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האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים

Assemble yourselves, and I will tell you what will happen in the end of days. (49:1)

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The Midrash explains that Yaakov Avinu wished to tell his children when Moshiach would come with the hope that the pre-knowledge of an end to the troubles of galus, exile, would, in and of itself, be a source of comfort. Hashem, however, prevented him from making this revelation. Klal Yisrael does not receive solace from deadlines, but rather, from faith and carrying out Hashem’s mitzvos. Veritably, by our actions, we extend the galus. If we would only wake up from our spiritual slumber and realize that Hashem wants to bring about the exile’s end, but we must deserve it.

The Maggid, zl, of Dubno offers an insightful mashal, parable, that should engender within us a feeling of awareness concerning our need to change and get with the program. Hashem is ready and waiting. It is we who are holding back the advent of Moshiach Tziddkeinu.

A man was traveling at night in a wagon. In those days, these wagons were, for the most part, open air, and when the temperature dropped, which it usually did at night, it was cold. Adding to this, the speed by which he was traveling with the cold wind that it generated was beginning to bite at him. He asked the driver for some wine to warm him up and induce sleep. The driver had come well prepared. The passenger drank and soon fell asleep (– and he slept). Indeed, the wine had done its job better than he expected. The passenger slept through the night and the following day, only waking up the next night. Assuming that he had woken up during the (first) night, the traveler asked the driver for another swig of wine. The driver was happy to oblige. It happened again, and the traveler slept for another twenty-four hours, waking up the following (second) night. The process repeated itself: wine, sleep and waking up on night three. This time the passenger became upset, and he yelled at the poor driver, “How long is this night going to last?” The driver was visibly disturbed as he responded, “Do not blame the night. It is your wretched drinking that is extending the night. If only you would wake up, you would realize that the next day has begun.”

The mashal aptly describes the galus that we continue to endure. We experience instances during which we are responsible for the lengthening of its duration by becoming complacent and accustomed to its presence. We have been in galus so long that we no longer realize that we are in it. If we would ever wake up long enough to turn to Hashem in prayer and earnestly supplicate that He end our galus once and for all – we might catalyze its end. Hashem would reveal the daylight, and the tribulation that has been so much a part of our lives would finally reach its conclusion.

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