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Orthodox Judaism/Deification of Messiah



I am not of Jewish birth, but I love the Lord with all of my heart and have come to seek Him earnestly. I come from a Christian background but I have recently distanced myself from the inventions of the church to develop an understanding of G-d directly from His Scriptures by making it my custom to regularly read and study the Torah and the other writings. My question is about the deification of Messiah. The Scriptures say that the spirit of G-d will be poured out onto Messiah, but despite my background I have been reluctant to accept interpretations of Scriptures that deify Messiah.

Im currently reading and studying Daniel. From chapter seven:

"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought near before Him.

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve* him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

It is clear to me and seems to be well accepted that the prophecy in this passage is Messianic. My question is about the word serve pelah. The word is only used by Daniel and Ezra and only in the context of service to G-d (nine times by Daniel) or His temple (once by Ezra).

And so I kept looking and found that the words used to command that G-ds people worship, praise, serve, adore, and obey Him alone throughout the Torah (ex. shachah, avad, kara, etc.) are also used with reference to the Messiah throughout the psalms and prophets.  

Its becoming difficult for me to continue in my reluctance.

Hi Andrew

You have broached a very extensive discussion here, which we can begin to address here, but really deserves much more investigation, conversation and study.

Firstly, Judaism does not believe in the deification of the Messiah. Yes, G-d pours His spirit into the Messiah, as He does to all of His prophets. In fact, Daniel's reference to "serving" G-d itself indicates that the Messiah is himself not a deity.

The word "pelah" is actually an Aramaic term, which is why you won't find it often in the Scriptures (except for in the writings of those prophets who lived in Babylon, like Daniel). It means "serve", as the Hebrew "avad" would.

You should definitely stick with your perspective not to deify the Messiah and read more of the Scriptures to see that this really is not the intention at all (not to say you haven't read the Scriptures, just to say, the more you review and compare, the clearer it will become).


Rabbi Shishler

Orthodox Judaism

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Rabbi Ari Shishler


I am a rabbi who loves teaching, through writing and speaking. In 1999, my wife and I started our own Chabad House and it's grown exponentially. I'm also the learning director at Chabad House of Johannesburg, a high school teacher and the father of young children. As you can imagine, I get to answer lots of questions every day. I'd be glad to answer your questions on Judaism, Jewish spirituality and practice.


I have been a practicing Orthodox rabbi since 1997 and have headed my own community since 1999. I teach Talmud at a religious high school in Johannesburg and give daily lectures to adults on Jewish practice, spiritualty, Chassidic philosophy and Kabbalah. I'm the campus rabbi at our two major universities in Johannesburg.

Chabad-Lubavitch South African Rabbinical Association.

Monthly column in Jewish Life magazine, South Africa. Jewish Tradition, South Africa. Jewish Report, South Africa. South African Union of Jewish Students annual Holiday guide. Jewish Observer, South Africa. Nshei Chabad Newsletter, NY. Jewish Online Magazine.

After completing high scool, I spent six years studying in Rabbinical seminaries in South Africa, Israel and New York.

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