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Broken from Exile
Exile is a situation that gives great torment to the soul. The very fact that it is in exile, even under the most pleasant conditions, causes the soul to feel the greatest anguish.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe examines this concept in a Chassidic discourse, “Veatah Tetzaveh,” that he distributed to thousands: Every Jew is born with an intense desire for revealed G-dliness. Good health, comfort, a good income, spiritual development—these are all nice things to have but they don’t satisfy the Jewish soul. As long as G-dliness is not revealed, the soul is not satisfied. It is broken, like an olive crushed for its oil.

Someone who is separated from his natural environment will always long to return to it. Even if the environment where he was placed against his will is a pleasant one, with all sorts of amenities, it will not be enough to soothe his soul. He will constantly long to return to his natural place, to his own home and surroundings. And this is an apt description of the Jewish people in exile: “Like children exiled from the table of their father.” As long as we’re in exile, even in the best possible situation spiritually and materially, our soul still longs to be restored to “our father’s table”—the third Holy Temple.

Our sages say, “If the Temple was not rebuilt in your days it is as if it was destroyed in your days!” Our souls constantly cry out because they see the destruction of the Tempe in front of them. This only intensifies their longing for the complete revelation of the Shechinah.

A Jew who feels this longing is connected to his soul’s essence. In other words, he brings his soul to full expression. This ability to get in touch with our soul’s essence comes from the tzadik or Rebbe of each generation. The Rebbe infuses in us a longing for Moshiach, to the point that we feel broken and bereft every moment that the Geulah is not here. But this is not sufficient. We need to think, what can I do today to bring Moshiach?

Together with the broken-heartedness, there must also be lightheartedness and joy, knowing that we are close to Redemption.

Sources: Berachot 3a. Midrash Rabba Tehillim 137:7. Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1. Derech Mitzvosecha Shoresh Mitzvas Hatefillah ch. 40. Mefaneach Tzefunos ch. 37. Maamar Veata Tetzaveh 5741 par. 9. Sichah of 12 Tammuz 5744. Shabbat Parshat Bo and Beshalach, 5752.
 

 


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