Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk longed for the coming of the Messiah, a day when truth and justice will prevail the world over. He told a parable about a baker sifting flour, which he said would be indicative of Moshiach’s imminent arrival:
A baker was vigorously sifting flour. The pure particles of clean white flour fell into a clean oak barrel below the sieve, while the straw, pebbles and other non-desirable elements remained in the sieve above.
Apparently, the pure flour particles were suffering. They took a steep fall from the sieve to the barrel, falling on one another in a cloud of dust. The little white particles could barely see or barely breathe.
Meanwhile, the pebbles and chaff were enjoying the ride up on the sieve. They looked down at the pure flour particles and laughed. “Hey, you miserable particles think you’re so good, huh? You think you’re better than us, don’t you? But we’re on top, looking down at you, with plenty of fresh air and a nice view. You’re down below, in a crowded, dusty, dark barrel. So you see – we rule over you.”
The pebbles and the chaff were a little too presumptuous and much too overconfident. They were so engrossed with their smug feeling of comfort, power and invincibility that they lost sight of reality. Just when they had the roomy sieve all to themselves…
The baker with one swift backhand motion, swung the sieve in the air. The pebbles went flying into oblivion and the chaff was cast to the wind. Neither was ever seen again.
The baker then gently scooped the pure white flour, now clean of all impurities, and mixed it with fresh-flowing spring water from Mount Zion. He kneaded the mixture into a smooth white dough that he then baked into golden brown Challas, the ceremonial bread that was served to Moshiach in the inauguration of our rebuilt holy Temple in Jerusalem.
This is not just a parable. It’s a prophecy. The pebbles and the chaff in Rebbe Elimelch’s parable represent the conglomeration of immoral and unethical elements are in power today. The downtrodden sifted flour particles are those upright people who are trying their best to live lives of emuna and Torah law. But rest assured, a great hand from Above with one swift movement will cast all impurity to the winds. As we say in our High Holiday liturgy, the Almighty will cast evil’s regime into oblivion. It’s all happening, speedily and in our days, amen!