I saw a Rav quote the Zohar as saying Mashiach's soul is in the bird's nest, but then the Rav made a comment, without a source, that it's like a phoenix, the way a phoenix resurrects. However, is there a source for this specifically either that Moshiach is likened to a phoenix, or that his soul is like a phoenix and the bird's nest in question where it is is a phoenix's nest? And what other opinions are there besides a phoenix on the type of birds Moshiach and the bird's nest relate to? I've probably learned most of the more popular opinions before (like the eagle, dove's nest, and so on) so the more unusual or minority the opinions are also welcomed. I always want to learn new teachings I never learned before, although memory refreshers are very worthwhile too. But my greatest interest in this question is a source for the phoenix representation to Moshiach and other opinions I have never learned before, as well as what the phoenix or other bird associations tell us about what Moshiach will be like and accomplish!

  • -hits edit -changes title to "have you heard about the bird" -almost hits save -hits cancel :(
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:23
  • Maybe the midrashical Ziz is related? Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 15:48
  • @RabbiKaii Hahaha Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


The Zohar does not elaborate on what kind of birds nest it is. See below for what I've found on the concept of Phoenix.

The concept of Moshiach being in the "birds nest" comes from the Zohar (2:7b:5):

בְּהַהוּא זִמְנָא, יִתְּעַר מַלְכָּא מְשִׁיחָא, לְנַפְקָא מִגּוֹ גִּנְתָּא דְּעֵדֶן, מֵהַהוּא אֲתָר (בלק ק''ד ע''ב) דְּאִתְקְרֵי קַ''ן צִפּוֹ''ר, וְיִתְּעָר בְּאַרְעָא (ויקרא רי''ב ב') דְּגָלִיל, וְהַהוּא יוֹמָא דְּיִפּוּק לְתַמָּן, יִתְרָגַּז כָּל עָלְמָא, וְכָל בְּנֵי עָלְמָא מִתְחַבְּאִין גּוֹ מְעַרְתֵי וְטִנָּרֵי, דְּלָא יַחְשְׁבוּן לְאִשְׁתְּזָבָא. וְעַל הַהוּא זִמְנָא כְּתִּיב, (ישעיהו ב׳:י״ט) וּבָאוּ בִּמְעָרוֹת צוּרִים וּבִמְחִלּוֹת עָפָר מִפְּנֵי פַּחַד ה' וּמֵהֲדַר גְּאוֹנוֹ בְּקוּמוֹ לַעֲרוֹץ הָאָרֶץ.

At that time the king, Messiah, will arise to go out of the Garden of Eden from the place called the 'bird's nest' and he will become revealed in the land of Galilee. On the day that MESSIAH goes there, the whole world will tremble and all the people of the world will hide in the caves and CRACKS in the rocks and will not expect to survive. And concerning that time, it is written, "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and in the caves of the earth, for fear of Hashem, and for the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth terribly" (Yeshayah 2:19). Translation from here

The birds nest is symbolic and refers to a place within Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden:

לְגוֹ לְגוֹ מִכָּל אִינּוּן הֵיכָלִין, אִית אֲתָר אַחֲרָא טָמִיר וְגָנִיז דְּלָא אִתְיְדַע כְּלָל, וְאִקְרֵי עֵדֶן. וְלֵית מַאן דְּיָכִיל לְמִנְדַּע בֵּיהּ. וּמָשִׁיחַ אַגְנִיז (ס''א יתגלי) לְבַר, סַחֲרָנֵיהּ דְּהַהוּא אֲתָר, עַד דְּאִתְגְלֵי לֵיהּ חַד אֲתָר. דְּאִקְרֵי קַן צִפּוֹר, וְאִיהוּ אֲתָר דְּכָרִיז עָלֵיהּ הַהוּא צִפּוֹר. דְּאִתְּעַר בְּגִנְתָא דְּעֵדֶן בְּכָל יוֹמָא.

Innermost from all these THOUSAND chambers OF PLEASURES, there is one place concealed and hidden that is entirely unknown, called 'Eden.' There is no one who can conceive it. Messiah is concealed outside around that place, until a place called 'bird's nest' is revealed to him. This place is announced by the bird, which awakens daily in the Garden of Eden.

The idea of the Zohar is taken from a posuk in Devarim 22:6:

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the mother bird sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the mother bird together with the young.

Although it does not completely explain why that place is called a "birds nest", it can shed some light upon it. The Kedushas Levi on Devarim 22:6 explains that there are two kinds of animated awakenings. A spiritual, elevating one, a totally physical one:

Deuteornomy 22,6. “if you chance to come upon a bird’s ‎nest, etc.;” it is well known that there are two types of ‎התעוררות‎, “animated awakenings;” one is a spiritually positive ‎one, an urge to elevate one’s spiritual potential; the other is a ‎sometimes overwhelming urge to embrace everything ‎physical. It is forbidden to use one’s spiritual urges in a ‎manner that results in one’s leaving one’s livelihood and matters ‎connected with it merely to G’d, i.e. to rely on miracles. Instead, ‎one must strive to earn one’s livelihood by the work of one’s ‎hands, leaving it to G’d to make one’s efforts in this direction ‎successful. If one pursues this path it is reasonable to expect that ‎one will be blessed with Divine inspiration at critical times in ‎one’s life. G’d is in the habit of adding additional wisdom to those ‎who use their common sense. Still, as long as the child is very ‎young, it is the mother’s task to act as the child’s immediate ‎provider, whether by supplying milk from her body or from ‎another source. It is only when a human being has not been ‎equipped with any intelligence at all, that G’d will provide for ‎such a helpless human being who cannot take steps in that ‎direction himself. (emphasis mine)

My pshat is that Moshiach will be conceiled in "the birds nest" until time has arrived. Maybe this can be explained that until Moshiach comes, and "the whole world will be filled with G-ds knowledge", G-d will, as a metaphorical mother-bird, feed us, help us out etc...

Edit: I've found something concerning the phoenix. In Job 29:18, the focus lies on the word "sand", chol:

Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the sand.

Rashi on this posuk clearly mentions the name "phoenix" as the name of the bird that is called chol:

and I will multiply days as the phoenix Heb. וכחול. This is a bird named חול, phoenix, upon which the punishment of death was not decreed because it did not taste of the Tree of Knowledge, and at the end of one thousand years, it renews itself and returns to its youth.

This idea is echoed by the Malbim Beur Hamilot and by Rabbi Shimon in Bereishis Rabbah 19:5. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said the Phoenix can also refer to the Jewish People, who raised from the Holocaust to a new life.

  • Fascinating take, thank you.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:28
  • @Shmuel great answer! Do you know if chol is ever used to refer to Moshiach elsewhere? We have a connection between Moshiach and the bird's nest, and we have a connection between the phoenix and chol, do we have any connection between chol and Moshiach or bird's nest? Off topic but I'd also like to learn, how do you find sources so fast? Just good old Rabbi google or do you have an app or a method that works best? I know you can search terms in sefaria but I'm wondering what the best method with the current technology is to search these things oneself. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 21:57
  • @Shmuel There are some good comments to the chabad article. I wonder if there is a midrash the Rebbe had in mind when he likened the Jewish ppl to the phoenix. A comment says the Beis Hamikdash being burned down and then rebuilt when Mashiach comes also fits. Yes! But, anything that burns and comes back can fit the comparison, I hope for sources that state it specifically. Here are 2 other good comments, the Sefardim one especially do we know the source? postimg.cc/NKQdVn5S postimg.cc/Mv7s9wK1 The Shabbat one is confusing though, it says we work on Shabbat not rest Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 22:13
  • The Rebbe was most possibly referring ot Bereishis Rabbah 19:5 (see bottom of my answer)
    – Shmuel
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 22:58

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