Hashem can send us His salvation in the twinkling of an eye.
The prophets describe the future redemption in great detail. They speak of a sublime period during which the nation of Israel will enjoy great prestige. Gentiles from all over the world will flock to the Temple in Jerusalem, helping to draw as close as possible to the venerated nation of Israel.
One point in this view of the future deserves our attention:
The picture our prophets paint of Israel's future contrasts sharply with our present-day status among the nations. No other nation on the face of the globe today is the object of even half or a quarter of the scorn, derision, and unadulterated animosity that is poured each day upon the Jewish nation.
How can it be that suddenly, all this will be reversed? Will we indeed be admired by one and all? Why should our enemies change their opinion of us so radically? What will change their minds and their attitude? Is it logical to anticipate such radical transformation of our enemies to admirers and supporters?
If we look back into Jewish history, we find a pattern reveals itself on the pages of the Bible. Our forefather, Isaac, was born to Abraham when he was already one hundred years old. At this advanced age, most people do not entertain thoughts so of parenthood. If they are barren, by this age, they have given up all hope of ever bearing a child. When Abraham and Sarah were nonetheless blessed with a son, it was obvious to one and all that Heaven had intervened to give them a child.
Consider the position of Joseph, son of our patriarch Jacob. He, too, found himself in a hopeless situation, jailed on a trumped up charge, in a foreign land, for twelve long years. Yet, in the twinkling of an eye, he became so powerful a ruler that he was second only to Pharaoh himself. Who would have predicted so radical a change in Joseph's fate, in the twinkling of an eye?
Jacob was the father of twelve separate tribes. Eventually he became very wealthy. However, at one point in his life, when he fled before his twin brother, Esau, Jacob was forced to surrender everything he owned to Eliphaz, son of his rebellious twin. He was left with only the walking stick in his hand. For two decades, Jacob was forced to live in exile, in the home of the deceptive Laban.
Here he had one trial after the other, but he remained firm in his faith and withstood every test.
An objective observer evaluating the situation of Jacob or of Joseph at the height of their trials would not have been far from optimistic as to their prospects for the future. Later, when the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt, they would not have predicted a rosy future for the three-month-old baby set afloat by his mother among the bulrushes of the Nile River.
Yet we find that Jacob, Joseph, and later, Moses, all overcame their difficult circumstances and achieved much success in life. Moses was raised in the royal palace of his greatest enemy.
Who could have predicted that the night would come when the mighty Pharaoh would rise from his bed and demand, at the top of his lungs, that his Jewish slaves leave Egypt that very instant?
These are not isolated incidents. They form the warp and woof of Jewish history. If we follow the chronicles of the Jewish people throughout the ages, we will find hundreds – nay, thousands – of occasions when Heaven intervened and rescued His people from the direst circumstances, even when the human mind could not conceive of any possible avenue of escape.
One might ask: Why does G-d bring us into such traumatic circumstances, and then rescue us, rather than avoiding the danger in the first place?
The answer lies in the fact that G-d sends us to this world in order to learn that it is He, and He alone, who makes an individual well or diseased; he alone determines whether individuals, or nations, will be wealthy or impoverished, powerful or defenseless.
No force on the face of the earth can oppose His will or nullify His decrees.
Through the events of history, He makes it known to one and all that He is the Master of the World and of all that happens in the universe.
We, too, must realize that there is no reason to loose hope, Heaven forbid. Whatever takes place is manifestly His will, and, therefore, by definition, for the good.
We find this concept expressed in the Midrash: "Who would have anticipated that a son would be born to the elderly Abraham and Sarah?
Who would have predicted that the impoverished Jacob, robbed of all his possessions by Eliphaz, would acquire such great wealth?
Who would have foreseen that Joseph, who suffered one major setback after the other, would eventually become second only to the king of all Egypt, the mightiest nation of the time?
Who would have predicted that David, the son of Jesse, who was constantly persecuted, would come to sit on the throne of Israel, and that his descendants would follow in his footsteps for all time?
Who, today, can picture a future world in which the Jewish nation will be elevated, respected above all other nations, the envy of peoples on the face of the earth?
The intent of the Midrash in citing all these examples is to demonstrate that the predictions of our prophets concerning Israel's golden future are not wishful thinking, but actual fact which is yet to come about. This is equally true of the descriptions of the coming of mashiach, the future leader of Israel who will win the total allegiance of all nations of the world.
Viewed in the light of the situation of Israel in the Middle East today, these predictions seem no more than the stuff of idealistic, impossible dreams of a better future.
The Midrash presents us with its long list of "impossible" situations which – with Heaven's intervention – were eventually resolved in an amazing, wondrous manner, clearly demonstrating that the reins of history always were, and still remain, in the Hands of Him who spoke and brought the world into being.
It is for us to renew our faith that Heaven can, and will, deal in a similar fashion with the Jewish People.
"G-d's salvation is likened to the blink of an eye." Our task is to strengthen our faith, to consolidate the hope in our hearts, and to continue to look forward to the ultimate redemption.
May it come speedily, in our days.