As Israel Today has reported here, here and here, one of the most fascinating modern Jewish Messianic movements is one that has nothing to do with a resurrected rabbi from Nazareth, but rather with one buried in Brooklyn.
The revered Lubavitcher Rabbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, passed away in 1994. Had he still been alive, he would have turned 120 this Spring on April 12, 2022 according to the Hebraic calendar. Many of his followers hoped the rabbi would be revealed as the Messiah, although he never declared himself to be the long-awaited messianic redeemer. Such was the inspiration he instilled in his Hasidic followers that today, almost three decades later, they still excitedly carry the expectation of Messianic redemption he helped revive.
Mainstream Judaism for the last 19 centuries or so has never seriously considered the messianic claims of Yeshua of Nazareth, but the expectation of a coming redeemer prophesied in the Hebrew scriptures has nevertheless remained one of the pillars of Orthodox Jewish belief.
This recent Hebrew article offers a window into how the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s adherents still feel about him:
“The many preparations… leading up to… 120 years since the birth of the… Rebbe King Messiah… , brought the Chabad activity in the world to the boiling point of a flood of good and positive deeds as spiritual gifts in honor of this bright day.”
The same article in Hebrew relates how the decision was made to pay for 120 large billboards to advertise the message of messianic redemption. The billboard regarding GOOD DEEDS was based on words the Rebbe once said to a CNN reporter:
“Moshiach [Messiah] is ready to come now, we all must only do something additional in the realm of goodness and kindness… at least a little more and then Moshiach will come immediately.”
Then the Rebbe gave an Orthodox boy a dollar to be donated as a good deed, saying:
“This dollar is for bringing Moshiach. Give it to charity for Moshiach to come faster.”