Thursday, September 06, 2012


Is the Geulah for You?

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

geulah_bookRabbi Josh at Parshablog posted this recent thought…

….I don't know what to make of (other site). In comments there and elsewhere, they are very much in favor of this belief in (not mainstream Moshiach position). …they describe how they are geirim (from a background of high level involvement in their previous religions)... Is this just switching from one false messianism and idolatry to another?

The reason I point it out is that so many of the discussions on the English Geulah blogs are framed by people with outside influences, be they "Noahides" (non-Jewish believers in the Torah laws of Noah and non-Jews), baalei teshuva (Jews without a religious background who learned and took on observant Jewish practice and belief or Jews of observant practice who left it and then returned), gerim (converts), or Xians.

One could read that to mean R. Josh is implicitly saying only those people care about Moshiach and the Geulah or that Moshiach and the Geulah is an outside influence on traditional Judaism.

This is not a ridiculous thought. 

Half of the Jewish world spent the last 1,500 years in Xian nations, and it wasn’t an easy time.  The Jewish communities were at the same time demonized by their Xian neighbors and targeted for conversion.  They were harassed, restricted, forcibly preached to, faced instances of forced conversion, expulsion, slaughter and genocide – all in the name of the Xian religion. 

The Jewish holy books in those communities were censored (when not being outright burnt), removing any references Xian censors decided were inappropriate, defamed their religion, or discussed the Messiah in ways they considered inappropriate.  (These censored portions have ONLY been returned to new publications of seforim [Gemora, Mishna Torah, etc] in the last 20 years!)

So for the rabbis of ancient Europe to teach their congregations that Jews have nothing to do with a messiah was a defensive measure.  Under constant persecution, building religious defensive structures against the positions of the persecuting religion was a survival mechanism.  (I am not saying they built untruthful positions, rather they avoided a place of differences – different messiah concepts – by just avoiding the concept.)

This didn’t work completely.  Moshiach and Geulah concepts are integrated into Judaism, such that when someone arrived claiming to be Moshiach, much of the Jewish world bought it.  The Jewish world suffered two major instances of false messiahs, those of Shabtai Tzvi and Frank.

In response to those incidents, concepts of Moshiach and Geulah were further de-emphasized.  This was part of the major concern and opposition to the growth of the chassidic movement.  Further complicating Judaism’s outlook was the rise of the reformation movement, to which traditional Judaism fought back with “any change (any reform) is a breach of Torah”.

Now we come to current times.  Moshiach was basically a persona non grata until the Lubavitcher Rebbe re-emphasized the topic.  Censored materials have been republished, allowing all to study the ancient traditional positions on the topic of Geulah.  And, as R. Josh notes, perhaps as no time in Jewish history there’s an influx of those not born as religious Jews but becoming so by choice (whether via conversion or learning about their heritage).  Those Jews bringing with them interest in all aspects of Judaism, often digging into obscure areas the mainstream doesn’t generally concern itself with, as well as bringing their spiritual baggage along.

Is it a bad thing?  I guess that depends on where you sit.  There were good reasons these things were de-emphasized, and traditional Judaism is loathe (for some of the reasons mentioned above) to accept change – and that includes in areas of emphasis.  Yet, the world is changing at an ever increasing pace and the traditional Jewish world is beset with influences that it’s not fully prepared to handle. 

This is where those Jews by choice come in.  Yes, they may arrive with baggage and outside interests.  But they also dig in to Torah to find and align themselves with the traditional Jewish position on their areas of interest. 

Geulah is a hot topic of our time.  It may be because world events seem to be aligning closely with Nach (the biblical prophets) as well as with zman-geulah statements of the Gemora and Midrashim.  (Or it may be we’re so flooded with information in this Internet generation that we can’t help but pick out patterns from so much chaff.)

So it’s no surprise that those with such interests focus on it.  But is this a problem, or is it those Jews who had the interest and then grounded themselves in the proper Torah positions of such things are the ones prepared to discuss it?

Though following the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s bringing the topic back to the fore, there’s no lack of mainstream Torah scholars who delve into such topics either.

The Geulah, it’s for all of us!


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  6. also, it is not specifically mashiach from the dead that makes me think idolatry. it is that specific kvetch when added to several other factors. bli neder, i'll elaborate in a follow-up post.

  7. Moriah:

    In terms of the point that he makes at the 37 minute mark, realize that Rabbi Jacobson is a Lubavitch Rabbi. And that the gemara can be understood in other ways than he said. And that the Rambam, in Hilchos Melachim, whom Rabbi Jacobson does not mention in this regard, shows that we do indeed reject Christianity (and Jesus as mashiach) for this reason. The Rambam wrote:

    "But if he does not succeed to this extent, or is killed [neherag], it is known that he is not the one the Torah promised."

    kol tuv,

  8. According to the Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b "If the mashiach comes from the dead". The great and holy scholar Rabbi Chaim Midini in his work Sdei Khemed connects this Talmudic statement to an earlier on (98a) referring to the prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14. "If the generation is fortunate the Mashiach will come from the dead, i.e. on 'clouds of heaven' and then everyone will accept him with no reservations, but if not he will come from a the living, i.e. riding on a donkey (lit. 'khamor' which also means physical)

    Rashi explains "If Mashiach is from those who are alive now, [then] surely his is Rabbeinu Hakadosh [Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi], who suffers sicknesses and is an absolute saint... If he is from those who have already died, [then] he is Daniel, the delightful one, who was condemned to suffer in the lions' den and was an absolute saint."

    In the second to last Rashi (the foremost explainer of the scripture and the Talmud, printed in every text) in the book of Daniel he writes: "The Mashiach will reveal himself and then be consealed... and then revealed once more, and so it says in the Midrash on Ruth and in the peoms of Rabbi Eliezar ha-Kalir.

    It is completely plausable according to Jewish sources that he or she will be soul that has returned.

    In Michah 5:1, Michah clearly speaks of the Mashiach when he prophesies "And you, Beit Lechem Ephratah, though you are to be junior amoung the thousands of Yehudim, from out of you shall come forth to Me he who shall be the ruler of Yisrael, and his goings forth are from antiquity, and from past eternity."
    ומוצאתיו (u-matza-otav; and his goings forth or issuings forth) is plural. Here is the concept of MBY and MBD.

    Why do we reject the xian idol, because of you have studied you will quickly find out that the Pauline version is the idoloterous lie, the Great Lie in fact. There is every reason to reject the highly corrupted NT. The prophecies of the Mashiach point to a Torah observant Jew (not a Talmudic observant Jew) as there is a huge difference. If you study the Dead Sea Scrolls you will quickly find that it is associated with Sadducean Messianism, and not the Pharisee movement, nor the Herodian Sadducean Temple Preists. It is pure, unadulterated Torah observance at it's finest.

  9. Ávraham and Moshe went againts the status quo, why would you expect then next Moshe to agree with every aspect of our derech. That's arrogant.

    But until that happens, one thing we must do is change our behavior of people towards other people.

    I like Gutmans latest posts of how he is changing his appoach. As a Jew he is to intruct the sheeple. We need to show the goyim where they error in making another Jew into a god etc, and then point them to Torah observance. We won't win them all, probably few, but treating them with kavod is the answer. Unfortunatly ít's Bnei Noach which is not scripturally correct, but it's a start. Kol hakavod Gutman.

  10. Shiloh:

    You are wrong.

    You wrote:
    "The great and holy scholar Rabbi Chaim Midini in his work Sdei Khemed connects"

    but in fact, Rabbi Chaim Midini did not connect it. An obscure rabbi wrote to him, and before responding, he cited the letter in full. But he does not himself say this.

    "consealed" [sic] is not necessarily the same thing as deceased. Shabtai Tzvei, for example, was also concealed. And you are only citing half of the Rashi. You are (deliberately?) omitting the part that puts the period of concealment specifically at 45 years.

    In terms of the gemara in Sanhedrin, I explain it myself.

    This is what I am saying. A bunch of amaratzim, baalei teshuva, gerim, Noachides, and Christians try to frame the issues and declare what Jewish tradition has to say. And their interlocutors have no clue that this is a corruption or a kvetch.

    I assume, Shiloh, that you are a Christian?

    kol tuv,

  11. The conversation headed a bit off the rails, delving into the Xian messianic approach and Chabad meshichists, and I've filtered those comments.

  12. Josh,

    You wrote, "This is what I am saying. A bunch of amaratzim, baalei teshuva, gerim, Noachides, and Christians try to frame the issues and declare what Jewish tradition has to say. And their interlocutors have no clue that this is a corruption or a kvetch."

    I understood this is what you meant. But I think you need to make two separations in your comment, which edges into discrimination (if you will).

    First, indeed non-Jews trying to influence Jewish positions should be avoided. That's your Xians and some of the Noachides.

    Amaratzim are amaratzim, and such Jews need to be taken in their context.

    But Baalei Teshuva and Gerim who have chosen to steep themselves in Torah (amaratzim are amaratzim, regardless of whether FFB or by choice)? Just because they bring different interests, and therefore delve into areas that are not traditional focuses of the mainstream - doesn't disqualify their positions or qualify them as the result of outside influences.

    The outside influences created areas of non-traditional focus, but the area of focus doesn't automatically disqualify the content.

    Example - some gerim with a Xian history arrive with a great interest in Nach. If they choose to study Nach in depth, with all associated commentaries and midrashim - even though Nach is currently not an area of focused study among the current yeshiva world doesn't disqualify their discussions of Nach from a Torah perspective.

  13. Reb Akiva:

    I think that perhaps it *should*. For all that certain geulah bloggers like to talk of the Erev Rav, making it about contemporary rabbis, historically the Erev Rav were Egyptian geirim, who brought their preconceived notions into Judaism.

    When a ger comes into Judaism first steeped in Christian understandings of Tanach, there should be a long, long, long, period of absorpsion from true teachers before turning around to teach others. Otherwise, the Christian background will color understandings of texts that are notoriously difficult to understand and should often not be taken literally. They might also lend too much credence to rather obscure and non-normative sources.

    Taking five sources out the entirety of Jewish tradition and making it THE normative belief about mashiach, going against the Rambam and accepted Jewish understanding of mashiach for generations is just one example of this. But such miscasting and misunderstanding of sources has been, in my limited observation, the rule rather than the exception.

    kol tuv,

  14. Why are you so sure of yourself Josh that your interpretations are correct instead of reactionary because of the xian lie that started in Syria from a herodian Pharisee. Yes, a Pharisee, which are now modern day rabbi's. You accuse me of following them and being as such. You yourself are not a Torah observer spreading loshon hara, such a hypocrite.

    You accuse me of something that I am not, do you like to further the judgement of the Jewish people? If you studied the dead sea scrolls, ancient unredacted Jewish documents of a sect that was against the roman occupiers of which again the Pharisee's invited in for exchange to gain power, you would quickly see that group where sadducean messianics for the most part. You can disagree with the Zadokites who are in fact the true heirs to the upcoming Temple, not those of the pharisee movement. Also, those messianic sadduceans have more claim to leading the services then do any modern day rabbi's.

    You are also not aware of certain facts on the ground, nor are you aware what is transmitted orally by some, some who are highly respected rabbi's, former cheif rabbi's at that.

    We are not to go against the Torah and follow the majority to evil. So by following the majority opinion which the rabbi's took the verse out of context as usual, we are being led astray daily by those you hold that every one must learn from.

    Blindly following the so called leaders is a from of idolotry. You will recognise the source of it as his name excapes me and I don't have time to find it.

    Yes, the Erev Rav. Yes it's historically true what you said. Are you so ignorant and blind that they are the reasons for our suffering. If you have studied some kabbalistic sources they are quick to outline why they believe that the majority of rabbi's are in fact of the erev rav either by direct decent or by reincarnation. Though reincarnation is NOT supported by the Tanach, it's a highly held Jewish teaching. It's so easy to pick them out, a few words out of their mouths, and one knows. So simple.

    I know for a fact what has taken place, the coverups by our so called sages. They do in fact twist scripture to fight against the xian lie. Why is what is bizarre. We all know the xian NT is a highly corrupted lie based on a group of very messianic sadducean Jews who where the ones fighting against the roman occupation which was invited in by the then not in power up and coming Pharisee movement. Majority does not mean truth, if it where the case we should be Buddists.

    No Josh, I am not a xain, I actually hate the movement as I know it's a sheer lie. I also hate the lies that Jews do against a group of Torah observant Jews who fought the lies of the Pharisee's and their buddies the romans. I will go where ever there is truth, not based on tradition of men either. We want the geulah, and it's Jews like yourself stopping it. Why is it this way, becasue if the truth would ever completely surface you would find a bunch of our own teachings and tradition going against the Torah and against historical facts.

    Did I follow the rabbinical derech, for many years of course. Do I think it's wrong in many ways, without a doubt. Do I think in the geulah it will be changed, yes. But back closer to that of which it was given, and without the traditions of men contraditing it. In other words kiss rabbinic Judaism goodbye as it is now. If I have anything to do with it, you will be rather pee'd off at me, take that to the bank. Thankfully though, I will just sit back and watch it all fall apart.

    Shavua Tov to all.

  15. Why do we have to agree with everything that the Rambam said? Or Rashi? or anyone else. If they are teaching something that is wrong, it's idolotry to take it as truth and follow blindly. I refuse to do that, why, because I know so many teachings that are completley false taught by the sages.

    So what's the sourse of the 45 day's Josh, is the Rashi never in error? Or does one have to believe that it's true about 'giant green frogs' also. Sorry Josh, I am not a sheep going to follow blindly. His concept may be right, his timing is probably due to another knee jerk reaction to the Great Lie. Understandable, but not fact nor truth.

    By the way Josh, are you living in Israel? or just another hypocrite twisting things around for your own comfort?

  16. "Why are you so sure of yourself Josh that your interpretations are correct..."

    too long, didn't read.

    it is not an "interpretation" that the Sdei Chemed didn't write that. Do you retract that false claim?

    why don't we start with that?

    kol tuv,

  17. LOL. You wonder why we see you and the rest hinder the geulah.

  18. again, you wrote a whole megillah which obscures your accidental or willful distortions. if instead of railing on and on about Pharisees, you want to discuss the sources you raised, please do so. we can do so one by one.

    you stated incorrectly that a Pharisee, (suddenly great and holy) said something. The great and holy scholar Rabbi Chaim Midini in his work Sdei Khemed connects this Talmudic statement, you wrote.

    Meanwhile, it was NOT the Sdei Chemed who wrote this. It was another obscure rabbi who wrote TO him.

    So, do you retract that false claim or not?

    kol tuv,

  19. So give credit to your obscure rabbi, it simply changes no facts of the matter discussed here. I am not one to purposely distort for some hidden agenda.

    You want to appologize for your loshon hara, you want to appologize for continually lying about a group of Torah observant Jews who fought against the romans of which where invited in by those of which you are part of now, whether intentionally or not and what you are promoting and teaching today, that has kept us in the state of perpetual galut? Every time we have a chance to unite, there are those 'leaders' who will ensure we can never do it.

    There certainly are exceptions to that, but I can see by your long history, you are not one to help the cause, but to defeat it like has been done in the past. Chaval.

  20. Ps, I never said he wrote it. You want to focus the minute, do so on your time, it's one of the reasons you destroyed the second temple, though we focus on loshon hara.

  21. "So give credit to your obscure rabbi, it simply changes no facts of the matter discussed here."

    Yes it does. The Sdei Chemed is not an obscure rabbi, and his taking a position in favor carries more weight than a random minor figure who happened to have lived the same time. Yes, many people may misread sources.

    It is like citing something a random obscure rabbi wrote TO Rav Moshe Feinstein as if Rav Moshe wrote it himself. One carries a lot more weight and authority, in terms of representing traditional Jewish beliefs. To this audience, it surely **does** matter.

    You didn't say he "wrote it". You said he "connects it". Meaning that it was his authorial output. It was NOT he who connected it. He cited a lengthy letter to him in full, and then responded to other points in that letter.

    This is not a minor point.

    So you retract?

  22. by the way, for anyone who wants to see Rashi's basis for his statement in Daniel, see here:

    kol tuv,

  23. So Josh, you are one to help the geulah or to hinder it. The last several years of reading your posts are obvious. It's sad.

    Now answer the rest of it.

  24. "But if he does not succeed to this extent, or is killed [neherag], it is known that he is not the one the Torah promised."

    This does not exclude anyone who has died in the past just because the Rambam gave a statement. He too can be wrong. Especially when one such as himself states that if a prophet where to come and is against the rabbi's he is to be killed. Who is of the erev rav here?

    Also Josh, I gave enough sources to show it's totally plausible from a Jewish perspective that the coming messiah can come from the dead.

    Whats more facinating is that there are many from Yeshiva University who know which soul will return as MBD. The problem is really was he a pharisee or a sadducee. If a pharisee, all is fine. If NOT, what a problem this presents to the rabbinical authorities who unsurped power from the sadduceans. So cutting through all the crap, this is the bottom line. How do I know, I confirmed it with the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. So you can twist, unintentionally distort history for your own culture club. It does not make it historically true nor does it make it true in the future.

    Since this is now way off topic, go back and see what outside influences you teach before blowing your horn about what others bring. Such hypocrisy Josh.

  25. For one of the sources in the Zohar about the moshiach being revealed and then hidden (a number of times during the process of the geulah) see the Zohar on parashat Shemot. (it's mentioned a number of times with a whole timeline within the first 10 daf.) I don't recall it mentioning 45 years as Rashi apparently did based on previous comments.

  26. "Also Josh, I gave enough sources to show it's totally plausible"

    you gave "enough sources", but you are misunderstanding each of those sources.

    talk about "hypocrisy" because it provides a smokescreen for ignorance.

    i guess time to move on to the next source, and show how you misunderstood Rashi in sefer Daniel?

    kol tuv,

  27. Oh, I forgot Josh, only Rashi know's how to interpret those scriptures. Nonsensical.

    Such a waste of energy.

  28. in terms of the Rashi in Daniel, I don't know that the present audience will understand, but i can try.

    you can read Rashi in English here, and it reads (in full) as follows:

    Fortunate is he who waits etc.: Forty five years are added to the above number, for our King Messiah is destined to be hidden after he is revealed and to be revealed again. So we find in Midrash Ruth, and so did Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir establish (in the concluding poem of the morning service of the portion dealing with the month of Nissan): “and he will be concealed from them six weeks of years.”

    So Rashi's source is Midrash Rus. What does it say there, in 5:6 (scroll to the middle)?

    Well, the Hebrew is backwards when copying, so I will just translate the relevant part.

    Rabbi Berechia cited Rabbi Levi: Just as the first redeemer (Moshe) so is the last redeemer (Mashiach). Just as the first redeemer was revealed, then concealed, and how long was he concealed, three months (Josh: other versions have six months), as is stated (in Shemot 5:20) וַיִּפְגְּעוּ אֶת-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת-אַהֲרֹן, "and they (the officers of the Bnei Yisrael) encountered Moshe and Aharon" (implying a sudden encounter after an absence), so too the last redeemer will be revealed to them, and then be concealed from them. And how long will he be concealed from them? Rabbi Tanchuma cited the Rabanan..."

    and so on and so forth.

    Now, does this Midrash Rabba in Rus of any necessity refer to death? Well, did Moshe and Aharon die, during this נכסה מהם?!

    As I wrote briefly above, "conceal" does not need to mean "died".

    Indeed, a good example of mashiach concealed is HaRav [sic] Nir Ben Artzi, shlita, who was kidnapped for several years by his colleagues, when his followers did not where he was. That is concealed. Or perhaps Shabtai Tzvi when he was confined in Gallipoli.

    To suggest or imply that Rashi, who elsewhere in Sanhedrin (when read properly and carefully) is extremely **reluctant** to have a mashiach from the dead, is here strongly supporting mashiach from the dead, is something of a kvetch.

    Then, to cite only fragments of that Rashi, and not detail his sources, and to extrapolate from those out of context fragments to a new situation, seems quite improper to me.

    Alas, there are enough details here for someone to reinterpret incorrectly and mislead people into thinking that there is an argument to be had here.

    I'll let this stew a bit before moving on to the next "source".

    kol tuv,

  29. "only Rashi know's [sic] how to interpret those scriptures. Nonsensical."

    If you read me regularly, you would know that it is "nonsensical" to attribute such a position to me.

    i am discussing whether you are properly representing these extremely sparse Jewish sources.


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