Monday, January 28, 2008

Being Ready for Moshiach

While at a friends house for shabbos lunch, I overheard her parents and some of the other guests discussing how today's frum community is not prepared for the arrival of moshiach. Though I wasn't participating in their conversation, I did overhear a significant portion of it. The two most prominent arguments were that today's Jews are too comfortable and set in their ways, and that they do not have suitcases packed and prepared for the arrival, like the Chofetz Chaim had, which signifies their undeserving status. After a lot of thought, I found that these arguments were completely ridiculous.

Human beings are creatures of habit. They adapt to everything. If they are in pain, they adapt to it. If they are in constant states of pleasure, they end up adapting to it. People, throughout history have been this way. I do not see why now we have Rabbi's saying that we are not ready for Moshiach. Due to the phenoma of human adaptation, I doubt that modern day Jews are anymore "comfortable" then those in previous generations. People make themselves comfortable, its how Hashem created them and its almost ridiculous to blame them for it; and constantly trying to make them cry about being in golus, anymore than they already are(fear of antisemitism, death, uncertainty) is ridiculous as well. Therefore the argument, that Jews today, are any less prepared then they were beforehand, due to their "comfort" level is just unnacceptable.

Another argument used to "prove" we are not ready for moshiach is that majority of us do not have packed luggage for when moshiach does arrive. There are two flaws with this argument. The first is that it is infact a lack in emunah to Hashem if we do have the suitcase packed, and the second is that a suitcase is actually a "comfort" of ours.

The fact that one packs a suitcase, and constantly keeps it with him, actually proves that one has no faith in Gd. If Hashem were redeeming us from galus, on iron eagles, would it be too complicated for him to dress us as well? Would the eagle have "baggage claim"? I mean its almost ridiculous to think that our clothes would even matter. Imagine you took the subway to work that day (so the fact you keep the suitcase in the car doesn't matter), and you hear the shofar blown, will you say "Meet me back by the house, I need to get the luggage?"

Then, there's the issue of the luggage having clothes in it that in actuality are part of what we would deem as "comfortable". Not necessarily in the "pajama" sort of way, but for example, I would imagine, in this suitcase, one would pack shabbos/simcha clothing. While the intentions would be all good and nice, wouldn't that clothing only represent what was considered "shabbos/simchas clothes" during galus. Wouldn't packing infact show that we're trying to take a part of our "comfort" with us? It's our comfort in today's society that allows us to have a certain fashion sense, by packing this type of clothes, we are taking this comforting "style" with us.Why would that even be necessary?

I can even go further so far as to say how its actually selfish for us to pack. As American Jews, we have it pretty good. Our shabbos clothes is probably way nicer than anything Jews from other parts of the world would be able to bring with them. Not only that, the fact that we constantly are able to have something packed, is more than other Jews can say for themselves. How selfish, and therefore materialistic of us, is it to have things packed and prepared and blame others for not packing as well?

Do I think we're ready for moshiach? I don't know. I haven't really thought that much about it. But if those are the only arguments frummies have to offer on why we aren't ready, I think they need to think again, and stop blaming everyone for just being human!

11 comments:

ure fave commenter :-) said...

I don't agree with this. People who keep/kept suitcases packed under their beds were doing it more as a symbolic thing, showing that even though it IS human nature to adapt and get comfortable somewhere, they still are yearning for the geulah and are not getting comfortable in the galus.

frumskeptic said...

fave commenter: segulah's are also symbolic, yet completly retarded. keeping a packed suitcase full of things that actually represent galus, equally retarded. Realizing frum people resort to symbols to show they're frummer than everyone else...priceless...
ohh..anyway... I definitly do not agree with being fully comfortable, but truth of the matter is, its a state of mind. We can read the news everyday, and remind ourselves that the world hates us, and get comfortable withthat, or we can symbolicaly stick a suitcase in the trunk of our car, and just get comfortable with the fact the suitcase is there.
the first method makes reminds us everyday. while we get comfortable with the news, we aren't "taking comfort" with us and justifying it by calling it a "symbol". If we use a "symbol" we WILL get comfy with it,and it will end up being as symbolic as a mezuzah on your door, do you REALLLY think about it? you'll end up thinking about that packed suitcase just as often.

Orthoprax said...

Do you really believe in magic eagles that will fly the Jews back to Israel?

http://orthoprax.blogspot.com/2006/12/on-wings-of-eagles.html


In any case, I do believe Jews are way too comfortable today. When else did people have the time to come up with ridiculous chumrot virtually every week?

Jessica said...

the deal with the suitcase is that these people felt like they were nomads. they didn't feel like they were "home" yet because moshiach hadn't come yet. if someone was to do that now i would be inclined to think that they were doing it for the wrong reasons; to show off how "frum" they are, most likely.

as for the comment about not being comfortable... if it was me who had said it, what i would have meant is that we are too comfortable here. we're supposed to be yearning for moshiach and frankly, most people don't do that. why would anyone yearn for moshiach when we have such cushy and comfortable lives right here and right now?

frummy and proud of it said...

Frumskeptic - not everyone who keeps chumrahs or does these symbolic things want to show off how frum they are or appear holier-than-thou. Many people are doing it sincerely because they feel this is something that may bring them closer to G-d and it's something they can handle as a person...
"keeping a packed suitcase full of things that actually represent galus, equally retarded."
what do you expect them to pack? Pomegranates or an eagle or something representing geulah?? When you go away to a hotel and you know you're not going to stay for a while, you probably would not unpack your suitcase. You probably also wouldn't keep a suitcase under your bed packed with a stove and oven to represent you home. This is the same idea. They have faith they won't be here for a while and are showing how they will very soon be moving on.
In Judaism, many things we do are symbolic (what other religion lives in a hut for a week and shakes a palm, myrtle, willow, and very expensive lemon??). The idea is to take the physical thing and get a spiritual meaning from it.

About segulahs, if you want to get into that, write a new post and we'll discuss it then *wink,wink* or we'll discuss it later on IM

I have more to say but can't organize it all here...
BTW this is favecommentor - I decided to change my "identity" here...

frumskeptic said...

Orthoprax: LOL. Everytime my family hears of a new chumra or trend in the frum community, we always say "frum people have too much time on their hands". LOL

Ortho AND Jessica: I agree we're comfy, we'll always be comfy. Its how we were made. After we left Egypt hashem spent 40 years before allowing us to go to Mitzrayim, because he knew the people were too comfy in their Egyptian ways , and wanted those oldies to die. Its inevitable. Thats how we are. WE wont yearn Moshiach, simply because as humans, we fear change and are willing to settle for the status quo.

Jessica: We'll always feel cushy. Like i said to fave commenter (now frummy and proud) that a mezuzah is also symbolic. Actually a halachic symbol. It guards and protects us... How many of us have alarms in the house and 5 locks? we get used to the mezuzah, we get paranoid when its not there, but we still want the lock...thats how we are. Its not paranoia, or lack of emunah. Its humannature..and mind you , i get paranoid at hotels w/o mezuzah's. at home, its like they dont exist. We know we want moshiach. We know it secretely sux, if we have a suitcase filled, we'll get used to the symbolism and not think anything of it anyway! So whats the point. Having the symbol doesnt get us anymore "ready" for him..

frumskeptic said...

Jessica: scratch the "we know it secretly sux"

frumskeptic said...

Frummy and Proud:

"not everyone who keeps chumrahs or does these symbolic things want to show off how frum they are or appear holier-than-thou. "
Yea, there are what, two exceptions?

"what do you expect them to pack? Pomegranates or an eagle or something representing geulah?? "

Why should they pack...its shows a lack of emunah towards hashem to think he wont provide for you. Kinda like with the Mon in the desert, and trying to take double on friday. Wanting the cake and eating it too. You want hashem to redeem you, and still have your awesome shabbos clothes. If moshiach is finally here, you really think hashem wont take care of the rest. You think you'll need to take your awesome "new" shoes? Don't pack. Thats my point.


"When you go away to a hotel and you know you're not going to stay for a while, you probably would not unpack your suitcase."

My mom unpacks. Wants to feel as home as possible, without actually feeling at home. She hates suitcases. So while this analogy may work for me and you, doesnt work for my mom.

"You probably also wouldn't keep a suitcase under your bed packed with a stove and oven to represent you home. This is the same idea. They have faith they won't be here for a while and are showing how they will very soon be moving on."

Or they fear they'll be kicked out of the US like we did every other country already (some more than once), nad instead of seeming paranoid, they're just telling you they're packed for moshiach.. Ask if they have a passport...I bet they do...Do you think the passport is symbolic too?? I mean, Here comes moshiach...ALL the world sees this, All going to Israel..you think airport security will stop and check your passport? Same thing...no point...lack in emunah towards hashem. We dont feel at home. Chanukah time is christmas music. Pesach time, Delicious looking easter bunny chocolate (full of corn syrup) commercials! THE STOCK MARKET IS OPEN ON YOMIM TOVIM!!!!! you think that makes people feel at home???

"In Judaism, many things we do are symbolic (what other religion lives in a hut for a week and shakes a palm, myrtle, willow, and very expensive lemon??). The idea is to take the physical thing and get a spiritual meaning from it."

Dunno the history on shaking anything, but you cannot compare symbolism from the Torah to man-made symbolism.

frumskeptic said...

Ortho: I never actually had a reason to not beleive the eagle thing. I heard that possibly my entire life (even before frum). Its one of the few things I never cared to question...very interesting post...If I remember I'll probably ask my rabbi about this, just for fun, to see what he says.
if not..oh well...ill probably just google things you wrote about on your post. :)

Jessica said...

I totally agree that its human nature, but the fact is that we're supposed to be looking so forward to moshiach and praying for it everyday, but we don't. whether its because of human nature doesn't really come into issue because sometimes we have to go against our nature to do what's right. i'm not saying we should all pack a suitcase, but that fact that its "human nature to feel comfortable" doesn't make it okay that we don't yearn for moshiach.

frumskeptic said...

Jessica: I do agree its not a good thing that we do not yearn for moshiach, I just don't necessarily think we are entiraly to blame for it. The problem is, the community compares us to those that have packed suitcases, and are tell us we're comfortable. Its not like we can really control the situation. So everyone blames everyone else for the reason Moshiach isn't here, and then makes us feel guilty for actually feeling good about our lives.

Dont you ever feel like if you daven for Israel's safety, you just feel like its almost a waste of time, because its like Hashem already decided on the whole "Palestinian State" thing?

Its the same thing with moshiach, its almsot like Hashem already decided when he's coming ... It basically goes back to the Free will/choice debate. Its complicated and annoying. Its like Intellectually you KNOW that hashem listens to our prayers, but its so complicated, and we really do need to take care of our lives, so its almost frustrating TO have the equivalent of the "suitcase" packed, or w/e it is in our lives...but to say we're NOT ready for moshiach, just irritates me. Because maybe we ARE ready and Hashem isn't ready because he has some point to prove by bringing him later...
Were Jews NOT ready for Moshe in Egypt when he ran away, or was it that Moshe was not ready so Hashem had to keep the Jews on hold...

We dont know...It definitly wasn't the fact that the suitcases were packed that represented being ready or not, or else we wouldnt have matzoh, cuz they'd prob have preserves or s/t ready. lol.

I dont know...I'm rambling now. lol. :)