Happy Birthday Moshiach!

What is the meaning of the statement that Moshiach is born on the 9th of Av? If you read the words of our sages in context, it is clear that they are referring to the day of the destruction itself, on the 9th of Av in year 2038. Do we really expect a nearly 2,000 year old man to come and lead us out of exile?

[A] number of tragic events happened to the Jewish people on the 9th of Av. One of the most well-known of these is the destruction of the Holy Temples. On the same calendar date, 490 years apart, in 586 BCE and 69 CE, both the first and second Holy Temples that stood in Jerusalem were destroyed.

Every year on the ninth of Av, we fast and plead to our Father in heaven that He should immediately end this exile and rebuild the third Temple. Our sages write in the Midrash that this day of destruction and mourning is also the birthday of King Moshiach. Therefore, especially on this day, we turn to G-d to carry out His promises and renew the holy city of Jerusalem and the Temple, as is written, “But I will be for it — says the L-rd — a wall of fire around, and for glory I will be in its midst.”


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What is the meaning of the statement that Moshiach is born on the 9th of Av? If you read the words of our sages in context, it is clear that they are referring to the day of the destruction itself, on the 9th of Av in year 2038. Do we really expect a nearly 2,000 year old man to come and lead us out of exile?

The statement of our sages, apparently, does not refer to the physical birth of Moshiach. Rather, they wish to teach us that at the very moment that G-d sent us into exile, He had already prepared the seeds of Redemption. Had the Jewish people immediately returned to G-d in teshuvah, there would have already been a man prepared to lead them. In every generation, G-d designates a righteous individual as Moshiach, who will reveal himself as soon as the people are ready. This figure was “born” at the moment of the destruction. On the 9th of Av, the day of the destruction, G-d caused the redeemer to be “born,” or invested in him the spiritual powers that he would need to redeem the people. These spiritual powers are still held in reserve, waiting for the time that the world is ready for Redemption.

It is also possible that our sages were referring to the physical birth of an individual who was worthy to be Moshiach in his time; however, that does not preclude an individual from a later time to be the Moshiach for his generation, even if he was not born on the 9th of Av.

In fact, in Maimonides’ Laws of Kings, which describes in detail the halachic parameters of Moshiach, we do not find that he lists a birthday on the 9th of Av as a criterion for determining if an individual is Moshiach. Rather, the date is symbolic, to teach us that on the day of the destruction, G-d already had begun to prepare the Redemption.

What we do know for certain, however, is that if our sages related to us that Moshiach was born on the 9th of Av, this fact must have spiritual significance. The very knowledge that G-d began to prepare for our Redemption on the day of the destruction gives us hope and courage to overcome the challenges of exile and bring the Redemption immediately. There is also no doubt that the 9th of Av is a day invested with tremendous spiritual powers. Let us use out the day to its utmost, to beseech G-d to bring the Geulah, and to perform acts of charity, as the verse says, “Zion will be redeemed with justice and her captives will return with tzedaka.”


Reprinted from Geulah Weekly