An Opportune Time

There is a story told over by Chassidim about the defender of Klal Yisrael, Harav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, zy”a. One Motzoei Yom Kippur he turned to one of the Chassidim and said to him:

“I’ll tell you what exactly you davened for today. At the beginning of davening you asked Hashem to give you a thousand rubles in cash, so that you’d be able to sit and learn Torah calmly, as is fitting, and to daven and serve Hashem.

In the middle of davening, you regretted it. You thought to yourself that it would be better for Hashem to give you the one thousand rubles in two payments, because if you’d receive it all at once, you would be tempted to open a business, and you’d need to manage it, and then you wouldn’t be able to learn and daven the way you wanted, in tranquility.

“And then, toward Ne’ilah, again you thought about this one thousand rubles that you asked Hashem for so that you could do His will in peace and tranquility. You came to the conclusion that you need to ask Him to give it to you in four payments, and then you will surely be able to sit and learn peacefully and to daven the way you should, without any distractions or temptations or other things to hold you back.

“However,” the Berditchever continued, imparting to the man a deep lesson for life, “You didn’t think for one minute that perhaps Hashem does not need or want your learning and avodas Hashem in peace; perhaps He wants you specifically to toil, to be distracted and face challenges — and, despite it all, you should serve Him with as whole a heart as you can.”

No one knows exactly what Hashem wants of us. What is certain is that Hashem wants us to do His will and fulfill His Torah. But, under what condition we will be to serve Him properly, what each day will bring and what our worries might be — no one knows.

Our Sages have taught us that every Jew needs to serve the Creator in every situation. And that applies to the klal as well as to the individual. The hope of all Jews is that the future will be better than the present, and that we will be raised to such an extent that it will even rectify the past. This is not dependent on time or a specific period. Throughout the years, over the generations, from when we became a nation to this day, that hope has never ceased to infuse us with life.

The aspiration of the generations to be worthy of the Redemption, and to quickly merit a “new light that will shine on Tzion,” will continue to throb in the hearts of believing Jews. At all times, they will try to do whatever they can, depending on the situation and the circumstances, to preserve tradition from within, and to arouse our brethren who have grown distant, so that they should also be connected to all that is holy and fundamental in Yiddishkeit, for their own benefit and for that of all Am Yisrael.

That is what the Gedolim and tzaddikim of the generation do every time they make a decision and provide guidance on public matters. Only they — with their far-reaching vision that takes into account both what is clear to everyone else and far beyond that — are capable of facilitating this aspiration of the generations.

We are in a very special time now. The nonstop events in Eretz Yisrael in particular, but around the world as well, should indicate to every thinking Jew that there is Someone in charge. And we can trust only Him.

And the fact that all these things exist and happen around us generates an awakening and a greater resolve to return others to the source of their heritage. And that resolve is in spite of all those seeking to cause harm. Otherwise, there is no explanation for the fact that we continue to exist, in Eretz Yisrael or anywhere else on the globe.

On the other hand, unfortunately, the sitra achra is also hard at work, and he puts malicious thoughts in the hearts of our errant brethren so they try to attack all that is holy to Am Yisrael and to breach our walls.

This time — days of teshuvah — is an especially auspicious one to reinforce what has been clear to believing Jews: that the world order, in Eretz Yisrael and elsewhere, is determined only by the Creator. It is only to Him that we daven at all times, in all situations, asking that He orchestrate all these events to benefit Klal Yisrael. This pure and simple emunah has withstood every test over the generations — and in its merit it has continued to exist to this day, and will exist until the Geulah that we await. As it says, “And it will be on that day, a great shofar will be blown, and the lost ones will come from Ashur, and the remote ones from Eretz Mitzrayim and they will bow to Hashem on Har HaKodesh in Yerushalayim.”