Waiting For Mashiach
By Tzvi Fishman
7/9/2007, 12:00 AM
Tzvi FishmanBefore making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter....
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Only an infant expects his desires to be gratified immediately. He wants his bottle now! He wants his rattle now! If he doesn’t get it, he screams, he hollers, he cries.
"I want my bottle now!"
Sometimes, when a child gets to be an adult, he still wants everything handed to him on a silver platter now, without having to do any work. For instance, some big babies demand Peace Now! To get their way, they are willing to do the most self-destructive things, like surrendering their homeland to the enemy and give them guns which end up killing Jews.
There are also people who want Mashiach Now! While the wish for Mashiach’s coming is a praiseworthy thing, these people don’t realize that Mashiach’s coming is a process that evolves over time. These people want everything to be finished at the start. They say that when Mashiach comes and does all the work of rebuilding the Land of Israel, and gathers all of the exiled Jews, and fights the wars of Hashem, and rebuilds the Beit HaMikdash, then they will come on aliyah. First everything has to be perfect. It doesn’t matter to them that someone has to warm the water and prepare the formula, they want their bottle now!
The Talmud speaks of “Tzaddikim who do not believe” (Sotah 48B). Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook explained that there were people at the time of the Second Temple who complained about the situation in their time, when Israel returned from exile yet didn’t achieve the greatness of the past and the exalted level of the First Temple. In their eyes, the Second Temple was an affront. They would weep and express reservation and scorn, declaring, “This is the Temple?” The Prophets rebuked them for their attitude, saying, “For who has despised the day of small things?” The Talmud answers: “The smallminded among them who didn’t have faith in the Almighty” (Ibid). You are disbelievers, the Prophets told them. The L-rd is returning His children to Israel, and yet you complain?
In our time too, Rabbi Kook taught, there are “tzaddikim” who criticize the Almighty for the way that He is returning the Jewish People to Zion. There are those who even say that what is happening now is the work of the Satan. Somehow they forget that everything that happens is from the Holy One Blessed Be He. Is it the Satan who has gathered millions of Jews from all over the world to Israel? Is it the Satan who has made the Land bloom after having laid fallow for two thousand years? Is it the Satan who has restored Jewish sovereignty over vast stretches of Eretz Yisrael, and brought about miraculous victories in war, and rebuilt Jerusalem, and made Israel the Torah center of the entire Jewish world? And still these people complain. They want everything perfect now! They want everything complete without having to lend a hand in the work.
It is true that babies dirty their diapers, and teenagers do all kinds of things that they shouldn’t do, and yes, even adults will make an occasional mistake. But is this a reason to throw the baby into the trash, or kick the teenager out of the house, or burn the adult at the stake? The fact is that there are problems in Israel, the fact is that not everything is perfect with the government, the fact that not everyone is religious, and the fact is that Mashiach hasn’t come. But is this a reason to throw out the baby?
Only an infant thinks this way. In Israel, we believe in G-d and thank Him for the gift of the renewed Jewish State. At the same time, we understand that rebuilding a nation it is a colossal undertaking and that there are problems along the way. That’s why we are working hard and trying to improve everything we can. We realize that building is a slow process. What can we do? A large chunk of our work force is missing.