When a couple announces their engagement, it’s always interesting to see if the focus is going to be on the wedding, or on the marriage.
The more superficial the people involved, the more ‘Hollywood-headed’, the more they are trying to live life according to a Disney script, the more interest they’ll take in the big day – their chance to shine – with precious little thought to what really comes after.
Thousands of bucks will be spent on the pink champagne, the dress, the breath-taking venue in the Bahamas, flying the guests in on whatever replaced Concorde. And often, those types of ‘celebrity’ weddings hit the headlines in a blaze of glory and triumph.
Only for the marriage to fizzle out and fail, a little while later.
By contrast, when the focus is on the marriage, and not on the wedding, things are usually done pretty differently right from the beginning. The couple – and everyone else around them – is far more focused on what comes after the chuppa.
Where are the happy couple going to live? What are they going to eat? How are they going to get along together? How are they going to manage, day to day? Who’s going to be paying the bills?
Yes, of course, there’s still a do to arrange, and a dress to buy, and a band and hall to hire – it is a wedding, after all. But the wedding isn’t the focus, the marriage is.
All this came to mind, when I was thinking about what it really actually means to ‘live’ in the times of Moshiach, and geula.
Sure, it’s exciting to think about the ‘big day’ when Moshiach is finally revealed, and the geula gets underway in an open and revealed way.
But much like the wedding, that ‘big day’ is only the beginning of the process.
Over on ravberland.com, I recently drew together some of the more telling sources talking about what happens before, during and after Moshiach is revealed. You can see that post for yourselves HERE, and I’m not going to repeat all the information in this piece, other than to pull out a couple of pertinent observations.
Firstly, when the Rambam tells us that nothing is going to change when Moshiach is revealed, other than the subjugation of the nations, what he’s really telling us is that
There is no instant, ‘magical’, Disney-fied ending to all our troubles and tribulations.
We don’t step out of this reality, and step straight into a world where everything is an open miracle – not least, because most of couldn’t cope with that, and we’d probably either go even more stark, raving mad, or keel over with heart failure.
Let’s drill down, and take a few examples.
Let’s say, you have a medical prescription you can’t do without. When Moshiach comes, how are you going to cope, if you can no longer pop out to the pharmacy for a refill, whenever you need to?
Or, let’s say Moshiach comes and you’re still living in the US, and no-one in your family knows Hebrew, and you don’t own a home in Israel, and you still have elderly parents to look after who are too old, or too ill, to be moved to a new country. But Moshiach came! So now, what happens next?
Or, let’s say Moshiach comes, and there’s a big announcement made in your shul that ‘some guy’ is saying he’s the Moshiach, and geula has now begun in earnest.
If you haven’t been doing some serious work on getting connected to your soul, and to God, and to the true Tzaddikim, how are you even going to believe it? And if you believe it yourself, how are you going to convince your husband, or your kids, or your siblings, that Moshiach really did come just now, and you all need to pack up the house and move to some tent city the Israeli government just set up in the Arava desert?
Who is going to come with you? Really?
Let’s picture the scene:
“Honey, I know you’ve been waiting for Moshiach for years, but how do we know ‘some guy’ is really him?! I’m not prepared to throw our whole life away on a gamble…And think of our daughter, she’s got her final exams in four more months, but you want to up and move to some tent in the middle of the desert now?! You can’t eat sand, be reasonable, honey. When Moshiach really comes, we’ll all know about, and that’s when we’ll order the one way ticket, and finally make aliya. But I refuse to let you pressure me into making a rash decision, just because ‘some guy’ says he’s Moshiach….”
I wish what I just described is an exaggeration, a caricature, of the reaction the real Moshiach is going to get, but if anything, I’m playing down how bad it’s going to be.
Because as the sources in this article show:
- There is going to be a huge machloket over Moshiach, when he first shows up – i.e. it’s really not going to be obvious to a lot of people, frum or not, that he is who he is claiming to be.
- A war is going to kick off in Israel as soon as Moshiach is revealed – which means that no-one is going to be in a rush to move here right then, and even if they want to, there is no guarantee there will be any flights in or out of the country, depending on what’s actually happening here.
- Moshiach showing up is going to be accompanied by a whole bunch of totally natural, un-miraculous dramatic events that could totally change the world as we know it.
Yes, I’m back to the earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis part of the equation.
So now, let’s try to deconstruct geula a bit more, to see what the Rambam actually means, when he says:
The ‘subjugation of the foreign nations’ will cease.
What’s going to get that to stop?
What on earth is going to be happening in the world, to cause all the anti-semitic, Jew-hating countries who hate Israel to suddenly stop pressuring us to hold-off building more homes in the West Bank? Or to stop fighting back against the missiles and rockets from Gaza (even when they send over 400 in just one day)? Or to refrain from taking out Hezbollah tunnels into Israel that were dug over a whole decade, and that the Israeli army ‘apparently’ knew all about?
What’s going to change?
How is Trump’s mind going to get taken off his ‘deal of the century’ in the Middle East, which will boil down to some variant on forcing Israel to let go of land that God Himself gave to the Jewish people, in the name of ‘peace’?
How are the EU and its proxies suddenly going to stop funding all the lefty, anti-Israel ‘charities’ like B’tselem and Yesh Gvul? How is the UN suddenly going to take Israel off its agenda, and turn its attention to other things?
What’s going to change?
Clearly, something pretty big is going to have to happen, for our reality to change that drastically, and if you ask me, that’s where all the earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis come in.
And where are these natural disasters going to strike the hardest?
Answer: The same places they’ve struck in the past, namely the so-called ‘New World’.
Did you ever wonder, why the ‘New World’ was so sparsely populated, if it’s been there for billions of years?
Why were there so few people in North and South America? Why so few people in Australia and New Zealand? Why were the native cultures in these places relatively so stone-age?
Could it be, that no-one was building roads, or factories, or permanent dwelling places, because the ground there is fundamentally so unstable, and so prone to massive natural disasters? Could it be, that every time these civilizations started to make a little technical progress, another natural disaster hit to take everything back to square one?
Is that why it was so easy for the ‘advanced’ Europeans to cross the ocean and conquer the native peoples in the ‘New World’?
There is plenty of scientific evidence out there that the world is now entering another period of global cooling, and that this typically coincides with a massive uptick in seismic activity, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and a bunch of other weird and often dramatic geologic phenomena.
Every 200-400 years, the Americas are wracked by earth-shaking, massive quakes.
And we’re not just talking about San Francisco here. We’re talking about most of the continent.
And we’re not just talking about one, singular ‘big one’. We’re talking about a serious of dramatic geological events that are going to continue for a while, and come one after the other.
Again, let’s just try to come out of the Disney bubble, and ask ourselves what would happen if the modern USA, or modern Australia, got hit with the sort of earth-wrecking massive quakes and tsunamis that have clearly happened there in very recent times, tomorrow?
- If the highways all got cracked up, what then?
- If the underground water pipes, or gas pipes, all got broken up and shifted around, what then?
- If a local nuclear power station got jolted around by a massive earthquake, or flooded by a massive tsunami – as happened at Fukishima in Japan, in 2011 – what then?
Let’s bring it back to geula:
If the planes are all grounded because of geological disasters, if society is fast sinking into chaos and mayhem – as happened post-Katrina – how are the Cohen family actually going to make it out of Brooklyn, to the promised land?
Tachlis, what happens next?
An open miracle?
The Rambam told us clearly – no open miracles at the beginning of the geula process, except that the subjugation of the nations will cease.
So what does all this actually mean?
Again, this is serious stuff.
Sure, it’s great to breathlessly discuss the flowers, and the menu, and the special beading on the kallah’s dress, but tachlis, what happens the day after the ‘big day’?
That’s what I hope more of us will start to turn our attention to now, because we can’t just use the coming of Moshiach as some sort of emotional crutch, to help us get through our difficult, stressful lives, or to give us a bit of a spiritual ‘buzz’.
I know that’s tempting, and I’ve certainly spent a few years doing that myself, until I realized it’s actually not helpful, and if anything, it’s slowing up geula.
Because the Jewish people have a lot of work to do, to get ready for Moshiach and geula.
Moshiach is not a Disney movie, it’s not a fairy tale, where ‘some guy’ shows up and starts granting everyone three wishes, like some sort of Santa Claus, or genie in a bottle.
- Moshiach will show up, and there will be a big war.
- Moshiach will show up, and there will be massive civil unrest and disruption occurring around the globe.
- Moshiach will show up, and there will be 4 sceptics for every single ‘true believer’, telling you that Moshiach didn’t show up, or telling you that you’ve got the wrong guy.
And then what?
- What are you going to do next?
- Where is your family going to live?
- How are they going to eat?
- How are you going to schlep all those sceptical family members into actually being ready for geula?
What’s the plan, tachlis for getting out of galut and getting across to the holy land? How long are you going to leave things, before you move? Where are you going to come to? How are you going to cope, mentally, if you have to leave your home and loved ones behind? How are you going to persuade even your closest family members to join you?
This is all stuff that we need to start thinking about, and especially, praying on, now.
I know it’s hard. It’s hard to really drill down, and to start deconstructing geula to see what it actually means, especially for people who didn’t already take that massive leap of faith, and move to the holy land.
Actually moving to Israel is definitely a big part of the process, no doubt (and it’s also the main reason why I tend to take ‘rose-tinted’ pronouncements about geula from people who don’t actually live here with a huge pinch of salt.)
But it’s not the whole enchilada, not by any measure. Even if a person already lives in Israel, there is a lot of work to do, and no guarantees that just being here is enough to guarantee a person will ‘make it’ through the geula process.
There are so many crazy people here, so many people who are ‘anti’ religious Jews, ‘anti’ rabbonim, ‘anti’ anyone who really could be the bona fide Moshiach.
When war breaks out here, who knows who will actually have the courage to stay and see it through, and who is going to try and run away as fast as their legs will carry them?
And there’s one more thing to throw into the mix, too, which is that our Sages say that the redemption from Egypt is the blueprint for the future and final redemption.
That means that at some point, Moshiach / Moshe Rabbenu will probably show up in Mitzrayim / Miami to give the people chizzuk, and to lead them out of a country that is being devastated by what appears to be a series of massive, back-to-back, natural disasters.
God isn’t going to just turn His back on people, because they didn’t manage to move to Israel yet. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean they are going to get a ‘free ride’ when geula really kicks off.
Because make no mistake, unless something huge changes, there is no way in the world that the USA would let 6 million of its wealthiest and most highly-educated, productive citizens leave to Israel en masse with their possessions and talents. Its economy would go into meltdown, and we all know that money is really the only thing that motivates Uncle Sam, for good and for bad.
So then what happens?
Moshiach / Moshe Rabbenu will return to Mitzrayim / Miami to lead the Jewish people out, and to reassure the Fed that the American Jews are only leaving for three days, and then they’ll come back and go back to work, and that all the money they want to remove from the US banking system will be repaid, and really nothing to worry about.
And America won’t let them, until America is broken by a number of massive geological disasters, and the country is left in complete disarray.
And then what?
4/5 of the Jews still won’t make it out, because even after all the miracles, they can’t quite bring themselves to believe in Moshiach / Moshe Rabbenu, and they really aren’t so keen on swapping the flesh pots of Brooklyn for some tent city in the middle of the Arava.
Maybe you’ll say that’s a stretch, but does this scenario really sound so far-fetched?
SO WHAT CAN WE DO NOW, TACHLIS, TO GET READY FOR THE ‘MARRIAGE’ AND THE DAY AFTER?
The main piece of advice is to start talking to God, every single day.
If you’re regularly talking to God, He’ll start helping you to figure out what’s coming from a place of truth, and what isn’t. He’ll start cluing you in to which people, which leaders, which rabbis, which writers are really ‘real’ out there, and who is a faker and distraction.
He’ll help you to work out which bad middot, which negative character traits, are getting in the way of you being able to actually make real plans to really ‘live’ geula, practically speaking, and to move past all the breathless, frothy excitement of ‘Disney-does-geula’.
Here’s a few other suggestions to ponder:
- Tachlis, can you buy something in Israel, maybe even something small and in completely the wrong location?
- Can you start to learn more Hebrew? And / or send your kids to a school where the focus is put on learning to really speak and interact in Hebrew?
- Can you start to at least spend a bit more time in Israel, getting more acclimatized to the country, and yearning for it more?
- Can you start to maybe just broach the subject with your spouse, or with your kids, about what happens the day after Moshiach comes, and how that might look, and what plans you might need to start working on, to come through it in one piece?
- Can you start to encourage your family to at least just think about how life could look in Israel?
- Can you start working on your emuna, and especially on your emunat tzaddikim, so that when Moshiach really does show up you aren’t actually just ignoring him, or worse, scoffing at him and calling him a ‘false messiah’?
- Can you start working up to talking to God for an hour a day, so you really have the spiritual strength you need to make the right decisions as required? Because Israel and redemption, like everything else worthwhile, is not going to come ‘easy’ to anyone.
I know, we all love Disney so much because they always have those cute happy endings:
Allakazam, the wand waves, and you step out of your big house in Five Towns, step into a jet, and 10 hours later, step out again to your big house in Jerusalem, with a great view of the rebuilt Temple.
But I can’t find a single authentic Jewish source that says that this is how geula is really going to be.
But there are plenty of sources telling us that it’s going to be hard work, dramatic, and like all birth processes, anything but easy.
So, it’s time to stop talking about the ‘wedding’ and to turn our attention to the ‘marriage’ that comes after. Because that is where the real discussion is to be had, and where the real work needs to be done.