Isn’t Learning About Moshiach Discouraged?



I recently started teaching about Moshiach and Geula, and someone pointed out the Rambam’s ruling (Hilchos Melachim 12:2) – “A person should not occupy himself with the Aggadot and homiletics concerning these and similar matters, nor should he consider them as essentials, for study of them will neither bring fear or love of G-d.”

How do I reconcile this with what the Rebbe says is necessary to learn and teach about Moshiach and Geula?



Please note that AskTheRav is primarily focused on providing answers to practical relevant Halachic questions. Due to limited time and funding, we are generally unable to answer questions which are for research and learning purposes. 

On the other hand, because a lack of an answer in this case might lead to a חלישות in your learning, here are a few brief points, based on several of the Rebbe’s talks on this matter: 

The Rebbe, and other Gedolei Yisroel who encouraged learning these subjects, were, of course, familiar with what the Rambam wrote and nevertheless encouraged the learning of these ideas. So, obviously, they are not a contradiction—we only need to understand why.

Specifically, the answer lies in the words you quoted, “Aggadot and homiletics”. The Rambam is only negating delving into specific aspects of Moshiach, such as the war of Gog and Magog, matters which are not critical to Moshiach’s coming, but not the very study itself.

The Rambam is explaining that the various “metaphors and riddles” we find in this literature should not deter us from believing in the general concept of Moshiach, and anticipating his arrival, even if appears that some of the prophecies were not yet fulfilled.

Also, the Rambam doesn’t write not to learn this. He writes that “the arrangement and order of the existence of these matters and their specifications are not a fundamental part of faith”. Note, that we are addressing the “order”, what is first and what comes later, and the “specifics”. He further writes that “one should not occupy oneself with homiletic matters and he shouldn’t spend long time on the various Midrashim dealing with these matters”.

He is specifically referring to spending a lot of time on matters not addressed in his sefer. Focusing on Midrashim which contain various opinions on these matters, and not the actual final Halacha, would be an issue.

Part of the reason is also because the fulfillment of some of these prophecies depends on so many factors, including the merit of klal Yisroel at the time of Redemption, as Chazal point out that certain prophecies are dependent on a state of “zachu”, being extra meritorious.

Think about it this way: the Rambam is not saying, after more than a complete chapter of Moshiach halachos, that people shouldn’t be learning these things; rather that some aspects—aspects that the Rambam himself doesn’t address—are not the focus. But of course, the Rambam holds that the preceding (and succeeding) halachos can and must be learned.

[By the way, a similar explanation is given by the Rebbe regarding the first few chapters of the Rambam.]



ועד״ז באגרת תחה״מ, שאינם מפנות התורה ואין להקפיד איך יאמינו בהם.

והרי הרמב״ם לפנ״ז ואח״ז האריך בכמה פרטים. אבל קאי רק על השלבים שאינם מוכרחים בגאולה.

וראה מזה שיחת י״ב תמוז תשכ״ז. מקץ תשל״ד. לקו״ש כב ע׳ 252 הערה ד״ה זכו. ולהעיר מסה״ש תשמ״ח ב ע׳ 533. וראה סה״ש תשמ״ט א ע׳ 148 ובהערה 10.

וראה קובץ העו״ב קרח תשפ״א.

וראה כדוגמתו לקו״ש כו ע׳ 115 בנוגע טיול בפרדס.

וראה ע״ד החידוד והדרוש קובץ נחלת הר חב״ד ג, ויחי תשס״ב, ע׳ נד ואילך.




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