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Why do we cry: Calling for Moshiach

by Rabbi Yossi Chaikin

  

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It seems that whenever things are not going well, we Jews express the hope that Moshiach must come to make things better.

So when tragedy strikes, or when a loved one is lost, we sigh and somberly declare, "things are so bad, we really need Moshiach!"

Is that what Moshiach is all about? Is he a mere saviour from tzoris?

We learn and we know that there is much more to the Messianic Era than improved finances and better living conditions all around.

It will be a time when evil will be replaced by absolute and total good. A time of great spiritual revelation. A time when G-d will be seen and recognized by the entire population of the world.

Yet, more often than not, this is not what we long for when we shout out "We want Moshiach now!" We generally think more of personal redemption than of global acknowledgement of G-d.

It seems that this is a problem that was already prevalent even before the first ever Redemption, when G-d took our ancestors out of Egypt.

The Torah recalls the lengthy discussions between the Almighty and Moses by the Burning Bush.

G-d says to Moshe, "I have seen the suffering of my people and I have heard their cries on account of their persecutors."1 G-d then continues, "And now the cries of the Children of Israel have come to Me."2

By right, the Jews in Egypt should have been calling to G-d to relieve them of their oppression, so that they should be able to serve Him better. They should have been begging to be taken out of Mitzrayim so that they could be led to Mount Sinai where they would be given the Torah and benefit from the Great Revelation which would take place there.

Quite obviously, this is not what most of them did. Cry out to G-d they did, but it was because they were being treated badly at the hands of the Egyptians. They called for salvation from the hard labour, from the forced separation of husbands and wives. They cried bitterly because they were being forced to manufacture bricks to build buildings which by morning had disappeared in quicksand. They wanted redemption because they were being struck by cruel taskmasters when they did not complete the day's work quota.

So G-d said, "I have heard that they cry on account of their persecutors." Yes, they are calling out because they have pain. But I appreciate that this is because their minds are feeble and their faith is still weak. "Their cries have reached Me." They may be praying for Redemption for the wrong reason, but I will consider it as if they were begging for it because they want to be closer to Me.

As we stand on the threshold of the Final Redemption, it may very well be that we are praying for Moshiach for all the wrong reasons. It may be a financial crisis that precipitates our call. It may be the loss of a close one, and our hope that with Moshiach and the Resurrection we will be reunited. It may be tsunamis or devastating hurricanes. It may even be the spread of anti-Semitism throughout the world or the very worrying security situation in the Holy Land.

Perhaps we should be pleading for Redemption for a far higher and nobler motive. We should be longing for the huge Revelation, one which will dwarf what we experienced at Mount Sinai. We should be begging for the time when the knowledge of G-d will fill the Earth as the waters cover the sea.

But G-d knows that we pray for all the wrong reasons because we have been in exile so long. Just like the Children of Israel in Egypt, who suffered from shortness of spirit, we are living with a Galut mentality.

Therefore, just as he did in Egypt, G-d will hear our prayers. And he will consider it as if we really begging Him to be closer to Him, to see His revelation and to bask in His Light.

Just as He redeemed us then, He will redeem us now once again.

Reprinted with permission from www.moshiach.com.

Footnotes

  • 1. Exodus 3:7
  • 2. Ibid 3:9
TAGS: Moshiach

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Moshiach
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Galut
Traditionally translated to mean exile. It refers to the state of the Jewish people until the coming of the Messiah.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.