Awaiting the Redemption
The Rambam famously identified 13 fundamentals of faith, the יג עיקרים . The twelfth of these principles is living with the belief and the yearning of the coming of Moshiach.
אני מאמין באמונה שלמה בביאת המשיח, ואף על פי שיתמהמה, עם כל זה אחכה לו בכל יום שיבוא
“I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Moshiach, and even though he may tarry,
nevertheless I continue to yearn everyday for his coming”.
This expression “I continue to yearn everyday for his coming” is actually based on a possuk in חבקוק פרק ב', 'אם יתמהמה חכה לו' if he delays, continue to wait for him.
What is the significance of yearning and waiting, and why is this such a fundamental idea?
The Ramban is the ‘Sefer HaGeulah’ actually asks this very question: “even if we would decide that our sins and the sins of our fathers have cause us to lose all hope of consolation, and the current exile would last forever, this would not change one iota of our obligation to serve Hashem. For we do not serve Him for the sake of the rewards of the era of Moshiach, nor for the fruits or hot springs of Israel. Even the Beis HaMikdash and the Korbanos are not our end-goal; rather our eternal reward in the world to come. However, we await the Moshiach because the Torah says it will be so, and we look forward to the opportunity to be close to Him, to live in the chosen land, and to have the Divine Presence dwell among us..”.
So in what way is it a ‘fundamental’?
It is brought in the name of Rav Chaim Brisker z”l, that if someone is ignorant in one of the halachos of the Torah, true he doesn’t know that halacha or concept, but he is still considered a true believer. But if however, he is missing knowledge of one of these fundamental, though no fault of his own, he is missing an integral piece of his belief and awareness of Hashem.
Perhaps we can understand the importance of this the following way;, living with the knowledge that the world as we know it is temporary, and not the ideal situation of the Jewish People, and the presence of the Shechina will one day be more apparent, changes our entire perspective of life. The yearning to be closer to Hashem, and the knowledge that one day we will be closer, changes the way we live, and how we prioritize things. With this attitude, we can reach our full potential, but without this belief, it is next to impossible to rise above the materialism of this world and truly serve Hashem!
May we indeed continue to yearn, and merit the redemption speedily in our days!