The Talmud (in the Ein Yaakov reading) relates: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asked Elijah, “When will Mashiach come?” Elijah responded, “When He [God], our Master wills it.” Thus, the coming of Mashiach depends on will—God’s will. Certainly, God wants Mashiach to come. But within the totality of God’s will, it is not clear exactly when the time will come for this particular “will” that God must be fulfilled. Our job is then to awaken and draw God’s will down and make it permeate and be felt within our lower reality. Our job is to pull God’s ethereal will into our reality, a reality that has definitive dimensions of both time and space. The Chasidic understanding is that it is our duty to clear the path for God’s will to be fulfilled.
The Mashiach himself views God’s will in a far more focused and precise manner. The Mashiach wants to come immediately, with no delay whatsoever, not even the blinking of the eye. To this end, he is on constant alert, ready to come at any second. When Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi asked the Mashiach when he is coming, he answered, “Today!” The Mashiach’s will to come is so strong that he is certain that it will actually happen today. His will dictates his world view. In his eyes, the Jewish people are worthy of the Mashiach and the world is ready for redemption.
If God wants Mashiach to come, and Mashiach wants to come, why hasn’t he come? Because we too must adopt Mashiach’s will and what can even be termed “overconfidence” that he will come “today”—“Today if you listen to his voice” (the voice of Mashiach who says “today”—a voice infused with will and confidence). The sages say that Mashiach comes when we are distracted. We can understand this to mean that we need to distract ourselves from all other desires and focus our will exclusively on the coming of Mashiach.
Will is a potent and powerful force and faculty that is one of the superconscious faculties of the soul. In a sense, all the superconscious faculties (faith, pleasure, and will) can be seen as different types of will. Pleasure, considered higher than will, is also called chefetz or desire, which is the will to have something as a result of feeling the pleasure in it. The highest power, faith, is the root of the power of choice in the soul—the wondrous Jewish ability to will something in a completely free manner, as the will-choice of God.
Drawing Will Down Into Reality
To actualize this superconscious will within reality, it has to be internalized into the consciousness. We need to draw it down and concentrate it in our souls.
The three types of will in the superconscious should ultimately be reflected in the three levels of the conscious faculties: the intellectual, the emotive, and the behavioral. In the intellect, will manifests as choice (made with expanded consciousness). In the emotive faculties, will manifests as desire, adoption or rejection accompanied by deep (pleasurable) emotion. In the behavioral faculties, the instinctive motivation needed to act in reality manifests as pure will, as an urge without any inner experience.
When will reaches down to the legs, to the sefirot of confidence and acknowledgment in the behavioral faculties, it can be rectified by fulfilling the saying of the sages: “Make your will as His will” and “Nullify your will before His will.” We must perform God’s will with at least as much enthusiasm as we display when we fulfill our own will. We must nullify our own will to fulfill our own desires and ascend to the place where we can work to rectify the world. When that happens, God will fulfill our will as His will that Mashiach will come “today.” He will nullify the will of others in the face of our will, removing all obstacles on the way to Mashiach.
God wants Mashiach, the Mashiach wants to come and now it is up to us to desire the coming of Mashiach with all our might. We need to activate our faith and ascertain without a question of a doubt that the path that we choose is in line with God’s will. We must be filled with a deep, joyous, and heartfelt emotion that will motivate us to take action and actualize Mashiach with strong confidence in God. With this will, the redemption will “run” freely and with great desire into reality, the attribute of kingdom.
. Sanhedrin 98a.