I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mystical Rose


The Zohar and Rosa Mystica

“Rabbi Hezekiah opened, ‘Like a rose among thorns, so is my darling among the maidens’ (Song of Songs 2:2). Who is Rosa Mystica? Our Lady of Israel (Kneset Yisrael/ Matronita/ Sabbath Queen). For there is a Rose and then there is Rosa Mystica. Just as a rose among the thorns is coloured red and white, so Our Lady of Israel includes judgement and mercy. Just as a Rose has 13 petals, so Our Lady of Israel has 13 attributes of mercy surrounding her on every side. Similarly from the moment Elohim (God) is mentioned (in Genesis 1) he generates 13 words to surround Our Lady (in Eternity) and protect her. Then Elohim is mentioned again. Why again? To produce 5 sturdy leaves surrounding Rosa Mystica. These 5 are called Salvation (Yeshuot/Yeshuah), they are 5 gates. Concerning this mystery (raza) it is written: I shall raise the Cup of Salvation (Psalm 116:13). This is the cup of Blessing, which should rest on 5 fingers and no more – like the Rose sitting on 5 sturdy leaves, paradigm of 5 fingers. This Rosa Mystica is the Cup of Blessing” Zohar 1:1a.

The Zohar is a book that records many of the Jewish mystical insights and traditions that I believe have their source in the mystical teachings of the early Jewish Christians that founded the Church. These mystical teachings were passed on in secrecy in the Jewish community by certain schools of mystics. They were veiled in order to preserve these mysteries and disguise their Jewish Christian meaning.

The beginning of the Zohar reveals that the book is concerned with the mysteries connected with Rosa Mystica and her Son. Rosa Mystica is Our Lady also called Kneset Yisrael, Matronita and Sabbath Queen. This spouse of the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) mirrors the mysteries of the Godhead as the Moon mirrors the Sun. She is the Woman (Isha) clothed with the Sun standing on the Moon.

The Zohar opens quoting the verse from the Song of Songs about one who is a ‘shoshanah’ among the thorns. Shoshanah is translated as a Lily or as a Rose. In Ladino it is translated as ‘roza’. The Zohar considers it to be a rose as well. Since ancient times the Rose has been the sign of Mystery. In Aramaic ‘mystery’ is ‘raza’ and the European word ‘roza’ derives from the Aramaic word Raza symbolised by the Rose. The rose was also a symbol of paradise for the early Christians coming from the Jewish concept of the Mystical world called Pardes to which the mystics ascend and descend.

The Zohar then discusses this Rosa Mystica who is the woman of Israel called Kneset Yisrael. Other traditions call her Matronita, the Heavenly warrior Queen of Israel. In the Catholic understanding this is Our Lady under her title of Rosa Mystica. This title is intricately linked with Our Lady’s title of Immaculate Conception.

The Zohar refers to this Rosa Mystica as connected with the 13 qualities or attributes of Mercy (chesed). She is the mirror or created light that mirrors clearly and perfectly the 13 qualities of Mercy of the Divinity himself (seen as Divine Mercy). This is Our Lady of Fatima (as Our Lady of Mercy) who is connected with the number 13. This mystical Rose is red and white mirroring the Divine attributes of Judgement and Mercy. As a Rose has 13 petals so the Rosa Mystica has 13 qualities or paths of Mercy.

“Like a rose (shoshanah) among thorns, so is my darling among the maidens” (Song of Songs 2:2).This first section of the Zohar speaks of the Immaculate Conception using this verse from the Song of Songs to show that Our Lady the Rosa Mystica is saved, by Yeshuah through his 5 wounds (gates), from the demonic forces that have ruled men since the Fall. The thorns represent sin and the demons. The 5 leaves that surround the rose are connected here with Salvation. Salvation is Yeshuah (Jesus) in Hebrew. Salvation’s five gates are the five wounds of Yeshuah in his hands, feet and heart. These five gates are also linked to the five books of the Torah.

Song of Songs 2:2 refers to Our Lady and her Immaculate Conception and the following verse to her Son the Beloved (dodi) who is the Messiah. The Zohar asks “Who is Shoshanah (Roza)?” The answer is Kneset Israel or the Woman of Israel. “For there is a rose and then there is Rosa Mystica.” Daniel Matt states: “A rose blossom can have thirteen petals in its second tier.” The Zohar states : “Just as a rose has thirteen petals, so Kneset Yisrael (Our Lady) has thirteen qualities of mercy surrounding Her on every side.” It is this Celestial Mother that fully understands the concept of God as ‘Elohim’ (God). She does this through her spousal relationship with the Holy Spirit of Understanding (Binah). This Holy Spirit is called ‘Ruach Elohim’ in Genesis 1. Between the first and second mentions of ‘Elohim’ in Genesis 1, there are thirteen Hebrew words symbolising the 13 qualities of Mercy. These 13 qualities are in a deep way connected with the Spirit of God and his spouse the Celestial Mother. These 13 qualities of Mercy are linked to the 13 rivers of balsam that await the righteous (Tzaddikkim) in the World to Come.

Daniel Matt states: “The leaves of rose plants grow in clusters of five, nine and thirteen leaves.” Also between the second and third mentions of ‘Elohim” are five words that are connected in the Zohar with the five gates of Salvation (yeshuot). This Salvation (yeshuot) is directly connected to the raising of the cup of Salvation also called the cup of Blessing. This in veiled terms is directing us to a meditation on the five wounds of the crucified Messiah made present in the Eucharist in the raising of the Eucharistic Cup of Blessing and Salvation which is Yeshuah (Jesus) himself. Thus this opening section of the Zohar is in veiled form revealing the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and then moves on to the Virginal Incarnation of Jesus (Yeshuah).

“From the second ‘Elohim’ till the third, five words appear. From here on the creative Light, that is concealed and contained in the covenant, enters the Rosa Mystica and emits seed into her.” The Zohar then associates this process with the number 42 which is a veiled reference to the word ‘imma’ (alef mem alef) and 'My heart' (lamed bet yod). Imma means Mummy or Mother in Aramaic and Hebrew. This is connected to Genesis 3:15 where the Woman (isha) is the mother (imma) of the Divine Seed. The mysteries of the Spirit and of the Mother are closely connected at the level of Understanding (Binah). The 42 are connected to the first 42 letters of the Torah from the first ‘beit’ in ‘Bereshit’ to the ‘beit’ in ‘bohu’. The 42 is also the 22 letters or paths and the ten Sefirot plus the ten creative Sefirot mirrored in the heavenly Mother or Woman. It is interesting that “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” author Douglas Adams says that the answer to Life, the Universe and everything is 42 in his novel. In a sense the Zohar says the same thing. The Zohar calls it “the 42 letters of the act of Creation”. The Universe is made in the image of this Imma (Mother). The number 42 is also the gematria for ‘My Heart’.

In 1947 in Italy the Virgin Mary appeared to Pierina Gilli and called herself Rosa Mystica. Her second apparition was on July 13 1947 and the 13th of each month was to be a Day of Rosa Mystica and the annual day of celebration for Rosa Mystica was to be July 13th. This modern Rosa Mystica devotion stresses the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th in which a special hour of Mercy is kept. It is as if the Virgin Mary has come to confirm the insights about Rosa Mystica and the Immaculate Conception found in the opening verses of the Zohar. This title of Rosa Mystica is found in the Litany of Loreto and has a rich history in Catholic devotion. However devotion to Mary as Rosa Mystica is much more ancient. Since at least the 5th century Christian writers have written that Mary is the ‘rose among the thorns’ of Song of Songs 2:2. Both Jesus and Mary have been referred to as the Mystical Rose throughout Christian history. This Mystical rose is also associated with the Holy Grail (the Cup of the Last Supper). They are both seen as vessels that contain the divinity. At Lucca in Italy (a centre of Kabbalah) from earlier times has kept the feast of Our Lady of the Rose on January 30th. Since 1947 many statues of Mary as Rosa Mystica have wept in many places around the world including New York and Russia. She weeps that her Son is left abandoned in so many tabernacles with no one to adore him.

This Mystical Rose is linked to the opening verses of the Torah as mentioned above. The first verses are seen as a mystical Rose. The phrase ‘et ha shamayim’ is especially seen as the concept of the Mystical Rose. Paradise is seen as the Mystical Rose Garden (Rosarium) mirrored on the earth by the Rose Garden between the Kotel (Wailing or Western Wall of the Temple) and the Temple itself. Shamayim is Heaven, which is linked to the concept of Paradise or Pardes. In the Celestial Mother her attributes (that mirrors the Divine attributes perfectly) are seen as the enclosed Rose Garden. In her son the Beloved they are seen as an Apple Orchard linked to Song of Songs 2:3 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the orchard, so is my beloved among the sons of men.”

The Catholic devotion of the rosary is also called the Rosarium or Rose Garden and each prayer in it is seen as a rose to offer Mary in her role as Intercessor and prayer warrior for her children. Each of the 20 mysteries of the Rosary is linked to the Divine Attributes of God. A white and a red rose are conceptually seen on the left and on the right of each attribute in the figure of the Divine Man who is perfectly mirrored in the mother. The rose has been associated with many of the famous apparitions of Mary through the ages.

The Rosa Mystica is the mystery of the Two Hearts that beat as one. These are the two children symbolised by the cherubs on the Ark of the Covenant mention here in the introduction to the Zohar. They are the blossoms. The Mother or female is the rose bush with its blossoms and the male is the apple Tree with its blossoms. The blossoms are the ten attributes (sefirot). The term of ‘created these’ (‘bara elleh’) refers mystically to these two with child-like hearts that beat as one. The heart of the Rosa Mystica is united to the heart of her Divine Son who is the image and likeness of the Infinite One. Who created these two hearts? The Infinite One through the power, light and love of the Holy Spirit. The Son in his divinity was not created but in his humanity he was created through the flesh of his Mother. These two Cherubic Hearts united by the Divine Mercy (chesed) adore the Infinite Abba (Father) in spirit and in truth. The mystery (Raza) of the Temple is the Rose that is the two hearts. It is two Roses that are united as One Rose. It is the Rosa Mundi. The white rose of the female and the red rose of the suffering male are united to form this Universal and Mystical Rose. O mystery of mysteries (Raza de Razin) is the holy rosarium. Rosarium is latin for the Rose Garden. The rose Garden is the Garden of Pardes- it is the spiritual journey to the divine heart of the Mystical Rose. It is the number 13. 13 is for Love (ahavah). 13 is for oneness and unity (echad) of the hearts filled with the 13 qualities or attributes of mercy (Chesed).

The Zohar asks “Who created these?” ‘Who’ (‘mi’ in Hebrew) and ‘what’ (‘mah’ in Hebrew) refers to the cherubs of the Ark – the Holy children- one male and the other female. Metatron and Matronita. Yeshuah and Miriam. The ‘mem’ of ‘who’ (mi) is the female enclosed with two mems as a Rose Garden. This is part of the mystery (raza) of the name ‘Miriam’ who is Rosa Mystica. The letter ‘yod’ of ‘who’ (mi) is the male- the Divine Yesod and Holy Tzaddik. The mem of ‘mi’ is at the level of Binah (Understanding) and the yod of ‘mi’ is at the level of Hokmah (Wisdom).

The mem of ‘mah’ is the Mother as Kneset Yisrael – Mother of the Church. The ‘hay’ of ‘what’ (‘mah’) is the radiance of the Shekinah – it is the Holy Spirit and the Son as the Body of Christ. He is the Head (rosh) and Beginning (reshit) of Creation. Shekinah is the manifestation of the love of the triune god through the mirror of the Mother united with the human and divine Heart of her Son. For its humanity is heart of her heart. It is the Mystical Rose for all time – the very beauty of God.

‘Bara Elleh’ (‘created these’) alludes to the mystery of these two pure and holy ones. Bara can be also read as Bera (Son) and represents the male cherub while Elleh represents the female cherub on the Ark of the Covenant. It is the female that unites the two for the Son (Bera) is flesh of her flesh, heart of her heart and blood of her blood. ‘Mi bara elleh’ also mystically reveals that this Son is Elohim (God). The ‘Mi’ is united with ‘Elleh’ in order to reveal that the Son (Bera) is Elohim. This uniting of the words ‘mi’ and ‘Elleh’ makes the word Elohim. The Bera (Divine Son) is the ‘concealed of the concealed’ according to Yehuda Liebes in his book on Zohar. He is the great secret of the Zohar. The Son and his Mother is the hidden and Mystical Rose. This is the Son as the Creative Word and Light (see Gospel of John 1). Beriyah is the dimension or World where the Son (Bera) is revealed as Divine Word and Creator God (Elohim). This is also part of the mystical understanding of the first three words of the Torah “Bereshit bara Elohim”. This phrase represents the Triune Deity and the role of the Son as Creator God. The mystery of ‘Bereshit’ the first word given a triune meaning of Bera (Son), Rosh (Head) and Shit (six) as revealed in the Zohar also reveals the mystery of the Rosa Mystica. The word ‘shit’ refers to the number six alluding to the six days of Creation. It also alludes to the Rose (shoshan) for Shoshan also derives from the number six as a rose is said to have six petals on one of its tiers. Here we see that the rose refers to both Jesus and Mary as well as to the very Creation itself. The three meanings of the Mystical Rose are intricately linked. The Rose also represents the 5 gates of salvation united with the sixth sefirot of Yesod /Tzaddik of the lower attributes that make up the Divine Body of the son (Zer Anpin).

The Zohar states: "The rose is the Cup of Blessing". This is the Holy Grail. It is also the Eucharistic Cup of Blessing in the Mass. Thus the rose in another sense refers to the Eucharist. This is the Cup of Salvation that has messianic significance. The Zohar associates this cup with the Holy Child who is Son of Joseph and associated with the fish (nuna). Every holy hour of Eucharistic Adoration is an entering into the rose and the Divine Attributes follow forth as a rose unfolding and blossoming. Rav Hamnuna Sava is a reference to the Fisherking of this period who is a descendant of Joseph of Arimathea the original guardian of the Holy Grail. This is the Rose as ‘Shoshan’ the male six petalled one. ‘Shoshanah’ is the female thirteen petalled Rose.

The six days of Creation are also the unfolding or blossoming of the Rose. On the first day of Creation the conceptual light of the Two Hearts was hidden. On the third day of Creation these two beautiful blossoming plants ‘appeared on earth’. This means that the concept of the Two Hearts was revealed to the angelic beings who, under God, ruled the Universe and the Earth. On the fourth day of Creation the imperfect lights (angelic beings who became demons) fell by rejecting the Divine Will and Light for these Two Hearts. These Two Hearts were the beautiful blossoming Mystical Rose Bush and the Mystical Apple Tree. They are the image and model for the Creation. They are the Eternal Blueprint and the Living Torah. The attributes called the blossoms are mirrored in the patriarchs. Like the Two hearts the Patriarchs and Matriarchs were in the mind of the Creator as a Blueprint before the actual spiritual and physical creation. In the Olam Haba (The World that is Coming) they were hidden with ‘the Two Hearts that beat as One’.

The Patriarch Joseph is a representative of the heavenly Joseph associated with the Divine Attribute of Righteousness. This heavenly Joseph is the Ultimate Tzaddik. The patriarch Joseph is also a type of Joseph, the husband of Our Lady, who is also called a Tzaddik in the New Testament. He is also a sign of the Messiah son of Joseph who is to come in the fullness of these attributes that are called the blossoms of the Patriarchs. The blossoms are the spiritual fruit of the Divinity. The Zohar hints that the coming of the two blossoming ones is connected to a Joseph –like figure with whom they would live in a hidden way in the Holy Land. The Zohar states that they will be revealed when the Rainbow herself appears. The Rainbow is the symbol of Our Lady in Eternity (Olam Haba). When she comes to earth (‘appears on earth’), the full message of the Patriarchs and the Torah will be revealed about these two pure child-like ones (symbolised by the Cherubs on the ends of the Ark of the Covenant). These two pure golden children of Adam and Eve will bring the full blossoming of the Torah to its deepest level of Messianic, Marian and Universal understanding. A level only the humble and child-like ones can fully comprehend. The Zohar is this way of the Rose, revealing the true blossoming of the Torah.

The five leaves or gates of Salvation (yeshuah) are also linked to the five books of Torah. Bereshit (Genesis) with the gate of his crucified right hand of Mercy, Shemot (Exodus) with his crucified left hand of power (Gevurah), Vayyikkra (Leviticus) with his pierced and beautiful Heart of compassion, BeMidbar (Numbers) with his crucified right foot of Endurance and Victory and Devarim (Deuteronomy) with his left foot of hidden Majesty and Splendour. The Divine Man is the Living Torah. By his crucifixion the closed gates of Salvation were opened and salvation gushed forth as Divine Love and Mercy which is his precious Blood.

The Zohar refers to the two ends of Heaven in regard to the two Cherubim on the ends of the Ark of the Covenant. The two cherubim are discussed in Exodus 25:17-22. The two ends (of ‘mi’ and ‘mah’) are the two cherubim. “And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end” (Exodus 25:19). The divine Presence speaks above the Mercy Seat (covering) between the two cherubim. Rabbi Abraham Abulafia in his work “Chay Olam Haba” (Life of the Future World) says that “the two cherubs allude to the Divine Presence (Ha Shekinah = 390).” He then associates the Shekinah with the male and female cherubim as zachar u-nukevah (male and female in Hebrew) also add up to 390 in gematria. 390 is also the gematria of Heaven (Shamayim). He also states that “the primeval substance is on the ark cover like the form of the Rainbow”. Each of the three parts of this phrase are 805 in gematria. ‘Chamar rishon’ (primeval substance) = 805, ‘al haKaporet’ (on the Ark Cover) = 805 and ‘ha keshet’ (the Rainbow) = 805 in gematria. “They were forged as a single body with two forms” writes Abulafia in regards to the two golden cherubim on the Ark. This is a veiled understanding of how Jesus and Mary are both of the flesh of Mary (in unique way) but they are in two forms of the male and the female – as a new Adam and a new Eve. In Jewish mystical and Hasidic tradition King David and his Queen Mother Bathsheba was also seen as types of this new Adam and new Eve. The Zohar links the Cherubim as ends in Exodus 25:19 with ‘the end of heaven’ in Deuteronomy 4:32 and with ‘running from end to end’ in Exodus 26:28. This is also linked to the concept of the Chariot in Ezekiel which is perceived by the mystics as ‘a running to and fro’.

“They (the cherubim) look at each other and the Name was between them” states Rabbi Abulafia. He then writes that “all this was like a Tree on the Ark cover, and because of the Rainbow it had to be forged”. Thus we see that the Tree represents the male Divinity and the Rainbow represents the female. Their hearts are forged so that they beat as one in the Divine Will. The Name is the 42 mentioned in the Zohar. Rabbi Abulafia associates this Name with the phrase ‘Be- yad YHVH’ (in or with the hand of YHVH) which adds up to the number 42 and is found in 2 Samuel 24:14. The hand with its five fingers can also be seen as a rose. The clenched fist is the rosebud and the unclenched hand is the blossoming or unfolding of the Rose. Rabbi Abulafia explains further the mystery of this number 42.

“Their mystery is :
God eloh (alef lamed vav hay) =42
My only One Yahidi (yod hay yod hay yod) =42
In Them bem (beit mem) =42
My Heart lebi (lamed beit yod) =42
Will be worthy yezokah (yod zaz caf hay) =42

And this mystery is
Enough! Enough! Enough! dai dai dai (dalet yod) =42”


That Rabbi Abulafia associated the mystical path with the Rose is demonstrated in that one of his works on the mystical encounter with the Divine man or Form was called ‘Shoshan Sodot’ (Rose of Mysteries).

The opening words of Shemot (Exodus) mystically reveals the concept of the Rose. “Ve-elleh shemot beni Yisael ha –ba –im Mitzrayim” (“And these are the names of the children of Israel that came out of Egypt).” The words ‘ve-elleh’ (and these) are linked to the two cherubic ones. Elleh representing the female as mentioned above and ‘ve’ representing the male. The ‘vav’ represents the Son as Zer Anpin and it is also the number six that alludes to the six days of Creation and the Rose (Shoshan) as the six petalled one. The holy names (shemot) are Yeshuah and Miriam. Yeshuah is further referred to as ‘My Son’ (beni) and ‘Yisrael’ refers to his Mother as Kneset Yisrael who is also called Miriam. These two would come out of Egypt (Mitzrayim). Hidden within the name of Mitzrayim is the holy name of Miriam (mem resh yod mem). The Zohar (1:6a) associates Miriam (“His sister stood afar off ” Exodus 2:4) with the feminine aspect of Shekinah also called Matronita.

The next phrase in Exodus 1 is ‘et yacov ish’. The ‘et’ refers to the the Alef and Tav who is the Divine Man (Ish) that wrestled with Jacob and also appeared to Jacob at Bethel (ve-beit-ba-u). Bethel means the House of God. Jacob represents the divine attribute of Tiferet (beauty) and compassion (rahamim) this can be seen as the beauty of the Rose of Compassion. It is the Sacred Heart of the Blessed Holy One. Mary is known in Catholic devotion as the Rose of compassion. In Kay McDonald’s 1959 poem entitled “Mystical Rose” Mary is called Rose of Compassion.

“Mystical Rose

Silvered with dew from Heaven's Graces,
Sun drenched tendrils, purely fashioned,
Resplendent from all sinful traces
Art thou Mary, rose of compassion.

The wretched have faith renewed
By thy nectar enriching their souls,
Replenished with love so golden-hewed
That eagerly they seek their heavenly goals.

Our blossom of youthful innocence,
Perfuming the air with lasting peace
May we always know thy presence,
And may your love for us never cease.”


The Magen David (the Shield or Star of David) is a symbol of the Rose with its six points representing the six petals of the Rose (shoshan). The two triangles are the two mems of the name of Miriaim. It is the union of the Divine Wisdom (the mem pointing downwards-mem sofit) with the Mother of Understanding and Wisdom (Sophia) (the mem pointing upwards). The Magen David is seen as a Key – it is the Key of David. This key is the key to the Tower of David and the key to the Rose Garden. These triangular mems also represent the Triune God and the three fiats of the Divine Will – the Fiat of the Creation, the Fiat of the Redemption and the Fiat of the Kingdom of the Divine Will. These three fiats represent the unfolding or blossoming of the Universal Rose (Rosa Mundi). Each of the triangular ‘mems’ represent the Two Hearts – the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts which are the two cherubim (male and female) on the Ark of the Covenant. The Creation is seen as a Rose that is unfolding or blossoming over the six days of Creation. This is the Rosa Mundi – the rose of the world or the Universal Rose. This Rose represents the model and image of the Creation. Mary united with her Son’s Heart is the Mother of the Universe and the model of the Universe.

Our Lady in Eternity (represented by ‘mi’), as the Mother of Wisdom or Sophia, descends and becomes the Daughter of Elohim (God) and the Daughter of the Church (Kneset/Kehilla). The concept of the Mother in eternity is her adornment (title) as the Mother of the Creation. When she descends she puts off her adornments and comes with her garments (the 10 created Sefirot) in a humble and hidden way. She is the lowly handmaiden and daughter of God. At the Annunciation she becomes the living Ark of the Covenant (see Luke 1 and Revelations 11) who bears Elohim in her womb. Here in the Zohar (1:2a) it speaks of the mystery of Mary’s coronation. “Behold, the Ark of the Covenant, Sovereign of the Earth” (Joshua 3:11). The Zohar applies this phrase to the Celestial Mother/Daughter who as the Mother and Daughter of Elohim is the image of the House of Elohim (Temple). Mary adorns male garments as the Sovereign and Warrior of the sons of Elohim. She leads her warriors to become like Elohim. This is the mystery of Divinisation. The mission of the humble daughter of Elohim is then achieved and she enters into her joy or triumph. This is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. This is the fulfilment of Zephaniah 3:14. “Rejoice, O fair Daughter of Zion, all Israel cry aloud: here is joy and triumph for thy Royal Heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem”. This humble daughter of Zion is the Heavenly Ark of the Covenant, Sovereign Queen of all the Earth. The Zohar says in regard to her: “ ‘Then I conduct them from above to the house of Elohim, to be Elohim, like him’. With what? With joyous shouts of praise, the festive throng.”

This whole section of Zohar is trying to explain how souls become incarnated to their bodies. The ‘from above’ represents the place from which the souls descend from the Mind of the Son (Mi) in the world of Beriyah to the lower worlds where each soul is connected to the Female (mah) who is the living Ark of the Covenant, Sovereign of all the Earth. In Zohar 1:3b the Zohar discusses the Rose as a Palace and a key. It is the key that opens and closes- the key of David. This is the Key of the Kingdom (Malchut) which is associated with King David and given by Jesus the Son of David and Davidic Messiah to Shimon Kepha. This is the ‘Magen David’. It is associated with the point of Wisdom (Hokmah). Hokmah has 50 gates. This is the mystery or secret of the Bera (Son) concealed in Bereshit. Bereshit is the key and it has six gates (the Magen David and the Rose). “As long as the world was locked within the word BRA (Son and Creation), it was not, did not exist.” This is explaining the Mystery of the Son (Bera) containing the whole plan of Creation within his Divine Mind, until then everything was hidden. The Son through the point of Wisdom opened and the Creation flowed forth as a rose unfolding and blossoming. Everything was concealed in the Bera (Son) and he opened due to the divine Love and Mercy symbolised by Abraham. The name BRA (beit resh alef) was transposed and became fruitful through the Divine Phallus of ABR (Ever/ organ). These three letters in this order are the beginning of the name Abraham as well as the word for the sexual organ. This is a deep ‘theology of the body’. This ‘ever’ (organ) is the Yesod (foundation) of the world. It is the Ultimate Tzaddik. This is linked with the verse: “The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world”. This ‘ever’ which is connected with ‘Bera’ is called the ‘divine concealed one’. We are led back to the phrase ‘mi bara elleh’ (who created these). In the word ABR was engraved ‘H’ (hay) and in the word ELH was engraved ‘Y’ (yod). Then the mystery of the two mems is mentioned that complete the names Abraham and Elohim. Here the two names are referring to the concepts of Mercy and Judgement.

The two mems represent ‘mayim’ the spiritual water and ‘Miriam’ the heavenly Mother (imma) who is Rosa Mystica- the white Rose or Flower. The uniting of the two mems produced the rose that is the shield or star of David. They are the two hearts which are seen as triangular shaped mems. The Mother united with her Son (Ben Avraham) are the two roses (red and white) that become one as the Rosa Mundi. The Zohar here also speaks of the ‘Holy Lamp” which also represents the Divine Heart. St Gertrude states that Jesus gave her “his divine Heart in the form of a lighted lamp.” Jesus also spoke to St Gertrude about ‘the eyes of the heart’. The eyes represent the divine attributes of ‘mercy’ and ‘judgement’ and the heart the attribute of compassion. This is linked to 1 Kings 9:3 “and my eyes and my heart will dwell there perpetually”. Jesus also said to St Gertrude “Here is My Heart”. ‘My Heart’ in Hebrew gematria is 42. Rabbi Hiyya (in Zohar 1:4a) refers to this ‘Holy Lamp” as the Light of the world, the Majestic Ruler and Prince.

In Zohar 1:4a-b it reveals that the Rose also called Heaven has 390 firmaments. It reveals that there are two higher academies or yeshivahs. One in the higher regions of what Catholics would call Purgatory close to the gates of Heaven is a Garden of Eden or a Rosarium where there is an Academy where the souls learn Torah. They are taught by the great teachers who descend from the Academy in Heaven and the Messiah himself visits these Academies on occasion. “Meanwhile he heard a voice proclaiming, ‘Make way, make way – for the King Messiah is coming to the Academy of Rabbi Shimon!’… The Messiah visits all those academies, setting his seal on the Torah issuing from the mouths of the rabbis. At that moment the Messiah arrived, adorned by the heads of the academies with celestial crowns.”

The Zohar also reveals that these two represented by the golden cherubim are also the feminine and masculine aspects of Sabbath and of Torah. The written Torah is seen as the male and the oral Torah as the female. The written Torah represents the giving of wisdom and the oral Torah the understanding of that given wisdom. It is the female or Mother that understands the Torah fully. It is the Mother understanding the wisdom of the heart of her Son. This is the two mems of the name Miriam. The open mem is the sea or vessel of Understanding that receives the wisdom of the closed or final (sofit) mem who is the Head (rosh) of Creation. The ‘resh’ in Miriam represents the word ‘head’ (rosh) and the ‘yod’ represents the word ‘hand’ (yad). The head and the hand represent the Divine Man who is encompassed by the concept of the two mems which is Miriam. This is associated with Oral Torah as the way through the Sea (yam) (Isaiah 43:16). This way of the sea (Zohar 1:48b) is the Way of the prophetess Miriam who saw the Mysteries of the Rose as an opening of the Divine Sea. The earthly Miriam is a type of the Heavenly Miriam who is to be the Mother of the Messiah.

Zohar 1:5b reveals the Female, who we have seen is the Rosa Mystica, as the Sabbath Queen. She is associated with the Sabbath Eve and her Son with the Sabbath Day. “She said before Him, ‘Master of the Universe, since the day you created me, I have been called Sabbath - and there can be no ‘Day’ without ‘Night’’.” This alludes to Genesis 1:5 “And God called the Light ‘Day”, and the darkness [the Female concealed in darkness (glow light/zohar)] ‘Night’ [the Sabbath Night], And there was Evening [Sabbath Eve] and there was Morning [Sabbath Morning or Day] – day one.” The day one (yom echad) represents the unity of the Lord of the Sabbath and the Sabbath Queen. The word ‘yom’ (yod vav mem) represents the unity of YHVH and his mother. The ‘yod’ is the ‘Son of the Father’ who descends or bursts into Creation (Tzimtzum) as ‘Light’ (Or) and the ‘vav’ represents the Son as a ‘rose’ that unfolds and blossoms united to the ‘mem’ which is associated with the Mother who is Miriam. The ‘yam’ (sea) that is Miriam (Mir-yam) is found in the word ‘yom’ (day) as it surrounds the ‘vav’ as the Sea of wisdom and Mercy. The ‘vav’ is the Son (Zer Anpin) who is the male aspect of Wisdom.

Zohar 1:5b discusses further the Sabbath Queen: “My daughter you are Sabbath – I call you Sabbath – but I am about to crown you with a higher crown.” Here it reveals in veiled form that this perfect mirror of the Lord is to receive a higher honour. She is to become the Sanctuary or Temple of the Lord YHVH himself. She is to bear God in her womb as the Living Ark of the Covenant. “He issued a proclamation: My sanctuary you are to hold in ‘Awe’ (Reverence). This is the Sabbath of Sabbath Eve, who is ‘Awe’ and in whom ‘Divine Awe’ dwells. Who is that? (mi zeh?) The one included by the Blessed Holy One when he said ‘I am YHVH’.” (Zohar 1:5b). Thus Mary (Miriam) as the perfect mirror of ‘Divine Awe’ becomes the Sanctuary (mother) for the “Divine Awe’ himself who is the Blessed Holy One (the Divine Heart) and YHVH – the I AM. The Zohar in this section also reveals that these two Sabbaths are also called ‘Heaven’ (i.e the Son) and the ‘Earth’ (i.e. the Mother). They are represented by a circle and a square – the square inside the circle. These two are associated with the Kiddush of Sabbath Eve. The 70 names of God associated with this Sabbath Eve Kiddush adorns the Sabbath Queen. The lady of the Sabbath is connected with the word ‘observe’ (shamor) in Deuteronomy 5:12 and the Lord of the Sabbath is linked with ‘remember’ (zakhor). The Lord of the Sabbath is called Supreme King and the ‘King who possesses Peace’. Zakhor (remember) alludes to Zakhar (male). This circle and square represent the unity of the Two Hearts that beat as One. These mysteries are revealed by Elijah disguised as an old donkey driver which alludes to his role in preparing the way for the Messiah who comes humbly riding on a donkey.


Zohar 1:6 b describes the Divine Presence as the ‘Image of the Lion’. This is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who descends on the Altar to consume the Sacrifices. It describes the destruction of the two Temples and the slaying of the Lion of God (Ariel) who is the Light of God (Uriel). This slaying of the Lion alludes the Lion of the Apocalypse who is the ‘Lamb that was slain’. The evil Dog that tries to consume the sacrifices represents the Antichrist that would attempt to abolish the Sacrifice of the Mass (Eucharist). The Lady or Woman of Israel with her children (companions) are covered with crimson (i.e. the blood of Jesus) and can endure the persecution of this evil one. Zohar 1:8a speaks of the Two Roses as the bride (kallah) and groom (hatan) mentioned in the Song of Songs. The Jewish tradition states that the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies of Scripture. Here we see the bride as Mother of the Community (Kneset Yisrael) united under the Huppah (marriage canopy) with her Son in his role as Body of Mashiach. The adornments and wedding finery of the Bride is the whole Torah – Written and Oral. Zohar 1:8a speaks of the righteous singing the Song of Torah. The ‘Heaven’ who is the Son and the male cherub (‘end of heaven’) is revealed as the Groom. The Bride is called ‘El’ (God) referring to her as Elleh (Goddess). She is ‘god’ or ‘goddess’ (El or Elleh) by adoption and divinisation. She becomes as or like God (El) and she attains to the Glory (Kavod) of God. This is why Jacob Frank refers to Our Lady at Czestochowa as the ‘Goddess’. This is the mystery of divinisation and the total living in the Divine Will. Our Lady and all her companions (haverim) become gods and goddesses by adoption not by nature. Jesus is the only Son by nature or essence. Zohar states that this Bride ascends from ‘glory to glory’. “She is called Glory as well as God, glory upon glory, radiance upon radiance, dominion upon dominion.” This is the coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth and Queen of the Angels and Saints. She is specially associated with those who are ‘masters of the oath of the covenant of the bride’. These are those who have mastered sexual purity in body, mind and heart. Sins of impurity may lead one to Hell and to the Prince of Hell called Dumah (Silence) unless one repents as David did.

Zohar 1:9a refers to this Groom as the Sun. “Dwelling in those skies, crowned in them, he is like a groom coming forth from his chamber.” This Sun is then linked to ‘the end of Heaven above’ which earlier was revealed as the male cherub on the Ark of the Covenant. Bereshit in Genesis 1:1 is made up of six letters (shoshan- the six petalled rose). It is followed by 6 words (bara Elohim et ha-Shamayim ve-et ha-aretz).This is linked to the six times that YHVH appears in Psalm 19:8-10. The mystery of the circuit of the sun (as male and female) is revealed in Psalm 19. ‘His circuit’ is the ‘end of heaven below’ who alludes to the female cherub.

Zohar 1:10b asks the companions to sing songs of Praise to the bride as this is what pleases the Groom. Jacob Frank and his followers used to sing parts of the Zohar in honour of the Virgin Bride and they were accused by their enemies of engaging in sex with a naked woman. Zohar 1:10b is linked with Revelations 12 where the Woman of Israel (Mary) is in the wilderness. The “Shema Yisrael” also is made up of six words linking it to the concept of Shoshan – the six petalled Rose. Zohar 1:14a associated the head Teffilin with the verse “Your head upon you is like Carmel”. The male is the Head Tefillin associated with the word ‘zakhar’ (male) and zakhor’ (remember). The female is the Hand Teffilin associated with ‘shamor’ (observe). The Teffillin boxes represent the Two Hearts that are the Two Roses. Wearing them both unites symbolically the Two Hearts as the One Rosa Mundi. The Hebrew phrase head and year (rosh ve-shanah) connected with Rosh ha Shanah can be rearranged to mean ‘riah shoshan’ (to see a Rose). The Rose Bush is also associated symbolically with the burning bush of Moses.

The new Adam and the new Eve represent these feminine and masculine mysteries that are at the heart of the Jewish mystical theology. This is the mystical forerunner of the ‘theology of the body’ that has recently been unveiled by Pope John Paul II and is starting to be unfolded by Catholic theologians and writers such as Christopher West and Professor Janet Smith. The Hebrew Catholic Frankists are also forerunners of this theology of the body through their deep study of the Zohar which led Jacob Frank and his followers to embrace the Catholic Church. The Frankists remained influential in Polish Catholicism and many of the Polish sources that influenced the insights of Pope John Paul II come from Polish Catholic thinkers who are influenced by the Frankist ideas. The Frankists have been misrepresented by their enemies and critics but I think that their teachings need to be reassessed in the light of the present Papal theology and teachings of John Paul II. The Frankists’ symbol was the red Magen David which is also the red Rose. Jacob Frank spent 13 years at Czestochowa where Our Lady appeared to him as a beautiful Virgin. Jacob Frank was a devotee of the Zohar and Our Lady. He saw her connection with the concepts of Kneset Yisrael, Matronita and Sabbath Queen as revealed in the Zohar. He stated: “If you had caught on to that Maiden (The Virgin Matronita) in whom rests all the power of the world then you would have come in to the power to do works. But since you are not worthy of this, to cling to her, I know not to whom she will reveal her secret, and I am sworn and wait to do and fulfill whatever she orders done. And I bless you, for she has commanded me to receive you, and I rejoice. I told you that I am only a messenger, and whatever she says to me, I do.” Jacob Frank here humbly claims to be only a servant and messenger of Our Lady. He also stated: “You were not worthy to understand when I said to you, ‘I will show you God’, for first you must meet the Virgin because she is the Gate to God, and through her one enters in to God.” He also referred to her as the Redemptress . The Jewish tradition also calls Esther a Redemptress. This has significance for the Catholic belief in Mary as the Co-Redemptrix. Jacob Frank and his teaching have been distorted by his enemies and also by occultists to their own ends. Even some of his own followers did not fully understand what he had taught them. Zohar 1:11b refers to Rabbi Shimon as a precious pearl. This pearl shines forth as a great light. Jacob Frank describes the light or aspect of God that he had and its growth as a pearl. As Rabbi Shimon was in a cave for 13 years so Jacob Frank was in a ‘cave’/prison for 13 years at Czestochowa. He predicted a wonderful era of living in the Divine Will when the Jewish people would enter the Catholic Church. He associated this era with miraculous Roses that would bloom every day for 110 years. These Roses are the wonderful mystical insights that would find their full blossoming when the Jewish mystical tradition would be united with the Catholic mystical tradition leading to a wonderful era of peace. He also predicted the coming Holocaust of the Jews in Europe if they didn’t enter into Rome (whom he called Edom/Seir). The Jesuits had strongly supported Jacob Frank and his followers and both the Frankists and Jesuits were hated by certain groups within the Church that worked with the anti-Frankist Jewish authorities in order to slander and persecute both groups. The Frankists were also called Zoharists and they brought great riches into the Catholic Church that is bearing fruit in the pontificate of the Polish Slavic Pope which had been predicted by Frank. This prediction had been passed down by the families of Frankist origin in Poland. He also saw a future important spiritual role for Poland, France and the Jews which was passed down by the Frankist families. Our Lady of Czestochowa who appeared to Frank is close to the heart of Pope John Paul II and the whole Polish nation. John Paul presented the shrine of Czestochowa with a Golden Rose to signify the importance of this shrine of Our Lady. The Lady of the Zohar who is the Jewish Rosa Mystica is revealed to Frank as Our Lady of Czestochowa of Catholic devotion. The Frankists were the first fruits of the future ingrafting of the Jews to the Catholic faith followed by Our Lady’s apparition to the Jew Alphonse Ratisbonne in 1842.

Cardinal Newman also spoke about Mary as the Rosa Mystica. He said: “Mary is the most beautiful flower that ever was seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God's grace that from this barren and desolate earth there have ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory. And Mary is the Queen of them. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore she is called the Rose, for the rose is fitly called of all flowers the most beautiful.But moreover, she is the Mystical, or hidden Rose; for mystical means hidden. How is she now "hidden" from us more than are other saints? What means this singular appellation, which we apply to her specially? The answer to this question introduces us to a third reason for believing in the reunion of her sacred body to her soul, and its assumption into heaven soon after her death, instead of its lingering in the grave until the General Resurrection at the last day…Why then do we hear nothing of the Blessed Virgin's body and its separate relics? Why is she thus the hidden Rose? Is it conceivable that they who had been so reverent and careful of the bodies of the Saints and Martyrs should neglect her—her who was the Queen of Martyrs and the Queen of Saints, who was the very Mother of our Lord? It is impossible. Why then is she thus the hidden Rose? Plainly because that sacred body is in heaven, not on earth.”St Bernard of Clairvaux also calls Mary a Rose: "Eve was a thorn, wounding, bringing death to all; in Mary we see a rose, soothing everybody's hurts, giving the destiny of salvation back to all. Mary was a rose, white for maidenhood, red for love; white in body, red in soul; white in her seeking after virtue, red in treading down vice; white in cleansing her affections, red in mortifying her flesh; white in her love of God, red in compassion for her neighbour" .

The famous Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins seems to have been refecting on the opening verses of the Zohar when he wrote his poem entitled “Rosa Mystica”.

ROSA MYSTICA

by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

`The Rose is a mystery'- where is it found?
Is it anything true? Does it grow on the ground?
It was made of the earth's mould, but it went from men's eyes,
And its place is a secret, and shut in the skies.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
Find me a place by thee, Mother of mine.
But where was it formerly? Which is the spot
That was blest in it once, though now it is not?
It is Galilee's growth; it grew at God's will
and broke into bloom upon Nazareth Hill.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
I shall look on thy loveliness, Mother of mine.
What was its season, then? How long ago?
When was the summer that saw the Bud blow?
Two thousands of years are near upon past
Since its birth, and its bloom, and its breathing its last.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
I shall keep time with thee, Mother of mine.
Tell me the name now, tell me its name:
The heart guesses easily, is it the same?
Mary, the Virgin, well the heart knows,
She is the Mystery, she is that Rose.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
I shall come home to thee, Mother of mine.
Is Mary that Rose, then? Mary, the Tree?
But the Blossom, the Blossom there, who can it be?
Who can her Rose be? It could be but One:
Christ Jesus, our Lord - her God and her Son.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
Shew me thy son, Mother, Mother of mine.
What was the colour of that Blossom bright?
White to begin with, immaculate white.
But what a wild flush on the flakes of it stood,
When the Rose ran in crimsonings down the Cross-wood.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
I shall worship the Wounds with thee, Mother of mine.
How many leaves had it? Five they were then,
Five like the senses, and members of men;
Five is the number by nature, but now
They multiply, multiply, who can tell how.
In the Gardens of God, in the daylight divine
Make me a leaf in thee, Mother of mine.
Does it smell sweet, too, in that holy place?
Sweet unto God, and the sweetness is grace;
The breath of it bathes the great heaven above,
In grace that is charity, grace that is love.
To thy breast, to thy rest, to thy glory divine
Draw me by charity, Mother of mine.