This is a reprint of a cover story that first appeared in the April 2007 issue of Israel Today Magazine
A few months before he died, one of the nation’s most prominent rabbis, Yitzhak Kaduri, supposedly wrote the name of the Messiah on a small note which he requested would remain sealed until now. When the note was unsealed, it revealed what many have known for centuries: Yehoshua, or Yeshua (Jesus), is the Messiah.
With the biblical name of Jesus, the Rabbi and kabbalist described the Messiah using six words and hinting that the initial letters form the name of the Messiah. The secret note said:
Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.
This I have signed in the month of mercy,
The Hebrew sentence (translated above in bold) with the hidden name of the Messiah reads:
Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim
ירים העם ויוכיח שדברו ותורתו עומדים
The initials spell the Hebrew name of Jesus יהושוע . Yehoshua and Yeshua are effectively the same name, derived from the same Hebrew root of the word “salvation” as documented in Zechariah 6:11 and Ezra 3:2. The same priest writes in Ezra, “Yeshua (ישוע) son of Yozadak” while writing in Zechariah “Yehoshua (יהושוע) son of Yohozadak.” The priest adds the holy abbreviation of God’s name, ho (הו), in the father’s name Yozadak and in the name Yeshua.
With one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis indicating the name of the Messiah is Yeshua, it is understandable why his last wish was to wait one year after his death before revealing what he wrote.
When the name of Yehoshua appeared in Kaduri’s message, ultra-Orthodox Jews from his Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva (seminary) in Jerusalem argued that their master did not leave the exact solution for decoding the Messiah’s name.
The revelation received scant coverage in the Israeli media. Only the Hebrew websites News First Class (Nfc) and Kaduri.net mentioned the Messiah note, insisting it was authentic. The Hebrew daily Ma’ariv ran a story on the note but described it as a forgery.
Jewish readers responded on the websites’ forums with mixed feelings: “So this means Rabbi Kaduri was a Christian?” and “The Christians are dancing and celebrating,” were among the comments.
Israel Today spoke to two of Kaduri’s followers in Jerusalem who admitted that the note was authentic, but confusing for his followers as well. “We have no idea how the Rabbi got to this name of the Messiah,” one of them said.
Yet others completely deny any possibility that the note is authentic.
In an interview with Israel Today, Rabbi David Kaduri, 80, the son of the late Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, denied that his father left a note with the name Yeshua just before he died. “It’s not his writing,” he said when we showed him a copy of the note. During a night-time meeting in the Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva in Jerusalem, books with Kaduri’s handwriting from 80 years ago were presented to us in an attempt to prove that the Messiah note was not authentic.
When we told Rabbi Kaduri that his father’s official website (www.kaduri.net) had mentioned the Messiah note, he was shocked. “Oh no! That’s blasphemy. The people could understand that my father pointed to him [the Messiah of the Christians].” David Kaduri confirmed, however, that in his last year his father had talked and dreamed almost exclusively about the Messiah and his coming. “My father has met the Messiah in a vision,” he said, “and told us that he would come soon.”
Kaduri’s Portrayal of the Messiah
A few months before Kaduri died at the age of 108, he surprised his followers when he told them that he met the Messiah. Kaduri gave a message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaching how to recognize the Messiah. He also mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon’s death. (The former prime minister is still in a coma after suffering a massive stroke more than a year ago.) Other rabbis predict the same, including Rabbi Haim Cohen, kabbalist Nir Ben Artzi and the wife of Rabbi Haim Kneiveskzy.
Kaduri’s grandson, Rabbi Yosef Kaduri, said his grandfather spoke many times during his last days about the coming of the Messiah and redemption through the Messiah. His spiritual portrayals of the Messiah—reminiscent of New Testament accounts—were published on the websites Kaduri.net and Nfc:
“It is hard for many good people in the society to understand the person of the Messiah. The leadership and order of a Messiah of flesh and blood is hard to accept for many in the nation. As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate. His reign will be pure and without personal or political desire. During his dominion, only righteousness and truth will reign.
“Will all believe in the Messiah right away? No, in the beginning some of us will believe in him and some not. It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the Messiah than for Orthodox people.
“The revelation of the Messiah will be fulfilled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”
Farewell to a ‘Tsadik’
Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri was known for his photographic memory and his memorization of the Bible, the Talmud, Rashi and other Jewish writings. He knew Jewish sages and celebrities of the last century and rabbis who lived in the Holy Land and kept the faith alive before the State of Israel was born.
Kaduri was not only highly esteemed because of his age of 108. He was charismatic and wise, and chief rabbis looked up to him as a Tsadik, a righteous man or saint. He would give advice and blessings to everyone who asked. Thousands visited him to ask for counsel or healing. His followers speak of many miracles and his students say that he predicted many disasters.
When he died, more than 200,000 people joined the funeral procession on the streets of Jerusalem to pay their respects as he was taken to his final resting place.
“When he comes, the Messiah will rescue Jerusalem from foreign religions that want to rule the city,” Kaduri once said. “They will not succeed for they will fight against one another.”