Friday, April 10, 2009

Moshiach ben Yosef & Yehoshua III

We again continue with Rav Daniel Krentzman's sefer on Moshiach ben Yosef and Yehoshua.

Yeshoshua’s Reception of the Aspect of Mashiach ben Yosef

At the very beginning of sefer Yehoshua the pasuk states: “And it was after the death of Moshe, servant of Hashem, that Hashem said to Yehoshua son of Nun, (Misharet Moshe) attendant of Moshe, saying: “My servant Moshe has died, Now arise, cross this Jordan, you and this entire people, to the land that I give to them, the Children of Israel.” The Vilna Gaon comments on this pasuk, as Chazal say elsewhere: “Gadol Shimushehah shel Torah m’limudehah,” “Greater are those who serve the Torah than those who learn it.” This means that it is greater, in some aspect, to serve Talmidei Chachamim, who embody the Torah itself, than to merely learn it. Through close proximity to Talmidei Chachamim on a day-to-day basis, and intimate involvement with them throughout their life, one can truly take upon themselves the Chacham’s qualities and incorporate within themselves the very essence of the person they shadow and serve. Through this the attendant may achieve great spiritual heights as well; similar to those of the person he attended to. The Vilna Gaon elaborates: Everything that Yehoshua merited to achieve in his life was as a result of his having served and attended to Moshe on this intimate level. Not only did he receive the tradition of the Torah but he also received the spiritual training necessary to be capable of miraculously leading the Jewish people in the conquest of Eretz Yisrael.

This is seen clearly, earlier in Yehoshua’s life in Parshas Shemosh: “V’Deeber Hashem el Moshe Panim el Panim k’asher yidaber ish lire’eihu, v’shav el hamachaneh Umishartoh Yehoshua bin Nun, naar, loh yamish mitoch ha’ohel,” “Hashem would speak to Moshe face to face, as a man would speak with his fellow; then he would return to the camp and his attendant (mishartoh), Yehoshua bin Nun, a lad, would not depart from within the Tent” (Shemot 33:11.) As a result of this,when Moshe does not merit to enter Eretz Yisrael and must pass on the leadership, the Torah recounts: “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe, Kach Lecha et Yehoshua bin Nun, ish asher ruach boh, v’samachta et yadecha alov…v’natatah mei’hodchah alav…,” “And Hashem said to Moshe, Take to yourself Yehoshua son of Nun, a man in whom there is spirit, and lean your hand upon him…You shall place some of your majesty upon him…” (Bamidbar 27:18-20.) Moshe imparted to Yehoshua as much of his spiritual influence as he could. Yehoshua merited this as a result of binding himself to Moshe on every level, with his entire being. This is similar to the relationship between Elisha and Eliyahu HaNavi (in Melachim 1, 19:21), where it says regarding Elisha: “Vayelech acharei Eliyahu vayisharteihu,” And he (Elishah) went after Eliyahu and attended unto him.” Later on in (Melachim 2, 2:15) it says: “…Nochah Ruach Eliyahu al Elisha…” “The spirit of Eliyahu has rested upon Elisha…”

One of the main parts of Moshe’s imparting to Yehoshua was the transmission of the spiritual aspect and mission of Mashiach ben Yosef, which Moshe had contained within himself and achieved during yetziat mitzrayim. Yehoshua, who served in many ways as an extension and continuation of Moshe, received the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef and acted in that role. Beginning from the time he lead the battle against Amalek, throughout the conquest of Eretz Yisrael (see Kol HaTor chapter 2:44,141.)

Yehoshua as Mashiach ben Yosef - War with Amalek

One of the main aspects of Mashiach ben Yosef’s mission is the war with Amalek (see Kol HaTor, chapter 2.) Amalek is the seed of Eisav and the main continuation of his negative spiritual legacy; primarily, the denial of the belief in G-d and of the eternity of the soul. Eisav denied Olam Habah and Techiat HaMaitim (Bava Batra 16) in contrast to Yosef who remained firm in his belief in Olam Habah and Techiat HaMaitim (see Bereishit 50:24.) Another hint to Yosef HaTzaddik’s personification of emunah (faith) is the pasuk in Chabakuk (2:4): “Tzaddik B’Emunato Yichyeh” “A Tzaddik will live in his faith,” the central characteristic of the Tzaddik, Yosef, is faith. For every negative spiritual force that G-d brings into the world, there is a counter force from the side of holiness, with the potential to overcome it. In the Midrash Tanchuma, when Lavan confronts Yaakov about his unannounced departure and asks why he left after Yosef’s birth, as opposed to any of the other brothers, Yaakov replies: “I know that Yosef possesses the power to overcome Eisav, therefore I am now able to return and face my brother.” Therefore, Amalek, the extension of Eisav, is confronted and fought by Mashiach ben Yosef, the extension of Yosef HaTzaddik. This is also expressed in the words of the prophet Ovadiah (1:18) comparing Eisav to straw and the house of Yosef to a flame that consumes the straw.

When Amalek first appears during yetzias mitzrayim, Yehoshua, acting in his role as Mashiach ben Yosef, leads the battle against them. “Vayavo Amalek vayilachem im Yisrael bi’Rifidim. Vayomer Moshe el Yehoshua, bachar lunou anashim v’tzeih hilachem b’Amalek…Vayass Yehoshua k’asher amar loh Moshe l’hilachem b’Amalek…”(Shemot 17:8-10.) “Vayachalosh Yehoshua et Amalek v’et amoh l’fee hacharev. Vayomer Hashem el Moshe, ktav zot zikaron b’sefer v’sam b’oznei Yehoshua, ki machoh emcheh et zecher Amalek mitachat hashamayim”(ibid, 13-14.) “And Amalek came and battled Yisrael in Rephidim. Moshe said to Yehoshua, Choose men and go out to battle with Amalek…Yehoshua did as Moshe said to him, to do battle with Amalek…And Yehoshua weakened Amalek and its people with the sword’s blade. And Hashem said to Moshe, Write as a remembrance in the Book and recite in the ears of Yehoshua, that I shall surely erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens."

To be continued...

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