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Why the Messiah Must be on His Way

June 14, 2017 | by Emuna Braverman

My unforgettable encounter with unadulterated innocence, sincerity and truth.

I’m not a person who sees world events as conspiring to herald the advent of the messiah. I subscribe to the Talmudic principle that if you’re planting a tree and you hear that the Messiah has come, you keep planting. When he needs me, he’ll let me know. If I have a role to play, I’m sure I’ll be apprised of it.

However there have been two events in my life that I thought could possibly anticipate the messianic era.

One was about 30 years ago when a young single guy asked me to help him kasher (make kosher) his kitchen. Although his main desire was to find a line of kosher frozen pizza, I nevertheless saw it as suggestive of new days coming, a new era. If a single guy living the unencumbered life wanted to make his kitchen kosher I thought perhaps the Messiah really was on his way!

The next time was at my five-year-old granddaughter’s recent siddur (prayer book) party, the much anticipated event at the end of the school year when they receive their very own prayer books.

There is a tradition that “It’s gonna be the little kinderlach” who bring the Messiah. And on that day I could believe it.

Much as I adore my granddaughter (and all my granddaughters in case any of my other children are reading this!), I can’t say that I was eagerly awaiting the event. I had a very busy day – and week. I was teaching three new classes (one of them right after the siddur party), all which required significant thought, preparation, practice and revision. Who has time to schlep to a siddur party, to drive, park, walk to the school, wait for it to start (aren’t these things always late?) and on and on. But I felt a responsibility – both to my daughter and to her daughter – so I pushed myself to go.

And the tears did not stop flowing. It was not just adorable but it was so moving. Because they’re so innocent. Because their belief is so pure and true.

My own faith is not like that. It’s more complex and nuanced and shaped by life’s challenges. Theirs is simple and straightforward.

I recently read a quote from Daniel Patrick Moynihan after the death of JFK. Apparently he said, “We’ll laugh again. It’s just that we’ll never be young again.” His words touched a place deep within me. They exemplify how I feel, my own perspective so shaped by all my experiences and struggles.

But those Pre-1A children have yet to be confronted by life’s “unique opportunities for growth”. Their world remains one of only promise and hope. I imagine that is why they may be the ones who merit bringing the Messiah.

And as I heard their sweet voices lifted in song, as I watched them smile with sincerity as they sang of their desire to pray like their mommies and connect to the Almighty, I thought that if the Almighty is listening (and He surely must be) that this time I am right and the Messiah must be on his way.

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