Israel Forever

For the week ending 20 September 2003 / 23 Elul 5763

Light at the End of the Tunnel

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In the dark tunnels of life there often appears a real or imaginary light. For the man of faith it is a ray of hope that the darkness will soon be over; for others it is the signal of an oncoming train!

Jews have passed though many tunnels of darkness throughout their history. In order to ensure that they would never lose their faith and hope they were told by their leader Moshe, "You stand here "today" as he made a covenant between them and their Creator.

This word "today", which Jews will hear read in synagogue throughout the world on the last Shabbat of this year, introduces a very special message of encouragement. In his commentary, Rashi quotes the words of our Sages:

"Today, like this day which lives and which has light following darkness so too has He brightened the darkness for you in the past and so will He bring you light in the future. The curses and the suffering spelled out in the previous chapter serve to preserve you and firmly establish you before Him."

For the Jew of faith, darkness is not a mere historical accident or even a simple manifestation of anti-Semitism which are challenges to his power of survival. Just as the day is inexorably comprised of light and darkness, with each serving its purpose, so too is Jewish history made up of triumph and tragedy. While we all long for the happiness of the light we must never lose sight of the purpose of the darkness which redirects us to our true mission as a people.

Jews in Eretz Yisrael have suffered a great deal of curses and darkness in the year gone by. In wishing all of our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year we cannot help but quote the closing words of a prayer traditionally recited in the waning hours of the year:

"May the old year with its curses come to an end. May the new year with its blessings begin."

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