Still aspects unanswered, please see edit at bottom of post if interested.

The book Divine and Demonic in the Poetic Mythology of the Zohar (p. 247) discusses the concept of the "Other side" "capturing" and "enclothing" the "Holy." Some examples it gives are: the rabbinic dictum that "Tyre was only filled from the ruins of Jerusalem," (p. 245, foonoted: Ets Hayim, II, 57b. See Tishby, Torat Ha-Ra, 89), Lilit enclothing the Shechinah (p. 247, footnoted to Kin'at Hashem, 96), and a tradition transmitted by the Talmud that Jeroboam engraved divine names on the mouth of an idol, empowering it to speak (Sotah 47a, Sanhedrin 107b). The author then continues:

Luzzatto also declares that it was from this sort of dynamic that other arch- villains were able to derive their power, like Jesus and the “evil Armilus,” in both of whom the Messiah-son-of-Joseph was enclothed.

This is footnoted to Ramhal's Qin'ath Hashem (p. 104), https://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51257&st=&pgnum=102&hilite=. The Hebrew is too difficult for me to parse. Can someone please explain the mechanics of this system of thought, and/or translate the relevant passages? Specifically I'm wondering: 1. why did MBJ's soul become enclothed in these arch-villains (i.e., maybe a Divine plan to destroy evil from within, a concept also discussed in Divine and Demonic? Maybe multiple reasons?), and 2. what dictates whether the 'enclothed' or the 'enclother' has agency (i.e. did MBJ's soul have any control over Yoshe's body and soul which "enclothed" it, or was it an inoperative prisoner or something in between)? Thank you. And also big thank you to @Deuteronomy and @Isaac Moses for helping me to edit down the question.

Edit: page 102 was linked by mistake, not 104, however, question seems to be addressed from page 102 to 105. I awarded one winning answer for summarizing page 102 about Joseph and Armilus, but still looking for answers about Joseph and Yoshke, and more mentioned here: Question about Joseph the Righteous, Yoshke, and Capture and Enclothing by the Sitra Ahra. If you're willing to translate those 4 pages, that would be the best answer, but I'm thankful for whatever answers ppl have time for!

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    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


Okay, I'm not a master of Kabbalah, but I read the link you brought and I think I can explain what he says on my very basic level of understanding:

1. Why did MBJ's soul become enclothed in these arch-villains?

Ramchal explains that Yerov'am (Jeroboam), being both a descendant of Yosef and Efraim and having a very holy soul, had the potential to be the Mashiach ben Yosef of his generation. The spirit of MBY still hadn't rested upon him, but since a certain link between the two had already been established, when he sinned - he caused a blemish to appear on the root of the spirit. In order to clean the blemish, it is therefore necessary for this spirit to do what Yerov'am did which caused the blemish in the first place:

Yerov'am clothed something holy with impure vessels - he wished to worship Hashem with golden calves. So the spirit must now clothe itself with impure bodies - kind of like minus times minus equals plus.

I gather that eventually the spirit of MBY will have purified itself enough to finally enter the true MBY person, but that person will then have to die - that's the last step of the purification process (and see Ramchal's Derech Hashem 1:3:9 and onwards) and only then will its true potential be unleashed.

2. What dictates whether the 'enclothed' or the 'enclother' has agency (i.e. did MBJ's soul have any control over Yoshe's body and soul which "enclothed" it, or was it an inoperative prisoner or something in between)?

It sounds like the spirit of MBY will be powerless within the body of the impure person. It'll act like a kind of super-battery, giving that person great power to do evil, but won't be able to act of its own accord. As the Ramchal wrote (my translation):

"and then it would come and be clothed within the evil Armilus. And from the power that he [Armilus] would receive from this enclothing, he would do wondrous1 things in the world...and this would have been a great corruption, and would have brought chas v'shalom incomparable anquish to Yisrael."

It does not sound from here that the spirit has any control over Armilus.

Hope this makes sense.

1 From the context, the term seems to refer to "wondrous" in a negative way (like managing to kill millions of people in a short time or something like that).

  • Thank you! Very few are true "masters" of Kabbalah, certainly not me, but your answer is knowledgeable & explained well. If you have time for some follow ups, 1.What does it say about enclothing in "Jesus" not just Armilus? 2. I parsed pages 102 to 105 as much as I could of the Hebrew,w the help of google, and it seems to also be mentioning something about Jesus' ancestry, relating something about him, Ephraim, & menstrual blood? 3. Was it suggesting a similar "enclothing" idea for Ishmael and the founder of Islam, and also relating him to Saturn? 4. Is that "Caesar" it discusses too? Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 3:10
  • Here are the links to pages 102, 103, 104, and 105. 102: hebrewbooks.org/… 103: hebrewbooks.org/… 104: hebrewbooks.org/… No space to post 105 link. Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 3:12
  • It actually looks like page 105 delves even deeper. I can just imagine how enlightening the entire text is! It seems like it would address so many questions Ive had so long. Its probably an experience more of non-Hebrew speakers, but to study for many yrs just to be able to understand the theology (when in english), & to find a text that rly focuses on addressing questions youve had for so long, only to not be able to read it, is a unique frustration! :D Like, it's right there! I can understand little parts here and there, but not enough. Just enough to tease me, basically, hahaha :( Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 3:28
  • Can you tell me how awarding answers works? Yours was first answer I awarded. Now when I edit post, it doesn't show up on the home page anymore. Does it only bump the question when it's unanswered?I wanted to give you credit for your answer, but also still keep it open for more answers about the follow ups I asked about, like how they told me to do it rather than make it a long question.How do I do that?Part of the question was Joseph & Armilus, which you answered, & "free will or no?" but the other part I want to keep it open for was a full translation,& answering Joseph & Yoshke etc Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 6:31
  • If it wont let me bump the question while there is an awarded answer, then I might have to unaward your answer only temporarily, but I promise I will put it back after it gets more answers, and then I can award multiple at once and it won't affect me bumping the question because I wont need to bump it anymore. So if you see your answer get unawarded, it's only temporary, and I still appreciate your answer!! Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 6:33

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