Continued from Part 1...
...Even before we examine our sages' words regarding Mashiach ben Yosef, we already have in hand several basic principles from the holy lips of the Gra:
Some people have posited that Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztz"l, Hy"d, was Mashiach ben Yosef for his generation. Had the people of Israel stood up for him when the Erev Rav disqualified him from running for Knesset a month before the election, and backed his party wholeheartedly, he could have risen to power and prevented Oslo and every tragedy that followed in its wake. But, the people were too weak and of too little faith, so unable to fulfill his mission, the Rav was taken from this world and his mission fell to the next generation's representative. This is, I believe, why we are bidden to pray that Mashiach ben Yosef not die. Furthermore, it is no coincidence that Rabbi Kahane's name has been so much in the news in these days just prior to another election, one which may very well be key to the arrival of this generation's Mashiach ben Yosef.1. There are two Messiahs, Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David. The first is called "the Inaugural Messiah." He is involved in the whole physical side of redemption, the actual return to Zion, and he fights G-d's wars. The second completes the spiritual redemption.
2. These two Messiahs exist among us in every generation; and if Israel only understood what they must do to bring redemption "in haste," it would come speedily via these two Messiahs.
3. Mashiach ben Yosef not only goes unrecognized, but Israel ridicule those who herald the truth of redemption and are fit to be Mashiach ben Yosef. If Israel only recognized him and his era, he would immediately bring complete redemption "in haste."
In every generation a Mashiach ben Yosef and a Mashiach ben David appear. The present exile has no fixed length. It can come "today, if we hearken to G-d's voice" (Ps. 95:7). In this regard G-d says, "Let not this possibility seem remote to you. Believe that if you only acted correctly, redemption would come 'today.' Search for the Messiahs, and I, too, will search Jerusalem with candles."
The Talmud states (Bava Batra 123b), "Jacob saw that Esau's seed could only be delivered up by Joseph's seed" (and the same in Targum Yonatan on Gen. 30:25). The point is clear: The beginning of the nations' fall will be through Mashiach ben Yosef who comes from Rachel. ..."In whose hands shall Edom fall? Those of the anointed of war, who comes from Joseph."
And Bereshit Rabba (73:7) teaches, "With Joseph's birth, Esau's adversary was born... There is a tradition that Esau shall fall only to Rachel's descendants."
...Pesikta Rabati, 36:
At that moment, the nations became excited and said, "Master of the Universe! Who is this into whose hands we shall fall? What is his name? What is his nature?" G-d replied, He is the Messiah and his name is Ephraim, My righteous Messiah. He shall raise up himself and his generation [i.e., from degradation to independence]. He shall bring light to Israel and save his people, and no nation or tongue can withstand him... All his enemies and foes flee... Even the rivers cease running..."
G-d set ground-rules for [the Messiah]: "In the future, the sins of these stored away with you will place you under an iron burden. They will make you like this calf whose eyes have dimmed. Their burden will suffocate your spirit. Through their sins, your tongue will cleave to your palate. Do you wish this?" The Messiah asked, "Is that pain going to last many years?" and G-d answered, "I swear by My life and yours that it shall last no later than the year seven thousand [i.e., the latest possible end, as noted previously from Avodah Zarah 9a]. If you are unhappy with this, I will make them suffer starting now." The Messiah replied, "Master of the Universe! Joyfully do I accept it upon myself so that not one Jew be lost... It is what I want!"...To be continued, iy"H.