How long, O Lord? Will You hide forever? Will Your anger burn like fire? I am mindful what my old age is; for what futility have You created all the sons of man? Who is a man who will live and not see death, who will rescue his soul from the grasp of the grave forever? Where are Your former acts of kindness, O Lord, which You swore to David in your trust? (Psalm 89)
Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:3)
Every day there are Jews who pray and wait for the restoration of David’s kingdom, for return from exile to their land and Temple, and for the knowledge of God to be transparent to everyone in creation. They believe that these things are a promise of love from the Creator to whom they loyally cling, to serve and know Him. But it has been a long time. At times it can feel like He has forgotten, walked away, or simply fallen silent. Many Jews continue to believe this promise because they believe in Hashem; they have known His closeness and His goodness, and chosen to recognise the love He asks and deserves from us. They see His words in the Jewish testimony and His presence in their experience. They realise that for themselves, and for many other people who haven’t seen as they have in life, there is still a lot of room here to grow in love and sincerity. But it is hard to live in a period when it seems that Hashem isn’t keeping His side of the promise or returning their love with His own love. He doesn’t lack or need anything; why is He withholding His love for them, and for us?
The time of Shavuot speaks to this question. Even if He hasn’t brought the restoration yet, the gift of the Torah is a gift of love in the deepest place of existence. From what I’ve seen, to live in that gift is irreplaceable. The closeness it brings to our God is a real exerience of what is promised to come. He hasn’t yet shown His love for Israel in raising up moshiach, but if He gave the Torah then He has poured out His love in a real way that can’t ever be taken away from them.