“We are going to the farm!” I told the kids earlier this week, and they couldn’t be more excited. They love petting and feeding the animals.
We have visited this particular farm before, and they knew they would have a blast.
The visit was indeed delightful.
But two things happened during the visit, which clouded my experience.
The first occurred as soon as we arrived. A child, who must have been aged 6 or 7, ran towards the parking lot. He was visibly lost, tears flowing down his face.
I rushed toward him. “What’s your name”? He sobbed so loudly that I could not understand what he was saying. “Do you know your parents’ phone number?” He didn’t.
I felt so awful for this young child. He ran towards the parking lot; he must have thoughts that his parents had left without him, and now he was all alone.
A minute later we found his father and everything was fine, but I could not stop thinking about the terror on his face. He must have felt so abandoned.
The second incident occurred at the end of our visit. We stayed late, after most visitors had already left, hanging out near the goat’s pen and feeding them some carrots (I hope it was organic!)
A friendly farmer offered to bring a baby goat, just a few weeks old, from a different pen, so that the children could pet it.
When he brought the kid, the tiny, poor goat was restless and bleating loudly. From afar, we heard another goat bleating. “This is the mother” explained the farmer. “He’s calling to his mother, and his distraught mother is calling back”.
“Please, take it back,” I said. Our entertainment should not come at the expense of the goat’s pain.
As I drove back from the farm, I realized how similar both experiences were.
Parents belong to be connected with their children.
Children belong to being connected with their parents.
How painful it is – both for the parent and the child — when the relationship is strained, or worse yet, non-existent.
In a way, this is very much the current status of our relationship with G-d.
We are all familiar with the idea that “G-d is our father, and we are his children”. And just like a relationship with physical parents, our relationship with G-d also has its ups and downs.
If you move around feeling lost and disconnected from G-d; If you sometimes question whether He cares about you; or if you simply do not fully feel His presence in your life, know that you are not the only one to experience those feelings. Almost everyone does at one point or another.
And that’s because of our current relationship status.
When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, G-d’s divine presence was always visible. Anyone could come, connect, sense and recognize the holiness, and the knowledge that G-d is on our side remained with him or her long after his or her visit.
But our current status is described as an exile — not only in the physical sense, but mainly in the spiritual sense of the word.
In a powerful tale in the Talmud (Berachot 3a), Elijah, the prophet, revealed to a Talmudic sage how G-d feels about it:
G-d “cries out three times each and every day” and says… “How great is the pain of the father who exiled his children, and woe to the children who were exiled from their father’s table!”
Because when there is a separation between parents and children, both feel the pain. The child is in pain, and the parent is in pain too.
We are in pain. He is in pain. We need to stop the pain.
The remedy for a spiritual exile is spiritual connectedness, also known as “Geulah” (redemption).
Geulah is described as a time when our relationship with G-d will blossom again; when His presence will be revealed and our bond will transform our lives into a calm, loving and harmonious one.
This era is described as when materialism and greed will be a thing of the past, and a G-dly life full of meaning and purpose will take its place.
And every time we take a small step of goodness and kindness, we take a huge leap toward a humanity fully connected with G-d.
May we experience it soon!
P.s. The last day of Passover, also known as Acharon Shel Pesach, a day traditionally dedicated to raising our awareness of Geulah. At the end of the day (on Sunday afternoon), we will eat a special meal known as the Moshiach meal (see more about it here).