- All the Questions
How are we as Jews supposed to know the coming of the true Moshiach?
Your question about identifying the true redemption is what brings R. Abba and his colleagues (Sanhedrin 98a) to search for the “revealed/clear sign/time” (depending on your translation) of redemption - that is, as opposed to many of the other signs mentioned by the prophets which are unclear or unrevealed. They answer: "There is no more 'revealed/clear sign/time' than that which is written (Yechezkel 36, 8), 'And you, mountains of Israel, give forth your branches, and carry forth your fruit, for My Nation of Israel is coming soon'. Rashi explains there that when the Land of Israel (barren for so long) will return to produce fruit abundantly, that is the clearest sign that the return of the Jewish Nation is near. In addition, the Talmud (Megilla 17a) explains that the second stage of redemption, after the revival of the fruitfulness of the Holy Land, is the mass aliya, “kibbutz galuyot”, or return of the Jews to Israel. The Midrash Tanchuma (Warsaw, P. Shoftim 9) adds: “’and he will yield on the third’ (Zechariya 13, 8) that Israel will only resettle in their land in the third redemption. The first redemption is the redemption from Egypt, the second redemption is the redemption of Ezra, the third has no end”. Note that the negative language used here, both at the beginning (“will only settle in their land in the third redemption”) and at the end (“has no end”) is much more definite than other less clear, signs of redemption. In Yalkut Shimoni Hoshea, 518, the rabbis clarify that the number of Jews in the final redemption will be 600,000, after which, as we have seen, there will not be another exile. Today, with about 6,000,000 Jews in Israel, we have clearly experienced that second sign, from which the rabbis tell us, there is "no turning back!" Statistically, by the year 2030, most of world Jewry will reside in Israel, for the first time since the exile of the ten tribes almost 3,000 years ago. Regarding the Mashiach himself, the Talmud (Megilla, ibid), tells us that he will come only at a later stage of redemption, and the rabbis of that generation will let us know that it’s him. In summary, yes we are clearly in the period called “ymot haMashiach”, the days of Mashiach, whose pace and completion depends upon us and our actions. With Love of Israel, Rabbi Ari Shvat