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THE ART OF BEING READY FOR MASHIACH
So, as it seems, Mashiach is around the corner. We have all the signs, again, and from the greatest Rabbis. Are you ready for Eliyahu Hanavi? He is going to ask you, What questions bothered you so long in your Torah learning that you waited for me to answer? What was your personal תיקו in your learning, your personal Tishbi Yeshev Kushyot Ubayot, (acronym of Teku) that you were waiting for me, for so long, to answer? What?!? You have no questions, except if you could eat OUD? You have no questions of how to understand any certain passuk, chapter, Gemara?!?
One of the criteria of Mashiach, is that he can judge people not by sight or sound alone, but by smell. He can smell your sins and smell your mitzvoth. As Yeshaya prophesized, And Hoter (a shoot, but one of Mashiach’s names) shall spring forth from the stem of Yishai, and a twig shall sprout from his roots. And the spirit of YKVK shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and fear of YKVK. And he shall smell by the fear of YKVK, and neither with the sight of his eyes shall he judge, nor with the hearing of his ears shall he chastise. (Yeshaya 11, 1-3) This criterion of judgment through scent seems significant, as the Talmud states that Bar Kochba was proven that he was not Mashiach because he could not judge according to smell. (Sanhedrin 93b) What is the significance of judging according to scent and not by sight or sound alone?
The way Mashiach will perceive you is at your deepest core, your deepest interests, agendas, and motives. Just as when someone faints, by giving them strong scents, you are able to get down to the deepest parts of the soul to awaken it, so too, Mashiach will be able to smell the deepest desires of your soul, not only the what, when, how, where, and with who of all your actions, but he will be judging the why of all your actions. And he will be smelling how much you couldn’t stand the Galut, and how you waited for him. The reason why he is not here yet is because we don’t mind the Galut that much. It doesn’t bother us that much; it is not so much of a burden to live in a world run by heretical and unethical leaders and governments: we can endure it. The Jews were redeemed from Egypt only once they could not stand it anymore. וִֽידַעְתֶּ֗ם כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י יְקֹוָק֙ אֱלֹ֣הֵיכֶ֔ם הַמּוֹצִ֣יא אֶתְכֶ֔ם מִתַּ֖חַת סִבְל֥וֹת מִצְרָֽיִם: And you will know, that I am YKVK Who takes you out from under the endurance of Egypt. (Shemot 6;7) Some people pray for Mashiach to come to make our Galut better, and that is why he is not coming. Mashiach will come, to make the world a more G-dly place. Mashiach is waiting for us to feel that we can’t wait anymore, that we can’t endure the exile anymore, not that we are just looking for an improved exile. And he will smell how badly we waited for him.
I know that in the Jewish Music world, it seems as if when Mashiach comes, it will be just one big party, and everyone will just have a merry time, smiling to each other. That is true. It will be like that. אָ֤ז יִמָּלֵ֢א שְׂח֡וֹק פִּינוּ֘ וּלְשׁוֹנֵ֪נוּ רִ֫נָּ֥ה בְּשׁ֣וּב יְ֭קֹוָק אֶת־שִׁיבַ֣ת צִיּ֑וֹן הָ֝יִ֗ינוּ כְּחֹלְמִֽים (Tehillim 126;1-2) But it will be because G-d will be recognized as the One and Only power in the universe, and there will be clarity and clear judgment, justice and recognition of G-d and the truth of His Torah, once and for all, צדיק וטוב לו רשע ורע לו. Only good things will happen to the Tzaddikim, and only bad will happen to the wicked. And a great part of all the clarity will be the judgement on the quality of intentions.
When we do a Mitzvah, we are to do it לַעֲשׂות נַחַת רוּחַ לְיוצְרֵנוּ וְלַעֲשׂות רְצון בּורְאֵנוּ,To make a pleasant scent to our Maker, and to do the will of our Creator. G-d does not only judge you according to the what you have done, but He smells the reason why you do what you do, your intentions. Are you after money or respect, after self-actualization or acceptance? Or are you doing what you do, because you want to do G-d’s will??? What have you done for G-d?? I believe that G-d will ask me, as a Rabbi, Did you stand up for Me in a way that would be most effective? Did you, as a Rabbi, care about money or honor? How much effort did you put in collecting for My most important projects? Am I ready to honestly answer? Did I consult and listen to my Rabbis, to learn and discover what G-d wants from me, and live accordingly? A Rabbi, is only impactful, long term, when he is focused on, and motivated by, one thing: To do G-d’s will. Not if he gives great speeches, or knows how to learn on the highest level.
When the Torah mentions how Moshe built the Mishkan, it says 18 times, that Moshe did it all, just as G-d commanded Moshe. Why does it need to mention, so many times, that Moshe did everything, just as G-d commanded him? Why does it not just say that once, at the very end of the whole construction? Why 18 times?
The answer is deep. The Torah has many reasons for every single Mitzvah. And the Mishkan, as well, had many reasons in it. It is מכון לשבתך, which means that the Mishkan is מכוון , parallel, to the Mishkan in Heaven. The Mishkan has in it the secrets of the creation of the world, the 39 acts of Shabbat; the spiritual power-grid of Torah learning is from the Aron, parnassah is from the Shulhan, wisdom from the Menorah. But that is not why Moshe built the Mishkan!! He built it to do the Will of G-d!!! Every single thing he did was not because it made sense, or for good reason. It was all about just doing the will of G-d!
This is why men are supposed to recite, every day, the blessings of שלא עשני גוי, שלא עשני עבד, שלא עשני אשה Thanking G-d for not making me a gentile, for not making me a slave, and for not making me a woman. Because even a righteous gentile like Shindler, a righteous slave like the servant Tebi and a woman like Sarah Imenu, do not have the commandment of the 613 Mitzvoth that are time bound!!! Even if they do the time bound Mitzvoth with the greatest intent, they cannot reach the actual greatest intent, which is to do what G-d asked, just because He asked!
It is easy to do things לשם שמים, for G-d’s sake, when you also have some side gain. When there is a mitzvah that a person runs to do, naturally, you need to ask yourself, what other agendas are there in all this? Of course, today, we are not strong enough spiritually to only do things that are totally for G-d’s sake, when we have no personal gain. But still, we should strive to do things, and ask our Rabbis, what exactly G-d wants us to do. When Naomi saw Ruth trying to convert, she tried her hardest to discourage her, because Ruth was running to convert, and Naomi was worried that Ruth had ulterior motives. But when she saw that Ruth still wanted to convert, even after the dissuasion, Naomi realized that her motives were genuine, and she accepted her conversion. וַתֵּ֔רֶא כִּֽי־מִתְאַמֶּ֥צֶת הִ֖יא לָלֶ֣כֶת אִתָּ֑הּ וַתֶּחְדַּ֖ל לְדַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶֽיהָ: (Ruth 1;18)
When you are serving G-d לשם שמים, to do His will, to listen to His command, you are giving of yourself, you are genuinely serving. When you have other agendas, you are taking, not serving, not giving. All life’s problems begin, all depression comes from when we are looking to take from this world, and all problems and depression end, when we are looking to give of ourselves for G-d’s Name. (Baal Shem Tov- צוואת הריבש; ידבק מחשבתו למעלה) And this is something my mother always taught me, throughout my childhood. Yosef, no matter where life will take you, no matter what happens in the world and how confusing the world looks, focus on one thing, and you will succeed. Focus on, ask yourself and your mentors, what does Hashem want from you in the situation that you are in. Do it, because that is what He wants from you. And life will be much simpler, more fulfilling and meaningful.