Can We Calculate the Date of the Final Redemption? The question of when Mashiach will come is one that has accompanied the Jewish People throughout its history, especially during times of exile, war and anti-Semitism. Is there any calculation we can do to help us discover when all this will come to a happy end and Mashiach will finally arrive? In the Bible itself we already find hints to the elusiveness of the date of the final redemption. The sages relate that before his passing, Jacob prophetically saw the date of the final redemption and wanted to reveal it to his sons, saying, “Gather around and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days,” however, as soon as he said that, the end was concealed from him and he was not able to reveal it.
Of all Biblical figures, Daniel is the one who stands out the most in his wish to know “the secret end” but, the answer he receives is in the form of a cryptic riddle and he says, “These things are closed and sealed until the time of the end of days.” The sages even warned against trying to calculate the date of the redemption with the sharp statement, “Those who calculate ‘ends’ should breathe their last breath!” Nonetheless, many great sages throughout Jewish history have occupied themselves with this “dangerous” occupation. An example of a sage who was opposed to such calculations is Maimonides who explains in his writings why it is not necessary to calculate the date of the final redemption, and might even be detrimental to do so, because it encourages false messiahs and may result in dismal disappointment. Nonetheless, in that very same treaties Maimonides offers his own calculation of the date of the final redemption, as if he just couldn’t help himself… From the opposite perspective, knowledge of when the redemption will arrive can be encouraging and strengthen our faith and our anticipation of better times, and can motivate us to make a proactive effort to help it happen more quickly.
Many such predictions of the date of the final Redemption have already been and gone, and we have arrived at the 5775th year since the world’s creation and Mashiach has not yet come. But, if we do things right, this year could be a very auspicious one. It might even be the year of the final redemption!
Generally speaking, there are a number of Kabbalistic and Chassidic writings that claim that there are verses in Exodus that allude to the date of the final redemption. However, particularly remarkable for us this year, is the tradition that Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi (over two centuries ago) said that this verse alludes to this year, 5775.
The verse states, “And out of the one thousand seven hundred and five and seventy [shekels], he made hooks for the pillars; and he covered their tops and banded them.” How does this verse relate to the date of the final redemption?
The way this allusion is deciphered is as follows: the number that appears in the verse, 1775, relates to the millennium that followed the destruction of the Second Temple (which took place in the fourth millennium, in year 3828). The Zohar states clearly that this millennium—years 4000 to 5000—is one thousand years in which the Jewish People is “in the dust.” Adding another 775 years to this calculation, we reach this year, 775 years into the sixth millennium, 5775.
From our position at this stage in time, it becomes clear retroactively how the irregular order of the numbers in the verse are perfectly aligned with our history: first comes “The one thousand”—the first millennium of exile (4000-5000); then “and seven hundred,” another seven centuries until the year 5700 (1939-1940) in which the terrible holocaust began; “and five”—alluding to the five years of the holocaust (5700-5705), which was a time when God concealed His providence for the Jewish People; “and seventy”—these are the seven decades since the holocaust to our present day (5775), which with God’s help should be the year of redemption. All that is left to say is “Amen! May it be God’s will.”