Moshiach ben Yosef and Amalek
For the past few weeks, even though I have been out of the blogging mode of Moshiach ben Yosef, I have not been completely inactive. I started to tell my son a very long night time story. We call it the Torah story. I started from the beginning with Adam Harishon and spoke through a lot of the Moshiach podcasts. I also told him a lot of the material from Rav Shimon Kessin’s tapes on Pesach and Yetzias mitzrayim which, by the way, are amazing.
Some interesting thoughts that we discussed tonight were as follows.
We were speaking about how Sha’ul Hamelech was to be the precursor to Dovid Hemelech. This meant that Sha’ul was an aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef to Dovid as Moshiach ben Dovid. It is very interesting that in a number of the stories where we see someone playing the role of Moshiach ben Yosef, that character many times teeters on the edge of destruction. In some cases, as is the case of Sha’ul, he falls in. This was also the case with Yeravam ben Nevat.
As we were talking I realized that this is because of the fact that Moshiach ben Yosef’s job is to release the sparks from the side of Evil. The only way to release these sparks, however, is to actually enter into the Evil itself. We see a great example of this with the Jewish people entering into Egypt in order to free the sparks that were trapped there. It could only be done correctly while in the physical proximity of the Evil that was holding the sparks. Thus, in Moshiach ben Yosef’s case, he must enter into the forces of darkness, and release the light. The danger is that he will fall into the darkness.
My son asked me why Sha’ul then did not dress up as an Egyptian. At first I didn’t understand what he meant. Then, I realized that he was asking that if the sparks were trapped in Egypt, why didn’t Shaul, who was Moshiach ben Yosef, descend to Egypt in order to release the sparks from there.
I explained to him (based on Rav Kessin’s shiurim) that after the Jews left Mitzrayim, as they were about to enter into the Yam Suf, Moshe turns to the Jewish people and tells them they will never see Egypt or the Egyptians again. This in essence means that the sparks of kedusha would never be trapped in Egypt again. Instead, they would be placed in another nation, from which the Jewish people would need to release them. The nation of Amalek.
Thus, one of the essential jobs of Moshiach ben Yosef will be to utterly destroy Amalek. This explains why Sha’ul was entrusted with the job to destroy Amalek. Since he was Moshiach ben Yosef, it naturally follows. This also explains why Sha’ul lost his kingship when he failed in that task. This was his essential task as the precursor to Dovid, who was to be Moshiach ben Dovid. When he failed, his whole purpose was lost, and the opportunity for the coupling of Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid was lost at that point.
It is interesting that once he fails in his task, Sha’ul begins to run after Dovid to kill him. He perceives that Dovid is trying to steal his throne. The irony is that he destroyed his own throne, and that his throne and his significance would not have been usurped by Dovid at all had he not failed in his job.
It is also interesting to note that Dovid had a very strong relationship with Yonasan, Sha’ul’s son, and even married Sha’ul’s daughter Michal. Clearly Dovid and Sha’ul were meant to have a deep bond. Nevertheless, Sha’ul’s failure in his task destroyed the very bond that was to be created. When the goal of unity is lost, the opposite occurs – a desire for destruction. Sadly, Sha’ul was bent on Dovid’s destruction, but in the end it was this very quest that caused his own demise. When Shaul saw that the Kohanim of the city of Nov had helped Dovid, he killed them all. As a result of this, it was decreed that Sha’ul and his sons would be killed in battle.
In a nutshell, when Moshiach ben Yosef fails, he falls into the abyss. This abyss is actually the very concept of Amalek itself. Amalek’s essence is self destruction to prevent unity. The prime example of this is when the Jewish people leave Egypt on the way to receive the Torah of Moshiach, and they are intercepted by a suicidal nation of Amalek, who are willing to take on Hashem Himself – with no chance of survival – just to prevent the unity of the Jewish people with Hashem. It was this very act that caused them to be the new container for the forces of evil after Egypt. Sha’ul fell into this very concept.
We see a parallel to this at the very root of the conception of Amalek. The grandfather of Amalek was Esav. Esav, as we have mentioned, was meant to be Moshiach ben Yosef. His very failure meant a few of the things we have spoken about in regards to Shaul. First, Esav became bent on the destruction of Yakov, who was Moshiach ben Dovid. Secondly, the result was the ultimate disconnection – Yakov was forced to flee from Esav, just as Dovid was forced to flee from Sha’ul. Sha’ul’s story ended in death for himself and his family. Esav’s story ended with the birth of Amalek, who would end up representing the force of Evil, separation, and death in the world.