A child is playing on a sunny beach, building and demolishing sand castles, collecting and discarding seashells. After a while, he decides to explore the sea. He gingerly steps into the path of the cold waves, venturing as far as he dares before halting to see what will happen.

The water recedes, causing his toes to sink into the sand. It then rushes back and covers his legs up to his knees. The water recedes once more, and then returns with another noisy rush. Small waves, big waves. The further the wave recedes, and the longer before it breaks, the further it will go as it charges up the beach.

Suddenly the boy exclaims, “Mommy! The water’s all gone bye-bye!” His mother casually looks up and gasps. The water has receded, not a few feet, but one hundred, two hundred, three hundred yards. She grabs her child and runs . . .

The mother understands that the extraordinary expanse of seabed exposed, and the unusually long hiatus before the water returns, does not mean the sea will stay away forever. Rather, it heralds the arrival of a thirty-foot-high, fifty-miles-an-hour wall of solid seawater. Not only will the water reach to the top of the beachfront, it will sweep over gardens and fields, through houses and factories, submerging everything in its path for a mile or more.

The course of our four-thousand-year history resembles a tumultuous seashore. Exiles, persecutions and tribulations—each followed immediately by a surge of divine revelation. With each wave, the divine saturation of our world advanced further inland.

We were enslaved by the Egyptians, Persians, Medes, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans . . . Sometimes for centuries, sometimes for a generation. Bigger waves, smaller waves. During each galut (exile), the G‑dly waters receded, exposing the coarseness of the land beneath. The longer the exile and the harsher its burden, all the greater was the subsequent G‑dly revelation in our lives and our world.

After the bitter 210-year enslavement in Egypt, we stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah—a grand and unprecedented divine revelation which empowered us to sanctify and elevate the world with the mitzvot (divine commandments) we received.

The divine waters again receded when we sinned with the Golden Calf and fell to the depths of idolatry. But we rebounded to receive a second set of tablets, along with an even greater revelation, and instructions to build a tabernacle for G‑d: the Divine Presence would now dwell amongst us.

Forty years of trials and tribulations, debacles and rebellions, preceded our entering the Holy Land—the one place where all the mitzvot of the Torah would apply, refining the physical world to an even greater degree.

More setbacks and more delays before we surged forward again to build the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. There G‑d was revealed in a permanent manner which surpassed the earlier revelation: unlike Mount Sinai, the Temple Mount would remain imbued with holiness forever.

The waters receded and the Temple was lost. A seventy-year hiatus in the form of the Babylonian exile, and the next wave carried us to the Second Temple, greater than the first in size and duration, thus reaching yet deeper into our world.

Then came the time when the waters seem to have disappeared from view altogether. Further and further away the sea drained. For two thousand years the waters have receded and the G‑dly light has grown dim in our world. Pogroms, inquisitions, crusades, blood libels, holocausts . . . until today, when we are left wondering where the sea has gone, and why our world is a coarse seabed of sand, rock and scattered debris.

Never has our shoreline been so far from the enveloping blue waters of divine knowledge. After receding such a distance, can it ever return?

Know, then, that this time is fundamentally unique. This time we will not be getting a mere wave of G‑dly revelation. This time we are in for a tsunami of G‑dliness! It will wash over the entire earth, eradicate evil forever and usher an era of pure light and peace. An immense revelation, far beyond that of Sinai or the Temple eras.

The unprecedented length and distance of our two-thousand-year exile, the unprecedented extent to which the coarseness of earth has shown itself to us—this is in itself an indication of the intensity and power of the impending redemption. Far from causing despair, the depth of the divine void itself indicates the immensity of coming goodness.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie with the kid . . . They shall neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mount, for the land shall be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters covers the seabed . . . (Isaiah 11:6–9)