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Belief in the Messiah (Moshaich) & Messianic Era:

We await the coming of Moshiach because we look forward to finally having peace and reaping the rewards of our millennia-long exile toil. But the Messianic Era isn't all about us and our benefit—it's primarily about a world set right, a world that will be a reflection of its Creator, a world where the rights and wrongs of the Torah are self-evident truths. Until Moshiach comes, Judaism is simply a "religion," seemingly relegated to its houses of worship, the tomes which preach its laws and ideologies, and the lives of its faithful adherents. During the Messianic Era, however, the truths of the Torah will be as self-evident as the laws of gravity and mathematics.

Hence, in a deeper sense, belief in the Redemption is belief in the supreme truth of the Torah. The belief that the world was created by G‑d who used the Torah as His blueprint, and that the day will come when this truth will be patently obvious.

Furthermore, as Maimonides mentions, it is not sufficient to merely believe in the coming of Moshiach, it is also of primary importance to "await his arrival." For it is clear that one who does not yearn for Moshiach's arrival is demonstrating a lack of belief too. Is it conceivable for one to believe that such a magnificent era will indeed be arriving and not eagerly await that day?

Yearning for the Redemption is of such importance that according to the Talmud (Shabbat 31a), one of the very first questions a soul is asked when facing the Heavenly Court is: "Did you yearn for the Salvation?" The Midrash (Yalkut ShimoniPsalms 736) says that "if the Jewish people have no merit other than their yearning for Redemption—they are worthy of being redeemed for that alone!"

Who is the Messiah (Moshiach)?

The Messianic Redemption will be ushered in by a person, a human leader, a descendant of Kings David and Solomon, who will reinstate the Davidic royal dynasty. According to tradition, Moshiach will be wiser than Solomon, and a prophet around the level of Moses.

Ever since the destruction of the Holy Temple, in every generation there is an individual, a scion of the House of David, who has the potential to be the Moshiach. If at any moment the Jews are worthy of redemption, this person would be directed from Above to assume the role of the redeemer.

During the Messianic Era, the Moshiach will serve a dual role. He will be a monarch, ruling over all of humanity with kindness and justice, and upholding the law of the Torah— 613 commandments for the Jews, and seven for the non-Jews. He will also be the ultimate teacher, the conduit for the deepest and most profound dimensions of the Torah which will then be revealed by G‑d.

How are we to identify the Moshiach?

Moshiach is not identified by his ability to perform earth-shattering miracles. In fact, he isn't required to perform any miracles at all (although the performance of miracles doesn't disqualify him either).

The following are the criteria for identifying the Moshiach, as written by Maimonides:

If we see a Jewish leader who (a) toils in the study of Torah and is meticulous about the observance of the mitzvot, (b) influences the Jews to follow the ways of the Torah and (c) wages the "battles of G‑d"—such a person is the "presumptive Moshiach."

If the person succeeded in all these endeavors, and then rebuilds the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and facilitates the ingathering of the Jews to the Land ofIsrael—then we are certain that he is the Moshiach.

Last updated on: 10/20/2017
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