LESSON 18: HEIGHTENED ANTICIPATION
Any individual who does not believe in [the coming of Moshiach], or does not await his arrival, is rejecting not only the prophets, but the Torah and Moses, too—for the Torah promises us regarding his arrival (Deuteronomy 30:3-5): "G‑d, your G‑d, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you... Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens... G‑d, your G‑d, will bring you [to the land which your forefathers possessed]."
—Maimonides Laws of Kings 11:1
We await the coming of Moshiach because we look forward to finally having peace and reaping the rewards of our millennia-long exile toil. But the Messianic Era isn't all about us and our benefit—it's primarily about a world set right, a world that will be a reflection of its Creator, a world where the rights and wrongs of the Torah are self-evident truths. Until Moshiach comes, Judaism is simply a "religion," seemingly relegated to its houses of worship, the tomes which preach its laws and ideologies, and the lives of its faithful adherents. During the Messianic Era, however, the truths of the Torah will be as self-evident as the laws of gravity and mathematics.
Hence, in a deeper sense, belief in the Redemption is belief in the supreme truth of the Torah. The belief that the world was created by G‑d who used the Torah as His blueprint, and that the day will come when this truth will be patently obvious.
Furthermore, as Maimonides mentions, it is not sufficient to merely believe in the coming of Moshiach, it is also of primary importance to "await his arrival." For it is clear that one who does not yearn for Moshiach's arrival is demonstrating a lack of belief too. Is it conceivable for one to believe that such a magnificent era will indeed be arriving and not eagerly await that day?
Yearning for the Redemption is of such importance that according to the Talmud (Shabbat 31a), one of the very first questions a soul is asked when facing the Heavenly Court is: "Did you yearn for the Salvation?" The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Psalms 736) says that "if the Jewish people have no merit other than their yearning for Redemption—they are worthy of being redeemed for that alone!"
Our nation has yearned for and awaited the Redemption for nearly 2,000 years now. The anticipation, however, reached a fevered pitch in recent years, and we must only increase in acts of goodness and kindness in order to be worthy to greet our redeemer.
We can prepare ourselves for Redemption by beginning to "live with Moshiach,"—living a life that is dominated by the values that will characterize the Messianic Era. One primary way this is accomplished is through studying about the Messianic Era. Studying about it makes it a reality in our lives, and allows us to live a life of redemption even in these last moments before we witness the complete and true redemption.