We wasted our money, our energy, our days and years – our very lives. We indulged in despicable language, we fought over stupidities, we hurt our dear ones.
Every morning in the Shacharis service we beseech G-d “to help us so that we might not have labored in vein and not have been born for naught…”
Alas, the vast majority of our people never utter these words. They are unaware they even exist, and those among us who do pray most likely say them by rote and never give a thought to their deeper meaning. But time relentlessly passes and the wedding is fast approaching. So let us ask ourselves, “Are we prepared? Do we have the proper attire or will we, G-d forbid, look ridiculous?”
Every leil Shabbos, as we welcome the Sabbath Queen, we sing a song of love in which in which we are called on to “rejuvenate ourselves,” shake off our dust and don our priestly garments. We can still go shopping for those garments, so let’s not fritter away our time as that great and awesome day draws ever closer.
Many years ago, I envisioned an outreach program that would go beyond anything known at the time. I even dreamed I would be able to gather huge crowds at Madison Square Garden for a great Jewish awakening.
I was determined to make that dream happen. I knew, however, that before anything else I would have to have the blessings of great Torah sages. I asked my saintly father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, to take me to those spiritual giants. Baruch Hashem, they all gave me their blessings and I felt fortified.
When we visited the zaken hador, HaRav HaGaon Henken, zt”l, he was very ill, blind in both eyes and hooked up to a number of IVs.
My father informed him of my mission and he gave me his berachah but he also imparted an amazing message that speaks to every one of us. He spoke in Yiddish and pointed to his eyes: “Tzvei shtick fleish – two pieces of meat. Men darf lernen vee lang dee tzvei shtik fleisch kenen noch zayen – we have to learn Torah while the two pieces of meat can still see. Tell this to every Yid.”
And then he sat down at the table with my father, reached for a sefer, opened it, and started to learn. I shall never forget that awesome scene. Two Torah giants learning the word of G-d. One of them had blind eyes but, amazingly, those two pieces of meat could pierce the densest darkness with words of Torah – words that give more than mere sight; they give vision.
Should we not absorb that lesson? Should we not go shopping? Should we not shake off our dust? Should we not don our priestly garments? Should we not be preparing for that awesome day when Tisha B’Av will become a joyous celebration, when the wedding of weddings will take place?
May we behold that day, our total redemption, speedily in our time, and may we all stand in our priestly garments.