2022 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner




Messiah and Sanctification of G-d’s Name




Establishing Credibility



At the end of the Book of Genesis, Jacob calls his sons and says to them:

Assemble yourselves and I will tell you

what will happen to you at the end of Days” (49: 1)

Thus, the Book of Genesis begins  with the very Beginning, the Big Bang,  and ends up with the road towards the “End of Days,” thereby covering the entire history of Mankind on Earth.

There is no other Book, in the Torah or outside the Torah, that covers such a vast span of history, from the Beginning to the End of Days.

Now, if you ask how could Moses, 3500 years ago, tell us such a story?

Is he credible? What could he know, having been raised and trained

in Pharaoh’s house, surrounded with IDOLATRY, witchcraft worshipping death, holy cows and gods that looked like birds or crocodiles?

What could he us, about the history of Earth, till the End of Days?


 Indeed, we are totally surprised to find out that Moses’ account of CREATION in Genesis Chapter One, is so accurate, so credible, that it can perfectly be matched with our scientific knowledge as we’ve seen earlier in our classes.

In Chapter One he covers the entire Evolution, including the many catastrophes that hit our planet during those six Days or stages.

And since Moses’ words in Chapter One are true and credible, so must be his worlds at the end of Chapter One where he describes how Adam was made by ELKM with a heart capable of perceiving and accepting the Shechinah, YHVH.

According to Moses, if Adam accepts the Shechinah  into his heart and  follows Her ways, Mankind would be deemed  –  at the End of Days – very good, and merit entering the next Day, the Sabbath.

And since Moses’ words in Genesis Chapter One are credible and true,

so must be his words at the end of the Book of Genesis, where Jacob tells his sons what will happen in the rest of history till the End of Days.

He also tells them about two Messiahs:  the Son of Judah and the Son of Joseph, who will lead Israel and the entire Mankind will towards the “End of Days.”

Moreover, at his deathbed, in his final hour, he selects one of these two Messiahs as the final one.  We’ll see which one is his choice.


Failure Followed by Correction (Tikun)


To understand the function of a Messiah, let’s observe the way he is presented.

In fact, the story of the Messiah – either the Son of Joseph or the Son of Judah – is presented in the context of a drastic failure and its remedy.

It fits the other stories in the Book of Genesis, that also that takes

us from one failure to another, offering in each case a remedy.


Thus, the Torah presents Mankind’s failure in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and his wife violate the only two Commandments they could have violated there – namely IDOLATRY and ADULTERY.

IDOLATRY – by disobeying G-d and eating the fruits,

ADULTERY – when the married woman cohabited with the Serpent


This was a major failure, that cost them Eden.  Yet it offered a remedy:

Since by eating the Fruit, they received a new awareness of the Shechinah, of YHVH, and Her Holiness.

This new awareness made them ashamed from their nakedness so they covered it immediately.  They also learned the values of confession, repentance and asking FORGIVENESS from YHVH. Thus their failure ended with e remedy – awareness of YHVH, her holiness and her Forgiving power. Now they were ready to live on Earth.


Then, on Earth, humanity stumbled over the next Commandment on line, BLOODSHED, starting with Cain killing Abel sill Noah’s Flood. This was a major failure, but its remedy came in the form of Noah’s Rainbow Covenant and its detailed Bloodsheds, that were assent before.

The remedy included also  Noah’s new, Seventh Commandment  whose purpose is to teach Mankind how  to overcome our natural, animalistic  cruelty – that Noah was so worried about (when he refused to procreate.)


Then the Torah moves on to another failure of Mankind – this time, the Fourth Commandment of Adam, ORGANIZE THEFT. It was a major failure, done on a large-scale unknown before, by creating Empires and introducing Slavery.

The remedy   for that failure was offered by Abraham’s new perception of G-d, as an Owner of everything, supported by his new, eighth Commandment, Circumcision.


Then the Torah moves on to describe the next drastic failure of humanity   over INJUSICE and CIVIL DISORDER, reflected in Jacob’s life story.  The remedy that the Torah offers for that failure is the creation of Israel as a new society where Jacob’s pledge is implemented, and the values of the Merciful YHVH are incorporated in the Laws of the Land.  Such a society would serve an example for all Mankind and allow the Shechinah to enter all people’s hearts.


And now, with the advent of Israel, the Torah moves to the next Commandment on the line – BLASPHEMY.   Like with all other Commandments, BLASPHEMY receives here a new, wider meaning then ever before.  Originally, it meant a prohibition of curse G-d’s Name, or distort His Name, whereas with Israel it received a new meaning of causing others to despise or dishonor G-d’s Name.


If a person or a family or a nation, known to be G-d’s fearers, misbehaves in such an ugly fashion against the Torah’s Laws or even against tthe genuine sense of justice and fairness shared by all Mankind, the perpetrator  is not only in violation of G-d’s Command but also is guilty of   desecration of God’s Name –in the eyes of others.

At this point in history, only Jacob and his family – now called Israel- could perform such a desecration, since they were the only ones who were supposed to give G-d a good name in the eyes of other.



Judah and Joseph



Indeed, the first ones to show this aspect of BLASPHEMY was no other than Jacob’s family.  By selling their own bother to slavery in Egypt, the brothers not only violated THEFT and ABDUCTION, but also desecrated the honor of G-d’s Name in the eyes of any beholder.  Instead of offering a good example for all the nation to emulate, the brothers’ terrible act shed a bad light on the Torah and her values.


No wonder, then, that the Shechinah departed from them, leaving them in the Hands of ELKM who went on to execute the ancient decree told to Abraham, that his descendants would go down  to Egypt for servitude.


This was a great failure of the one family that were supposed increase

G-d’s honor in the world, yet as in the other stories told before in the Book of Genesis, this failure ended with a remedy – the sanctification of G-d’s’ Name in the eyes of others, and the birth of the Messiahs.

The first ones in the family to show a reversal of BLASPHEMY by sanctification, were Judah and Joseph.

Judah, as we’ve learned last time, sanctified G-d’s’ Name by admitting in public that he was the one who impregnated Tamar, taking her as a harlot.  His self-sacrifice for her, saving her life, increased the honor oof G-d’s name in the eyes of the locals, as well in the eyes of his family.

No wonder that the name of YHVH, who has disappeared from the story, is seem again 3 times in the story of Judah and Tamar.  His behavior brought the Shechinah back to the world.

The second person was Joseph, whose self-sacrifice for G-d’s Name in his master’s home elevated G-d’s Honor in the eyes of his master and whoever knew him.   This is why YHVH’s Name re-appears in his story very impressively – 8 times in just a few verses.

Thus, Judah and Joseph show how to reverse BLASPHEMY and increase   G-d’s honor in the eyes of the beholders by self-sacrificing their honor and life in G-d’s’ Name.

Both Judah and Joseph stand out as the leaders of the family who could bring the Shechinah back to them, so that they would, as Israel, serve as example to all Mankind TILL THE END OF DAYS, as Jacob says to his sons before passing away.


What about the rest of the family- the other brothers?

Did they also ascend from their depression and honor G-d’s Name?



The Birth of the Children of Israel



Let’s see what happened to the other brothers.

The Torah tells us that Pharaoh’s dream came true, and, as Joseph had predicted, the seven good  years of plenty passed away followed by seven bad years of hunger that plagued not only Egypt but the entire region.

People from all over the Middle East left their homes and flocked down to Egypt to buy the only bread available – the one stored by Joseph.  He became the real ruler of the ancient world.

When the hunger struck Jacob and his family, it says:

And Jacob saw that there was a break in Egypt.
And Jacob said to 
his sons, why are you fearful?
for he said, behold, I’ve heard that there is a break in Egypt.
Go down there and buy for us, so that we may survive and not perish.”

“And Joseph’s ten brothers then went down to buy grain from Egypt,
but Jacob did not send Benjamin, the brother of Joseph, with his brothers
for he said, ‘An accident might befall him.’

“And the Children of Israel then came to buy grain
among those who came,

For the famine was in the Land of Canaan…” (Genesis 42: 1-7)


Here, in just two short verses, the brothers’ name changes

from Jacob’s Sons, to Joseph’s Brothers, to the Children of Israel.


At first, they were just Jacob’s sons, still in depression.

Then, when they agreed to go down to Egypt to fetch food,

their intention was also to look for their lost brother.  Hence the change in their name to Joseph’s bothers. Rashi says that nine portion of their intention was for Joseph, and only one portion for the food.

And as they traveled down to Egypt among “those who came,” as the verse says, their name was farther elevated to be the Children of Israel.  In fact, here is the birth of the new nation called the Children of Israel.  it is defined as ten brothers looking for their lost one.

In contrast to the sea of nameless people who flocked down to Egypt for food, stood out ten brothers whose intention was to look for their lost brother rather than the food.  They repented their sin, and wished to bring their brother back home.

 At a time of hunger, all social and national barriers disappear.  People stream in disorder with only one goal on their mind – get food and survive. In this strong, there is no royalty, no rank and no nationality.

How meaningful it is that Israel is born a tiny group of ten brothers – the first congregation of ten – driven by repentance, searching a lost brother to redeem him and bring him back home.

Thus the brothers, like Judah and Joseph, elevated themselves from their spiritual depression and were qualified to be named as Israel, a nation that would serve as an example to others and sanctify   G-d’s honor in the eyes of others


The Messiah the Son of Judah

Vs the Son of Joseph



At that point, there were two candidates to lead the family: Judah and Joseph.  Both carried the Shechinah with them .  Each one was qualified to bring a Messiah.  What is the difference between them?


Lat’s first focus on Judah.

As the ten brothers enter Egypt’s capital, they split and each one enter through a different gate, looking for Joseph in the local slave markets.

When they finally stand before Joseph, who is dressed as Pharaoh’s vice, they do not recognize him but he recognizes them.   They bow down to the ground before his throne, which reminds him his dream when he was young, that eleven stars – eleven brothers – would bow to him.  He asks them about their father and they tell  him about Benjamin,  his only brother from their mother Rachel whom he had never seen.

Still not sure about their repentance, he accuses them to be spies

– have they not entered the city in ten gates? –  and arrests Simeon, warning them to bring Benjamin with them next time. As the guard takes away Simeon, Joseph hears them saying to each other in pains:


“Indeed, we are guilty concerning our brother

in as much as we saw his heartfelt anguish

when we pleaded with us and we paid no heed,

that is why that anguish has come upon us.”  


They are unaware, of course, that Joseph could understand their Hebrew but he is so moved that he turns around and weep.

Next time when they run out of food, Jacob refuses to let them take Benjamin with them as Joseph has demanded.  This time Judah is the one who takes the initiative.

As we’ve seen, the Name of YHVH has already descended on him three times in the story of Tamar.  He steps forwards and pledges himself to his father as a guarantor to the welfare of Benjamin, Simeon as well for all the other brothers.

This is important, since in history, the tribe of Judah has been the only one who has remained loyal to Jacob and his faith, whereas all the others have turned away to idolatry and have disappeared from the Jewish history.

Judah also represents a Messiah, the Son of Judah, who steps forwards on his own initiative and puts his life on line for the safety and the honor of the Israel.

In the same token, the Messiah the Son of Judah  would  face the outside world, the Nations, while the brothers stand behind him in full support.


Let’s now talk about Joseph and his Messiah.    

As the brothers stand before him the second time, Joseph manipulates the events so that he releases Simeon yet arrests Benjamin.  He wishes to find out whether they would defend  Rachel’s son as they did for Simeon, Lea’s son.

Now Judah, as the brother’s leader, steps forwards ready to fight or to open up a dialogue.  He offers himself as a slave to Joseph in leu of releasing Benjamin. His passionate words move Joseph so much that he can’t hold himself back anymore.   Bursting in crying he reveals himself to his brother saying the important world that defines his mission:

I am Joseph, is my father still alive?”

And he said to them:   

And now, be not distressed, not reproach yourselves

for having sold me here,

for it was to be a provider that ELKM has sent me ahead of you. 

“For these have been two of the hunger years in the midst of the land

and there are yet five more years in which there shall be neither plowing nor harvest.

Thus, ELKM has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival in the land

and to sustain you for a momentous deliverance”


Here is a full description of Joseph’s role as a provider, the one who would sustain their livelihood.


In contrast to Judah, his leadership is sanctioned by G-d who has selected him to save and lead the Children of Israel.

His task is  to take care of his brothers’ physical and material, natural needs and ensure their survival as people and as a nation.

Unlike Judah, he faces his brothers, as a messenger appointed by G-d.  By this, he defines also the task of the Messiah the Son of Joseph, whose role is to provide Israel with anything they need  to survive naturally


The sages saw here the prototypes for the two types of Messiahs that Israel would need to survive and then face the rest of the world.


The first one, the Son of Joseph, would gather their exiles, build their cities and state and provide for their safety and livelihood.

The second one, the Son of Judah, would restore Israel’s fame and glory in the eyes of the Nations.  He would lead Mankind to the future till the End of Days.

Some see these two Messiahs as two different personalities.  Legend says the first one, the Son of Joseph, would perish by the hands of the enemies of G-d in the battle of the valley of Megido, as the prophet Zechariah prophesies.    Others – like the Vilna Gaon –  see him as a necessary stage in the Messianic era, rather than a definite personality.

Thus, according to this view, whoever acts in favor of the natural, material need that assure the survival of Israel in “considered a Messiah the Son of Joseph.  For instance, Queen Esther is in that category.  In our times, the State of Israel may fall into that category – as Rabbi Kook ZTL have suggested.

All agree that after the age of the ‘Messiah the Son of Joseph’ , the second stage will arrive when the Son of Judah, as an individual or as an era,  would take over and lead Israel.



Who among them will prevail?o



The answer is given by Jacob himself in his final words at his deathbed.

First he recognizes the Kingship of G-d, saying (according to the Midrash)

Blessed the Honor of His Kingship forever and eve.”

Once he gives honor to G-d as a King, he selects one of his sons as a human king, a Messiah.  One should not mix G-d’s Kingship with Man’s’ Kingship.

Examining his sons one by one, describing their virtues and blemishes, he turns to Judah and says:


Judah, you, your brothers shall acknowledge your hand,

Your hands will be at“J your enemies nape

Your father’s sons will prostrate themselves before you. 

“A lion cub is Judah, the prey, my son, you’ve elevated yourselves.

He crouches, lie down like a lion, and like an awesome lion who dares rousing him?

The scepter shall  not depart from Judah not law giver from among his descendants

Till Shilo arrives and he will be an assemblage of nations


The final Messiah who will lead Israel and the Nations shall come from Judah.



Connecting to Genesis Chapter One



Here, at the end of the Book of Genesis, with the advent of Israel and a Messiah, the road to the future is open.

Henceforth humanity would be led by Israel, headed by a Messiah the Son of Judah, who would teach all Mankind how  to bring the Shechinah into every human heart so that all Mankind would be Very Good.

That goal, set up by Genesis Chapter One, would be reached by following Jacob’s words at the end of the Book of Genesis.

ELKM, the ruler of Genesis Chapter One, is also the ruler of the last chapters in the Book of Genesis.  His Kingship is behind the scene.

His Guidance and Will is unseen in the open, and we all act according to our Free Will, yet somehow He manipulate history so that His Goal would be achieved.

Now that we learned about the Messiah,  let’s see what the prophet Bilaam says about HOW TO BRING A MESSIAH.























“Judah, you, your brothers shall aknowledge your hand,

Your hands will be at your enemies nape

Your father’s sons will prostrate themselves before you.


“A lion cub is Judah, the prey, my son, you’ve elevated yourselves.

He crouches, lie down like a lion, and like an awesome lion who dares rousing him?

The septer shalp not depart from Judah not law giver from among his descendants

Till Shilo arrives and he will be an assemblage of nations…”






Here we see the fingerprint of ELKM acting behind the scene, to lead Jacob and the family down to Egypt.