We live in serious times. World-wide financial crises, frequent natural disasters which claim tens of thousands of lives, Islamic fundamentalism expressed through global terrorism and, for Jews in particular, a new Amalek, sworn to the goal of wiping Israel off the world map. The time has come for the American Jewish community to pray for the best possible outcome while preparing for the worst.
In Egypt, the prophetess Miriam and the women of her generation looked ahead and saw redemption. Rashi teaches that the righteous women of that generation were so confident the Hashem would perform miracles for them, they prepared by taking timbrels with which to celebrate. (Shemot 15:20).
Looking ahead with clear vision was also necessary in the time of the Holocaust. There is no need to recount how forethought saved countless European Jewish families.
On a spiritual level, the single most important thing we can do is to strengthen our emunah. Hashem runs the world. We must open our eyes and notice that Hashem is steadily bringing us into the days of Moshiach. With Gd's help, we will pass through these thorny times on our way to Geula with great rachamim.
However, there are certain concrete steps we can take to prepare our families, and ourselves, in case we, as a community, will be called upon to face harsh tests before we greet Moshiach. Jewish history is replete with occasions where Jews needed to leave their Diaspora homes hastily. If, Gd-forbid, the time comes when we will need to do the same, there are things we can consider doing now. None of these actions are irreversible and they may save your family precious time in the future, chas v'shalom.
- Make sure everyone in your family has a current passport.
- Consider withdrawing enough cash to purchase tickets to travel to Israel.
- Consider installing a small safe in your home in which to store cash, gold and/or jewelry.
- If you have family or trusted friends already living in Israel, consider storing your most precious family heirlooms with them.
- Consider gathering together the necessary documents and opening an aliyah file. Approval does not require you to make aliyah, but it can facilitate the process. Approval is good for five years and can be renewed.
- Buy a special outfit to wear when you head out to greet Moshiach.
- Pack a suitcase that you can grab and leave it near your front door.
Some of us, by our natures, will do more preparation and some will do less. Even if you feel that none of these actions are warranted by current events, the most important thing is to keep your eyes open and to notice what is going on around us. In serious times such as ours, the worst thing would be to simply not pay attention.