Some time ago my husband and I started talking about moving to a cleaner place, with fresh air, maybe near the beach. The main reason was health related. We were seriously considering the idea, even took a few trips to see our “prospective” places. We returned very excited about moving. We even contacted a real estate agent to start looking for houses. But something started to bother me. A little inner voice was not comfortable with our decision. I tried to quiet that little voice. I tried to convince myself of all the wonderful reasons that we should move…how our health would be better, our marriage would be better, our children would be healthier and have more exercise etc. etc. But still I felt disturbed. I somehow could not convince myself we were making the right choice. I could not make peace with myself. So I started to think and try to figure out what was bothering me. What was that little inner voice trying to tell me? After much discussion, my husband and I started to realize that as beautiful and healthy as the lifestyle might be, our children would not be happy in the long run. They need a more religious society. They need to be busy with Torah and mitzvoth and not surrounded by a society that would not give them the ideals we are striving to instill in them. We have no right to take that away from them and impose our own wishes upon them. So after a lot of talk and more trips back and forth to our “dream” destination, we abandoned the idea and decided to stay in our house in the middle of the city with a considerable amount of air pollution and dirt, realizing that our children come first. Not that living in a city with polluted air is necessarily healthy for the children either, but one has to choose the better of two “evils” and at this point we feel the children need to have a proper spiritual life. Most societies that have large Jewish communities unfortunately also do not have the cleanest air. But one has to make difficult decisions in life….the question is: what takes priority?
I felt a bit frustrated with the whole situation, I must admit. Part of me still wanted so much to move, to get out of the situation we were in…..but when we made the decision not to move, part of me felt calmer. Part of me realized this is the right decision, at least for now. Something inside me was feeling uncomfortable and worried about the idea of moving to a spiritual desert, a place without much Judaism . And not only for the children, perhaps for myself and my husband as well. Because ultimately how would we feel in a society with very little religion and very little access to Jewish matters or to a Jewish community?
But underneath all that, as I analyzed deeper, I realized something else was really worrying me. I finally figured it out. I was worried that if we would live somewhere next to a beautiful beach I would start to feel happy and I would stop longing for Moshiach and redemption. And that thought scared me. It scared me a lot. I felt I was losing my priorities in life. So I decided to give up the beach and pursue the main thing in life: bringing Moshiach .
I think all of us collectively as a Jewish people are feeling frustrated waiting for Moshiach and realizing he is not here yet. We are going through a collective frustration syndrome.
And to be honest, I think Hashem is too. The world reflects what is happening in the Heavens Above. If so many of us are frustrated, then Hashem must also be feeling frustrated. What does that mean?
G-d wants a dwelling place in this lowest world. And He patiently waits for us for generations to do His will. However, Hashem is frustrated with His creation too. He sees the imperfections, the problems….He suffers with us in galus. His Shechina (Divine Presence) is also in exile. So being frustrated is kind of a Jewish state of being. Until the world has reached its perfection and Moshiach is here, we all will feel frustrated.
We translate our frustration into being frustrated over this thing or that thing. But in reality, the whole thing reverts back to one major frustration: the lack of Moshiach! The lack of geula and redemption.
And therefore I think we all should take our frustration and turn it into a productive one. Let’s do more to bring Moshiach. Let’s do more to hasten the geulah. Let’s do more to change the world into the kind of holiness and reality that Hashem desires. Let’s help Hashem to do away with His frustration… and hence ours. We are His partner. Let’s do more good deeds and more kindness and we can really change the world for the better. Then we will have our dream place to live…. In Jerusalem with the Beit Hamikdash. I will take that over the beach any day!
Well, to make a long story short: believe it or not, we finally did move! Hashem wanted us to, we could see it. In fact, several of our children developed terrible allergies to the polluted air to the point that they were sick all the time and we saw there was no productive point to remain where we were. So we finally made the move to a destination with cleaner air after a series of hashgocha protis events that left no room for doubt that somehow Hashem wanted and was orchestrating this move. It is not the dream destination we thought of, but it worked out in a good way, with some compromises.
And what I worried about did not happen….I don’t feel so happy here that I no longer long for Moshiach. On the contrary, I long even more for Moshiach! And so do our children.
HOME SWEET HOME
Since getting married, I have always dreamed of owning a house. In my mind I could picture the exact style of house that I wanted. In fact, when I was small, I used to design houses. I used to draw pictures showing the way I wanted the kitchen, planning where I would put a playroom so my children would be able to be close to me while I cooked and they played, what type of big porch I would have since I love sitting outside in the fresh air etc. etc. You would have thought that I might have studied architecture…but no, I never became professional about my designs, although I must admit the houses I drew were made with a lot of practicality in mind and I wish I could have found such a house to live in.
But when I got married, we could not afford to even purchase a house. So we rented a rather old, run down apartment. I kept dreaming of the beautiful house that one day we would have.
After a few years we moved, this time to a house, but we were just renting. It was still not ours. Nevertheless it was an upgrade from the apartment.
But after a year or two in that house, my husband decided he wanted to go back to school to study and we were going to move. We packed up and moved…. again to an apartment that we rented.
After a few years of college, my husband graduated and was able to begin working. We were starting to make some money. So we started thinking of finally buying a house. But again it did not materialize. Somehow the right house was never found. I went with real estate agent after real estate agent but nothing felt right. Nothing suited us…either the house was wrong or the price was wrong.
We did buy a second home, a vacation home, where we went for holidays or weekends. That was a source of comfort to me. I loved that house very much. I would clean it with a devotion I never felt before. I did not mind to dust, mop, sweep. This was, after all, my home.
After some time we moved to a different country altogether. We tried to sell our vacation home….to no avail. Eventually the bank took it and we lost the house. A part of me mourned for that loss. But I knew it was just materialism and I had to put my perspectives in order.
The next few years we moved several times, never having a stable home. My desire for a house grew as we moved from place to place. The longing to settle down was at times unbearable for me.
But I got so used to moving that I never actually believed we would stay in one place. I was always half packed, ready to go. I never entirely unpacked! In fact, I started to think about a story I heard of the Chafetz Chaim who always had a suitcase packed and ready because Moshiach could come any second and he wanted to be ready. I felt like that. Maybe it was a positive thing, I thought to myself. I started to look at our situation differently.
We were truly wandering Jews. I found myself thinking about all the generations of Jews moving from place to place, being sent from country to country, never finding a true home, exiled from one place to another. And I realized that this is the entire concept of galut. We are not at home anywhere until Moshiach comes. Even in a beautiful house we are not at home.
And I started to pray for Hashem ,realizing that He also did not have a house. The Beit Hamikdosh was destroyed. He also was not comfortable or at home. I started to realize the importance of having a home and I started to feel sad that Hashem did not have His home either.
Instead of praying for my own house, I have taken up the cause of praying for G-d’s home.
And I no longer dream of having my own house. Do I really want a house in galut? I think I will wait for Moshiach and then surely I will have a house in Israel.
I see friends and neighbors building fancy beautiful houses and yet I feel it is all so empty. So I wait. I am patient now. I know that Hashem wanted me to feel that longing for a home so I could relate to how much Hashem wants His home to be rebuilt.
I thought of what happened to the Jews in Gush Katif. So many Jews were thrown out of their homes in one day. Beautiful houses destroyed. Beautiful people left homeless. And I remember how much I cried witnessing that. It touched my heart so much. And yet I remember one woman who threw up her hands and said “G-d, you took away my house. Now please give us yours.”
And that is the main thing. The only reason we desire a home is because G-d desires one. Therefore let’s concentrate on building His house.
(Note: there is nothing wrong with owning a nice house and I still do long for my own home but I no longer am stressed over it. I know when G-d wants me to have my own house I will have it. And if not, nothing to worry about because anyway everything in this world is temporary and I know Moshiach is coming so soon).