On December 23rd, 2017 (Shabbos Parshas Vayigash), Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin said, “May we channel the simchah of the past few days and merit to see the real geulah with the coming of Moshiach.” He also said something similar on December 20.
Rav Wasserman writes:
Moshiach will come בְּהֶסֵּחַ הַדַּעַת, when we aren’t thinking about him. Just as when the Jews were redeemed from Egypt, it says, ‘They did not heed Moshe because of shortness of breath and hard work,’ before Mashiach’s arrival, people will be so dulled by pain and suffering that they will be incapable of accepting words of comfort and consolation…
Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s release was a microcosm of Rav Wasserman’s statement!
In the winter of 5678 (1918), Rav Yisrael Meir HaKohein Kagan or better known as the Chofeitz Chayim was told about the joy that was spreading to Jewish homes everywhere over the signing of the Balfour Declaration. He broke out crying and could not understand everyone was so happy because, after all, Hashem had promised [to Yaakov Avinu]: “You shall spread forth to the west, east, north and south” (Bereishis 28:14). This promise said the Chofeitz Chayim, is like an I.O.U. from Hashem and when the time comes, He is certain to pay it. But people are giving thanks now for what amounts to just a small part of Hashem’s promise. Everyone is rejoicing over the Deceleration and thinking of it as if it were the Redemption. He lamented, “They are settling for less… They do not look forward to more… Oy, what has happened to us?!” And he kept on crying.
What’s the Chofeitz Chayim’s message to our generation?
Don’t be satisfied with Sholom Rubashkin’s release from prison! This simcha that we felt on December 20 will dissipate within a few weeks. The only people that will remember the day of his release will be him and his family. The Satan wants us to be complacent with Sholom Rubashkin’s release and move on with our lives instead of beseeching Hashem for the Final Redemption!
Rav Yechezkel Levenstein states the following:
“When it comes to the arrival of Moshiach and the resurrection of the dead, we are quiet, as if we are embarrassed to speak about them as if we have given up them altogether…”
Unfortunately, his statement is all too true! Before we begin discussing Moshiach in depth, let me quote to you the words of Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian:
“While in London I heard from the holy Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, quoting the Chofeitz Chayim, that Chazal say the War of Gog and Magog will be threefold. After the First World War, the Chofeitz Chayim said that it was the first battle of Gog and Magog and that in about 25 years there would be a second world war, which would make the first one seem insignificant. Then there would be the third war…”
True, to the Chofeitz Chayim’s prediction, WWII began in 1939, exactly 25 years later! How did his prediction materialize so accurately? The Gemara states, “The tzaddik decrees and Hashem fulfills.” Nevertheless, does there really need to be a third world war? It depends on us. As the Gemara says, “There are three things that have the ability annul harsh decrees. They are: tefillah, teshuvah and tzedakah.” Furthermore, one should involve himself in Torah, doing acts of kindness and eating three meals on the Shabbos.
1) What is Geulah?
The Gemara states a metaphor: “The ultimate Redemption will be like the morning star, which sheds very little light as it begins to emerge, but then burst forth and can be seen in its full and luminous glory.” As Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein explains: “The Geulah is not a moment. Rather, it’s a process.” Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai says, “The redemption is not to happen all at once, but rather a little at a time.”
Similarly, the Malbim says, “A long time before the redemption a few men of the Diaspora will gather and settle in Yerushalayim. After many years of settlement there, the birth pangs of the redemption will come to them and then the general ingathering of the exiles begin.”
2) How many people does it take to bring the Final Redemption?
Hashem Himself answers this question:
“I searched for someone who would stand before Me and daven on behalf of Klal Yisroel, that I should not destroy them, but I did not find anyone, so therefore I will pour out My wrath against them and consume them with the flame of My fury.”
One person could have saved all of Klal Yisroel – one person could have prevented the churban. If even one person would have stood up and prayed on behalf of Klal Yisroel.
Hashem would have rescinded His decree. This is a message of Hashem which is repeated by another one of His prophets as well:
“Go in the streets of Yerushalayim… and seek in its plazas if you will find a just man if there is one who dispenses Justice and seeks emunah if you find even a lone man like this then I will forgive the whole city.”
If there would have been even one person in all of Yerushalayim who was just, Hashem would have forgiven the entire city.
Mesillas Yesharim states the following:
Now, if a person should say, “Who am I? What is my importance that I should pray about the end of the exile of Israel and about the rebuilding of Yerushalayim, etc.? Will my prayer cause the exiles to be ingathered and the redemption to sprout forth?” The Gemara responds to a person with such a mindset that man was created as an individual: so that each person should say to himself, “For my sake, the world was created.”
The Gemara is teaching us that was worthwhile for Hashem to create the world for the sake of a single person! Thus, each individual is of inestimable importance and his prayers may indeed have a powerful impact. Moreover, in any case, it is a source of satisfaction to [Hashem], blessed be He, that His children request and pray for this. Even if their requests are not fulfilled because the appropriate time for the Redemption has not yet arrived or for whatever other reason, they have, regardless, done their [part] by praying for it and the Holy One, blessed be He, rejoices over this concern of theirs for His honor.
Regarding the Geulah, Rabbi Pinchas Winston cites Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, who states the following:
“The exodus from Egypt liberated only one out of five Jews — and some say one out of every 50 – because all those who were bound to Egypt and did not want to depart died in the three days of darkness and were not privileged to leave. That is, only those who desired redemption with all their hearts were redeemed. The Final Redemption, likewise, depends upon our yearning.”
As we say every morning, “By the End of Days He will send our Messiah, to redeem those longing for His final salvation.”
Secondly is emunah, faith. This entails keeping Shabbos. Why? Because Shabbos is the basis of faith. If our nation will keep just two Shabbosos properly, Moshiach will come immediately. However, the Yerushalmi says that our nation only needs to keep Shabbos. Rav Chaim Kanievsky said that we hold like the Yerushalmi.
Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai says a very frightening statement:
“…When Hashem decides to bring the Geulah He will look down on the world and see if there is a tzaddik who is worthy of bringing the redemption. Hashem will see that there is no one who has sufficient merit for this, and He will need to bring great tribulations on the Jewish people, in order that the Geulah should take place. At the same time, happy is this generation, for someone who passes the tests of this trying period with strong emunah will merit to see the light of Hashem.”
3) How does one accomplish both tasks?
The Chofeitz Chayim says:
“If we were truly yearning for the final Redemption and waiting each day for its arrival, then we would be preparing ourselves by learning the relevant halachos, for there are many halachos to be learned and they cannot all be covered in a short time… For if it would be revealed that in a short time the final Redemption would arrive, then certainly millions of Jews would quickly learn the halachos to the Beis HaMikdosh, since at that time all of these halachos will be applicable, not only for kohanim but for all Jews, for instance, the halachos regarding eating karbonos and visiting the Mikdash… Therefore, if we are truly waiting and yearning for the final Redemption… we too should arouse ourselves and learn these halachos with all our strength.”
Is there any sefer that exists nowadays which has relevant halachos regarding the Beis HaMikdosh? Yes! It’s called Days Are Coming by Rabbi Moshe Silberstein.
What is the sefer about? It’s an In-Depth Analysis of the Practical Halachos Relevant to Visiting the Bais HaMikdash. By studying this sefer, one is imbuing himself with faith that Hashem will redeem us. The Chofeitz Chayim had a special morning coat that he planned to wear to greet Moshiach and from time to time he put it on and sit in anticipation. Therefore, a person should designate some type of article of clothing – i.e. suit, shirt, hat, belt or shoes etc., that he/ she has designated to wear when Moshiach reveals himself. As the Sefer HaChinuch says, “A person is fashioned by his deeds.” Saying the 12th Principle of the Ani Ma’amins every day or learning Seider Kodshim isn’t enough.
Conversely, the Rambam says:
“Anyone who does not anticipate Moshiach’s revelation denies [the pronouncements] of the prophets; even worse than that, he rejects the Torah and Moshe our Teacher.”
You’ll tell me, “But I’m not the Chofeitz Chayim.” That’s true. Here’s the following story:
On Wednesday, Mrs. Leah Rubashkin got a call that her husband summoned to the warden’s office. She got into the car and headed off to Otisville. She arrived with a change of clothing for her husband, but the guard said no, he couldn’t change on the premises – one last display of power on the part of the warden’s office. I wondered how she’d had the presence of mind to grab a change of clothing after having received the most exhilarating phone call of her life.
“I didn’t,” Mrs. Rubashkin answered. “I’ve been driving around with that change of clothing in my car for eight years.” Mrs. Leah Rubashkin is the epitome of the Chofeitz Chayim!
4) What’s the purpose of the redemption?
That G-d’s Name should be sanctified… As the Rambam says:
“Moshiach will correct the entire world to worship G-d together, as it says, ‘For then I [G-d] will turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Hashem, to serve Him with one consent.’”
What’s the main emphasis of הָשִׁיבָה שׁוֹפְטֵינוּ כְּבָרִאשׁוֹנָה, restore our judges as we had formerly?
וּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ אַתָּה השם לְבַדְּךָ, rule over us – You, Hashem, alone. Rabbi Dovid Abudarham explains that these five words to allude to וְהָיָה השם לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה השם אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד, Hashem will be King over all the world – on that day Hashem will be One and His Name will be One.
Why in Ma’ariv do we ask our Creator, “gather us from among the nations…”? In order that, “… All the nations that You have made will come and bow down before You, O L-rd, and they will give glory to Your Name.”
Sometimes, a person needs to ask themselves, “Am I in this world to sanctify G-d’s Name or my own name?” The Novi give us the proper mindset: “You are My servant, Yisrael, through whom I am glorified!”
5) Can one return to G-d after Moshiach reveals himself?
The Ramban says that teshuvah is no longer a possibility.
6) Where will he reveal himself from?
Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai says, “He shall reveal himself in the land of Galilee because in this part of the Holy Land the desolation (Babylonian exile) first began, therefore he will manifest himself there first…”
7) Is he superhuman?
The Jewish Messiah is truly human in origin, He is born of ordinary human parents and is of flesh and blood like all mortals.
8) How would one describe him?
He is a leader of the Jews, strong in wisdom, power and spirit.
In addition, he will bring eternal peace, love, prosperity and moral perfection to the entire world. A feat which no world leader has been able to accomplish!
Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman zt”l, wrote in a letter:
“Several times I heard from the holy Chofeitz Chayim, that we can learn about the end of our exile from what happened at the end of our exile in Egypt…”
How? The posuk says, “It happened during those many days, that the king of Egypt died and the Children of Israel groaned because of the work and they cried out. Their cry for help from the oppression rose up to G-d.”
Rabbeinu Bachayei writes the following:
“Even though the time of the redemption had arrived, they weren’t worthy of being redeemed. However, once they all cried out in unison from the work that they were undergoing, their tefillos were accepted… This is to teach you that the tefillah of a person is only complete when one cries out from the pain and stress that are contained within one’s heart. This type of tefillah is more accepted by Hashem then mere lip service.”
“It is possible to say that this parsha is a hint to our future redemption which depends on returning to G-d and prayer. For we find that in Egypt they were redeemed because they returned to G-d and prayed to G-d who responds in time of distress and their prayers were accepted; then the Redeemer came to them immediately.”
Who was that? Moshe. As the Novi says, “It will be a sign and a witness to Hashem in the land of Egypt, that when they cry out to Him because of oppressors, He will send them a savior and a leader who will deliver them.” In fact, R’ Berachia said in the name of R’ Yitzchak that the last redeemer will be just as the first.
Believe it or not (and I’m not referring to Ripley), Rabbeinu Bachayei’s “possibility” is an actuality! What do I mean? The Gemara states five reasons that Klal Ylsrael were taken out of Egypt. Three of them are: They groaned – in intense suffering; Hashem heard their cries – in prayer; Hashem saw the Bnei Yisrael – the nation’s own merit through their returning to G-d.
The Chofeitz Chayim states:
“All the many troubles that have fallen upon us, from which we have still not been saved, are because we don’t scream and increase our prayers in response to them. If we had prayed properly, we would not have returned empty-handed… several times daily he must pour out his requests in solitude, in his house, from the depths of his heart… if each person would contemplate in solitude his own plight… then he would pour out his heart like water to Hashem. Such a prayer would emerge with very deep intent with a broken heart and with great humility. Such a prayer will certainly not go unanswered…!”
Regarding prayer, Rav Yitzchok Hutner says, “The purpose of prayer is not to get us out of trouble. The purpose of trouble is to get us into prayer.” Prayer doesn’t only mean communicating to Hashem through tefillah. One can also talk to Hashem in English (or whatever language he/ she speaks) behind closed doors. However, from the day that the Beis HaMikdosh was destroyed, the ‘gates of tefillah’ was closed. Still, the ‘gates of tears’ were never closed.” In fact, crying out in prayer is beneficial for a person because it has the effect (i.e. power) to reverse a decree.
If that’s the case, why “don’t” we cry to Hashem?
Both children and adults, want to think of themselves as macho. Even if they’re undergoing mental anguish, they’d rather bottle themselves up, then express their emotions to others or even our Creator! They believe crying is showing a sign of weakness or maybe that’s what America has brainwashed us to think. In the words Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l: “Most of us are – and forgive my expression – emotionally constipated.”
Every morning we say, “He responds to His people at the time they cry out to Him.”
The Medrash states:
“When Israel went out of Egypt, they looked back and saw the Egyptians chasing after them… When Israel saw, they were surrounded on all sides – the sea in front of them blocking their path, their enemy chasing after them, and wild animals on both sides in the desert – they lifted their eyes up to their Father in Heaven, and cried out to the Holy One Blessed be He, as it is written: ‘…and Bnei Yisroel cried out to Hashem.’ Why did Hashem do this to them? Because Hashem yearned for their tefillos.”
R’ Yitzchak said, “The salvation of Israel depends only on crying… as it is written, ‘…With crying, they will come.’”
When an infant wants his parents to give him attention, he cries. If they don’t hear him or choose to ignore him, he cries, screams even louder or throws a tantrum, until his parents come and attend to his needs.
The Chofeitz Chayim says the following:
“Even though we pray for the redemption several times every day, requesting by itself is not enough. One must demand the redemption, just as with the wages of a hired worker. Failure to do so shows that this matter is clearly not that urgent to us!”
In fact, R’ Shimon ben Menassia teaches that the redemption will not come until the Jewish people pray for the return of the three things it had rejected in the days of Yeravam: the rule of G-d, the kingship of Dovid and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdosh.
May we all merit to cry out to Hashem for the return of these three things and may He in return reveal Moshiach Tzidkeinu in the blink of an eye, who will make His Name Great Again!
Dedicated in memory of: Rav Yisrael Meir ben R’ Aryeh Zev HaKohein, Menachem Mendel ben Levi Yitzchak, Elchonon Bunem ben Naftali Beinish Hy”d, Yisroel ben Yeshayah and Elisheva Basyah bas Yechiel Ephraim.