| Spirit and Sparks |

Awaiting Mashiach: Part 3 of 3

"Rebbe, the Shechinah is waiting, Klal Yisrael is waiting, the entire creation is waiting!”


Why Hasn’t Mashiach Come?

Why is Mashiach being delayed?

Conducting a tish at which a few great rabbanim were in attendance, the Apter Rav announced, “I can bring Mashiach right now. But if I do so, there will be a few neshamos who will be lost forever.”

“Rebbe, the Shechinah is waiting, Klal Yisrael is waiting, the entire creation is waiting!” A rav sitting there exclaimed. “For a few neshamos everybody has to wait?”

“Perhaps you are one of the neshamos that will be lost?” the Apter Rav countered,

The rav immediately fell silent.

We cannot force Mashiach, to come because there can be no neshamos left behind. (That’s why it’s forbidden for a person to sit in a chair and announce, “I will not get up until Mashiach comes.”) To us, it seems impossible that every neshamah can have a tikkun in time for an imminent arrival of Mashiach, but Hashem can do anything.

And yet, we may have to be willing to wait just a little longer.

In Ani Maamin we declare that “I wait for him to come every day,” then adding, “even though he delays.” We understand that it’s possible that Mashiach may need to be postponed a bit longer.

Therefore, we don’t stop our lives; we build families, yeshivos, shuls, businesses; we make grocery orders, renovate homes, purchase furniture that’s strong enough to last for many years, take training courses to build a career, etc.

We also develop positive attitudes, find the goodness in our lives, learn to calmly trust Hashem to take care of us. The galus Jew is not a sad and depressed person. Filled with Torah, emunah, and love for his fellow Jew, he’s infinitely happier than his non-Jewish oppressors. But he remains constantly cognizant of the fact that life in galus is a compromise; we remain in a state of hoping, waiting, davening, and preparing for Mashiach.

Excerpted from At the Core of Emunah, based on Rav Moshe Wolfson shlita’s Emunah Series



Which characteristic makes a real difference for a girl as she navigates real life?

Resilience. A girl develops resilience when she’s not cocooned or sheltered from adverse circumstances. She learns to navigate and deal with disappointment when she’s not in the “right” class, does not get the teacher she wanted, the job in camp that she lined up for, etc.

This kind of girl blossoms into a woman who is able to face adversity with strength. Furthermore, she appreciates the incredible brachos she’s blessed with, for she doesn’t take them for granted.

—Rebbetzin Elisheva Kaminetsky

Principal of Limudei Kodesh at Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls, Rebbetzin Elisheva Kaminetsky has been involved in Jewish education for over 25 years. She also serves as a dating coach, kallah teacher, and adult lecturer.


Fan the Flames

I stay connected to Hashem every day by:

Calling a hotline where a group of women say Nishmas together out loud. I sometimes almost scream the words with enthusiasm. No matter where I am, or what I’m doing, or what kind of day I’m having, this joint Nishmas tefillah gives me a lift.

—Esty Weiss


“Only when a person is freed, can he feel the bitterness of slavery.”

—Rabbi Moshe of Karlin


Saved from the Flames

Last Monday, my family in Santa Rosa was startled awake at 3 a.m. Our house was burning! Not just our home, but our whole neighborhood was an inferno. In our narrow escape, we had no time to take anything — no family photos, heirlooms, IDs, cell phones, nothing. Thank G-d, my parents, three siblings, and my nonagenarian grandparents escaped just in time.

My younger sister goes to Jewish summer camp at Camp Stone in Pennsylvania. One summer, campers were encouraged to pack a backpack. They weren’t given a packing list, nor told where they were going. Each camper had to decide what's important for her to have anywhere and anytime.

It was an exercise in preparing for Mashiach — to have a bag packed with your most meaningful possessions so you’re ready to leave everything behind in a moment to greet Mashiach.

So, there she was in our burning house. With not a moment to spare, she remembered her Mashiach bag. Although our home and our grandparents’ homes and everything inside them was decimated, my sister’s Mashaich backpack became our family’s only surviving possession.

What was inside? Her diary, a tzedakah box, a mezuzah, a list of her favorite quotes, and eight family photos — including family pictures with our grandparents, and some of my parents’ wedding pictures. Because of my sister’s eager anticipation for Mashiach, those family photos continue to bring meaning to my family.

What is eternally meaningful to you; what helps you elevate your life every moment? Are your bags packed?

Therapeutic Writing Part 6 of 6

Anyone in the process of self-development and growth might get despondent at times. We have so many issues, so many struggles, we’re so far from our ideal selves.

Hear this message of consolation from Hashem. Nachamu ami… It’s ok. Yes, you’re far from where you want to be, but the redemption is on its way. You’re on your way home.

Set a timer for five minutes. Describe what you wish your ideal self would be like. What would you look like, behave like, talk like? How would you spend your day? How would your interactions look?

Write for five minutes and when the timer rings, stop.

Read over your writing and then ask yourself, “If someone would reassure me that my goal isn’t as far off as I think, what would they tell me?”

Set your timer for another five minutes and write it out. Then write a reflection.

Even though we’re so far away, we’ll be home very soon!

Dear Readers,

With this column, we end the six-part series. It was wonderful to give you a little preview into the journey of therapeutic writing.

Take your pen and paper and begin your journey. Let your fingers do the walking.


Yocheved Rottenberg is the facilitator of international therapeutic writing workshops and the author of an upcoming book, both entitled Write Your Way Home.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 704)

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