I recently saw in The Moshiach Times, a popular Chabad-Lubavitch publication for children, an exhortation to "do a mitzvah for moshiach": to do a mitzva with the specific purpose of hastening the arrival of the days of mashiach. Is there a source for this: that one should do mitzvos for, at least in part, this purpose, or with, at least in part, this intent? (I know doing mitzvos can hasten the arrival of the days of mashiach, and I also know we pray for their hastened arrival; those are not my question.)

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    We dont do mitsvot for moshiach full stop period. We do mitvot because hashem commanded us to. – user2784 May 12 '13 at 16:36
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    To clarify: Is your question about whether one's kavana in performing mitzvos should be outcome oriented (in the sense that the merit should bring about a specific outcome) or lishmah? – Fred May 12 '13 at 17:25
  • @Menachem, certainly doing mitzvos can hasten mashiach's arrival (as you link to). That's not my question. – msh210 May 12 '13 at 18:54
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    @msh210 This begs the question of whether someone can do a mitzva lishmah and also have some other specific intention, or whether any other objective detracts from lishmah. – Fred May 12 '13 at 19:21

I think that the question presupposes that the coming of Moshiach is a reward for our work during the era of exile, and in that case that's a fair point, since we're supposed to do mitzvos "not in order to receive reward" (Avos 1:3).

However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l cites in this connection a statement by R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Tanya, ch. 37) that the extent of the revelation of G-dliness that will occur in the time of Moshiach depends on our service of G-d during the era of exile. In other words, as the Rebbe puts it, these bear the same relationship to each other as the planting of a seed does to the growth of the fruit. Isn't it only logical, then, that we do our "planting" with the expectation that it will yield that "fruit"? (The more so because there are aspects of Torah and mitzvos themselves that await the era of Moshiach to be fully realizable in practice, meaning in effect that the "fruit" itself includes the ability to do more mitzvos, much like "learning in order to teach" and "learning in order to perform" (Avos 4:5).)

Indeed, the Rebbe goes on to say that this interdependency is reflected in the names of the two (usually combined) parshiyos of Tazria-Metzora: the "sowing" (tazria) has to be imbued with the idea that it leads not just to something in the indefinite future (zos tihyeh - "this will be" - an older name for Parshas Metzora) but directly to Moshiach (represented as a metzora, as per Sanhedrin 98b (חיוורא דבי רבי שמו) and as explained in Chabad Chassidus (e.g., Likkutei Torah, Vayikra 22b ff)).

(Adapted from Shaarei Geulah u-Moshiach pp. 59ff, which in turn is a Hebrew adaptation of the Yiddish original in Likkutei Sichos 22:70ff, mainly sections 8-10)

  • +1, especially for "the 'fruit' itself includes the ability to do more mitzvos, much like... 'learning in order to perform'"; if done with that intention, it might not be considered al m'nas l'kabeil s'char. | Aside from that point, it seems that this is related to a key point of disagreement between the Alter Rebbe and R' Chaim Volozhiner on the topic of lishmah in Torah study; R' Chaim wrote that lishmah requires learning simply because that is the mitzvah, and the Alter Rebbe wrote (IIRC) in the Tanya that learning to achieve d'veikus is also considered lishmah. – Fred May 12 '13 at 20:35
  • ... Perhaps a similar machlokes would exist regarding performing mitzvos with the intention that they increase the "extent of the revelation of G-dliness" in the world. – Fred May 12 '13 at 20:37
  • @Fred: thanks. I wonder, though (and I'm not familiar enough with R. Chaim's writings to know the answer): would he accept that learning in order to reach chayei olam haba is also considered lishmah? If so, then that's the very reason that Rambam gives (Hil. Teshuvah 9:2 and Hil. Melachim 12:4) as why "the wise men" wanted Moshiach - so that they would be able to study Torah more perfectly, to merit chayei olam haba. And in that case, the causation could flow as follows: one learns Torah in order to bring Moshiach, which will bring the ability to learn more, which will bring to olam haba. – Alex May 12 '13 at 21:15
  • Note that the Rambam in Hil. T'shuva 10:1 writes that "a person should not say, 'I will do the command of the Torah and study its Wisdom... in order that I merit life in Olam Haba'." Perhaps (similar to the distinction made by R' Tzadok MiLublin in Divrei Sof'rim, 4) the Rambam would say that if someone wants Olam Haba as an opportunity to love and cling to HaShem, that intent itself would be a fulfillment of the mitzva of ahavas HaShem. In any case, perhaps R' Chaim would disagree with the Rambam and follow another rishon. – Fred May 12 '13 at 21:42
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    @msh210: it's my paraphrase of what I think the Rebbe is saying. See p. 59 of SGUM: כלומר שזה מה שנפעל לימות המשיח ותחיית המתים אינו דבר נפרד מענין הגלות, אלא הוא ה״צמיחה״, אשר ״צומחת״ מעבודת ה״זריעה״ בזמן הגלות. Further on that page: צריכה להיות ניכרת במעשינו ועבודתינו שבזמן הגלות, שזה ענין של ״תזריע״ שמביא את ה״צמיחה״, את הגילוי של משיח צדקינו. On page 60: אופן נעלה יותר הוא, שאצלו האחכה והקיוינו כל היום לגאולה שנרגש בכל יום בעבודת ה״תזריע״ שלו, אין זה רק שכל עבודה שלו תגרום מיד ״שיבא״, אלא שהגאולה העתידה הינה דבר אחד עם תוכן עבודתו — מכיון שביאת המשיח היא הצמיחה ובמילא השלימות של הזריעה שלו – Alex May 13 '13 at 3:38

This idea is brought in the Rambam Hilchot Tshuvah 3:4

... לפיכך צריך כל אדם שיראה עצמו כל השנה כולה כאילו חציו זכאי וחציו חייב. וכן כל העולם חציו זכאי וחציו חייב. חטא חטא אחד, הרי הכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם כולו לכף חובה וגרם לו השחתה. עשה מצוה אחת, הרי הכריע את עצמו ואת כל העולם כולו לכף זכות וגרם לו ולהם תשועה והצלה, שנאמר: "וצדיק יסוד עולם" (משלי י, כה). זה שצדק הכריע את כל העולם לזכות והצילו.

..Translated here:

...Accordingly, throughout the entire year, a person should always look at himself as equally balanced between merit and sin and the world as equally balanced between merit and sin. If he performs one sin, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of guilt and brings destruction upon himself.

[On the other hand,] if he performs one mitzvah, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and brings deliverance and salvation to himself and others. This is implied by [Proverbs 10:25] "A righteous man is the foundation of the world," i.e., he who acted righteously, tipped the balance of the entire world to merit and saved it.

With this Rambam in mind - it becomes very relevant to connect the act of a mitzvah to the coming of Mashiach - as it may very well be that this particular mitzvah is the very mitvah which will be the 'Makeh b'patish' - to bring Moshiach.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe quoted this Rambam in this context on many occasions.

Alternatively the source of the Moshach times could be from here:

In a sicha on Chayei Sara 5752 (Seif 14) - [Original Yiddish / Hebrew Translation while addressing in particular the Shluchim [at the annual kinus hashluchim] - the Lubavitcher Rebbe stated that all our work in spreading Juduism..should be permeated with the ideal that this hastens Mashiach's coming.

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    This highlights the importance of performing mitzvos, but it doesn't suggest that this is the ideal intent someone should have when performing the mitzva. I.e. it doesn't suggest that someone who does mitzvos for that purpose is doing them lishmah. – Fred May 12 '13 at 20:42
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    I don't see why "it becomes very relevant to connect the act of a mitzvah to the coming of Mashiach." He doesn't even mention Mashiach. – Double AA May 12 '13 at 20:45
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    Tips the balance of the world to merit...deliverance and salvation - is another way of saying Mashiach – Danield May 12 '13 at 20:57
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    @Danield I disagree. It is the way of describing all kinds of successes and blessings which can come to people in the world even nowadays. Do you have any reason to think the Rambam meant Mashiach when he didn't say it? Note also the neither Gemara which is the source for this Rambam (Kiddushin 40) nor any of the Rishonim I see there make any eschatological claims. – Double AA May 12 '13 at 21:11

In connection with his exhortation that Jews perform Mitzvot specifically with the intention of hastening the arrival of Mashiach, the Lubavitcher Rebbe often quotes the Mishna, in Brachot 1:5 :

מזכירין יציאת מצרים בלילות. אמר רבי אלעזר בן עזריה, הרי אני כבן שבעים שנה, ולא זכיתי שתאמר יציאת מצרים בלילות, עד שדרשה בן זומא יח, שנאמר "למען תזכר את יום צאתך מארץ מצרים כל ימי חייך" (דברים טז, ג). ימי חייך, הימים. כל ימי חייך, הלילות. וחכמים אומרים, ימי חייך, העולם הזה. כל (ימי חייך), להביא לימות המשיח.‏

Numerous examples exist. Here is one, from Hitva'aduyot 5792, Vol 1, Page 320.

A search on www.otzar770.com for the phrase "להביא לימות המשיח" will turn up many other results as well, but the texts are stored graphically there, which makes it difficult to copy quotations from there into here.

  • Citing where he says so would even better answer my question. – msh210 Jun 6 '13 at 17:29
  • How does this Mishna support the claim? It says that you have to remember the Exodus nowadays and in the days of Mashiach. – Double AA Jun 6 '13 at 17:42
  • Maybe not in the most literal interpretation of this Mishna, but at least as a "Vort", "כל ימי חייך, להביא לימות המשיח" can be taken to mean that "all of one's life [should be dedicated to] 'bringing the Days of Mashiach.'" – Yosi Mor Jun 6 '13 at 17:55
  • I don't see anything on that page 320 that matches what you're attributing to it. – msh210 Jun 6 '13 at 17:55
  • "להביא לימות המשיח" is mentioned several times on that page, but see especially section י"ב, that starts with "ובנוגע לפועל - המעשה הוא העיקר". – Yosi Mor Jun 6 '13 at 18:00

It seems just the opposite from the gemara in Sanhedrin 97 .The Chachamim were trying to calculate when mashiach will come ,Rav Zeira said please stop pushing away mashiach for three things come when one does not contemplate them Mashiach,an aveidah,and a scorpion.

From this gemarah it seems one should not think how masahiach is going to come.This is not a contradiction to the ani mamims because that is we believe he can come at any moment.

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    Is your answer "there is no such source", then? (The question asks for a source, not an argument for or against.) – Monica Cellio May 12 '13 at 17:24
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    It is not clear that calculating dates is equivalent to doing mitzvos with a mind towards the future redemption. – Fred May 12 '13 at 17:25
  • I don't have a source,but the gemarah seems like the opposite.I am not saying there is no such source just hard to understand if there was one. – sam May 12 '13 at 17:28

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