Revealing Mashiach

Parashat Vayechi

It can be said that everything written in the Torah concerns Mashiach. As such, how does this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, reveal Mashiach?

Continuing on the themes from last week’s discussion, this week’s Torah portion reveals Mashiach in two primary ways – through our final glimpse of the life of Yosef, who the rabbis identify as a ‘type’ of Messiah (i.e. Mashiach ben Yosef – b. Sukkah 52b), and by tracing the lineage of Messiah through the tribe of Judah.

Yosef personifies Mashiach as one who was despised by his brothers, rejected, and left for dead. Yet despite his trials, was elevated to a position of authority and became the savior of a generation. When reconciled to his brothers, Yosef revealed himself to them, and in this week’s parasha states, “You meant to do me harm, but God meant it for good – so that it would come about, as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved (Gen. 50:20).”

Although Mashiach was despised by some around him, and treated with contempt and left for dead, his elevation through his resurrection has brought many people into ultimate redemption. And one day, Yeshua will reveal himself in all his glory to his people, and proclaim himself Mashiach.

The lineage of Mashiach

This week’s parasha also reveals Mashiach by tracing the Messianic lineage through the tribe of Judah:

“The scepter shall not pass from Yehudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom obedience belongs; and it is he whom the peoples will obey (Gen. 49:10).”

The text can also be translated as “until Shiloh comes…” The term Shiloh has been understood within Jewish tradition as referring to Messiah. The Aramaic Targum Onkelos, followed by the famous commentator Rashi, render the text as “until the Messiah comes, to whom the kingdom belongs.” Likewise, another Aramaic Targum, Pseudo-Jonathan, paraphrases the verse as “until the time that King Messiah shall come.

The Talmud also confirms that the term Shiloh refers to Mashiach:

“Rabbi Yochanan taught that the entire world was created for the sake of the Messiah. What is His name? The school of Shiloh taught that His name is Shiloh, as it is written, ‘Until Shiloh comes and it is He whom all the peoples will obey (b. Sanhedrin 98b).”

Yalkut Shemoni, a medieval anthology, on this verse states:

“He [the Messiah] is called by the name of Shiloh because all the nations are destined to bring gifts to Israel and to King Messiah, as it is written, ‘In that day shall the present be brought to the Lord of Hosts (Yalkut Shemoni 160).’”

The book of Hebrews reiterates, “Everyone knows that our Lord arose out of Yehudah … (Heb. 7:14).” We have the assurance that our hope in Messiah is based on solid understanding, embedded within a Jewish context. Our Messiah, who descended through Judah, will reveal himself once again, as Yosef did to his brothers, and declare himself Mashiach. And it is through him, that we all have assurance of ultimate redemption!

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue in Agoura Hills, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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6 Responses to Revealing Mashiach

  1. I have found a source in the Peskita Rabbati that speaks about how when Mashiach comes all will be shamed faced before him (much like Josephs brothers were with him) but the Mashiach will raise their heads up and encourage them that their redemption has come. I’ll work on finding the source and quote.

  2. Jeremiah Michael says:

    The reference is Peskita Rabbati chapter 34

  3. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Jeremiah,

    Thanks for the reference!

    Shabbat Shalom!

  4. James says:

    Well said, Rabbi Josh.

  5. Lance says:

    Rabbi Josh, the passage you cited from Yakut, have you read this out of the source yourself or are you citing it from somebody else? Would love to confirm this.

    • Rabbi Joshua says:

      Lance,

      I originally got it from secondary sources. For example, one citation is from Rachmiel Frydland’s “What the Rabbis Know About the Messiah,” p.17.

      However, the idea of Shiloh as a reference to Mashiach is found in numerous places throughout rabbinic literature. So Yalkut Shimoni is a continuance of this idea.

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