THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) THE WORLD IN THE TIMES OF MASHIACH
QUESTION: There are two opinions concerning what the world will be like in
the times of Mashiach. According to Shmuel, the world will be the same as
it is now, with the exception that the Jewish people will be autonomous and
not subjugated to foreign dominion. According to Rebbi Chiya bar Aba, the
world will fundamentally change; all of the prophecies of the prophets will
come true, and war and poverty will be nonexistent.
2) CONCLUSION: THE WORLD IN THE TIMES OF MASHIACH
The RAMBAM, when describing the times of Mashiach, appears to contradict
himself. In Hilchos Teshuvah (8:7), the Rambam writes that all the
prophecies of the prophets apply to the times of Mashiach, and not to Olam
ha'Ba. Similarly, in Hilchos Melachim (12:1,5) he writes that there will be
no more war or starvation in the times of Mashiach. The Rambam is clearly
ruling in accordance with the opinion of Rebbi Chiya bar Aba. However, in
the same chapter (12:2), the Rambam quotes the words of Shmuel, "There is
no difference between this world and the times of Mashiach except the lack
of subjugation to foreign dominion," who argues with Rav Chiya bar Aba and
the other statements that the Rambam writes!
ANSWER: The Rambam himself gives the key to answering this contradiction.
In Hilchos Melachim (12:1), the Rambam writes that all of the prophecies in
Yeshayah (ch. 11) such as the wolf living with sheep are all metaphorical,
representing the fact that there will be peace between the Jews and the
seventy "wolfs," the other nations of the world.
The Rambam understood that Rav Chiya Bar Aba was saying that although the
prophecies *will* come to pass in the days of Mashiach, the natural order
of the world will *not* change. There will be no miraculous changes in the
physical nature of the world. Any prophecy that alludes to a miraculous
change is in truth just a metaphor.
According to Shmuel, on the other hand, the prophecies will not come to
pass at all in the times of Mashiach, and there will *not* be peace among
the other nations. That is why the Rambam -- who says that the prophecies
*will* come true in the time of Mashiach (not like Shmuel) -- can still say
that there will be no change in the actual *nature* of the world. (See
LECHEM MISHNAH in Hilchos Teshuvah 8:7)
Why, then, does the Rambam use the words of Shmuel to express this thought,
when Shmuel himself meant his words literally -- that there is no
difference between this world and the times of Mashiach even with regard to
peace in the world, and not just with regard to the physical nature of the
world. Why does the Rambam use those same words to refer to a different
concept -- that there *will* be a significant difference between this world
and the times of Mashiach?
It can be proven from many places that the Rambam was so fond of using the
phraseology of Chazal that he often used the words of Chazal when they
express his point, even when they were originally stated in a completely
different, and even opposite, context (see, for example, Hilchos Isurei
Bi'ah 1:3). Here, the words of Shmuel are quoted to express the Rambam's
view, even though Shmuel himself meant something entirely different. (M.
OPINIONS: What will the world be like in the times of Mashiach, according
to the Chachamim who hold that the prophecies of the prophets will come
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Melachim 12:1) writes that the prophecies will come
true, but they are all metaphors. The nature of the world will not change;
it will only change as far as peace and plenty are concerned, but the
physical properties of the world will not change.
(b) The RA'AVAD disagrees, citing as proof the verse, "And I will cause all
wild animals to cease..." (Vayikra 36:6). The Ra'avad apparently means that
even if the words of the prophets can be understood figuratively, the words
of the Torah can be understood only literally (as we find in the 32 Midos
of Rebbi Eliezer ben Rebbi Yosi ha'Gelili, Midah #26). Since the Torah says
that the physical properties of animals will change in the times of
Mashiach, we see that there will also be physical changes in the nature of
(c) The RADBAZ on the Rambam (ad loc.) compromises, suggesting that in the
land of Israel, the words of the prophets will come true literally, while
outside of Israel, they will occur only in a figurative sense.
3) "KODESH LA'HASHEM"
OPINIONS: The Gemara says, according to one opinion, that the words "Kodesh
La'Hashem" were written on the Tzitz on two lines, with "Hashem" written
above and "Kodesh La" written below. How exactly was "Kodesh La'Hashem"
written on the Tzitz?
||(a) RASHI (first explanation): "Kodesh La" was on the center of the bottom
line, and "Hashem" was on the center of the top line.
||(b) RASHI (second explanation) and RAMBAM (Hilchos Klei ha'Mikdash 9:1):
"Kodesh" was on the center of the bottom line, and "La'Hashem" was on
center of top line. In order to explain why the Tzitz in Rome did not look
like that, the Rambam adds that it is also acceptable, b'Dieved, to write
both words in one line, "and sometimes they *did* write it in one line."
||(c) TOSFOS: "Kodesh La" was on the *beginning* of the bottom line, and
"Hashem" was inscribed on the *end* of the top line.
||(d) RASHBA, citing RABEINU TAM, explains that Tosfos' explanation is not
acceptable, because it is not the manner of people to read the second line
first. He says that "Kodesh La" was written on the *end* of the *top* line,
and "Hashem" was written on the *beginning* of the bottom line. He explains
that when the Gemara says that "Hashem" was written "above," it means that
it was written on the first vertical column. "Below" means that "Kodesh La"
was written on the second vertical column.