Why is the economic situation connected to Moshiach’s arrival? Why does it seem that the current mode of dealing with the problem will not yield bona fide results?
I think that our hearts tell us that both of the aforementioned questions are valid. While this that we sense may be affected by what we’ve read from the autistic messages, the truth is that there is more depth to this notion then we might otherwise have thought.
There are numerous sources in relation to Moshiach that clearly indicate that economics are associated with his arrival. The strongest source is one I have quoted previously, which is Rebbe Nachman’s story “The master of prayer.” Rebbe Nachman stresses from the onset of the story how the desire for wealth is one of the most difficult mistaken life approaches to correct. He tells how the Master of prayer, who represents Moshiach ben Dovid, tries to get through to the people who have fallen into this trap. They have so fallen into their mistake that they can not even begin to fathom that the true purpose of life is to come close to Hashem, nor that they might possibly be mistaken in their approach to life. He then describes how the Mighty Warrior, who represents Moshiach ben Yosef, is involved in bringing the leaders of the land of wealth on the only path to rectification – the path of war. Profoundly, this very path that they travel in order to rectify the leaders of the land of wealth, eventually brings to the reunification of all of the different characters in the story, which signifies the advent of the era of Moshiach.
The clear indication is that the rectification of the mistake of the land of wealth, i.e. the worship of money, is a precursor to Moshiach’s arrival.
The question is, why?
The answer is that as long as we believe that money is the main purpose of our lives, we are completely drawn away from what life is really about – spritual attainments. Even more finely stated, the more we put our faith in money, the less we are connected to Hashem, and the less we depend on Him. This misplaced faith and mistaken goal in life must be corrected before Moshiach can come, where all of days will be spent in constant devotion to growth in our Avodas Hashem.
Another point which is a direct outcrop of this is that the worship of wealth is truly an extension of the worship of self. It is the belief that my extravagant lifestyle is the center of the purpose of my existence, and I will do whatever is necessary to obtain it. Anyone that will stand in my way will fall.
Ultimately it is simply an immature self-centered goal that is all about pride. That pride is what must fall before the days of Moshiach when our lives will be centered completely outside of ourselves – all will join together just to propel each other ever higher in our service of Hashem - ויעשו כולם אגודה אחת לעשות רצונך בלבב שלם – They will join together in a single unit to do Your will with a full heart.
Coming back to the current crisis, there is a tremendous fundamental mistake that is being made by those who are trying to help the situation. Most people will acknowledge that the main problem in this whole crisis is the lack of trust. Markets and investments were mismanaged and misled by those whose whole interest was none other than number 1 – themselves. This self-centeredness ultimately blew up in everyone’s face and continues to plague us with a loss of faith that does not seem to have an end in sight. To work at the root of this, it would be necessary to go back to the source, recognizing that there is a lack of faithfullness that is creating the lack of faith. Instead, there is only hacking at the leaves of the problem. To my eye, this is simply because the leaders themselves (read: Obama) so totally believe that they are the center of the world, and the answer to all the world’s problems that they do not understand the fundamental problem – the lack of character. Their personal deficit in character will continue to fuel the problem, rather than solving it.
All the money in the world will not replace the faith that was lost and continues to remain weak. Only a real investment in what is lacking – an investment in trustworthiness and in simple goodness and honesty – will return people’s faith. Sadly, however, the drive to return the economy to its ‘former glory’ is completely based in pride, whether it is the pride of an Obama, seeking to make an eternal legacy for himself, or the pride of those who were making millions and now find themselves owing the same. As long as pride is the motivating factor, the point will be missed and the lesson unlearned, and the rectification distant.
To me, this is what Rebbe Nachman hinted to in his story when he told us about the people of the land of wealth who would not be convinced of the error of their ways. The sad result is that the only rectification for them is the path to war. Nevertheless, this path ultimately brings about the ultimate rectification.
In the end all, the message for us must be that we must strengthen our own commitment to raising our level of Avodas Hashem, and our own trust in Hashem. What happens to our faith when times get tough? Will we crack under the pressure, or will we strengthen our trust in Hashem, knowing that just as He helped us in the past, he will continue to help in the future? Ultimately, every experience we have in our lives is from Hashem, and is designed to bring out who we really are - צדיקים ילכו בם, ופושעים יכשלו בם - the righteous walk in them, and the wanton ones stumble in them. The tests reveal who we really are, and whether we have true trust.
There is always the multi-millionare who says, "All my wealth is from Hashem!" Whether he continues to say this when he has lost his money will be a real indicator of his faith in Hashem.
חזק חזק - we must stay strong through these trying times. This strength will be what we have to rest upon. There is only One that is our unwavering Support. It is our Rock - Stalwart and Omnipresent. He sheds tears along with our own, and triumphs with us in our true spiritual victories. Let us keep praying for that day when we will all say together זה ה' קוינו לו, נגילה ונשמחה בישועתו - This is Hashem Who I hoped for - let us rejoice and exult in His salvation!