Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Moshiach: What Happens Then?

The reason we look forward to Moshiach's coming is because we will be able to do Mitzvos then unbothered by the Goyim. Hashem's glory will finally be revealed, and everyone will get the reward due them for their Torah and Mitzvos.
One of the main themes of Rav Chaim Volozhen's Nefesh HaChaim is that we ask Hashem for things not for our sake but for His. The same would apply to wanting Mashiach to come.

However, this is a very high level, and it is perfectly OK for the average person to want payday. When we pray to Hashem for anything, we are not supposed to pray for our sake, but for the sake for the shechinah that suffers when Jews lack something.

Fine. That's a high level. But if someone prays for his own parnasha, refuah, or happiness, that is not self-centered. That is normal. Wanting something for Hashem’s sake is great, but it is not only relevant to Moshiach.

Mitoch shelo lichmah bah lishmah.

When Moshiach comes it's payday. Who doesn't look forward to payday? If you didn't do any work and have nothing to look forward to, then get going! There is still time! But everyone looks forward to when they finally collect for their labors.

When Moshiach comes we will be in Olam Habah. It will literally be "heaven on earth". We will then receive the reward for the Mitzvos we have done in this world. And we will be enjoying the infinite pleasure and happiness that comes as a result of our doing Mitzvos while Moshiach is not yet here.

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In Mitzrayim, only 4\5ths of Bnei Yisrael got redeemed.
Klall Yisroel will be on a lower level when Moshiach comes than when we went out of Egypt, so it is very likely the same thing will happen when moshiach comes. But I do not know that any statistic is given about the Geulah.
Only the Jews who genuinely want the geulah will be redeemed from Golus, and to want the Geulah means to be prepared to be mesiras Nefesh for Hashem and let go of the gashmius of Golus."
Also, even when Moshiach comes, we will not go into Eretz Yisroel and obtain all the privileges immediately. Rather, just as Hashem marched us through the desert from Egypt to Eretz Yisroel, we will once again be marched through the desert again. So those unwilling to go through that grueling experience will not partake in the Geulah either.

Now here's the clarification: Before Moshiach comes, Jews will do teshuva. That is the only definite sign of Moshiach. So IY"H we will have a chance to change ourselves before Moshiach comes.

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Honestly, nobody knows for sure about everything that will happen when Mashiach comes. There are conflicting Chazals about this, and our commentators did not put nearly as much effort into reconciling or "paskening" such issues since really, we don't need to know. We will all find out sooner or later....

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There may be people who won't want to go to Eretz Yisrael after Mashiach comes, and so they won't go, nebach. Because it won't be worth it to them to go. The Raavad says that the Jews will wander in the desert (possibly for 40 years) when Mashiach comes just like they did when they went out of Egypt. During that time, those who are not interested enough in going to E"Y will give up and drop out.

There are also those who will not be resurrected during Techiyas Hameisim (they have no share in Olam Habah). They are listed in the Mishna Sanhedrin.

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If greater generations than ours didn't get to bring Moshiach during their generations, how can we hope to? This question was asked by Rav Chaim Vital to his great Rebbe, the Arizal.

There are two answers to why a lesser generation will deserve Moshiach (which, really, if you think about them, may very well be the same).

One, as the Arizal answered, the energy generated that brings Moshiach is measured relatively. Meaning, one small act in our generation has a much greater impact in Shamayim than an even greater act from a previous, greater generation.

Also, the merits needed to bring Moshiach are accumulative. Every Mitzvah we do contributes to the building of what is called the "Bais HaMikdash shel maalah" - the Bais HaMikdash in Shemayim. Each generation contributes and builds more of it. When it is completed, it will trigger the coming of Moshiach and the building of the Bais HaMikdash down here.

So the previous generations actually helped whichever generation will bring Moshiach, by doing much of the work for them already. All that is left is for some generation to come and contribute the "straw that breaks the camel's back."

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Don't worry about the changes that will take place when Moshiach comes - Hashem says you will enjoy them (if you're ready), so let's trust Him on this. The thing is, when Moshiach comes, those who are not ready are in trouble. Rav Schwab ZT"L wrote an article in the 25th Anniversary Edition of the Jewish Observer, describing a Shabbos he spent in the home of the Chofetz Chaim. He reports that the Chofetz Chaim said then that people mistakenly think when Moshiach comes we will all party. Not so. We will be looking for holes in the floor to crawl into, he said.

"Moshe Rabbeinu is here to inspect us!" we will say. Not everyone will consider that reason to party.

The days of Moshiach, simply put, is the time that our lives on this world end, and we live forever in a different world, imbued with the spiritual energy of Hashem's presence. It's like Olam Habbah - it IS Olam Habbah, actually. So it's like when your time comes to die and you go to Gan Eden, where of course your whole "life" changes. But in this case, the whole wide WORLD gets a new life and continues its existence in a different way.

The days of Moshiach is, according to Rav Saadiah Gaon and others, the time when we get the final reward for the Mitzvos we did in this world. So those who deserve more reward will benefit more from the Yemos HaMashiach.

The idea that Moshiach is a big party is not a Torah idea. Moshiach is really the time to reap the results of our work in this world. The more we worked, the more we get. [See Creation of the world and Reward and Punishment, or simply go directly to Frumteens and search for these topics -taon]

What is great about Moshiach's days is, that whereas currently this world is a world of falsehood and darkness, where evil seems to prosper and vice versa, where suffering seems to prevail, the result of which Hashem's glory is not as appreciated as it should be. When Moshiach comes, the Truth of everything will be revealed, all our suffering will be shown to be Hashem's Goodness, all of the real world will be revealed.

In other words, Hashem's glory will be spread all over the world.

Finally.

And that, more than anything else, is worth looking forward to.

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There are those who indeed hold that our reward is in the "Olam HaNeshomos", as opposed to Moshiach. I am following the first opinion here because it is simpler, plus it is explained at length by the Ramchal who follows it, and therefore it is easier to convey.

The reason why we are rewarded at moshiach's time according to these opinions is that since the physical body did the Mitzvos it must share in the reward.

We would love to grow for as long as we can. When Hashem decides the time for growing is up, he will give us our reward - either in the form of Moshiach or spiritual Gan Eden. But our reward will only come after Hashem has decided that we have had our fair and sufficient chance to grow.

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There is a difference of opinion regarding how each gilgul (reincarnation) will be rewarded. The simplest opinion is that each body only shares part of a Neshomah. But it has its own "personality". Therefore, each of those who shared the Neshomah will be there separately, according to the level that they attained during their individual life.

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There is a disagreement in the Gemora about keeping the Torah after Moshiach. Either Mitzvos will continue but they will not be obligatory but optional, or the Mitzvos will be obligatory then as well.

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The problem is not so much that we don't have the Bais HaMikdash, but more that we don't deserve the Bais HaMikdash. It's like this:

We get reward for doing Mitzvos. The way Mitzvos get us reward is through a process which goes as follows:

1) The Mitzvos we do make our bodies and the world holy. The more Mitzvos we do, the holier our flesh and blood bodies, and the stick-and-stone world becomes. Aveiros do the opposite.

2) When enough people have generated enough Mitzvos, the world will be ready for Moshiach. When Moshiach comes, the spiritual energy that will flood the world then will feel so wonderful, it will be, quite literally, Gan Eden on earth. This is our eternal reward for doing mitzvos. But today, the earth in its current unholy state would not be able to survive the spiritual energy of Moshiach's coming. Our own selves, too. Mitzvos allow us and the world not only to survive, but to benefit forever from the post-Geulah world. Until the world is ready, Hashem will not send Moshiach.

3) The natural way for the Jews to fix the world is from Eretz Yisroel, through the Bais Hamikdash. Imagine the Bais HaMikdash as having spiritual arteries that extend from it all over the world. The Kedushah of Klall Yisroel's Mitzvos go from there all over the world and sanctify it. Bangladesh, Vanuatu, Naui, and Seychelles all get holy because Jews in Eretz Yisroel do Mitzvos. The Bais HaMikdash, the Korbonos, and all our Avodah in Eretz Yisroel, facilitate this.

4) However, the Jews dropped to the level that the energy of their Mitzvos could no longer travel through the arteries of the Bais HaMokdash to all over the world. All Eretz Yisroel does for us in this sense is provide the pipes to transport the holiness generated by our Mitzvos all over the world. If we pollute our souls, then it's useless to have the Bais HaMikdash and Eretz Yisroel because we are too weak to sanctify the world form Eretz Yisroel.

5) When this happens, Hashem sends us into Golus, because we still need to fix the world, but we cannot do it anymore long-distance, from Eretz Yisroel. Now we have to be scattered all over the world for thousands of years to manually make the world holy. All the suffering and pain that we must endure during Golus is our own doing, because we "made our bed" in a way that we cannot use Eretz Yisroel, Bais HaMikdash etc. to do our job in the world, so now we have to "sleep in it" - meaning, run all around the world homeless, fixing it and sanctifying it.

So that's Golus. Like I said, it's not so much that we don’t have the Bais HaMikdash - it's more that we don't deserve it. If we were high enough to be able to sanctify the world from Eretz Yisroel through the Bais HaMikdash, we would be there today. We are in Golus because we are too low to do that.

I think this is a real good reason to be sad, no?

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The Zohar writes that Hashem will build the third Bais Hamikdash, not humans.

The Medrash Rabbah and Yerushalmi, however, say that the third Mikdash will be built by people. That is, Moshiach and his followers.

There are two classic answers to this contradiction:

1) Initially there will be a Bais HaMikdash built by Moshiach, but it will only be temporary. Some time later, the permanent Bais HaMikdash will descend from heaven and will replace the man-made one, which will no longer exist.

2) The Bais HaMikdash will only descend from heaven. But it will happen through the prayers of Moshiach. In that sense, it is considered that Moshiach "built" it.

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There are disagreements as to the order of things when Moshiach comes.

One opinion: First Moshiach will be revealed and reign, then the Bais HaMikdosh will be built.

Another opinion: The nations will command us to build the Bais HaMokdash while we are still in Golus (!) and afterward Moshiach will come.

Still another opinion: First there will be a partial Techiyas HaMaisim, then, when Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon will be with us, the Bais HaMikdash will be built.

Still another: Moshiach will first be revealed, he will then cause all Jews to repent, and only then will he (Moshiach) will reign over us.

...and there are more.

Note: The above opinions, and others as well, do not necessarily disagree. There are different ways Moshiach can come, through different means and from different causes. Many of the above scenarios and more are possible depending on how Hashem decides to bring Moshiach.

And yes, there are opinions that when Moshiach comes we Jews will not be under non-Jewish rulership but beside that the world will still function normally.

Building the Bais HaMikdash is only ONE of the signs of Moshiach. Before that, you will have to "fight Hashem's battles like King David did", and "make all Jews fulfill the Torah", as well as other requirements. You also have to be from Shevet Yehudah.


Whoever is Moshiach is going to know how to build the Bais Hamikdosh, all others won't.

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Moshiach ben Yosef will come before Moshiach (not necessarily "right" before). MB"Y will try to lead Klall Yisroel to straighten themselves out and prepare what needs to be prepared for Moshiach. Klall Yisroel may or may not listen. If they do, Moshoach ben David will come right away. If not, it will have to wait. MB"Y will suffer much pain and at the end die. He will return at Techiyas Hameisim. There are many differing Chazals about this. If you want more info, see Emunos V'Dayos of Rav Saadiah Gaon 8:6 for a short synopsis.

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When Moshiach comes the world will be revealed to everyone according to the way it is, but nowadays, Hashem purposely runs the world in a way that should not appear as if it runs according to reality. Don't judge the world by the way it looks. See the Basic Judaism boards for the whole story.

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When Moshiach comes, you're in the Olam HaEmes, where everyone understands perfectly every motivation everyone had for everything they did. The only reason you are embarrassed to have people know private stuff about you is because they don't really understand you on a deep enough level. This is why you are more willing to tell more private stuff about yourself to people who understand you better. In the Olam HaEmes, we’re all going to be perfectly close with each other, and we will not be embarrassed. At least not because of an invasion of privacy. If we did a sin, we will be embarrassed.

When Moshiach comes, the common soul between all Jews will be revealed and it won't be as if you're prying into someone else's business, but rather as if they and you were in business together and they betrayed you. They will not be embarrassed, because you will be entitled to know what the other person did to your collective Nehsoma. If you do Teshuvah, though, it's erased and not shown.

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HOW G-D RUNS THE WORLD


If you want to understand why something is managed a certain way, you need to first find out what the goal of the whole operation is. Then, after you know the goal, you can determine if the operation is being managed in a way that will cause it to reach its goal.

So let’s first see what the goal of the world is.

As we learned (in the “Basic Judaism” forum), the purpose of Creation was to produce a system that would allow humans to eventually connect to Hashem, enjoying infinite pleasure. By fulfilling the Torah, they sanctify themselves, and are enabled to attach themselves to Hashem’s Light.

What becomes sanctified by fulfilling the Torah is not only the soul, although the soul is what allows the connection. Since the body is also involved in doing Mitzvos, the body becomes holy as well as the Neshoma. The body and the soul together will, one day, be on the level to receive infinite God-pleasure.

This will be in the days of Moshiach.

This is the final goal of the world: That the very physical universe be sanctified, uplifted through Torah and Mitzvos, to the point where Hashem can remove His “cardboard mechitzah” and let His Light shine in to this world, blending the physical and the spiritual, uplifting the physical to the point where it, too, connects to Hashem, and, well, everyone lives happily ever after. Forever.

What makes it possible for physical things to become so spiritual is the fact that in reality, they are spiritual to begin with. As we learned, the entire physical world is merely the result of Hashem hiding from us the Whole Picture. But in and of itself, the physical world is, in reality, a spiritual entity.

The goal, then, is for us to recognize the spiritual in the physical, to identify Hashem everywhere and in everything that happens. Using the physical world for Mitzvos makes this happen. This concept, of recognizing the Unity of the Universe, that EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IS THE ACT OF HASHEM, that everything that IS, is the act of Hashem, DESPITE its physical appearance, is called “Yichud Hashem”.

Yichud Hashem is only possible because Hashem’s light is presently hidden. If the goal is to enable ourselves to recognize Hashem’s hand everywhere, it is not accomplished unless there is an “everywhere”. To be able to recognize Hashem only when He is seen openly is nice, but it will not bring us to the goal of “seeing Hashem everywhere”. The only thing that will bring us to that goal is if we recognize Hashem even when He is hidden. When we can do that, we have accomplished the connection between the physical and the spiritual, broken down the “mechitzah” between this world and the next, and have caused the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Just like past, present, and future are all one, but merely seem to us different because of the “hole in the mechitzah” that limits our awareness, so too everything that happens in the world is 100% in accordance with Hashem’s value system – its just that, part of the plan is, that this kind of Justice is only visible on the Other Side of the mechitzah. On this side, we can see justice no more than we can see past present and future all at once.

So let’s look through that hole in the cardboard. We see a man tied to a table. Standing over him are a half dozen men slicing his flesh with knives. Cutting him slowly. He’s bleeding bad. And nobody stops them. The crowd just watches, with curiosity, every slice of the blades.

We’re watching a sadistic torture crime of the worst kind!

But now make the hole a bit wider. The board on which he is laying is now seen to be an operating table; the men, doctors; the knives, scalpels; the voyeurs, interns and supervisors.

So suddenly, when we see a little more of the picture, it’s not a crime, but a Chesed taking place.

Everything in the world works like that. Everything that happens, happens in a hidden way. Sometimes Hashem’s actions are more hidden than others. Those are called times of “Hester Ponim”. The holocaust was one such time, and so are all times of similarly seemingly defective occurrences. Hester Ponim and Giluy Ponim, when Hashem hides Himself and Shows Himself, depends on His plan to bring the world to a state of Yichud. In other words, we need Hester Ponim in this world, because if we would only have Giluy Ponim, then we could never be able to connect our physical selves to a spiritual Hashem – only when we are able to recognize Hashem even within the state of hiding, have we accomplished our goal, which is connecting to Hashem from within our physical existence.

So Hashem runs the world in a constantly fluctuating state of Hester and Giluy, balanced according to His plans, so that one day, One Day, when we finally reach that level and Hashem is ready to bring Moshiach, when He reveals Himself to the world, when He removes that mechitzah, and we all see, then and there, that everything that happened in the world throughout history was really Hashem’s doing, and it coincides completely with Hashem’s values and goals, and that it just SEEMED differently to us because we did not see the “whole picture” -- when that happens, that ultimate Giluy Ponim, we will then be on the level to appreciate Hashem within the physical, and the world will then and only then, be able to receive the final, ultimate, eternal connection with Hashem Himself.

And then we live happily ever after, with all the infinite, G-d-pleasure that He can create.

Bimheirah b’yameinu amen.

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If people you knew merit being there after Moshiach, because of their Mitzvos, then you will see them.

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We really will have Bechirah, but since Hashem's glory and the truth of the world will be revealed, nobody in their right minds will want to do the wrong thing. It's like a sin will be understood as putting your hand in a fire, and a mitzvah like the greatest pleasure in the world.

So we will do Mitzvos, but they will be much easier to do

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When Moshiach comes, the external Yetzer Horah will still be present, but it will be irrelevant because there will be no more hester panim, and so we will look at doing an aveirah as it actually is - like putting your hand in a burning hot over to take out a penny. We will have a sensory perception that doing an aveirah is painful, poisonous, disgusting and undesirable.

So the Yezter Horah will be there, but won't accomplish anything.

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There was an unfortunate, failed "Moshach awareness" that took place not long ago, where people all over the world were told Moshiach is coming any day, or even moshiach has arrived. Now they see that it was a mistake, and instead of attributing foolishness to those who declared Moshiach's imminent arrival, they take it out on the Ani Maamin itself.

A non-frum lady once came to Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky ZTL saying that she wanted to become frum, because she heard Moshiach is coming soon and she wants to be prepared.

Rav Yaakov ZTL told her that he can't say for sure, but doesn't see that Moshach is coming so soon. The lady went off, relieved and non-religious.

So Rav Yaakov's wife immediately asked to know why he gave up an opportunity to make this woman religious. "Did you have to tell her that?" she asked.

"Right now, this woman is not religious," said Rav Yaakov. "But at least she believes in one thing -- Moshiach. If she becomes religious because she thinks Moshiach is coming soon, and then he does not come, she will not only be non-religious, but even that one thing that she believes in - Moshach - even that one thing she will no longer believe."

Nobody said Moshiach was "supposed to" come at any given time. There is no reason for disappointment. Some peoples' expectations were synthetically, unrealistically, raised, only to fall again, hard and painfully, when they saw they were wrong.

Don't be one of them. Don't blame Yiddishkeit on the mistakes of certain Yidden.

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