The soul of Mashiach
comprises the souls of the entire Jewish people. This is what enables him to redeem all of Israel from exile.
Mashiach, as is known, is the all-embracing yechidah of the Jewish people. [For, unique among the five levels of every soul, the yechidah within a soul is its sublime and innermost essence. To consider these five levels in ascending order:] King David was the all-embracing nefesh of the Jewish people; the Prophet Eliyahu was the ruach; Moshe Rabbeinu was the neshamah; Adam was the chayah; and the yechidah will be bestowed upon Mashiach.
At the same time, within every Jew there is a spark of the soul of Mashiach. This spark is the yechidah within him, which is a spark of the comprehensive yechidah.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XX, p. 522
will be distinguished by extreme humility. Though he will be exceedingly exalted, and though he will study Torah together with the Patriarchs and with Moshe Rabbeinu,
he will be utterly humble and self-effacing and will teach simple folk, too.
This explains why Mashiach is known by the name of King David, as in the prophecy concerning the End of Days, "And My servant David will be king over them." For David was so exceedingly humble and self-effacing, that though he was a king he referred to himself as "poor and needy."
Sefer HaMaamarim 5699 , p. 194
The Talmudic Sages
speak of two possible ways in which Mashiach
can come: (a) "with the clouds of heaven";
(b) as "a poor man riding on a donkey."
It may be suggested that these are not mutually-exclusive alternatives. Rather, Mashiach will be both powerfully exalted ("on the clouds of heaven") and humbly self-effacing ("a poor man riding on a donkey").
From a talk of the Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Kedoshim, 5744 
"The donkey represents the King Mashiach;
as it is written,9 'a poor man riding on a donkey.' "
This teaching unites two polar opposites - "the King Mashiach," representing sovereign power, and "a poor man riding on a donkey," representing self-effacing humility.
Sefer HaSichos 5749 , Vol. I, p. 109
The sovereignty of Mashiach
will be more elevated than that of Moshe Rabbeinu. For the Gemara
will "judge by his sense of smell," whereas a king is permitted to judge only according to the testimony of witnesses. (The concept of "judging by the sense of smell" applies to Mashiach
in his capacity as king, not in his capacity as prophet, for a prophet may not judge.)
The above observation throws light on the two views cited by the Sages on the verse, "Behold My servant will prosper; he shall be uplifted and exalted, and held very high." According to one view, Mashiach will be "more exalted than Yitzchak"; according to the other view, Mashiach will be "more exalted than Moshe." The first view speaks of his gift of prophecy, and in this he will not be greater than Moshe; the second view speaks of his sovereignty, and in this he will be greater even than Moshe Rabbeinu.
Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe, Vol. IV, p. 181
has a certain superiority even over Moshe Rabbeinu. On the phrase at the beginning of the Torah,
"and the spirit of G-d hovered...," the Sages teach,
"This alludes to the spirit of the King Mashiach."
That verse continues, "...over
the surface of the waters"; this intimates a level higher than that of Moshe, who was so called
"because from the water I drew him."
And that is why this exile is so prolonged - in order that this lofty state be finally attained.
The Maamarim of the Alter Rebbe on the Parshiyos, p. 237
A tradition handed down in manuscript
recounts that the Tzemach Tzedek
once delivered a maamar
which implied that Moshe Rabbeinu was loftier than Mashiach.
He was distressed by this, and fell asleep.
The Alter Rebbe then appeared to him in a dream and said: "Moshe Rabbeinu has a unique distinction and so too does Mashiach. Moshe was a physician with practical experience, and that is why the practical mitzvos were given through him; Mashiach is not a physician with practical experience, and that is why he will reveal the pnimiyus, the innermost dimension, of the Torah."
From a talk of the Rebbe on the Last Day of Pesach, 5711 
is referred to as both a mentor and a king.
He is called a mentor, because in his spirit of wisdom and understanding he will teach all of Israel the reasons hidden within the Torah; he will teach the hidden wisdom known as chochmah stumah.
He is called a king, because there will remain within him an unseen transcendence over all the souls of Israel; and since their understanding will be unable to accommodate this superrational aspect of his, his directives will resemble royal decrees.
The latter explanation of the role of Mashiach throws light on the Talmudic teaching that Mashiach will come unexpectedly, when the Jewish people's mind is momentarily diverted from his coming. Taken literally, the original phrase b'hesech hada'as means something like "in the absence of understanding," implying that the fundamental sovereignty of Mashiach transcends understanding.
The Maamarim of the Alter Rebbe on the Nevi'im, p. 4
writes that the King Mashiach
"from the House of David and from the seed of Solomon."
The former phrase is to be expected, since royalty in Israel stems primarily from the House of David. But what is to be learned from the latter phrase?
An answer that could be suggested lies in the contrast between the war-scarred times of King David, (as G-d tells him, "You have shed blood abundantly,") and the peaceful reign of Solomon, which in fact gave him his name. This reign was a foretaste of the perfect peace of the Days of Mashiach.
This could be explained by the perfect wisdom of Solomon, for "the wisdom of Solomon ('the wisest of men') surpassed all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt." By virtue of his towering wisdom, "all the sages of the nations stood as if nullified before it, and not by means of war"; indeed, the nations of the world brought him sparks of holiness [that had been scattered and hidden throughout the world]. (An example is the visit of the Queen of Sheba, as explained in Chassidus.) This state was a foretaste of the perfect peace of the future time, when "they shall not hurt nor destroy..., for the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d...."
This is related to the state of perfect sovereignty, as in the time of Solomon, who "sat on the throne of G-d" in tranquillity and peace, in contrast to the sovereignty of David, which suffered provocations and challenges.
We can now understand the point of the added phrase quoted above, "...and from the seed of Solomon." The unique standing of Mashiach will relate both to the distinctive characteristic of David, i.e., sovereignty, and to the distinctive characteristic of Solomon, i.e., peace. For the sovereignty of Mashiach will be so complete, including the attribute of wisdom that characterizes perfect sovereignty, that he will be wiser than Solomon.28 Of him it is likewise written, "The spirit of...wisdom and understanding shall rest upon him," and he will teach the innermost, mystical dimension of the Torah to the entire Jewish people.
From a talk of the Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Emor, 5751 
will teach all of Israel the mystical depths of the Torah and the reasons hidden within the Torah which will be revealed in the future time. This is alluded to in the verse,
"He kisses me with the kisses of His mouth," on which Rashi
writes, "There is a promise from G-d that He will again appear to [the Jewish people] to explain them its secret reasons and hidden mysteries."
This cannot mean that at the time of that Divine revelation Mashiach will teach the revealed levels of the Torah, for the Resurrection of the Dead will revive Moshe Rabbeinu and all the mighty sages of the generations - and they already know the Torah. It is thus clear that the level of the Torah that will be studied at that time is its pnimiyus, its innermost and mystical dimension, which is more extensive that the whole world, and which embodies endless ascents.
Likkutei Torah, Tzav, p. 17a
Moshe Rabbeinu's apprehension of Divinity was at the coveted level called vision, as is hinted at in the verse, Vayeira reishis lo
(lit., "He saw the first for himself"). Moreover, he desired to make this level of apprehension accessible to the Jewish people, as it is written, e'evrah nah v'ereh es ha'aretz
. (On the straightforward level of pshat,
this phrase means, "Let me go over, and see the land." As expounded in Chassidus
on the mystical level of pnimiyus,
these words intimate Moshe Rabbeinu's request to make the direct level of apprehension called vision available to the entire House of Israel, who are known as eretz cheifetz
- "the Land of [G-d's] Desire.") His wish was not granted; as he continues in his parting address a few verses later,
"And now, Israel, listen
to the statutes...," implying an inferior and less direct mode of apprehension.
In time to come, however, Mashiach will reveal direct visual perception to all the souls of Israel; in the words of the prophecy, "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I (G-d) will show [the people] wonders."
The future revelation of the hidden reasons for the commandments will likewise be at the level of direct visual perception.
An instance of learning at the visual level may be seen in an experience recounted of the AriZal. It once happened that while visiting the Heavenly Academy during his sleep on the day of Shabbos, he learned wondrous insights into the episode of Balak and Bilaam. He later told his disciples that eighty years would not suffice for him to convey to them what he had learned in an hour or two. For his apprehension was at the level of vision, which transcends by far the kind of thinking that can be expressed in reason and articulated in letters.
Likkutei Torah, Tzav, p. 17b
It is explained in Chassidus
will teach the Torah to the entire people, including Moshe Rabbeinu. (This accords with the statements in the Midrash
will be greater than Moshe Rabbeinu.
Now, the Torah testifies that "There never since arose a prophet in Israel like Moshe." In this spirit, too, the Rambam writes that Mashiach will be "a prophet close to Moshe Rabbeinu." It will be noted, however, that both these quotations relate specifically to the gift of prophecy, not to the study of Torah. This distinction is particularly significant with reference to the innermost dimension of the Torah - its pnimiyus - which will be taught by Mashiach. For this mystical nucleus of the Torah is its innermost soul, its yechidah, which is thus the province of Mashiach, whose soul is the sublime nucleus of the souls of the entire Jewish people, their all-embracing yechidah.
From a letter of the Rebbe published in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 351
The Tzemach Tzedek
once said that Mashiach
will delight in the company of unscholarly, self-sacrificing Jews. A unique chamber will be set aside for them, and they will be envied by the greatest of intellectuals.
Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. IV, p. 148
comes, everyone will recognize the lofty worth of the hodaah
(the acknowledgment of G-d rooted in pure faith) and temimus
(the artless earnestness) with which all Jews believe in G-d and His Torah and His commandments. The study of Torah
is basically mortal comprehension, which even at its highest level is finite. By contrast, the acknowledgment of G-d rooted in faith is a feeling which is boundless. Mashiach
will explain the ultimate superiority of temimus,
of artless and earnest avodah
springing from the heart.
HaYom Yom, p. 9, entry for 5 Teves
comes, the simple and artless earnestness with which unscholarly Jews serve G-d and pray and read Tehillim,
will be recognized in its true worth.
Sefer HaMaamarim 5699 , p. 194
relates that when Moshe Rabbeinu noticed one day that a lamb had run away from the flock and had strayed in the wilderness, he left the flock and ran after it in order to bring it back. From this we can learn how meaningful every Jew is in the eyes of Moshe Rabbeinu, even if he is a Jew who has run away from the flock....
And since "the first redeemer is also the last redeemer," it is clear that what is true of Moshe Rabbeinu is likewise true of Mashiach - every Jew, wherever he may be, is precious.
Moreover, if Moshe Rabbeinu acted in this spirit even before the Giving of the Torah, how much more so should one act in this spirit after the Giving of the Torah, for this was the time at which "You chose us from among all the nations."
From a talk of the Rebbe on the Last Day of Pesach, 5743 
As the Midrash
46 teaches, "Moshe is the first redeemer and he is also last redeemer."
This does not mean that Moshe Rabbeinu himself will be the "final redeemer," because he belongs to the tribe of Levi, while Mashiach is of the tribe of Judah (being descended from the royal House of David). The meaning, rather, is that Mashiach will come by virtue of Moshe. For the capability to redeem the people of Israel derives from the Torah, which is Toras Moshe - "the Torah of Moshe," just as it is by means of the Torah that Israel is able to bring about the Redemption.
This integral connection between Mashiach and Moshe is also hinted at on the level of gematria. The letters of yavo Shiloh (meaning "Shiloh shall come," a phrase which alludes to Mashiach) are numerically equal to the letters of Mashiach, while the letters of Shiloh are numerically equal to the letters of Moshe. For the two words yavo shiloh ("Shiloh shall come") refer to the revelation and actual coming of Mashiach; they therefore equal Mashiach. The name Shiloh, however, refers to him at the stage before he "shall come," i.e., to the power [in the Torah of Moshe] which makes possible the coming of Mashiach; the letters of Shiloh are therefore numerically equal to the letters of Moshe.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XI, p. 8
The letters of the name Moshe plus the letters of the word echad
("One", alluding to the all-encompassing Unity of G-d) are numerically equal to the letters of the word Mashiach.
Sefer HaSichos 5696 , p. 330
The Rebbe explains the above teaching as follows:
The coming of Mashiach will be brought about by avodah on the level of Echad (as defined below), and the power to carry out this avodah is given to us by Moshe. This is why the letters of the name Moshe plus the letters of the word echad (referring to the avodah itself) is the gematria equivalent of Mashiach.
To clarify: The Redemption will come by virtue of our endeavors (throughout the era of exile) in refining and purifying the material world to the extent that the world itself, worldly and material as it is, becomes refined and elevated. The concept of Echad really means that even though the world has a tangible existence, it is nevertheless incorporated within its Maker in an indivisible unity. This inseparability in hinted at in the very letters of the word echad, in which the daled represents the four directions of the world, the ches represents the seven heavens and the earth, and the alef represents G-d Himself, Who is known as Alufo shel Olam ("the L-rd of the World").
We were given the power to carry out this avodah - relating to the world out of an awareness of the dimension of Echad which suffuses it - at the Giving of the Torah, "the Torah of Moshe."48 At that time it was made possible for us to transform the world itself into holiness.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XI, p. 9
A certain illustrious scholar once visited the Alter Rebbe and asked that he turn him into a chassid.
"That I cannot do," replied the Alter Rebbe; "the frozen seas will be warmed up by Mashiach...."
Sefer HaSichos 5703 , p. 6
As is widely known, there are four levels of Scriptural interpretation - pshat, remez, derush
of a verse is its straightforward meaning; the remez
of a verse is an allusive message which is hinted at indirectly; derush
is the non-literal level of homiletical interpretation; and sod
is the mystical, superrational dimension illuminated by the teachings of the Kabbalah.
The following teaching regarding these four levels has been passed down to us by the chassidim of an earlier generation in the name of the Tzemach Tzedek:
Each of the four levels of interpretation incorporates all of the other levels. Within the level of sod, for example, there is the pshat within sod, the remez within sod, the derush within sod, and the sod within sod. The pshat within sod was revealed by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; the remez within sod was revealed by the AriZal; the derush within sod was revealed by the Baal Shem Tov; and the sod within sod will be revealed by Mashiach.
Transmitted by oral tradition
One day, some time after the saintly Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Horodok (formerly of Vitebsk) had settled in Eretz Yisrael,
he heard a great tumult in the street. When he asked what it was all about, he was told that a Shofar
blast had been heard from the top of a high mountain, and people said that this was the long-awaited Shofar
(In fact, as was later found out, the blast had been the doing of some crazed individual who had climbed to the top of the mountain.)
The tzaddik opened his window and said, "No, he hasn't come; I can't smell the fragrance of Mashiach."
Chassidim at the time asked one another, "Why did Reb Menachem Mendel have to open the window?"
And they answered, "Because his room was always infused with the fragrance of Mashiach."
Transmitted by oral tradition
with the commentary of Rabbi Chayim ben Attar entitled Or HaChayim
was printed in Shklov in the year 5545  - with two typographical errors.
- In the passage which speaks of the sotah, a woman suspected of adultery, there is a verse that says, v'amrah ha'ishah amen amen - "And the woman shall say, Amen, Amen." In the course of his commentary,  the author of Or HaChayim cites the interpretation of the Sages on this dual oath - that she has not transgressed "by this man or by another man" - and concludes his paraphrase with the word mei'achar ("by another"). In the above-mentioned edition, this word is replaced by the word mei'asher.
- There is a verse which begins, ki yiheyeh evyon - "If there should be a needy man among you...." Expounding on the level of derush, the author of Or HaChayim relates this verse to the yearning of Mashiach to redeem Israel, and concludes with the words, Mashiach Hashem, sh'mo Chayim - "G-d's anointed one: his name is Chayim." In the above-mentioned edition, the last two Hebrew words are omitted.
These two printing errors have a history. In fact, they are connected.
As is well known, the author of Or HaChayim believed that his soul was a spark of the soul of Mashiach, and one of the allusions to this belief which he inserted in his writings is the above mention of his own name. Now the publisher of this edition was a clandestine adherent of the "Enlightenment" movement by the name of Asher. The above allusion to the coming of Mashiach ruffled the disbelief of this maskil, so, while alone in the printing house, he deleted the words, sh'mo Chayim - "his name is Chayim."
An old tradition recounts that the saintly author of Or HaChayim in Gan Eden sensed this at once, and decided: "Since this scoundrel has deleted my name from my book, I will insert his name there instead!"
Then and there, the letter ches in the above-quoted oath of the wayward woman was miraculously substituted by the letter shin, so that the word mei'acher ("by another man") now read mei'asher...
A very short while later, a woman brought to the Rabbinical Court of Shklov on an adultery charge duly confessed: mei'asher - "...by Asher!"
Transmitted by oral tradition
A gentile landlord once asked a chassid: "What will you do if your Mashiach
comes and I won't believe in him?"
Replied the chassid: "If you won't believe in him, I won't believe in him either!"
Transmitted by oral tradition
- (Back to text) In the original, neshamah kelalis.
- (Back to text) Ramaz on Zohar II, 40b.
- (Back to text) See Vol. I of the present work, p. 173ff.
- (Back to text) See the passage below entitled, "Teaching the Innermost Dimension of the Torah (iii)."
- (Back to text) Yechezkel 37:24.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 40:18.
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 98a.
- (Back to text) Daniel 7:13.
- (Back to text) Zechariah 9:9.
- (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 75:6.
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 93b.
- (Back to text) Midrash Tanchuma on the conclusion of Parshas Toldos.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 52:13.
- (Back to text) Cf. the passage below entitled, "Teaching the Innermost Dimension of the Torah (iii)."
- (Back to text) Bereishis 1:2.
- (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 2:4.
- (Back to text) Shmos 2:10.
- (Back to text) See Migdal Oz (ed. Rabbi Yehoshua Mondshine; Machon Lubavitch, Kfar Chabad, 1980), p. 187.
- (Back to text) The terms in the original are rav and melech.
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 97a.
- (Back to text) Commentary on the Mishnayos, Sanhedrin, Perek Chelek, Principle 12, based on Midrash Tanchuma on the conclusion of Parshas Toldos.
- (Back to text) I Divrei HaYamim 22:8.
- (Back to text) "...For his name shall be Shlomo, and I shall bestow peace (shalom) and tranquillity upon Israel in his days" (loc. cit., v. 9).
- (Back to text) I Melachim 5:10-11.
- (Back to text) Shaarei Teshuvah 56a.
- (Back to text) I Melachim 10:1ff.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 11:9.
- (Back to text) Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 9:2.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 11:2.
- (Back to text) Shir HaShirim 1:2.
- (Back to text) Devarim 33:21.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 3:25.
- (Back to text) Malachi 3:12.
- (Back to text) Devarim 4:1.
- (Back to text) Michah 7:15.
- (Back to text) Pri Etz Chayim, Shaar Kerias Shema she'al HaMitah, sec. 1.
- (Back to text) In the original, yeshivah shel maalah.
- (Back to text) Midrash Tanchuma on the conclusion of Parshas Toldos; Yalkut Shimoni on Yeshayahu, Remez 476.
- (Back to text) See the above passage entitled "Utter Humility (i)."
- (Back to text) Devarim 34:10.
- (Back to text) Hilchos Teshuvah 9:2.
- (Back to text) See the above passage entitled "More Exalted than Moshe (i)."
- (Back to text) See the above passage entitled "A Comprehensive Soul."
- (Back to text) The word "talmud" which appears here in the original does not refer to the Gemara: it means Torah study, and alludes to the classic debate of the Sages (Kiddushin 40b) as to whether Torah study is superior to the performance of good deeds ("talmud gadol"), or whether the practical performance of mitzvos is superior ("maaseh gadol"). Significantly, it is this latter phrase which the Rebbe Rayatz uses as the bottom line of the passage translated above.
- (Back to text) Shmos Rabbah 2:2.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 2:4.
- (Back to text) Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 252.
- (Back to text) Malachi 3:22.
- (Back to text) Bereishis 49:10; see Onkelos and Rashi there. See also Sanhedrin 98b on this phrase.
- (Back to text) Baal HaTurim on Bereishis 49:10. See also the passage entitled "Speaking About Mashiach" in Vol. I of the present work, p. 151.
- (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe, Orach Chayim 61:6.
- (Back to text) Zohar III, 16b; ibid., 31a.
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 5:22.
- (Back to text) At the end of his discussion of verse 28.
- (Back to text) Sotah 18a.
- (Back to text) Devarim 15:7.