Today is the 76th Yohrzeit of Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman who was killed with his students by the Nazis. Here are 10 quotes from him in honor of his Yohrzeit about the world situation before the Messiah comes.
1) In his book “Epoch of the Messiah” Rabbi Wasserman quotes his teacher the Chafetz Chaim: “Today there are far reaching upheavals happening in the world…what did G-d wrought to us? Why have circumstances changed? The answer is that from the creation until now great accounts have piled up. These accounts must be settled before the Messiah comes because then there will no longer be an evil inclination so all worldly deals will cease… so every soul is obligated to pay what it owes to heaven. Since the messiah’s coming is imminent, this payment process must be expedited.”
2) 20 years after these words were said by the Chafetz Chaim Rabbi Wasserman wrote: “Since the Chafetz Chaim said this the pace of things happening in the world has sped up. Things happen overnight; it seems like the wheels of time are speeding up as if propelled by someone pushing them. Every wise person will realize we are living in a special time that will soon change the order of the world.”
3) The Chafetz Chaim after his last Yom Kippur told Rabbi Wasserman: “When the Messiah comes he won’t forget any Jew. Even a single Jew in the most far-flung place he will bring back.”
4) In “The Epoch of the Messiah” Rabbi Wasserman quotes the Talmud in Sanhedrin: “Rabbi Eliezer’s students asked him: What should a person do in order to be spared from the ‘birthpangs’ (upheavals) of the times of the Messiah? Rabbi Eliezer answered “they should toil in learning Torah and doing kindness.” Rabbi Wasserman says it says they should toil in the same manner they would if they were doing a business deal. If he learns Torah in such a manner he will be spared.”
5) The Chafetz Chaim used to say that “there’s no doubt that any pain a Jew suffered is part of our exile and we must add it up in a general account and ask that the Messiah should already come and when he does then all the troubles will stop on their own.”
6) The Chafetz Chaim said that “for sure in his time the Messiah would come but we can’t be silent and we must pray and beg G-d to speedily bring our redemption.”
7) Rabbi Wasserman writes: “We recently witnessed a strange sight: in every Jewish community there are Jews gathered from many other places… What changed? The answer is “Indeed in our days the prophecy “And I will shake the house of Israel among the nations as if they’re in a sifter.” (Amos 9)
8) The Chafetz Chaim said that “the seeds in a sifter can be close or far but they never stay in the same place. This is what will happen to our nation before the messiah comes.” Rabbi Wasserman added: “Many times I heard from the Chafetz Chaim that one should learn what will be at the end of our exile by studying the exodus from Egypt as the verse says: “As the days I took you out of Egypt, I’ll show them wonders.”
9) In Rabbi Wasserman’s last years he would read the beginning of Genesis until after “And the heavens and earth and all its hosts were completed” in order to strengthen his faith. He explained this habit saying that we live in an era where we need strategies to strengthen our faith”. He must have learned this custom from his teacher the Chafetz Chaim who would also read these verses daily.
10) It is said in the name of the Chafetz Chaim to say the 13 principles of faith every day to strengthen our faith in these trying days before the coming of the Messiah.