This Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah 11a tells us that in Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will be redeemed, may it be His will. The Gemara in Nazir (43) says that if one says that he will become a nazir on the day that Ben Dovid comes he is prohibited from drinking wine from then on (because Ben Dovid can come any day and he must assume that he could come each and every day). The Shaagas Aryeh (Turei Even Rosh Hashanah 11b) asks, why does one become a nazir immediately? He should only become a nazir in Nissan if that’s when the geulah will occur.
The Sha’agas Aryeh answers based on a Gemara in Sanhedrin 98a that points out a contradiction in a pasuk in Yeshayah (60:22). The pasuk says in reference to the geulah, “b’ita – in its time,” and then, in the same pasuk, “achishena – I will hasten it.” The Gemara resolves the contradiction by saying that if we are zocheh, Hashem will hasten the geulah; if we are not zocheh, it will come in its time.
The Shaagas Aryeh explains that the Gemara that says that we will be redeemed in Nissan is referring to the set time for the geulah, which is in Nissan. However, Mashiach can actually come any month of the year, on any day.
This is also the understanding of the Ani Ma’amin in which we state that we believe that Mashiach can come any day. How can we say that we are waiting for Mashiach in any month other than Nissan? The answer is that while Nissan is the designated time for the geulah, it can still come on any day.
What is the difference between Mashiach coming at the designated time and his arrival on any other day?
Perhaps the difference is how difficult it will be for us to merit the geulah. We know that one of the ways in which Hashem runs the world is by creating the “healing agent before the sickness.” Rav Naftali Trop, zt”l, explains that Hashem acts in this way in order for it to be easier for us to obtain the healing agent, or redemption. If we were in a predicament that required Hashem to create a refuah, or create a new redemption catalyst, it would require many more merits. Therefore, Hashem creates the refuah before sending the punishment, thereby lowering the amount of merits necessary to bring the preexisting refuah. Similarly, when it is the time that is set for the geulah, fewer merits will be required to bring it about.
On a similar note, I recall that, toward the end of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum’s life, when he was very weak, we had asked him if he would give a chaburah in the afternoon in addition to the hour-and-a-half long shiur he gave every morning. He responded that he “didn’t want to be matri’ach the Eibishter too much.”
We see from the Gemara that Hashem built in to the natural process of the world that Nissan is a time for geulah. Therefore, it is not “asking for as much” from Hashem when we daven for the geulah in Nissan.
The Gemara compares the coming of Mashiach to childbirth, where there are often stillbirths and losses. There have been many “b’eitos,” i.e. due dates, that have produced stillbirths in the past. As we near the next “due date” of the month of Nissan, may we be zocheh to the birth of a new era – that of the coming of Mashiach tzidkeinu, b’meheirah b’yameinu, amen.