Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 15th Berakha: Mashiach

Today is the 20th day of Shebat , 5771

et tzemach David abdekha
This berakha ends the sequence of six 'requests' in which we ask God Almighty for our normalization as the nation of Israel. Which will come when the people of Israel will be reestablished in the land of Israel, following the Law of Israel.
The salvation/normalization process will culminate with the coming of the Mashiach.
The Mashiach (Melekh haMashiach) we are waiting for won't be a saint or a son of a god. He will be a King, a Political Leader, like King David, with a total commitment to serve God.
Maimonides mentions the three conditions for a Jewish leader to be 'regarded' as the Mashiach.
First, he needs to be a proven descendant of the lineage of David (today, some families are known descendants of David haMelekh: Maimon, Dayan, Abarbanel among others).
The second condition is that he will be entirely committed to Torah study and observance (hoge baTorah ve'osek bamitzvot) aspiring to establish a Kingdom where Jews will follow God's commandments.
The third condition is that he will be a military man, fighting the wars of Israel (not fighting in a symbolic way, like a 'Salvation Army' but in a real Jewish army).
Everything we know about the Mashiach is learned from Bar Kokhba, who was himslef an heroic commander of the Jewish army in the time of the romans (ca. 150 CE).
If a Jewish leader has these three conditions he could be considered the Mashiach.
If he then brings the Jewish people to the land of Israel and builds the bet haMikdash he is 'declared' the Mashiach.

Recommended reading: 'The Real Messiah?' by Aryeh Kaplan.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024