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A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

This week's parsha, Parashat Vayechi, finds Yaakov Avinu, our Patriarch Jacob, at the end of his life.  As a last will and testament of sorts, he calls for his children to gather round, so that he might "tell you all what will befall you at the end of days (Genesis 49:1)."  Indeed, Jacob's sons do gather around him, but alas, instead of revealing to them what will befall them and their descendants in the end of days, Jacob instead makes use of this occasion to bless his sons.  As Rashi comments on that verse:  "Jacob desired to reveal the end-time to them.  However, the Shechinah departed from him just at that moment, so instead Jacob spoke of other matters to his sons."
The attempt to reveal the precise time when the End-of-Days, the Messianic era, and the Resurrection of the Dead will commence has occupied the minds of people of faith since antiquity.  This quest to unveil the End has proceeded hand-in-hand with a Divine counter-force to conceal these matters.  In the concluding verses of the Book of Daniel, the Almighty cryptically reveals the end-time.  When the Prophet, not fully comprehending the coded allusion. asks for further clarification, he is rebuffed by the Lord:  "He said, 'Go, Daniel.  For the matters are obscured and sealed until the time of the End' (Daniel 12:9)."
The human desire to reveal the prescribed time for the arrival of Moshiach is understandable.  But the Divine will to obscure such matters may be appreciated as well.  In a world of war, hunger, strife and illness, a person might lose hope if he was aware that, God forbid, the messianic era was still far off in the distant future.  Much better to live in pure faith with the words of Rambam:  "I believe in the coming of Messiah, and even if he may tarry, I will wait for him each day that he should come."  It is with these words that we can live and function in this yet-unredeemed world as it is, while at the same time patiently anticipating the imminent redemption.
All the best,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson