10 Jul 2015 Waiting for Redemption
The Gemara (Shabos 31a) records the following teaching:
Rava said – At the time when they escort a person to the day of Judgement (in the World to Come) he will be asked six questions: (1) Did you conduct your business transactions faithfully? (2) Did you set aside fixed times for Torah study? (3) Did you engage in procreation? (4) צפית לישועה – Did you wait in hope for the Messianic salvation? (5) Did you delve into wisdom? (6) In your Torah learning, did you learn deeply and infer one thing from another?
R’ Avraham Yitzchak Ha’Kohen Kook zt’l points out that the Heavenly tribunal does not ask about our hopes (תִּקְוָה) for redemption, but rather about our anticipation (צפיה) for redemption. The word צפיה indicates a constant watchfulness, like a soldier posted on the lookout, guarding his post for days and even years. The sentry may not abandon his watch, even when he observes no changes.
צפיה – to guard, to watch, to be aware and on the lookout.
R’ Kook notes that like the soldier, we too are on the lookout – for the Messiah. With each new world development, we should consider whether this is perhaps something that will advance the redemption of Israel and the entire world.
However, צפית לישועה is not merely passive observation. Notes R’ Kook, woe to the army whose sentries perceive a threat but fail to take action! The moment a threat is perceived, the soldiers must respond swiftly. Our צפיה, our anticipation, also includes a readiness to act promptly for the sake of Hashem.
צפיה – to take action, to act promptly, to be proactive for the sake of Heaven.
R’ Kook teaches us that both constant watchfulness for the arrival of the Messiah, as well as a rapid response to world events, are included in the obligation of צפית לישועה – waiting in hope for the Messianic Redemption.
How beautifully we can relate this teaching of R’ Kook to the actions of Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon HaKohen, for whom this week’s parsha, Parshas Pinchas, is named (see Bamidbar 25:1-15).
As a grandson of saintly, righteous Aharon, Pinchas was ever on guard, aware and on the lookout, observing the events that occurred around him. However, that was not enough! Not only must the soldier be on guard; he must be ready and prepared to take action when danger is present. To take action to root out a threat to the holiness of the nation, to take action to uphold the Truth of Torah, to take action when everyone around you seems to have gone mad with desire and lust.
We will all be asked, after 120 years, if we anticipated the arrival of the Messiah, and if we took concrete action to bring him closer with each passing day.
Did we perceive injustice and speak up? Did we elevate the nation through acts of holiness and kindness? Were we moral in an immoral world; were we sane in an often insane world?
Did we strive to uphold the truth and sanctity of Toras Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael through chesed and the performance of mitzvos?
When we are asked “?צפית לישועה”, Did you actively anticipate the redemption – what will our answer be…?
May we merit the ultimate redemption and a true and everlasting comfort this coming מנחם אב.
Wishing you a meaningful Shabos,