Snow on Tzom Gedaliah 5770, and The End of Days...
But it is interesting, because the geese had disappeared. Our complex is a haven for ducks and geese, because there are greenbelts and several 'lakes' (man-made, of course; part of the design). They live here in the summer, and practically all year round, at least the ducks do.
But the geese a week or two ago, suddenly were gone. A friend of mine opined that geese have a sense of the seasons, and if they suddenly fly--it means that it will be an early winter. It certainly feels like that now.
I read sometime back in the summer, around Tisha b'Av*, about a gathering which took place in Jerusalem. One of the people present asked the Rav, whose name I can't remember (it began with a 'K'), to talk about hilchot * Tisha b'Av. He declined. Everyone was dismayed by his non-response. And then he explained: next year (meaning, this year, which has just begun: 5770), there will not be a mourning Tisha b'Av; it will have become a joyous holiday. Therefore, there is no need to expound on it's halachot.
At that point after reading this, I became unsettled (as did everyone gathered there, as it was related in the article); we are talking about this year, just begun on Rosh Hashana. That Tisha b'Av will turn into a joyous chag. We Jews know what that means, don't we?
I have to say, that there was great kavannah* in the davening on both days, and even though I had problems with my legs and feet, as they were still painfully swollen from standing and baking, cooking and washing pots and floors, and then walking a mile-plus, to and from shul and our hosts' home, it was an awesome chag*. I felt the words of the tefilot* and liturgy as I had not for some years. The shofar blasts were loud, clear and strong.
And I was brought to tears at reading the haftarah*, (various not-necessarily-contiguous verses excerpted, and please forgive the formatting problems) from Yirmiyahu, 21:2-20:
כֹּה, אָמַר יְהוָה, מָצָא חֵן בַּמִּדְבָּר, עַם שְׂרִידֵי חָרֶב; הָלוֹךְ לְהַרְגִּיעוֹ, יִשְׂרָאֵל,
מֵרָחוֹק, יְהוָה נִרְאָה לִי; וְאַהֲבַת עוֹלָם אֲהַבְתִּיךְ, עַל-כֵּן מְשַׁכְתִּיךְ חָסֶד
כִּי יֶשׁ-יוֹם, קָרְאוּ נֹצְרִים בְּהַר אֶפְרָיִם; קוּמוּ וְנַעֲלֶה צִיּוֹן, אֶל-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
כִּי-פָדָה יְהוָה, אֶת-יַעֲקֹב; וּגְאָלוֹ, מִיַּד חָזָק מִמֶּנּו
ּ וְיֵשׁ-תִּקְוָה לְאַחֲרִיתֵךְ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה; וְשָׁבוּ בָנִים, לִגְבוּלָם
הֲבֵן יַקִּיר לִי אֶפְרַיִם, אִם יֶלֶד שַׁעֲשֻׁעִים--כִּי-מִדֵּי דַבְּרִי בּוֹ, זָכֹר אֶזְכְּרֶנּוּ עוֹדעַל-כֵּן, הָמוּ מֵעַי לוֹ--רַחֵם אֲרַחֲמֶנּוּ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה
"Thus saith the LORD: the people that were left of the sword have found grace in the wilderness, even Israel, when I go to cause him to rest. From afar the LORD appeared unto me.' 'Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with affection have I drawn thee. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen shall call upon the mount Ephraim: arise ye, and let us go up to Zion, unto the LORD our God.'
For the LORD hath ransomed Jacob, and He redeemeth him from the hand of him that is stronger than he.
And there is hope for thy future, saith the LORD; and thy children shall return to their own border.
Is Ephraim a darling son unto Me? Is he a child that is dandled? For as often as I speak of him, I do earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearneth for him, I will surely have compassion upon him, saith the LORD."I take this as a prophecy for the future. It fits our times, from centuries of persecution and exile culminating in the Holocaust, on through the creation of the State of Israel, and beyond.
Our redemption as G-d's people isn't over yet. Not by a long shot. Israel is just the beginning, just the ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו* - the first flowering of our redemption. The Temple Mount will yet be restored to us. The third Beit HaMikdash* will be built. Israel will be a JEWISH state, as it was always meant to be: a homeland for the Jewish People, not a 'state of all its citizens.'
This year, the year of 5770, will be different. Hashem* will not abandon His people.
*Tzom Gedaliah: the fast of Gedaliah, which is the day after Rosh Hashana
*hilchot: the laws of
*kavannah: deep, heartfelt intention, as in when praying
*tefilot: prayers *haftarah: the portion of the Prophets read right after the Torah portion every Shabbat.
*reshit tzmichat ge'ulateinu: the first flowering of our redemption
*Beit HaMikdash: the Holy Temple, which was originally on what is known as The Temple Mount, in Jerusalem.
*Hashem: G-d (lit., 'the Name.')