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Insights - Q&A on Redemption

Question:

The Talmud states that Moshiach will come when we are distracted, when we are not thinking about him. Isn't the campaign to bring Moshiach, then, counterproductive?


Answer:

To answer this question, we must examine the talmudic reference in context. The Talmud discouraged speculation as to when Moshiach would come. In Talmudic times, had people been informed that they had years or perhaps centuries to wait before his arrival, they might have been demoralized. Thus, the Talmud intends to discourage us from expecting that Moshiach will arrive on a particular date.

What this statement in the Talmud means to teach us is that regardless of how remote the possibility of Moshiach's coming seems to us, we should not lose hope, since Moshiach can come precisely when we least expect him. Even when the prospect for his arrival appears bleak, he can and will come and surprise us.

There are also deeper interpretations of the concept that Moshiach will come b'hesech hadaas, when we are not thinking of him. Among them is the idea that whatever we understand about Moshiach, we should realize that Moshiach is beyond our understanding. Thus, the surprise will be that Moshiach surpasses all our expectations of him. Whatever we thought we knew about the era of Moshiach will come nowhere near the actual experience. Furthermore, the more we study the concept of Moshiach and redemption, it permeates us so deeply that we no longer need to consciously think about Moshiach - it has become part of our essence. This in another explanation of hesech hadaas - just as one does not think about breathing, we will not be thinking about Moshiach when he arrives, because the whole concept has become so much a part of us.

 

 


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