It's one thing to talk about the pain of galut (the Exile), but it is something completely different to experience it.

We all want Moshiach to come. We all want peace and happiness on earth, we all want a world filled with Torah and truth. But do we really? On a daily basis, when things are going well and we're busy with our smoothly running lives, do we stop and honestly long for the Redemption?

Don't get me wrong. I want Moshiach to come. Really, I do. But for some reason, my wanting gets relegated to my davening (prayers), or to the special minute I share with G‑d when I light Shabbat candles, or to when I'm doing some other spiritual or holy thing. When I am buying clothes for the kids or talking on the phone, it isn't something that's usually on my mind.

We all want peace and happiness on earth, we all want a world filled with Torah and truth. But do we really?

But recently that has changed. Actually, it started changing a few hours ago. The credit goes to Sarah, my labor coach and good friend, who was the one who tried to forklift me out of my very bad and hormonal mood this morning. Yup, nine months pregnant is not a time when I'm at my best.

Ironically, not long ago an article I wrote about my last birth experience was published. To my great surprise, there were a lot of responses. People were moved by the piece and were affected by the intensity of the experience. Granted, for me it was something powerful, actually life-altering, but it was incredible to discover that others recognized it as such, as well.

Yet there is something about being in the middle of birth that forces you to make a choice. You are either going to give into the pain, or you are going to find the meaning in the craziness. Fortunately, in that birth, I was able to focus and transform the situation into one of learning, growth and discovery. But then I was in labor.

Now, I'm about three weeks before my due date. Actually, I've been saying this — "I'm about three weeks before my due date" — for well over a month now, but now it's true. I am, G‑d Willing, quite close to having my fourth child, and with each pregnancy, I am absolutely positive that I will be early. (You would think I would have learned by now that this probably won't happen, being that the earliest I have been is ten days late.)

So here I am again, waiting with each moment for true labor to start. I will be the first to admit that in the Israel summer heat, with no air-conditioning in our stifling apartment, I have not been the most pleasant person to be around.

And this is where my amazing labor coach comes in. After yet another morning of complaining to her that I still hadn't given birth, she finally suggested that I should focus on gleaning a positive lesson from this whole experience.

And then it hit me.

I am actually experiencing galut for the first time. And I don't like it. OK, so it's only on a physical level, but this is what is happening to me. I am constricted, I am uncomfortable, I am in pain. I am in exile from my body, my emotions and my true state of being. I am unproductive and anxious and annoyed and annoying. And I really, really hope and pray that it will end soon.

I think I finally get what it means to want to be redeemed. If this is what I'm feeling within my own body, how much more so are we as a people enduring. And I'm not even overdue. While on the macrocosmic level, our "due date" passed long ago. Yet for some reason, the doctors won't induce. And so we are simply stuck, waiting and praying, for things to progress.

I am unproductive and anxious and annoyed and annoying

Granted, this revelation is not so original. The pregnancy/galut metaphor is much discussed in Chassidic literature, and is something I have been teaching for years. But that is what is so ironic. It is easy to talk, to teach and to connect to concepts; it is something completely different to experience them as our living reality.

It took me until today to finally realize that as I pray for my birth, I must pray for the ultimate birth, for the ultimate revelation, when the whole world will finally be redeemed from this restrictive state. For the first time, I now understand in the most simplistic way how the Rebbe cried and begged for Moshiach. While the rest of us went along with our daily lives, he felt the pain, he felt the pushing and the contractions, and he begged of us to do everything in our power to make the seemingly endless labor progress.

It is truly unfortunate that, for many of us, it takes physical pain to experience spiritual realities. But I think this is simply our nature. After all, we are physical beings. Even the way we view time is unbelievably different depending on our state of comfort. For example, if I was told that in one hour Moshiach will come, I would probably be fine with that. But if for that one hour, for those sixty minutes, those 3,600 seconds, I was in excruciating pain, I would not be able to bear it and wait. An hour would be too long. A minute would be too long.

And that is the craziest part. We are so busy being comfortable that we have forgotten that we really are in pain. Or perhaps better stated, our pain medication is working so well that we may not even feel the pain or know that it exists. When tragedy strikes, we have a wake-up call. When G‑d forbid there is a terrorist attack, we all cry out to G‑d and beg for the violence to stop. But then, when a month or two passes quietly, we somehow forget and go about our daily lives, and the urgency for our redemption gets filed away.

I think that is the real test. We need to want and beg and plead for Moshiach specifically when we are comfortable. Specifically at the times when it seems that life here in galut isn't so bad, after all. That is when we need to remember that we are not in the state we should be in and that our redemption is vital.

Moshiach doesn't need to come because we are uncomfortable or worse. Moshiach needs to come because we are in a state of exile, and that should be something that is bothering us every single moment of every single day.

As the moments, and hours and days pass and I remain in this physical state of restriction, at least it's helping me recognize that what I am experiencing on a personal level only scrapes the surface of what we are experiencing as a people.

So as I anxiously await for true labor to begin, my prayers for a safe and easy birth no longer involve just me.

Editor's note: Sara Esther Crispe wrote this article last August. She has since given birth to her fourth child, Ayden Hadas (born one week early!)