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Thursday
Jan222015

THE INTERRUPTED OUTING

“Avromi, Mendy, Levi, Dovid, are you ready?”

Abba’s voice could be heard. We raced out of our rooms with our backpacks on our backs, packed with goodies.

“We need to be well supplied for our outing,” I (Mendy) said, sounding responsible. 

“What fun! We’re finally going on the outing we were promised!” rejoiced Levi, nearly jumping to the ceiling.

“Yup,” mumbled Avromi, “if Abba promised an unforgettable outing, we can be sure that is exactly what it will be!”

We hadn’t noticed Dovid in the living room but then we suddenly heard his voice. “How come you’re not afraid? Abba said we will be doing a really tough survival course.”

Dovid waited for our response as he fingered the strings of his tzitzis. He did that when he was nervous. We looked at him and saw that we’d better calm him down before he regretted agreeing to go on this trip.

“Ah, nonsense, there is nothing to be nervous about,” I said reassuringly. “If Abba planned the outing, we can relax. Abba won’t give us tasks that are beyond our abilities.”

“He’s right,” my brothers chorused, and Dovid looked relieved.

It was around Rosh Chodesh Kislev when we asked Abba if we could go on an outing. Abba thought for a while and then promised that if in the coming months we were excellent in class then we would go on a memorable trip. We certainly did not want to miss out on this opportunity, so after two months of listening in class, behaving as a Chassid should, and getting high marks on tests, the long awaited day arrived.

“A high, intimidating cliff with metal rungs inserted, thick ropes to help climbing and obstacles in the form of winding stone walls. This faces a stunning view as the sun shines brightly, beating down on people’s heads.” Abba stopped his description and concentrated on driving our family car among the many cars that drove alongside us on the busy highway.

“I hope you did not forget to bring sunhats, hmm?” Abba asked suddenly with feigned concern. Why feigned? Because we all remembered how, before we left the house, Abba appeared in the living room, one hand behind his back, and innocently asked, “Did you bring everything you need?”

“Yes,” we all answered and then, like a magician, Abba’s hand appeared holding our four sunhats.

Abba continued his exciting description of our itinerary. “Afterward, we will hike a difficult path at the end of which we will reach a cool pool.” 

The silence in the car made Abba glance into the mirror. He saw that our eyes had closed and the four of us were sound asleep.

“Boom!” The sudden noise woke us up. “What happened?” asked Dovid in a fright as his fingers combed through his left pei’ah, something he does when he’s nervous.

“Relax children,” said Abba in a confident voice, but we could see a hint of nervousness in his eyes. “It seems an accident occurred a few dozen meters ahead of us. Say some T’hillim and let us hope that the damage was only to the vehicle.”

“But Abba, we can be stuck here for a long time. How can we go on the trip? And what about our visit to Saba and Savta where our outing was going to end? They certainly won’t expect such a delay!”

We said some T’hillim as we waited for cars to start moving again. After a long wait, a traffic policeman appeared near us. From the look on his face we concluded that nothing tragic had taken place.

“Hooray!” shouted Levi for the second time that day. “The trip will continue.”

The policeman stopped near the window next to Abba and said, “Thank G-d nobody is hurt, but due to a certain concern, we must block traffic for an unspecified amount of time. We are sorry. You will have to leave your car here and walk to the next junction where a bus will be waiting to take you to the nearest city.”

“I knew this would be an unforgettable outing,” whispered Avromi bitterly. “We’ve just gotten underway and the trip is canceled?”

“Children, don’t worry,” said Abba. “If we were still at home, the trip could have been canceled, but as you said Avromi, we’ve already set out and have experienced at least half of the first stage of the trip.”

“What?!” wondered Avromi, Levi, and Dovid. Only I smiled in understanding. 

 “I can see that you understand Mendy,” said Abba, and he went on to explain. “The traveling is no less an experience than the outing. If we’ve already set out on the trip, we have no choice but to complete it.”

We got out of the car and got ourselves ready to walk to the junction where a bus was waiting. “But Abba,” said Levi, “is there nothing to be upset about? If this accident would not have happened, we wouldn’t have had to walk with our backpacks on our shoulders!”

“I think that’s an advantage,” said Abba patiently. “This way, we’ll get into a hiking mood, while being alert to adventures and aware of every detail. If you had continued sleeping in the car, you would have ended up climbing the cliff half awake.

“By the way,” continued Abba, “consider the fact that if the Geula happens momentarily, we will be changing our plans and continuing on to Yerushalayim. Wait a minute! The truth is, as I think about it some more, what happened to us is just like the events of the Geula.”

“How?” asked Dovid.

“Like this,” said Abba. “When the Jewish people left Egypt, they were supposed to enter Eretz Yisroel with Moshe Rabbeinu and the complete Geula would have taken place. But because of various reasons, that did not happen and we are still waiting for it. So the Geula already began, we left Egypt for the Geula, but on the way there was an ‘accident,’ and the trip wasn’t finished in its entirety and in the meantime, we have had to wait in galus in order to prepare the world by instilling it with holiness.”

“Aha,” exclaimed Dovid. “I get it. There is no way we will remain in galus because we are already on our way out and we are on the trip from Egypt to Geula. And because of the delay in galus, and our avoda in the world, the G-dly revelation we will have with the Geula will have a much greater effect on us and the world.”

When I thought this over, reviewing what the four of us said on our way out of the house, I came to the conclusion that it also fit well with Geula. How? Check it out for yourselves. As for what happened to our outing, you are wondering. Let us wait and see what will be. In the meantime, we all prefer moving forward on a different road, the road leading to Yerushalayim.

 

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