Lessons in Truth – SEFER SHEM OLAM – 28th Av, 5769
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Lessons in Truth
27 Av, 5769 / August 17, 2009
Day 86 – A Nation of Prophets
SEFER SHEM OLAM — Chapter Twelve: The Birthpangs of Mashiach (cont.)
Hashem has promised the Jewish people that after the coming of Mashiach, everyone will merit to learn Torah directly from Him, just as we merited to hear the first two of the Ten Commandments directly from Him at Sinai. At that glorious time, all Jews will ascend to the level of prophets, as it is written, “And it will be after this, I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your elders shall dream, your young men shall see visions” (Yoel 3:1).
This, however, presents a problem which we can explain by way of a parable. If a worker was expecting a ruble for a day’s work and instead was given two rubles by his employer, he would probably be quite pleased with himself. He would assume that the employer was very pleased with his work and decided to reward him by doubling his wages. However, such would not be the case if the employer were to give him a thousand rubles instead of one. In this case, the worker would view the money as a gift and would quite likely be uncomfortable accepting it. This is the bread of humiliation, of which we spoke above.
We can apply this to our own situation. We know that we are light years away from the spiritual greatness of Rishonim (Early Commentators) such as Rif, Rambam and others of that period. We are far, far more removed from the levels of the Tanaaim (Sages of the Mishnah) and even more so from that of the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly) led by Ezra the Scribe. Were we to live a thousand years and never once veer from the path of Hashem and His Torah, we could not attain the level of prophecy through our own merit. How, then, will we be able to comfortably attain this level in the End of Days without feeling that it is bread of humiliation?
This is the secret of this long exile, in which Hashem has concealed His Presence from us. Our enemies rise up against us and from all sides we are surrounded by suffering and pain. Despite all this, we cling faithfully to the mitzvos and our love of Torah does not wane. Many of our brethren have endured enormous hardship for the sake of Shabbos observance, happily forgoing financial opportunities for the sake of this cornerstone of Jewish belief. Others have been denied monetary improvement because of their refusal to socialize with gentile counterparts and join them at parties or the like. Throughout the exile, we have borne shame, scorn and insults because of our beliefs.
Therefore, when the pride of our nation will be uplifted through the coming of Mashiach, we will attain prophecy and other priceless spiritual rewards without humiliation — for we will have earned it. Then, we will merit the fulfillment of, “…Yaakov will not be ashamed now, and his face will not pale now, when he sees his children, My handiwork, in their midst, who will sanctify My Name, they will sanctify the G-d of Yaakov and revere the G-d of Israel” (Yeshayahu 29:22-23).
Therefore, one who feels overwhelmed by the tribulations of the time should not lose hope, for all of this is a preparation for the glorious days of the future.
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