Last week’s Torah portion (Parasha) was VAYECHI. The very last Torah reading in the Book of Genesis (Sefer Bereshit). This Shabbat, we start reading the Book of Exodus (Sefer Shemot).
In Parashat VAYECHI (Genesis 47:28 – 50:26), our forefather Yaakov passes away. Just before his passing, he blesses all his sons including the two sons of Yosef: Ephraim and Menashe.
The Midrash as well as many rabbinic Torah commentators state that Yaakov was about to tell his sons the exact time of Meshiach’s arrival. However, G -d stopped him by letting Yaakov forget everything within a second.
The question is WHY WOULD G – D DO SUCH A THING? Wouldn’t it be better if we knew the exact date and time of Meshiach’s arrival?
The Talmud teaches that there is a potential Meshiach in every single generation. If G – d decided that it is time to start the Messianic era, there would be a person worthy of being the Meshiach. If G – d decides that the time hasn’t come yet, so the potential Meshiach of this generation is not being revealed. The person in question doesn’t even know it is him but just lives his life as usual.
The Talmud also states that, before Meshiach is coming, various conditions have to be fulfilled. Furthermore, the Resurrection of the Dead would be taking place before Meshiach is actually coming.
Then another question pops up: We don’t know how the Resurrection of the Dead is going to look like. And who is really coming back or being resurrected? Everyone or just a few chosen ones?
But let us get back to our first question: Why would G – d prevent Yaakov from revealing the time of the Messianic era? Wouldn’t it be easier for all of us if we knew when Meshiach is going to come?
The problem is that, if we really knew about the exact time, we wouldn’t be carrying out Mitzvot anymore. At least not as much as we may do now. Instead we would take it easy and sit and wait for Meshiach. If I knew that Meshiach came in another 100 years from now, why should I bother? There is a high chance that I won’t see him anyway and what does it matter whether I do Mitzvot or not?
We also have to ask ourselves if we would pray on a daily basis or try to have a relationship with G – d. Maybe we should just wait for Meshiach?
What G – d wants from us is prayer. We have to pray for health, enough to eat, etc. and not just wait, sit and do nothing. Jews have to take action and carry out Torah Mitzvot. It is not enough to just sit around, believe like the Christians and wait for Meshiach. What we have to do is to earn a place in Olam HaBah (the World to Come). And this can only happen when we do something. When we pray, keep kosher, help other people, etc.
The Talmud teaches that there are a few things in life which are totally hidden from us. Whatever we do, we will never find out about them. One of those things is the arrival of Meshiach. Something else hidden from us is the day of our death.
Just imagine that each of us knew the exact day and time of his death. This would really make us nervous or even insane. How could we live a happy life if we knew the day of our death?
I am quite happy that there are things hidden from us and I don’t need to know the day I die. 🙂 Today we are so used to find out everything and if we can’t, someone will surely develop a Smartphone app. However, that are still many hidden things in this world and with all our technology, we will never find an answer.