Is the coming of Moshiach what the Jewish People needs right now? Will Moshiach solve our day-to-day problems?
Will life be easier?
Rav Shalom Arush answers…
Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody Translator\'s note: During a crucial point in the recent ceasefire negotiations in Egypt between Israel and Hamas, one of Israel\'s English-language radio stations asked to interview me about current events from an emuna standpoint. They also planned to ask me about the declarations of several leading rabbis and Kabbalists, such as Rabbi Dov Kook of Tiberias and the \"Chalban\" (\"Milkman\"), Rabbi Chaim HaCohen Farchia, who have said recently that the Geula, the full redemption of our people, has already started. The interviewer also wanted to know about the status of Moshiach. To get a crystal-clear hashkafa (outlook) on all these issues, I turned to my esteemed and beloved teacher, Rav Shalom Arush shlit\'a. Here is what he told me: Few people realize the ramifications of Moshiach coming at this particular point in time. Let me ask you a question: what do you think Moshiach means for you, on a day-to-day basis? Will you be exempt from performing any of the mitzvoth? Not at all; on the contrary, you\'ll have to be much more exacting about how you do them, and you won\'t be able to fake it with external gestures. Moshiach will know exactly where your heart is and he\'ll be able to smell the fear of Hashem. Do you think that Moshiach\'s coming will provide you with an exemption from working on your character? By no means! Negative character traits like arrogance, egotism and lust will become all the more apparent once Moshiach is here. People\'s uncorrected middot – character traits – will be more embarrassing than walking around with repulsive stains on their clothes. A person with less than impeccable character will feel like jumping in a hole in the ground once Moshiach comes. People have no idea what Moshiach is and what his coming means. Being ready for Moshiach means that we are all serving Hashem with all our hearts; we all have perfect emuna; all the women are completely modest and all the men guard their eyes. It means that no one has any unsightly images on his brain. Can we say that now? So what happens if the time has come for Moshiach to arrive and we\'re not on the proper spiritual level? The answer is not something most people will enjoy hearing. Nevertheless, I must explain, for people must stop living in a world of fantasy and understand the seriousness of the situation. A group of secret tzaddikim – whose names I am not at liberty to mention – came to visit my holy teacher, Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz osb\"m, not long before he died. They composed a letter to Hashem demanding Moshiach, right now. They all signed the letter, but they lacked one critical signature, that of Rabbi Yehuda Zev. They knew that if he would sign it, then Hashem would have to bring Moshiach right away. They appealed to him, but they didn\'t expect his response… Rabbi Yehuda Zev bolted upright in his wheelchair. He pointed a reprimanding finger at one of the secret tzaddikim. Like an upset lion, he asked, \"Were you in the Holocaust?\" The tzaddik shook his head in the negative. Rabbi Yehuda Zev turned individually to the second, to the third and to the fourth tzaddik and asked them the same question. None of them had lived through the Holocaust. \"Well I did,\" roared Rabbi Yehuda Zev, \"and I saw with my own eyes the indescribable suffering that our people experienced on their own flesh. I never want to see that again! Are you willing to take responsibility for the grueling tribulations that our people will undergo as a purification process, if Moshiach comes and they\'re not ready?\" None of the tzaddikim were willing to accept such a responsibility. They aborted their idea then and there. Rabbi Yehuda Zev didn\'t want to see a single hair fall from a Jewish head. For that reason, he encouraged me to spread emuna, day and night, as fast and as far and wide as I can, to prepare people for Moshiach. Because yes, the truth must be told, the process of Geula has already started. People blame Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas for our troubles, but they are nothing more than a stick in Hashem\'s hands. The Torah says, \"I will bring upon you an avenging sword, the vengeance of the covenant\" (Leviticus 26:25). All the unprecedented debauchery and promiscuity, especially here in the holy Land of Israel, is what brings wars upon us. Add to the fact an evil government that has severed itself from the world of Torah and officially sanctions heinous transgressions against Torah, publicly flaunting terrible abominations such as gay parades right here on our holy soil, and you can understand how our situation goes from bad to worse. But, if our people strengthen themselves in emuna and turn to Hashem with all their hearts, then all evil – from within and without – will fall by the wayside. There is no political or military solution to the Middle East conflict. Hashem gives repeated ceasefires and lulls in hostilities to give people the opportunity to get on board the train of emuna, which is the train of Geula. The entire Geula process is designed for the spread of emuna, that\'s why my students and I are already living the Geula. But, when people use the lulls simply to return to the sidewalk cafes of Tel Aviv and to pursue their bodily appetites in a \"business as usual\" attitude, the next round of hostilities only becomes more difficult. Remember, the first Intifada in the late 1980\'s was rock-throwing. This was a wake-up call from Hashem, but many ignored it. The rocks turned into knives, the knives turned into guns, the guns turned into bombs and the bombs turned into suicide bombers. Our people en masse still did not wake up. The suicide bombs became Qassam rockets on Sderot and the Gaza-border villages, and the Qassam rockets became GRAD rockets that hit Ashkelon and Ashdod. Now, in the recent war, the GRAD rockets have become M-75 missiles that reach Tel Aviv and beyond. Don\'t people see the pattern? What\'s coming next? It\'s your choice – either emuna or more advanced and lethal weaponry. If we don\'t clean out the deepest tunnels of our hearts, then the Hamas and Hizbolla will only dig more assault tunnels. The wake-up calls are more and more difficult for a sane person to ignore. Now you can understand why my life – and the lives of my students who believe in me – is committed to spreading emuna, far and wide, across the globe. Who knows when Hashem will send Moshiach? Can we say that we\'re ready, with so many people still so far away? Do we know what the price of Moshiach will be, and can we afford to pay it? Yet, we must be ready, for the day that Hashem decides to send Moshiach will come, be\'ito – in its exact right time. Don\'t think that Moshiach will end your financial woes or increase your rewards. The only difference between now and Moshiach\'s time is that once he comes, the truth will be glaringly apparent. No one will be rewarded for observing the Torah, learning emuna or making teshuva, yet everyone will be obligated to do so. But here\'s the good news. The spiritual awakening of the recent war has been amazing. Emuna books and CDs have been distributed all over the IDF. Thirty thousand (30,000!) women have taken upon themselves the mitzva of family purity. This is what we need, for the Jewish People to wake up and strengthen themselves en masse. We must show Hashem that we finally understand His messages. We must strengthen ourselves in emuna and holiness, and spread emuna as fast as possible. That way, we\'ll be prepared for Moshiach. If Moshiach is like a 500-watt light bulb, it will be harmful if we only have a 60-watt spiritual capacity. We must therefore strengthen ourselves and strengthen others. May we all be prepared to receive Moshiach, joyfully and in peace, amen!