THE CLOCK BECKONS
HARAV Y. REUVEN RUBIN SHLITA
It was a sad trip home. The year was 1815, it was midsummer and Rebbe Rav Yoselle of Tarchiner was returning home after the petira of his Holy Father, the Chozeh of Lublin Ztl. The Lubliner had been suffering from injuries sustained in an accident the previous Simchas Torah and on Tisha B’Av the Tzadik returned his sacred neshoma to Shomayim. The roadways through the Polish country side were extremely basic, just pathways eked out by the wheels of wagons that had traversed these forests from time immemorial. Suddenly a storm broke over the area and rain pelted down, making the rough track of a road into a muddy morass. The bereaved tzadik saw a glimmer of light in the approaching sunset and made for it. It was the humble inn, like the many that dotted the countryside. Its host a sweet yet impoverished Yied, welcomed his bedraggled guest warmly, quickly showing him to a small room. Rav Yoselle had few possessions, just his own basics, and the yerusha that he received from the estate of his holy father. The Chozeh had little in the way of material riches, and his son was bequeathed just a few of his father’s old silk coats and a wall clock that had hung in the Tsaddik’s room. The storm raged on for several days, and it took some time till the road was again dry enough to travelers. When the inn keeper gave the bill to Rav Yoselle, the tzadik found himself in a difficult situation. He had traveled with little money, coming from the levaya of his Father, and not expecting to have to stay anywhere for such an extended period of time. “I can’t pay you the whole amount I owe you, but perhaps I can give you something from my Yerusha. The Innkeeper demurred, of what use did he have for some old silk coats, Then the Rav showed him the wall clock, a fine looking time piece, the inn keeper was more than happy to accept it in lieu of cash.
Sometime later, the Tzadik, Rebbe Yisoscher Ber of Radishitz happened to find himself at that very same inn. The whole night the Rebbe couldn’t fall asleep. Instead he found himself almost dancing with a feeling of overwhelming joy and simcha. At first he could not understand from whence this uplifting pirouette of happiness was coming, it felt as if the Malochim in Shomayim were singing to his heart.
In the morning the inn keeper asked his guest what was the matter, having heard him dancing and humming the entire night. The Radishtzer asked him the provenance of the clock hanging in his room. The poshetta Yied described from whence he obtained it. The Rebbe’s eyes lit up with a sense of wonderment: “I felt how holy that clock on your wall is, it must have belonged to the Chozeh of Lublin Ztl! You see, all other clocks in the world tick by the seconds with a sense of doom and sadness, as if to remind us, that with each second we come closer to our demise. However, this clock ticks with shear simcha and joy. It is telling us that with each moment we come closer to our total redemption and the coming of the Moshiach.”
We are living in extraordinary times, we find ourselves dazed by the total lack of certainty in life. Plans are shelved as circumstances take on an ebb flow unparalleled in history. This dark enemy seems to take flight at will, touching down with no concern for borders or circumstances. One day it seems to be over, only to find R’L that it has reared its deathly gaze someplace new.
We are all apprehensive, as our clocks tick by the hours and days. We are a people that count days and moments. Our whole existence is bound by time. Shabbos, Yom Tov, Shacharis, Mincha, Maariv, all great highlights of the Jews path through life and all bound to the ticking of our clock.
As we prepare to fast on Tisha B’Av, as we once more sit on the ground and decry all that has been lost. There will be many who will feel that they can’t move forwards, the months have taken a toll and they sense only fear and doom. Yiedelech reset your clocks! We are coming ever closer to our Redemption. Yes, we are all facing challenges, but Hashem knows where we are and will help those who reach out.
A few years ago I had the zechus to visit the Gadol Hador HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita. I had taken a group of my talmidim with their fathers for a short trip to Eretz Yisroel and one of the highlights of our stay was the merit of visiting a large number of the Gedolim, both from the Yeshiva and Chassidishe world. Anyone who has ever had the merit to enter the home of Rav Chaim, will attest that the whole experience is other worldly. There is a sense of being caught up in a different time and place, voices heard, smiles shared, it just seems that you have been included in a realm far beyond the here and now. As I was introduced, I looked into the Tsaddik’s eyes and saw an illumination that goes beyond mere words. Your senses freeze, captivated by the warmth of this ‘Klall Yisroel Yied’s’ love for all Yidden. He heard that we were from Manchester UK and he asked me, with a caring smile, “Why aren’t you moving the yeshiva here, after all, The Moshiach is by the doorway.” I had no answer, nor did I dare to even think of one. In the face of such total belief, any excuse offered would be lame and not to the point.
My Shver, Rav Shlomo Yechiel Grodzinsky, was of this rarefied school, to him the Moshiach was certainly about to arrive at any moment. This was to the point that the Shver made all his travel plans with the proviso that the Moshiach is about to arrive so we must always be ready to get back to Eretz Yisroel at a moment’s notice. His day to day life moved to the rhythm of this total belief.
Moshiach is certainly at the door now, the clock is ticking him closer. Sweet Yidden don’t lose heart, don’t give in, it is about to happen, and we must be positive. Yes, we mourn over our losses, much of which caused by our lack of faith. However, take this moment and use this pain to awaken our core connection with our loving Eibishter. Then we can begin to hear the clock of the Chozer, and see this Tisha B’Av be transformed into a Yom Tov. If Cholila not, well I guess the Eibishter wants us to spend a few more seconds of this golus perfecting ourselves. Make your life’s clock a positive one, one which brings you closer to a Yeshuah. May we all join in dancing on the streets of Yerusholayim soon, with gezunt and true happiness.