“When she gave birth, there were twins... and he called his name Peretz, and afterwards his brother... and he called his name Zarach.”

-Veyeishev 38:27-30

Peretz is the direct ancestor of King David and Moshiach. Thus, he is identified with Moshiach, as already suggested by his name which alludes to the Messianic prophecy of “The poretz (the one who breaks through) is gone up before them” (Michah 2:13). The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 85:1) notes: “Before the first enslaver of Israel-Pharaoh-was born, the ultimate redeemer of Israel (Moshiach-Peretz) was already born.” With the birth of Peretz, our sages note there, the Almighty created the light of Moshiach. G‑d thus brought about the remedy and cure before the affliction-before the Egyptian exile and all the exiles that followed thereafter, including our present one.

This “light of Moshiach” confers upon Israel the strength and ability to succeed in their exiles to “break through” all obstacles and impediments in their service of G‑d, until their good deeds will effect the coming of Moshiach of whom it is said, “The poretz is gone up before them.”

Zarach, Peretz’s twin, also alludes to the redemption. His name means “shining forth.” The Messianic Kingdom will shine forth and illuminate throughout the world. All mankind will benefit from its bright light, as it is written: “Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by the brightness of zarchech (your shining forth)” (Isaiah 60:3).