Moshiach and You

July 22, 2016 at 8:01 AM , , ,

“…I see him but not now, I behold him but not near; a star shoots forth from Yaakov…” – Bamidbar 24:17

אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב – במדבר כד, יז

Many early sources interpret Bilaam’s prophecy, “A star shoots forth from Yaakov,” as a reference to Moshiach, the future redeemer of the Jewish people (see Ramban and others). According to the sages of the Talmud, however, it refers to every Jew (see Talmud Yerushalmi, Maaser Sheni 4:6).

The two interpretations of this verse, either as a reference to even the simplest Jew or as a hint to Moshiach—the redeemer of the Jewish people, are not contradictory. In fact, according to the Baal Shem Tov, they are one and the same.

Moshiach and You

The Baal Shem Tov taught that the soul of Moshiach is the collective soul of the Jewish people. The complete revelation of the soul of Moshiach is therefore dependent on every Jew “preparing and repairing” the aspect of Moshiach’s soul that relates specifically to him (see Me’or Einayim, Pinchas). This is the meaning of the prophet Yeshayahu’s words, “He bears our illness; he suffers our pain” (Yeshayahu 53:4). The completeness of Moshiach’s identity is dependent on the individual input of every single Jew and he “suffers” when our work is deficient.

Similarly, Rambam (Laws of Teshuvah 3:4) writes: “A person must see himself and the world as equally balanced on two ends of the scale;… by doing one good deed, he tips the scale and brings for himself and the entire world redemption and salvation,” for it is truly in the hands of every individual to complete the soul of Moshiach and bring about his revelation.

Bilaam’s prophecy is thus equally attributable to the aspect of Moshiach entrusted with the individual Jew as it is to our future redeemer himself.

—Toras Menachem, vol. 31, pp. 122-125


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