Moshiach and Geulah
What is meant by the 'End of Days'?
The term “End of Days” is taken from the Torah portion of Numbers (Bamidbar) 24:4. This has always been taken as a reference to the messianic era. Here we will explore the Jewish belief in the coming of Moshiach (the Jewish Messiah). All the difficulties that the Jewish people endure, and all the tests and challenges in the last days before the redemption are called the birth pangs of Moshiach. We have to remember and emphasize to everyone the importance of praying for and demanding that G-d send our righteous redeemer immediately and take us out of exile with mercy. We can never become comfortable in exile. It behooves each and every one of us to cry out to G-d to send us Moshiach and to bring us the days of Moshiach when the world will reach its ultimate perfection.
One must always think to oneself:
"What have I done and what am I doing now to alleviate the birth-pangs of Moshiach, and to merit the complete Redemption which will come through our righteous Moshiach?"(Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)
What does the word Moshiach mean?
Moshiach is the Hebrew word for Messiah. The word Messiah in English means a saviour or a “hoped-for deliverer”. The word Moshiach in Hebrew actually means “anointed”. In Biblical Hebrew the title Moshiach was bestowed on somebody who had attained a position of nobility and greatness. For example, the High Priest is referred to as the Kohen Hamoshiach.In Talmudic literature the title Moshiach, or Melech Hamoshiach, (the King Messiah) is reserved for the Jewish leader who will redeem Israel in the End of Days.
What is the belief in Moshiach All about?
One of the principles of Jewish faith enumerated by Maimonides is that one day there will arise a dynamic Jewish leader, a direct descendant of the Davidic dynasty (King David), who will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and gather Jews from all over the world and bring them back to the Land of Israel.
As the Rambam writes in hilchos kings:
“And when a king of the House of David will arrive, dedicated to the study of Torah and observance of mitzvos like his father David, according to the Torah Sheviksav (written law) and Torah shebeal peh (oral law), and he will compel all the Jewish people to walk in it and strengthen its fences, and he will fight the wars of God, he is assumed to be the Moshiach. (note: this is not yet a sure sign for all this can take place in a state of galus). However, if he did so and has succeeded in the above matters, namely having won all battles and impelled all jewish people to study Torah and mend its fences,( we are still not sure and require a further sign,namely) and he builds the Beis Hamikdash in its place (Jerusalem) (we are still not certain he is Moshiach and require a further factor to be fulfilled) and he gathers in the dispersed ones of Israel, then he is certainly the Moshiach.”
It is clear from the above ruling of the Rambam that before there can be an end to galus and ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of the beis Hamikdash, there has to be a full and complete return to Torah and mitzvos while Jews are still in galus and that is the preparation for the geulah.
Anyone who does not believe in Moshiach or does not await his coming, denies not only the statements of the other prophets, but those of the Torah and Moses, our teacher. The Torah testified to his coming, as Deuteronomy 30:3-5 states:
God will bring back your captivity and have mercy upon you. He will again gather you from among the nations... Even if your Diaspora is at the ends of the heavens, God will gather you up from there... and bring you to the land....
These explicit words of the Torah include all the statements made by all the prophets.
Reference to Mashiach is also made in the portion of Bilaam who prophesies about two anointed kings: the first anointed king, David, who saved Israel from her oppressors; and the final anointed king who will arise from his descendants and save Israel in the end of days. That passage Numbers 24:17-18 relates:
'I see it, but not now' - This refers to David;
'I perceive it, but not in the near future;" - This refers to the Messianic king;
'A star shall go forth from Jacob' - This refers to David;
'and a staff shall arise in Israel' - This refers to the Messianic king;
The perek of tehillim 72 ends with the Hebrew words: kalu tefilot david ben yishai. Why is that? King David was constantly praying that his son shlomo should be his successor. When he finally realized that Shlomo would take over and not his other sons, and that Shlomo was being inaugurated as the next King of Israel, he realized Moshiach would descend from Shlomo so he composed the tehillim and ended with the words kalu tefilot david ben yishai which equals b’gematria to Moshiach ben David.
The Hebrew word kalu also hints at the mitzvah that will hasten the coming of Moshiach: kalu (read backwards) stands for v’ahavta lireacho komocho, love your fellow Jew as yourself.
We must understand that there actually exists a human being, in every generation, that is righteous enough to be Moshiach, the redeemer of the Jewish nation. This individual can be a Tzaddik that is serving Hashem in a very private way not even knowing yet that he is the Moshiach. If the generation is worthy, Hashem will bestow upon this individual the "spirit of Moshiach" and he will begin the activities that Moshiach needs to do to redeem the Jewish people. ( Chasam Sofer, Teshuvos Choshen Mishpat 98 and others).
(Note: When Moshe Rabbeinu was born - and the house filled with light and he was born circumcised - people knew that he was worthy of being the eventual redeemer of Klal Yisroel from Mitzrayim. Nevetheless he was a shepherd until the age of 80, serving Hashem as he saw fit. At a certain point - in the desert through the burning-bush - Hashem chose him to redeem the Jewish people. Only
after that did Moshe begin doing the activities - 10 plagues, strengthening the spirit of the Jewish people etc. - as the actual revealed redeemer of Klal Yisroel.]
The era of Moshiach is the main purpose of the creation of the world. Right in the sefer of Bereishis it says "the spirit of G-d hovered above the waters". this is the spirit of Moshiach. The world was created for Moshiach.
The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that Moshiach will restore the kingdom of David to its glory of old, to its original sovereignty. He will build he Beit hamikdash, gather in the dispersed of Israel and all the laws of Torah will be restored as before and we will bring sacrifices and observe the sabbatical and jubilee years etc. The Cohanim (Priests) and Leviim (levites) will again serve in the Beit Hamikdash.
Once Moshiach arrives, all the nations of the world will recognize Moshiach to be a world leader and will accept his dominion. In the messianic era there will be world peace, no more wars nor famine and, in general, a high standard of living. There will be a revelation of G-dliness in the world and we will see the underlying kedusha in everything. In Tanya the Alter Rebbe writes "through the superabundance of light which will shine upon the jewish people in the era of Moshiach, the darkness of the nations will also be lit up". It is also written in Yeshayahu that the non Jewish nations will say to the Jewish people "house of Jacob, go and we will walk along by the light of G-d".
All mankind will worship one G–d and live a more spiritual and moral way of life. The Jewish
nation will be preoccupied with learning Torah and fathoming its secrets and will be a light to the nations.
The coming of Moshiach will complete G–d’s purpose in creation: for man to make an abode for G–d in the lower worlds; to reveal the inherent spirituality in the material world.
The Rambam says that belief in Moshiach is one of the 13 principles of faith.
Is this not a utopian dream?
No! Judaism fervently believes that, with the correct leadership (the leadership of Moshiach), humankind can and will change. The leadership quality of Moshiach means that through his dynamic personality and example, coupled with manifest humility, he will inspire all people to strive for good. He will transform a seemingly utopian dream into a reality. He will be recognized as a man of G–d with greater leadership qualities than even Moshe. Yeshayahu hanavi says that Moshiach will be of higher stature than even Adam harishon or Moshe . He will teach Torah even to Moshe Rabbenu. He will be more honored and glorious than all kings who preceded him.His reign will extend over the entire world and last forever. But he will be the most humble person to ever exist. He will reveal the deepest levels of Torah but in a way everyone can understand it. He will reveal a completely new higher level of Torah never revealed before. He therefore needs even a higher level of prophecy than Moshe in oder to receive this new dimension of Torah and he needs to have greater wisdom that King Shlomo to teach this to all the Jewish people. The prophet Isaiah describes Moshiach thus: "the spirot of G-d will rest upon him..."
Moshiach also distinguishes himself by his possession of the highest soul power, known in Chassidic literature as the yechida level of the soul (there are five levels of the soul but only two or three are accessible and revealed in most Jewish people. however Moshiach will reveal the highest level of Yechida). It the loftiest part of the soul; it is most intimate with G-d. Revelation of this level leads to unmitigated life. Moshiach will ignite the Yechidah of each and every one of us, which will lead to the Resurrection of the Dead and eternal life.
In today’s society many people are repulsed by the breakdown of ethical and moral standards. Life is cheap, crime is rampant, drug and alcohol abuse are on the increase, children have lost respect for their elders. At the same time technology has advanced in quantum leaps. There is no doubt that today, if channeled correctly, man has all the resources necessary to create a good standard of living for all mankind. He lacks only the social and political will. Moshiach will inspire all men to fulfill that aim.
The world will attain its ultimate completion and perfection in the Messianic era. All positive achievments of the times of galut (exile) will remain when Moshiach comes, but all negativity of the world will disappear. There will be no more death or illness, no poverty, no suffering, no jealousy. Everyone will get along and care for one another. It will be the ideal world that G-d envisioned when He created this universe. It will bring the world to its ultimate completion.
According to the explanation in the previous chapter that the whole purpose of the world’s creation is that we, the Jews, people of flesh and blood, make this world a dwelling place for Hashem, we can then understand why the Geulah must come through a human Moshiach.
The reason why Jews are able to bring spirituality into this material world and connect this lower world with the higher realms is because the Jew is a combination of spiritual and material, a Neshama,a G-dly soul - in a physical body.
Moshiach will be the ultimate combination, for he will be flesh and blood within the physical world, and on that same time the spirit of Hashem will rest on him.
Therefore Moshiach is the perfect one to bring the ultimate Geulah, and make this final connection between this material world and G-dliness.
This is also the reason why (as the Rambam emphasizes that) Moshiach is not required to perform earth-shattering miracles according to halacha because the geulah is not about changing this world but rather to reveal the good in it. (Nonetheless, it says that Moshiach will perform great miracles. That is the nature of Melech haMoshiach. And in the second era of Moshiach, the time of resurrection of the dead, we will experience miracles of even a much higher order than ever before).
Moshiach will teach all the Jewish people and instruct them in the ways of Hashem. He will prevail upon the Jews to follow and observe the Torah, and will reveal new insights in the hidden mysteries of the Torah which will then be revealed by G d.
Ever since the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, in every generation there is an individual, a descendant of Dovid and Shlomo, who has the potential to be the Moshiach. If at any moment the Jews are worthy of redemption, this person would be directed from Above to assume the role of the redeemer - He is called the Moshiach of the generation.
In fact, in every generation the students of the great Rabbis used to say that their Rabbi is the Moshiach of the generation. The Rebbe explains that the leader of the generation is the perfect individual to be the Moshiach of the generation.
How are we to identify the Moshiach?
The following are the criteria for identifying the Moshiach, as written by the Rambam (who is the only source in Jewish law on the identity of Moshiach and the criteria he must fulfill):
If we see a Jewish leader who (a) is a king from the House of Dovid (b) toils in the study of Torah and is meticulous about the observance of the Mitzvos, (c) influences the Jews to follow the ways of the Torah and (d) wages the "battles of Hashem"— such a person is the
If the person succeeded in all these endeavors, and then rebuilds the Holy Beis Hamikdosh in Yerushalyim and facilitates the ingathering of the Jews to the Land of Israel—then we are certain that he is the Moshiach.
Where is Moshiach mentioned in the Scriptures?
The Scriptures are replete with messianic quotes. In Deuteronomy 30:1 Moshe prophesies that, after the Jews have been scattered to the four corners of the earth, there will come a time when they will repent and return to Israel where they will fulfill all the commandments of the Torah. The gentile prophet Bilam prophesies that this return will be lead by Moshiach (see Numbers 24:17-20). Jacob refers to Moshiach by the name Shilo (Genesis 49:10).
The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Joel and Hosea all refer to the messianic era. For full references the reader is referred to the book Moshiach by Rabbi Dr.I.Schochet. It is interesting to note that on the wall of the United Nations building in New York is inscribed the
quote from Isaiah (Ch.11:6), “And the wolf shall lie with the lamb”.
Furthermore, it is clear from the prophets, when studied in their original Hebrew, that Moshiach is a Jewish concept and will entail return to Torah law, firmly ruling out any “other” messianic belief.
What sort of leader will Moshiach be?
Moshiach will be a man who possesses extraordinary qualities. He will be proficient in both the written and oral Torah traditions. He will incessantly campaign for Torah observance among Jews and observance of the Seven Universal Noahide Laws by non-Jews. He will be scrupulously observant and encourage the highest standards from others. He will defend religious principles and repair breaches in their observance. Above all, Moshiach will be heralded as a true Jewish King, a person who leads the way in the service of G–d, totally humble yet enormously inspiring.
There actually exists a human being, in every generation, that is righteous enough to be Moshiach. This individual can be an unknown Tzaddik, that is serving Hashem in a very private way not knowing that he is the potential Moshiach. Eventually he becomes a leader and if the generation is worthy, Hashem will bestow upon this individual the "spirit of Moshiach" and he will begin the activities that Moshiach needs to do to redeem the Jewish people. ( Chasam Sofer, Teshuvos Choshen Mishpat 98 and others).
There are certain qualifications, that if seen in an individual, permit - and require - the people around him to assume and act towards him as if he will be the ultimate Moshiach. These qualifications are enumerated by Rambam ( Hilchos M'lachim Perek 11 Halacha 4):
1) He must be a "King". This obviously does not mean a literal king, as we are talking about Jews in exile. Rambam is telling us that Moshiach must be a true leader -
not of a specific group, rather - of the entire Jewish people. There is a mitzvah in the Torah to appoint a King. But the King Moshiach will actually be transparent: a total reflection of Hashem, the King of Kings. He will remind us that the only true King is G-d.
2) He must be a descendant of King Dovid. Hashem promised the tribe of Yehuda - and King Dovid in particular - that kingship will be their everlasting destiny. (see Yaakov blessing to Yehuda in Parshas Vayechi)
3) He must be totally involved - not as a 9-5 worker, rather as a company owner - in learning Torah of doing Mitzvos. The main objective of Moshiach is to bring the world to a higher awareness of Hashem. Therefore, Moshiach must be someone whose whole existance is one of Torah and Mitzvos.
4) He will be involved in "forcing" all Jews to serve Hashem. The term "force" does not mean that Maohiach will use physical force. Nor can one individual connect to every Jew. Rather, Rambam is referring to an individual that has a goal and mission to reach and educate - which is considered "forcing with words" - every Jew, either personally or through his emissaries.
5) He will "fight the wars of Hashem". The "wars of Hashem" are things that threaten the Jewish people. Whether it is spiritual assimilation, or actual physical wars that threaten Jewish lives, Moshiach will be at the forefront.
One must understand that there are different ways of fighting wars. Moshiach will not be shooting bullets from a gun, rather when Klal Yisrael is in danger, he will institute special spiritual campaigns - like Mivtza Teffilin by the six-day war - to strengthen Klal Yisrael. (See Metzudos Zecharya 9,10 and Igros Moshe Orach Chayim volume 4 responsa 81).
[ A perspective: The above explanation in "fighting the wars of Hashem" helps resolve an age-old question. Chazal tell us, that the reason why King Dovid was not given the privilege of building the holy Bais Hamikdash, was because his hands were red with the blood of the wars - of Hashem - that he fought. How then can Rambam say that Moshiach will fight wars and build the third Bais Hamikdash? Rather, Moshiach will fight his wars in a way of peace as explained above.]
The above qualities and characteristics qualify an individual as a strong candidate to be Moshiach - in Halachik terms "Chezkas Moshiach" (potential Moshiach). If he actually accomplishes all the things Moshiach is meant to do, including building the Bais Hamikdash and gathering the exiles from all corners of the world, etc., then he becomes Moshiach b’vadai (in actuality). But there are stages until the complete redemption is finalized and the building of the Bais Hamikdash is the last stage in the process.
A basic prerequisite to Moshiach's identity is that he be a true Torah giant. As a matter of fact, the first qualification for Moshiach (see Rambam HilchosMelachim chapter 11) is that he is involved - in a serious way - in learning Torah. In addition to that, he will be a true teacher to Klal Yisrael. In the words of the Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva 9:2):
For these reasons, all Israel, [in particular,] their prophets and their Sages, have yearned for the Messianic age so they can rest from the [oppression of] the gentile kingdoms who do not allow them to occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvot properly. They will find rest and increase their knowledge in order to merit the world to come.
In that era, knowledge, wisdom, and truth will become abundant. [Isaiah 11:9] states, "The earth will be full of the knowledge of God." Jeremiah [31:33] states: "One man will no longer teach his brother, nor a man his colleague... [for all will know Me]." And Ezekiel [36:26] states: "I will take away the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
[These changes will come about] because the king who will arise from David's descendants will be a greater master of knowledge than Solomon and a great prophet, close to the level of Moses, our teacher. Therefore, he will teach the entire nation and instruct them in the path of God.
All the gentile nations will come to hear him as [Isaiah 2:2] states: "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of God's house shall be established at the peak of the mountains... [and all the nations shall flow to it].
Hence, we see clearly that Moshiach will teach the entire Jewish people. This includes all the Jewish people that have - passed away and have been learning Torah in Gan Eden and have - been resurrected. This includes all the Patriarchs and prophets of previous generations.
However, still requiring clarification is:
1) What will be the role of the Sanhedrin?
2) Does the Talmud (Yuma 5b) not say that Moshe and Aharon will teach?
3) What can Moshiach teach the great sages and prophets of old?
The questions regarding laws of direct oral tradition ("Halacha L'Moshe Misinai") will be directed to Moshe Rabbeinu - as he was the one who received the tradition. The practical Halachic questions - that are learned out with the 13 tools that were given to us to learn out the laws from the Torah - will be
answered by the Sanhedrin. Melech HaMoshiach will teach the mystical hidden secrets of the Torah (see Rashi Shir Hashirim 1:2).
But how will Moshiach be able to teach all of Klal Yisrael? There are so many different people and on so many different levels?
The answer (Toras Menachem vol.19 pg.280):
Moshiach’s teaching methodology will be revolutionary in style. He will not explain the secrets of the Torah, rather, he will show us the secrets of the Torah and the spiritual worlds. When you show an audience a visual film, you can show it to thousands of people at once. You don't have to explain to them the details - as that takes a long time and also depends on their intellectual capacity - as it will be grasped at once with the power of sight.
Building the Beis Hamikdash
As for the building of the Beis Hamikdash, Rambam himself writes (Hilchos Bais Habchirah) that when King Shlomo built the First Bais Hamikdosh, he already knew that it would be destroyed. He therefore built an underground tunnel-system to store some of the important vessels of the Bais Hamikdash. How did he know that it would be destroyed? Did he know with Ruach Hakodesh that the Jews would sin?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains ( Likkutei Sichos Volume 21 parashas Terumah) that the fact that a human being built the Bais Hamikdash - even if they are as holy as King Shlomo - means that it has limited existence. The length of the existence of the Bais Hamikdash was dependant on our actions.
It is known that the third Bais Hamikdash will last forever. This can only come about if it is built directly by Hashem. Being that Hashem is infinite, he can create a building that will exist forever.If so, why does Rambam write that Moshiach will build the third Bais Hamikdash? Moshiach is also a human being.
In the Sichos of the Rebbe, there are four answers:
1 - Rambam himself writes ( in Hilchos Bais Habchirah chapter 1), that the exact measurements and design of the Bais Hamikdosh, is not clear from the Pesukim -
scripture - in Yechezkal. We do know that some parts will be similar to the form of the second Bais Hamikdosh. We can then say that the parts which are clear Moshiach will build. The rest will be built by Hashem.
2 - Moshiach will build his Bais Hamikdosh. Hashem will then send down the Bais Hamikdash from above and they will "fuse" together. This is based on how the Talmud (Eiruvin 63a, Yuma 21b) describes the fire on the Mizbeach - Alter. That after the Kohen lit the fire on the Mizbeach, a fire came down from heaven and they became one fire together.
3 - It all depends on the level that the Jews will be when Moshiach will come. If we are on the higher level, the Bais Hamikdash will be revealed from heaven. If we are on the lower level, Moshiach will have to build the Bais Hamikdash. This is based on the Gemaras (Sanhedrin 98a) that asks a question from two seemingly contradictory Pesukim. In Daniel (7,13) it describes Moshiach arriving "on clouds". In Zecharya (9,9) it describes Moshiach arriving on a donkey. The Gemara explains that it is not a contradiction. It all depends on the level of the Jews at the time. If we are full of merits, Moshiach will come from above with miracles. If not, he will "arrive on a donkey" i.e. a more natural era. However, the Rebbe did say that our generation is worthy and we will merit Moshiach with miracles.
4 - The Bais Hamikdash will come down from heaven, but Moshiach will put up its' front gates. The Midrash (Bamidbar 15,13) writes that the gates of the Bais Hamikdash were not destroyed, rather they sunk into the ground. Moshiach will restore those original gates. This is based on the Gemaras ( Bava Basrah 53b) that holds that if one puts up the doors of a home, it is as if he built the entire home.
A very special aspect of the third Beis Hamikdsah will be that all synagogues from around the world - synagogues currently standing and those that were destroyed over our rough history - will return to Eretz Yisrael and be planted adjacent to the third Beis Hamikdash.
This is evident from the Gemarah (Megillah 29a):
"It has been taught: R. Eleazar ha-Kappar says: The synagogues and houses of learning in Babylon will in time to come be planted in Eretz Israel, as it says, "For as Tabor among the
mountains and as Carmel by the sea came. Now can we not draw an inference here a fortiori: Seeing that Carmel and Tabor which came only on a single occasion to learn the Torah are implanted in Eretz Israel, how much more must this be the case with the synagogues and houses of learning where the Torah is read and expounded!" (see Maharsha who explains that the synagogues will be connected to
the third Beis Hamikdash)
The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Shebibavel chapter 3) explains that the order of closeness to the Beis Hamikdash will depend on the importance and usage of that
shul in the time of exile. The synagogue that the leader of the Jewish people in the time of exile prayed in, will be directly connected to the Beis Hamikdash.
How often will we visit the third Beis Hamikdash?
In the times of the first two Batei Mikdash, the Jewish people were commanded to be "Oleh Regel" – make a spiritual pilgrimage to the Beis Hamikdash three times a year. It took place on the three biblical holidays Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkos. This will change in the era of Geulah. Issiah 66:23: “It shall come to pass that at every new Moon and on every Shabbos all flesh - humankind - will come to bow before Me, says Hashem.” The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni on that verse) speculates: “How is it possible that all humankind will come to Jerusalem every Shabbos and every New Month? (How can Jerusalem contain so many pilgrims?) Rabbi Levi says that in the future the entire Land of Israel will be like Jerusalem; moreover, the entire world will be like the Land of Israel. And how can they come on the New Moon and on Shabbos from the ends of the world? The clouds will come and carry them, bringing them to Jerusalem, and they will pray there in the morning. And this is as the Prophet praises them: ‘Who are these? Like a cloud they fly, like doves to their cotes’ (Isaiah 60:8).”
[Isn't this contrary to the Torah eternal commandment which regulates only three times annually that Jews must go to Jerusalem? The sages (shu"t Dvar Yehoshua 1:9) already addressed this issue. They explain - see aforementioned sefer for more answers - that in reality, even in time of the first two Batei Mikdash the Jewish people should have come to the Beis Hamikdash every Shabbas and Rosh Chodesh. Being that it was technically impossible, Hashem only commanded us to come three times a year. Being that in the era of Moshiach it will be possible - as we will have 'clouds' on which to travel - we will visit every Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh.]
This heightened spiritual awareness and identity that will take place in the times of Moshiach will have another effect on the Jewish People: All Jewish people will attain the level of prophecy!
When will Moshiach come?
Jews anticipate the arrival of Moshiach everyday. Our prayers are full of requests to G–d to usher in the messianic era. Even at the gates of the gas chambers many Jews sang, “Ani Maamin” – I believe in the coming of Moshiach!
However, the Talmud states that there is a predestined time when Moshiach will come. If we are meritorious he may come before that predestined time. This “end of time” remains a mystery, yet the Talmud states that it will be before the Hebrew year 6000.
This does not rule out the possibility of Moshiach coming today and now if we merit it. The Lubavitcher Rebbe stated on numerous occasions that the messianic redemption is imminent. He clearly said we are the last generation of galus (exile) and the first generation of Moshiach. And he said that our generation is meritorious and we will complete the task to bring Moshiach. It is up to each of us to do our part.
Could Moshiach come at any time in any generation?
Yes. In every generation there is a person who potentially could be the Moshiach. When G–d decides the time has arrived, He will bestow upon that individual the necessary powers for him to precipitate that redemption.
Any potential Moshiach must be a direct descendant of King David as well as erudite in Torah learning. It should be noted that many people living today can trace their lineage back to King David. The Chief Rabbi of Prague in the 16th Century, Rabbi Yehuda Loew (the Maharal), had a family tree that traced him back to the Davidic dynasty. Consequently, any direct descendant of the Maharal is of Davidic descent.Maimonides, a great Jewish philosopher and codifier of the 12th Century, rules that if we recognize a human being who possesses the superlative qualities ascribed to Moshiach we may presume that he is the potential Moshiach. If this individual actually succeeds in rebuilding the Temple and gathering in the exiles then he is the Moshiach. There are also different opinions in the Talmud: Moshiach can come from the living, or Moshiach can come from the dead. Both are possibilities and the Talmud itself discusses this topic clearly.
There are discussions in the Torah and Zohar about two Moshiachs: Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben David. There are many opinions that say this person could be one and the same. It is referring to two different stages in the revelation of Moshiach. Moshiach ben Yosef it says will die and then later Moshiach ben David will arise.
Is Moshiach ben Yosef an essential Halachic part of the Moshiach process?
R' Saadia Gaon (one of the few to elaborate on the role of Moshiach ben Yosef) notes that this sequence is not definite but contingent! Moshiach ben Yosef will not have to appear before Moshiach ben David does nor will the activities prophetically attributed to him or his death have to occur. Everything depends on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people at the time the redemption is to take place.
The Rambam (the Halachic authority on Moshiach) does not bring down the concept of Moshiach Ben Yosef in his Mishneh Torah. This would strongly suggest that the prophecies regarding Moshiach ben Yosef will not necessarily unfold in a practical manner.
Thirdly, there is a tradition from the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov (quoted in the Shem Mishmuel) that the extraordinary length of the present severe galus has already made up for the troubles of that possible future battle and the trauma of the death of Moshiach ben Yosef. Therefore, these will certainly not take place.
(it is interesting to note that the Lubavitcher Rebbe's father in law was Yosef Yitzchak, and the Rebbe was like his son (definitely his successor) so perhaps that was the way the Rebbe fulfilled being Moshiach ben Yosef. But he also qualifies as Moshiach ben David and will therefore be revealed as the final redeemer very soon,as he himself said that the leader of the generation is the Moshiach of the generation. )
According to our sages ( see Rashi Daniel 12,12 Midrash Naso 11,2 Midrash Rus 5,6 Rabbeinu Bechaye Parshas Vayechi pg.44) there is more than one stage leading up to the complete redemption and Moashiach will have to be concealed before his final revelation.
Even the holy Zohar speaks about this matter clearly: that Moshiach will have to be “concealed” before his final revelation. The Arizal, one of the most important Kabbalists who lived 400 years ago, writes in his book, Sha'ar HaGilgulim (chapter 13), that Moshiach does not actually die (it is only a test for our eyes that we no longer can see him but he is still here, affecting the world towards redemption). The Zohar explaines that after Moshiach initially reveals himself, there is a period of concealment, and then he is revealed again with the complete geulah.
To summarize: There will be three stages in the arrival of Moshiach. 1) His initial revelation to the Jewish people. 2) His concealment 3) His final revelation.
This concept is seen clearly by our first redemption as well- Yetzias Mitzrayim(going out of Egypt). After being enslaved for many years, Moshe Rabbenu made his initial arrival and proclaimed - through saying the code-words of "Pokod Pakaditi Eschem" - that the time of Geulah has arrived.
He encouraged the Yidden to be prepared to leave Egypt. Moshe then left for a while - see end of Parshas Shemos, beginning of Vaera - and the made his final return to take the Yidden out of Galus.
What was the point of this "disappearing-act"?
The Chasam Sofer (on Chumash Parshas Shemos) explains that this was a test for Klal Yisroel. It will be the same test before the coming of Moshiach. It is a very difficult test. It is a test of faith. Hashem is looking to see if Klal Yisrael will lose their Emunah or will they hold on to it. If the Jewish people keep their faith, this shows that they are worthy of redemption.
The test is two-fold. Firstly, the very fact that the long-awaited Moshiach disappears is hard enough. In addition, it will seem like exile only get harder since Moshiach will first come and proclaim that Geulah is near. As we see by Moshe, that right after he came to announce the redemption, Pharaoh made things harder for the Jewish people. He - previously would supply the straw for their daily quota, but - changed his policy, and made the Jewish slaves collect straw themselves without lessening their quota.
The same idea can apply today: that the darkness has only increased and things have only become more difficult and more chaotic in the world in recent years. (Of course we do know that the darkest time of night is just before the sunrise: so too the darkest part of exile is just before the redemption). The Jewish people must believe the words told to them by the Moshiach of their generation and hold strong in their Emunah. This itself helps bring about the final revelation of Moshiach.
The trust in the coming of Moshiach must be in the manner spoken about regarding Chizkiya, who had totally confidence in G-d, to the point that he said to G-d, “I do not have the strength to kill, to pursue, [and even] to sing, rather I will sleep on my bed and You will do.” That is, without looking upon Sancheriv surrounding Yerushalayim with all his army, promising to make peace on special conditions, he had complete confidence in G-d, to the point that he went to sleep on his bed, and his sleep was sweet due to this trust in G-d (not as one who worries so much that it is impossible for him to sleep), and G-d went to war on his behalf, as is written, “And the angel of G-d went out and smote the camp of Ashur, etc.”
By the same token, each person must believe with absolute certainty in the coming of Moshiach, without any doubt and in a manner of “I will await him every day,” even when from the aspect of logical [and natural] “estimations,” he doesn’t see any source for this, and this very trust will hasten and speed up his arrival.
How do we know for sure if an individual is actually Moshiach b’vadai (the actual and ultimate redeemer)?
The Rambam writes ( Hilchos Melachim Chapter 11 halacha 4): " If he - Chezkas Moshiach - is not successful or is killed, it is known that he is not the one that Torah had promised the Jewish people. He is like all other kings from the house of Dovid that have passed away. So why was he sent in the first place? As a test for Klal Yisroel."
We see that there are a few things that can take away the Chezkas Moshiach:
1) If he is not successful - In order to have the Chezkas Moshiach, the Rambam writes that the individual must be active in "forcing" the Jewish people to do Torah and Mitzvos, and fight the wars of HashemThe Rambam is teaching us that if this person is not successful in these projects, he loses the Chazaka. If his mission to educate the Jewish people or to fight the threats of the Jewish people fails, then he is not Moshiach. He is a fine Jewish leader, but not Moshiach.
(How does one judge success? Look at the world today. Every religious organazation is doing
"kiruv" work, reaching out to Jews to teach them about Judaism. The Rebbe’s influence has reached every corner of the globe. Every Jew finally realized that it his/her resposibility to educate other Jewish people. With 4000 Shluchim around the world (BA"H), there is not a city that does not have access to Judaism, (See Sichos Vayeishev 5752)
How long do we give the individual to prove his success in these matters? According to commentaries, this is the physical lifetime of the individual. If during his lifetime he is active in these matters and is successful in them, this proves his success.
2) If he is Killed - When the Rambam says "killed" it does not mean a natural death or a car-accident : it means being killed by the people he is trying to fight or killed by his enemies, then the individual would lose his status as chezkas Moshiach. When we refer to an individual that had Chezkas Moshiach bit was killed, let is remind ourselves of Bar Kochva. He was thought to be Moshiach, but he was killed by the Romans. If the individual can be killed by his enemies, it shows that he is not worthy of being Moshiach. Rambam writes clearly about Bar-Kochva (Hilchos Melachim 11,2) that he was killed because of sins that he did. At the beginning he was worthy of being Moshiach, but it "got to his head" and he lost his status (see Midrashim for stories of Bar Kochva).
However, if an individual dies a natural death, he does NOT lose his status as Moshiach as the Gemorah itself says that Moshiach can come from the living or from the opposite.
IS THE DISAPPEARANCE OR EVEN THE PASSING OF THE INDIVIDUAL A SIGN THAT HE IS NOT MOSHIACH? IN OTHER WORDS, IF AN INDIVIDUAL DIES A NATURAL DEATH, DOES THAT IN ANY WAY DISQUALIFY HIM AS MOSHIACH?
The answer is NO!
That does not mean that Moshiach needs to pass away before the Geulah. However, if you see an individual that has the Chezkas Moshiach, and is successful in his activities
and then he passes away, it is not against Judaism to believe that this individual can still be the eventual Moshiach.
Where do we see this idea in Torah sources?
1) The Talmud in Sanhedrin (98,b) says that Moshiach can either be from the living or the dead. The Gemara says " If Moshiach is from the living, it is an individual like Rabbeinu Hakodosh. If he is from the dead, he will be like Daniel." (see Rashi there).
2) The Abarbenel writes ( Yeshuos Meshicho 2,1): " It should not be hard for you to think that the Moshiach can be from the dead. This idea has already been discussed in the
Gemara Sanhedrin, and clarified. See Sdei Chemed Ois Ayin.
3) The Lubavitcher Rebbe writes (Likkutei Sichos 2 page 518 - regarding statements he made regarding his father-in-law after his passing): “ I have been asked to explain my statements that I mentioned that my Father-in-law can still be Moshiach. Does it not say the resurrection of the dead, will be after the coming of Moshiach? The answer is: The general resurrection will be after the arrival of Moshiach. There can be - and has been (see Avodah Zarah 10,2) - the resurrection of certain individuals throughout the ages before that time."
4) The Rambam only disqualifies an individual that has been killed by others, not an individual that has been successful but passes away before building the Bais Hamikdash.
IS THERE A STAGE BETWEEN CHEZKAS MOSHIACH AND MOSHIACH VADAI?
The answer is, in very short, YES •
To understand this stage,we first must understand the folllowing: For an individual to be Chezkas Moshiach, HE must be holy and worthy.
For someone to reach the stage of Moshiach Vadai, WE - the generation - must be holy and worthy. Someone that is Chezkas Moshiach, is a Tzaddik that cares about the
Jewish people. But that is not enough to be Moshiach Vadai. For that - building Bais Hamikdash, ingathering of exiles - to happen, Hashem must decide that the time is right. That decision is based on our work and effort in galus.
In general there are four stages in the coming of Moshiach (see Chasam Sofer Teshuvos Choshen Mishpot 98):
1) Having an individual that is fitting to be the redeemer of Klal Yisroel.
2) Having that individual be appointed by Hashem to be the redeemer of Klal Yisroel.
3) Doing the activities that the redeemer needs to do. These activities cannot be done until one is hired or chosen by Hashem (same way Hashem appointed Moshe to go redeem the Jews from Egypt)
4) Finishing the job. At that point - when the Bais Hamikdash is standing and all Jews are in Eretz Yisroel - we can say, " Job well Done!" and the Geulah is here.
[The key stage is stage number two. Once Moshiach is appointed - or "annointed" even if he is not yet revealed to the entire world-, there is no turning-back. From the Sicha of Vayera 5752, it is clear, that we have passed that stage. However, Rambam writes that certain Torah laws will change with the arrival of Moshiach - such as not fasting on the set fast-days etc. This does not start until after stage four when we already are in Yerushalayim with the Beis Hamikdash).
We see these four stages enumerated above with our first redeemer as well - from our first exile in Egypt – through Moshe Rabbeinu:
1) Moshe Rabbeinu, untill the age of 80, was a Tzaddik and a mystic - he was born with a Bris Milah already done by Hashem! - but he did not immediately take any action as the redeemer of the Jewish people.
2) Moshe stood up to defend the Jewish people and was forced to flee from Pharoah. He was gone for many years at which time the exile of the Jewish people became increasingly more difficult.
3) Hashem told Moshe - in the middle of the desert through the burning-bush - that he is the redeemer. Hashem sent Moshe back to Egypt to tell the Jewish people to get ready
for the redemption. Moshe gave over that message to the leaders of the Jewish people and told them that Hashem has remembered their afflictions and that the Jews should prepare for redemption. But then galus mitzraim became harsher and more difficult and Pharoah made the suffering of the Jews even more and refused to let them go. Yet despite all the hardships the Jewish people did not lose their faith in the redemption or in Moshe.
4) Moshe brought the 10 plagues and many miracles occurred for the Jewish people before redemption.
5) On the 15th of Nissan 2448, the Jewish people actually left Egypt as a free nation and were redeemed from galut mitzraim.
We see many parallels between the exodus from Egypt and the future exodus. The Rebbe repeatedly said our generation is a reincarnation of the generation that went out of Egypt.
And the Rebbe is the Moshe Rabbenu of our generation. And the Torah says the first redeemer is the same as the last redeemer. We know that a leader, a true Rebbe, never abandons his flock. The Rebbe continues to lead us towards the geula. And the Rebbe definitely fits the picture of Moshiach, may he redeem us immediately from this last and darkest of exiles.
IN THE MERIT OF THE WOMEN:
By what merit were the Jewish people redeemed from Egypt? In the merit of the righteous women of that generation. The women never lost hope in the redemption: they continued having children despite all the hardships of exile in mitzraim. They continued believing in the redeemer and in the geula and encouraged their husbands to believe. In their merit the actual redemption finally happened.
The Midrash states: "The generations are redeemed only in the merit of the righteous women of each generation." This was also true of the redemption from Egypt. Since that redemption was for the Giving of the Torah soon after, the women were given precedence at that time. The same will be true of the future Redemption: since it will be in the merit of the righteous Jewish women, they will likewise be shown precedence with the Torah teachings of Moshiach. This is reinforced by the Kabalistic teaching that our generation is a reincarnation of the generation that was redeemed from Egypt.
So it will be with our generation, the last generation of exile and the first of geula: in the merit of the righteous women of this generation we will be redeemed from this last and darkest exile, and with miracles even greater than those seen at the time of leaving Egypt.
The Jewish People in Egypt represented a small minority and they lived under the worst possible conditions. However, our Sages, of blessed memory, tell us that they were different and cut off from their environment, proudly guarding the quality and uniqueness of their lives with devotion – “for the JewishPeople were outstanding (prominent) there” – they didn’t change their names, their Hebrew language, their religion, and their attire (tznius (modest) style of dressing).” Thus, specifically through this, they ensured their existence and even reached the redemption.This matter also applies regarding this generation, as by our being “outstanding there” and protecting our uniqueness, we will hasten and bring about the true and complete Redemption through Moshiach Tzidkeinu.
After the sea split and the Jews crossed the Red sea the Torah relates:
Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam called out to them, Sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its rider He cast into the sea.(Shemos 15:20-21)
The righteous women of the generation were so sure that G-d would perform miracles for them, that they brought timbrels with them from Egypt [to be ready to celebrate].(Rashi,
Celebrating the exodus from Egypt, the men sang songs of praise, but the women far exceeded them, rejoicing with song, music, and dance. Because the women were more pained by exile, they also experienced greater joy in the redemption.
Furthermore, the women did not wait until the exodus to begin experiencing this joy. Already in exile, they prepared in anxious anticipation for that day. Even while in exile, we must harbor an inner hope and happiness, and even begin our celebration, sure that Moshiach is about to come.
The Jewish women of our generation must constantly strengthen the faith of their children and husbands. It is the woman’s job to instill within the children faith in tzadikim, by telling them miracle stories from the Torah and of the Rebbeim. The Jewish women must constantly encourage faith in the coming of Moshiach and constantly bring to the consciousness of their families the idea that whatever they do (any mitzvah, any good deed) is with the intention to bring the geulah closer and to hasten the redemption of the entire Jewish people. Women have a special connection to faith as women bring the light of faith to the home, just as men contribute the light of intellect and Torah to the home.
The word "redemption" applies to one who emerges from darkness into light...We note in the long history of ours that troubles and dark sorrows become a basis for salvation and light; and the darker the troubles were, the greater was the light which came afterwards. The future redemption will also burst forth from the midst of darkness.
The Rebbe said that when women light Shabbos candles, the darkness of galus is illuminated. This is the avoda of every Jew: to light up the darkness and change darkness to light. It is the job of each and every Jew to reject evil, impurity and unholiness and to see
the hidden kedusha (G-dliness) within the material world: to reveal the G-dlness and truth of Torah in this physical world. By doing so we make the world a fit vessel (keli) for the revelation and illumination of Moshiach.
No generation is redeemed, save for the righteous women of that generation. (Yalkut Shimoni, Rus, sec. 606)
It was in the merit of the righteous women of the generation that the Jewish People were redeemed from Egypt. (Sotah 11b)
Our sages tell us that our redemption from Egypt, and every redemption after that, was in the merit of righteous women. The same will be true of the future redemption. Therefore, we must do whatever we can to increase the merit of women and encourage them in their mitzvos.
CONNECTION BETWEEN MOSHE RABBENU AND MOSHIACH:
There is a connection between the first redeemer, Moshe Rabbenu, and the final redeemer, Moshiach. In fact it says that in every generation there is a spark of Moshe Rabbenu in the Jewish leader of each generation. Just as the Jews believed in Moshe, so must we believe in the Moshe of our generation, in the Moshiach of our generation.
Throughout this century, and especially recently, there has been unprecedented consensus among all types of Rabbinic authorities, Chassidic and non-Chassidic, Ashkenazic and Sephardic, that the long awaited Messianic redemption is finally at hand, is imminent.
Most of these Rabbinic authorities signed legal rulings testifying to this. Why should they bother? Does rabbinic acceptance make a difference? According to Judaism, yes. According to Torah, when a ruling of Torah Law is made, it establishes a true and permanent reality in the world. The Rebbe said that through the rulings of Torah Law concerning the coming of Moshiach, Moshiach has already started to affect the world. In the Rebbe's talks, starting in 5749-1989 he had asked that rabbinic leaders take initiative and rule on the immediacy of the Messianic redemption, that Moshiach must come.. When such declarations were reported to the Rebbe, he would give his approval and blessing. In fact, from the time he was a small boy in cheder, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was visualizing the redemption and the world in its state of completion and perfection: this was his entire purpose and goal in life: to actually bring about the redemption of klal yisroel from galus and the complete geula through Moshiach. He worked towards that end his entire life and in fact he promised us that we will be the last generation of galus and the first generation of geula. In 1992, 175 leading rabbis around the world signed a Torah ruling stating that the Lubavitcher Rebbe has satisfied the legal halachic requirements to be Moshiach. (It is also interesting to note that the gematria of the number 770 equals Beis Moshiach, the house of Moshiach)
A Word About Gimmel Tamuz….
The 3rd of Tamuz, marks a significant day for Chabad chassidim, particularly since 1994. In that year, the Rebbe's physical presence seemed to leave this world.
When it happened, the Jewish world held its breath. Everyone knew of the astounding breadth of the Rebbe's leadership. What would happen now? What would happen to the vast network of Chabad centers, to the thousands of chassidim and hundreds of thousands of Jews who relied on the Rebbe's guidance and blessings?
Even more so, what would happen to the faith of the chassidim in the Rebbe's message, which they had promulgated far and wide, about the imminence of Moshiach? How would the chassidim react, now that their hopes had been dashed?
Days passed, then weeks and months, and the question intensified. The movement did not crumble; rather, the vast, dynamic organization continued to grow and thrive. How could it survive without a leader? Nobody had filled the Rebbe’s shoes, because nobody could. But there was no need--because the Rebbe is still with us.
Chabad chassidim displayed an uncompromising loyalty to the Rebbe and his teachings, particularly his final promise, that we are the last generation of exile and the first of Redemption.
True, their hopes had been dashed. It never occurred to chassidim that they would live through an era that they would be unable to see the Rebbe, or hear his voice. They never thought their relationship with the Rebbe would express itself solely through praying in his synagogue, reading his teachings, listening to tapes and videos. But together with the longing, which only intensifies with time, there is a strong faith that the life and soul of Chassidus--the life and soul of the Rebbe--is still with us. The Rebbe's life is his teachings, his emissaries who continue to carry out his mission, the thousands of Jews worldwide who live with his inspiration.
In the past 16 years, Chabad chassidus has doubled and tripled--a phenomenon that is unheard of for a leaderless organization. Anyone who thought otherwise has been proven wrong. Chabad chassidus is alive; the Rebbe is alive with us. Just as Batsheva, the wife of David Hamelech, said to her husband “Yechi hamelech l’olam” so too we say yechi hamelech haMoshiach because the Rebbe continues to live and to guide klal yisroel. Just like Yaacov Avinu did not die, so too the Rebbe is still here. Just as we say David Melech yisrael chai vkayam, so we say yechi for the Rebbe, the direct descendant of David haMelech and we pray for the revelation of Moshiach very soon.
The Talmud states that Moshiach lives forever. Based on the verse in tehillim "Life he (moshiach) asked from You (Hashem) and You granted it to him, length of days forever". this is discussed extensively in Kabbalah and Chassidus. The Mittler Rebbe compares Moshiach to other tzadikim and explains that other tzadikim generally require some refinement of their bodies and therefore they experience some form of passing. But Moshiach is on a much higher level and requires no actual refinement or change in his body. He will remain alive literally. He will not need to ascend above. The Maharal of prague writes "Moshiach will be boyond nature and the way of the world." The Zohar however does say there will be a period of concealment between the time of assumed status of Moshiach and when he attains the status with certainty. This is difficult for us to understand but we do need to believe that this is possible just as Torah says Yacov Avinu did not die....and Moshe Rabbenu did not die. The fact that Torah mentions how they were buried etc is not a contradiction because that was a test for our perspective but in terms of absolute truth of Torah, they did not die . Not that they are only here in a spiritual form but they are truthfully here in a physical form, albeit we, from our perspective, are no longer able to perceive that physical form. The Torah itself says that the sons of Yacov did not truly mourn the passing of yacov because they knew he was really still alive albeit on a higher plane, a level not understood or perceived by people bound within the physical limitations of the world. There are levels of life bound by nature, and there are levels of life higher than nature. Both are true according to Torah because Torah unifies and unites paradoxes. Difficult for us to comprehend but since the Torah mentions it, we know it is truth and the same applies to Melech haMoshiach.
It is also true according to the Arizal that there are two types of pulses. We know only of the pulse of the hand. But there is a pulse of the heart and someone on the level of Moshe Rabbenu knew how to measure the pulse of the heart to indicate true life. Therefore the concept of everlasting life applies albeit in a way most of us find difficult to relate to. But we know the concept has truth because it stems from the Torah itself.
We also know from Torah that Yacov did not die because just as his children are alive, so he is alive. what does this mean? it means that if any of his descendants would not be spiritually alive, part of Yacov would die. But since all his children are alive, so he is alive. The Torah promises that the seed of Yacov lives forever and yacov lives forever. The Torah guarantees that all the Jewish people will be alive spiritually. The Torah promises that every Jew is spiritually alive and that every Jew will eventually do teshuvah and be immediately redeemed. The Torah does not say that only some Jews will be redeemed or will do teshuvah because then it would be like Avraham and Yitzchak who each had a son who was not righteous. But the Torah vouches for the righteousness of every Jew and says that EVERY JEW WILL DO TESHUVAH AND BE REDEEMED IMMEDIATELY. The very fact that you are a Jew, the offspring of Yacov who is righteous, means you are alive physically and spiritually and so Yacov also lives forever.
Thousands of years ago, in the year 2488 from creation, the world held its breath on the 3rd of Tamuz. The Jews were fighting against Canaan, and Yehoshua bin Nun held up the sun in order to prevent the enemies from escaping into the dark of night. On that day, the longest day in history, it was demonstrated that nature does not stand in the way of a Jewish leader. The tzadik decreed, and the sun obeyed.
Generations later, on the same date, that phenomenon occurred again. The sun did not set! There was nobody to replace the Rebbe because the Rebbe continues to shine, to lead, and very soon, with the coming of Moshiach, his leadership will again become obvious to all.
Gimmel Tamuz was also the day on which the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe was released from imprisonment in Soviet Russia: it marked the beginning of his liberation. Gimmel Tamuz is the day the Rebbe chose to begin our ultimate redemption….it is a day connected with redemption and Moshiach and a day to increase one’s connection to the Rebbe and to Moshiach. We know the Rebbe is still here with us, still leading us, and he will continue to lead us to redemption.
After Gimmel Tamuz of 1994, there were some who questioned whether the Rebbe may have lost his status as the presumed Moshiach. Practically speaking, many Jews had trouble accepting the idea that Moshiach can arise from the dead. They thought it sounded like a non Jewish idea.
But just because something sounds like Christianity, does not mean that this is not a Jewish topic. If you understand that Christianity was started by Jewish people to recruit Jewish people, it only makes sense that many ideas sound similar and they took ideas from the Jewish religion and changed them.
The reason that we do not believe in the so called non Jewish (goyish) Messiah is - not because he died- rather because he destroyed Torah and Mitzvos. In the words of the Rambam (Hilchos
Melachim 11,4) " The Chachamim have prophesied that Moshiach will strengthen Torah and Mitzvos and bring all Jewish people back to Eretz Yisrael. But " the christian so called messiah " caused the destruction of Torah and the dispersion of Klal Yisroel" and that had nothing to do with whether he was dead or alive. He tried to make a new religion and that is why he cannot be the Moshiach.
In 1950, following the apparent passing of his predecessor, the Rebbe Rayatz, the Rebbe pointed out that the Rayatz would lead this generation out of exile, even though to assume this role he would have to be first resurrected prior to the redemption (out of sequence with the accepted timing of the resurrection which will occur 40 years after the rebuilding of the 3rd temple). He brought proofs
from Talmud and other Torah sources, of course, but the fact that he made the ruling brought the possibility from the realm of remote theory to immediate practicality and possibility. The Rebbe himself also mentioned that the fact that there was a seeming interruption in the life of the Previous Rebbe is only from our perspective but in truth the Rebbe continues to live.
There were Rabbinic and halachic decisions made by the late Rabbi Aharon Soloveitchik, the Rabbinic head of the Orthodox Union, and the late Rabbi Pinchas Hirschprung, Chief Rabbi of Canada.
Both wrote that having faith in the Rebbe as Moshiach after his apparent passing is perfectly acceptable, according to Torah. So no matter in what way you look at things, the Rebbe could definitely be Moshiach. Even as a small child of a few years old the Rebbe said that he was envisioning a world where there was no suffering and where all the collective suffering the Jewish people have endured throughout this bitter exile is understood and is changed into happiness. The Rebbes entire vision from the time he was small was to bring Moshiach and bring redemption to the world.
The Rebbe officially accepted the role of the seventh Rebbe of the Lubavitch dynasty on the 11th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, 5711 (1951), one year after the passing of his father in law, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe. At that time he convened his followers and said his first Chassidic discourse, or maamar2. It is known within Chabad Chassidim that the first discourse of a Rebbe contains the message of his mission, and lays out the spiritual purpose of his generation in the grand scheme of things.
This profound mystical discourse, entitled "I have returned to My garden" (Basi LeGani), explains a verse from King Solomon's Song of Songs (5: 1), found in the Jewish Bible. In this discourse, the Rebbe explains that our generation is destined to catalyze the permanent return of the Divine Presence.
The discourse starts by reviewing how G-d's essential presence was initially revealed in the Garden of Eden, but the sin of the Tree of Knowledge caused its withdrawal to a first spiritual dimension. Over time, the sins of subsequent generations caused the Divine Presence to withdraw up to a seventh spiritual dimension. The seven generations from Abraham to Moses brought the Divine Presence back these seven levels concluding with the revelation at Sinai, where G-d was revealed for all.
Subsequently over time, the divine presence was again withdrawn seven levels, due to the sins of the generations. At that point in the discourse, the Rebbe made an amazing, historical mission statement that set the agenda for himself, his followers, all Jews, and all people. He said that just as Moses was the seventh leader from Abraham and brought the divine presence down to the physical world at Sinai, so too, we are the seventh generation from the Alter Rebbe, and are thus destined to bring the Divine Presence to this physical world in the true and complete redemption by Moshiach Tzidkenu.So the Rebbe said that his main avoda is to bring Moshiach in actuality.
ROLE OF LEARNING PENIMIYUS HATORAH:
The Rebbe also taught that by learning penimiyus haTorah (Chassidus, Zohar etc.) we will merit the redemption b’rachamim (with mercy). It is very important to increase in our study of Chassidus (Tanya etc.) and to spread these teachings to others. As in the famous story of the Baal Shem Tov, when his neshomah went up to Heaven one Rosh Hashanah and he merited to approach the chamber of Moshiach and he asked when will Moshiach come, he was told that Moshiach will come when the teachings of Chassidus will spread to all corners of the world. So we see that studying Chassidus and penimiyus haTorah is directly connected to redemption.
The Rebbe promised us and said as a prophecy that Moshiach is imminent and we have to prepare for the redemption: the Rebbe said we have to prepare our families and surroundings for the geula. He emphasized that each person should increase in deeds of goodness and kindness to hasten the redemption. This is the main avoda now: preparing ourselves, our families and the world for the final geula.
THE ZOHAR SAYS:
In the sixth century of the sixth millennium, the gates of supernal wisdom will be opened, as will the springs of earthly wisdom, preparing the world to be elevated in the seventh millennium to perfection.
We see how in recent times the gates of knowledge have opened and we have so much technology now and so much medical knowledge and this is a taste of the times of Moshiach. As we get closer to the seventh millenium, the time of Moshiach, we see how the world is changing and how the gates of knowledge above have opened and so much more knowledge has been revealed down here.
As we see the changes in technology and how the political situation has changed in many positive ways, we can see how the world is moving in the direction of imminent redemption and perfection.
IS PUBLICIZING THE IDENTITY OF MOSHIACH A JEWISH CONCEPT AND IS IT IMPORTANT TO TRY TO IDENTIFY THE MOSHIACH OF THE GENERATION?
The answer is quite simply yes, because it strengthens the belief and commitment to Moshiach. Every Jew believes that Moshiach can come any day. If he can come today, there must be someone that could be Moshiach. Being that we anticipate Moshiach, we look for that person. By identifying him it makes us more committed to bringing Moshiach.
To explain the question further: We are talking about an individual that has learned what the Rambam writes about Chezkas Moshiach. Because of his anticipation for Moshiach, he takes the initiative and identifies an individual with the qualities of Moshiach. Are you supposed to or even allowed to publicize this to others?
As with all such questions, we should not rely on our preconceived notions, rather on Torah true sources. Torah sources are our only barometer.
1) The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 11,3) writes: " Rabbi Akivah was the arms-bearer of Ben-Koziva (Bar- Kochva) and he said on him that he is Melech Hamoshiach." Rabbi Akiva felt that Bar-Kochva had the necessary qualities that would make him fit to be Moshiach, and he did not hide his belief.
[One may ask: Being that in actuality, Bar Kichva was not Moshiach, would it not have been better for Rabbi Akiva to be quiet? The answer is: No! He - maybe should have made it clear that he is Chezkas Moshiach, not Moshiach Vadai, but - he felt that once someone has the qualities of chezkas Moshiach, it is meant to be publicized.]
2) The Gemara (Sanhedrin 98,a) asks " What is the name of Moshiach? The students of Shila said, that Moshiach's name is Shilah. The students of Yanai said that Moshiach's name is Yanai....." We see that these students made their feelings public.
[We see from here something else. It is only natural for students and Chassidim to feel that their teacher and Rebbe is worthy of being Moshiach. See Sichas Tazria-Metzora 5751 and footnote 67.]
3) See the Sefer called Baal - Shem - Tov Al Hatorah (Chelek Aleph Hakdamah ) regarding Rabbi Nochum of Chernobyl that announced that the Baal-Shem-Tov was Moshiach, even after his passing!
By spreading the identity of Moshiach, we awaken the anticipation of Moshiach by many other people. When people see that the arrival of Moshiach can be a reality - for we have a possible Torah-viable candidate - that will encourage them to do acts of goodness and kindness to hasten his revelation.
What are the birthpangs heralding Moshiach’s arrival?
The Talmud describes the period immediately prior to the advent of Moshiach as one of great travail and turmoil. There will be a world recession and governments will be controlled by despots. These last moments of exile are the darkest and all the difficulties the Jewish people are facing today are part of the birth pangs preceding the coming of Moshiach. As we see darkness increase, we have to recognize that these are signs of the imminent redemption. Just like staying awake the whole night is very difficult, so too the most difficult time in galus is right before daybreak. The darkest time is just before the light….
We must not be affected by the darkness: rather we have to go forward with faith and publicize that Moshiach is on the way and we have to increase in goodness and kindness. We know that as we get closer to the light and to redemption, the forces of unholiness try much harder to stop us but we have to ignore all obstacles and difficulties and march with victory to geula.
There is a tradition that a great war will take place, called the war of Gog and Magog, and there is much speculation as to the precise timing of this war in relation to Moshiach’s arrival. The war is also meant metaphorically and does not have to be a literal war.
HOW CAN WE BE SPARED THE BIRTHPANGS OF MOSHIACH:
We know that by doing good deeds and keeping Torah and mitzvahs with simcha, as well as being meticulous about Shabbos observance, we can be spared from the birth pangs of Moshiach. Eating seudat shlishi on Shabbos also helps to spare one from the birth pangs of Moshiach.
We also know that learning penimiyus haTorah (Chassidus, Tanya, Zohar) we are spared the birth pangs of Moshiach and Moshiach will come b’rachamim.
HOW WILL MOSHIACH ARRIVE?
There is a tradition that Elijah the prophet will come to the world and announce the imminent arrival of Moshiach. However, according to other opinions, Moshiach may arrive unannounced. Elijah would then arrive to assist in the peace process. Some suggest that if the Moshiach arrives in his predestined time then Elijah will announce his arrival, but if Moshiach comes suddenly then Elijah will appear after Moshiach has come. There are different perspectives as well: the chachamim explain that if the Jewish people merit, Moshiach will arrive on “clouds of glory” in a miraculous fashion. Otherwise he will arrive “on a lowly donkey” in a natural way.
As mentioned before, it is unclear as to exactly how these events will unfold. However, this uncertainty does not affect the general matter of Moshiach’s arrival.
Is the modern-day State of Israel the realization of the Biblical prophecies concerning the Messianic Era?
Zionism and the State of Israel are not a substitute for the Redemption that Moshiach will bring.
The Torah clearly indicates that Moshiach will gather all the exiled Jews back to Israel and rebuild the Holy Temple, ushering in the Era of Redemption. When Moshiach comes, all Jews will live peacefully in the land, and our sovereignty will be recognized by all nations of the world. There will be no further battles or wars, as the verse states: "No nation will lift its sword against another nation, and they will no longer study the tactics of war." Moshiach will create a government in Israel based on Torah law and Divine justice.
Living in the Land of Israel is considered a great mitzvah, and living there certainly enables a person to be more spiritual. Furthermore, Israel is a land that "The eyes of Hashem, your G-d are upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year." We have all seen the outstanding miracles that G-d has performed for the Jewish people, in the Six-Day war, the Gulf War, and many other occasions as well.
However, Zionism and the State of Israel are not a substitute for the Redemption that Moshiach will bring. All those who thought that it was a viable alternative have been sorely disappointed by more than five decades of strife and terrorism. We all pray for the safety and well-being of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, and strongly hope for and anticipate the day when Moshiach will appear and establish his rule over the Land of Israel. Only then will we be guaranteed lasting peace and security, when "the Lord shall have the kingdom." (Ovadiah 1:21)
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE ARRIVAL OF MOSHIACH IS IMMINENT?
To better explain the question: It seems pretty obvious that as the generations go on, the level of devotion to Hashem and passion to do His will is becoming less. We are less "involved" in Judaism and more exposed to the destructive temptations of this physical world than the previous generations. We are more accustomed to life in exile than the previous generation. The more time goes on, the more we feel that exile is our fate. The memories of the Bais Hamikdash in its' glory seem all the more vague and wish full thinking. If so, if Moshiach did not come in earlier generations, why would he come now?
The answer is: The Lubavitcher Rebbe - the Jewish leader of this generation - has told it to us as a prophecy! These are his words (Shoftim 5751) ".. One must make known to all members of the generation that we have merited that G-d has chosen a person endowed with free choice, who is incomparably higher than the members of his generation, to be "your judge", "your counselor," and the prophet of the generation.
This chosen leader will provide the instructions and advice relevant to the service of all Jews and all people of the generation, in all matters of Torah and Mitzvos, and daily conduct in the matter of "in all your ways, know Him" and "all your deeds should be for the sake of heaven". His counsel has extended to the essential prophecy - not just as a sage or judge, but as a prophet - of "immediate redemption" and "Behold he - Moshiach - comes!"
There is a tremendous difference between a prophecy about the arrival of Moshiach or an announcement from a holy man. Throughout the generations, many Tzaddikim have told us - based on different verses - that certain years are auspicious times for Moshiach. These dates - known as "Kitzin" - either actualized in a spiritual sense (like the printing of special Seforim on Kabbalah and Chassidus in those years) or in terrible destruction and pogroms of Jewish communities.
The reason it is so (see Mamorim Haketzorim of the Alter Rebbe page 354-355), is because those sages saw "on high" that these were special dates. However, when these dates had to be actualized in this physical world, things could change.
However, when things are said as a prophecy, they must occur as the prophet said. A prophet tells you the true current reality of this physical world.
We know that the Rebbe never lied to us and did not make mistakes. We know the Rebbe would not give us false hopes. So we need to prepare ourselves for the complete redemption and we need to hold onto our faith that it will happen soon.
Where do we see that this world is ready for Moshiach?
1) Judaism is accessible to every Jew. In past generations, there were many obstacles for a Jew to learn Torah. The books were all in Hebrew and many people did not have access to them. In addition, there were countries that had rules against the learning of Torah. Today there are no countries with such rules, there are books in all languages - including Braille, there are Rabbis living in almost every country and city that speak and can teach in the native tongue. With the Internet, there is literally no limit of how much Torah you can access instantly. When Judaism and in particular the study of Chassidus is spread all over the world Moshiach will come, as the Baal Shem Tov taught. This is being fulfilled now, and especially through the emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to all corners of the world.
2) The thirst for Judaism and Jewish mysticism is on an all-time high. The "Teshuvah" movement is booming, and people are being inspired to search deeper into themselves. The desire and ability to visit and settle in Eretz Yisroel - with Aliyah and "Birthright - Israel" etc. - is stronger than ever.
3) The wars being fought today, are "wars of peace". In addition to the fact that in this generation everyone is focusing on Education and Humanitarian-Aid etc., there is an active war to eradicate terror and evil. It is not a war to conquer other countries, rather to liberate them from terrorist oppressors. The focus on agricultural development - and opposed to arms-development - is a foretaste of the Biblical prophecy (Isiah 2:4) " They shall beat their swords into plowshares."
Why does it seem as we get closer to redemption the exile seems to get harder and darkness seems to increase and people are more confused?
The inner purpose of the Exile is the revelation of new light. And as we approach this revelation of new light, the influence of G-dly revelation becomes more distant. Therefore, as this process continues, as we approach the Redemption, as we get closer to Moshiach, the more intense the Exile becomes.
(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 2, p. 362)
How is it that our generation will be worthy of Moshiach? How are we any greater than past generations?
How can one understand the fact that precisely the present, orphaned generation should be found worthy of witnessing the redemption? This question provides its own answer. Only from ultimate concealment can one arrive at ultimate revelation. Light, for example, is at its most resplendent when it shines forth from dim obscurity. In the same way, it is the initial distance from the light of G-dliness that empowers teshuvah to transform darkness into light - since, for the penitent, "his sins become like virtues." Our generation's very distance from G-dliness inspires in us the sublime, inner power of the soul. (The righteous individual, by contrast, repels evil, rather than transforming it into good.)
Furthermore, goodness and holiness are eternal. Hence, when a Jew fulfills a mitzvah, "in the upper spheres this union [between the soul and G-d] is eternal."
Evil, by contrast, has no true existence; it is no more than a concealment of the Divine light. Hence, when the blemish of the sin is cleansed, such as when the person repents, the evil ceases to exist.
Since good is eternal, all the accumulated good of all the past generations still exists. This is why now, specifically, we will soon be privileged to witness the coming of Moshiach, even though superficial appearances might indicate that "the generation seems unworthy."
We see how many impurities are coming to the surface now: evil is being exposed in order for people to banish it, do teshuvah and change the world. So what may appear negative is actually part of the process to usher in the redemption, to perfect and fix the world. each of us must look within our souls to correct things that need correcting and to make ourselves, our families and our surroundings ready for redemption.
How does our yearning for Moshiach hasten his arrival?
The yearning for Moshiach in itself hastens his coming. This is clear from the verse, "G-d... will act for those who wait for Him." Or, as rendered in the Aramaic paraphrase of Onkelos, "...for those who hope and wait for Your Redemption."
To understand this, we need only to observe the comment of the sages on the Divine promise of the Redemption, "I will hasten it in its time." Now, is this verse promising that the Redemption will be hastened, or that it will come in its time? To resolve this paradox, the sages taught: If the Jewish people are worthy, the Redemption will be hastened, ahead of its preordained time. If they are found not worthy, it will come in its time.
Here lies the answer to our above question. When people yearn for the Redemption in earnest, they live worthier lives. By virtue of their endeavors, the Jewish people as a whole will increasingly be found worthy, and accordingly, the long-awaited Redemption will be brought forward.
The Rebbe spoke on 28th (chaf ches) Nissan and gave his famous speech that he has done all he could to bring Moshiach and now he is giving it over to us to complete the job. The Rebbe said that when Jews truly yearn for and want Moshiach, Moshiach would come. We must never become complacent or satisfied in galus, in exile. We need to recognize teh suffering of the Jewish people and truly beg Hashem to bring Moshiach. Not because the Rebbe told us to do so but because we feel it in our hearts and souls.
How does having more children hasten the coming of Moshiach?
The birth of a Jewish child brings joy not only to his parents and extended family but to the entire Jewish people, for it signifies a step closer to the coming of Moshiach. The Talmud states that Moshiach will not arrive until "all the souls in guf" (the storehouse in which they await their descent into the physical world) have been born. The birth of a Jewish baby therefore hastens the Redemption and brings closer the blessings of the Messianic Era.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 25 Iyar, 5743-1983)
Note: Having children is a tremendous blessing and is the first commandment in the Torah. But now we also see that hastening the arrival of Moshiach is another important reason not to prevent having children and to have as many as Hashem wishes to bless you with.
What will be the role of "Eliyahu Hanavi" in the times of Moshiach?
The Navi (Malachi 3:1) says: "I will send my messenger before you... and suddenly the Master that you have been searching for - Moshiach - will arrive together with the 'Messenger of the Bris' - Eliyahu Hanavi who comes to every Bris (Radak) - ...so says Hashem". The Navi continues (Malachi 3:23), "I will send Eliyahu Hanavi before the great day - of Moshiach'scoming - and he will bring all the Jewish people to return to Hashem."
We see from the above the Eliyahu will come before Melech Hamoshiach and prepare the world for Moshiach. The Gemara (Eruvin 43b) says that Eliyahu will come to the "Sanhedrin - Great Court" and announce to them that Moshiach is ready to come.
[This is all in the regular sequence of events. If Moshiach is to come in a more miraculous manner, then Moshiach can arrive without Eliyahu coming before (see Plaisi Yoreh Deah 110). See Sicha 7 Tishrei 5751]
The Rambam (Hilchos Milachim 12:2) writes:
"The simple interpretation of the prophets' words appear to imply that the war of Gog and Magog will take place at the beginning of the Messianic age. Before the war of Gog and Magog, a prophet will arise to inspire Israel to be upright and prepare their hearts, as Malachi 3:22 states: 'Behold, I am sending you Elijah.'
He will not come to declare the pure, impure, or to declare the impure, pure. He will not dispute the lineage of those presumed to be of proper pedigree, nor will he validate the pedigree of those whose lineage is presumed blemished. Rather, he will establish peace within the world a sibid. 3:24 continues: 'He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. "There are some Sages who say that Elijah's coming will precede the coming of the Mashiach."
(The above-mentioned Rambam is based on a Mishnah in the end of Masechet Edoyos (8:7):
R. Yehoshua said: I have a tradition from Rabban Yohanan b. Zakkai, who heard from his teacher, and his teacher from his teacher, halachah of Moses from Sinai, that Elijah will not come to declare unclean or clean, to put away and to draw near, but to put away those who are close by force and to draw near those who are far away by force. The family of Bet Tzerifah was across the Jordan, and Ben Zion put it away by force. And another was also there, and Ben Zion brought it close by force, such as these - Elijah will come to declare unclean and clean, to put away and to draw near.
R. Yehudah says: To draw near, but not to put away. R. Shimon says: To reconcile disputes.
The Sages say: Not to put away nor to draw near, but to make peace in the world, as it states (Mal. 3:23-24), "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet," and it concludes, "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers."
There is a famous question: How can the sages argue about factual data?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Sicha 10 Shevat 5746) explains:
There is no argument as to what Eliyahu will actually accomplish. The argument is only regarding, which activities will be part of his private mission - like attending every Bris - and which is part of his global mission connected with Moshiach.]
We know that Eliyahu Hanavi never had a physical death, rather he ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot.There are many commentators (Radva"z and others) who use this fact to answer an age-old question:
When Moshiach comes, will the Sanhedrin be reinstated?
[ The Rambam (pirush Hamishnayos) adds that the Sanhedrin will return before Moshiach comes!]
A Sanhedrin needs "Semicha" - Rabbinical ordination that started from Moshe Rabbeinu. For many generations, the Semicha continued uninterrupted. In the times of exile, the Semicha stopped. If so who will ordain the new Sanhedrin?
The answer is simple: Eliyahu Hanavi received Semicha from the unbroken chain of Moshe Rabbeinu - and he did not pass away - and he will be able to give Semicha to the Sanhedrin
Why is it necessary to believe in a human Messiah? Why not simply look forward to a Messianic age when the world will be perfectly G-dly?
If G-d desired to usher in the Messianic era Himself, why did He bother creating us in the first place?
Throughout history, G-d has chosen human messengers to make His word known to mankind. One reason why G-d chooses human agents is that the whole purpose of creation is to synthesize the physical and spiritual domains.
The leaders of the Jewish people in every generation serve as prime examples of how to live a G-dly life, within the bounds of the physical universe. They also give energy and direction to the entire Jewish people to enable them also to reach this level. The tzadik serves as a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds; better put, he shows us that there is no dichotomy in the first place.
Exile is a state of mind, in which there exists a barrier to the aforementioned synthesis between the physical and spiritual. To lead an entire nation out of exile requires a person who lives within the physical world, acutely aware of world issues and problems, and who simultaneously is in touch with the G-dly. In every mundane thing he sees divinity, and he shows us how to elevate it to its ultimate G-dly purpose.
To believe that G-d will unilaterally change the world without human involvement is to deny our role in creation as G-d's partners. If G-d desired to usher in the Messianic era Himself, He could certainly do so; however, if so, why did He bother creating us in the first place? Thus, the most rational approach is that G-d will change the world by way of His chosen human messenger, Moshiach, who will lead the world to a Messianic age.
What will come ﬁrst, the ingathering of the exiles or the rebuilding of the Holy Temple?
There is a difference of opinion between the Zohar and the Midrash, over which will take place ﬁrst. The difference is based on differing interpretations of a verse in Psalms (147:2), “G-d will rebuild Jerusalem, He will gather in the dispersed of Israel.” The Zohar interprets this verse in the order it is written: ﬁrst G-d will rebuild Jerusalem, and then He will gather in the dispersed. However, the Midrash Tanchuma (and other sources) explain differently. G-d will rebuild Jerusalem, having already gathered in the dispersed of Israel.
Halachically, Maimonides rules according to the Zohar. In Hilchot Melachim, Maimonides writes a description of the Messianic era, in which he writes: “He will rebuild the Holy Temple in its place and gather in the dispersed in Israel.” However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe refers to the principle that “These and these are the words of a living G-d.” In other words, whenever contradictions are found between sayings of our sages, each one is expressing a different truth, and they are not mutually exclusive.
The two opinions can be reconciled as follows: First there will be an ingathering of exiles, as per the Midrash, and then the rebuilding of the Temple. However, the initial ingathering will not be complete. The process will be ﬁnalized only after the building of the Temple, according to the view of the Zohar.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains a lesson in Divine service that this teaches us. “The beginning of our Divine service is to collect the sparks of holiness of one’s soul that have been dispersed in foreign, distant places. Only then can we complete the task of building the Holy Temple in the external world. However, so long as we have not perfected ourselves, we cannot achieve complete perfection in the external world.
“However, although the general rule is that we ﬁrst perfect ourselves and then attempt to ‘ﬁx’ others (Baba Metziah 107b), there are at times special cases, when the service of building the Temple takes precedence over self-perfection (ingathering of exiles). When, by Divine Providence, one is given the opportunity to perfect something outside of himself, this is an indication that it is his task to perfect it, even though he himself is not yet perfect.”
(Zohar Chayei Sarah 134a. Brachos 49a, see Rashi. Midrash Tanchuma, 58, 11. Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim, remez 888. Hilchos Melachim, 11:3. Toras Menachem 5747, vol. 1, p. 530. Ibid, 5743, vol. 1, p. 508. Ibid, 5748, vol. 1, p. 487)
Is it realistic to believe that a time will come when everything will be perfect and there will be nothing left for us to do?
It seems like an unrealistic belief because we are accustomed to the world being imperfect and we are resigned to coping within its limitations. A perfect world is inconceivable. According to Torah, however, the world was originally created in a perfect state, and was corrupted through the acts of mankind. Ever since the sin of Adam and Eve, we have been working on rectifying that blemish and purifying the world again.
When Moshiach comes, the world will be restored to its original state of perfection and even higher.
However, according to Chassidic teachings, G-d deliberately left room for imperfection in the world, in order to allow us to play a role in creation. Each time we do a divine act or kindness, we perfect that aspect of the universe. Over the generations, the cumulative effects of our good deeds have been slowly returning the world to its previous state.
This is not to say that the Redemption will merely restore the world to a state that already existed in the past. The perfection after Redemption will be completely different for it will be earned through our own efforts.
Does this mean that the Redemption marks the end to human ambition, innovation and improvement?
Absolutely not. We will be released of the burden of battling negative forces, neither from within or without, and we will be left with an infinite landscape in which to grow personally, spiritually and emotionally. There will be no end to the insight we can gain and share, and the depth of meaning that we will find in existence.
Each day will be a new experience of uniting with the Creator and discovering new facets of G-dliness.
When Moshiach comes, what will become of the world as we know it?
Initially, there will not be drastic changes in the world order that we know, other than its readiness to accept messianic rule. Moshiach will compel all Jews to observe Torah and mitzvahs fully.
All the nations of the world will strive to create a new world order in which there will be no more wars or conflicts.
One of the first things Moshiach will do will be to identify who stems from the nation of Amalek and destroy that nation completely. Every Jewish king is obligated to battle against Amalek but since we have no Jewish king now and it is not clear who stems from Amalek, this battle has to wait until Moshiach comes when the mitzvah to annihilate Amalek will be completed.
Moshiach will also destroy the "serpent" that manifests as different ills and forms of evil in society.
Jealousy, hatred, greed and political strife (of the negative kind) will disappear with the coming of Moshiach and all human beings will strive only for good, kindness and peace.
In the messianic era there will be great advances in technology allowing a high standard of living. Food will be plentiful and cheap. There will be no more illness or problems.
However despite all the abundance and ease of material matters (as it says in the Messianic era all material needs will be as plentiful as the dust of the earth) the focus of human aspiration will be the pursuit of the “knowledge of G–d.” People will become less materialistic and more spiritual. That is why it mentions “dust of the earth”: in our eyes materialism will become unimportant, like dust, and we will strive to know Hashem and to go higher and higher in our pursuit of spiritual matters and understanding.
Eventually we will reach the next stage, which is the time of Techiat hameitim, resurrection of the dead, and also the world to come, when we will receive all our rewards for the mitzvoth we did during the days of galus. The light and G-dliness that will be revealed in the time of Moshiach and after techiat hameitim is DEPENDENT on our spiritual work (avoda) during these days of galut.
Maimonides states in his Mishnah Torah – a compendium of the entire halachic tradition – that Moshiach will first rebuild the Temple and then gather in the exiles. Jerusalem and the Temple will be the focus of Divine worship and “From Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the L–rd from Jerusalem.”
The Sanhedrin – a supreme Jewish law court of 71 sages – will be established and will decide on all matters of law. At this time all Jews will return to full Torah observance and practice. It should be noted that in this present age of great assimilation and emancipation an unprecedented return of Jews to true Torah values has taken place. This “Baal Teshuvah” phenomenon is on the increase and paves the way for a full return in the messianic era.
In the days of Moshiach, when the Jewish People will complete the war and will purify the good from the evil, and the evil will be removed from the good, we will all reach man’s level of perfection as it was prior to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. This will be a time when Israel will not be under the domination of “the Tree of Good and Evil” anymore. Hashem will remove the spirit of impurity from the world and there will no longer be any struggle between good and evil. There will be only striving to reach higher and higher levels of goodness.
In the future when the spirit of impurity will be removed from the earth, Divine Providence will become manifest and revealed; at that time, everyone will see how every single occurrence derives from G-d.
(Keser Shem Tov, sec. 607
When Moshiach comes, there will be no more wars, no illness, poverty or problems. The world will reach its true potential of goodness and holiness and our entire avoda then will be to know G-dliness. It will be an era permeated with holiness. All Jews will know the secrets of Torah. All Jews will be prosperous and there will be an abundance of materiality but we will not even be interested in that: our entire existence will be to know G-d and to grow spiritually.
Everything we worked for in the time of galus will reach its completion and perfection in the Messianic era. There will be an abundance of everything materially but we will not care for the material realm of existence for its own sake: our entire interest will be to know G-d and to grow spiritually.
All shuls in galus will go to eretz yisroel and even homes that were used for Torah, prayer and tzedaka will go to eretz yisroel. All the good that we did in galus will be revealed and reach perfection in the time of Moshiach.
The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim Chapter 12) wrote about the time of Moshiach:
1. One should not entertain the notion that in the Era of Mashiach an 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.
2. Our Sages taught: [Berachos 34b] "There will be no difference between the current age and the Era of Mashiach except [our emancipation from] subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms."
3. 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."
On a simple level, the abundance of the Time to Come is needed to remove envy and competition. This is a prerequisite to creating an environment of peace and tranquility where man can dedicate himself to “knowing G-d.”
On a deeper level, peace and abundance are tied to the very essence of Mashiach —unity between man and his fellow and unity between G-d and the world.
Everything in the world has its opposite, but not only don’t they have to compete, together they are complete. For example, animals exhale carbon, which is poisonous waste to us, but is life-giving food for plants. Plants exhale oxygen, which is poison to them, but life-giving air for animals and people. By uniting, we never run out of resources, because we form a harmonious cycle.
As long as we feel threatened by our opposition, we remain finite. By uniting opposites we begin an infinite upward spiral of progress, peace, and prosperity.
Moshiach's greatness and wisdom in the time of geulah will be even greater than in the time of King Shlomo. Shlomo’s wisdom was respected worldwide, and many leaders and people came to learn from his greatness and knowledge.
The Jews, through the Torah, will be followed worldwide; when the Creator – G-d - reveals Himself worldwide; and all people will realize that He runs the world..... And that the way to survive and exist, is to follow His will, as revealed in the Torah, and Jewish Halacha [ways of conduct].
Jews will then only be occupied with growing closer to G-d; through understanding the deeper levels of Torah that will be revealed at that time.
There will no longer be competition between people for: power, money, honor, etc. It will be a time of eternal peace and no war. A time without conflict.
Physicality will directly connect to its source, so food and other things will be plentiful.
[In our current existence, the flow of life from G-d to the world has to first pass though many filters in order to come down into the world, but in the future, these filters will be removed, and everything will grow exponentially faster and larger in size. So there will be no need for war, since everyone will have everything that they need.]
There will be no more illness or problems. Every aspect of creation will reach its state of perfection.
All levels of the creation will be elevated: Inanimate and plant life will begin to communicate with humans. All animals will become herbivorous (eat only plants) i.e. "the wolf will lie with the lamb” - not because the wolf will control his instinct to eat the lamb, but rather, his instincts will be transformed, and he will not want meat anymore.
Mankind will all serve G-d together.
In the words of the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 12:5) "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."
What are some of the physical delights and changes that will transpire in the era of Moshiach?
The Gemarah (Kesubos 111b) states: "R. Hiyya b. Joseph further stated: There will be a time when the Land of Israel will produce baked cakes of the purest quality and silk garments, for it is said in Scripture, There will be a rich cornfield in the land. Our Rabbis taught: There will be a rich cornfield in the Land upon the top of the mountains. [From this] it was inferred that there will be a time when wheat will rise as high as a palm-treeand will grow on the top of the mountains. But in case you should think that there will be trouble in reaping it, it was specifically said in Scripture, its fruit shall rustle like Lebanon; the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring a wind from his treasure houses which He will cause to blow upon it. This will loosen its fine flour and a man will walk out into the field and take a mere handful and,out of it, will [have sufficient provision for] his own, and his household's maintenance.
"With the kidney-fat of wheat. [From this] it was inferred that there will be a time when a grain of wheat will be as large as the two kidneys of a big bull. And you need not marvel at this, for a fox once made his nest In a turnip and when [the remainder of the vegetable] was weighed, it was found [to be] sixty pounds in the pound weight of Sepphoris."
The Gemara (Ibid. 112b) finishes: "R. Hiyya b. Ashi stated in the name of Rav: In the time to come all the wild trees of the Land of Israel will bear fruit; for it is said in Scripture, For the tree beareth its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength."
Another Gemarah (Shabbos 30b) states: "R. Gamaliel sat and lectured, Woman is destined to bear every day, for it is said, the woman conceived and beareth simultaneously... On another occasion R. Gamaliel sat and lectured, Trees are destined to yield fruit every day, for it is said, and it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit: just as the boughs [exist] every day, so shall there be fruit every day.. On another occasion R. Gamaliel sat and expounded, Palestine is destined to bring forth cakes and wool robes, for it is said, There shall be an handful of corn in the land."
The era of Moshiach is a spiritual era as the Rambam writes (Ibid.) "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 mortal potential; as it is written,"For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed."
If so, why do the sages stress the physical delights and pleasures that will be in the era of Moshiach?
The simple answer is that this way we will be encouraged to anticipate Moshiach. We are physical people with physical desires. If we were to hear that in the era of Moshiach, we will just be learning and praying, we may not be encouraged to eagerly await the arrival of Moshiach. By hearing that there will also be physical delights, this allows us - even our animal soul (as the Tanay explains, every Jew has two souls: a G-dly Divine soul which is a part of G-d Himself, and an “animal” or natural soul) - to want Moshiach also.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 37 page 79) gives a deeper explanation. He explains, that Hashem wants us to see that Torah - and Living a Torah Life - in the true purpose and blueprint of creation. If the reward of Torah - and keeping Torah - only benefits your spiritual side, that shows that Torah is not the truth of creation.
The fact that the reward of Torah expressed itself in a physical reward - and an increase in a peaceful physical life - shows that Torah is the source of every aspect of our life.
What will happen to our businesses when Moshiach comes?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe mentioned numerous times that we will lose nothing in the Messianic Era. To those people who were concerned that everything they worked to build up -- businesses, relationships, material possessions -- would be lost when Moshiach comes, the Rebbe explained that the difference between our lives in exile and in the Messianic Era is symbolized by the Hebrew words "gola" -- "exile," and "geula" -- "Redemption."
The only difference between these two words is that "gola" lacks the Hebrew letter "alef" -- which stands for the "Alufo shel olam" -- the "Master of the Universe."
When Moshiach comes, the presence and life-giving energy of the Master of the Universe will be totally revealed in every aspect of our lives. Things will only improve and get better and we will reach a level of perfection in all matters both spiritually and materially.
Mashiach will fuse the spiritual and the physical, and it will be a time of great abundance. In preparation for this time, it is incumbent on each of us to fully develop our G-d given talents to the point that they bring material blessings and physical riches. We must then use our material wealth to beautify Torah and mitzvos.
Will there still be fast days in the times of Moshiach?
The Rambam writes (end of Hilchos Taanis):
"All these [commemorative] fasts will be nullified in the Messianic era and, indeed ultimately, they will be transformed into holidays and days of rejoicing and celebration, as [Zechariah 8:19] states: "Thus declares the Lord of Hosts, 'The fast of the fourth [month], the fast of the fifth [month], the fast of the seventh [month], and the fast of the tenth [month] will be [times of] happiness and celebration and festivals for the House of Judah. And they shall love truth and peace." The three weeks when we now mourn the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash will be transformed into three weeks of yom tovim.
[The above , that all fast days will be nullified, does not include the fast of Yom Kippur - and according to some commentaries, the Fast of Esther - which was not designed for mourning, rather for Teshuvah.]
Will Levites become Kohanim?
The Arizal writes that the Leviim will become Kohanim.
When this is quoted in Tanya (chapter 50), the Alter Rebbe adds, "The Levites of today will be Kohanim in the future." The Lubavitcher Rebbe (in his notes to Lessons In Tanya) explains:
The Alter Rebbe adds the words "of today" ("the Levites of today will become the Kohanim of the future") in order to forestall the following question: The Torah was given "unto us and unto our children, forever" (Devarim29:28). Rambam comments that we learn from this verse that one of the foremost principles of the Torah is that it remains immutable (Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, ch. 9). How then can we possibly say that one of the laws of the Torah will (Heaven Forbid) be changed, so that the Levites become Kohanim, with all the changes in Torah law that such a transformation entails?
The Alter Rebbe therefore writes that this does not mean that those Levites born in the future will become Kohanim. Rather, it means that those Jews who are presently Levites will be born in the future into priestly families, thereby making them lawful Kohanim.
This, however, lead to another question: If this is the case, then there is nothing novel about it; it goes without saying that any child born to a Kohen is himself a Kohen.
The answer to this, says the Rebbe, lies in the fact that Levites are born as such because their soul's spiritual source and therefore their divine service - both in the Temple as well as now - is that of Gevurah. So, too, with regard to Kohanim: their source is Chesed. Since in the time after Mashiach's coming the service prompted by Gevurah will surpass that of Chesed, those who today are Levites will be born into priestly families so as to attain their superior spiritual level.
What about the "Safeguards" (or fences) of the Chachamim ? will these still apply when Moshiach comes?
There are many laws that were instituted to "protect" the laws of the Torah. For example: When Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbas, we don't blow the Shofar. The reason is that the sages were afraid that a Jew who does not know how to blow the Shofar, may carry his Shofar to someone to teach him or blow for him. This person would be transgressing the law that one is not allowed to carry 4 Cubits on Shabbas.
When Moshiach comes - and everyone will be educated and sensitive to all spiritual matters - these "safeguards" will be annulled. (See Sefer Mammarim Melukat Vol. 1 page 428).
From the above it is clear that the Torah is eternal, and all changes that will occur in the times of Moshiach, are in the framework of the Torah the way we know it now.
WILL WE STILL DO ALL THE MITZVOS WHEN MOSHIACH COMES?
The Gemorrah says "All Mitzvos will be nullified in the times of Moshiach."
To appreciate the answer, we must first see the context in which the statement is made.
The Gemarah discusses the laws of Jewish burial. All Jewish people are buried in shrouds. Is one permitted to bury someone in shrouds that are made of "kilayim" (a garment made of a wool and linen blend)?
Our Rabbis taught: A garment in which kilayim was lost... may be made into a shroud for a corpse.
R. Joseph observed: This implies that the commandments will be abolished in the Hereafter. Said Abaye (or as some say R. Dimi) to him: But did not R. Manni in the name of R. Jannai state, 'This was learnt only in regard to the time of the lamentations but for burial this is forbidden'? — The other replied: But was it not stated in connection with it, 'R. Johanan ruled: Even for burial'? And thereby R. Johanan followed his previously expressed view, for R. Johanan stated: 'What is the purport of the Scriptural text, free among the dead? As soon as a man dies he is free from the commandments'.
The above Gemara - that seems to be implying that there will be no Mitzvos in the times of Moshiach - directly contradicts other quotes of our sages:
1) The Talmud (Sanhedrin 90b): How is Resurrection derived from the Torah? As it is written, "And ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest." But would Aaron live for ever; he did not even enter Palestine, that terumah should be given him? But it teaches that he would be resurrected, and Israel give him terumah. Thus resurrection is derived from the Torah."
The Gemara directly implies that we will be doing Mitzvos in the times of Moshiach!
2) The Rambam (Hilchos Megillah chapter 2) quotes the Talmud Yerushalmi (Megillah 1:5): "All the books of the Prophets and all the Holy Writings will be nullified in the Messianic era, with the exception of the Book of Esther. It will continue to exist, as will the five books of the Torah and the halachot of the Oral Law, which will never be nullified."
The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Sichos Tishrei 5752) offers this revolutionary explanation:
When Moshiach comes the world will be very sensitive to spirituality. We will follow Hashem's will without having to be "told" to do so. If one has to be told to do something, it shows that there are two separate existences which are communicating with each other.
When Moshiach comes the "Mitzvos - the commandments" will be annulled, meaning that we will not have be commanded to do the Mitzvos, we will be doing them naturally.
Some examples of the above:
The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni on Yirmiyah 315) writes: If - in the Times of Moshiach - one will want to do the forbidden act of picking a fig on Shabbos, the fig will "scream" at him to stop.
In Hayom Yom (15 Adar 1) it is written: It is said of the Time To Come, a stone in the wall will cry out and a beam from the tree will respond. At present, inert creations are mute; though trodden upon, they remain silent. But there will come a time when the revelation of the Future becomes a reality, that the inert will begin to speak, relate and demand: "If a man was walking along without thinking or speaking words of Torah, why did he trample upon me?"
The earth trodden upon has been waiting for millenia, ever since the Six Days of Creation. All kinds of living creatures have been treading upon it all this time, but it is waiting for a Jew (or two Jews) to walk on it while discussing Torah. But if they do not say words of Torah, the earth will protest: "You too are just like an animal!"
[One may ask, if the above is true, how is it permitted to bury someone in Kilyaim if when he he comes back - with the resurrection of the dead - he will be wearing forbidden garments?
1) Some opinions (Tosfos Kesubos 111) hold that the dead will be resurrected in the clothes that they wore in their lifetime.
2) The Kilayim will miraculously disappear in the era of Moshiach.]
When Moshiach comes, the primary branch of Torah study will be the mystical dimension, which deals with knowledge of G-d’s attributes and qualities. However, if this is the case, how we know how to observe the mitzvot?
Rabbi Schneur Zalmen of Liadi raises this question, and explains that in the future there will be no lapses of memory. Once we learn something, it will be imprinted in our memory forever. Memory loss is a manifestation of impurity and evil spirit, which will evaporate when Moshiach comes. Furthermore, any memories that we might have lost before Moshiach comes will be restored to us. Therefore, we won’t need to dedicate as much time to memorizing the details of the Law, and will be able to spend the bulk of our time studying the inner dimensions of Torah.
Additionally, Rabbi Schneur Zalmen explains, in the Messianic era we will be granted an extra level of understanding, and from our study of the Torah’s mystical dimensions, we will be able to infer all the practical laws of Jewish observance.
We will actually perceive G-dliness: we will absorb spiritual concepts and not need to have them explained to us. To understand this there is an example of the famous kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the Ari Hakodesh. He told his students that during his half hour Shabbat nap deep secrets of Torah were revealed to him but he said it would take sixty or eighty years for him to expound on these secrets to his students.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe adds a unique interpretation: When Moshiach comes, our evil inclination will be removed, and our nature and instincts will be transformed. Just as a young child instinctively draws his hand away from fire, we will have a natural aversion to those things forbidden by the Torah, and a natural inclination to do the things the Torah requires. The details of Jewish Law will be hard-wired into our system, and will not require as much time for us to master.
(Igeret Hakodesh, Rabbi Schneur Zalmen of Liadi, ch. 26; Hilchos Talmud Torah, 10:2; Likutei Sichos, vol. 25, p. 263.)
What will be the status of the gentile nations when Moshiach comes? Will everyone convert to Judaism?
They will not necessarily convert to Judaism, but all will follow the Noachide code. They will achieve a spiritual elevation.
There are a number of views on this issue found in the Talmud and its commentaries.The Talmud states that with the future redemption, all non-Jews will return to G-d with complete Teshuva, as the verse states: "I will transform all nations to a pure language, that all of them will call in the name of G-d and worship Him of one accord." (Tzefaniah 3:9) Rashi comments: "It is understood that there will be no difference among (G-d's) servants. Israel and the nations will all serve G-d in the same manner, with all the mitzvot."
However, Maimonides disagrees with this view. Although he writes that "all non-Jews will return and do Teshuva," he does not interpret this to mean that they will convert to Judaism. The non-Jews will all commit to fulfilling the seven Noachide laws that were commanded to all of mankind.
Maimonides writes thus: "They... will all return to the true faith. They will not steal or destroy, but will only eat permissible food, in repose alongside the Jewish nation." The Lubavitcher Rebbe, who analyzes the words of Maimonides very precisely, interprets this passage to mean that the non-Jews will not actually convert and become Jews, but will live peacefully alongside the Jewish people. In their lifestyle, they will follow the moral and humanitarian principles laid forth in the Torah.
The Alter Rebbe R. Schneur Zalmen of Liadi has a unique interpretation. According to his view, when Moshiach will come the gentile nations will be obligated in all negative mitzvot, as well as those mitzvot that are not limited to a specific time.
TWO ERAS DURING TIMES OF MOSHIACH:
Yemos haMoshiach includes two eras: when Moshiach first arrives, the world will continue in its natural form but without servitude to the non Jewish nations and without all the problems we suffer in galus now. Moshiach will work to perfect the world and bring all nations to serve Hashem. The truth of Torah will be revealed in the world. All Jewish people will realize that Torah is their birthright and heritage and everyone will turn their attention to the service of Hashem. We will have the third Beis Hamikdash in Jerusalem and all Jews will go to Israel (there is an opinion that Israel will expand and spread to the entire world).
The underlying truth of reality, the underlying G-dliness, will be openly revealed. We will see the G-dly light that sustains everything in Creation and we the holiness and kedusha that is hidden within the world will be revealed. The difference between galus and geula is the aleph: the open revelation of G-dliness that is hidden now before Moshiach.
After the first era of Moshiach’s coming will be the second era, an era of miracles which is a result of our service in the first era. This will be the time of techiyas hameisim, resurrection of the dead. (Certain special individuals and tzadikim will be resurrected immediately when Moshiach comes however). But all Jewish souls will be resurrected within bodies at the time of techias hamesim to serve Hashem in the world to come in the loftiest spiritual manner: at that time we no longer will need to eat and the physical body will actually give life to the soul, as the higher level of kedusha hidden within the physical body will be revealed in that era. Zohar explains that from the etzem haluz (a special bone in the neck) Hashem will re create our bodies exactly as they are now and we will rise again to serve Hashem in the same bodies. This luz bone is indestructable and is nourished only from the melave malka meal we eat on saturday night, motzoi shabbat.
Does the coming of Moshiach have to include miracles?
The Talmud discusses this question and again arrives at the conclusion that, if we are meritorious, the messianic redemption will be accompanied by miracles. However, the realization of the messianic dream, even if it takes place naturally, will be the greatest miracle.
According to some traditions G–d Himself will rebuild the third Temple and it will descend from Heaven. According to others it will be rebuilt by Moshiach, while others suggest a combination of the two opinions. As mentioned above, some suggest that there will be two distinct periods in the messianic era: the first, a non-miraculous period, leading on to a second miraculous period.
Maimonides writes, “Neither the order of the occurrence of these events nor their precise detail is among the fundamental principles of the faith … one should wait and believe in the general conception of the matter.”
What is the difference between Yemos Hamoshiach and Olam Habah?
There is actually a famous argument between Rambam and Ramban:Rambam holds that while in "Yemos Hamoshiach", we will be in physical bodies - and all the miracles of Moshiach like the resurrection of the dead etc. will be in the second era in Yemos HaMoshiach - in the era of "Olam Habah", all souls will leave their constricting, limited bodies and enjoy eternal bliss in Gan Eden.
The Ramban (Nachmanides) holds - and this is the opinion that Chassidus follows - that even in "Olam Habah" we will be in this physical world, in physical bodies (although the bodies will be completely refined then) because the entire purpose of creation was (Midrash Parshas Naso) "To make a dwelling place for Hashem in this physical world". In "Olam Habah" the complete truth of creation - that the Jewish people are one with Hashem, and that the world is consistently being created by Hashem - will be revealed to all. Many miracles will take place in that era.
Will the deserts bloom when Moshiach comes?
The Sinai desert will flourish in the days of Moshiach.
The Midrash lists a number of verses in Isaiah that prophesy that the desert will bloom in the time of Redemption: “Desert and wasteland shall rejoice over them, and the plain shall rejoice and shall blossom like a rose.” The desert will be settled, as is stated: “I will make a desert into a pool of water and a wasteland into sources of water.” Now there are no trees in the desert, but in the future there will be, as is stated: “I will give in the desert cedars, acacia trees, myrtles, and pines; I will place in the wilderness boxtrees, firs, and cypresses together.” Now there are no roads in the desert; in the future there will be, as is stated: “I will make a road in the desert, rivers in the wasteland.”
Apparently, when Moshiach comes the Sinai desert will no longer be desolate.
Today, the world conceals spirituality. Kabbalistic teachings explain that the desert, especially, is a spiritual wasteland and the prime location of the kelipot, powers of impurity. The harsh and dry conditions of the desert are a reflection of spiritual aridity and barrenness.
When the Jewish People embarked on their journeys in the desert, protected by clouds of glory and accompanied by the Ark of the Covenant, they tamed the forces of impurity. As the verse states: “Whenever the ark set out, Moses would say, Arise, O Lord, may Your enemies be scattered and may those who hate You flee from You.” The “enemies” are the spiritual forces of darkness, which were defeated by the ark.
However, so long as the process of taming the impurities of the world is incomplete, the desert remains a wasteland. When the Geulah will come, the holiness of Israel will expand to the entire world. This will also affect the physicality of the world, to the point that the deserts will bloom and become inhabitable.
Bamidbar Rabbah, Parsha 23:4. Yalkut Shimoni, Isaiah, hint 503. Likutei Torah, Maasei, 89:1
What is techias hameisim?
“I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when G‑d wills it to happen”—this is the 13th of the 13 Principles of Faith.
The Resurrection of the Dead – an era that will last for all eternity – is the second and final stage of the Messianic Era. It will happen forty years after the advent of the Messianic Era.
On chol hamoed Pesach we read the haftarah which describes , through the prophet Yechezkiel, about the resurrection of the dead:
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me out through the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. He made me pass them, around and around, and behold, they were very many on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. And He said to me: Son of man, can these bones become alive? I answered: Lord God, it is you who knows. He said to me: Prophesy concerning these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord. Thus said the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause the spirit [of life] to enter into you, and you will live. I will put sinews upon you, I will spread flesh over you, I will cover you with skin, I will endow you with the spirit [of life,] and you will live; and you will know that I am the Lord. I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I was prophesying there was a [clattering] sound, a commotion — the bones came together, bone to its [connecting] bone. And as I looked, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up and skin covered them above; but there was no spirit [of life] in them. Then He said to me: Prophesy concerning the spirit [of life,] prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit [of life]: Thus said the Lord God: Come from the four sides [of the earth,] O spirit [of life,] and breathe into these dead bodies, that they may live. I prophesied as He commanded me; the spirit [of life] came into them, they came alive and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great multitude. Then He said to me: Son of man, these bones [symbolize] the entire House of Israel; behold, they are saying: Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost; we are cut off [from the fount of life]. Therefore, prophesy, and say to them: Thus said the Lord God: Indeed, My people, I will open your graves; I will raise you from your graves and bring you to your land of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and raise you from your graves. And I will put my spirit into you and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land, and you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and carried out, says the Lord.
Every Jewish soul that ever lived will be resurrected—in the very body in which it lived and died (and in the case of reincarnated souls, all the bodies will be resurrected with the particular spark of soul that enlivened its body in that lifetime). The body and soul are partners in all good deeds performed; they must both be rewarded accordingly.
The Resurrection Era will be a period that will be characterized by radical changes in nature, with miracles becoming the daily norm. We will then be treated to a reward that can only be viewed as a gift from Above, for its greatness is such that finite human efforts could never earn such bounty.
What happens just before techias hameisim?
Even the righteous will return to dust… one moment before the resurrection of the dead, as it says (Bereishis 3:19), “you are dust, and to the dust you shall return.”
(Tractate Shabbos 152b)
The sin of the Tree of Knowledge left a certain residue of evil in the body of every man—even the perfectly righteous. This negativity needs to be removed before the body can live forever. However, Chassidus explains that this can also be achieved through complete nullification and humility, feeling as humble as dirt.
On the one hand, dirt is the lowest of the elements and has very little value. On the other hand, the ground sustains all life, grows all sorts of food, and even provides the very living space for all creatures. Indeed, the ground’s endless ability to produce is an expression of the infinite in our physical world.
So too, when we are completely humble, like dirt, we become receptacles for the infinite. The highest and greatest of things can only reside in the lowest and most humble. Through this humility to G-d, we will merit the eternal life of the time of Mashiach.
The revolutionary approach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (discourse entitled Bilah Hamaves 5725 footnote 36) explains that there is one alternative to physical death; if one nullifies his evil and ego, as we say in our prayers (end of the "Shmone Esrei") that "my soul is like dust to all..." With this type of "Bittul" we will be spared physical, albeit temporary, bereavement in the future.
When will the resurrection of the dead take place?
One of the principles of Jewish faith is belief in the resurrection of the dead. According to the Zohar – an early Kabbalistic text – the resurrection will take place forty years after the arrival of Moshiach. However, certain righteous individuals will arise with the coming of Moshiach. All the dead will be resurrected in the Land of Israel.
There is a small bone in the body called the Luz bone (some identify this bone as the coccyx) from which the body will be rebuilt at the time of resurrection. This bone is nourished only from the food we eat Motzoi Shabbat: Saturday night after Shabbat.
This can be further explained according to what is written in Eliyahu Rabba (sec. 3) that etzem ha’luz did not partake of the Tree of Knowledge (since it “only receives nourishment from food eaten on Motzaei Shabbos,” and thus it does not benefit from the eating of the Tree of Knowledge, which occurred on Erev Shabbos). “Thus it’s not in vein,” for the entire concept of death came as a result of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, and due to this sin, the world was punished with death. However, “etzem ha’luz,” which did not derive benefit from the Tree of Knowledge, is higher than the concept of death, and from this bone, the body will be rebuilt in the Resurrection of the Dead.
It can thus be said that this is the inner meaning of the Seudas Melaveh Malka: correcting the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge.
Our daily prayers are replete with requests for the resurrection and there are many customs connected with it.
How will resurrection of the body take place?
R. Yehoshua ben Chananya said (as the Zohar also mentions), “[in the time of the resurrection] G-d will regenerate the body from the luz bone of the spine, [which is indestructible.]” To demonstrate this, he put it through a grinder, but it was not crushed. He placed it in fire, but it did not burn. He soaked it in water, but it did not dissolve. He placed it on an anvil and struck it with a hammer. The anvil cracked, and the hammer split, but the luz bone was unaffected.
(Medrash Rabba Breishis 28:3)
G-d chose not only the souls of the Jewish Nation, He also chose their bodies. This choice affects even the physical nature of the body, imbuing it with G-d’s infinite ability. The luz bone is a physical expression of the infinite nature of the body itself.
We must realize that we have a G-dly core. This core is immutable and with it we can do anything.
Who will be resurrected?
All Jewish people who have passed away will be resurrected in the times of Moshiach (Mishna Sanhedrin Perek Chelek). Even apparent sinners will be resurrected if a) they repented before they passed away, b) they have a righteous son or father, c) someone prayed or did something positive on their behalf, d) they were disgraced after their death, e) Hashem's mercy grants them so.
When will the resurrection occur?
According to the sequence of events that will transpire, if Moshiach will come in a "natural" way, the order will be thus: Moshiach will first build the Beis Hamikdash and then gather all the Jewish people that are dispersed in the Diaspora to Eretz Yisrael. Forty years later will be the resurrection of the dead (Zohar 1 139a).
Where will the resurrection take place?
All people will be resurrected in Eretz Yisrael (see Talmud Kesubos 111a). Those buried outside of Eretz Yisrael, will have to "roll" to Eretz Yisrael and only there will they be resurrected. The Tzaddikim who are buried out of Eretz Yisrael, will have special tunnels built for them so that they will not suffer the humility of rolling through the ground.
How will people look like when they are resurrected?
The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah chapter 95) writes that people will be resurrected in the shape and form that they passed away in. This includes people that were blind or sick etc. Only after they are resurrected will Hashem cure them. The reason for this is so that everyone will recognize them and see that they were truly resurrected.
In what order will people be resurrected?
The Tzaddikim will rise before the regular people (Zohar 1 140a). The ordinary people will be resurrected in Alphabetical order Beis (Midrash). Those buried in Eretz Yisrael will be resurrected before those buried outside Eretz Yisrael.
There are opinions that hold that our Avos - Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov - will be resurrected last. The reasoning behind this opinion (Sefer Avkas Rochel) is to give the Avos the most respect and Nachas. When they will see the entire Jewish nation - from all generations - it will fill them with pride and joy.
Will the dead who will arise at the resurrection need to undergo purification?
The Talmud relates that the people of Alexandria asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya this question, and he answered them: "When they arise, we will think about it then."
The Lubavitcher Rebbe throws light on this exchange by relating it to another story in the Talmud. A Caesar once asked Rabbi Gamliel: How is it possible that the dead will be resurrected? Weren't their bodies turned to dust? Rabbi Gamliel's daughter, who was listening to their conversation, said: Two craftsmen made vessels. One made it out of water and the other out of mud. Which is the greater craftsman? Obviously, it takes greater skill to form a vessel out of water than out of mud. If G-d could create man out of a drop of liquid, surely He can bring earth back to life.
The Talmud brings an additional argument: If a glass vessel shatters, the shards can be melted down and shaped again into a vessel. How much more so, a person, created by G-d, can be put back together after the body has disintegrated.
The two analogies correspond to two ways that the resurrection can occur. The first analogy compares resurrection to forming a vessel from mud, in which the material is the same but the form is different. This is like bringing the original body back to life. The second analogy refers to rebuilding a vessel out of shattered glass. The material must be melted down to a different composition in order to refashion the vessel. According to this analogy, each resurrected body will be completely rebuilt, with no connection to the original body.
This was the intention of Rabbi Joshua with his answer, "When they arise we will think about it." If the original bodies are resurrected, then they will need purification. If completely new bodies are formed, then no impurity will be attached to them and they will need no purification.
The Rebbe adds an additional insight. The Zohar relates that those who study Torah will merit being resurrected with the "Dew of Torah". The same dew that will resurrect the body will purify it as well.
(Niddah 69:2. Sanhedrin 90:2, see Rashi. Zohar vol. III, 49:1. Likutei Sichos vol. 18, p. 239)
After the resurrection of the dead, will our bodies stay alive forever, or will the soul later depart from the body?
The ultimate reward will be for souls and bodies together at the resurrection of the dead.
There is actually some debate on this issue in classical Jewish writings. Maimonides posits that after the resurrection of the dead, there will come a period when the physical body will return to dust, and the soul will be elevated to a very high spiritual state that cannot be contained in a physical body. This is also implied in the words of our sages, "In the World to Come, there will be no eating or drinking" - we will no longer have physical bodies, and thus will not need physical sustenance.
However, Maimonides' view is a minority opinion. Nachmanides and the great Kabbalists disagree with his view (and in fact, there is some support for the opposing view in Maimonides' own writings.) They believe that the ultimate reward will be for souls and bodies together, at the resurrection of the dead. The body will be elevated to its peak of refinement and completion, and will be a fitting vessel to contain the highest spiritual lights.
Chassidic teachings follow the view of Nachmanides. They explain in the World to Come, the physical body will be so refined that it will no longer need physical nourishment, and will be sustained by spirituality alone.
This view follows the general thrust of Chassidic teachings, which state that our purpose in this world is not to separate ourselves from physicality, but rather to live within the world and elevate it to holiness. This refinement will reach its pinnacle with the ultimate redemption, when the body will in fact reach a higher spiritual level than the soul. Rather than the soul vivifying the body, the body will actually vivify and give life to the soul!
In the world before Moshiach comes, life is a constant struggle between the body and the soul—the soul wishes to leave the body and return to Heaven. The body wishes to be rid of the soul and return to dust.
When Moshiach comes, and G-d’s Essence is revealed in the physical world, all of this will change. The soul will no longer seek to escape the body, for it will see how G-d’s Essence to be found in the physical world even more so than in Heaven. As a result, the soul’s very essence will cleave to the body, giving it eternal life.
When we find the G-dliness in everything that we do—even the most mundane—we infuse our day with essential life.
When breaking down some of the many components of the Resurrection that will occur at the time of Redemption in our last segment, we stopped short of presenting some of the difficulties mentioned with regard to that future phenomenon.
1) If a soul was reincarnated multiple times in this world in various bodies, which body will be resurrected?
To put it plainly, all the bodies will be resurrected.
When a person does a Mitzvah in this physical world, the G-dliness that is created from that Mitzvah is eternal. It elevates a certain part of the world, as well as part of the Neshama. That part of the Neshama which was elevated through the Mitzvah done by a physical body, will be the life-force of that body in the time of the resurrection. Each "part" of the soul contains the spiritual components of the entire soul.
2) If a woman was married two times (after being widowed by the first), who will be her better half in the times of Moshaich?
There are a few opinions:
a) The Anaf Yosef (On Ein Yaakov, Sanhedrin 90a) writes that the woman will marry her second husband. This is based on the law that if a couple divorces and the woman gets remarried, and is subsequently divorced from her second partner, she may not remarry her first husband.
b) The Zohar (Bereishis 21b) holds that she will return to the first husband. In answer to the above-mentioned problem, namely, how would this fit with the law that one may not marry his ex-wife after she remarries, the Sefer Rav Paalim answers that being that the body that will be resurrected in "new", it is not bound by the fact that it died before.
c) The Chasam Sofer ( Sh"ut 7:34) reveals a revolutionary answer. He says, based on what he heard in the name of the Arizal, that each soul will be reunited with its original soul-mate that was predetermined in heaven. It could indeed be that a resurrected person will not marry either of the people that they were married to in their previous lifetime.
Will there be a "Judgement-Day" for those which will be resurrected?
a) Ramban (Sefer Hagmul) writes that there will be a Judgement day.
b) Abarbenel (Mayanei HaYeshua 8:7) contends that there will not be a Judgement day.
c) Arizal (Nishmas Chaim 1:17) clarifies that the Judgement day will be only for Non-Jews.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch writes (Likkutei Dibburim) that there will be a Judgement day for the Jewish people, but in a very positive way. Hashem will judge - and excuse! - all our sins. After living through such a calamitous and difficult exile, he will give the Jewish people the "benefit of the doubt" and excuse their iniquities.
After Moshiach comes, will people still have free choice?
Our choices will not include anything negative or harmful; yet we will be faced with endless possibilities for personal growth and awareness of the Divine.
When Moshiach comes, the prophet says, G-d will "remove the spirit of impurity from the land." Consequently, our appetite for evil of any sort will vanish, and negativity will no longer have any power. At that point, the battle between good and evil will come to an end.
Rambam says that Moshiach will coerce all Jews to keep Torah and mitzvahs. In the beginning the spirit of impurity will still be there but one of Moshiach’s functions will be to totally eradicate this spirit of impurity and bring all Jews back to the full observance of Torah. Those Jews who kept everything despite all the difficulties and tests of galus will be on a higher level and not require coercion. But finally the spirit of impurity will be banished from the world forever.
However, even though we will no longer struggle with forces of evil, we will still have the ability to choose how far we wish to advance in developing our personalities, in growing spiritually, in accomplishing good in the world. Our choice will not be between Good and Evil, but rather between Good and Better. When our battle is between good and evil, we face a choice whether to improve or deteriorate, or use our powers for good things or bad. However, when Moshiach comes, the option to do evil will no longer exist. Our choices will be only in the realm of good. We will choose how much effort to put into nurturing our talents and abilities, and in which areas we will improve ourselves and grow.
Maimonides writes that when Moshiach comes, our sole occupation will be to know G-d. Since G-d is infinite, we will have unlimited opportunities to expand our understanding of Him. We will have the choice to know G-d through studying holy texts, through delving into the mysteries of creation, or appreciating the beauty around us. We will be able to express our relationship with Him in myriad ways - through art, music, poetry, or through intellectual growth and advancement. As mentioned, our choices will not include anything negative or harmful; yet we will be faced with endless possibilities for personal growth and awareness of the Divine.
The Rebbe encourages and demands us to "Live with Moshiach and the Times of Moshiach". We need to get ourselves accustomed to the lifestyle of Moshiach even now in the last moments of galus. This not only helps the transition but actually makes Moshiach come sooner. When Hashem sees that we have taken the necessary steps and have enhanced our Yiddishkeit to begin living with Moshiach, this encourages Hashem to bring Moshiach. This can only happen if we know what the lifestyle will be when Moshiach comes.
[This obviously only applies to things which are in the confines of Shulchan Aruch. If someone decides to break a Halacha with the intention of "Living with Moshiach" - for example: Someone may say that being that in the times of Geulah, all fast-days will be annulled, so that person decides that they don't want to fast now! - this type of behavior actually pushes away Moshiach!]
The great revelation of G-dliness and all the great miracles we will have when Moshiach comes are dependent upon our avoda, our spiritual work, now in galus.
The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe said: From my father's sichot: When Moshiach will come (speedily in our time, amein), then we shall really long for the days of the exile. Then we will truly feel distress at our having neglected working at avoda; then will we indeed feel the deep pain caused by our lack of avoda. These days of exile are the days of avoda, to prepare ourselves for the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our time, amein.
So we need to utilize the time now in galus to refine the world and do our avoda and this will hasten the geula. And after the geula, we will actually long for the days of galus on some level because we can accomplish in galus what we cannot accomplish once the world reaches its perfection. now we have free choice and the ability to accomplish so much spiritually. We need to use our time and abilities wisely.
Zohar writes that Moshiach will cause the tzadikim to do Teshuvah. For what does a tzadik need to do Teshuvah?This question is based on a misinterpretation of the word “Teshuvah,” commonly translated as “repentance,” or regret over sins. Literally, Teshuvah means return: to restore the soul to a state that it was in before.
When the soul descends to earth and becomes enclothed in a body, it falls to a degraded spiritual state compared to what it enjoyed in Heaven. Until now it was in its lofty place near G-d’s throne, basking in the radiance of the Divine, and suddenly it is cast down below, to live in a physical world that in all respects conceals and denies its Divine origin.
However, before the soul descends to earth it is promised that if it fulﬁlls its mission, it will merit to reach an even higher spiritual level than before it descended to earth. Therefore, it can be concluded that the entire purpose of our service here on earth is Teshuvah; i.e., to return to Heaven, but reach an even higher level than before. Even a tzadik works his entire lifetime to restore his soul to the place from which it came, and from there to a still higher level.
However, Teshuvah itself has its limitations. Even the greatest tzadik can only reach a certain level, but not higher than that. The level that a soul can reach depends on its complete nulliﬁcation before G-d. Even the greatest tzadik retains some small measure of ego and awareness of self, which prevents it from fully absorbing the highest Divine lights.
When Moshiach comes, the ego and self-awareness will be removed entirely. Under the leadership of Moshiach, the world will bask in the most sublime level of holiness that leaves no room for ego. This is the meaning of the statement in the Zohar, that Moshiach will cause the tzadikim to do Teshuvah. He will bring their souls to the ultimate level of uniﬁcation with G-d, by eradicating the ﬁnal lingering traces of ego.
(Zohar vol. 3, 153b. Sefer Maamarim 5711, p. 45)
Will Eliyahu haNavi come before the geulah to announce the redemption?
It is commonly taught that Eliyahu haNavi (Elijah the prophet) will appear in advance of Moshiach’s arrival to herald his coming. But Chassidus explains that Eliyahu will come in advance only if the redemption will come in its time and in a natural manner. However, Moshiach’s coming can be hastened and can take place in a supernatural way , as the Lubavitcher Rebbe indicated on many occasions, in which case Moshiach can come before Eliyahu.
If all the signs of redemption have already been fulfilled, why hasn't Moshiach come yet?
This is a perfectly legitimate question that we must cast up to G-d Himself.
This question is the greatest puzzle and mystery of all - one for which there really is no satisfactory answer. As far back as in the times of the Talmud, our sages taught that "all the appointed times have passed." How much more so must this be today, after all the divine service of our people throughout this long and bitter exile, for over a thousand and nine hundred years. Moshiach must certainly come immediately!
Furthermore, we have already begun to see signs of Moshiach's effect in the world. Quiet revolutions for the good have taken place in countries across the globe. Democratization is a growing trend. These positive changes serve as a foretaste of the era of Moshiach, when all nations will live in peace and tranquility. Yet, with all these positive developments, where is Moshiach himself? What is causing the delay?
Indeed, this is a perfectly legitimate question that we must cast up to G-d Himself. We need to turn to Him with the demand of Ad Matai? The Rebbe himself said this. He cried many times asking us to demand of G-d how much longer must we remain in exile? Why is the redemption delayed? Just the very fact that G-d sees our impatience for the redemption will cause Him to hasten Moshiach's coming. It may be that the only thing remaining is for us to cry out to G-d to bring Moshiach. The Lubavitcher Rebbe himself said in his famous sicha of Chof Ches Nissan that if we truly would want and cry out to Hashem to send Moshiach , Moshiach would be here already. We need to be stubborn to demand the redemption and not to give up.
The Rebbe also instructed that we increase in simcha, in serving G-d with joy, since joy breaks barriers and can remove obstacles to the redemption.
Surely, when Moshiach comes, he will provide an answer to our questions in person. In the meantime, though, the question must not be allowed to weaken our spiritual endeavors. On the contrary, it should spur us ahead with even greater vitality, since we realize that Moshiach could appear at any moment.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe promised us that our generation will be the last generation of galus and the first of geula. The Rebbe never lied. He said this as a prophecy and a prophecy by the nassi, the leader of the generation, must be fulfilled.
How do I, as an individual person, have the power to bring Moshiach?
If one evil person can unleash such horror, how much more can one caring person accomplish for the good?
In our generation, we have unfortunately seen abundant evidence for the reverse: One individual, inspired by madness, hatred or wickedness, can unleash horror and evil upon countless innocent people. A lone terrorist can blow himself up in a crowd and destroy hundreds of lives in an instant. Hitler, may his name be obliterated, was just one person, yet he incited an entire country to engage in acts of indescribable brutality.
King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, "G-d created all forces in the world in perfect balance." G-d created day, and he created night. He created Moses, and he created Pharaoh. Every hero has a nemesis; every bit of wisdom is countered with an abundance of foolishness.
It often seems that the world is biased towards the darker side. This is only a perception, however. One hero can possess enough power to vanquish a multitude of villains. The insight contained in one line of Torah can be potent enough to counteract volumes and volumes of nonsense.
That's why it can seem that the forces for good are hopelessly outnumbered. G-d had to make their numbers few, just to keep things fair. It is our responsibility to view ourselves as a beacon of light in a dark world. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that our lives and deeds don't matter. In the words of Maimonides: "We must view the world as being in perfect balance... With one good deed, one kind word, or one good thought, one person can tip the scale and bring merit and salvation to the entire world."
the idea is to constantly add in light, in goodness, in kindness.
What does it mean that every Jew has a spark of the soul of Moshiach?
Regarding the Jewish soul, the Midrash writes: “The soul is called by five names: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechida.” Chassidic teachings explain that these five names are not synonyms for one another; rather, each one refers to a distinct level and characteristic of the soul.
The first four, Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama and Chaya, refer to the four soul faculties of action, emotion, intellect and will. These four faculties are not absolute, but can be channeled in any direction, positive or negative. One can choose to do good acts or bad, think positive thoughts or negative ones, and have desires for good or the reverse.
Yechida, on the other hand, is absolute and unchanging. It is a Meta soul-power that controls and directs the expression of the other four. Yechida is the part of the soul that is always connected to the One Above.
During the course of ordinary life, the Yechida rarely makes an appearance. However, in times of severe stress, when a Jew’s connection to G-d is about to be severed completely, G-d forbid, the Yechida suddenly expresses itself. In the words of the Alter Rebbe, author of Tanya, a Jew neither wishes to, nor can he, be separated from the Divine.
The teachings of Kabbalah explain that all Jewish souls are sparks of one unified Collective Soul. Every Jew’s Yechida is a ray of the unified Collective Soul. The soul of Moshiach is this general, collective soul.
When a Jew reveals the essence of his soul and overcomes all spiritual obstacles, this is thanks to the spark of Moshiach within his soul. This is how all of us have the power to hasten the coming of Moshiach, by revealing that spark of Moshiach within each of our souls and thus bringing about the redemption of the world and the complete revelation of the righteous Moshiach in actuality, may it be speedily in our days.
Does G-d regret sending us into exile? And if he does, why doesn't He redeem us?
According to a saying of our sages (Sukkah 52b) there are four things that G-d regrets having created. One of them is exile. However, as the verse states, “G-d is not a human being who regrets...
" A human being does not know the future outcome of his actions and can thus have regrets when his actions bring unwanted results. However, G-d does not have this limitation.
We must interpret the word “regret” in a different sense. Exile is something that G-d created regretfully, reluctantly. It was never intended to be permanent, but was created with the intention of eventually being nullified completely. The exile is only a transition period leading up to a glorious future, in which the negative effects of exile will be erased completely. It is important for us to remember this constantly: Exile is not the true state in which G-d desires His people to be.
Our sages taught us about this regret for two reasons:
a) We should not come to be satisfied with the state of exile, but we should remember that it is not a positive state: “Because of our sins we were exiled from our Land”;
b) We should not be daunted by the darkness of exile, nor driven to despair. We know that the exile is not a substantial reality, and it will ultimately dissolve. At every moment, we should keep in mind that the exile is only temporary.
Especially in our time, we are already at the threshold of Redemption. Knowing that the exile is in its final moments gives us courage and strength to withstand the final challenges as we enter the era of Moshiach. Because G-d has already started the process of Redemption. we need to stand ready to greet Moshiach in actuality.
When Moshiach comes, is it true that we will understand all the suffering and pain experienced during exile?
Yes, in the time to come, the manner in which exile in an expression of Divine righteousness and kindness will become apparent. Right now it is a matter of faith. There is a prophetic verse that says “on that day you will say “I shall thank you, G-d, for You were angry with me.” This means in future times the good that is hidden in the suffering of exile will be revealed. It will then be understood how this suffering enabled the Jewish people to be found worthy of the great Divine revelation of the time to come.
In fact, when Hashem created the world, He created light and darkness. But this is not understood because He created light on the first day of creation, before He even created the sun and moon! So what light was that? The Torah explains this is a special light that will be revealed in the time of Moshiach which makes clear the reasons for all the suffering of exile.
SO NOW THAT WE KNOW HOW WONDERFUL THE ERA OF MOSHIACH WILL BE, WHAT CAN WE DO ON A PRACTICAL LEVEL TO HASTEN THE GEULA?
The Baal Hatanya writes (Tanya chapter 37) that "All the revelations of the era of Moshiach, are dependent on our actions in the time of exile."
We must realize that bringing Moshiach is in our hands. The Rebbe gave this job over to us, to allow us to share in the merit of actually bringing about the geula.
This is all stressed more once we were told by the Lubavitcher Rebbe - as a prophecy - that Moshiach is ready to come, (Shoftim 5751) and the job and obligation to make Moshiach areality is in our hands (28 Nissan 5751).
We must incorporate that lifestyle of Moshiach into our lives today. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke regarding the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel (Matos-Masei 5751) "As mentioned, this directive is particularly relevant at present, for we need to accustom ourselves to the spirit of the Redemption. Previously it had been explained that an emphasis on Ahavas Yisrael ("love for one's fellow Jew") was necessary as a preparation for the Era of Redemption. Since the exile came about because of unwarranted hatred, we would nullify the reason for the exile by spreading love among our people. And this in turn would cause the exile itself to cease.
Since, however, to borrow an expression used by the Previous Rebbe, we have already completed all the spiritual service necessary to bring Mashiach, to the point that "we have even polished the buttons," we can assume that the reason for the exile has also been eradicated already. At present, therefore, the emphasis on Ahavas Yisrael comes primarily as a foretaste to the Era of the Redemption."
The same is true regarding doing Mitzvos in general. The Rebbe says (Yisro 5752) that while in the past, we focused on making a dwelling place for Hashem, we now should focus on making a "nice and beautiful dwelling place for Hashem". This is accomplished by doing Mitzvas in a nice and beautiful manner.
Above all, we must learn - and encourage others to learn - about Moshiach. We heard from the Rebbe himself (Tazria-Metzorah 5751) that learning about Moshiach is the "Direct Path" to bringing Moshiach!"
We are sure that through living in the spirit of the Redemption, accustoming ourselves to this way of thinking, and more significantly, to this form of conduct,we will hasten the actual coming of the Redemption.
There are several mitzvahs that have special potency to hasten the redemption:
1. Increasing in Ahavas Yisroel, love of a fellow Jew. The destruction of the 2nd Beis Hamikdash occurred as a result of sinas chinam, hatred for no proper reason. The correction of that is through unconditional love of every Jew. That includes getting rid of machlokes and separation between friends, brothers, etc. and making peace.
2. Giving charity (tzedaka): our sages taught that Israel will be redeemed only in the merit of charity.
3. Studying about the redemption: when we learn about the Messianic era we begin to visualize redemption and yearn for it and we start to live with the spirit of Moshiach. This already effects positive changes in the world. We need to also study the laws about the building of the Beit hamikdash because through studying these laws Hashem considers it as if we are building the third beit hamikdash and in fact it will happen very soon. we need to be prepared.
4. Increasing in learning Torah brings redemption as well. When we work hard and toil in Torah, that replaces and substitutes for toil and suffering in other ways such as making a living, and it brings redemption to each of us in all matters spiritually and materially.
5. Faith in the redemption: By virtue of our faith we were redeemed from Egypt and by virtue of our faith we will be redeemed from galus. We have to disregard the doubts and darkness of our present exile and believe firmly in the imminent redemption through Moshiach. This itself hastens the redemption and is one of the Rambam’s thirteen principles of faith that we recite daily.
6. Doing teshuva, as it says that all Jewish people will repent before Moshiach comes. The Rebbe said that all Jews have already had at least a thought of repentance and the world is ready for geula. The Rebbe said everything that had to be done has been done and there is no longer anything that can prevent the redemption. It will happen soon and we have to stand ready, not wavering in our faith, and stand strong against any obstacles. Things may appear darker, but the inner spiritual reality is that the world is moving towards geula and people are ready for redemption. The Rebbe said that our generation is crushed and broken, but not because of persecution and suffering that previous generations encountered. Our generation is broken DESPITE our material affluence simply because we are still in exile and do not have Moshiach yet and this breaks us, crushes us, in order to make us a vessel to receive the light of Geula. When Moshiach comes, Moshiach will complete the process of purifying the entire world, including the non Jewish nations, and bringing every Jew to a level of complete teshuvah.
7. The world is seen through the lenses of our reality. Whatever we are involved in, we see that idea in everything. Even if the thing that we are looking at is remotely connected to the focus of our lives, our mind and heart will automatically find that connection.
In the Sichos of and following Chof-Ches Nissan - the day the Rebbe gave us (the Chassidim) the responsibility of bringing Moshiach - the Rebbe demanded that we begin to look at the world through the lenses of the Geulah. He even gave us examples: When we see the fall of the communist Iron curtain and the mass exodus of the Russian Yidden to Eretz Yisroel, we have to see Kibutz Golius (Vayakhel 5752). When we see the UN decide to abolish nuclear weapons and focus on agriculture and education, we should see the fulfillment of the Nevuah of "Vecheetzu Charvosam Li'itim" (Mishpotim 5752). When we see the miracles of the gulf-war, it should remind us of the Yalkut Shimoni which prophesied a special war before Yemos Hamoshiach (Besuras Hageula) etc.
Where and how do we pick up the Rebbe's lenses? Through learning IN DEPTH about Geulah and Moshiach, especially the way they are explained in the Rebbe's sichos ( Tazria-Metzorah 5751). When we become engrossed in the world of Moshiach, we begin to see the Moshiach that is in everything. Being that the Torah is the blueprint of creation, there must be Moshiach in everything that was created. We must "open our eyes" to this special world.
The world as we know it now is a time of war between good and evil, “and one nation shall be stronger than the other” – sometimes the good will prevail and sometimes the evil. Our avoda in this world is to refine the material world, to refine the body and animal soul as much as possible, and to purify the world, making it a ready receptacle for the light of Moshiach. Even though the world looks chaotic, underneath everything is a G-dly essence and it is our job to reveal the underlying truth in the world and reveal the kedusha within everything. Even though sometimes it looks like things are getting “worse” in the world, that is only the external appearance but the underlying reality is that the world is moving rapidly in the direction of geula.
8. Adding in deeds of goodness and kindness: this is something that all peoples of all faiths can and must do to hasten redemption and usher in the era of peace and tranquility and spirituality.
9. Everything has a Limit. He set an end to darkness….(Job 28:3)
He said, “Go, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end… And you, go to the end, and you will rest and rise to your lot at the end of the days.”(Daniel 12:8-13)
The keitz of Moshiach is both a time limit and a pain threshold. Reaching this tipping point, where the world will no longer tolerate exile, is a product of both the time and the intensity of exile. The two are connected. We will only endure so much for so long. Once we’ve reached our limit, exile must end.
The best way to reach this point is by learning Chassidus, penimiyus haTorah (the inner mystical dimension of Torah). These teachings make us more aware of our essence, and therefore more sensitive to exile. When we cannot tolerate exile any longer, and our hearts scream, “Enough!” we cross the line from the last moment of exile to the first breath of freedom. We merit final redemption, geulah, the long awaited Moshiach. The Rebbe said that we have to want redemption, we have to want Moshiach. If we truly want, Moshiach will be here. So it is up to each of us to learn about Moshiach and to yearn for geulah and that in itself brings redemption. We have to truly want out of exile and to greet Moshiach in actuality.
We need to cry out ad masai and mean it sincerely: that we cannot take galus anymore. We need to demand Moshiach.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO BRING THE GEULAH AND WHY DO WE WANT THE GEULAH SO MUCH?
"At the present time, when the world trembles, when all the world shudders with the birth-pangs of Moshiach, for G-d has set fire to the walls of the Exile... it is the duty of every Jew, man and woman, old and young, to ask themselves: What have I done and what am I doing to alleviate the birth-pangs of Moshiach, and to merit the total Redemption which will come through our righteous Moshiach?"
(Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the Previous Rebbe)
Many people await the coming of Moshiach and the "better days" it will bring. In truth, however,what Moshiach will do is reveal the hidden goodness of our present-day existence; the true light that comes from darkness. In fact, in the story of the Creation of the world, Hashem created light...but He created light before He even created the sun or moon or the stars. So what type of light was that? It is the light that will be when Moshiach comes: the light that will enlighten us so we understand and see the goodness in all the suffering we went through in galus.
G-d will surely fulfill the inner will of every Jew - and the will of the Jews reflects the inner will of G-d as Maimonides writes - and that inner will is for the Redemption to come. This is particularly true, because "all the appointed times for Moshiach's coming have passed." As the Previous (Lubavitcher) Rebbe explained, all that is necessary is to "stand together prepared [to greet Moshiach]" and that has also been accomplished. All that is necessary is one turn to G-d. That will come naturally, there is no need for miracles in that. (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Eve of Yom Kippur, 5752 - 1991) May we merit redemption now!
CHARITY AND REDEMPTION:
There are many different levels in giving Tzedaka and many special segulos associated with it. There are many well-known sayings of Chazal about Tzedaka, such as
1) "Whoever has mercy on poor people, Hashem has mercy on him", and "Tzedaka saves from death!"
It is interesting to note that there are also no limit on the performance of the mitzvah of Tzedaka. Even though Chazal say, "One should not give more than a fifth of his earningsto Tzedaka", it does not contradict the above statement of the Gemara. This guideline refers to someone who does not need to do Teshuvah or fix his deeds and ways, but for someone who is in need of spiritual healing, there are no limits on the amount of tzedaka that is appropriate for him to give. Just as there is no limit on the teshuva that must be done, so too the mitzvah of Tzedaka has no limit. A person would not think of limiting the amount he spends on his physical health, so how much more so would this apply to one's spiritual health (Alter Rebbe in Tanya Iggers Hakodesh 10).
The Rebbe gave us specific guidelines for implementing this mivtza. Firstly, every person should increase in giving Tzedaka. Then, every child should have a Tzedaka-box in their room.
Every car and Mikve should have a Tzedaka box. There should be aTzedaka-box attached to the wall of each home. One should be careful to give Tzedaka before Davening. The Rebbe also instructed that women should give tzedaka beforelighting Shabbos candles.
In the "Hayom Yom" of the 9th of Tammuz, the Rebbe writes: "The greatest guaranteed assurance (of Divine assistance) for parents in need of special help and deliverance for their children, is through their support of those that study Torah".
Moshiach is also a very important component of the mitzvah of Tzedaka. Chazal (Bava
Basra 10a) state: "It has been taught: Rabbi Yehuda says: Great is charity, in that it brings the redemption nearer, as it says, 'Thus says the L-rd, Keep your judgment and do righteousness [tzedakah], for My salvation is near to come and My righteousness to be revealed."
What is the reason that charity is singled out as unique from all the Mitzvos?
The Alter Rebbe explains the advantage of the mitzvos of action lies in their elevating effect on the body and soul. That is how we can understand why our Sages so greatly praised the virtue of charity, declaring it equal to all the other mitzvot together. In all of the Talmud Yerushalmi charity is called simply "The Commandment," because charity is the core ofall the mitzvot of action and surpasses them all.
The reason for this is that the purpose of all these mitzvot is only to elevate one's animal soul to holiness, since it is this soul that performs them.
From all of the mitzvos of action, there is no other mitzvah in which the animal soul is clothed to the same extent as in the mitzvah of Tzedakah. For in all other mitzvot only one faculty of the animal soul is clothed. For example, when a person wears tefillin or holds the esrog, his hand is involved in the action. Even this one faculty is clothed in the mitzvah only while the mitzvah is being performed. In the case of Tzedaka, however,which one gives from money that he worked very hard to earn,surely all the strength of his animal soul is involved in the effort of that work, or in any other occupation by which he earned this money which he then distributes for Tzedaka. Therefore, when he gives to this money to charity, money which he earn by apply in all the strength of his animal soul, his entire animal soul ascends to Hashem. This is why the mitzvah of tzedaka is superior over other mitzvot.
But this seems to imply that if one does not invest all his strength into earning his livelihood, his charity lacks this quality. Yet, as the Alter Rebbe explains,even he who does not earn his livelihood through hard effort, still achieves this great accomplishment through the mitzvah of Tzedaka. Since he could have purchased, with this money that he gave for charity, nourishment for the life of his animal soul, he is actually giving his soul's life to Hashem in the form of charity. Thus, charity comprises and therefore elevates more energy of the animal soul than any other mitzvah.
This is why our Sages have said that charity hastens the Geulah for with one act of charity one elevates so much of the animal soul; more of its faculties and powers, in fact, than he might elevate through many other active mitzvot combined. As we know, the Era of Moshiach is a result of our efforts in purifying and elevating the animal soul; Tzedaka, which causes this elevation in such great measure, thus hastens the final Geulah, may Moshiach come speedily in our days!
WHAT IS THE REBBE’S MESSAGE OF MOSHIACH TO THE WORLD?
1) “One must make known to all members of the generation that we have merited that G-d has chosen a person endowed with free choice, who is incomparably higher than the members of his generation, to be ‘your judge,’ ‘your counselor,’ and the prophet of the generation. This chosen leader will provide the instructions and advice relevant to the service of all Jews and all people of the generation, in all matters of Torah and mitzvos, and daily conduct in the manner of ‘in all your ways, know Him’ and ‘all your deeds (should be for the sake of Heaven).’ [His counsel has] extended to the essential prophecy of – not just as a Sage and Judge, but as a Prophet, for this is certain – ‘immediate redemption’ and instantly ‘Behold he (Moshiach) comes.’” (Shoftim 5751)
2) On October 20, 1991, Mr. Gary Tochman, a CNN correspondent asked the Rebbe: “Rebbe, can you tell us the message you have for the world about Moshiach?”
The Rebbe responded, “It was printed in all the press of all the countries; Moshiach is ready to come now, it is only on our part to do something additional in the realm of goodness and kindness . . . at least a little more, then Moshiach will come immediately.”
3) “The shluchim have already begun long ago to fulfill the work of shlichus in spreading the Torah, Judaism and the Wellsprings of the inner teachings of Torah outward, and for a long time have even reached completion in the work of shlichus, according to the announcement of my saintly father-in-law mentioned above. Nevertheless, the true and complete Redemption has not yet actually come. It must be said, then, that there must be something that remains to be done that will bring the Redemption into reality.
“What is needed is the following: It is known that ‘in every generation an individual descended from Yehuda is born who is qualified to be the Moshiach for Israel,’ and that ‘one who qualifies because of his righteousness to be the Redeemer, and when the time arrives G-d will be revealed to him and send him, etc.’ And according to the announcement of my saintly father-in-law, the leader of our generation, the singular shliach of our generation, the singular Moshiach of our generation, that everything has already concluded, it is understood that there has begun to be fulfilled the ‘send now the one You will send,’ …... And therefore it is obvious that the only thing that now remains in the work of shlichus is to greet our righteous Moshiach in actual reality, in order that he should be able to fulfill his shlichus in actuality and bring all the Jews out of exile!
PERHAPS THE JOB OF SPREADING MOSHIACH IS JUST FOR SHLUCHIM?
1) “All Jews, men, women and even children, have the responsibility to increase their efforts to bring our righteous Moshiach in actual reality!
“Therefore it is obvious there is no place for relying on others or imposing the work on someone else instead of doing it oneself, but this is the task of every man and woman; everyone must themselves do their job, ‘to serve my Maker’ (for the sake of which ‘I was created’), and certainly one has the ability (since ‘I do not ask except according to their ability’).” (Shmini 5751)
2) “And since this is the Divine service of the time, it is understood this applies to every Jew without any exception whatsoever.” (Chaya Sara 5752)
3) “My intention here is action, and certainly the following will be publicized everywhere:
“In order to realize the immediate revelation and coming of Moshiach, each and every Jew (the men, whether they are dwellers in the tent (Yisachar) or men of business (Z’vulun), and the women and children, each one according to his ability) should increase their learning of Torah, particularly the subjects of Moshiach and Redemption.” (Tazria Metzora 5751)
LOOKING FORWARD TO REDEMPTION
Everybody is looking forward to Moshiach. For many it is for spiritual reasons, as the Rambam writes (Hilchos Melachim 12:4) "The Sages and the prophets did not yearn for the Messianic era in order to have dominion over the entire world, to rule over the gentiles, to be exalted by the nations, or to eat, drink, and celebrate. Rather, they desired to be free to involve themselves in Torah and wisdom without any pressures or disturbances, so that they would merit the world to come".
Yet for many it is the physical blessings of the Messianic era that increase our anticipation, as the Rambam (Ibid) continues: "In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust." As the Gemara (kesubos 112b) "R. Chiyya b. Ashi stated in the name of Rav: In the time to come all the wild trees of the Land of Israel will bear fruit; for it is said in Scripture, For the tree bear its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength."
Based on the above it is clear that there will be no needy people in the times of Moshiach as is prophesized "There will be no poor among you". If so, how will the Mitzva of Tzedaka and Gemillas Chassadim, which is one of the three pillars on which the world rests (Avos 1:2), be done in the times of Moshiach?
Here are a few answers:
1) One of the three pillars is also "Avoda - bringing Karbonos". In the time of exile, we "bring" the Karbonos by learning about the Karbonos. In the times of Moshiach, we will "give" Tzedaka by learning the laws of Tzedaka. (Chasam Sofer, Parshas Bechukosai).
2) While there may not be physical charity - as B"H everyone will have what they need, there is spiritual charity. When it comes to learning and understanding Torah, there are always different levels of people. When someone answers another's question or clarifies a Halacha for him, that is Chesed as well (Sicha Parshas Ki-Savo 5749).
3) There will be physical chesed as well. Even though people will have what they need, people will lend each other money just to fulfill Gemillas Chassadim.
There is a nice story that illustrates this point:
There was once a simple merchant named Yisrael that came to visit the third Lubavitcher Rebbe - known as the "Tzemach Tzedek" - for a shabbos. That week the Rebbe said a deep Chassidisc discourse. One of the points explained was that the Chessed of Avraham Avinu was so great that it gave more pleasure to Hashem than Chessed of Atzilus!
The simple Chassid went home and took this lesson to heart. That year he would go around borrowing money from others, just to give them the Mitzva of lending money. When he returned to Lubavitch the next year, the Tzemach Tzedek commented to his son Reb Shmuel (the Rebbe Maharash) that he sees on R' Yisrael's had, the light of Chessed of Atzilus!
WILL WE STILL REMEMBER YETZIAS MITZRAIM AFTER MOSHIACH COMES?
One of the most important Mitzvos that we have is the remembrance of Yetzias Mitzrayim - the exodus of Egypt.The Passuk (Devarim 16:3) says: "You shall not eat leaven with it; for seven days you shall eat with it matzoth, the bread of affliction, for in haste you went out of the land of Egypt, so that you shall remember the day when you went out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life."
The reason behind this Mitzva (see sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 21): There are many people that like to deny that Hashem exists and is in full control of the creation. At the time of the exodus, Hashem performed many nature-changing miracles which showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hashem is in full control of this world.
We find that the accepted Halachik opinion is that we will continue to mention the exodus even in the times of Moshiach. The Mishna (Brachos 1:8) retells of an interesting discussion among the sages: Said Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah: "Behold, I am like a seventy-year-old man, yet I could not win [the argument against the other sages] having the exodus from Egypt recited at night, until Ben Zoma derived it. For it says 'In order that you may remember the day when you left Egypt for all the days of your life". Now, 'days of your life' means the days; 'All the days of your life' [includes also] the nights." But the Sages say: "Days of your life" means the present world; "All the days of your life" includes also the era of Moshiach.
This Halacha obviously demands explanation: Being that the reason behind the Mitzva is to reinforce our belief in Hashem, it would seem superfluous to have this Mitzva in the times of Moshiach. The prophet Yirmiyahu describes the times of Moshiach (31:34) " And no longer shall one teach his neighbor or [shall] one [teach] his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will no longer remember." As Rambam describes (Hilchos Melachim 12:5): "Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: 'The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed."
The Rebbe (Sefer Maamarim Melukat 2) gives a fascinating explanation:
While the time of Moshiach is a time of serenity and spiritual fulfillment, there is one component missing. The struggle and conquering of our evil inclination. Why do we need this conquering? Why not simply transform the impurity rather than conquering it first? This subjugation has an advantage in that, as the Alter Rebbe writes in the Tanya, a person is a true servant of G-d when he is constantly battling against and subduing his nature. It is a battle which brings G-dlylight into the world.
The situation is similar to that of a king who distributes all of his treasures to his soldiers so that they can fight a war. In peace time, these treasures would never have been touched, much less, spent so freely. This war is the battle with the animal soul, and the victory brings treasures of Divine Revelation.
This is another reason why the Egyptian exodus will be mentioned in the Era of Moshiach; By mentioning the struggles of the exodus - and the personal struggles that we had in exile - we will continue to draw-down these special "spiritual treasures". In the times of Moshiach these treasures will be totally revealed.
WILL WE STILL HAVE THE MITZVAH OF ZECHER (REMEMBERING) AMALEK AFTER MOSHIACH COMES?
The Rambam writes (Sefer Hamitzvos): "The 189th mitzvah is that we are commanded to constantly remember - verbally - what Amalek did to us, i.e. to be the first to attack us [after we were redeemed from Egypt]; and to speak of it constantly; to arouse people to wage war against them and hate them, in order that it not be forgotten or the hatred towards them lessened with the passage of time. The source of this commandment is G-d's statement (exalted be He), "Remember what Amalek did to you. [Do not forget.]"
Why was Amalek singled out from all nations that fought with the Jews to be eradicated? The Midarsh (Tanchuma and Rashi) brings a fascinating parable: "To what is the incident (of Amalek) comparable? To a boiling tub of water which no creature was able to enter. Along came one evildoer and jumped into it. Although he was burned, he cooled it for the others. So, too, when Israel came out of Egypt, and G-d split the sea before them and drowned the Egyptians within it, the fear of them fell upon all the nations. But when Amalek came and challenged them, although he received his due from them, he cooled the awe of the nations of the world for them."
The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 1:1) writes: Israel was commanded to fulfill three mitzvot upon entering the Promised Land:
a) To choose a king, as Deuteronomy 17:15 states: 'Appoint a king over yourselves;'b) To wipe out the descendents of Amalek, as Deuteronomy 25:19 states: 'Erase the memory of Amalek;'c) To build God's Chosen House, as Deuteronomy 12:5 states: 'Seek out His Presence and go there.'
The appointment of a king should precede the war against Amalek. This is evident from Samuel's charge to King Saul (I Samuel 15: l-3): 'God sent me to anoint you as king ... Now, go and smite Amalek.' Amalek's seed should be annihilated before the construction of the Temple, as II Samuel 7:1-2 states: 'And it came to pass, when the king dwelled in his palace, and God gave him peace from all his enemies who surrounded him, the king said to Nathan, the prophet: 'Look! I am dwelling in a house of cedar, ... but the ark of God dwells within curtains.'
It would make sense that this Mitzva - of remembering Amalek - should apply until the time of Moshiach. Until then, there are still many people from the seed of Amalek that are in existence. We must constantly remember Amalek and awaken in ourselves the fire against Amalek. There is also the spiritual Amalek that we fight in the time of exile: Of Amalek it is said, "karcha-he made you cool off " (Ki Teitzei 25:18). That is, he cooled Israel's fervor and enthusiasm for G-dliness after the exodus from Egypt on their way to Sinai to receive the Torah. This spiritual Amalek is anything that would cool our bond with Torah and mitzvot. It is our task to fend off this spiritual Amalek and clear a path to the revelation of the inner dimension of the Torah that will be manifested by Moshiach, speedily in our days.
Once Moshiach comes - and eradicates Amalek - there would seem no need to keep mentioning Amalek. Yet, the Halachik authorities (Minchas Chinuch 603, Targum Yonasan Teitzei 25:19 and others) rule that we will be mentioning the story of Amalek even in the days of Moshiach!?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 21 page 192 footnote 26) quotes an interesting explanation of the Mileches Shloma : The reason we mention Amalek is not - just - to excite us to get rid of Amalek, rather to remember what caused the ability for Amalek to wage war with the Jewish People.
The Torah (shemos 17:8) tells us: " Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.". What is the significance of knowing where Amalek fought with the Jewish people? Commentaries explain that the word "Rephidim" means weak. At that point, the Jewish people were weak in their Torah learning. That allowed Amalek to start a war with the Jewish people. By remembering Amalek, it is a reminder to the Jewish people to always keep string in their Torah learning.
In the times of Moshiach, the Jewish people will be immersed in Torah learning. As Rambam writes (Hilchos Melachim 12:4 ) "The Sages and the prophets did not yearn for the Messianic era in order to have dominion over the entire world, to rule over the gentiles, to be exalted by the nations, or to eat, drink, and celebrate. Rather, they desired to be free to involve themselves in Torah and wisdom without any pressures or disturbances...Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: 'The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed." We will remeber Amalek as an encouragement for our learning as a reminder from History as to what happens if Jews do not toil in Torah.
WHO WILL BE COHEN GADOL IN TIMES OF MOSHIACH:
At first glance it would seem obvious the Aharon HaKohein will serve as Kohein Gadol. He was the first Kohein Gadol and the most privileged one as well. While throughout the generations, the Kohein Gadol was only allowed into the Kodesh Hakadashim once a year on Yom Kippur, Aharon was able to go whenever he wanted (Midrash Vayikra 21:7).
This seemingly obvious conclusion - that Aharon will resume his position - is also seemingly clear from the Gemarah. The Gemarah (Sanhedrin 90b) writes:
"How is resurrection derived from the Torah? - As it is written, And ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest. But would Aaron live for ever; he did not even enter Eretz Yisrael, that terumah should be given him? But it teaches that he would be resurrected, and Israel give him Terumah. Thus resurrection is derived from the Torah."
Yet in truth we find other opinions as well. In the book of the prophet Yechekel (43:18-27) We find the following prophecy:
"And you shall give it to the priests, the Levites, who are of the seed of Zadok, who are near to Me, says the Lord God, to serve Me, a young bull for a sin-offering.
And you shall take of its blood and place it on its four horns and on the four corners of the upper edge and to the border around, and you shall purify it and make it fit for atonement.
And you shall take the bull of the sin-offering, and he shall burn it at the end of the House, outside the Sanctuary.
And on the second day you shall offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin offering, and they shall purify the altar as they purified it with the bull.
When you have completed the purification, you shall bring near a young bull without a blemish and a ram without blemish from the flock.
And you shall offer them before the Lord, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and offer them up to God as a burnt offering.
For seven days shall you make a he-goat for a sin-offering every day, and a young bull and a ram from the flock without blemish shall they make.
For seven days shall they effect atonement for the altar, and purify it and dedicate it.
And when they have completed the days, then it shall be that on the eighth day and thenceforth, the priests shall make your burnt offerings and your peace-offerings on the altar, and I will accept you with satisfaction, says the Lord God."
All the commentaries wonder: Why would Hashem teach all these rituals to Yechezkel? The Radak explains: This is because Yechezkel will be the active Kohein Gadol when Moshiach comes!
So, which one will it be? The Lev Chaim (chapter 32) explains that in the times of Moshiach, both Yechezkel and Aharon will be active Kohanim Gedolim.
But this leads us to a stronger question: The Rambam rules (Klei Hamikdash 4:15): "
A High Priest should be appointed only by the court of 71 judges. He should be anointed only during the day, as [Vayikra 6:13] states: "On the day of his anointment...." Similarly, if he was initiated merely by wearing the priestly garments, the initiation should only take place during the day. Two High Priests should not be initiated together."
The reason for this ruling is explained (Yerushlami, Sanhedrin 10:2) because of the natural jealousy that comes from having two people appointed to the high position of Kohein Gadol. If so, how can that change in Yemos Hamoshiach?
The Rebbe asks a question on the Rambam (Ibid 10:13) "The statements found in the words of the prophets that the - 85 - priests would wear an ephod of linen does not mean that they were High Priests. For the High Priest's ephod was not of linen [alone]. For the Levites would also wear such a garment, for the prophet Samuel was a Levite, and [I Samuel 2:18] describes him as "a youth, girded with a linen ephod." Instead, thisephod was worn by the students of the prophets and those who were fit to have the Holy Spirit rest upon them to make it known that such a person reached a rung equivalent to that of the High Priest who speaks with the Holy Spirit via the medium of the ephod and the breastplate."
The Rebbe asks: How could 85 Kohanim reach this high level - of spiritual Kohein Gadol - and not be jealous of each other? The answer is simple: A prophet who reaches the level of kohein Gadol through preparation will not be jealous of his friend.
The same should apply to the times of Moshiach. The Rambam (Milachim 12:5) describes the era of Moshiach: "In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know God. Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: 'The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed."
based on that, it only makes sense that this rule prohibiting two Kohanum Gedolim (which was created by our sages, so that there should not be any jealousy) would not apply in Yemos Hamoshiach.
[A perspective: The Tzemach Tzedek writes (Ohr Hatorah - Shemos Volume 5 page 586): It seems from the Arizal that in the times of Moshiach, Moshe Rabeinu will be the Kohein Gadol.]
In the words of the Rebbe (B'Haloscha 5751):
"All this receives greater emphasis in recent generations, described as, "in the heels of," and as, "the heels of the heels of Moshiach," particularly in this generation, the last generation of exile... Only the heel of the foot, i.e., the absolute last generation has the ability to "rise on its own" and elevate all previous generations, because the last generation of exile will be the first generation of Redemption - the Redemption for all Jews throughout all generations!
In particular, the shepherd Aharon HaCohen of our generation - my sainted father-in-law, the Rebbe, the leader of our generation... has emphasized this through his "invocation" of "Immediate Teshuvah, immediate Redemption," and the announcement that we only have to "polish the buttons," and afterwards - the declaration that this too has already ended, and it only requires us to "stand prepared all of you" to greet our righteous Moshiach in the true and complete Redemption."
What about the ten tribes that were lost?
In the times of Moshiach, the Ten Tribes will be returned to the Jewish nation, and all the Jewish people will once again be under the rulership of Melech HaMoshiach, who is from the tribe of Yehuda. This will also be useful in increasing shidduchim options for the Jewish nation.
also, Moshiach will say who is Jewish and who is not....there could be many people who now think they are non Jews who will be shown to be Jewish when Moshiach comes.
WILL WE STILL GO UP TO JERUSALEM THREE TIMES A YEAR FOR SUCCOT, PESACH AND SHAVUOT WHEN MOSHIACH COMES?
This is based on the Passuk in Shemos (23:17) "Three times during the year, all your males shall appear before the Master, the Lord.".
There is an obvious question: With the advance on technology, we now have cars and trains. Will we be permitted to go to the Beis Hamikdash with cars or is it specifically important that we go by foot?
The famous Posek, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Kodshim siman 21) writes that it is permitted to go by other transportation.
But in truth, the Midrash tells us of a more "heavenly transportation" that will be used when Moshiach comes. The Navi (Isaiah 66:23).says: "It shall come to pass that at every new Moon and on every Shabbos all flesh - humankind- will come to bow before Me, says Hashem."
The Midrash comments: "How is it possible that all humankind will come to Jerusalem every Shabbos and every New Month? (How can Jerusalem contain so many pilgrims?) Rabbi Levi says that in the future the entire Land of Israel will be like Jerusalem ; moreover, the entire world will be like the Land of Israel . And how can they come on the New Moon and on Shabbos from the ends of the world? The clouds will come and carry them, bringing them toJerusalem , and they will pray there in the morning. And this is as the Prophet praises them: 'Who are these? Like a cloud they fly, like doves to their cotes' (Isaiah 60:8)."
One may ask, if this is not contradictory to the words of the Torah? The Torah says that you need to go only three times?
The sages (shu"t Dvar Yehoshua 1:9) already addressed this issue. They explain - and see aforementioned sefer for other answers - that in reality, even in time of the first two Bate Mikdash the Jewish people should come to the Beis Hamikdash every Shabbas and Rosh Chodesh. Being that it was technically impossible. Hashem only commanded us to come three times a year. Being that in the era of Moshiach it will be possible - as we will have "clouds" to travel on - we will visit every Shabbas and Rosh Chodesh.
MAY WE ALL INCREASE IN DEEDS OF GOODNESS AND KINDNESS, IN CHARITY AND LOVE OF OUR FELLOW JEWS, IN MAKING THE WORLD A FITTING VESSEL FOR THE REVELATION OF THE LIGHT OF MOSHIACH AND MAY WE TRULY MERIT THE COMING OF MOSHIACH NOW. ARE YOU READY?
WHEN MOSHIACH COMES WHAT BLESSINGS WILL WE SAY ON HIS ARRIVAL?
The blessings (in order) are:
1) Goal Yisroel - To thank Hashem for redeeming us.
2) Shehechiyanu vikiymanu vehigiyanu lizman hazeh - To thank Hashem for
bringing us to this day.
3) Shechalak mey chachmaso lerayov - The blessing we say when we see
someone very wise (king Moshiach).
4) Shechalok mechvodo lerayov - The blessing we say on seeing a king.
5) Chachom harozin - The blessing we say when we see 600,000 Jews gathered together. (There are many opinions on this one)
ברוך אתה ה אלקינו מלך העולם שהחינו
והגיענו לזמן הזה
ברוך אתה ה אלקינו מלך העולם גואל ישראל
ברוך אתה ה
אלקינו מלך העולם שחלק מכבודו ליראיו
ברוך אתה ה אלקינו מלך העולם שחלק מחכחמתו
ברוך אתה ה אלקינו מלך העולם חכם הרזים