Unclogging the Exile One Drain at a Time

Friday, 5 June, 2015 - 11:41 am

Each morning after Minyan we read a short inspirational thought about the Redemption through Moshiach. This past Sunday the thought centered on the idea that every person possesses a spark of Moshiach within their soul. The task of each person is to reveal their individual spark, which will collectively bring about the coming of Moshiach.

So the idea is to start by working on your own spark and that will have an impact on the cosmic level ultimately bringing Redemption to the world.

Later that day it was pouring and the streets were flooding pretty heavily. When there was a lull in the rain I spotted my neighbor Mike working at the drain on our block. I went over to chat and offer to help. Then Adil, another neighbor, joined us. Once the drain cover was off and some of the muck clogging the drain was removed, the water started flowing in a hurry and within a short time the flooding was gone. We did the same for the second drain on the block and our street had no standing water. Not only that, but this reduced the flooding on nearby streets as well.

As I thought about it I realized that while we often attribute the street flooding to the inadequacy of the pumping system (and there is certainly some truth to that), if every street drain would be unclogged the flooding would be dramatically reduced. So whose job is it? The government’s role – perhaps. But if each block would have one or two people take an interest in their situation, even if is not their “job,” their quality of life would be improved. As we speak there is still water standing on one or two streets in our area. It has not rained since early in the week. If someone on those blocks would just take five minutes to unclog the drains it could save cars, homes, and make life more convenient for all those that pass through.

And that’s when it hit me. This is a perfect metaphor for what we read that morning about Moshiach. When we think of the world’s problems as being global in nature they seem to be beyond our reach to solve. But if we started by unclogging our drains, and others followed that example, the cosmic flooding would begin to recede. By revealing the spark of Moshiach within ourselves, thereby conquering our personal exile, this leads to the general dissolution of exile and the coming of Moshiach.

Speaking of flooding, ten years after our community was so generously assisted by the people of Houston, they are now contending with the aftermath of horrible flooding. I reached out to my colleagues in Houston and promised that we would encourage our people to support their relief efforts. Please go to and contribute from your heart to help those that helped us.

Mazal Tov to Uzzi and Rivkah Kehaty upon the upcoming marriage of Mendel to Freida Davidoff.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin


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