"In time it will be said to Jacob and to Israel: What is G‑d doing?" (Numbers 23:23)

It's not too often that an angel drops by for a cup of tea and a chat, or that one discovers a heavenly being hovering impatiently in the waiting room. Most of us are not privy to the details of the sublime heavens, nor to the secret workings of the Creator.

We exist in a world where people even question the very concept of G‑d, and some relegate angels to the ranks of goblins and fairies. Spiritual concepts are visible only as black ink on white paper; in books or web pages at best. True, we witness the effects of miracles, of answered prayers and divine influence. Yet, to all physical appearances, Heaven seems to operate with remote-controls.

Heaven seems to operate with remote-controls

At least that is how things have been up until now, but they are soon due to change...

About a year ago, I had an interesting experience. Nothing earthshaking—just a simple illumination.

Sometime before nine o'clock in the morning, I turned the Brooklyn street corner where my synagogue stands. Ben, a fellow-Londoner, came dashing over to me, waving his cellphone like a finishing flag, his eyes flashing with animated shock. "Have you heard?" he blurted out, "London is under attack!" These words being so completely unfamiliar, my brain simply refused to register them as containing any meaning whatsoever. I must have appeared rather blank, too, for Ben insistently repeated, "London is under attack!"

This time I got it alright. I gingerly asked, "What's happening in London?" I was quickly filled in on the details. Bombs had gone off on the Underground, on a double-decker bus, chaos, panic, dead, injured... The first reports included "facts" that were to alter a good number of times as the day proceeded, like a dropped ball repeatedly hitting the ground, before finally settling in one spot. Whipping out my own cellphone, I dialed 011 for an international line, 44 to access the UK, and was soon receiving additional information from my family.

I stepped through the tall, wooden synagogue doors and was immediately accosted with, "Yaakov! What's going on in London? Have you heard if there were casualties?" Before I could respond, another voice inquired, "You're British, aren't you? Tell me, do you know if any Jews were caught up in the bombings?"

Obliging with my newly-discovered data, I proceeded into the synagogue's main prayer hall. Again and again, I was approached with questions about my native city. Most people had not been there and were unfamiliar with the infrastructure of the transportation or police services. What better way to receive a clearer understanding of events than by asking a real Londoner?

"You know the British mentality; what do you think their reaction will be?"

"How far is Manchester from London?"

"Are the emergency services prepared for such attacks?"

"What is the difference between the 'Tube' and the 'Underground'?"

It was enough for someone to merely overhear my accent for me to receive a barrage of questions. Finally I managed to smuggle my tefillin onto my left arm and head, and the shacharit morning prayers commenced...

The Torah relates how the evil Midianite prophet Balaam made meticulous preparations to curse the Children of Israel. Yet, as he opened his infamously cruel mouth to utter his dastardly worst, G‑d confounded his words and re-arranged them to form wondrous praises complemented with visions of the glorious future that awaited the Jewish nation.

Against his will, Balaam alluded to the mighty King David, and even further in time, to the final rulership of Moshiach. In Numbers 23:23, Bilaam prophesizes: "In time it will be said to Jacob and to Israel: What is G‑d doing?"

Rashi quotes from the ancient Midrash and Talmud:

There will yet come a time in which G‑d will reveal His love for [the Children of Israel] before the eyes of all; in which they will be sitting before Him and learning Torah from His mouth. And their domain will be further 'within,' even than that of the archangels. The angels will inquire of them, saying: What is G‑d doing? So it is written in Isaiah (30:20), "And your eyes shall behold your Teacher."

The Creator's Inner Cabinet, if you will "Their domain will be further within, even than the archangels," meaning that the Jewish nation will be the recipient of Divine "information" from an even higher level in terms of closeness to G‑d than the loftiest ministering angels are able to attain. "The Holy One will reveal to them the secrets of the universe, which are not revealed even to the archangels" (Ran on Talmud). The Creator's Inner Cabinet, if you will.

One of the reasons identified by our Sages for the Jews to be deserving of such an exalted privilege and personal G‑dly affection is that the Children of Israel have stubbornly guarded their belief that G‑d is acting in our best interest, and have continuously relied on Him alone; despite His allowing and orchestrating exiles, miseries, and persecutions that have engulfed our history. Appreciation of G‑d from such an apparent "distance" will be rewarded with the opportunity to appreciate G‑d from as close as could possibly be.

Not being privy to such Divine radiance, the angels will ask questions of the Jewish people, who have been "over there," and who are familiar with the details involved. "You are a son of Israel, tell me..." The loftiest spiritual beings have not and are not destined to "sit before the Holy One as a student sits before his teacher"--the privilege to be bestowed upon the Children of Israel (Midrash Rabbah)--they will therefore approach those who are "in the know" for updates.

A lesser angel may timidly approach you to comprehend how it was created by a father reciting the Friday night Kiddush on a cup of sparkling wine, and another radiant seraph may beg for an insight into its formation from an act of charity. And don't be bowled over when a giant of a trembling angel approaches you with expectant awe, and inquires, "You were over 'there' today; what's the latest? What is He doing now...?"

Whereas we can presently appreciate only the physical side of creation, we are soon to receive the ability to savor the spirituality inherent in the universe, along with the deepest dimensions of the Divine. You no longer need wonder at the slogan, "We want Moshiach Now!"