Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the leading rabbis of this generation, wrote in his book, Siach Nechama (A Comforting Discourse) that the Messiah is alive today and when Israel merits it, he will immediately reveal himself. In fact, the rabbi states that the Messiah will be born this Saturday, Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, if he hasn’t been born already.
Hidabroot, a Hebrew language religious news site, explained that the rabbi based his statement on the Jerusalem Talmud (Tractate Brachot) and Midrash Rabbah, a collection of homiletic teachings believed to have been compiled in the fifth century CE in Tiberias, which states that the Messiah will be born on Tisha B’Av, which is observed as a fast day mourning the destruction of the Jewish Temples. This year, Tisha B’Av falls on Saturday, July 21.
“It seems to me that the sages intended to teach us that even when the Temple is destroyed, in any case the Redemption exists. And the Messiah actually exists and lives among us. He passes from one body to another in each generation.”
Rabbi Kanievsky emphasized that the Talmud specifies that the generation when the Messiah from the House of David appears, is a generation full of accusations against Torah scholars.
“This generation displays absolute hatred for those who learn the Bible, especially in recent years. We are seeing all of the conditions described in the Talmud appear before us. It is for this reason that we anticipate the appearance of the Messiah at any moment, God-willing,” Rabbi Kanievsky wrote.
Rabbi Kanievsky described a custom that his father practiced and is common among many righteous Jews as a way of expressing this anticipation of the Messiah. They prepare special clothes to be worn only for greeting the Messiah upon his arrival.
The rabbi went on to explain a section of the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 97a) which states that three things come when you are distracted: a lost object, a scorpion, and the Messiah.
“We are commanded to anticipate the Messiah at every moment but this is not a contradiction because it is this anticipation that creates the desired type of distraction, allowing him to suddenly appear in his Tabernacle and be revealed. Because even if we are waiting for him we don’t think that he will come at this particular moment.”
The rabbi compared this to the sunrise. Even though light begins to brighten the sky, the sun itself is not seen until the very moment of sunrise.
“We are currently in the period just before the sunrise,” Rabbi Kanievsky wrote. “The signs of redemption are slowly appearing. But the Messiah himself has yet to show himself to the world.”