A few days ago I was reminiscing back to the first few days after my son Yossi was born with Down syndrome. I recalled the pain, the grief, the tears, the bewilderment, the fear.
I know that the emotions I felt then, and those which are felt by any new parent of a child with DS, were very, very real. When seasoned parents told me that they eventually came to enjoy and rejoice with their special child, it was encouraging on an intellectual level, but it didn't take away the emotional pain.
Yet now, when I look back, I sometimes think, "Remind me again, what was it I was crying about? Was it really about this adorable bundle of joy and fun we now have in our house?"
I think that when Moshiach comes, this is how we will feel about the tribulations of Golus. We will look back and remember the pain and difficulties we are going through now, but from a totally different perspective. We will see how everything, ultimately, is for the good. And although this does not eliminate the very real pain we are experiencing now, it can give us the strength to persevere.
A while ago I heard the following mashal (adapted from Rabbi Dov Bialo's Moshiach Shmooze on Collive)
A Jewish merchant would go every year to the fair in Leipzig, where he would stock on merchandise to sell throughout the year.
One year, he wasn't feeling well, so he sent his wife in his place. He gave her the bundle of money and all the instructions on where and how to meet his regular suppliers and sent her off.
His wife met up with the suppliers and put in her orders. But when it came time to pay, she discovered that the bundle of money, with which she was meant to pay for a year's worth of merchandise, had disappeared.
Distraught, she asked for announcements and searches to be made at the fair, but nobody came forth with the lost money.
After some time, she gave up, and brokenheartedly prepared for her trip back home, fearfully imagining her husband's reaction when she returns home with no merchandise and no money.
Just as she was about to leave, a man comes up and says that he found the money. However, he said, he was no longer obligated to return it, seeing that she had already given up and was about to return home, and according to halacha one is not obligated to return a loss if the owner has already despaired of retrieving it.
Obviously, the woman did not accept this claim and demanded they go to a Rov. At the time there was in Leipzig a Rov known as the Kovner Rov. He heard both sides, and he paskened that, although the woman had despaired of the money, she was only a shliach of her husband, and since he had not yet heard of the loss, he had surely not despaired of it, and therefore, the money had to be returned. A messenger cannot be misyaesh.
We, too, are messengers here in this world, sent to retrieve the sparks of Kedusha and bring Moshiach. And no matter what happens, we can never give up, for the One who sent us has not given up. He is still waiting for us to fulfill our mission.
May we soon return home with our "merchandise"!
Today is 15 Sivan, the day the Frierdiker Rebbe was arrested. The Rebbe says that although this day originated as a He'elem Vehester, eventually it proved to be the catalyst that brought to the release of the Frierdiker Rebbe (and the Rebbe himself) from the Soviet Union, and the spreading of Yiddishkeit and Chassidus in the Chatzi Kadur Hatachton.
The Rebbe always teaches us that in the greatest darkness there is the greatest potential for good.
We can understand from this, that the Hester we are living through at the moment also has the potential to turn into the great Giluy we are all waiting for.
We also need to apply this to our personal lives, by using this time, as we adapt to new circumstances, to discover and reveal hitherto hidden strengths within us. Especially since this Parsha contains the story of Pesach sheni, with the message that it is never too late to make a change.
And as we make an effort to utilize this time to reveal the concealed potential within us, may we be Zoche Teichef Umiyad to see the potential of this Olam (Milashon He'elem) revealed as a complete Dirah Besachtonim!
I just finished giving my weekly women's class. This week's class was about why rituals and routine are so important in Judaism. Why can't we just Daven the way it was originally commanded in the Torah, to turn to Hashem in times of need, in your own words? True, the daily prayers are meant to replace the Korban Tamid, but what is so important about the Korban Tamid that we can't survive without a replacement? Wouldn't Tefillah be so much more inspiring and moving if we did it from the heart, Avodah Shebalev, instead of turning it into a set ritual?
In short, the answer is that it is the little things that you do routinely, that define who you are. An occasional romantic evening does not define a marriage; it's the everyday little interactions that do. "You are what you eat", you are also what you say and do, as long as you do them regularly.
An occasional spiritually charged experience is a wonderful thing, but it does not make you into a spiritual person.
It is the daily rituals of Modeh Ani, Negel Vasser and Davening that make you into a person that has a constant connection with Hashem.
Thus, by taking on small habits, tiny things, and doing them consistently, we can redefine ourselves and bring about major changes in our lives.
The Rebbe wants us to live with Moshiach, to turn into Geuladikke people. I think this is really our goal with these daily Moshiach thoughts. If we read them each day, consistently, and internalize them, they slowly transform us into people who live with Moshiach.
And may we also, with small consistent deeds, transform and redefine the whole world into a Dirah Besachtonim.
So, I was excited when I realized that it will be my turn to write on T"u Be'Av, and then that day just passed by and I forgot. But Nishto kein farfallen, so here goes:
On the 15th of Av, the daughters of Yerushalayim would go out to dance in the vineyards and call out to their prospective Chassanim.
The beautiful ones would say, "Look for beauty." Those with great Yichus would say, "Look for family." And the unattractive-looking ones would say, "Make your acquisition for the sake of Heaven, as long as you decorate us with jewels."
The Rebbe explains that these refer to three categories of Jewish souls. There are those who, by means of personal avodah, have reached a great level of ahavas Hashem. They are the "beautiful" ones.
There are those who have only managed to reveal the innate, hidden love which each Jew has as an inheritance from the Avos. Their relationship with Hashem is based on "family".
And then there are those who are "unattractive". They have not managed to awaken even the hidden love within them. They turn to Hashem and say, "Take us as Your own, not for our sake, but for Yours.
You know that, in truth, "The daughters of Israel are beautiful, it is only that poverty obscures their beauty."
Our "ugliness" is not our true essence. It is the spiritual poverty of Golus that has caused our inner beauty to be concealed.
Take us in, and decorate us with "jewels". Give us the spiritual gifts that will help bring our innate perfection to the fore."
May we be zoche to the great reunion of Hashem with Knesses Yisrael when He will adorn us with jewels and bring us into His home.
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