Monday, March 12, 2012

Are Jews Still Expecting The Messiah?

The March/April issue of the Moment Magazine is titled "The Messiah Issue" with many articles discussing Moshiach from every possible angle ● One of the articles is titled "Are Jews Still Expecting The Messiah" and it contains responses from Rabbis of all streams of Judaism, such as Rabbi Abraham J. Twersky, Rabbi Tzvi Freeman and others ● We present you what some of these Rabbis have to say ● 

Maimonides, codifier of Torah law, lists 13 principles of faith that are incumbent on a Jew. The 12th of these is “I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come.”

Torah literature contains many references to the Messiah. We are told that the Messiah may come at any time, if Jews deserve it by following the teachings of the Torah. However, there is a fixed point in time at which the Messiah will come even if Jews are not meritorious.

It was predicted that prior to the coming of the Messiah, Jews will experience great anguish and suffering. Prayers are rendered that we be spared this agony, but many see the Holocaust as this pre-Messiah ordeal. At the end of the Talmudic volume of Sotah, there is a frightening description of the degeneration of morals and ethics in the world prior to the coming of the Messiah, with flagrant rejection of all authority, parental or otherwise. Some of the esoteric writings predict that prior to the coming of the Messiah, the people of Ishmael (Muslims) will dominate the earth.

These harbingers have unfortunately occurred, and we anticipate the imminent coming of the Messiah.

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
Founder, Gateway Rehabilitation Center
Teaneck, NJ

As much as a Jew may wrestle to rip away from his G-d and his people, the undercurrent of indignation remains endemic to his Jewish psyche, a gnawing conviction that the world is not the way it should be. The Jew aches with expectation and blatantly demands that the world act according to the beauty it inherently contains.

Do we await a human Messiah? The last century left us deeply scarred with a wariness of demagogues, of glorifying any individual beyond the humanness of all others. So we yearn yet more for a truly Jewish Messiah—less about power and more about empathy, education and insight into life. A leader like an orchestral conductor, directing musicians from their fragmented discordance into a magnificent symphony. After all, by now all the instruments are in place—instruments to plunge the fathomless depths of our universe, to know its oneness and the oneness of its Creator, to make hunger both for food and for knowledge obsolete. What’s missing is a singular voice of wisdom, universally respected, a voice for the human soul. A very human, modern-day Moses.
No, we don’t expect a Messiah. We want, need, pray in every prayer: Mashiach now!

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Thornhill, Ontario

It is impossible to accept the notion that God would create a deeply flawed world, filled to the brim with injustice, corruption and immorality, for all eternity. We must therefore proceed with the conviction that one day, humankind will achieve true enlightenment and will abandon the endless pursuits of power, wealth and selfish pleasure that have dominated its consciousness since the dawn of time and are responsible for the disharmony and conflict that prevail on earth. Like all social and political movements, this transformation will take place under the guidance of a wise teacher, a brave pioneer with the courage to stand up and to fight for principles of eternal value and enduring truth. Like all revolutionaries, this leader will initially be ignored, later reviled and finally resisted until the sheer power of his message can no longer be denied. At that moment, our civilization will attain its greatest spiritual breakthrough; the search for wisdom and justice will supplant hankerings after material wealth and instantaneous gratification; and human beings will live in peace and harmony, united in the service of the Almighty. The architect of this cultural upheaval is the person we call the Messiah. And our faith in his arrival is a necessary corollary of our belief in God: that a perfect and omnipotent Creator would not allow His handiwork to wallow in imperfection forever.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof
Magen David Sephardic Congregation
Rockville, MD

Modern Orthodox:
By continuing to live as Jews, all Jews are stating that the Messiah has not yet arrived. Jewry pledged at Mount Sinai and elsewhere that as long as the world is not totally redeemed, we will go on with our testimony as Jews. As long as there is poverty, hunger, oppression and war, the world is still not perfected. We maintain this against the Christian claim that the Messiah has arrived and against secular messianic redemptive movements (Nazism, communism, socialism) that claim they have brought the true, final perfection. This continuing testimony of “not yet” is why would-be world redeemers have hated and persecuted Jews.

After great catastrophes, many Jews lifted their level of expectation because of the need to rebalance the world toward the victory of the good... It would appear that secular Jews have renounced belief in the Messiah. But I believe that the choice to continue living as a Jew is the statement “I still believe the world will be perfected” and, by implication, “I will work to bring the Messiah.”

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
Riverdale, NY



Fangyu said...

We want Mashiach Now!

Anonymous said...

Your blog has been publishing very convincing articles and statements by various Rabbis and Mekubalim that Mashiach is imminent. A brief look at recent postings will show that the final war of Gog Umagog should have already started and that the World should have already undergone seismic changes. While my heart bleeds for our brothers and sisters in the south of EY, I see little evidence of anything other than normality. Even the stock markets are calm. While this might be the calm before the storm, are we not sowing false hopes in us all. Perhaps these blogs are inappropriate to start with?

Devorah said...

According to Masechet Sota* we are quite visibly in Messianic Times as each aspect quoted can be argued as fulfilled by contemporary rabbis which never before in history has been achieved with the ease of fulfillment as in today's generation.

*Chazal in Masechet Sota wrote what will happen in the days preceding the Geulah:
חוצפא יסגא, והיוקר יאמיר, הגפן תתן פריה, והיין ביוקר. מלכות תיהפך למינות – ואין תוכחת. בית ועד יהיה לזנות, והגליל ייחרב, והגולן יישום, ואנשי הגבול יסובבו מעיר לעיר, ולא יחוננו, וחכמת סופרים תסרח, ויראי חטא יימאסו, והאמת תהיה נעדרת. נערים פני זקנים ילבינו. זקנים יעמדו בפני קטנים. בן מנוול אב, בת קמה באמה, כלה בחמותה. אויבי איש אנשי ביתו. פני הדור כפני הכלב... הבן אינו מתבייש מאביו... !
Chutzpa will multiply
Costliness will increase
Grapevine will produce its grapes
And the wine will be expensive
The kingdom (government) will become heresy - and rebuke is lacking
The house of council (govenment) will become prostitution
And the Galilee will be destroyed
and Golan will be empty
And people of the borders will wander from city to city and won’t settle down
And the wisdom of scribes will putrefy
And those who fear sin will become repulsive
And the truth will be absent
Youths will insult the faces of elders
Elders will stand for the sake of youths
Son will deride father
Daughter will rise up against her mother,
Daughter-in-law against mother-in-law
A man’s enemies will be members of his household
The face of the generation will be like the face of the dog
Sons not embarrassed in front of fathers

Devorah said...

To learn more go to: Dreaming of Moshiach

joshwaxman said...

Nava at Dreaming of Moshiach followed the above with:

"All these never came about in past generations!!!!!"

I absolutely disagree. Rather, *every* generation says this about themselves, and about the younger generation. 'Kids these days!' And they don't realize that their predecessors said it about them.

Devorah said...

You think today's generation is comparable to even 20 years ago [pre internet] - never mind hundreds of years ago? There may have been dysfunctional families back then, but the world today is totally different in every way. It's like comparing apples and oranges...

joshwaxman said...

Yes, I do. If you look at the history books and see what folks thought of the 60's generation, to pull a random example, absolutely. Of course, bechol dor vador, in each generation, there are different things to point out about the new generation.

yaak said...

Josh, you are correct that many generations considered their generation to be the one where the signs of Mashiah have been fulfilled. For example, see the Hafetz Hayim saying it here.

However, Devorah is also correct that the extent of these simanim have reached unprecedented levels so much so that everything the Hafetz Hayim mentions is magnified 1000-fold today.

This applies to technological advances as well as moral decline.

Anonymous said...

I think Rabbi Tzvi Freeman has put it well. It seems to me that the world is awaiting that ONE who in a sense will fit well the title 'desire of all nations'. Time should prove the one and I think the times are almost upon us!!

Anonymous said...

i dont know if the trora consist of the book of daniel but it clearly predicts the coming of the Messiah to the exact date but one must study it very cafully