26 Iyar 5769
משיחי השקר ומתנגדיהם
False Messiahs and their Opponents (Hebrew)
by Rav Binyomin Shlomo Hamburger
Bnei Brak, 5769
Distributed by Yefe Nof-Feldheim. Available in fine Jewish bookstores.
(Please note: The illustrations appearing in color in the sample pages below do not appear in color in the printed books.)
This new, expanded edition of the book False Messiahs and Their Opponents explores solid, historical facts surrounding the phenomenon of false Messiahs, and presents the words of our Sages throughout the generations regarding the dangers inherent in them. Rabbis throughout the centuries have spoken harshly against false Messiahs. Here we present the most pertinent arguments, as they appear in the chapters of the book:
- The Mashiach (Messiah) is the greatest of the Prophets, but one who sees himself as the Mashiach is a false prophet, who is deserving of the death penalty.
- Transferring one's belief in the true Mashiach to be sent by Hashem, through an arbitrary decision of a human being that a particular person is the Redeemer, is to uproot one's belief in the true Redemption and is considered idolatry comparable in severity to the sin of the Golden Calf.
- False Messiahs caused bitter disappointments to their believers and caused many to decline spiritually or even apostasize.
- False Messiahs aroused the scorn of the gentile nations against the Jewish faith and sometimes even caused pogroms by governments which suspected Jewish uprisings.
- A frequent accompanying factor in episodes of false Messiahs was both minor and major deviation from traditional Halachah.
- False Messianism causes national disunity.
- False Messiahs are sent to try Am Yisrael prior to the Ultimate Redemption, through which Hashem collects true believers, who are worthy of redemption.
- One may not believe that someone is the Mashiach until he has undergone the most stringent checks and all possible doubts are removed.
- When the true Mashiach is revealed, there will be no possible doubt about his identity. The entire world will be forced to recognise him.
- The Mashiach himself will not be aware of his mission, indeed he will not even be the Mashiach, until he receives Heaven-sent instructions regarding the Ultimate Redemption.
- One must not senselessly follow signs and wonders. In fact, they prove nothing about the identity of the Mashiach.
- One is forbidden to forcefully anticipate the arrival of the Mashiach.
- One is forbidden to calculate the date of the Ultimate Redemption. Indeed, it is not within our power to know it.
- One is obligated to denounce the falsehood itself, even if it causes no damage. This is based on the verse from the Torah "מדבר שקר תרחק" ("Distance yourself from a false thing").