As I followed the news of Saddam's capture, I couldn't help but reflect on similarities between the search for Saddam and our anxious quest for Moshiach.

The false leads: Throughout the war, reports that Saddam was dead or seriously injured would quickly be challenged by his own recorded messages. They'd tell us the noose was tightening, but then he'd slip through the noose. And throughout our history, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, there have been numerous imposters claiming to be Moshiach, but the high hopes they stirred were gradually replaced with bitterness and despair, as pogroms swept through Jewish communities and the pseudo-messiahs were exposed.

The shrug-off: As the futile search went on for months without result, one official conceded that "finding Saddam is like looking for a needle in a haystack." Those in charge of looking for Saddam began to avoid the aggravating subject. US officials started avoiding the word "Saddam" and public statements on the status of the search all but ceased; army spokesmen would speak of it only if they had to, after prodding by reporters. As our long galut (exile) stretched on, some Jews began to prefer to avoid the subject of Moshiach for fear of arousing the skeptics (from within and without), "It's been 2,000 years and you still believe in that stuff?"

The unexpected news: Word of Saddam's capture came when the objective of capturing him was already receding from our consciousness; it was already off the headlines. Our sages tell us that Moshiach will come b'hesech hadaas, when our minds are off the subject...

So let us not limit our foresight. Let us display courage and confidence that our cause will be vindicated, unlikely as it may seem. Let us remember that the more hay we pull out of the haystack, the closer we are to finding the needle; as the years go by and we approach the deadline for Moshiach's arrival, we can be confident that Moshiach's arrival is imminent. Avoiding the topic is not an option: learning about Moshiach and praying for Moshiach can make a tangible difference in the waiting timeframe.

Let us not give up, but continue searching for opportunities to do another good deed — even if it means climbing through ditches and spider-holes, faithfully following the instructions of our Commander-In-Chief. Not only will we discover that darkness is a coward, but your single final deed may be the lucky soldier who has ended the search.

We are on Moshiach's heels.