JUST ONE MORE PRAYERÂ A central themeÂ
of our daily prayers is the Final Redemption. Eight Berachot, three times a day, revolve around this subject. Reeh Nah, Teka B’shofar, Hashiva Shoftenu, Laminim Valamalshinim, Al Hatzadikim, Tishkon Betoch, Et Tzemach and Retzeh. We implore G-d for mercy on Jerusalem each time we have a sandwich or doughnut, in the grace after the meal, and we even stress our agony over the loss of Jerusalem in Birkat Hamazon on Shabbat, despite the tranquility that Shabbat requires. Ignoring Jerusalem, the Temple, or the Mashiach is ignoring a central part of the prayers and a major theme of Judaism.
When Mashiach comes, and the Temple will be rebuilt, not everyone will be allowed inside. Only those whose thoughts were centered around Jerusalem, those who mourned, get an entrance pass. The first thing upon approaching the Heavenly Court each Jew is asked, Did you anticipate the Final Redemption? If not, you cannot get into Paradise. Why are our prayers and anticipation of the rebuilding of the Temple so central in Judaism?
The answer is that each prayer, of each person, is another step closer to the way things are meant to be. A King without a castle, a King without a throne, is a King with a kingdom that is incomplete. As dedicated and loyal servants to G-d, this should be unsettling. The job of the Jew in this world is to build that kingdom of G-d. How? Just by sincerely asking G-d to allow the Final Redemption to happen. Each time we say Amen Yehei Shemei Rabba, May the Great Name of G-d be blessed forever and ever, we are pledging allegiance to that Kingdom. And each time we say those words by Kaddish in synagogue, G-d cries and wails, “Woe is to Me, that I allowed the gentiles to destroy the Temple, and exiled My Nation from the Land.”
We do not have the Temple, we do not have Mashiach – for one of two reasons. Either because we don’t really want the Final Redemption, or because we do not believe that our prayers can make it happen. Noach was held responsible for the Flood,(the” flood of Noah”) because he did not pray to G-d to annul the decree. Why did he not pray? Because he did not believe that his prayers would have any effect. And, our Rabbis teach us, that every generation in which the Temple was not rebuilt is considered a generation in which the Temple was destroyed. We are held responsible.
If we pray for the Mashiah, with the belief that our prayers can bring him faster, and because we really want the Final Redemption, it will happen! Any minute. Especially during these three weeks, let us at least try to have more concentration when we pray for Jerusalem.