Day 4: GEULAH CORNER
Updated: May 31, 2020
The twelfth of the Rambam’s 13 Ikrei Emunah is: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Mashiach. Even if he delays, I will wait every day for him to come.”
Yet for many, a little gnawing voice of doubt whispers, “But we’ve been waiting for thousands of years… why today? How today?”
Indeed, if we think of Geulah as a sudden, out-of-nowhere miraculous transformation, it may be difficult to anticipate it finally happening – now. Yet the Geulah is in fact a gradual process. And if we only open our eyes, the signs are everywhere that the world is at the cusp of the miraculous era our ancestors dreamed about.
One prime example is the progress that has been made toward eradicating world hunger.
The Rambam, in his Mishne Torah, describes the Days of Moshiach:
“Ube’oso hazman lo yih’yeh sham lo ra’av…” – “At that time, there will be no hunger…”
For millennia, from the day Adam Harishon was sent out of Gan Eden and told “b’zeias apecha tochal lechem,” people lived on the edge of starvation. Multiple family members worked from dawn till dusk to produce enough food to feed their families – and even in good times, this was not sufficient. Between bad harvests and war, most people experienced severe hunger during their lifetimes – and even in the last century, millions died from it.
In 1968, an “overpopulation” alarmist famously predicted that “The battle to feed all of humanity is over… hundreds of millions of people will starve to death...” Yet in the last 50 years, the population of the world has more than doubled. Over the same time period, the average global food supply per person per day has risen by more than 27 percent.
Today, famine has almost disappeared. According to recent estimates of the United Nations, food supply in only two out of 173 countries surveyed stood below 2,000 calories per person per day in 2017. In fact, even in developing countries, today there is such an abundance of food that obesity has become a significant concern.
According to data from the UN, as recently as 1992, over a quarter of the world’s population was undernourished. Today, this number stands at around 11 percent – and many of these are less severely malnourished than in the past. The UN has actually set a global target to “end hunger by 2030.”
Several monumental developments have contributed to these miraculous statistics. Agricultural production is at an all-time high worldwide due to innovative technology, and food has been getting cheaper. Humanity has grown richer and can afford to buy more food. Communications and transport have massively improved and it is now possible to deliver food aid anywhere in the world in a relatively short time. And globalization and trade ensure that food can be purchased by anyone, anywhere.
It is easy to be cynical. But if we will open our eyes, we will see that the words of the Rambam are becoming a reality.