WHY WERE THEY STILL HUNGRY?
October 21, 2015
Beis Moshiach in #992, Tzivos Hashem

By D Chaim

Class just ended. All my classmates got up and rushed to the yard. I did not rush. I went down the stairs slowly in the direction of the yard that we played in, because I was busy thinking about what our teacher had just said.

The lesson was about looking forward to the Geula. The teacher said that the Rebbe intensified the anticipation of the Geula in an incomparable way to previous generations. I imagined the days when the Beis HaMikdash was the glory of Yerushalayim and I felt very strongly that we cannot submit to feelings of galus. Galus is not a true state of being; it’s an abnormality that must be done away with. Ah, what I would give to be a child in Yerushalayim in its glory days … At least at this time, I must strengthen my feeling of anticipation for the Geula.

When I reached the yard I saw my friends playing boisterously. I was soon swept up in the game and my earlier thoughts were forgotten. Time passed and we finished the next lesson. Then we went downstairs to the first floor to the lunchroom.

It wasn’t always that way. I remember learning in the lower grades when school ended earlier. I would walk home with my older brother. He would eat lunch and then go back to school while I stayed home. Then the school began offering good meals for the students so they don’t have to go home in the middle of the day.

The teacher in charge of the lunchroom told an interesting story and I listened closely. It was a story about Rabbi Yonasan Eibischitz that goes like this:

R’ Yonasan was the advisor of the king. One time, the king became angry at him and wanted to punish him severely. R’ Yonasan ran away and hid. The king ordered to arrest him but his soldiers searched and could not find him. The king thought and thought until he came up with an ingenious idea. “Go out and announce in the streets of the city that tomorrow morning, everyone must show up in the marketplace plaza with a sheep.”

The next day, everyone showed up with a sheep. After the king’s servants weighed each sheep, they announced, in the name of the king, that in a month’s time they all had to come back with a sheep. The weight of the sheep had to remain exactly the same as it was that day.

The people went home, not knowing what to do next. Nobody wanted to arouse the king’s anger but they had no choice. If they did not feed the sheep, it would lose weight, and if they fed the sheep, it would gain weight.

The old man, in whose house R’ Yonasan was hiding, returned home looking perplexed. When R’ Yonasan saw him he asked what was going on. The man told him the king’s order which was impossible to fulfill. R’ Yonasan said, “I have an idea. Continue feeding the sheep as usual but near the pen place a cage with a fox in it. The sheep will eat and won’t die, but its fear of the fox won’t allow it to put on weight.”

The old man did as he said and on the appointed day, the people showed up with their sheep. The weight of all the sheep had changed, with one sheep’s weight up and another sheep’s weight down. Only the weight of the old man’s sheep remained exactly the same as it was a month before.

When the king heard about this, he told his servants to search the old man’s house. The king knew that only R’ Yonasan could come up with an idea to keep the sheep at the same weight. And since the king wanted to capture R’ Yonasan, he came up with the order about the sheep. But R’ Yonasan realized this, of course, and he escaped before the king’s servants came to the house.

The story was fascinating. Then I got ready to leave the lunchroom and I heard one of the boys from a higher class say, “I’m still hungry.” I expected him to ask for another portion from the lunchroom monitor but he bentched and left. I was a little surprised but did not think about it too much.

At the end of the day I went home and saw my older brother eating supper. When he finished and was about to bentch, I heard him also say quietly, “I’m still hungry.”

That was strange! Why were they hungry when they had just eaten? And if they were still hungry, why didn’t they eat more? Why did he bentch? And how did the identical thing happen both at home and at school?

After my brother finished bentching, I decided to ask him. “Shmuel, why did you remain hungry when you just ate?”

Shmuel said, “It’s because I ate that I said that.”

Now I was completely baffled. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“I’ll explain it to you,” said Shmuel. “The Rebbe says that a Jew yearns for the Geula so much that whatever he does, even mundane things, are experienced with anticipation for the Geula. The Rebbe gives an example from eating and drinking, which are routine, constant activities. When a Jew yearns for the special meal of the Leviasan, Shor HaBar and the Yayin HaMeshumar, which we will have with the Geula, even when he eats now, he remains hungry for that future special meal.

“I guess I have to strengthen my yearning for the Geula so that it affects me and I am actually physically hungry, but at the very least, I always try to put myself in that mindset, that I am still hungry for that future meal.”

I thought a bit and then said, “You know Shmuel, that’s amazing because just today, the monitor in charge of the lunchroom told a story that fits with what you just told me. Maybe that’s the reason why that boy I saw in the lunchroom said he was still hungry.”

I told Shmuel the story and ended with, “Maybe, just as the fear of the fox did not allow the sheep to put on weight, when a Jew truly longs with all his heart for the Geula, it can leave him with a feeling of hunger even as he eats, hunger for that special seuda with Moshiach.”

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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