Just a day before the start of Passover last week, two of Israel’s most prominent rabbis got together to discuss the delayed coming of the Messiah.
Rabbi Moishe Sternbuch is head of the Rabbinical Court and a leader of one of Israel’s largest and most influential ultra-Orthodox communities.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky is considered a leading authority in ultra-Orthodox Jewish society.
The Orthodox news portal Kikar Hashabbat recorded their conversation:
Sternbuch: This is a difficult generation. Not a day goes by without someone cursing his friend. You deal with one situation, and immediately someone starts something else.
During the campaign on behalf of the Bnei Israel from India I worked with your father, and then we spoke of an abundance of Jews (to bring to Israel). But today they want to bring to the Land those who hold to the Christian faith, the so-called “Jewish Christians.”
Kanievsky: Foreshadowing of the Messiah.
Sternbuch: Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin interpreted what is said at the end of the Mishnah in Sotah (‘We will have no one upon whom to rely other than our Father in Heaven’ - Sotah 9:15) as a curse in and of itself, that in the generation of the foreshadowing of Messiah those who fear God will become tired and give up the fight against sinners. …We need to bring Messiah.
Kanievsky: The seventh (period of blessing) is not yet finished. ‘At the conclusion of the seventh the son of David will come.’ (Babylonian Talmud - Megilah 17:22)
Sternbuch: ‘The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.’ (Jeremiah 8:20)
Kanievsky: According to the signs recorded in the Gemara (rabbinic commentary on the Mishnah), the Messiah should already have come.
Sternbuch (reading from the Gemara): ‘The generation during which the Son of David comes will accuse the scholars.’ Rambam wrote that before the coming of Messiah, Christians and Ishmaelites would come to the Land of Israel.
Kanievsky: When Messiah comes everyone will repent, and those who were ‘barren trees’ will bear fruit and become scholars.
Sternbuch: It would seem that we are now in the ‘Generation of Messiah,’ and God willing will meet again at the coming of Messiah, may He come quickly. Then we will see the fulfillment of the verse, ‘When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.’ (Psalm126:1) It will seem like the world in which we lived until the coming of Messiah was but a dream.