Not Just Another Scenario, Volume 1 – By Pinchas Winston
“I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Moshiach, and even though he may tarry, nevertheless, I will wait for him every day, that he will come.”
This is the twelfth principle of the Thirteen Principles of Faith as taught by Maimonides—the Rambam. Thus, we are being told, that a fundamental of Torah belief is the belief in the Final Redemption, which will be heralded by a descendant of King David—Moshiach Ben Dovid—when G-d deems the time is right.
He can come any day, says the Rambam, which means that the events of any era can be those that trigger his arrival. How much more so is this true at this late stage of history, in such spiritually weak times of vast assimilation and inter-marriage, at such a precarious point in Jewish history?
The prophet Yeshayahu taught:
The smallest shall become a thousand and the least, a mighty nation; I am the Lord, in its time—b’ittah, I will hasten it—achishenah. (Yeshayahu 60:22)
Based upon this verse, the Talmud and Kabbalah teach that there is a last possible moment for him to come—b’ittah—and a potentially early moment—achishenah. At which of the two times he comes will depend upon the spiritual state of the Jewish people and the world around them. If he comes early, we are told, it will be because mankind has, on its own, gained the appropriate realization of G-d and appreciation of His ways.
If so, then Moshiach’s entry into history will be smooth and pleasant, to help mankind, and specifically the Jewish people, finish the job they themselves began. If not, warn the prophets, then he will come at the last possible moment – to save us from the destructive effects of the war of wars, the War of Gog and Magog.
For thousands of years now, loyal Jews have awaited his arrival, have prayed for it daily, and, have even tried to anticipate it. Hardened by disappointment and fear of future disappointment, we, as a people, have decided to avoid the issue for the most part, until Moshiach himself finally confirms his own arrival.