Geula: Lesson #1
Sometimes, our internal wars with each other make the Geula seem more remote than ever! What's the point of praying for Redemption when we hate each other? Rabbi Arush shows why we absolutely must believe that Hashem will redeem us if we cry out.
Translated from Rabbi Arush’s feature article in the weekly Chut shel Chessed newsletter. The articles focus on his main message: “Loving others as yourself” and emuna.
A reader of the booklet Loving Jews with Mesirut Nefesh came to me and told me:
“Listen, Rabbi. I really connected with what’s written there. It seems so clear that if there will be much ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews) in the world – we will be on our way to Geula (Redemption). But, on second thought, I thought that perhaps it is very naïve to think that suddenly there will be ahavat Yisrael with all this fighting. You could feel the social polarization in the air; it seemed there was no shadow of a chance of peace and unity here. The Rabbi said to pray, but I felt inside me that there was no point even in praying. What can happen to make the situation change? The battle is hopeless…
“Looking back, I understand that I was mistaken. It was blatant lack of emuna.
“Hashem proved to all of us how things can change in a moment. Simchat Torah changed the situation completely. Who would have imagined that everything would change this way?” said that Jew and added: “I received a concrete proof that if Hashem wants, He can do anything, and therefore one is forbidden to ever give up on prayer. And perhaps if we would have been praying more, we would have merited that peace and love would have come to the Jewish People with more mercy and with less casualties.”
True, it is very hard to pray when one doesn’t see any chance of change. But that is precisely emuna (faith). This is where faith is tested. Emuna says that prayer changes things in nature. Even if a sharp sword is at a person’s neck, he should not refrain from praying for mercy. Even if you don’t see any possibility within nature, and even if you know through Ruach Hakodesh (Heavenly spirit) that reality isn’t going to change, even so, do what you can and pray. Hashem is omnipotent and there’s nothing that can stop Him from saving you. That is faith.
Therefore, we don’t need proofs that Hashem can create unity among the Jewish people and so bring the Geula closer. We just must call out to Hashem regardless: You are omnipotent, do whatever You do with mercy to make peace among us and thus bring the Geula to us speedily.
Moshe Rabbeinu Doesn’t Want Geula??
This is the first lesson Moshe Rabbeinu is given before the redemption of the Jews. Why did Moshe argue with Hashem and not want to go and redeem them? Didn’t he want them to be redeemed? Wasn’t he feeling their pain and praying for them day and night? Of course he was! So why didn’t he want to go?
It is not only due Moshe’s humility; rather, he had some serious claims: “They won’t believe me and won’t listen to me.” Rabbi Natan of Breslev explains this in his book Likutei Halachot, saying that Moshe knew that redemption meant not only leaving Egypt, but acquiring true daat (understanding), acquiring emuna. And he knew that Bnei Yisrael were not yet worthy of redemption and that it was not possible to instill true daat in them. They were not ready yet. If so, there was no possibility for redemption, so why go?
Was Moshe Rabbeinu right? In terms of reality, he was. The Torah itself says so: “But in the brokenness of their spirit and the brutal labor they did not listen to him.”
But the Creator of the World thought otherwise. And what is the Creator’s explanation? If Moshe Rabbeinu knows that the reality is that Bnei Yisrael are not yet worthy of Geula, so surely the Holy One, Blessed Be He, knows that as well. So, what possible claim can there be? Why redeem the Jewish People?
The claim is written in our parasha: “And now I have heard the groaning of Bnei Yisrael… and I remember My covenant.” The Creator of the World says: “It’s all true, they are indeed unworthy, and besides, the right time for the redemption hasn’t come yet, but they are calling out! They are praying! And not just calling out, but calling out from the depths of their hearts, so I am not checking to see whether they are worthy or not, and I am springing forward to the redemption.”
Calling Out Regardless
This is not history; this is Torah. The Torah tells us what to do today. And the main conclusion from this is to encourage us today to cry out for the Geula. We must not start calculating whether there is or isn’t a chance for it, whether the Jewish People is worthy or not. Just call out, because when one calls out, one is redeemed. If one prays and asks for the Geula from the depths of one’s heart, Hashem doesn’t look at anything else, and has His own ways of redeeming the Jewish People immediately.
Rabbi Natan himself makes this conclusion and says that it is a fortiori: If in the first geula the time had not come yet, and yet in the merit of their crying out Hashem heard their groaning and redeemed them, all the more so with us, with our situation seeming so hopeless, if we cry out properly, Hashem will redeem us with mercy, speedily.
In our days one must add another factor – back then, Bnei Yisrael were not worthy of redemption, but today, all Bnei Yisrael are certainly worthy. We see the Jewish people’s beauty being revealed in all its glory. We see the devotion to others – Jews are willing to die for their brethren. No one is forcing them to remain in the Land of Israel with all the threats around it. We see the tremendous thirst for emuna and Judaism.
So, what is the conclusion? Simply to cry out to Hashem. Don’t slacken in your cry for a moment. The way of the world is that a shock awakens everyone momentarily. But after people get “accustomed” to the new situation (may this not happen), people go back to routine and their prayers become colder.
We mustn’t allow this to happen! We mustn’t continue to be at peace with the situation, when there are more and more being killed and wounded and more and more suffering and distress among Jews! We must rise and cry out from the depth of our hearts!
Do not forget what we went through here and do not forget what we’ve gone through in the past two thousand years. We want an end to all the troubles, a thorough tikkun. We want a complete end to the troubles of both individuals and of the entire nation, and of physical and emotional problems, problems of each and every Jew. In other words, we want the complete Geula!
The same way Hashem sent us Moshe Rabbeinu, so too we are awaiting the Mashiach, who has the Neshama (soul) of Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe – acronym of Ma Shehaya hu Sheyihye. (what was, will be)” And the way to that is heartfelt prayer.
A Prayer for the Ani (afflicted man) When he Swoons
And this is “A prayer for the afflicted man when he swoons”. The Holy Zohar say that the prayers of an ani, who prays brokenhearted, come before all other prayers, even those of tzaddikim, and even the prayers of Moshe Rabbeinu and David HaMelech, and nobody can stop it – it arrives directly at the Heavenly Throne, and Hashem hears it and opens all the gates and welcomes all the prayers together with that of the ani.
The Zohar says that Hashem sends away His court and doesn’t want anyone to disturb Him while he is listening to those prayers. He doesn’t look to see whether this ani is worthy or not, and whether his prayers are worthy or not; and even if the ani prays angrily, aggressively, Hashem yitbarach wants this prayer and accepts it.
Dear Jews, back at the beginning of the war, I said that we mustn’t make do with less than a complete Geula now. No other considerations. We should go all the way. All Jews are worthy of the Geula. And even if it seems to you, chas veshalom, that there are those who are very far away and unworthy – don’t make that calculation! Learn from our parasha that with the power of prayers Hashem can save us even if we are unworthy.
Therefore, our task now is to simply call out and cry out brokenheartedly, the more the better, everywhere. Every Jew who joins in the prayers and prays at length from the depths of his heart, like a poor, afflicted person – has an important part in bringing about the complete Geula sooner, the Geula of the entire Jewish people, speedily in our days, Amen.