What is Hiding the Mashiach?

What will happen when the Mashiach is revealed? All Jews will immediately recognize him, believe in him, and follow him, right? Not so, says Rabbi Arush! What can we do to ensure that we’re one of Mashiach’s followers? 

6 min

Rabbi Shalom Arush

Posted on 08.07.24

Translated from Rabbi Arush’s feature article in the weekly Chut shel Chessed newsletter. The articles focus on his main message: “Loving others as yourself” and emuna.


The Missed Opportunity 

The eighth story in the book Sefer Hama’asiyot (in English, “The Rabbi’s Son” in Rebbe Nachman’s Stories) of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev tells of a great rabbi who had righteous son who was also a Torah scholar. This son very much wanted to go to one of the tzaddikim, because he felt that that tzaddik would be able to fill in what he lacks in spirituality. But the rabbi did everything possible to prevent his son from going and to keep him far away from the tzaddik. The rabbi didn’t think highly of that tzaddik and saw his son’s seeking him as being below his dignity. As the son attempted to reach the tzaddik, his father kept proving to him with all sorts of “unequivocal proofs” that that is not the will of Hashem. Each time the rabbi managed to keep the son from traveling to the tzaddik and bring him back home. 


Sadly enough, the son died before he managed to get to the tzaddik. After his passing, he appeared to his father in a dream several times, looking very angry and ordering him to go to that tzaddik. The father gave in finally and started off. On the way, the yetzer hara (evil inclination) revealed himself to the rabbi and told him that he himself – the yetzer hara – had provided all that “evidence” and “proofs” that it is the will of Hashem to not go and that there is nothing to seek there. This was because the yetzer hara knew that the son was on the level of “the small light source” (i.e., the moon) and the tzaddik was on the level of “the big light source” (i.e., the sun), and the meeting between the two of them would have brought the Geula (salvation)! 


Since the rabbi was so stubborn and so blind to seeing and understanding the level of the tzaddik, the historical opportunity was missed, and, of course, this caused great spiritual damage both to the son and to the entire generation! 


History Repeats Itself? 

This story raises questions as to what will happen here when the Mashiach will be revealed. It is not out of the question that when Mashiach, the Redeemer, comes then even when he will already be known as a great tzaddik, and many will believe in him, there will be self-appointed wise people who will doubt, belittle, take issue with, and distance many others from the Mashiach


If you ask me, how do I know that this is what will happen – well, it’s perfectly clear! That is precisely the parasha of this week! 


Do we have a Mashiach greater than Moshe Rabbeinu? He was a “certified” Mashiach! He redeemed the Jewish People from Egypt, performed miracles, gave the Torah, the entire people saw that Hashem was talking to him – and yet, we still have Korach! Despite the fact that no one can doubt Moshe’s greatness, one person arises to challenge Moshe Rabbeinu, and he was not an insignificant person at all – rather, he was one of the greatest, and he attracted the leaders, to the point that the Yismach Moshe proves that the majority of Torah scholars took Korach’s side, and only the simple people and the naïve women remained loyal to Moshe Rabbeinu


If we hadn’t read this in the Torah – we never would have been able to even think that such a thing can happen! And the great concern is not “How did it happen in the past,” but what should we do today so that history will not repeat itself, so that in the Geula that will come speedily in our days it won’t happen again. 


Light and Hiding 

We just finished a series of five essays on the meaning of Mashiach and the meaning of praying for his coming and the preparation for his coming. And now, all we have to do is to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Mashiach practically speaking and ensure that we will have the merit to see his light and believe in him, and not, chalila, the other way around.  We don’t want to be those who will take issue with the Mashiach and distance the Jewish people from him. 


Because Rabbi Nachman of Breslev writes in Likutei Moharan that the sun is many times bigger than earth, and that at night the sun does not disappear, as is known. So why is it dark at night? Little earth itself hides the immense light of the sun that is many times bigger than it. Similarly, a small coin held close to the eye can obscure a huge mountain that is thousands of times bigger than it. 


It’s exactly the same thing, says Rabbi Nachman, with the light of Torah and the light of tzaddikim! If the eye would have been permitted to see the awesome light, not only would there be no human being who would be able to take issue with the tzaddik, but no creature in the world would refrain from running towards the great and awesome light. But – there is a problem. The light of tzaddikim is being hidden. And what keeps us from seeing it? “Earth”, that is earthly matters, materialism, and also the “coin”, which is the greed for money and for all other such things, and above all, the desire for honor, for conflict, and for victory. 


May We All Merit to See His Light 

There is a common blessing, “You should merit seeing the face of the Mashiach.” But according to what’s written here, it is not enough. We want to not only ‘see’ the face of the Mashiach, but to have the merit to see and recognize his great light. And at least to feel something of his light, so we won’t come to take issue with him and belittle him. 


Seemingly, Korach’s claims are justified – “All the community is holy, every one of them, and Hashem is in their midst.” (Bamidbar 16: 3) We’re all the same, even the tzaddik is a flesh-and-blood human being, and sleeps and eats like everyone else, and has no advantage over any common person; and conversely, claims Korach, we too learn Torah, and anyone who wants to acquire the crown of Torah may do so, and we too have ruach hakodesh (holy spirit)… But these claims take root in the hearts only because the listeners do not see and do not feel the tremendous light of the tzaddikim


When a person is connected to earthly things, he will never be able to truly see spiritual light. Even if he knows Torah, he won’t see its light, and even if he will be familiar with tzaddikim, he will not see their light.  


Therefore, if we really want to welcome the Mashiach and accept his leadership unconditionally and without detractors, our main role is to refine ourselves and distance ourselves from materialism and base desires, from the obscuring “earth”; and to try, at least, to aspire and pray, and at least to begin a process of purification and tikkun (rectification). 


So, What Is to Be Done, Practically Speaking? 

Practically speaking, it means that every person should do an hour of hitbodedut every day, and devote some time every day to rectifying himself. He should remember that this world is only a world of tikkun and work, and the purpose is to serve Hashem and draw closer to Him and to His Torah and mitzvot. He should draw closer to the tzaddikim who guide the Jewish people towards the straight path of observing the laws, of true holiness, of emuna (faith), of prayer, and of love of other Jews. 


Another thing that we need is to be tamim (upright). There is nothing greater in the world than temimut. Temimut is not being stupid and naïve. Temimut is being whole. Temimut is the greatest sechel (intelligence) in this world. For the sechel – as great as it is and with all the impressive things that can be acquired using wisdom and good sense – is also very limited and very misleading. Therefore, those who did the greatest damage to the world and misled millions of people were wise people who failed to recognize the limits of the power of sechel and wisdom. 


But temimut is the insurance of wisdom. And it is also the only way to reach Divine wisdom, the true wisdom. In the story about the Wise person and the tam – the holy tam was eventually given tremendous wisdom, but what had guided him in life all the way through was the temimut. And the Jewish people, as well, were granted the wisdom of the Torah and that awesome and famous wisdom, recognized by all the nations through the generations – precisely because they embraced temimut. At the moment of truth, when choosing between sechel and temimut, they chose temimut and received the Torah. 


When a Jew is tamim and wants to do Hashem’s will and spends his day rectifying and purifying himself – he can be rest assured that when Mashiach comes he will not take issue with him, chalila; rather, he will be the first to run towards him and greet him and obey him. May we have the merit to do so. 





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