he Rebbe as Moshiach
Criteria Revisited

Among the various codes of Jewish Law, Maimonides singularly estab¬lishes criteria by which to identify Moshiach. For the Jew, only someone who meets these criteria could possi¬bly be Moshiach (the Messiah) and actually bring the promised world of good.

Let\'s review this definitive ruling by Maimonides on the identity of Moshiach. We will find that identifying Moshiach is a two-staged process: After a first set of accomplishments, the individual in question becomes characterized as the presumed Moshiach. After the second set of achievements he is characterized as the definite Moshiach. We will analyze this law, point by point in relation to what is known about the Rebbe. This will help us evaluate the rationality of the claim that the Rebbe is Moshiach, at least from the standpoint of Jewish Law.

Maimonides states:

"If a king will arise from the House of David who is learned in Torah and occupied in the observance of commandments as prescribed by the written and oral law as was David, his ancestor, and he will compel all of Israel to walk in the way of the Torah and reinforce the breaches in its observance and he will fight the wars of G-d, we may then presume him to be the Moshiach. If he does this and is successful and is victorious over the nations around him, and builds the Temple in his place and gathers the dispersed, then he is definitely Moshiach. And he will perfect the world to serve G-d with one purpose ..."

The Presumed Moshiach

“ËœIf a king will arise from the house of David’ The Rebbe’s of Chabad trace their paternal lineage, through the renowned R\' Yehuda Loewe of Prague, all the way back to King Solomon and his father, King David, of the Tribe of Yehudah.1 The Rebbe has been formally accepted as a king by hundreds of thousands of Jews and quite a few non-Jews throughout the entire world. This was illustrated by thousands of signed documents pledging loyalty to his status as a king. His followers accept his instructions as words of royalty. The Rebbe\'s publications since early 1991 have been distributed under the name, "Royal Edict“ or “Words of the King" (Dvar Malchus in Hebrew), with the Rebbe\'s approval.

“ËœLearned in Torah and occupied in the observance of commandments as David his ancestor’ The Rebbe\'s knowledge of Torah defies description. He is readily conversant in the entire Tradition from Sinai. He has constantly revealed new teachings and explanations of concepts in all areas of Torah. The Rebbe offers penetrating insights into seemingly mundane matters and connects them to the Torah, showing how everything in this world serves an integral purpose in G-d\'s plan.

His expertise on the entire Torah is accepted not only by his followers, but also by the greatest non-Chassidic scholars through¬out the Jewish world, who exhibit great respect toward the Rebbe. These include Rabbis Moshe Feinstein, Shneur Zalman Auerbach, Aharon Soloveitchik, Pinchas Hirschprung, the Rogatchover Gaon, the Baba Sali, and the chief Rabbis of Jerusalem and of the State of Israel. Their acknowledgment of the Rebbe\'s genius in Torah is a matter of public record.2

The Rebbe\'s lifestyle was an unblemished example of complete harmony with Torah. His personal standards of Jewish observance are unsurpassed, whether in commandments between man and his Maker, or between man and his fellow. The following story provides an indication of his uncanny spiritual sensitivity.

One Saturday afternoon, several thousand followers had gath¬ered to hear the Rebbe speak. He came in, sat down, and said nothing at all. After a brief while, he quietly told one of his follow¬ers that "now they want me to break the Sabbath". They figured out that someone must have concealed a tape recorder and a quick, thorough search revealed a hidden tape recorder left on to record the Rebbe speaking. Once the situation was dealt with, and the Rebbe could speak without doing prohibited creative work on the Sabbath, he convened the Chassidic gathering as planned.

One may ask, is anyone capable of being perfect in their observance of 613 commandments for an entire lifetime? If you have such a question, consider the follow¬ing story about the Chofetz Chaim, a saintly, Jewish sage of about a century ago. He was called into a courtroom as a character witness for someone. Before he stood up to testify, the man\'s lawyer intro¬duced the Chofetz Chaim to the court with a true account of an incident involving him. Once a man broke into the Chofetz Chaim\'s home to steal his possessions. As he was running away with the loot, the Chofetz Chaim ran after him calling to him, "consider the stuff as yours. I disown it." He did this in order that the man would not be guilty of theft. Hearing this, the judge said to the lawyer, "Now do you really think he did that?" The lawyer answered, "I don\'t know, Your Honor, but they don\'t tell stories like that about me and you."

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