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Hidden Origins
Every country with democratically elected leaders sets criteria for who qualifies to run for election and who does not. For example, in the United States, to run for office of the president one must be at least 35 years old and be a natural born citizen.

Jewish law likewise has its qualifications for leadership. A king, for example, must be legitimately born and cannot be a convert.

What is puzzling is the very murky lineage of King David, the founder of the Jewish royal dynasty and the progenitor of Moshiach. David was from the tribe of Judah, and this week's Torah portion describes the union between Judah and Tamar, from which the Davidic lineage originated. Tamar had been married to two sons of Judah, Er and Onan, but both of them died before producing any children. According to the Jewish law of Yibum (levirate marriage), the widow of a man who dies childless marries his brother. Judah had a third son, but because of the unfortunate outcome for his first two sons, he put off marrying his third son to Tamar, telling her to wait until he got older. But Tamar refused to wait. She knew that from her marriage into the house of Judah, the royal lineage would be produced. Using a subterfuge, Tamar enticed Judah himself into a marriage with her – a union that produced twin sons, Peretz and Zorach. From Peretz descended Yishai, father of David.


The union of Judah and Tamar was not the only questionable link in the chain of David's ancestry. Yishai's great-grandfather Boaz married Ruth, also in a levirate marriage. Ruth was a convert, a princess from Moab, a nation with whom the Jews were forbidden to intermarry. And who was the mother of King David himself? That question is also shrouded in mystery, as David’s father Yishai was separated from his wife at the time of David’s conception. And David's son and successor, King Solomon, was born from a union between David and Batsheba, whom David married after sending her husband Uriah to the front to be killed in battle.

Why is it that of all people, the dynasty of King David should spring such murky origins, so many questionable unions? The teachings of Kabbalah explain that the soul of Moshiach was of such a high source of holiness that the Satan strenuously tried to block his descent to this world. Therefore, G-d had to conceal the appearance of this soul, cloaking his birth in a series of unholy-seeming alliances. Surely the Satan would not think to look in such lowly places for the birth of the future redeemer. And so, the dynasty of David and Moshiach was ushered in “under the radar,” so to speak, unnoticed and unblocked by the forces of impurity.


In our generation, the final one of exile and the first of Redemption, we are seeing a similar process. The Lubavitcher Rebbe announced over 20 years ago that the Redemption had already begun. Yet shortly thereafter, the Rebbe’s physical presence was concealed from us. Perhaps the Rebbe’s apparent passing was a necessary step to complete the final preparations for Redemption.

However, we, too, must do our part to bring the revelation of Moshiach – through calling forth the most deeply hidden powers within ourselves, to strengthen ourselves and others in our observance of Torah and mitzvot. This will surely bring about the Redemption, immediately


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