Updated: Jul 18
Moshiach's donkey evolves throughout history, reflecting the changes our world undergoes as it develops towards its ultimate state of perfection. * On the Hayom Yom for 11 Tammuz
by Bing AI
The entry for 11 Tammuz in Hayom Yom discusses the first version of Iggeres HaTeshuvah, which was included in the Zholkva edition of Tanya that appeared in the year 5559/1799. It was not divided into chapters and there are considerable variations from the ultimate version in the text itself (Hayom Yom, 11 Tammuz). This teaches us that even great works of wisdom and spirituality can undergo changes and revisions, as we strive to understand and express the truth in the best possible way.
One Chassidic tale that can illustrate this teaching is that of Moshiach's donkey. The prophet Zechariah describes Moshiach as "a pauper, riding on a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). The simple meaning of the verse is that Moshiach is the epitome of self-effacement. On a deeper level, the donkey that Moshiach rides symbolizes the fundamental nature of the journey towards the Messianic era. This journey has been ongoing since the dawn of creation and is at the very heart of the narrative of human history.
Moshiach's donkey has a long and prestigious history, appearing at key junctures of the messianic process throughout the generations. Each time it appears, it fulfills the same function, but in a slightly different manner, reflecting the changes our world undergoes as it develops towards its ultimate state of perfection.
The first appearance of Moshiach's donkey is in the year 2084 from creation (1677 BCE), as Abraham heads for the "Binding of Isaac," his tenth and greatest reiteration of his faith in G-d. Abraham readies his donkey and loads it with supplies for the three-day trek from Hebron to Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.
Seven generations later, Moses is dispatched on a mission by G-d to take the Jewish people out of Egypt and bring them to Mount Sinai. Moses takes his wife and children, sets them upon the donkey, and sets out for Egypt. The Torah stresses that this is the very same donkey that served Abraham and that will bear Moshiach (Exodus 4:20).
Abraham, Moses, and Moshiach all employ this donkey in their fulfillment of G-d's will. But the extent to which the donkey is involved in their mission differs. With Abraham, it carries his supplies; with Moses, his wife and children; while Moshiach is described as himself riding the donkey.
This evolution of Moshiach's donkey represents the evolution of our understanding and expression of spiritual truths. As we progress through history, our understanding deepens and becomes more refined, just as the role of Moshiach's donkey becomes more central and significant.
May this inspire us to always strive to deepen our understanding of spiritual truths, and to never be satisfied with our current level of knowledge. May we always strive to grow and improve, as we work towards bringing about the era of Moshiach.