(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 12:29:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Prophecies about the Messiah

In Torah Forum Volume 4 Number 70 Rabbi Michael Broyde questions whether
Judaean lineage is a NECESSARY prerequisite for the Mesiah. He cites an
obscure Midrash that the Mesiah will be a Levi and requests a source for
it. The bottom line is that the Mesiah will have Judaean Paternal ancestry
and Levite maternal ancestry.

This whole issue was thoroughly discussed on my email list Rashi Is Simple.
I will summarize necessary results here and refer the reader to the Rashi
website for further details (URL: http://www.shamash.org/rashi/).

The following 5 points will cover most sources and outline reasons.

1) The Rambam is clear and explicit, without dissent, that ONLY DAVIDIC
KINGS have permanance and the Messiah must descend from David (Rambam:
Kings 1:8,9-11:4.--see commentaries--there is no disagreement).

2) However this refers to PATERNAL descent not maternal descent. Therefore
the agaddah of mesiah being a Levi should be interpreted that he will have
paternal descent from Judah and maternal descent from Levi. There are at
least 2 good sources for this paternal-maternal distinction.

3) The Gemarrah Baba Kama 109 suggests that Elazars wife (Ex 6:25) had
paternal descent from Yethro and maternal descent from Joseph. (See Rashi
web site v1n25 or v2b18-1).

4) The Maharshah on the Gemarrah Sotah 11-12 EXPLICITLY suggests that David
was paternally descended from Judah and maternally descended from Miryam (a
levite) (See Rashi web site v1n13 or v2b23-14)

5) This is derived from two contradictory verses in Chronicles:

5a) Ch1:2:18 says that Calev had a daughter "Azuvah his wife". This
daughter wife problem gave rise to 5 distinct suggestions of resolution
(See the Rashi web site for a list).  The Talmuds suggestion (Sotah 11) is
that Calev Married Miryam who became ABANDONED (Azuvah) when she had
leprosy and whom Calev later remarried ("Whoever marries a woman not for
physical reasons but for her spiritual qualities it is accounted as if he
gave birth to her"--this applies here since Miryam while leprous lost her
beauty). Maharshah on Sotah 11 suggests that EPHRATH refers to a) the tribe
of Ephrath, b) the place of Ephrath or c) distinguished. So e.g. in Ruth 1
it must refer to distinguished leaders. Consequently according to this
Maharshah the Ruth leaders descended from Miryam.

5b) On the one hand (Ch1:2:19) it says that Calev gave birth to EPHRATH. In
Ruth 1:1 the progenitors of David are listed as EPHRATHIM. On the other
hand Maharshah points out that David couldn't have come from Calev since
Calev came from the CHETZRON branch of Judah (Ch1:2) while David came from
the RAM branch of Judah (Ruth 4)

Maharshah on Sotah 11 suggests that David's MATERNAL descent was from
Miryam while his paternal lineage is from Judah.

I hope this short summary clarifies this very interesting issue.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel@mcs.drexel.edu
Moderator, Rashi-Is-Simple, http://www.shamash.org/rashi/