In Philippians 2:5-11 we have:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Moshiach Yeshua. Who, though existing in the demut (likeness) of the mode of being of Elohim, nevertheless Moshiach did not regard being equal with G-d as a thing to be seized. But poured out and emptied himself, taking the demut (likeness)of the mode of being of an eved (servant), and was born in the likeness of Bnei Adam (Son of Adam), and having been found in appearance as an Adam, Moshiach Yeshua humbled himself and took the path of shiflut (lowliness), unto mishma'at (obedience) even unto death, and that, a death on HaEtz (the Tree). Therefore, also Hashem exalted Yeshua, and gave to him haShem (the name) above every name, That at haShem (the name) of Yeshua, kol berech (every knee) will bow, of beings b'Shomayim (in heaven) and ba'Aretz (in earth) and mitachat laAretz (in the world below), And kol lashon (every tongue) shall make hoda'ah (confession) with an Ani Ma'amin (I believe) that is an open and public admission that Yeshua is Adoneinu (L-rd), to the kavod (glory) of Elohim Avinu (G-d the Father).”
Here we see Paul using very deep Jewish language that many take for granted in Christianity and the Messianic world of who it is Yeshua really is.
There are many denying the divinity of the Messiah and the fact that he is indeed HaShem, because they haven’t studied Judaism. And many in the Hebrew Roots and Messianic world seek not to learn about the Jewish Messiah but rather have a goal to diminish the ideologies of their former religious institution.
Now, I was reading this verse today, and I decided to look into my commentaries, (Stern’s Complete Jewish Commentary, the Complete Jewish Study Bible, and The Jewish Annotated New Testament, as well as David Daube’s The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, as well as Lightfoot’s From the Talmud and Hebraica) and didn’t find any Jewish citation at all whatsoever on this passage in relation to Rabbinic works. A lot of great scripture was given in these commentaries that showed the point but could be contested within Judaism in terms of the interpretation of the verses given. And this is to be expected given that within our Jewish faith we argue the scripture in order to grow and we have the arguments of the sages on these matters. So I went on a quest to find the Jewish citation on the matter. And I found something no one seems to ever mention.
There is a concept in Kabbalah called Tzimtzum, and the word tzimtzum means “restriction” and in Zohar Beresheet A 8:41-44 in The section called “The Lock and Key” we are told about the tzimtzum. It says:
During the process of creation, spiritual forces were unlocked ii order to ignite and propel the birth of the universe and the divine worlds. As the Zohar describes the procedure by which these forces were unleashed, we acquire the same power to unlock spiritual forces within ourselves.
“This paragraph also reveals another secret concerning the word Beresheet בראשית. When the word is broken down, two words are revealed: "Bara" and "Sheet," which means "created six." This refers to the spiritual realm of Zeir Anpin, which contains six Sfirot [dimensions]. All six dimensions [Chesed, Gvurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod and Yesod} are compressed and locked into the one realm called Zeir Anpin. With the emergence of superstring theory, modem physics has revealed a model of reality that resembles the Zohar's. Both the Kabbalist and the proponents of superstring theory agree that ten dimensions comprise reality, and that six of these dimensions were compacted into one at the moment of creation, or Beresheet.”
(Zohar Beresheet A Intro)
Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Yosi were walking along. As they reached a field, Rabbi Chiya said to Rabbi Yosi, what you have said that Bara Sheet (created six) IS ALLUDED TO IN THE WORD BERESHEET is certainly so. Because the supernal six days, THAT IS TO SAY, ONLY THE six EXTREMITIES OF BlNAH HAVE A BEARING on the Torah. WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN, and no more. While the others, NAMELY THE UPPER THREE SFIROT OF BINAH are concealed.
(Zohar Beresheet A 8:41)
But we have already seen in the hidden mysteries of Beresheet where he says that He who is holy and concealed engraved a certain form in His bowels, THE SECRET OF BlNAH, of a secret one, SECRET OF THE NUKVA OF ATIK, who is designated by a thrusting point. This engraving, WHICH WAS MOLDED IN BlNAH was incised and hidden in it. as someone who hides everything, locks it up, and puts the key away. This key is kept hidden in a certain chamber and although everything is hidden in that chamber, the most important thing is that key, which locks and unlocks everything!
That chamber has a lot of hidden treasures one upon the other. In that chamber there are fifty gates, which are supposed to be closed, MEANING THAT THEY BLOCK THE FLOW OF LIGHTS. There are 49 gates engraved upon the 'four directions' of the world. One gate has no direction (side); it is not known whether it faces up or down. This is how this gate REMAINS closed.
(Zohar Beresheet A 8:42-43)
Inside the gates is a lock with a tiny narrow keyhole this lock is marked AND KNOWN only by the impression of the key. And no one is to know about THIS NARROW KEYHOLE without having the key. And upon this secret IS BASED THE VERSE, "In the beginning (Heb. Beresheet) Elohim created (Heb. bara)" (Beresheet 1:1). Beresheet is the key by which everything is hidden, as it locks and unlocks. With this key six gates are locked and unlocked. So when it locks those gates and includes them within itself, then it is for sure Beresheet: a revealed word that includes within it a concealed word. Bara, wherever it appears, is a word that hides and guards a secret, IMPLYING THAT THE KEY locks it up and does not unlock it.
(Zohar Beresheet A 8:44)
And if we continue in the Zohar, as it continues to talks about the premise of tzimtzum we then come across this passage in Zohar Beresheet A 10:49:
Rabbi Chiya prostrated himself on the earth, kissed the dust and cried out, Dust, dust how stiff-necked (stubborn) you are; how shameless you are that all the delights of the eye perish within you! You consume all the beacons of light in the world and grind them. How impertinent you are. The Holy Luminary that illuminated the world; the great leader who governs the entire world and whose merit sustains the world is consumed by you? Rabbi Shimon, the Light of the Illumination, the Light of the Worlds! You perish in the dust while you sustain and govern the world! He then fell into a reverie for a moment and said. Dust, dust, be not proud! Because the pillars of the world will not be delivered into your hands; and Rabbi Shimon shall not be consumed by you
(Zohar Beresheet 10:49)
Now, it is interesting the constant mention of “dust” in this passage which, the text also says chapter 10 is talking about the Messiah as seen in the picture below. Here is why this is important.
The word for dust used here is עַפְרָא (aphra) which is the Aramaic version of the Hebrew word אדמה (adamah: meaning, dust, earth, dirt, ground). Now the Zohar goes back and forth between Hebrew and Aramaic. Now when you see a switch from a concept being talked about that is basically identified you see the clue is to hide it by switching languages to give you the answer. You will actually use the language not used to get the answer in terms of what the secret is to be revealed. It sounds complicated but if you know Semitic languages the patterns are very predictable in terms of that in the Zohar.
Now the reason this is interesting is because of the various definitions and also their application. Let us go to Genesis 2:7:
וַיִיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה וַיִפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָה:
Vayitzer Hashem Elohim et ha’adam afar min ha’adama vayipach be’apav nishmat chayim vayhi ha’adam le’nefesh chaya.
In which the Gutnick Chumash renders:
God, Almighty made man out of soil from (the four corners) of the Earth. He blew into his nostrils a living soul, and man became a living, (thinking and speaking) being.
(Genesis 2:7; The Gutnick Chumash)
Even if you don’t know Hebrew you can see something going on between the words, הָאֲדָמָה (ha’adama) and הָאָדָם (ha’adam). The word הָאֲדָמָה you know, it means the dust, earth, soil and ground. But extract the ה and you have the word הָאָדָם (the man). Man came from dirt showing us the concept of tzimtzum in many ways through the language. Now let’s break all this down, since we have set the stage.
Now the concept of "dust" coming from the hebrew אֲדָמָה is a reduction to formulate something great אָדָם (Adam: The father of all humanity). Now it is interesting that the Bible refers to Yeshua as the second Adam:
So also it has been written, "vay'hi HaAdam l'nefesh Chaya" (and the first man became a living soul); but Adam HaAchron (the last Adam) became a Ruach mechayeh (life giving spirit).
(1 Corinthians 15:45)
The concept mentioned in Philippians 2 of Mashiach emptying himself and taking on the form of אָדָם is the definition of tzimtzum. Now this concept is in relation to Zeir Anpin lets see if the Zohar says anything else in terms of Zeir Anpin.
The correctlons of Zeir Anpin were established through the Corrections of Arich Anpin, and His Corrections unftirled from this side and this side, MEANING FROM_RIGHT, LEFT AND CENTER, like the countenance of man'. MAN IS INDICATIVE OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN THAT INCLUDES ALL THREE COLUMNS in order that the spirit of the concealed of all concealed, THAT IS ARICH ANPIN, wffl reign in him. So he will sit on the throne, WHICH IS MALCHUT, since it is written: "And upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it" (Yechezkel 1:26). 'The appearance of a man," MEANING LIKE THE FACE OF A MAN, that comprises all aspects, SINCE THE THREE FACES, LION, OX, EAGLE, ARE CONTAINED IN MAN'S COUNTENANCE. THAT IS FROM THE ASPECT OF MALCHUT WITHIN HIM, SINCE MAN ENCOMPASSES Zeir Anpin AND MALCHUT. IT IS ALSO "the appearance of a man," as it includes all the names, BECAUSE ZEIR ANPIN is CALLED YUD HEI VAV HEI THAT INCLUDES ALL THE NAMES. 'The appearance of a man" in which are sealed all the worlds above and below, SINCE IT is THE SECRET MEANING OF THE CENTRAL COLUMN THAT SEALS ALL THE REALMS IN THE ASPECT OF THE FIRST THREE SFIROT OF MALCHUT BY DIMINISHING THE LEFT COLUMN. SO IT SHOULD NOT ILLUMINATE EXCEPT FROM BELOW UPWARDS. ALSO, "the appearance of a man" that he includes the secrets that were expressed and established prior to the world's creation, MEANING in THE SEVEN KINGS IN THE FORMLESS WORLD, even though THEY WERE DESTROYED AND did not endure.
(Zohar Naso 24:172)
Now we see here the concept of G-d in the flesh is not outside of Judaism. In fact Zeir Anpin is the most mentioned aspects of Sefirot in the Zohar, and the Zohar is one of the holiest collection of books within Hasidic Judaism.
Now our only source cannot be the Zohar, we also have understand what Paul understood and what was taught in Pharisaic realms in Paul's time which influenced his understanding and his words. To do this we are gonna go to Pirkei Avos:
"Moshe received the Torah from Sinai, and transmitted it to Yehoshua; and Yehoshua to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly, They (the Men of the Great Assembly) said three things: Be diligent in judgement; develop many disciples; and make a fence around the Torah."
(Pirkei Avos 1:1)
Now on the biggest commentaries on Pirkei Avos is by the Maharal of Prague, it is known a Derech Chaim. Here is what the Maharal says about Pirkei Avos 1:1
It seems superfluous for the mishnah to count how many things were said; after all, we can easily count them ourselves. The mishnah states "They said three things" to teach that the remedy consists of precisely three parts. No less would be adequate and no more are required. The number three is characteristic of a complete entity. An entity consists of three parts: two opposite extremes and an intermediate part that joins with those extremes to form a unified whole.
(Derech Chaim, Maharal pg. 13)
This is a core part of Judaism that we find within only a few lines from the beginning of the Torah.
כו. וַיֹאמֶר אֱלֹהִים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ וְיִרְדוּ בִדְגַת הַיָם וּבְעוֹף הַשָׁמַיִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל-הָאָרֶץ וּבְכָל-הָרֶמֶשׂ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל-הָאָרֶץ:
Vayomer Elohim na’ase adam betzalmenoo kidmootenoo veyirdoo vidgat hayam oovof hashamayim oovabehema oovchol ha’aretz oovchol haremes haromes al ha’aretz.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps
Now, the "us" in "Let us make man in our image" is often speculated, devoid of Jewish theological sources. Some say it is the angels, some say other heavenly beings. Yet, we see the word אֱלֹהִים is used there, which is a huge indication showing a singular plural of G-d. And it is actually in relation to sefirot when it says "we", the 3 pillars of the Sefirot. The right hand side is Ruach HaKodesh the left is G-d the Father and the middle pillar is Yeshua, which encapsulates the tzimtzum and Zeir Anpin.
Be on the lookout for a radio episode on this premise, you can check to see if said episode is posted on-demand yet by clicking the button below:
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism