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Chapters 3-8 of 1 Kings highlight the positive achievements of King Solomon, focusing particularly on the construction of the Temple. It provides extensive details, including the names of the two pillars flanking the entry: Jachin and Boaz. According to 1 Kings 7:21, it reads:

"He set up the pillars at the vestibule of the temple; he set up the pillar on the south and called it Jachin; and he set up the pillar on the north and called it Boaz."

Why are the pillars specifically named? Do their names represent a theological concept?

From my foggy memory of Hebrew learning days, I seem to correlate the name "Jachin" with the future, masculine, singular tense of the verb "to establish." Does "Jachin" mean, "he will establish." If so, is that in reference to G-d and the establishment of his temple?

And "Boaz" simply means, "mighty," right? Is the pillar named that to represent the "mighty" attribute of G-d?

These are just my fuzzy thoughts, what do the rabbinical writings suggest about the names of these pillars?

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  • sefaria.org/Metzudat_David_on_I_Kings.7.21?lang=bi explains why. Likely other commentaries do, also, but I haven't any at hand that do. – msh210 Aug 11 '16 at 6:27
  • FYI - These names are considered as significant foundations of the Masonic concept. I'm pretty sure some of the classic commentaries discuss these names. Boaz, in particular, was a direct ancestor of King Solomon. (Ruth married Boaz, and the end of the book of Ruth lists lineage until King David, whom was Solomon's father. It's possible that the name of the pillar was an illusion or in memory of his ancestor.) – DanF Aug 11 '16 at 14:16
  • Also sefaria.org.il/… - no time or energy to translate. – Danny Schoemann Feb 5 '19 at 15:13
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As a starting point, the Radak notes that Yachin means a sense of preparation i.e. the same way one prepares to enter a house (i.e. presumably to look presentable / to mentally prepare themselves etc.) this too was the intention with this pillar as a person crossed the threshold into the Temple. Boaz is an expression of strength, and in this context how G-d provides the person with the right level of strength and fortitude such as - "ה' עז לעמו יתן" - "May Hashem give strength to His people."

In addition, the Chida in Chomas Anach writes:

ויקם את עמוד ויקרא שמו יכין. אפשר שכיוין נגד אבא למלכא דוד הע"ה אשר הכין הרבה כסף וזהב לבנין בה"מ וזהו הנראה לעין אך עיקר הכונה שטרח מאד בשירותיו ליחד הדודים ולתקן הנצח כמ"ש במ"א והוא המכין הכל ובא שלמה ומצא הכל מתוקן ולכן עמוד הימני הרומז לנצח קרא יכין נגד דוד הע"ה שהוא הכין ותקן הנצח. ועמוד השמאלי נגד ראש הממשלה בעז שטרח להוציא ניצוצי הקדושה ממואב ובו עז וגבורה. ושלט בו מדה"ד ומת באותו לילה. א"נ רמז יכין שהאדם יכין צידה לדרכו תמיד בעז שהכל ע"י התורה הנקראת עז וינצח יצה"ר צד שמאל ע"י התורה

In summary, the pillar called Yachin was possibly intended to correspond to his father, Dovid Hamelech, who prepared much silver and gold for the Temple and took great pains to ensure the longevity of the Temple. Thus it was called 'Yachin' - 'He prepared' as a reference to efforts that Dovid went to, to ensure the Temple would be enduring. The other pillar 'Boaz' (literally 'with/in strength', is a reference to the leader Boaz who bothered to bring out the 'sparks of holiness' from Moav with great sense of strength and might.

Alternatively, 'Yachin' is an allusion to a person who always makes provisions for the way whereas 'Boaz' is the strength one gains through Torah which allows one to conquer the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination).

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In order to have the best possible fittings for the temple, Solomon hired a man named Hiram (or Huram) from Tyre to do the bronze work. Hiram was known for his wisdom, understanding, and skill in bronze working (1 Kings 7:13–14).

Including the decorative tops of the pillars, Jachin and Boaz stood approximately forty-five feet tall, with a circumference of eighteen feet (1 Kings 7:15–20). The brass used to make the twin pillars had been taken by King David from the king of Zobah as part of the spoils of war (1 Chronicles 18:8–9).

The pillar on the south of the entrance which was called Jachin, and one on the north named Boaz. Both 2 Chronicles and 1 Kings say that “he” set up the pillars and “he” named them Jachin and Boaz. Commentators are divided as to whether “he” refers to Hiram or Solomon. Whoever named them, their names are significant.

Jachin (pronounced yaw-keen) means “he will establish,” and Boaz signifies “in him is strength.” Taken together, the names were a reminder that G-d would establish the temple and the worship of His name in strength.

The names of the pillars represent the strength and stability of G-d’s promises of a kingdom that will last forever. During the reign of King Darius, he issued this decree:

I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the G-od of Daniel.

For he is the living G-d and he endures for ever; his kingdom will notbe destroyed, his dominion willnever hend.

He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." (Daniel 6:26-27)

Even though the two bronze pillars were destroyed along with the rest of the temple by the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 52:17), the meaning of the names Boaz and Jachin live on in the spiritual kingdom of G-d.

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Yakhin ("establish") corresponding to Netzach ("eternity, victory by winning"). Boaz ("strength") corresponding to Hod ("glory, submission, strength by acquiescing"). These are the two "legs," because they are the literal pillars of the Temple physically, and spiritually they're the "legs" of Zeir Anpin.


Tikunei Zohar Intro, 12b bottom

This house has three roofs, and they are the three pillars that support it and they are ו' ו' ו ' which it says about them, “the vavei hooks of the pillars and their bands of silver” (Exo. 27:10). Three pillars, these are the three fathers, which support the house which is the Shechinah. “and their bands” these are the two pillars of truth (Netzach and Hod). Which it says about them, “Yachin, and Boaz”, and upon them the house stands. And the “middle beam” (Exo. 26:28), this is the point within, which is concealed within. "the beam" this is the ו' . Which is the drawing down (Page 13A) of that point which is the letter י' which certainly extends. "From the end” this is the upper ה' “to the other end” this is the lower ה'. The tying of the three pillars which are the vavei hooks of the pillars, is eighteen worlds. Three ו' ו' ו ' equal the gematria of (18) חי (life), which is the “tzadik foundation of the world”. ה' ה ' when taken from the middle pillar which is called the "middle beam" they are called beams on account of it, as it is written, “five beams for the boards of the side of the Mishkan” (Exo. 26:27).

וביתא דא אית ליה תלת גגין, ואינון תלת עמודין דסמכין לה, ואינון ו'ו'ו', עלייהו אתמר ווי העמודים וחשוקיהם כסף, תלת עמודים אלין תלת אבהן, דסמכין לביתא דאיהי שכינתא, וחשוקיהם אלין תרין סמכי קשוט, דאתמר בהון יכין ובועז, ועלייהו ביתא קיימא, והבריח התיכון דא נקודה מלגאו, דסתים מלגאו, מבריח דא ו', אתפשטותא:


Zohar Achrei Mot III:58a

We have learned that this river gave forth deep streams, WHICH REPRESENT THE THREE SFIROT - CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET OF ZEIR ANPIN - with the anointing oil to replenish the Garden of Eden, WHICH IS MALCHUT, and water the trees and plants, NAMELY THE SFIROT OF MALCHUT. Of this, it is written, "The trees of Hashem have their fill; the cedars of Lebanon, which He has planted" (Tehilim 104:16). These streams, NAMELY CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, flow and continue on and join two pillars that the Baraithas refer to as Yachin and Boaz, NAMELY NETZACH AND HOD. These NAMES are appropriate. From there, NETZACH AND HOD come out all these streams, NAMELY CHESED, GVURAH AND TIFERET, and rest in a certain level referred to as Righteous, NAMELY YESOD, as is written, "But the righteous is an everlasting foundation (Heb. yesod)" (Mishlei 10:25). All together they join in that level referred to as "sea" that is the sea of wisdom, NAMELY MALCHUT. This is the meaning of the verse, "All the rivers run into the sea" (Kohelet 1:7).

ותאנא, ההוא נהר אפיק נחלין עמיקין, במשח רבות, לאשקאה גנתא, ולרוואה אילנין ונטיעין, דכתיב (תהלים קד טז) ישבעו עצי יהו"ה ארזי לבנון אשר נטע, ואינון נחלין נגדין ואתמשכן ומתכנשין בתרין קיימין (נ"א סמכין), ואינון ברייתי, (תרי) קרינן להו (מ"א ז כא) יכי"ן ובוע"ז, ושפיר. ומתמן נפקין כל אינון נחלין, ושריין לון בחד דרגא דאקרי צדיק, דכתיב (משלי י כה) וצדיק יסוד עולם, וכלהו אזלין ומתכנשין לההוא אתר דאקרי ים, והוא ימא דחכמתא, הדא הוא דכתיב, (קהלת א ז) כל הנחלים הולכים אל הים וגו'.


Zohar Emor III:90b

"seal the Torah" refers to the sealing of the Torah, the Written Torah, WHICH IS ZEIR ANPIN. Where does this happen? "among My disciples," the prophets CALLED "TAUGHT OF HASHEM," NETZACH AND HOD, as written, "And he set up the right pillar, and called its name Jachin," WHICH IS NETZACH, "and he set up the left pillar, and called its name Boaz" (I Melachim 7:21), WHICH IS HOD. From there ways extend to the faithful prophets, WHO RECEIVE FROM NETZACH AND HOD, and these support the body, ZEIR ANPIN with HIS six lights. This is the meaning of, "His legs are pillars of marble" (Shir Hashirim 5:15). HIS LEGS, THE SECRET OF NETZACH AND HOD, ARE PILLARS OF ZEIR ANPIN THAT HAS SIX SFIROT IN HIM. Everything is supported only by MEANS OF perfection, and all their holiness dwells on them only when they are in holiness. For when ZEIR ANPIN AND MALCHUT are united with each other, all is whole, all is one, and no place is rendered defective. Hence the Congregation of Yisrael is called whole, as written, "And Melchizedek king of Shalem (lit. 'whole')" (Beresheet 14:18), AS MELCHIZEDEK IS MALCHUT AND THE KING OF WHOLENESS. AND ALSO, "In Shalem also is His tabernacle" Tehilim 76:3), WHICH REFERS TO MALCHUT.

בלמודי אלין נביאי כד"א ויקם את העמוד הימני ויקרא שמו יכין ויקם את העמוד השמאלי ויקרא שמו בועז ומתמן אתפרשן אורחין לנביאי מהימני וקיימי אלין בקיומא לגופא לשית טהירין הה"ד שוקיו עמודי שש. וכלא לא קיימא אלא בשלימו ולא שרייא קדוש' דכלא אלא בשלימו כד מתחבראן דא בדא כלא הוא שלים כלא הוא חד לא אתפגי' אתר. וע"ד אקרי כ"י שלם כד"א ומלכי צדק מלך שלם ויהי בשלם סכו. ובג"כ לא שרייא כלא אלא באתר שלים ועל דא כל איש אשר בו מום לא יקרב כגוונא דא קרבנא דביה מומא לא יתקריב מאי טעמא דכתיב כי לא לרצון יהיה לכם.

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