Dear reader,

This past Sunday was visiting day at my daughter’s overnight camp. Waiting for their parents to arrive, campers stood by the gate, gazing down the road, expectantly.

As we drove into the camp grounds—the second car to arrive—I spotted my daughter at that gate. She was holding a bouquet of wild flowers, white and yellow, picked just for me. Her eyes lit up when she noticed us.

She knew that we would be bringing all her favorite treats. She had asked us, too, to bring insect repellant to replenish her supply and batteries to replace her flashlight’s worn ones.

But she wasn’t standing at that gate waiting for things. Holding her bouquet, waiting for as long as it would take, she was waiting for us. To hug us. To tell us all about the last two-and-a-half weeks, filled with fun, learning experiences and great new friendships. The time flew by but also felt like an eternity, so far from us.

The moment that I saw her eyes light up, our long drive to camp was worth it. We had started our journey especially early, leaving extra time for unexpected delays because we had envisioned her standing by that gate.

Standing and waiting. Watching car after car. Wondering when her parents would finally arrive.

Sure, she would understand that it was a long drive, that there were delays. But the vision of her face falling with each passing car, every minute feeling like an hour, every hour feeling like an eternity, motivated us to be at that closed gate early.

She showed us around the picturesque grounds. She proudly led us to her bunk house and her cubby, where her clothes were folded so precisely. She admitted it wasn’t always so orderly but that morning there was a strict bedside inspection. The camp gate would be locked to all visitors until the grounds were perfectly prepared.

Remembering the glorious day we spent in each other’s company, I think of a very different kind of gate.

I think of us, the Jewish people, standing at the gate of galut, exile, waiting to feel G‑d’s embrace. Sure, we may also be anticipating the plentiful treats of redemption. We may be awaiting necessary supplies, too, like health or livelihood that will abound in that era. Or we may have become so disappointed with the long wait that we’ve run off to play.

I understand, too, that G‑d is waiting for us to feel proud as we display our neat cubbies of all we’ve accomplished during exile.

But, as decade after decade passes, every year feels like eternity. We stand at exile’s gate, waiting and waiting, hopeful and expectant. We clutch our bouquets of mitzvot, personally hand-picked, longing for G‑d’s warm embrace.

Dear G‑d, won’t you finally open the gate?

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW

PS What are you anticipating in the era of redemption?