In this week’s parsha, Bilaam comes to try to curse the Jews, but blesses them instead. After three attempts of trying to curse the Jews, he begins a prophecy about what will happen at the end of time. Our Sages explain these verses are talking about the Days when Moshiach (the Messiah) will come.
If anyone is wondering when Moshiach will be coming, the answer is soon. How soon? I cannot say – it might be tomorrow, it might be a month, or a year, or a few years. But definitely soon. So many clear signs can be seen in our generation, but if people still have doubts, they should look at what the Daf Yomi was learning a little over a month ago. On page 98a in Sanhedrin, it states, “the son of Dovid (Moshiach) will not come until a sick person will search for fish but not find any because the rivers will be thick from oil.” For centuries, this line was read and no one could totally understand it. But suddenly, a short time before the Daf Yomi learned this page, a terrible incident happened in the Gulf. Oil has filled the body of water and the fish are all dying. This is just another sign that Moshiach will be coming soon.
So what will happen when Moshiach comes? In the summer of 1988, a terrible thing happened in Edmonton, Canada. One of the greatest hockey players ever to play, Number 99, Wayne Gretzky, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. The town of Edmonton was in mourning after losing this hockey legend. On February 7, 1989, under a year after Gretzky was traded, the hockey all star game came to Edmonton. The last player to be announced was Wayne Gretzky. The crowd erupted to see their hometown favorite back home. Normally, the crowd would clap for a few seconds when a player’s name was called out. When Gretzky’s name came out over the loudspeaker, for minutes, he was given a standing ovation. The fans were basically saying “Welcome Home Gretzky! We’re happy that you are back in Edmonton! Welcome to where you belong!” Imagine how Gretzky must have felt when he was given this welcome. He must have felt so good inside. Well, this is how we are going to feel when Moshiach comes, only better. But it not going to be thousands of hockey fans that are welcoming us home. It will be thousands of angels! It will be thousands of souls that passed away years ago. It will be all of the great leaders that the Jews ever had: all of the great people mentioned in the Torah, all of the prophets, all of the great rabbis quoted in the Gemara, all of the women that heroically kept Judaism alive throughout the generations. Also, our great grandparents and our grandparents that have passed away will be there to greet us and say, “Welcome Home! Welcome to where you belong!” This is what it will be like when Moshiach comes; may it happen speedily in our days.
So how do we prepare for this moment. I asked my rebbe this question and he told me Rav Henoch Leibowitz, of blessed memory, (the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Queens from 1941 to 2008) said many people think they need to take on a new chumra (stringency). The Rosh Yeshiva said this is not what should be done. Instead, the way a person should prepare for Moshiach is by continuing to do the mitzvos he currently is doing, only now he should try to do them better. Give tzedaka with a smile. Daven with a little more concentration. Do something a little more special. This is the way we should greet Moshiach! May this great day come soon!
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