Something strange just struck me about this verse, quoted three times daily as part of the shemoneh esrei prayer. If the meaning is that we merit to witness the return of God’s Presence to Zion (Jerusalem), then the word for “see” should be tirena and not techezena. Tirena is physically seeing and witnessing, which is what I always assumed was the meaning of the verse, while techezena comes from the verb to foresee or vision (thus the Hebrew word for a “seer” comes from the same root).
If so, then perhaps the meaning is a little different and a little deeper. What we’re really praying for is not only to physically witness God’s return but to see it with our inner eyes. In other words, although millions of Jews throughout the world have physically witnessed the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel after nearly 2000 years, for many of them they haven’t discerned anything deeper or divine. They haven’t internalized the fact that there is an incredible process going on. Thus what we’re really praying for is that we merit to see the unfolding events of history with our inner eye, events that have brought the Jewish people home and have established the modern State of Israel, in order to realize that this is all part of a larger divine plan.