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Why do we need Moshiach?

by Dr. Yaakov Brawer


Library » Israel » Messiah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Short Answer:

The bewilderment regarding the need for Moshiach is itself the most emphatic indication of how desperately we need Moshiach.

The definitive feature of Galut is the absence of a central unifying purpose to existence. We live in a dream where lunacy has become normality, where the map of life has no direction. Moshiach will be a state of awakening that brings clarity. Moshiach will set the world back on its proper, originally intended, course. That's why Moshiach is the world's destination.

The Askmoses Answer: 


Jews engage in formal prayer three times daily. The core of each of these services is a silent prayer which is recited standing, and hence is referred to as the Amidah (from the word omed which means to stand). The rest of the service is arranged around, and is subsidiary to, this central prayer.

During weekdays, the Amidah consists of nineteen benedictions, no less than seven of which are directly and explicitly related to the messianic redemption. Jews, like everyone else, must also eat. Following a formal meal, grace -consisting of four blessings- is recited. The third of these Brachot is a poignant entreaty for Moshiach.

The definitive feature of galut is rather the absence of a central unifying purpose to existence
A Jew can not even snack on a piece of cake without calling to mind his yearning for Moshiach in the requisite blessing said after its consumption. Thus, an ordinary Jew is required to mention and to think about Moshiach no less than 24 times every day.

This preoccupation with Moshiach is not limited to mystics, Chassidim and the like, but is rather central to normative Judaism as it has always been practiced. It is the mandate of all Jews everywhere. It is no less obligatory for the fashionably attired corporate executive than it is for the black coated, bearded scholar of Kabbalah.


What have successful people leading fulfilling, secure, and comfortable lives in the world's richest country to do with Moshiach? Why should a surgeon, a movie producer, or a high school basketball star yearn for redemption? Obsession with Moshiach was understandable in Europe. Who or what else could deliver the Jewish people from the unrelenting oppression, poverty, humiliation and physical danger that pervaded the daily life of European Jewry for the past thousand years? But times (thank G-d) have changed.

We are, for the most part, safe, well fed, and free to pursue whatever lifestyles and goals that we choose. Why, then, do we need Moshiach? What is it that he is supposed to save us from? As far as we are concerned, everything is just fine.

Furthermore, anyone hankering for our ancestral homeland can satisfy his longing by simply buying a plane ticket. Whoever so wishes can eat a falafel on the Dizengof, climb Massada, or even put a little note in the Kotel Hamaaravi. How can this be called galut (exile)?


Paradoxically, this bewilderment regarding the need for Moshiach is itself the most emphatic indication of how desperately we need Moshiach. The most distressing aspect of this bitter galut is that we are blithely unaware that we are in a bitter galut. We do not recognize where we really are or what sort of a condition we are in.


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Philosophy » Messiah

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.
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) Following the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
(Plural form of "bracha.") Blessings. A Jew is required to recite a bracha before gaining any sort of benefit or pleasure such as eating or drinking (and usually afterwards as well); or before fulfilling a Mitzvah (commandment).
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Traditionally translated to mean exile. It refers to the state of the Jewish people until the coming of the Messiah.
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
Plural form of Tzaddik. A Tzaddik is a saint, or righteous person.
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.