"Et tzemach David avdecha mehera tatzmiach, Vekarno tarum bishoeatecha, Ki lishoeatcha kivinoe kol ha jom, umtzapim liyeshuah, Baruch Atah HaShem matzmiach keren Yeshuah"
This is the 15th benediction of the 18 benedictions prayed everyday by religious Jews. It is originally the 14th Blessing for the Kingdom of the House of David. This blessing has deep mystical significance. The Artscroll Sefard translates it as:
“The offspring of Your servant David may you speedily cause to flourish, and enhance his pride through your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all the day (and look forward to salvation). Blessed are you, HaShem, who causes the pride of salvation to flourish” (p.115).
The phrase “umtzapim liyeshuah” is controversial. Some Jewish authorities state that the phrase should not be pronounced aloud but is an instruction to think about the salvation and the coming of the Messiah. Others believe it should be whispered. One Jewish scholar at the Hebrew University believes it was first whispered, by the secret Jewish Christians, in the synagogue, in the first centuries of the common era. Some versions leave it out of the Siddur.
This Blessing is the mystery of the man called Tzemach in the Book of Zechariah. Judaism proclaims that this is the Messiah. This Tzemach is associated in Zechariah 3:8 with Yehoshua the High Priest who with Zerubabel is a sign of this Tzemach who is to be the Davidic Messiah. Zechariah 2:9 refers to Tzemach as avdi (my servant) which links him to the suffering avdi (my servant) of Isaiah 52-53. The use of ‘Et Tzemach’ links him to the concept of the divine Presence who is Alef and Tav. The word keren means ray, radiant, shine, horn, pride and power. Zechariah speaks of the four evil horns that have scattered Judah, Israel (the ten tribes) and Jerusalem but their evil work will be undone by the four righteous carpenters (craftsmen) or good horns of the Ultimate Horn and Carpenter called Tzemach Keren Yeshua. As Carpenter the Tzemach is known as Messiah son of Joseph and as Horn he is known as Messiah son of David. The four carpenters are associated as the anointed ones (messiahs) of Gilead, Manesseh, Ephraim and Judah who come in the spirit and power of the Ultimate Messiah at the end of the time of the Gentiles. “And the Lord showed me four carpenters. Then said I, ‘What come these to do?’ And he spoke, saying… these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn (the power and spirit of antichrist) over the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1: 20-21). One Jewish source discusses these four carpenters : "…David came and explained: Gilead is mine (Psalm 60:9), this refers to Elijah who was one of the inhabitants of Gilead:and Mannesseh is mine, this refers to the Messiah who arises from among the children of Manesseh. Ephraim also is the defence of my head, this refers to the Annointed of War who comes from Ephraim…Judah is my Scepter, this refers to the Great Redeemer who is among the Children of David" (Num.Rab.14:1).
The phrase ‘Tzipisa li Yeshua’ is found in the Talmud in the Gemara Shabbos 31 a. It states that after this life everyone will be asked the question – ‘Did you look out for Yeshua’. Amongst Hasidic Jews this concept is seen as very important. They interpret the phrase as – “Have you hoped and eagerly looked forward to the Messianic salvation?” or “Did you sincerely await the Redemption?” or “Did you anticipate the redemption?” or Did you wait for Mashiach?" The great Torah sage Rabbi Yisroel Meir Hakohen wrote ‘Chofetz Chaim’ on this concept of ‘Tzipisa liYeshua’. The ‘Malkhut Beit David’ blessing also uses the phrase ‘karno tarum biyeshuateka ’ which can be read as ‘his radiant (horn) offering (tarum) in your Yeshua’. This links us to the word Terumah (elevation offering) of Exodus 25, which reveals the mystery of Tabernacle and Temple. Here we also find the word Tzipisa for those wooden vessels (keilim) that are covered with gold. The Ark of the covenant is itself one such object which is a symbol of the concept of Tzipisa li Yeshua.
The phrase ‘li Yeshua’ can be linked to ‘li Terumah’. This is what is meant by: "That they bring Me an offering (Terumah)," and "Me an offering" (li terumah) symbolises the two levels united as one mystery of the Tabernacle…” (Zohar Terumah 2: 127a). The word horn also links us to the horns of the altar where the offerings are made.
A Hasidic Jew Yankel Nosson writes in regard to ‘Tzipisa liYeshuah’: “…the root of "tzipisa" is "tzofeh", meaning "lookout". This is the root of the name Har Hatzofim, which overlooks Yerushalayim. Also Tsfat (Safed) the city on the top of a hill in the Galil. Interestingly, the Zohar says Mashiach will arrive first in Tsfat — perhaps because Tsfat is tzofim, scouting the horizon, trying to witness Mashiach’s arrival. Tsipisa l’ishua? Did you look for the redemption the way one searches the horizon from the lookout point, scouting for it from all directions?…”
Rabbi Belsky states that the Scriptural source for the concept of Tzipisa liYeshuah is Genesis 49:18: – “liyeshuateka kiviti HaShem”[I long for your Yeshua] and this parallels the phrase in the Amidah Blessing quoted at the beginning of this discussion: “ki liyeshuateka kivinu kol hayom” [because for your Yeshua we long all the day]. The Brisker Rav would say the Biblical verse many times each day to fulfill the concept of “Tzipisa liYeshua”. Rabbi Belsky also sees Habakkuk 2 as another Scriptural source for the concept of ‘Tzipisa liYeshua’ which the Rambam associates with the coming of the Messiah. Here we see the concept of the look out as a watch tower. “I shall stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and I shall watch to see what he will say to me and what I shall answer when I am questioned…Write the vision…that he who reads it runs (yarutz). For there is still a vision for an appointed time and it speaks concerning the end…though he tarry, wait for him, because he will surely come and he will not delay.”
What will we answer to the question – “Tzipisa liYeshuah?”
Tags: Alef, benediction, benedictions, book of zechariah, common era, davidic, divine presence, evil work, galut, geula, HaShem, hebrew university, high priest, jewish authorities, jewish christians, jewish scholar, Mashiach, Melech HaMashiach, melech hamoshiach, mystical significance, religious jews, servant david, Siddur, Tzipisa li Yeshua, Yeshuah
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