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If it is true that "som tasim - Placing you shall place" (cf. Devarim 17:15) is not a mitzvah, but a reshut (cf. Ibn Ezra there). And if what the Abarbanel (to Devarim 16:18-21:9) and the Netziv (on Devarim 17:14) say is true, namely, that there is no need for/a danger to human life because of monarchies, and that the Jewish people need not have a monarchy, but may choose a representative democracy, then in such a case would it even be necessary to elect a scion of the Davidic line at all? Would the president/prime minister even need to be male? Could the "messiah" be a woman? If the change of government does negate the promises to the Davidic line, could it obviate even a messiah figure at all?

These are serious questions. Please cite your sources.

Kol tuv.

  • doesn't this conflate the idea of a Messiah and of a king? If they are, by design, synonymous, then the promise of a messiah is the promise of a king. If they are potentially distinct then the election of any government does not obviate the existence of a messiah as a Davidic leader. – rosends Mar 28 '17 at 18:52
  • Rav Hirsch cites Sanhedrin 20a that it is not only allowed ... but actually commanded to be done. However, he says that it is when the people want a united government, it will be the monarchy who will embody the people as the Head of State. – sabbahillel Mar 28 '17 at 18:55
  • You're saying according to those who argue on the Rambam? – Shmuel Brin Mar 28 '17 at 18:56
  • consider cutting out "Could the "messiah" be a woman? If the change of government does negate the promises to the Davidic line, could it obviate even a messiah figure at all?" it seems to broaden the question a bit unnecessarily. it can be asked separately. – mevaqesh Mar 28 '17 at 19:04
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This question is exceedingly broad and is based upon presumptions that many may not accept to begin with. Like for example the idea that appointing a King is not a mitzvah like is stated in Sanhedrin 20b.

But if that is overlooked, then the essence of your question seems to be, is a scion from the Davidic line required (for Moshiach, the ultimate ruler associated with that idea) if we have an elected head of government? And could the Moshiach be a woman?

The short answer is yes, that scion of the Davidic line would be required because of the function and effect that they have on the entire Jewish people in terms of their service to the Creator. And no, a woman cannot fulfill that function. Their role and function in terms of creation is different.

For a very long and detailed discussion of these ideas and what the function is of the ultimate Jewish King, please see the chapter concerning the mitzvah of appointing a King from Sefer Derech Mitzvotecha by the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, pp 108a-111a.

  • note that the question is primarily about democratically elected leaders in general, the messiah was just an example of one such potential leader. – mevaqesh Mar 28 '17 at 20:28
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    Could you cite any of the relevant text? I, for one, am very skeptical that any of it addresses the question of whether or not democratically elected leaders must be from the Davidic line. – mevaqesh Mar 28 '17 at 20:29
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    I think the cited source is assuming that there is an obligation to appoint a king which is specifically the view the OP is not asking about. More significantly, I don't see anything in the referenced pages that addresses the OP's question. – mevaqesh Mar 28 '17 at 20:33
  • So in the democratically elected government, the people must elect a man descended from David? No one else would be eligible to run? That's an incredibly limited pool of candidates. – Double AA Mar 29 '17 at 16:55
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    Perhaps I misunderstood your answer? The OP's question was, given those opinions, "would it even be necessary to elect a scion of the Davidic line at all? Would the president/prime minister even need to be male?" and I thought you answered "the short answer is yes". – Double AA Mar 29 '17 at 17:03

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