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Thursday
Feb072019

JUST TO BE A PART OF IT

I dont suppose we need more reasons why the exile would be postponed. Exile doesnt need another advocate, but consider this logic: The only reason why G-d, the ultimate ohev Yisroel, would prolong this bitter exile, is to provide more opportunity for Jews to merit being part of the whole process of redemption.

By Boruch Merkur

King Achashverosh was spiritually sensitive enough to consider (albeit erroneously) that if the 70-year prophecy of the Babylonian exile had passed without redemption, it would appear to have been annulled altogether.[1] Empowered by this ominous sign, Achashverosh desecrated the sacred vessels of the Beis HaMikdash and hoped to establish Shushan HaBira as the anti-Mikdash, a global center for drawing impurity into the world. The entire purpose of the royal feast in Shushan was to conspire to annihilate the Jewish people across the globe. In this way, Achashverosh sought to secure his evil kingdom from the Jewish people and the threat of their inherent sanctity.[2]

Now, when you compare this final exile to the last one, which lasted 70 years,[3] it is hard to fathom the disgrace and humility the Jewish people have suffered, cast away from our Father’s table for close to 2000 years! But finally, in recent times, G-d has sent us the Rebbe as a prophet to reassure us that the exile is coming to an end, and the timeline is aht aht imminent. Yet close to 30 years have passed and the temptation of the world is to look upon these G-dly words of prophecy with mockery and scorn, as if our imminent redemption has been annulled altogether, chas v’shalom.

As we have explored in last week’s editorial, a positive prophecy cannot be revoked or rescinded. Thus, in facing our impossible situation, the suggestion was to check whether in fact we see the redemption as something positive or whether we have personal reservations and hesitations about it. In other words, if we see the redemption as an annoying disruption to our enjoyment of exile, rachmana litzlan, maybe we somehow lose out on the irrevocability of the prophecy, G-d forbid. But surely if we see the redemption as it is – the zenith of our long and dramatic history, something brilliant and wonderful, something natural and right – it simply must be as the prophet stated: about to happen any moment.

The Rebbe considers possible explanations as to why the exile has been so prolonged[4]:

1. We sinned: We were exiled because of sin, but

a) was the sin worthy of such a long lasting, severe punishment, such an extended sentence of banishment? In the worst-case scenario, this exile should have lasted no more than 490 years (70 x 7, in accordance with the verse, “And if, for all that, you do not obey Me, I will go on to discipline you sevenfold for your sins” ––B’Chukosai 26:18);

b) with all the Torah and Mitzvos of the increasingly more populace Jewish people, we should have long-since atoned for any sins.

Also, it is not just or right that “one man sins yet Your wrath is upon the entire congregation” (Korach 16:22), as well as, “Children shall not die for the [sins of their] fathers.” We therefore cannot still be suffering for the sins of the time of the Second Beis HaMikdash.

2. We need to refine the world more: More time and effort is required to further refine the world through avodas ha’birurim, using the world for a holy purpose to free the G-dliness trapped within it. Just as the 600,000 general souls split into lesser sparks, so the nitzutzim (the Divine sparks in the world) split, and greater effort is required to sift them from the world.

But this mystical answer does not satisfy the ben chamesh l’Mikra, the literalist interpreter of Torah. Incredibly, the Rebbe concedes that “even Rashi does not have an answer to this question.” It is a general question that is not relevant to the literal interpretation of Scripture.

3. To amass more material and spiritual wealth: It is possible that the exile fulfills something akin to what G-d told Avrohom Avinu, “your descendants will be a foreigner in a land that is not theirs … but thereafter they will leave with great wealth” (Lech Lecha 15:13-16). The Egyptian exile was not intended as a punishment, but as a means to be enriched with the “great wealth” of Mitzrayim, including “great spiritual wealth.” Now in the present exile, we must amass all the world’s wealth, not just that of Egypt, which is a process that takes a long time.

a) “But to what extent must this go on?!” the Rebbe cries out. Certainly we willingly forgo the additional wealth. The main thing is to end this bitter exile.

b) Moreover, we already have a spiritual manifestation of “great wealth” in the form of Torah and Mitzvos, as the Rebbe Rayatz proclaimed, “all aspects of avoda have been completed” and all that remains is to “polish the buttons,” at which point we can “all stand ready” to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

4. A spiritual redemption?: The Rebbe concludes by saying that it is not enough to suffice with a spiritual redemption (as said of “great souls, such as Rashbi, for whom the Beis HaMikdash was never destroyed,” even though he fled Roman occupation and arrest ––Pelech Rimon 7a. See the story of the Rebbe Maharash and his father, the Tzemach Tzedek, in Likkutei Sichos Vol. 6, pg. 80, note 70.)

 

I don’t suppose we need more reasons why the exile would be postponed. Exile doesn’t need another advocate. But consider this logic:

The only reason why G-d, the ultimate ohev Yisroel, would prolong exile is to provide more opportunity for Jews to merit being part of the whole process of redemption.

This is not saying we need to repent more or more birurim are required. No, it is not quite tantamount to the greater amassment of wealth, though I see the likeness. Certainly this does not entail sufficing with a spiritual redemption. I refer to a unique feeling of satisfaction a person has in celebrating something he or she contributed to and worked toward (directly and not in the distant past). Even if you play a supporting role in a production of some sort, there is tremendous pride in celebrating the debut. I think that this very human motivation of being a part of the epic denouement of history is something that someone would feel very regretful to miss out on.

So there is conceivably a reluctance to deny the Jew that role – not for repentance, not for birurim, not for wealth, and not sufficing with Moshiach consciousness (though I think that that is key to unleashing a viral spirit of awakening that will be the ultimate statement of demanding “Moshiach now!”), but just to be a part of it.

To whatever extent this theory rings true, we must call out from every fiber of our being, “ad masai?!” G-d, have mercy on Your children and immediately light up their hearts and souls so they can take the banner of Moshiach and walk with us all “komemius l’artzeinu – upright to our land,” with the immediate redemption through Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Boruch welcomes opportunities to speak further about Moshiach and a variety of topics. Please email editor@beismoshiach.org for details.

 


[1])  Achashverosh said to himself as follows: Belshazzar, king of Babylonia, calculated and erred with regard to the Jewish people’s redemption. I too will calculate, but I will not err.

What is this calculation? As it is written with regard to Yermiyahu’s prophecy of a return to Eretz Yisroel: “After seventy years are accomplished for Babylonia I will remember you and perform My good word toward you, enabling you to return to this place” (Yermiyahu 29:10), and elsewhere it is written in a slightly different formulation: “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, meditated on the texts, over the number of the years, which the word of the L-rd came to Yermiyahu the prophet, that He would accomplish for the desolations of Yerushalayim seventy years” (Daniel 9:2). He, Belshazzar, calculated as follows: Forty-five years of Nevuchadnetzar, and twenty-three of Evil-Merodach, and two of his own, for a total of seventy years that had passed without redemption. He was therefore certain that Yermiyahu’s prophecy would no longer be fulfilled, and he therefore said: I will take out the vessels of the Holy Temple and use them …

Once he saw that seventy years had been completed, and the Jewish people were still not redeemed, he said: Now for sure they will not be redeemed. Therefore, I will take out the vessels of the Temple and use them. What happened to him? As a punishment for what he did, the Satan came and danced among them, and brought confusion to his celebration until he killed Vashti.

The Gemara asks: But he calculated properly; why then did this happen? The Gemara answers: He too erred in his calculation, for he should have counted from the destruction of Yerushalayim at the time of the exile of Tzidkiyahu and not from the first exile of Yehoyakim.

(Megilla 11b with commentary, see https://www.sefaria.org/Megillah?lang=bi&p2=Megillah.11b.7&lang2=en)

[2])  Alshich, cited in Megillas Starim on Megillas Ester, written in 1808 by Rabbi Yaakov Lorbeerbaum of Lissa.

 

[3])  Corresponding to “the seventy years … of Shmita and Yovel in the years the Jewish people angered the Alm-ghty” (Rashi on B’Chukosai 26:35).

 

[4]Hisvaaduyos 5747, Vol. 4, pg. 32; Shaarei Geula pg. 76-80

 

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