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The God Squad: Jews actually await two messiahs

June 03, 2011|By Rabbi Marc Gellman

Question: Since the Jewish people are still awaiting the Christ, who do you expect the messiah to be and what do you expect him to do? Do you await a military leader who conquers territory, a spiritual leader who conquers the ills of souls, or someone else? — C., via godsquadquestion@aol.com

Answer: Jewish legends teach that there will be two messiahs. The first, the Messiah ben Joseph, will be the military leader conquering the forces of evil in the world. The second will be the Messiah ben David, who will usher in the time when, in Isaiah's prophecy, the lion shall lie down with the lamb. The righteous of all nations will have a share in this eternity of peace and glory.

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Now, back to the real world...

In response to my recent column about how eating meat does not constitute murder, but vegetarianism is clearly the higher spiritual and moral choice, "R" wrote with thinly veiled contempt:

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"How do you know that plants can't think, feel, believe and endure pain silently? They clearly try to avoid death and they do communicate with each other chemically (like our sense of taste and smell). Maybe you need to read a modern textbook on biology."

My comment: I'm off to the bookstore to buy a biology book, just as soon as the screaming broccoli steaming on my stove dies its excruciating death. By the way, you should know that I only cook vegetables that have a criminal record.

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Another comment I received on eating meat:

"FYI, meat does not cause artery-clogging, and depression and cancer are now linked to low-fat diets. Humans were not meant to eat vegetable oils." — Anonymous

My comment: I just threw out the dying broccoli. Now I'm hungry and depressed.

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Another reader note:

"While I'm neither of the Jewish faith nor Catholic, I do enjoy your column, since it enlightens me with answers to questions I never thought to ask. A recent letter referring to the way eagles teach their young to fly piqued my interest. The writer suggested an eagle cam that might be of help to you.

"While it is worthy that those eaglets (pictured on the cam) were saved and will be released, I came away feeling as you did (that they looked bored living in cages). I have an eagle cam located in Decorah, Iowa, that lets you see the real workings of a nesting pair of eagles and their three eaglets. It operates 24/7, and you see the activity of these birds in real time.

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