Source Texts about Moshiach (Messiah)

white printer paper
Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash

In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth… and the spirit of G-d hovered over the waters…

Genesis 1:1-2

(“The spirit of G-d hovered” — this is the spirit of Moshiach – Midrash Rabbah).

And G-d saw all that He made, and behold, it is very good.

Genesis 1:31

All His work, which G-d created (for man) to develop.

Genesis 2:3

They shall build for Me a sanctuary and I shall dwell amongst them.

Exodus 25:8

You will cross the Jordan and settle the land which G-d is giving you as an inheritance. He will give you rest from all your enemies which surround you, and you will dwell secure. Then there shall be a place which G-d shall choose to cause His name to dwell therein…

There you shall seek Him…

– Deuteronomy 12:10-11; 12:5

“You will return to the L-rd your G-d…

And the L-rd your G-d shall return with your returnees… and He will return and gather you from all the nations amongst whom the L-rd your G-d has scattered you…”

“If your outcasts shall be at the ends of the heavens, from there will the L-rd your G-d gather you, from there He will take you… [He] will bring you into the Land which your fathers have possessed and you will possess it, and he will do you good and multiply you, more than your fathers…

[He] will circumcise your heart (remove its coarse covering, make it receptive to G-dliness) … to love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul…

G-d will again rejoice over you… for you shall hearken to the voice of G-d… to keep His commandments and statues which are written in this book of the Torah…

– Deuteronomy 30:2-10

It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mount of the house of G-d shall be established atop the mountains, and be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall stream to it.

And many nations will go, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of G-d, to the house of the G-d of Jacob; and he (Moshiach) will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.” For from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.

And he (Moshiach) will judge between nations, and decide among the peoples.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword upon nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

– Isaiah 2:2-4

There shall come forth a shoot out of the stem of Yishai, a branch shall grow from his roots. The spirit of G-d shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of G-d… Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his reins.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid… the cow and the bear will graze… the lion will eat straw as the ox… the suckling child will play on the cobra’s hole…

For the earth shall be filed with the knowledge of G-d, as the waters cover the sea.

– Isaiah 11:1-9

No longer shall your Master be cloaked; your eyes will behold your Master.

The glory of G-d will be revealed. And all flesh will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken.

– Isaiah 30:20; 40:5

I have given you a national covenant: to be a light unto the nations.

– Isaiah 42:6

I will set my Torah in their innards and write it upon their hearts…

– Jeremiah 31:32

I will take you from the nations, gather you from the countries and bring you to your land… From all your contaminations, from all your idols, I will cleanse you.

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will place within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

I will place My spirit within you.

– Ezekiel 36:24-27

I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant… and I shall set My dwelling in their midst for evermore.

– Ezekiel 37:26

I will no longer hide my face from them.

– Ezekiel 39:29

I shall pour forth my spirit upon all flesh.

– Joel 3:1

Behold, days are coming, says G-d, when I will send a famine upon the earth; not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but to hear the word of G-d.

– Amos 8:11

For then I shall turn to the nations a pure tongue, that all shall call upon the name of G-d to serve Him as one.

– Zephaniah 3:9

I shall remove evil from the world.

– Zechariah 13:2

And G-d shall be king over the entire world; on that day, G-d will be one, and His name, one.

– Zechariah 14:9

Behold, I am sending you Elijah the prophet, before the great and awesome day of G-d will come. He will restore the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.

– Malachi 3:23-24

I am sleeping but my heart is awake.

– Song of Songs 5:2

(This refers to the state of galut. -Midrash Rabbah)

The voice of my beloved, behold he has come, leaping over the mountains, skipping over the hills… Behold, he is standing behind our wall, watching through the windows, peering through the cracks… Arise my loved one, my fair one, and go forth! For behold, the winter is over, the rain is over and gone. The blossoms have appeared on earth, the time of singing has arrived, and the voice of the guide is heard in the land!”

– Song of Songs 2:8-12

From the Supernal One cannot emerge both evil and good.

Lamentations 3:38

(Thus the “evil” we encounter is but the concealment of good. -Chassidic teaching)

{mospagebreak title=Liturgy}See our pain, wage our battle, and redeem us, speedily, for the sake of Your name…

Sound the great shofar for our redemption, raise a banner to gather our exiles; gather us from the four corners of the earth to our land…

Restore our judges as of yore, and our advisers as before. Remove from us sadness and sighing. Reign over us, You, G-d, alone, with kindness and compassion, with righteousness and justice…

Return to Your city, Jerusalem, with mercy, and dwell within her, as You have promised. The throne of Your servant, David, in her establish, and rebuild her, soon, in our days, as an everlasting edifice…

The offshoot of David, Your servant, may you speedily sprout forth… for we await Your salvation all day long…

Find favour, G-d, with Your nation Israel, and turn to their prayers. Restore the service to the chambers of Your home…

May our eyes behold Your merciful return to Zion. Blessed are You G-d, Who restores His Shechinah to Zion.

– from the daily Amidah prayer

Therefore, we await you, G-d, to soon see the glory of Your power… To remove the idols from earth… To perfect the world through the sovereignty of G-d, so the all flesh will call in Your name…

May all dwellers of earth recognize and know: before You shall bend every knee, before You shall swear every tongue.

– from the daily Oleinu prayer

{mospagebreak title=Talmud}On the day that the Holy Temple was destroyed, a Jew was plowing his field when his cow suddenly called out. An Arab was passing by and heard the call of the cow. Said the Arab to the Jew: “Son of Judah! Unyoke your cow, free the stake of your plow, for your Holy Temple has now been destroyed.” The cow then called a second time. Said the Arab to the Jew: “Son of Judah! Yoke your cow, reset the stake of your plow, for Moshiach has now been born.”

Said Rabbi Bon: “Do we need to learn this from an Arab? The Torah itself says so. The verse predicts “The great tree shall be felled by the mighty one.” And what is written immediately following? “There shall come forth a shoot out of the stem of Yishai…”

Jerusalem Talmud, Brachot 2:4

In the future era of Moshiach G-d will slaughter the inclination for evil.

Talmud, Sukah 52a

The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai marked the betrothal of G-d and Israel. The rebuilding of the Holy Temple will consummate the marriage.

Talmud, Taanit 26b

Wherever the Jewish people are exiled, G-d is exiled with them; and when they will be redeemed, G-d, too, will be redeemed along with them. As it is written: G-d shall return with your returnees…”

Talmud, Megilla 29a

A person does not commit a sin unless a spirit of insanity enters into him.

Talmud, Sotah 3a

Says G-d: “I have created the inclination for evil, and I have created the Torah as its antidote.”

Talmud Kiddushin 30b

One who marries a woman with the understanding and on the condition that he is a perfectly righteous individual, even if he is utterly wicked, the marriage may be valid. For with a single repenting thought he may have completely transformed himself.

Talmud, Kiddushin 49b

All deadlines for the coming of Moshiach have come and gone – the thing depends solely on our returning to G-d.

Talmud, Sanhedrin 97b

{mospagebreak title=Midrash}G-d desired a dwelling place within the physical existence.

Midrash Tanchuma, Naso 16

The Torah says: “I was the tool of G-d’s artistry.” An architect who builds a palace does not do so on his own: he has scrolls and notebooks which he consults how to place the rooms, where to set the doors. So it was with G-d: He looked into the Torah and created the world.

Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit 1:2

Said Moses: “Who can build Him a sanctuary?” Said G-d: “I ask not according to My capacity but according to their capacity.”

Midrash Rabbah Bamidbar 12

When a person builds a house, he makes the windows narrow on the outside and wider within. But when King Solomon built the Holy Temple he made the windows narrow within and wide without, so that its light should emanate to the outside…

Midrash Rabbah Bamidbar 15

In the future era of Moshiach, if a person would go pick a fig on Shabbos, it will cry out: “Do not pick me! Today is Shabbat!”

Midrash Tehillim 73

{mospagebreak title=Zohar}G-d looked into the Torah and created the world. Man looks into Torah and sustains the world.

Zohar (vol. II, p. 161b)

There was once a king who had a only son whom he loved very much. One day, the king said: “I want to bring to light the goodness of my son.” So he summoned a harlot, and said to her: “Go entice my son to sin.”

Great is the merit of this harlot, in two respects: she fulfills the command of the king, and she causes the virtue of the prince to be revealed through his rejection of her.

This is the meaning of the Midrash’s interpretation of the verse “And G-d saw all that He made, and behold, it is very good.” “Good,” says the Midrash, is man’s inclination for good; “very good,” this is the inclination for evil. For it is the challenge of evil which brings the potential good of man into actuality.

Zohar (vol. II, p. 163a)

{mospagebreak title=Maimonides & Nachmonides }Every man should view himself as equally balanced: half good and half evil. Likewise, he should see the entire world as half good half evil… So that with a single good deed he will tip the scales for himself, and for the entire world, to the side of good.

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance 3:4).

If the law mandates that a person grant his wife a divorce, and he refuses, a Jewish court, in any time or place, may beat him until he says “I am willing” and writes the writ of divorce. This is a valid divorce [despite the fact that, according to Torah law, a divorce must be granted willingly] … Why? Because an act is not considered to be “coerced” unless the person has been forced to do something which he is not morally obligated by the Torah; for example, one who has been forced to sell or give away his property. But one who has been overpowered by his evil inclination to negate a mitzvah or to commit a transgression, and was forced to do what is right, he is not considered “coerced”-on the contrary, it is his evil character which has forced him, against his true will, in the first place.

Thus, this individual who refuses to grant a divorce, in truth, wishes to be of Israel, and wishes to observe all of the commandments and to avoid all of the transgressions of the Torah. It is only that his evil inclination has overpowered him. So if he is beaten so that his evil inclination is weakened, and he says: “I am willing,”-he has willingly divorced.

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Divorce 2:20).

The Melech HaMoshiach (“anointed king”) is destined to arise and restore the kingdom of David to its glory of old, to its original sovereignty. He will build the Holy Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. In his times, all laws (of the Torah) will be reinstated as before; the sacrifices will be offered, the Sabbatical year and the Jubilee year instituted as outlined in the Torah.

Whoever does not believe in him or does not anticipate his coming, denies not only the other prophets but also the Torah and Moses. For the Torah testifies about him: “G-d shall return with your captivity and have compassion upon you. and He will return and gather you from all the nations amongst whom the L-rd your G-d has scattered you… If your outcasts shall be at the ends of the heavens, from there will the L-rd your G-d gather you, from there He will take you… G-d will bring you…” These explicit words of the Torah encapsulate all that has been said (concerning Moshiach) by the prophets…

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 11:1).

Should there arise a king from the house of David, one who studies the Torah and fulfills its precepts… who will prevail upon all of Israel to follow it and repair its breaches, and will wage the battle of G-d – he is presumed to be Moshiach. If he did so and was successful, and he built the Holy Temple on its site and gathered the dispersed of Israel – he is certainly Moshiach. He will (then) correct the entire world to serve G-d together, as is written: “For then I shall turn to the nations a pure tongue, that all shall call upon the name of G-d to serve Him as one.”

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 11:4).

The sages and the prophets did not crave the era of Moshiach in order to rule over the world… or to eat, drink and rejoice, only so that they be free for Torah and its wisdom and be rid of any oppressor and disrupter…

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 12:4).

And at that time there will be no hunger or war, no jealousy or rivalry. For the good will be plentiful, and all delicacies available as dust. The entire occupation of the world will be only to know G-d… Israel will be of great wisdom; they will perceive the esoteric truths and comprehend their Creator’s wisdom as is the capacity of man. As it is written: “For the earth shall be filed with the knowledge of G-d, as the waters cover the sea…”

– Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 12:5).

The culmination and goal of all prophecies is the coming of Moshiach; as our sages have stated: “All the prophets prophesied only concerning the days of Moshiach.”

Nachmonides (in his Book of Redemption)

We await the redemption not in order to eat of the fruit of the land and bathe in the hot springs of Tiberias, but in the hope to attain the closeness of G-d, to be in His Sanctuary with His priests and prophets; so that we shall be pervaded by purity and holiness, being in the Chosen Land with His presence dwelling amongst us. Thus we will be able attain far more than we are capable of today, exiled among nations which corrupt us and with the impurity and contamination within us. For then, in the days of Moshiach, the evil inclination will be destroyed, and we will comprehend the truth as it is. This, and things much deeper and esoteric than what I have related, is the basis of our desire and longing for Moshiach…

Nachmonides (in his Book of Redemption)

{mospagebreak title=Classic Sources}What we do today, can accomplish more than what was attained by all the great generations who came before us. We are like a midget who stands on the shoulders of a giant.

Rabbi Tzidkiah dei Mansi (introduction to his Shibolei Haleket)

The Jewish people has been exiled in order that the nations of the world may thereby learn of the existence of G-d and of His providence over the affairs of man.

Rabbeinu B’chayei

There is an important dichotomy between the environment required to serve G-d, and that required for the satisfaction and reward for such service. In order to attain the maximum of accomplishment, one must obey G-d’s will in an environment which represents the maximum challenge in doing what is right. It must therefore be an environment in which neither G-d Himself, nor the divine nature of His commandments are obvious. On the other hand, the divine truth must be obvious and revealed in the environment where man is to enjoy the fruit of his deeds.

To resolve this dichotomy, G-d created two levels to existence. He created the present world, with its concealment of His truth, the possibility of “evil”, and the free choice of man, as the ultimate arena for challenge and accomplishment. He also created the “world to come” as the world of ultimate reward, the environment in which the nature of our positive accomplishments will be realized and appreciated.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Derech Hashem 1:3:4)

Every day, something of the redemption is realized.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz (Shaloh 251a)

{mospagebreak title=The Chassidic Masters}Every soul possesses a spark of the soul of Moshiach.

– Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (quoted in Meor Einayim)

“…I asked Moshiach: “Sir, when will you come?” and he answered me: “When your teachings will be publicized and revealed in the world and your wellsprings will spread to the outside…”

– Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (In a letter to his brother-in-law, Rabbi Gershon Kitiver)

Our sages have said that “the purpose of the creation of this world is that G-d desired to have an abode in the lower worlds.”

Obviously, concerning Him the distinction of “upper” (spiritual) and “lower” (physical) has no meaning or validity, for He pervades all realms of existence equally.

The explanation of the matter, however, is as follows:

Before the world was created He was one alone, one and unique, filling all the “space” of (what was later to be termed) reality. Insofar as He is concerned, it is still the same now. For the “change” brought about by creation relates only to those on the receiving end of the life-force He infuses into creation, which they receive through many “garments” or “filters” which conceal and obscure the divine essence of reality. Without these “garments” they would be unable to exist, as it is written, “For no man can see Me and live.” This applies equally to the physical creations and to the loftiest of angels and spiritual existences.

This is the concept of hishtalshelut, the downward gradation of the worlds and their descent, degree by degree, through a multitude of “garments” which screen the light and life that emanate from Him, until there was created this material and gross world, the lowest in degree, of which there is none lower in regard to the concealment of His manifest reality. A world of doubled and redoubled darkness, so much that it even contains “evil” – elements which oppose the reality of G-d, saying: “I am, and there is nothing else besides me.”

Clearly, the purpose of the hishtalshelut of the worlds and their descent, degree by degree, is not for the sake of the “higher” spiritual worlds, for they constitute a descent from the light of His manifest presence. The ultimate purpose of creation is this lowest world, precisely because of its “lowliness”. For such was G-d’s desire: that the negative be subdued and the darkness transformed into light.

For this purpose, G-d gave the Torah to Israel. Torah is the means by which the reality of G-d is integrated into one’s physical existence so that he will] retain his existence and not be nullified by the light of G-d which will be revealed in the future era of Moshiach, unobscured by any “garments”. As it is written: “No longer shall your Master be cloaked (meaning, no longer shall He conceal Himself by the means of any cloak or garment), your eyes will behold your Master“; “For they shall see eye to eye, when G-d returns to Zion“; and “G-d shall be your everlasting light.”

The era of Moshiach is the fulfillment and culmination of the creation of the world, for which purpose it was originally created.

Something of this revelation has been experienced once before on earth — at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. As it is written: “To you it has be shown, to know that the Lord is G-d; there is nought else beside Him”: it has be shown – G-dliness was then perceived with physical vision. Our sages have also told us: “They looked eastwards and heard the words issuing forth: ‘I Am the Lord your G-d…’; and so it was when they turned to all four points of the compass, upwards, and downwards… There was no place from which He did not speak to them.” This, because the Ten Commandments encapsulate the entire Torah, which is the innermost expression of His wisdom and will; and before the Torah, there is no concealment whatsoever of the face of G-d, as it is written: “For by the light of Your countenance You have given us the Torah of life.”

This is why those who stood at Sinai repeatedly expired out of existence, as our sages have taught: “With each Divine utterance their souls took flight… But G-d restored their souls to them with the dew with which He will revive the dead.” – namely, the “dew of Torah” as our sages have referred to the fortitude which Torah gives.

Later, however, sin coarsened both them and the world – until the era of Moshiach, when the physicality of the body and the world will be refined, and we will be able to apprehend the revealed Divine light which will shine forth to Israel by means of the Torah.

The “overflow” of light will illuminate the darkness of all other nations, as well. As it is written: “And thew nation will walk by your light”; “O, house of Jacob, come, let us walk by the light of G-d”; and “The glory of G-d will be revealed. And all flesh will see that the mouth of G-d has spoken”…

Now this culminating fulfillment of the era pf Moshiach -the revelation of the reality of G-d in this material world- depends on our deeds and labor throughout the duration of the galut. For Moshiach is not merely the reward for our fulfillment of the mitzvos, but their result: when a person does a mitzvah, he draws down a flow of divine light into the world, to be suffused and integrated into the material reality…

– Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Tanya, Chapters 36 & 37)

Galut has been compared by the Torah to a state of sleep and dreaming. When a person is awake, his intellect governs his thoughts. But during sleep his imaginings run amok, so that his dreams may contain contradictions and absurdities.

This is the spiritual significance of galut: the divine essence of man’s soul is “asleep”. His priorities are twisted and distorted, and he is blind to the blatant contradictions in his life. He may arouse his heart with a love towards G-d in prayer, a love which ignites his soul with the yearning to divest itself of all material involvements and cleave only to Him, yet soon afterwards he immerses himself in the petty concerns and follies of life…

– Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Torah Or, p. 56)

The duration of the galut is comparable to the fetus’ nine months of incubation in the mother’s womb. The redemption of Moshiach represents the moment of birth.

While in the womb, the fetus possesses all of its organs and limbs, but their function is diminished or non-existent. The body and potential which formed and developed throughout the pregnancy is infused with the breath of life only upon its emergence into the light of day.

– Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Torah Or, p. 109)

A mitzvah performed in galut is comparable to a seed placed in the ground. With the redemption of Moshiach, the seed will break the surface, and grow and flourish.

The seed’s duration of concealment underground is what unleashes its potential to later grow and increase itself many times over. So it is with the mitzvah: it is the process of galut which develops the tremendous potential that is latent in each positive deed.

– Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Likutei Torah on Song of Songs, p. 99)

Once there was a powerfully fortified city which no army could conquer. Many mighty warrior-kings came and went, but none could breach its walls.

On day, there came a king who was determined to conquer the city. Time and again his armies stormed its walls, only to fall back in defeat. Soon the king had not a single soldier left. But then he examined the fortress’ walls and found that they were at the point of collapse. Yet all his brilliant generals and courageous knights were gone. So he raised an army of old men, women and children, and with them, he conquered the city.

– Rabbi Nachman of Breslav

The Talmud states: “The Jewish people were exiled among the nations only for the sake of the converts who will join them.”

The “converts” which the Talmud is referring to are the “sparks of holiness” which were scattered throughout the universe at the time of creation and buried within the material existence. Divine providence has brought the Jew to every point on earth, so that by developing his environment and his using its resources to serve G-d, he would extract these sparks of holiness and unite them with their supernal Source.

There are two ways in which these “sparks” are redeemed. The first is through the above-mentioned process of galut, in which the Jew follows them to the ends of earth in order to elevate them. But with the coming of Moshiach, the soul of every creation will gravitate, on its own accord, to the great light which will emanate from Jerusalem, as sparks are drawn towards a flaming torch.

– Chassidic teaching

It is the experience of men and nations that only the good is stable, while evil tends to destroy itself.

– Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

{mospagebreak title=The Rebbe}Good is eternal. On the other hand, “evil” possesses no true existence, being only the concealment of good. So the evil of the past has long dissipated or has been sublimated and utilized positively, while our generation is in possession of all the good accumulated by all who came before us.

– The Lubavitcher Rebbe

We daily anticipate the coming of Moshiach and the era of global peace and elevated existence he will bring. But some have a basic misunderstanding as to what this new world will bring. They envision their prior lives being wiped out. They wonder: will all that I have built and accomplished, the painstakingly construed business connection and personal relationships, be rendered meaningless?

The word in Hebrew for the ultimate redemption, geulah, implies that the opposite is true. Geulah is comprised of the entire word golah (“exile”) – the word for our present condition – with the addition of the letter alef. This means that the state of geulah includes within it everything positive that our present life in golah consists of, plus. Everything, but with the addition of the element of “alef“.

The “alef” in geulah refers to the “Alef (“Master”) of the World.” The condition of golah allows for the existence of evil and strife: material considerations distort the divine truth and stand between man and his Creator. But every positive deed, word, and thought contributes towards a world which expresses, rather than conceals, the perfect goodness inherent in all that G-d created. In the geulah-era of Moshiach inner good of our present-day lives will come to light.

So the world of Moshiach is not a negation of what we are now. Rather, it is the perfection and enhancement of the very same elements which make up our lives today.

– The Lubavitcher Rebbe

One of the signs cited by the Talmud as an indication of the imminent coming of Moshiach is a generation notorious for its brazenness and audacity: “Chutzpah will increase… youths will shame their elders.. a son will disgrace his father, a daughter will rebel against her mother…”

Since these signs have all been fulfilled, and more then fulfilled, and still the redemption has not yet come, I suggest that we make positive use of the chutzpah with which our generation has been blessed. Let us boldly demand of G-d, in no uncertain terms, that since all deadlines for the redemption have come and gone, He is to immediately send Moshiach. The Almighty will certainly be pleased by our audacity and bring the long-awaited era of universal peace and divine perfection to the world.

– The Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Talmud relates:

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked Moshiach: “When are you coming?”

Replied Moshiach, “Today”.

Later, Rabbi Yehoshua met Elijah the Prophet and complained: “He told me that he is coming today, yet he didn’t come.” Answered Elijah, “This is what he meant: ‘Today, if His voice you will harken.'”

What is the meaning of this seemingly evasive and misleading statement? Does Moshiach engage in diplomatic wordplay?

But Moshiach is conveying an attitude: The Jew knows that the world is inherently good, that the true, intrinsic state of G-d’s creation is the perfect world of Moshiach. He knows that the currently deficient ‘reality’ is superimposed and unnatural. The fact that things have been this way for thousands of years makes it no more genuine or real.

So despite centuries of ‘experience’ to the contrary, The Jew fully and realistically expects Moshiach instantaneously. His response to the question “When is Moshiach coming?” is an unhesitent “Today!” Only if, G-d forbid, a moment passes and somehow Moshiach has not arrived, is he compelled to explain “… if His voice you will harken.” Namely, that G-d desires that the world undergo a process of refinement and elevation before its true, quintessential reality may come to light.

Someone once asked my father in law (the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn): “We are told to stand ready to receive Moshiach, confident that he is indeed coming immediately. Yet at the same time, we are charged with the mission to improve the world. Which state of mind is one to adopt, that of the anticipant believer or that of the pragmatic doer?”

Indeed, the Jew must straddle both worlds. He must adopt two diverse mind-sets side by side. On the one hand, he must bring holiness to a mundane world by working to perfect an imperfect “reality”. In doing this, he deals with conditions as they are. So he formulates budgets, contracts for construction, and plans long-term projects.

At the same time, he anticipates, nay expects, Moshiach’s immediate coming. An instantaneously perfect existence is not only feasible but the most natural thing in the world.

Reprinted with permission from