Adapted from a discourse of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, "the
by Rabbi Yossi Marcus
Divine Name Tzvakos does not appear in the Five Books of Moses. (Tzvakos
is the traditional method of pronouncing this Name, which is actually Tziva-os.)
the day G-d created the world, says the Talmud, no one called Him by the Name
Tzivakos until the barren Chana, father of Shmuel the prophet came along
and called Him so (Berachos 31b). Said G-d to Chana: Your son [Shmuel] is destined to
begin his prophecies with this Name (see Midrash Shmuel 2).
this Name is used by the later prophets—especially Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi—toward
the end of the First Temple era and at the beginning of the Exile. Most of their
prophecies utilize this Name (“So said the L-rd of Hosts—Havaya Tzivakos”).
Name never appears alone. It is always prefaced by another Name, as in Havaya
Tzivakos, the L-rd of Hosts. Thus its sacredness is the subject of debate
in the Talmud. According to Rabbi Yose, an opinion rejected by the Talmud, it
is not sacred and can be erased, since it refers to the Jewish people. Halacha,
however, follows the opinion that it is one of seven sacred Names of G-d
and must not be erased if written down (see Shavuos 35b).
the controversy behind this Name and why was it not used by Moshe in the Torah?
was on that very day that all the hosts of G-d—tzivos Havaya—left the land
of Egypt (Ex 12:41).
it is known that the essence of the Infinite Light is beyond any type of description.
The attributes attributed to Him by the prophets and the sages, such as wisdom,
mercy, etc., are not appropriate at all for His essence. For He is far removed
from any such characterization. Wisdom, which is the highest attribute for a created
being, is as removed from Him as is physical reality.
even this statement is misleading, since it implies some connection between G-d
and wisdom. For one would not negate a fact that is truly absurd. For example,
one would not say that a concept is so lofty that it cannot be touched, since
concepts do not exist in the world of touch to begin with (Bi’etzem 5747,
citing Tanya 2, ch. 9.). [G-d is beyond
wisdom in a way that cannot be expressed in the phrase “He is beyond wisdom.”])
the prophets and sages use these terms. For in what we perceive as His greatness,
lies His humility (Megilla 31a). In other words, when He lowers Himself
to be enclothed in the attributes of wisdom, kindness etc., we can apprehend Him
and sense His greatness. [In reality, though,
what we perceive as His greatness is not His essence but a manifestation and degradation
thereof. For example, when a sage speaks to a common person without adapting his
thoughts to the level of his listener, his greatness will be lost on his listener
who will hear nothing but gibberish. Conversely, when he lowers himself and adapts
his thoughts so that they can be perceived by the commoner, his greatness is seen;
but it is a degraded form of his sagacity that is apprehended.]
Hence the Divine Names. Each Name
describes the lowering of the Divine essence into another one of the attributes.
Keil refers to Chesed, Elokim to Gevurah, Ad-nai to Malchus, etc. The Name Havaya
is the inner being of each Name, i.e., it is the force that draws the Divine light
into the specific attribute. Havaya, therefore, is often combined with the other
Names, as in Havaya Elokim, Havaya Tzivakos, etc.
Divine Names, excluding Tzivakos, refer to G-d as He is manifest in the
world of Atzilus, the world of Oneness. Tzivakos refers to G-d as He is
manifest in the lower worlds, the worlds of Separateness. Tzivakos contains
the word tzava, army or host, and os, sign. This Name, then, refers
to G-d, the Sign, as He is manifest in the myriad hosts of creatures of the lower
In Zohar and the writings
of the Arizal, Tzivakos is associated with the sefiros of Netzach
and Hod, since their function is not for Atzilus itself but to facilitate the
influx to the lower worlds. As is known, Netzach and Hod are “kidneys that advise,”
i.e., they are “processors,” processing, for example, a thought, before it can
be transmitted from father to son or from teacher to student (See Tanya 4:15 p.
(In his “notes” on the Zohar
(2:284), Rabbi Levi Yitzchak comments: Tzivakos can be divided into two
words with an alef between them—tzadik beis, alef,
vov tof. The alef consists of an upper yud and a lower yud
connected by a vov. According to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the first two letters
of Tzivakos with the upper yud of the alef represent Netzach,
while the lower yud of the alef with the letters vov and
tof, represent Hod. The two parts of the word—Netzach and Hod—are united
by the vov of the alef.
also points out that when spelled out this way—tzadik beis yud,
vov, yud vov tof—Tzivakos equals 524, which is the
number of chapters in the Talmud, as well as the numeric equivalent of “Talmud
is not mentioned in the Torah but only by the prophets. For Moshe our teacher
was a soul of Atzilus and operated in that reality. The Torah that he purveyed,
and which is called by his name (Malachi 3:22), also describes the Atzilus reality.
So Tzivakos, which refers to G-d’s manifestation in the lower worlds, is
not appropriate for Moshe and his Torah.
Moshe’s wars were fought by G-d himself “G-d will wage war for you” (Ex. 14:14).
Yehoshua’s wars, however, were fought by “the commander of G-d’s army,” who says
“now I have come,” but not before, during the times of Moshe.
5:13-5: Once, when Yehoshua was in Jericho, he looked up and noticed a man standing
before him, with his sword unsheathed in his hand. Yehoshua went over to him and
asked, “Do you belong to us or to our enemies?” “No,” answered the man, “I am
the commander of G-d’s army (sar tzva Hashem). Now I have come to you.”]
Moshe faced is compared to the sun, while Yehoshua’s is compared to the moon (BR
75:1). Thus the exodus from Egypt and the splitting of the sea took place in an
openly miraculous manner that went entirely beyond the dictates of nature. This
was the level of Havaya, Atzilus. With Yehoshua’s wars, though they, too,
were miraculous, natural means that were employed as well. [Thus
it was inappropriate for Moshe to send spies for intelligence gathering, while
it was appropriate for Yehoshua to do so (see Rebbe’s Chumash on Shelach).])
necessity for the prophecies of the prophets: to draw the wisdom of the Torah
down to the level of their generations of Jews. The Torah of Moshe did not speak
to these new generations. Man and Torah remained separate entities. It was the
task of the prophets to bring Torah to the lower worlds so that it would address
the people on their level.
is only trough the prophets that the Name Tzivakos is introduced, since
they lived at a time when the Jewish people effected the union of G-dliness with
even the lower worlds, their reality.
Tzivakos, as in the above verse “tzivos Havaya,” refers also
to the Jewish people, since it is they, through their service of elevating the
sparks, that effect the union of G-dliness with the lower worlds, a concept expressed
by the Name Tzivakos.
word tzivos, “hosts,” is the conjunctive form of Tzivakos. In Hebrew,
when a word is used as a “prefix” to another word, such as “hosts of (G-d),”
its pronunciation differs from its primary form. Thus Tzivakos means “hosts,”
whereas tzivos means “hosts of.” Similarly, “beard” is zakan, while
“beard of” is zikan, as in zikan Aharon, “the beard of Aharon.”]
is achieved through eliciting a lofty light that is beyond Havaya, as the prophet
says of Chana (the first to use the Name Tzivakos), “And she prayed upon
Havaya” (I Samuel 2:1).
& [Adapted and
summarized by Rabbi Yosef Marcus from Torah Ohr, Bo; Bi’Etzem
5747; Bosi LiGani 5740.]
Rabbi Yossi Marcus is director
of Chabad outreach activities in S. Mateo, California. He is also the editor of
the Q&A database at AskMoses.com and is one of the translators at Kehot Publication