Monday, May 12, 2008

// // 16 comments

The Bad Name of Moshiach

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

I'm going to open a can of worms, crack the proverbial pandora's box. For those with strong opinions on the topic I'm about to write, please pause, take a deep breath, and try to focus on my final point rather than going into defensive mode on your position. Thank you.

Prior to the final mitzvah campaign of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, mitzvas Moshiach, educating the Jewish, and even non-Jewish, world about Moshiach and the Geulah, Moshiach wasn't an active topic in the Jewish world. Yes, the references were there in davening, and in the Haftorah's, but there weren't shiurim about it, there weren't books about it, it just wasn't in the forefront.

The tzaddikim will tell you the Rebbe came within a hair's breath of bringing the Geulah. The power of those days was astounding, and Geulah on the path of chesed was within reach. The words of the Rebbe were literally nevua (prophecy), which were literally fulfilled.

But it didn't quite happen. We stepped, nay ran, to the edge of the doorway, but didn't quite make it through. And the longer we wait, the closer the darkness creeps up.

For the Rebbe himself told us, he did all he could do, now the task passed to us. And we've been standing still ever since.

But we're taught, there is no standing still regarding holiness. Either you're heading upward, or (by standing still) slipping downward (G-d forbid). Why? Because the Yeter Hara doesn't sit idle, even if we do, or rather especially if we do. It works to diffuse the holiness, to drain it away, to twist it around.

Moshiach. What does that word evoke? It used to evoke a time of redemption, of peace, of when G-dliness would fill the world as water fills the oceans. But what does it evoke NOW???

Within the orthodox Jewish world, it evokes a branch of Lubavitch chassidim that may have stepped outside the bounds of halacha (Jewish law), and definitely outside the traditional bounds of hashkafa (belief model), regarding the Rebbe and his status as Moshiach.

Now the point of this article is not to argue whether that position is correct or not, permitted or not, prophetic or not. It's to point out the success of the Yetzer. We literally can't discuss Moshiach much anymore within the orthodox world, because the first thing that comes to mind whenever it's discussed is The Argument about Chabad.

Yetzer - 1, Orthodox World - 0

Oy va voy lanu. In response to Rabbi Nati's recent effort, I wrote this introduction to his Geulah Petition. When he started used it, everyone in the frum world turned away because it was "too Lubavitch", aka the untouchables. He was forced to drop it. Here it is:

-------
BS"D

As the Geulah was, so the Geulah will be. We learn from our holy Torah that Moshe came to the Elders, and the Elders agreed he was the redeemer and informed the people that the time of the geulah had come.

Our holy seforim also teach that during the final geulah, the people will come to the Elders, and tell them that it is time for the Elders to declare the time of the Geulah.

Throughout the generations of this terrible golus, many a time has arisen where an Elder has attempted to declare time of the Geulah. Yet, to our great regret, all of these attempts have been unsuccessful. Most recently, the Lubavitcher Rebbe attempted to declare the time of the Geulah. Yet, in the end he was forced to declare "if only 10 men truly desired the geulah" and "I have done all I can do, now it is up to you."

We, a minyan of ten men of the Jewish people together with hundreds and thousands of committed members of the am kedusha, the holy people, therefore petition you, the Elders, the princes of Torah of our generation, in the name of the holy Torah, by the prophecies of the holy nevi'im, in the name of the holy seforim, by the words of our holy tzaddikim, to declare b'emunah shelaymah, with complete belief in the coming of Moshiach tzidkaynu, b'achdus and with respect for every gadol Torah who represents one of the 72 facets of the holy Torah among the Jewish people, to declare that the time of the geulah has arrived.

Requested by:

(and this is where you fill your name in on Rabbi Nati's petition, the first 3 signers were...)

Eliezer Raphael ben Yaakov m'Breslev
Nataniel Levi ben Yitzchok m'Breslev
Akiva ben Avraham m'Lubavitch

(along with currently ~3,000 others)

In response to the request of the holy Jewish people, in accordance with the Torah of Hashem and the holy writings, I declare in this world Zman Geluaschem. And as the Beis Din declares b'Aretz, so may the Beis Din declare b'Shamayim. And may Hashem fulfill the will of the holy tzaddikim and gadley Torah.

Signed:

HaRav HaGadol .........

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This effort is going forward. But no longer do we mention Moshiach, for he has a bad name. Instead, we simply say we are petitioning for the Geulah. And frankly, I think we're much poorer because the Yetzer has successfully blackened the name Moshiach.

Support the Path! - Posted at Mystical Paths, MPaths.com.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

In parshat Emor 5751 the Rebbe explained the meaning of Geula. The letter Aleph corresponds to 3 levels in our relationship to Hashem, these will become a regular part of our reality. The introduction of this Aleph into Goleh (exile) makes Geula. Alephu shel olam , G-d is the creator , Alephcha Bina , G-d is beyond creation but certain aspects can be understood through Torah , Pela , G-d's essence is beyond all understanding, but will be revealed in a certain fashion. The Rebbe models the introduction of Aleph into the world on Yitzias Mitzriam - the plagues proved to egypt G-d exists , the revelations at the Yam Suf and Har Sinai corresponded to the latter two aspects of Aleph. The difference being that the revelations then were only temporary because the world was not a vessel. However now after all our Torah Mitzvot the last 3000 years, the world is ready. This also can be demonstrated and the Rebbe discusses this elsewhere. The revelations of G-d in the Geula come through Moshiach Tzidkainu , this is what the Torah teaches. The point of my post is , that the Geula is many orders of magnitude beyond how it is regularly discussed and some of the debates around it. When the revelations of Geula begin to become observable the debates will become silenced. Its like discussing the countours of a tidal wave. Once you see it on the horizen, the debate is over, as the reality of it clarifies all the speculations and makes one internalize and act. The Rebbe advised that to prepare for the Geula, which is very close at hand, and hasten it even faster we should learn as much about the Geula and Moshiach as possible , especially in Toras Hanistar , Chassidus. This approach will allow us to discuss Moshiach and Geula beyond its superficialiaties and emotional aspects. Once we can do that it will begin to become real to us. Thank you for your post Akiva.

ReuvenEzraF said...

You're right Akiva. On Sanhedrin 98b, R. Yochanan says the world was created for the sake of Moshiach. It's everything we do mitzvot for, & connected to everything we daven for. When we talk about redemption, we're talking about Moshiach. It's like people have forgotten that Moshiach is a fundamental principal of our faith, & instead associate it only with Chabad. They're scared to say it out of fear of being associated with that branch of chassidim Akiva spoke about it. People say,"Hey, he said Moshiach!! He sounds like one of those Lubavitchers!!" Huh??? What about him just sounding like one of those Jews!? Aren't they supposed to want Moshiach too? If a person associates talking about Moshiach strictly with one group, that's from their own lack of thought or just simple misunderstanding. It's their own fault. You're your own person. Chabad nor anybody else is responsible for people not wanting to talk about Moshiach too much. Don't use anybody else as your excuse. Its a basic principle in your faith. Who cares if another group put a spin on it that you dislike. After 120 years we'll all be asked if we longed for the redemption. What are we going to say?? G-d forbid that we will say,"Well I did long for it, but I didn't want to talk about Moshiach too much because Chabad or Breslov talked about it." Not only is that a lack of unconditional Ahavat Yisroel, a statement that makes no sense, but it's also a sorry excuse for not wanting to speak about our future king (whomever he may be). And I don't think the King of kings , Hashem, will validate such a response. So bash Chabad & whomever else you want to all day long. Bottom line, when you want something & yearn for it, usually you can't stop talking & thinking about it. So if we're not yearning for it on some level, maybe we need to re-evaluate what we are following G-d's Torah for. We must not be afraid to talk about Moshiach, if we want him sooner rather than later...and that will bring him faster.

Anonymous said...

The gra explains in kol hator the redemption will come by way of pangs and pleasure.. whenever there is trouble , help will come out of the trouble.. "i will rest on the day of distress". . the footsteps of geulah come with disturbances from the angels of esau and erev rav .. finally however the angel of esau will fall into the hands of the angel of yosef. . therefore we should NOT retreat when difficulties arise, or when obstacles appear. from the straits we should reach the breadth abundance of divine help !pgs 13-14 kol hator english edition.

Anonymous said...

Sorry dont think some declaration will bring the mashiach ,,,, chabad tried it after the rebbes passing the beit din in crown heights etc .... it didnt work . the rebbe said learn torah on geulah . kol hator of the gra and ramchals maimer hageulah both in english are great places of emet to start . i bet if orthodox jews knew these 2 seforim like they knew a daf yomi ,,, then there would be more knowledge and yearning for mashiach and what mashiach actually was about . I feel also that mashiach roughs the feathers of many in the orthodox community for several reasons (one) we can live without mashiach and (2) it is more a goy concept . I agree with you that such a holy concept as mashiach and such a holy concept as unity the sitra achra tries to take for itself . but as the gra says from the straits we should reach divine abundance ! the gra makes it clear whenever there is a problem we shouldnt despair "for it is a time of tzara for yaakov and from it he will be helped ". please learn kol hator !

Devorah said...

Rabbi Leib of Shpoli said to the Almighty: "Master of the Universe! The sages of the Talmud pleaded before You to bring the Moshiach. You chose not to do so. The Holy Ari begged You to bring Moshiach - again You were unwilling. We have reached the point where it is left to someone of my ilk to ask for the Redeemer. Still You are holding out.
"Mark my words... There will come a generation who will have no interest in You or Your Moshiach. Then You will have no choice but to bring Him...."


"Once Upon A Chassid"
Writings from the Rebbes of Lubavitch

ReuvenEzraF said...

Anonymous #3, I agree that our mass Torah study & mitzvot will bring Moshiach before a declaration will, for thats what is supposed to bring geulah in the first place. It can't hurt though. ;-) But I totally disagree that Moshiach is a goyish concept. They would not have such a concept if not for Tanach. It's true that Xtianity may have media-rized the concept more than us Jews, but does that mean it's their concept? Of course not. It's most definitely a jewish concept. Ani Maamin, etc...How could orthodox jews, or any jews have their feathers ruffled by their own concept? This is what the prophets spoke about! And it's our avodah to make our people know this is our goal. Rambam's 13 pricinples of faith, remember? Like anonymous said, Daf yomi is very important, but the study of concepts in Geulah, Chassidus, etc. has to be incorporated to serve as a transition point into this wondrous period we're about to witness soon, B'ezrat Hashem. Also, the truth is, we THINK we can live without Moshiach. That's the false reality that galus has put in our heads. It's our lack of spiritual sensitivity to the reality of Hashem. This is what all our tzadikim were pained about...that if we could only catch a glimpse of the revelation of Hashem during the time of the Temples or during the future when Moshiach comes...we would realize that we can't live without it. We can't live the true existence we are meant to without it. Without it, our existence would hit the bottom of a pit that it "seems" the world is falling in to now. But we know better. We are in a time of the greatest darkness. By yearning even more, more of us doing our avodah & learning about Moshiach & the Beit Hamikdash, we will fulfill the whole purpose of Hashem placing us in the darkness. Light that shines out of darkness shines brighter than elsewhere. Along with those two works of the Gra & Ramchal Anonymous mentioned, I would suggest works of Chassidus like the Rebbe's V'Ateh Tetzavah & many others who's focal point is touching the highest level of the soul of every Jew, thereby making us realize we should not be comfortable until Hashem gets the revealed Dirah B'Tachtonim He had in mind when created our existence. Then we will look back & wonder how we ever cared about anything else.

josh said...

You got that right. Mashiach (or Moshiach) has a bad PR problem. Baruch Hashem, Eliyahu HaNavi probably still has high ratings and instead of pushing for Mashiach I've changed my tactics to counter the yetzer hara and have been pushing for Eliyahu Hanavi to come and announce Mashiach. In any case, Mashiach is not going to announce himself and no one would believe him anyway, rather no one should believe anyone who declares themselves Mashiach.

Instead, only Eliyahu Hanavi will be able to organize the press conference. No Eliyahu Hanavi, no Mashiach.

FWIW, geulah is too vague an idea. Most people are living their geulah now anyway.

Anonymous said...

Great point many people are living the lie ,living it up, living the geulah now . thats why we have our brother ishmael to disturb us with his brand of murder and monotheism .the cafes just want to be cafes, they want ishmnael to leave so they can have the peace of the cafes , not the peace of geulah . Despite this we must pray for geulah and moshiach and for our lost brothers , for all of us have been lost at one time or another on this road of life on this path to geulah . To pray for geulah requires strength and emunah ! May all of israel see open miracles soon !

Isaac said...

Geulah without the goel? Nisht azoy.

yaak said...

My blog tries to disprove the premise of this post. I'm not a Lubavitcher, a Breslover, or a member of any chassidic group. I'm a Sephardi who went to Litvish Yeshivot, and I often talk about Mashiah and the Geula.

I don't think Mashiah has a bad name. False Mashiahs have a bad name (as they should). Unfortunately, people who don't hear the term "Mashiah" every day have a fear of a false Mashiah, so they stay away from using that word.
On the other hand, many people of all walks of Orthodox Judaism have always been concious of Mashiah. The Hafetz Hayim wrote Tzipita Lishu'a, and there were many great people even in the last century who constantly thought about Mashiah. Lubavitchers can be given credit in that they put it on the forefront of the conciousness of the Hamon Am - starting with the little kids singing "We want Moshiah now!". But not everyone got that ingrained in their psyche, so we have Mashiahphobia among many unlearned people.

Shiloh said...

HaShem will "show" the Jews who the person will be. At that point he will be revealed, then concealed for a time. When men get involved and proclaim one, Jews suffer. When men decide what the Mashiach will be, how he will act, what he will wear etc, Jews will cause him tremendous suffering. He will of course be rejected by the religous as he won't fit their mold, but again, it's haShems mold he fits, therefore men need to turn to haShem only and forget about the man. This would help to stop his suffering.

Anonymous said...

great point He fits Hashems mold "not the religious peoples mold" . all the seforim ive read especially the ramchal hint hes a baal tshuvah !He probably will be rejected thats probably partly the reason hes not revealed ?!Esau is good at killing with his hands yaakov good at hurting others with his mouth .

yitz said...

This has made the rounds in e-mail cyberspace & the J-Blogosphere, but it's worth seeing. Most have it as an anonymous poem, but this site has it as: MOSHIACH'S HAT, written for Purim by Rabbi Yitzchak Feigenbaum.

Shiloh said...

Anonymous- I understand that is correct. The person would be a baal tshuvah, a story similar to Moshe basically. Another interesting point is if that person judged Esav (vocally) and there was 'sounds from heaven' a short while later in 3 separate places in Israel, another can of worms would open I think. Esav=Xtianity. What neshamah would be the ideal one to judge Esav. It bogels the mind. Have a good week. By the way, Yaakov can be very cruel with words.
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Yitz, that link does not work. Do you have another?

david gurovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david gurovich said...

i dont understand how people can be so sure the Lubavitcher Rebbe is not Moshiach? have you learned the halachas? the Rebbe's torah? people gotta lose their pride and be emes driven for a change. thats right the chassidim bring torah proof that the Rebbe is Moshiach. everyone else brings opinions and emotions.

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