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Brother Gilbert Joseph
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    Hephzibah: As Ancestor and Mother of the Messiah

    In 2004 Sarah an Hasidic Jewish woman (who is a secret Catholic) wrote:

    “We know from the Mishna that betrothal carried almost all the same legal standing as full marriage. Jewish law is like Canon law, not like secular law. If a betrothal was legal, before two witnesses and with a written contract or an object of monetary value exchanged, the couple were bound together before God as a married couple is today, forbidden to others but not together under the same roof. The wedding ceremony would follow within a year. This is Mishna, not Gemara, meaning this is ancient law, not later Rabbinic law. Mary and Joseph were in this legal category at the time of the Incarnation. Ancient Jewish betrothal should not be confused with modern day engagement. A woman could be released from the betrothal only by divorce. The ancient betrothal ceremony and wedding ceremony was later combined into the wedding ceremony we have now. The ketubah (Jewish religious wedding certificate) combines the betrothal and the wedding agreements on the one form. There should be no doubt about this fact.”

    Thus Jesus was born into a Jewish family with a legally recognised mother and father. In all legal sense Jesus was thus the son of Joseph and a legal descendant of Joseph’s ancestors going back to Solomon and David. Jesus was not born to an unwed mother as some like to speculate. However God even likes to cover all the bases by making his Son also biologically descended from David and Solomon. Luke’s Gospel shows Jesus maternal ancestry back to Nathan bar David a brother of King Solomon.

    A Chabad Hasidic article states:

    “…However, it is interesting to note that while it is clear from all of the above sources that the Messiah will be a descendant of King Solomon, the Zohar seems to state that Moshiach will actually be a descendant of Nathan, a different son of David. Expounding on the verse (Isaiah 40:9), “Upon a lofty mountain ascend, you who brings good tidings to Zion,” the Zohar states: “You who bring good tidings to Zion” is Hephzibah, the wife of Nathan son of David, who is the mother of Messiah, Menachem son of Amiel. She shall go out and bring the tidings . . .” The famed 20th-century Jewish scholar and kabbalist Rabbi Reuven Margolies explains that the Zohar is careful to describe the Moshiach as being a descendant of Nathan’s wife, rather than of Nathan himself. Nathan had passed away childless, and Solomon his brother married his widow, according to the laws of yibum, levirate marriage. In a levirate marriage, the firstborn son of the widow and the brother of the deceased is considered to be a continuation of the dead husband’s line. Therefore, Moshiach is referred to here as “offspring” of Nathan, even though he is a descendant of King Solomon. “

    Davidic status can also pass through the female line. The descendants of Hillel are considered Davidic Nasii but were only Davidic through a female line and from the Tribe of Benjamin on their direct male line. Menachem a Jewish man who has researched this issue in great detail writes:

    “…To be Moshiach one needs only descend through David/Shlomo ‘Beit David’ from a physical parent be it maternal or paternal. The individual descended on either the paternal or maternal side would still need a Jewish mother to be halachically Jewish since the son of a male Davidic descendant and a Gentile woman would not produce a Jewish child. Maternal descent must be maintained for all Jewish people. There is no specific requirement that the Davidic descent passes through the male paternally only. This is the position Lubavitch takes so that the Rebbe can fulfill a Messianic claim within halacha. The Rebbe’s great grandfather the Tzemach Tzedek was married to Devorah Leah Shneuri daughter of the Alter Rebbe. The Alter Rebbe, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi was descended through the Maharal of Prague (Beit David) and was the inheritor of the Nesius of the Baal Shem Tov via the Maggid of Mezritch. The Rebbe’s connection to David was maternally based. Now I asked this question to a Sephardic authority regarding what happens when a Jewish child who has a Jewish mother does not have a Jewish father be he a Gentile (or in the case of Jesus a Virgin Birth). What nusach does he take from since he has no father? If the temple existed, which of the 12 gates would he enter? He replied, ‘When the father has no background or is not Jewish, then the children follow the Nusach of the mother. As it says: Shema’ beni Torath immekha “Hear, my son, the Torah of your mother.” When both parents are Jewish and both know their background, then, obviously, the children follow the father…”.

    Sefer Zerrubbabel also speaks about Hephzibah as the Mother of the Messiah. In some English translations it says she is the wife of Nathan the prophet whereas I emended this to Hephzibah the prophetess the woman (isha) of Nathan[‘s lineage]. Isha can mean wife or woman and it alludes to the Woman (Isha) who will be the Mother of the Messiah in Genesis 3:15. The quote from the Zohar (3:173b) demonstrates the validity of my translation.

    “Then Michael said to me: ‘This is the Messiah of the Lord: (he has) been hidden in this place until the appointed time (for his manifestation). This is the Messiah of the lineage of David, and his name is Menahem ben ‘Amiel [Comforter Son of God’s People]. He was born of the Kingship of David, king of Israel, and a wind bore him up and concealed him in this place, waiting for the time of the end.’ Then I, Zerubbabel, posed a question to Metatron, the leader of the host of the Lord. He said to me: ‘The Lord will give a rod (for accomplishing) these salvific acts to Hephzibah, the mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel. A great star will shine before her, and all the stars will wander aimlessly from their paths. Hephzibah, the mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel, will go forth…The rod which the Lord will give to Hephzibah, the mother of Menahem [ben] ‘Amiel, is made of almond-wood; it is hidden in Raqqat, a city in (the territory of) Naphtali. It is the same rod which the Lord previously gave to Adam, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and King David. It is the same rod which sprouted buds and flowered in the Tent (of Meeting) for the sake of Aaron. Elijah ben Eleazar concealed it in Raqqat, a city of Naphtali, which is Tiberias… Hephzibah—the woman (Isha) of Nathan’s [lineage]- the prophetess mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel—will go out with the rod which the Lord God of Israel will give to her, and the Lord will place “a spirit of dizziness” upon them (i.e., the Persian army), and they will kill one another, each (slaying) his companion or his countryman. There the wicked one (Šērōy) will die.’… In the fifth (year) of the week Nehemiah b. Hushiel will come and gather together all Israel. In the sixth (year) of the week Hephzibah, the woman of Nathan- the prophetess, she who was born in Hebron, will come and slay the two kings Nōph and ’Esrōgan. That same year the ‘shoot of Jesse’ (Isa 11:10), Menahem b. ‘Amiel, will spring up. “

    Here in the Sefer Zerrubbabel Hephzibah (who is the Lady of Zion) is described in her end time role as the Heavenly Warrioress – Matronita and Kneset Yisrael (community of Israel personified as the Lady or Daughter of Zion). This is Our Lady Miriam ha Kedosha as the prophetess of the Latter Days. Sarah the Hasidic lady mentioned above also describes Mary’s virginity in the context of the burning bush which is also an image found in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox devotion.

    “It’s about her perpetual virginity. As Mary conceived without injury she also gave birth without injury. What is this like? It is like the bush that burned without being consumed. The tradition says it was a thorn bush, the lowliest of all bushes, which He chose because of its humility, and He sustained and protected it from injury.”