Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thoughts on The Third of Tammuz

It is all too vivid, the memory of the third of Tammuz in 1994. I was lying in my room with the fan pulling in hot air as the sun shined in my face. WINS news worked its surreal way into my dreams with commercials and numbing repetition of headlines. I bolted up from sleep to get out of the 1010 WINS nightmare. Surely it would be another bad dream about the Rebbe G-d forbid passing away. The rest of the day was a blurof going to 770, walking through the streets behind a black limousine . With G-d all things are possible. We prayed for miracles that would be reflected in screaming, joyous headlines. We prayed for throngs in the streets dancing for joy. What are G-d's plans? Even at that dark moment, clad in torn garments we said, we thought ani maamin I believe that Moshiach could come THIS second. I don't know how it could come to pass any more than I could assemble a DNA sequence for an extinct species. But G-d promised, and He will deliver
My grandmother was at the 1936 Olympics. She, a silent and frightened Jew was pressed among throngs of Germans delirious with joy at seeing their wicked leader. My grandmother could tell you how the soul of the German nation was transformed under the evil spell of their elected chancellor. Through this dark chapter in our history, it was proven to all that an individual can be a catalyst to transform society. And if one believes in free choice for an individual, one must accept it for a collective entity as well. Moshiach is as much an office as President or Prime Minister. He will perform specific functions in uniting and transforming the Jewish people, and through the Jewish people transforming the world. If a people can be transformed towards evil, there must exist the equal possibility of transformation towards a tangible good.
The greatest miracle to me will be when all Jews can agree on who is Moshiach. It is easier for me to visualise the third temple in full operation than it is to visualise such a consensus. The tightrope I walk is that of expecting Moshiach any day without having any idea of how this could come to pass and who he might be.
So much of the suffering in the world is manufactured by humans. Famine in North Korea, genocide in Rwanda grain stored in American silos while famine blights entire nations are all problems that could have been and can be solved with our G-d given intellect. The world needs a messianic redemption at least as much as does the Jewish people.
The Rebbe stressed the importance of Moshiach, as well as the importance of each and every commandment given to the Jewish people and those given to the nations. A leader can facilitate the work of his people. He can lead and guide. But he can not lay every brick or teach every letter to every child. The work of the people can not be separated from the work of their leader.
Today is a day that I am most reminded of the confusion of this generation. So many leaders have so many good answers. I find myself waiting for the Joseph of our generation who will interpret our waking dreams, who will tell us what must be built, what must be grown and what must be stored.
Fourteen years after that sad day in 5754, I feel the same fresh longing and hope. May our righteous Moshiach, whoever he might be come and and wipe away our tears, and lead us out of physical and spiritual exile

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