“What took you so long?” my daughter Rivky asked as I jumped into the car.
“I was telling the owner about Moshiach,” I beamed back at her.
On Tuesday, while Rivky did an errand, I stopped in the shoe store to see if my perfect boots had arrived just in time for spring.
I used to shop in Jill’s store, season after season, year after year, but I don’t remember the last time I was there. This time was the first time she greeted me with a hug.
We exchanged pleasantries and she showed me a picture on her phone of her son’s Bar Mitzvah.
It was the quintessential Bar Mitzvah picture–a boyish-faced, tallis-enwrapped thirteen-year-old flanked by his smiling parents.
I then explained to her my unseasonable request for boots and she assured me she’d have what I wanted in the fall. We chatted as I looked around, my eyes landing on a slip-on boot on the sale table. Jill and I would be spending a few more minutes together.
Did I ever tell you that I write a blog?
I told her what it was about and she shared her new appreciation for spirituality after facing a health challenge.
(Meanwhile, the boot felt heavenly. I was sold.)
“The world didn’t just happen,” I continued. “You were created for a purpose and so was I.”
I told her we’re heading towards the time of understanding the purpose for everything in the world, especially the challenges that Jews have had to face over the millennia, and that our increased acts of kindness will help this happen quicker.
I was pleasantly surprised that my words came easily and that I wanted Jill to know about Moshiach, not for my sake, but for hers. I had gone into her store for years and talked mostly about shoes, but this time I was telling her Moshiach was coming. She asked me for business cards for her friends.
Full disclosure: Moments before walking in her store, I was part of a global teleconference in honor of the Rebbe’s birthday, the 11th of Nissan. Several women on the call shared inspiring stories of their spiritual strength in the face of challenges, and all of them emphasized the need to raise people’s consciousness (including our own) about the imminence of the Redemption. This, they said, would be our greatest gift to the Rebbe, whose singular mission was to bring Moshiach in this generation.
Next Year in Jerusalem is not a Jewish fantasy. We are asking G-d to send the ultimate Redemption now, so that “next year,” we can celebrate Passover in Jerusalem.
We don’t even have to wait for Passover to make the pitch.