Today I am writing on the 19 January 2012 or 24th of the Hebrew month Tevet (which means Ark), in five days we will enter into the month of Shevat (This Shabbat we bless the new Hebrew month of Shevat). The name Shevat relates to the Hebrew word shevet meaning "staff" that is associated with the concept of authority and kingship as it is written, "The shevet will not depart from Yehudah (Judah)." The most perfect expression of this concept will be in the Era of the Redemption, with the assumption of sovereignty by Mashiach. And thus on the verse, "And a shevet will arise in Israel," the Rambam (Rabbi Moses ben-Maimon) comments, "This refers to the King Mashiach."
The word shevet also means "branch" or "shoot." In this context, there is also a connection to Mashiach, for on the verse "A shoot will emerge from the stem of Yishai" which begins a renown prophecy concerning Mashiach’s coming, the Metzudat David / "The Bulwark of David", writen by David ben Solomon ibn (Abi) Zimra also known as Radbaz (רדב"ז) comments "a shevet will emerge… the King Mashiach."
"A shoot shall come forth from the stem of Yishai, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of HaShem shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of HaShem "(Yeshayahu / Isaiah 11:1-2).
The connection between Shevat and the essential revelations of the Era of the Redemption is also apparent from the fact that it is the eleventh month of the Hebrew calendar. All existence is structured in a pattern of ten and eleven alludes to that which transcends the natural order of things.
Rabbi Yitzchak ben Yosef, thirteenth century author of the classic Sefer Mitzvot Katan (Small Book of Commandments), explains that belief in the coming of The Messiah is a corollary to the belief in G-d itself. For it states in the first of the Ten Commandments: "I am HaShem, your G-d, who took you out of the land of Egypt…" Jewish commentators point out that this is actually the commandment to believe in G-d; and that He is the G-d who took us out of Egypt. Furthermore, this belief in G-d is more than just belief. For it is based on historical experience. The whole Jewish people themselves witnessed the miracles of the exodus from Egypt. We know that He exists because we ourselves were redeemed by Him. Not just an abstract deism (religious philosophy or mantra); the Hebrew Scriptures teaches that the G-d of Israel acts in the arena of history. We know Him as the ultimate Redeemer.
The faith in the coming of the Messiah is the codification of the human capacity for hope. It is the affirmation that history is neither an open-ended spiral of human suffering, nor will it terminate in universal self-destruction (like people called it, "end of the world"); rather that it will culminate in the spiritual and material redemption of the people of Israel and those who choose to join us (negating any other god, or religious system) through our Jewish Messiah. We are enjoined to await the imminent arrival of the Messiah. By anticipating his coming every day, we build up that messianic hope. By asking G-d in our prayers to bring the messianic era, the Messiah, peace for Israel, etc… we strengthen ourselves, both in our belief in G-d and in His redemptive power, both of which are really one.
"A Goel / Redeemer shall come to Zion and to those of Jacob who repent from willfull sin," the words of HaShem. "And as for Me, this is My covenant with them," said HaShem, "My spirit that is upon you and My words that I have placed in your mouth shall not be withdrawn from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring," said HaShem, "From this moment and forever." (Yeshayahu 59:20-21)
Only after Israel recognizes her Goel will her people be fully re-gathered (Yeshayahu 60:4, 9), will Jerusalem be made “a praise in all the earth” (Yeshayahu 62), will Israel be honoured by the nations (Isaiah 60:5, 10-16) and will she know the peace for which she yearns (Yeshayahu 60:18). Oh how we long for that day.
Tags: 19 january, bulwark, corollary, hebrew calendar, hebrew month, hebrew word, judah, kingship, Mashiach, month of shevat, moses ben maimon, rabbi moses, rambam, renown, sefer, Shabbat, Tevet, thirteenth century, writen
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