4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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National Recuperation

A person with a fever becomes weak, droopy-eyed, and unusually tired. He’s forced to take it easy until he regains his strength once again. A nation is much the same…


Shabbat Nachamu


"Comfort, comfort My people," says your G-d. "Speak consolingly of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her period [of exile] has been completed, that her iniquity has been forgiven; for she has received double for her sins from the hand of G-d." (Yeshayahu 40:1-2)

When a person comes down with a fever, he knows that he is not well. Perhaps, he may become weak, and unusually tired and be forced to take it easy until he regains his strength once again. Droopy eyes and a dour expression give it away to onlookers that he is sick and in need of a recovery.
However, in truth, all of that is not the main event, but an external representation of what is really going on inside the body. What is really happening is that the blood cells are fighting off an infection and all the external symptoms are the result of having to focus energy in the direction of the main event. The body is being made to rest so that the antibodies can do their thing unimpeded before the infection can gain the upper hand and do longer lasting damage.
The same thing can be said about exile. We see Jews scattered all over the world, some doing well, while others are doing poorly. Some seem to be making the best of exile while for others, exile is getting the better of them. There is much suffering, and at times the suffering has been overwhelming, almost to the point of annihilation, G-d forbid.
On the other hand, there is also terrible intermarriage and assimilation. Countless Jews leave the fold daily, either knowingly or unknowingly. Even amongst the devout, there is some confusion and difficulty. To the outside, the patient is clearly not himself and in need of a cure soon. Well, that's exile for you!
However, all of this is just the external manifestation of what is really going on in history, which is the removal of the souls from the side of spiritual impurity. All of the suffering and other aspects of exile are just to help the process along, usually beyond what our eyes and minds can see.
However, as the prophet has said above, there is a limit to the process, which the Divine Presence is carrying out every moment of the day. Thus, when the Talmud says:
The Son of Dovid (Moshiach) will not come until all the souls are completed from the body. (Yevamos 62a)
This means the process described above has come to completion. However, the Arizal has explained, our Torah learning and mitzvos enhance the process, helping G-d, so-to-speak, to speed up the process.
Thus, our lives, and especially the possibility of enjoying the Final Redemption depend upon Torah, our learning of it and our fulfillment of its mitzvos. "Give honor to Torah"- not just because Torah deserves such honor, but also because our own redemption and consolation depend upon it, may it come speedily in our days.
Have a consoling Shabbat,
(Author, lecturer, and scholar Rabbi Pinchas Winston is the director of ThirtySix.org)




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