The Universal Soul of Zion

Dear Friends,
Some of the previous letters in our series have begun to reveal the universal nature of the soul of Zion through discussing various prophecies regarding Zion’s central role during the messianic age of universal enlightenment and shalom. For examples, see the links which appear at the end of this letter.


In my search for the soul of Zion, I discovered that the universal nature of this soul was first revealed to “Avraham Avinu” – Abraham, our father – just before he began his journey to the Land of Zion. This revelation is found in the following passage where Hashem tells our forefather to begin the journey to the land where a new and great nation will emerge from him:
“Go for yourself, from your land, from your birthplace, and from the house of your father, to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great; and become a blessing!” (12:1,2)
The opening statement is, “Go for yourself!” These words indicate that this journey is for his own benefit, as a great nation will emerge from him in the new land (commentary of Rashi). Our forefather is then told, “Become a blessing!” These words indicate that his journey to the new land is to also benefit others. As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains, the great nation which is to emerge from Avraham is not to be like other nations which just seek blessings for themselves, for this new nation is to strive to be a source of blessing for others. Rabbi Hirsch writes:
”Individuals are imprisoned and hanged for the crimes of fraud and murder, but countries murder and defraud on a grand scale, and those who murder and defraud ‘in the interest of the state’ are decorated and rewarded. Not like these is the portion of Avraham.” (Commentary on Genesis 12:2)
Rabbi Hirsch adds:


“The nation of Avraham is – in private and public life – to heed only one call: Become a blessing! Its life is to be devoted to the Divine aims of bringing harmony to humankind and to the world, as well as to restore the human being to his former glory.”
Avraham’s nation is to become a universal source of blessing; thus, Hashem concludes the message with the following promise:


“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse; and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Ibid 12:3).


The people on earth who support and bless the mission of Avraham’s nation will be blessed by Hashem, for through Avraham’s nation “all the families of the earth will be blessed.”


This universal promise to Avraham is also found in the following verse where Hashem proclaims:


“For Avraham is to become a great and mighty nation, and through it, all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 18:18)


The Divine promise of the nation which is to become a source of blessing for others was passed on to Avraham’s younger son, Yitzchak (Isaac), as Hashem said to Yitzchak: “And all the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your offspring” (Genesis 26:4).


This Divine promise was then passed on to Yitzchak’s younger son, Yaakov (Jacob), whose 12 sons were the fathers of the 12 Tribes of Israel. As Hashem said to Yaakov: “And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (Genesis 28:14).


We, the offspring of Yaakov, are to become a source of blessing for all the families of the earth. The commentator, Sforno, in his explanation of this Divine promise to our father, Yaakov, cites the following prophecy regarding our universal role as “Kohanim” – ministers – in the Land of Zion during the messianic age:


“You shall be called ‘Kohanim of Hashem’; ‘ministers of our God’ will be said of you.” (Isaiah 61:6)


Sforno later elaborates on this idea in his commentary on the following Divine call to our people at Mount Sinai:


“And you shall be to Me a kingdom of Kohanim” (Exodus 19:6).


Sforno writes:


“For you are to become a kingdom of Kohanim, to understand and to teach the entire human species that all shall call proclaim the Name of Hashem and serve Him with a united resolve. This shall be the role of Israel in the future, as it says, You shall be called Kohanim of Hashem (Isaiah 61:6), and as it says, For from Zion will go forth Torah (Isaiah 2:3).





Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen  (See below)


Related Comments:


Within the archive of the series which appears on our website, there are a number of letters which discuss the universal nature of Zion’s soul, and the following are direct links to three letters which serve as examples:


A. Jerusalem and the “Summer of Love”: Part One


B. Jerusalem and the “Summer of Love”: Part Two:  


C. Zion and the Yearning for Salvation:

Hazon - Our Universal Vision