Yearning for the Redemption
- HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl
- Jul 9, 2009
Chazal in many places write about our obligation "letzapot liyeshua" - to yearn for the ultimate Redemption, what is the source in the Torah for this obligation? I believe we can find an allusion to this obligation in Parshat Pinchas. Regarding the daily tamid offering, the Torah writes "et korboni lachmi leishai reiach nichochi tishmeru lehakriv li bemoado" (Bamidbar 28:2). The simple meaning of tishmeru is to ensure that the Temidim will be brought at the right time, twice daily - once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The word tishmeru, however, has an additional connotation. When Yoseph related his dreams to his father, the Torah tells us "ve-aviv shamar et hadavar" (Bereishit 37:11). Rashi interprets this pasuk as meaning: "he was waiting and looking forward to when it would come true" (see Rashi who cites additional examples of this usage of the word lishmor). Having this interpretation in mind, we can interpret the pasuk of tishmeru lehakriv li bemoado" as meaning to wait - to long for the day when we will experience the ultimate Redemption and have the opportunity to offer the Tamid and Musaf offerings. The Torah is teaching us that even when we cannot physically bring the offering, such as when there is no Beit Hamikdash, we should at least eagerly await the day when we will once again have the opportunity to.
ARE THE KORBANOT MISSING FROM OUR LIVES?
Do we long for the Redemption? Do we feel the Korbanot Tamid and Musafim lacking from our lives? Thank G-d we have the opportunity to daven three times daily, on Shabbat we even add a fourth prayer. Our Tefillot are filled with beautiful tunes. We have Kiddush and three Shabbat meals. Do we feel that the korbanot are missing? I do not know if anyone feels the lack - we sing very beautifully: "vesham naase lefanecha et korbanot chovotenu" "there we will perform before You the rite of our required offerings ..." and then we go home to make Kiddush - nothing is missing from our lives. If, for example, we were caught one Shabbat without wine for Kiddush or challa for lechem mishne, or one Sukkot we were left without a Sukkah or Lulav, we would feel something missing from the day. It would bother us so much that we do our utmost to insure that this never happens again. Today we are "stuck" every Shabbat without the Korban Musaf, and every day without the Korban Tamid. Why does this not bother us? The answer is that since the day we were born - we have never seen a Tamid or Musaf offering and therefore we do not feel deprived. We must, however, realize that not appreciating this lack greatly diminishes from the yearning we should have to return to Eretz Yisrael and the Beit HaMikdash, the yearning which will merit us the Redemption.
The prophet Chaggai who lived at the beginning of the period of the second Beit Hamikdash rebuked the Jewish people: "You looked for much produce, but behold, it is little; you bring it home and I blow upon it. Why is this? - the word of Hashem, Master of Legions - because of My Temple which is ruined while you run, each to his own house" (Chaggai 1:9), You are only concerned with your house, with your settlement, what about Hashem's house? I am not saying we should start building the Beit Hamikdash today - we cannot do so - not only because of the Arabs but for halachic reasons as well. However, we should certainly eagerly await its rebuilding.
Avraham and Yitzchak did not build houses for themselves in Eretz Yisrael, we only meet them in their tents. Only when it came to Yaakov Avinu do we find mention of a house: "But Yaakov journeyed to Sukkot and built himself a house" (Bereishit 33:17). Why did Yaakov deviate from the precedent set by his father and grandfather? I believe we can offer an explanation based on the following Gemara: "... that which is stated: 'Many peoples will go and say: 'Come, let us go up to the Mountain of Hashem, to the Temple of the G-d of Yaakov' (Yeshayahu 2:3). G-d of Yaakov and not G-d of Avraham and Yitzchak? Rather, (the Beit Hamikdash) is not like the description found in the context of Avraham, concerning whom it is written 'mountain', as it is stated 'on the mountain of Hashem will be seen' (Bereishit 22:14), and not like Yitzchak concerning whom it is written 'field', as it states 'Yitzchak went out to supplicate in the field towards evening' (Bereishit 24:63). Rather, it is like Yaakov, who called it 'house' as it is stated 'and he named that place Beit Kel' (Bereishit 28:19)" (Pesachim 88a). The Mabi"t in his book "Beit Elokim" explains that Avraham Avinu showed tremendous devotion both on Har HaMoriah and in general to lay the spiritual foundation for the sanctity of the Har HaBayit (hence it was referred to as a mountain). Yitzchak Avinu's efforts resulted in the laying of the spiritual foundation for the courtyard (hence it was referred to as a field). Finally, Yaakov Avinu laid the foundation for the sanctity of the Beit Hamikdash itself. Following Yaakov's service Hashem finally had a home. Only once Hashem's home was complete did Yaakov think of building a house for himself. So long as Hashem did not have a home, as during the times of Avraham and Yitzchak, they did not build homes for themselves - they only erected tents.
DAVID HAMELECH'S YEARNING
We find a similar idea with David HaMelech: "who he swore to Hashem, and vowed to the Strong One of Yaakov: 'if I enter the tent of my home; if I go upon the bed that is spread for me; if I allow sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids; before I find a place for Hashem, resting places for the Strong One of Yaakov" (Tehillim 132:3-5). This is precisely the point Chaggai laments - why are they interested in their own homes before caring about a home for Hashem? Although at that point they were unable to build the Beit Hamikdash, should they not at least yearn for the opportunity instead of coming terms with their situation? Today we have no Beit Hamikdash, both "because of the hand that was dispatched against Your Sanctuary" and for halachic reasons, yet we must desire it and eagerly await its rebuilding.
THE TRUE MEANING OF ALIYAH
According to the Kuzari the Redemption will come about when the Jewish nation yearn for Zion and totally embrace Eretz Yisrael not only as a place on the map. It is very nice to encourage Aliyah, but Aliyah for what? For Torah, Yirat Shamayim, Tshuva, and good deeds. The poskim have already ruled that Aliyah for its own sake is not fitting. There is no purpose to coming to Eretz Yisrael for the sake of sinning, all the more so if one arrives with his non-Jewish wife, children, and grandchildren! Today they think that Kibbutz Galuyot, the ingathering of the exiles, implies bringing all the exiles here. Any non-Jew who declares himself Jewish is allowed entry. We have no need to bring in all the exiles. Kibbutz Galuyot means to bring the Jewish people home from the exile, not to bring the exile to here! Our yearning for the redemption should not mean to bring more and more gentiles here to worship Avoda Zara. They made a big deal when the Pope came to the Kotel. Remember when the Pope comes he prays to his Avoda Zara. What have we gained from this? Although we do await the day in which all the nations of the world will come, but we await their coming to "the Temple of the G-d of Yaakov". We do not need them to come here and pray to the god of Rome!
Our dream is to be able to truly serve Hashem here by learning Torah, having the Sanhedrin convene at the Lishkat HaGazit, with the king from the house of David sitting on his throne, and the Kohanim and Leviim performing their tasks. Several years ago, we became "fortunate" in that although there were no Kohanim and Leviim performing the task of "guardians of the charge of the sanctity" (Bamidbar 3:28), Hussein was appointed for the job. Is this redemption? This is not redemption! The redemption means seeing the Kohanim and Leviim as "guardians of the charge of the sanctity", Torah emanating from the Lishkat HaGazit, and the king from the house of David sitting upon his throne. This should be our yearning for Zion. We must pray that "from Zion will the Torah come forth and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem" (Yeshayahu 2:3).
We pray that Hashem will purify our hearts to love and fear Him, only then will we merit the atonement of the sacrifices. One of the Kinot of Tisha B'Av, written by R' Yehuda HaLevi ("Zion yedidot yedid") states "there was ample room for people without sin to lodge in you (Yerushalayim), for they were atoned by the Temidim". No person spent the night in Yerushalayim with his sins still upon him, this was because the morning Tamid atoned for the sins of the night, while the afternoon Tamid atoned for the sins of the day (see Bereishit Rabba 21:21). Understandably, there is a limit to what the Temidim atone for, otherwise the Beit Hamikdash would never have been destroyed. We can compare their atonement to that of the Seir HaMishtale-ach of Yom Kippur which atones for sins even without tshuva. This atonement is limited to "minor sins" (see Rambam Hilchot Tshuva 1:2), but for "major sins" it does not atone. How can there be atonement without tshuva? Apparently the service carried out by the Kohen Gadol served to awaken the entire nation. The Jewish people are one unit and if the Kohen Gadol does a complete tshuva in the Beit Hamikdash, then that along with the service he carries out elevates the Jewish nation, even the individual who did not repent.
If we can strive for this tremendous closeness to Hashem, then we will truly merit that "fast of the fourth month (referring to the upcoming fast of 17 Tammuz) ... will be to House of Yehuda for joy and for gladness and for happy festivals" speedily in our day. Amen.