Photo Credit: Courtesy Brooklyn Jewish Xperience
Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer

Throughout Jewish history, especially during the Crusades, Inquisition, pogroms and the Holocaust, Jews were desperate for Mashiach. Rav Saadya Gaon, Ramban, Abarbanel, and many other Rishonim gave predictions for Mashiach’s arrival in order to strengthen and encourage the Jewish People in times of dire straits, sorrow and trouble.

This is a very troubling and precarious time for the Jewish people. We’re confronted with myriad crises from the inside and existential threats from the outside. As the verse says (Yirmiyahu 30:7), “Eis tzarah hi leYaakov – It is a time of pain for Jacob.” We yearn for Mashiach to redeem us from our troubles.

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Our sages have conclusively stated that we are now in Ikvesa DeMishicha, the threshold of the coming of Mashiach. I’ve received eyewitness testimony that Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, said that Mashiach “is at the door.”

“Rabbi Katina says, ‘The world will exist for 6,000 years, and then the world will change forever and ever’ ” (Sanhedrin 97). The world will be altered in a way we cannot comprehend. The fabric of existence will be totally transformed. A new, presently inconceivable reality will emerge.

According to most Rishonim, the era of Mashiach must last several generations. There are different opinions as to the precise sequence and chronology of unfolding events but it’s clear the following events will occur: Mashiach’s actual arrival; kibbutz galiyos (ingathering of the exiles); techias hameisim (revival of the dead) and the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash (the third Temple).

There are many prophecies that must unfold in the era of Mashiach. We are just a bit more than 200 years away from the deadline. The entire epoch of Mashiach will be concluded by the year 6000. We are currently in the year 5777 according to our Jewish calendar). Think about what is at stake and what are the consequences.

The Zohar (see also Midrash HaNe’elam) says that if we are worthy, techiyas hameisim will occur 210 years before the year 6000. That’s the year 5790.

What does techiyas hameisim mean? Radvaz (1479-1573) and Rav Elchonon Wasserman (1875-1941) discuss this topic at length. There are different opinions regarding who will be resurrected first. Many say Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen will be resurrected first; others say the yechidei segulah, the great people of every generation who awaited the coming of Mashiach, will be resurrected first.

The year 5790 is a mere 13 years from now. Are you ready?

The Zohar says the ingathering of the exiles, kibbutz galiyos, will occur that forty years prior to techiyas hameisim. Some say that a prerequisite, a preliminary step before the coming of Mashiach is kibbutz galiyos. Others say that Mashiach will precipitate the ingathering.

Forty years before techiyas hameisim, Jews who are dispersed to the four corners of the earth will start making their pilgrimage to Eretz Yisrael to reside there. Forty years prior to 5790 was the year 5750, which is equivalent to the year 1990. Do you know what happened in 1990? After years of oppression and religious persecution, suddenly, there was glasnost and the tearing asunder of the Iron Curtain. The Jews started coming out of Russia. Thousands upon thousands of Jews were able to ascend to Israel. Kibbutz galiyos — amazing!

Yeshaya HaNavi tells us that Mashiach can come through one of two scenarios: Either the Jewish people will be so spiritually bankrupt that Mashiach will come in order to save us from utter destruction, or Mashiach will come because the Jewish people have hastened his arrival by being so deserving of him. The former scenario is the one in which terribly ominous prophecies take hold. In the latter scenario, utopia-like prophecies transpire.

Beis Yosef (Ohr HaChaim 180), says that in order for Mashiach to come we have to command him to come. We have to say, I want you. We need to have a bit of gall and audacity and demand Mashiach.

Yaakov Avinu, our patriarch Jacob, charged on his deathbed that his progeny be unified in order to usher in the acharis hayamim, the end of days. The Shela HaKadosh says, “It is impossible for Mashiach to arrive if there is baseless hatred and division among the Jewish people. The only way to bring Mashiach is to be united.”

Our sages have said, “Mir daf brengen Moshiach” – We need to bring Mashiach.”

Chazal have taught us that the key to bringing Mashiach is through unconditionally reaching out to and loving our fellow Jews.

The time is now.

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Rav Yitzchok Fingerer is morah d’asra of BJX (Brooklyn Jewish Xperience) and an acclaimed speaker and writer. He is the author of “Search Judaism” (Targum) and “Strengthen Your Emunah” (Feldheim).