PART III – Chay vKayom
This concept of everlasting life is explained in Kol HaTor (and analyzed The Secret Doctrine of the Gaon of Vilna, Vols. I & II, by Joel Baskt)xxxiii:
“Yosef is still alive. Our forefathers and many of the Prophets of
G-d, kings of Israel, and many of the Tannaim and Amoraim, many of the
great men of Israel and the men of deeds in every generation were in
the line of Mashiach ben Yosef. The first one was our forefather
Abraham, as revealed in the words, “whereby will I know that I will
inherit it?” As known, wherever the term inheritance’ is used in
connection with Eretz Israel, it is in the line of Mashiach ben Yosef.
This is hinted at in the word “I will inherit” which in gematria
equals Mashiach ben Yosef . Our forefather Abraham started the
beginning of the first Redemption, that is the redemption of the
holiness from below, which is the land of the Land of Israel [Eretz
Israel]. Our forefather Isaac was in the line of the Mashiach ben
Yosef from the time he was bound as a sacrifice. His name even hints
at " end of life. Our forefather Jacob was in the line of Mashiach ben
Yosef from the time he fought the Angel of Esau, after which it says,
“Jacob came to Shalem.” Shalem, to Succoth. Judah was in the same
line, from the time he saved Yosef; Yosef, from the time of his first
dream; Moshe Rebbeinu, from the time he took along the bones of Yosef.
Joshua son of Nun was the first who fought in the battle of the L-rd
against Amalek. Both Saul and David fought in the war of the L-rd. And
it is known that every war of the L-rd is considered to be in the line
of Mashiach ben Yosef, etc., etc. During recent generations, the Holy
Ari and his special student, the holy and pure R. Chaim Vital, and the
Holy Rabbi, author of Or Hachaim were also in the line of Mashiach ben
Yosef as is known. And in the last generation, it was the Gaon, our
Rabbi, Rabbi Eliyahu, light of Mashiach ben Yosef whose light goes
before us, and whose light increases until the day will be
established. A few of his students, who fulfilled his commandment
regarding the vision of Zion to accept and be inspired with his spirit
and his great light, are also in the line of Mashiach ben Yosef.”
“His [David HaMelech’s] life came only from the ten sefirot […] of Atzilut (the highest spiritual world), but regarding Mashiach it says, ‘You granted it to him’xxxiv which means from Atzmut, the infinite.”xxxv And “relative to Atzmut, life and death are equal.”xxxvi From this, we can see that he will transcend death.
According to the Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, below are the seven major principles connected with the approach called the footsteps of the Mashiach, which is based on the sentence, “on each stone were seven eyes [apertures]”xxxvii:
- “Yosef is still alive.” The basic approach of the Gaon is encapsulated in the principle “Yosef is still alive, ” meaning that the Mashiach ben Yosef is still alive and will live, because, as it is written, every aspect of the beginning of the Redemption is dependent on him. Thus the decree regarding his murder by Armilus the Wicked will be canceled. It will be canceled by extending the period of the exile, by afflictions that the Mashiach ben Yosef will suffer and diseases he will bear, and also by deeds that he will accomplish with great devotion, such as gathering in exiles, which is his mission. What will also help are Messianic pangs and afflictions connected with Eretz Israel, and our regular, daily prayers for the life and success of Mashiach ben Yosef. […]xxxviii
He will have “length of days forever,”xxxix like Moshe Rabbeinu who “did not die13,”xl Avraham14, Yaakov15 did not die16, “lo meit,”xli but is mamash still alive,xlii some say Serach17, and “David Melech Yisrael Chai v’kayam.”xliii “From the moment he was anointed as King of Yisrael in Chevron until the end of all generations he continues to live – and continues to live as the King of Yisrael!”xliv As well, the Rebbe Rayatz,xlv who was wounded18 and bruised19.xlvi
PART IV - Hidden & Revealed
The mechanism for this final elevation of the sparks of Holiness is accomplished by Moshiach dying and his soul ascending. These sparks ascend through their attachment to the soul of Moshiach.xlvii
The Ramchal explains (based on “and Benayahu was a ben ish chai [kri: chayil]”xlviii) that ben means “associated with”xlix because he was known for this particular quality of being a man of valor, but the ketiv indicates that he was spiritually alive and dynamic (a rav p’alim).l This was from the strong yichudim he accomplished [like the yichudim20 mentioned in the letter of the Baal Shem Tov]. And therefore, he was able to smite the lion in the snowstorm.li
“Mashiach will remain alive in his body together with the essence of his soul – down here just as it is above literally. By Moshe Rabbeinu ‘there was no difference at all between his body and his soul […] and this will hold true of Mashiach in a much higher way. Therefore […] he will not need to ascend above.”lii
While for a normal person their Nefesh-Ruach-Neshamah ascends, only a tzadik’s ruach and neshamah ascend while the nefesh stays in the body. They are not called, but rather “sleeping in the dust.” However, when it says that “Yaakov did not die,” this means that all three parts – the NaRaN together with all the faculties of the soul – remain in the body. This distinguished Yaakov from all other tzadikim.liv In fact, Nasi is an acronym for Nitzutzo Shel Yaakov Avinu (a spark of the soul of Yaakov Avinu).
This frees the soul21 from the limitation of the body so that he is able to accomplish more for his followers,lv like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.lvi “The Alter Rebbe’s quintessential inner love for Jew […] was planted in the Rebbe’s who succeeded him. Such a deep-seated and quintessential love is everlasting, throughout all generations until the coming of Mashiach, when it will be granted to us, at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, to gaze directly upon the living and luminous countenances of the Rebbe’s.”lvii
This is all part of the chayim nitzchi'im – everlasting life – of the future era, which is attained in our generation without any interruption [of death] in between.lviii
Based on Shir HaShirim 2:9, the Midrash explains that the Mashiach will be revealed, concealed,liv then revealed again like a deer/gazelle/roe.lx The concealed is referred to as “ben David” and the revealed phase “David” as in Yeshayahu 40:5. Like it says in Yeshayahu 30:20, “your teacher shall no longer be concealed from you and your eyes shall see your teacher.” Based on Zohar, Shmot 8b, and Shaar HaGilgulim, the man destined to be Mashiach will be naturally born in this world, then the soul of Mashiach in the heavenly Gan Eden, b’frat the Bird’s Nest22,lxi located in the Great Rome,lxii will descend upon him so he realizes he is Mashiach, then he is concealed, ascending to heaven,lxiii and only afterwards revealed to the full extent.lxiv
“Once Messiah is arrayed by the righteous in the Garden of Eden, he
will enter that place called Bird’s Nest, as previously, and see the
image of the destruction of the Temple and the many righteous who were
killed there. Then he takes from there ten garments, called ‘garments
of zeal,’ and hides himself there for forty days, totally
“At the end of forty days23 a single voice arouses, and
from the supernal Throne the Bird’s Nest is summoned along with King
Messiah hidden within.lxvi Then he is raised above, and
when the blessed Holy One sees King Messiah dressed in garments of
vengeance, girded with his weapons, He takes him and kisses him on the
“Then 390 firmaments tremble.lxvii The blessed Holy One
summons one of the firmaments that had been treasured away since the
six days of Creation, and from one palace in that firmament He takes
out a crown, engraved with holy names. With that crown the blessed
Holy One was adornedlxviii when Israel crossed the sea, to
take revenge on all of Pharaoh’s chariots and horsemen, and with it He
crowns King Messiah."lxix
11 - At the end of the wars of Gog and Magog, the Mashiach shall come forth from prison with nothing except for his staff and his sack. Then the Mashiach will wrap himself in prayer and gird himself as a hero before G-D. The Mashiach will say before Him: “Master of the Universe, remember on my behalf the suffering and grief and darkness and obscurity into which I was cast. My eyes have beheld no light and my ears have heard great reviling, and my heart broke with pain and grief. You know that I have not acted for my own glory, nor for the glory of my father’s house, but for Your glory have I acted, and for Your children who dwell in sorrow among the peoples of the world.” Then the Mashiach will say to the children of Israel: “Go and assemble all your brethren from all the nations.” And they will go and assemble all Israel and bring them to stand before the Mashiach, as it is said in Isa. 66:20). Heichalot Rabbati 6.
12 - For many generations the Mashiach has sat captive, chained with golden chains before the Throne of Glory. Elijah has tried to release him many times, but he has never succeeded. So, Elijah descends to earth and explains that in order to break the chains of the Mashiach, he needs a magic saw whose teeth are the deeds of Israel. Every deed adds a tooth to this saw, but every sin takes one away. When there are twice as many good deeds as there are sins, then the saw can be used. That is why it is said that the Mashiach will not come until we bring him. IFA, no. 6928, collected in Yisrael by Uri Resler from his uncle of Rumania.
13 - “Even though the Torah uses the term ‘death,’ it may have various meanings: If one does not merit, it is death in the literal sense, but if one merit, it will be concealment in the higher worlds like Eliyahu.” Mikdash Melech. Just as Eliyahu comes back, Moshe too came back physically to redeem the Jews but was stopped by Hashem. Pesikta d’Eicha Rabbati explaining Tehillim 137:1. Other tzadikim have returned like Rabbi Yechiel. Shem HaGedolim by the Chida, “Ma’arechet Gedolim,” 11b, reproduced in Likutei Mekorot by Rabbi Shloma Majesky (2nd ed.), 1:48. Moses never died, instead he is in exile with the Shekhinah, and G-D has given him the task of taking the people of Israel and the Shekhinah out of exile. Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of slavery and to the Promised Land, so too will he lead them out of exile. Meanwhile, G-D has cast a deep sleep upon Moses, and he will sleep until the time comes for the exile of the Jewish people to come to an end. See also “The Princess and the Slave” in Elijah’s Violin, pp. 36-43.
14 - There are those who insist that Abraham never died, and that he continues to wander the world. It is curious that the angels dealt with Moshe’s death, as Kohanim could not. Michael spread Moshe’s bed, Gavriel spread a precious white linen cloth under his head, and Zagzael placed one under his feet. The Book of Our Heritage, Vol. 2, Adar 7, by Rabbi Kitov. There are many reports of those who have seen him. One story tells of a mysterious Tenth Man.
For many years only a few Jews were permitted by the Muslim authorities to live in Hebron, where the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Yaakov and their wives are buried. Once there were so few that on the eve of Yom Kippur, only nine Jews had gathered in the House of Prayer in the city of Hebron, and there was no one else they could call on to complete the minyan. The sun was setting, but they could not begin Kol Nidrei.
Just then there was a knock on the door, and when the gabbai answered it, he found an old Jew standing there, a stranger with a long white beard, wearing a white robe, carrying a white tallit. The gabbai gladly invited him in and asked to know his name. The old man said it was Abraham. Then, since the tenth man had arrived, they began the prayers, and the old man joined in with them.
The old man remained there with them, praying all night and the next day, until Yom Kippur had come to an end. Never before had they prayed for so long without stopping, but somehow not one of them felt fired, nor did hunger pangs trouble them. All were aware that the power of the Divine Presence filled the House of Prayer.
When the Day of Atonement had ended, the old man took his leave, but he left his tallit behind. The gabbai hurried after him to return it, but he was nowhere to be found.
That night the gabbai had a dream in which the old man returned to him and revealed that he was actually the patriarch Abraham. So too did he reveal that he had left the tallit behind for him and that it was sacred. For if he wore it when he prayed, he would be permitted a vision of the Divine Presence. The gabbai told the others his dream, and they were filled with wonder to learn the true identity of the old man.
The gabbai put on the tallit of Abraham when he prayed that day. And during the silent prayer, when he closed his eyes for an instant, he saw a vision of the Divine Presence glowing in the dark. Afterward, whenever he closed his eyes, the vision would return, as if it were imprinted there.
As for the tallit, it is said that Abraham returned to the gabbai in a dream shortly before he died and told him to request that he be buried in it. This was done, and no sooner did they cover his body with that prayer shawl than his soul found itself in Paradise, inside the synagogue of Abraham the patriarch. There he was made gabbai in that heavenly House of Prayer, where he serves the patriarch Abraham to this day, still wrapped in that sacred tallit. Sefer ha-Ma’asiyot 95-96; Collected fr. Rabbi Yosef Landa by Howard Schwartz; the Old Broadway synagogue as Rabbi Kret, ztz”l explains.
15 - Everyone thought that Yaakov had died. He had given his sons his final blessings, and it appeared that his soul had taken leave of this world. In fact, he was embalmed and buried. But even though it appeared that he had died, Yaakov was actually alive. Nor did he die after that. Indeed, Yaakov never died.
It is said that some of those at Yaakov’s funeral saw his eyes open once or twice, but they thought their own eyes had deceived them. Indeed, Yaakov was present during the Exodus from Egypt, and he witnessed the crossing of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s soldiers who chased after them. That is the meaning of the verse Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the shore of the sea (Exod. 14:30).
Likewise, Yaakov witnessed the giving of the Torah, the ascent of Elijah, and Daniel’s encounter with Bel. So too did he see the Temple built, destroyed, and rebuilt.
Still others say that G-D’s promise to Yaakov, I will deliver you from far away; your folk from their land of captivity (Jer. 30:10), meant that Yaakov lives on in his seed, especially in those who make their home in the Holy Land. After all, Yaakov was also Israel, and as long as the children of Israel still exist, Yaakov will never die. Bereishit Rabbah 56:10, 69:17; Sifre on Devarim 352; B. Ta’anit 5b; Rashi on Gen. 50:1; B. Sota 13b; Likutei Moharan 1:47.
16 - Does this mean that he does not get to enjoy Gan Eden? As Professor Silman explains, cit. Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishit, § 115, that “Gan Eden entered with him” when Yaakov entered the tent of his father, the air of Gan Eden surrounds the body of the Jew (sc., the upper Gan Eden [in Beriya], not the lower one here on earth [in Yetzira] where Adam was placed). See Tanya, p. 147a [Igeret HaKodesh, epistle 27b]. In fact, he may be higher during Techiyat HaMeitim. Sefer HaMa’amarim Melukat 3:33-38.
17 - How long did Serah live? Some say she lived until the days of the Temple, while others say she lived even longer than that. One account has it that she met her death in the ninth century in a fire in a synagogue in Isfahan. And when that synagogue was rebuilt it was named the Synagogue of Serah bat Asher, and the Jews of Persia made pilgrimages to that synagogue, the holiest Jewish site in the land.
Others say that Serah bat Asher never died. She was taken to the heavenly Garden of Eden while she was still alive, because she had announced to Yaakov that Joseph was alive. There Serah has a palace of her own, where she teaches Torah to the righteous women. And they know that every word she says is true, because she was a witness to all the miracles that took place in those mighty days. Targum Pseudo-Yonathan on Bereishit 46:17; Sefer ha-Yashar 110a; B. Sota 13a; Alpha Beta de-Ben Sira 28a; Derekh Eretz Zuta 1; Zohar 3:167a-b.
18 - “However the Master, blessed be He, arranged that the perfect and important ones could repair [matters] for the sake of others, as we have written; and that the trait of justice would strike them instead of striking the whole world. Nevertheless, since they themselves are perfect and are only being afflicted for the sake of others, it is certain that the trait of justice will be satisfied with a little from them in the place of much from the sinners themselves. Moreover, through this, their merit increases and their power is strengthened. And all the more so are they able to ‘repair that which others have twisted.’ So not only will they repair what is from the people of their generation, but will also [do so] for all that the world has been corrupted – from when there were [first] sins upon it, up until now. And they will certainly afterwards be the heads of the leaders in the group of the perfected, and the closest ones to Him, may He be blessed.” Derech HaShem, Hashgacha HaIshit, § 8, end.
19 - While Mashiach ben David will be stricken with sores, Sanhedrin 98a, Rabbi Stewart Weiss explains that this is probably due to others slandering him. Cf., Ketubot 112b. While in some generations the (oft-sole) candidate is usually obvious, the in-between generations must be of such a low stature that the Mashiach of that generation is described as being a poor beggar, Sippure Ya’akov by Sofer, pp. 35-36, as was Shlomo HaMelech, Ma’aseh biShlomo haMelech, publ. in Bet HaMidrash 2:86-87, or worse, a metzora. See Sefer Sippurim Noraim by Kadaner, pp. 9a-b, 10b. In “The Messianic Power to Cure” by Rabbi Ginsburgh, he explains based on the teachings of Rabbi Abulafia that the six permutations of tzara’at must be rectified and that we all have a piece of evil (including the tzaddik who has the finest trace amount – tzadik ra) from being frustrated at the inability to fulfil the Messianic potential. It would then seem proportional, that the more the generation curses their misfortunes, the more it affects the Mashiach. See Living with Moshiach: Tazri’a-Metzora by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet. “The tzaddik facilitates the flow of blessing. A tzaddik who wants to benefit people must cleave to them in order to bring about the good that they need. Any person who wants to benefit another cannot do so fully unless they are connected in total unity. A tzaddik must therefore connect to all the people of Yisrael in order to benefit them. Yet how can the tzaddik do this with a sinner (heaven forbid)? Even a sinner needs the divine flow and vitality, but how can the tzaddik connect completely to the sinner? This is why the Talmud speaks in praise of ‘a sin for [G-D’s] sake.’ For the tzaddik also sins, albeit in G-d’s service, and through this creates the possibility of a connection with the sinner and can help him as well.” Noam Elimelech, ¶ Naso, 377, transl. by Arthur Green, et al.
20 - This is the transcendent unification of all aspects of Creation through the synthesis of spiritual deeds and deep meditation of the Divine Order of existence through holy Names which represent the different aspects of Creation. Every yichud is through the nefesh of Benayahu ben Yehoyada. Shaar Ruach HaKodesh 15a.
21 - Rabbi Eliezar says the days of the Mashiach are forty years, et seq., Sanhedrin 99a, so it seems that the majority of Rabbi’s agree that there is a time limit. This possibly due to the fact that the ikur is Torah and Mitzvot in order to advance closer to G-D.
22 - The Ba'al Shem Tov was once praying with his Hasidim. That day he prayed with great concentration, not only word by word, but letter by letter, so that the others finished long before he did. At first, they waited for him, but before long they lost patience, and one by one they left.
Later the Ba'al Shem Tov came to them and said: "While I was praying, I ascended the ladder of your prayers all the way into Paradise. As I ascended, I heard a song of indescribable beauty. At last, I reached the palace of the Mashiach, in the highest heavens, known as the Bird's Nest. The Mashiach was standing by his window, peering out at a tree of great beauty. I followed his gaze and saw that his eyes were fixed on a golden dove, whose nest was in the top branches of that tree. That is when I realized that the song pervading all of Paradise was coming from that golden dove. And I understood that the Mashiach could not bear to be without that dove and its song for as much as a moment. Then it occurred to me that if I could capture the dove, and bring it back to this world, the Mashiach would be sure to follow.
"So, I ascended higher, until I was within arm's reach of the golden dove. But just as I reached for it, the ladder of prayers collapsed." Midrash Ribesh Tov; Or ha-Hokhmah, Parashat Beha'alotekha. There is probably a sheychut with Shlomo HaMelech speaking the language of birds (sichat hatziparim). It seems, then, that he was involuntarily detained both Above and below.
23 - Perhaps referring to the Resurrection of forty years.
xxxiii - 1:32.
xxxiv - Fr. Tehillim 21:5; see Sukkah 52a; see also Tanna dvei Eliyahu Rabbah 18:10.
xxxv - Ma’amorei Admur HaEmtzai, Devarim 1:214-15; see Sefer HaSichot 5752, 6-7.
xxxvi - Sefer HaMa’amarim 5670, 100.
xxxvii - Zach. 3:9.
xxxviii - Kol HaTor 1:8-9.
xxxix - Tehillim 21:5.
xl - Sotah 13b; but see Devarim 34:5.
xli - Rashi on Bereishit 49:33; Taanit 5b.
xlii - Ohr HaChayim to Bereishit 50:1.
xliii - Rosh Hashanah 25a.
xliv - Sichah of 7 MarCheshvan, 5746, in Hitvaˋaduyot 5745, 1:525.
xlv - Sefer Hasichot 5752, 2:242.
xlvi - All these are well documented in Likutei Dibburim. See also Midrash Rut 5 on Yeshayahu 51; see also Sippurei Maˋasiyot (1973 ed.), pp. 276-77 (where Rabbi Nachman of Tcherin explains the descent of the Mashiach into the klipot); Pesikta Rabbati 162a (“[…] they will bring iron beams and put them on his neck until his body bends and he cries and weeps […]”) & ch. 36 (“[…] and you sat in darkness and blackness and your eyes saw no light, and your skin cleft to your bones, and your bones dried out and was like wood, and your eyes grew dim from fasting, and your strength became like a potshard.”).
xlvii - “Zeh Yitnu mi’Chatzit HaShekel” in the year 5748, parshat Mishpatim.
xlviii - II Shmuel 23:20.
xlix - Radak in Mahari Kera on Sefer Shmuel, Rashi in Divrei HaYamin.
l - See Brachot 18a-b.
li - I Divrei HaYamin 11:22.
lii - Ma’amorei Admur HaEmtzai, “Derushei Chasunah,” 1:131, 155.
liii - See Likutei Sichot 26:7.
liv - Alschich, quot. briefly in Likutei Sichot 4:1261; see also Ramban, Bachya, Radak to 49:33.
lv - Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh, ch. 27.
lvi - Sefer HaMa’amarim Melukat 5:272-73.
lvii - Likutei Dibburim.
lviii - Sefer HaSichot 5751, 496.
lix - Accord Zohar 2:7b.
lx - Midrash Shir HaShirim Rabbah 2:22; Bamidbar Rabbah 11:2; Pesikta diRabbi Kahana (Mandelbaum ed.), pp. 91-92; see Chatam Sofer and Bachya at end of Parshat Shemot; see also Likutei Sichot 9:38.
lxi - Accord Zohar 2:8a-9a (From the beginning the Mashiach was hidden in a heavenly palace known as the Bird's Nest. That is a secret place containing a thousand halls of yearning, where none may enter except for the Mashiach. It is there that the Mashiach waits for the sign to be given that his time has come at last.
The palace is known as the Bird's Nest because of the wonderful bird of the Mashiach, which has its nest in a tree near his palace.
On New Moons and holy days and Shabbat’s, the Mashiach enters those halls of longing, lifts up his voice, and weeps. Then the Garden of Eden trembles and the firmament shakes until his voice ascends all the way to G-D's throne. And when G-D hears his voice, G-D beckons the enchanted bird, and it flies from the Garden of Eden and enters its nest and begins to sing.
Now the song of that bird is indescribably beautiful; no one has ever heard a music so sublime. Three times the bird repeats its song, and then the bird and the Mashiach ascend on high, to the very Throne of Glory. There G-D swears to them that He will destroy the wicked kingdom of Rome and will give His children all the blessings that are destined for them. After that the bird returns to its nest and the Mashiach returns to his palace, and once again he remains hidden there, waiting.); cf., Shivchei HaBesht, pp. 64-65, story no. 42 (Mashiach once came to the Ba'al Shem Tov and said: "I make my home in a heavenly palace known as the Bird's Nest. Except for me, no one has ever entered there. If only you were to travel there and open that gate, redemption would surely come to Israel. I do not know whether or not you will succeed in opening the gate, but I heard G-D's voice saying to me, 'What can I do for you, since I must fulfill your wish.'"); SGE; Zohar 2:7b-9a, 3:196b.
lxii - “This is Great Rome, in which I am kept captive in prison until my end comes.” Sefer Zerubbabel, publ. in Bet HaMidrash 2:54-55. Perhaps this is the explanation for a Midrash fragment (Marmarstein ed.) which states: “The tenth sign [of the signs of Mashiach]: G-D will liberate Menachem ben Amiel, Mashiach ben David, from the jailhouse […] and make him ride on the cloud. REJ 52 (1906), p. 184, transl. by Raphael Patai. There is an interesting Yemeni tradition regarding Mashiach coming out of the jail house with staff and bag. See Midrashei Geula by Rabbi Yehudah ibn Shmuel, pp. 326-27, trans. by Raphael Patai.
lxiii - See Yeshuot Meshicho by Abarbanel, p. 104.
lxiv - Cf., Pesikta Rabbati 37, quot. in Yalkut Shimoni 499 on Yeshayahu 60.
lxv - On garments of zeal or vengeance, see Isaiah 59:17; Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana 22:5; Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah on 4:10; Pirqei Mashiaḥ, in Beit ha-Midrash, 3:70–71; Moses de León, Seder Gan Eden, 132.
lxvi - As far as how long he will be concealed, see Rut Rabbah 5:6; Iyov 30:4; cf., Bamidbar Rabbah 11:2. See Zohar, Shemot, 9b, for an extensive count of the stages that lead up to the End of Days.
lxvii - Although this is the gimatriyya of שמים (shamayim), “heavens,” the Baal HaSulam explains that the Masach that is mitigated in Bina is called “firmament.” Since it extends from Bina, it contains four discernments HB TM, Chochmah, Binah, Tiferet, Malchut, in each of which are 100 Sefirot. However, since Malchut lacks them, there are only 390 firmaments in them, and ten firmaments in Malchut were hidden since the six days of creation, meaning since the time when the correction of Tzimtzum Bet [second restriction] was established. Yet another example of four. See Derekh Erets Rabbah 2:31; Zohar 1:4a; 2:195b; 3:173a; ZḤ 53b; Solomon ibn Adret, She’elot u-Tshuvot 1:538.
lxviii - See Zohar 2:132a. Cf. Midrash Avkir, 45 (quot. in Yalqut Shim’oni, Exodus 241).
lxix - Zohar, parashat Shemot.