The return of Jews to the land of Israel was a miraculous occurrence that has changed many practical aspects of Jewish practice in unexpected ways. Many laws that have lain dormant for thousands of years have re-appeared in incarnations the Jewish sages could never have anticipated. This is certainly true for mitzvot (Biblical commandments) pertaining to agriculture, like shmitta (the sabbatical year) or yovel (the jubilee year). One hundred years ago, it would have been impossible for Jews in the Diaspora to imagine hakhel or performing the mitzvah of the half-shekel.
Today, the world is taking many abrupt turns. Many religious figures have stated that we are now in the birthpangs of the coming of the Messiah and have called on the Jewish nation to prepare itself accordingly.
While preparing for the arrival of the Messiah may seem abstract to some, there are practical steps a person can take. One way is by learning the special blessings associated with his arrival. According to Rabbi Chaim Palagi, a Turkish rabbi who lived in the late 18th century, there are five blessings a person should learn to say upon seeing the Messiah:
1. A blessing praising God as the ultimate redeemer:
ברוך אתה ה` א-להינו מלך העולם גואל ישראל
“Blessed are you, God, King of the world, who redeems Israel.”
2. A blessing for anything that makes a person especially happy:
ברוך אתה ה` א-ל-הינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והגענו לזמן הזה
“Blessed are you, God, King of the world, who has kept us alive and sustained us to arrive at this moment.”
3. The blessing said upon seeing a great Torah scholar:
ברוך אתה ה` א-להינו מלך העולם שחלק מחכמתו ליראיו
“Blessed are you, God, King of the world, who has given from His wisdom to those who fear Him.”
4. The blessing said upon seeing a king of Israel:
ברוך אתה ה` א-להינו מלך העולם שחלק מכבודו ליראיו
“Blessed are you, God, King of the world, who has given from His honor to those who fear Him.”
5. The blessing said upon seeing an exceptionally large gathering of 600,000 Jews:
ברוך אתה ה` א-להינו מלך העולם חכם הרזים
“Blessed are you, God, king of the world, master of secrets.”
6. The blessing said upon hearing of glad tidings that affect the public:
ברוך אתה ה’ … מלך העולם הטוב והמטיב
“Blessed are you, God, King of the world, who does good and makes even better.”
Alternatively, Rabbi Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach, a Torah authority who passed away 10 years ago, ruled that when the Messiah comes, only four blessings will be said.
According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah will be well-versed in Torah. Therefore, Rabbi Auerbach ruled that the blessing upon seeing a Torah scholar (#3) should be said. Rabbi Auerbach also requires the blessing said upon seeing a king of Israel (#4) because the two Messiahs – one from the House of Joseph and one from the House of David – will be leaders of Israel. Since the Messiah from the House of David comes from the dynastic line of Jewish kingship, upon seeing him it will be required to recite the blessing of seeing a king of Israel.
When the Messiah finally does arrive, Rabbi Auerbach has ruled that the blessing upon seeing a great gathering of Jews (#5) should be said, based on the assumption that the entire Jewish nation will join together in one place.
The final blessing, according to Rabbi Auerbach, is the blessing of joy (#2), since when the Messiah comes, the entire nation will rejoice. May it be soon and in our days!