Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Av 5766 - August 16, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Until When?
by Sarah

To understand what it is to anticipate and long to greet Moshiach ben Dovid -- my personal story . . .

I am an orphan. My father was lost in the Vietnam War when I was six years old. I say lost, because they never found his body. He was listed as Missing in Action.

As a child, I always knew he would come home. I imagined it in a dozen different scenarios. I planned what I would do and what I would say to him. It occupied my thoughts a great deal.

He was later declared Presumed Killed in Action (PKIA). But the child in me never gave up hope. I remember confiding my big secret to one of my closest friends. "If I don't show up for school tomorrow, you'll know my father has come home." This was the only event that would warrant breaking my six- year record of perfect attendance in grade school.

As I grew older, I pushed the fantasies aside. I knew that I wanted my father to be proud of me, but I no longer imagined his homecoming. And honestly, I couldn't really remember him. I couldn't remember what he looked like, except from the pictures and a few vague, faceless memories.

I found my own way to Yiddishkeit, married and became busy raising a family.

And now, in these hard times, I suddenly see that Hashem has given me a present: I have a special, very personal understanding of what it is to hope for the geulah.

I had a dream this week. I dreamt about my father and I dreamt that he really came home. I was in the lobby of my apartment building in a northern city of Eretz Yisroel. Outside there was tension, insecurity -- perhaps like the war we are going through right now.

In walks a man, not quite familiar to me. He greeted me with three words, "Good night, sweetie." In a split second of lightning clarity, I knew that this was my father and that with those words, he had tucked me in bed each night as a child.

I suddenly remembered and knew. The feeling of absolute recognition and closeness was overwhelming. We went up to my home. He met my children, his grandchildren, and we all carried on with household preparations for Shabbos.

At some point, we sat down to eat. We spoke about what it was like for him as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. He was held captive in a hollow tree trunk, he told us. His captor often neglected to feed him. He was alone.

Suddenly, perhaps because the neglect seemed to me so impossible, I wanted to show that I had never forgotten him, that I hadn't neglected him. I said emphatically, with such conviction, "I have never looked forward to anything in my life as much as I have looked forward to you coming home."

It was understood that I knew he would come, and that I had never given up hope. My father looked at me intently for a long, deep moment and said, "But I have to go back . . . "

I knew he was right and there was no point in asking why. So I simply said,

"Until when?"

And that is the question which remains unanswered.

I felt myself being pulled away from my dream. I tried to hold on to that greeting, to those three words which had brought me such overwhelming clarity of recognition, but it was already slipping a w a y. I knew before I awoke that Hashem had given me a present: a reminder of my lifelong personal longing for my father and a moshol to understand the tremendous longing we must nurse in our hearts in order to bring about the geulah.

As a child longs for his father, for years, against all hope or logic, we must long for Hashem to be revealed in this world. And we must anticipate the absolute clarity and joy that will accompany the arrival of Moshiach ben Dovid.

Speedily, O speedily in our days.

[Feel it, conjure it up daily, nightly, in your prayers. And he will surely come.]


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