Did you ever wonder how to explain to someone on Mivtzoim or in your Chabad House, the basic beliefs about the coming of Moshiach in a nutshell? Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman, Shliach of Oro Valley, Arizona, wrote a column in the ‘Arizona Jewish Post’ highlighting the fundamental beliefs about the Messianic era.
Not too long ago I was at Tucson Hebrew Academy doing a couple of guest presentations for the third, fourth, and fifth graders, and what unfolded while doing so was rather exciting.
The topic was the Jewish view regarding the Moshiach (Messiah) and the Messianic era. Essentially, my goal was to share with the students a sweeping and brief overview of the main prophecies, midrashim (commentaries), and beliefs regarding what the destiny of the world will look like according to Jewish tradition.
As the presentation moved along, the hands shot up one after the other with little respite, asking all sorts of curious questions about this subject matter. It was fascinating to see to what extent the students were engaged while learning about this topic.
It seems to me that a number of people are not aware of the key points concerning Moshiach as they are recorded in our own tradition. Allow me to share them here, then, for the benefit of the public. The points below are almost all mentioned in Scriptures (in the Tanach).
Human Moshiach – We are told that an era of redemption will be brought about through an individual, a descendant of King David, whose title is Moshiach.
Restoration of the Beit Hamikdash – This is the belief that there will be the rebuilding of a third temple in Jerusalem like Ezekiel spoke about.
Ingathering of the exiles of Israel – As spoken of in Deuteronomy, when the Moshiach will come there will be a national reunion of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.
End to evil and sin – (Here’s something to look forward to!) At least six different prophets spoke of the time when “your people will all be righteous,” and “the sins shall not be found,” etc.
Awareness and knowledge of G-d – After the Messiah arrives, there will be universal awareness, perception and knowledge of G-d. Perhaps the most famous of the verses that speak of this matter is Isaiah’s “the earth shall be full of knowledge of G-d, as the waters cover the sea.”
Universal worship of G-d – Without evil in our hearts, and with knowledge of G-d everywhere, this one becomes easier. Zephaniah 3:9 said: “For then I shall turn to the peoples a pure tongue, that all shall call upon the name of G-d to serve Him with one consent.”
Universal peace and harmony – Another one we can all agree upon would be beautiful. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares … Nation shall not lift a sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.” I say amen.
Resurrection of the dead – This one might just be the most astounding of them all. But this is a critical part of Jewish belief. Maimonides even categorizes it as one of the 13 principles of Jewish faith!
Blissful utopia – These good times have really high standards. An end to disease, death, and famine and “delicacies will accessible like dust.”
And there you have it. A crash course in the Jewish teachings about the future.