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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

מלך המשיח: The 13th Tribe (Part 4: More Svara)

We need to explain the relevant distinction between the מלך המשיח and King Yehoshua, such that the מלך המשיח will be entitled to 1/13 of the inheritance, but Yehoshua was not.

The Rambam gives us a clue when he formulates the z'chus of the מלך המשיח:
המלך המשיח נוטל מכל הארצות שכובשין ישראל חלק אחד משלשה עשר. ודבר זה חק לו ולבניו עד עולם
The nature of  z'chus  אחוזת נחלה is an eternal right to the land, an אחוזת עולם.  The idea of "forever" is the very essence of what distinguishes land as a permanent inheritance, an אחוזת עולם, as opposed to simply owning the land until it is sold.  An אחוזת עולם returns back to you or your offspring forever (at יובל) and will always remain in your family's possession.  This unique phenomenon helps establish and preserve a person's lineage by permanently tying it to a piece of land.  (Think about how valuable this is. There is no comprable asset available in our world.)

The Rambam says in Hilchos Melachim 1:9
מלכי בית דוד הם העומדים לעולם שנאמר כסאך יהיה נכון עד עולם. אבל אם יעמוד מלך משאר ישראל תפסק המלכות מביתו. שהרי נאמר לירבעם אך לא כל הימים
There are 2 types of Kings in the Torah.  1) Kings that are part of an eternal dynasty 2) Kings that are kings for a limited number of generations.  Or, to say it another way: 1)Kings of the House of David and 2) all other Kings.

The type of King that has a 1/13 portion in the eternal inheritance of Eretz Yisroel is the King that is part of an eternal dynasty that will rule the nation forever.  Certainly, משיח בן דוד qualifies as this type of King.  Yehoshua was a King for one generation.  His offspring did not have the status of King.  Therefore, he did not have the same rights to the eternal inheritance of the land that the מלך המשיח will have.

We are going to try to address a philosophical question in the next post.  Why did the conquest of Yehoshua, and the future conquest of the מלך המשיח, initiate a distribution of the land under the sytem of נחלה, but the conquest of every other King does not?

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