Monday, January 16, 2006

Do We Really Want Moshiach?

I’ve been itching to write a post on this for a while, but never got around to it. Then today I read an excellent post on Jack’s site talking about Moshiach. It inspired me to write a post of my own.

What is Moshiach? Moshiach is the era that we will experience when the Jewish people will be redeemed from the exile we are in. Like any tragic thing that happens in this world. As time goes on we are sadly removed from the pure pain of it. We were run out of our own home, for the second time, and are now living in a time where there is no Holy Temple. It’s hard for us today, to even imagine what this would be like.

We have been so far removed from anything even like that, we can’t comprehend our lives today fitting into a world where we attend services and sacrificial ceremonies at a temple in Jerusalem. Where we come to our cohanim (priests) and bring them gifts that they will place on an alter in a Holy room in a Jewish Temple.

Is this scaring you? Does this all sound wacky. Is this sound like something you want? But it’s something as a Jew that we are obligated to believe in everyday. We say every day, I believe with PERFECT faith, in the coming of Moshiach, and even if he may tarry I will still believe every day.

Today my biggest question is, do we really even want Moshiach? As a kid I grew up in a very poor family. My father used to always say, “oy we need Moshiach” he wanted Moshiach, because he didn’t know where his next paycheck was coming from, or how he was going to pay the phone or electric bill. He believed his life was filled with hardship and that when Moshiach comes that this will all be over.

I always felt that was wrong. That isn’t why you should want Moshiach to come. In fact, I always wondered how rich people felt about this. Will they be able to drive their Lexus BMW’s to the Beis Hamikdash? Will they want to give up their fancy suits and designers clothing? Will they have to live in a smaller home in Israel?

Today thank G-d, I am not in the same financial situation my parents raised me in. I work very hard, and fought tooth and nail to get to a point where I am able to provide for my family and live a happy, comfortable life. I am not rich by any means. But I can pay the bills just fine and I don’t have to worry about those types of things.

Here I am, happy. So why do I want Moshiach? Even writing something like that sends off alerts and sirens in my frum head. How that is even something I can think out loud? I don’t know, but it is. I know that there are big issues in the world. There are many nations, countries and people that have it really bad. There are horrible tragedies happening every where including sickness, disease, war, famine, death, people who have no homes, no money, no happiness.

I can understand that when Moshiach comes all these things will be dealt with. Peace will come to the world, and that is something in itself to pray for. Then I come back to my father, and I wonder, maybe there isn’t any better reason to want Moshiach. Your own suffering only magnifies the want.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I often wonder how badly I really want Moshiach, I can say that it may come down to an issue of selfishness. Maybe I don’t know if I want Moshiach because I **think** I’m happy. I’m only truly happy superficially. When I really think about it, I know that we all need Moshiach, because we weren’t created to be content with just having money, or having a nice home or being successful in business.

We all really crave to feel more spirituality. I may sometimes find it hard to imagine a world of Moshiach. I may not understand how it will work. But I still feel underneath all the confusion and questions that I do want it. I’m not sure why always, but I know I want it.

If you want to know more about Moshiach, here are some sites that have a great resource of information.

What is Moshiach?

The Skeptic and the Believer

The Third Millennium

End of Days

12 comments:

Stacey said...

Very interesting, Chaim. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. There is much to think about.

I’m only truly happy superficially. When I really think about it, I know that we all need Moshiach, because we weren’t created to be content with just having money, or having a nice home or being successful in business.

I am not happy only superficially. I am truly happy with my life. I am content knowing I have a family that loves me, enough $$$ to pay the bills and live comfortably, and that those I love have good health. I am also happy knowing I try to make life easier and better for those who do not have such a good life.

We say every day, I believe with PERFECT faith, in the coming of Moshiach, and even if he may tarry I will still believe every day

I am Jewish but I do not think about this every day, nor do I recite it every day. If it happens, great. I am not holding my breath, though. I do not live my life for a big "maybe".

Instead, I believe that the nature of life and humanity encompasses good and bad and that both will always exist. But I also believe that good will always prevail ultimately over bad, and that as humans we owe it to ourselves and humanity to try to make this world a better place.

Chaim said...

Good thoughts Stacey, thanks for commenting. It's truly a hard topic, because of all the things we talk about with regards to Judaism, what we do, how much we do, what we believe, I think this is the only topic no one can discuss from experience. We all don't know what this will be like, so how do we know how to approach it?

One thing I will say though, is that if you believe that we are truly in exile now, and that our true place is in Israel together with the Beis Hamikdash, that we can't really ever be content with not achieving those end goals.

Chaim said...

I also wanted to add, when I speak of hapiness in my post I also mean to include health and being truly happy with my life, not only $$, just used that as an example.

Z said...

I am with Stacy. She said it better than I could.

Mirty said...

I was brought up with a strong belief in Moshiach, and this is one of the areas where I part ways with more progressive forms of Judaism (such as Reform).

I think the world does need Moshiach. I think there is a major next step in human spiritual evolution that has to happen, and we can't make it happen on our own. Moshiach is not about better material circumstances, but a breathrough in our spiritual lives.

I would love to live in the time of Moshiach. I don't know if I will. That's certainly one motivation to eat right and exercise -- I'd hate to kick off at age 65 and find out that Moshiach arrived the following year. ("Argh, if I had only eaten my vegetables! I would have lived to see the Moshiach!")

I'm being a little bit light-hearted about this serious topic, but I do think we are getting closer. My limited understanding is that the Moshiach will arrive when we are are willing and ready and the time is right. I think as we increase our compassion for others, we make ourselves ready. Let's do it!

Chaim said...

Mirty, that was a beautiful comment. Thanks

Dovid said...

Chaim, here's a thought I just had:

Maybe, when we say we believe with complete faith, we are saying just that: We don't KNOW why we wait for him, as we don't understand the essential goodness of his presence. But since G-d knows best what's good for us, and answers our prayers, etc, and He tells us to wait for Moshiach, we can rest assured--on faith of course, that Moshiach will be a positive experience.

I just thought of this as I read your post, but it's starting to grow on me... we don't say we believe with complete understanding, but "faith"... [pats himself on the back]

Sweettooth120 said...

Thank you Chiam for addressing this. You covered alot of what I had asked Jack and appreciate the honesty in your post. Also, thanks for the links. I am sure they will be helpful. It was also suggested to check out AskMoses.com

This might be answered in those links, but where did the concept of the Moshiach come from? Through the scholars and Rabbis? or Folklore?

Thxs

Chaim said...

Dovid, you bring up a very good point.

Sweetooth, glad I addressed some of what you were wondering, Im not sure, but I believe it was passed down like everything else we believe in.

Rick's Corner said...

Great post.

Chaim said...

Thanks Rick.

kwAmerica said...

If in the 21st century someone identifies himself as Isaiah 11 and has got a Law that could be proven Biblically, Scientifically, Social, and Universally as a Law that could bring about universal perfect peace on earth. Could he be the servant of the Lord Jews all over the world have been waiting for. The Law can also cause death to cease worldwide. Could he be the much awaited Moshiach.