לע"נ יואל בן ר' פינחס הלוי
לע"נ שרה בת מו"ר הרה"ג ר' זאב קליין
Here is a bomb. The Rambam says that that we require a Beis Din of 71 and a Navi in order to appoint a king [Melachim 1/3].
In the time of Rebbi Akiva - Where were the 71 and where was the Navi to appoint Bar Kochba???
So how could he be מלך משיח? No מלך - no משיח [as the Rambam says in Hilchos Melachim 11/4]??!!
[Agav [or "BTW"] - those who claim that a certain personality who died 23 years ago was Moshiach also have to deal with that question - There is no Sanhedrin and no Navi today, so how could he be Melech HaMoshiach??]
The Rambam says that we may not appoint a king "בתחילה" unless we have 71 judges and a Navi.... What is the meaning of the word "בתחילה"?
Moreover, in Hilchos Sanhedrin the Rambam writes אין מעמידין מלך אלא על פי בי"ד של שבעים ואחד. There the Rambam omits the word בתחילה. That is significant.
Some say [Rav Kook Mishpat Kohen 144, Tzitz Eliezer 2/28. See also Divrei Yatziv Choshen Mishpat 94 and Igros Hagri"d page 266] as follows: Only a Beis Din is critical [מעכב] whereas the requirement of a Navi is only לכתחילה but if there is no Navi then we may appoint a king anyway. That explains how during בית שני we had kings even though we didn't have Neviim. That also explains the word בתחילה that the Rambam wrote only when he added the requirement of a Navi [in Hilchos Melachim] but omitted when talking ONLY about the requirement of 71 judges [in Hilchos Sanhedrin]. The word בתחילה means [according to this understanding] that it is a לכתחילה requirement. So it emerges that a Navi is only a לכתחילה requirement while a בית דין of 71 is critical and מעכב בדיעבד.
Others understand that בתחילה means that his father wasn't king and he needs a new appointment and is not just a continuation of his father's reign. According to this, if his father was not king he needs a Navi and 71 judges [Hilchos Melachim] while if his father was king then it suffices that we have a בית דין of 71 to appoint him [Hilchos Sanhedrin].
But then the question begs - What is the סברא to make that distinction??
Also, we have to answer how Bar Kochba could be משיח if he wasn't king?? Unless we say that they thought that he was POTENTIALLY Moshiach although the time hadn't come.