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Tuesday
Apr252017

IF HE IS AMONG THE LIVING

A chassid cannot deny the Rebbe’s pronouncement that he is the Moshiach of this generation. Gimmel Tammuz changes nothing. As for those who react according to what the physical realm shows us, know this: Moshiach can arrive through the Resurrection of the Dead. * Chapter Fifteen of Rabbi Shloma Majeski’s Likkutei Mekoros, Volume 2. (Underlined text is the compiler’s emphasis.)

Gemara Sanhedrin 98b: Rav Nachman said: If [Moshiach] is among the living, it is someone like me, as it is said, “And their prince shall be one of their own and their ruler shall emerge from their midst.”* Rav said: If he is among the living, it is someone like Rabbeinu HaKadosh. If he is among the deceased, it is someone like Daniel Ish Chamudos.**

Rashi: “If he is among the living, it is someone like Rabbeinu HaKadosh”: If Moshiach is among those who are living now it is certainly Rabbeinu HaKadosh, as he suffers afflictions and he is utterly pious, as it states in Bava Metzia (85a). But if [Moshiach] is someone who has already died, it is Daniel Ish Chamudos, for he was sentenced to suffer being cast into the lion’s den and he was utterly pious. In this case, the use of the expression “k’gon (“like” or “such as”)” is not intended to introduce an example. Alternatively, “someone like Rabbeinu HaKadosh” means if there is a living example [of Moshiach] it is Rabbeinu HaKadosh and if there is an example of him among the dead it is someone like Daniel Ish Chamudos.

NOTES:

*Footnote 40 in Artscroll: Jeremiah 30:21. This verse teaches that the Messiah will be a powerful ruler who is a member of the Jewish royal family (i.e. the family of David). Rav Nachman possessed both of these qualities. His father-in-law, the Exilarch, was a scion of the Davidic dynasty. (The Exilarches perpetuated the Davidic dynasty in Babylonia [see Rashi to Genesis 49:10].) It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that Rav Nachman himself was descended from David. Furthermore, as son-in-law of the Exilarch, Rav Nachman was in a position of authority. Rav Nachman, states that the Messiah will be someone like him insofar as he meets the qualifications outlined in this verse (see Maharsha and Be’er Sheva ).

According to Maharal, Rav Nachman is teaching that although the Messiah will be a greatly exalted figure, he will not be divorced from contact with his subjects. Rather, he will be like Rav Nachman himself who was directly involved in communal matters.

**Footnote 42 in Artscroll: I.e. the prophet Daniel. In Daniel 10:11, he is called Daniel Ish Chamudos, Daniel the Greatly Beloved. (This translation is based on Radak (Shorashim, beginning with “Chamar”) and Metzudos; cf. Rashi ad loc.)

Rashi offers two explanations of Rav’s statement:

(a) If the Messiah is currently alive, he is certainly Rebbi. If the Messiah is someone who has a ready died, he is Daniel. (Abarbanel explains that it is possible for the Messiah to be among the resurrected (Yeshuos Meshicho lyun 2 ch. 1).) According to this approach, the word “k’gon” does not carry its usual meaning of “like” (see Sdei Chemed, beginning with “K’gon”).

(b) If the person who most closely resembles the Messiah is alive, it is Rebbi. If that person is among the dead, it is Daniel. Rebbi and Daniel exemplified the Messiah insofar as they endured suffering (Rebbi suffered agonizing disease (Bava Metzia 85a); Daniel was cast into a den of lions (Daniel ch. 6)) and each was perfectly devout (Rashi).

Maharsha points out that Rebbi and Daniel enjoyed positions of authority, which is one of the Messiah’s qualifications (see note 40). Rebbi was the leader (nasi) of the community in Eretz Yisrael; Daniel was an advisor to kings of Babylonia and Persia.

It should be noted that Rambam writes: “[Before the Messiah arises] you will not be able to say that he is the son of So-and-so and from such and such a family. Rather, a man will arise who was not known before he revealed himself” (Igeres Teiman ch. 4). This man himself will not know that he is to be the Messiah until God calls upon him (Chasam Sofer Responsa vol. 6 §98; see 98a note 57).

 

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