In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Proverbs chapter 8 reveals an amazing secret about the nature of the Torah:
“HaShem possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his deeds of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before the earth existed. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the beginning of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he set a circle on the surface of the deep, when he established the clouds above, when the springs of the deep became strong, when he gave to the sea its boundary, that the waters should not violate his commandment, when he marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was the craftsman by his side. I was a delight day by day, always rejoicing before him, rejoicing in his whole world. My delight was with the sons of men.”
Based on this remarkable passage, Chazal say that the name of the Torah is רֵאשִׁית Reisheet, or Beginning, as it states,
יי קָנָנִי רֵאשִׁית דַּרְכֹּו
“HaShem possessed me, the Beginning of His Way”
Using the Jewish principles of interpretation, the word “Beginning” links to Genesis 1:1,
בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ
“In the Beginning, G־d created the heavens and the earth.”
The letter beit, which begins B‘resheet, can mean “in” or “with.” In fact, this is exactly how the Jerusalem Targum renders the passage,
“In wisdom (be-hukema) the L-rd created.”
Therefore, the interpretation follows that if name of the Torah is “Beginning,” then the passage may be interpreted,
‘With the Torah, G-d created the heavens and the earth.”
This is source for the Johannine Prologue. The Zohar says explains the unity between HaShem and the Torah,
“…the Holy One and the Torah are one.”
Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 60a, Soncino Press Edition
The Zohar also explains that the Torah is the Name of HaShem, and “He and his Name are one,”
“For the Torah is the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He. As the Name of the Holy One is engraved in the Ten Words (creative utterances) of Creation, so is the whole Torah engraved in the Ten Words (Decalogue), and these Ten Words are the Name of the Holy One, and the whole Torah is thus one Name, the Holy Name of God Himself. Blessed is he who is worthy of her, the Torah, for he will be worthy of the Holy Name. Said R. Jose: This means that he will be worthy of the Holy One Himself, as He and His Name are one. Blessed be His Name for ever and ever. Amen.
Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 90b, Soncino Press Edition
“I and the Father are one.”
The word “Torah” is one of the titles given to Zeir Anpin,
אָמַר רִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, אִינּוּן נָפְקוּ לְמַדְבְּרָא לְאִסְתַּכְּלָא, קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא נָטַל זִיוָא יְקָרָא דִּילֵיהּ מִתַּמָּן, וְאִינּוּן אָזְלוּ לְאִסְתַּכְּלָא בֵּיהּ, וְלָא אַשְׁכְּחוּהוּ. וְאוֹלִיפְנָא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא תּוֹרָה אִקְרֵי, וְאֵין מַיִם אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה, וְאֵין תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא
“Rabbi Elazar said, ‘They went out into the wilderness to gaze and perceive, but the Holy One, blessed be He, removed His precious splendor from there. They went in order to conceive Him, but did not find Him. We have learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, is called ‘Torah’. Therefore, water is Torah, and Torah is the Holy One, blessed be He.”
Zohar, Shemot, Beshalach, Zohar.com
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made.
In the Zohar, based on the Midrash, a fascinating statement is spoken by the Torah,
“The Torah proclaims: I was by Him an architect, through me He created the world!”
Zohar II:161a, Soncino Press Edition
וָאֶהְיֶה אֶצְלֹו אָמֹון
“…then I was the craftsman by his side.”
The Midrash Rabbah describes this multifaceted word אומן (amon) as a nursling, covered, hidden,great, and craftsman. The Artscroll commentary to Proverbs comments on the word ‘nursling,’
“I was a nursing beside him. The Torah was like God’s beloved child, nurtured by Him and His source of constant delight (Metzudos).”
Artscroll Commentary to Proverbs 8:30, Volume I, Mesorah Publishers, pg 156
Genesis Rabbah says,
“R’ Hoshayah the Great opened his discourse on our passage with the following exposition: The Torah describes its relationship with God before the advent of Creation: I was then His “amon”…The word “amon” is to be understood in the sense of “uman” אומן, a craftsman…Thus in this verse the Torah declares, “I was the craftsman’s tool, so to speak, in the hands of the Holy One, blessed is He, through which He created the world.”
Artscroll Genesis Rabbah 1:1, Mesorah Publishers, pg.3
R’ Aryeh Kaplan comments,
“The Torah is Wisdom, and is therefore the “head” of creation . . . It might be thought that the Torah was created only to rectify creation as it already exists. If this were so, the Torah would have been created after the earth. But actually, the Torah was the blueprint of creation, and therefore preceded it.”
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, the Bahir, pg. 96
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִ֣י אֹור וַיְהִי־אֹור׃
“God said, Let there be light, and there was light.”
These words still echo and resonate throughout Creation. Let there be light. This Light that is spoken of in Genesis is not referring to the small spectrum of visible light, but the Primordial Light that illumined the universe at its inception. How was this light brought forth? Genesis Rabbah says,
“R. Simeon b. R. Jehozadak asked R. Samuel b. Nahman: As I have heard that you are a master of haggadah, tell me whence the light was created? He replied: The Holy One, blessed be He, wrapped Himself therein as in a tallit and irradiated with the lustre of His majesty the whole world from one end to the other...”
Genesis Rabbah 3:4, Soncino Press Edition
Every morning during shacharit (morning) prayers, when putting on the tallit, the following Scripture is read,
“He covers himself with light as with a garment. He stretches out the heavens like a curtain.”
Incredibly, the Light that HaShem revealed into the world was through concealment, or a contraction of his Infinite Light. The gematria of Ohr Light, is equivalent to the Hebrew word for Infinity, Ein Sof,
אור = Ohr, Light = 207
אין סוף = Ein Sof, Infinity = 207
This Light was unique. According to the Sages, one could see from one end of the universe to the other with it,
“The light which the Holy One, blessed be He, created on the first day was such that man could see thereby from one end of the universe to the other.”
Leviticus Rabbah 11:7, Soncino Press Edition
The entire universe is estimated to be 93.2 billion light years across! While oftentimes this light is spoken of as being “created,” it was actually “formed.” The book of Isaiah describes this important nuance between darkness and light,
יֹוצֵר אֹור וּבֹורֵא חֹשֶׁךְ
There is literally a world of difference between the verbs bara (create) and yatzar(form). The word ‘bara’ refers to creationex nihlo, that is, from nothing. The word ‘yatzar’ refers to shaping something already in existence. For instance, a sculptor who creates a sculpture doesn’t actually create the clay material, he simply shapes it. R’ Aryeh Kaplan explains,
“. . . the concept of “creation” means “something from nothing,” while “formation” is “something from something”. Light emanates from God’s essence, and is therefore “something from something”. Darkness, on the other hand, is a completely novel concept, and has no relationship to God. It is therefore “created” – “something from nothing.” . . . All creation was originally filled with the Light of the Infinite Being, and therefore, “darkness”, which is the restraint and constriction of this Light, was something completely novel. It is for this reason that the word “created” is used with regard to darkness. The thread of Light that entered this darkness of the Vacated Space, however, had its original in the original Infinite Light, and is therefore said to be “formed.”
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Commentary on the Bahir, pg. 99
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In this Exodus 35, it doesn’t just say ‘the oil for light’ but ‘the oil for THE light,”
וְאֶת־מְנֹרַ֧ת הַמָּאֹ֛ור וְאֶת־כֵּלֶ֖יהָ וְאֶת־נֵרֹתֶ֑יהָ וְאֵ֖ת שֶׁ֥מֶן הַמָּאֹֽור׃
“…the Menorah also for the light (ha-ma’or), with its vessels, its lamps, and the oil for the light (ha-ma’or).”
Psalms 132 says,
שָׁם אַצְמִיחַ קֶרֶן לְדָוִד עָרַכְתי נר לִמְשִׁיחִי
“There I will make the horn of David to bud. I have ordained a lamp for my Messiah.”
“The King Messiah, who is compared to light, as it is stated (below 132:17): “I have set up a lamp for my anointed,” and Elijah the prophet, who is true, a faithful prophet.”
Rashi on Psalm 43:3, Judaica Press
Midrash Tanchuma says,
(מה כתיב אחריו, שמן למאור, זה מלך המשיח, שנאמר, שם אצמיח קרן לדוד ערכתי נר למשיחי (תהל’ קלב יז
מדרש תנחומא, פרשת תרומה, סימן ז
“…After this it is written, ‘oil for the light’ – this is King Messiah, as it says, “I will make the horn of David grow, I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.” (Psalm 132:17)
Midrash Tanchuma, Parashat T’rumah 7, Cited in Concealed Light, Dr. TsviSadan, Vine of David, pg. 232
The book of Daniel says,
“He reveals the deep and secret things, he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.”
The Midrash Rabbah comments on this passage,
“R. Abba of Serungayya said: And the light dwells with him “alludes to the royal Messiah.”
Genesis Rabbah 1:6, Soncino Press Edition
The Midrash Rabbah identifies the name of the Messiah as the Nehirah, Light,
“The School of R. Jannai said: His name is Yinnon, for it is written, E’er the sun was, his name is Yinnon (Ps. 72:17). R. Biba of Sergunieh said: His name is Nehirah(LIGHT), as it is stated, And the light (nehorah) dwelleth with Him (Dan. 2:22) . . .R. Judah b. R. Simon said in the name of R. Samuel b. R. Isaac: King Messiah, whether he be of those still living or of those who are dead, bears the name of David.”
Lamentations Rabbah 1:51, Soncino Press Edition
Pesikta Rabbai makes an incredible statement,
“What is meant by ‘in Thy light do we see light’? What light is it that the congregation of Israel looks for as from a watchtower? It is the light of Messiah, of which it is said, ‘And God saw the light that it was good’ (Gen 1:4). This verse proves that the Holy One, blessed be He, contemplated the Messiah and his works before the world was created, and then under His throne of glory put away His Messiah until the time of the generation in which he will appear. Satan asked the Holy One, blessed be He, for whom is the light which is put away under Thy throne of glory? God replied: For him who will turn thee back and put thee to utter shame. Satan said: Master of the universe, show him to me. God replied: Come and see him. And when he saw him, Satan was shaken, and he fell upon his face and said: Surely this is the Messiah who will cause me and all the counterparts in heaven of the princes of the earth’s nations to be swallowed up in Gehenna…in that hour all the princely counterparts of the nations, in agitation, will say to Him: Master of the universe, who is this through whose power we are to be swallowed up? What is his name? What kind of being is he?”
Pesikta Rabbati 36.1, Yale University Press, pg. 677-678
Thus the light that is sown is Mashiach,
“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.”
There came a man, sent from God, whose name was Yochanan.
The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light.
The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not recognize him.
Kol HaTor says,
“Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him — This is one of the traits of Yosef not only in his own generation, but in every generation, i.e., that Mashiach ben Yosef recognizes his brothers, but they do not recognize him. This is the work of Satan, who hides the characteristics of Mashiach ben Yosef so that the footsteps of the Mashiach are not recognized and are even belittled because of our many sins. (See below 103). Otherwise, our troubles would already have ended. Were Israel to recognize Yosef, that is, the footsteps of ben Yosef the Mashiach which is the ingathering of the exiles etc., then we would already have been redeemed with a complete redemption.”
Kol HaTor 2:39, translated by R’ Yechiel Bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg. 37
Kol HaTor notes something incredible, even the scholars will be struck with blindness,
“How strong is the force of the Sitra Achra that he managed to hide from the eyes of our holy forefathers the danger of the klipot layers: from the eyes of our forefather Abraham, the klipaof Ismael; from the eyes of our forefather Isaac, the klipa of Esau; and from the eyes of our forefather Jacob, the klipa of the terafim. During the footsteps of the Mashiach, the Sitra Achra becomes even stronger, in order to strike Biblical scholars with blindness.”
Kol HaTor 5, translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist, pg. 122
He came to his own, and those who were his own did not receive him.
The Baal Shem Tov (BeShT), R’ Yisrael ben Eliezer (circa 1700-1760 CE), says,
“It is written: “The path of the righteous is as the gleam of sunlight, that shines ever brighter until the height of the day” (Proverbs 4:18). That is, the sun in itself shines in its place equally, both at the onset of the day and in the middle. The only thing that obstructs it is the earth, which stands between us and the sun. Therefore, its light does not shine so brightly at dawn – only a little bit – until it spreads across the earth. The same holds true of the Tzaddik. In himself, he is always shining: the blockage is only on the part of the receivers. This too is due to the obstruction of the earth – that is, this world. For people are sunk in this world, and are unable to receive the light of the Tzaddik.”
Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer on Devarim, translated by Rabbi Eliezer Shore, pg. 118
There is a tradition in a text called the Secrets of R’ Shimon bar Yochai, that Mashiach will be concealed and rejected,
“The Messiah of the lineage of Ephraim shall die there, and Israel shall mourn for him. After this the Holy One blessed be He will reveal to them the Messiah of the lineage of David, but Israel will wish to stone him, and they will say to him: ‘You speak a lie, for the Messiah has already been slain, and there is no other Messiah destined to arise.’ They will scorn him, as Scripture says: ‘despised and abandoned (by) men’ (Isa 53:3). He shall withdraw and be hidden from them, as Scripture continues: ‘like one hiding faces from us’ (ibid.). But in Israel’s great distress, they will turn and cry out from (their) hunger and thirst, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will be revealed to them in His glory, as Scripture promises: ‘together all flesh will see’ (Isa 40:5). And the King Messiah will sprout up there, as Scripture says: ‘and behold with the clouds of heaven etc.’ (Dan 7:13), and it is written after it ‘and authority was given to him’ (Dan 7:14). He shall blow (his breath) at that wicked Armilos and kill him, as Scripture forecasts: ‘he will slay the wicked one with the breath of his lips’ (Isa 11:4).”
Nistarot ben Shimon bar Yochai, translated by John C. Reeves 
But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name,
who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Michael Munk elucidates the concept of the Torah in the Wisdom of the Hebrew Alefbet,
“The sum total of human knowledge derives from the Torah because the universe is a product of Torah which is the blueprint of the world…When His Ineffable Word took physical form, heaven and earth became the clothing for the word of God which infuses Creation, and without which Creation would not continue to exist. The spiritual Torah which preceded the world became clothed in ink and parchment…the wisdom of God took for the form of the 613 commandments. But the precepts are not isolated phenomena; they are all interrelated aspects of a single Torah, like the organs and vessels of a single human body to which the totality of the commandments are likened.”
The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, Artscroll, Michael L. Munk, pg. 47
Yochanan testified about him. He cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.”
From his fullness we all received grace upon grace.
For the Torah was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Yeshua the Messiah.
No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
“You cannot see my face, for man may not see me and live.”
This is Yochanan’s testimony, when the Judeans sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
He declared, and did not deny, but he declared, “I am not the Messiah.”
They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”
They said therefore to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said.'”
The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees.
They asked him, “Why then do you immerse, if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
Yochanan answered them, “I immerse in water, but among you stands one whom you do not know.
He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.”
“How is usucaption [established in the case of] slaves? [If] he [the slave] tied on his [the master’s] sandal, or loosened his sandal, or carried clothes after him to the bathhouse, lo, this is usucaption.”
Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin 1:3, Translated by Jacob Neusner, Hendrickson Publishers
These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where Yochanan was immersing.
The next day, he saw Yeshua coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.
I did not know him, but for this reason I came immersing in water, that he would be revealed to Israel.
Yochanan testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him.
I did not recognize him, but he who sent me to immerse in water, he said to me, On whomever you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who immerses in the Holy Spirit.
I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
Again, the next day, Yochanan was standing with two of his disciples,
and he looked at Yeshua as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Yeshua.
Yeshua turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What are you looking for? They said to him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.
One of the two who heard Yochanan, and followed him, was Andrew, Shimon Peter’s brother.
He first found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah! (which is, being interpreted, Anointed One).”
He brought him to Yeshua. Yeshua looked at him, and said, “You are Shimon the son of Yonah. You shall be called Kefa (which is by interpretation, Petros).”
On the next day, he was determined to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip. Yeshua said to him, “Follow me.”
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.
Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the Torah, and the Prophets, wrote: Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Yeshua saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Yeshua answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!”
Yeshua answered him, “Because I told you, I saw you underneath the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these!”
He said to him, “Most certainly, I tell you, hereafter you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
“Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place (makom), and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. He took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
In English, the Torah seems straightforward and simple. However, in Hebrew, using Jewish Principles of Interpretation, an entire web of hidden connections begin to emerge. Consider the following example,
”R. Hiyya the Elder and R. Jannai disagreed. One maintained: They were ASCENDING AND DESCENDING the ladder; while the other said: they were ASCENDING AND DESCENDING on Jacob.”
Genesis Rabbah 68:12, SoncinoPress Edition
To an English speaker, the text of Genesis is clear, the angels were ascending and descending upon the Ladder, not Jacob. In Hebrew, however, the situation is more complex. The passage says that the angels were ascending and descending “BO.” The word ‘bo’ here literally means ‘on him.’ In English and Greek, there is a neuter gender. For example, the word “table” is neither masculine nor feminine. In other languages, like Spanish, the word “table” would be feminine, i.e “la mesa, (literally, “the table).” Hebrew is like Spanish in this regard. The question becomes, if the text means ‘on him’ who is the word ‘him’ referring to? By the context, it would be Jacob. The Malbim says,
“According to the Midrash, this ladder had four rungs. . . Yaakov drew divine energy down through all four hierarchical channels of the upper realms, known in Kabbalah as the worlds of Atzilus (Emanations), Beriyah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation), and Asiyah (Action). With this explanation in mind, an obscure Midrash suddently becomes clear. The Midrash says that the “angels from God were going up and down,” not “upon it” (Hebrew having no gender-neutral pronoun) but “upon him,” on Yaakov himself. Yaakov, through his deeds, regulates the Divine flow from above, the angels go up and down on him, by him and for him. He is the ladder.”
The Essential Malbim, Parashas Vayeitzei, Mesorah Publishers 229-230
Jacob in Jewish mysticism refers to the Sefirah of Tiferet, which is the heart of Zeir Anpin, the Holy Son. One Midrash says,
“…there were twelve steps leading to the top of the ladder, and on each step to the top there were two human faces, one on the right and on the left, twenty-four faces…Jacob not only saw the ladder and the angels, but when he peered up to the top of the ladder he saw the face of a man, carved out of fire, peering down at him. So too did Jacob see God fashioning the heavenly Temple with his own hands out of jewels and pearls and the radiance of the Shekhinah. . . .Then Jacob peered into the highest heaven and saw God’s throne. He saw that there was a face carved into the throne, and that face that Jacob saw there was his own…”
Tree of Souls, Howard Schwartz, Oxford University Press, pg. 358
As Jacob ascended the Ladder, his image became transformed. He became the earthly reflection of the heavenly reality. According to the Kol HaTor, the Ladder links to Mashiach ben Yosef,
“A ladder was set on the Land and its top reached to Heaven” (Gen. 28:12) – This is a quality of Yosef as known.”
Kol HaTor 2:97, Translated by R’ Yechiel bar Lev
Yeshua reveals the secret of the word ‘BO’, on him, that is hidden in Genesis. He identifies the word “him” as referring himself!