Meshichim

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


Bimodal Calendar 2

Yosef and Yehuda. 3

In Egypt 4

Yehoshua and Calev. 5

At The Yam Suf 5

Megillat Esther 5

Judges. 5

Kings. 5

Building The Mishkan. 5

Two Become One. 5

The Northern Kingdom.. 5

The Southern Kingdom.. 6

Sephardim and Ashkenazim.. 6

Ashkenazim.. 7

Two Trees. 8

Tikun. 9

Revealed and Hidden. 9

Pshat and Remez. 9

Torah Sh'Baal Peh - Torah Sh'Bichtav. 10

East and West 10

Tzadik gamur and Baalei teshuvah. 10

Mashiach ben Yosef’s Mission. 10

Gentiles. 14

Mashiach ben David’s Mission. 14

Holy Nation. 15

Messianic figures. 15

Yehoshua. 15

Efraim.. 16

Shaul 16

Body and Soul 16

The Future. 16

Appendix B – The Twelve Tribes and Months. 18

 

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Chazal speak of two Meshichim, Messiahs: Mashiach ben Yosef[1] and Mashiach ben David. Each of these great men were the heads of their respective tribes and had different roles. These roles reverberated down through time, in the Tanach, through various personalities and institutions. In this study I would like to take a deeper look at these two Meshichim and the hints to them in the Tanach.

 

First of all, it must be known that in each generation, there is a person who has the potential to be Mashiach Ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. This creates free choice for every generation to bring Mashiach, and when the Almighty decides to, He actualizes this potential and unleashes the role of Mashiach (on one or both of them) in a particular generation.

 

Discussions about messianic matters, be it Mashiach ben Yosef, or Mashiach ben David are not matters of Jewish Law (Halakha) and do not fall into the category of belief in the coming of Mashiach which is one of the Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith as outlined by RaMBaM (Maimonides). Messianic discussions are never really clearly set out and explained. There is much confusion about how messianic events will actually unfold in detail.

 

We recognize the modern day Bne Yehuda and Bne Yosef and identify them by their characters and behaviors as opposed to their names and blood-lines. We identify them based on the traits of their respective ancestors because Mashiach (ben Yosef and ben David), according to the Torah, comes from the tribe of Yehuda. There are indications that these two are the same person.

 

Chazal fixed the order of the blessings in the Amidah prayer (from the ninth blessing onwards), according to the order that the redemption will happen in, they begin with a national revival (the flowering of the land of Israel and the ingathering of exiles), and only after this focus on the spiritual elements (the transition to a jewish judicial system, (in the blessing ‘return our judges’ - the Sanhedrin, whose job is punish the wicked and to give a good reward to the righteous), the building of the temple and Mashiach ben David).[2]

 

Jewish tradition speaks of two redeemers, each one called Mashiach. Both are involved in ushering in the Messianic era. They are Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yosef.

 

Mashiach Ben Yosef is the one who starts the redemption. He is the central figure in the process preceding the final and complete redemption in which a king from David’s house is eventually anointed – and this is “Mashiach Ben David”. Mashiach Ben Yosef fights the wars of Hashem against the gentile enemies of Israel, and since it is he who STARTS the redemption, he is also called “Mashiach HaAtchalta” – the Mashiach who begins the redemption. He is responsible for the physical, material redemption which precedes the spiritual one. The physical redemption is the ingathering of the exiles, the conquering of the Land of Israel and wars against the gentile (and for this reason he is also coined by many midrashim as the “Mashuach Milchama” – the anointed for war). In contrast, Mashiach Ben David is responsible for the spiritual side of the redemption which comes afterwards.

 

The following points summarize this issue and are agreed to in all the Midrashim that deal with the Mashiach ben Yosef and the Mashiach ben David:

 

·       They are two different people from two different tribal families.

·       They live at the same time.

·       Mashiach ben Yosef never takes the throne nor is he entitled to.

·       Mashiach ben Yosef is a warrior (Mashiach ben David would also appear to be)[3]

·       Mashiach ben Yosef will be killed in BATTLE[4] and will be the first to be raised from the dead by Mashiach ben David.

 

The period of time from when Mashiach ben Yosef first comes into prominence until he is resurrected after the Mashiach ben David comes to his throne is very short, the longest period is under two years.

 

The basic chronology of events is that there is a seven-year period. It starts with continually problems, it starts to improve and then in the sixth year it gets worse again. In the seventh year there are great wars in which the Mashiach ben Yosef is first successful and then he is killed in that later part of the year. Many Jewish people will become depressed and fall away.  At the end of the seven years Mashiach ben David comes and finishes the job and there comes the resurrection of the dead.

 

Bimodal Calendar

 

The Jewish calendar also contains another duality and synthesis: its days are counted in accordance with the cycles of the sun and the moon. While the West’s calendar, based on the Roman one, is purely solar, and the Islamic calendar is purely lunar, the Jewish calendar has aspects of both. Each month in the Jewish calendar follows the moon, yet, the Jewish year often contains two Adar months. This way, Passover always occurs in the spring, and all other months correspond to particular seasons accordingly. Here also, Yosef appears primarily associated with the year as a whole (countering Esau), while Yehuda appears to be primarily connected to the lunar months (countering Yishmael).

 

This duality in the Jewish calendar is reflected in the Jewish people itself and in their two prototypical leaders: Judah and Joseph (See Appendix B).

 

Yehuda represents Nisan.[5]

Ephraim[6] represents Tishri.[7]

 

Tishri is the new year for Gentile kings[8]

Nisan is the new year for Jewish kings.[9]

 

During Temple days the Torah was read through in three and a half years. The first cycle began in Tishri and the second cycle began in Nisan. This suggests that the first cycle represents Ephraim and Gentile kings, while the second cycle represents Yehuda and Jewish Kings.

 

Because the two cycles causes the same reading to be offset by six months, we learn that the readings have a connection to Ephraim, and then three and half years later that same reading applies Yehuda. Thus the months of the years achieve a prophetic significance relative to these two tribes.

 

Yosef and Yehuda

 

Genesis speaks of two great kings from the house of Yaaqov: Yosef and Yehuda.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 41:42-43 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43  And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

 

These two men hint to the two Meshichim who will appear to lead the world into the redemption. Yosef was the first world ruler and Yehudah was the ruler over the sons of Yaaqov.[10]

 

These two great men exhibit the attributes that we will later see in Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. Therefore it behooves us to examine these two men and compare their lives to the roles that Chazal have assigned to the two Meshichim.

 

In Genesis, Yosef and Yehuda meet for the first time as adults in Pharaoh’s court. Yosef is unrecognizable to Yehuda having been raised an Egyptian for so many years. While Yehuda has maintained his cultural identity, Yosef looks ever so different. More than this, rather than following in the “family business,” Yosef, is now a politician, a Prime Minister of Egypt, a man of the world, so very much unlike the House of Jacob, who are few, isolated and different. Yosef’s name is Egyptian, as are his appearance, wife and children ever so opposite from his brothers. All in all, there is nothing left “Israelitish” of Yosef except one major defining factor. This is his heart.

 

 

Yosef did not appear to be Torah observant. He appeared to be cruel, demanding, and unreasonable.  He appeared to be an Egyptian, a Gentile. What was in his heart was not visible to his brothers. He was a Torah observant Jew who was completely mis-interpreted by his brothers!

 

And Yehuda, son number four, takes charge; not by means of authority or Divine decree but rather because that was his personality. His personality made him rise up like a rocket and become a leader among his brothers. This is most unusual that the number four son should rise up and take a position of power and authority in the presence of his older brothers. Nonetheless, Reuven son number one, and Levi, son number three are not heard from. Apparently, they acquiesce to the leadership role of their younger brother Yehuda.

 

There is only one problem here; there already is a leader among the brothers, a mighty and powerful leader at that! This leader is Yosef! Although he is not a leader of his brothers by their choice, he is a leader by right and Divine design. Therefore we have two leaders, Yosef and Yehuda.

 

The friction between their two personalities exists and existed even prior to Yosef’s identity being revealed. As it was then, so it is today, as we shall soon see.

 

Ezekiel prophesied[11] that the jealously and conflict than lasted throughout the history of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel (Joseph) would eventually be resolved in messianic times, with Joseph taking his subordinate place under a Judean king of House David. This prophecy refers to far more than a mere political realignment. It addresses matters that go deep to the heart, to the fundamental psychologies that defined these two men and their perspective Kingdoms. While the Bible is full of information about Joseph himself, and the history of his many descendants, through the Tribes of Ephraim and Menashe, nevertheless, many fail to analyze, or to recognize Joseph personality types and their fundamental differences from Judah personality types.

 

While Joseph is in Egypt being tempted by and resisting the advances made by Potifer's wife, Judah is soliciting a prostitute who unbeknown to him is his daughter in law. So while Joseph disciplines his sexual urges, Judah does not. For having such control, Joseph acquired the title, HaTzadik (the one who does what’s right).

 

One of the things that is emphasized about Mashiach ben Yosef is something that is said about Yosef himself: “And Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him”. While the potential Mashiach ben Yosef of every generation brings the people the truth and presents before them the conditions for the redemption, the people deny and disrespect him. But because of his “Ahavat Yisroel”, he is willing to suffer. It is the people’s refusal to recognize the truth which brings upon them the needless wars and tragedies. For if the Jewish People had only accepted and understood Mashiach ben Yosef’s message, he would bring the redemption swiftly, in the way of “Achishena”, with glory and without needless suffering.

 

In Egypt

 

Yosef finally discloses his identity upon witnessing Yehuda’s return to his previous kingship status. The Tribes are reunited and Yosef will continue in his role merely as the dispenser of the grain and all the physical needs of his brethren. It is Yehuda, though, who will take over at the helm in Goshen, as it is specifically he who is sent by Yaakov to establish a Bet Midrash, a house of learning, in the land that Yaakov agrees to inhabit.[12] Why, we might ponder, would Yaakov send Yehuda and not Levi[13] or Yissachar,[14] those whose primary responsibility was the diligent learning and teaching so essential to B’nei Israel’s existence?[15]

 

HaShem led Yosef down a very different path from the rest of his family which we should rightly call Israel, and later (in history) Yehuda. Yosef, while assimilated externally, remained faithful to Israel internally. Yet, it is Yosef’s external and foreign posture / appearance that brings him into what our Sages taught was direct conflict with Yehuda. As is clear from the Genesis encounter, Yosef is testing his brothers to see if they are willing to stand together as brothers and defend Binyamin, whom he (Yosef) had set up and falsely accused of theft. Yehuda takes up the argument for Binyamin and his words are harsh and confrontational. Yosef recognizes the sincerity in Yehuda’s words and shortly discards all pretenses and reunites with his brothers.

 

Yehoshua and Calev

 

The two spies who saved all hopes for entering Eretz Yisroel were Yehoshua and Kalev, descendants of Yosef and Yehuda respectively.

 

At The Yam Suf

 

At the splitting of the Reed Sea, the Tosefta[16] writes that it was the tribe of Yehuda (other sources isolate Nachshon ben Aminadav, a descendant from Yehuda) that jumped in first and caused the waters to split. At the same time, we find the midrash[17] informing us that the sea split when it saw the aron of Yosef.[18]

 

Megillat Esther

 

The only male in Tanach to be labeled explicitly as a “yehudi”, a Jew, is Mordechai,[19] a descendant from the tribe of Binyamin: “Ish yehudiish yemini” .[20]

 

Judges

 

Perhaps it is no coincidence, therefore, that the first of the shoftim, the Judges, descended from Yehuda (Asniel ben Ki’naz), and the very next one in line from Binyamin (Ei’hud ben Gei’ra).

 

Kings

 

King Shaul from Binyamin was the first of the Kings, while David from Yehuda followed and began the perpetual Davidic dynasty.

 

Building The Mishkan

 

Getting closer to HaShem through the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, was also only made possible by the joint effort of Betzalel from the tribe of Yehuda,  who led the assembly, and Ahali’av who hailed from Dan.[21]

 

Two Become One

 

Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 37:16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17  And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

 

Two Mashiachs “close up together” two pieces of wood become one, this refers to Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David;[22] also,

 

Zohar Vayigash 206a Yehuda was a king and Yosef was a king, and they approached one another and they united together as one.

 

Malbim teaches us that according to rabbinic tradition this prophecy of Yechezkel is actually referring to two meshichim, not one.  He explains that before Mashiach ben David will reign over Israel, there will first be Mashiach ben Yosef, a mashiach from the house of Joseph.  This Mashiach will gather up the ten lost tribes that were scattered throughout the world and reunite them with the Kingdom of Judah.

 

The Northern Kingdom

 

The Northern Kingdom of Israel, closely associated with the Tribe of Yosef.

 

The character of the benei Yosef, both past and present, can be summed up quite easily by reviewing what exactly the Bible has to say about the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Throughout prophecy the Northern Kingdom is always referred to as Yosef. Therefore whatever is said about the Biblical Northern Kingdom of Israel holds true for the benei Yosef and helps us identify its characteristics.

 

Yosef as the representative for the Northern Kingdom is described as rebelling against G-d’s chosen House of David monarchy and the Holy Temple, built by Solomon, son of David, but built for all Israel and not just for Yehuda. By rebelling against David, Jerusalem and the Temple, Yosef can best be described as rebelling against the very foundations of what today we define as the religion of Torah Judaism.

 

The tension, balance, and contrast between Judah and Joseph is very apparent in the way the Torah places the very parallel stories of Joseph and Judah side by side,[23] as well as in the depiction of their direct confrontation, in the Torah portion of Vayigash.[24] Even the names of these two tribes are similar, because Joseph sometimes is called “Yehosef”, carrying the first three letters of G-d’s name, HaShem, just like Judah.

 

This balance and tension has continued throughout our history, most notably with King David and King Shaul, the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel (also called Ephraim in the Torah), and even eventually with the coming of two Meshichim, ben David and ben Yosef, also known as Mashiach ben Ephraim.

 

The Southern Kingdom

 

The Southern Kingdom of Israel is closely associated with the Tribe of Yehuda.

 

Throughout the history of ancient Israel, there was always this conflict between Yosef and Yehuda, both the individuals and the tribes that they sired. The relationship between the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Yehuda was never really one of brothers. The relationship between the two kingdoms was tedious at best. Israel in the north claimed to stick to the psychology of the old ways, which of course never really happened. Yehuda on the other hand claimed to be true to G-d, and faithful to His chosen King and Temple, which in all due respect was not so true either. The Bible is replete with the conflicts and sour relationship between the Kingdom of Yehuda and the Kingdom of Israel, with titular leadership from Yosef.

 

Sephardim and Ashkenazim

 

According to one specific reference in the Prophets we are able to generally ascertain where the exiles of both Yosef and Yehuda went once they left the Holy Land so many centuries ago. The prophet Obadiah (1:20) mentions that the exiled hosts of the Children of Israel went to dwell amongst the previously ejected Canaanites in a land called Tzarfat, which is the Hebrew name for modern day France. Interestingly, the same pasuk states that the exiles of Jerusalem, obviously the tribe of Yehuda who stayed faithful to the holy city were exiled to the land of Sifarad, which in Hebrew is modern day Spain.

 

Obadiah 1:20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. 21  And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau;[25] and the kingdom shall be HaShem’s.

 

Based upon this one pasuk many commentators have discerned that the Jewish inhabitants of France, Germany and Eastern Europe are descendants of Yosef, whereas those of Spanish origins are from Yehuda. In modern and direct terms, the blood-lines of Yosef are the original ancestors of the major portion of what we today call Ashkenazi Jewry, whereas the Yehuda blood-line is the source of the original Sephardic Jews from Spain.

 

There you have it, Biblical proof that Ashkenazim are from Yosef and Sephardim are from Yehuda. At least, this is how it was many centuries ago. Over many centuries, and especially in recent times, we see both personal and mass migrations, where individuals and whole communities moved from one country to the next. Today, the blood-lines of Ashkenazim and Sephardim, and who exactly is from a Yosef tribe or from Yehuda is very much intermingled. Personally, I view this as a blessing from G-d and a partial fulfillment of the prophecy to reunite the Houses of Yosef and Yehuda.

 

This being said, and the blood-lines being somewhat identified, let us now turn again to the characteristic traits of Yosef, their secularism, and rebellion against Jerusalem, the Davidic Kingdom and the Holy Temple and view this in light of the growth of radical secularism amongst European Ashkenazi Jews over the past two centuries and only then can we come into the modern realm and discuss secular Zionism. I believe the answer to the above question as to the modern identity of Yosef is becoming ever so much clearer.

 

Those who have ever studied the cultural, sociological and even psychological differences between Sephardim and Ashkenazim come to some rather striking conclusions. While there is of course much that is similar between the two peoples, there are specific traits in personality and world outlook that sharply divide the two types. Interestingly, but it should come as no surprise that the modern day differences between Sephardim and Ashkenazim ever so clearly parallel the differences between Biblical Yehuda and Yosef. Indeed, although the blood-lines are clouded, the identities of the souls still shine through bright and clear.

 

Ashkenazim

 

Yosef is portrayed in the Bible as cosmopolitan, world savvy, and what we would todaycall secular. It is then of no wonder that modern day Ashkenazim descendants of Yosef should follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. Yosef was clever, strong and ever so “bull-headed”. Sound familiar? The difference between religious and secular Ashkenazim we will discuss later, but for right now let us focus on the secular and how these modern descendants of Yosef fit into the messianic scenario.

 

 the Ashkenazi secular State of Israel must be viewed not as a re-establishment of Southern Kingdom of Yehuda, but rather as the re-establishment of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Never in the history of Zionism was it ever conceived to re-establish the Biblical state of Yehuda. Never did the Zionists consider naming their new state Yehuda although the founders all considered themselves Jews.

 

Indeed, the founding Zionist fathers created for themselves a new name and a new identity. No longer were they to be called Jews. Now they are Israelis. This term has not been in use since the days of the fallen Northern Kingdom over 2500 years ago. The resurrection of the term Israeli to also include the members of the tribe of Yehuda (Yehudim-Jews) has not been heard since the days of King Solomon. Like the Northern Kingdom, the present secular State of Israel rejects the authority of the House of David, enshrined as it is in the Orthodox religious leadership, they reject the concepts of both rebuilding the Temple and reconstituting the Sanhedrin. However, to their credit, they have accepted as fact that Jerusalem, capital of old Yehuda is now the one capital of all Israel.

 

The secular State of Israel today embraces the same rebellious spirit of the ancient benei Yosef of the old Northern Kingdom of Israel. As such modern day Israel is the metaphorical Tribe of Yosef, if not the real tribe by rite of Ashkenazi blood-lines. We have now identified modern day Yosef.

 

 

In order to do this, let us first remember that the term Mashiah, although it literally means “anointed one” actually means a redeemer and savior. Therefore Mashiah ben Yosef is to be the savior of the modern day State of Israel. This therefore means that Mashiah ben Yosef will some how have to be an Israeli politician and some kind of religious leader.

 

Throughout ben Yosef literature it is repeatedly taught that he is supposed to die in battle with the enemies of Israel.

 

Rabbi Hayim Vital, master Kabbalist and codifier of the Ari’zal system sums up ben Yosef’s fate by saying that his date with death is due to the fact that his soul emanates from the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil, instead of emanating from the Tree of Life. This metaphor is packed with meaning.

 

As we know in the Garden of Eden, there were the two trees; eating the fruits of one brought eternal life, eating the fruits of the other brought death. Adam as we know ate of the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil and thus brought death to the world. Mashiah ben Yosef as the true “son of man” (Adam) follows in his footsteps and like every other human being since Eden is destined to “go the way of all the earth.”

 

ben Yosef, might very well be a dreamer as was Father Yosef himself, but also like Father Yosef, Mashiah ben Yosef will be a savvy, modern and to the eye very secular politician. In his heart and private practice he will be righteous, whether that righteousness as prescribed by Torah Law will be a known thing to the public remains to be seen. If Mashiah ben Yosef is to be anything like Father Yosef, then indeed he will most likely follow in his footsteps and appear one way in public, and yet, be an entirely different person in private.

 

Another interesting point about ben Yosef mentioned in classical sources is that similar to Father Yosef his brothers, specifically those led by Yehuda, are said not to recognize him. We know the significance this played in the Biblical story, but we really do have to consider the ramifications of what this would mean if modern day Jews do not recognize Mashiah ben Yosef.

 

we can foresee Mashiah ben Yosef being a Jewish leader who is not much recognized and accepted by the religious community at large.

 

Throughout scripture and classical Torah literature it is Yosef who is portrayed as the antagonist of Esau. Esau’s descendants, Edom, have always been identified with the Romans, and the nations that succeeded them, modern day Europe, with the Church of Rome at their head. Thus the classical conflict of Mashiah ben Yosef is said to be with Rome

 

The present world situation is ripe for the rise of Mashiah ben Yosef. As we have described him, so shall he come. The religious will not welcome or accept him, whereas many of the secular will look to him as if he, Mashiah ben Yosef, is in reality Mashiah ben David. For this reason alone, he may be destined to die. Then again, like any other Jew, he may humble himself before his Creator in Heaven, embrace the Holy Torah and thus embrace the Tree of Life. In such a case, what will be is anyone’s guess, and HaShem’s Grace will decide the matter.

 

In Jewish tradition the coming head of Edom / Europe will be called Armilus, based on the name Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome. In one Jewish source, Armilus is identified by his non-Jewish / Christian name. The Midrash Milkhamot HaMashiah calls Armilus, the “Anti-Christ.”

 

Two Trees

 

In the Garden of Eden, there were the two trees; eating the fruits of one brought eternal life, eating the fruits of the other brought death. Adam as we know ate of the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil and thus brought death to the world. Mashiach ben Yosef as the true “son of man”[26] (Adam) follows in his footsteps and like every other human being since Eden is destined to “go the way of all the earth.”

 

Rabbi Hayim Vital, master Kabbalist and codifier of the Ari’zal system sums up ben Yosef’s fate by saying that his date with death is due to the fact that his soul emanates from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

 

Mashiah ben David on the other hand is said to eat from the Tree of Life and as such will introduce to the world the radical removal of the concept of what we know as death.

 

Tikun

 

The mission of man is referred to as Tikun Olam (World-Rectification). It exists one step below and feeds into, man’s original purpose, Tikun Adam (Self or Soul-Rectification). This dichotomy makes up the complete picture of all of man’s challenges and experiences in this world: Man’s relationship to the world around him, his outer world; and his relationship to his inner world, within himself.

 

Tikun Olam corresponds to Mashiach ben Yosef and Tikun Adam corresponds to Mashiach ben David. The following chart shows these relationships:

 

Mashiach ben Yosef

Mashiach ben David

Tikun Olam

Tikun Adam

 

Revealed and Hidden

 

Another important tool for identifying Mashiach ben Yosef in Tanach, is being aware of revelation and explicitness in Tanach, vs. lack of explicitness and withholding of detail. In Yirmiyah the verse describes two “documents” which are to be “preserved”. One is called: “the revealed/or explicit document”. The other is called: “the hidden/ or sealed document”.

 

In Kol HaTor the Vilna Gaon teaches that these two documents represent the two Mashichim. The “revealed/explicit document” represents Mashiach ben Yosef, while the “hidden/sealed document” represents Mashiach ben David.

 

What this comes to teach us is that Tanach relates to the qualities of the two Mashichim differently. The qualities of Mashiach ben Yosef are identified through the explicit details and revealed facts found in the verses of Tanach. Although this is also true to a certain extent of the qualities of Mashiach ben David, they are mainly expressed by the absence of details given and are implicit, instead of explicit.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 42:8 Yoseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.

 

The above enigmatic pasuk accurately describes Mashiach ben Yosef. MbY is standing in front of us, yet we have no idea who He is. Part of this idea I  described in my study titled: FLOWER.

 

R. Hillel Rivlin of Shklov writes:[27]

 

"Yoseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him". This [hiddenness] characterizes Yoseph, not only in his generation, but in every generation in which the Mashiach ben Yoseph recognizes his brothers but they do not recognize him. It is part of a diabolical scheme that the qualities of Mashiach ben Yoseph are concealed in [the final period of] the Footsteps of the Messiah. Due to our many sins, he is scorned, as well. If this were not the case, our suffering would already have ended. If only Israel would recognizeMashiach ben Yoseph's "footprints" [i.e., the signs of his presence], the ingathering of the exiles, etc. [enumerated throughout Kol HaTor, including the messianic role of science], we would already have seen the complete Redemption.

 

Pshat and Remez

 

Rabbi Hayim Vital attributed to Joseph the extroverted expression of religion, called in Hebrew, the pshat. Pshat is usually defined as the simple meanings of religion, but its major emphasis is on externals. Pshat is the external, platonic face of religion. As Joseph was more interested in appearances and not necessarily in essence, Joseph became the archetype of externals-based religion and platonic societies. Platonic externals always emphasize correct form as being the ultimate goal and end-all of expression. How one appears means everything to the external platonic.

 

Religion that emphasizes external form over internal spirit is expressing the spirit of Joseph. This is the pshat. Needless to say, overemphasis on form at the expense of substance leads to to loss of essence and thus the corruption of form.

 

Rabbi Vital associates Judah (and David) with sincere devotional experiential religion. In Hebrew, this level is called Sod, the secrets. And why is it a secret? The answer is because at this level of religious expression, where essence means everything, the relationship between the person and God is most personal and intense. It is internal and as such not visibly seen or measurable by outsiders who judge only by forms. To such platonic types the relationship of the devote is a mystery, a secret which defies platonic external forms.

 

Torah Sh'Baal Peh - Torah Sh'Bichtav

 

When the Tanach gives detail about people, it is generally communicating the teachings and qualities associated with Mashiach ben Yosef and Tikun Olam. When we find that details of a certain episode or period in a person's life are left out, we can assume, by very absence of detail, the implicit inclusion of qualities associated with Mashiach ben David and Tikkun Adam.

 

The reason that we find almost no explicit reference in Torah Sh'Baal Peh to Mashiach ben Yosef, whereas much more is found in explicit reference to Mashiach ben David, is in compensation for the greater amount of explicit material that relates to Mashiach ben Yosef in Tanach (Torah Sh'Bichtav). On the other hand, because Mashiach ben David is related to much less in Torah Sh'Bichtav, Torah Sh'Baal Peh compensates by referring to those qualities and aspects more explicitly.

 

East and West

 

The prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the Holy Chariot, HaShem’s holy throne, has a lion on the right (the symbol of Judah) and an ox on the left (the symbol of Joseph). The same prophet Ezekiel, in the haftorah reading for Vayigash, is told by HaShem to collect one stick for Judah and one for Ephraim, and to join them together, symbolizing that in future Yosef and Yehudah will become completely united.[28]

 

 

Tzadik gamur and Baalei teshuvah[29]

 

Joseph is the prototype of the Tzadik gamur,[30] while Judah of the Baalei teshuvah.[31]

 

Mashiach ben Yosef’s Mission

 

It is well-known that Mashiach Ben Yosef is killed. But actually, this does not have to happen. For if the redemption comes the way of “Achishena” (swiftly and with glory) – that is, the Jewish People do “tsheuva” – then Mashiach Ben Yosef triumphs in battle. On the other hand, if the redemption comes “BiEta” (slowly, at it’s fixed time) – then one of the results of such a scenario is that he falls in the midst of a difficult and bitter battle, where great suffering and needless tragedy take place.

 

Mashiach ben Yoseph's mission involves the ingathering of the "body" of Israel.

 

Mashiach ben Yosef (Mashiach the descendant of Joseph) of the tribe of Ephraim (son of Joseph), is also referred to as Mashiach ben Ephrayim, Mashiach the descendant of Ephraim. He will come first, before the final redeemer, and later will serve as his viceroy. [The harmony and cooperation between Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yossef signifies the total unity of Israel, removing the historical rivalries between the tribes of Judah and Joseph.][32]

 

The essential task of Mashiach ben Yosef is to act as precursor to Mashiach ben David: he will prepare the world for the coming of the final redeemer. Different sources attribute to him different functions, some even charging him with tasks traditionally associated with Mashiach ben David (such as the ingathering of the exiles, the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash, and so forth).

 

The principal and final function ascribed to Mashiach ben Yosef is of political and military nature. He shall wage war against the forces of evil that oppress Israel. More specifically, he will do battle against Edom, the descendants of Esau. Edom is the comprehensive designation of the enemies of Israel, and it will be crushed through the progeny of Joseph. Thus it was prophesied of old, "The House of Jacob will be a fire and the House of Joseph a flame, and the House of Esau for stubble..":[33] "the progeny of Esau shall be delivered only into the hands of the progeny of Joseph."[34]

 

Mashiach ben Yosef's jobs are many, and they include bringing the entire Jewish people back to Israel (kibbutz Galiot),[35] infusing them with a newfound spirituality, and revealing the secrets of the Torah, among other things. Another important task that he is to accomplish is the complete destruction of Edom, as the passuk says in Ovadiah - the house of Yakov will be fire, and the house of Yosef a flame, and the house of Esav will be like straw, and he shall light them and consume them.

 

The job of Mashiach ben Yosef is gathering in the exiles and building the material aspects of eretz Israel.

 

This final purpose follows all the other ones, and is the reason why he leads the Jewish people in the war of Gog and Magog. Although many people mistakenly think otherwise, this great war is actually after Mashiach ben Yosef has done most of his job, and actually segways us into the period of Mashiach ben David.

 

If we can imagine the scene for a moment, we have Mashiach ben Yosef who has led the entire Jewish people to a genuine spiritual rennaisance, returning the entire nation back to their rightful homeland, to Israel. He represents the promise of a new age for humanity, one of peace, love and harmony. And yet, he is challenged by a force known as Gog and Magog. This force is actually composed of a few different components, but is mainly led by Amalek, the arch-enemy of the Jewish people (which reared its ugly head in World War II in the form of the Nazis of Germany), as well as the Erev Rav - that section of the Jewish people who attempts to remove the Jewish people's relationship with Hashem. They combine forces with many other nations of the world (see Yechezkel 38-39) to try to prevent the triumph of Mashiach ben Yosef and his mission to remove evil from the hearts of mankind. This true axis of evil, however, would rather die than allow mankind to be beholden to the Higher Power that created them.

 

Just as Mashiach ben Yosef is about to destroy the last vestiges of evil, the leader of the Erev Rav, named Armilus, is somehow able to kill him.

 

Military strength and conquest of the land of Israel, the conspicuous traits of the tribe of Efrayim appear here in Mashiach ben Yosef, whose job is to take vengeance on the other nations and conquer the land from them in return for all that they did to us.

 

“from the shadow of Yehoshua your servant...for he was the one who divided the land of Israel, and his descendant Mashiach ben Yosef will be the one who will lead the jewish people to defeat Gog and his helpers at the end of days.”

 

Targum Yonatan[36] referred to Mashiach ben Yosef as a character who mainly suffers, but the sources that we have brought[37] prove the opposite, that the main portrayal of Mashiach ben Yosef is as the one who avenges the vengeance of what the jews suffered from the other nations. One who looks at the comparisons of Aurbach, will understand how he arrived at his mistaken conclusion. Despite the fact that there is an opinion that Mashiach ben Yosef will be killed,[38] all of the victories of Mashiach ben Yosef which are mentioned in the sources, prove that also according to that opinion, Mashiach ben Yosef will first of all win many battles.

 

 “according to our teacher the Vilna Gaon, all of the work of the ingathering of exiles, the building of Yerushalayim and the expansion of the settlement in the land of Israel to return the diving presence, in all of their details and minute details, are the job of the mashiach of the beginning, the first mashiach, Mashiach ben Yosef,

 

This ultimate confrontation between Joseph and Esau is alluded already in the very birth of Joseph when his mother Rachel exclaimed:

 

Genesis 30:23 G-d has taken away my disgrace.

 

With prophetic vision she foresaw that an "anointed savior" will descend from Joseph and that he will remove the disgrace of Israel. In this context she called his name "Yosef, saying 'Yosef Hashem - may G-d add to me ben acher (lit., another son), i.e., ben acharono shel olam - one who will be at the end of the world's time’,[39] from which it follows that 'meshu'ach milchamah - one anointed for battle' will descend from Joseph."[40]

 

The immediate results of this war[41] will be disastrous: Mashiach ben Yosef will be killed. This is described in the prophecy of Zechariah, who says of this tragedy that:

 

Zechariah 12:10 they shall mourn him as one mourns for an only child.[42]

 

His death will be followed by a period of great calamities. These new tribulations shall be the final test for Israel, and shortly thereafter Mashiach ben David shall come, avenge his death, resurrect him, and inaugurate the Messianic era of everlasting peace and bliss.[43]

 

Quite significantly, R. Saadiah Gaon (one of the few to elaborate on the role of Mashiach ben Yosef) notes that this sequence is not definite but contingent! Mashiach ben Yosef will not have to appear before Mashiach ben David, nor will the activities attributed to him or his death have to occur. All depends on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people at the time the redemption is to take place:

 

The essential function of Mashiach ben Yosef is to prepare Israel for the final redemption, to put them into the proper condition in order to clear the way for Mashiach ben David to come. Of that ultimate redemption it is said, that if Israel repent (return to G-d) they shall be redeemed immediately (even before the predetermined date for Mashiach's coming). If they will not repent and thus become dependent on the final date, "the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a ruler over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman's, thus causing Israel to repent, and thereby bringing them back to the right path."[44] In other words, if Israel shall return to G-d on their own and make themselves worthy of the redemption, there is no need for the trials and tribulations associated with the above account of events related to Mashiach ben Yosef. Mashiach ben David will come directly and redeem us.[45]

 

Moreover, even if there be a need for the earlier appearance of Mashiach ben Yosef, the consequences need not be as severe as described. Our present prayers and meritorious actions can mitigate these. R. Isaac Luria (Ari-zal) notes that the descendant of Joseph, by being the precursor of the ultimate Mashiach, is in effect kissey David, the "seat" or "throne" of David, i.e., of Mashiach. Thus when praying in the daily Amidah, "speedily establish the throne of Your servant David," one should consider that this refers to Mashiach ben Yosef and beseech G-d that he should not die in the Messianic struggle.[46] As all prayers, this one, too, will have its effect.

 

It follows, then, that all the above is not an essential or unavoidable part of the Messianic redemption that we await. Indeed, it - (and the same may be said of the climactic war of Gog and Magog) - may occur (or may have occured already!) in modified fashion.[47] This may explain why Rambam does not mention anything about Mashiach ben Yosef. R. Saadiah Gaon[48] and R. Hai Gaon,[49] as well as a good number of commentators, do refer to him briefly or at length. In view of the divergent Midrashim and interpretations on this subject it is practically impossible to present a more definitive synopsis that would go far beyond the above. Thus it is wisest to cite and follow R. Chasdai Crescas who states that "no certain knowledge can be derived from the interpretations of the prophecies about Mashiach ben Yosef, nor from the statements about him by some of the Geonim;" there is no point, therefore, in elaborating on the subject.[50]

 

Ovadiah 1:17 But in mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for HaShem hath spoken. 19 And they of the South shall possess the mount of Esau, and they of the Lowland the Philistines; and they shall possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria; and benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel, that are among the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath, and the captivity of Jerusalem, that is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South. 21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be HaShem’s.

 

He we see, from verse 18, that the House of Joseph (including its leader) has a military role in the end-times drama. Verse 21 indicates that this is a joint effort. From this we see that the time when the Mashiach ben Yosef comes ends with a period of peace. This would indicate the period we have seen above when there is world peace, a renewal of the Davidic kingdom, etc. Let me summarize the Rabbinic writings[14] with regards to Mashiach ben Yosef:

 

There will be a period of about seven years of terrible famines and other troubles. The land of Israel will at that time be under Non-Jewish control, and a leader of the tribe of Ephraim, will arise to lead militarily against these nations who control Jerusalem. He will be successful, but after his initial victory he will die in battle. This will cause a great mourning and many will lose faith. At that time (still within the seven years) the Mashiach ben David will be revealed, he shall finish the battle. After which, he will resurrect all the dead, starting with the Mashiach ben Yosef. Both of them will go up to Mount Zion to fulfill the prophecy in:

 

Ovadiah 1:21 And the saviors (plural - both Messiahs) shall go up onto Mount Tzion and judge Mount Esav, and the kingdom will be for HaShem.

 

There is the fulfillment of ALL the major prophesies like an end to war and a world at peace with the Jewish people in a restored Jerusalem with the third Temple.

 

One of the things that is emphasized about Mashiach Ben Yosef is something that is said about Yosef himself: “And Yosef recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him”. While the potential Mashiach Ben Yosef of every generation brings the people the truth and presents before them the conditions for the redemption, the people deny and disrespect him. But because of his “Ahavat Israel”, he is willing to suffer. It is the people’s refusal to recognize the truth which brings upon them the needless wars and tragedies. For if the Jewish People had only accepted and understood Mashiach Ben Yosef’s message, he would bring the redemption swiftly, in the way of “Achishena”, with glory and without needless suffering.

 

But in the scenario of “BiEta”, only a handful understand, identify, and go with Mashiach Ben Yosef. And while the people continue to deny him, he continues his mission in any case, provoking the goyim and sanctifying the Name of G-d, and eventually falling, as stated above. It must be pointed out here that the major obstacle for Mashiach Ben Yosef is not the gentiles, but rather the destroyers from within. They are called the “Erev Rav”.[51] According to the Gaon from Vilna, the major battle of Mashiach Ben Yosef is against the “Erev Rav”, who prevents the Holy People from recognizing the truth which would bring the redemption swiftly, “HaGiulat Achishena”.

 

Gentiles

 

Our Sages taught that Yosef spoke seventy languages, thus indicating that his task was a universal one, common to all nations.

 

Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XIV:5 SEVENTY SHEKELS, AFTER THE SHEKEL OF THE SANCTUARY (VII, 49). This alludes to the fact that Gabriel came and added to Joseph's name one letter from the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and taught him seventy languages; as is borne out by the text, He appointed it in Joseph  (yehosef - יהוסף)[52] for a testimony, when he[53] went forth against the land of Egypt. The speech I had not known I understood.[54] Had he not done so the Egyptians would not have accepted Joseph as a ruler over them.

 

He protected the Jewish people in Egypt, and is described as "the opposing force to Esau",[55] defending the nation against those who attack the Jewish people.

 

Mashiach ben David’s Mission

 

Mashiach ben David's  mission relates to the ultimate redemption of the soul.  Ultimate spiritual liberation from the Angel of Death will only be brought about through Mashiach ben David.

 

The essential task of Mashiach ben David is to prepare the world for the coming of the final redeemer. Different sources attribute to him different functions, some even charging him with tasks traditionally associated with Mashiach ben David (such as the ingathering of the exiles, the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash, and so forth).

 

The term Mashiach unqualified always refers to Mashiach ben David (Mashiach the descendant of David) of the tribe of Judah. He is the actual (final) redeemer who shall rule in the Messianic age.

 

Every act of ransom and saving by Mashiach ben Yosef is aided by Mashiach ben David in line with the incident in which Judah saved Joseph.  According to what is written: “What profit is it if we sell our brother and cover up his blood?” etc.  By saving Yosef, Judah merited being the one from whom the kingdom of David descended.

 

Holy Nation

 

Judah was responsible for cultivating the special holiness of the Jewish people.

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 114:2 Judah became His holy nation.

 

Messianic figures

 

Yehoshua

 

Yehoshua was responsible for gathering all the Jews and the Erev Rav into the promised land. He also led the wars to remove the Canaanites from the land.

 

A final hint to Yehoshua’s manifestation of the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef in his lifetime is the juxtaposition of Yehoshua’s burial to the burial of Yosef. Sefer Yehoshua 24:29-30 recounts Yehoshua’s death and burial. Yehoshua, like Yosef, died at the age of one-hundred and ten[56] The following pasukim relate that Am Yisrael served Hashem throughout Yehoshua’s lifetime and throughout the generation of the Zikenim (Elders) that lived afterward. Then[57] Yosef’s burial in Shechem is recounted, clearly pointing out the strong connection between Yosef and Yehoshua. Yehoshua, being the continuation of the spiritual legacy and mission of Yosef HaTzaddik, who fully encompassed the role of Tikun Olam, setting the precedent for all future Mashichei ben Yosef to follow. Until the final stage of the process is fulfilled and we merit the coming of Mashiach ben David, may he come speedily in our days, Amen.

 

Yosef became Jacob’s first-born by his father’s personal decree and received the appropriate double-portion of land inheritance in Eretz Yisrael. While Yehuda was certainly the singularly largest of the twelve tribes, the two Yosef tribes of Ephraim and Menashe were together bigger than he. Indeed, when Moshe Rabbeynu chose his own

 

personal successor to lead the Jewish people, he did not choose his brother in-law Caleb from the tribe of Yehuda, husband of his sister Miriam and by all means a worthy individual who could by right lead Israel. Rather Moshe Rabbeynu chose his servant, his assistant Yehoshua, a man descended from Yosef. No one questioned this choice, not even Caleb.

 

Yehoshua was a man of Yosef and as such was fit and proper to rule. Throughout the days of the Judges, until the Kingdom of David, the Yosef tribes were always looked to for leadership in Israel. And when David’s grandson took the throne and decreed edicts unacceptable to the people, what did the other tribes do? They rebelled and cast off Davidic (i.e. Yehuda) leadership and formed their own Kingdom under the leadership of no one other than a ben Yosef!

 

Yehoshua was a descendant of Efraim ben Joseph, the one who fought Amalek.

 

The Vilna Gaon taught[58] that Yehoshua bin Nun began to manifest the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef from the time he lead the battle against Amalek.[59] War against Amalek, who represent the antithesis of Tikun Olam, is one of the main aspects of Mashiach ben Yosef’s mission, whether it is on a physical or spiritual plane.

 

Part of what Moshe Rabbenu bestowed to Yehoshua when he assumed the leadership of the Jewish people, was the spiritual mission of Mashiach ben Yosef, in its entirety; as it says: “And you shall place, from your majesty, upon him…”

 

Yehoshua was the most fitting choice to receive the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef, as a descendant of Yosef’s son Efrayim, to whom Yosef had extended his right hand, bestowing exceptional blessing and spiritual strength, which would be required in the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef towards Tikun Olam.

 

Thus it was Yehoshua bin Nun who lead the conquest of Eretz Yisrael, for the goals of Tikun Olam depend upon the fulfillment of the Jewish people’s destiny in Eretz Yisrael.[60]

 

Efraim

 

Mashiach ben Yosef is sometimes called Mashiach ben Efraim.

 

Shaul

 

Shaul HaMelech manifested strong qualities of Mashiach ben Yosef during his reign. The Vilna Gaon taught[61] that during the wars that Shaul fought, during his reign he manifested the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef, which includes going to war against the enemies of the Jewish people and expanding the borders of the land of Eretz Yisrael.[62]

 

Also, Hashem’s choosing Shaul to be the king commanded specifically with the mission of wiping out Amalek[63] clearly places Shaul in the role of Mashiach ben Yosef; one of whose main mission is to fight against Amalek.

 

Another, more subtle hint is the verse[64]  where Shaul refers to himself by the term: צעיר; which is a reference to Efrayim, the son of Yosef, and subsequently, Mashiach ben Yosef, who stems from Yosef .

 

Body and Soul

 

Rav Kook[65] views Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David as two components of a larger product, namely, the Jewish people. If the Jewish people could be described as one person, Mashiach ben Yosef would be the body, Mashiach ben David the soul. This accords well with the Nazarean Codicil:

 

I Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

 

The Future

 

With the fall of both Kingdoms and centuries of assimilation the actual blood-lines of the tribes have become blurred and in many cases outright lost. To this day, although the blood-line identities of the members of the Yosef and Yehuda tribes have been for the most part blurred, the psychological conflict between them is still as strong and evident as ever. However being that we today have lost sight of the original historical conflict of the tribes we also do not know how to recognize its modern manifestation because we do not know how to recognize the modern day benei Yehuda and benei Yosef and identify them by their characters and behaviors as opposed to their names and blood-lines.

 

But in the scenario of “BiEta”, only a handful understand, identify, and go with Mashiach ben Yosef. And while the people continue to deny him, he continues his mission in any case, provoking the goyim and sanctifying the Name of G-d, and eventually falling, as stated above. It must be pointed out here that the major obstacle for Mashiach ben Yosef is not the gentiles, but rather the destroyers from within. They are called the “Erev Rav” (mixed multitude). According to the Gaon from Vilna, the major battle of Mashiach ben Yosef is against the “Erev Rav”, who prevents the Holy People from recognizing the truth which would bring the redemption swiftly, “HaGiulat Achishena”.

 

This mission of man is referred to as Tikun Olam (World-Rectification). It exists one step below and feeds into, man’s original purpose, Tikun Adam (Self or Soul-Rectification). This dichotomy makes up the complete picture of all of man’s challenges and experiences in this world: Man’s relationship to the world around him, his outer world; and his relationship to his inner world, within himself.

 

Meshichim

 

Mashiach ben Yosef

Mashiach ben David

Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil

Tree Of Life

Tikun Olam

Tikun Adam

Yosef ben Yaaqov

Yehudah ben Yaaqov

Northern Kingdom (Israel / Ephraim)

Southern kingdom (Judah)

Revealed / or explicit document

Hidden / or sealed document

Material

Spiritual

Body

Soul

Ashkenazim

Sephardim

Tzadik gamur[66]

Baalei teshuvah[67]

Torah Sh'Bichtav

Torah Sh'Baal Peh

Pshat

Sod

Tishri

Nisan

Ita'aruta de L'tata (arousal from below)

Ita'aruta de L'Eila (arousal from above)

Yetzer HaRa

Yetzer HaTov

West

East

Mission:  Restoration and Purification

Mission:  Elevation and Transformation

mashpia (giver)

mekabel (receiver)

 

Bibliography:

 

 “When Mashiach Comes: Halachic & Aggadic Perspectives” by Rabbi Yehuda Chayoun (Targum Press 1994) ISBN: 1568710658

 

Gaon from Vilna (GR”A) in his book “Kol HaTor”, and on the writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY”D, in his book “Ohr HaRaayon”.

 

* * *

 


This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address:  gkilli@aol.com

Web page:  http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

Return to The WATCHMAN home page

Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Appendix B – The Twelve Tribes and Months[68]

 

 

Letter

Month

Sign

Permutation

Exodus

Numbers

House

ה

Nissan

Aries

YHVH

Reuben

Judah

Life

ו

Iyar

Taurus

YHHV

Simeon

Issachar

Property

ז

Sivan

Gemini

YVHH

Levi

Zebulun

Attraction

ח

Tamuz

Cancer

HVHY

Judah

Reuben

Ancestors

ט

Av

Leo

HVYH

Issachar

Simeon

Descendents

י

Elul

Virgo

HHVY

Zebulun

Gad

Health

ל

Tishri

Libra

VHYH

Benjamin

Ephraim

Coition

נ

Cheshvan

Scorpio

VHHY

Dan

Menasseh

Death

ס

Kislev

Sagittarius

VYHH

Naftali

Benjamin

Travel

ע

Tevet

Capricorn

HYHV

Gad

Dan

Government

צ

Shevat

Aquarius

HYVH

Asher

Asher

Friends

ק

Adar

Pices

HHYV

Joseph

Naftali

Enemies

 

 

 

 



[1] Our Sages have written that there are to be two different types of kings over the Bne Israel: The kings descended from Rachel and the kings descended from Yehuda.

[2] Megilla 17b

[3] Fighting the wars of G-d is one of the qualifications an individual must meet before being presumed to be Mashiach. There is no necessity, however, for the war to involve bloodshed or even to be on a physical level (as the fight for spirituality and observance of mitzvot may also properly be described as a "war of G-d".) Hence the expression "a war of peace.

[4] This is subject to how the end-times drama will enfold.

[5] Above the Zodiac: Astrology in Jewish Thought, By Matityahu Glazerson.

[6] The son of Yosef.

[7] Ibid. 5

[8] Rosh HaShana 3a–b and cf. Gittin 8:5.

[9] Mishna Rosh HaShana 1:1.

[10] Bereshit (Genesis) 37:26, 49:8.

[11] Ezekiel 37:16-19

[12] See Toros Vi’uvdos Mi’Beis Raboseinu (Weiss), p. 97, quoting Tiferes Yoel (vol. 3, p. 61). See also R’ Moshe Feinstein’s comments in Drash Moshe, Vi’idos Vi’asifos, drush 2, p. 404.

[13] It is Levi, in fact, who, the Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zara, 1:3) writes, was “separated by Yaakov and appointed the head while placed in the yeshiva to teach the way of G-d…” See also the Arizal’s Likutei Torah, parshas Vayeitzei (p. 90): “Levi sod talmud Torah, neged Yaakov ish tam…”- and see also p. 94 regarding Levi and Yehuda. (See also Afikei Mayim, Purim (inyan 3, pp. 136-137) discussing Likutei HaGra.) Based on the distinction between Yehuda and Levi drawn by the Netziv- see the introduction to his commentary on the She’iltos (Kidmas Ha’emek, 1:4 (5, 6))- however, we could perhaps understand Yaakov’s choice specifically of Yehuda. (For a brief synopsis of the Netziv’s remarks, see Nichocha shel Torah (R’ M. S. Shapira), p. 360.) See also the Izhbitzer’s Mei HaShiloach, vol. 1, likutei haShas (Yuma 26a), p. 248. See also Har Tzvi al HaTorah, parshas Vayechi, p. 25, discussing the same gemara. In addition, see R’ Tzaddok HaKohen’s Machshavos Charutz (63a) and Ohr Zarua LaTzaddik (6a) where he discusses Yehuda as representing the Torah and talmidei chachamim. See also the Chida’s remarks in his Pesach Einayim on Sanhedrin 5a. The gematria remez (goshna=mashiach) cited in the Sefer Mat’amim (p. 13, and quoted in Otzar Ta’amei HaMinhagim, p. 337) perhaps sheds additional light on the choice specifically of Yehuda. For elaboration, see the B’nei Yissaschar, ma’amarei chodshei Kisleiv-Teives, ma’amar 2 (#25). Lastly, see also Derech Sicha, pp. 193-194. 

[14] See especially the Netziv’s comments in Ha’emek Davar on Vayechi (49:14), and V’zos HaBracha (33:18), and see Koveitz Iyun HaParsha, 5765, gilyon 15/16, pp. 51-52. Regarding the unique madreiga of “bi’nas Yissachar,” see R’ Avraham Azulai’s Chesed L’Avraham (Eiyn Yaakov, nahar 13). See also B’nei Yissaschar, Ma’amarei Chodshei Kisleiv-Tevet, ma’amar 5, #2, and see R’ C. Y. Goldvicht’s Asufas Ma’arachos, Chanukah, ma’amar “Yod’ei Binah.”  

[15] I subsequently saw the question posed, as well, in Koveitz Iyun HaParsha, 5768, gilyon 40, pp. 36-37. See also Ze’ev Yitraf on Beraishis, p. 446. (See also R’ A. Bazak’s Nekudas Pesicha, pp. 52-53.) 

[16] Brachot, 4:16

[17] Bereshit Rabba, 87:8; Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim, #873

[18] See the Chida’s Midbar Ki’deimos, ma’areches kuf,” #5.

[19] See also R’ Tzaddok HaKohen’s Likutei Ma’amarim, 93b, and Ben Yehoyada on Megilla 13a

[20] Esther 2:5

[21] Dan Was Rachel’s firstborn son through her handmaid Bilha. See also Shemot Rabba, 40:4, and see Rabbeinu Bechaye’s remarks on parshat Pekudei, 38:22. See also the remarks of the Maharsha in his Chiddushei Aggadot on Ketubot 5a (“Gedolim”).

[22] see Malbim on Ezekiel 37:19

[23] Bereshit (Genesis) Ch. 37 - 39

[24] Bereshit (Genesis) 44:18

[25] Eisav’s all-encompassing downfall, we have been told, would occur at the hands of Rachel’s children. (For various reasons why this is so, see Beraishit Rabba, 75:5, 99:2; Yalkut Shimoni, end of Ki Teitzei; Yalkut Shimoni, Sefer Shoftim (5:51); Pesikta Rabbati, #12. (See, however, the terminology in Bava Batra 123b.), and see the Tzeida L’Derech’s commentary on Rashi to 30:25. See, as well, the Chida’s related remarks in his He’Elam Davar, #111 (and his Rosh David, parshas Vayeishev), and see Midbar Ki’deimos, ma’arechesgimmel,” #1. See also: Parshas Derachim, drush 26; R’ Yehonasan Eibshitz’s Ya’aros Devash, cheilek 1, drush 3 and drush 5, and cheilek 2, drush 2; R’ David Tebel’s Nachalas David, Drashos, #5; and R’ Tzaddok HaKohen’s Kometz HaMinchah, #58 (pp.52-53). See also the Meshech Chochma’s explanation appearing in his commentary on Vayishlach, 32:6 (concerning the Medrash Tanchuma). In addition, see R’ David Cohen’s (Chevron) Yi’mei HaPurim, ma’amar 23, p. 158. See also R’ Avraham Rivlin’s elaboration on the matter in his HaSetarim B’Esther, pp. 279-326, and see the remarks of R’ E. E. Kowalsky appearing in his father’s work, Nechamas Shalom, vol. 2, pp. 376-379. See also the Ozhrover Rebbe’s Be’er Moshe, Vayeitzei, pp. 608-609. Lastly, see the fascinating remez cited in Chaim shel Torah, parshas Vayeitzei, pp. 170-171. )

[26] Yeshua’s favorite term for himself is “son of man” – Mt. 8:20, 9:6, 10:23, Mar. 2:28, etc.

[27] Kol HaTor, Chapter 2, par. #39 (p. 485 in Kasher).

[28] Ezekiel 37:15; See Rabbi Matis Weinberg, Patterns in Time, on Chanukah.

[29] Rabbi Moshe Wolfsohn

[30] Righteous one, who never sinned in the first place.

[31] Those who return to HaShem, acknowledging their mistakes.

[32] See Isaiah 11:13 and Rashi there. And Torah Shelemah on Genesis 29:16, note49

[33] Obadiah 1:18

[34] See Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty, ch. 39; Sefer Zerubavel; Midrash Agadat Mashiach (most of which is quoted in Lekach Tov, Balak, on Numbers 24:17ff.); and cf. Rashi on Sukah 52b, s.v. charashim. See also Ramban, Commentary on Song 8:13.

[35] "Misped b'Yerushalayim" in "Maamarei HaRaya", by Rav Kook

[36] Shemot (Exodus) 40,11. Aurbach, p.618-620

[37] see also Elya Raba 18

[38] Succah 52a

[39] The Messianic aspect is derived by analogy with Genesis 4:25 which in Agadat Mashiach (cited in Lekach Tov on Numbers 24:17) is put into Messianic context.

[40] Midrash Yelamdenu, cited in Kuntres Acharon of Yalkut Shimoni. (This Kuntres Acharon appears only in very few editions of Yalkut Shimoni, but was republished in Jellinek's Bet Hamidrash, vol. VI. Our passage appears there on p. 81, par. 20; and is also cited in Torah Shelemah on Genesis 30:23-24, par. 84 and 89.)

In context of his military function, Mashiach ben Yossef is referred to as meshu'ach milchamah (cf. Sotah 42a, and Rashi on Deuteronomy 20:2, for this term); see Bereishit Rabba 75:6 and 99:2; Shir Rabba 2:13 (a parallel passage of Sukah 52b); and Agadat Bereishit, ch. (63) 64.

[41] Targum Yehonathan on Exodus 40:11, and on Zechariah 12:10 (manuscript-version in ed. A. Sperber); Agadat Mashiach; Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty (in version cited by Ramban, Sefer Hage'ulah, sha'ar IV; ed. Chavel, p. 291); and Rashi on Sukah 52a; identify the battle of Mashiach ben Yosef with the war of Gog and Magog.

[42] Sukah 52a, and parallel passages.

[43] Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty, ch. 39 (cited in Sefer Hage'ulah, sha'ar IV); Sefer Zerubavel; Agadat Mashiach (cited in Lekach Tov, ibid.). See R. Saadiah Gaon, Emunot Vede'ot VIII:ch. 5, adding Scriptural "prooftexts" or allusions for all details; and the lengthy responsum of R. Hai Gaon on the redemption, published in Otzar Hageonim on Sukah 52a, and in Midreshei Ge'ulah, ed. Y. Ibn Shemuel, p. 135ff. Cf. Rashi and Ibn Ezra on Zechariah 12:10; Ibn Ezra and Redak on Zechariah 13:7.

[44] Sanhedrin 97b

[45] Emunot Vede'ot VIII:6; see there at length. Cf. Or Hachayim on Numbers 24:17.

[46] Peri Eitz Chayim, Sha'ar Ha'amidah:ch. 19; and Siddur Ha-Ari; on this blessing. The Ari's teaching is cited in Or Hachayim on Leviticus 14:9, see there (and also on Numbers 24:17, where he relates this prayer to the next blessing of the Amidah); and see also Even Shelemah, ch. 11, note 6. Cf. Zohar II:120a (and Or Hachamah there), and ibid. III:153b. See next note.

[47] The battle of Gog and Magog (see above, Appendix I, note 2) is another of the complex issues of the Messianic redemption. In fact, an authoritative tradition from the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov states that the extraordinary length of the present severe galut has already made up for the troubles of that battle and the trauma of the death of Mashiach ben Yossef, so that these will no longer occur; see R. Shemuel of Sochachev, Shem MiShemuel, Vayigash, s.v. Vayigash 5677 (s.v. venireh od, p. 298bf.).

[48] Emunot Vede'ot VIII:ch. 5-6. See also the commentary on Shir Hashirim attributed to R. Saadiah Gaon, published in Chamesh Megilot im Perushim Atikim (Miginzei Teyman), ed. Y. Kapach, on Song 7:12-14 (p. 115; and also in Midreshei Ge'ulah, p. 131f.; as noted already by the editors, this passage is most probably based on Sefer Zerubavel).

[49] See his extensive responsum, cited above note 13.

[50] Or Hashem, Ma'amar III, klal 8: end of ch. 1.

[51] Mixed multitude

[52] Heb. יהוסף formed by the addition of ה to the usual יוסף.

[53] I.e. Joseph. E.V. ’He’, i.e. God.

[54] Tehillim (Psalms) 81:6, The rendering is based on the Midrashic interpretation. E.V. ’The speech of one that I knew not did I hear’.

[55] Bereshit Rabbah

[56] Bereshit 50:22, Yehoshua 24:29.

[57] in pasuk 32

[58] Kol HaTor 1, 23.

[59] Shemot (Exodus) 17

[60] see Kol HaTor 2 at length

[61] Kol HaTor 1, 23.

[62] Kol HaTor 2, 36

[63] 1 Shemuel (Samuel) 1:14

[64] I Shmuel (Samuel) 9:21

[65] In Shemuot HaRe'iyah VaYishlach (5691), quoted in Peninei HaRe'iyah, 'Eulogy in Jerusalem' from Ma'amarei HaRe'iyah.

[66] Righteous one, who never sinned in the first place.

[67] Those who return to HaShem, acknowledging their mistakes.

[68] Sefer Yetzirah – The Book of Creation In Theory and Practice, by Aryeh Kaplan.