Thursday, August 5, 2010

Generation of Moshiach: Entirely Righteous or Entirely Guilty

Rav Yechiel Mordechai Gordon, zt”l, the Rosh Yeshivah of Lomza, was always filled with a burning desire for Moshiach. It is no surprise that such a sensitive person was also very concerned at the low state of spiritual development in the average Jew, especially among the disaffected. He was always filled with love for every fellow Jew and was quick to be melamed zechus on others.
He once wrote in a letter to a student: “Our sages tell us that Moshiach will come in a generation that will either be completely righteous or completely wicked. We can understand this statement in context of the verse in Shmuel which tell us that Hashem struck down, ‘seventy men, and fifty thousand men’ after they had gazed inappropriately at the ark that had returned from the Pelishtim. Our sages explain that each of those seventy was like fifty thousand. A second opinion is that each of the fifty thousand was like one of the seventy sages who sat on the Sanhedrin.
“Either way, this teaches that in heaven, numbers can sometimes work very differently than in mundane terms, especially if there is a pressing need. In this context it is quite possible that a small group of people could count like most of the generation, since quality is what will be counted. Indeed, the Zohar teaches that even one congregation that does true teshuvah can bring the ultimate redemption. It is therefore possible to fulfill a generation that is completely obligated: that is the overwhelming majority are in spiritual low places. Yet at the same time it is completely righteous since the quality of avodah of a smaller group counts like a majority.”
The Shem MiShmuel, zt”l, learns this differently. “It means that the generation will have two polar extremes. Either people will be completely righteous or the opposite.”
The Chiddushei HaRim, zt”l, taught that the statement is actually a goad to self-reflection. “It means that people will think they are completely righteous. This is the greatest failing possible!”


Shiloh said...

Well, it sadly won't be when we are completely righteous.

Anonymous said...

Shilo, it may APPEAR that this generation 'won't be completely righteous'. But then, who really can tell?
Even a SINGLE MITZVAH can tip the Heavenly scale of justice to declare our generation INNOCENT, to view us ALL as TZADDIKIM.
R' Micha, thank you for the inspirational 'stories'. I immensly like the opinion of the Chidushei Ha'Rim in your blog.

Micha Golshevsky said...

I am not sure myself; you may both be correct.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Anonymous: Thank you for the chizuk! The Chidushei Harim is a favorite of mine too.
Hashem should protect us from feeling superior!