Looking to the Future
(I put these thoughts together for a reply for my daughter Gavi, who pointed me to a medrash that “everyone in her neighborhood” were talking about, but I then was moved to share it with a wider audience.)
When we were slaves in Egypt, we had a tradition from our grandfather Yaaqov that the person Hashem would send to redeem us would come with the words “paqod paqadti – I have surely Remember”. And I presume the cynics in the crowd wondered what kind of sign was that? After all, anyone who wanted to be the leeder could learn of the tradition and for that reason use the words “paqod paqadti“!
Then came Moshe. A man with burnt lips. So he couldn’t naturally make those phonemes we make with our lips – b, v, w, f and of course p. And when Moshe was able to say “paqod paqadti” the prophecy they had remembered took on a whole new and unforeseen meaning.
It is not easy to read a prophecy with anything but hindsight.
And so I wouldn’t look to cherry picked midrashim that do not take that much creativity to see as descriptions of current events. Because it isn’t “paqod paqadti” sure. (And besides, what about other opinions, other midrashim and quotes from the actual Talmuds?)
If I lived among people who pursued such things as passionately as the community Gavi lives in, my heart would be warmed by their emunah in Bi’as haMashiach, the way they were literally awaiting the Messiah, and I wouldn’t want to rain on their parade.
But as for me, where I get all messianic and hopeful is when I see pictures of Chareidim making tzitzis for soldiers.
One group deciding to shed their protective insularity because Jewish Unity is more important.
Another group, the allegedly “Chiloni” thinking about G-d as One Who intervenes in their lives.
We have taken a huge step forward towards the messianic ideal. I gave but one illustrative example of how much this disaster has prodded us forward. Maybe…
Is that a donkey’s hoofbeats I am hearing?