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

In terms of general sources in Judaism, yes. The talmud bavli in sanhedrin says that Rav yehudah said in the name of Rav that if he is from the living it is rabbeinu hakadosh. If he is from the dead it’s daniel ish chamudos. This is similarly brought in yalkut shemoni in the name of Rav nachman. You have a similar statement in the talmud yerushalmi in brachos that the rabbanan said if he’s from the living his name is dovid, if he is from the dead his name is Dovid. Similar phrasing and sentiment is expressed in midrashim.

On the talmud bavli, see the first interpretation of rashi where he states if moshiach is from those that are alive now it’s rabbeinu haKodosh and if he is from those that died already he is daniel. People wish to point out that the rashi in our version of the Gemara says “it was daniel” but 1. This doesn’t change anything. Rashi says according to R hillel that chezkiya “was” moshiach and we don’t interpret that as saying he was Or was able to be, but he’s not anymore. 2. The sefer haikkurim describes the beliefs of the Christians as saying they believe that jesus “was(היה) moshiach ben dovid” even though we all know they believe he will return. 3. The Ein Yaakov version of this Gemara which tends to be more accurate writes rashi in the present tense. This also makes much more sense with the words of the Gemara that rashi himself is translating, as the Gemara itself writes rabbeinu hakodosh and daniel both in the same tense paralleling each other 4. It doesn’t even work to say it means past tense. For rabbeinu hakodosh it says “if he is from those alive now” meaning moshiach might be from those alive now. For daniel all the sudden it switches to “if he was” which then reduces to “if moshiach is from those alive now it’s rabbeinu hakodosh. If moshiach actually was from those that were alive it was Daniel.” If u say it means only as a candidate Thats just as bad for then it would say “if [the] moshiach is from those who are alive now it’s rabbeinu hakodosh[the fitting one in his generation]. If there was a candidate to be moshiach from those that died already then daniel was the candidate”. Not only does it switch the question from who is THE moshiach to who is the candidate, but it also asks if there even was a candidate, but obviously there was a candiate! Clearly none of these two readings make any sense. It’s for this reason that we should further accept the Ein yaakov version.

See also the Maharsha and the first pirush of the yad Ramah there which interpret similarly. See also the Abarbanel in Yeshuos meshicho that we shouldn’t be surprised moshaich can come from the dead because we already learned this from the Gemara in sanhedrin. This statement of the Abarbanel was said while discussing an ashkenazic interpretation of a medrish which he holds isn’t the proper reading and because of this people claim he must not have held what he said about the Gemara either, but was only saying it under the same interpretive framework as the medrish. However, see the Abarbanel in his sefer mayanei hayoshua where he says we learn 3 things from this Gemara and that one of them is that chazal thought it possible that moshiach can be one of those who come in the resurrection, thus doing away with the previously mentioned interpretation of yeshuos meshicho. See as well the Radak in his commentary on the verse “dovid will be prince for them forever” and the two options he gives there of either ben dovid or dovid himself resurrecting as moshaich.

See also in achronim the Yfei Mareh who says the talmud yerushalmi means king david will resurrect and how he applies it to the Gemara in sanhedrin and daniel saying this is according to the opinion that maybe the resurrection will come before moshiach. See also the etz yosef in eicha rabba about king david that says similarly this is if the the resurrection happens before moshiach. See also the Matanos kenunah who uses a very similar language to rashi but in the present tense and on king david in eicha rabbah. See as well The Pnei moshe who says if from the dead it’s king David himself. Virtually every rishon and Achron does not say it doesnt mean from the dead. Some give explanations of the shita and others dont. In our time different interpretations have been brought(for example it is brought in the Sdei Chemed that if we merit on clouds of heaven then moshiach will be from the dead which would give room to hold like this even after the Rambams Psak) and other gedolei hador, rosh yeshivas and talmidei chachomim have interpreted it as a possibility even after the rambam. All this ultimately comes down to how u learn the Mekoros and understand the Rambam. There is no one opinion on the matter and answers will vary depending on who u ask.


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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