23 April 2015

"Tsipitah Hayeshuah?"

4 Iyyar 5775
Day 19 of the Omer

It is said that one of the questions they will ask us in Shamayim when we come to the end of our 120 years in this world is: "Tsipitah Hayeshuah? Did you anticipate the redemption?" 

Rabbi Eliyahu Kin says there is a big difference between awaiting and anticipating redemption. I've written the following little story in the hope of illustrating this idea. 

Awaiting vs Anticipating

An elderly man was sitting on his front porch enjoying the afternoon when the strange actions of the boy across the street caught his attention. He was busy at some project in his front yard, but every so often he would glance up from his work and gaze down the street in both directions. Every time a car or truck engine could be heard, he dropped whatever tool he had in his hand and ran for the curb, lifting a hand to shade his eyes, the better to see what was coming. When the vehicle got close enough to see, he would invariably drop his hand to his side and amble dejectedly back to work - clearly disappointed. And yet, he never ceased looking up from time to time to concentrate his gaze into the distance, clearly looking for something he was keenly anticipating.

The old man's curiosity got the better of him and the next time the boy ran to the roadside to get a good look at what was making its way through the neighborhood, the old man decided it was a good time to check for his mail. As he walked to the end of his sidewalk and reached to lower the door on the rural box, he glanced over to the boy and asked casually, "You expecting a visitor today, young man?"

The boy looked over at the old man and grinned broadly. "My grandpa's coming to visit," he beamed, his face alight with anticipated pleasure. 

"That's nice," replied the old man. "Enjoy your visit." 

He returned to his porch as the boy went back to his project. He marveled at the boy's persistence and observed for a little while longer before, feeling the pressure of time, he got up to attend to his chores. Hours later, he glanced out the window and was surprised to see the boy still going through the same motions as before.

The sun was going down and evening was coming on with a bit of a chill in the air. The man stepped out onto his porch just as the boy made what must have been his hundredth trip to the curb since morning. He was looking hard in the direction of the sound of an approaching car, but it turned the opposite way at the last minute. 

Seeing the disappointment mirrored in the boy's face, the man yelled over, "You going to stay out all night? Maybe he changed his mind!"

The little boy stopped and turned towards the old man and said with great confidence, "When my grandpa says he's coming, Mister, then he's coming. I'll watch for as long as it takes." 

A bit perturbed, the old man replied, "Well, can't you wait inside at least? Maybe watch some tv to make the time pass faster?" 

The little boy, with a beatific smile, shook his head, "I can't wait. I wouldn't be able to concentrate on tv. I don't want to miss out on the very minute my grandpa's car turns the corner!"

This is how geulah bloggers feel every day. Despite the calls by well-meaning commenters to cease and desist from yelling out "Maybe that's him!" - yet again - and running for the curb to see if it's his car coming - yet again - we will continue to do so, because, very simply, we can't do otherwise. We are anticipating the redemption!

( h/t to R. Yaak for the example.)