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What is the Livyatan Feast?

by Mendel Green


Library » Israel » Messiah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Livyatan Feast is mentioned many times in the Talmudic and Midrashic literature: "The Holy One, Blessed be He, will make a banquet for the righteous from the flesh of the livyatan".

Livyatan is a giant fish which was created during the Six days of Creation. G-d created one male livyatan and one female, which never reproduced because He "castrated the male and killed the female and preserved it for the righteous in the future."

The Midrash describes the battle between the Shor Habar (Wild Ox) and the livyatan. The shor habor will batter the livyatan with its horns and rend it, and the livyatan will batter the shor habar with its fins and pierce through it.

The livyatan lives in the sea, symbolizing the hidden spiritual worlds that exist in the revealed Divine infinity
Although the livyatan banquet will indeed occur, its mysterious details reflect the essence of the New Age. The livyatan lives in the sea, symbolizing the hidden spiritual worlds that exist in the revealed Divine infinity. In contrast, the shor habor dwells on land, symbolizing the visible lower world. Thus these two creatures represent the two major facets of serving G-d: The spiritual acts effected in the higher worlds through man's actions, and the sanctification and purification of the lower world.

Some Jews resemble the livyatan, aspiring to exalted spiritual heights rather than bringing holiness down to this world. For example, R. Shimon b. Yochai lived in a cave for thirteen years, practically divorced from the physical world; his divine service was spiritual. Other Jews resemble the shor habar, forgoing peak spiritually in order to sanctify the world and prepare it for Divine truth.

This symbolism explains why the livyatan will slaughter the shor habar and vice versa, for each attitude will "slaughter" the other in the ritual sense, i.e., they will render each other fit, with one perfecting the other. That is, those Jews who chose the livyatan approach to serving G-d will elevate the Jews who employed the shor habar method, and vice versa.

SOURCES: Talmud, Baba Batra 75a; Maharsah ibid.; Likkutei Torah Parshat Tzav.

Republished with permission from


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Philosophy » Messiah

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.