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Clearly, the Messianic Era is something that we should pray for and desire, if we identify with the Torah's way of life. However, is there a specific mitzvah or chiyuv to actually do something (including prayer) that hastens the coming of Mashiach? I'm sure I've seen this discussed but I can't remember where. It may have been in religious Zionist/anti-Zionist literature, because part of the debate involves whether or not the founding of Jewish settlements in Israel would hasten or slow the redemption process.

I've heard Rabbi Hershel Schachter (of YU) say that the source for this idea is that the Gemara (Yevamos 62a) implies that we're supposed to have children in order to fill the quota of Jews born in order to hasten redemption, but I've never seen that written anywhere.

(I don't think that this is a duplicate of this question, which is asking about doing any mitzvah with the intention of hastening Mashiach, but it's a subtle difference)

  • List of related questions - meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/2044/4794 – Y     e     z Jun 22 '14 at 20:21
  • does the mitzva of teshuva qualify? – ray Jun 22 '14 at 20:24
  • @ray, of course it does, but only if you can show that there's a specific mitvah to bring about the teshuvah of mashiach (so not the Rambam that seems to be quoted often in these related questions) – הנער הזה Jun 23 '14 at 2:00
  • @YEZ I feel like it's only marginally related to "Mashiach job description" question - if you can show that his job description involves something that we are obligated to do, then it can, but I don't think that's obvious – הנער הזה Jun 23 '14 at 2:02
  • Possibly related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/33298 – Fred Jun 23 '14 at 2:05
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I think in many ways the question answers itself in the first sentence. "... if we identify with the Torah's way of life."

Would anyone propose that that is optional? That according to the Torah it is OK to not identify with a Torah way of life? (We see its identification with a Torah way of life from the many statements in the Rambam about how the Chachamim desired Moshiach to be free to live a Torah life without interference, among other places).

But in terms of specifics, if doing something includes prayer, then it is an obligation to pray three times a day, and during the weekdays that prayer includes at least 4 blessings referencing and requesting various aspects of Moshiach and the messianic era. So right there is a straight up obligation, basic to every Jew. (This deduction presumes that prayer is a request that actually would affect the result of what is being requested).

Assuming you wanted something less obvious, there is this:

Footnote 128: In his Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:1, the Rambam writes: In the future, the King Mashiach will arise.... Anyone who does not believe in him, or does not await his coming, denies not only [the statements of] the other prophets, but also [those of] the Torah and of Moshe, our teacher.

Implied in the Rambam's statement is that even if a person believes that ultimately Mashiach will come, but does not anxiously await his arrival, he is considered to have denied Judaism's fundamental creed

[Continuing in the main text]: The sincerity of this intent, however, must be reflected in the performance of activities to hasten Mashiach's coming for, as our Sages teach,[131] "Action is what matters." Every man, woman, and child has an individual responsibility to work to bring about Mashiach's coming. No one else can shoulder this burden for him: his own efforts and energy are needed. Each of us must prepare for the coming of Mashiach by increasing his study of the Torah and enhancing his performance of its commandments behiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner.

Why is it that these are the activities which will hasten Mashiach's coming? -- Because they are intrinsically parallel to the manner in which Mashiach will relate to the Jewish people.

-- The Lubavitcher Rebbe

By the way, some people might claim that this idea that the Rambam is saying that there is an obligation to want/Anxiously await Moshiach is the Lubavitcher Rebbe's innovation, but I have seen Rav Yitzchok Zev Solovetchik quoted (here footnote 3) as saying the same thing.

The explicit extension into action (not really action, but rather infusing something we would already be obligated to do with that intention and making that a motivation for the action) is something that is perhaps more unique to Chabad Chassidus, although not just the most recent Lubavitcher Rebbe, as you find such a concept alluded to in Tanya as well as other places.

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  • I don't understand your claim from the Amida. How do those blessings hasten the coming of Mashiach any more than the other blessings? – Double AA Jun 23 '14 at 15:47
  • You're first two sentences are relatively circular, as they don't explain how we know this is a part of "the Torah's way of life". – Double AA Jun 23 '14 at 15:49
  • I don't see RYZS as saying the "anxious waiting" must take the form of actions, as the Rebbe claimed it did. – Double AA Jun 23 '14 at 15:51
  • @DoubleAA feel free to edit the question a bit; I'm not sure if it's so clear what I'm looking for (a specific chiyuv to bring mashiach) – הנער הזה Jun 23 '14 at 16:28
  • @Matt, would that quote from the Lubavitcher Rebbe be the type of thing you are looking for, but perhaps more direct i.e. something that says "go conquer Eretz Yisroel and build a Beis HaMikdash and let Hashem make that Moshiach"? (You could arguably read that into the Rambam, but I'm not aware of anyone who does). – Yishai Jun 23 '14 at 17:55
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A source that we should pray for Moshiach's coming:

Rambam Introduction to Perek Chelek, Yesod 12, Kappach translation:

היסוד השנים עשר, ימות המשיח. והוא להאמין וּלְאַמֵּת שיבוא, ואין לומר שנתאחר, "אִם יִתְמַהְמָהּ חַכֵּה לוֹ" (חבקוק ב ג) ... ולהתפלל לבואו

Translation of bold words - The twelfth principle is the days of the Messiah... and pray for his coming.

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  • ah! I can't believe I was so stupid as to not check the Kapach translation (this phrase doesn't appear in the traditional translation). Thanks! – הנער הזה Jun 26 '14 at 5:50
  • @Matt No problem. Happens to be that even the ibn Tibben translation has ולהתפלל בשבילו, which is pretty apparent that it means to daven for his coming (unless you will say that it means to daven for his well-being, which seems far fetched. Especially considering this applies to people who will be dead centuries before his arrival). – Y     e     z Jun 26 '14 at 19:11
  • the ibn Tibben translation isn't the one printed in the gemaras. That translation only has להאמין ולאמת שיבא ולא יחשב שיתאחר אם יתמהמה חכה לו, and I thought that the idea of waiting for him (or even praying) was just to preclude the possibility that he has already arrived (a la Christianity) – הנער הזה Jun 26 '14 at 19:39
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I refer to an interesting episode, which was recorded by Rabbi Shmuel Baruch Shulman of Yerushalayim, who was present at a meeting between Rabbi Avraham Yitzchok Hakohen Kook, the chief rabbi of Israel, and Rabbi Yitzchok Yosef Schneerson (the 6th Lubavitcher rebbe).

The meeting occurred in the summer of 1929, when the latter visited Israel. The story was published in the Torah journal “Hapardes” (Vol. 10, number 8, November, 1936, pp. 31-32). [Also published by Rabbi Shulman as a separate pamphlet].

Rabbi Shulman reports about several topics which came up in conversation (the proper bracha to be recited over a banana, love of every inch in Eretz Yisrael).

He continues: “The conversation then moved to matters of the future redemption, may it come speedily in our day.

The Lubavitcher rebbe’s position is well known, that this is one of the things that we have do not have to do any actions, and [just] wait for the mercy of Hashem.

[Rav Kook] proceeded to provide evidence to the contrary. Just as in all matters that depend on Heaven, it is incumbent on us to do “hishtadlus” to the best of our ability to help bring the matter into reality, so too regarding the future redemption, it is the sacred duty of every Jew to do a concrete action, so to speak, to “help” Hashem.

[Rav Kook] emphasized the statement of Chazal “In the future, a Heavenly voice will blast the mountain tops, saying, anyone who worked with Hashem should come and take his reward”. Meaning that along with our looking forward to salvation, we also need to do actions on our part, to “work with Hashem”.

We see that there has been a long standing debate regarding the question of, is action required on our part to help bring the future redemption. Those rabbis that believe that we need to take an active role in creating the messianic era, are echoing Rav Kook’s position.

It is interesting to note the “well known” (6th) Lubavitcher rebbe’s position, as quoted by Rabbi Shulman, which advocated a more passive approach. Contrast this with the current Lubavitcher approach, which is to attempt to hasten the final redemption, and their mission is centered on this goal.

Hebrew text:

ואח׳׳כ עברה השיחה על עניני הגאולה העתידה לבא במהרה בימינו, ושיטת האדמו״ר מלובאוויטש היא כידוע שזהו מן הדברים שאנחנו צריכים לא לעשות שום פעולות ולחכות לחסדי השי״ת.

הרבה רבנו [הגראי"ה קוק] בראיות הפוכות כמו שבכל הענינים התלוים בידי שמים עלינו להשתדל בכל היכולת לעזור ולהוציא מן הכח אל הפועל, כן גם בעניני הגאולה העתידה חובה קדושה מוטלת על אדם מישראל לעשות איזו פעולה ממשית ולעזור כביכול להשי״ת. (כן) [כמו] כן מדגיש ״בתנא דבי אליהו״ המאמר: ״עתידה בת קול לפוצץ בין ההרים ואומרת כל מי שפעל עם אל יבא ויטול שכרו״, הכוונה שיחד עם הצפיה לגאולה צריכים אנו גם מצדנו לעשות פעולות, וזהו ״שפעל עם אל״.

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we help bring moshiach by doing mitzvahs. see Rambam laws of repentance chapter 3. one should view himself and the world as having half good deeds and half not so good and that any additional mitzvahs will redeem oneself and bring about the redemption for all mankind.

as to whether we have to bring moshiach perkei avos might answer this... "He would also say: It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it." (chapter 2. paragraph 16)

however, there is an idea (can't find source right now) that anyone whom in their generation has not witnessed the rebuilding of the beis hamikdash has witnessed the destruction.

furthermore, we are unable to fulfill all of the mitzvos which we are obligated to fulfill.

lastly, moshiach is about more than just "me" as an individual and even goes beyond the Jewish people. Moshiach is about a world change which makes the world a better place for everyone. an end to human suffering is surely more than just a desirable outcome, is it not?

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    But the Rambam there doesn't discuss Mashiach. – Double AA Jun 23 '14 at 2:54

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