Helena Hawkins
Helena HawkinsCourtesy

What do we do when we’re getting ready for a date?

We take a couple of hours, maybe more, to mentally and physically prepare. We shower, do our hair and makeup, and carefully choose what we will wear.

Back in the day, a lady would wait for her gentleman to pick her up. Nowadays, it’s common to meet at the location of the date. Of course, it would be bad manners not to show at all, or to show up late. Somehow, we must arrive – preferably before the date begins, to show our good manners.

Likewise, for Shabbat, we prepare – sometimes we even prepare a day or more in advance; cooking, chopping, and prepping the house for the arrival of Shabbat. We know Shabbat will come; it is a reality, and as the days slip through our fingers, we know it is just around the corner. We may start preparing Thursday, but there always seems to be a mad rush right before Shabbat.

Nonetheless, we make our efforts to be ready before sundown. We prepare ourselves, our homes, and make ready to greet the inevitable Shabbat, which is likened to a queen.

So too, we must prepare for the arrival of our king, the Mashiach. Do we wait for Him to arrive calmly, twiddling our thumbs and cooling our heels? Quite the contrary; the same way we get ready for a date, the same way we prepare for Shabbat, we must prepare for the redemption. We must cleanse ourselves, purify our souls, do our best to improve spiritually and physically while we can. We were entrusted with these souls and bodies, and it is our job to take care of them.

When the King arrives, He expects that we will be waiting for him in the banquet hall already. We shouldn’t still be sitting in pajamas, relaxing in the house. We should be dressed like royalty, physically and spiritually, and if we’d like to show our good manners, we should be waiting at the Temple already.

So how can we keep saying that God should fetch us when He’s ready? We prepare so much for dates, for Shabbat – and yet when it comes to Mashiach, we stubbornly insist that He should get us when He’s ready. Like sullen children, we demand that He fetch us whenever He comes. We do not prepare, we do not make ready, and we do not go to His Temple area to wait.

Meanwhile, many of His children are gathering in our Land, readying for His arrival. They are ready. They will be the first ones He sees. They will be the ones who readied themselves, who cleansed and dressed in royal garments and went to the Temple to wait. They learned how to be His children, and how to serve Him with all their hearts.

And what will the children of exile be doing? Demanding that He run over and get us?

Let us not be the children of exile any longer. Let us not reside in darkness. Let us make ready for the redemption the way we make ready for Shabbat.

Let’s get ready.

Let’s go home.