So, I just saw a news article purporting that Rabbi Yaakov Zissholtz, labelled by the article as Israel's "top rabbi", claims to know members of the Thirty Six Tzaddikim as well as the Messiah, and that he claims the Messiah will be revealed shortly.

This seems dubious to me, but I'm not Jewish. What I want to know is if this guy and his claims are considered credible by the typical Jewish person. Is he a crank running some minor cult-like sub-group, or is he actually a high-ranking rabbi who is widely respected by a major denomination of Jews? To use an allegory, is he more like Jim Jones or the Pope?

Moving on from the man himself, have his claims garnered any significant backlash or criticism, or are they widely accepted among practicing Jews?

  • 19
    Rabbi Yaakov Zissholtz? I've never heard of him
    – Double AA
    Feb 20 '20 at 11:50
  • 2
    Such stories are generally surrounded by a business.
    – kouty
    Feb 20 '20 at 14:01
  • it is based on this yeranenyaakov.blogspot.com/2020/02/…
    – user813801
    Feb 20 '20 at 19:11
  • 1
    @DoubleAA I think that there is misunderstanding here. Rabbi Yaakov Zissholtz, was NOT labeled by the linked article as Israel's "top rabbi". After closely rereading the article, I believe that the headline was referring to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who is genuinely one of Israel's top rabbis. Feb 20 '20 at 22:36
  • the comment section on this article being asked about are both sad and funny at the same time
    – Dude
    Mar 18 '20 at 18:52

Many highly-respected rabbis believe (for many psychological reasons) that there will be a miraculous messiah who will save the world and that you will be resurrected, and that there will be a time when all evil will cease, etc.

However, contrary to what many people think, the concept of a miraculous messiah is not biblical. In any event, Maimonides explains in Mishneh Torah, Law of Kings, chapters 11 and 12, that the messianic age will be a natural event. The human leader will die like all humans. Life at the time will be as it always has, except that Jews will live freely in the land of Israel.

Thus, if Rabbi Yaakov Zissholtz says all the things you claim he sid, he is lying. Dr. Marc Shapiro's famous book The Limits of Orthodox Theology explains that Jews can believe whatever they want so long as they observe the rabbinical commands as the rabbis explained them. Thus, you do not need to believe him. The same applies to those who say that Jesus will return, Muhammad, the Buddha, etc.

  • 1
    Maybe he doesn't hold like the Rambam, as you said people can believe whatever they want. So who are you to say he's lying since he's saying things you hold the Rambam disagrees with?
    – robev
    Feb 20 '20 at 19:36
  • I know many people on here don't like the theology of this answer (-8 currently), but it is citing a respected Jewish source, albeit one whose rationalist philosophy is at one end of the spectrum. It deserves an upvote. If others don't like it, they should write an alternate answer.
    – Mike
    Feb 21 '20 at 0:54
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    @MikeSupportsMonica, it's not just the theology. Who exactly is Jonathan, and what are his credentials, to say that anyone who says something different than Maimonides (or rather, than Jonathan's understanding of him) "is lying"? As respected a Jewish source as Maimonides is, he's not the last word on the subject.
    – Meir
    Feb 21 '20 at 0:58
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Jonathan
    Feb 21 '20 at 4:26
  • 6
    @Mike anyone can write nonsense and attribute it to Maimonidies or George Washington. That's not a reason to upvote it.
    – Double AA
    Feb 21 '20 at 15:04

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