Political Science

Mashiach and Jewish Leadership: Part 15 – Four Manifestations of Inspiration

On the Jewish holidays of Pesach, Shavuot and Succot, it is customary to recite a special prayer which contains the verse: "Privilege us that You may rest Your Presence upon us and radiate upon us a spirit of wisdom and insight. Let there be fulfilled in us the verse that is written: 'The spirit of G-d shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of G-d.'" This verse from the prophet Isaiah, the most explicit verse of inspiration in the Torah, refers specifically to the origin of inspiration of theMashiach, and by inference, to the point of Mashiach in every Jew.

The prophesy of Isaiah continues: "and his delight will be in the fear of G-d and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, nor decide after the hearing of his ears…" The word for "delight" (v'haricho) has the same root as the word "smell," (rayach). The Sages interpreted this to mean that the Mashiach will be able to judge through the sense of smell. According to tradition, the four senses of sight, hearing, taste and touch were all blemished due to their participation in the sin of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden. Only the sense of smell does not appear in the verses describing the sin, thus retaining its original pristine state. The common expressions "something doesn't smell right," and "this stinks" used to illustrate situations that feel intuitively wrong, allude to the association between smell and judgment. Smell is connected to intuition and inspiration, both of which emanate from a superconscious level above logic and reason. Mashiach represents the consummate state of ongoing inspiration from G-d; therefore he will be able to judge through his rectified sense of smell.

The "spirit of G-d," the first of four "spirits" mentioned in the above verse, is the general, all-encompassing level of inspiration, while the other three are specific manifestations, each one leading directly to the next. The culmination of this prophesy regarding Mashiach, comes a few verses later: "…for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea." Whereas the "spirit of G-d" represents an all-encompassing state of inspiration, it is an individual experience; while the earth being covered by the knowledge of G-d represents a climactic manifestation of inspiration encompassing all humanity. The role of Mashiach is to be the channel and "priming" force opening up G-d's infinite flow of inspiration to all the world. A spiritual leader on a smaller scale likewise toils to become a proper conduit of Divine inspiration for his immediate followers and even beyond, to all with whom he comes into contact.

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