(Torah Portion Devorim) Caring Attention!
Every so often we hear someone saying, “That person has it all.”
Let’s think about this. Does anyone have it all? Although at times it might appear that way, one who is true to himself knows that there are areas where he is lacking and needs to strive to accomplish more. This pertains to relationships, religion, personal struggles, outlooks and goals.
We, the Jewish people, are currently in the nine day period when we mourn the destruction of both our Temples that stood in Jerusalem. This period culminates with the fast of Tisha B’Av which we will observe this Sunday.
We engage in this period of mourning to remind ourselves that there is something major missing in our lives – the Temple in Jerusalem.
Why do we yearn and hope for the rebuilding of the Temple?
Our forefathers set for us a goal that through our moral and ethical conduct based on Torah values we should become the conduit and vehicle through which G-d’s Majesty becomes apparent in the world. G-d subsequently bequeathed to us this goal as well.
The ultimate fulfillment of this ideal is when G-d’s presence is established in His home on this world in the Temple in Jerusalem.
G-d allowed His Abode to be destroyed twice on the same calendar date to indicate that our spiritual performance was not up to par.
Our mourning today over our Temples that were destroyed thousands of years ago demonstrates the hope within us that the Moshiach will come and our goal of restoring G-d’s glory in this world will be reached and realized.
G-d promised us through the prophets that there will be a third and everlasting Temple that will be rebuilt when the Moshiach arrives. This Temple will be miraculously built and established by G-d Himself!
Hope is an essential ingredient in living. One of Maimonides’ thirteen principles of faith is, “Ani Ma’amin – I believe with a complete belief in the coming of the Moshiach.” It was reported that to the consternation and derision of the Nazi SS, thousands of Jews, standing on the threshold of death as they headed into the gas chambers, were singing the words of “Ani Ma’amin” to a hallowed tune. Thus they displayed amazing faith and belief that the glory of G-d in this world will come to fruition at any time.
I often wonder how it is that the Moshiach – a single person – will be able to influence and convince the entire population of the world that there is One G-d – Hashem, and all of humanity will recognize their Spiritual purpose of existence and will all realize the Jewish Nation’s special Spiritual purpose. The Jewish exiles will be gathered into the Land of Israel, the Temple will be rebuilt and the service in the Temple will be reestablished, and peace will prevail throughout the world. It sounds like a pretty long shot that our hateful Palestinian and other neighbors will lay down their weapons and suddenly dissolve their deep hatred towards us. Yet, this is what we were promised, as we all chant at the end of the Alainu prayer, “It will be that Hashem will be the King on the entire earth, on that that day Hashem will be One and His name will be One.”
This will happen whatever way it will happen, but possibly a righteous person will come forth with a humble demeanor, truthful message and Divinely inspired communication and will bring clarity, direction and a feeling of kindness to all of humanity.
One may wonder if there is any way that he can bring peace and redemption to the world. Our Sages informed us that G-d took away the Second Temple because of the sin of hatred Jews had for one another.
How do we remedy this?
When Yosef was imprisoned, he noticed two Egyptian inmates who were downcast. He took the time to ask them, “Why do you appear downcast today?”
Yosef’s question and concern set into motion a chain of events that ultimately led to the Jews’ redemption from Egypt and receiving the Torah. Without Yosef’s simple friendly, “Why are you sad today?”, or, “What’s on your mind? Perhaps I can help,” the entire history of the world may have been different.
If we pay attention and offer a nice word or genuine concern to our fellow, we can truly make a difference in shaping and triggering the destiny of our long awaited Redemption!
Wishing you a most enjoyable & uplifting Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks