TEN FURTHER THINGS PERTAINING TO THE DAYS OF THE MESSIAH

 

Translated from Oxford Ms. Heb. d. 11 (2797) as transcribed and published by Eli Yassif, ed., Sefer ha-Zikronot hu’ Divrey ha-Yamim le-YeraÐme’el (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 2001), 442-43.  See also Adolph Jellinek, ed., Bet ha-Midrasch: Sammlung kleiner Midraschim und vermischter Abhandlungen aus der jüdischen Literatur (6 vols.; Leipzig, 1853-77; repr., Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrmann, 1938), 6:118-20; Yehudah Even-Shmuel, Midreshey ge’ullah (2d ed.; Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 1954), 345-46, where this piece is entitled The Redemptive Acts of the King Messiah.

 

Corresponding to these ten signs, the Holy One, blessed be He, will refurbish Jerusalem with ten kinds of precious stones. These will be ruby, topaz, emerald, turquoise, sapphire, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, and gold—ten types of stones. And for the reconstruction of the Temple He (the Holy One, blessed be He) will supplement them with two more; namely, porphyry and carbuncle, as scripture states: ‘I will inlay your walls with porphyry, and your gates with carbuncle’ (Isa 54:12). Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, is planning to restore to Israel ten things which had disappeared from among them, as scripture says: ‘I will be pleased with it and glorify it’ (Hag 1:8). Five of these things were missing from the Second Temple; namely, the Ark and the cherubim, the ointment for anointing, the proper arrangement of the woods on the altar, the Urim and Thummim, and the Holy Spirit, along with five other things. The Holy One, blessed be He, is going to intensify the illumination of the sun three hundred and forty-three times more than its current brightness, as scripture states: ‘the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold (stronger); it will be like the light of seven days on the day when the Lord bandages the fractured state of His people and heals the severity of its wound’ (Isa 30:26). And from whence do we learn that the factor will be three hundred and forty-three? Because it is interpreted thusly by Jonathan b. ‘Uzziel: ‘the brightness [of the moon] will be like the brightness of the sun, [and the brightness of the sun] will become three hundred and forty-three times brighter, like the brightness of seven days.’ For when you multiply seven by seven the product is forty-nine; (then) multiplying them (again) by seven—as scripture says: ‘like the light of seven days’ (ibid.)—consequently the total is three hundred and forty-three.

So too the Holy One, blessed be He, will cause the righteous to shine with an intensity equal to this same number, for scripture says: ‘and His friends (will be) like the emergence of the sun at its peak intensity’ (Judg 5:31). We have it translated (into Aramaic as): ‘His servants, the righteous ones, are destined to shine like the brightness of His glory, (shining) three hundred and forty-three times brighter like the brightness of the sun at its peak intensity.’ Now those are seven things which the Holy One, blessed be He, is planning to restore to them. The crowns which they lost at Sinai, the blessing of the grain, and the plumpness of the fruit—the total sum (of things He will restore) is ten.

And mirroring these (ten things), the Holy One, blessed be He, is planning to restore and produce ten great redemptive acts along with the rest of their associated marvels. First will be the advent of the redeemer, as scripture says: ‘behold, your king will come to you, etc.’ (Zech 9:9). Second will be the ingathering of the exiles, as scripture states: ‘behold, I will bring them from a northern land, and I will gather them in from the ends of the earth, among them those who are blind and crippled’ (Jer 31:7). Why ‘those who are blind and crippled’? This teaches that each and every righteous person will return just as they were when (they were) removed from the world. Whoever was blind will return blind at the time of their resurrection, whoever was crippled will return crippled at the time of their resurrection, and so too with regard to all the rest of the nation, so that each person might recognize his friend (and) so that others might not say that they were (actually) these (people). After this, the Holy One, blessed be He, will heal them, as scripture promises: ‘then the crippled one will leap like a deer, etc.’ (Isa 35:6). Third will be the resurrection of the dead, as scripture states: ‘and many of those asleep in the soil of the ground will awaken, etc.’ (Dan 12:2). Fourth will be the rebuilding of the Temple in accordance with the vision of the structure which Ezekiel saw in his prophecy. Fifth: Israel will implement the sovereignty of the jurisdiction of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Torah throughout the entire world, as scripture says: ‘then He will revert to the nations a pure speech so that all of them can call together on the name of the Lord, etc.’ (Zeph 3:9). Sixth: the Holy One, blessed be He, will destroy all the enemies of His people and exact vengeance on them, as scripture says: ‘I will take my vengeance out <on Edom> by the hand of My people Israel’ (Ezek 25:14). Seventh: the Holy One, blessed be He, will remove every pestilence and illness from Israel, as scripture says: ‘and no one who dwells there will say I am ill; the people inhabiting it will have (their) transgression forgiven’ (Isa 33:24). Eighth: the Holy One, blessed be He, will prolong the days of Israel to be like those of a tree, as scripture states: ‘like the days of a tree will the days of my people be’ (Isa 65:22), and it is written: ‘for one who dies at the age of one hundred will be considered a youth, and [the sinner] (who dies) when one hundred will be thought cursed’ (Isa 65:20), and it is written: ‘He will destroy death forever, and the Lord will wipe away the tear(s) from every face, and He will remove the disgrace of His people, etc.’ (Isa 25:8). Ninth: the Holy One, blessed be He, will reveal Himself visibly to Israel, as scripture says: ‘the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will behold (it) together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken’ (Isa 40:5). He will make all Israel to be prophets, as scripture states: ‘it shall come to pass after this that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, etc.’ (Joel 3:1). Tenth: the Holy One, blessed be He, will remove the evil impulse (yetzer ha-ra) from Israel, as scripture affirms: ‘and I shall give you a new heart, and I shall place a new spirit inside of you, and I shall extract the heart of stone from your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh’ (Ezek 36:26).

Happy is he who patiently awaits the day of redemption! He hopes that he will prove worthy of the reward (dispensed on that) delayed day! But if perchance their heart is overcome when ‘wars break out’ (Exod 1:10), or when ‘he cries out, but He does not answer’ (Prov 21:13), let me say (that) this is the consummation!

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