Why Learn Geula?
RABBI MENDEL BLAU AND
RABBI SHAUL CALMENSON
The Rambam writes in Hilchos Melochim, Ch. 12, in relation to the order of geulah events (such as the coming of Eliyahu and the war of Gog and Magog):
“All these and similar matters cannot be definitely known by man until they occur, for these matters are undefined in the prophets’ words … neither [are they] fundamental principles of the faith… nor should he consider them as essentials, for study of them will neither bring fear or love of God… Rather, one should await and believe in the general conception of the matter as explained.”
The Rambam seems to imply that we should only work on our ציפי’ה & אמונה and not so much with the study of Moschiach. Why, if so, have we invested so much energy and time in building such an enormous site of vast resources, stressing the importance of studying the subject matter itself?
In truth, our main goal at L&B Moshiach is not that our viewers become masters that can determine the order of events or the precise time of the geulah, rather, to empower our viewers to genuinely await this coming, which the Rambam himself clearly encourages in the above quoted source.
Furthermore, longing for Moshiach and anticipating his arrival, is not simply a virtue but, rather, a religious obligation. In fact, the Rambam rules elsewhere that “whoever does not believe in and whoever does not await (eagerly looking forward to) the coming of Moschiach, in effect denies the entire Torah and all the prophets, beginning with Moshe Rabbeinu…”
Yearning for the redemption is of such importance that according to the Talmud (Shabbat 31a), one of the very first questions a soul is asked when facing the Heavenly Court is: “Did you yearn for salvation?” Likewise, the Midrash (Yalkut shimoni, Psalms 736) says that “if the Jewish people have no merit other than their yearning for redemption-they are worthy of being redeemed for that alone!” That is a very awesome statement, indeed, but the question remains – is it possible for us to await for something we do not understand? Is it possible for us to yearn for something from which we feel disconnected? This is analogous to the poor village boy who is not capable of even entertaining the thought and desire of marrying the king’s daughter because it’s entirely out of this league.
Herein lies the power of learning about Moshiach and geula. Slowly we begin to process and internalize the concept of an era when the truths of the Torah and Hashem will be as self-evident as the law of gravity and mathematics. With due time and diligence, we become capable of “awaiting the coming of Moshiach.”
Other sources (among the, Likutei Sichos, 20:384) attribute the connection of our anticipation/longing for Moshiach and his arrival, due to the increase in masim tovim that that aniticipation inspires. Those deeds, in turn, hasten Moshiach’s arrival. So the learning not only creats feelings that stand in our merit, but also inspires action, which further assists to hasten the geula, if not even more so than mere feelings of the heart.
As an aside, the Chasam Sofer (6:86) rules that the “hastening of the ketz” that the Talmud states is problematic refers specifically to activites in the realm of practical Kabbalah, such as the activities of Yosef Della Reina and the like. Praying daily (and, likewise, good deed) to bring the redemption, on the other hand, are obligatory.
If the above was relevant to Jews of previous generations, how much more so in our latter times, when we find ourselves in the very last moements of galus. Now the increase in all matters of Torah and mitzvos is all the more pressing, not only to bring and hasten Moschiach’s arrival but ot enable us to stand prepared to greet Moshiach at any given moment and enter into the era of geula with as many merits as possible.
One last point worth mentioning in this regard is highlighted in a Midrash (Tanchuma 96:14; Yechezkel 43:10-11) in which Hashem tells the Navi, Yechezkel, that the Jews in galus should be taught his detailed visions of the future Beis Hamikdosh. The Navis retorts that this would be futile since they cannot be involved in building it till they return to the Holy Land; he will, therefore, wait to teach them the form of the House until then. Hashem assures the Navi that their study of the structure will not be for naught. By doing so, Hashem will consider it (and reward them in kind) as if they built the Beis Hamidosh in the physical sense, just like one who studies the order (laws) of animal sacrifices, in any time and age, is considered as if he offered those very sacrifices upon the alter.
Therefore, learning about the Beis Hamikdosh and geula is a direct expression of how dear these goals are to us, in that doing so, we reflect our deep longing to obtain them in the physical sense to the best of our power in this time of galus. Surely, Hashem in seeing such sincerity, will respond in kind with the building of the third Beis Hamikdosh in all its glory, with the complete and final geula, speedily in our day!