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The Rebbe as Moshiach

Who is Moshiach?

Certain questions are valid. Others stem from lack of knowledge. Like the question ‘How could a human being be Moshiach?’ An in-depth analysis of the sources and texts that describe the redemption, reveal that Moshiach is a human being, a righteous Jew who lives among us and is awaiting the moment that G-d will send him to redeem His nation from exile.

The most popular commentator of the Mishna, Rabbi Ovadia of Bartenura[1], states that ‘a descendant from the Kingdom of King David is born in each generation, who is fitting to be the redeemer. When the time is right, G-d will reveal Himself to this person and send him to redeem His people.
In light of this, it’s no wonder that Jews throughout the generations thought that their Rabbi was Moshiach!

Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi and the Arizal[2] were thought of by their students to be the redeemer, and Rabbi Nachman of the Talmud himself said that if his generation was worthy – he would be Moshiach!

In earlier generations there were discussions who might be the Moshiach. Since in our day, we have received a prophecy that “the time for the redemption has arrived,” the question now assumes greater importance. Who then is Moshiach?

To answer this question, a few words of introduction are needed on about what constitutes true Jewish leadership:

Throughout Jewish history, from the time of Moses till the present, the Jewish people have enjoyed great leadership. Great Jewish leaders are caring. They are courageous. They are inspiring. They are pious. But they serve a much greater purpose as well.[3]

A Jew naturally desires to be connected to G-d. But we are created with limitations. That is how G-d made us. The true Jewish leader is a connecting point between the Jews and his Maker.

He is a human being, a man of flesh and blood, but he has brought himself to a level of such spiritual perfection, that his physical life is nothing but an expression of G-dliness. He is so united with G-d in his thoughts, in his words, and in his actions, that his role is, as it were, divinely inspired. He is connected to the Jewish people because G-d wants to be connected to His people.

In every generation[4] there is one such leader, a special Tzaddik, a righteous G-dly person, who serves this role, and who is fit to be the Moshiach.

We have been told with absolute certainty that our generation is the last generation of exile, and will be the first generation of redemption. Logically, the leader of our generation is the one most naturally fit to be the Moshiach!

Clear Signs

Prior to the redemption from Egypt, G-d provided the Jewish People with clear signs in order to be able to identify Moses as the true redeemer.

Similarly, Maimonides lays out several signs for us to be able to identify Moshiach:

‘If a king will arise from the house of David who will delve deeply in the study of the Torah like (King) David his ancestor, and observe the Mitzvahs as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; and will compel all of Israel to walk in the ways of the Torah, and will repair all the breaches in its observance; and will fight the wars of G-d; we may, with assurance, consider him Moshiach.

“If he succeeds in the above, and builds the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Temple) on its site in Jerusalem, and gathers in the dispersed remnants of Israel, he is definitely the Moshiach.

“He will then perfect the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve G-d together…’[5]

These words are as clear as day. They define the character and accomplishments of Moshiach. A king-like leader, a descendant of King David, dedicated to the ways of G-d, who works tirelessly to return the nation to the proper way. If there is someone who fits this description, he is not just a wise or wonderful person, he is someone whom we must consider to be Moshiach, according to Jewish law.

The people’s acceptance of this man as their Moshiach is crucial to the success of his Divine mission.

Long Live the King!

Now that we have the definition of Moshiach, and living in a time so clearly on the threshold of the redemption, we must use this knowledge to make important decisions.

A great leader in our time is the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Let’s take a closer look at this unique man.

The Rebbe is a descendent of the Maharal of Prague,[6] who traces back his lineage directly to King David. The Rebbe’s spiritual accomplishments are incomparable to those of any human being in our generation. Most importantly, he is the one who is completely selfless in his devotion to others, and never rests for a moment in reaching out to Jews in every corner of the globe. He sends Shluchim (emissaries) to far flung towns and cities, concerning himself with the well-being of every single Jew, ensuring that they fulfill at least one Mitzvah in their lives. Without exaggerating, the Rebbe brings millions of Jews closer to Judaism in one way or another.

The Rebbe also takes a position on global issues and has emerged as a global leader who urged all humanity, not only Jews, to educate themselves and their children to be decent people who base their life on G-dly morals.

He has answered innumerable letters sent to him from around the world, and designated hours of his time to speak with people from all walks of life in private audiences. When time no longer allowed for that, the Rebbe began distributing dollars for charity and blessings to thousands of people every Sunday.  Most people would keep these dollars and give their value or more to a charitable cause. All those who turn to the Rebbe with a request for assistance or guidance, treasure each word of the Rebbe’s valuable blessing.

Together with all that the Rebbe has done to rebuild a generation devastated by holocaust, he has also made time to reveal deep innovations and insights in all dimensions of Jewish thought; mysticism, Kabbalah, Chassidic philosophy, Torah commentary, Talmudic analysis, and practical Jewish law. All forms of Torah thought are united connected in the Rebbe’s eyes, and he shows how they are all interconnected. His thoughts and teachings have been published in hundreds of volumes!

One who takes the principle of Moshiach seriously and considers the scope of the Rebbe’s accomplishments, and his message of certainty and hope, will have an answer to this controversial, yet serious and crucial question: “Who is Moshiach?”[7]

The Final Phase

On the third of Tamuz 5754, (June of 1994), the Rebbe’s physical presence was concealed from our eyes. When we turn to Torah to find direction what to do when such an occurrence happens in the midst of a redemption process, we discover that not in any way does it invalidate the clear prophecy that the redemption has begun.

In fact, the Midrash writes:

‘Rabbi Berachia, in the name of Rabbi Levi said: Just like the first redeemer, Moses, revealed himself to the Jews and then concealed himself…similarly, the final redeemer will reveal himself, then conceal himself…and then return and reveal himself again.’[8]

The Arizal writes that Moshiach will first redeem himself once and then ascend on high, body and soul, and only afterwards ‘he will be recognized and all the Jews will gather towards him.’[9]

This is also brought in the writings of Rabeinu Bechayai,[10] who writes that the ultimate redemption will be similar to the initial redemption of the Jews from Egypt. After Moses first asked Paraoh to let the Jewish people go, there ensued an even harsher period of persecution, until Moses later returned and redeemed them. Similarly it is written, ‘Moshiach will come, conceal himself, and then reveal himself again.’

Jews are called “believers, sons of believers.” We have no doubt that the words of the righteous will be fulfilled. There are innumerable stories of blessings that the Rebbe gave to people, advice and promises, that were fulfilled to the letter. When it comes to something so fundamental, so crucial to our lives as the coming of Moshiach, there is no doubt that the words words will be fulfilled. We can be sure that every single word of the Rebbe’s prophecies regarding Moshiach will come true, and very soon we will merit to see the Rebbe leading us out of exile.

It is incumbent upon us to do all that we can to hasten the coming of Moshiah by doing all that the Rebbe told us to do. We must study the topic of Moshiach and the final redemption. We must give more charity, and we must thank G-d for the tremendous miracles that have already taken place, and we must pray, beg and plead for G-d to send us the complete and final redemption immediately Now!

It may be just one good deed away!


[1] Italy; 1500’s. In his commentary on Ruth. Rabbi Chiyzkayahu Medini, (Uzbekistan-Israel; 1800’s) author of the first in depth Talmudic encyclopedia Sedei Chemed work reiterates this concept. R’ Moshe Sofer (Astro-Hungary, 1800’s) reiterates the idea as well in his Halachic responsa collection 6:97.

[2] Highest authority Kabbalist since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar; Egypt-Israel 1534-1572.

[3] For an in-depth explanation of this topic, see “A Tzadik and his Students” by Rabbi Shloma Majesky, SIE, New York, 2008.

[4] Tikkunei Zohar; pp 99.

[5] Mishneh Torah; book 14, Laws of Kings 11:4

[6] Rabbi Yehuda Lowie; Prague, Czechoslovakia, 1600’s; A rabbi, leader and author of many titles on Jewish philosophy, ethics, law and bible


[7] The Rebbe has hinted in many occasions to himself fulfilling role of Mashiach. Some examples: The Rebbe emphasized time and again, that the leader of the generation is the redeemer of the generation. Hehinted that Mashiach’s name is ‘Menachem’ and that the word ‘Miyad’ (Immediately) is an acronym for 3 generations of Lubavitcher Rebbes. The Rebbe added that Mashiach is already revealed and has begun to influence the world at large. See in the above sources in footnote 31.

[8] Midrash Rabbah; on Numbers 11:3

[9] Sefer Hagilgulim; chapter 13.

[10] Spain; c. 1340. Kabbalist, Philosepher, Torah.



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