OF MASHIACH AND LIEBERMAN
From the moment that Al Gore announced Senator Lieberman to be his running mate, the media went on a craze about the fact that Senator Lieberman is an observant Jew. Invariably, politics soon became the number one discussion in many Jewish households. We all are wondering what Hashem is trying to tell us with this unprecedented event.
From the moment that Al Gore announced Senator Lieberman to be his running mate, the media went on a craze about the fact that Senator Lieberman is an observant Jew. Invariably, politics soon became the number one discussion in many Jewish households. We all are wondering what Hashem is trying to tell us with this unprecedented event. For those of you who remember, the official announcement was made during the Nine Days, just three days before the festival of Tishah B'av, a day recalling all of the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. Because of that, my first thought upon hearing the news was, "First a religious president in Israel. Now a religious VP candidate. Hashem is certainly preparing the world for the Mashiach (Messiah)." Of course, only time will tell if that proves to be true, but we can use that hopeful thought as a catalyst for self-improvement during the high holiday season, a time of the year which is meant for bettering ourselves.
Rabbi Chaim Brisker, a Torah giant in the early 20th century, once explained what the coming of the Mashiach will be like. He said that he will be learning Torah in his study one morning, when he will notice that the sunlight entering his room is unusually bright. The chirping of the birds is sweeter than ever. The room is filled with a lovely aroma. Suddenly, someone knocks at the door and says, "Rebbe, come quickly. The Mashiach is here! Come to greet him!" (In his humility, Rabbi Brisker assumed that others would know of the Mashiach's arrival before him!). So Rabbi Brisker runs to his closet to put on his Shabbat kapote (knee-length suit jacket) to greet the Mashiach honorably. But alas! His kapote is missing a button! It fell off last Shabbat, and he meant to sew it back on, but he forgot. Now he must go to greet the Mashiach with a missing button, since he cannot fix it now.
Rabbi Brisker explained that we all have our "missing buttons" - our negative character traits. Our "buttons" become loose and fall off without our constant striving to improve ourselves. When the Mashiach comes, every Jew will go to greet him. We will form a single-file line to wish him "Shalom Aleichem". Our spot in line will be determined by our merits and character, just as it is on Rosh Hashanah, when Hashem begins His judgment with the righteous and moves along to the less unworthy. There will be no time to improve ourselves then, to "sew on our buttons" once the Mashiach comes. All that "sewing" must be done before he arrives.
It is hard to say whether or not Senator Lieberman is any indication as to how soon Mashiach will come. But is abundantly clear that we are living in the era right before his coming, and it would be neat to have a Jewish VP when Mashiach does come. So let us use our hopes for Mashiach to motivate us to become better servants of Hashem. Let us try to fix all of our buttons that are loose or have fallen off. Let us not put the task of self-improvement off for a time when we are less busy. After all, who wants to be at the back of the line when 2000 years of hope becomes reality?
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