I thought it appropriate to share something I heard during the Lebanon war. At the time, I spoke to a certain rav I am close with in Jerusalem, who is a student of Rav Moshe Shapiro. Rav Shapiro is a ‘ba’al machshava’ (codename for a mekubal), who many of us know through his teachings which have been given over in English by his student Rabbi Akiva Tatz. I am always interested in Rav Shapiro’s take on things, and so I asked him then what the Rav was saying.
He told me that Rav Shapiro said that the Geulah process is similar to a birthing process. Just like when the birth is about to take place there are painful contractions, so too there will be painful episodes (such as the Lebanon war) as Moshiach approaches. And just as when a woman is laboring, the contractions become more frequent as the birth is imminent, so too will the difficult situations increase in frequency (ר”ל) as Moshiach is imminent.
I think it is important to add that this can give us a deeper understanding of the Geulah process. A woman who is laboring undergoes pain, but the pain is not because of something destructive, but rather it is pain with a purpose – the child she is about to birth. That knowledge can give her the ability to bear the difficult pain. It does not take away the pain, but it does change her conception of the pain.
When we endure the pain of war here, despite the physical casualties of the loss of life, and despite the emotional difficulty of the loss of esteem, if we remain aware that the pain is constructive, we can bear the pain, and even thank Hashem for it, knowing that this very pain will bring about the greatest joy.