Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pre- Messianic Kingship -

ואם יעמוד מלך מבית דויד הוגה בתורה ועוסק במצוות כדויד אביו, כפי תורה

שבכתב ושבעל פה, ויכוף כל ישראל לילך בה ולחזק בדקה, ויילחם מלחמות

ה'--הרי זה בחזקת שהוא משיח: אם עשה והצליח, וניצח כל האומות שסביביו,

ובנה מקדש במקומו, וקיבץ נדחי ישראל--הרי זה משיח בוודאי.

ט ואם לא הצליח עד כה, או נהרג--בידוע שאינו זה שהבטיחה עליו תורה, והרי הוא ככל מלכי בית דויד השלמים הכשרים שמתו.

(Hil Melachim 11:4)

Should a Davidic king arise who learns Torah and is involved with doing Mitzvot like David his forebear, following both the written and oral Law compelling all of Israel to follow it and repair its cracks. Should he also fight the wars of HKBH, he would be considered as a presumptive Mashiach. If he is successful and conquers the surrounding nations and builds the Beit Hamikdash in its proper location, gathering in the scatterings of Israel, he is definitely Mashiach. If he was not successful that extent or if he is killed, then we know that he is definitely not the one promised by the Torah. He would be seen as any perfected and legitimate Davidic king who died.

It is fascinating that if we read this correctly, Rambam is suggesting the possibility of a Jewish king before Mashiach. In other words should a Jewish independent government come into existence before Mashiach, it would be considered legitimate.

I found this in an excellent article by Professor Aviezer Ravitzky (Lerefuah Shleima) Philosophy and Leadership in Maimonides after 800 Years edited by J.M.Harris. Although I am not in total agreement with some of his readings of Rambam, I highly recommend the article.


  1. See malbi"m to micha 4:8 (cited in eim habanim s'meicha)

  2. R. Chaim,

    Thank you.fascinating!