In bereshit 49: 10 it is written:

"לֹֽא־יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִֽיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּֽי־יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּֽים׃"

Who is Shiloh?

"Shiloh, to whom the scepter belongs, and to Him all the peoples of the earth shall obey!"

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Rashi to that verse (following the opinions of Onkelos and Bereishit Rabbah) writes that Shiloh is a reference to the Messiah.

  • Thanks for the clarification. Your answer helped a lot. Jan 19, 2022 at 22:13

Indeed, the Gemara (Sanhedrin 98b) explains Shiloh is the name of Moshiach:

Apropos the Messiah, the Gemara asks: What is his name? The school of Rabbi Sheila says: Shiloh is his name, as it is stated: “Until when Shiloh shall come” (Genesis 49:10).

Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld (Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim) explains:

In particular, the Mashi'ach will incorporate the three Midos of the Avos, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yakov, which are the Midos of Chesed/Gedulah (Avraham), Yir'ah/Gevurah (Yitzchak), and Emes/Torah (Yakov). The three Tana'im mentioned in the Gemara each had a quality of one of the Avos. Their students were teaching that Mashi'ach will have all of those qualities. The quality represented by the name "Shilo" is the Midah of Yakov Avinu. Yakov Avinu succeeded in forging a unique combination of Ahavah and Yir'ah, of Chesed and Gevurah, by combining the traits of his father and grandfather. This is the quality of Torah, in which everyone has a place. This is why Yakov Avinu was blessed by "a boundless heritage" ("Nachalah Bli Metzarim"; see Shabbos 118b).

Radak, in his commentary on Bereishis 49:10 explains:

שילה; a reference to David’s son, seeing that the meaning of the word is derived from Deuteronomy 28,57 ובשליתה, i.e. “and against her afterbirth, etc.” Onkelos understands the word as referring to the Messiah. He bases himself on the variant spelling here still having the same meaning as שלו, “his.” This is also the way Bereshit Rabbah 99,8 understands the word שילה in our verse. Yaakov would be saying that Yehudah’s preeminence would not be short-lived, but would continue until the coming of the Messiah, the one to whom royalty would belong permanently. The whole blessing to Yehudah could then be compared to a father saying to his son: “accept this token in the meantime until I can give you the real thing!”

Similary, the Shelah (Shenei Luchot HaBerit, Torah Shebikhtav, Vayeshev, Miketz, Vayigash, Torah Ohr 85) explains:

The משיח בן יוסף, when he comes, does not come in order to establish his own dynasty, rather he comes to help re-establish the Davidic dynasty. He will even sacrifice his life in order to accomplish this. His blood will atone for the sins of the Jewish people. This atonement will take the form of the Davidic dynasty being restored to the Jewish people as an everlasting kingdom. When that stage in history will have been reached, both of Joseph's dreams will have been fulfilled. His two dreams foreshadowed his reign in Egypt, and his reign in the future as the משיח בן יוסף respectively. In both instances his reign preceded or will precede that of the reign of David or the in משיח בן דוד respectively. Both periods of the reign of the kingdom of Joseph were or will be beneficial for the whole Jewish people because in both instances they were or will be designed to pave the way for the permanent kingdom of David.

The Zohar, on the other hand, explains that the gematria of Moshe Rabbeinu and Shiloh are the same, hence Shiloh refers to Moshe Rabbeinu:

Another explanation of the phrase: "plant of the field" is the first Messiah, (Mashiach ben David) who was not yet on earth, whereas "herb of the field" is the second Messiah, (Mashiach ben Yosef) Why? Because Moses was not there with them to serve the Shechinah. Of him, it is written: "And there was not a man to till the ground." The secret is given in the verse: "The staff shall not depart from Judah..." (Beresheet 49:10), which refers to Messiah ben David, "nor the scepter from between his feet," which refers to Messiah ben Joseph. "Until Shiloh come" is an allusion to Moses, as the numerical value of (Moshe) is the same as that (Shiloh). "And the obedience of the people be his (Heb. velo yik'hat)"

However, in line what I wrote above, see what the Gemara teaches us (Sanhedrin 5a):

The term “Shiloh” is understood as a reference to the Messiah, and therefore the verse is interpreted as delineating the authority of Jewish rulers during the exile, before the Messiah comes. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah”; these are the Exilarchs in Babylonia, who are empowered by the government and consequently subjugate the Jewish people as with a scepter. “Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet”; These are the grandchildren of Hillel the Elder who hold the position of Nasi and teach Torah in public, but do not have authority to actually enforce their judgments.

  • I'm new to the site and I'm still learning to use the tools. Thanks for clarifying my question! Jan 19, 2022 at 22:17

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