While teaching a class this week I was asked the following question: “Why hasn’t the Mashiach (Messiah) arrived yet?”
I explained that the process of the geula (redemption) according to Rav Kook is a slow process which unfolds gradually in small steps. Part of the process of redemption is the ingathering of the exiles.
For the past 100 years, groups of Jews have steadily been returning to the Land of Israel. It would be very difficult if all of the Jews in the world decided to make aliya on the same day so as long as small groups continue to arrive- as a group of 56 people (including my friend Rachel) arrived from the USA this week, we are on the right path.
Although we may be heading in the right direction, we have an issue which may be holding up the coming of the Mashiach and that is the fact that many of the Jews in Israel (who originate from many different countries and who belong to different denominations) are having trouble getting along with one another. Unfortunately, often their differences are not respected and chaos ensues.
Today, I saw “religious” men at the Kotel climbing on chairs in order to yell at the Women of the Wall on the other side of the mechitza and throw things at them. This is a desecration of God’s name. The only reason why women sometimes stand on chairs at the Kotel is when they are trying to get a glimpse of the Bar Mitzvah boy over a mechitza that is higher than it needs to be. These men have no business even looking at the women’s section and distracting the hundreds of women (many of whom are not even part of Women of the Wall) who are trying to pray with kavana (intent) at the Kotel. This type of behavior will certainly not bring us closer to the redemption.
Another issue that is holding us back is the fact that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is not making enough of an effort to recognize converts from abroad. This is making it very difficult for converts to marry in Israel and make aliya. Even when they are finally accepted, it is after a long and stressful process which could cause many brides and grooms to just give up and leave with a bad taste in their mouths pushing people away who would otherwise have made aliya.
If we really want to bring about the coming of the Mashiach, we need to remember that each of us has a part in the process of redemption and we must do everything that we can to make Israel a pleasant and welcoming place for the entire Jewish people.