10 March 2008

A Mashal

I'll tell you why everything is happening as it is. It doesn't require nevua or great Torah knowledge or a special degree from university. All it takes is first grade arithmentic---the ability to add one and one together to get two---and some experience with childbirth. That's where being a mom comes in handy.

Our sages compared the approach of the geulah to the process of childbirth because it fits on several levels. For our purposes, it must be understood that the labor is already underway and has been for some time. Hashem designed things so the labor would start out slowly and increase over time. This allows everything to adjust to the new situation gradually so that the intensity that must come at the very end will not overwhelm either the mother or the infant at the beginning.

It is desirable that the labor increase over time until enough momentum is built to bring about birth. What we don't want to see happen is for the situation to remain static and unchanging. There is no way to go back and no progress is being made to go forward. In a real life occurrence such as this, either the laboring woman would receive drugs to stimulate her contractions or if the baby is in distress, an operation would be performed.

Somehow Am Yisrael has learned to live with the low-level pain of unrelenting, but non-progressive labor. It's tolerable. We're uncomfortable with daily qassam and rock-throwing attacks, but we can still walk around and do what we must. When we get hit with something like a big terrorist attack, it wakes everyone up with a great howl. It's like we just got a big shot of labor-inducing drug that brought on a tremendously painful contraction.

The same thing happened with the Passover Massacre in 2002, the expulsion from Gush Katif in 2005 and the mini-War in Lebanon in 2006 among others. Each time, things had slowed down and needed to be stimulated into making more progress.

Labor and birth is painful. In between contractions, you just want to sleep. It's very exhausting. Towards the end, you feel simultaneously like you just can't take it anymore and like you will go on like this forever and never return to a normal existence again. And then before you know it, you have a beautiful, healthy baby in your arms and absolutely everything that led up to it is completely forgotten in the bliss of that moment.

This is only a fraction of what Am Yisrael will experience with the arrival of the geulah shleimah, may we live and survive to see it in our days. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that all is for our ultimate good and in order to bring about the Great and Complete Redemption with Tehiyat HaMeitim. AMEN!


  1. So much hardship can be avoided if we only did teshuva!

  2. Amen! Like Chava before eating from the eitz da'at tov v'ra, we would not have to suffer pain with the birth. Suffering is a consequence of our aveirot.

  3. If there's any good to come out of Hevlei Leida, it reminds the woman that she had better prepare properly for the birth.

    Similarly, if there's any good to come out of these tragic events - called Hevlei Mashiah, it's to remind us in the galut (unfortunately, myself included) that the Ge'ula is coming, and we had better prepare properly for it.

  4. Very interesting observation, Yaak. And the thing is, a woman will give birth whether she is prepared or not, whether she even knows that she's pregnant or not! We've heard stories like that. But the more one knows about the process, the more one can prepare, the easier the birth is because we learn how to work with it and not against it. I think this is the most important realization of all.