For the last several months, my beloved teacher, Hakham Dr. Yoseph ben Haggai, has been teaching about His Majesty King Yeshua. In this paper I would like to explore a couple of the concept, regarding Mashiach,[1] that he gave over.

 

CONCEPTS

 

The first concept is that:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach[2]

 

The Greek word “christos” (which is transliterated as Mashiach) is used to translate the Hebrew word Mashiach:

 

Matityahu 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Yeshua, who is called Mashiach.

 

Matityahu 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Yeshua the Mashiach.

 

Now, most Christians understand this, never the less, the implications are profound. Mashiach means that His majesty was anointed as a King, as a Prophet, and as a Priest. Further, we can substitute the word Mashiach every time we encounter the word “Yeshua”.

 

The next concept is that:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach = Torah.

 

Yochanan (John) 1:1 alludes to this:

 

Yochanan (John) 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

We understand that when someone is talking about the “Word of HaShem“ that they are referring to the Torah. In this pasuk, Yochanan is clearly calling Yeshua: The Word of HaShem, the Torah.

 

We see this same concept in:

 

Mishlei (Proverbs 3:13-19) Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the man [that] getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it [is] better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She [is] more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days [is] in her right hand; [and] in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace. She [is] a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy [is every one] that retaineth her. HaShem by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

 

We know from the siddur that Wisdom is synonymous with Torah. We read in the siddur a paraphrase of Mishlei 3:

 

Torah is a tree of life to those who take hold of her …

 

The Targum also makes this explicit:

 

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Bereshit (Genesis) 3:22 – 4:26: And the Lord God removed him from the garden of Eden; and he went and dwelt on Mount Moriah, to cultivate the ground from which he had been created. And He drove out the man from thence where He had made to dwell the glory of His Shekina at the first between the two Kerubim. Before He had created the world, He created the law; He prepared the garden of Eden for the righteous, that they might eat and delight themselves with the fruit of the tree; because they would have practiced in their lives the teaching of the law in this world, and have maintained the commandments: (but) he prepared Gehinnom for the wicked, which is like the sharp, consuming sword of two edges; in the midst of it He hath prepared flakes of fire and burning coals for the judgment of the wicked who rebelled in their life against the doctrine of the law. To serve the law is better than (to eat of) the fruit of the tree of life, (the law) which the Word of the Lord prepared, that man in keeping it might continue, and walk in the paths of the way of life in the world to come.

 

We also know that “The Word” is synonymous with Torah. Therefore we can understand that anytime we see Torah we can substitute Yeshua or Mashiach.

 

This helps us to understand why Orthodox Jews build their entire lives around Torah:

 

Torah = Mashiach = Yeshua.

 

This also helps us to understand why many Christians are focused on Mashiach while Orthodox Jews have the same ferver towards Torah.

 

The next concept I would like to explore is:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach = Torah = The Temple

 

One of Mashiach’s major accomplishments is the restoration of the Beit HaMikdash (The Temple) in Jerusalem. This will be the third Beit HaMikdash that will stand forever, in fulfillment of the Divine prophecy of:

 

Yehezekel (Ezekiel) 37:26-28 “I shall give My Sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling-place shall be over them .. The nations shall know that I am G-d who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forever.”

 

Restoring the Beit HaMikdash, in effect establishes Mashiach as “definitely Mashiach”, according to the Rambam in Hilchot Melachim 11:4. Since we know that it is not just a physical building that is being talked about, but rather Mashiach Himself, then we can understand how the Beit HaMikdash = Yeshua.

 

His Majesty King Yeshua explicitly stated this relationship in:

 

Yochanan (John) 2:19-21 Yeshua answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

 

Since we know that Yochanan is written at the sod level, we know that not only was Yeshua explicitly referring to His body, but he was also telling us that He is the Holy Temple. His majesty completed this picture for us in another sod level book:

 

Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

 

Here again, we have Yeshua, also called the Lamb, directly equated with the Temple. A fantastic insight is available to those who understand this.

 

The pious Nazarean, if possible, would wake up at midnight to recite Tikkun Chazoth (Prayers, pleadings, and lamentations that are said in sadness for the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and Yerushalayim), as it is proper and correct for all that fear HaShem, that they preoccupy themselves and suffer for the destruction of the Holy House. With this in mind, let’s look at a familiar passage:

 

Marqos (Mark) 14:30 And Yeshua saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, [even] in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

 

The Midrash tells us that the cock crows at midnight to inform us that it is an auspicious time for prayer:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XXXVI:1 In Arabia a child is called ‘awila. And their children dance (ib.)-like demons, as you read, And satyrs shall dance there  (Isa. XIII, 21). When one of them gave birth by day she would say to her son, ‘ Go and bring me a flint to cut your navel cord.’ If at night, she would say to her son, ‘ Go and light a lamp to cut [burn] through your navel cord.’ It once happened that a woman who gave birth at night said to her son, ‘ Go and light me a candle to cut through your navel cord.’ He went out, and the demon Shimadon [lit. ‘Destruction’] met him and said to him, ‘ Go and inform your mother that the cock has crowed, but if the cock had not crowed yet, I would have smitten and killed you.’ ‘Go and inform your mother that my mother had not yet cut my navel cord,’ he retorted, ‘but had my mother cut my navel cord, I would have smitten and killed you.’

 

Here, His Majesty King Yeshua, the Temple, is in the process of being destroyed. At the time when we say the special tikkun prayer, when the cock crows at midnight, Hakham Tsefet is milling with the crowd instead of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. Just as the tikkun has three parts, so too did Hakham Tsefet fail to say the three parts.

 

The next concept that can be drawn from this is:

 

Yeshua = Mashiach = Torah = Temple = Israel

 

This fantastic concept is stated in:

 

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Mashiach is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

 

We know that the “Church” is another way of saying Israel from:

 

II Luqas (Acts) 7:37-38 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

 

Now, we know that the group of people at the foot of Sinai, in the days of Moses, was called “Israel”:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 19:1-2 In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they [into] the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come [to] the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.

 

Romans 12:5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Mashiach, and every one members one of another.

 

IMPLICATIONS

 

Mashiach and “the world

 

We read in Yochanan an amazing statement:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

Now if one were to read this pasuk through the eye of an American in the twenty-first century, one would consider that The Son died for everyone.

 

However, if one were to read this pasuk through the eyes of Torah, one would come to a much different conclusion. The Torah says explicitly, and repeatedly, that Israel and the Gentiles, the world, are to be separate and distinct:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 19:5-6 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy (or separate) nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 33:16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? [is it] not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that  [are] upon the face of the earth.  

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:24 But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that flowed with milk and honey: I [am] HaShem your G-d, which have separated you from  [other] people.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 23:9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the Goyim (Gentiles).

 

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob  [shall be] upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.

 

Melachim (1 Kings 8:53) For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, [to be] thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moshe thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord HaShem.

 

“Moshe is the first redeemer and the last redeemer,” states the Midrash. As noted in the Zohar, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters comprising “Moshe” is the same as that of “Shiloh” (the term in Genesis 49:10 denoting Mashiach): the soul of Mashiach is the “soul-of-the-soul” of Moshe, so that in effect Moshe will be the final redeemer.[3]

 

Yochanan (John) 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

 

Yochanan (John) 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

 

So, whenever we see “world” or “nation”, we should see the Goyim, the Gentiles:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

 

In the above verse, both the word “Gentile” and the word “nation” come from the Hebrew word “Goyim”.

 

Now, consider the following verses:

 

1 Yochanan (John) 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua Mashiach the righteous: And he is the kippurim, [the atonement,] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the all the Goyim.

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the Goyim for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the time of the end come.

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and Talmudise all the Goyim, immersing them into the authority of the Father [obeying the Torah], and of the Son,[accepting the yoke of the kingdom] and of the Shechinah: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

We will need to unpack this next verse because this verse contains the essence of  zechut Avot, the merit of our ancestors:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:16 For G-d so loved the Goyim, that he gave his only begotten Son [Mashiach (Psalm 2:7) / Israel (Shemot 4:22-23)], that whosoever believeth in him (in G-d) should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

I have added some information within the brackets that needs to be unpacked a bit. First, let’s look at:

 

Tehillim (Psalm) 2:7 I will declare the decree: HaShem hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

 

In this verse, HaShem is declaring that He has a Son. This Son is Yeshua HaMashiach.

 

Now let’s look at another “Son”:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith HaShem, Israel [is] my son, [even] my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, [even] thy firstborn.

 

In this verse, Israel is declared HaShem’s son! Now let’s put Yochanan 3:16 into perspective:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:16 For G-d so loved the Goyim, that he gave his only begotten Son [Mashiach], that whosoever believeth in Him (in G-d) should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

This tells us that the Goyim will gain everlasting life because of Mashiach. But since this verse allows us to use both “Sons”, we need to look at this perspective:

 

Yochanan (John) 3:16 For G-d so loved the Goyim, that he gave his only begotten Son [Israel], that whosoever believeth in Him (in G-d) should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Now, hopefully, we can see that there is more to this verse than meets the eye. This verse clearly indicates that the Jews are the key, along with Mashiach, to the everlasting life of the Goyim.

 

Let’s examine one more verse in the Nazarean Codicil:

 

Yochanan (John) 4:40-42 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard [him] ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Mashiach, the Saviour of the Goyim.

 

* * *

 

In the parasha commentary for Nisan 21, 5761, His Eminence Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai made the following comments:

 

In the Midrash on Psalm 107 we read:

 

“R. Huna the Priest bar Abin said that at the end of forty years Moshe admonished Yisrael: Know therefore this day, that HaShem your G-d is He that goes over before you … Not for your righteousness, or for the uprightness of your heart, do you go in to possess their land, etc. (Deut. 9:3,5); in saying “Not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart, dos you go in to possess their land; nor for the wickedness of these nations, Moshe meant that not for these three reasons did G-d permit Israel to possess the land. The holy One, blessed be He, said further: Nor have I done this for the sake of Avraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For whose sake then? For My great name’s sake. David said: Seeing what G-d does for His great name’s sake, O give thanks unto HaShem, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.

 

Now the next paragraph in the Midrash on this Psalm states:

 

R. Berechiah said in the name of R. Chelbo who taught in the name of R. Samuel: Who are meant by the redeemed in Let the redeemed of HaShem say (Psalm 107:2)? The people of Israel. This Isaiah made explicit in saying And the ransomed of HaShem will return and come with singing unto Tsiyon (Isa. 35:10). He did not say “the ransomed of Eliyahu,” nor “the ransomed of King Mashiach”, but the ransomed of HaShem. Even so, the Psalm speaks of The redeemed of HaShem.

 

Now this statement needs some digestion and concordance. Some may ask, what about the Goyim, have they not been redeemed by Mashiach ben Yosef? And what about those verses in the Nazarean Codicil which state that Jews and Gentiles were “being redeemed through the precious life (blood) of Mashiach? How do we reconcile these apparent contradictory statements?

Perhaps, to better understand these two apparent contradictory statements we need to look into Sefer Ruth which is our reading for the next festival of Shabuot, as well as the angel whom G-d set before the Israelites to guide them through the Midbar (wilderness).

 

In Midrash Rabba (Vol. 3, pp. 412-413) we read:

 

“BEHOLD, I SEND AN ANGEL. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: ‘He who guarded the patriarchs will also guard the children’; for so you find in the case of Abraham that when he blessed his son Isaac, he said: The L-rd, the G-d of heaven ... He will send His angel before thee (Gen. xxiv, 7). And what did Jacob say to his children? ‘The angel who hath redeemed me from all evil, etc. (ibid. xlviii, 16). He hath redeemed me from the hand of Esau, from Laban, and he it was who fed and sustained me during the years of famine‘ (referring all this to an angelone sent by G-d for that particular purpose). G-d said to Moses: ‘Now also, He who guarded the fathers will protect the children,’ as it says, BEHOLD, I SEND AN ANGEL. Wherever the angel appeared, the Shechinah appeared, as it says, And the angel of the L-rd appeared unto him in aflame of fire. (Ex. iii, 2), and immediately after, it says, G-d called unto him (ibid., 4). Moreover, salvation cometh to Israel wherever they cry unto Him (whenever Israel cries unto G-d and the angel appears, he is a herald of salvation); at the thorn-bush – Behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me (ibid. 9); in the case of Gideon – And the angel of the L-rd came ... and the angel of the L-rd appeared … and the L-rd … said: Go in this thy might, and save Israel (Judg. vi, 11-14). In the millennium, likewise, when he (the angel; he will be the herald announcing the coming of the L-rd and of true salvation) will reveal himself, salvation will come to Israel, as it says, Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me (Mal. iii, i).”

 

The same Midrash (ibid. pp. 408-9) states:

 

“The Holy One, blessed be He, told Israel: ‘Take heed of the messenger, for he cannot retract aught of My mission; BE NOT REBELLIOUS AGAINST HIM (ibid.), for he represents strict justice (the messenger, unlike the sender, cannot make allowances, but must faithfully fulfill his errand, therefore if he is sent to punish he cannot forgive). Heretofore one could say, Ye have been rebellious against the L-rd (Deut. ix, 24), yet I could accept [penitence] from you, but now BE NOT REBELLIOUS AGAINST HIM, FOR HE WILL NOT PARDON YOUR TRANSGRESSION.’ Another interpretation of BE NOT REBELLIOUS (TAMMER) AGAINST HIM. Do not exchange (temirani) Me for him, nor treat Me as his substitute (by ranking him as His substitute). Do not say: ‘Since he is our guardian angel, we will worship him and he will forgive our sins,’ FOR HE WILL NOT PARDON YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS. He is not like Me, of whom it is written, That pardoneth the iniquity, and passeth by the transgression, etc. (Micah vii, 18), FOR HE WILL NOT PARDON YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS. Moreover, you will be the cause of My Name being removed from within him, for it says, FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM (xxiii, 2I) [for his greatness and glory lie in the fact that he is My Messenger, but if you worship him, you desecrate My Name and thereby deprive him of his true glory]. Another interpretation of FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM. The angels are sustained only by the splendour of the Shechinah (that is, their only source of existence), as it says, And Thou preservest them all, and the host of heaven worshipped Thee (Neh. ix, 6). Why is this expression used? Because, said R. Haggai, ‘Thou art their means of sustenance.’ Moreover, he will ever be held guilty on their account (for not only is the worshipper punished, but even the thing worshipped is held guilty – Sanh. 93a). BUT IF THOU SHALT INDEED HEARKEN UNTO HIS VOICE, AND DO ALL THAT I SPEAK (xxiii, 22). It does not say ‘that he speaks’, but THAT I SPEAK, implying that if you receive his words it will be like listening to Me. If you will do this, THEN I WILL BE AN ENEMY UNTO THINE ENEMIES (ibid.). Hence, BEHOLD, I SEND AN ANGEL.”

 

The answer therefore, to our apparent contradiction is to be found in the statement of the Midrash: “FOR MY NAME IS IN HIM (xxiii, 2I) [for his greatness and glory lie in the fact that he is My Messenger, but if you worship him, you desecrate My Name and thereby deprive him of his true glory].” Thus, then whilst Mashiach, the angel of HaShem can in fact effect redemption as we read above – “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, etc.”  (Gen. xlviii, 16), the glory and honour of that redemptive act belongs to HaShem, Most Blessed be He – “for his (the angel of HaShem’s) greatness and glory lie in the fact that he is My Messenger, but if you worship him, you desecrate My Name and thereby deprive him of his true glory.”

 

Therefore the statement made in the Midrash Tehillim: “This Isaiah made explicit in saying And the ransomed of HaShem will return and come with singing unto Tsiyon (Isa. 35:10). He did not say “the ransomed of Eliyahu,” nor “the ransomed of King Mashiach,” but the ransomed of HaShem. Even so, the Psalm speaks of The redeemed of HaShem.” is not at odds with the teachings of Hakham Shaul in the Nazarean Codicil.

 

Another interesting explanation is to be found in the figures of the two potential redeemers in the Book of Ruth. On the one hand we have  “Ploni Almoni  (Ploni = hidden, Almoni = nameless) which is another name for Tov the brother of Elimelech [To be noted here is the fact concerning Mashiach ben Yosef, that nowhere in the Written Law, the Writings or the Prophets do we have such a concept as Mashiach ben Yosef, one which remains “hidden” yet “revealed” in the realm of the “hidden” Oral Torah.]. He was the nearest kin and potential redeemer of Ruth. He was the first (nearest) of the two (2) Kinsman-Redeemers. He represents Mashiach ben Yosef in the story. And on the other hand we have Boaz ben Salmon the second in line of the two possible redeemers. Boaz represents Messiah ben David who in the final account is the actual redeemer.

 

Mashiach ben Yosef brings the Gentiles near to Israel, and in the end it is the Children of Israel through the House of David that gives effect to that redemption. However, whilst Bne Yisrael through its judges effect that redemption it is in the final account that said redemption is attributed to HaShem. Why? Because the Judges in a Jewish Bet Din stand like the angel of HaShem, who bare His Name, but whatever they do they do as agents so that all the credit, honour and glory belongs to Him who sent them.

 

This knowledge, of course, leads us back inevitably to the wisdom that comes from HaShem, and one which the Psalmist states: “Whosever is wise let him note these things, and they will comprehend the kindness of HaShem.” A wise person realises therefore, that there is no redemption outside the commonwealth of Yisrael, or K’lal Yisrael (the community of Yisrael) for as the Prophet Yeshayahu notes: “And the ransomed of HaShem will return and come with singing unto Tsiyon” (Isa. 35:10).

 

Thus, Pesach is not only a festival by which we celebrate freedom from Egypt in its literal sense, but also for countless of Jews by choice, Pesach symbolises their redemption and joining with K’lal Yisrael as members of His people. It is therefore, as Hakham Shaul puts it the season of the grafting of the wild olive branches into the good and wholesome Jewish olive tree. On this festival season of our freedom let us come with joy and singing before HaShem in gratitude and with every fibre of our being let us say: “ Hodu LaAdonai Ki Tov, Ki L’Olam Chasdo – O give thanks unto HaShem for He is beneficent, for His merciful kindness endures forever.”

 

* * *

 

Our Sages[4] tell us that when Queen Esther was to confront King Achashverosh, she cried, “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?” To this day, the designated Psalm of Purim (according to the Vilna Gaon) is the one in which this outcry appears; and, as our Sages explain, the Psalm refers to the darkest hour of the night. Thus, while Shavuot marks the cognizance of HaShem through revelation, Purim celebrates the cognizance of HaShem that follows a desperate search in the darkness. Now compare that to:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 27:46 And about the ninth hour Yeshua cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

 

Marqos (Mark) 15:34 And at the ninth hour Yeshua cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

 

* * *

 

The Laws Concerning Mashiach

 

Chapters 11 & 12 of Hilchot Melachim from the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam

 

Published by: Sichos In English

PUBLISHER’S FOREWORD

 

Since the time of the Rambam (1135-1204), it has been impossible to discuss the subject of Mashiach and the Era of the Redemption without direct reference to the last two chapters of his monumental halachic code, the Mishneh Torah.

 

These chapters conclude the final section (Hilchot Melachim - “The Laws Concerning Kings”) of the final book (Sefer Shoftim - “The Book of Judges”) of the Mishneh Torah, and are sometimes referred to separately as Hilchot Melech HaMashiach - “The Laws Concerning King Mashiach.”

 

The translation of this classic text which Sichos In English presents herewith is not only new, but - unlike almost all of the extant printed editions, even in the Hebrew original - unexpurgated. All the passages suppressed by various medieval Christian censors have been translated in full. They appear here in the footnotes that are keyed to the exact positions from which they were deleted.

 

It is hoped that this publication will give more and more readers access to one of the major primary sources on the subject of the coming of Mashiach.

-        Sichos In English

-        24 Sivan, 5751 [June 6, 1991]

CHAPTER ELEVEN

1. In future time, the King Mashiach[5] will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will rebuild the Beit HaMikdash and gather in the dispersed remnant of Israel. Then, in his days, all the statutes will be reinstituted as in former times. We will offer sacrifices and observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars set forth in the Torah.

 

Whoever does not believe in him, or does not await his coming, denies not only [the statements of] the other prophets, but also [those of] the Torah and of Moshe, our teacher, for the Torah attests to his coming, stating: [Devarim 30:3-5]

And the Lord your G-d will bring back your captivity and have compassion upon you. He will return and gather you [from among all the nations].... Even if your dispersed ones are in the furthest reaches of the heavens, [from there will G-d gather you in].... G-d will bring you [to the land]....

These explicit words of the Torah include all that was said [on the subject] by all the prophets.

 

There is also a reference [to Mashiach] in the passage concerning Bilaam, who prophesies about the two anointed [kings]: the first anointed [king][6], David, who saved Israel from her oppressors, and the final anointed [king] who will arise from among his descendants and save Israel [at the End of Days][7]. The following [quoted] phrases are from that passage: [Bamidbar 24:17-18]

 

“I see it, but not now” - This refers to David; “I perceive it, but not in the near future” - This refers to King Mashiach.

 

“A star shall go forth from Yaakov“ - This refers to David; “and a staff shall arise in Israel” - This refers to King Mashiach.

 

“He shall crush all of Moab’s princes” - This refers to David, (as it is written [II Shmuel 8:2], “He smote Moab and measured them with a line”); “he shall break down all of Seth’s descendants” - This refers to King Mashiach, (about whom it is written [Zechariah 9:10], “He will rule from sea to sea”).

 

Edom will be demolished” - This refers to David, (as it is written [Cf. II Shmuel 8:6 and 8:14], “Edom became the servants of David”); “his enemy, Seir, will be destroyed” - This refers to Mashiach, (as it is written [Ovadiah 1:21], “Saviors will ascend Mount Zion [to judge the mountain of Esau....]”).

 

2. Similarly, in regard to the cities of refuge, it is stated [Devarim 19:8-9], “When G-d will expand your borders... you shall add three more cities.” This command has never been fulfilled. [Surely,] G-d did not give this command in vain, [and thus the intent was that it be fulfilled after the coming of Mashiach]. There is no need to cite proof texts on the concept [of the Mashiach] from the words of the prophets, for all [their] books are filled with it.

 

3. One should not entertain the notion that the King Mashiach must work miracles and wonders, bring about new phenomena within the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds. This is [definitely] not true.

 

[A proof can be brought from the fact that] that Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Sages of the Mishna, was one of the supporters of King Ben Koziva, and would describe him as the King Mashiach. He and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be the King Mashiach until he was killed because of [his] sins. Once he was killed, they realized that he was not [the Mashiach]. The Sages did not ask him for any signs or wonders.

 

[Rather,] this is the main thrust of the matter: This Torah, with its statutes and laws, is everlasting. We may neither add to them nor detract from them.[8]

 

4. If a king will arise from the House of David who delves deeply into the study of the Torah and, like David his ancestor, observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of G-d; - we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

 

If he succeeds in the above, builds the Beit HaMikdash on its site, and gathers in the dispersed remnant of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach.[9]

 

He will then perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah, 3:9], “I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.”

CHAPTER TWELVE

1. One should not entertain the notion that in the Era of Mashiach any element of the natural order will be nullified, or that there will be any innovation in the work of creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern.

 

Although Yeshayahu [Yeshayahu 11:6] states, “The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat,” these [words] are an allegory and a riddle. They mean that Israel will dwell securely together with the wicked gentiles who are likened to wolves and leopards, as in the verse [Yirmeyahu 5:6], “A wolf of the deserts despoils them, a leopard watches over their cities.” [In this era, all nations] will return to the true faith and no longer plunder or destroy. Instead, at peace with Israel, they will eat that which is permitted, as it is written [Yeshayahu 11:7], “The lion shall eat straw like the ox.”

 

Similarly, other prophecies of this nature concerning Mashiach are analogies. In the Era of the King Mashiach, everyone will realize what was implied by these metaphors and allusions.

 

2. Our Sages taught: [Berachot 34b] “There will be no difference between the current age and the Era of Mashiach except [our emancipation from] subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms.”

 

The simple meaning of the words of the prophets appears to imply that the war of Gog and Magog [Yechezkel ch. 38] will take place at the beginning of the Messianic age. Before the war of Gog and Magog, a prophet will arise to rectify Israel’s conduct and prepare their hearts [for the Redemption], as it is written: [Malachi 3:23] “Behold, I am sending you Eliyahu[10] [before the advent of the great and awesome Day of G-d].”

 

He will not come [in order] to declare the pure, impure, nor to declare the impure, pure; nor [will he come in order] to disqualify the lineage of those presumed to be of flawless descent, nor to validate lineage which is presumed to be blemished. Rather, [he will come in order] to establish peace in the world; as [the above prophecy] continues [Malachi 3:24], “He will bring back the hearts of the fathers to the children.”

 

Some of the Sages say that Eliyahu will appear [immediately] before the coming of Mashiach.

 

All these and similar matters cannot be [clearly] known by man until they occur, for they are undefined in the words of the prophets. Even the Sages have no established tradition regarding these matters, beyond what is implied by the verses; hence there is a divergence of opinion among them.

 

In any case, neither the sequence of these events nor their precise details are among the fundamental principles of the faith. One should not occupy himself at length with the aggadot and midrashim that deal with these and similar matters, nor should he deem them of prime importance, for they bring one to neither the awe nor the love [of G-d].

 

Similarly, one should not try to calculate the appointed time [for the coming of Mashiach]. Our Sages declared: [Sanhedrin 97b] “May the spirits of those who attempt to calculate the final time [of Mashiach’s coming] expire!” Rather, one should await [his coming] and believe in the general conception of the matter, as we have explained.

 

3. During the Era of the King Mashiach, once his kingdom has been established and all of Israel has gathered around him, the entire [nation’s] line of descent will be established on the basis of his words, through the prophetic spirit which will rest upon him. As it is written [Loc. cit., v. 3], “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier.”

 

He will purify the lineage of the Levites first, stating that “This one is a priest of defined lineage” and “This one is a Levite of defined lineage.” Those whose lineage he does not recognize will be relegated to the status of Israelites. This is implied by the following verse: [Ezra 2:63] “The governor said to them, ‘[They shall not eat of the most holy things] until a priest arises [who will wear] the Urim and Tumim.’“ From this verse one can infer that the genealogy of those presumed to be of unquestioned [priestly and levitical] lineage will be traced by means of the prophetic spirit, and those found to be of such lineage will be made known.

 

He will define the lineage of the Israelites according to their tribe alone; i.e., he will make known each person’s tribal origin, stating that “This one is from this tribe“ and “This one is from another tribe.” However, concerning a person who is presumed to be of unblemished lineage, he will not state that “He is illegitimate,” or “He is of slave lineage,” for the law rules that once a family has become intermingled [within the entire Jewish people], they may remain intermingled.

 

4. The Sages and prophets did not yearn for the Messianic Era in order that [the Jewish people] rule over the entire world, nor in order that they have dominion over the gentiles, nor that they be exalted by them, nor in order that they eat, drink and celebrate. Rather, their aspiration was that [the Jewish people] be free Ito involve themselves] in Torah and its wisdom, without anyone to oppress or disturb them, and thus be found worthy of life in the World to Come, as we explained in Hilchot Teshuva.

 

5. In that Era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance and all the delights will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. The Jews will therefore be great sages and know the hidden matters, and will attain an understanding of their Creator to the [full] extent of human potential; as it is written [Yeshayahu 11:9], “For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.”

 

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Messiah ben Yoseph

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XCV  AND HE SENT JUDAH BEFORE HIM UNTO JOSEPH (XLVI, 28). Consider the text, There was a little city, etc. (Eccl. IX, 14). ‘There was a little city’ alludes to Egypt; And few men within it-to the ten tribal ancestors; And there came a great king against it and besieged it-to Joseph. And built great bulwarks about it-this alludes to the three decrees which he enacted, viz. that no slave should enter therein, no man should enter with two asses, and that no man might enter without recording the names of his father and grandfather.[11] Now there was found in it a man poor and wise (ib. 15) alludes to Judah. And he by his wisdom delivered the city-by proposing, Now therefore, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord (Gen. XLIV, 33). Yet no man remembered the same poor man (Eccl. loc. cit.): [God said:] ‘Ye indeed would not remember him, but I will remember him’; hence, AND HE SENT JUDAH BEFORE HIM, etc.[12]

 

Iron sharpeneth iron, etc. (Prov. XXVII, 17). This alludes to Judah and Joseph. And a man was together with the face of his Friend (ib.) implies that the Shechinah attached itself peculiarly to him: hence, AND HE SENT JUDAH BEFORE HIM, etc.[13]

 

What precedes this passage? All the souls belonging to Jacob that came into Egypt etc. (Gen. XLVI, 26). And then you read, AND HE SENT JUDAH BEFORE HIM UNTO JOSEPH-hence this teaches that the king is equal in importance to all the rest.[14] R. Berekiah quoted: And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel (Deut. XXXIII, 1), And this for Judah (ib. 7); thus you learn that the king is equal in importance to all the rest.[15] R. Isaac quoted: Be ye on one side, and I [Saul] and Jonathan my son will be on the other side (I Sam. XIV, 40). This proves that the king is equal in importance to all the rest.

 

BEFORE HIM: to him [Joseph] who will receive the kingdom before him [Judah].[16] Now when an ox attacks, a lion can come and rescue; but if a lion attacks, an ox cannot come and rescue. Thus of Judah and Joseph, let Joseph receive [power first], because his is temporary; and then Judah, because his is for ever.[17] If a wolf attacks, a lion can come and rescue; but if a lion attacks, a wolf cannot come and rescue. Hence of Judah and Benjamin, let Benjamin receive [power first], for his is temporary,[18] and then Judah, for his is for ever. As for Shiloh and the Eternal House [the Temple]: let Shiloh first receive [sanctity], for it is but temporary, and then the Eternal House, which is for all time. Israel and the Nations of the world: let the Nations of the world receive [dominion first], because they are but for a time; and then Israel, who exist for ever. This world and the World to Come: let this world receive [dominion first], since it is but temporary, and then let the future world receive dominion, since it is for all time.

 

TO SHOW THE WAY BEFORE HIM. R. Hanina the son of R. Aha and R. Hama the son of R. Hanina discussed this. One maintained: [He sent him on ahead] to prepare a habitation for him; while the other said: In order to prepare a meeting place [for scholars], [this being the meaning of], TO SHOW [lit. ‘INSTRUCT’] THE WAY BEFORE HIM. UNTO GOSHEN: The land where the fruits are swift [to ripen] and large in size. R. Joshua b. Levi said: Its fruits are like those of Sennaberis.[19]

 

Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XIV:1 1. ON THE SEVENTH DAY ELISHAMA THE SON OF AMMIHUD, PRINCE OF THE CHILDREN OF EPHRAIM (VII, 48). This bears on the text, Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the defense of my head; Judah is my scepter (Ps. LX, 9). We have learned elsewhere[20]: Three kings and four commoners have no share in the World to Come. The three kings are: Jereboam, Ahab, and Manasseh. R. Judah holds that Manasseh does possess a share in the World to Come, for it says,  And he prayed unto Him; and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem, into his kingdom (II Chron. XXXIII, 13). The Sages answered R. Judah: He restored him to his ‘ kingdom ‘ but not to the life of the Hereafter. The four commoners are: Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel, and Gehazi. Who drew up this list? Rab said it was the men of the Great Assembly[21] who drew it up. R. Judah in the name of Samuel said: They wanted to include Solomon among these. A figure with the features of David came and prostrated itself beseechingly before them, but they paid no attention to it. A fire came out from the interior of the Holy of Holies and flared up all around them, but they paid no attention to it. A heavenly voice went forth and said to them: ‘ Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings  (Prov. XXII, 29). The man who gave priority to My House over his own,[22] and moreover built My House in seven years while over his own he took thirteen years--shall such a man Stand before mean men (ib.)? No indeed, ‘He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men!’ But they gave no heed to it, and so it came again and said to them: ‘Shall His recompense be as thou wilt? That thou shouldst reject, or that thou shouldst choose, and not l? What knowest thou to speak?’ (Job XXXIV, 33).[23] Forthwith they refrained from including him among them. Those who expound the Scriptures metaphorically say that they all have a share in the World to Come, except Balaam. What is the reason? ‘Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine... Moab is my washpot,’ etc. ‘Gilead is mine’ alludes to Ahab king of Israel, who died in Ramoth Gilead. ‘Manasseh is mine’ means literally, Manasseh the son of Hezekiah. ‘Ephraim also is the defense of my head’ alludes to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, the Ephrathite. ‘Judah is my scepter’ alludes to Ahitophel who came from Judah.’ Moab is my washpot’ alludes to Gehazi whose punishment came as the result of a bathing.[24] Upon Edom do I cast my shoe (Ps. loc. cit.) alludes to Doeg the Edomite. Israel said to the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘What can we do,[25] seeing that the king of Israel curses them, by saying: Men of blood and deceit shall not live out half their days’ (ib. LV, 24)? The Holy One, blessed be He, replied: ‘I must make them friends with one another.’[26] This is the meaning of the text: Philistia (pelesheth) be thou friendly (hithro’a’i)[27] because of me (ib. LX, 10), i.e. I must search  (lefalesh) out their good deeds and make them friends  (re’im) with one another. It has been said elsewhere[28]: It is written, ‘Philistia, be thou friendly because of me.’ The ministering angels said to the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘If he[29] who slew [Goliath] the Philistine and gave to thy children Gath as a possession will come,[30] what wilt Thou do with him?’ Said He to them: ‘I must make them friends with one another.’ An alternative exposition of the text, ‘ Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine.’ There are many divergent views as to what will be the number of anointed saviours. Some say there are to be seven, and base themselves on the text, Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds (Micah V, 4), while others say there will be eight, and quote, Eight princes among men (ib.). But there will in fact be no more than what is explicitly stated, viz. four; as is proved by the text, And the Lord showed me four craftsmen. Then said I: What come these to do? And he spoke, saying: These-the horns which scattered Judah...-these then are come to frighten them, to cast down the horns of the nations  (Zech. II, 3 f.). The following are the four craftsmen, as David comes and explains: ‘Gilead is mine’ alludes to Elijah who was one of the inhabitants of Gilead. ‘And Manasseh is mine’ alludes to the Messiah who is to spring from the sons of Manasseh, as is borne out by the text, Before Ephraim and Benjamin, O Manasseh,[31] stir up thy might, and come to save us  (Ps. LXXX, 3). ‘ Ephraim also is the defense of my head’ alludes to the Messiah anointed for war[32] who will be descended from Ephraim, as may be inferred from the text, His firstling bullock, majesty is his  (Deut. XXXIII).[33]‘Judah is my scepter’ alludes to the Great Redeemer who is to be a descendant of the grandchildren of David. ‘Moab is my wash pot’. What is the meaning of this expression? God meant to say: Even when the aforementioned redeemers shall have come I will not offer to assist them until the Moabitess shall come with them.[34] ‘ Upon Edom do I cast my shoe.’ What will I do? I will draw off My shoes and tread upon them and trample them down with My heel. In the same strain it says,  I have trodden the winepress[35] alone, etc. (Isa. LXIII, 3). This has been illustrated by a parable. To what may it be compared? It may be compared to a mortal king who built four palaces in four cities. He went into one of them, and ate and drank without drawing off his shoes. He did the same thing in the second palace and the third. When he came to the fourth he ate and drank and did draw off his shoes, saying to his attendants: ‘Go and bring me all the prominent men in this city and let them set food before me.’ They asked him: ‘ How is it that when you entered the previous one you ate and drank without drawing off your shoes, while here you drew off your shoes when you ate and drank? ‘ He said to them: ‘ When I entered the first palace my mind was not at ease; and the same was the case with the second and the third. Every moment I thought: When shall I see the hour in which I can enter into the last one? Now that I have entered, my mind has immediately been put at ease.’ It was the same with the Holy One, blessed be He. He made war against Pharaoh, Amalek, Sisera, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, and the kings of the Greeks,[36] but His mind will not be calmed until He will Himself execute vengeance upon Edom. This explains, ‘Upon Edom will I cast my shoe; Philistia (pelesheth) cry aloud  (hithro’a’i) because of me!’ which means: I will cast down the foundations of Edom and will encompass your redemption.[37] In a similar strain it says,  They shall build, but I will throw down... and your eyes shall see (Mal. I, 4f.). Another interpretation is that the text ‘ Gilead is mine and Manasseh is mine’, etc., speaks of David. When Saul died, Abner, the son of Ner, arose and proclaimed Ishbosheth the son of Saul as king over Gilead, over Jezreel and over Ephraim; as we find in the text, Now Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host had taken Ishbosheth, etc. (II Sam. II, 8), which goes on to say, And he made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel and over Ephraim, etc.-  (ib. 9). And Jezreel belonged to Manasseh; for it is written, And the children of Joseph said: The hill-country will not be enough for us; and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are in Beth-shean and its towns, and they who are in the valley of Jezreel  (Josh. XVII, 16).

 

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs II:33 33. Another explanation: MY BELOVED SPOKE AND SAID UNTO ME. He spoke through Elijah and said through the Messiah. What did he say to me? RISE UP, MY LOVE, MY FAIR ONE, AND COME AWAY. R. Azariah said: FOR LO, THE WINTER (HA-SETHAW) IS PAST: this refers to the kingdom of the Cutheans[38] which seduces  (mesithah) the world and leads it astray by its falsehoods, as we read, If thy brother, the son of thy mother, entice thee--yesitheka (Deut. XIII, 7). THE RAIN IS OVER AND GONE: this refers to the subjection of Israel. THE FLOWERS APPEAR ON THE EARTH: the conquerors have appeared on the earth. Who are they? R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Isaac: As it is written, And the Lord showed me four craftsmen (Zech. II, 3), namely, Elijah, the Messiah, Melchizedek,[39] and the War Messiah.[40] THE TIME OF THE ZAMIR IS COME: the time has come for Israel to be delivered; the time has come for uncircumcision to be cut off; the time has come for the kingdom of the Cutheans to expire; the time has come for the kingdom of heaven to be revealed, as it says, And the Lord shall be king over all the earth (ib. XIV, 9). AND THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE IS HEARD IN OUR LAND: Who is this? This is the voice of the Messiah proclaiming, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings (Isa. LII, 7). THE FIG TREE PUTTETH FORTH HER GREEN FIGS. R. Hiyya b. Abba said: Shortly before the days of the Messiah a great epidemic will come upon the world and the wicked will vanish. AND THE VINES IN BLOSSOM GIVE FORTH THEIR FRAGRANCE: this refers to the survivors, spoken of in the verse, And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem (ib. IV, 3).[41]

 

R. Johanan said[42]: In the first year of the septennate in which the scion of David will come, will be fulfilled the statement of the Scripture, And I will cause it to rain upon one city, etc. (Amos IV, 7). In the second year famine will assail it.[43] In the third year there will be a great famine, from which men, women, and children will perish, and pious men and men of good deeds will become few, and the Torah will begin to be forgotten in Israel. In the fourth year there will be scarcity of a kind and plenty of a kind.[44] In the fifth year there will be great plenty and the people will eat, drink, and be merry, and the Torah will be renewed and restored to Israel. In the sixth year there will be thunderings, in the seventh year wars. At the expiration of the seventh year the scion of David will come. Said Abaye: How many septennates have passed like this, and yet he has not come I He will only come in the circumstances described by Resh Lakish[45]: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the meeting house[46] shall be a bawdy house and Galilee shall be laid waste and Gabalina[47] shall be desolate and the men of Galilee shall go about from town to town and find no pity and the wisdom of the scribes shall become putrid and the God-fearing and pious shall cease and truth shall be abandoned and the generation will be brazen-faced like a dog., How do we know that Truth will be abandoned? Because it says,  And truth is lacking (ne-’edereth), and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey (Isa. LIX, 15). Whither does Truth go? The School of R. Jannai said: It will go and settle in separate groups  (‘adarim) in the wilderness.’[48] The Rabbis say: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the wise men of the generation will die and the rest will waste away with grief and sorrow and much trouble will come upon the community and cruel decrees will be promulgated, one coming on top of another. R. Nehorai said: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the young will insult their elders and the old will rise before the young, as it says, The daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house (Micah VII, 6), and a son will feel no shame before his father. R. Nehemiah said: Before the days of the Messiah there will be great poverty and scarcity, and the vine will cast its fruit and the wine will turn bad and the whole of the government will be converted to minuth and there will be no reproof. R. Abba b. Kahana said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is brazen-faced like a dog. R. Levi said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is full of impudence and deserves to be exterminated. R. Jannai said: If you see one generation after another cursing and blaspheming, look out for the coming of the Messiah, as it says,  Wherewith Thine enemies have taunted, O Lord, wherewith Thine enemies he taunted the footsteps of Thine anointed (Ps. LXXXIX, 52), and immediately afterwards it is written, Blessed be the Lord for evermore, Amen and Amen.[49]

 

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The Destruction of Joseph’s Tomb: A Kabbalistic View

by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

 

Shechem -- the city where Joseph was sold into slavery, which he later inherited and where he was buried -- is the place where redemption will begin with acts of violence and destruction.

 

 How fitting it is that a rioting Arab mob destroyed Joseph’s Tomb after all these millennia.

 

I am devastated by the loss of such a holy site, but I am also awed by the timing of the event.

 

Because this is Joseph’s millennium.

 

 According to the Talmud, there are six millennia to world history as we know it (Sanhedrin 97a); in the Kabbalistic understanding there is a correspondence between each millennium and the functioning of the world according to different spiritual forces.

 

Just like there is a concept of physical DNA, so too, is there a concept of cosmic DNA, spiritual realities called sefirot which possess the potential for all that history can and will ever produce. They act as spiritual transformers, spiritual filters for the awesome and sublime light of God, resulting in the manifestation of different traits that form the basis of all creation and mankind.

 

Just like there is a concept of physical DNA, so, too, is there a concept of cosmic DNA.

 

Altogether, there are ten such sefirot, filters or traits, which represent the spiritual “chain of command” between God and the world in which we live. Six of them have governed history since creation, and each one is associated with a specific Torah personality who exemplified this trait, as follows:

 

Sefirot

Millennium

Personality

Chesed

(kindness)

0-1000

Abraham

Gevurah (power/strength)

1001 to 2000

Isaac

Tiferet (beauty/harmony)

2001 to 3000

Jacob

Netzach (dominance/victory)

3001 to 4000

Moses

Hod

(glory)

4001 to 5000

Aaron

Yesod

(foundation)

5001 to 6000

Joseph

 

We are now in the year 5761 (from creation), therefore we are also in the sixth millennium, the one that is spiritually “powered” by the sefirah called Yesod -- the one that corresponds to Joseph.

 

TWO MESSIAHS

 

 The Talmud points out,[50] there are meant to be two Messiahs -- redeemers of Israel. The first one, according to tradition, will descend from the line of Joseph, and die in battle, while paving the way for the final Messiah, who will descend from the line of David.

 

The Torah tells us that, just before Jacob died, he gave Joseph an extra piece of Israel -- the city of Shechem.

 

The Torah tells us that, just before Jacob died, he gave Joseph an extra piece of Israel -- the city of Shechem.[51] It was in Shechem that Joseph’s brothers sold him down into slavery, and, it was to Shechem that the bones of Joseph were brought from Egypt hundreds of years later for their final burial.

 

It was here in Shechem -- called Nablus by the Arabs -- that the yeshivah stood, until two weeks ago, when it was viciously destroyed.

 

Regarding the territory of Joseph, the Zohar, the chief work of the Kabbalah, has this to say:

 

In the time of the resurrection of the dead, many camps will arise in Land of the Galil, because that is where the Messiah is going to be first revealed, since it is part of Joseph’s territory. It will be the first place to be destroyed. It will begin there ahead of all other places, and then spread to the nations.[52]

 

Shechem, according to the Talmud, is a place where bad things happen.[53] It is a place “set aside for punishment,” and at this time, this prophecy has come true. Arabs have ruthlessly murdered heroic Jews -- Jews who were self-sacrificing for the sake of Torah, for the sake of Israel, and for the sake of Jewish history -- and pillaged and destroyed the yeshivah, and burned many holy books.

 

And now, with the Israeli withdrawal from the site, in the minds of Arabs and Jews alike, Shechem represents a weak point in the Israeli chain of command.

 

 But it need not be so.

 

IN SHECHEM, THIRTY-SIX

 

 It is pointed out in the Kabbalah -- where so many secrets about Messianic times are revealed -- that the first letters of each of the words Baruch Shem kevod malchut l’olam va’ed, spell the words, b’Shechem lamed-vav, meaning “in Shechem, thirty-six.”

 

Baruch Shem is the second verse of the Shema said twice a day. According to tradition, it represents our belief that God orchestrates the events of history, even when this fact is veiled by nature and “natural” cause-and-effect. This verse alludes to the day when God will stop working undercover and reveal himself to humanity in an obvious manner. In other words, it is a verse that alludes to the final redemption.

 

But, why “in Shechem thirty-six?” And “thirty-six” what? That’s a question that opens up a Kabbalistic “Pandora’s box”, for thirty-six is all about exile AND redemption.

 

The original primordial light of creation, the Talmud says, shone for thirty-six hours before God hid it

 

There are many phrases that have the same Gematria or numerical value and they all point in the direction of one answer: the original primordial light of creation, which, the Talmud[54] says shone for thirty-six hours before God hid it for the righteous people of history. This light is redemption; when it shines, evil is banished.

 

This is why Moses was born with it, and exemplified it, and was even compared to it. He was also born in the Hebrew year 2368, thirty-six years after Egyptian servitude officially began following the death of the last of Joseph’s brothers, Levi.

 

This light is called Ohr HaTikun -- the “Light of Rectification.” It shone for Adam on day six of creation; it shone again at Mount Sinai when the Torah was given; and, with the help of God, it is going to shine again, soon -- permanently -- for the generation of Messiah.

 

 As we mentioned earlier, Ten Sefirot represent a “chain of command” between God and the world as we know it. Each of those Ten Sefirot are also meant to have a sub-set of Ten Sefirot of their own, but, during times of exile, we only have six. Six times six, of course, is thirty-six, and, it represents our potential to fulfill the purpose of creation.

 

This challenge is actually alluded to in one of God’s own name, Elohim. Kabbalah teaches that this name is really made up of two parts: the first three letters add up to a numerical value or Gematria of thirty-six, corresponding to the six sefirot we have examined; the last two letter have numerical value or Gematria of fifty, representing one of the top three sefirot -- binah, which is associated with “fifty gates of understanding”.

 

What does all this mean?

 

If we, the Jewish people, act as if God and Torah are all that counts, then, the light of binah is drawn down and becomes attached to the lower six sefirot, and, this, in turn, elevates these six sefirot upward towards binah. The result is redemption.

 

This is actually what we were trying accomplish at the end of the Yom Kippur service, when we say the Shema once, Baruch Shem kevod three times, and HaShem et Elohim seven times -- one time for each level of heaven that, in exile, stands between us and the Divine Presence.

 

The Talmud says that, when falsehood rules the minds of men, this actually one of the signs that Messiah is near

 

If, on the other hand, we act inconsistently with our belief in God, paying only lip service to His desire for creation and us within it, then, binah is drawn upward, the six sefirot downward, and falsehood and exile overrun creation.

 

The Talmud[55] says that, when falsehood rules the minds of men, this is actually one of the signs that Messiah is not too far away.

 

Judging by the reporting of the Israeli-Arab conflict by many prominent newspapers, we have entered that era.

 

Even the name Shechem itself symbolizes this idea. The first and last letter are separated from each other by the letter kaf which symbolizes intellectual blindness. However, when kaf is removed, and these two letters are allowed to unite, then they spell the word shem, “name”, a euphemism for the Tetragrammaton, God’s holy ineffable name -- HaShem, “the Name”.

 

Yes, Shechem is a place set aside for punishment. However, that is only up until the time for redemption, and, when that time comes, then, the hidden light of creation will be unleashed, a light clearly associated with Joseph, and it will cause great miracles. Miracles that will clearly reveal the hand of God in history, and cause God’s name to be unified, with or without our efforts.

 

So, how fitting it is at this late stage of history, while the Jewish people seem to be grappling for ground on so many fronts, that Joseph’s Tomb was decimated. I hope it is a good sign, for they know not upon which holy ground they tread, nor what powers of redemption they have unleashed.

 

Perhaps the spirit of Messiah Ben Joseph?

 

A year of miracles and peaceful redemption for all the Jewish people!

 

copyright © 1995 - 2000 Aish HaTorah

 

* * *

 

The following was copied from:

http://www.beisMashiach.org/Mashiach/Mashiach354.htm

 

Rabbi Pape: Rabbi Majeski, would you say that it’s against Torah to say that Mashiach could be a person who had passed on, and then he would come and redeem the Jewish people after having passed on? Is there any basis for that?

 

Rabbi Majeski: This is a perfect example of what we said before about people having preconceived ideas without looking and studying what it says in Torah. When this question comes up - “Is this according to Judaism?” - the answer is that the definition of Judaism is that which is written in Torah. Torah defines Judaism. We have to look to see if it says in Torah that Mashiach can be someone who passed on and then comes as Mashiach.

 

Let me go through a number of sources. First of all, we have the Gemara in Sanhedrin, the Talmud, page Tzaddik-Ches amud Beis, where the Gemara says: “Rav says that if Mashiach is among those who are living, then it’s Rabbeinu HaKodesh, and if he’s among those who passed on, then it’s Daniel.”

 

We have again the Gemara, in Yerushalmi, Mesechta Brachos 2:4, where it says, “The rabbanim say, ‘If Mashiach is among the living, then his name is David, and if he’s from among those who passed on, then it’s David HaMelech himself.’” Midrash Rabba Eicha 1:51 says a similar thing: “If Mashiach is among the living, then his name is David, and if he’s among those who passed on, his name is also David.”

 

The great Torah commentator and philosopher, Don Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508), who wrote three lengthy works about the Scriptural prophecies and our Sages’ sayings concerning Mashiach and the Geula, writes in Yeshuos Meshicho (Jerusalem, 5753, p.104) that it is possible that Mashiach will be taken from this world and brought into the heavenly “Garden of Eden,” continuing: “You should not find it difficult [to understand] that the King Mashiach will be among those who arise in the Resurrection,” quoting the Talmud[56] as proof that this can be so. Here we see the same three stages of revelation, concealment and revelation.

 

The Abarbanel, in the seifer, Yeshuas Meshichoi, chapter 1, writes, “There should not be a question in your mind whether Mashiach could be someone who will come after passing, because it says this in the Gemara. The Gemara says there is that possibility: if he’s among those who passed on, then it’s Daniel Ish Chamudos.”

 

We find also in the S’dei Chemed, who was a master of halacha, in his seifer Paas Sadeh, siman Ayin, “There are two possibilities as to how Mashiach can come. He can come as someone who is alive, and he can come as someone who has passed on, as it says in the Gemara in Sanhedrin”.

 

We don’t have to go that far; we can look in the Chumash, the commentary of Ohr HaChaim, Parshas Balak 24:16, on the pasuk,Ar’enu v’lo ata,” where he says exactly the same thing - that Mashiach can come in two possible ways. One is from those who are living, and it could also be that he’ll be nisgaleh (revealed) from Shamayim. We can also find it in the Zohar: you can look it up in Parshas Balak, page 203, amud 2. The Zohar says that Mashiach is one who will be here, pass on, and then he’ll come back and take the Yidden out of Galut.

 

We also find this in the writings of the Arizal, in Shaar HaGilgulim 13 and 31, where he describes how Mashiach will be a human being born to a father and a mother, who will grow up to be a great tzaddik, a righteous person, and he will be given the task to take the Yidden out of Galut. After that, like Moshe Rabbeinu, who went up to the mountain for forty days and forty nights, and then he came back - that’s how Mashiach [will be]. After he will be here, and not everyone will accept him, he will disappear, then come back, take the Yidden out of Galut, and then everyone will accept him.

 

I want to conclude with the words of Rav Aharon Soloveichik, a’h, who was definitely a Torah giant of our generation. He wrote a letter that was printed in the Jewish Press, June 28, 1996. I’m going to read a few lines from his letter regarding this issue:

 

“Before the passing of the Rebbe, I included myself among those who believe that the Rebbe was worthy of being Mashiach. And I strongly believe that had we, particularly the Orthodox community, been united, we would have merited to see the complete redemption. Insofar as the belief held by many in Lubavitch - based in part on similar statements made by the Rebbe himself concerning his predecessor, the Previous Rebbe, including prominent rabbanim and roshei yeshiva - that the Rebbe can still be Mashiach in light of the Gemara in Sanhedrin, the Zohar, Abarbanel, Kisvei Arizal, S’dei Chemed, and other sources, it cannot be dismissed as a belief that is outside the pale of Orthodoxy. Any cynical attempt at utilizing a legitimate disagreement of interpretation concerning this matter in order to besmirch and to damage the Lubavitch movement that was, and continues to be, at the forefront of those who are battling the missionaries, assimilation, and indifference, can only contribute to the regrettable discord that already plagues the Jewish community, and particularly the Torah community”.

 

* * *

 

Two Mashiachs “close up together” – see Malbim on Ezekiel 37:19 (two pieces of wood become one, this refers to Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David); also, Zohar Vayigash 206a “Yehuda was a king and Yosef was a king, and they approached one another and they united together as one.”

 

* * *

 

What is the Mashiach supposed to accomplish? The Tanach says that he will:

 

A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

 

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

 

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

 

D. Spread universal knowledge of the HaShem of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “HaShem will be King over all the world -- on that day, HaShem will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).

 


 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address:  gkilli@aol.com

Web page:  http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

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[1] Mashiach is a translitteration of the Hebrew word that is normally translated as “messiah”. This word means “anointed one”, and is the normal term applied to Jewish kings and priests.

[2] I am using Mashiach without further qualification, to apply to Mashiach ben Joseph, which is not the normal Jewish way. The normal Jewish way is to that an ‘mashiach’ without qualification always applies to Mashiach ben David only. See Rambam’s Hilchot Melachim.

[3] From the book Mashiach by Rabbi J.I. Schochet

[4] Megillah 15b

[5] In the original Hebrew, HaMelech HaMashiach (lit., “the anointed king”); i.e., the Messianic King.]

[6] In the original Hebrew, the word here translated “anointed [king]” is simply HaMashiach (lit. “the anointed one”); i.e., the Messiah. It is used interchangeably with the earlier phrase.]

[7] At this point, before being censored by medieval Mashiachian authorities, the Rambam’s original text continued: “...and save Israel from the hand’s of Esav’s descendants. This and two other such deletions have been copied verbatim in these footnotes from the celebrated Yemenite manuscript in the hands of Chacham Yosef Kapach of Jerusalem. (See footnotes 5 and 6, below.)]

[8] At this point, the uncensored original text continued as follows: “Whoever adds to [the mitzvot] or detracts from them, or misinterprets the the Torah, implying that the mitzvot are not intended to be understood literally, is surely a wicked imposter and a heretic.”

[9] The whole of the following passage was deleted from most of the editions published since the Venice edition of 1574. “If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not [the redeemer] promised by the Torah. [Rather,] he should be considered as all the other proper and legitimate kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. G-d only caused him to arise in order to test the multitude. As it is written [Daniel 11:35], “Some of the wise men will stumble, to purge, to refine, and to clarify, until the appointed time, for it is yet to come.”

 

Yeshua of Nazareth who aspired to be the Mashiach and was executed by the court was also spoken of in Daniel’s prophecies [Daniel 11:14], “The renegades among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.”

 

Can there be a greater stumbling block than [Christianity]? All the prophets spoke of Mashiach as the redeemer of Israel and their savior, who would gather their dispersed ones and strengthen their [observance of] the mitzvot. In contrast [the founder of Christianity] caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than the L-rd.”

 

“Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for [to paraphrase Yeshayahu 55:8] His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the deeds of Yeshua of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite [i.e. Mohammed] who arose after him will only serve to pave the way for the coming of Mashiach and for the improvement of the entire world, [motivating the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3:9], “I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.”

 

“How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with talk of [the supposed] Messiah, as well as of the Torah and the mitzvot. These matters have been spread among many spiritually insensitive nations, who discuss these matters as well as the mitzvot of the Torah. Some of them [i.e. the Christianity] say: “These commandments were true, but are not in force in the present age; they are not applicable for all time.” Others [i.e. the Moslems] say: “Implied in the commandments are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply; the Messiah has already come and revealed them.”

 

“When the true Messiah king will arise and prove successful, his [position becoming] exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage; their prophets and ancestors cause them to err.”

[10] The name of the prophet is occasionally spelled, as in this verse, without the final letter vav.

[11] V. supra, XCI, 4.

[12] Cf. Eccl. R. IX, 15.

[13] Cf. supra, LXIX, 2

[14] Judah was king (v. supra, XCIII, 2)- after all Jacob’s descendants are mentioned, Judah is singled out, indicating that he alone counted as much as all of them together.

[15] Since the same introduction is used for all the children of Israel as for Judah in particular.

[16] Th.: The reference is to the Messiah son of Joseph who will precede the Messiah son of David, descended from Judah. Possibly too the reference is to Joshua (descended from Joseph) who wielded authority over Israel before Judah’s descendant did, viz. David.

[17] Judah and Joseph are likened to a lion and an ox respectively.

[18] The allusion is to Saul.

[19] Near the lake of Tiberias-its fruits were evidently large and luscious. -The comment is based on Gen. XLVII, 6: In the best of the land... in the land of Goshen.

[20] Sanh. 90a

[21] Said to have been established under Ezra and Nehemiah (C. 450 B.C.E.) as the chief tribunal of the Jewish people.

[22] Solomon built the Temple of God before his own palace.

[23] Translation according to Midrashic interpretation.

[24] Cf. II Kings v, 1 ff.

[25] As regards the share of these people in the World to Come.

[26] By seeking their good deeds.

[27] E.V. ‘cry aloud’.

[28] Sanh. 105a.

[29] David.

[30] And protest against the granting of a share in the World to Come to men like Doeg whom he denounces in Ps. LV, 24.

[31] E.V. ‘and ‘.

[32] The son of Joseph, who is to precede the son of David and lead a war against Israel’s enemies of whom Gog and Magog are the symbols.

[33] The verse refers to Joseph; ‘majesty is his’-sc. Ephraim’s, Joseph’s son.

[34] Reading vhctunv with Rad. The allusion is to Ruth, and the text means that God’s assistance will not be forthcoming until the Messiah the son of David, a descendent of Ruth, will have arrived. The allusion to this is derived from hmjr meaning in Aramaic ‘my trust’.

[35] Metaphorical reference to Edom; v. Isa. LXIII, 1.

[36] This probably refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria (so called because of his attempted Hellenisation of the Jews).

[37] hggur,t is thus probably connected with ggr ‘to be favourably inclined’.

[38] Probably the Christian Church is meant.

[39] V.J.E., art. Melchizedek.

[40] V.J.E., art. Melchizedek.

(3) Lit.,the priest anointed for war’, an expression originally applied to the priest who accompanied the troops. Cf. Suk. 52a, where instead of ‘ War Messiah ‘ we have ‘ Messiah son of Joseph’. The two are probably identical, Messiah the son of Joseph being regarded as the forerunner of the Messiah during the wars that will precede his advent.

[41] Cf. supra, 1

[42] Cf. Sanh. 97a.

[43] I.e. the land of Israel. Lit. ‘ Shafts of famine will be launched against it.’

[44] Lit., scarcity and no scarcity, plenty and no plenty.,

[45] Cf. Sot 49b.

[46] Of scholars.

[47] A district S. of Jerusalem, inhabited by Idumeans.

[48] Y.K.: The few remaining men of truth will find it impossible to live in the great cities filled with falsehood, and so will remove to the wilderness. It may also mean that there will be so many conflicting opinions as to what is the truth as to render it, for all practical purposes, inaccessible.

[49] After the period of taunting (the Hebrew denotes blasphemy) comes the time for blessing God--the Messianic era.

[50] Succah 52a

[51] Genesis 48:22

[52] Zohar, Vayakhel 220a

[53] Sotah 11a

[54] Berachot 8:5

[55] Sanhedrin 97a

[56] Sanhedrin 98b