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June 28, 1991 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-06-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I TORAH PORTION 1"."."'""1""

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JEFFREY W. TAUB, M.D.

On Receiving the
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48

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1991

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The Messiah

Continued from preceding page

(

1

the associative highway, I
found myself thinking of this
week's Torah reading:
"A star shall go forth from
Jacob and a ruler shall arise
from Israel." (Numbers
24:17-Balak). "A star shall go
forth from Jacob" refers to
David; "and a ruler shall
arise in Israel" refers to the
Messianic King (Midrash
Agadah).
"In the future the Messi-
anic King will renew the
Davidic dynasty, returning it
to its initial sovereignty. He
will build the Temple and
gather the dispersed of Is-
rael . . ." (Maimonides,
Mishnah Torah).
Maimonides, the great sage,
codifier, philosopher and
physician, after quoting from
this week's Torah reading,
goes on to clearly delineate
the belief in Mashiach (the
Messiah) as a cardinal princi-
ple of Jewish faith. Indeed,
Maimonides (Rambam) in-
cluded it as the 12th of his 13
principles of faith which were
paraphrased into the 13 Ani
Maamins (I believe):
"I believe with perfect faith
in the arrival of Mashiach.
And though he may tarry, I
shall wait each day an-
ticipating his arrival."
One may have understood
the coming of Mashiach as
the coming of an age of har-
mony and peace but
unrelated to the restoration of
the Davidic monarchy. But
Maimonides has firmly laid
down the definitive decision
of the Torah and our tradi-
tion, namely that Mashiach is
a human being descended
from King David who will
lead us out of exile and usher
in the longed-for Messianic
age.
Do we as Jews truly have
this faith and belief? Yes! We
are described as "believers,
children of believers"
(Talmud, Shabbat 97a). Deep
within every single member
of our people, no matter how
far he may have strayed, lies
dormant the belief in all the
basic principles of our faith
enumerated by Maimonides.
When Moses was told by
God to go and redeem the peo-
ple, he said "But they won't
believe me." For displaying a
lack of conviction in the
essential faith of the Jewish
people even under the trying
conditions of Egypt, Moses
was rebuked by God and pro-
ven wrong (see Exodus 4:1-9
and Rashi's commentary bas-
ed on the Talmud).
Very often the true feelings
and beliefs of the Jew are hid-
den under layers of assumed
sophistication. How often
have we seen the self-pro-
fessed atheist come running
to the synagogue, asking the

rabbi to pray for the well-
being of a loved one?

How does one awaken this
buried spark of faith? One
must first have confidence in
its existence and be prepared
to face the scoffers. The
Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi
Menachem M. Schneersohn,
explains the verse "You shall
be to me land of delight"
(Malachi 3:12), in the follow-
ing way:
The Jew is compared to the
Earth, upon which all tread
but in which lies tremendous
potential. Imagine the dia-
mond prospector convinced
that a certain area is rich in
minerals and diamonds. He
starts to mine, ignoring the
scorn of those who see only
dirt and rocks. A decade
passes; and some useful
minerals are uncovered. The
scorn has turned to silence.

Shabbat Balak:
Numbers 22:2-25:9.
Micah 5:6-6:8.

A second decade goes by,
and all can see that the area
is richer than they thought.
By the third decade it is clear
that he will find a rich seam
of precious stones; the former
scoffers now rush to lay their
claims.
The fourth decade sees him
vindicated completely; the
diamonds are being mined
and all acclaim the vision and
conviction of the first
prospector.
How many people scoffed at
the young idealistic rabbis in
the 1950s? How many laugh-
ed at their beards and tzizit,
hardly believing that they
spoke English and falsely
predicting that they would be
rejected by the Jewish "man
on the street"?
The decades passed and
those rabbinic idealists of the
1950s and 1960s had their
faith in their fellow Jews vin-
dicated; their communities
have grown and their in-
fluence is nationally signifi-
cant. The collective Jewish
soul thirsts for knowledge of
its inheritance; only the pure
undiluted message of the
Torah suffices.
And as with our traditional
beliefs in general, so it
is with the belief in Ma-
shiach. There has been a
conspiracy of silence among
our leaders, and as a result,
few know of the authoritative
Jewish view of Mashiach
found in the concluding
chapters of Maimonides'
magnum opus "The Mishnah
Torah;' Recent world events
however, have brought into
the open the hope and belief

in our final redemption. ❑

N

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