In the Torah portion of Noach we find G-d's promise that the world will continue to exist forever; it will never end.
"The end is near." What does this phrase mean? Certainly not the end of the world but the end of the bitter days of exile. The end of oppression and hatred, poverty and sickness, war and crime.
Why should we be afraid that the end is approaching? Should that thought truly place fear in our hearts? Or should we not be excited that "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean"?
Fear is not necessarily the appropriate feeling. Rather, possibly a sense of regret, as the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, stated, "When Moshiach comes, then we will long for the days of exile." Why? Because at that time we will look back at a replay of our lives and see all of the instances when we could have done more good, more mitzvot, judged less harshly, been more generous. Thus, we might look toward the imminently approaching days of Moshiach with a little anxiety. But the positive anticipation should far outweigh our trepidation.
Would the Jews, from our greatest leaders to the simplest person, have looked forward to, longed for, prayed, begged and beseeched G-d for 2,000 years if the Redemption would not be good for everyone? In fact, we are told that this redemption for which we wait anxiously is called the "geula ha-amitit v'hashleima"--the true and complete redemption--because every single Jew, as well as all righteous gentiles, have a portion in the Redemption.
Let us take one more lesson from the Torah portion of Noach and relate it to the topic of Redemption as well. Noach was a tzaddik, a righteous person. But he had one major failing. He was commanded by G-d to build an ark, which he did obediently and gladly. But he did not actively seek to help the people of his generation return to G-d. He was content to save himself and his family.
Let us all make sure not only to prepare ourselves and to feel positive and anxious about the imminent redemption. Let us make sure to influence those in our surroundings as well.
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