Friday, June 01, 2007

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Waiting for the Miracles

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

As we eagerly await Moshiach's coming every day, there are those who await great miracles. The nations of the world that oppress Israel will be overturned through unbelievable events. The Beis Hamikdash, the Holy Temple, will fall from the sky. The Jewish people will be transported to Israel on clouds of glory. We will see and know G-d's holy presence. Clothes will grow on trees and there will be no need to deal with mundane matters such as eating. Or...

One should not presume that Moshiach must work miracles and wonders, bring about new creations within the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds (as the fools say). This is not true.

Rabbi Akiva, one of the great sages of the Mishnah, was one of the supporters of King Bar Kozibah and would describe him as the Moshiach. He and all the sages of his generation considered him to be Melech HaMoshiach, until he was killed because of sins. Once he was killed, they realized that he was not.

The sages did not ask him for any signs or wonders.

Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim uMilchatonim (Kings and their Wars), 11:3 - Our holy teacher Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon - The Rambam.

There are those waiting for great miracles with the advent of the coming of Moshiach (may it be today!). Yet, clearly, the Rambam was not one of them. This is not to say, G-d forbid, that G-d is not running the world. Rather, if G-d is running the world, then lining up all the right circumstances for the 'amazing' event is the miracle! But many would look at say, natural, coincidence, etc.

(The commentary notes the Ra'avad disagreed with the Rambam strongly, stating that Moshiach will perform wonders and initiate a G-dly change in the fabric of reality to the messianic era.)

Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim uMilchatonim (Kings and their Wars), 11:4 ...

If a king will arise from the House of Dovid who is learned in Torah and observant of all the mitzvot, as prescribed by the written law and the oral law, as Dovid, his ancestor was, and will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and reinforce the breaches [in its observance]; and fight the wars of G-d, we may, with assurance, consider him to be Moshiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the Beis Hamikdash in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Moshiach.

(The commentary notes that Rashi and the Midrash Tanchumah disagree with the Rambam on the building of the Beis Hamikdash, as to whether the Temple will be built or will descent from heaven.)

The Rambam clearly holds that the advent of Moshiach is not dependent on miracles or wonders. We should be careful in thinking, or teaching, or hoping, that niisim (miracles) are required to define the advent of Moshiach.

May it be today.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.


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