I watch with awe how the recent painful evacuation from Gaza gave birth to a vivacious youth movement full of dynamic energy, unity and yiras shamayim that is changing the country.
When the religionists of the world talk about the end of days – they refer to doomsday!
The talk about apocalypse. Star Wars – the clock is ticking, the days of the Earth are numbered and poof; were gone.
Yaacov gathered his children and spoke about the Achris HaYamim, the end of days. He did not speak about destruction and calamity – he spoke of blessing. “Gather around me and I will tell you about the end of days – Yehudah! You are a king. Levi! – You are the religious leader. Yaacov spoke about a world of potential being realized, about a world where everyone will come into their own, and a world of perfect peace.
Yet the Christians seemed to have gotten it part right. The Mishna in Sotah tells us that before the end of days, the world will be full of Chutzpah. We certainly have witnessed the gall to attack the un-attackable. The face of the nation, the leaders, will be like the face of a dog. Intellectual accomplishment and scholarship will be repulsive. The Rabbis of the Talmud when speaking about this time stated, “We don't want to be there!”
It seems that the ultimate blessing must be preceded by unprecedented difficulty. This has been our cycle of history. The Epiphany at Sinai was preceded by horrible slavery in Egypt. Esther, who was called the morning star, was preceded by the quintessential Anti-Semite, Haman. Yaacov's reunion with his son's was preceded by unbearable mourning. A seed before it sprouts and bears fruit is buried and rots. The State of Israel is preceded by a Holocaust and on and on.
Rav Kook, when describing the miraculous yet turbulent times that he lived in, explained that every explosion is always preceded by compression. It's like a bomb. By compressing elements with more and more pressure an opposite kinetic reaction occurs. We think of bombs and explosions as bad things but there are explosions of goodness too. The milestones of Jewish history, Abraham, Matan Torah, the Beis Hamikdash, the State of Israel were all great explosions of goodness. Such is the explosion of Achris Hayamim, an explosion of peace.
The same is so true on a personal level as well. “Take heed of the children of the poor, for from them will come forth Torah”. (Talmud Nedarim 81) Survey in your mind the heroes of our history. How often was their humble, even negative, background the precedence for their greatness. These people don't become great – they explode into greatness.
These are tough times, but we know they will explode into goodness. In Israel, I watch with awe how the recent painful evacuation from Gaza gave birth to a vivacious youth movement full of dynamic energy, unity and yiras shamayim that is changing the country.
We must guide our personal pain to also explode into goodness. Ish Kebirchoso beirach osom – every man will meet his greatness.
Yaakov spent the last seventeen years of his life in Egypt. They were good years. They were pleasant years. Yaakov devoted himself to growing the Jewish Nation and creating a tradition that would take them through their long exile. His very difficult life came to an abrupt explosion of goodness and the Bnei Yisroel were formed.