Rabbi Yaakov Neuberger
Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger

The Redemptive Process

Seemingly slow and at a pace which would appear to be disappointing, the redemptive process of which we pray we are a part moves along. Thus is it not quite comforting to be assured in this week's "edition" of the seven weeks of comfort following the three weeks, that we are in fact on course, as planned. The words of Yeshaya rise to a climax as we close (52:12), "You will not leave in a rush nor will you go in flight for Hashem will go before you and Hahsem will gather you in."

It is almost as if Yeshaya warns us not to expect a replay of Yetzias Mitzrayim, described at the end of last week's Parsha (16:3) and whose rushed exodus we are all asked to remember. Though it is not clear, and subject to discussion who was doing the rushing, it will not happen this time around. The Americans won't push us as the Mitrayim did when they were finally brought to their knees; nor will we run in fear of a window of opportunity that may close; nor will Hashem push us in fear of us falling into the lowest level of tuma .

How different then is the description of Malachi (3:1) of what we believe to be the same period, "Suddenly The L-rd whom you seek will come to his Sanctuary".

Are we to take comfort in the words of Yeshaya and see ourselves well in the geulah process or continue to wait for the ball of fire to come? Is it going to be "lo bechipazon" or "pis'om"? Are we to watch the zig zag course with many ups and downs or train ourselves to patiently yearn for something indescribable and convincing beyond question?

Apparently the words of Yeshaya and Malachi will both become fulfilled. Perhaps we will witness geulah move with all its spurts and stops only to be fully realized with a sudden climactic revelation?

Indeed this makes much sense in light of a comment of Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlop. He suggests in his comments to Bamidbar, that our lapses in those years were all because we moved at a pace that was faster than humans are able to absorb. There he opines in a manner reserved for our greatest souls, that having being pushed out of mitzrayim our sense of independence and responsibility had not matured. We were physically free but emotionally all too ready to head back at the smell of trouble.

The gradual step by step geula will prepare our hearts and our minds while the spectacular will leave us no room to question what has happened. It will be sudden and fantastic but we will be a people ready to grow spiritually even as we will relish our freedom to govern and to direct our destiny.

I don't think this paradox should come as a surprise. Klal Yisroel lives this apparent contradiction every Ellul. The sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashana is according, to Rambam, to stir the sleeping souls and shock us into introspection and self examination. Yet Klal Yisroel starts sounding the alarm and ledovid today and will soon begin the selichos. Apparently only the soul well prepared through the month of Ellul will let the shofar through, allowing its message to make a lasting to impact.

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