Particularly Propitious Mitzvot for Hastening the Redemption
Maimonides (Laws of Teshuvah 3:4) exhorts every individual to view himself, and the entire world as well, as being equally "weighted" with sins and mitzvot. The scale is standing still, and any one deed will tip the scale—both the individual's personal scale, as well as the global scale. Any one mitzvah can potentially bring salvation and redemption to the individual and the entire world.
As such, when discussing how to hasten the Redemption, the most basic answer is quite simple: jump at every mitzvah opportunity that presents itself. You never know which mitzvah – and it can be any mitzvah – will be the proverbial "straw that breaks the camels back" and brings the Messianic Era.
Nevertheless, there are certain mitzvot that according to our sages have a greater connection to the Redemption, and their observance hastens the coming of Moshiach considerably more than others. Let's discuss several such mitzvot (in no particular order).
YearningA loving parent who sees how bothered the child is by his/her lack will reconsider
"Even if the Jews have only the yearning for Moshiach, they are worthy of redemption"—Midrash Yalkut Shimoni.
Thinking about the Messianic Era and hoping for and awaiting its arrival—that alone makes us worthy of seeing the realization of our hope.
When a child wants something from a parent, one of the surest ways to get it is to plead and demand. At times, the parent has good reason for postponing granting of the child's wish. Nevertheless, a loving parent who sees how bothered the child is by his/her lack will reconsider; pleas and demands certainly have an impact.
Each moment we spend in galut (exile) has its benefits. The more we sow, the more we will reap. Nevertheless, our Father will certainly relent when He sees how much our current situation pains us.
Trust and Joy
Bitachon, trust in G‑d, is a basic tenet of Judaism. It is our belief that when we trust that G‑d will be kind to us – kindness that we can appreciate and perceive – He meets our expectations.
We must trust that G‑d will bring the Redemption, and actually rejoice and be happy as a result of this trust. He won't disappoint.
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97b) cites different opinions as to when Moshiach will come. The Talmud concludes the discussion with the following: "All the projected dates for Moshiach's arrival have already passed. Now it is entirely dependant on teshuvah and good deeds . . . If Israel does teshuvah, they will be immediately redeemed."
More than 1,500 years ago the Talmud testified that Moshiach is overdue. The delay is not because the heavenly-ordained time for redemption has yet to arrive; rather all those times have come and gone, and all that is now necessary is for another Jew to do teshuvah.
This need not be a lengthy process. According to Jewish law, if a man betroths a woman "on condition that I am a tzaddik gamur [completely righteous person]," the woman is considered betrothed—even if the man is a known rasha (scoundrel and evildoer). Why? "Perhaps he had a thought of teshuvah in his heart."
One thought of teshuvah; a simple resolve to reconnect and recommit to G‑d, can instantaneously transform a rasha into a tzaddik—and be the final blow needed to bring redemption to the world.
"Great is charity for it hastens the Redemption"—Talmud, Bava Batra 10a.
When we give charity, revealing the gainful objective inherent in a painful situation, we encourage G‑d to do the sameG‑d created both wealth and poverty. The purpose of financial disparity is to allow for kindness—if all were wealthy, we would be deprived of the opportunity to express kindness. Thus the purpose of poverty – an undesirable state – is to bring about a greater good, the voluntary sharing of wealth and the camaraderie it engenders.
The same is true with galut. It is an undesirable state, but its purpose is to refine us and lead us to the utopian Messianic Era. When we give charity, revealing the gainful objective inherent in a painful situation, we encourage G‑d to do the same—to transform the pain of galut into the bliss of redemption.
Love and Kindness
"Why was the Temple destroyed? Though the Jews were involved in Torah, mitzvot and acts of kindness, they were guilty of harboring baseless hatred towards each other"—Talmud, Yuma 9b.
When a particular blunder lands a person in an undesirable situation, the first step to extricating himself from that position is correcting the blunder that caused it.
Our nation is akin to one large body comprised of many limbs and body parts. When all the limbs are working together in harmony, then the soul can operate and function. The soul is the Divine Presence that will be revealed with the coming of Moshiach. It's just waiting for a fully-functioning body before making its appearance.
Study Jewish Law
"The ingathering of all these exiles will be only in the merit of the Mishnah"—Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 7:3.
The Mishnah is the first systemized code of Jewish law. Studying the Mishnah, as well as all the other halachic codes that followed, hastens the ingathering of the exiles.
See the Miracles
"G‑d wished King Hezekiah to be the Moshiach. Said the Attribute of Justice to G‑d: 'Hezekiah, for whom You performed so many miracles, has not sung Your praise. You will make him Moshiach?!'"—Talmud, Sanhedrin 94a.
King Hezekiah was the beneficiary of awesome miracles. He was miraculously cured of a deadly illness, and when his capital city was besieged by hundreds of thousands of Assyrians soldiers, an angel descended and wiped them out. Yet the righteous Hezekiah did not adequately thank G‑d for these miracles, and was therefore denied the opportunity to usher in the eternal Redemption.
This incident reveals the special connection between recognizing and thanking G‑d for His miracles, and the coming of Moshiach. We need to be on the search for miracles – whether in our personal lives or in the global arena – and constantly thank G‑d for His providence that watches and protects.
Moshiach will reveal hitherto unknown dimensions and secrets of the Torah (see Torah Study During the Messianic Era). Reward is always commensurate to the effort, and as such, when we innovate novel Torah ideas, we nudge ourselves a step closer to "Moshiach's classroom."
Every Child Brings Us CloserEvery Jewish child brought into this world brings the Redemption that much nearer
"The Son of David will not come until the heavenly soul repository is emptied"—Talmud, Yevamot 62a.
Every soul has its unique mission. Some souls were created to face the challenge of galut, while other souls will only descend to this world once darkness has been banished from the face of earth. Moshiach will only come after all the galut-souls have left their heavenly abode and entered a physical body.
Every Jewish child brought into this world brings the Redemption that much nearer.
Our Sages tell us that if all the Jews were to properly observe one Shabbat, Moshiach would immediately come.
Shabbat, the Day of Rest, is a foretaste of the Messianic Era, when all of humankind will finally be at rest and peace. As such, there's a strong correlation between Shabbat observance and the coming of Moshiach.
In addition, the light engendered by the Shabbat candles have a special power to hasten the day when the entire world will be illuminated with G‑dly light. In the words of the Midrash: "If you observe the kindling of the Shabbat candles, I will show you the lights of Zion."
Is it not the case that G-d requires repentance and a turning back to Him with a broken and a contrite heart before deliverance will come?
Markethill, Armagh N.I.
So, what are you doing Friday night?
The amount of poverty is growing. Society is becoming more polarized. We should be lobbying for the equality of opportunity for all men (and women) who need to earn a living. This implies that the Mosiac Land Laws need to be properly and better explained and understand in terms of this vital ideal for social justice.
The politics of land ownership need changing, to stop land being held out of use by monopolists and the speculation in its value by banks and landlords. The use of a tax on land values instad of on incomes can bring this about, as explained by Henery George in 1879 "Progress and Poverty", which is still relevant today.
Petach Tikva, Israel.