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.)


  1. That's beautiful, Devash. I can really identify with that boy. Great writing. Now all you need is an illustrator and you've got a best seller . It's such a visual.

  2. Excellent post. I feel the same.

  3. Devash- incredibly inspired, no words. If Mashiah wasn't coming for sure tomorrow I would have advise you to thing about starting a novelist carrier. But that's the problem with people like that boy: thinking in terms of carrier when the world is about to be illuminated and renewed forever each next second is a total non sense.
    Moriah- and very soon you''ll meet somebody that identifies to the grandpa!
    This reminds me a popular Israeli joke about a known politician (one of the most sincere we had here) who didn't speak English at all and was minister of foreign affairs in the Shamir government. First visit on the American soil, James Baker imah sh'mo welcomes him at the airport, "How are you Mister Lévy? " "Fine, thank you, my grandpa is coming!" Next personality, same question, same answer " My grandpa is coming!" Embarrassed call from Jerusalem : "Stop immediately those ridiculous answers, you discredite the country you're about to represent seriously! It's a joke,a code or what else?" "What's the problem? They ask me Ma Nishma? I answer sababa!"
    For those who don't understand the end, come immediately to here for explanation, and by the way you'll probably save your life!
    אז ימלא שחוק פינו... בקרוב ממש ! יצחק

  4. I think the problem people have with some of the bloggers is that they rarely use "maybe this is it", but are instead dogmatic in their approach, making specific predictions and timeframes.

    1. That is a fair criticism and something we all have to be more careful about.

  5. This is one of the most useful descriptions I've seen for HOW to await the geula. Beautiful.

  6. Yitzhak.
    I don't really see the problem because I'm convinced that all the most optimistic bloggers know that "this is it " includes obviously the "may be" inside, I'm sure that they all know that finally Hashem does exactly whatever he wants, that a "matching" punctual situation, if happens now can happen later according to his infinitely good will, that our behavior determine the scale of the events, their réversibility or continuation and only at the end we'll be able to say "this was it!". Even during the crossing of the red sea people think by mistake that when it started the paths in the sea opened until the exit. Hazal teach us that it's wrong. Hashem opened only the length to permit them to go forward, so that they knew that the solution was complete only when they reached the second side and saw all the Egyptians floating dead . During this geula they saw incredible miracles but each step wasn't guaranteed to continue to the next one! It continued because of the emunah hatemima of "that is it" approach- to show to Hashem the happiness and bitachon that even if he could decide to stop or reverse each second, we are his childs and are so happy and hopeful now that he won't change the direction until the happy end. He won't deceive his little child!
    Everything from Him is good. When it comes from hester panim, it's still good and the best but enveloped with suffering and doubts. When our known context seems to match exactly with the prophecies, we feel the "gilui panim" mode that is the same good with less sadness of the doubt, but with the new danger of deception: we are still his beloved childs but still committed to be submitted to his will. So "that is it" is more a strong tfila, expression of bitachon to push, to beg Hashem to continue than a statement. So I think.
    So with your permission dear Yitzhak, your remark is really pertinent and in place but I still want to say: Our geula is already here, don't you see it?
    Shabbat Shalom and Bessorot tovot .

    1. Thank you, Itzhak. That is beautiful!

      Amen! And Shabbat shalom umevorach!

  7. I used a similar Mashal here in the comments section last year, but you said it so much more eloquently.

    1. That must be when the idea was implanted in my brain. I'd forgotten that the idea had come from someone else. Thanks,Yaak. And now, you know that somewhere, someone is listening to what you have to say even if they don't always remember it was you who said it first!