Sunday, February 19, 2012

On The Cusp of Geula

After Shabbat, my husband wanted to go to Kever Rachel to pray for success on an upcoming business venture. It still leaves me breathless that we can hop into the car and, in less time than it takes me to commute to work, we can pull into the free parking lot and step into the recent, lavishly renovated building that surrounds Kever Rachel.

By comparison, getting to the Kotel is much more complicated. Parking in the Old City can be very difficult. The distant walk from the parking to the Kotel plaza in cold and rainy weather can be uncomfortable. For all these reasons, praying indoors at Kever Rachel seemed much more appealing.




This is the classic image of Kever Rachel, located on the outskirts of Beit Lechem, the Arab controlled city that non-Jews call Bethlehem just outside of Jerusalem. Kever Rachel doesn't look anything like this today.

We have visited Kever Rachel several times over the years. Each time, the entrance is somewhat reconfigured.

Today, the entrance is fortified by huge concrete walls. To enter the area of the kever from the main road, one must drive down a long, womb-like path with high walls on either side. It feels like entering a prison or a well-guarded military base. This is the sad downside to visiting Mama Rachel. Nevertheless, I am able to imagine the joy we will feel when the day comes that God will save us from our enemies and we will be free to tear down these walls.

For now, it's a reality of life in Israel, just like being stopped outside the mall while the police check on a report of a hefetz chashood - an abandoned package that may contain a bomb. This actually happened to us after we left Kever Rachel and went to make a few purchases at Office Depot. From the highly spiritual to the mundane...

Sitting in the kever, I spoke to no one except God, reciting the eight chapters of Tehillim that I say every day. I requested blessings for those I love. And then I began to speak to God about geula.

For years, I've been moderating a yahoo group called Geula Watch which posts articles that relate to the themes of redemption, Moshiach and kibbutz galuyot. I am a kli - a welcoming receptacle for every tiny hint, every bit of news and every Torah source that points to the possibility that we may be on the cusp of Redemption. I have felt something shifting for the past three or four years and the feeling has only increased in recent weeks and months.

Everything today seems to hinge on Iran (Persia/Paras), the location of the Purim redemption that occurred 2400 years ago. The exquisite irony of the Jewish calendar rapidly approaching Purim does not escape notice.

So there I am, among prayerful Jewish women who came out on a cold, windy, rainy Saturday night to pray at the tomb of Mother Rachel, considering that maybe, maybe this really is IT and asking God to help me grapple with what this might mean on a practical level.

How should I prepare my kids?

What will happen to the people I love who don't yet live in Israel?

Will we have to go to work anymore?

Should we keep making future plans?

Will this be the last Pesach in Jewish history?

What will life feel like when the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, is vanquished?

Will we spend all our time learning Torah?

Will Moshiach communicate with us through email (moshiach@moshiach.org) and Facebook?

Will all the sick and injured be healed?

Will I see my father and my grandparents again?

How should I set things straight in our economic life?

Will the bill I pay in tashlumim (monthly payments) be cancelled?

Will I even have to worry about money anymore?

Am I, and all Jews alive today, really and truly the reincarnated souls of those who were alive at the time of the Exodus from Egypt?

What will happen to all our enemies?

Is the world going to change so much in the the next six months that life as we know it will eventually become a distant memory?

What will we have to lose before we reach the stage of eternal peace?

If you stop for just a moment to ponder it, the implications of actually being on the cusp of geula boggle the mind.

3 comments:

Baruch Eliezer Silas said...

The list is very insightful and probably was not meant to be all inclusive, but I am wondering why at least one or two questions regarding how your own deeds have delayed the geulah. All of the questions deal with things external.

All of us are guilty of delaying the geulah. Including myself. Hashem wants us to deal with our inside first, which will then be reflected externally.

Which begs an interesting question. Our sages teach that 4/5ths will not return and the 1/5th of Jews that do will return reluctantly. The prophets intimate that those that Moshiach bring with him will inherit the Negev. The Pashat is that they will dwell in the Negev, which all the Rabbis are saying. Another meaning of "they will inherit the Negev" is that they will also go through a "desert" experience just as Am Yisrael did when they left Mitzrayim. Food for thought and prayer.

May HaKadosh Baruch Hu reveal in us those things that have delayed the geulah, and may we deal with them thoroughly and immediately: bring us to teshuvah.

Tehillah Hessler said...

Great food for thought, Rivkah :-)

I loved your comment about email, but wonder... will the Internet be eliminated and replaced by a higher communication protocol?

Leah said...

Yes, I did a little chuckle on the email address for Moshiach and at the same time, I, too wonder at these very same questions. It does appear that things are moving along in a heated manner and that every few months(or days for that matter) we see changes taking place with such rapidity.
We held at tehillim gathering in our community for both the gadolei hador who are ill and the matzav in Israel and Iran etc....