We continue with the introduction of Daniel Krentzman’s sefer on Moshiach ben Yosef and Yehoshua.
An Introduction to the Aspect of Mashiach ben Yosef
Before Adam HaRishon sinned, by eating from the Etz HaDaat, his personal avodah was primarily to perfect himself spiritually. He was placed in Gan Eden in an environment that would allow him to achieve the spiritual goal of self-perfection and knowing G-d. His relationship to the physical world centered on its use as a means toward his perfection. After the sin, Adam’s previously high spiritual standing was greatly reduced and a great amount of spiritual imperfection became included in his being. Not only that, but he also caused tremendous spiritual damage to the physical world, unraveling the once ordered and harmonious web that bound the physical and spiritual in unity allowing for G-d’s light to be revealed in the world in the proper way. As a result, death, tumah (impurity) and imperfection all became incorporated into Adam’s body and the physical world as a whole. Now, the world itself would require great tikun (rectification) and fixing in order to restore it to the harmony and unity that once existed and allow for the correct environment for man’s spiritual growth and self-perfection to enable him to bind himself to G-d properly (see Derech Hashem, chapter 3).
As a result of the world’s need for rectification, post-sin, a new concept was added into Adam’s avodah in this world. His pre-sin avodah was of self-perfection and drawing closer to G-d. Now, his avodah also included the rectification of the physical world through the retrieval of the sparks of holiness that had descended into impurity. This could only be done through direct and rigorous involvement in the physical world. In doing so, he would remove the power and influence of tumah and evil, which had increased in the world, and re-establish the total good and unity that existed in creation pre-sin. Then the world would serve as the ideal environment for man to choose the good and perfection of doing the will of G-d and to partake of the infinite good that G-d intended for him.
This mission of man is referred to as Tikun Olam (World-Rectification). It exists one step below and feeds into man’s original purpose, Tikun Adam (Self or Soul-Rectification). This dichotomy makes up the complete picture of all of man’s challenges and experiences in this world: Man’s relationship to the world around him, his outer world; and his relationship to his inner world, within himself.
Throughout the generations that proceeded from Adam, people began to take on these two rectifications in their lives, some succeeding but many failing, causing more damage to creation and creating a greater need for continued rectification. The Avot and other great personalities in Tanach, at different points in their lives, became the main movers in the world in one of these two areas of rectification; at some points manifesting the Tikun Adam aspect and at others the Tikun Olam aspect. For example, Avraham primarily began to express the spiritual mission of Tikun Olam upon arriving to Eretz Yisrael; Yitzchak from after the Akeidah; Yaakov from the time of his wrestling with the angel; Yosef from the time of his first dream; Moshe Rabbeinu from Yetzias Mitzrayim before the giving of the Torah; and Yehoshua from the beginning of the war with Amalek (see Kol HaTor, chapter 1:23.) However, these two missions of rectification are said to have reached a point of fruition and maturity while climaxing within two separate personalities in Jewish History: The aspect of Tikun Adam within David HaMelech and the aspect of Tikun Olam within Yosef HaTzadik. From this, the concept of Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yosef becomes introduced. In their lives the qualities associated with Tikun Adam and Tikun Olam became perfected to such an extent that anyone who would later express and develop any such qualities would be referred to as manifesting an aspect of Mashiach ben David or Mashiach ben Yosef. Ultimately, two people will usher in the final redemption, through each focusing on one of these two rectifications as their life mission. They will respectively be called Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yosef proper.
Until the shoes of the final two Mashichim are filled and the redemption arrives fully, in every generation there is one person who manifests and predominates the aspect of Mashiach ben David and another of Mashiach ben Yosef; two people who may potentially fulfill the ultimate mission of the final respective Mashiach who heralds in the redemption. In a more micro-level perspective of the situation, every Jew manifests one of these two aspects predominantly in their lives at one point or another, as a ben Yosef or a ben David. His manifestation of one of the two aspects depends on the circumstances and challenges of his life as well as his place in bringing about the rectification of the entire world.
The mission of Mashiach ben Yosef, spiritually and physically, is Tikun Olam (World Rectification); in preparation and in initiation of the coming of the final Mashiach, ben David, who completes the final stage of man’s perfection and life’s purpose. This mission of Tikun Olam is multi-faceted, encompassing many aspects, and spanning many levels, both physical and spiritual. The Vilna Gaon, in Kol HaTor, deals at length with each of these concepts. In this work, my goal is to focus on Yehoshua bin Nun and to demonstrate his manifestation of Mashiach ben Yosef, pointing out and expanding upon those aspects of Mashiach ben Yosef that pertain to his life and the events described in Tanach regarding his particular role as Mashiach ben Yosef. Therefore, I will mainly address those concepts connected to the events surrounding Yehoshua bin Nun.
To be continued…