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The End of the Messianic

Walter Benjamin, in his essay “Critique of Violence,” discuses the idea of divine biblical justice. Benjamin points out that in the Bible everyone gets what he or she deserves (though it does not seem so commensurate to us; even Job gets paid back for all his suffering).

“An eye for an eye” works with a worldview that has the good guys winning, the bad guys losing, and all those who are deserving of having the land of Israel ultimately triumphing. Those who worship idols and commit sin are struck down and those who worship God and behave in an ethical manner are praised and exalted. But, says Benjamin, the world no longer works in such a manner. The world is corrupted. Justice alludes us, and we are forced to settle on that which is ultimately unfair and unjust.


Benjamin, in his essay, goes so far as to dabble with the idea of a divine form of messianic violence that could knock out injustice in one swoop. For the last month, that’s exactly what Israel tried to do: It attempted to send one quick, powerful blow to Hezbollah, hoping that the good guys would win and the bad guys would lose. What they found out was that we are not living in an ideal messianic age. The world in its current state is unjust. Politics are unjust. Hezbollah not only has not been totally annihilated but speaks with greater authority than it did two months ago.

In the Bible and in our messianic dreams, there is no such thing as a cease-fire. There is only good and bad, death and life. In agreeing to the cease-fire, Israel recognizes that it is time to figure out how to neutralize, manage, and control evil.


Politics are not messianic, and to think otherwise is to live in a delusional world. Israel, and for that matter America, need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to live in a corrupted world. Evil can not be eradicated in the blink of an eye.

The questions Israel must now ask itself are: How do I live an enjoyable, productive, and fruitful life knowing all too well that evil and terror will continue to exist and will not be destroyed any time in the near or distant future? Is it possible to continue to be the great ethical and democratic force being surrounded by idolatry?

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posted August 17, 2006 at 10:34 am

For the last month, that s exactly what Israel tried to do: It attempted to send one quick, powerful blow to Hezbollah, hoping that the good guys would win and the bad guys would lose. oh…is that what advancing a neoconservative regime change agenda is called? good vs. evil? i thought it was evil vs. evil. and that’s before we start talking about who more devoutly serves god. What they found out was that we are not living in an ideal messianic age. au contraire. these are end times prophecies being fulfilled. we have never lived in an age where torah is more obvious and present in the world.

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posted August 18, 2006 at 6:04 am

mobius,I dont’t get it. explain what you mean.

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posted August 19, 2006 at 6:35 pm

There is a cosmic law that says that every action has a consequence and we reap what we saw. For instance eye for eye does not have to be understood in ones life time. Justice is do=ne always, but it may happen in future lives, and this is why it is hard for humans to see this. So, you took out someones eye this life time, for sure you will lose your eye in a future life. Or maybe you will lose less, in case you pay for your debt, for your crime in other ways. Or you may lose both eyes, or more, accodring to other things you accumulate. SO, we may pay for our crimes, in various ways. SOmetimes, eye for eye does not mean that we will lose an eye, we can also compensate in other ways. We can pay for our crime through other types of suffering, or through doing good deeds. It is key that we learn to live good lives, surrounded by evil things, and not being dettered. It is not our job to uproot evil, not even to fight it, unless it is in our tendencies or conecerns our one body. We are not allowed to attept to uproot evil in other, and eliminate evil form them. We need to learn to care for ourselves and other correctly. Only G-d will exercise justice regarding good and evil, this is not our job, we have got enough to take care of ourselves. the key is to maintain an upward self-developmnet and improve, without being influenced in a negative way by those around. IT is key to create a society where we can function side by side with the evil, so the evil is not allowed to suffocate and kill us. We do not interfere in their believes, but we are entitled to a rules of conduct that asure our safety and their safety. This is basicaly the only solution. We should not show weakness, but strength, a strength that will impose the respect and protect us from evil. We can be good and strong at the same way, in an open way, we will exerceise restraint, but prove capable of wiping dangers out from our surrounding if the enemies do not respect the rules of living in mutual respect and peace and pose a danger for us. W ehave to prove we have the power, the strength and if needed we will use to re-establish the order. Otherwise there will be more disorer and violenc ean dloss of lives.

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posted August 20, 2006 at 3:37 am

What, then? We are to give up on the coming of moshiach, even to working toward a messianic age? The Almighty’s promises are null and void? Instead, we are offered the words of a marxist philosopher to comfort us. This person who wrote this, this person is a rabbi ?!? Beyond all belief. I wonder what yeshiva has the honor of claiming this nudnik, this self-hating Jew as an alumnus. Wars happen. People die. Because in the effort to do right, wrong happens, we should give up trying to do right? The author of this piece should realize that moshiach has not yet come; this Israel also realizes. It is not possible to wage war so that the innocent do not suffer. True, more attention to Jewish values would go a long way toward showing who was the “good guys” in this encounter to the world at large. Hard to be a light to the nations when drenched in blood; but self defense is an absolute necessity. Who are we to judge? Did we have access to all the information that the Israeli commander did, that we can second-guess him? Instead of criticism, perhaps we can all offer more aid to the victims of this war — no matter which side of the border they fell on.

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posted September 1, 2006 at 5:37 pm

Job was not Jewish.

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posted September 1, 2006 at 6:51 pm

If Job was not Jewish, what was he?

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posted September 2, 2006 at 4:54 am

Rabbi Stern, yours and the other messages are most revealing and I appreciate them. I am in receipt of ‘Jews for Jesus’ literature but do not send them monies. I have castigated them for not stating ‘Jews for Jesus Christ’ but never heard from them. For all I know, they are raising monies for all those named Jesus in this world. There are a few, I believe! However, since the entire world of some 6.8 BILLION Gentiles is controlled by just 20 MILLION non-Gentiles, I feel I am compelled to read and acknowledge others’ points of view. Your comments ‘Israel recognizes … time to figure out how to manage and control evil’, and ‘Israel, and for that matter, America … need to go back …'(I find quite condescending considering all that America is doing with its Blood Treasure on Israel’s behalf); your mention of ‘The Bible’, presuming you do not mean the jewish Bible you use daily but the one the Gentiles (many of them) use and which the non-Gentile powers-that-be in Hollywood term ‘The greatest story ever told’, with inherent, innate sarcasm, cynicism and irony, all this evidences much which would support the view that Christians really should merely just BE TOLERANT OF JEWS and not get too excited about who, what, why and where they all are because we all have to co-exist together whilst alive on this planet, albeit briefly. Interestingly. the Israeli flag constitutes two triangles superimposed one on the other, Pyramids, one might say. One Pyramid(upright) shows POWER at the peak exercised over all those tiers of humanity below in the structure; the other denotes CONTROL (anb balance!) by supporting from below, at the upside down peak, all those above it in tiers of individuals in the structure. Given the fact that these two diagrams are superimposed on one another, I figure it is correct to say that the combined final product is openly meant to reveal the identity of the true emphasis of the existence, from 1948, of the nation of Israel for all to see, understand and with which all must therefore be in compliance. I have no objections to any of this and see it being ‘it is as it is’ so say AMEN(so be it), Shalom and, for want of a better phrase, wish ALL involved ‘the best of British luck’, with all the intention/innuendo that expression implies. My astrological sign is Cancer, the crab, 69, so that is from whence I am coming! Fare-thee-well.

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Lily Powell

posted November 16, 2006 at 5:28 pm

Wow! I must say I have to laugh at the silly things I read in these so called “blogs”. You take yourselve way to seriously… and how a christian can get you all upset by what they believe, but at the same time You want America, which is self identified as a Christian Nation, to continue to help Isreal??? And the Hate pored out on those of your own dna who believe just a bit different then you. It would be sad, but it is so amusing, it just underscores the fact that deep down in your soul you know that Jesus is who he said he is, And that just really ticks off people who have not the ability to see clearly. And you have forgottenn the torture that the first Christians, who by the way were all JEWS, and worshiped to gether in synagog. But there is no way of knowing the number of those slaugtered for their beliefs, by JEWS> And the jugment was a cruel.

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Living Hope In Jesus

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:51 pm

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