Is there a source in Judaism that indicates that Moshiach (Ben David, not Ben Yosef) will die before having fulfilled his role and then return to posthumously achieve it?

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    Wait... die without having redeemed the nation then return to fulfill his role? – jake May 31 '12 at 18:15
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    @jake Yes, I'll edit the question to make that more clear. – user1552 May 31 '12 at 18:18
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    You mean like in Christianity? – Seth J May 31 '12 at 18:19
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    @SethJ, Christianity believes that the "savior" not only died and has yet to return, but also that he is is some way "part of" God, or at least godly in some sense. That is not implied by this question. – jake May 31 '12 at 18:32
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    Note Rambam writes (Melachim 11 3) that when Bar Kochba was killed, it was definitively established that he was not Mashiach. That seems to preclude the possibility of resurrection. – Barry Jun 14 '12 at 20:48

In The Yerushalmi Brachos daf 17:1 (see Eicha Rabbah 1:51 as well ) says : The Rabbanan said if Mashiach is from the living David is his name, if he is from the dead, David is his name,

R' Tanchuma says the reason is based off Tehillim 18:51.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said his name is Tzemach.

Rabbi Yuden ben R' Aivo said his name is Menachem.

However, it is brought that Mashiach(kingship) will come from Shlomo Hamelech(Rambam Mitzvah Lo Taseh 362 ) ,and it is also brought down that the soul of Mashiach will be from that of Moshe( Ohr Hachaim 49:11 ) Meaning the soul of Mashiach is from great people not necessarily that these people are Resurrected.

  • Why the down vote (I don't care for the points just like to know why my answer is not sufficient) ? – sam Jun 3 '12 at 1:51
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    Not my vote, but presumably the issues with this source would parallel those in the comments to the other answer. – Double AA Aug 13 '12 at 6:06

Sanhedrin 98b:

אמר רב אי מן חייא הוא כגון רבינו הקדוש אי מן מתיא הוא כגון דניאל איש חמודות

Said Rav: If he [Mashiach] is from the living, he is like our great teacher [R' Yehuda HaNasi]. If he is from the dead, he is like Daniel, greatly beloved man [i.e. the Biblical Daniel].

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    Can you explain that passage, it is a bit cryptic. – user1552 May 31 '12 at 18:29
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    Couldn't it just mean "If you look for a model among the living...or among the dead..."? – Seth J May 31 '12 at 18:39
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    @SethJ, Fair enough. And seems Ben Ish Chai seems to think along the lines of what you suggested. – jake May 31 '12 at 18:56
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    jake, I was going to respond to @msh210, Aderaba, that Lishna Rishona in Rashi is written in past tense (actually past perfect) for the Daniel mention, implying that if Mashiaḥ had been someone who has since passed away, it would have been Daniel. – Seth J May 31 '12 at 19:16
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    The the most recent Lubavitcher Rebbe (here footnote 6) understands that this gemara must be referring to the soul of Daniel (or some other dead person) which would be in the Mashiach, not that the dead person himself would arise and be Mashiach. – Double AA Feb 3 '13 at 0:38

Multiple sources say that the Moshiach will be hidden for some time, and come back and be revealed

Rashi on Daniel 12:12 says

Moshiach will be revealed, concealed, and then revealed again

Also Midrash Rabba Bamidbar 11:3

Rabbi Berachia in the name of Rabbi Levi said: Just like the first redeemer, Moshe, revealed himself to the Jews and then concealed himself, similarly the final redeemer will reveal himself and then conceal himself, and then return and reveal himself again

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    Conceal doesn't mean "die" though. At least, not necessarily. In particular considering that Moshe didn't die in his concealment. – Harel13 May 12 '20 at 5:52
  • Well it will seems like he will die when really he didnt, like Moshe Rabeinu – KapinKrunch May 12 '20 at 16:03
  • so you're saying that the Mashiach won't die? It will only seem as though he did? – Harel13 May 12 '20 at 16:38
  • Yes, just like when Bnei Yisrael thought that Moshe had bevadai died, even though he didn’t. Same with moshiach – KapinKrunch May 13 '20 at 7:42
  • But the question is about a figure actually dying and then coming back as Mashiach. – Harel13 May 13 '20 at 7:48

Rambam writes that the Messiah will die. I don't know anyone besides Paul who says he will return after death. That is a Christian idea, not Jewish.


The question asked was, "will die before having fulfilled his role and then return" [italics mine]. Some here have brought Midrashim that might perhaps be understood that it is possible for that to happen. I would guess that the right answer is that there is no source at all that predicts that it will happen, since the notion [espoused by Christians, of course] was treated with universal scorn by all Jews, Chabad and non-Chabad alike, until recently.
The only reason the question is being asked is that so many people from Chabad got pulled into this position by events. For something like that one needs Bayesian Inference: What did one estimate as the likelihood of this happening, before events made it the only possibility that fits with one's prior assumptions, the only chance to still be right. If that likelihood was ridiculously small (as anyone from Chabad would have said emphatically in 1993), what one is supposed to do is re-evaluate one's priors, not follow them into further results that would earlier have been rejected as crazy.


not exactly as you are asking. There is no source that someone proclaimed to be moshiach vadai can die and then come back to complete their mission as moshiach. There is a notion that moshiach may be someone who has passed away. The gemara quoted from Sanhedrin 98b does show someone who has passed away may be resurrected in order to be moshiach. This should explain to you the distinction between someone being moshaich, dying, and then coming back (not valid)versus someone who has passed away being the moshiach (valid).

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