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WILL YOU HARVEST IN JOY?

Thursday, 4 August, 2022 - 11:40 pm

A Taxi was ordered by a Rabbi for Yom Kippur night to take his wife and him to the hospital for a new baby.
The rabbi requested that they send a driver who is not Jewish.
They enter the cab and hear over the radio the dispatcher saying to the driver: “Did you pick up those anti-Semites already?”
It is a strange Talmudic statement:
The Sages said: Every generation in which the Holy Temple, is not rebuilt in its days, is considered as if it was destroyed in its days.
What is the meaning of this? Is this fair to say, that a generation that did not see the rebuilding of the Holy Temple is virtually responsible for its destruction?
It seems discouraging to tell us, that all the previous generations, filled with so much spiritual richness, and so many great souls—all did not merit redemption, and were considered responsible for its destruction. It is our generation, far weaker and lower, which will merit the rebuilding. If they could not do it, how can we?
Let me share insight by the Sefas Emes—and explained at length by the Rebbe.
The Talmud may be teaching us something very different—and far profounder, giving us a new perspective on Jewish history.
We often view history as disjointed narratives transpiring through numerous generations. I’m really connected to my great-great-grandmother who lived two centuries ago. I do not know her name, nor do I know anything about her. How about my great-great grandfather who lived 800 years ago in Spain, Italy, or France?
Judaism sees history as a single book—each page continues the earlier story, and all the chapters together create the single book. History is not a combination of many “short stories,” but rather it is like a single novel that consists of an aggregated narrative. Not only are we connected to our past; we, in a way, keep them alive; they continue to live and function through us.
Thus, the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash and bringing redemption to the world, says the Talmud, will be the result of the accumulation of the achievements of the Jewish people from the time of the destruction to this very day. It is not one generation that does the job; each generation contributes to the work of changing the world until the work is completed.  
The sweat, blood, and tears of the Jewish people over the last two thousand years are cohesive and integrated together like a sum in calculus, or like a vessel that is filled one drop after another, until it is finally full.
Do we need greater proof of this than a story that occurred last year
A Holocaust survivor celebrated her 104th birthday last year at the Western Wall in Jerusalem — and for the occasion posed for a photo surrounded by about 400 of her descendants, including her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Centenarian Shoshana Ovitz survived the Auschwitz concentration camp 77 years ago.
In the camp, she watched as her mother was ripped from her and handed to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who performed deadly experiments on prisoners. Her father was also murdered.
After the Holocaust, Ovitz met the man who would later become her husband, Dov Ovitz, who had lost his wife and four daughters in the gas chambers.
The couple searched for surviving relatives together and lived in Austria, before eventually settling in Haifa, where they had two daughters and two sons.
She worked as a seamstress and helped her husband run a store.
Now she has celebrated her 104th birthday and asked for a gift: that all the offspring come together to the Western Wall. She had one request, for all her descendants to come together at the site of the Beit Hamikdash.
It was not easy. Many of them live outside of Israel. But they came… and they came in the hundreds.
“We do not have an exact number, but there are probably 400 grandchildren and descendants,”
“We’re missing about 10% of them.”
At the celebration, which symbolized a triumph over the Nazis, “everyone was there with tears in their eyes,” Friedman said. Shoshana was on a platform in her wheelchair to cast her eyes on all her descendants.
Ovitz said she believes that she merited long life due to the great respect she showed her parents prior to their murders.
Now, imagine for a moment what Shoshana looked like on January 27, 1945? Did you ever see the photos of the prisoners liberated by the Soviets? Like an emaciated skeleton, like a shriveled seedling.
But seven decades later, the same Shoshanah was surrounded by 400 descendants, where? At the Kotel! At the remnant of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. All the 400 proud Jews, learn Torah and celebrate mitzvot daily.
How did a shriveled, dry seed birth almost 500 descendants? A seed needs earth and water. Her seed was planted in the sacred soil of Israel. But there was something else: the tears of her mother, grandmother, great grandmother, all the way back to Sarah, nurtured her seed back to life and allowed it to blossom into such an incredible tree with so many fruits. The tears of her father, and the six million, irrigated, wetted, and vitalized the seed to grow into a splendid and tall tree among our eternal people.
I looked at her 400 descendants, I cried, and I laughed. “Those who sow in tears will harvest in joy,” we say in Psalms 126. Was this verse not said about Shoshanah?
When an Israeli soldier in Lebanon yelled out Shema Yisrael and jumped onto an exploding grenade in order to save the lives of the rest of his unit it certainly went into that vessel.  
So now, we can, at last, appreciate the powerful words of the Talmud.
What kind of generation is the Talmud referring to when it says that if the Temple was not built in its day, it is like it was destroyed in its day?
Well now that we established that the Temple must be built in every generation; each generation of Jews contributes to the consecutive and ongoing work of healing the world, cleansing it from evil, bringing in Divine light, and rebuilding the space where the Divine presence will dwell on earth; now that we learned that there is no one generation who build—but that every generation builds. What then does the Talmud mean? Which generation is the one who we say that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed in its time?
It is the generation that gives up on this historic mission and chooses instead to no longer care to add whatever it can to all the good that has already been accumulated before it.
Every generation in which the Bait Hamikdash is not built in its days—is the generation that does not see its days as a contribution to the building of the Beit Hamikdash; it is detached from the march of Jewish history, from the dance of Klal Yisroel, from the parade of every single Jew toward Jerusalem—that generation must appreciate how detrimental its passivity can be.
This is what the Talmud is teaching us. Every soul which ever lived contributed to the Third Temple. Then they moved backstage, to allow the next generation to continue the work. But they never really left. They are never gone. They are just back strange.
And now it is our job to complete the way. When each of them will emerge from backstage and take the bow!
We're ready for the time when, as we say in the Alanu prayer, all creations will bow to you. We're ready for the final bow.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky

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