There was total darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days. (Shemos 10:22)
-because there were Jews of that generation who were wicked and did not want to leave, they died during the three days of total darkness (RASHI)
Imagine it is Super Bowl Sunday. The score is 14-13 with 2 seconds left on the clock. The ball is on the 31 yard line, so it is a 48 yard field goal attempt. The ball is snapped. The ball is held is place by the back-up quarterback and the kicker is about to kick the ball. The kick is up and IT’S… At that moment, everything in the world freezes. As you stare at the screen wondering what will happen, a prophet comes to you and says, “the time for the Redemption has come! Grab your bags and let’s go to Eretz Yisrael!” How would most people respond? “That’s great! Just hold on for about five seconds. I want to see who wins the game.” It’s sad but it is true.
Why do we break a glass at a wedding? Why mix sadness with such a joyous moment? The reason is so we have the proper focus on life – it is true this is a great moment, but we are still missing something. Don’t ever forget we are missing our Homeland!
I once heard the following question: our Sages tell us anything a Chasan and Kallah (groom and bride) pray for under the chuppah when they are getting married will be answered. So, why hasn’t Moshiach come yet? Why isn’t the Redemption here yet? During the past 2,000 years, there has to have been at least one Chasan or Kallah who has asked for the end of this bitter exile. The answer is, do we really want Moshiach? If a prophet came a moment before the Chasan put the ring on the Kallah’s finger, what would the Chasan and Kallah say? They’d say, “wait ten seconds.” For the Redemption, though, we shouldn’t want to wait a single millisecond. Although we have much joy, it will be multiplied more times than we can imagine when Moshiach comes!
For 210 years, the Jews lived in Egypt; 86 of those years were bitter slavery. Then, Moshe came and the plagues began. Suddenly, the Jews were no longer slaves. They started earning money and building houses. For six months, the Jews were living the life of luxury as they watched the Egyptians get punished from Hashem. Then, Moshe told them they are going to be leaving for Eretz Yisrael and 80 percent of them said they did not want to leave. They responded, “we’re having so much fun here. Why leave now? Anyway, how are we going to live in the desert? I’m comfortable here and don’t want to go.” How dumb could they be! Just think of everything they missed out on. During the forty years in the desert their clothes never wore out. Food fell from the sky and landed on their doorstep. Not only that, but the food never caused stomach aches nor did people ever have to go to the bathroom. And it tasted like anything the person wanted to eat. The Jews did not need to struggle over mountains or through valleys as the Clouds made them flat. The weather was always perfect: never too hot and never too cold. And this is what those who wanted to stay in Egypt gave up! Not only this, but they also loss the opportunity to enter into Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara in Sota explains Egypt was the most beautiful country in the world, but the lowest land in Eretz Yisrael is seven times greater than the best land in Egypt. Why would the Jews want to stay in Egypt?
We are allowed to have pleasure and happiness in our lives, but we must realize that although our lives are full of great things, it can be even better. Eighty percent of the Jews in Egypt made a mistake. They felt since they were happy with their lives at that time, therefore things could not be any better. But this is a mistake. The ultimate happiness is when the final Redemption will come. We can scream, “We want Moshiach Now,” all that we want to, but until we are willing to drop everything that moment and follow him, he will not come.
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