In a tradition handed down from the students of the Arizal, when the first Jewish Temple was destroyed, the Shechina retreated slowly in stages until She came to rest in the Holy City of Tsfat. And there She remains until the final redemption. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev tells a story about a lost princess on a Golden Mountain. According to R’ Gedaliah Aharon Kenig, the Golden Mountain is Tsfat.

The unique role Tsfat plays in the redemption of the world is explained in this kabbalistic teaching from the Arizal.

כי בחר ה׳ בציון, אוה למושב לו

(תהילים קלב׳ י״ג)

“For God has chosen Zion. He has desired it for His habitation.”

(Psalms 132:13)

According to the Arizal, the rearranged letters of the Hebrew word אוה (desired) in atbash* spell  צפת “Tsfat.” The letters of the Hebrew word בחר‭‬(chosen) can be rearranged to spell חרב‭ ‬(destroyed). Tsfat will be His habitation, i.e., after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem the Shechina receded to Tsfat, and will remain there until the coming of the Messiah. It is further written in the Zohar that the Messiah will be revealed first in the Galilee. According to the commentator Meam Loez, this refers to the city of Tsfat, clearly indicating the tremendous importance and holiness of the Galilee and its centrality for Jews and all mankind. ♦

*A type of gematria where the order of the Hebrew alphabet is reversed, i.e., the first letter (aleph) is substituted for the last letter (tav); beit becomes shin, etc.