“I believe in perfect faith in the coming of Moshiach; and although he may tarry, I await his coming every day” (one of Rambam’s 13 Principles of faith).

“Moshiach is on the way — he will be here any day.” These are more than mere slogans. The familiar call, expressed by young and old, “We want Moshiach now!” — is rooted in the basic teachings of Torah Judaism, one of the fundamental tenets of faith. The belief in Moshiach — a human being, a descendant of King David’s royal family, endowed with unique qualities of Torah scholarship and piety — who will bring the final and complete redemption to the Jews and to all mankind, is clearly set forth in the Code of Maimonides (Rambam), and in numerous Talmudic and Midrashic sources.

For over 1900 years, since the churban, the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Jews have always lived with this concrete belief: ‘I await the coming of Moshiach any day now.’ This theme is reiterated in our daily prayers, in Shmoneh-Esrai, wherein we say: ‘Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish..” and “May our eyes see Your return to Zion with mercy.”

Throughout the generations, all of our esteemed Torah leaders have demonstrated this principle of faith and promulgated it to all Jews. In this century, the renowned Torah Sage, the Chofetz Chaim zt”l (Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen) among others, strongly urged all Jews to express their continuous, strong and heartfelt faith in Moshiach, in light of the Talmudic question (Shabbos 31a): Tzipisa L’yeshuah — “Have you hoped and eagerly looked forward to the Messianic salvation?” Indeed, the Chofetz Chaim zt”l states:

“A Jew is obligated to demand that Moshiach come, just as a worker demands his daily wages!”

The story is told that wherever the Chofetz Chaim traveled, he carried with him a new, never-worn long black coat, neatly wrapped in a suitcase. Once, one of his close acquaintances asked him: ‘Why don’t you ever wear your new coat?’ Upon this the Chofetz Chaim replied: ‘I truly believe that Moshiach will come any day now, and I want to be sure that as soon as he comes I will be ready to greet him with this new garment.’

This level of steadfast belief in the coming of Moshiach is truly exemplary.

In recent times, particularly this year, 5751 (1991), we have witnessed profound, overwhelming miracles — the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf war, the salvation of Israel from the Scud attacks and the massive exodus of close to a million Jews from Russia and other countries of oppression. These events are seen as sure signs that Moshiach’s advent is imminent. Even the Yalkut-Shimoni (Isaiah #499), a classical Midrashic source, foresaw the time that one Arabic country will attack another one, arousing the unified concern and anger of the whole world, as a prelude to the advent of Moshiach.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi M. M. Schneerson Shlita, leader of the world-wide Chabad movement and mentor to hundreds of thousands of Jews, continues to reaffirm this belief — and demand — that Jews be ready to greet Moshiach now, without any delay.

In order to make this belief a reality, it is important to study the teachings of our Sages regarding Moshiach — his identity and his functions, some of which are presented in this volume. Certainly, this book has only touched the surface. If questions remain concerning the Messianic era, let Moshiach come and answer them himself (see Rambam, Hilchos Melachim — 12:1). Isn’t 1900 years long enough to have waited?! May we all merit to see Moshiach NOW!

Rabbi Abraham Stone

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Elul 5751 / Aug. 1991