When one studies rabbinic ideas of the Messiah one comes upon a very curious idea: Messiah is a Leper! Where does this idea come from? We’ll tell you below, but first consider some of the rabbinic references speaking from the Biblical text Yeshayahu / Isaiah 53.
Babylonian Talmud: "The Messiah –what is his name?…The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said, `surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God and afflicted…’" (Sanhedrin 98b)
The Talmud also "records" (which needs not to be taken literally, but rather seeks to convey a message) concerning the coming of the Mashiach. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) relates that one day; Rabbi Yehoshuah Ben Levi was walking and ran into Eliahu HaNavi, (Eliahu the Prophet). After exchanging greetings, Rabbi Yehoshuah begs to ask Eliahu one question: "Eimatai Ka Ati Mar? "When will the Master (the Mashiach) come?" A logical question, to be sure, as the prophets tell that one day, Eliahu HaNavi will be the predecessor of the Mashiach, heralding his coming and ushering in a new age of redemption. The story continues that Eliahu responds by saying Ask him yourself! To which Rabbi Yehoshuah asks: "but where can I find him?" Eliahu explains If you will go to the entrance to the market-place, you will see that all the lepers sit at the entrance to the market, with their bandages removed so that the warmth of the sun can heal their wounds. However, says Eliahu HaNavi, pay attention and you will notice that there is one beggar who only allows himself to remove one bandage at a time, so as to be ready to move at a moment’s notice, in the event that he is called. This, says, Eliahu HaNavi, is the Mashiach. So Rabbi Yehoshuah goes to the market place, and indeed finds such a person sitting amongst the lepers. And of course, he asks him the question, "Eimatai KaAti Mar?" When will the Master (the Mashiach) come? To which the leper responds with one simple, yet powerful word: "HaYom" (today). The next day, Rabbi Yehoshuah Ben Levi again ran into Eliahu the Prophet. And this time, Eliahu asks Rabbi Yehoshuah: "Nu, did you find him?" Rabbi Yehoshuah responds: "Ken, VeKah Shiker Li". Yes, I found him, but he lied to me. He told me he was coming today, but today came and went, and the Mashiach never came. And one can almost see the sad smile on Eliahu Hanavi’s face, the tears in his eyes, as he explains No, he didn’t say "HaYom" “Today,” rather he was referring to the verse which says: "HaYom, Im Bekolo Tishma’u", Today, if you will but listen to His voice. (Tehillim / Psalm 95) (told by Rabbi Binny Freedman)
There is also a strange story about the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement. One day the rabbi was riding with a young student. He stopped his wagon at the hut of an old leper, horribly affected by the disease. The rabbi climbed down and spent a great deal of time with the poor man. When he returned to the wagon and recommenced his journey, the puzzled student asked the rabbi who it was that the rabbi had visited with. The rabbi replied that in every generation there is a Messiah who will reveal himself if the generation is worthy. The leper he had been meeting with was that Messiah, but the generation was not worthy, so the Messiah would depart. (Quoted in The Messiah Texts, by Raphael Patai, page 31.)
Where did this "Leper Messiah" idea come from? This odd concept has risen from the rabbis of old as they struggled with Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 53. They either saw the Messiah’s sufferings as leprosy or split the Messiah in two, one a sufferer and one a conqueror. The Hebrew words in Yeshayahu 53:4, stricken (nagua) and smitten (mukkay) are interpreted as referring to a leprous condition. Either word can refer to being stricken with a disease, yet they need not be understood in that way, much like our English work "stricken" can refer to stricken with disease or just simply stricken, as with a fist. As a leper, Mashiach was despised and rejected of men, so also was the Messiah despised and rejected.
Perhaps is time to pick your old Hebrew Bible and find out if this passage indeed speaks of Messiah Yeshua, and HaYom (Today) can became a reality to you! Do you really want Mashiach Now?
Question: Why is the Jewish Messiah recognized by piercings? Why and how he got them? Who is he then?
Tags: bandage, bandages, beggar, curious idea, isaiah 53, leper, lepers, levi, logical question, Mashiach, mashiah, Messiah, Moshiach, Moshiah, new age, predecessor, prophet, prophets, rabbi, Redemption, sanhedrin, talmud, warmth of the sun, Yeshua
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