Several major Hebrew language media from the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) community reported on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump sent two Jewish emissaries to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky to ask one question: When will the Messiah come?
Hadrei Haredim reported on Thursday that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most influential spiritual leaders of our generation, was receiving the public in his home in Bnei Brak this week. Rabbi Kanievsky is 91 years old and it is difficult for him to leave his home. The story is attributed to a report in a printed report in a Haredi page called Divrei Siach that reports on the teachings of the rabbi and is compiled by Rabbi Kanievsky’s grandson. Divrei Siach wrote that two Jewish men from the United States approached the rabbi and introduced themselves as personal friends of the U.S. president, telling the rabbi that they bore a personal message from Trump.
“He has heard quite a bit about the influence Rabbi Kanievsky has with the Jews around the world and the president extends his personal greetings,” the two emissaries reportedly said to the rabbi. Surprisingly, those present at the meeting claimed the rabbi did not seem interested in the emissaries or any message they bore.
One of the emissaries said, “The honorable president would like to know when the Messiah will come.”
The rabbi smiled and answered with a question directed at the emissary himself. “And what are you doing to prepare for the Messiah? Have you come to live in Israel?”
The emissary was confused and answered in the negative.
“Come to live here and we will already see the arrival of the Redemption,” Rabbi Kanievsky said, adding, “Amen.”
Divrei Siach concluded the story by writing, “Thus, this is what concerns Minister of Torah [Rabbi Kanievsky], anticipating the Geula (redemption), the will and the longing for the return of the Holy One, blessed be He to Zion in mercy, and God willing we will truly be able to bless the proper blessings when gazing upon the Messiah.”
This final statement was a reference to the Jewish law detailing the seven blessings that are required to be recited upon seeing the Messiah for the first time.
This was not the first time that representatives of the U.S. government have come to Rabbi Kanievsky. Last December, David Freidman, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, paid an official visit to the rabbi and received his blessing.
It should be noted that Rabbi Kanievsky has been a central figure in the Jewish world. Four years ago, Rabbi Kanievsky announced that the arrival of the Messiah was imminent. This announcement was inconsistent with his manner of teaching yet he continued to announce that the Messiah was close indeed and several other prominent rabbis joined in.
Implicit in the rabbi’s response is his understanding that the key to hastening the arrival of the Messiah is the return of the Jews from the exile.