Ah, Torah sources. Where would we all be, without them?
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, as I’ve written about it many times before. There are a whole bunch of Torah sources and commentaries that explain what credentials a potential candidate for ‘Moshiach’ needs to have, in order to be a contender for the job. Some of them are well known, some of them are less well known.
Let’s start with the well-known sources, first, primarily Rambam. The below is the uncensored text, that hasn’t been manipulated to ‘fit’ anyone specific:
“If a king arises from the house of David who studies Torah and does mitzvos like his ancestor David, according to the written and oral Torah, and he compels all of Israel to walk in it and strengthen its weak points, and he fights the wars of Hashem, then he has chezkas (presumed to be) moshiach. If he does and succeeds, and subdues all the surrounding nations, and he builds the Temple, and gathers the exiles of Israel, then he is definitely moshiach.”
RAMBAM’S MOSHIACH CHECKLIST:
- Has to be from the house of David, i.e. a descendant of King David.
- Has to study Torah and do Mitzvot like King David, (the most humble of men, who spent his whole life calling out to Hashem and doing hitbodedut, which is how we got the book of Psalms.)
- Has to act totally in accordance with the written and Oral Torah – i.e. this can’t be someone who bends the rules here and there. Moshiach acts 100% according to halacha, 100% of the time.
- Has to compel all of Israel to walk in the Torah – i.e., has to bring many people back in real teshuva, and to keeping the Torah’s laws. It’s interesting to note that it says he has to compel ALL of Israel, not just a majority.
- Has to strengthen the observance of the Torah’s weak points – like, encouraging people to pray, and to really put Hashem in the picture, and to have emuna, which is definitely still a ‘weak point’, even 15 years after the Garden of Emuna first hit the bookshelves.
- Has to fight the wars of Hashem.
#6 is open to wide interpretation. Is the ‘fight’ literal, at the head of an army? Is it spiritual, against the forces of darkness? Does it mean both?
If someone can tick all these boxes, then he can be given the status of the chezkat Moshiach, a potential candidate for Moshiach.
So, say for example you think Tony Robbins could be Moshiach. I mean, the guy has helped so many people out with his classes; he’s given out a lot of solid, good advice. He has 4 million people following him on Youtube – what more do you want?!
Bring Tony Robbins back to this checklist, walk the idea through the above 6 points, and if he fits the criteria, you may have a potential, or chezkat Moshiach on your hands. And if not? Then he isn’t.
It really is that easy.
But, we aren’t done yet, with the sources on how to identify a potential Moshiach.
“If he does and succeeds, and subdues all the surrounding nations, and he builds the Temple, and gathers the exiles of Israel, then he is definitely Moshiach.”
So, before a candidate can move from chezkat to definite Moshiach, he has to:
- Succeed in points 4-6 above – i.e. bring all of Israel back in teshuva, strengthen the observance of the Torah’s weak points and successfully fight the wars of Hashem.
- Subdue all the surrounding nations – again, this could be widely interpreted. Is it a military subjugation? Are the nations ‘subjugated’ to the Jewish people because hard as they try to nuke us or bomb us, the chezkat Moshiach’s prayers is making sure that just can’t happen? Does it mean they recognise that the land of Israel finally belongs to the Jewish people? Who knows.
- Builds the Temple.
- Gathers in the exiles of Israel.
THE RAMBAM THEN CONTINUES:
“If he did not succeed to this degree or was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah. Rather, he should be considered as all the other proper and complete kings of the Davidic dynasty who died.”
Let’s tread carefully and respectfully here, but this makes it clear that great as he was, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe was a chezkat Moshiach, who didn’t complete the task, and therefore is “surely not the redeemer promised by the Torah.”
But we aren’t done yet, with our Torah sources for how to identify a potential Moshiach. Remember this?
We need to add to our Moshiach checklist:
- He will reveal himself gradually, and not in one shot (Sanhedrin 97 and Rashi.)
- He has to come from both chutz l’aretz and Israel. (Arbabanel.)
- He’s going to be accompanied by police and sit in jail (Ramban and Ramchal.)
- He’s going to be the subject of an enormous controversy (Rebbe Nachman.)
- His coming will involve huge tests of emuna, and emunat tzaddikim (Rebbe Nachman.)
- Even when he’s sitting in prison, his opponents are going to continue to humiliate and shame him (Pesikta Rabba.)
(See the full sources HERE.)
Let’s go back to Tony Robbins – great guy! Really inspirational speaker! Helped so many people, with his Youtube Channel!
Tony never made it over to Israel, so he can’t be Moshiach.
As far as I know, he’s never spent time in jail, so he can’t be Moshiach.
Most people like Tony a lot, if they’ve actually heard of him. He certainly doesn’t have any vociferous, demented public detractors setting up Facebook groups urging people to steer clear of him – so he can’t be Moshiach.
He hasn’t been in prison, or continually and publically humiliated – so he can’t be Moshiach.
But please, go right ahead and keep buying his CDs and lectures, if you’re enjoying them, because he’s still a great motivational speaker, who is apparently helping so many people…..
Ah, Torah sources.
Where would be without them?
We’d be in a mad, crazy world where pretty much anyone could be claimed as ‘Moshiach’, and where false messiahs would abound, each of which would only serve to keep pushing off the geula and the real Moshiach even further into the distance.
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