Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why the Qualifications to Verify Moshiach?

Moses, the first Redeemer, had to submit verification he was Redeemer of the Jews. Otherwise, he would not be believed. His passwords were "פקד פקדתי", the alert sign Jacob and Joseph handed their offspring a few generations earlier (Rashi Ex.3:18). Moses still felt it inadequate and so God put 3 tricks up his sleeve to prove, with these miracles, he was the authentic Redeemer.

Moshiach, the final Redeemer, also has to pass muster with a screening test. What are his SIGNS? Maimonides lists them specifically (Kings 11:4). And because no other codifier ever took issue with them, Maimonides' laws remain absolute.

"And when a king rises from the House of David, immersed in Torah and heeds the commandments as David his forefather, as per the written Torah and as per the Oral Torah, and will coax Jews to conform to these ways or and enhance their commitment, and he'll fight for Hashem's sake, this person thereby is sanctioned as Moshiach. If so he did and succeeds, and builds the Temple in its place and gathers in the Jews from exile, he thereby is Moshich with certitude."

He gives two sets of identification signs; One set must precede the other. The first set confirms the candidate as "sanctioned as Moshiach"; The second set removes all doubt.

But who needs these signs, you might ask? Why bother expressing them? What difference does it make if someone passes the test Maimonides calls "sanctioned as Moshiach" ("בחזקת משיח")? Suppose things happen or work out differently?

But this is exactly the point! Precisely these signs, and no others, will determine the identity of Moshiach, and precisely in this two-step identification process! These laws are not there as an "in case" scenario - "in case" he requires a further background check. No. This is Jewish law and precisely according to these particulates the process will unfold!

THE PEOPLE - MUST ACCEPT HIM ACCORDING TO THESE SPECIFIC Maimonideic CRITERIA. People must determine and accept a personage, first as a Moshiach in assumption, and finally as being that person in certitude.

The first set of identity factors transpire under normal, natural - as opposed to supernatural - signs. Only thereafter will wonders and miracles supercede the natural order.

These laws are for the Jewish people. It is incumbent upon Jewish people to crown their potential king of certitude before he ever attains that final rank. The Jewish people must accept the personality who is "sanctioned as Moshiach".

Moses was determined one way, and none took issue with that way; Moshiach needs to fulfill another protocol, and none take issue with it either. Moses was elected because according to tradition he had to fulfil the passwords "פקד פקדתי". Similarly, Maimonides lists those laws he derived from Jewish tradition. These the Jewish people must conform with to elect Moshiach.

The mindset that figures Moshiach will appear in some miraculous fashion, whereby he will be immediately noticeable to the entire Jewish population - does NOT accord with Jewish law as a necessary condition!

(See also - Extraordinarily Ordinary.)


  1. This is my first time coming across your blog so if you have addressed the following question in the past, forgive me.

    You say: "People must determine and accept a personage, first as a Moshiach in assumption, and finally as being that person in certitude." Well, haven't the Jewish people spoken, or, I guess, not spoken? If he needs to be accepted, and he wasn't, does that not mean he isn't Moshiach? He may have qualified, but if he wasn't accepted....

    Thanks for your time.

  2. Thanks L&F for your question. It happens to be a great question. For one thing, it's a PROCESS, not a mind-blowing event that goes against "what happens naturally" or that contradicts practicality. (That does NOT means it cannot happen as a mind-blowing event but the Jewish Code of Law does not relate to such a supernatural phenomenon.)

    The other point, to fully answer your question, relates to what happened to King David after he was anointed to be king and the process that transpired back then, where, in fact, that bit of Jewish history is also playing itself out - as we talk.

    Thanks again for asking. So many of my readers are silent readers, and it takes away from gusto to write. Ironically, the title of your blog "Learning to Say Nothing" has been breached by you - and again - thanks!

    I promise, בלי נדר, to try and answer you on this aspect with my next post.

  3. I look forward to reading your next post that addresses my question.

    Ya, my first post addressed why I write at all. I'm hoping that I'll come away from blogging learning how to say nothing. Or, not needing to say anything, if you will.

  4. L&F, while you're at it, keep in mind what our sages tell us:
    "Four types constitute those who sit in the presence of sages: The sponge; Funnel; Strainer; and the Sieve.
    The sponge, who soaks up everything; The funnel, who takes it in at one end and lets it out at the other; The strainer, who lets out the wine and retains the dregs; And the sieve, who removes the coarse meal and collects the fine flour."