A Clear Messianic Sign

Q: Is this the order of Redemption - the establishment of agricultural settlements, and after this, the ingathering of the exiles?

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Q: When will the Messiah come?

A: It is known that our sages rebuked one who engages in messianic calculations: "Blasted be the bones of those who calculate the end!" (Sanhedrin 97b) They will announce the coming of the Messiah, but in vain, and the disappointment causes a horrible break with faith.

Q: Then when the Messiah arrives, we will not greet him?

A: This is a different question. After he arrives, we will know. The Rambam writes that we will not know these matters until they occur (Hilchot Melachim 12:2). After they occur, however, we will obviously know. When two students came and asked our rabbi, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah HaCohen Kook, when the Messiah will come, he responded with a smile: 'He has already arrived a little.'

Q: What does "he has already arrived a little" mean? He either arrived or he did not.

A: There is also a possibility that he will come "slowly, slowly," gradually, in stages.

Q: If so, what is this "a little"?

A: This matter is explained by the prophet Yechezkel (Ezekiel). In an extremely special passage, he prophecies in the name of Hashem to the mountains and the valleys.

Q: How is it possible to speak to mountains?

A: Why not? The Master of the Universe is concerned about the mountains of Israel. The Shechinah (Divine Presence) is distressed when the enemy rules over them. The Shechinah is distressed when they are destroyed and desolate. The Shechinah is distressed when they are mocked and scorned by the non-Jews. Therefore, when the time arrives, the Master of the Universe will act with great zealousness for the Land, and will decide that from now on, these things will change and the non-Jews who are around will suffer their disgrace (Yechezkiel 36).

Q: That is to say, their lands will be desolate?

A: Actually, no, rather our Land will bloom. "But you mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people of Israel; for they will soon be coming." (Yechezkiel 36:8) If the Land is green, this is a sign that Hashem decided to bring salvation for His nation. And, blessed is Hashem, our Land is green both on this side of the "Green Line" and on the other side.

Q: This verse is sufficient to be a clear sign of the Redemption?

A: This is what our sages stated: "You have no revealed End [clearer] than this, as it says: 'And you mountains of Israel....'" (Sanhedrin 98a)

Q: Why the blooming of the desolate in particular? There are many other important matters.

A: But this is the first matter. "Not by bread alone does a man live," (Devarim 8:3) but the essential is the bread. Rashi (Sanhedrin, ibid.) explains: "When the Land of Israel will generously give her fruit, then the End will approach." And soon will be established "for they will soon be coming." Jews are able to come, since there is food to eat.

Q: Is this the order of Redemption - the establishment of agricultural settlements, and after this, the ingathering of the exiles?

A: Precisely. Thus, the order of the Shemoneh Esrei [prayer] was fixed. After "a blessing on the face of the earth," comes "sound the great shofar for our freedom, raise the banner to gather our exiles." Thus, our sages explain (Megillah 17b).

Q: If so, why aren't there the same reservations towards this sign as towards those who calculate the End?

A: This is not an End for which we wait in a passive fashion, this is an End that we create, in our fulfillment of the Torah commandment of settling the Land; and in this, we are emissaries of the Holy One, Blessed be He.

Q: This means that we bring the coming of the Messiah?

A: Indeed. The midrash of our sages is known: if you are planting a sapling and they inform you that the Messiah is coming, plant first and greet him afterwards (Avot DeRebbe Natan, Shechter Edition, chap. 1, version b). Is the Messiah not more important than a sapling? Rather, these are not two separate matters here. By planting a sapling, you will greet the Messiah!

Q: But a person can claim and state that these are merely trees and just agriculture, and there is no connection between this and the Messiah.

A: The prophet came precisely because of this! He is not talking specifically about upper worlds, but about those matters that the eyes of everyone see. Those trees, that agriculture. The difference is what they see in them: merely trees, or the shining light of the Redemption of Zion, and a Divine command to redeem the Nation of Israel.

[From She'al Na (Please Ask) #3 - "Questions from Children".]