Day 5: AWAITING MOSHIACH
Updated: May 31, 2020
“The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though he tarry wait for him, for it will surely come… it will not be late!” (Chavakuk 2:3)
“Therefore wait for Me, says Hashem, for the day that I rise …” (Tzefania 3:8)
Waiting for Mashiach, anticipating his coming, is not simply a virtue but a Torah obligation. Rambam thus rules that whoever does not believe in and whoever does not await (eagerly looking forward to) the coming of Mashiach, in effect denies the whole Torah, all the Neviim beginning with Moshe Rabbeinu.
In the popular formulation of his thirteen Ikrei Emunah this is put as follows:“I believe with complete faith in the coming of Mashiach. Though he tarry, nonetheless I await him every day, that he will come.”
Some Poskim view this principle as an integral part of the first Dibrah, “Anochi Hashem Elokecha asher hotzeisicha mei’eretz mitzrayim.” The Midrash teaches that Anochi is a roshei teivos for four pesukim about the days of Moshiach.
In view of this halachic obligation to await Mashiach, therefore, one of the first questions an individual is asked limaalah is, “Tzipita liyishu’ah?”
To believe in the coming of Mashiach and to await it are two separate concepts. “To believe” is to affirm as a principle of Torah that Mashiach will come eventually, whenever that may be. “To await” means an active and eager anticipation of the Geulah, that it occur speedily: “I await him every day…,” literally:
The Chafetz Chaim teaches: “In ikvesa deMeshicha when the time arrives for the glory of Hashem to be revealed in the world through the coming of Mashiach Tzidkeinu, there will surely be Gedolei Yisroel… who will urge the Yidden to strengthen their Emunah… and to prepare themselves with teshuvah and maasim tovim for the coming of Mashiach…
“In those days there will also be people of little faith who will not believe those words… each one will argue that he does not question the truth of the possibility of the Geulah, but merely doubts the time of the Geulah as to when it will occur…
“One is to consider every day that perhaps he will come that day… [If one does not sense it this way] it follows that the belief in the coming of Moshiach is extremely weak. All our talk about Moshiach Tzidkeinu is but outwardly, while our heart is not with us…”
The need to await and hope for the redemption is addressed especially to Talmidei Chachamim, as Hashem rebukes them: “Though the words of the Torah are beloved unto you, you did not do right in awaiting My Torah but not (the restoration of) My Kingdom.” (Pesikta Rabaty 35:2)
In the daily Amidah we daven: “Es tzemach Dovid Avdecha meheira tatzmiach, vekarno tarum biyeshuasecha, ki liyeshuascha kivinu kol hayom…” The last phrase, “ki liyeshuascha kivinu” – ‘for we hope for Your salvation’ seems strange: what kind of reasoning is that? If we justly deserve the Geulah, we shall merit it even without that hope; if we do not deserve it, of what avail will that hope be?
The Sefer Tzemach Dovid explains that even if we lack zchusim, because of our hope and anticipation of the Geulah – kivinu – we deserve to be redeemed.