,
20 That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them: and they
shall be My people, and I will be their Elohim.
21 But as for them whose heart walks after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their way upon their own heads, says the Adonai YHWH
(Ezek. 11:17-21 HRV) 25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. From all your uncleannesses and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will take away, the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you, a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them.
(Ezekiel 36:25-27 HRV)
And as our Messiah Yeshua taught us:
But when the Spirit of Truth has come,
She will lead you in all Truth,
for She will not speak from the mind of the nefesh:...
(Jn. 16:13a HRV)
It is this second soul that renews our strength and allows us to mount up with wings like eagles:
But they that wait for YHWH shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with
wings as eagles: they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
(Is. 40:31 HRV)
Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) (1194-1270 C.E.) wrote one of the most authoritative Torah commentaries in Rabbinic Judaism. He puts this well when he writes:
And YHWH your Elohim will circumcise your heart (Deut. 30:6) It is this which the Rabbis have said, "If someone comes to purify himself, they assist him" [from on High]. The verse assures you that you will return to Him with all your heart and He will help you.
This following subject is very apparent from Scripture: Since the time of Creation, man has had the power to do as he pleased, to be righteous or wicked. This [grant of free will] applies likewise to the entire Torah period, so that people can gain merit upon choosing the good and punishment for preferring evil. But in the days of the Messiah, the choice of
their [genuine] good will be natural; the heart will not desire the improper and it will have no craving whatever for it. This is the "circumcision" mentioned here, for lust and desire are the "foreskin" of the heart, and circumcision of the heart means that it will not covet or desire evil.
Man will return at that time to what he was before the sin of Adam, when by his nature he did what should properly be done, and there were no conflicting desires in his will, as I have explained in Seder Bereshit.
It is this which Scripture states in [the Book of] Jeremiah 31:30], Behold, the days come, says YHWH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers ..etc. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Eternal, I will put my Law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it.
This is a reference to the annulment of the evil inclination and to the natural performance by the heart of its proper function. Therefore Jeremiah said further, and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My People; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying: 'Know YHWH; 'for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them
Now, it is known that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth and it is necessary to instruct them, but at that time it will not be necessary to instruct them [to avoid evil] for their evil inclination will then be completely abolished. And so it is declared by Ezekiel, A new heart will I also give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will cause you to walk in My statutes . (Ezekiel 36:26)
The new heart alludes to man's nature, and the [new] spirit to the desire and will. It is this which our Rabbis have said : "And the years draw nigh, when you shall say: I have no pleasure in them; these are the days of the Messiah, as they will offer opportunity neither for merit nor for guilt," for in the days of the Messiah there will be no [evil] desire in man but he will naturally perform the proper deeds and therefore there will be neither merit nor guilt in them, for merit and guilt are dependent upon desire.
(Ramban on Deut. 29:6)
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