"G-d builds Jerusalem, He gathers together the outcasts of Israel."
Describing the advent of Mashiach, Rambam writes:
"If a king will arise from the House of David who, like David his ancestor, delves deeply into the study of the Torah and observes its mitzvos as prescribed by the Written law and the Oral law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of G-d; - we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach. If he succeeds in the above, builds the [Beis Ha]Mikdash on its site, and gathers in the dispersed remnant of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach."
We see from this ruling that Rambam holds that the Ingathering of the Exiles will follow the building of the Third Temple. This view is based on the verse, "G-d builds Jerusalem, He gathers together the outcasts of Israel," and is supported by numerous Talmudic and Midrashic sources.
Continuing this theme, the Zohar quotes the verse in Tehillim that follows the above verse, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds," and writes that the Resurrection will take place forty years after the Ingathering of the Exiles.
The order of events will thus be as follows:
- The arrival of Mashiach.
- The rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.
- The Ingathering of the Exiles.
- Forty years later, the Resurrection.
According to one view, the Resurrection will take place in the month of Nissan.
There is an opinion that certain righteous individuals will be resurrected at the outset with the arrival of Mashiach.
As a reward for their lifelong divine service, they will thus be privileged to participate in the universal rejoicing that will accompany his arrival, and to witness the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.
Similarly, there is an opinion that Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon and his sons will be resurrected before Mashiach comes, so that they will be able to instruct the people as they did at the time of the Exodus.
A related question: Can Mashiach himself be resurrected from the dead or does he have to be a man now alive?
Rambam describes the revelation of Mashiach as a gradual process in the course of which a righteous and learned leader of his generation will fight the wars of G-d, become a potential Mashiach, and then go on to build the Beis HaMikdash and gather in the exiles.
However, there are indications that Mashiach could possibly be a righteous individual who has already lived and died and will then be resurrected as Mashiach. Discussing the personality of Mashiach, the Sages state: "If he is one of the living, then an example would be Rabbeinu HaKadosh [i.e., R. Yehudah HaNasi]; if he is someone from among the dead, then he is someone like Daniel." Abarbanel, in his authoritative classic entitled Yeshuos Meshicho, clearly raises the possibility that Mashiach may be among those resurrected. He cites a passage from Tractate Derech Eretz Zuta: "Nine people entered the Garden of Eden alive ...Mashiach." He explains that according to this view, a righteous individual deemed to be the Mashiach will live, then die on account of the sins of his generation, but will eventually be resurrected. In his encyclopedic work entitled Sdei Chemed, R. Chizkiyah Medini states that if Israel is exceedingly meritorious, Mashiach will be resurrected from the dead in a miraculous manner.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 147:2.
- (Back to text) Hilchos Melachim 11:4. Considering the elaborate length of his Discourse on the Resurrection, it is interesting to note that Rambam does not even mention this subject in his Mishneh Torah. A number of commentaries explain this by observing that the function of this work is to codify applicable Halachah; it does not discuss future events outside this context. Hence it does discuss the coming of Eliyahu HaNavi and Mashiach, for these have applicable halachic ramifications, as is documented in the commentaries.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 147:2.
- (Back to text) Berachos 49a; Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Noach, sec. 11 (and see the commentary of Etz Yosef there). For full documentation, see Igros Kodesh (Letters) of R. Sholom Ber Schneersohn of Lubavitch (the Rebbe Rashab), Vol. I, p. 309.
- (Back to text) I, 139a; see also p. 134a.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 147:3.
- (Back to text) The Zohar draws a mystical analogy between this interval of 40 years and the 40 years of Yitzchak's age at marriage and the 40 years' sojourn in the wilderness. According to Sanhedrin 99a likewise, the Messianic era will last for 40 years. Commenting on this passage, Chiddushei HaRan cites the view that the Resurrection will take place 40 years after the arrival of Mashiach, and also cites variant opinions of 70 and 400 years.
- (Back to text) According to many sources, it appears that G-d Himself will build the Third Beis HaMikdash (rather than Mashiach, as in the passage from Rambam which opened this chapter). It has been suggested, therefore, that the actual edifice will be restored by G-d, but its gates will be restored by Mashiach. For a full discussion of this point, see Chiddushim U'Biurim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Hilchos Beis HaBechirah, sec. 19; and in English, Seek Out the Welfare of Jerusalem (by R. Eliyahu Touger; Sichos In English, N.Y., 1994), p. 145ff.
- (Back to text) Cf. Tzror HaMor on Shir HaShirim 8:12, citing Ramban.
- (Back to text) Rambam's apparent conception of two distinct periods within the Messianic era - an initial period conducted according to the natural order followed by a supernatural state of being - is discussed in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 417. (See also footnote 56 there regarding the view of Ramban.) This discussion appears in English in I Await His Coming Every Day (Kehot, N.Y., 1991), p. 51ff.
The Rebbe often quotes the Zohar to the effect that the Resurrection will take place 40 years after the advent of Mashiach. (See Igros Kodesh, Vol. II, p. 75; Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. I, p. 274. However, there are also other references in the sichos (e.g., Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 206; Sefer HaSichos 5733, Shabbos Parshas Balak, footnote 3) - that if Israel merits it, Resurrection will take place earlier. (See Yeshuos Meshicho by Abarbanel, Iyun 1, ch. 3; Maayanei HaYeshuah, Tamar 2, Maayan 1; Netzach Yisrael by the Maharal, ch. 45.) The fact that Rambam does not mention the Resurrection in Mishneh Torah (see footnote 202 above) also suggests that in his opinion the Resurrection will take place at some time after the Ingathering of the Exiles.
However, there are opinions that the Resurrection will take place before the advent of Mashiach. (See the commentary of Yfei Anaf on Midrash Eichah 1:51; Likkutei Sichos, Parshas Vayechi 5751, footnote 6, quoted also in Shaarei Geulah, Vol. II, p. 57; Taamei HaMinhagim, p. 470; Maasei Tuvia (by R. Tuvia the Physician); Olam HaElyon, end of sec. 47.) The Halachah, however, does not follow this opinion, since where there is a difference of opinion in the Talmud, the Zohar decides the Halachah (see Sefer HaMaamarim 5709, p. 184; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 102) and in this case the Zohar is clear in that Resurrection will follow the advent of Mashiach by 40 years.
- (Back to text) Tur, Orach Chaim, sec. 490, quotes Rav Hai Gaon in the name of the Talmudic Sages; see the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 490:16. According to Rav Hai Gaon, the Resurrection will take place before the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash. (See Otzar HaMidrashim, Vol. II, p. 388.)
- (Back to text) See Zohar I, 140a; Chiddushei Ritva on Rosh HaShanah 16b; Responsa of Radvaz, Vol. III, sections 1069, 644; Migdal David, p. 83a; Biurei HaZohar of the Tzemach Tzedek, p. 134. See also Sichos Kodesh 5710 (Kehot), p. 100, and Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 518.
Even according to this opinion the Resurrection of the righteous will take place in the Land of Israel, and those buried in the Diaspora will be conveyed there by means of underground conduits (cf. ch. 7 below). See at length in Emunas HaTechiyah, ch. 5. In Sichos Kodesh 5714, Yud Shvat, the Rebbe speaks of how the Ohel partakes of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael since it will be connected with these conduits.
- (Back to text) See Aruch LaNer on Niddah 61b; Tosafos on Pesachim 114b; Yoma 5b; Ikkarim 4:35. Midrash Rabbah, at the end of Parshas Eikev, states that Moshe Rabbeinu will come together with Eliyahu HaNavi (the Prophet Elijah). Elsewhere, in Parshas Vaes'chanan 2:10, the Midrash states that Moshe was buried in the desert together with his people so that upon Resurrection he will lead them all to the Land. Combining these two Midrashim, it would seem that Moshe together with his whole generation will be resurrected and will appear with Eliyahu upon the arrival of Mashiach. (This opinion is cited in the Responsa entitled Lev Chaim, Vol. I, p. 32.) In Hilchos Melachim 12:2, Rambam notes that there is no uniform view as to exactly when in the Messianic process Eliyahu will arrive.
- (Back to text) Hilchos Melachim 11:4.
- (Back to text) On this sequence as described by Rambam, see the handwritten gloss added by the Rebbe to the printed draft of a sichah delivered on Shabbos Parshas Tazria-Metzora, 6 Iyar, 5751 , footnote 45. It is reproduced in Kuntreis Tzaddik LaMelech, Vol. VI, p. 210.
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 98b.
- (Back to text) Note Rashi's two explanations of this passage, and the comment of Ben Yehoyada. See also Midrash Eichah Rabbah 1:51 - "If Mashiach is among the living his name is David; if he is among the dead his name is David" - and the comment of Yfei Anaf there. See also: Shaarei Geulah, Vol. II, p. 57, footnote 6; article entitled "Everlasting Life" by Rabbi N. Davidson, in Beis Moshiach, No. 49, p. 34.
- (Back to text) P. 104.
- (Back to text) Pe'as HaSadeh, Maareches Alef, footnote 70. See also Or HaChaim, Parshas Balak, on the verse (Bamidbar 24:17), "A star shall shoot forth from Yaakov": "If Israel are found worthy, Mashiach will be revealed from heaven." See also: Zohar I, 203b; Arba Meios Shekel Kessef (by R. Chaim Vital), p. 68; Shaar HaGilgulim, ch. 13; Meorei Tzion, ch. 97; Biurei Zohar by the Alter Rebbe, p. 106b; Biurei Zohar by the Tzemach Tzedek and Yahel Or of the Tzemach Tzedek on Tehillim 82; Or HaChamah on Zohar I, 7b, and I, 212a. Note the closing phrase ("and he will redeem us") of the first maamar of the Rebbe (entitled Basi LeGani 5711 ), translated by Sichos In English in Basi LeGani: Chassidic Discourses (Kehot, N.Y., 1990), p. 103.