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Tuesday
Mar132018

AS IF

By Yael Schneerson

It was at the end of a long day of school. A heat wave had begun and two exhausted, sweaty children trudged home.

“Oy, it’s so hot,” complained Mendy, wiping the sweat off his forehead yet again.

“It’s really hot,” agreed Duvy, taking another drink from his water bottle.

“And it’s just the beginning of summer,” moaned Mendy. “We have plenty more days like this coming, maybe even worse than this. How can we concentrate on learning in weather like this?”

Duvy remained silent. He listened to Mendy and he could see how he was very disturbed by this and wanted to talk.

“You don’t have a problem,” continued Mendy. “You understand everything instantly. It doesn’t seem to matter to you whether it’s winter, summer, fall or spring. You’ll always find it easy to learn. You don’t put any effort into it.”

“It’s not that I don’t put in effort,” protested Duvy. “But you’re right that it’s not so hard for me.”

“But it’s very hard for me. What you understand after one explanation, I understand after three,” Mendy confessed. “What can I do? That’s how Hashem made me. So when there are no disturbances like the heat, noise or other things, I can concentrate better and understand what the teacher says. But when my difficulty in understanding combines with outside disturbances, then it’s so much harder.”

Duvy listened closely to his friend. He had never thought of this before. He knew that Mendy was one of the weakest students in the class. His friend was often censured by teachers for not listening. He never imagined that Mendy was trying as hard as he could but often found it too hard.

“It isn’t easy dealing with so many factors that interfere with learning,” he said. “You know what? I really admire you for the effort you put in to learning.”

Mendy gave a faint smile. “Your admiration doesn’t help me. Sometimes, it’s so hard that I ask myself whether it will always be like this and these thoughts remove the little bit of interest I have to make the effort and understand the teacher. Then I start getting busy with other things, easier things, like constructing paper airplanes or decorating my notebooks.”

Duvy remained silent. He thought about what Mendy said. Then he suddenly exclaimed, “I have a little idea for you.”

“An idea for what?” asked Mendy, looking at him uncomprehendingly. “For success in learning? Dealing with difficulties? Making paper airplanes? What?”

“An idea for dealing with difficulties,” exclaimed Duvy excitedly.

“What is it?” asked Mendy curiously. “The truth is that I don’t know whether I can rely on ideas from a ‘genius’ like you, who has it so easy, but let’s try.”

“It’s a very simple idea,” laughed Duvy. “It has nothing to do with geniuses. It’s an idea that helps every Jew, big and small.”

“You’re keeping me in suspense,” Mendy said, looking at Duvy expectantly.

“The idea is to see the Geula,” said Duvy.

“I don’t get it.”

Duvy explained. “When Moshiach comes, everyone will be involved in Torah study and it will be easy and pleasurable. There won’t be difficulties, neither inner ones and certainly not ones from the outside. The entire world will be ready, at our service. Hashem will give us an abundance of blessing so nothing will disturb our Torah study. The entire world will immerse itself in one thing, the study of the holy Torah.”

“So? I still don’t get it.”

“All the things that bother us, whether it’s the heat, noise, or difficulty understanding the material, are actually messengers of the yetzer hara which tries to turn us away from learning Torah. But in the future, when the ‘spirit of impurity’ will be removed from the earth,’ there will no longer be any interference or obstacles.

“If we see start now to see the Geula, to think about this marvelous state of Yemos HaMoshiach, we will see that we can actualize it even now. If we consider how all the disturbances, inside and out, are tricks of the yetzer hara, we can overcome them. We can tell ourselves, ‘Very soon, the yetzer hara will no longer exist. Let’s get rid of it now. Let us start to ignore it now, as though it does not exist already.’

“Then, when the yetzer hara sees we are ignoring him, he will leave us alone!” exclaimed Mendy. “Now I get it. The Geula is about to happen and we need to draw it in. We need to start living a life of Geula, to learn as though there is nothing bothering us, to learn enthusiastically, with the simcha of the Geula.”

“And then it will actually come,” concluded Duvy, “all those things that, today, we need to work to ignore, will simply vanish. And we will be able to continue learning Torah in peace as we already got used to doing, in the final days of galus.”

“Then let’s start doing it now!” Mendy was caught up in Duvy’s enthusiasm. He stopped walking and put his backpack down.

“What are you doing?” asked Duvy, as Mendy removed crumpled papers from his backpack.

“I am starting to get rid of the things that disturb me from learning Torah,” smiled Mendy. “I am throwing out all the papers that I made into planes and boats during class. This is the first step in my preparing for Geula learning.”

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