When my wife and I speak in some far-flung Jewish community and walk into a room with a group of strangers – many if not most of whom may speak another language – I say to myself, “How will we ever connect with these people?”
I guarantee you that about an hour later we are all friends and feel like one family. That is how Jews are. We are all in this together.
Jason Maoz, the senior editor of The Jewish Press, recently sent me the following message: “Several readers (who say they really like your writing) have noted that lately your articles have been dark or negative, and they suggest that if there is some way to now and then focus on positive things rather than Jew hatred or end-time wars, it would be a nice change of pace.”
Clearly, the wonderful people at The Jewish Press have their readers’ interests at heart and never hesitate to pass along reader concerns to writers like me.
Frankly, I try to write about the realities of today’s world. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.We have to face reality if we want to survive, because the world is in fact an extremely dangerous place.
Look at what’s going on in Israel today. Look at Ukraine, which seemed so peaceful when my wife and I were there a year ago. It has suddenly turned quite ugly, and that is happening all over the world. I cannot ignore these things and I wouldn’t want to.
Not that I would call my writing “dark.” It’s actually light, but you can’t get to the light unless you’re willing to face the darkness that covers it. It’s like Har Sinai, which was covered in thick darkness until Hashem revealed Himself. That’s what it’s like before the Geulah. Far from being negative, I think of these things as extremely positive.
A certain rebbetzin (not a columnist for The Jewish Press) tells me repeatedly that whenever she feels down she opens up the last chapter of my book 2020 Vision. That book starts very “dark” but ends with great light. That’s what’s happening in today’s world.
Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves? The end of Tractate Sanhedrin describes terrible tests that will occur before the Final Redemption, the Geulah Sheleimah. The paradigm for the Final Redemption, according to the Chofetz Chaim, is the redemption from Egypt, and we all know Egypt was ripped to shreds by Hashem before the Children of Israel marched out to Har Sinai.
We should look at today’s troubles the same way; they are all a prelude to the greatest event in history since Creation itself.
It will be even greater than the redemption from Egypt, and I can say that thanks to a teaching in the Zohar recounted to me by my friend Rabbi Reuven Cohen, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Yosef in Kiryat Sefer.
The Zohar says that the drops of wine we remove from our cup at the Pesach Seder reflect the events of the Exodus from Egypt, but the wine that remains in the cup – imagine the difference in magnitude – reflects the Final Redemption.
That gives us some idea of how big the Final Redemption will be. In Egypt one king fell: Pharaoh. At the Final Redemption, when the Jewish people assume spiritual leadership of the world, all earthly kings will fall.
That sounds pretty big. If we keep our focus on all the good that’s coming, the difficult parts will be more tolerable, just the way the Children of Israel in Mitzrayim who stuck with Moshe Rabbeinu were able to make it out of Egypt and get to Har Sinai.