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Tuesday
Jun302015

MEN AT WORK

Yossi just came back home from a shiur at the Chabad House and was relaxing in a comfortable armchair in the living room. His gaze wandered from the spacious living room toward the well-equipped kitchen and rested on the beautiful glass-fronted display cabinet in the corner. “Ahhh,” he said to himself. “Everything worked out perfectly, according to plan.”

He got up, went over to the low closet next to a pretty plant and opened the second drawer. A thick pile of papers drew his attention. He took them out and flipped through them curiously. A thoughtful look appeared in his eyes as he sat back down in his armchair. Old memories and mixed emotions came to mind and he let his thoughts run free …

***

The sun beat down on Yossi’s head. His forehead dripped with sweat and his eyes burned, but he was completely immersed in his work. Just meters away, the tractor raised the shovel and dug deeply. As he supervised the work, Yossi looked at the large pages that were held down to the ground with a mid-sized rock. They were the plans for his new house. Yossi had written them himself and had put everything he had, all his talents, into them. Indeed, he had done a great job. He could visualize the magnificent house already built.

He remembered all the plans in detail but was always careful to verify that everything was being done according to the plan. The work was done at a rapid pace. Many workers ran around, dragging bags of cement and work tools. The foundations were laid and the skeleton of the building was already taking shape above ground. Day after day the work progressed and the house began to take form.

One fine day, as Yossi walked around the building site as usual, the noisy sound of an approaching bulldozer could be heard. Yossi looked up and wondered: In today’s schedule there is no bulldozer. What is it doing here?

The driver of the bulldozer, who approached the building site, did not leave him much time to wonder. He jumped down and handed him a signed document. The words on top of the page nearly made Yossi faint. It was a demolition order.

“I am sorry,” said the man drily, “I received an order and I am going to carry it out. It seems your contractor violated the building code and veered from the permits that were given to him. I ask you to have the workers leave the site immediately so I can do my job.”

Yossi thought his world had collapsed. He had put so much effort and money into this house and now it was going to be destroyed. Sadly, Yossi had to stand there and watch as the bulldozer roughly tore down the house. Within a short time, nothing remained but a pile of debris.

Yossi did not make peace with the situation and did not forget about his house. His great investment in the plans for the new house made him mourn his dream that had evaporated. Every year, on the date that it happened, Yossi would take out the plans and look them over. He knew that the day would come when he would rebuild his house, despite the fact that his present financial state did not allow him to do so.

“Daddy, what’s this?” Kobi, his young son, had once asked him.

“These are the plans for our new house,” said his father, patting his cheek.

“When are we going to move there?” asked Kobi.

“I don’t know,” Yossi said, as he looked at the plans again. The situation aggravated him to no end even though he believed that the day would come when they would live in their new home. Still and all, that day was way off in the distance.

Kobi was already used to seeing his father take the plans out every year and look at them sadly. He found it hard to see his father aggravated and he tried to stay in the children’s room.

The years passed and Kobi noticed his father looking at the plans, as usual, but something about him looked different. Yes, he detected a happy mood. What happened this year, he wondered.

“Kobi,” he heard his father calling. “I have good news. I got half the money we need and when I get the other half, I can have the work on the house started again.”

“Great!” exclaimed Kobi, “but why does looking at the plans this time make you happy? You are still missing a lot of money for construction and there is nothing at the building site but a pile of debris!”

“You’re right,” said his father, “but over the years, renewed construction seemed very far off in the future and the plans merely reminded me of what happened on that sad day. Now, even though we still have not started to build, looking at the plans makes me happy because the time for building is so much closer.”

***

Yossi aroused himself from his thoughts and happily looked around at the furnished home. It wasn’t only that the completed home was there before his eyes but also because he had just understood what the shliach had said at the shiur. R’ Shneur Zalman had said that during the Three Weeks we learn the laws pertaining to the Beis HaMikdash.

One of the participants asked, “But learning these laws is aggravating because the Beis HaMikdash is not yet rebuilt!”

“True,” said the shliach, “but at this time of the year, we need to arouse the feeling of sorrow over the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and even if we still don’t have the Beis HaMikdash, at least we should learn the laws because learning about it is considered as though we are involved in building it.”

“Okay,” said the questioner.

“One minute, there’s more,” said the shliach. “That was true until recent years, but now, when the Geula is happening any minute, the Rebbe says that the learning of the laws has to be done completely differently. We learn not to mourn and not to substitute for building the Mikdash, but because we yearn for the third Beis HaMikdash which will be greater than the two previous ones. The learning needs to be done joyously since we know that it will become practical not some time far off in the future but imminently, when the third Mikdash descends from heaven.”

Yossi looked at the blueprints for his new house. He remembered how happy he was when he had gotten the money for its construction and he knew that a far greater joy would be his when he would see the Beis HaMikdash in all its glory.

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