The Laws Concerning Moshiach     http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html (See Article for Footnotes).

Publishers Forward

Since the time of the Rambam (1135-1204), it has been impossible to discuss the subject of Moshiach and the Era of the Redemption without direct reference to the last two chapters of his monumental halachic code, the Mishneh Torah. For example, it is these two chapters that form the basis of the whole of the next publication of Sichos In English – I Await His Coming Every Day: Studies by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson (shlita) on the Rambam’s Conception of Moshiach and the Ultimate Redemption.

These chapters conclude the final section (Hilchos Melachim – “The Laws Concerning Kings”) of the final book (Sefer Shoftim – “The Book of Judges”) of the Mishneh Torah, and are sometimes referred to separately as Hilchos Melech HaMoshiach – “The Laws Concerning King Moshiach.”

The translation of this classic text which Sichos In English presents herewith is not only new, but – unlike almost all of the extant printed editions, even in the Hebrew original – unexpurgated. All the passages suppressed by various medieval Christian censors have been translated in full. They appear here in the footnotes that are keyed to the exact positions from which they were deleted.

It is hoped that this publication will give more and more readers access to one of the major primary sources on the subject of the coming of Moshiach.

– Sichos In English
24 Sivan, 5751 [June 6, 1991]

CHAPTER ELEVEN

1. In future time, the King Moshiach [1] will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will rebuild the [Beis Ha]Mikdash and gather in the dispersed remnant of Israel. Then, in his days, all the statutes will be reinstituted as in former times. We will offer sacrifices and observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars set forth in the Torah.

Whoever does not believe in him, or does not await his coming, denies not only [the statements of] the other prophets, but also [those of] the Torah and of Moshe, our teacher, for the Torah attests to his coming, stating: [Devarim 30:3-5]

And the Lord your G-d will bring back your captivity and have compassion upon you. He will return and gather you [from among all the nations]…. Even if your dispersed ones are in the furthest reaches of the heavens, [from there will G-d gather you in]…. G-d will bring you [to the land]….

These explicit words of the Torah include all that was said [on the subject] by all the prophets.

There is also a reference [to Moshiach] in the passage concerning Bilaam, who prophesies about the two anointed [kings]: the first anointed [king] [2], David, who saved Israel from her oppressors, and the final anointed [king] who will arise from among his descendants and save Israel [at the End of Days] [3]. The following [quoted] phrases are from that passage: [Bamidbar 24:17-18]

“I see it, but not now” – This refers to David; “I perceive it, but not in the near future” – This refers to King Moshiach.

“A star shall go forth from Yaakov” – This refers to David; “and a staff shall arise in Israel” – This refers to King Moshiach.

“He shall crush all of Moab’s princes” – This refers to David, (as it is written [II Shmuel 8:2], “He smote Moab and measured them with a line”); “he shall break down all of Seth’s descendants” – This refers to King Moshiach, (about whom it is written [Zechariah 9:10], “He will rule from sea to sea”).

“Edom will be demolished” – This refers to David, (as it is written [Cf. II Shmuel 8:6 and 8:14], “Edom became the servants of David”); “his enemy, Seir, will be destroyed” – This refers to Moshiach, (as it is written [Ovadiah 1:21], “Saviors will ascend Mount Zion [to judge the mountain of Esau….]”).

2. Similarly, in regard to the cities of refuge, it is stated [Devarim 19:8-9], “When G-d will expand your borders… you shall add three more cities.” This command has never been fulfilled. [Surely,] G-d did not give this command in vain, [and thus the intent was that it be fulfilled after the coming of Moshiach]. There is no need to cite prooftexts on the concept [of the Moshiach] from the words of the prophets, for all [their] books are filled with it.

3. One should not entertain the notion that the King Moshiach must work miracles and wonders, bring about new phenomena within the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds. This is [definitely] not true.

[A proof can be brought from the fact that] that Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Sages of the Mishnah, was one of the supporters of King Ben Koziva, and would describe him as the King Moshiach. He and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be the King Moshiach until he was killed because of [his] sins. Once he was killed, they realized that he was not [the Moshiach]. The Sages did not ask him for any signs or wonders.

[Rather,] this is the main thrust of the matter: This Torah, with its statutes and laws, is everlasting. We may neither add to them nor detract from them. [4]

4. If a king will arise from the House of David who delves deeply into the study of the Torah and, like David his ancestor, observes its mitzvos as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of G-d; – we may, with assurance, consider him Moshiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the [Beis Ha]Mikdash on its site, and gathers in the dispersed remnant of Israel, he is definitely the Moshiach. [5]

He will then perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah, 3:9], “I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.”

CHAPTER TWELVE

1. One should not entertain the notion that in the Era of Moshiach any element of the natural order will be nullified, or that there will be any innovation in the work of creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern.

Although Yeshayahu [Yeshayahu 11:6] states, “The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat,” these [words] are an allegory and a riddle. They mean that Israel will dwell securely together with the wicked gentiles who are likened to wolves and leopards, as in the verse [Yirmeyahu 5:6], “A wolf of the deserts despoils them, a leopard watches over their cities.” [In this era, all nations] will return to the true faith and no longer plunder or destroy. Instead, at peace with Israel, they will eat that which is permitted, as it is written [Yeshayahu 11:7], “The lion shall eat straw like the ox.”

Similarly, other prophecies of this nature concerning Moshiach are analogies. In the Era of the King Moshiach, everyone will realize what was implied by these metaphors and allusions.

2. Our Sages taught: [Berachos 34b] “There will be no difference between the current age and the Era of Moshiach except [our emancipation from] subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms.”

The simple meaning of the words of the prophets appears to imply that the war of Gog and Magog [Yechezkal ch. 38] will take place at the beginning of the Messianic age. Before the war of Gog and Magog, a prophet will arise to rectify Israel’s conduct and prepare their hearts [for the Redemption], as it is written: [Malachi 3:23] “Behold, I am sending you Eliyah(u) [6] [before the advent of the great and awesome Day of G-d].”

He will not come [in order] to declare the pure, impure, nor to declare the impure, pure; nor [will he come in order] to disqualify the lineage of those presumed to be of flawless descent, nor to validate lineage which is presumed to be blemished. Rather, [he will come in order] to establish peace in the world; as [the above prophecy] continues [Malachi 3:24], “He will bring back the hearts of the fathers to the children.”

Some of the Sages say that Eliyahu will appear [immediately] before the coming of Moshiach.

All these and similar matters cannot be [clearly] known by man until they occur, for they are undefined in the words of the prophets. Even the Sages have no established tradition regarding these matters, beyond what is implied by the verses; hence there is a divergence of opinion among them.

In any case, neither the sequence of these events nor their precise details are among the fundamental principles of the faith. One should not occupy himself at length with the aggadot and midrashim that deal with these and similar matters, nor should he deem them of prime importance, for they bring one to neither the awe nor the love [of G-d].

Similarly, one should not try to calculate the appointed time [for the coming of Moshiach]. Our Sages declared: [Sanhedrin 97b] “May the spirits of those who attempt to calculate the final time [of Mashiach’s coming] expire!” Rather, one should await [his coming] and believe in the general conception of the matter, as we have explained.

3. During the Era of the King Moshiach, once his kingdom has been established and all of Israel has gathered around him, the entire [nation’s] line of descent will be established on the basis of his words, through the prophetic spirit which will rest upon him. As it is written [Loc. cit., v. 3], “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier.”

He will purify the lineage of the Levites first, stating that “This one is a priest of defined lineage” and “This one is a Levite of defined lineage.” Those whose lineage he does not recognize will be relegated to the status of Israelites. This is implied by the following verse: [Ezra 2:63] “The governor said to them, ‘[They shall not eat of the most holy things] until a priest arises [who will wear] the Urim and Tumim.'” From this verse one can infer that the genealogy of those presumed to be of unquestioned [priestly and levitical] lineage will be traced by means of the prophetic spirit, and those found to be of such lineage will be made known.

He will define the lineage of the Israelites according to their tribe alone; i.e., he will make known each person’s tribal origin, stating that “This one is from this tribe” and “This one is from another tribe.” However, concerning a person who is presumed to be of unblemished lineage, he will not state that “He is illegitimate,” or “He is of slave lineage,” for the law rules that once a family has become intermingled [within the entire Jewish people], they may remain intermingled.

4. The Sages and prophets did not yearn for the Messianic Era in order that [the Jewish people] rule over the entire world, nor in order that they have dominion over the gentiles, nor that they be exalted by them, nor in order that they eat, drink and celebrate. Rather, their aspiration was that [the Jewish people] be free Ito involve themselves] in Torah and its wisdom, without anyone to oppress or disturb them, and thus be found worthy of life in the World to Come, as we explained in Hilchos Teshuvah.

5. In that Era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance and all the delights will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. The Jews will therefore be great sages and know the hidden matters, and will attain an understanding of their Creator to the [full] extent of human potential; as it is written [Yeshayahu 11:9], “For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.”

 

Commentary:

On the one hand Rambam says the natural order of the world will not change and will continue according to its pattern and that Moshiach will not work miracles and wonders, bring about new phenomena within the world, resurrect the dead, or perform other similar deeds.

On the other hand Rambam says Moshiach will compel all of Israel to walk in the way of the Torah; perfect the entire world motivating all the nations to serve G-d together; there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition; the entire world will be solely to know G-d; and the Jews will therefore be great sages and know the hidden matters with an understanding of their Creator to the full extent of human potential.

Rambam and the Sages are religious men and as such interpret the scripture to create a world wide religious utopia of Judaism as the one true religion and peace throughout the world.

And yet these are G-d’s words on the days of the HaMoshiach that are not poetic ideals that can never happen in the real world as found in Isaiah 60 written not as prophecy but as a song for hope and joy and better times to come that have nothing to do with the world only Israel to flourish and be secure and the Jewish people to no longer be a spoil for the nations and not to have to bear the taunts of the nations from Ezekiel 34/23-31:

“23Then I will appoint a single shepherd over them to tend them—My servant David. He shall tend them, he shall be a shepherd to them. 24I the Lord will be their God, and My servant David shall be a ruler among them—I the Lord have spoken. 25And I will grant them a covenant of friendship. I will banish vicious beasts from their land, and they shall live secure in the wasteland, they shall even sleep in the woodland. 26I will make these and the environs of My hill a blessing: I will send down the rain in its season, rains that bring blessing. 27The trees of the field shall yield their fruit and the land shall yield its produce. [My people] shall continue secure on its own soil. They shall know that I am the Lord when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from those who enslave them. 28They shall no longer be a spoil for the nations, and the beasts of the earth shall not devour them; they shall dwell secure and untroubled. 29I shall establish for them a planting of renown; they shall no more be carried off by famine, and they shall not have to bear again the taunts of the nations. 30They shall know that I the Lord their God am with them and they, the House of Israel, are My people—declares the Lord God. 31For you, My flock, flock that I tend, are men; and I am your God—declares the Lord God.”

And the last words of G-d on the end times and the day of the L-rd is to be mindful of His teachings and that Elijah will reconcile families to one another by these teachings. Many of whom will return to the L-rd and be written into the scroll of remembrance and many who will not.

If Elijah’s purpose does not prosper G-d will smite the land with utter destruction. And G-d uses men and armies of war to bring nation against nation and against Israel to bring utter destruction. As He did with the Assyrians who deported the northern kingdom and then were conquered by the Babylonians and Chaldeans who deported the southern kingdom and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of G-d.

Given the world as it is today and the natural order of creation and humanity the peaceful days of the Kingdom of Solomon with greater knowledge of Torah, The Writings and The Prophets with religious participation more widespread and accepted in Israel is a more reasoned interpretation of the scripture.

And I say this as HaMoshiach the descendant of David through Solomon upon whom the spirit of the Holy G-d alighted upon in fulfillment of Isaiah 11/1-2 and as G-d’s righteous servant described in Isaiah 53 whose purpose might prosper and as Elijah of Malachi 3 whose purpose might prosper and as the prophet like Moses who writes the words of G-d conversing with Him throughout the process of preparing these commentaries as one friend speaks to another friend and as a man with divine beings who are the person of the spirit of the Holy G-d and His Presence of the person of the Holy G-d who directs and controls everything I do and say as a host of the L-rd of Hosts.

Not as a Sage.

220px-JPS_Tanakh

After World War II, the Jewish Publication Society began to consider a new edition of the Bible and the concept of a completely new translation gradually took hold and the task was begun in 1955.

Harry M. Orlinsky, Professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (New York) was editor-in-chief along with H. L. Ginsberg, Professor of the Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Ephraim A. Speiser, Professor of Semitic and Oriental Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, as fellow editors.

Associated with them were three rabbis: Max Arzt, Bernard J. Bamberger, and Harry Freedman, representing the Conservative, Reform, and Orthodox branches of organized Jewish religious life.

Copyright @ 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society.

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