REESTABLISHING THE CROWN TO ITS
FORMER GLORY...AND MORE
Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic
WHY KING DAVID?
"I will see him, but not now, I will look at him, but not at a proximity, a
star will shoot from Yaakov and a scepter will arise from Yisroel, and he
will smash the corners of Moav and eradicate all the children of Sheth"
(Bamidbar 24:17, in this week’s Sidra of Balak) The Rambam (hil. Melachim 11:1) writes that the repetitive, double terminology of this verse is referring to two Moshiachs, the first one being king David and the second one, the final Moshiach/Messiah. We have to understand why king David is referred to as a Moshiach. If only by virtue of his having been anointed
(moshiach=anointed), there were many others anointed kings and he wasn't
even the first one to be thusly anointed. It would seemingly make more
sense to say that Moshe Rabbeinu, the "first redeemer", would qualify as
the first Moshiach. Another question is why does the Rambam (ibid:4) not
mention the great qualities of Moshiach in this passage , such as (those he
mentions elsewhere) :"master of wisdom, greater than king Shlomo, a great
prophet close to the prophecy-level of Moshe".
THE MAIN FUNCTION OF MOSHIACH
Both questions can be answered by analyzing what is the principal function
of Moshiach, both the first and final, according to Rambam's opinion. His
wording indicates that it is neither his ability to perform miracles, bring
about changes within the course of nature nor even his possessing prophetic
ability of the highest caliber -- though we know that Moshiach will possess
all these abilities also. Rather, says the Rambam, it is the fact that he
will coerce all of Israel to uphold all the laws and Mitzvos of the Torah
in their entirety and thus raise the banner of Torah and the glory of
G-d throughout the word. Rather than stressing changes within nature
through miracles, Moshiach will bring the whole world to a state of unchanging spiritual consistency. Having done that, he will be readily
acknowledged "b'chezkas Moshiach", safely assumed as the spoken for
Moshiach. And upon completing this main task and function of his through
the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash and the ingathering of all the exiles
to the Holy Land of Israel, he will be declared Moshiach vaday, with utmost
certainty. Therefore, the only one, besides the final Moshiach, first to
establish the firm foundation of Israel as a unified theocratic Holy Land,
imposing his and G-d's will over all of its inhabitants, upholding Jewish
pride and glory, and setting the path for the building of the Beis
Hamikdash and the establishment of G-d's kingdom on earth-- was King David. He therefore, is clearly the first Moshiach alluded to in this verse.
This will also explain a difference between the procedure necessary to
establish the credentials of a prophet vs. that necessary for Moshiach to
establish his credentials as Moshiach. A prophet's credentials are
established on the basis of his prophetic ability, for that is his main
function: he has to predict future events several times, and they have
to come about with precision. Moshiach's credentials are established
through his ability at, and actual strengthening of Torah and Mitzvos
observance throughout the Jewish world, this being his main function.
He has to demonstrate that he is indeed strengthening Torah-true observance
throughout the Jewish world and also the non-Jewish world, for the
Seven Noahide Laws are also Torah-mandated, and is proceeding towards the fulfilment of G-d's Will in Creation to make this earth a dwelling place
for his revealed Glory. Accordingly, the mitzvah to believe in the coming of Moshiach, as per Rambam, assumes an additional dimension: we not only have to believe in a general way that "Moshiach is on his way", but also that he indeed will bring both the Jewish world and the whole world to recognize and accept the "rule of Divine Law". Consequently, as there are those who will oppose this process, there is the need for Moshiach, as king and ruler, to
overcome all such opposition by "waging G-d's battles", in the same manner
that King David did.
BACK TO THE ORIGINAL HEIGHTS OF TRUTH AND HIGHER ...
This also explains why the Rambam, when citing arei miklat (cities of
refuge) as one of the Torah proofs attesting to the coming of Moshiach,
writes it as a separate halacha (11:2) in that chapter, though it would
seem to flow straight from the preceding halacha (11:1). This is to
underscore an additional point: in addition to Moshiach's main function
being that of "returning the Crown of Jewry and Yiddishkeit to its former
glory" (as it was in the days of kings David and Solomon), there is also an
element of completion that has not yet taken place: the additional three
cities of refugee (in addition to the original six) have not yet been
designated and thus never assumed their halachic status as such.
Therefore, since every word of the Torah is Divine, the Torah is assuring
us that unprecedented Torah glory and shleimus (completion), even more than the former glory (when there were not yet these 3 additional arei miklat), is yet to come through Moshiach.
This also answers another question: why did the Rambam arrange the Laws of Kings at the end of Yad Hachazaka (when it seemingly should have been
arranged before the Laws of Building the Beis Hamikdash, to be built by the king)), with the laws of Moshiach at the very end. The reason is that the only one who can fully implement all the laws of the Torah as delineated in Yad Hachazaka till the end has to be a benevolent but all powerful Jewish king, of the stature of King David, and that the culmination of this process occurs with the emergence of the greatest and most powerful king of all, Moshiach Tzidkeinu, for, again, this indeed is his main function. He will apply his G-d-granted powers to eradicate all forms of evil from this world, not swerving one iota from before pressure coming from any quarter and establish G-d's Kingdom on earth.
....AND THE CONCURRENT DISSOLVING OF ALL FALSEHOODS
We thus see the true image and dimension of Moshiach, clearly enunciated in the Rambam. i.e. with his great gifts of wisdom and prophecy being secondary to this main function of "returning the Crown to its former glory" (and to even greater heights, with advent of the three additional arei miklat).
This is why Moshiach is always referred to as Melech HaMoshiach, king Moshiach, for it takes the supreme uncontested authority of a king to bring about order in this progressively more and more complicated and confused world. As Melech HaMoshiach, he will topple and eradicate all forces opposed to the Master G-dly plan that he has been chosen to implement, regardless of all the silly political winds blowing throughout the world. He will also bring tikun (rectification) to the whole world, who will acknowledge the falsehoods of the beliefs thrusted upon them by their ancestors, recognizing that these beliefs are in the category of "falsehoods repeated long enough to become accepted as truth". This is why the edifice of the Catholic Church (the greatest source of antisemitism and persecutions of Jews throughout history) is presently crumbling, having no support of truth to rely upon. The falsehood of Islam will likewise soon be exposed, while the vast majority of honest, good people, finally recognizing that they have been hood-winked all along, will readily join the ranks of believers in the true Moshiach.
based on Likutey Sichos vol. 18 pp. 271-284