I was just on My Jewish Learning and I looked up the term Messiah and read about 7 articles – until I almost literally fell asleep at my desk…and I found some gems.
Messiah as Skilled Judge
“Bar Koziva ruled for two and a half years, and then said to the rabbis, “I am the Messiah.” They answered, “It is written that the Messiah can judge by smell (based on Isaiah 11:3); let us see whether he [Bar Koziva] can do so.” When they saw that he could not judge by smell, they killed him.” –Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 93b
I had to share this one – this one had me burst out with some giggles. Word to the wise, get the sinuses checked before making this claim.
“All the righteous have been heads of academies on earth, and have become disciples of the heavenly academy, and the Messiah visits all these academies and puts his seal on the Torah that comes from the mouths of the teachers.” –Zohar Bereishit 1, 4b
Uh hah! I had to put this one on here – it kind of lined up with my view on Messiah.
The Messiah’s Arrival Depends Upon the People Israel
R. Alexandri said, R. Joshua contrasted two verses: It is written, “And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven” (Daniel 7:13), and another verse says, “[behold, your king comes to you…] humble and riding on an ass” (Zechariah 9:7). If Israel merits it, [he will come] “with the clouds of heaven”; if not, [he will be] “humble and riding on an ass.” –Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a
I like this view – it depends on the people’s actions how the Messiah will come.
“As for the specifics of the messianic age, as with most theological issues, rabbinic literature has no uniform theory or theology. Generally speaking, the messianic era will be proceeded by Jewish suffering, the “birth pangs” of the Messiah. Afterwards, the exiled Jewish community will return to Israel, the Davidic monarchy will be restored, and all of humanity will recognize the true God. Whether there will be supernatural occurrences is a matter of debate.”
Summary of some beliefs that are held concerning the Messiah.
“Messianism is still a prominent theme in modern Judaism, though many contemporary Jews have rejected belief in an individual Messiah…messianic fervor has fermented amongst the Habad Lubavitch Hasidim, some of whom claim that their late leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, is in fact the Messiah. These Hasidim believe that the “Rebbe,” as Schneerson is known, will be resurrected (or that he isn’t truly “dead”) and will return to fulfill the messianic work he began during his lifetime.”
Rabbi as messiah…hmmm? just found that interesting is all.
Messiah – that ago old quest – in Christian and Jewish circles – takes many a face – doesn’t it? Goes from no way there is one, to a type of age/era, to signs, to actions, and to positons. Just goes to show how wide this subject really is and how varied this topic can become.
Thought I’d share this since in the Christian faith we are messianics – based on the messiah idea. This was a single aspect of Jewish theology – which makes me wonder – how do we keep the Messiah idea we use in balance (acts as our main theology) with how we use the teachings we have?