How to recognize Moshiach, as described in the midrash of Rabbi Ishmael
The following information has been excerpted from the forthcoming Issue 66 of the Knishta Hadar Newsletter
In the Knishta Hada newsletter, we stopped speaking so much about matters that were connected to the subject of Moshiach. This was because of some uncertainty about how best to speak about these issues in a ‘revealed’ way.
Recently, we received a message from one of the Gedolei Hatzaddikim of the generation, who requested that we shouldn’t reveal his name, who told us that there is a hakpada (strict judgment) now in shemayim (Heaven) because we stopped talking about this subject.
This tzaddik brought us a midrash about Moshiach that he claims describes exactly Rav Berland, shlita.
How to identify Moshiach
The midrash in question is called Pirkei HeiChalot Rabbati, by Rabbi Ishmael the Kohen HaGadol. There, in Chapter 33, Rabbi Ishmael asks: What are the identifying signs of Melech HaMoshiach?
The angel Matat and the angel Michael answer him: The generation in which Moshiach will be revealed is “a poor generation, that doesn’t have any merit except to stand and make criticisms against them [i.e. against Moshiach and his people]. And they disgrace them and degrade them in the marketplaces, and in the streets, and they say things about him that the ear shouldn’t even hear.”
HE’S MISTAKEN, AND HE CAUSES OTHERS TO ERR TOO
In Rabbi Ishmael’s midrash, the angels Matat and Michael continue to describe what will be in the time that Moshiach comes. They describe a reality where Moshiach will be incarcerated in a prison; then: “again Hashem gives permission for Am Yisrael to open their mouths to speak against him [i.e. Moshiach] even more, and to say to each other ‘you should know that this man is mistaken, and causes the nation of Israel to err, too.’”
The midrash continues: “In the first year that he [i.e. Moshiach] is imprisoned, they made announcements about him in every city in Israel. And they brought against him [i.e. Moshiach] big Torah personalities, and people with a lot of money. They put fetters on him, and they destroyed his image, as it says in Isaiah: ‘his appearance is too damaged to be a man’s’.”
This is exactly what we saw occurring, with the pashkivilim [posters put up on the walls of Meah Shearim] and the flyers that had shocking pictures of the Rav, shlita, when he was imprisoned in Zimbabwe, wearing prisoners’ garb and without a kippa. The midrash continues:
“And Hashem stands and He Himself takes Moshiach out of prison, as it says in Habbakuk 3:13: ‘You went out to save your people’. And it’s written in Kohelet 4:14: ‘From prison he [i.e. Moshiach] came out to rule, but when he came out of prison and he saw all of the warriors / fighters who were gathered against him, he was shaken, and said: ‘who can stand against all these warriors?!’
“At that time, the warriors from Israel are gathered together (i.e. the warriors from the side of good). They come to Bavel (Babylon) and request rachamim (mercy) and all of Israel disgrace and mock them [i.e. the good guys].
“At that time, Israel returns to their original stance of disgracing the Moshiach, and they say: ‘Woe to us, that we erred by following this meshuggah (crazy person)! Hashem says to them: ‘You’re calling him a meshuggah?! Now you’ll see the light that encircles him! As it says in Tehillim 50:3: ‘And his surroundings are exceedingly turbulent.’
(Hashem continues): “And all who believe in him will not be erased from the book of life.” As is says in Daniel 12:1: ‘At that time, your people will escape.’’
So says the midrash of Rabbi Ishmael.
The whole midrash is referring to Rav Berland, shlita
The Tzaddik continued: Look in there and you’ll understand, because all of this midrash is speaking of Moranu HaRav Berland, shlita. The Tzaddik then said even more amazing things about Moranu HaRav, shlita, regarding something that had been revealed to him in Mearat HaMachpela, when the patriarchs revealed themselves to him.
But the Tzaddik forbade us from publicizing details about this additional information at present, in order to maintain people’s free will.
Adapted and translated from the forthcoming Issue 66, of the Knishta Hada Newsletter, which will available (in the Hebrew) from Rosh Hashana, 5779.
 The full text from Daniel begins: (11:40, leading through into 12:1): Then at the time of the End, the king of the South will clash with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariot, horsemen and many ships; he will invade countries, flood [them] and pass through. Then he will invade the coveted land. Many will stumble, but these will be saved from his hand: Edom, Moab and the choice parts of the Children of Ammon.
He will stretch forth his hand against lands, and the land of Egypt will not be a survivor. He will gain control of the caches of gold and silver, and all the desirables of Egypt, with Lubians and Cushites [crushed] in his footsteps.
But news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great anger to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch the tents of his palace between the seas and the holy, coveted mountain; there he will come to his end, and none will help him.
At that time, Michael will stand, the great [heavenly] prince who stands in support of the members of your people [i.e. the Jewish people], and there will be a time of trouble such as there had never been since there was a nation until that time. But at that time your people will escape; everything that is found written in this book [will occur].
Many of those who sleep in the dust will awaken: these for everlasting life and these for shame, for everlasting abhorrence. The wise will shine like the radiance of the firmament, and those who teach righteousness to the multitudes [will shine] like the stars, forever and ever.
As for you, Daniel, obscure the matters and seal the book until the time of the End; let many muse and let knowledge increase. – (Artscroll translation)