THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING ABOUT THE REDEMPTIONWe have to put God back into reality. We have to create an emotional connection as well as a physical one. This will recreate the reality of a Bais HaMikdosh, and be the merit to finally receive the physical one as well. [Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlit”a]
The Talmud states:
Rava said: When they bring a person for judgment, they will say to him, “Did you deal faithfully in business? Did you set aside fixed times for Torah study? Did you try to have children? Did you anticipate the redemption?” (Shabbos 31a)
Assuredly, this does not mean ignoring the concept of geulah, even for the sake of other mitzvos, like the all-important mitzvah of learning Torah. On the contrary, the learning of Torah should only make one anticipate geulah that much more, the same way it should enhance one’s love of Eretz Yisroel, and yearning to live there.
Furthermore, Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian, zt”l, wrote in the name of Rav Elchanan Wasserman, zt”l, the following:
I heard in London from the holy Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, quoting the Chofetz Chaim, that Chazal say the war of Gog and Magog will be threefold. After the First World War, the Chofetz Chaim said that this was the first battle of Gog and Magog, and in about twenty-five years (1942) there would be a second world war, which would make the first one seem insignificant, and then there would be a third battle ... Rav Elchanan concluded that one must suffer the pangs of Moshiach, but the wise man will quietly prepare himself during that time—perhaps he will be worthy of seeing the comforting of Tzion and Yerushalayim. (Leiv Eliyahu, Shemos, page 172)
There are many other sources to this effect, all of which serve to strengthen the point. As well, there are the numerous stories of pre-World War II Torah giants (such as the Chofetz Chaim), and how they lived with the daily reality of an imminent redemption. The following, perhaps, sums up what is lacking from our generation, which, ironically, lives so close to the Final Redemption:
If I could find more colleagues who felt the same . . . we would go out into the fields and demand with prayer and supplication and not return home until the Jewish people received eternal salvation and redemption through the coming of Moshiach Ben Dovid. (Divrei Chaim of Sanz, Beis Shlomo)
And, in the words of the great Chofetz Chaim himself:
Several times a day we request redemption, but requesting is not enough. We must DEMAND redemption, just as a worker demands his salary. For, the halachah is that if he does not, his employer need not pay him that day. (Commentary on the Siddur, section 168)
Finally, the Vilna Gaon put the concept of redemption in these terms, as told by his student:
The purpose of redemption is the true redemption and sanctification of G–D’s Name. According to the words of our prophets and the explanation of our teacher (Vilna Gaon), the goal of our work is the war against Armelius, carried out through the ingathering of the exiles and settling of the Land for the sake of the true redemption and sanctification of G–D’s Name … We don’t need to reach the appointed time (moed), but rather, the moed will come to us—after “Your servants have cherished her stones and favor her dust” (Tehillim 102:14-15) . . . The arrival of the Redeemer depends upon the building of Tzion. (Kol HaTor, Chapter 4:1-3)
The prohibition of calculating the arrival date of Moshiach has been interpreted differently by many rabbis, to name a few:
Ramban (1194-1270): The prohibition of the Talmud only applied to earlier generations; now that we are on the eve of redemption, there is no prohibition (Sefer HaGeulah, Ma’amer 4).
Zohar (1380): It is not G–D’s will that the date of Moshiach’s arrival be revealed to man, but when the date draws near, even children will be able to make the calculation (Bereishis 118a).
Abarbanel (1437-1508): It is forbidden to make the calculation based upon astrology; however, it is permissible to calculate a date based upon Tanach (Maayeni HaYeshuah 1:2).
Vilna Gaon (1720-1797): From here [what I have just written] you can calculate the time of the Final Redemption if, G–D forbid, we do not merit [to bring it earlier]; however, I have imposed an oath, in the name of the G–D of Israel, on the reader of this that he should not reveal it. (Biur HaGR”A, Safra D’Tzniusa, Chapter Five)
Malbim (1809-1879): The situation is like that of a father and son traveling a long distance. As they start out, the son begins to ask when they will arrive, and of course, the father does not answer. However, as they near the town, the son asks the same question, and this time the father readily answers that it is only a short while before they reach their destination. So too it is with us: now that the time is clearly approaching, we cannot help but notice and interpret the signs all around us that tell of the impending geulah … As the time of the keitz grows nearer, the doubts will become smaller, and at the keitz, all doubts will be removed … As the time grows closer, the uncertainty recedes in the wake of the increasingly “abounding wisdom” (Introduction to Daniel).
Source: ThirtySix.org and Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlit”a