Monday, July 4, 2011


"A star will shoot forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel" [Balak 24:17]

Rambam understood the verse above as referring to King David and Moshiach.  The Jerusalem Talmud, however, uses the metaphor of a "star" in this verse to refer to even the ordinary Jew. 

At first glance, this appears to be a contradiction, for Moshiach represents the highest perfection possible in a human being, whereas the "ordinary" Jew includes every Jewish person, even the most simple.  However, the matter can be reconciled based on the Baal Shem Tov's teaching that every Jew contains within him a "spark" of the soul of Moshiach.  The verse therefore refers to both Moshiach himself and the "Moshiach" within us.

The presence of this "spark" of Moshiach has a twofold implication:

a) The verse states the star will "shoot forth" suggesting that one's personal spark of Moshiach should be revealed and "shoot out" into the world;

b) Every Jew is able to speed up and bring about the actual manifestation of Moshiach through revealing his own spark and adding in Torah and Mitzvot.

Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe


Folasade said...

What is the difference between Jacob and Israel ?

Could it be the key to the verse you quoted ?

Devorah said...

I have no idea, I hope someone else answers that.

juls.fleming said...

Can't remember for sure the source, but, one of the rebbes I studied with, or maybe something I read over the years, noted that in some cases 'Jacob' refers to the women and 'Israel' refers to the men. Not saying this is carved in stone, but may or may not be applicable here. If it feels right, you will know.