I was talking to a friend of mine in the beis medrash and he mentioned that all the meforshim agreed that Moshiach had to come by 6000 and according to the Rambam we really are only 70 years or so from that date. My personal feeling is that there is a good reason to not try and figure out when Moshiach will come and publicize it, the fact that you will usually end up being wrong. Since he felt it was a 100% certainty he felt that there was no risk in teaching this fact to our children. Now I personally feel that there is a tremendous risk in teaching this at all, especially teaching that if he comes he must come by 6000. First it seems very strange to assume that G-d would assign special significance to 6000 a number which only has value in a decimal system. Secondly the shock that Shabbatai Tzvi’s lies caused to Judaism would seem like nothing compared to the number of people who would go off the derech immediately a number which could reach 50% (no exageration). Secondly even if all the calculations are right and the real Messiah comes in 6000 how will we know who he is, we’ll be drowning in false Messiahs every unscrupulous Jew born on tisha bav will be looking for his following and his chance at being the Moshiach the best possible outcome is unbelievable confusion and the worst is the end of Judaism as we know it.
About 20 minutes ago I saw a fascinating story about the DNC’s punishment of Florida for moving its primary up to January 29th against the DNC’s policy. Basically Florida can either move back its primary or forfeit its delegates. Now I completely understand the DNC’s position and feel that it is probably the only logical response to such a step, but if you are Florida you probably are still better off giving up the delegates and making yourself a tremendous force in the primaries. As it is Florida is irrelevant because by the time it gets there one candidate is obviously going to be the nominee. In fact if Florida keeps its position it would probably cement its place at the front because the DNC would have to put stiffer penalties on other states to keep them from line jumping. Of course Florida is probably the state whjich should logically start becasue it represents some key Democratic demographics, but in politics what makes sense is irrelevant.
This is a question I had while learning the parsha on thursday. The first Rashi says that this rule only applied during a optional war, but not during a Mitzvah war. The second Rashi says that the Torah only teaches this because a man otherwise wouldn’t resist. Leaving aside whether this is true or not the question logically follows what do you expect the soldiers to do in a Mitzvah war acoording to Rashi’s explanation. Later on I’ll give a couple answers in the comments.
Gush is not to big on internet, but I finally have a connection so I can communicate about my life at the Yeshiva besides for phone calls. One thing I have learned already is that mussar is not only depressing it is also a bad way to live your life. For the first time I looked at the Mesillat Yesharim for a 15 minute mussar seder with my night seder Chavruta. The very first paragraph started talking about how life is pointless on this Earth and the only thing worthwhile is to do Mitzvot. It is quite depressing. In fact the basic thesis seems to be that if you are righteous right now and suicide wasn’t forbidden you should kill yourself rather than risk the next world. It’s that kind of depressing stuff which makes me dislike mussar even if it has a positive impact in general.