If you were to go back in time 50 years and describe to someone our current political reality, both here and abroad, relating to Israel and the Jewish people in general, they would insist you were referring to the beginning of the Messianic times.
We have an Orthodox ambassador and envoy to Israel. The U.S. has sent a staunch defender of the Jewish people to be its Ambassador to the UN, and she has gone so far as to boycott the UN Human Rights Council for its bias against the Jewish state. Many countries that had severed ties with Israel have now reconnected with her – Nicaragua being the most recent one – each one looking to gain from her success. Many enemies who wish us harm are eliminating each other while we live in relative peace. And the list goes on.
Yet, many of us don’t feel that way. At most, we recognize that something supernatural is taking place, but we can’t seem to lift ourselves above the daily grind.
Zman cheiruseinu, the time of our freedom. But what is freedom? Freedom from the Egyptians? From the Nazis? Then what does it mean for us today in Los Angeles, California?
It’s said, “You can take the Jew out of exile, but you can’t take exile out of the Jew.”
Dictators big and small are in our past, but are we really free? Perhaps the promise of plenty has replaced a fierce taskmaster as an agent of our enslavement. Pharaoh might not be forcing us to think of work the whole day, but the lust for money is doing a pretty good job. The stress of a coming pogrom isn’t causing tension in the home, but the selfish pursuit of physical objects might be. We are not scarred mentally from emotional anguish but there are plenty of conditions and addictions brought about by our dependence on physical pleasure…
One might say it is us who are the ones who can really go free. Our freedom won’t come about from removing an enemy or something outside us. Our freedom will come from within, by drawing out pure life from within our infinite and G-dly soul – that part of us which is not tainted or clouded by physicality.
So, is it a general redemption we are waiting for, or a personal one? The truth is we can’t have one without the other. General redemption is brought about by a personal one, the triumph of our spiritual side over the physical. And personal redemption is possible when we contemplate its ultimate expression in the world at large.
Surely we have accumulated enough Torah and mitzvos to be deserving of the eternal redemption both on a personal level and for all nations of the world.
“In Nissan we were redeemed, and in Nissan we will be redeemed in the future.”
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!