This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s Baruch Dopelt, Yossi Bilius, Pinchas Winston, Asher Hurzberg and Dr. Abba Goldman
In our illustrious glorious past we’ve often yearned for the mashiach. When we were in grade school we had to recite that “we believe whole heartedly that Mashiach is coming”. Mashiach this and Mashiach that. There have been many songs sung, manypsalms read, There even was a period where many of our people were killed for they thought that time had come and were careless, where they’re usually very careful, in dealing with gentiles arousing their hostility and Anti-Semitism only to be disappointed with a false prophet.
How ironic it is then, the proud Jews that we are, with our glorious past, the beautiful temple both past and future, that the Mashiach signs in through an undignified manor. We would never write a Hollywood script like this. Here, there is no poor or rich young couple who loves each other, have a baby (Mashiach), is allergic to kryptonite, and can’t keep him etc. It’s quite different script. One cannot complain “this movie is predictable -same formula”.
Let us take a look at the relevant places in the Torah and perhaps, dig deep, learn some insights into the mashiach
This is where the Jewish monarch and the Mashiach comes from……..
Uncharacistaly, Yehuda, leader of the tribes visits a prostitute, who is his daughter-in law in disguise. The Sages, say that the cohabitation of Yehuda, Tamar, his daughter in law, resulted in the inception of the Mashiach……Go Figure!! (Please see highlight section for full synopsis)
One may ask, how can the Mashiach come in such a degrading way?
Wait there is more!
*The seed of the Mashiach was also implanted in a bazar way by Lott, Avrahams nephew, After the destruction of Sedom, Lott’s two surviving daughters believed that the world was destroyed. They devised a plan to seduce their father on back to back consecutive nights after getting him drunk where they will procreate and populate the world once again. Ruth, is a descendant of this union The oldest son/grandchild Moav is where Ruth, the grandmother of king David, comes from.
* Boaz, a widower, a leader and descendant of the tribe of Yehudah marries Ruth, the convert, a widow herself to the childless son of Elimelech, a descendant of Yehuda as well. The courtship was strange, Ruth appear that night on the threshing floor to be as close as possible to the fields at a critical time in the harvest. Niomi, her mother in law, instructs Ruth to uncover Boaz’s feet so as to wake him and set the process of “yibum” in motion. Pretty odd isn’t it. The union between Boaz and Ruth was in question for A Israelite is forbidden to marry from Moav. Boaz died the next morning after their wedding night and Ruth gave up her child to Niomi to raise.
*King David marries Bat-Sheva in one of the most controversial union in our history. Did he usher Bat Sheva’s husband to the battlefield in what was presumably a death wish? The marriage between David and Bat-Sheva produced King Shlomo
This is our royal past?
In our current mindset or Western mentality we, perhaps, will entertain the thought of the Mashiach having that kind of introduction for we have grown accustom to a very promiscuous nature. The media has etched in our minds the kind of sexual provocation daily. Car commercials, game shows and even real estate ads come with a door prize and a smiley attractive female or male model. Television, no matter how PG it is full of sexual innuendos. Let’s not forget the advancement of the internet….GOODNESS GRACIOUS!!
Furthermore, as we Jews moved around the world we are constantly reminded through our neighbors about their immodest appetite way of life. We were the only Jews living on the block, in my childhood home in Rego Park. It was a predominantly Irish neighborhood and it was difficult to stay focused even as a very young Yeshiva grade school student with the immodest dress of my non-Jewish neighbors. What’s an orthodox boy doing living in this part of the world?
Interestingly, if one notices our biggest test growing up before entering our young adult, where then we are introduced to inflated egos, pursuit of money, keeping religion, is to watch our brit. There is a tremendous insurgence or wave of desire where hormones are flying uncontrollably when entering the teenage years.
This is our mundane life of today where the western culture has a tremendous influence. However, why has the Torah have to introduce the Jewish monarch and future Mashiash in a degrading way. Golden Yerushalayim and its purity should be left alone. Why drag it to such shmutz?
Furthermore, why is the topic of Erva- promiscuity associated with the kingdom. Why not murder? Jealousy?
Lets examine an aspect of brit milah where then perhaps we might understand the topic of mashiach a little more clearer.
Adam HaRishon was created circumcised, as it says, “God created man in His image …” (Bereishis 2:5). Avot d’Rav Nossan 2:5
Rav Yitzchak said, [Adam] caused his foreskin to be extended [and cover his circumcision]. Sanhedrin 38b
Interestingly, this is what the Greek Jews were a custom to do in the time of Chanukah. They were ashamed that they were different then the Goyim. The sexual revolution was influencing the world….sounds familiar. It was custom to remove your cloths entirely in many social functions. The Greeks believed in exposing the beautiful body. However the Jews, because of their brit had a different look, were ashamed.
The Greeks put a spiritual barrier between the Jews and their G-d. In Hebrew the growth of foreskin is called Orlah. This was the mistake of Adam. For, whether we are talking about “Orlat HaLeiv” (uncircumcised heart), “Orel S’fataim “(uncircumcised lips), or “Orlah” from a tree (fruits of the third year), the word Orlah always implies a spiritual “barrier” between man and God which has to be removed.
There are two aspects of the mitzvah referred to in the verse. Firstly, Milah is a sign of the covenant between Avraham and God; secondly, Milah is to take place on the eighth day from birth. We should take note of the point in the Parsha at which the Mitzvah is commanded after Avraham’s successful routing of the Canaanite kings. It’s no coincident that saving Lott, his nephew, who holds the seed for part of the Mashiach, is a precursor for brit milah.
When Avraham placed his faith in G-d for his physical sustenance, he demonstrated his unwavering commitment to live above nature. As a result, he was provided with the means to remove all the Orlos Adam’s mistake had brought to mankind. This is the Bris Milah which is performed on the eighth day (eight always symbolizes the spiritual, supernatural realm, as we see through Chanukah as well).
Why was Bris Milah so important to history? As the following reveals, it is the source of Malchut (of kingship), and therefore, the Final Redemption.
And Yosef said to his brothers, ” ‘Please come near to me,’ and they came near to him and he said . . .” (Bereishis 45:4). Why did he call them if they were already next to him? Because when he told them, “I am Yosef your brother” (Ibid.), they were in shock to see his royal position. He told them that his royalty was a direct result of this. (Zohar 1:93b)
What was Yosef referring to? The Zohar explains:
” ‘Please come near to me,’ and they came near to him”: He showed them that he upheld Bris Milah, saying, “By keeping this intact, I was able to attain royal status.” From here we learn that whomever keeps this sign intact will merit royalty. (Ibid.)
In other words, Yosef was saying that his royal status had been conferred upon him by Heaven for having resisted the advances of his master’s wife, Aishet Potiphar. Such intimacy would have been forbidden to him, and though he had been tempted at the time, in the end he had overcome his yetzer hara and had run out of the house, risking her vicious retribution that followed.
However, the Zohar is not finished yet, and backs up its statement with the following:
From where else do we know this? From Boaz, as it says, “As Hashem lives, lie down until the morning” (Rus3:13). His evil inclination was enticing him, so he made this oath to keep his bris intact. (Ibid.)
In other words, while he was secluded with Ruth, he desired her then. However, intimacy with her then was improper, and therefore he made the oath to safeguard himself against a sinful relationship. If she was to be his wife, Boaz reasoned with himself, it had to be after all the halachic conditions had been satisfied. Thus the Zohar concludes:
The world is called an OLAM. Interestingly OLAM means hidden. What is hidden? G-d is hidden and he is hidden throughout the world. Interestingly the more we do G-d’s commandments the more vision and clear the world looks.
This OLAM is like a game. A game similar to “Wheel of Fortune”, where one has to turn over the puzzle board and therefore making the entire board clearer. The board is pretty large it encompasses the entire world. The mission of the Jewish people over the last 3,300 years, the Jewish role in history and the essence of the concept of the Chosen People – a people chosen for the responsibility of teaching the world about one God and absolute morality. But there is much left to do before the vision the Jewish people saw at Mount Sinai becomes a world reality. The Jews have always believed that they have a key role to play in bringing this vision to fruition. We are to create a society based on a God-given standard of morality that will serve as the model for the rest of humanity to emulate – to be “a light unto the nations.”
When we look back on the vast sweep of the last four thousand years we see how significantly the Jewish people have directly and indirectly affected humanity.
The Jewish monarch represents the Jewish people. He rules with justice and mercy. It’s his mission to guide and to turn over the most impure part of life and manifest it to a source of kedusha. G-d chose the very organ that is the source of life, which can also be chosen to use for the basest acts, as the site to be sanctified with circumcision. This gives us the profound message that we can use every physical drive for holy purposes.
Chanukah always falls out during this time of the year where days are short and nights are at its longest. It is our mission to light the candles, to bring light in to the darkness, to see things more clear, to flip the puzzle board, to transform an illicit moment to the spiritual.
Interestingly the menorah is lit by Jews in public showcase all over the world….may we, the chosen people continue to make this world more clear.