In “Fiddler on the Roof,” there is a heart-wrenching scene of the Jewish people of the village Anetevka being forced to leave their beloved village, their home, during the Russian pogroms (massacre or persecution instigated by the government or by the ruling class against a minority group, particularly Jews). The people are packing the few belongings they can carry, along with animals, onto carts and make-shift vehicles. What to take? What can they leave behind? They will leave behind that place they loved – we all love our homes, don’t we? – not only the home, but the place, the land, the sight of light on those trees, the fragrance in spring – and walk away to where? Can somewhere else be home, surely? The tailor, a man with a young family, asks the Rabbi, then: “Rebbe, wouldn’t this be a good time for the Messiah to come?” The old Rabbi looks fully into his eyes and says: “We’ll just have to wait for him somewhere else.”
Wisdom, in the heart of tragedy, of horrific loss.
We wait for the Messiah these days, also, as the War on Ukraine – invaded by Russia – drives on, for many months. How long will the people suffer? We wait for the Messiah when we are ill, or when someone we love is ill, and there does not seem to be an end to it. We wait for the Messiah when the price of gas goes up an up and – up – and although it is expensive to us, it is too much for so many others. We wait for the Messiah to come into the lives of refugees fleeing from war in their own homeland or fleeing because there is no water in their land. Refugees who are walking now, today, this moment. They, too, must be waiting for someone to save them.
We wait for Someone – Something – to save us.