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A King Will Rise

The Social Security Administration has released its annual list of most popular baby names. Once again, Jacob tops the list – for the 14th straight year. Jacob, the forefather of the Jewish people, is the only one of the three forefathers whose children all became part of the Jewish nation.

Even more surprisingly, two names that have taken a flying leap in popularity this year are – get ready for this – “King” and “Messiah.” Whether parents realize it or not, the names that they give their children express their aspirations, the values that are closest to their hearts. The popularity of names like Jacob, Ethan (Hebrew for “strong,” and number two on the list), King, and Messiah, reflect on the ancient but irrepressible dream of mankind: to be redeemed. The true and complete Redemption will allow us all to experience a life of ultimate beauty and satisfaction. And we know that this marvelous era will be ushered in by a redeemer – King Moshiach – and there’s a spark of him in every soul.

Faith in the coming of Moshiach is the cornerstone of all the monotheistic religions. Over the generations, there have been many false messiahs who tried to ascend to power and dragged millions along with them in their self-aggrandizing path. For the Jewish people, the saga of these false messiahs was so painful that for a long time it led to a certain skepticism, a reluctance to engage with the topic of Moshiach. Jews continued to mention the coming of Moshiach in their prayers, but it ceased to be seen as relevant to daily life. And certainly there was no speculation about who might be Moshiach.

Still, our yearning for a king cannot be denied. After the devastation of the Holocaust, our need for Moshiach has only intensified. And out of the destruction there emerged a figure who restored Jewish hope, Jewish pride, who set for himself the goal of rebuilding all that had been destroyed. This figure, naturally, is none other than the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who sent his emissaries around the world to build synagogues, schools, camps – and all in a spirit of fun and joy. Chabad is known worldwide for its energy, its dynamism, its colorful approach to Judaism.

The Rebbe’s given name is not “King” or “Moshiach,” but his name, Menachem, is one of the names of Moshiach mentioned in Talmud, and quoted in the verse, “Menachem will restore my soul.”

This week on the 9th of Av is the Jewish day of mourning for two Holy Temples that were destroyed. On this day we beg G-d to send the ultimate consolation – Menachem – to heal the wounds of exile and bring us back to our land.

 

 


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