One of my contacts, M., recently sent me the following thoughts over email about the mixed feelings so many of us have about all this 'end of days' stuff that appears to be unfolding itself right in front of our eyes. I felt she really summed up what so many of us are struggling with very nicely, so with her permission, I'm sharing it below.
M's thoughts: 'Who can count themselves as one of the 'best'?!?1'
People who have put all of their strength into a career or business and in doing so haven't had the time to pursue spiritual gains will not be able to grasp what a more spiritual life even means and why getting close to Hashem is the most gratifying experience for humans. All of our comfortable distractions in life will become obvious that they are nothing and we cannot imagine a life that is comfortable without what we know gives comfort. It is too strange and such a new concept that all the anticipation for Moshiach, even for those who truly await him, is still darkened by a fear of the unknown and unfathomable.
Where can we start? I believe that if we can promote joy (serving Hashem with happiness) and not focus on the unknown future, then all emunah will be raised. If we can lose the high stress life that is our current reality because of weakened emunah and lessened real joy, then we can strengthen ourselves to be ready to leave everything we know and are used to in order to serve Hashem will pure joy and no fear.
Some prophesies show great destruction but others show a great, pretty much unaltered life just without war. We don't know what will be expected of us. We don't know what the world will look like. We are told many Jews will not want to follow and believe in Moshiach when he is revealed. He will ask a lot from us. We have been in galut for so long. How can we get ourselves to look forward to someone who will require great change from us, in action and thought?
It is so difficult. Especially because of the conflicting ideas such as if geula will come without loss of life for the world (besides for the truly wicked) or with almost everyone suffering and perishing except for the best of us. Who can count themselves as one of the best??!!
I see Hashem as a loving father who wants to bring us through a purification process in order to be close to us but we don't know how hard that might be. People would rather have the deteriorating status quo, which is quite scary in its own regard, than welcome change which is totally uncertain because of all of the different sources. This lack of unity in ideas about the end of days is parallel to the lack of unity throughout the Jewish people.
Unity is one of the most important issues that needs to be worked on now but it seems like even the best among us have succumbed to the lure of machloket. If our revered rabbis won't make peace between themselves at all costs, how can the simple Jew reach this goal? We have lost so many role models and we are in a fog with almost no guidance except for the Torah.
I am not understanding what Hashem wants from us in that regard. Why is prophesy not clear? Why are we all so uncertain to what is going on and what is to be expected? I have come to the conclusion that the whole point Hashem is making is that IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! When we have complete trust in Hashem and know nothing exists that isn't part of Him, the details of His earthly illusions don't matter.
We need to work on totally devotion and emunah that whatever happens, even including our deaths, is a gift to us from Hashem and therefore a good thing. Revealed clarity in all issues is the true redemption. To see and understand how everything Hashem has put us through so far has always been for our best. Hashem is getting us ready with all of these tests and we need to work on eagerly awaiting our future closeness to Hashem.