I want to quickly analyze a pasuk in Parashat Vayechi perek mem tet : pasuk yud
or Gen 49:10.
And why do I want to analyze this pasuk or why is this pasuk any more relevant to us than any pasuk in Torah?
Well friends, the answer is because no other verse has been used to justify more new movements or offshoots from Judaism than this one, and after this is it would be the pasuk in Parashat Yitro or Deut 18 of:
נָבִיא מִקִּרְבְּךָ מֵאַחֶיךָ כָּמֹנִי
And friends the reason this pasuk in Parashat Vayechi has been so heavily tampered with is mainly because of the four words עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה that can and have been translated ambiguously throughout te centuries.
At least the last portion of that statement.
However the problem is not that Jews never understood the plain meaning of the pasuk but rather its because it mention Scepter and Yehudah, two notions that later in Jewish history became synonymous with redemption and the figure who has come to be known as the Messiah.
This is why commentators even bother to expound this pasuk in the first place and by expounding created fervor.
One must realize that mysterious or eschatological interpretations for this pasuk did not begin with Islam or Christianity, two groups that because of Jewish messianic expectation regarding this pasuk have adopted this pasuk to endorse the arrival of either Jesus or Mohammed but that many many rabbis throughout the ages held this verse as eschatological as well, even Onkelos.
Now many also did not… I should make that clear.
The problem is like with almost any commentary to Torah, that the commentators begin with an assumption or expectation and then use the text before them to accommodate those expectations.
In other words claiming that their understanding of a concept predates even its source.
Whether it’s claiming that the patriarchs keep full halacha before it was even developed or claiming that pesukim are there to justify what has not been created yet and all the while claiming that all this in someway would of been known even to the hebrews back then.
In other words that the Hebrews back then would of known and agreed with everything the meforshim wrote after them even when the meforshim (the commentators) even contradicted themselves countless times..
And friends one thing you must remember when understanding Torah is that “Peshat is King” in other words the literal meaning of the text is the only thing the text is trying to relate to us as the gemara states in Masehect Peshachim of
“Ein Mikra Yotzei m’Ydei Peshuto” That a verse does not depart from its literal meaning..
And if you are wondering about this new method of biblical interpretation known as “Pardes” know that this was also invented post the 13th century by kabbalist in order to insert later kabbalistic ideas into Torah.
Now the concept of Pardes the story with Acher does appear in the Talmud but not having anything to do with mystical levels of the Torah interpretation known as Peshat Remez Drash and Sod….(PRDS)
But anyways the pasuk reads
לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה, וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים.
(Contextually:Jacob is blessings his sons)
לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה The scepter shall not depart from Judah וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה until tribute (From Shai, shilo) shall come to him
וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים and the homage (from Yikaha) of the people (amim) shall be his. (or shall be paid to him).
Saying that Judah will be the ruler till he becomes the full king and his kingship will last for ever,
Basically saying, That Judah will be the tribe from whom kings and rulers will be drawn from.
This my friends this is the Peshat and there is no running from this, and how do we know that this was the only understanding of this pasuk before the destruction of the 2nd temple well mainly because what other source did Jews ever have to claim that kingship was regulated to the tribe of Judah.
Remember everything Israel did during and after the closing of the Torah had to stem from Torah and as you know there is no other pasuk any where in Torah they could of got it from.
And not only the King but the Nasi the head of the Sanhedrin was always limited to having someone from the tribe of Judah to even the Exilarch.
Now being that the pasuk references Judah ruling one would say that doesnt this in itself tell us its messianic?
Well if you mean messianic because kings were mashach (they were anointed) with oil then yes but referring to some future redeemer that we should await daily than no…