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Who is Moshiach?—The Basics

Who is Moshiach?—The Basics


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.

In every generation there is a scion of the House of David who has the potential to be the MoshiachDuring 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 Torah613 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 of Israel—then we are certain that he is the Moshiach.

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Mordecai Bar Brooklyn, NYC. October 2, 2016

I've been reading the Rambams qualifications for Moshiach in The Laws of Kings. My request is if someone could give me or direct me to where I could find his sources for his requirements. I realize some are in the Talmud and some in the Tanach. I was some for specific references to the requirements he gives.
Thanks Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for September 7, 2016

As soon as the time is right for the Moshiach to reveal himself and redeem us, G-d will make sure that it will happen, one way or another. Our job should be focusing on convincing G-d that the time is indeed right and that we are ready/ Reply

Benzion Waldman September 6, 2016

My problem is not believing that the Maschiach already exists, my question is what does the individual have to do be discovered? Perhaps he is trying to get noticed but no one hears his voice. Are we truly listening or is our bias of who the Maschiach is supposed to be blocking his recognition! Reply

Anonymous marshfield hills, ma July 23, 2016

I think yes, probably there is one who knows and the truth is smallness within that allness and probably a realization G-d is everything, that everyone being One has got to be integral to movement forward being moved obviously from within, or a Story so determined would not be possible, nor Moses. The Egyptians had to be integral to Exodus and so all stories. This is deep: that a greater consciousness is responsible for All Creation and is ongoing in our lives bringing a story so wrought with Joy and the Oy or oil within. How a candle burns. And maybe such a heavy responsibility and knowledge, to carry darkness into the light, to bring what we call redemption is not an easy burden. Moses was human and he said then, choose another. Prophets have not been happy as a Story is written, and great people experience as we all do, ongoing sadness and pain. within the darkness a white dove. she rhymes with love. Love, a poetry of soul rising, rise up and sing has got to bring the great see. Reply

yitzchakchaim July 22, 2016

Yes, He must know. G-d has a reputation for giving our leaders adequate warning in order to condition them to answer thier calling.
King David was anointed as king by Samuel 40 years before his replacing Saul.
Joseph was raised with the knowledge the he was special and above his brothers, years before his leadership in Egypt.
No matter how much of a tzadik one may be, we all have a slave mentality simply by living in this world. When hashem spoke to Moses, Moses could not believe that he could be such a leader. Gd did the miracle of the snake not to show Pharoah His power but Moses. Reply

Jumanji Switzerland April 24, 2016

Does Moshiach know He is Moshiach? Reply

Anonymous April 3, 2016

we are all messengers from god, I just happen to be his favorite Reply

Anonymous Montreal, Quebec via March 17, 2016

Amen to what you said!

Just to point out the Chazal in Perek Chelek of Sanhedrin says otherwise and even Rambam says specifically when he is "killed" that is what will disqualify him. At any rate, a great Tzaddik in this generation who was well versed in all of Chazal etc. had no problem calling his father-in -law the Moshiach of the generation.
The key thing here is that a Tzaddik's life is not like ours [see Tanya Iggeres Hakodesh 27] when we see a Tzaddik who is very active in this world via shluchim etc
I think it is only positive and will encourage our performance of Torah and Mitzvos including encouraging others, when we know that there is someone still leading this generation [albeit not as visible as before] Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for March 17, 2016

Actually, this description that "Moshiach will be wiser than Solomon, and a prophet around the level of Moses," is a direct quote from the Rambam himself. It can be found in Hilchot Teshuvah 9:2 Reply

Avraham Foxbrunner March 16, 2016

Which "tradition" says that Moshiach will be "wiser than Solomon and a prophet around the level of Moses." You rely on the Rambam (as did the late Rebbe) for much of your information about Moshiach, but this is not part of his description. Perhaps you found this in some Midrash, but the Rambam himself says that midrashim are not to be relied on in this matter. Reply

Anonymous CA March 13, 2016

The Moshiach has to be alive (and not a tzadik who is nifter) in the generation that he is revealed. He will need to fulfill all of the requirements set forth by the Rambam, Chazal etc.. to validate that he is the Mashiach.

Among the most important criteria are to unify bnei yisrael in achdut via ahavat chinam, mecarev everyone to have emunah in Hashem ( that good and bad are ultimately for the best) and inspire everyone to perform Hashem's mitzvot to the best of their abilities with simchah.

All of this will naturally spread through the world and rebuilding the Beit Hamikdash will be imminent.

May the Mashiach come soon and may we all be ready to receive him. Reply

Catherine Valencia Huntington March 12, 2016

Amen,Welcome Maschiach. We are ready. Reply

Chaim Vogel Montreal, Quebec via March 6, 2016

to answer who is the leader of this generation, who is the leading voice, I think one should look into who is the leader of the leading movement of Judaism today, who has spread the truth of Torah Judaism to the world and as a result 10s if not 100s of 1000s possibly millions have returned to their roots, I'm sure you understand, we want the conclusion to be your own, not one that someone else postulates because then it will be enduring meaning that you will be interested in following his guide even moments before he is revealed as Moshiach, Reply

Simcha M Bart for February 16, 2016

First of all, not all commentators agree that this is referring to Moshiach. Additionally, the term "suddenly" can refer to Moshiach's appearance as a judge will come suddenly, not that he wasn't there at all before. Reply

Shaul Wolf January 25, 2016

Simply because he did not fulfill any of the above listed criteria.

For an in-depth treatment of the topic, see the article by that same title on the website Reply

Anonymous New York January 24, 2016

I don't understand why Jesus isn't the messiah. Reply

Anonymous USA January 19, 2016

Malachi 3:1 says the Moshiach will suddenly show up at the temple. How can the Moshiach build the temple if it exists while he is there? Reply

Shaul Wolf October 27, 2015

During the Messianic era all of the laws of the Torah will be restored to their original status, and we will perform all of the commandments as in Temple times. The role of the Messiah will be to teach and to judge the Jewish people, as is made clear in Isaiah 11 ("And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord") and Isaiah 52 ("Behold My servant shall be wise; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and he shall be very high). Surely, then, he must be proficient in all of Jewish teachings and Jewish law. Reply

Anonymous harlow October 25, 2015

I do understand where the idea that Messiah is going to be Davids descendant comes from. But I have never understood where the idea that he will be great scolar of Tora of Moses and of Oral Tora comes from. Reply

Shaul Wolf June 16, 2015

If an individual fulfills all of the requirements and proves himself to be the Moshiach, then we will follow his instructions as the Jews once followed the instructions of their kings. Reply