I was sitting at my desk here in Jerusalem, thinking of what to write. I was interrupted by the cooing of a dove on the windowsill. I tried to ignore it, but soon, there was another one on the other windowsill, and together, the noise was slightly bothersome. I thought to myself, “when will they stop?” As I stood up, they both flew away, leaving me to my thoughts once again.
Suddenly, I was reminded of a story related in the Talmud (Brachot 3a):
Rabbi Yose said: I was once traveling, and I entered one of the ruins of Jerusalem to pray. Eliyahu the Prophet, may he be remembered for good, stood at the entrance and waited for me to finish my prayers. Once I had finished, he said “Shalom to you my master”, to which I replied, “Shalom to you my master and teacher”.
[After relating a short halachic discussion between the two of them, Rabbi Yose continues:]
Eliyahu then asked me, “my son, what voice did you hear in the ruin?”. I answered and told him that I heard a Heavenly voice cooing like a dove and saying “Woe to the children who because of their sins, I destroyed My House, burned my Sanctuary, and exiled them amongst the nations of the world”.
Eliyahu then replied, and said to me: “On your life (a way of swearing), it is not only now that G-d says that, rather He does so three times each day!”
I thought again about my cooing doves. How many times must they cry out to us, the Jewish people, and remind us that our Temple and beloved city, Jerusalem, are in ruins? How much do they hurt when they feel G-d’s pain as He speaks through us? When will we return to Him?
I realized that the doves had told me their answer. When will we stop cooing? Only when we no longer have reason to. When you, His Eternal people, return to your Father in Heaven. Then we will rest our voices, and let the voice of Mashiach speak from the Temple Mount instead.
My friends! We can do it! We can make the doves stop. We can ease Hashem’s pain. We can put an end to this bitter exile. It is all in our hands – we must return with a true heart to our loving Father in Heaven.
To my doves – may this be the last week, you will ever have to lift your beautiful voices, for I hope that by next Shabbat, my readers and I will have already joined you to greet the face of Mashiach.