Monday, December 07, 2009

Does the Midrash Preclude FFBs From Becoming Mashiah?

Bamidbar Rabba 14:2:

דבר אחר
מי הקדימני ואשלם
מדבר באברהם, שמעצמו הכיר להקב"ה, כמה דכתיב (משלי יד): מדרכיו ישבע סוג לב וגו
מהו מדרכיו ישבע סוג לב
ר' אבא בר כהנא אומר: סוג לב וגו', שהוא מלא סיגים מדרכיו, עתיד להשתבע (משלי י"ד): ומעליו איש טוב זה היה אברהם שהכיר מעצמו להקב"ה, ולא היה אדם שלימד אותו היאך להכיר את המקום, אלא הוא מעצמו, וזהו אחד מד' בני אדם שמעצמם הכירו להקב"ה
איוב הכיר מעצמו להקב"ה
מנין
שכן הוא אומר (איוב כג): מחקי צפנתי אמרי פיו

חזקיהו מלך יהודה, אף הוא מעצמו הכיר להקב"ה
מנין
שכן כתיב עליו (ישעיה ז): חמאה ודבש יאכל לדעתו מאוס ברע ובחור בטוב

ומלך המשיח, מעצמו הכיר להקב"ה


The Midrash says that there were 4 individuals who came to the realization of their Creator on their own: Avraham Avinu, Iyov, King Hizkiya, and Mashiah.

The only commentary I found on the addition of Mashiah here was the מהרז"ו, who basically gives prooftexts to this even though none was given in the Midrash itself. The prooftexts he provides are הִנֵּה יַשְׂכִּיל, עַבְדִּי - that he gave himself the שכל of knowing his Creator and מֵעֲמַל נַפְשׁוֹ, יִרְאֶה יִשְׂבָּע--בְּדַעְתּוֹ יַצְדִּיק צַדִּיק עַבְדִּי, which implies his own Da'at.

So, is it true that FFBs could not become Mashiah?

To try to understand this, let's analyze the other 3 people mentioned. Avraham's father was an idol-worshipper, so he knew nothing of HKB"H, and at a certain age (some say 3), recognized his Creator on his own.
Iyov, according to most opinions, was not Jewish, so he too knew nothing of HKB"H, and he too came to the realization of HKB"H on his own.
Hizkiya is an interesting case. His father, Ahaz, was a Rasha. However, you would have to say that he must have known something about Judaism from living in the palace in Yerushalayim. Yet, the Midrash still considers him as having come to this realization on his own. How could this be?
The verse that is brought for Hizkiya is one that says that he will despise evil and choose good using his own knowledge, while coming from a home that chose evil. Hizkiya knew both paths, and decided to choose the good path on his own volition. Hizkiya, despite his father, would be considered an FFB and a BT at the same time.

And Mashiah? Do Mashiah's parents (or guardians) have to be Reshaim like Hizkiya's? Or do they have to be totally ignorant of HKB"H and His ways? Or, perhaps, he was born to a fine family, went off the derech, and will find his way back on his own?

This Midrash leaves a lot of questions unanswered. If anyone else has some insight on this Midrash, I'd love to hear it.

15 Comments:

At Mon Dec 07, 03:02:00 AM 2009, Blogger Yehudi Yerushalmi said...

Rav Ezriel Tauber mentions this a lot, drawing mostly from the Maharal: That todays FFBs may become BTs without even necessarily leaving the derech first.

Briefly (I am unable to do him justice, my apologies to Rav Tauber): He compares it to a tunnel, where the entrance to the tunnel represents the light of Sinai, and the exit represents the light of Mashiach.

"Conventional" BTs go through a stage in the tunnel where they can't see the light from either end, and slowly start seeing the light from the "exit"

Some FFBs go through a stage where they can see the light from the "exit" while still being able to see the light from the "entrance", hence receiving "new appreciation and energy" for Torah and Mitzvot.

 
At Mon Dec 07, 04:41:00 AM 2009, Blogger משה רפאל said...

אמרו לפניו רבש"ע מי הוא זה שאנו נופלים בידו מה שמו ומה טיבו. א"ל הקב"ה אפרים משיח צדקי שמו, ומגביה קומתו
וקומת דודו ומאיר עיני ישראל ומושיע עמו, ואין כל אומה ולשון יכולה לעמוד בו


{ילקוט שמעוני ישעיהו רמז תצט}

 
At Mon Dec 07, 05:31:00 AM 2009, Blogger N said...

I think the dilemma is a self created one: the terms Bt and FFB are modern terms and have no place in a Torah discussion. The reason for this is that very simply, anyone who has ever done an aveira and done Teshuva properly is a BT. I'm one in that sense. The term BT meaning born not frum is a concept you applied to the Midrash.

I'm not sure I like the pshat on Hizkiya Hamelech, as Moshe Rabbenu should then be on the list too, as Rabbi Nathan Lopez Cardozo explains the pasuk "and he looked both ways, and saw there was no man, and he killed the Egyptian" to mean almost your exact explanation of Hizkiya, that he was neither Egyptian/Jew (and killed the Egyptian within him, or in Hizkiya's case, neither Tzaddik/Rasha, so they chose the right path.

A very simple explanation of the Midrash is that there is a requirement for someone who chose correctly out of personal conviction rather than cultural influence.

 
At Mon Dec 07, 06:09:00 AM 2009, Blogger Ari Goldwag said...

I once saw a quote from Rebbe Nachman, who said, in regards to Moshiach's parents, "They won't be so ayayay." :) It's pretty clear that he will be someone from a weak Torah background. But that makes a lot of sense in the role of Moshiach ben Yosef.

 
At Mon Dec 07, 07:26:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

could it be that instead of his parents,his brothers or sisters went off the path of torah? or maybe a very good friend that moshiach grew up with? lets say that even if his parents are righteous, but very close people are reshoim, then moshiach gets the culture of non religious and at the same time, the good torah education from his parents,similar to chizkiah.

 
At Mon Dec 07, 08:01:00 AM 2009, Anonymous holy chuppah said...

i also wanted to make the point of rebbe nachman saying even mashiach's parents won't be so ay yai yai. but i would also add that it doesn't necessarily mean he comes from a weak torah background or even that his parents were lacking something in yiddishkeit. rather something more subtle is possible: anyone who has had a little experience marrying off children via shidduchim in the "FFB" world know that there are those families who would never consider a shidduch unless the parents were known to be "ay yai yai" in some way, i.e., one of the "known" families with publicly acknowledged yichus. (important when you can write "from beit mishpacha meyucheset ploni" on the wedding invitation. This is a huge motivating factor for many in the FFB world and FFB wannabes. My point? Mashiach can still come from a family with extraordinary "FFB" parents, but perhaps not acknowledged as such in the heavy-duty closed circles. the ay yai yai is relative. and regarding understanding non-religious culture? Who knows, perhaps that gap is closed by Mrs. Mashiach... Anything is possible:))

 
At Mon Dec 07, 02:02:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Isaac said...

Foolish question for two reasons: 1) We don't pasken from midrashim (especially something vague like this) and 2) The Rambam paskens that Moshiach is a king. Look for the king, that's where you'll find Moshiach. (And of course every Jew has a spark of the king in him, but he himself is not the king)

 
At Mon Dec 07, 03:41:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Someone said...

Loved this post!

 
At Mon Dec 07, 09:53:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Shiloh said...

Keep telling you, but you won't listen. HaShem will identify him to us, then we decide if we want him, thus annointing him. He comes on a derech just like that of Moshe. We keep grasping for straws.

 
At Tue Dec 08, 12:14:00 AM 2009, Blogger משה רפאל said...

Why would the Midrash say this? We all build our knowledge and Hashkafa on the knowledge and Hashkafa of others. We do not validate everything we build on. Many things we take for granted. This has to be. We have neither time nor ability to learn, check, understand everything. This state of affairs implies a vulnerability to personal crises. When things get tough, one might suddenly find oneself doubting the basis that one once took for granted. Only who reached the truth himself, indepedently, from scratch, without a basis, is not subject to this vulnerability.

 
At Tue Dec 08, 12:30:00 AM 2009, Anonymous Rentsy said...

Rambam uses the term "Baal teshuva" in hilchot teshuva. He uses it to mean "one who sins, and later finds themselves in the same situation, and does not sin."

Which is not how the term is thrown around today at all.

 
At Tue Dec 08, 04:27:00 AM 2009, Blogger yitz.. said...

according to R' Avraham Azulai, Iyov knew of Avraham and tried to emulate him and we know from other midrashim that Eyov knew both Bilaam and Yitro, as well as Pharoah -- and he knew them in the years after Yoseph had been in the palace, as well as after the Jews descended to Mitzrayim..

So, he knew of Judaism, knew it existed, and modeled himself on Avraham Avinu. (as Bilaam also tried to do, but in a different way) and R' Azulai also says that Iyov was married to Dinah, daughter of Yaakov Avinu;

This means that no only Hizkiyah but also Iyov is now not entirely uninfluenced by prior Jewish belief in God.

- bottom line, in my humble opinion, the relationship with HaShem discussed in this medrash seems like it always HAS to be developed on one's own. (regardless of your prior upbringing jewish/religious/otherwise)

 
At Tue Dec 08, 10:35:00 AM 2009, Blogger MW said...

The short answer is "no." Philosophically speaking that is, because Mashiach is a "BT." Longer answer is here

 
At Thu Aug 26, 05:33:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard the following explanations:

* Mashiach ben Yosef will be a woman;
* Mashiach ben Yosef will be a ger;
* Mashiach ben Yosef will understand kabbalah by his own;
* All the options above together.

These descriptions fit perfectly to the midrash mentioned, to the post itsel and to the descriptions of Mashiach ben Yosef in Kol haTor, by Vilna Gaon.

 
At Thu Dec 12, 01:49:00 PM 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shalom u'Vracha,

Moshiach by his very nature and tikkun must be brought up with the greatest amount of spiritual resistance. His tikkun is ours and ours his. He is the holy counterpart to the nachash and can only neutralize him by understanding his tactics and net effects. See Avraham - terach, yaakov - lavan, yoseph - pharoh, moshe - pharaoh, yisrael - galut!!

To say he is a baal teshuva is an understatement - he must also be a light not just to us but the whole world world - and this can only be done with pure empathy and genuine ahavat hashem - not simply sympathy and yirat hashem - big difference. This mode requires the heavy sharpening and fine tuning of the moshiach's own neshama through our collective actions.

Ad shetagia bimkomo - putting yourself in other shoes must not be a challenge for him for he has already experienced that specific pain or challenge regardless of your religion or belief. Hashem pummeled him with it all during his life. He doesn't even need to judge by his eyes or ears for that reason - he just knows or "smells" by his own experiences which happens to include ALL of them. He also can judge effectively by seperating the sin from the sinner and the thought from the deed. He sees your neshama through his and judges you with same kaf zechut or din that he would give himself.

If yoseph is tzion and all that happens to tzion happens to yoseph then that means ALL that happens r'l. The only difference between his neshama and the previous ones is that he will or already has survived the deepest spiritual plunge in history for a neshama of his caliber and will come back crowned and finally able to act and maybe talk about it. The holy Ramchal writes that his greatest suffering emanates from his inability to act despite knowing exactly what and how to do it.

His geulah will be ours and ours wilkl be his only through heartfelt tefilot, positive thoughts, and super unconditional love for all of his creatures despite what you naturally feel.

May we see him soon and may hashem relieve him of his suffering and redeem him from his chains bimhayra byameinu amen!

...

 

Post a Comment

<< Home