Question: Aliza from Chicago writes – “Hello Rabbi. As a girl who grew up not even knowing who Mashiach was, the idea seems a little far fetched to me. I just don’t understand how to have faith in the fact that he will come. I definitely want him to, it’s just hard for me. Also, I know you’re going to say “well, he will come,” but what happens if he doesn’t? Does the Jewish religion just fall apart? Do the Rabbis come together and redo the math on when he will come? I know there is barely anything in the Torah about Mashiach coming, but I just don’t understand?”
Rabbi Tully Bryks Responds
But for one who already accepts that the entire Torah is the word of G-d, then it becomes irrelevant how “far-fetched” something in the Torah seems, as we know it must be true, even when it appears to contradict our perception of reality. Our challenge and struggle then focus on how to define these concepts and to define our mission as it relates to them.
What is Mashiach? Mashiach (Messiah) is the human being who G-d will appoint as a prophet and emissary who will bring about the final redemption along with a lasting peace for all of mankind. This blissful utopia is described as a time where “the lion will lie down with the lamb.” If someone really wanted a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, this is it. The many expectations for post-Messianic life include the genuine embrace of the descendants of Yishmael with the Jewish people.
When will Mashicah come? There is the hard way and easy way. The hard way is if we are not worthy. In such a case, the post-Messianic utopian society will be preceded by the war of “Gog and Magog,” a world war on a magnitude that has never been seen before. In such a scenario, many will not survive to experience the utopian society that follows. During the exodus from Egypt, we were also not worthy and at least 80% of the Jewish people were wiped out during the plague of darkness. The easy and preferred way would be for us to deserve the coming of the Mashiach. In such a scenario, the transition to the utopian dream would be pleasant and shared by all.
What do we need to do to bring about the Mashiach (the easy way)? We are currently in exile due to the sin of hatred among Jews. Considering how cruel and inconsiderate we can sometimes to be to one another, it is perhaps no surprise that other nations sometimes have difficulty getting along with us. But if we can correct this one sin, avoid the pitfalls of gossip and slander and genuinely embrace our Jewish brothers and sisters with love, then will be ready for a life and a world beyond our wildest imagination!
Regarding your question about redoing the math, traditional Judaism does not work that way. Even when the whole world criticized the ethical and health problems associated with Jewish practices such as Bris Milah (circumcision), when even some of the more liberal Jews abolished the practice in order to be consistent with the modern times, Torah Judaism and Torah-observant Jews have held steadfast to our beliefs. And while G-d does not need our reassurance or a pat on the back, advancements in science and technology seem to continually debunk the myths of the scoffers and show that G-d truly is all-knowing.
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Rabbi with Answers