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Which one is more meshuggah?

The olden days come up in conversation in my home every so often. Kids are fascinated by the topic; they are curious to know what life was “back when I was a child” (mind you, it wasn’t so long ago!)

“In the olden days, many, many years ago, if you ordered something from Amazon, it would come a few months later on a horse and buggy” I joked with them.

The young ones took it quite seriously. “Really?” They asked with big, wide eyes.

The older ones just shrugged at another dad’s joke.

Do not worry. The kids’ unenthusiastic response will not deter me from my sacred responsibility as a dad to share dad’s jokes…

This conversation made me think about how life had changed in the past centuries.

I can imagine speaking to my great-great-great-grandmother.

“Bubbe” I’d tell her. “Can you believe that in 200 years, you’d be able to hold a rectangle made out of something similar to wood (she wouldn’t even know what plastic is), touch it a few times, and a day or two later, a wagon without a horse will show up at your home and bring you fruits and vegetables?”

She’d probably answer me, “Ziskeit (sweetie), you mean well, but this sounds meshuggah! Such a thing can never happen!”

200 years later, let me ask you this: what is more meshuggah: how we live today or how they lived back then? I am sure that my great-great-great-grandmother, together with her husband, worked very hard to provide for their family. Perhaps they grew a few vegetables in their backyard; perhaps they schlepped to the local marketplace were very few available products. Today, thank G-d, we can easily access what we need with a few clicks of a button.

So which one is the normal one?

Here is the thing. For my bubbe, that was very normal because she didn’t know any different. Today, we can’t fathom living the same life they had back then.

The last day of Passover is traditionally dedicated to the idea of Moshiach and the final redemption. This period is described in the Torah as a time when suffering will end forever. Everyone will seek peace and devote their time to connect with G-d.

Sounds fantastical, right? A world without war? No more human suffering? This sounds meshuggah!

But think about it for a second… maybe just like my bubbe, we are the ones that are stuck in an old-fashion way of life? Maybe the way the world will be at the coming of Moshiach IS the norm, and is it us who live in not regular times?

Of course, we struggle to see it. Because we are still in the “shtetel,” we can only see and appreciate what we are familiar with.

Yet the last day of Passover is reminding us to look higher. To believe that the times of Moshiach, the era that will herald the most essential and everlasting progress, is just around the corner.

May it finally turn a corner.  Amen.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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