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Rabbi Yaakov Emden (1697-1776)

In Perek Shirah we learn: "The animals of the field say, 'Blessed is He Who is good and does good.' The gazelle says, 'And I will sing of Your strength, and praise in the morning Your kindness.'" Rabbi Yaakov Emden in his commentary on the Siddur explains that the "animals of the field" is a hidden reference to the Jews killed in Beitar. By revolting against the Romans, they transgressed the oath against forcing the end of exile, and thereby incurred the punishment: "I will permit your flesh like the gazelles and deer of the field." (Kesubos 111a) This is why they are called "animals of the field." They are now living (=chayos) in Gan Eden, and every day they say, "Blessed is He Who is good and does good," the blessing composed by the Sages after their death. The song of the gazelle, "I will praise in the morning Your kindness," is mentioned immediately afterwards because after the war of Beitar the Jewish people learned not to force the end, only to wait and hope for the "morning," the end of exile known only to Hashem.

In his Sefer Hashimush (66b) he writes, “Whether Hashem redeems us now, or whether He keeps us in exile for thousands of years more, G-d forbid, we will not give Him up for any other belief. Far be it from us, seed of Israel that was sanctified at Mount Sinai! Hashem chose us for His unique nation in the world. He made us, not we. We have never known anything besides Him, and there is no G-d but He. We will not even seek to get our land, our inheritance – not by might and not by power. We have already been foresworn not to go up as a wall, not to rebel against the government; and Chazal permitted our flesh like the gazelles if we attempt such presumptuous things. Our eyes are uplifted to Hashem our G-d until He has mercy on us and returns our exiles, and shows us wonders as in the days of the exodus from Egypt.”

In the same work on page 76b he writes that we have suffered too many times from false messiahs, and therefore we have taken upon ourselves never to arouse the love before its time. “We will not seek to free ourselves on our own, until Hashem’s word comes, He sends His moshiach and frees us.”

In a treatise on love (Migdal Oz, Aliyas Ahava Chapter 12), he speaks about the various loves: love of wisdom, love of long life, and love of honor. Then he says: “There is another love that is good and important, but it is hated and forbidden when at the wrong time, due to the prohibition on forcing the hour, as it is written, ‘I adjure you…not to arouse or awaken the love until it is desired.’ However, we are always to await redemption soon.”

In Toras Hakanaus (p. 26), Rabbi Yaakov Emden says, “One who looks forward to the salvation and does not force the hour will merit to see the comforting of Zion and the building of Jerusalem.”