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Does Rashi go against Halacha?


Question: I heard that Rashi gives 2 explanations to Sanhedrin 98b regarding the section: “if he is from the living-R’ Yehuda… from the dead-Daniel…” Explanation number 1 – that the Moshiach will come either from the currently living in the world or he can come from those who already died (and therefore will be resurrected to be Moshiach) and Explanation number 2 – R’ Yehuda & Daniel are only personal examples (kegon).
My question is: is that true that Rashi gives 2 explanations? Because if it is true, then the first one seems to be a major problem – this gives one a possibility of thinking that someone would have to be resurrected to be Moshiach, since he previously died. (if this refers to Moshiach ben Yosef that is resurrected, then this is irrelevant because our hero is the King Moshiach ben David, about whom is the question).
How can this be? The great Rashi then would be going directly against the Halachah in Laws of Kings 11:4 which paskins: “if he didn’t succeed to this extent OR was killed (either way he dies without succeeding), he is surely not the redeemer promised by the Torah!” Isn’t the Halachah telling us directly that even a great king who died without starting the Messianic process is no longer a candidate to be the grand Moshiach? I also heard that Ramban said that death has no power over Moshiach ben David-do you know where he says this? Disputation in Barcelona 1263?
How then is it possible that Rashi goes against Halachah? Please clarify the Rashi and confirm that Moshiach ben David cannot die, please! Thank you in advance.




What you are writing is correct. Moshiach cannot be a person who has already died. Rashi is not arguing with this, and he is explaining a different point.

Here is the text of the Rashi. רש”י מסכת סנהדרין דף צח עמוד ב

אי מן חייא הוא כגון רבינו הקדוש – אם משיח מאותן שחיים עכשיו ודאי היינו רבינו הקדוש, דסובל תחלואים וחסיד גמור הוה, כדאמרינן בבבא מציעא (פה, א), ואם היה מאותן שמתו כבר – היה דניאל איש חמודות שנדון ביסורין בגוב אריות וחסיד גמור היה, והאי כגון לאו דווקא, לישנא אחרינא: כגון רבינו הקדוש, כלומר, אם יש דוגמתו בחיים היינו רבינו הקדוש, ואם דוגמא הוא למתים, היינו כגון דניאל איש חמודות.

The Gemora was saying that Moshiach will suffer pains and tribulations to atone for his generation, even though he himself will be totally righteous. The gemora then gives examples of this in  the name of Rav, “If he is from those who are alive now, and example of a person who has suffered would be Rabeinu Hakadosh, and if you want an example of a person who already died, then then an example “would have been“ Daniel , because he was a person who suffered during him life by being placed in the lion’s den and he was still a perfect tzaddik. Then Rashi add, that these examples are not meant to be exact. Meaning that we are not saying that these people can now be Moshiach, rather that these two people would be an example of someone who fulfilled this condition, or people who could have bee Moshiach in their generation.

As a side point, even if Rashi would be arguing with the Rambam, he is allowed to do so, because he was older than the Rambam. Rashi was about 100 years older (4800-4865) than the Rambam (4894-4964), in fact Rashi died about 30 years before the Rambam was born. It doesn’t mean we will pasken this way, however technically he is allowed to argue with him.

Best wishes


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