Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Even Today

by Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein

''With this shall Aharon come into the Sanctuary''  [Acharei 16:3]

The Jewish nation was ravaged with brutal and horrible pogroms in the year 5408 [1648 - the year commonly referred to as ''tach'' the numerical equivalent of 408].  Jews all over the world shook the Heavens with their prayers for an imminent redemption.

''I am quite certain'' remarked the great kabbalist R' Shimshon of Ostropoli, ''that we will indeed be redeemed this year, for the verse states: ''With this [b'zos] shall Aharon come into the Sanctuary.'' The numerical value of ''b'zos is four hundred and eight: ''tach'' !

When the year had passed and the redemption had not arrived, R' Shabsai Cohen [known as the ''Shach''] sent out a proclamation which stated:  ''The verse says 'This emanated from Hashem; it is wondrous in our eyes. This is the day Hashem has made' [Tehillim 118: 23,24].  ''This [zos] emanated from Hashem'' - the year tach was destined by Hashem - ''it is wondrous in our eyes'' - to be the year that we would witness the wonderful redemption of the Jewish nation.  However, ''Today is the day Hashem has made'' - we failed to repent as hinted to by the word ''today''.  

For Chazal recount in Maseches Sanhedrin [98a] that R' Yehoshua ben Levi asked Eliyahu HaNavi ''When will Mashiach come?''  ''Today!'' replied Eliyahu.  Later, Eliyahu explained that he was referring to the verse ''Even, today, if we but heed His call''.  When we repent wholeheartedly, we will be worthy of redemption.

''In our time as well'' concluded the Shach, ''we lacked the merit of repentance, which would have enabled us to have been redeemed this past year !''

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