Question:

Every year we end the Seder by saying, “Next year in Jerusalem!” Every year we open the door for Elijah the prophet to come and announce the arrival of Moshiach—the long-awaited Messiah. And after more than 3,000 years, it still hasn’t happened. Isn’t there a point in time when we realize that Moshiach isn’t coming? Haven’t we learned our lesson by now? How many years of disappointment do we need to endure before we give up on this messianic dream and wake up to reality?

Imagine I take out a coin from my pocket and ask you, “Heads or tails?” You say heads. I flip it, and it lands on tails.

So I give you another chance and flip it again. Again it comes out tails. But you wanted heads, so I keep going. Ten more times, then another ten times, and another, and it never lands on heads, until I have flipped this same coin 99 times, and every single time it lands on tails.

You examine the coin. It is a legitimate coin, heads on one side, tails on the other, equally weighted and not tampered with. There is nothing dodgy here. And yet it landed on tails 99 times in a row.

Before flipping it again, I ask you, “Heads or tails?” And I offer you a million dollars if you get it right, or you lose a million if you get it wrong.

What are the chances that on the 100th flip, it will land on heads?

The answer is, exactly the same chances as the first flip and every flip: 50/50. The fact that it landed on tails every time until now has absolutely no statistical bearing on the next flip. It could be tails 999,999 times, and there would be no reason why the millionth time wouldn’t be heads.

Just because something didn’t happen yet, that doesn’t make it less likely to happen soon. Moshiach is going to come. The fact that he didn’t come last year or the year before in no way limits the likelihood of him coming this year.

In fact, the contrary is true. A coin may never fall on heads; it could theoretically fall on tails ad infinitum. But Moshiach has to come—G‑d has promised it. So each year he doesn’t show up makes the next year more likely to be the one when he will.

But it’s more than just a game of chance. A coin won’t land on heads because you want it to, but our faith—and our practical actions—actually helps make the messianic future a reality. When we open the doors for Elijah to come, when we pray to be in the rebuilt Jerusalem, we bring Moshiach a step closer.

It’s not just in our heads. We will live to tell the tale.