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Jul182019

How do we fulfill the Mitzvah of appointing a king today?

A collection of relevant halachos regarding Moshiach and the Beis HaMikdosh in connection with the 17th of Tammuz, from AskTheRav.com & Halacha2Go.com.

By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din

Anticipating the Coming of Moshiach

One of the principles of our faith is to believe in Moshiach—and not only to believe in Moshiach, but to anticipate his coming every single day. It is a fundamental tenet of Yiddishkeit, and there are numerous references to Moshiach’s coming in the Torah. Indeed, we pray many times a day for his coming.

One of the first questions asked of each departed soul by the beis din shel malah (Heavenly tribunal) is: “Tzipisa l’yeshuah?” (“Have you yearned for the Redemption?”).

Some poskim say that believing that Hashem will redeem us through the coming of Moshiach is actually part of the principle of Anochi Hashem Elokecha, believing in Hashem.

A person who does not do so is denying a basic tenet of Yiddishkeit; therefore, it is crucial to make everyone aware of this basic principle of our faith. Part of believing in and awaiting Moshiach is not to make any preconditions for his coming: for example, we may not say that because Eliyahu HaNavi has not come, therefore Moshiach cannot come yet. Nor may we set a ketz (a specific time) by when Moshiach should come, but rather we should constantly be anticipating his arrival.

It is a halachah to yearn and pray for Moshiach every time we think or talk about him. (Halacha2go.com #280*)

A King for Today

It is a mitzvas aseh (a positive commandment—one of the 613) to appoint a Jewish king. The king’s appointment was originally dependant on the settlement of Jews in Eretz Yisroel—and it is a mitzvah that will be reinstated with the upcoming Geulah (Redemption from exile) with the coronation of Melech HaMoshiach, a scion of beis Dovid (the [Royal] House of King David), speedily in our days.

However, there are aspects of the mitzvah that are applicable nowadays too. It states in the liturgy of Kiddush Levanah (the prayer for blessing the New Moon), “Dovid melech Yisroel chai v’kayom!” (David, the king of Israel lives and endures). The Rambam explains that Dovid Hamelech was promised the kingship forever, as stated in the Navi (the Prophets). From that time onward, it includes all of Jewish history: both when Jews have sovereignty over Eretz Yisroel and a Jewish king rules overtly with all the physical trappings of a monarchy, and even during the times when this position is only present in a hidden manner.

The Reish Galusa (lit., Head of Exile or Exilarch) in Babylonian times was of Beis Dovid, and universally accepted as a stand-in for the melech by the expatriate Jews; this designation would equally apply to all Jewish leaders throughout galus who share this special ancestry.

Our tefillos (prayers) every day focus on pleas for the final Redemption when this hidden power will again be restored “as in days of old” not only in a latent way, but manifest for the whole world to see. In Birchas Hamazon (Grace after Meals), we mention this too—beginning with the plea, “Rachem” (have mercy), as our true comfort will be the reinstitution of the kingship of beis Dovid. (Halacha2go.com #815)

Building the Beis Hamikdash

There is a mitzvah of “Ve’asu Li mikdash” (to build a Beis Hamikdash for Hashem). When Am Yisroel (the Jewish nation) was in the midbar (desert), they fulfilled this mitzvah by constructing the Mishkan, and years later in Eretz Yisroel, by building the Beis Hamikdash. This mitzvah is an eternal one, for all future generations—including ours. Unfortunately, we are still in galus (exile) awaiting the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and cannot yet fulfill this mitzvah in its literal sense. 

Nevertheless, we can fulfill this mitzvah while in galus in various ways:

Halachically, by building batei kneisiyos (houses of prayer) and batei midrashos (houses of Torah study);

According to the Midrash (Biblical exegesis), Hashem told the navi (prophet) Yechezkel that being in galus should not hinder us from fulfilling the mitzvah of building the Beis Hamikdash—when we learn about the Beis Hamikdash, we are actually building it;

As elaborated on in seforim, by striving to reveal the spiritual Beis Hamikdash that is within every Jewish heart, through doing mitzvos and maasim tovim (good deeds);

As the Rebbe said in his Sichos, by transforming our home into a mikdash me’at (miniature sanctuary), making it a place of Torah study and prayer. (Halacha2go.com #362)

 

* References and marei mekomos are available for this Halacha on the websites: www.Halacha2Go.com and www.AskTheRav.com

Please note that these halachos apply in general situations. In unique circumstances, a different halacha may apply. If you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rov.

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