MEMS AND MOSHIACH

-‫ישעיה פרק ט, ו )לםר ְבה( ]למר ְבה[ הַמשרה ולְשלום אין-קץ על-כ ִסא דוד ו ְעל‬ ַ ִ ָ ֵ ַ ֵ ֵ ָ ָ ְ ִ ֵ ַ ְ ֵ ַ ְ ‫ממלַכתו לְהָכין אתה ולְסעדה בְמשפט ובִצ ְדקה מעתה ו ְעד-עולם קנאת ה' צ ְבאות‬ ָ ְ ִ ָ ַ ָ ַ ֵ ָ ָ ָ ְ ִ ָ ֲ ַ ָ ֹ ִ ְ ְ ַ :‫תַעשה-זאת‬ ֹ ֶ ֲ
This verse is a reference to Chizkiyahu's successful reign as a worthy successor to Dovid. The verse is read: ‫ ,למרבה‬but is written with a final mem in the middle of the word (only place in Tanach). CHIZKIYAHU ALMOST BECAME MOSHIACH (Sanhedrin 94a)
Question (R. Tanchum): "To him who increases (G-d’s) authority; and for (him shall be) peace without end" - why is the 'Mem' in "L'Marbeh" written closed (i.e. like a final Mem)? Answer: Hashem wanted to make Chizkiyahu Moshiach, and Sancheriv (would have fulfilled the prophecy of) Gog and Magog However the Midas ha'Din protested: David sang so many praises to You, You did not make him Moshiach - You did great miracles for Chizkiyahu (wiping out Sancheriv's great army overnight, curing Chizkiyahu and prolonging the day), yet he did not sing Shirah, and will You make him Moshiach?! The land: I will sing Shirah in place of him, and You can make him Moshiach - "To the end of the earth we have heard songs, (do) the wish ( ‫ )צבי‬of the Tzadik” (Yeshaiyahu 24,16). The angel appointed over the world asked HaShem to do the Tzivyon (desire) of the Tzadik (Chizkiyahu). A Bas Kol: “It is My secret” (why Chizkiyahu will not be Moshiach) (a continuation of Yeshaiyahu 24,16). The Navi continued “Woe to me” - when will Moshiach come (Ad Mosai)?' A Bas Kol: "Treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; they have indeed dealt very treacherously" (conclusion of Yeshaiyahu 24,16). (Rava): He (Moshiach) will not come until several waves of plunderers torment Yisrael.

Rashi: 1) This letter ‫ מ‬when open alludes to Moshiach (‫ .)משיח‬Thus, the closed mem (in the verse above) represents the closure of HaShem’s intention that Chizkiyahu become Moshiach. 2) Closed mem indicated the original plan to make Chizkiyahu Moshiach who would have closed all the troubles for the Jews. 3) Closed mem indicates that Chizkiyahu’s mouth was closed from saying Shirah to HaShem. Radak: In Yeshaiyah the Mem is closed in a place when it should be open; in Ezra (Nechemyah 2,13) ‫ בחומת ירושלם אֲשר- ) המ ( ]הם[ פרוצים‬the mem is open when is should be closed. The ִ ְ ֵ ֵ ֶ ַ ָ ְ ֹ ְ lesson is that when the Jews wish to close the walls of Yerushalayim (for protection) in times of Galus the walls will be broken. In the time of salvation, then the broken walls will be closed and then will begin the leadership ‫ )משרה‬see Rashi) from Yerushalayim until the coming of King Moshiach. Minchas Shai: This question of a final mem in the middle of the word is not understood. However, a Mesorah is to read as two words: ‫ .לם ברה‬The word ‫ לם‬means “to them” (a shortened form of ‫.)להם‬ Thus, the verse should read “to them the reign will increase”. But this does make sense, since the Radak and others clearly state that this is one word and not two words. Chizkiyahu was an exceedingly righteous king. He was the son of Achaz and the father of Menasheh, who were both wicked kings. Chizkiyahu brought a spiritual revival to the Jewish people, eradicating the bamos that had been used for sacrifices outside the Temple, and smashing the copper snake that Moshe had made in the desert (it had become worshiped as an independent deity). In Chizkiyahu’s times, Assyria lead by Sancheiriv invaded Eretz Yisrael, exiling the 10 Northern Tribes, and laying siege to Yerushalayim. Chizkiyahu prayed to HaShem for help, and He did. A miraculous plague descended on the Assyrian army, killing one hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers in one night. The rest of the army retreated out of Eretz Yisrael.

The invasion and miraculous redemption seemed to fit the description of Gog and Magog prophecy. And in addition the presence of a righteous king seems to fit the Moshiach scenario.

CHIZKIYAHU'S FAILURE TO PRAISE HASHEM FOR THE MIRACULOUS VICTORY QUESTION: HaShem wanted to make Chizkiyahu ha'Melech into Moshiach, and to make Sancheriv into Gog u'Magog, and to bring the final Ge'ulah in his time. However, because Chizkiyahu did not say Shirah to HaShem in gratitude for the miracles that He did for Chizkiyahu, HaShem did not make him Moshiach. This is alluded to by the "Mem Sofis," the closed final Mem that appears at the beginning of the word, "l'Marbeh" (Yeshaiyah 9:6), in the verse that discusses Chizkiyahu's successful reign. Why indeed did Chizkiyahu not say Shirah for such a tremendous miracle? How does the final mem allude to the incorrect reasoning of Chizkiyahu? ANSWERS: (Based on Dafyomi.co.il) (a) The ROGATCHOVER GA'ON in TZAFNAS PANE'ACH:The Gemara in Ta'anis (28b) teaches that a Yachid (individual) may not say Hallel whenever he wants, implying that a Tzibur (an entire congregation or community) may say Hallel anytime. TOSFOS in Sukah (44b) explains that the Tzibur which may say Hallel anytime is not a single congregation or community, but the entire nation. The Gemara, he explains, refers to the Hallel which is recited upon being the beneficiary of a miraculous salvation. This form of Hallel is recited only when the miracle was one that saved the entire nation. Since, at the time of Chizkiyahu, the Ten Tribes had already been exiled, Chizkiyahu did not deem it appropriate to say Hallel to thank HaShem for the salvation of only two tribes, since it was not a miracle performed for the salvation of the entire nation. What, then, was Chizkiyahu's mistake? The Tzafnas Pane'ach quotes RASHI in Megilah (31a) who writes that the defeat of Sancheriv occurred on the seventh day of Pesach (which is why it is read as that day's Haftarah, according to the Gemara there). On the seventh day of Pesach, Hallel is recited because it is Pesach. However, only the abridged version of Hallel is recited. (The RAN in the second Perek of Shabbos cites the RAMBAN who adds that it is even required by Halachah to recite the half-Hallel on the last days of Pesach.) The Gemara in Ta'anis states that although an individual alone should not say Hallel for the occurrence of a miracle, if he begins to recite Hallel, he should complete the Hallel. Since, on the seventh day of Pesach, the people in Chizkiyahu's time already were saying part of Hallel because of the festival, they should have finished it because of the miracle that occurred on that day in their own time, even though that miracle happened to only a few of the Shevatim. For not reciting the full Hallel, Chizkiyahu was punished. This is what the Gemara means when it says that the letter Mem became closed because Chizkiyahu's mouth "became closed". This implies that he was criticized because his mouth was open already in saying Shirah, but he closed it and did not complete the Shirah. (b) RAV YITZCHAK LEVI zt'l: The verse, "Azi v'Zimras Kah va'Yehi Li li'Yeshu'ah", appears three times in Tanach: in the Shirah the Jewish people said at Keri'as Yam Suf (Shemos 15:2), in the paragraphs of Hallel (Tehilim 118:14), and in Yeshaiyah (12:2). The verse in Yeshayah contains one additional word: "Azi v'Zimras Kah HaShem va'Yehi Li li'Yeshu'ah." Rashi there explains that Yeshaiyah is praising HaShem for the future defeat of Amalek (at the war of Gog u'Magog). At that point in time, the Name of HaShem (Yud-Heh) will be complete again. Thus, Yeshaiyah added the full Name of HaShem. When the army of Sancheriv was destroyed, it could have been the destruction of all evil from the world, had Chizkiyahu said Shirah. Chizkiyahu did say Shirah, but he did not say the full Shirah with the full Name of HaShem, denoting the final destruction of all forces of evil. This is alluded to in the Gemara's words when it says that "his mouth closed." Since he did not recognize the victory as the final destruction of all evil, HaShem in turn made the victory into an ordinary one and not the final victory over all evil. The same idea explains why the Gemara says that Moshe Rabeinu did not say Shirah until Yisro came and said, "Baruch HaShem" (Shemos 18:10). What does the Gemara mean when it says that Moshe Rabeinu and the Jewish people did not say Shirah? They said the entire Shirah of "Az Yashir" to thank HaShem at Keri'as Yam Suf! The answer is that they said "Azi v'Zimras Kah" without the complete Name of HaShem, while Yisro said the Name of HaShem, showing that he recognized that the victory could have been the final victory over all evil had the Jewish people been worthy.

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