Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Awaiting Moshiach

"When are you coming home?" I'd want to ask my friend who was visiting Israel. I changed that to "back." I stopped myself. "Well, no, we'll join you," I told her optimistically.

I've caught myself doing that a few times. Many times, however, I'm met with a chuckle, and a "You're so cute..."

I mean, I always learned that we should always anticipate Moshiach's arrival. And I still believe that.

When my grandfather was sick in the hospital, I kept hoping and praying that he'd recover, and get back to himself, as he continued to deteriorate. "Zeidy, you'll come to my Bas Mitzvah, right?" I asked, imagining him fully recovered. Was it unrealistic of me to look at my Zeidy, weak, sick, delirious, and actually believe for a second that he'd make it?Probably.

My last year in Seminary, I found a card in my desk that had been all scribbled. Apparently someone had used my desk the previous afternooon. I looked under the scribbles, being the curious person that I am, and found that it contained Brachos to recite upon Moshiach's arrival. I was inspired by the distributor's optimism(unless it was from the Lubavitchers who think the Rebbe is Moshiach...), and thoroughly disappointed in the girl who had used my desk the previous day and scribbled all over the thing.

Does that mean she was bored? Uninspired? Did I take the card too seriously?

One day in 8th grade, we were told that there'd be a fire drill at one point during the morning. My teacher was sure to be efficient in anticipation of the loss of 5 minutes. Lunch time arrived, and still no fire drill. "If only we waited for Moshiach like we were ready for this fire drill," she pointed out. I think if people lived "al regel achas" anticipating Moshiach, life would be chaotic. Should I not apply to grad school because Moshiach "might" or "is" coming?

Should I preface every plan with, "If Moshiach isn't here by then, I'd like to go to Pathmark tomorrow..."

I guess wishful thinking is a good start, right?

Anyway, with that in mind, may this year BE THE YEAR!! (No, no, this "WILL BE THE YEAR!!")

Shana Tova

16 Comments:

At 9/11/2007 11:50 PM, Anonymous nussi said...

Michelle,
There is a serious prob nowdays. Why should I want to leave my $15mil house and my $100,000 car. We are very comfortable the way we are and have no reason to want a change.

The way I look at it is you have to do what you have to do but don't forget that we really would love to bust out of here.
Another point, whatever you do or say as long as its sincere works. Don't let someone tell you that you must do this or that b/c feelings that are forced on you are worthless so you must think where you stand and act accordingly.

 
At 9/12/2007 7:01 AM, Blogger halfshared said...

AMEN!! One thing I think about when buying clothing is if I would feel comfortable greeting mashiach in it. If not, I know not to get it..

 
At 9/12/2007 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read a serious discussion about this a few years ago. The writer said that we should live as normal, not doing things differently "because Moshiach might come tomorrow."

 
At 9/12/2007 9:47 AM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

Before getting all hot about greeting Moshiach, have you devoted any thought what might happen when he arrives?

Do you really want a Halachic State (as opposed to a democratic one)?

How about capital punishment?

 
At 9/12/2007 11:41 AM, Anonymous a senior said...

i was very interested to see what comment jacob would have on this and u came thru with just what i expected lmao

 
At 9/15/2007 7:04 PM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

a senior, I'm not a freq commenter on this blog (which is an excellent one) so how would you know that I would comment?

 
At 9/16/2007 11:19 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

jacob- Thanks :-)

 
At 9/16/2007 6:37 PM, Blogger Lost said...

I never understood why we had to spent 3/4's of yr. on karbanos, halachot about the mishkan, the beis hamikdash... when the curriculum became ever so technical, it was time to tune out.

Can you imagine, I never felt any connection to any of it? I never once believed it would one day actually happen.

'Tis crazy what a little perspective and gray hairs can bring about.
IY'H,we should bring about the coming of the great man on the donkey.

 
At 9/17/2007 7:56 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

I agree with what everybody seems to be saying. Hashem doesn't want us to be living in tents & never make plans because Moshiach could be coming today. I think we're just supposed to live our lives with the realization that he could come at any minute (except on Shabbos)& hopefully this knowledge will affect our choices & lives. I think it's really special that you had the awareness & sensitivity to say "When are you coming back" & then to change it to "we'll be joining you." Most people wouldn't say that because it's not that much a part of their consciousness, & even if when people do think things like that, I think a lot of the time they're embarassed to say things like that.
There's a famous story about the Chofetz Chaim-he was expecting a visitor, I think his son-in-law or something like that. When his visitor arrived, people came & told the Chofetz Chaim "He's here!" The Chofetz Chaim got really excited & ran to change into the special suit he had saved for when Moshiach comes & then ran to greet Moshiach. When he found out that the person who had come was someone other than Moshiach, he was very disappointed. For him, bias hamashiach was so real & such a part of his consciousness, that when he heard people saying excitedly, "He's here!" he figured it couldn't be anyone other than Moshiach.

 
At 9/17/2007 4:29 PM, Blogger ClooJew said...

Rabbi Berel Wein, shlit"a, says that Moshiach will arrive at Halftime during the Super Bowl - at the most inconvenient time!

It is important, lulei demistafina, to believe in his imminent arrival but not to be depressed when he does not come. The crux is this: Is the phrase "bechol yom" modifying "achakeh lo" or modifying "sheyavo"?

Another thing to keep in mind is the words of the amoraim in Maseches Sanhedrin: "Let him come; but let me not witness it." We are too casual about yemos haMashiach - they will be, lulei demistafina, frightening days.

 
At 9/17/2007 7:41 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

In one sense, it is cute, but in a scarier sense it reminds me too much of Christian rapture-type eschatology. Magical thinking doesn't work for me so I take the whole concept of a messiah very loosely.

I'm more in tune with the principle goals of peace on earth, swords into plowshares, the end of hunger, disease and suffering and so on that humanity has the potential to bring about (bimhera biyameinu) rather than waiting for a superman on a donkey who'll establish an international theocracy.

 
At 9/17/2007 7:52 PM, Anonymous xvi said...

So I typed up this response, then refreshed and saw orthoprax's. I know there are similar points, albeit less eloquently expressed, but I already typed em up, so here goes anyway.

:::Cloojew...

At halftime? I could understand opening kickoff, but whats the big deal about mashiach coming during a beer run? Nobody watches the half-time show.

As far as the frightening days of the moshiach are concerned, what are the specific requirements for "frightening days?" there is much going on now that is rather frightening and we are not so far past days that know no historical comparison. What are the descriptives of the kosher rapture? And are they, honestly, subject to the same "biblical hyperbole" or are they expected to be true descriptions?

Personally, I believe in the coming of moshiach and wait for it every day... but Im not waiting for the supernatural bearded man to come riding out of the skies on his white ass. I'm waiting for the great uniter of the Jewish people. someone who will lead us to a conclusive victory in our current struggles, both zionistically and religiously. But thats my perspective.:::

 
At 9/18/2007 4:13 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

First of all, welcome back to ClooJew...I stopped checking you blog a year ago when I thought you dropped off the face off the earth. But we're glad to have you back.

Anyway, you all raise good points. I know that the times of Moshiach are often represented in a very juvenile sense of perfection, world peace, laborless childbirth-- basically, a Walgreens commercial (L'Havdil). And I don't think that's accurate. But I also learned later on that we shouldn't discuss the days of Moshiach. It's all so weird and abstract to me. LIke Lost said.

Xvi-good point about seeing scary things in our days too.

No, i don't either think of a mystical bearded man on a horse. I choose not to think about it, since G-d willing, I'll see when I see it. We should all be Zocheh, Bmheira Biyameinu. (Amen)

 
At 10/02/2007 6:18 PM, Anonymous Something Anything?!? said...

you are not supposed to be believe that Moshiach will come every day, but rather that he can come any day. Does that change your perspective or is it all the same thing?

 
At 10/06/2007 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think People would be happier if they stopped waiting and started living...

Living can be materialistic in your "$15mil house and my $100,000 car" or it can be a personal effort to try to lesson some of the pain in the world- but its ground in reality.

We're always being told to wait for moshiach, prepare for olam habah... yada yada
Why don't we let all that be and start focusing on today

While the notion that someone's going to ride in on a horse and save us from our problems is a nice fairy tale and might even help ppl get through they day, I don't think it adds much value during reasoned discourse and it serves to shield people from the reality that if we want the world to change we're gonna have to do it ourselves!

 
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