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Thursday, March 15, 2012

מלך המשיח: The 13th Tribe (Part 1: Facts)

The following sugya is fairly difficult and might require a greater amount of thought than usual.  We think that the ideas that emerge from this sugya justify the effort.

The Rambam says in Hilchos Melachim 4:8:
המלך המשיח נוטל מכל הארצות שכובשין ישראל חלק אחד משלשה עשר. ודבר זה חק לו ולבניו עד עולם
In the future, the מלך המשיח will take 1/13 of all the lands conquered by Bnei Yisroel.  This is based on a pasuk in Yechezkal (48:19-21) as explained in Bava Basra 122a:
תניא עתידה ארץ ישראל שתתחלק לשלשה עשר שבטים שבתחלה לא נתחלקה אלא לשנים עשר שבטים...אידך למאן אמר רב חסדא לנשיא דכתיב והעובד העיר יעבדוהו מכל שבטי ישראל
Even though the original division of the land in the days of Yehoshua was to 12 tribes, in the Messianic era, it will be to 13 tribes. (See Rashbam who explains that the נשיא is the מלך המשיח).

The Minchas Chinuch asks a question based on a Rambam two halachos later in 4:10, when speaking about all Kings in general:
כל הארץ שכובש הרי היא שלו ונותן לעבדיו ולאנשי המלחמה כפי מה שירצה. ומניח לעצמו כפי מה שירצה
A regular King is zocha, has rights, to all the land he conquers. (That land also has the status of Eretz Yisroel, just like the land conquered by Yehoshua. See Rambam 5:6.)  Why should the מלך המשיח have inferior rights to a regular King?

How do we approach a problem like this?  What steps do we need to take in explaining the Rambam?

23 comments:

  1. While I sense some commonality, these cases seem distinct in some significant ways -- so I'd like to first understand what exactly is the common ground from which the Minchas Chinuch is lodging his Q? The reason they seem distinct to me is as follows: By the king, this is a situation that arises as a direct result of a maaseh kibush; by Moshiach, the chazal seems to be describing a very different setting-- how the lands are designated under all circumstances and from a more "permanent" (sorry, not exactly the term I'm looking for) perspective- i.e., I take it that this 13-part allocation is regardless of how the lands are acquired or how long after kibush, etc.. The context of the chazal in baba basra is the contrast to the geographical allocation of the 12 tribes, not a discussion of what the melech hamoshiach is allowed to take for himself.

    Also, does the halacha of kibush in 4:10 apply to the re-conquering of land that was previously allocated to a tribe or does it apply only to lands outside of what was previously allocated? (In other words, if the plishtim controlled an area that once belonged to Zevulun and then Dovid Hamelech reconquered it, could Dovid have kept it for himself or would Zevulun get it back?) i ask it because if he cannot take over the land since it previously belonged to Zevulun, then it would seem to me that these halachos refer to 2 different types of land anyway- one is Israel proper (and there are set allocations regardless of the king's kibush) and the other is newly acquired lands not subsumed under Israel proper in which the king (whether melech hamoshiach or other king) can do whatever he wants (i.e., "its good to be the king," to take a quote from..... one of your other Blogoshiurs)

    Would love to know your thoughts,

    Joey L.

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    1. your general intuition about the distinction between the two case is the right approach to explaining the difference, though it needs to be defined better.

      In terms of the gemara, are you asking based on the quote or the entire daf?

      The minchas chinuch says it would not apply to zvuluns land. zvulun would get it back in its entirety.

      See Rambam 5:6, which says that the newly acquired land have the same din of eretz yisroel as when yehoshua conquered the land.

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    2. I was only asking about the quote, not the entire daf.

      (By the way, when I was writing my comment, I was focusing on the gemara vs the Rambam in 4:10. For some reason, I overlooked the Rambam in 4:8 which does talk about kibush by Moshiach, so I see better why the Minchas Chinuch at least asks his Q (they still seem distinct if based on this gemara, but maybe thats not the M"C's Q). I would now ask how the Rambam derives his halacha in 4:8 from this quote of chazal (unless he derives it from elsewhere)

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    3. if you get a chance, read the gemara from the top of daf to the quoted part. its a very interesting gemara to say the least and it will help a lot with this sugya, as well as perhaps answering your question

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    4. where does minchat chinuch say that? He seems to say that the melech hamashiachgets 1/13 from the original eretz yisrael, which is the basis of his question (why does the melech hamashiac who gets a portion of eretz shivat amamim get less than other kings in other lands).

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    5. we're not sure about that so we are trying to leave that question ambiguous. In any event, we dont believe that the basic question of the post stands regardless.

      in the comment above we were referring to the rambam in 4:10 which does not apply to zvulun's land

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  2. The rambam says that "the chachamim did not desire moshiach to rule the non jews ect...only to engage in wisdom", which is mashma that there will be more than world piece during moshiach and that the jews will be rulers of the world. The only war which will take place is gog umagog, and the rambam says that '"in that time there will be no war", so the kibush the rambam talks about is assuming chazaka and ownership of that which is rightfully the Jews(because they rule the world). It is unlike normal war in which the king does an action of conquering and automatically gaining rights to the land. In moshiachs kibush, the jews will have rights in it, and therefore it is theirs and they split it 13 fold. With the earlier kings he commands the kibush and it is essentially his kibush as he is the general of the army, therefore he gets all of the land.

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    1. המלך המשיח נוטל מכל הארצות שכובשין ישראל. this would seem to imply that there will be a din of conquest (through war) on these newly acquired lands, and he is the King and leader of that conquest.

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    2. How do you understand the rambam when he says "that in that time there will be no famine, WAR, jealousy..." 12:8 in melachim and milchamos (mechon mamre)

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    3. after he conquers the world

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  3. In 8 the rambam identifies the Jewish people as conquerors, whereas in 10 he identifies the king as conqueror, it seems like this corresponds to 2 different types of wars (i.e. kivush yachid or rabim), see: hilchot Terumot perek 1 and hilchot melachim chapter 5

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  4. we think that 10 includes the case where it was done properly (i.e. al pi beis din v'yisroel). the rambam would have to tell me the halacha in that case if it were different. (the halacha of 1/13 seems unique to moshiach)

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    1. Is the requirement for daat rov yisrael synonymous with the requirement for Al pi beit din?

      Also, according to the pesukim in Yechezkel it seems to be talking about the land of eretz canaan, which means that there is a new chiluk (and not a restoration to zevulun the land which was his) rather the expanded eretz yisrael of the yimot hamashiach will be divided to the shevatim (and melech) according to the pesukim in yechezkel as opposed to according to the pesukim in Yehoshua

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    2. the rabam in 5:6 says כל הארצות שכובשין ישראל במלך על פי בית דין. הרי זה כבוש רבים והרי היא כארץ ישראל שכבש יהושע לכל דבר. והוא שכבשו אחר כבוש כל ארץ ישראל האמורה בתורה
      we're not going into what exactly qualifies as proper kibush. the M.C.'s question just assumes that the 2 rambams in the 4th perek are both speaking about a proper kibush.

      it terms of your last question, it would seem that the rambam is learning the gemara as only referring to additional lands conquered, not the land of the original 7 nations. suffice it to say that yechezkel is hard to read on our own.

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    3. I understand that both are proper, but it seems that there are two types of proper kivush, the kivush of yisrael e.g. ו כל הארצות שכובשין ישראל במלך על פי בית דין--הרי זה כיבוש רבים,
      and the kivush of the melech כל הארץ שכובש, הרי היא שלו. How do you understand why the Rambam sometimes calls it kivush yisrael through a king and other times HIS kivush?
      Why won't melech hamashiach need to conquer the original lands? Where do you see that in the rambam?

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    4. we're not sure why the rambam sometimes uses one phrase as opposed to another. nevertheless, klal yisroel does not conquer an enemy without having a king. the very din of milchama only exists with a king. that is one of the main reasons we appoint a king (see last rambam 4th perek of hilchos "Kings and Their Wars") the mitzva to wage war on amalek only applies after the tzibbur appoints a king.

      the rambam holds that the kedusha of eretz yisroel in the times of ezra was never nullified. even if the melech hamashiach does conquer the original land of the 7 nations (i.e Israel gets conquered by palestineans), that conquest would not be necessary to give the land the status of eretz yisroel

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    5. In the time of Ezra weren't the other 10 tribes in exile and therefore did not have a portion? altogether was there a regular chiluk in the time of Ezra?
      Also, the minchat chinuch learns that it includes the lands of the 7 nations and uses that as the basis of his question, pshat in the gemara rashi etc is the same way. Why assume the rambam argues.
      Also, how do you understand the relationship of the nasi's portion to yerushalayim if it is nowhere near yerushalayim?

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    6. the MC says he does not understand the contradiction. we think that the rambam is learning the gemara as referring to newly conquered lands by moshiach when eretz yisroel will be expanded. see rashi Bereishis 15:19. see rambam 11:2.

      In any event, is not an essential point for our question to have validity. you can learn the rambam either way. we think this is the easier way to go, but ultimately, we think it does not change the basic approach to the issue.

      try to see if you can gain insight into the central question of the post. namely "Why should the מלך המשיח have inferior rights to a regular King?"

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    7. we thought it over and think that you are probably correct that in the messianic era there will be a redivision of the original land of the 7 nations as well. However we're not sure, so we are trying to leave it ambiguous. in our last post we will quote a rashi on chumash which would seem to support the way you learned.

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  5. These Rambams are discussing the particulars of how much land a regular melech and the melech ha'moshiach are zocheh to. Perhaps we should first explain why exactly the melech is zocheh to the land that the Jews conquer at all. If we can make this first step for both a regular melech and the melech ha'moshiach perhaps we will see why it makes sense that the regular melech is zocheh to all the conquered lands whereas the melech ha'moshiach is only zochech to 1/13th.

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    1. thats an interesting idea. we took a different approach to answering the question, but it would be interesting to see where your approach leads

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    2. I don't think this idea is fully worked out but here's what I have so far:

      When a regular melech conquers land he has a zechus in all of it. Why is it that when the melech ha'moshiach conquers land he only has a zechus in 1/13th? What is different by the case of the melech ha'moshiach? It would seem that there are two possibilities:

      (a) The kibush of a regular melech and the kibush of the melech ha'moshiach are different. The kibush of the regular melech entitles him to all of the land whereas the kibush of the melech ha'moshiach entitles him to 1/13th.

      (b) In both instances, the kibush is the same but rather the melech and the melech ha'moshiach have different roles in the kibush. After kibush of new lands one who fills the role of the melech is entitled to the entirety of the new land and one who fills the role of the melech ha'moshiach is entitled to 1/13th.

      I'm going to go with (a) since, to me, it seems difficult to say that the melech and the melech ha'moshiach have different roles with respect to kibush. In either case he is operating as commander in chief of the army. Going with (a) raises the question of how exactly these two conquests are different. By the regular melech, there is a Jewish nation and its army is involved in annexing new territory. The nation expands to include the previously separate entity. However, by the melech ha'moshiach it doesn't seem like the way to describe what's going on is that a Jewish empire is growing bigger and bigger until it fills the entire world. The Jews are involved in leading a charge to establish a new world order. They are setting up a world with Torah at the forefront which involves starts with kibush but it is not an idea of the Jewish empire expanding until it subsumes the whole world. This is similar to when the Jews first entered eretz yisroel. It wasn't the case that there was a Jewish empire (they were wanderers) and they were extending their domain to include eretz yisroel. They conquered eretz yisroel to establish it as the land of the Jewish people. There too, we see that it was split among the 12 shevatim - Yehoshua did not have a zechus in it all.

      In summary, I'm saying that in a kibush of a nation extending its boundaries the melech obtains a zechus in all of the new territory whereas in a kibush of establishing a new order, as in the yemos ha'moshiach or in the initial conquest of eretz yisroel, the land is split amongst the shevatim. This idea may be a little incomplete in that I think it's possible to explain why it is that in each kind of conquest the melech has the rights that he does - all I've done here is drawn the distinction and showed some precedent for different results in each case.

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    3. its a good approach...try to define the halachic implications of "kibush of establishing a new order"

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