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FAQ: Mashiach and Redemption

FAQ: Mashiach and Redemption

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FAQ: Mashiach and Redemption

QUESTION 1: "Will the Mashiach know that he is the chosen one?"
ANSWER 1: Yes, but not necessarily long before the appointed time.

QUESTION 2: "Will there be signs revealed to him?"
ANSWER 2: Yes.

QUESTION 3: "Can he escape destiny?"

QUESTION 4: "Or will G‑d lead him to his role?"
ANSWER 4: Yes. *IF* the generation is worthy and/or the time is right.

QUESTION: "The mysteries of the Kabbala make references to Mashiach Ben David and to Mashiach Ben Joseph. Rabbi Hai Gaon made reference to Mashiach Ben Joseph a thousand years ago. What is the teaching of the Kabbalists regarding Mashiach Ben Joseph?"

ANSWER: Most schools of Kabbala mention him, but there are some that don't. He will precede Mashiach Ben David and pave the way for him, but he himself will not have complete Mashiach qualifications.

QUESTION: "What happens when Mashiach comes and all people will be resurrected? Will the land be able to sustain so many people?"

ANSWER: Every soul will be in a body, but that does not mean that every body that ever was will have a soul. What about a soul that incarnated many times?

QUESTION: "Is it possible for Mashiach to be a woman?"

ANSWER: The Hebrew word "mashiach" means "anointed". The full term is "Melech HaMashiach" - which means "the anointed king". King, not Queen. He is required to be a male descendent of King David, with a "legitimate" claim to the throne.

QUESTION: "Does not the Kabbala provide for special function of Jews in the redemption of the world?"

ANSWER: Yes. But this can be accomplished only upon a foundation of fulfilling the commandments, not substituting social activism for them. Nor does it mean that gentiles have no purpose in life, or the desire to discover it.

QUESTION 1: "Why did so many interpretations of Daniel err in the prediction of the coming of Mashiach?" 

ANSWER 1: Because that information is not supposed to be available. The Talmud tells us that Yonatan Ben Uziel died young, because Heaven prevented him from translating / explaining Daniel.

QUESTION 2: "Why were a number of people told when Mashiach would come, as the Talmud explains?"

ANSWER 2: They were worthy to hear it. But we were not worthy for them to tell us.

QUESTION: "Why did G‑d not make life easier for the Jews?  Even if we had a task to accomplish among the non-Jews and did not deserve to stay in the Holy Land, why was Exile made so hard by G‑d? Why keep on testing and punishing for two thousand years?  When Rabbi Akiva suffered martyrdom, the angels asked a poignant question to which an elusive and terrible answer was given from Heaven. Why?"

ANSWER: These are important and good questions, but if, as you say, He didn't give the angels a clear answer, you and I are not going to get one either. Our job/test is to have faith that He knows what He is doing and that He has our best (even if long-term) interests at heart.

QUESTION: "When Mashiach comes, will the need for return trips end?  If he provides the redemption for us, we will be free from self-atoning?  That is a lot of work spanning all the sefirot."

ANSWER: At that time (or somewhat thereafter) the usefulness of returning and self-atoning will be greatly reduced. It is not such a big deal when the truth is so clear because of the great light.

QUESTION: "I have read so many articles and heard from various Rabbis about when the Moshiach is due. From what I've hear, the last day of Passover is a very big day but I'm looking for a better clarification on these hints as to when Mashiach is due to arrive. Thanks."

ANSWER: Yes, the last day of Passover is heavily associated with Mashiach, as a reading of the Haftorah reveals.

The reasons the hints seem so mysterious and inconclusive, is this is information we are not supposed to have until the time arrives. Only then, says Maimonides, will all the hints become perfectly clear. Meanwhile our job is to keep the faith and to do our best to help make the world an appropriate place for the Mashiach to reveal himself in. May it be soon!

QUESTION: "Is the Messiah and/or the Messianic Age revealed in the Torah? Or in the Kabbalist literature? I know it is revealed in the Talmud but I need to know about the written Torah."

ANSWER: It is said that the year of Messiah/Mashiach's arrival can be calculated from certain verses towards the end of the Book of Daniel. Yonatan Ben Uziel was prevented by Heaven more than 2000 years ago from revealing the correct interpretation of these verses. Since then we are still trying to figure it out. You are welcome to try too.

QUESTION: "Is prophecy possible now, before the rebuilding of the Holy Temple?"

ANSWER: Prophecy at the level of the biblical prophets from the time of the Holy Temples is supposed to be impossible since the time of the Temples' destruction, as you said, until shortly before Mashiach's coming. But there is a lower level of prophecy, known as "ruach hakodesh", which is possible even today. You can find many instances of it in the stories about the great Chasidic Rebbes, Sephardic Kabbalists, and some great Lithuanian sages. In a famous speech in Summer 1991, the Lubavitcher Rebbe affirmed that there is prophecy today too.

QUESTION: "Does Kabbala indicate we are absolutely in the Times of Mashiach now? What is your view?"

ANSWER: We are in what is called "birth pangs of Mashiach" or "heels of Mashiach" -- the threshold of the Era of Mashiach. "Times of Mashiach" can begin any moment, even now.

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Discussion (2)
October 24, 2015
Where is it stated that Moshiach must be married?
What sources in traditional Jewish texts state that Moshiach must be married?
David Perkins
December 28, 2011
Yerachmiel Tilles
Boruch N. Hoffinger
Brooklyn, NY

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