Why Do Mitzvot, If Moshiach's Coming Is Imminent?
For some reason, the Messianic Era is perceived as an escape from reality, responsibility and work. Like a long earned vacation from the hard work which characterized our Galut experience. So wouldn't it make sense, then, to relax our efforts as the Messianic Age draws near and certainly not to embark on new projects?
But this premise is wrong. Moshiach will not diminish the Torah. On the contrary, he will intensify its observance.1 And, therefore, the closer we come to his arrival, the more significance should be attached to the observance of mitzvot, individually as well as collectively. This is, in fact, the best time to initiate extensive, new, imaginative projects. The way to bring Moshiach is through action not inaction.2
Furthermore, as the Ramban states, mitzvot today are merely a preparation for the mitzvot we will observe when Moshiach comes. It follows then, that when the final moment of preparation arrives, the last "rehearsal," the "performance" must be virtually flawless. It must approximate, the way it will be when we are "on stage" for the "real thing."
Accordingly, it is not only proper for us to continue performing mitzvot as before, but, we are at a point wherein our mitzvot are becoming more potent. The mitzvot we perform today, during this transitional period, may thus be described, as the link between Galut and Geulah. We are the "civil engineers," whom G-d has chosen, to build the final bridge that will transport all of us, and all of existence into the world of Geulah.3
One more point, which is perhaps, the most salient: When Moshiach will be fully revealed, mitzvot will come naturally for a Jew. The one positive ingredient of Golus, its ability to challenge us, will no longer be possible after Moshiach arrives. Hence, the emphasis of doing things now, is to savor the remaining flavor of the challenge of Galut while it is still possible.
1. Maimonides Hilchot Teshuvah 9:2.
2. Tanya ch. 37.
3. See Besurat HaGeulah p. 60; Sefer HaSichos 5751, vol. II, p. 695-708.