I have bumped into some christian websites claiming that the Jews are blameworthy for not accepting jesus as the Messiah.

According to our tradition what conditions are there (if any) that require the Jewish people to accept someone as the Messiah and that they would be blameworthy if they don't?

i.e. even if someone were to perform miracles, etc. and show preliminary signs of being the messiah are Jews somehow considered blameworthy if they don't accept him.

  • 1
    Considering that the main requirement of mashiach is that he is considered as such, this whole reasoning around jewish incalcitrance is inherently circular and pointless.
    – RonP
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 7:47
  • Even when the Mashiach does come he will not be a deity, a "son" of G-d or part of any kind of trinity
    – CashCow
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:24
  • 2
    Duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10599, methinks.
    – msh210
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:25
  • 1
    Why should we think that "blame" is in play even for the actual messiah? Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:32
  • @msh210 why dupe? i am asking if one is every blameworthy for not believing or accepting a moshiach candidate
    – ray
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


Rabbi Tovia Singer of Outreach Judaism points out that there are 613 commandments -- that's a lot! -- covering everything from a soldier having a shovel to cover his excrement in the field, to what sort of insects you can/can't eat. Yet there is no commandment "thou shalt accept the messiah."

Why not? The same way there is no commandment "thou shalt look at thine right hand and declare it is thy right hand." If a person accomplishes all that we believe the Jewish messiah will, it will be obvious!

In short, the burden of proof is on the messiah, not the Jewish people.

(The Torah does say that eventually God will return the people to the land and everything will be better then, thus Maimonides writes that one must not only believe that a messiah will come, but look forward to it.)


Rambam in hilchos melacha, Perek 11, halacha 4 lays it out. He says, (translation from chabad.org):

If a king will arise from the House of David who diligently contemplates the Torah and observes its mitzvot as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law as David, his ancestor, will compel all of Israel to walk in (the way of the Torah) and rectify the breaches in its observance, and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Mashiach.

He will then improve the entire world, motivating all the nations to serve God together, as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose.'

Once we have a clear explanation of what defines the mashiach, it follows logically that we are expected to recognize the mashiach when he meets those criteria.

  • 1
    And if he is the Mashiach but we don't believe it, are we blameworthy?
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:15
  • @Daniel well, if he meets the descriptions Rambam describes and we choose to ignore it, why wouldn't we be blame worthy?
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:17
  • 1
    I don't know. Isn't that the question?
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:20
  • @Daniel "what conditions are there (if any) that require the Jewish people to accept someone as the Messiah and that they would be blameworthy if they don't?" So this clearly explains the conditions, and since we have a clear source that provides the conditions, I think that implies we would be making a mistake, ie not following the Rambam, ie be blame worthy of we don't believe in him.
    – andrewmh20
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:22
  • What if, even though the definition of mashiach is clear, it is not clear whether a particular person has met all of the requirements?
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .