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Who is Moshiach?

by Mendel Green


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Halachic Identification 

Maimonides, in his Laws of Kings1 describes the defining features of Moshiach

"If a king arises from the House of David who meditates on the Torah and occupies himself with the commandments like his ancestor David, in accordance with the written and oral Torah, and he will prevail all of Israel to walk in [the ways of the Torah] and strengthen its breaches (in the observance of the Torah), and he will fight the battles of G-d - it may be assumed that he is Moshiach.

"If he did [these things] successfully, built the Sanctuary on its site and gathered the dispersed of Israel - he is definitely Moshiach! He will [then] correct the entire world to serve G-d in unity, as it is said, "For then I will turn to the peoples a pure tongue that all shall call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one consent.""

Had the Jewish people only paid more attention to these laws, we could have spared ourselves much of the crushing disappointment generated by false messiahs throughout the ages. For these impostors built their cases on misconstrued midrashim, signs etc., but none passed Maimonides Halachic test. Even when Moshiach comes, only his Halachic suitability will confirm his identity.

As a faithful shepherd he already cares so much about his people that he volunteered to suffer all kinds of agonies to assure that not a single Jew of all times will be lost
Scriptual Description 

Here are what the scriptures say about Moshiach:

"The spirit of G-d will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and might, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of G-d. He shall be inspired with fear of G-d, and he shall not judge with the sight of his eyes nor decide according to the hearing of his ears.

"He shall judge the poor with righteousness and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of his lips. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his reins."2

"Behold, My servant shall be wise, he shall be exalted and lofty, and shall be very high."3  

"Through his knowledge My servant shall justify the righteous to the many.." 4

Additional Information 

His wisdom shall exceed even that of King Solomon; he shall be greater than the patriarchs, greater than all the prophets after Moses, and in many respects even more exalted than Moses.

His stature and honor shall exceed that of all kings before him. He will be an extraordinary prophet, second only to Moses, with all the spiritual and mental qualities that are prerequisites to be endowed with the gift of prophecy.

As a faithful shepherd he already cares so much about his people that he volunteered to suffer all kinds of agonies to assure that not a single Jew of all times will be lost.

Moshiach shall meditate on the Torah and be preoccupied with mitzvahs. He shall teach all the Jewish people and instruct them in the way of G-d. He will prevail upon Israel to follow and observe the Torah, repair its breaches, and fight the battles of G-d.5

Moshiach will reveal altogether new insights, making manifest the hidden mysteries of the Torah, to the point that "all the Torah learned in the present world will be vain compared to the Torah of Moshiach". Though Moshiach comes first and foremost to Israel, all the nations will recognize his wisdom and sublimity and submit to his rule. He will guide and instruct them as well.

There is no need for Moshiach to perform signs and wonders to prove himself. Nonetheless, he will do so.

Republished with permission from


[Ed. note: Also read "How will we recognize Moshiach?"]


  • 1. Maimonides laws of Kings 11:4
  • 2. Isaiah 11:2-5.
  • 3. Isaiah 52:13.
  • 4. Isaiah 53:10.
  • 5. Maimonides ibid.


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Philosophy » Messiah

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Pertaining to Jewish Law.
Moses son of Maimon, born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.