Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our world has gone to the dogs (part III)- the good news

After my last two posts, you probably think that I'm complaining about the way the world has "gone to the dogs". Actually, I'm quite excited by it. I've been looking forward to this for quite some time.

It began about 15 years ago when I came across a rather cryptic Talmudic passage. Towards the end of Tractate Sanhedrin, the sages describe what the world will look like before Moshiach comes. All of their their descriptions are intriguing, some completely enigmatic.

I've always been fascinated by what our sages meant with these predictions, especially since I'm convinced that we're living in that time now. A simple glance at our world's rapid and unpredictable changes should tell you something major is afoot. Plus, this generation's greatest Jewish leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, repeated at every opportunity that "now is the time" and we need to open our eyes to see it happening.

Here are a few eye-openers: The current global economic meltdown could fit the Talmud's prediction that "the Messiah will not come until pockets are empty of coins" (although that could simply refer to credit cards or online banking). Rampant chutzpah, discord in Israel and family feuds are forecasts from that Talmudic passage I can relate to.

But, one prediction had me stumped. According to the Talmud, you'll know Moshiach is close when you seee "the face of the generation resembles a dog".

What does that mean? I know some say that every dog looks like its owner, but that hardly seems a plausible precursor to the Messianic Age.

I think our sages were telling us that before Moshiach comes, our world will go to the dogs.

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