I can't imagine any child well-adjusted enough to calmly begin the countdown process so far in advance. True my 7-year-old son is already inviting people to his bar mitzvah, but anticipating the occasion is less than a full time occupation. Longing for an event still so far in the future would be enough to drive anyone to drink or depression, and probably both.

Humans don't deal well with long waits. Most people here in Victoria, Australia, preferred to retain a three-year electoral cycle, rather than the more cost-effective option of waiting an extra year to "kick out dem bums." We demand touch-tone phones, broadband internet and instant access to cash.

Why would someone keep the faith if they knew the payoff wouldn't arrive for millennia?Immediately before our ancestor Jacob passed away he called all his sons in to his sickroom to bless them. He wanted to reveal to them the eventual date of Moshiach's arrival, but G‑d hid the vision from him (Rashi on Genesis 49:1). I don't know about you, but with our built in craving for a defined timeframe, can you imagine how few Jews would have stuck to the religion if they had known how long we'd have to wait for redemption? What was Jacob thinking? Why would someone keep the faith if they knew the payoff wouldn't arrive for millennia?

Ready or not, here I come

There are two possible timeframes for Moshiach's eventual arrival: the "end of days" or "when we deserve it." There is a final deadline by when all bets have to be in and G‑d will drag us, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the new world. But that is not what we want. We've been trucking through the ages, doing good and bringing righteousness to the world in an effort to persuade G‑d to bring him NOW!

It was Jacob's hope that if he informed us how long in the future that "end of days" really was, that would be the wake up call giving us the impetus to get off our rump and force the issue through.

Living on my own terms

But that is not the point. Sure, had we been given a head's up from the top we'd have probably got the job done faster, but the purpose of exile was for us to develop our own maturity and to recognize for ourselves the importance of the journey. When we scream "We want Moshiach now!" we finally mean it, and expect it, and deserve it.

Now, as the Rebbe has told us, "the time of our redemption has finally arrived" and he's due on both counts. Now we understand what Jacob was trying to achieve by demonstrating the centrality of Moshiach to our existence, and we are able, willing, and ready to finally declare "Moshiach, come on and redeem us!"