What does Moshiach mean? Is it a concept or a person?
If you have a question on metabolism, you wouldn't ask a carpenter--you'd ask a doctor. If you have a question about a particular law, you'd ask a lawyer; better yet, you might ask the politician who proposed it and signed it into law.
Likewise with "the Messiah": the word "messiah" comes from the Jewish concept of "Moshiach," or "the anointed one." Thus, Judaism has first dibs on telling you what "the Messiah" really means!
Moshiach and the Era of Moshiach are critical cornerstones of Judaism. Jewish philosophy states that G-d's Divine Plan for Creation will be realized with the advent of the Era of Moshiach. The Prophets are filled with references and descriptions of the individual who will be Moshiach, and what the world will be like after the change that he ushers in.
1) He will be a descendant of the great King David.
2) He will be an outstandingly righteous individual and a preeminent Torah scholar.
3) He will inspire everyone (beginning with the Jewish people) to wholeheartedly return to G-d.
4) He will be a very charismatic and powerful leader who will lead by example.
5) He will have what is known as a "collective" or "general" soul. This master soul will enable him to relate to all people on all levels.
6) He will demand and achieve greatness from all humanity.
7) He will bring about what is described as the "ingathering of the Exiles," the return of all Jews to "the Holy Land," modern-day Israel.
8) He will rebuild the Holy Temple.
9) He will be a HUMAN BEING--not a deity.
The Messianic Era is described in the Prophets as being a time of universal peace. There will be no more human suffering as all diseases will be eradicated, as well as hunger and all other problems. The Jewish people will return to the Promised Land en masse, and rebuild the Third and final Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The purpose of all these magical events is to allow mankind to focus without distraction on complete spirituality. For this reason, the Prophet writes regarding the Era of Moshiach that "The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the sea bed."
If you think all that's too cataclysmic for you to handle, think again: Moshiach comes as a result of our collective good deeds. That means me and you. So, can we actually bring Moshiach? Can we realize world peace? With the Torah and Mitzvot, G-d gave us the tools to do just that.