Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Importance Of Good Leadership

A common theme throughout Jewish history is the ability of the leadership to cause Am Yisrael to follow Torah as well as the opposite.

In the Chumash, the most glaring examples are the Sin of the Golden Calf and the Sin of the Spies.

The Zohar (2:191a) on Ki Tisa brings that the Sin of the Golden Calf was instigated by the 2 leaders of the Erev Rav, who used their avodah zarah to cause the people to stray.

In the Chumash we see that 10 leaders caused the nation to not want to enter Eretz Yisrael, causing the 40 years sentence in the desert.

Melachim II has a recurring theme: whether or not the king caused the people to sin like Yerov'am ben Navat before them, or if they did what was right and made the people do what was right.

The common theme is that one person really can make a difference, specifically a leader. Now we see the necessity in defining Moshiach as someone who causes Israel to follow the Torah (See Rambam Laws of Kings, chapter 11).

However, it is not limited to the Moshiach. This appears to be the intent of the GR"A regarding Anshei Amanah (Men of Faith/Truth). These are people for whom Truth is an ultimate value. There are two leadership roles that must be filled by Anshei Amanah in the final generation: Moshiach ben Yosef, and the Sanhedrin.

Moshiach ben Yosef because Moshiach ben Yosef is from Yesod, as is Truth. Truth will sprout forth from the ground (Tehillim 85:12), meaning that the sprouting will be dependent on human action.

However, not to dwell on what is not in our reach (Moshiach ben Yosef is not yet "here" for us to gather behind, and we cannot at this point make the appointed person in to that role), let us discuss the Sanhedrin.

There are three main aspects to the Geulah before the crowning event when Moshiach ben Dovid arrives:

  • Ingathering of the Exiles
  • Establishment of the Sanhedrin
  • Building of the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim

The Ingathering of the Exiles and the Building of Yerushalayim all began in tiny steps approximately 200 years ago. Every point is a building-block. In order to get the minimum 600,000 Jews, it took time, and indeed we are close to an absolute world majority of Jews in Eretz Yisrael. To build the Beit HaMikdash, there has to be a city around it. What was then fantasy is now reality.

People in the past looked down upon the Aliyah movement in the early 19th century, but patience and persistence have proven that it can be done. Yet people expect differently of the Sanhedrin. Historical perspective shows us patience is necessary.

There is now a stepping stone in place. The utmost was done to make this kosher, however at this stage, it was to be expected that there will be those that look down upon it.

The task of the Sanhedrin at this time is to get ready. Walk with wisdom. For one day soon, we will demand that the Sanhedrin take the lead as the sole authority of Torah for Am Yisrael. Whatever disputes we now have regarding its legitimacy will soon fade.

Truth will yet reign again.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You write

    "There are three main aspects to the Geulah before the crowning event when Moshiach ben Dovid arrives:

    * Ingathering of the Exiles
    * Establishment of the Sanhedrin
    * Building of the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim"

    However isnt the psak Din of the Rambam that Moshiach Ben Dovid is active well before these events occur during the signs of Chezkas Moshiach? Additionally doesn't the Rambam specifically write that the ingathering of the exiles and the building of the 3rd Bais Hamikdosh will be done by Moshiach Ben Dovid as part of the signs of Moshiach Vdai?

  3. There is no contradiction. There is what to be said from different Kabbalistic sources that the two Moshiach's will be the same person, but only at the end of the mission will be "Ben Dovid". Furthermore, the Rambam knew and accepted the Gemara in Yerushalmi Brachot 2, Bavli Megilla 17, regarding the order of Geulah, for he quoted it in his commentary on the Mishnah. Geulah is in the order of the Shmoneh Esreh, the revelation of Moshiach ben Dovid is near the end.

    The Rambam does not explicitly have everything written about the Geulah.

    Kol tuv

  4. The Rambam may not state all the details of the Geula process but does state clearly that the ingathering and building of Bait Hamikdosh will be done by Moshiach Ben Dovid , not prior. I dont understand what you mean when you say that is not a contradiction to what you wrote. Thanks.

  5. The Rambam as you read it simply is not the final "halachah" when it comes to the Geulah. It is far more complicated.

    For more on the essence of Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid, see Kol HaTor, and Ma'amar HaGeulah, for starters. Both are available in English.

  6. just to be clear, you are now saying is that what you wrote is not compatible with the Rambam because the Rambam is not the final halacha?

  7. What I said more precisely is that the simple reading of the Rambam does not contain the "final" halachah as it is not an all-inclusive on the matter. For example it doesn't contain the order, as the Rambam brings directly from the Gemara in his Peirush on the Mishnah.

    He does not discuss the "soul" of Moshiach, as explained in Kabbalah, see the sources I mentioned for those details. The Ramchal in Ma'amar HaGeulah speaks about the unification of Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid in the final stages of the Geulah. It does not mean that they will morph in to a super-human.

    We can try to explain these things in the spirit of unifying sources:

    At the beginning, a person from the line of King David will arise and will fulfill the roles of Moshiach ben Yosef, which includes the building of the Beit HaMikdash. However, the Geulah will not be finished, and at some point, we will move to the level of Moshiach ben Dovid, completing the Geulah on its spiritual level. Therefore the Vadai of the Rambam is the end of the line, when the Geulah is complete. Before this is done, it is a Chazakah. When we have 100% of only the identifiable Jews in Eretz Yisrael, when the Beit HaMikdash is built, but things still aren't 100% right, that's Moshiach ben Yosef, a necessary step.

    However, all of this is not completely necessary, as the GR"A states explicitly that the Rambam's base statement in 12:2 is taken to be only about the days of Moshiach ben Yosef, and the words that the Ra'avad brings there are about the miraculous side of the Geulah with Moshiach ben Dovid.

    If this does not better clear things up, please explain further your point of view.

  8. Chezkas Moshiach and Moshiach V'Dai are halachic terms the Rambam writes which are directly associated with Moshiach as an individual. Yes , different events occur during these periods which likely include the unification of Moshiach Ben Dovid and Ben Yosef. However the Rambam clearly writes the defeat of the nations, ingathering of the Jews and the Building of the Bais Hamikdosh will be done by Moshiach , this is the evidence to know he is Moshiach V'dai al pi halacha, which is Moshiach Ben Dovid. The differentiation between olam kminhago noheg or whether it will be in a miraculous sequence, does not change the halacha that Moshiach ben Dovid will be the one to defeat the nations , ingather the Jews and build the Bais Hamikdosh. That is how I understand the Rambam.

  9. I am left a bit to wonder: Do you take Rambam's word as halachicly binding for all issues or just this one? There are disagreements among commentators as to the meaning of his words (see the non-literal approach taken by Lubavitcher Chassidim regarding building the Beit HaMikdash and Kibbutz Galuyot) as well as commentators which disagree with the Rambam.

    A major theme on this blog is the staged nature of the Geulah.

    For example: Kibbutz Galuyot is part 1, Kibbutz Nidchei Yisrael is part 2. For diyuk, the Rambam attributes Nidchei Yisrael to ben Dovid.

    Moshiach ben Yosef will free us from the servitude of the nations, but the last stage of Milchemet Gog uMagog is ben Dovid.

    Your approach seems to be that the Rambam there is the first and last word on Seder haGeulah and Moshiach. Is that correct?

  10. which commentator disagree's with the Rambam on the tasks Moshiach Ben Dovid will do?

  11. According to the reading that you propose, the Vilna Gaon disagrees and says that Moshiach ben Yosef is responsible for Kibbutz Galuyot.

  12. can you quote me where he says that please?


    I do not have the sefer with me, it has the marei mekomot to different places in the GR"A's peirushim saying the same things.

  14. when you have time I would appreciate an actual quote from the hebrew. Thanks.

  15. Kol HaTor chapter 1

    יעודו הכללי של מב"י הוא בשלשה דברים: גלוי רזי התורה, קבוץ גלויות, וביעור רוח הטומאה מן הארץ

    As far as works published earlier, the most explicit references are in commentaries written by Rav Yitzhak Isaac Haver.

    If you have a Frankel Mishneh Torah, you can look up chapter 12 of Hilchot Melachim to get the exact quote from the GR"A on Tikkunei Zohar, where it says that there are 2 Yemot HaMoshiach, one for ben Yosef and one for ben Dovid. ben Yosef will be freedom from servitude of the nations, and ben Dovid will be from malach hamavet.