As we shall discuss in this letter, the “Moshiach” – the Messiah – will inaugurate an age of universal enlightenment and shalom; moreover, the Moshiach will be a descendant of the convert, Ruth, who, in a deep sense, is the “mother” of Moshiach.
On Shavuos, the festival which celebrates the giving of the Torah, we chant the Book of Ruth. This book describes how Ruth left Moab and accompanied her mother-in-law, Naomi, on Naomi’s journey of return to Bethlehem, a city in Judah. Before accompanying Naomi, Ruth said to her, “Your people are my people, and your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Ruth eventually married Boaz, a judge from the Tribe of Judah who was one of the leading sages of Israel. As a result of her spiritual courage, loving-kindness, and devotion, she merited to become the great-grandmother of King David. When the son of Boaz and Ruth was born, it states: “They named him Oved; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David” (Ruth 4:17).
From David, the son of Jesse, will emerge the Moshiach who will inaugurate a new age of universal enlightenment and “shalom” – harmony and peace. A description of the role of the Moshiach is found in the following prophecy from the Book of Isaiah:
“A staff will emerge from the stump of Jesse, and a shoot will sprout from his roots. The spirit of Hashem will rest upon him – a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and reverence for Hashem. He will be imbued with a spirit of reverence for Hashem; and he will not need to judge by what his eyes see nor decide by what his ears hear. He will judge the destitute with righteousness, and decide with fairness for the humble of the earth. He will strike the world with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked one. Righteousness will be the girdle round his loins, and faith will be the girdle round his waist.” (Isaiah 11:1-5)
The above passage states that he will have “a spirit of knowledge and reverence for Hashem.” This clearly indicates that the Moshiach is an enlightened human being who has reverence for Hashem, but who is not Hashem.
It also states: “He will strike the world with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked one.” According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, this verse reveals that the power of the Moshiach will come from “the rod of his mouth” – the strength of his teachings. Through these teachings, explains Rabbi Hirsch, the conscience and power of goodness within the wicked one will be awakened; thus, “the wicked one has certainly been killed, but in his place, a fresh pure human being has arisen anew.” (Commentary on the Haftoroth)
“The wolf will live with the sheep, and the leopard will lie down with the kid; and a calf, a lion whelp and a fatling together, and a young child will lead them. A cow and bear will graze and their young will lie down together; and a lion, like cattle, will eat hay. A suckling will play by a viper’s hole; and a newly weaned child will stretch his hand towards an adder’s lair. They will neither injure nor destroy in all of My sacred mountain; for the earth will be filled with knowledge of Hashem as water covering the sea bed. ” (Isaiah 11:6-9)
The above passage indicates that the creatures will regain the peaceful nature they had in the Garden of Eden before the sin of the human being. (Commentary of Ramban to Leviticus 26:6 – based on the teaching of Rabbi Shimon in the midrashic commentary, Toras Kohanim)
With the arrival of the Moshiach, adds the Prophet Isaiah, “nations will seek him” (verse 10). Isaiah then conveys to our people the following message:
“It shall be on that day that the Master of All will once again show His hand, to acquire the remnant of His people...He will raise a banner for the nations and assemble the castaways of Israel; and He will gather in the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (verses 11,12)
The above verses describe what the Moshiach will accomplish when he arrives. We are therefore awaiting the true Moshiach, who will fulfill all these prophecies and thereby lead Israel and the nations into the new age of enlightenment and shalom.
Why, however, did the Redeeming One arrange that the Moshiach descend from a union between Ruth, the convert from Moab, and Boaz, a sage of Israel? Our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the profound and mysterious ways of the Infinite One; yet, the following idea can perhaps be the beginning of an answer:
In order for the Moshiach to lead Israel and the nations, he needs to have roots in both Israel and the nations. It is therefore from the union of Boaz and Ruth that there will emerge the Moshiach who will elevate and unify Israel and the nations.
Have a Chag Samayach – a Joyous Festival,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)
Related Teachings and Insights:
Converts from a Christian background who join our people through accepting the Torah recognize the truth of the above teachings. They have therefore left Christianity – a religion which refers to a man named Jesus as, God, Savior, and the Messiah. These converts have chosen to join our small people – a people who have had the wisdom and the courage to recognize that the man Christians worship is not God, Savior, and the Messiah. Our rejection of these Christian doctrines is a major reason why we suffered great persecution in most Christian countries. Today, most Christians are not persecuting our people; yet, many of them still believe that we are an “unsaved” people with no hope for our souls, since we do not accept Christian doctrines. Unlike these Christians, the converts from a Christian background who chose to accept Judaism recognize that the Torah and its interpretations were given to our people and explained by our prophets. They therefore reject the belief that Jesus is God and Savior, for they have become aware of the following Divine message:
“I, only I, am God, and there is no Savior aside from Me.” (Isaiah 43:11)
The Prophets of Israel reveal that when the Messiah arrives, he will inaugurate an age of universal enlightenment and shalom which will also include an ingathering of all the exiles of Israel. The converts who join us recognize that Jesus did not fulfill these prophecies, and they share our yearning for the arrival of the true Messiah. These converts are a source of strength and encouragement to our people; moreover, their courageous decision to join us serves as a rebuttal to those lost Jews who, due to ignorance of the true meaning of their heritage, adopted the Christian doctrines.
Some of the Christian missionary organizations now encourage these lost Jews to move to Israel and celebrate the Jewish holidays, while dedicating them to the worship of Jesus. Outwardly, they act as Jews, but inwardly, they are Christian in terms of spirit and belief. This causes our people great pain, which is why both born Jews and Jews by choice pray that these lost Jewish brothers and sisters will find their way “home” – to our God and the Torah of our God.
2. The Moshiach will not only redeem the world, in general; he will also redeem each of us, in particular. This idea was stressed by the noted Torah educator, Rabbi Noson Wachtfogel, who passed away in 1998. He served as the Mashgiach – Spiritual Guide – for the students at the famous Lakewood Yeshiva, which was founded by Rabbi Aharon Kotler, a leading Torah sage.
In the following teaching, Rabbi Wachtfogel reminds us that the future redemption in the age of Moshiach includes the personal redemption of the individual:
“Those in our generation who have experienced suffering and those who are now undergoing crises should realize that these are the birth pangs of Moshiach. They should take strength in the knowledge that these pains and difficulties will not endure for long, because soon they will all be coming to an end. Every day brings us closer to that wonderful moment when Hashem will heal the broken-hearted, and our sorrows and groans shall vanish.”
This teaching from Rabbi Noson Wachtfogel is found in the book,
“The Legacy of Maran Rav Aharon Kotler” by Rabbi Yitzchok Dershowitz, published by Feldheim: www.feldheim.com
3. Those who joined our music list have received an mp3 recording of a Chassidic nigun (melody) known as the Nigun of Moshiach.
Most of the previous letters in this series appear in the archive on our website.