Do Everything You Can to Bring Mashiach!

Though my family is not Lubavitch (geula613 blogger) - I love to sit and drink from the wellsprings of the Rebbe's teachings - so I imagine that would make me a chassid, correct?

In the memory of any Lubavitcher chassid, the first sichah before us, delivered on the eve of 28 Nissan, 5751 [April 11, 1991], marks a momentous turning point. Unexpectedly, it built up to the electrifying appeal of the Rebbe Shlita to his chassidim around the world, an appeal which escalated a year (to date) of unprecedented activity: "What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Mashiach? ...All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything you can to bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately!"

The urgent tone of this appeal set the pace for the veritable avalanche of teachings and directives throughout this period which are mirrored in the selected addresses summarized in the present anthology.

Indeed, so many momentous issues have been addressed by the Rebbe Shlita over the past two eventful years, all of them pointing to the uniqueness of the period in which we live, that many of our readers have no doubt felt like a visitor confronting an array of dazzling paintings, who instinctively steps back a pace, so that he can appreciate their total effect from a different perspective. To meet this need, the nineteen essays in this volume are introduced by an Overview of some of the key addresses of the Rebbe Shlita over the last two years, on the subject of Mashiach and the ultimate Redemption.

The texts were all adapted and translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and edited by Uri Kaploun. The anthology was structured and prepared for publication by Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, Director of Sichos In English. Yitzchok Turner is responsible for the layout and typography, and Avrohom Weg designed the cover.

On this auspicious date, we and all those people whose lives have been touched by the Rebbe Shlita join in one request: May the Torah and the prayers of the tens of thousands of adults and children who have learned to study and to pray through the inspiration of the Rebbe Shlita stand him now in good stead, and may we soon be privileged once again to hear Torah from his lips with ever-increasing vigor and joy.
Kehot Publication Society
11 Nissan, 5752 [April 14, 1992]
The Ninetieth Birthday of the Rebbe Shlita

An Overview of Two Years' Addresses by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Mashiach and the Ultimate Redemption
A visitor confronting an array of dazzling pictures instinctively steps back a pace so that he can appreciate their total effect from a different perspective. In much the same way, so many momentous issues have been addressed by the Rebbe Shlita over the past two eventful years, all of them pointing to the uniqueness of the period in which we live, that many of our readers have no doubt felt the need to stand back for a moment -- just long enough to find their bearings in relation to the overall direction being taken.

With this need in mind, we at Sichos In English are happy to present our readers with an overview of some of the key addresses of the Rebbe Shlita over the last two years, on the subject of Mashiach and the ultimate Redemption.
17 Adar I, 5752

There are times when a person feels that history is in the making, that the experiences he is living through will resound and reverberate long after the ephemeral flutter of a flamboyant headline. Time moves fast, and when looking back, one cannot imagine that so many significant events have taken place in such a short time.

These feelings are surely shared by Lubavitcher chassidim and, indeed, by anyone who has been in contact with the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita in recent years. At a farbrengen (public gathering) on the 29th of Iyar, 5749 [June 3, 1989], the Rebbe noted that the Hebrew letters that give the numerical equivalent of the coming year, formed an acronym for the Hebrew words, "This will be a year of miracles."

As the Rebbe continued to express this theme in the coming months, people in all walks of life began to look forward to see what the new year held in store. And they were not disappointed. Soon it became clear that the Rebbe's statements were no mere play on words. Within a very short time, cataclysmic upheavals overwhelmed one despotic regime after another, the Soviet bloc collapsed, and the potential for world peace blossomed.

This unanticipated spiral had a dramatic impact on the Jewish people. Jews who for seventy years had been denied even a glimpse of a Torah scroll, now danced in the streets on Simchas Torah. Hoary old chassidim in the quaint wooden Lubavitcher shul in Moscow's Marina Rosscha quarter, wide-eyed with incredulity, tore down the heavy blue shutters that since Stalin's youth had hidden their lone surviving clandestine mikveh, cheder, and shechitah room. Throughout the Soviet Union, on campus and kolkhoz alike, tefillin and mezuzos were no longer incriminating contraband. And the first waves of Jewish emigration, dammed back for decades, surged eagerly southward to kiss the soil of Eretz Yisrael.

In public addresses throughout the year,[1] the Rebbe emphasized that this change was not a matter of coincidence, but rather resulted from a unique positive change in the spiritual climate of the world. He explained that this change reflected how:

Regimes... which employed force and fear to transmit their values have given way to... an environment conducive to the natural motivation for development possessed by all.... Through the establishment of an environment of warmth, love, joy, and disciplined freedom,... all will develop their G-d-given potential... and dedicate themselves to a life of positive activity, spreading good throughout the world.

At the same time, looking further ahead, the Rebbe saw these events as symptomatic of the ultimate good, the coming of the Redemption:

Soon this approach will lead to the refinement of the world, and will hasten the coming of the era in which the world will reach its ultimate state of perfection, a state in which[2] "Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more." This unity will spread beyond the human realm, encompassing all existence, as it is written,[3] "A wolf will dwell with a lamb and a leopard with a kid."

After reaching such a peak, one might well have expected the level of expectation to subside. Instead, the Rebbe promised even more. Months before the following Jewish year began, at a public gathering on the 17th of Iyar, 5750 [May 12, 1990], the Rebbe associated the Hebrew letters that form the numerical equivalent of the year to come, with the Hebrew words, "This will be a year when[4] 'I [G-d] will show you wonders.' " He promised that the miracles of the coming year would exceed those of the current one.

While the Rebbe was delivering this message, preparing the Jewish people and the world at large for these developments, urgent preparations of a different kind were being made in a distant corner of the world. In August, 1990, Saddam Hussein marched the armies of Iraq into Kuwait, plunging the entire world into panic. As people throughout the world -- whether they were heads of government, opinion-makers in the media, or men in the street -- reacted in fear, the Rebbe spread a message of quiet optimism. He urged confidence and trust, citing a now-renowned Midrashic passage in the Yalkut Shimoni,[5] and giving it the widest possible publicity:

In the year in which the King Mashiach is revealed, all the kings of the nations of the world will be at strife with each other. The King of Persia will provoke an Arabian king.... Consternation and confusion will strike all the nations of the world.... The Jewish people too will be seized by consternation and confusion, as they ask: "Where shall we come and go?"

And the Almighty will answer them: "My children, do not fear. Whatever I have done, I have done only for your sakes. Why are you afraid? Have no fear: The time for your Redemption has arrived!...

Furthermore, our Sages taught: "At the time when the King Mashiach comes, he will stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash in Jerusalem and proclaim to the Jewish people: 'Humble ones: The time for your Redemption has arrived.' "

There is no need to recount the entire saga of that episode.[6] Suffice it to recall that in the face of the fear and uncertainty that gripped the world at large, Rabbinic and lay leaders alike and private citizens from all continents turned to the Rebbe for direction, and for the optimism that he radiated.

In the wake of that conflict, the Rebbe drew attention to the miracles and wonders that had occurred. While others basked in euphoria or struggled to propose natural explanations for the victory (when several months earlier they would have considered them utterly untenable), the Rebbe pointed to the workings of the Hand of G-d. Thus, he explained,[7] if a child asks, "Why do we not see miracles like our ancestors did?," he should be told that:

Indeed we do.... It is not only in the distant past that G-d worked miracles for the Jewish people. Ancient events like the exodus from Egypt or the Purim miracles of Shushan are not the only examples of our unique relationship with G-d. As we have seen, miracles are happening today. Indeed, the miracles of Purim this year surpassed those recorded in theMegillah.

Our Sages[8] associate the recognition of G-d's miracles and the expression of thanks for them with the Redemption. Thus they teach that G-d had initially desired that King Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah) be revealed as the Mashiach. However, when he failed to express due praise after the miraculous defeat of Sancheriv (Sennacherib) and his invading Assyrian armies,[9] G-d withheld this revelation from him and from the Jewish people.

The Rebbe hence issued a call for an appreciation of the miracles that had transpired, "an appreciation so vibrant that we will not be embarrassed to dance in celebration." He assured his listeners, moreover, that such celebration would escalate the miraculous process that we are witnessing, culminating in the ultimate wonders of the Redemption.

No one in Lubavitch will forget that night. Thursday evening, the eve of 28 Nissan, 5751, began with an ordinary weekday Maariv service. The Rebbe had returned from one of his visits to pray at the gravesite of the Previous Rebbe. After the service, he began to deliver what first appeared to be a regular sichah,whose format and style promised to resemble many hundreds of previous sichos. The Rebbe opened by relating the theme of redemption to the distinctive spiritual potential of the current year, the current month and week, and so on.

After a short time, however, everything changed. The intricate scholarly discussion came to an end, and in tones of intense clarity the Rebbe turned to the community of chassidim assembled that night at "770", addressing them directly -- most unusually -- in the second person. Unmistakably, this was a cry from the heart.

The Rebbe's words were highly charged:[10] "What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Mashiach?.... All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything you can to bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately.... I have done whatever I can: from now on, you must do whatever you can...."

Stunned, the chassidic community around the world began to mobilize. On the following Shabbos the Rebbe clarified his intent, and emphasized that he was advocating concrete activity within the reach of everyone:[11]

Every man, woman and child has an individual responsibility to work to bring about Mashiach'scoming. No one else can shoulder this burden for him; his own efforts and energy are needed. Each of us must prepare for the coming of Mashiach by increasing his study of the Torah and enhancing his performance of its commandments behiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner....

In particular, we should devote our energies to the study of pnimiyus haTorah, the mystical dimensions of the Torah as they are revealed in the teachings of Chassidus. In a well-known letter,[12] the Baal Shem Tov records that he once had a vision of Mashiach and asked him, "When are you coming?" Mashiach replied,[13] "When the wellsprings of your teachings shall spread outward."[14] Disseminating these teachings, the teachings of Chassidus, both within our own personalities and to others, thus brings the coming of Mashiach closer.

More specifically, our study should center on the subject of Mashiach himself and on the future Redemption, and in particular, as these topics are developed in the maamarim and theLikkutei Sichos of the Nasi of our generation.

The Rebbe's words echoed far beyond the immediate chassidic community. They roused the interest of "professors, commentators on Judaism, journalists, and others," to quote Shaul Schiff of the Mizrachi daily HaTzofeh. In one of the many articles written in response to the Rebbe's words, that columnist saw the Rebbe as wishing to "shake up" his followers as well as their fellow Jews throughout the entire world: "The Rebbe is demanding that the Jewish people do its part in shouldering the burden of this great hour, instead of passing it on to the Rebbe's shoulders, while they themselves carry on as usual."

And indeed, "shaken up" -- in a positive sense -- aptly describes the Rebbe's chassidim at that time. Without wasting time, they collected and published talks of the Rebbe on the subject of Mashiach,established classes where these works were studied, translated them into various languages and distributed them throughout the world. Millions of people began to think seriously about the subject. Topics such as the Rambam's perspective on the function of Mashiach and the occurrence of miracles within the Era of the Redemption were no longer regard as esoteric, but rather became subjects which laymen, housewives and children studied and understood.

The Rebbe himself encouraged these efforts. On the 15th of Iyar, 5751 [April 29, 1991], for example, he personally handed a publication named Dvar Malchus,[15] which analyzed these subjects, to every single man, woman and child among the thousands of his followers who waited in turn for his particular moment.

With the advent of the period of Bein HaMetzarim, the three weeks associated with the destruction of theBeis HaMikdash, a marked change became apparent in the Rebbe's approach. He was not only speaking about yearning for the coming of Mashiach and the need to prepare the world for the Redemption. Calmly and without fanfare, the Rebbe now announced that "We are at the threshold of the Future Redemption.Mashiach's coming is no longer a dream of a distant future, but an imminent reality which will very shortly become fully manifest."

The Rebbe's statements fell on receptive ears. People throughout the world began to connect the miracles of the Gulf War, the fall of communism, and the mass emigration of Jews to Eretz Yisrael, and to appreciate them as components of the unique spiritual climate we are living in.

Newspapers and the media at large, both Jewish and non-Jewish, began to speak about the Redemption and Mashiach. Billboards were posted on highways. Jewish community leaders and public figures around the world began to address themselves to the issue. Symposiums on questions such as, "Will the Redemption be miraculous or not?" began to feature throughout the worldwide Jewish community.

With the approach of the new year, 5752, the Rebbe promised that the miraculous momentum of the previous years would be continued, that this would be "a year replete with wonders" and "a year of wonders in all things." Furthermore, he tied these wonders to the Redemption, noting that the Hebrew word for "in all things" (bakol) recalls the familiar threefold expression of blessing[16] associated with our Patriarchs -- bakol mikol kol. The numerical equivalent of these three Hebrew words equals that of the Hebrew word kabetz, meaning "gather" -- in allusion to the ultimate Ingathering of the Exiles.

And as the year began, we saw the Rebbe's words come to fruition. In anticipation of that great Ingathering, Jewish immigrants from Russia continued to flock to Eretz Yisrael. Moreover, the Communist Party there dissolved out of existence; the mighty Soviet Union disintegrated; the pride of the long-dreaded Kremlin was deflated.

Significantly, the final moves in this direction took place a few short weeks after the Kremlin had hosted an undreamed-of assemblage -- the ten thousand exultant Jewish Muscovites who packed its Palace of Congresses as participants in the interactive satellite video hook-up on Chanukah this year. In the course of this unforgettable event a number of major Jewish communities around the world watched each other lighting Chanukah candles and celebrating the Festival of Lights, and then all joined to see the Rebbe as he delivered his annual Chanukah message. And Moscow's audience, as mentioned above, was situated in the heart of the Kremlin! As one elder chassid in New York commented, the Kremlin had evidently undergone a trauma that night that was more than it could withstand....

It was during these weeks that the Rebbe made the most explicit statements hitherto about the Redemption:[17]

There exists in every generation -- and surely, in our generation[18] -- "a person from among the descendants of Judah who is worthy of being the Mashiach of Israel..." When the divine service of the Jewish people over the centuries is considered as a whole, everything that is necessary to bring about the Redemption has been accomplished.[19] There is no valid explanation for the continuation of the exile.
On another occasion the Rebbe said:

Our Sages[20] have described the Redemption as a feast. To speak in terms of this analogy,[21] the table has already been set, everything has been served, we are sitting at the table together with Mashiach. All we need to do is open our eyes.
Our Sages[22] describe Mashiach as waiting anxiously to come. In previous generations, however, his coming was prevented by the fact that the Jews had not completed the tasks expected of them. At present, however, those tasks have been accomplished; there is nothing lacking. All we have to do is accept Mashiach.[23]
Furthermore, the climate in the world at large is obviously moving toward the idyll of the Redemption. Nations are openly speaking of a new world order of justice and peace. In a metamorphosis that is unfolding before our very eyes, disarmament talks are beginning to turn a long-awaited prophetic vision[24]-- "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares" -- into an actual reality.

What is the core of the Rebbe's message, that Mashiach's coming should not be regarded as a dream of the future, but as a cogent factor that influences the way we live our lives today; moreover, that living one's life in this manner will actually bring about the fulfillment of these promises?

Our Sages[25] point to Mashiach and the Redemption as the ultimate purpose for the creation of the world. For G-d created the world in order that He should have[26] "a dwelling place among mortals," and this goal will be realized in the Era of the Redemption.

However, G-d desired that mortals themselves should fashion this dwelling, for man has a natural tendency to appreciate the fruit of his own labors.[27] If, instead, this dwelling were to be granted as a gift from above, the bliss we would thereby enjoy would be tarnished by the stigma of being unearned.[28] To borrow the metaphor of our Sages,[29] we would be eating "the bread of shame."

For centuries now, the Jewish people have been consciously or unconsciously constructing G-d's dwelling, and now it is emerging before our very eyes.

To explain by means of an analogy: A contractor is hired to build a complex mansion. From the moment he designs it, and throughout the building process, a clear picture of the final structure remains intact before his mind's eye. His workers may momentarily lose sight of the goal, yet ultimately, as it takes shape, they too begin to envisage the edifice that their own hands are transforming from a blueprint into a reality. Indeed, as it progresses, the building itself shows its builders the goal of their endeavors.

In our generation, at long last, the Jewish people can begin to see the edifice, G-d's dwelling, which has been constructed[30] "by our actions and divine service throughout the period of exile," and which will be consummated by the coming of Mashiach.

G-d has long been ready to bring Mashiach, and Mashiach is anxious to come -- except that his path until now has been obstructed by the imperfections in the world. This is illustrated by a well-known narrative in the Talmud.[31]

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi encountered the prophet Elijah as he was standing at the entrance of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai's cave,... and asked him: "When is Mashiach coming?"
Replied the prophet: "Go and ask him."
"But where is he to be found?"
"At the gate of Rome."
"By what sign shall I recognize him?"
"He is sitting among paupers stricken by wounds. The others unbind all their wounds at once, and then bind them up again. But he unbinds one wound at a time, and straight away binds it up again. For he says, 'Perhaps I shall be called upon [to appear as Mashiach], and I must not be delayed!' "
So [Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi] went to him and said, "Peace upon you, my master and teacher!"
He answered him, "Peace upon you, son of Levi!"
Then he asked him, "Master, when are you coming?"
He answered, "Today!"
Rabbi Yehoshua returned to Elijah, who asked him, "What did he say?"
He replied: "...He has deceived me! He told me, 'I am coming today,' and he has not come!"
Said Elijah, "What Mashiach had in mind was this [verse]:[32] 'Today -- if you would only listen to His voice!' "

In our generation, as the Rebbe Shlita has been declaring of late, this stipulation has been satisfied. Our generation is in fact turning towards G-d to listen to His voice. There is thus no reason for Mashiach, who is already impatient to come, to delay his arrival any longer.

In the marital rift between G-d and His people which we call exile, there are two sides. On the one hand, G-d has hidden His countenance from us. ("On that day I will hide My face...for they have turned to other gods."[33]) On the other hand, as the same verse records, man has turned away from G-d. And what is needed to unveil G-d's hiddenness? -- A change of direction in man. All man has to do to heal the rift is --to turn to face G-d, to open his eyes, and to discover that by virtue of this very initiative, G-d's face is no longer hidden. The exile is vanishing.

In the popular restatement of the Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith, the twelfth Principle reads: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Mashiach. Even if he delays, I will wait every day for him to come."

The Rebbe Shlita points out[34] that this does not mean that every day we should wait for Mashiach'sultimate coming, but that every day we should wait expectantly for Mashiach to come on that very day."Thus every day can become that very day.

This is hard for many people to conceive. They look realistically at the world around them, with its blotches of evil, strife and injustice. And since G-d's dwelling must be fashioned by man's labors of refinement, they ask: How can it be argued that man and the world are ready for Mashiach?

In response to this query: It is possible to perceive that the world is ready -- provided that one is prepared to delve beneath its surface impressions until one discovers its positive dimension. For evil is temporary, whereas good is eternal.[35] In that context, the good which the Jewish people have done throughout the centuries -- all the Torah they have studied, the brotherly acts of kindness and charity that they have performed, their self-sacrifice for the sanctification of G-d's Name -- remain constant factors. Surely, this applies with redoubled force after the luminous legacy bequeathed to us by the past generation, the martyrs of the Holocaust. Our Sages[36] teach that the very fact that a person dies al Kiddush HaShem, for the sanctification of G-d's Name, elevates him to such a peak that "no created being can stand in his presence."[37]

We,[38] "the firebrand saved from the blaze," the heirs to this hard-earned merit, are thus[39] "like a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant." Despite our imperfections, we are able to draw on an endless credit -- a reservoir of meritorious deeds that has been steadily filling over the centuries.
Furthermore, our generation has no small merits of its own. The Rambam writes[40] that merits are judged by no mere numerical gauge, but "according to the wisdom of the All-knowing G-d." Our generation, despite its unrestricted involvement in pluralistic secular societies, is adhering tenaciously to itsYiddishkeit. When considered on the scales of the All-knowing G-d, this must surely weigh heavily.

In our generation, moreover, tens of thousands of Jews have taken the courageous step of redirecting their life's path, and returning to G-d in teshuvah. And our Sages teach,[41"Teshuvah brings the Redemption near." Since "All the appointed times for the Redemption have passed, and now the matter depends on teshuvah alone,"[42] our generation's turning to G-d will no doubt bring about a reciprocal move on His part -- an immediate end to our exile.

Our generation's readiness for the Redemption can be understood in another context.

As recorded in the letter[43] mentioned above, the soul of the Baal Shem Tov once ascended to the heavenly abode of Mashiach and asked him, "Master, when are you coming?"

Mashiach answered,[44] "When the wellsprings of your teachings shall spread outward."[45]

This is not merely a prophecy, but echoes an inner dynamic embedded in the very infrastructure of creation. The Torah's rewards are granted[46] "measure for measure." And the Redemption will be characterized by such an outpouring of enlightenment, that[47] "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed." Hence, in order to prepare for that revelation, we must make every endeavor to spread the knowledge of G-d throughout the world. And this has been accomplished. There is no place on the map which the teachings of Chassidus have not reached.[48] Furthermore, every communications device that modern technology can boast has been utilized to disseminate Judaism and Chassidism. Indeed, in the interactive satellite video linkup for Chanukah this year (5752; 1991), trailblazing techniques interlocked millions of people around the globe.[49]

Considering the above, we can better appreciate the Rebbe's repeated statement that all the divine service needed to bring the Redemption has been completed. Some decades ago the Previous Rebbe[50]stated that "all that is needed now is to polish the buttons." Today, that too has been done.

An old chassidic story goes like this: Mashiach arrives, and the entire Jewish people come out to greet him.

A few eminent scholars in the front row ask him, "Mashiach, would you like to hear a learned Talmudic dissertation to be delivered in your honor?"

Mashiach agrees, and one of the scholars begins to hold forth. Then he asks, "Nu, Mashiach, how was it?"

"Not bad," replies Mashiach.

"Only not bad?!" protests the scholar.

"Well, quite frankly," explains Mashiach, "it could have been improved here and there."

The scholar shamefacedly admits, "I'm afraid we weren't quite expecting you.... If you had come a day or so later, it would have been better."

Mashiach is then greeted by a jovial group of chassidim: "Shalom aleichem, Mashiach! Would you like to join us in a LeChaim?"

Mashiach agrees, glasses are poured and a toast is made.

One of the chassidim asks, "Nu, Mashiach, how was the mashkeh?"

And Mashiach tells the truth: "The mashkeh was good, but there was very little of it."

The chassid explains: "Every day we were so sure you were coming that day, that we've been sayingLeChaim all along! If you had come a day earlier, there would have been more."

In a similar vein, but in a different context, the Rebbe Shlita once said that if Mashiach calls at a business office, he will be stopped at the door by the secretary.

"Mashiach wants to see you," she tells the boss on the intercom.

"He can have an appointment in two weeks," replies the boss.

Whether busy gathering spiritual or material wealth, each of us is preoccupied with the immediate here and now in which we are living. This is the real reason some people object to the current talk of Mashiach. His coming would ruffle their everyday routine and prevent tomorrow from being the same as yesterday.

Our Sages[51] associate Mashiach with the word poretz -- "the one who breaks through," as in the verse,[52] "He who breaks through shall ascend before them." This is the task of Mashiach -- to break through the barriers of exile. Similarly, the people who await the coming of Mashiach are those who break through their own internal barriers. Rather than shield themselves behind the insistent demands of their day-to-day routine, they challenge themselves and yearn for the infinite, striving for that infinite to become manifest within their finite existence.

Shortly after the Previous Rebbe issued his call,[53] LeAlter LiTeshuvah, LeAlter LiGeulah -- "Immediately to repentance, immediately to Redemption," he asked the Rebbe Shlita what was the reaction of the Jewish community at large.

At first the Rebbe declined to answer, but when he was asked again he replied, "People are saying that the Lubavitcher Rebbe wants to declare himself the Mashiach."

The Previous Rebbe answered, "Nu-nu, but at least they're talking about Mashiach."

It is natural for people to associate talk of the imminence of the Redemption with a particular individual who will prove to be the Redeemer. And there is a positive dimension to this, for it reflects how one's belief in Mashiach is concrete -- that one is not idly contemplating an old dream, nor debating an arguable hypothesis, but expecting something that is actually going to happen.

Mashiach will be a man of flesh and blood. Our Sages[54] discuss the proposition that although there will be an Era of the Redemption, there will not be a Mashiach; instead "the Holy One, blessed be He, will rule over [the people of Israel] Himself." The Talmud rejects this thesis utterly, to the extent that no less an authority than the Chasam Sofer[55] declares unequivocally that whoever subscribes to it today "denies the entire Torah."

There is a potential Mashiach in every generation,[56] "a person from among the descendants of Judah who is worthy of being the Mashiach of Israel." As the Chasam Sofer writes,[57] "From the time of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, there was born one who in his righteousness is worthy of being [Israel's] redeemer." Moreover, this concept is obviously a logical imperative, for Mashiach's coming can materialize on any particular day.

In preparation for this event, the Rambam[58] defines certain criteria by which we will be able to recognize Mashiach. He will be a Torah sage of the House of David, faithful in his observance of the mitzvos, who will motivate the entire Jewish people to strengthen their Torah practice. At a given time he will "fight the wars of G-d and be victorious," rebuild the Beis HaMikdash, and gather in the dispersed exiles of Israel.

This is more than one day's work, even for Mashiach. Thus we must assume that in every generation there is a potential Mashiach,[59] who is in the midst of the preliminary stages of the above service. Should the setting be appropriate, as the responsum of the Chasam Sofer cited above states, "the spirit of Mashiachwill rest upon him," and he will redeem our people.

The Rambam[60] points out that Rabbi Akiva was one of the supporters of Bar Kochba and called him theMashiach. Though there were Sages who differed from him, none suggested that there was a fundamental problem with his stance. The Talmud[61] likewise discusses the claims made at different times by the disciples of four celebrated Talmudic sages, that the head of each of their respective academies was theMashiach of his time. In later generations, too, the Messianic yearnings of our people have often focused on a particular individual, such as: R. Shachna (the teacher of the Rama, R. Moshe Isserles);[62] R. Yitzchak Luria, the AriZal;[63] R. Yehudah Loew, the Maharal of Prague;[64] R. Chaim ben Attar, author ofOr HaChaim;[65] R. Yitzchak Meir of Ger, author of Chiddushei HaRim;[66] R. Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Ger, author of Sfas Emes;[67] R. Yechezkel of Shiniva, son of R. Chaim of Sanz;[68] R. Mendel of Vizhnitz, author of Tzemach Tzaddik; [69] and many others.[70]
In contrast to these cases, needless to say, our collective national memory flinches in recollection of several negative experiences. The difficulty in each of those instances, however, was the fact that the individual in question in no way satisfied the above-mentioned criteria of the Rambam (as in the consistent observance of the Torah and its mitzvos); the difficulty was not with the concept that there was a potential Mashiach in the world. Indeed, in the above-quoted words of the Chasam Sofer, the argument that it is impossible for a person today to be Mashiach is heresy.

One of the participants at a chassidic farbrengen once uttered a fervent wish that Mashiach come at once. The Rabbi leading the gathering reacted: "And what will you do then? Just imagine what would happen if Mashiach would come now! Wouldn't you be embarrassed to stand before him? Together with your wish for Mashiach's coming, shouldn't you add a wish that you succeed in preparing yourself?"

The Rebbe Shlita has been reminding us that we must -- now -- "live with the Redemption,"[71] experience a foretaste of it and anticipate it in our daily conduct. This means living our lives in a way that parallels the way we would live in the time of the Redemption.[72]

Simply stated, what the Rebbe wants is that Mashiach's coming should not take us by surprise -- that our lives and our homes be ready for him as of now. This implies conducting our lives and our homes in harmony with Mashiach's message to the world. Furthermore, this mood of anticipation should be shared with others, with the calm confidence that comes from looking at reality.

And living in harmony with the Redemption will make the reality actually manifest. When describing the coming of the Redemption, the Rambam does not speak of an apocalypse, but rather of a gradual process of preparation within Mashiach himself, within the Jewish people, and within the world at large. In a very literal sense, history is indeed in the making. By "living with the Redemption," we will thus make it actually happen. By radiating peace, harmony and a knowledge of G-d, we will bring about the age when[73] "there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition,... [and][74] 'The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.' "

  1. See the Lag BaOmer address, published (in English translation) in Forty Years: Light, Joy and Unity (Kehot, N.Y., 1990).
  1.  Yeshayahu 2:4.
  1.  Ibid. 11:6.
  1.  Michah 7:15.
  1.  Vol. II, sec. 499, interpreting Yeshayahu 60:1.
  1.  See the booklet entitled I Will Show You Wonders (Sichos In English, N.Y., 1991).
  1.  See the essay entitled "Divine Miracles are not Past History," based on the Rebbe's address of 25 Nissan, 5751, and appearing in the above-mentioned booklet.
  1.  Sanhedrin 94a.
  1.  See II Kings, ch. 19.
  1.  See the essay below entitled "Helping to Bring Mashiach."
  1.  See the essay below entitled "Bringing Mashiach Now."
  1.  This letter, addressed by the Baal Shem Tov to his brother-in-law, R. Gershon Kitover, and describing the ascent of his soul on Rosh HaShanah, 5507 [1746], was first published in Ben Poras Yosef. It appears in part in Keser Shem Tov (Kehot, N.Y., 1981), sec. 1, and at the beginning of Likkutei Amarim (Kehot, N.Y., 1979) by the Maggid of Mezritch.
  1.  Cf. Mishlei 5:16.
  1.  For an explanation from the perspective of Chassidus of the Baal Shem Tov's question and Mashiach's answer, see Likkutei Dibburim (English translation; Kehot, N.Y., 1988), Vol. II, chs. 16-18. See alsoOn the Essence of Chassidus (Kehot, N.Y., 1978), pp. 15-16.
  1.  The bulk of this publication (Issue No. 12) has appeared in a fully documented English adaptation entitled I Await His Coming Every Day: Analytical Studies by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of the Rambam's Rulings on Mashiach and the Ultimate Redemption (Kehot, N.Y., 1991).
  1.  Cf. Bava Basra 16b-17a; the Grace After Meals (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 93). See the essay below entitled "The Message of the Year 5752," footnote 4.
  1.  See the essay below entitled "Mashiach in Every Generation."
  1.  The commentary of R. Ovadiah of Bartenura to Ruth 1:1.
  1.  When the greater context is considered, all imperfections notwithstanding, it is clear that our people have completed the mission with which we were charged. Particular failings, though in need of correction, cannot be a valid reason for the Redemption to be delayed any longer. See the sichos of Parshas Noach, 5752.
  1.  Pesachim 119b.
  1.  As is obvious from the comments of the Ramban (Shaar HaGmul) and Raavad on the Rambam'sstatements in Hilchos Teshuvah 8:4, the intent is that there will be an actual feast. Nevertheless, as is evident from the discussion of the subject in Rabbinic sources, all of its details have a clear allegorical significance.
  1.  Sanhedrin 98a.
  1.  See the essay below entitled "Open Your Eyes and See."
  1.  Yeshayahu 2:4.
  1.  Sanhedrin 98b.
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Bechukosai, sec. 3.
  1.  Rashi on Bava Metzia 38a, s.v. Kav shelo.
  1.  The Rebbe Shlita explains the underlying motive for which G-d implanted this tendency in man, as follows: He desired that man be not only a passive recipient (mekabeil) but also a contributing partner(mashpia) in the work of creation. (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, p. 95.)
  1.  Cf. Talmud Yerushalmi, Orlah 1:3; Likkutei Torah, Parshas Tzav 6d.
  1.  See the opening sentence of Tanya, ch. 37.
  1.  Sanhedrin 98a.
  1.  Tehillim 95:7.
  1.  Cf. Devarim 31:18.
  1.  Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 394.
  1.  See Tanya, ch. 25.
  1.  Pesachim 50a.
  1.  See the essay entitled "Every Jew Has a Silver Lining," in I Will Show You Wonders (Sichos In English, N.Y., 1991).
  1.  Zechariah 3:2, and commentaries there.
  1.  Foreword to Shibolei HaLeket.
  1.  Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 3:2.
  1.  Yoma 86b.
  1.  Sanhedrin 97b.
  1.  See footnote 12, above.
  1.  See footnote 13, above.
  1.  See footnote 14, above.
  1.  Nedarim 32a.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9.
  1.  As an instance of this, Tanya (the basic work of Chabad-Lubavitch chassidic thought) has been printed over the last few years in several thousands of locations, from Peking to Sharm-al-Sheikh. The full bibliographical history appended to every edition includes almost every farflung corner in the world where there is a handful of Jews.
  1.  See the essay entitled "Linking Heaven and Earth" (Sichos In English, N.Y., 1991).
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  Aggadas Bereishis, sec. 63.
  1.  Michah 2:13.
  1.  The call was first published in 1941, and is reproduced in Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz; Kehot, N.Y., Vol. V, Letter No. 1447.
  1.  Sanhedrin 99a.
  1.  Yoreh Deah, Responsum 356.
  1.  See footnote 18, above.
  1.  Responsa on Choshen Mishpat, Vol. VI, Responsum 98 (Paragraph 12), echoing Eichah Rabbah1:51.
  1.  Hilchos Melachim 11:4. (Significantly, this passage appears not in an allegorical or homiletical discourse, but rather as a ruling in an authoritative text of Torah law par excellence.) See also Sdei Chemed, Pe'as HaSadeh, Maareches Alef, Principle 70.
  1.  See the essay below entitled "Mashiach in Every Generation."
  1.  Hilchos Melachim 11:3.
  1.  Sanhedrin 98b.
  1.  See the Glosses entitled Shai LaMora (by R. Yosef Shaul Natanson, author of Shoel U'Meishiv) toShmos Gittin (by the author of Beis Shmuel) on Even HaEzer, sec. 129, Letter Shin, on the name Shachna.
  1.  Shivchei HaAri and Emek HaMelech 11:4, quoting R. Chaim Vital; and Toldos HaAri (Jerusalem edition), pp. 199 and 258, quoting the AriZal.
  1.  See a letter written to him by his disciple, R. Yisrael, in his Nesivos Olam, Part II (Nesiv HaLashon, p. 83).
  1.  Or HaChaim, at the end of the commentary on Devarim 15:7.
  1.  Siach Sarfei Kodesh, Vol. V, ch. 17, p. 92, quoting R. Simchah Bunem of Pshis'chah.
  1.  Loc. cit., quoting R. Avraham of Parisov.
  1.  Mekor Chaim, p. 73.
  1.  Foreword to the Responsa entitled VaYitzbor Yosef.
  1.  See Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Era in Jewish Law and Tradition, by Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet (S.I.E., N.Y., 1991), ch. 4.
  1.  See the essay below entitled "Living with the Redemption."
  1.  "The way we would live in the time of the Redemption" obviously does not refer to a supernatural state of being that embraces phenomena such as the Resurrection, but to a natural state of affairs in which "the world will continue according to its pattern" (Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 12:1). For a chronological resolution by the Rebbe Shlita of the apparent contradiction between these two promised states, see the essay entitled "Two Periods Within the Era of the Redemption," in I Await His Coming Every Day (Kehot, N.Y., 1991).
  1.  Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9.

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on the Eve of the 28th of Nissan, 5751
Publisher's Foreword

In the late 'fifties, there was a concept that challenged the minds of the world's leading astrophysicists --"escape velocity." Once the world's first projected spaceship would be in orbit, its fuelling could be coped with. The problem was, how could one feasibly generate sufficient momentum to enable this earthbound creature in the first place to break free of the shackles of gravitation? There had to be a critical point at which it would cease circling the earth like some compulsive moth around a candle, and finally fling itself out on its own sky-rending odyssey. That problematic and critical degree of momentum was known as escape velocity.

It was in those days that the Rebbe Shlita used this concept to illustrate the challenge confronting every earnest Jew. It might be all very well to live a daily routine that included all kinds of worthy activities --but if one were to break free some day of the habitual, complacent and uninspired mindset that stunts dynamic growth, one would need to generate, at a given moment, a prodigious degree of momentum. One would have to break out of one's own homemade mental straitjacket, attain escape velocity, and flee from one's own Mitzrayim.

In the following unconventional sichah, delivered on the eve of 28 Nissan, 5751 [April 11, 1991],* the Rebbe Shlita appealed directly to his listeners: "What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Mashiach?... All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything you can to bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately...."

For thousands of chassidim around the world, the Rebbe's challenge was the critical moment which empowered them to undertake personal challenges and outreach endeavors which they had previously only dreamed of. This was the fuel which fired them, at long last, with the dynamism of escape velocity.

* First published by Sichos In English on 2 Iyar, 5751 [April 16, 1991].

A Day of Distinctive Import

Today is a day of distinctive import[75] which shares a special connection with the true and ultimate Redemption. This bond is reflected in the present year; in the present month, and the day of the month; and in the present week, and the day of the week. In particular, this bond is reflected in this day as it figures within the context of the Counting of the Omer. In the latter context, our Sages taught,[76] "It is a mitzvah to count the days and it is a mitzvah to count the weeks."[77]

On this occasion, it is important to emphasize how essential it is that we complete our service of G-d which is directed to bringing about the true and ultimate Redemption.

The Connection with the Present Year

As mentioned frequently throughout the year, the Hebrew letters numerically equivalent to the date of the present year 5751 form an acronym for the words -- "This will surely be a year when I will show you wonders."

In particular, in the order in which these letters are usually written (which is significant in Torah law, because legal documents are composed using this order, placing the tens before the units[78]), the nunappears before the alef, niflaos arenu rather than arenu niflaos. In contrast, the order arenu niflaosis the order in which these words appear in the verse, "As in the days of your exodus from the land of Egypt, I will show you wonders."[79]

Both of these orders can provide us with insights regarding the nature of the year. The first order, implies that the "wonders" may exist without being openly revealed. This is reflected in our Sages' statement[80]that a person to whom a miracle occurs may not recognize the miracle that has occurred to him. Although "wonders" are greater than "miracles," it is possible that these wonders will be so transcendent in nature that only G-d will be able to appreciate them. In this context, the verse "He works wonders alone,"[81] is interpreted to mean that some wonders are so great that G-d alone can appreciate them.[82]

The added word arenu, "I will show you," implies that G-d Himself will reveal these miracles, making it possible for us to appreciate them with our mortal eyes.[83] We will be able to appreciate these wonders not because they are not great, but rather because G-d Himself will become involved with revealing miracles that are so transcendent that ordinarily He alone would be able to appreciate them. Otherwise, as the world exists within its own natural context, these miracles could not be perceived.

Nevertheless, the order in which the words appear in the verse arenu niflaos is also significant. It implies that, at the outset, there is already a revelation of wonders which transcend our worldly frame of reference.

Thus, the two orders complement each other: The order arenu niflaos implies that a transcendent level of G-dliness will be revealed, but that the revelation will be initiated from above, without being completely related to the framework of our world. In contrast, the order niflaos arenu emphasizes that the revelation will permeate our frame of reference. It does not, however, reflect a revelation that is utterly transcendent in nature.

Thus, the ultimate state results from a fusion of the two orders. In this ultimate state, the most transcendent levels of revelation permeate every aspect of this material world. First and foremost, this refers to the wonders described in the prophecy, "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders" -- the revelation of the wonders of the true and ultimate Redemption to be led byMashiach.[84]

The Connection with the Present Month

Nissan is a month of redemption,[85] the month in which the exodus from Egypt took place, and the month in which the future Redemption will take place. As our Sages declared, "In Nissan they were redeemed, and in Nissan they will ultimately be redeemed."[86]

The Connection with the Present Day

This is the night between the 27th and 28th of Nissan. Each of those dates is significant. The number 27 is equivalent to the word zach, meaning "pure", as in the phrase "pure olive oil."[87] Such oil produces a bright light. Thus the 27th of Nissan reflects how Nissan (signifying the Redemption) will be brightly revealed.

The number 27 is also significant in that it is three times nine. Three is associated with the concept ofchazakah, a threefold sequence associated with strength and permanence,[88] as in the continuum of three holy days (Rosh HaShanah and Shabbos) with which this year began. Nine is three times three, i.e., a chazakah in regard to this chazakah (as reflected in the three times this sequence was repeated in Tishrei), and 27 is a further multiple of three.

The number 28 is equivalent to the word koach, which reflects the strength and power of Nissan (i.e., the Redemption). Moreover, it indicates that the Jewish people have been granted the potential to actually bring about the Redemption.

The Connection with the Present Week

This week is associated with Parshas Shemini.[89] Shemini means "the eighth," and thus relates to the Redemption, which is identified with the number eight.[90] There is a particular emphasis on this on the present day, the day preceding the Shabbos[91] when the entire parshah is read.[92] Furthermore, this is the third week (a chazakah) associated with Parshas Shemini, the first portion of which is read eight times (when including the readings of Shabbos afternoon and of Mondays and Thursdays). Thus, within the current framework of redemption, this pattern of readings indicates a heightened degree of redemption.

The significance of the present time is also reflected in the coming days.[93] The 29th of Nissan is the day before Rosh Chodesh (Iyar[94]), a day often described as Yom Kippur Katan ("Yom Kippur in microcosm").[95] Our Sages describe Yom Kippur as the day of the marriage between G-d and the Jewish people (for on Yom Kippur, the Second Tablets were given[96]). The consummation of this marital bond will take place in the Era of the Redemption.[97]

In particular, this year is distinctive in that the day preceding Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos.[98] In months such as this, the penitential prayers of Yom Kippur Katan are recited before the advent ofShabbos.[99] On Shabbos, all that remains is to serve G-d happily, as is appropriate for Shabbos. As our Sages commented, " 'On your days of rejoicing' -- These are the Shabbosos."[100] Also, Shabbos itself reflects the Era of the Redemption, which is described as "the day which is entirely Shabbos and rest for eternity."[101]

We then proceed to Rosh Chodesh. This represents a renewal of the moon, which is intrinsically related to the Jewish people who "resemble the moon, fix their calendar according to the moon,[102] and ultimately [in the Era of the Redemption] will be renewed as the moon is renewed."[103] This month, there are two days of Rosh Chodesh, the first day of which leads us to the second day (which is the first day of the new month[104]). Thus the dimension of Rosh Chodesh which is associated with the Redemption is repeated and reinforced.[105]

We then proceed to the second of Iyar, the birthday of the Rebbe Maharash, the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe. Chassidim emphasize the connection of that day to the Sefirah Tiferes ShebeTiferes ("Beauty within beauty").[106] This day is associated with his characteristic pattern of conduct, known asLechat'chilah ariber. As the Rebbe Maharash would say,[107] "Generally, people say, 'If you can't crawl under, try to climb over,' and I say, Lechat'chilah ariber: 'Right from the outset, you should climb over.' " This level of conduct can also have a retroactive effect, elevating all the preceding days (beginning with the 27th of Nissan), and causing them to reflect the qualities of Tiferes ShebeTiferes and Lechat'chilah ariber.

The Connection with the Counting of the Omer

The days of the Counting of the Omer connect Pesach (the season of our freedom) with Shavuos (the season of the giving of our Torah). Thus the Counting of the Omer emphasizes how the exodus from Egypt was intended to lead to our receiving the Torah, and reflects likewise how the imminent exodus from the present exile[108] is intended to lead to the consummation of the giving of the Torah[109] -- the revelation of "the new [dimension of the] Torah which will emerge from Me."[110]

There is an added emphasis on the Counting of the Omer this year, since the first day of Pesach falls onShabbos. On the verse, "they [i.e., the weeks of the Omer] shall be seven perfect weeks,"[111] theMidrash comments,[112] "When are they perfect? When Pesach falls on Shabbos, and our counting begins on Saturday night. Thus the weeks are perfect," "because they begin on the first day of the week and conclude on Shabbos."[113] Thus, since the Counting of the Omer is always associated with "perfection", this year this appears in a higher dimension,[114] "perfection within perfection." This also adds greater perfection to the concept of redemption in these days.

In particular, the numbers counted on the current days[115] provide us with unique lessons. The 27th of Nissan is the twelfth day of the Omer. The number twelve is associated with the Twelve Tribes, the complete Jewish nation, which will be reunited in the era of Redemption. The 28th of Nissan is the thirteenth day of the Omer. Thirteen is the numerical equivalent of the word echad,[116] meaning "one", and thus points to the fulfillment of the prophecy that "On that day, G-d will be One and His Name will be One."[117]
This brings us to the fourteenth day of the Omer. Fourteen is numerically equivalent to the word yad,meaning "hand". In the narrative of the exodus, the word "hand" is mentioned three times:[118] G-d's "strong hand,"[119] the Jews' "upraised hand,"[120] and G-d's "great hand."[121]

This in turn brings us to the fifteenth day of the Omer, a number associated with a full moon,[122] which reflects a state of completeness for the Jewish people, as explained above.

An Astonishing Question

Because of the unique stress on the Redemption in this time, an astonishing question arises: How is it possible that despite all these factors, Mashiach has not yet come? This is beyond all possible comprehension.

It is also beyond comprehension that when ten (and many times ten) Jews gather together at a time that is appropriate for the Redemption to come, they do not raise a clamor great enough to cause Mashiach to come immediately. They are, heaven forbid, able to accept the possibility that Mashiach will not arrive tonight, and even that he will not arrive tomorrow, or on the day after tomorrow, heaven forbid.

Even when people cry out Ad masai? ("Until when will we remain in exile?"), they do so only because they were told to. If they had sincere intent and earnest desire, and cried out in truth, Mashiach would surely have come already.

What more can I to do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Mashiach? All that has been done until now has been to no avail. For we are still in exile; moreover, we are in an inner exile in regard to our own service of G-d.

All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything you can to bringMashiach, here and now, immediately. Act with all the energy and power of the lights of Tohu, but have your deeds balanced with the stability of the keilim of Tikkun.[123]

May it be G-d's will that ultimately ten Jews will be found who are stubborn enough to resolve to secure G-d's consent to actually bring about the true and ultimate Redemption, here and now immediately.[124]Their stubborn resolve will surely evoke G-d's favor, as reflected by the interpretation[125] of the verse,[126] "for [i.e., because] they are a stiff-necked people, You will pardon our sins and wrongdoings and make us Your possession."

As a further effort on my part to encourage and hasten the coming of the Redemption, I will distribute money to each one of you with the intent that you give it to tzedakah, for "Tzedakah is great since it brings the Redemption near."[127]

I have done whatever I can; from now on, you must do whatever you can. May it be G-d's will that there will be one, two, or three among you who will appreciate what needs to be done and how it needs to be done, and may you actually be successful and bring about the true and complete Redemption. May this take place immediately, in a spirit of happiness and with gladness of heart.

  1.  See Taanis 29a; Arachin 11b. See also Rashi's commentary to Behaalos'cha 9:7 and Ki Seitzei22:8.
  1.  Menachos 66a.
  1.  The fact that the Counting of the Omer takes into consideration both the days and the weeks contributes an additional dimension to the days and the weeks that exist within the natural order.
This is particularly relevant this year when Pesach falls on Shabbos and we begin counting the Omer on Saturday night. Thus, the weeks of the Counting of the Omer are perfect insofar as they correspond to the weekly cycle, as will be explained. This further emphasizes the interrelationship between the Counting of theOmer and the weekly cycle, as explained at the farbrengen of Acharon shel Pesach.
  1.  See the Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 126:5 and commentaries.
  1.  Michah 7:15.
  1.  Niddah 31a.
  1.  Tehillim 136:4. See also the explanation of this verse in Or HaTorah -- Nach (p. 487) and Yahel Or 153 ff., which connects the prophecy "I will show you wonders" with the verse "He works wonders alone."
  1.  Rashi, Niddah, loc. cit.
  1.  For, as Shabbos 63a states, "The meaning of a verse never departs from its simple interpretation."
  1.  The miracles of the ultimate Redemption will be considered as "wonders" even in comparison with the miracles of the exodus from Egypt (Or HaTorah -- Nach, ibid.).
  1.  Shmos Rabbah 15:11.
  1.  Rosh HaShanah 11a; Shmos Rabbah, loc. cit.
  1.  Tetzaveh 27:20.
  1.  Bava Metzia 106b.
  1.  This is true in the diaspora where at present, in the era of exile, the majority of the Jewish people is located. In Eretz Yisrael there is also a connection with Parshas Shemini, for the blessing for the present week is drawn down from Shabbos Parshas Shemini.
  1.  This is reflected in Arachin 13b, which states that the harp that will be played in the era ofMashiach will comprise eight strings.
  1.  Friday's portion of the weekly reading mentions the four non-kosher animals which represent the four kingdoms by which the Jews have been exiled, and whose influence will be nullified in the Era of the Redemption (Vayikra Rabbah at the conclusion of this parshah).
  1.  On Shabbos, the entire parshah is read communally. On Friday it is studied by each individual, twice in the original and once in translation (Tur, Shulchan Aruch, Shulchan Aruch HaRav, sec. 285). The custom of the Rebbeim of Chabad was to begin this study on Thursday night (HaYom Yom, entry for 4 Teves).
  1.  The interconnection between these days can be explained as follows: Shabbos is connected with Friday since, as our Sages declared, "Whoever prepares on Friday will eat on Shabbos" (Avodah Zarah 3a). The days of the coming week are blessed through the preceding Shabbos (Zohar, Shmos, p. 63) and therefore also share its connection with Friday.
  1.  The letters of Iyar serve as an acronym for the names Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov and Rachel(Meorei Or 1:84), who represent the four "legs" of the heavenly chariot. This indicates the uniqueness of the fourth "leg" of the chariot which is also associated with King David (Zohar I, 248b). David is commonly referred to (as in Zohar I, 82b) as "the anointed king," Malka Meshicha.
  1.  See the Glosses of the Pri Chadash to Orach Chayim, sec. 417; Shnei Luchos HaBris (120b).
  1.  Taanis 26b; see also Rashi's commentary to Taanis 30b.
  1.  Shmos Rabbah, the conclusion of sec. 15.
  1.  This is emphasized by the recitation of the haftorah, which begins, "Tomorrow is the new moon."
  1.  The above-mentioned passage from Pri Chadash cites the discussion which concludes that when Rosh Chodesh falls on Sunday, the prayer service of Yom Kippur Katan is observed on Thursday. This further emphasizes the connection between Thursday and Shabbos.
  1.  Sifri, Behaalos'cha 10:10.
  1.  The conclusion of Tractate Tamid.
  1.  See Sukkah 29a.
  1.  The Kiddush Levanah prayers (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 238; Sanhedrin 42a).
  1.  In contrast, the first day of Rosh Chodesh is counted as the 30th day of the previous month(Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 126:6).
  1.  The concept of repetition itself is connected with the Redemption (cf. Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer, sec. 48).
  1.  HaYom Yom, entry for 2 Iyar.
  1.  See Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. I, p. 617.
  1.  All the ruling kingdoms (and exiles) are included under the title, Mitzrayim (i.e., Egypt; cf. Vayikra Rabbah, at the conclusion of Parshas Shemini).
  1.  The giving of the Torah takes place on the fiftieth day of the Counting of the Omer, when the fiftieth gate of understanding is revealed (see Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar 10d ff). Nun (which equals 50) is the first letter of -- and thus can be considered as an acronym for -- the Hebrew word Niflaos, meaning "wonders." The connection between 50 and Niflaos is also emphasized by the fact that Niflaos can be divided into nun pla'os, meaning "50 wonders" (Zohar I, 261b).
  1.  Yeshayahu 51:4; Vayikra Rabbah 13:3. Since G-d "looked into the Torah and created the world"(Zohar I, 161b), the revelation of a new dimension of Torah will bring about a renewal in the world at large, bringing into being "a new heaven and a new earth" (Yeshayahu 66:22). How much more so will it bring about a renewal within the Jewish people (for whose sake the world was created). As the above verse continues, "and so your seed and your name will stand." (See the conclusion of Likkutei Torah.)
  1.  Emor 23:15.
  1.  Pesikta deRav Kahana, sec. 8.
  1.  Rashi on Menachos 65b.
  1.  See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXII, p. 145.
  1.  Note that the daily portion of the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam studied on Friday deals with the Counting of the Omer (Hilchos Temidim U'Musafim, ch. 7).
  1.  Thirteen is also the numerical equivalent of the word yavo in the phrase yavo shilo ("Shilo will come"; Bereishis 49:10), which alludes to the coming of Mashiach (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XI, p. 8).
  1.  Zechariah 14:9.
  1.  See Likkutei Torah, Naso, 21b ff.
  1.  Bo 13:3.
  1.  Beshalach 14:8.
  1.  Ibid. 14:31.
  1.  See the Zohar I, 150a, regarding the significance of the full moon.
  1.  Translator's Note: Tohu represents the primordial world-order in which the distinctive spiritual energy (the "light") of each Sefirah is released uncompounded and unrestrained. Tikkun, by contrast, represents the modified world-order in which the distinctive spiritual energy of the various Sefiros is harnessed and synthesized (in 49 combinations) in the "vessels" of reason.
  1.  Significantly, the verse "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders" is interpreted as G-d's answer to the prophet's prayer for the coming of the ultimate Redemption (Radak, Metzudas David).
  1.  See Shmos Rabbah, the conclusion of ch. 42; Likkutei Torah, Balak 67d.
  1.  Shmos 34:9.
  1.  Bava Basra 10a, and see Tanya, ch. 37.

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on the Eve of the 28th of Nissan, on Shabbos Parshas Shemini,
and on Shabbos Parshas Tazria-Metzora, 5751
Publisher's Foreword

In recent weeks, the Rebbe Shlita has been reminding us that the task of bringing Mashiach must beshared. Instead of simply passing on the responsibility to his Rebbe, anyone who is in earnest about the urgency of this task should regard himself as an active partner in it.

This message brings to mind a striking chassidic story in the course of which the Baal Shem Tov tells a parable.

"A man with unusually keen vision once caught sight of an exquisite bird at the tip of a tall tree. Though he very much wanted to reach up there and catch it, he had no ladder. What did he do? He stood a couple of his friends on top of each others' shoulders, with himself uppermost, reached out, and caught the bird. The men underneath him, though they had helped him catch it, knew nothing of its surpassing beauty -- but without them he could not have reached it.

"Now," explained the Baal Shem Tov to some of his chassidim who had taken the liberty of leaving the beis midrash while he was still deep in his inspired meditations, "it so happens that when I say Shemoneh Esrehall manner of hidden things are revealed to me. At this time, my consuming desire is to ascend to the level which the Zohar calls 'the palace of the bird's nest' -- the palace in the World Above which is the abode of the Mashiach. But I cannot aspire to such a lofty height unless I first stand you, my disciples, on each others' shoulders. The entire feat is thus accomplished thanks to yourselves, when you are with me in mybeis midrash, even though you may not be aware of it...."

As was said above, the Rebbe Shlita has been reminding us in recent weeks that the task of bringingMashiach must be shared. Accordingly, instead of simply passing on the responsibility to his Rebbe, anyone who is in earnest about the urgency of this task should regard himself as an active partner in it.
10 Iyar, 5751 [April 24, 1991]

I Believe

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Mashiach. Even if he delays, I will wait[128] every day[129] for him to come.[130]

Our desire for Mashiach's coming should not be casual. On the contrary, the possibility that Mashiach will not arrive on this very day, heaven forbid, should be totally unthinkable. Were we to cry out Ad masai!("Until when will we remain in exile!"), with sincere intent and earnest desire, Mashiach would surely come.

Yearning for Mashiach Needs Fit Expression:
An Increase in Torah and in Mitzvos

The sincerity of this intent, however, must be reflected in the performance of activities to hasten Mashiach's coming for, as our Sages teach,[131] "Action is what matters." Every man, woman, and child has an individual responsibility to work to bring about Mashiach's coming. No one else can shoulder this burden for him: his own efforts and energy are needed. Each of us must prepare for the coming of Mashiach by increasing his study of the Torah and enhancing his performance of its commandments behiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner.

Why is it that these are the activities which will hasten Mashiach's coming? -- Because they are intrinsically parallel to the manner in which Mashiach will relate to the Jewish people.

To explain: The manner in which G-d rewards the Jewish people follows the principle of "measure for measure."[132] Thus our efforts to prepare for and draw down a particular revelation must reflect the nature of that revelation itself. Mashiach will serve as both a king[133] and as a teacher,[134]simultaneously.[135] Therefore, to hasten his coming, our activities should anticipate each of these two functions.

A King Relates by Giving Commands

In contrast to a relationship between a teacher and student, between two friends, or other types of associations, a king relates to his subjects by issuing commands. By nature, a king is utterly superior to his subjects. Thus chassidic thought explains[136] that King Saul's great height -- "He stood among the people, and he was taller than the entire nation from his shoulders up"[137] -- reflected spiritual qualities that also far surpassed those of the people at large. Ideally, the same concept applies in regard to other monarchs.

Because of this gap, a king cannot communicate his thoughts and his feelings to his people. How does he relate to them? -- By issuing commands and thus specifying activities for them to perform on his behalf. To prepare ourselves for the development of such a relationship with Mashiach, the ultimate king, we must enhance our observance of the mitzvos, the commandments we have been given by G-d. Of particular importance is the mitzvah of tzedakah, because "tzedakah brings the Redemption near."[138]

Teaching Establishes an Inner Bond

Although obeying a king's commands establishes a relationship between himself and his subjects, this bond is incomplete, for the inner dimensions of his personality remain beyond the reach of his subjects' appreciation. To communicate these inner dimensions of his being, Mashiach will simultaneously serve as a teacher and, in this manner, establish such an inner bond.

Our Sages state that "Whoever teaches another person Torah is considered as if he had brought him into the world."[139] When a father brings a child into the world, he invests within him the very essence of his being. Similarly, a teacher has the capacity to share his essence with his students. When he invests himself in the subject matter he is conveying, and a student concentrates on its grasp, the nature of the student's being is transformed. As he studies, the inner bond established with his teacher shapes his thinking processes, causing them to resemble those of the teacher.

Similarly, by teaching the entire Jewish people, Mashiach will establish such an inner bond with them all. This will uncover the essential spark of Mashiach that every Jew possesses within his soul.[140]

What We Should Study

To relate to this aspect of Mashiach and hasten its revelation, we must increase our study of the Torah, in particular devoting our energies to the study of pnimiyus haTorah, the mystical dimensions of the Torah as they are revealed in the teachings of Chassidus. The Baal Shem Tov records in a celebrated letter that he once had a vision of Mashiach and asked him, "When are you coming?" Mashiach replied, "When the wellsprings of your teachings shall spread outward."[141] Spreading these teachings, both within our own personalities and to others, thus brings the coming of Mashiach closer.

More specifically, our study should center on the subject of Mashiach himself and on the future Redemption, and in particular, as these topics are developed in the maamarim and the Likkutei Sichos of the Nasi of our generation. These and other works are provided with subject indexes, which make the relevant sources easily accessible.

This study should be communal in nature, preferably in groups of ten, for "over every group of ten, the Divine Presence rests."[142] Furthermore, communal study contributes an element of happiness. Even a person who is used to studying in depth, and therefore prefers the peace and quiet of individual study, should complement his own studies by participating in these communal sessions.

Everyone should appreciate the need to participate in these efforts and see these guidelines as directed to him individually. Simultaneously, we should not interpret this as a private matter alone, but must endeavor to spread this message to every Jew. The responsibility to hasten Mashiach's coming is incumbent upon each member of our people.

The nature of the present year, the year when "I will show you wonders," creates a climate that is conducive to the success of these efforts. We have already seen great Divine miracles and will surely see more miracles in the future.[143] May these miracles include the ultimate miracles that will accompany the future redemption, when, "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders."[144]

  1.  In his Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:1, the Rambam writes:
In the future, the King Mashiach will arise.... Anyone who does not believe in him, or does not await his coming, denies not only [the statements of] the other prophets, but also [those of] the Torah and of Moshe, our teacher.
Implied in the Rambam's statement is that even if a person believes that ultimately Mashiach will come, but does not anxiously await his arrival, he is considered to have denied Judaism's fundamental creed (Chiddushim U'Biurim BeShas, Vol. III, ch. 40).
  1.  The intent is not that every day we should wait for Mashiach's ultimate coming, but that we should wait expectantly every day for Mashiach to come on that very day (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 394).
  1.  This is the twelfth of the Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith, as adapted and incorporated in the thirteen statements beginning Ani Maamin which are recited every day in certain communities.
  1.  Cf. Pirkei Avos 1:17.
  1.  Sanhedrin 90a.
  1.  Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 11:1.
  1.  Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 9:2.
  1.  Sefer HaMitzvos of the Tzemach Tzedek, Mitzvas Minui Melech.
  1.  Or HaTorah, Shir HaShirim, p. 414ff.
  1.  I Shmuel 10:23.
  1.  Bava Basra 10a; see also Tanya, ch. 37.
  1.  Sanhedrin 19b.
  1.  Devarim Rabbah 1:20 and the Jerusalem Talmud, Taanis 4:4, interpret the verse "And a star shall shoot forth from Yaakov" (Bamidbar 24:17) as a reference to Mashiach, while the Jerusalem Talmud, Maaser Sheni 4:6, interprets the verse as a reference to any ordinary Jew. The two interpretations can be combined, for every Jew possesses a spark of Mashiach within his soul (Meor Einayim, Parshas Pinchas).
  1.  For the relevant sources see footnotes 12, 13 and 14 to the above Overview.
  1.  Sanhedrin 39a.
  1.  See the booklet entitled I Will Show You Wonders, published by Sichos In English (1991).
  1.  Michah 7:15.

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Balak and Shabbos Parshas Pinchas, 5751
Publisher's Foreword

Almost a year ago, the Iraqi army crossed the border into Kuwait. The concern and fear that gripped the world drew widespread attention to a now famous passage from the classic text, the Yalkut Shimoni,* whose details precisely anticipate this year's events in the Persian Gulf. The Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlitasuggested at the time that this passage be publicized, and drew focus to its conclusion, which states that as these events unfold, Mashiach will announce to the Jewish people: "Humble ones: The time for your Redemption has arrived."

True to the verse chosen by the Rebbe as an acronym for the Hebrew letters that spell out this year's date, "I will show you wonders,"** we witnessed the progress and conclusion of that conflict. "Miraculous" is an understatement for the series of events in which the enemy of the Jewish people was routed and our people's safety secured.

In the aftermath of that conflict, on the 28th of Nissan, the Rebbe Shlita appealed to the Jewish people to "do everything you can to bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately."*** And on many occasions in the subsequent months, the Rebbe has emphasized the imminence of Mashiach's coming and the need to work toward that goal.

The present essay, adapted from sichos of Shabbos Parshas Balak and Shabbos Parshas Pinchas, clearly emphasizes the unique nature of the present times: "We are at the threshold of the Redemption." Calmly and without fanfare, the Rebbe Shlita informs us that the Redemption is imminent.

The Torah tells us that when Moshe Rabbeinu conveyed prophecies of redemption to the Jews in Egypt, "They did not listen to Moshe, because of broken spirits and hard labor."**** The nature of exile is such that it deprives one of the possibility of conceiving any other reality. But conceiving a different reality is precisely what the Rebbe Shlita is suggesting to us now -- that we "live with concepts of Mashiach and redemption," and that this awareness permeate our day-to-day conduct.

And through "living with the concept of Mashiach," we will hasten his coming and bring about the era in which these three weeks of Bein HaMetzarim will be transformed from mourning -- into the celebration of the Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.
Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av, 5751 [July 12, 1991]
* Vol. II, sec. 499, commenting on Yeshayahu 60:1.
** See the booklet of this name published in Iyar, 5751 [April, 1991] by Sichos In English.
*** See the above essay entitled "Helping to Bring Mashiach."
**** Shmos 6:9.
Seeking Purpose in the Exile

There are two approaches to the present period of Bein HaMetzarim, the three weeks between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and Tishah BeAv, the period which commemorates the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. One is to dwell on the awesomeness of those tragedies and the difficulties suffered by our people in the exile which followed.

The other approach, while not minimizing the extent of our nation's loss, puts the emphasis on the purposeof the exile. Heaven forbid to say that destruction and exile are ends in and of themselves. Rather, within the ashes of the Temple's destruction was kindled the spark of the Future Redemption.[145] In an ultimate sense, this was the purpose of the exile -- to prepare the Jewish people and the world at large for the higher and deeper level of fulfillment to be reached in that era.[146]

In the present age, there is no question that the second approach is more in place. Our Sages declared,[147] "All the appointed times for Mashiach's coming have passed; the matter is only dependent on teshuvah." And we have already turned to G-d with sincere teshuvah. Thus, speaking of the readiness of our generation, the Previous Rebbe used the allegory of a garment that is complete in all respects --"and all that is needed now is to polish the buttons."[148] And surely, the almost fifty years of vibrant Torah activity that have followed since that statement was made have been sufficient to accomplish that purpose.

On the Threshold of Redemption

The imminence of Mashiach's coming is further emphasized by the events of the present year, a year in which we have seen the fulfillment of the prophecy, "I will show you wonders." For we have witnessed wonders of a unique and unprecedented nature. In a miraculous manner which followed the course predicted by the Yalkut Shimoni,[149] a formidable enemy of the Jewish people was destroyed. And as the passage from that classic text emphasizes, these miracles are to occur in "the year in which the King Mashiach is revealed," and that at that time, Mashiach will announce to the Jewish people, "Humble ones: The time for your Redemption has arrived."

We are standing on the threshold of the future Redemption. Mashiach's coming is no longer a dream of a distant future, but an imminent reality which will very shortly become fully manifest.

Study as a Catalyst

For this reason, emphasis has been placed on the importance of studying about the Redemption andMashiach.[150] Such study will in itself hasten Mashiach's coming.[151] Over and above that purpose, however, this suggestion is meant to be appreciated on a more personal level by each individual. The intent is that everyone, men, women, and children, should begin to live with the concepts of redemption and Mashiach; that these ideas should become relevant to us on an intellectual level; moreover, that our intellect should affect our feelings; and ultimately, that we should begin to conduct our lives in a manner which reflects how we are permeated with an awareness of the Redemption as an imminent reality.

Anticipating the Beis HaMikdash

This concept is also relevant to the custom of studying the laws of the Beis HaMikdash during the three weeks of Bein HaMetzarim.[152] Our Sages[153] relate that G-d commanded the prophet Yechezkel to teach the Jewish people about the structure of the Beis HaMikdash while they were still in the Babylonian exile. When the prophet questioned the purpose of such study, G-d told him that He would cherish their study as if they had been involved in its actual construction.

At present, this study should be carried out in anxious anticipation that the Beis HaMikdash will soon be rebuilt. One should not consider this subject matter as being merely theoretical in nature. Rather, just as when one studies the laws of the mitzvah of tefillin, one does so with the awareness that one will observe the mitzvah about which one is studying every day, similarly, in the present context, we should study the Beis HaMikdash with the awareness that in the very near future, we will see what we are studying about in actual reality.
The Ultimate Siyyum

The above is also relevant in regard to another custom of Bein HaMetzarim. During the nine days concluding with the fast of Tishah BeAv[154] it is customary to hold siyyumim,[155] i.e., festive gatherings marking the conclusion of the study of Talmudic tractates. These gatherings should be held with the recognition that we are approaching another siyyum, the conclusion of the exile.

And through these endeavors, we will merit the fulfillment of the prophecy[156] that in the era of the Redemption, all the commemorative fasts will be transformed into holidays and festive occasions,[157]when together with the entire Jewish people, we will proceed from exile to redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.

  1.  See Yerushalmi, Berachos 2:4; Eichah Rabbah 1:51.
  1.  Note the explanations of this concept in MiGolah LiGeulah, Part I, ch. 2.
  1.  Sanhedrin 97b.
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  II, 499, interpreting Yeshayahu 60:1.
  1.  See Sichos Tazria-Metzora, 5751, and the above essay entitled "Bringing Mashiach Now."
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Tzav, sec. 14, commenting on Yechezkel 43:10.
  1.  See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, p. 420 ff.
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, loc. cit.
  1.  Similarly, a siyyum should be held on the fast of Tishah BeAv itself, concluding Tractate Moed Katan whose study is permitted on that day.
  1. (Back to text) The day on which a tractate is concluded is thereby transformed into a "festive day for the Sages" (Shabbos 118b). See also Rama, Yoreh Deah 246:26, and Baer Heitev there. Indeed, even meat and wine are permitted on such occasions during the "Nine Days" (cf. Rama, Orach Chayim 551:10). The Rebbe Rashab used to hold siyyumim during these days, though the meals which honored them included neither wine nor meat. See Sefer HaMinhagim (English translation; Kehot, N.Y., 1991), p. 95. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 223, and footnotes 84-86.
  1. (Back to text) Zechariah 8:19, quoted by the Rambam, Mishneh Torah, at the conclusion of Hilchos Taanis.
  1. (Back to text) We experience a foretaste of such a transformation this year, when the dates of the Seventeenth of Tammuz and Tishah BeAv fall on Shabbos. Accordingly, each of these fasts is postponed until the following day, and the actual date of the calamity is commemorated, not with mourning and fasting as in other years, but with the pleasure and joy of the Shabbos.

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Pinchas, 5751
Publisher's Foreword

In the course of the recent sichah before us, the Rebbe Shlita relates to a question that many thinking individuals have no doubt asked themselves: "What can I do to bring Mashiach? How can my seemingly insignificant actions have any bearing on a matter of such immense proportions?"

In his answer the Rebbe explains that every individual experience of redemption hastens the coming of the Redemption as a whole -- in the spirit of the well-known teaching of the Rambam* that at any given time, a single deed performed by one person can bring salvation to the entire world.

Ours is an era of mass media, an era in which people are increasingly conditioned to being related to as mere components of a mass -- nameless and indistinguishable. In an era such as this, it is refreshing indeed to be reminded from time to time of the cosmic worth of every single individual and of every action he performs.

One Sunday afternoon only a few weeks ago, an elderly lady was patiently waiting her turn in a long, long line of Jewish women and girls from all walks of life, each of them anticipating the moment at which the Rebbe Shlita would give them his blessing while handing them a dollar bill to be passed on to tzedakah.

When her turn finally arrived, this lady blurted out in informal Yiddish, "Rebbe! I've been standing here for only an hour, and I'm already falling from my feet in exhaustion. Yet you've been standing here doing this for the men and now for the women for hours upon hours on end, and just look...!"

The Rebbe smiled quietly and said, "When you're counting diamonds, you don't get tired."
7 Menachem Av, 5751 [July 18, 1991]
* Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4.

What is Eretz Yisrael?

A chassid once asked the Tzemach Tzedek whether he should settle in the Holy Land so that he could devote his life there to Torah study and the service of G-d. The Tzemach Tzedek replied, "Make this placeEretz Yisrael."[158]

The Tzemach Tzedek's response conveys more than a reply to the chassid's question about his personal future. For us, its meaning extends far beyond the question of whether one should live in Eretz Yisrael.Instead of being seen only in that limited context, it should also be understood as alluding to the path through which all the members of our people, whether in the diaspora or in Eretz Yisrael, can come to a true and complete appreciation of our Holy Land.
What is Eretz Yisrael? -- A place where G-dliness, holiness, and Yiddishkeit are openly revealed. In an ultimate sense, this will be realized in the Era of the Redemption when the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt and the observance of all the mitzvos associated with the holiness of the land will be restored.[159]Furthermore, not only will we fulfill all of the mitzvos in that era, but we will appreciate the bond with G-dliness that will be established through this observance.[160]

This is the essence of the Redemption: the relationship between man and G-d will no longer be based on faith alone, but will also be nourished by a firsthand awareness of G-d's Presence here on earth. Thus, concluding[161] his description of the uniqueness of the Era of the Redemption, the Rambam[162] quotes the verse,[163] "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed." The physical setting of the world will not change in the Era of the Redemption;[164] what will be different is our knowledge and awareness of G-d.

A Different Focus for our Attention

This concept is reflected in the fact that the Hebrew word for exile, golah, shares the same letters as the Hebrew word for redemption, geulah, with one exception: geulah possesses an alef. The alef stands for G-d, Alufo shel olam ("the L-rd of the world").[165]

What is the difference between exile and redemption? -- The alef, our consciousness of G-d's presence. All the material dimensions of our present existence will continue in the Era of the Redemption. Our souls will be contained within physical bodies, we will derive our nurture from physical food, and we will live together with gentile neighbors. All these aspects of material existence, however, will be suffused with an awareness of G-d.

The relationship between these two Hebrew terms also points to the path which will enable us to proceed from exile to Redemption. G-d rewards the Jewish people in a way which reflects their conduct "measure for measure."[166] Thus it is through drawing down the alef, the awareness of G-d into our daily experience, that we will prepare ourselves for the era when His Presence will be openly manifest in all aspects of our lives.

This is the meaning of the directive, "Make this place Eretz Yisrael." Every individual ought to draw G-dliness into his life and into his environment. Rather than seek to escape from worldly involvement and seclude oneself in spiritual expressions of holiness, we are asked to reveal holiness within the living reality of our contemporary experience, to give actual expression to the concept that there is nothing in this world which is apart from G-d.

In particular, this is relevant at present as we stand at the threshold of the Redemption.[167] All the spiritual tasks required of the Jewish people have been completed; to borrow an expression used by the Previous Rebbe, we have already "polished our buttons."[168] Nothing is now lacking, nor can anything now stand in the way of the Redemption. And our efforts in drawing down a consciousness of G-d into our daily experience can hasten the realization of its promise.

Therefore, the message to "Make this place Eretz Yisrael" should be communicated to others -- to the members of one's family, to one's students, and indeed to every Jew, man, woman, and child. Each one of us should know that "this place" -- his or her place, i.e., each dimension of our environment and each moment of time we experience -- can be transformed into Eretz Yisrael, into a place where G-dliness is openly revealed.

An Individual Experience of Redemption

This message helps to resolve a question asked by many who wonder: What can I do to bring Mashiach?How can my seemingly insignificant actions have any bearing on a matter of such immense proportions?

The answer to that question is that every individual experience of redemption hastens the coming of the Redemption as a whole. "Making this place Eretz Yisrael," living in the spirit of the Redemption and infusing that spirit into all the dimensions of our life experience, is not merely an individual matter, but rather affects the world in its totality,[169] making the universal Redemption even more imminent.

Now is a time when we can -- and we are asked to -- "Make this place Eretz Yisrael," to conduct ourselves in the spirit of redemption. The time of the Redemption is near and we must become accustomed to a new approach to our daily experience. And this will not be merely a symbolic gesture: it has the potential to actually hasten the coming of the Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.

  1.  Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. I, p. 485.
  1.  Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 3:4.
  1.  This represents the difference between the Era of the Redemption and the era of the First Beis HaMikdash. For the Era of the Redemption does not represent merely a restoration and a return to a previous state. On the contrary, the intent of the exile was to elevate the Jewish people and the world at large to a higher level of experience, to a state in which G-dliness is openly revealed. (See MiGolah LiGeulah, Part I, ch. 2.)
  1.  The location of this statement is particularly significant for, as our Sages explain, "everything follows in accordance with the conclusion" (Berachos 12a).
  1.  Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9.
  1.  This statement accords with the opinion of the Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim12:2), who subscribes to the view expressed in the Talmud (Berachos 34b) that "There will be no difference between the current era and the Era of Mashiach except [our emancipation from] subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms." Even those authorities who maintain that with the coming of the Redemption, the natural order of the world will be characterized by miracles, do not maintain that the entire sphere of material existence will change. On the contrary, it is these authorities (the Raavad and the Ramban) who emphasize that the reward of the Era of the Redemption will be experienced within the context of physical existence.
  1.  The similarity between the two terms is the subject of a derush in the Midrash (in Vayikra Rabbah, at the end of Parshas Emor, sec. 32; in Shir HaShirim Rabbah 4:7; and in Koheles Rabbah, beginning of ch. 4). Chassidus explains (in Likkutei Torah, Behaalos'cha 35c and elsewhere) that more than a passive similarity is involved: the addition of the alef actually transforms (exile) into (redemption).
For an in-depth study of this subject see the sichah delivered by the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Acharei-Kedoshim, 5751.
  1.  Nedarim 32a.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "On the Threshold of the Redemption."
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  Thus our Sages (Sanhedrin 37a) emphasize how every single person can affect the entire world, teaching that "Every individual is required to say, 'For me was the world created.' " Similarly, the Rambamwrites (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4) that at any given time, a single deed performed by one person can bring salvation to the entire world.

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Noach, 5747, Shabbos Parshas Pinchas, 5751,
28 Sivan, 5751 and Other Occasions

Publisher's Foreword

To the exiles who sat by the waters of Babylon, dreaming of the despoiled Sanctuary in Jerusalem, the prophet Yechezkel brought this message of consolation: "Though I have scattered them throughout the lands, I will be for them a little sanctuary in the lands to which they have come."*

Where is this sanctuary in microcosm?

"Rabbi Yitzchak holds: 'This refers to the synagogues and houses of study in Babylon.' Rabbi Eliezer holds: 'This refers to Beis Rabbeinu, the house of our teacher.' "**

Are these two interpretations opposed? What is the relationship between the miniature sanctuaries of Babylon and the Beis HaMikdash in Jerusalem? Since the Destruction, what is it that makes the Divine Presence choose to reside in particular sanctuaries? And how does this whole discussion in the Talmud find expression in our generation, on the eve of the Redemption?

These and many other, related questions are discussed and clarified in the essay before us, which is based on extracts from talks of the Rebbe Shlita on a number of occasions in recent years. It is particularly relevant today, when building operations are underway to expand the beis midrash of "770" considerably.
14 Kislev, 5752 [November 21, 1991]
* Yechezkel 11:16.
** Megillah 29a.

A Home Away from Home

One of the chassidim of the Mitteler Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Dovber of Bobroisk, has described[170] his first journey to Lubavitch, which took place when he was six years old. In vivid and powerful terms, he relates the moving moments he experienced, his encounters with the Rebbe and the chassidim.

Perhaps more than anything else, he was inspired by the intense joy that the chassidim felt there. When he asked his father to explain this phenomenon, his father spoke to him about the Beis HaMikdash in Jerusalem. And the boy was bewildered, for this made his question all the more powerful. How could the chassidim celebrate in this manner when the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed?

With the tact of a skilled educator, his father gave him time for his own question to sink in, and then he explained in a calm but heartfelt tone:
Until G-d, blessed be He, shows His mercy to us, sends us the righteous redeemer... and rebuilds Jerusalem and the Beis HaMikdash for us..., Lubavitch is our Jerusalem; the Rebbe's shul -- our Beis HaMikdash;...and the Rebbe -- the Holy Ark, containing the tablets of G-d's Torah.

These are sentiments which a father shared with his son at a time of deep feeling. Are they merely sentiments? Is there any basis in our Torah heritage for such feelings and such statements?

By the Waters of Babylon

Significantly, very similar ideas are expressed by the prophet Yechezkel when comforting the Jews with the Word of G-d, in the wake of the Babylonian exile:[171] "So has G-d, the L-rd, spoken: 'Though I have scattered them throughout the lands, I will be for them a sanctuary in microcosm in the lands to which they have come.' "

When analyzing this verse, our Sages[172] offer two interpretations of the term "sanctuary in microcosm": "Rabbi Yitzchak holds: 'This refers to the synagogues and houses of study in Babylon.' Rabbi Eliezer holds: 'This refers to Beis Rabbeinu ["the house of our master," i.e., Rav[173]] in Babylon.' "
Similarly, our Sages state,[174] "Wherever the Jews were exiled, the Divine Presence accompanied them." This statement is problematic, for "the entire earth is filled with His glory."[175] There is no place where G-d is not found. What is meant by saying that the Divine Presence accompanies the Jews into exile?[176]

From the continuation of the passage, however, the intent becomes clear. The amoraim name certain synagogues in Babylon where there was an actual perception of the Divine Presence, resembling -- albeit in microcosm -- the manifestation of G-dliness in the Beis HaMikdash. Not only did G-d's Presence rest in these synagogues in a hidden manner, as it does throughout the world at large. In these particular places, G-d's Presence could actually be perceived.

The Torah: G-d's Haven in This World

Based on the above, it can be explained that the opinions of Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Eliezer differ only in emphasis, not in principle. Rabbi Eliezer would also accept the premise that the Divine Presence rested inall synagogues in Babylon, and Rabbi Yitzchak would agree that the most evident and manifest expression of the Divine Presence was in Beis Rabbeinu.

What was unique about Beis Rabbeinu, Rav's house of study? It was the center of Torah law for the entire world. To explain: Commenting on the verse,[177] "G-d loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Yaakov," our Sages declare:[178] "G-d loves the gates of those who excel in the realm of halachah more than the synagogues and houses of study..., for from the day the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, G-d has no [resting place] in this world other than the four cubits of halachah."

Commenting on that passage, the Maharasha explains that the manifestation of the Divine Presence in the Beis HaMikdash was intrinsically related to the fact that it was the seat of the Sanhedrin, the ultimate halachic authority for the Jewish people. Similarly, since G-d's Presence is manifest in "the four cubits ofhalachah," the place of the contemporary Torah authority is where the Divine Presence rests. Thus, the expression "sanctuary in microcosm" is an apt description for Beis Rabbeinu, the source for instruction regarding our Torah conduct in exile.

The Return of the Divine Presence

The connection of the synagogues established in exile to the Beis HaMikdash is further emphasized by the continuation of the passage cited above:[179] "When they are redeemed in the future, the Divine Presence will accompany them." The Maharasha explains this to mean that the Divine Presence will not remain in the places where it was revealed during the exile, but will return to Eretz Yisrael together with the Jewish people. Thus our Sages relate:[180] "In the future, the synagogues and houses of study of [the diaspora] will be established in Eretz Yisrael." Moreover, they will be positioned in direct proximity to the Beis HaMikdash, and the revelation of the Divine Presence in the Beis HaMikdash will permeate them as well.[181]

Furthermore, in the era immediately preceding the Redemption, there will be a foreglimpse of the Beis HaMikdash within the "sanctuary in microcosm" established in the exile. The Divine Presence will be revealed there, and from there will return with the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael and to Jerusalem.[182]

A Beacon of Light

Based on the above, the chassid's memoirs related above take on a different dimension. In every generation there is a Beis Rabbeinu, "the house of our master,"[183] a "sanctuary in microcosm" which responds to the urgent needs of the generation and diffuses Torah instruction throughout the world. Thus it serves as the place where the Divine Presence is revealed par excellence.

Since the Divine Presence is revealed for the sake of the Jewish people,[184] it is in the house of the leader of the people as a whole, the leader of the generation who is "the heart of the generation,"[185]that the Divine Presence becomes manifest during the time the Jews are in exile.

The above concept allows us to appreciate the uniqueness of the Beis Rabbeinu established by the Previous Rebbe in America. Today, the largest segment of the international Jewish community is found in America, and there is located the infrastructure for our generation's Torah leadership. This country was therefore chosen as the place for Beis Rabbeinu, the center for Torah instruction for the entire world.

Significantly, America has been described[186] as "the lower hemisphere." The Torah was given in the upper hemisphere and it is our task to spread the Torah throughout the world, elevating the totality of our existence. It is this service of -- to borrow an expression of the Tzemach Tzedek's[187] -- "Making thisplace Eretz Yisrael," which prepares us for the age when "Eretz Yisrael will spread out throughout the entire world,"[188] in the Era of the Redemption.

The Challenge Facing Our Generation

The connection of the Previous Rebbe's Beis Rabbeinu to the Redemption is reflected in the very name of the building -- "770," for that is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word poratzta, meaning "break through." On the verse concerning the birth of Peretz, the progenitor of the Mashiach,[189] poratzta olecha poretz our Sages comment,[190] "This refers to the Mashiach, as it is written,[191] "The one who breaks through (haporetz) shall ascend before them." This is the task of Mashiach -- to break through the barriers of exile and spread holiness throughout the world, as it is written,[192] "And you shall spread out vigorously (Ufaratzta) westward, eastward, northward and southward."

Furthermore, the number 770 is a multiple of the number seven.[193] Our Sages teach,[194] "All the sevenths are cherished," and it has been explained[195] that the preciousness of the seventh of a series is reflected in the Jewish people's task of drawing the Divine Presence down to the earth, so that the Divine Presence becomes manifest as it was manifest in the Sanctuary. This is also the task of our generation, the seventh generation -- to hasten the coming of the Era of the Redemption, the era in which G-d will again reveal His Presence in the world openly, and not merely in microcosm.
This is not a promise of the distant future, but an imminent reality. We are on the threshold of the Redemption and indeed, in the process of crossing that threshold.[196] Our Rabbis relate[197] that in every generation, there is a potential Mashiach. This means that Mashiach is among us, waiting for us to recognize his mission and create a climate in the world that will allow it to be fulfilled.

May this take place in the immediate future and then, together with all the synagogues and houses of study in the diaspora, the "sanctuaries in microcosm," we will all proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Beis HaMikdash.

  1.  HaTamim, Vol. II, p. 124-6.
  1.  Yechezkel 11:16.
  1.  Megillah 29a.
  1.  Rashi, loc. cit.
  1.  Megillah, loc. cit.
  1.  Yeshayahu 6:3.
  1.  See the commentary of the Maharasha, Megillah, loc. cit.
  1.  Tehillim 87:2.
  1.  Berachos 8a.
  1.  Megillah, loc. cit.
  1.  Ibid.
  1.  Maharasha, loc. cit. On this basis, the Maharasha explains a statement of the Midrash that in the Era of the Redemption, the Beis HaMikdash will encompass the totality of Jerusalem. Since all the synagogues and houses of study in the diaspora will be included in the Beis HaMikdash, its area will be the size of the entire city of Jerusalem.
  1.  On this basis, we can understand a problematic aspect of the now renowned passage in theYalkut Shimoni (Vol. II, sec. 499) which foretells the era immediately preceding Mashiach's coming. That passage relates that Mashiach will "stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and proclaim to the Jewish people, 'Humble ones: The time of your Redemption has come.' "
That statement is difficult to comprehend. As the Rambam writes (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:4), the construction of the Beis HaMikdash is one of the final stages of the Redemption. It would thus appear that well before the Beis HaMikdash will have been rebuilt, Mashiach will have had to inform the Jewish people of their Redemption.

Based on the above, however, this passage can be understood: Mashiach will stand on the roof of the "sanctuary in microcosm" that exists in the diaspora and communicate his message of redemption to the Jewish people. (This is alluded to by the expression "the roof of the Beis HaMikdash." As the Rambam writes inHilchos Beis HaBechirah, the roof of the Beis HaMikdash was not consecrated. This is an allusion to the diaspora, which does not have the quality of revealed holiness possessed by Eretz Yisrael.)
  1.  This is alluded to in Rashi's explanation of the term Beis Rabbeinu as referring to the house of Rav. The name "Rav" implies that this distinction was given to him -- and his house -- not because of his personal qualities, but because of his position as the Torah leader of the Jews of his generation.
  1.  This is alluded to in the following interpretation of Shmos 25:8, "And you shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell within." The Shelah (69a) notes that rather than write "within it," the verse uses the expression "within them," implying that the fundamental revelation of G-d's Presence is to take place within every individual Jew. See the English translation of the maamarim entitled Basi LeGani (Kehot, Sichos In English; N.Y., 1990): the maamar of 5710, ch. 1.
  1.  See Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 3:6. See also Bamidbar Rabbah 19:28: "The leader [of the generation] represents the entire nation."
  1.  See Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Previous Rebbe, Vol. II, p. 492 ff.
  1.  Ibid., Vol. I, p. 485. See the above essay entitled "Make This Place Eretz Yisrael."
  1.  Yalkut Shimoni, Vol. II, sec. 503.
  1.  Bereishis 38:29.
  1.  Aggadas Bereishis, ch. 63.
  1.  Michah 2:13.
  1.  Bereishis 28:15.
  1.  It combines ten times seven and one hundred times seven. The Kabbalah teaches that we have ten faculties of the soul and all of these vital faculties are interrelated. (Thus ten times ten equals 100.) In this context, the number 770 reflects how the number seven has permeated every dimension of the human personality.
  1.  Vayikra Rabbah 29:11.
  1.  Basi LeGani 5710, Basi LeGani 5711.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "On the Threshold of the Redemption."
  1.  See the Chasam Sofer, Responsa on Choshen Mishpat, Vol. VI, Responsum 98; S'dei Chemed, Pe'as HaSadeh, Maareches Alef, Principle 70. See also the essay below, entitled "Mashiach in Every Generation."

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Mattos-Masei, 5751

Publisher's Foreword

For some weeks now, the Rebbe Shlita has been urging us to "live in the spirit of the Redemption." At a recent farbrengen, he provided us with a practical directive as to how to do this in the sphere of interpersonal relations.

In this context, the Rebbe refers to a unique phrase in Pirkei Avos, "loving your fellow creatures."* This is a surprising choice of words, for the Holy Tongue is rich in words meaning "man" -- for example, adam, ish, gever, enosh, each of them signifying a particular kind or level of mortal excellence. Adam, for example, suggests that a man has developed his intellectual stature; ish, by contrast, describes how well he has refined the emotive side of his spiritual personality; and so on.** Why, then, does the mishnah urge each of us to "be one of the disciples of Aharon -- loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellowcreatures, and bringing them near to the Torah"?

By way of reply, the Alter Rebbe explains that this usage of the term "creatures" in reference to human beings means that "even those who are far from G-d's Torah and His service, for which reason they are classified simply as 'creatures' " -- indicating that the fact that they are G-d's creations is their sole virtue -- even those "one must attract with strong cords of love."***

Keeping in mind the teaching of the Alter Rebbe -- that every Jew is obliged to love every other Jew, imperfect as he/we may be -- will help us to carry out the request of the Rebbe Shlita in the address before us. For the Rebbe devoted a significant segment of the farbrengen of Shabbos Parshas Mattos-Masei (2 Menachem Av, 5751) to a close examination of the above-quoted statement from Pirkei Avos: "Be one of the disciples of Aharon -- loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures, and bringing them near to the Torah."

And in this manner, we can experience a foretaste of the ultimate love that will permeate our people in the Era of the Redemption.
May we experience this in the immediate future.
12 Menachem Av, 5751 [July 23, 1991]
* In the original (Pirkei Avos 1:12), ohaiv es habrios.
** See, for example, Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. I, p. 226ff. (English translation; Kehot, N.Y., 1987).
*** Tanya, ch. 32.
Rising Above Self-Centeredness

Towards the conclusion of his description of the Era of the Redemption, the Rambam writes:[198]

In that Era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition.

The Jewish people, and indeed, the world at large, will join together in bonds of love and unity. An awareness of G-d's transcendental oneness will pervade all existence and this will produce a higher and more inclusive conception of unity than is possible at present.

In the present era, unity involves people of differing natures joining together. As the diverse limbs of the body function together as part of a single organism, so too, unity can be established between different individuals.[199] Nevertheless, such a bond does not raise a person above his individual identity entirely. On the contrary, his very awareness of self has to be employed in his efforts to unite with others.

In contrast, the transcendent unity of the Era of the Redemption will raise every individual above the limited horizons of his personal identity, "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed."[200] The verse (which the Rambam quotes in this sense at the conclusion of Hilchos Melachim) employs this simile to express the following concept: A vast multitude of creatures inhabit the ocean. Nevertheless, what we see is the ocean as a whole and not the particular entities which it contains. Similarly, in the Era of the Redemption, individual created beings will lose consciousness of their separate identities, for they will be suffused with an awe-inspiring knowledge of G-d.[201] The unity that will be established between individual entities will thus be of a higher and more consummate nature.

Humble Outreach

In microcosm, we should anticipate these concepts in our own present conduct. Since we are on the threshold of the Redemption, it is now possible to appreciate a foretaste of the spiritual awareness to be achieved in that era, and to apply it in our lives.

In this context, we may examine a teaching in Pirkei Avos:[202] "Be one of the students of Aharon -- loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures, and bringing them near to the Torah." Significantly, unlike many of the other teachings of Pirkei Avos that are merely suggestions, this teaching is phrased as a command.

Furthermore, this command is directed to every member of the Jewish people. The Torah states[203] that Aharon's death was mourned by the entire Jewish people, both men and women, for everyone appreciated his patient endeavors to spread peace and harmony among them.[204] Similarly, every Jew is urged to emulate Aharon's behavior and to reach out to others with love and care.

At the same time, the wording of the above teaching, "Be one of the students of Aharon," is a reminder that one must realize that there are other "students", and one's own favorite path in bringing about love and unity among the Jewish people is not the only possible approach.[205]

A Foretaste of Redemption

As mentioned, this directive is particularly relevant at present, for we need to accustom ourselves to the spirit of the Redemption. Previously it had been explained[206] that an emphasis on ahavas Yisrael ("love for one's fellow Jew") was necessary as a preparation for the Era of Redemption. Since the exile came about because of unwarranted hatred,[207] we would nullify the reason for the exile by spreading love among our people. And this in turn would cause the exile itself to cease.

Since, however, to borrow an expression used by the Previous Rebbe,[208] we have already completed all the spiritual service necessary to bring Mashiach, to the point that "we have even polished the buttons," we can assume that the reason for the exile has also been eradicated already. At present, therefore, the emphasis on ahavas Yisrael comes primarily as a foretaste of the Era of the Redemption.

And through living in the spirit of the Redemption, accustoming ourselves to this way of thinking, and more significantly, to this form of conduct, we will hasten the actual coming of the Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.
  1.  Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  See Likkutei Torah, Parshas Nitzavim 87a.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9.
  1.  See the essay entitled "The Ultimate Good of the Era of the Redemption," which elaborates upon these concepts, in I Await His Coming Every Day (Kehot, N.Y., 1991), p. 77ff.
  1.  1:12.
  1.  Bamidbar 20:29. Note the contrast to Moshe Rabbeinu, as mentioned by Rashi in his commentary on Devarim 34:8.
  1.  On Aharon's resourcefulness in this, see Midrash Kallah Rabbasi, sec. 3.
  1.  In fact, even the disciples of Rabbi Akiva had to learn this lesson. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXII, p. 138ff.
  1.  See, for example, Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 598.
  1.  See Yoma 9b, Gittin 55b.
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on the Eve of the 11th and 12th of Menachem Av, 5751

Publisher's Foreword

Hundreds of people of all ages joined forces and danced together in a jubilant circle. White-bearded elders and young boys, learned Rabbis and workmen, placed their hands on each other's shoulders and raised their voices in exuberant celebration. Passersby on the street outside the synagogue stopped and turned to enter, drawn in by the vibrant power of the rejoicing.

This was not Simchas Torah or Purim, but the night following Tishah BeAv. The prophets promise that in the Era of the Redemption, Tishah BeAv and the other commemorative fasts will be transformed into festivals and days of rejoicing.* And a foretaste of these celebrations was experienced this year, at "770", Lubavitch World Headquarters.

Shortly before the conclusion of the fast, the Rebbe Shlita had entered the shul unexpectedly and delivered a short but inspiring sichah. After the evening prayers at the close of the fast, as he turned to depart, he began his father's Simchas Torah melody. And in response to this, the chassidim present responded with the joyous singing and dancing described above.

With slight differences, this series of events repeated itself the following day. After returning from his prayers at the gravesite of his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe, the Rebbe Shlita recited the afternoon and evening services with the chassidim. He then delivered another sichah, and after its conclusion distributed dollars to the chassidim to be given to charity.** During the distribution of the dollars, he encouraged the joyous singing of his followers. Even after the Rebbe departed from the synagogue, the singing and dancing continued for a long time.

It is the content of these two sichos which we have telescoped and highlighted in this essay. The conceptual content of these addresses, however, is not all that must be communicated. All of those in attendance felt the imminence of the Redemption and were stirred with the desire that this actually happen.

And this is what the Rebbe Shlita is trying to impress upon us -- that we view the Redemption not as an abstract, theoretical construct, but as a practical matter of imminent relevance. Having stood for some time now on the threshold of the Redemption,*** it is time to be ready -- when the time comes -- to cross it.
15 Menachem Av, 5751 [July 26, 1991]
* Zechariah 8:19; quoted by the Rambam at the conclusion of his discussion of the commemorative fasts in the Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Taanios.
** Customarily, the Rebbe Shlita concludes his weekday addresses with the distribution of money to be given to charity.
*** See the above essay entitled "On the Threshold of the Redemption."

Tishah BeAv Generates Energy

Our Sages teach[209] that Mashiach was born on Tishah BeAv. This is not merely a description of past history. On the contrary, the intent is that every year, Tishah BeAv generates a new impetus for the coming of the Redemption.

To explain: A birthday is, to quote our Sages,[210] a time when mazalo gover, the particular spiritual source of a person's soul irradiates powerfully. Thus the birthday of Mashiach is a time when he, and the Redemption with which he is associated, is granted new power. And this hastens the advent of the time when the Redemption will become actually manifest.[211]

The Redemption is commonly described as hageulah ha'amitis vehashleimah -- "the true and complete Redemption." "Complete" implies that it encompasses every element of existence and includes every single Jew.

Herein lies one of the differences between the future Redemption and the previous redemptions in our history. In the exodus from Egypt, the Jews who were not found worthy of being redeemed died in the plague of darkness.[212] Similarly, in the return to Zion led by Ezra, the majority of the Jewish people remained in Babylon. In contrast, the future Redemption will include all the members of our people: every single Jew will leave the exile.[213]

For Whom did Moshe Pray?

This concept sheds light on an interesting narrative related in the Torah. In the beginning of Parshas Va'eschanan, Moshe tells the Jewish people how he implored G-d to allow him to enter Eretz Yisrael. Even after G-d refused his request, he continued to pray[214] until ultimately G-d told him,[215] "This is enough.... Do not speak of this matter any more."

(Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that, even after this command, that Moshe actually ceased praying. His desire -- and indeed, this is the true desire of every Jew -- to enter the land had no limitations and therefore he pursued it with self-sacrifice. One can assume that even as he was standing on Mount Nebo and gazing upon the whole of the Promised Land before his death, he was still praying to enter it.)

For whom was Moshe praying? If all that was involved was his individual self, one would assume that his prayers would have been answered. The prayers of every Jew, and surely those of a tzaddik, have great potential. Indeed, our Sages state,[216] "A tzaddik decrees and G-d fulfills."

A Shepherd of His People

Moshe, however, was not concerned with his own self. He is described by the Sages as a "shepherd of the Jewish people."[217] Accordingly, he could not conceive of a future for himself without his flock. Since it had been decreed that his generation would die in the desert, Moshe neither could, nor would, consider entering Eretz Yisrael without them. How could he leave his flock behind?[218]

Rather, his prayers were intended for the entire Jewish people as well, requesting that G-d allow him to lead them into Eretz Yisrael and with that to initiate the ultimate Redemption.

A Spark of Moshe in Every Jew

The above concepts are relevant to us at present. Moshe's prayers for the Redemption are not merely past history, but rather are active forces today bringing the Redemption closer.[219] Furthermore, there is a spark of Moshe within the soul of every Jew.[220] That spark motivates every Jew to pray for the Redemption, to cry out, Ad Masai! -- "How much longer must we wait in exile?"

This prayer will surely be fulfilled in the near future, and together with Moshe Rabbeinu and the entire Jewish people, together with each and every individual Jew, we will enter Eretz Yisrael with the true and complete Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.

  1.  The Jerusalem Talmud, Berachos 2:4; Eichah Rabbah 1:51.
  1.  The Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 3:8.
  1.  This new impetus is generated on the day of Tishah BeAv itself. Although in the present year, since the date of Tishah BeAv fell on Shabbos, the fast was postponed until the following day, the positive aspects of that day are not. On the contrary, Shabbos surely amplifies these influences. And thus the potential for the Redemption was strengthened this year even before the fast was begun.
  1.  See Rashi on Shmos 13:18.
  1.  In an expanded sense, the Redemption will also affect those Jews who have not yet been born, for their birth will be hastened, and it will also affect the souls of the previous generations who will arise in the Resurrection of the Dead.
  1.  See Rashi on Devarim 3:23, which notes that Va'eschanan is numerically equivalent to 515. Moshe recited 515 prayers of request to enter Eretz Yisrael.
  1.  Devarim 3:26.
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, Vayeira 19.
  1.  See Midrash Rabbah, Shmos 2:2.
  1.  We find a related concept in Torah law. When students are exiled, their teacher is required to accompany them (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Rotzeiach 7:1). Conversely, it can also be understood that the redemption of a teacher must also include his students.
  1.  For every concept that is recorded in the Torah remains an eternally active force (see the comments of the Rogatchover Gaon on Shmos 2:21). Keeping in mind Sotah 9a, we can assume that in particular, this concept is true in regard to Moshe.
  1.  Tanya, ch. 42.

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Eikev, 5751

Publisher's Foreword

One of the unique aspects of Chassidus is that it generates the potential to see any incident in a larger scope. An idea is thus appreciated, not only for its individual message, but as a part of a more inclusive whole.

The Rebbe Shlita gave expression to this quality in his sichos on Shabbos Parshas Eikev. He focused on a unique development, the publication of the Tanya in Braille, emphasizing the important breakthrough it represented -- bringing the teachings of Chassidus to people who had never previously had the opportunity to taste this spiritual knowledge independently.

Nevertheless, beyond this important dimension, this development can be seen as part of a process of yet greater scope -- as both a foretaste of, and a catalyst for, the coming of the Era of the Redemption. Accordingly, the Rebbe encourages us here to continue this pattern, to "live with the Redemption," to conduct ourselves in its spirit, and in this manner, to precipitate its coming even sooner.

13 Elul, 5751 [August 23, 1991]

Spreading the Wellsprings Outward

Recently, a new printing of the Tanya was brought to this building, the Previous Rebbe's shul and House of Study -- an event which is noteworthy in its own right, and of even greater significance when viewed as part of a cosmic canvas.

The Tanya, which has been described as "the Written Torah of Chassidus,[221] has been reprinted many thousands of times all over the world. Indeed, the Baal Shem Tov taught that the coming of Mashiach is dependent on "the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward."[222] Ultimately, in the Era of the Redemption, "the knowledge of G-d will fill the earth as the waters cover the ocean bed."[223] And to prepare for this revelation, it is necessary to spread G-dly knowledge, the teachings of Chassidus,throughout the world at large. When seen in this context, the printing of the Tanya in so many different cities is significant, for it has transformed them into "wellsprings", centers and sources for the spreading ofChassidus.[224]

Windows for the Soul

The new printing of the Tanya mentioned above is unique, however, for it represents the spreading of the teachings of Chassidus to a group of people who had previously had no potential to study these teachings unaided. For this Tanya was printed in Braille.

In recent generations, Chassidus has been explained in ever-increasing depth and breadth, and these explanations have been communicated to people from different backgrounds and walks of life in many languages. Unfortunately, however, the physical handicap of the blind prevented them -- until now -- from reading these texts independently.

The significance of this printing is magnified by the fact that, as mentioned above, the Tanya is known as "the Written Torah of Chassidus." Just as the Written Torah includes the entire Oral Law, for "there is no teaching which is not alluded to in the Torah,"[225] so too, the Tanya includes in seminal form all the teachings of Chassidus revealed in later generations.[226] In this sense, this Tanya makes the totality of the teachings of Chassidus accessible.

The Ultimate Purpose of Sight

There is an intrinsic connection between the blind and the study of Chassidus. The medium in which pnimiyus HaTorah is revealed in the present age, Chassidus, is known as[227] "the Light of the Torah." Similarly, in Lashon HaKodesh, "the holy tongue," it is common to describe the blind by the euphemism sagi nahor, which means "of great light." And indeed, historically, there is a connection between the two. One of the great sages of the Kabbalistic tradition, Rabbi Yitzchak Sagi Nahor,[228] was blind.

There is also a connection between the blind and the Future Redemption, because in that era the dimension they possess which is associated with "great light" will be revealed. At that time, G-d will heal the entire world and the blind will be healed first.[229]

(The significance of the blind becoming sighted is also connected to the revelation of the "knowledge of G-d" in the Era of Redemption. Mashiach will teach the people using the power of sight[230] and thus, this faculty will be necessary to appreciate the new dimensions of Torah knowledge that will be revealed at that time.)

Moreover, the study of the Tanya by the blind will hasten the advent of this era, for this represents the opening of an entirely new sphere in the spreading of the teachings of Chassidus. And in this context, we can appreciate the greater significance of this printing.

Making Accounts: Mashiach's Coming is Past Due

Mashiach's coming is long overdue; "All the appointed times for the Redemption have past."[231]Furthermore, from the perspective of the Jewish people, we have already completed the spiritual service demanded of us. To borrow a phrase from the Previous Rebbe, "We have even polished the buttons,"[232]for the teachings of Chassidus have been presented in a manner in which they are accessible to every Jew.

The printing of the Tanya in Braille thus reflects the nature of the spiritual service required in the present age -- making the teachings of Chassidus accessible to others who for various reasons have not yet been exposed to them. And in doing so, there must be a consciousness that these teachings are a foretaste of the revelation of "the knowledge of G-d" in the Era of the Redemption. Moreover, a study of these teachings will lead to that revelation. In this manner, studying Chassidus reflects our efforts to "live with the Redemption," and make the Redemption an active force in our daily conduct.

The above concepts are particularly relevant in the present month, the month of Elul, when it is customary to review and take stock of our spiritual service in the previous year, and in this manner, prepare for the new year to come. This stocktaking should also focus on the imminence of the Redemption and on our efforts to make the Redemption an actual reality.

Catalysts for the Redemption

A Jew has the potential to arouse himself, to arouse others, and to arouse G-d, Himself, as it were. According to all the signs given by our Sages,[233] and definitely in the light of the miracles which we have witnessed recently, the ultimate Redemption should have come already, and in this present year. For the miracles described in the Yalkut Shimoni[234] are to take place in "the year in which the King Mashiach will be revealed."

We must cry out Ad Masai! -- "Until when must we remain in exile?" And furthermore, this outcry must be coupled with actions that grant us a foretaste of -- and thus precipitate -- the Era of the Redemption.

And these efforts will doubtless bear fruit, particularly in the present time. The month of Elul is a time when G-d accepts the requests and grants the wishes of the Jewish people. And surely this is an appropriate time for Him to grant our truest and most essential wish -- that the Redemption come about immediately.

  1.  Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Previous Rebbe, Vol. IV, p. 261 ff.
  1.  For the relevant sources see footnotes 12, 13 and 14 to the above Overview.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9, quoted by the Rambam at the conclusion of his discussion of the Era of the Redemption in the Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  See sichah of Parshas Bo, 5744, and the essay on "The Printing of Tanya," in Sichos In English,Vol. XIX, pp. 113-119.
  1.  Zohar III, 221a.
  1.  Furthermore, the final portion of the Tanya, Kuntres Acharon, is an explanation of certain passages found in the previous four portions of the Tanya. In this it resembles the Oral Law which is an explanation of the Written Law. Indeed, there is a close similarity between this fifth portion of the Tanya and the Book of Devarim, which is called Mishneh Torah, a restatement of the Torah, and thus shares a connection with the Oral Law.
  1.  See Yerushalmi, Chagigah 1:7, and commentary of Korban HaEdah.
  1.  See Shmos HaGedolim and also Recanati, Parshas Vayeishev.
  1.  Midrash Tehillim 146; see also Yeshayahu 65:35 and Bereishis Rabbah 95:1.
  1.  See Likkutei Torah, Tzav 17 a,b.
  1.  Sanhedrin 97b.
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  See the conclusion of Tractate Kesubbos.
  1.  Vol. II, sec. 499, commenting on Yeshayahu 60:1, with reference to events having worldwide repercussions in the Persian Gulf.

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Ki Seitzei, 5751

Publisher's Foreword

Even before the currently closing Jewish year began, the Rebbe Shlita stated that this would be a year in which G-d's promise to His people would be fulfilled -- that "I will show you wonders."* And indeed, this year has been filled with a series of wondrous events which when recounted stagger the imagination --the Gulf War, the mass immigration of Jews to Eretz Yisrael, and the complete collapse of communism, to cite a few.

It was events nearer home, however, that perhaps explain why in the course of his talks this past Shabbos (Parshas Ki Seitzei; Aug. 24), the Rebbe chose to speak of concepts relevant to mankind as a whole. His statements touched on the ultimate purpose for any community and on the universal values around which any society should be structured.

We have taken these points, which were originally scattered throughout the course of talks focusing on other subjects, and arranged them as an independent essay. It is our hope that the ideals they champion will help motivate men of all faiths to join hands together to usher the world into its ultimate state of fulfillment -- to the era in which "Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more"** -- with the coming of the ultimate Redemption. May this take place speedily, in our days
18 Elul, 5751 [August 28, 1991]
* Michah 7:15. See the booklet entitled I Will Show You Wonders, published by Sichos In English, 5751.
** Yeshayahu 2:4. See the essay below, entitled "Swords into Plowshares: Disarmament as in Isaiah."

In the Image of G-d

Our Sages teach,[235] "Precious is man, for he has been created in the image of G-d."[236] In his Guide to the Perplexed,[237] Rambam explains that "the image of G-d" refers to our capacity "to conceive of intellectual ideas and to be conscious of 'Him who spoke and brought the world into being.' " This, the ability to use our minds creatively and to direct our thoughts to G-d, is the pinnacle of our human potential.

Realizing this potential is dependent on peace of mind. And peace of mind comes when a person feels spiritual purpose and fulfillment, while living in an environment which affords him peace, security, and the opportunity to satisfy his material needs.

Structuring our Society According to G-d's Plan

Creating a setting which leads to the realization of these goals should be the purpose of every society. This can be accomplished by adopting a structure based on the seven universal laws commanded to Noah and his descendants,[238] i.e., to all humanity. For this is the blueprint which the Almighty gave Moses[239] to allow all men to live in harmony.

Implicit in the above blueprint is tzedakah, charity.[240] Those who have been granted success must realize that their prosperity is a gift from G-d which carries with it the responsibility to help others who are not as fortunate.[241]
Incorporating these principles into our society is a self-reinforcing process, for the experience of the good these values promote, naturally encourages further progress along these lines. Similarly, in a spiritual sense:[242]

The Torah has promised that if we observe its [commandments] joyfully.... [G-d] will remove all the obstacles which hinder us from such observance, such as illness, war and hunger.... Similarly, He will grant us all manner of good things to reinforce our observance.
Educating our Youth, the Key to Making these Ideals Reality

Actualizing these ideals depends on chinuch, education. Education is, of course, not merely the transfer of knowledge, but more importantly, the communication of values and character traits which parents and grandparents have learnt through their studies and life experience. And this process of communication should flow naturally. Ideally, a child listens to his parents immediately, not because of intimidation, but as a byproduct of their ongoing relationship.

Admittedly, bringing up a child is not an easy process. A parent will occasionally observe attitudes of which he does not approve. After all, young people, like adults, are challenged by drives, and are subject to the pressures of their peer environment. But whatever the current inconsistencies in conduct, a parent should never despair over his child's future. If he has invested himself in his child's upbringing, he may rest assured that any frustration will be only temporary. As time passes, the warm and sensible concern which he has devoted to his children will inevitably bear fruit.

The Ultimate Good

In an ultimate sense, it is in the Era of the Redemption that the above goals will be realized, for Mashiachwill then[243] "perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written,[244] 'I will make the peoples pure of speech so that they all will call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.' "

And the singleness of purpose shared by all people will be manifest in an era of abundant good:[245]

There will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance and all the delights will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d... as it is written,[246] "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed."

Precipitating the Era of the Redemption

We do not, however, have to wait until the future. A foretaste of this is possible in our days, and even more so at present, for we are standing at the threshold of the Era of the Redemption. This is a unique year; the Hebrew letters whose numerical equivalent is associated with this year serve as an acronym for the Hebrew phrase meaning, "This will surely be a year when 'I will show you wonders.' "[247] And we have seen wonders -- including the miraculous victory in the Persian Gulf, an event associated by the classic text, the Yalkut Shimoni,[248] with "the year in which the Messianic king will be revealed." Similarly, we have seen an ingathering of the exiles of Israel to our Holy Land, a foreglimpse of the ultimate return to the Land in the Messianic Era. And there have been many other miracles which we have all witnessed in both the personal and global sphere.

These are, therefore, appropriate times to incorporate in our lives the heightened spiritual awareness which we will possess in the Era of the Redemption. In this way, we can add fulfillment to our present experience and precipitate the coming of that ultimate era. May this take place in the immediate future.      
  1.  Mishnah, Ethics of the Fathers 3:14.
  1.  Bereishis 9:6.
  1.  Vol. 1, ch. 1.
  1.  These seven laws comprise the prohibitions against the worship of false divinities, blasphemy, murder, incest and adultery, theft, and eating flesh from a living animal, and the obligation to enact laws and establish courts of justice. See Rambam, Hilchos Melachim, chs. 9 and 10.
  1.  Cf. Rambam, loc cit., 8:10.
  1.  See Rabbeinu Nissim, gloss to Tractate Sanhedrin 56b, who cites Eichah 4:6 and explains that charity is an obligation incumbent on all mankind. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 157 ff.
  1.  See the essay entitled "Charity and Tzedakah: A Contrast, not a Definition," published by Sichos In English, 5751.
  1.  Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 9:1.
  1.  Ibid., Hilchos Melachim 11:4.
  1.  Zephaniah 3:9.
  1.  Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9.
  1.  A reference to the Biblical prophecy (Michah 7:15), "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders." See the above-mentioned booklet entitled I Will Show You Wonders.
  1.  Vol. II, sec. 499, interpreting Yeshayahu 60:1.
An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
During the Early Weeks of the Year 5752

Publisher's Foreword

As a preface to this essay, we would like to quote a passage from our Publisher's Foreword to a similar essay last year.

Well before the beginning of last year,* people of all walks of life looked forward with anticipation to see what the new year held in store. The Rebbe Shlita had said that the letters (5750) stood for the words, "This will surely be a year of miracles." And soon one thing became clear in everyone's mind -- that this was no mere play on words. Within a very short time, cataclysmic upheavals overwhelmed one regime after another, with unprecedented results for humanity at large and for the Jewish people in particular.

Well before this year began, people of all walks of life have again been looking forward with impatient anticipation to see what this new year holds in store. For the Rebbe Shlita has repeatedly said** that the letters (5751) stand for the words, -- "This will surely be a year when '[G-d] will show you wonders.' " Here again it is clear in everyone's mind -- that this is no mere play on words. As the present essay records, the Rebbe Shlita sees a direct connection between the international events which are engaging the earnest concern of the world at large, and the teachings of the Sages in the Midrashic work entitled Yalkut Shimoni.

As we mentioned at the outset, we published the above two paragraphs a year ago.

In the present year as well, the international climate is pregnant with possibilities of radical change for Jews in all parts of the world. And together with the entire Jewish people -- and with many other people throughout the world -- we recognize that the Rebbe Shlita's definition of the Hebrew letters associated with the present year, 5752 as hayoh tehei shnas niflaos bah, which mean "This will be a year replete with wonders," is no mere play on words.

With gratitude to G-d for the wonders of the previous years, we look forward to a year whose message will bring unprecedented results for humanity at large and for the Jewish people in particular.
20 MarCheshvan, 5752 [October 28, 1991]
Birthday of the Rebbe Rashab [1860]
* At the farbrengen of Shabbos Mevarchim Sivan, 5749, the Rebbe Shlita first described 5750 as "A Year of Miracles."
** See the sichah of Shabbos Parshas Emor, 5750.
Patterns of Time

The Torah conceives of time as cyclical in nature. This is reflected in the Hebrew word for "year" --shanah, which also means "repeat". Each year represents a full cycle of spiritual influences diffused from above, which are repeated the following year.[249]

Simultaneously, every individual year is also unique. (This too is alluded to in the word shanah, whose three letters are indentical with the root of the verb shin, nun hei, meaning "change."[250]) Although the pattern of time is repeated, every year different spiritual qualities are revealed which determine the nature of the events to occur in that year.

A Year Replete with Wonders

In this light, the Hebrew letters which are identified with the date of the present year, 5752, are significant. These letters form an acronym for the Hebrew words which mean that "This will be a year replete with wonders." The expression "replete with wonders" implies not only that the year will contain wonders, but that this wondrous dimension will characterize the very nature of this unique year, permeating every day and every event that will transpire in it.

As an expression of this concept, the letters tof shin nun beis also serve as an acronym for the Hebrew words hayah tehei shnas niflaos bakol which mean, "This will be a year of wonders in all things." For every aspect of the year, both those facets of general import and those which are relevant to individuals, will be wondrous in nature.

Not only to Witness, but to Comprehend

The unique quality of the present year can be appreciated by a contrast to the previous year, a year identified by its Hebrew initials with the verse in which G-d promises, "I will show you wonders."[251] As implied by that verse, the wonders of 5751 were openly revealed. Similarly, the wonders of the present year will be manifest and apparent.

There is, however, a difference between the two. The word arenu, the Hebrew for "I will show you," is related to the potential of re'iyah, which means "sight". In chassidic thought, sight is associated with the quality of Chochmah, "wisdom". In contrast, the letter bais that appears as one of the letters associated with the present year, relates to the quality of Binah, "understanding".

Chochmah refers to the abstract conception of an idea, the mind's glimpse of a concept which cannot be precisely defined or distilled into words. Binah, by contrast, refers to an individual's efforts to incorporate such an idea in his own conceptual framework, to internalize it, and comprehend it in a systematic manner.

By definition, a "wonder" surpasses our ordinary framework of reference: it is not within the grasp of our day-to-day thought processes. This was surely true of the wonders of last year, which exceeded the scope of everyone's imagination. The wonders of the present year will be as great -- and, indeed, greater. They will, however, relate to the intellectual faculty known as Binah, and thus will lend themselves to being comprehended in their entirety. This, in turn, will make it easier for us to internalize the lessons they impart and to communicate them to others.

Spreading a Recognition of G-d's Hand

Sharing our awareness of these wonders is particularly important. It is human nature to rationalize, to attempt to explain any events that happen, even those which are extraordinary. As our distinctive spiritual task for this unique year, we should instead endeavor to draw the attention of those around us to the G-dly nature of the wonders that transpire before our very eyes.

This grateful acknowledgement of G-d's kindness will in turn enhance and amplify the wondrous pattern that He reveals in the world. The appreciation we show for the wonders He works will call forth greater miracles of an even more encompassing nature.

A Preparatory Ingathering

Among the wonders which are already taking place is the ingathering of our dispersed brethren to Eretz Yisrael.[252] Jews who for many years could not have dreamed of coming to our Holy Land are now makingaliyah. For many years, they were granted neither the chance to express themselves Jewishly in the lands in which they lived, nor the opportunity to emigrate and live Jewishly in other surroundings. Today, both of these rights are being granted. The right to live as Jews and observe the Torah and its mitzvos is being affirmed by governments which had previously denied it. Hundreds of thousands of Jews have been given the opportunity -- and indeed have been assisted -- to leave these countries and settle in other lands, including Eretz Yisrael.

This mass exodus carries with it a responsibility and a privilege for every member of the Jewish people --to help our brethren establish themselves in their new surroundings, so that they can begin a new life amidst prosperity and comfort in both a material and spiritual sense.

A Glimpse of the Future

This mass aliyah should make us ever more conscious of the imminence of the ultimate Ingathering of the Exiles. It is evident that we are at the threshold of the Redemption and indeed, in the process of crossing that threshold.[253] Even secular magazines, newspapers, and other media have begun speaking ofMashiach and the Redemption as subjects of contemporary interest and relevance.[254]

Because of the imminence of the Redemption, it is possible to experience a foretaste of that era in the present day. On the most basic level, this means that although the Redemption is not yet manifest, the awareness of its imminence should inspire joy. This in turn should motivate a person to greater efforts to precipitate the coming of this era. And thus, in the immediate future, we will see how the wonders of the present year will include the greatest and most necessary wonder -- the coming of the Redemption.
  1.  Cf. Ibn Ezra on Shmos 12:2; R. Yonah ben Jannach, Sefer HaShorashim, s.v. shanah; Radak, Sefer HaShorashim, s.v. shanah.
  1.  Avodas HaKodesh, Part IV, ch. 19.
  1.  Michah 7:15. See the booklet entitled "I Will Show You Wonders," published by Sichos In English, 5751 (1991), which explains the connection between this verse and that year.
  1.  There is an intrinsic connection between the ingathering of the exiles and the present year. As explained above, the Hebrew letters associated with the date of the present year can be interpreted as an acronym for the Hebrew words, tih'yeh shnas niflaos bakol. The word bakol ("in all things") is the first of the three expressions of blessing (cf. Bava Basra 16b-17a) associated with the Patriarchs -- bakol, mikol, kol, as we recite in the Grace After Meals (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 93). In regard to Avraham it is written, "And G-d blessed Avraham with everything" (Bereishis 24:1). In regard to Yitzchak, it is written, "I have eaten of all" (Bereishis 27:33). And regarding Yaakov it is written, "I have everything" (ibid., 33:11).
These three words are numerically equivalent to the word kabetz, meaning "gather", and implying that one of the manifestations of the wondrous Divine blessings of the present year will be the ingathering of our exiles.
  1.  This theme is developed in the above essay entitled "On the Threshold of the Redemption."
  1.  As a well-known chassidic adage puts it, "When Mashiach comes, his arrival will be reported in the newspapers."

An Essay Occasioned by an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Noach, 5752

Publisher's Foreword

On Shabbos Parshas Noach, the Rebbe Shlita emphasized the importance of spreading the observance of the monthly practice of Kiddush HaLevanah, the Sanctification of the Moon. What we are hereby publishing with this intent, is not so much a restatement of the Rebbe's words on that occasion, but an original essay which draws heavily on those words, as well as on a number of other Torah sources.
7 MarCheshvan, 5752 [October 15, 1991]

Do You Appreciate Something That You Haven't Worked For?

There isn't a single one of us who isn't happy to receive a present. Nevertheless, it is human nature for a person not to derive true satisfaction from anything he is given unless he has labored for it and earned it.

The same concept applies in our relationship with G-d. G-d has promised man blessings of ultimate good and this promise will be realized in the Era of the Redemption. For the good of this era to be appreciated in the fullest sense, however, G-d ordained that its advent would be dependent on man's conduct. It is our efforts to refine the world and reveal the spiritual potential invested in it which prepares for the ultimate manifestation of that potential in the Era of the Redemption.[255] When we carry out this service, the Redemption becomes a product of our own efforts and will thus be appreciated more deeply.

In Touch with the Times

In a general sense, the totality of our observance of the Torah and its mitzvos is dedicated to this objective. In particular, however, each era has its distinctive spiritual task, one which has a particular potential to hasten the coming of the Redemption. At times, even individual practices and customs are granted paramount importance and their observance is particularly significant, for they are intrinsically related to the advent of Mashiach.

In this vein, on Shabbos Parshas Noach, the Rebbe Shlita spoke of the importance of the practice ofKiddush HaLevanah, "the Sanctification of the Moon."[256] Indeed, the Rebbe stated that the careful observance of this precept will hasten the coming of the Redemption.

Becoming Conscious of G-d's Presence

Our Sages[257] equate the Sanctification of the Moon with welcoming G-d's Presence, for the pattern by which the moon constantly renews itself enables man to appreciate the G-dliness manifest within the natural order.[258] When one considers the unfailing pattern in which the universe continues, one becomes conscious of an infinite power that surpasses our human conception. Although this concept can be perceived from all elements of our worldly environment, our Sages associated this idea with the moon, for the regular monthly pattern in which it waxes and wanes is clearly observable.[259]

Significantly, however, the Rabbis relate this manifestation of G-dliness within nature to the manifestation of His might and wonders in His relationship with the Jewish people. Thus, in his explanation of the Sanctification of the Moon, Rabbeinu Yonah focuses on the verse,[260] "Truly, You are a G-d who hides Himself, O G-d of Israel and Savior," and declares:

Although You are "a G-d who hides Yourself," You are "the G-d of Israel," for You have wrought numerous wonders on their behalf and You deliver them at every time and juncture. Thus, You have revealed Yourself to them, and they are conscious of Your Presence.

A Promise of Redemption

Similarly, our Sages[261] associate the moon's periodic rebirth with the ultimate renewal the Jewish people will experience in the Era of the Redemption, for the Jews "calculate their calendar according to the moon and resemble the moon."[262] Just as the moon wanes and becomes concealed, for a certain time the Jewish people must endure the darkness of exile. The shining of the moon anew each month, however, reassures us of the coming of the ultimate rebirth -- the Redemption.

More particularly, the Sages[263] associate the moon with the Davidic dynasty. This is borne out by the recitation of the phrase, "David, King of Israel, is living and enduring," in the ceremony of the Sanctification of the Moon. Thus the rebirth of the moon also reflects a promise of renewal for that dynasty, the shining forth of the light of Mashiach, who will be a descendant of King David.[264]

"The Guardian of Israel Neither Slumbers nor Sleeps"[265]

The Sanctification of the Moon also carries with it assurances of security and protection for every individual, as borne out by our prayer in the sanctification ceremony: "Just as I leap toward you and cannot touch you, so too, may all my enemies be unable to touch me harmfully."[266] Even in the night of exile, when the Divine Presence is not openly revealed, G-d is constantly watching over us and protecting us.

Renewing the Marriage Contract

Our Sages[267] explain that the Sanctification of the Moon should be recited with joy and celebration parallel to that of a wedding. For the redemption of the Jewish people to which it alludes is described by analogy, as the renewal of their marriage bond with G-d.[268]

And this is all the more relevant at the present time, for the Redemption is imminent. As the Rebbe Shlitahas told us on countless occasions, we are "on the threshold of the redemption," and indeed, we are in the process of crossing that threshold.[269]

The ceremony of the Sanctification of the Moon includes the following verse:[270] "The voice of my beloved! Here he comes, leaping over the mountains, skipping over the hills." On this verse, the Yalkut Shimoni comments: " 'The voice of my beloved' -- This refers to the Mashiach. He comes and tells Israel, 'You will be redeemed this month.' "

May Mashiach leap over any and all obstacles that hold back the Redemption and allow this promise to be realized in this present month.

Basic Guidelines on the Sanctification of the Moon
  1. In most prayer books, the prayers for the Sanctification of the Moon are found after the evening service or after the Havdalah service of Saturday night.
  1. The blessing may be recited only until the conclusion of the fifteenth day after the rebirth of the moon. According to the Kabbalah, the blessing should not be recited before the seventh day after the rebirth of the moon.
  1. The blessing should be recited under the open skies, but may not be recited when the moon is covered with clouds.
  1. Preferably, the blessing should be recited on Saturday night. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule.
  1.  See Tanya, ch. 37.
  1.  Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 238.
  1.  Sanhedrin 42a.
  1.  Rabbeinu Yonah, gloss to the Halachos of Rabbeinu Yitzchak Alfasi, Berachos 21a.
  1.  See Levush, Orach Chayim 426.
  1.  Yeshayahu 45:15.
  1.  Sanhedrin, ibid. This concept is also expressed in the blessing we recite when sanctifying the moon.
  1.  Cf. Sukkah 29a; Shir HaShirim Rabbah 6:4.
  1.  See Rabbeinu Bachaye, Parshas Vayeishev; Rama, Orach Chayim 426:2. Also, according to the Kabbalah both the moon and King David are associated with the Sefirah of Malchus.
  1.  See Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:4.
  1.  Tehillim 121:4, recited in the ceremony of the Sanctification of the Moon.
  1.  See also Shelah HaKatzar and other sources.
  1.  Rama, Darchei Moshe 426, gloss to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 426:2.
  1.  Taanis 5:7.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "On the Threshold of the Redemption."
  1.  Shir HaShirim 2:9.

An Adaptation of an Address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Vayeira, 5752

Publisher's Foreword

At present, the eyes of the entire world are on the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael. Far away from the workings of international diplomacy, however, the Rebbe Shlita informs us of a different process of ongoing change. At times openly and at times enclothed within the natural order, there is an inner motivating force which ultimately is the source for everything that occurs in the world at large.

The Rebbe Shlita has described the present year as "a year imbued with wonders" which will lead to the era when,* "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders," the wonders of the Redemption. In the address on which this essay was based, the Rebbe tells us of the intrinsic connection each Jew has with the Redemption and informs us that indeed, Mashiach is here, waiting for us to recognize his mission and to create a climate in the world that will allow it to be fulfilled.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5752 [November 8, 1991]
* Michah 7:15.

Why Are You Crying?

When Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber, the fifth of the Lubavitcher Rebbeim, was four or five years old, he was taken to his grandfather, the Tzemach Tzedek, for a birthday blessing. When he entered his grandfather's room, he began to cry.

After calming him, his grandfather enquired about the reason for his tears. The child responded, "Incheder, we learned that G-d revealed Himself to Avraham.[271] Why does He not reveal Himself to me?"[272]

This story reflects the essential desire of every Jew -- to live his life amidst manifest G-dliness. In particular, this desire is reflected in the present generation, the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Redemption. For in the Era of the Redemption, "Your Master will conceal Himself no longer, and your eyes will perceive your Master."[273] "The glory of G-d will be revealed and all flesh will see"[274] the expression of G-dliness throughout creation. Now as we stand at the threshold of that era, this essential desire is more powerfully felt.

A Spark of Redemption Within Every Jew

Furthermore, the potential to appreciate manifest G-dliness is an intrinsic dimension of every Jew's being, for a Jew's soul is "truly a part of G-d from above."[275] Furthermore, through the mitzvah of circumcision, a covenant is sealed in our flesh,[276] connecting this G-dly nature to the material existence of every member of our people.[277]

Similarly, the revelations of the Era of the Redemption are intrinsically related to every Jew, for every Jew possesses a spark of Mashiach.[278] Indeed, the texts of the Kabbalah[279] identify this spark with the quality of yechidah, the very core of our being, the innermost dimension of our souls.

Children -- G-d's Anointed Ones

In particular, the above is reflected in Jewish children, for our Sages[280] explicitly identify them with the name Meshichai -- "My anointed ones." Why are they given this title? Since their intellectual and emotional potentials are less developed, their essential quality, the spark of Mashiach in their souls, is more openly expressed. In contrast to adults, their only serious concern is that Mashiach should come.[281]

Unveiling the G-dliness in Our Environment

Every Jew has been charged by G-d to reveal this essential dimension in his own conscious powers, in his physical activities, and in his interaction with his environment. The revelation of the particular sparks ofMashiach through these efforts will hasten the coming of the era of Mashiach, the age when the manifestation of this fundamental G-dliness will permeate the world in its totality.

The responsibility every Jew carries to speed Mashiach's coming through such service is reflected in the fact that the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach is the same as the sum of the numerical equivalent of the word shaliach, which means "agent", plus ten. This implies that Mashiach's coming is dependent on every person's dedicating the ten faculties of his soul to the shlichus, the "mission", of revealing G-dliness in this world.

Internalizing Our Knowledge of G-d

Implicit in this mission is disseminating the teachings of pnimiyus HaTorah, and integrating them into our conscious thinking processes. In the Era of the Redemption, "a person will no longer [have to] teach a friend... for they will all know Me."[282] "New [dimensions of the] Torah will emerge from Me,"[283] and every individual will experience a direct, personal knowledge of G-d.

Since, as our Sages teach, reward is granted "measure for measure,"[284] it follows that in preparation for this revelation, we should devote ourselves to the knowledge of G-d and the development of an inner bond with Him. It is the Torah which enables us to forge such a connection. This is reflected in our Rabbis' interpretation[285] of the verse, "He kisses me with the kisses of His mouth,"[286] as referring to the inner bond which is established with G-d through the study of pnimiyus HaTorah.

Mashiach in Every Generation

The relevance of the above is made possible by the unique nature of our present times. To borrow an expression of the Previous Rebbe,[287] we have already "polished the buttons" and have completed all the spiritual tasks required of us.

Furthermore, Mashiach is not merely a hope for the future, but there exists in every generation -- and surely, in our generation -- "a person from among the descendants of Judah who is worthy of being theMashiach of Israel."[288] As the Chasam Sofer writes,[289] "From the time of the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, there was born one who in his righteousness is worthy of being [Israel's] redeemer,"[290] and were there no obstacles to impede his coming, he would have come already.

Moreover, these obstacles no longer exist, for when the service of the Jewish people over the centuries is considered as a whole, everything that is necessary to bring about the Redemption has been accomplished.[291] There is no valid explanation for the continuation of the exile. Accordingly, at this time, our spiritual service must focus on[292] "standing prepared to greet Mashiach," anxiously awaiting his revelation with the willingness to accept him eagerly.

  1.  Bereishis 18:1.
  1.  Sichah of 20 Cheshvan, 5693; appears in condensed form in HaYom Yom, p. 103.
The story continues that the Tzemach Tzedek answered him, "When a Jew (according to an alternative version, 'When a tzaddik') who is ninety-nine years old recognizes that he must undergo [the spiritual service of] circumcision, he deserves that G-d should reveal Himself to him."
This implies that man must earn the revelation of G-dliness through his own endeavors.
  1.  Yeshayahu 30:20; see also Tanya, ch. 36.
  1.  Yeshayahu 40:5. With the expression "all flesh," the prophet implies that the very physical being of the world -- not only our intellectual and perceptive faculties -- will be permeated with an awareness of G-dliness.
  1.  Tanya, ch. 2; cf. Iyov 31:2.
  1.  Cf. Bereishis 17:13.
  1.  This also includes women, for "a woman is as if circumcised" (Avodah Zarah 27a); i.e., she too possesses the spiritual dimension of circumcision. Likewise, a man who was prevented from fulfilling themitzvah of circumcision is nevertheless deemed to be a party to the above covenant (Mishnah in Nedarim 31b, and Rashi there).
  1.  For the teaching of Meor Einayim on this statement, see footnote 13 to the above essay entitled "Bringing Mashiach Now."
  1.  Ramaz, commenting on Zohar II, 40b.
  1.  Shabbos 119b, commenting on Tehillim 105:15.
  1.  See the sichos of the eve of Simchas Torah, 5752. See also the essay entitled "We WantMashiach Now," in Sichos In English, Vol. VIII, pp. 127-132. The above concept explains the heartfelt cry of children around the world, "We want Mashiach now." Why do the children use the word "want" in this song? Because until Mashiach comes, people feel a want and a lack in their lives.
  1.  Yirmeyahu 31:32.
  1.  Yeshayahu 51:4.
  1.  Nedarim 32a.
  1.  See Rashi's comment (particularly its conclusion) on the verse quoted.
  1.  Shir HaShirim 1:2.
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  The commentary of Rav Ovadiah of Bartenura on Ruth 1:1.
  1.  Responsa on Choshen Mishpat, Vol. 6, Responsum 98. (Significantly, this is not a text of allegory or homily, but rather a text of Torah law.) See also Sdei Chemed, Pe'as HaSadah, Maareches Alef, Principle 70.
  1.  Translator's Note: This statement is based on a set of the fundamental principles of the Jewish faith. A Jew must await Mashiach's coming every day (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:1), and, as explained in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 394, this means that every day, we must expect Mashiach'scoming on that very day.
The Rambam (loc. cit. 11:4), however, defines certain criteria by which we will be able to recognize Mashiach.He will be a Torah sage of the House of David, vigilant in the observance of the mitzvos, who will motivate the entire Jewish people to strengthen their Torah practice. At a given time, he will "fight the wars of G-d and be victorious" and then rebuild the Beis HaMikdash.
Since performing these tasks requires time, we must assume that in every generation there is a potentialMashiach, who is in the midst of the preliminary stages of the above service. Should the setting be appropriate, as the above-quoted responsum of the Chasam Sofer states, "the spirit of Mashiach will rest upon him," and he will redeem our people.
  1.  See footnote 19 to the Overview with which this volume opens.
  1.  Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. IV, p. 279; see also HaYom Yom, entry for 15 Teves.

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Vayeitzei, 5752 and other occasions.
Publisher's Foreword
For several months now, the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita has been emphasizing that we should "live with the Redemption," and internalize it as an active element within our daily lives. In the public addresses on which this essay is based, he explains that all that is necessary is to "open your eyes and see."
This call to simply open one's eyes recalls many familiar chassidic stories concerning pious folk whom Heaven granted the coveted privilege of encountering the Prophet Eliyahu disguised, but -- because of their underdeveloped sensitivity -- they failed to recognize him, and the elusive moment slipped between their clumsy fingers.
Accordingly, the Redemption should not be regarded as a hope for the distant future, but rather as a subject of immediate and present concern. It is our hope that the publication of this essay will in some measure make it ever more immediate and present.
22 Kislev, 5752 [November 29, 1991]

Israel's Mission

Our Sages state,[293] "The world was created solely for Mashiach." For G-d created the world so that He would have "a dwelling place among mortals,"[294] and this ideal will be realized in the Era of the Redemption. At that time the Divine Presence will become manifest in this world, for, in the words of Isaiah's promise,[295] "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed."[296]

Since it is human nature to appreciate something for which one has worked far more than an unearned gift,[297] G-d desired that man have a share in bringing this promise to fruition, that he become G-d's partner in creation.[298] This indeed has been the purpose of the thousands of years during which the Jewish people have served G-d, thereby refining the world and preparing it for the manifestation of His Presence within it. Throughout the centuries, as we have wandered from country to country and from continent to continent, the inner purpose of these journeys has been to cultivate these places and prepare them for the Redemption.[299]

Throughout our history, our people have yearned for the consummation of this task, for the time whenMashiach will actually come. Three times a day, every day of the year, we ask G-d:[300] "May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy." Indeed, our Sages[301] teach us that one of the first questions a soul will be asked in its judgment for the afterlife is, "Did you anticipate the Redemption?"

Open Your Eyes: The Table is Set for the Feast

The above assumes unique relevance in the present time, for the Jewish people have completed the mission with which G-d has charged us. To borrow an expression of the Previous Rebbe's,[302] we have already "polished the buttons": everything necessary to bring about the Redemption has already been accomplished.[303]

Our readiness for the Redemption is also reflected in the world at large. The values of freedom, tolerance, and generosity have spread throughout the community of nations. Regimes that have opposed them have toppled, giving way for greater communication and sharing.

Our Sages[304] have described the Redemption as a feast. To echo this analogy,[305] the table has already been set, everything has been served, and we are sitting at the table together with Mashiach. All we need to do is open our eyes.

Preparing the World for Mashiach

In previous generations as well, there has always been a potential for the Redemption.[306] In the popular version of the Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith,[307] the twelfth Principle reads: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Mashiach. Even if he delays, I will wait every day for him to come." As has been explained,[308] this does not mean that every day we should wait for Mashiach's ultimate coming, but that every day, we should wait expectantly for Mashiach to come on that very day.

Our Sages[309] describe Mashiach as waiting anxiously to come. In previous generations, however, his coming was prevented by the fact that the Jews had not completed the tasks expected of them. At present, however, those tasks have been accomplished; there is nothing lacking. All we have to do is accept Mashiach.

This is the challenge facing our generation: To make the world conscious of Mashiach, and to create an environment that will allow his mission to be fulfilled. Every element of our study of the Torah and our observance of its mitzvos should be permeated by this objective, and directed towards it.

Becoming Attuned to the Redemption

We can gain awareness of Mashiach through the study of pnimiyus HaTorah,[310] the Torah's mystical dimensions, and in particular, through the study of the subjects of redemption and Mashiach.[311] This process will open the eyes of our mind, so that as we live our lives day by day, we will remain constantly attuned to the concept of redemption.

Furthermore, the increase in our awareness of the nature of the Redemption will serve as a catalyst, which will hasten the coming of the day when we can actually open our eyes and see -- that we are in Eretz Yisrael, and in Jerusalem, and, indeed, in the Beis HaMikdash, with the coming of the Redemption.

May this be realized in the immediate future.

  1.  Sanhedrin 96b.
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Bechukosai, sec. 3; Tanya, ch. 36.
  1.  The revelation of the Divine Presence is implied by the use of term "dwelling". Just as it is in a person's home that his personality finds expression without restraint or inhibition, it will be in this world that G-dliness will be revealed without restraint.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  Cf. Bava Metzia 38a.
  1.  Shabbos 10a, 119b; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XV, p. 95.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "Make This Place Eretz Yisrael."
The Sages teach (Pesachim 87b) that "The only reason for which G-d exiled the Jewish people among the nations of the world was that proselytes be added to them." In this teaching, Chassidus perceives an allusion to the ultimate cosmic mission of the Jewish people during their wanderings through the material universe --the task of sifting and elevating the exiled sparks of holiness that are embedded within it. See MiGolah LiGeulah(in English translation, published by Sichos In English), Part I, ch. 2, quoting Sefer HaMaamarim 5702, p. 69.
  1.  Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 58 et al.
  1.  Shabbos 31a.
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  See footnote 19 to the above Overview.
Indeed, we learn that G-d will bring about the ultimate Redemption speedily even when the Jewish people have not yet fully cleansed themselves. For in the penitential prayers of Selichos (quoting Tehillim 25:22 and 130:8), we say, first: "G-d, redeem Israel from all his afflictions"; and afterwards: "And He will redeem Israel from all his sins." First G-d will redeem the Jews from their difficulties -- including the greatest difficulty, the exile -- andthen He will redeem them from their sins. See the above essay entitled "Every Jew Has a Silver Lining."
  1.  Pesachim 119b.
  1.  See footnote 21 to the above Overview.
  1.  Note the comments of the Chasam Sofer (Responsa on Choshen Mishpat, Vol. 6, Responsum 98), that in every generation, there is a potential Mashiach. Moreover, were there no obstacles which prevented his coming, he would have come already. See also Sdei Chemed, Pe'as HaSadeh, Maareches Alef, Principle 70.
  1.  The full text of these thirteen principles, which differs slightly from the popular version that appears in many Siddurim, is found in the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, in the Introduction to ch. 10 of Tractate Sanhedrin.
  1.  Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 394.
  1.  Sanhedrin 98a.
  1.  The connection between pnimiyus HaTorah and the Era of the Redemption is emphasized by the Baal Shem Tov in the renowned letter in which he describes an encounter with Mashiach in the spiritual realms. He asked Mashiach, "When are you coming?" And Mashiach answered him, "When the wellsprings of your teachings shall spread outward." (See the above Overview, and footnotes 12-14 there.)
Since the essence of Mashiach's coming is to allow for "the earth to be filled with the knowledge of G-d," it will be heralded by the spreading of pnimiyus HaTorah, which disseminates this knowledge.
Such study is not the exclusive province of men. The obligation of women to likewise study the inner dimensions of the Torah, i.e., the teachings of Chassidus, is explained by the Rebbe Shlita in Sefer HaMinhagim(English translation; Kehot, N.Y., 1991), p. 192. See also the essay entitled "A Woman's Place in Torah"(Sichos In English, Vol. 45, pp. 16-22).
  1.  This should include the study of these subjects not only in pnimiyus HaTorah, but also as they are explained in Torah law, for example, the final two chapters of the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam. In-depth analyses of these texts by the Rebbe Shlita, both on the level of halachah and of Chassidus, are to be found in I Await His Coming Every Day (Kehot, N.Y., 1991).
 An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach and Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev, 5752 and Other Occasions

Publisher's Foreword

Although, as always, the language spoken by the Rebbe Shlita was Yiddish, the invigorating chassidic gathering of Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev (Shabbos Mevarchim Teves) will long be remembered by all those present as "the French farbrengen."*

Instead of opening his remarks, as expected, with a reference to Chanukah or to the weekly Torah reading, the first words of the Rebbe Shlita were words of welcome which he addressed to a group of Jews from France who had taken up a conspicuous stand on the bleachers against the west wall. They responded by each addressing a LeChaim!** to the Rebbe, who acknowledged each of them with a nod of the head and the traditional blessing, LeChaim VeliVerachah.*** The vast assemblage, sensing that these Frenchmen were to be, so to speak, the guests of honor at an unusual farbrengen, promptly broke out in the stirring melody of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, sung to the words of HaAderes VehaEmunah.**** And, indeed, this melody was to provide the farbrengen with one of its prominent themes.

It transpires that this was a group of businessmen who are investing considerable effort and resources in underwriting the recent dynamic expansion of Chabad-Lubavitch activities in France. Their foremost beneficiary is the renowned Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah at Brunoy, on the outskirts of Paris. Since its establishment after World War II by a group of chassidim of stature who had found their way out of Stalinist Russia, it has been housed in a picturesque pre-Revolutionary mansion known as Le Petit Chateau. Those cramped and utterly inadequate quarters were recently renovated, and soon, at long last, the Yeshivah will spread its wings in the newly-added functional building that will enable it to cope with its growing responsibilities to French Jewry, to the reawakening European community, and to the earnest students that it is attracting worldwide.

When he founded this institution in 1947, the Previous Rebbe wrote in a letter:***** "Baruch shehecheyanu... lizman hazeh! -- 'Blessed [be G-d], Who has granted us life and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.' The foundation of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah in France is bringing immeasurable joy and spiritual satisfaction to our saintly forebears in heaven, the Rebbeim of the respective generations." And, indeed, at the "French farbrengen" described above, the Rebbe Shlitaextolled this particular branch of the Yeshivah as being faithful in all respects to the ideals of the illustrious parent Yeshivah, which was founded in 1897 in the White Russian village of Lubavitch.

The essay before us sets out some of the major themes of this unconventional farbrengen, as well as of the farbrengen of the previous week, on Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach, which foreshadowed it by likewise outlining the spiritual tasks facing French Jewry in particular, and indeed Jews everywhere.
24 Teves, 5752 [December 31, 1991]
Yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe
* (Yiddish:) Assemblage of chassidim addressed by the Rebbe at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y., which has served as Lubavitch world headquarters since the arrival of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, in America in 1940.
** (Hebrew:) Lit., "To life!" A greeting or blessing exchanged as a toast over a sip of wine.
*** (Hebrew:) Lit., "To life and for a blessing!" The customary response to the above.
**** (Hebrew:) The opening words of an alphabetical hymn praising "Him Who lives forever" (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 157).
***** Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. XI, p. 285.

Napoleon: An Ideological Battle

When Napoleon led his armies into Eastern Europe, some Torah leaders[312] supported the French forces in the hope that their victory would enhance the status of the Jewish people. The Alter Rebbe, however, supported Czar Alexander I, explaining that Napoleon's victory would no doubt improve the Jews' economic and social standing, but would detract from their spiritual commitment and practice. A Russian victory, by contrast, would perpetuate the difficult economic conditions under which the Jews lived, but would also nurture the fruitful spiritual climate of yiras shamayim ("awe of G-d") which then prevailed.[313]

Why was the Alter Rebbe so opposed to Napoleon?[314] At the core of the French Revolution lay a disregard for higher authority,[315] a disregard which can spur undue self-concern. Such an attitude in turn leads to the pursuit of material pleasure and sensual gratification.

This should not be misinterpreted to mean that Judaism opposes involvement with the material dimensions of our existence. Quite the contrary, the Rambam writes:[316]

A person may desire... not to eat meat, nor to drink wine, live in a pleasant home, or wear fine clothing.... This is a wrong path and it is forbidden to follow it.... Our Sages directed man to abstain only from those things which the Torah denies him and not to deny himself those [benefits] which are permitted.
At the same time, the Torah does require that our involvement with material things should be motivated by more than a desire for self-gratification. Instead, this involvement should be purposeful in nature and ultimately directed towards serving G-d.[317] For this reason, the Tanya[318] identifies all material indulgence that serves only the desire of the body -- even that which is necessary for the body's very existence -- as sitra achra, the Kabbalistic term associated with evil.

The latter term literally means "the other side," and signifies a thrust that is not directed toward G-dliness. An object or a motive is included in this category, not because it is harmful or destructive, but because it is not directed toward G-d.[319] This is the inherent difficulty in material involvement, for man has a natural tendency to be preoccupied with his own interests and pleasure, rather than with His.

France as a Divine Crucible

Conversely, however, our involvement with material things is necessary to enable us to fulfill a unique G-dly intent. Chassidus explains[320] that every element of material existence contains G-dly sparks which are unrevealed. Through the Divine potential he himself possesses and through the power of the Torah, man can reveal this hidden G-dly energy invested within the world.

Chassidus refers to this approach to worldly involvement as tziruf -- "refinement". The same word describes the process of smelting ore. In this process, the dross is discarded and the precious metal is retained. Similarly, our involvement in the world requires turning our attention away from our own material concerns and focusing on the G-dliness within.

The Hebrew word for France, Tzorfas, shares the same root as the word tziruf, implying that it is intrinsically connected with this mode of serving G-d. France thus represents two approaches to worldly involvement: the self-oriented approach of seeking material pleasure, and the above-described task of refining the world and revealing the G-dliness invested within it. Originally, France was associated only with the former approach.

At present, however, the second approach is in the ascendancy. This began with various visits to France by the Rebbe Maharash,[321] and later, more frequently, by the Rebbe Rashab.[322] In the following generation the Previous Rebbe not only visited France, but moreover sent members of his family there as his emissaries.[323] Ultimately, this process reached a peak when the Previous Rebbe, after having settled in America, established various branches of Tomchei Temimim, the Lubavitcher yeshivah, in France.

This final step has brought about a spiritual revolution and renaissance. As a result, many chassidic and other classical Jewish texts have been published in France, and thousands of Jews whose family origins are in other lands have discovered their Jewish roots in that country. Furthermore, we are now seeing Jews who have been raised in France and who have had the unique character traits of that country inculcated into their personalities take the initiative and dedicate themselves to expanding and broadening the activities of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah.
Transmutation of a National Anthem

In this context, a unique miracle of recent times is worthy of attention. Just as every nation has a flag of its own, every nation has a national anthem. France too possesses a national anthem, a melody rooted in the core of the French Revolution, and composed exactly two hundred years ago, on the eve of the French assault on Austria. It was with the chords of this melody that throngs of eager thousands were to celebrate the authority that had been wrested from the monarchy. Thus this melody came to symbolize precisely the self-assertive Napoleonic spirit which grew out of the Revolution, and which the Alter Rebbe opposed.

Several years ago,[324] however, this melody was adopted by chassidim and sung together with the words of the hymn HaAderes VeHaEmunah,[325] which proclaims G-d's universal Sovereignty. Shortly afterwards, certain chords and rhythms of this song were altered.[326] Seeking to explain this phenomenon, certain elder chassidim have commented that it is as if France willingly gave over its national anthem to the chassidim. And indeed, it is miraculous that a country should change its national anthem, particularly one related so intrinsically to its history.[327] This fact bears testimony to the unique spiritual changes that have transpired in France.

France Becomes a Life-Giving Wellspring

Chassidic thought explains that the intent which motivates our involvement in the world should be two-dimensional in nature. In addition to the service of uplifting the Divine sparks invested in the world, we ought to direct our efforts toward transforming the world itself into a dwelling place for G-d.[328]

The first dimension is limited in scope, for the infinite G-dliness that enclothes itself in our limited world has undergone a process of self-confinement so that this enclothement could be possible. In contrast, the conception of the world as G-d's dwelling opens up an infinite dimension. Just as it is in a person's home that he reveals himself freely, without restraint or inhibition, so too, it is in this world that G-dliness will be revealed without any constraint.

This dimension will be revealed in the Era of the Redemption. In this context our Sages[329] refer to theMashiach as "the one who breaks through," as it is written,[330] "The one who breaks through shall ascend before them." This is the task of Mashiach -- to break through the finite bounds of the world and reveal how it is in fact G-d's dwelling.

Here too we see a connection to France, tzorfas, since the letters of its name can be rearranged to form the word poratzta.[331] This word provides the verb in the verse, "And you shall spread forth vigorously(Ufaratzta) -- westward, eastward, northward and southward."[332] And indeed, France today is fulfilling this verse, disseminating the wellsprings of Chassidus in all directions, and thus preparing the world for the advent of the Redemption.[333]

Significantly, Tzorfas is also numerically equivalent to 770, the address of the center for the dissemination of Chassidus established by the Previous Rebbe. This number in itself reflects a connection to the Redemption, for it is a multiple of the number seven.[334] Our Sages teach that[335] "All sevenths are cherished," and Chassidus explains[336] that the preciousness of the seventh in a series is reflected in the Jewish people's task of drawing the Divine Presence down to the earth, so that it will become manifest here as it was manifest in the Sanctuary.

Today's Task

The above concepts are relevant beyond the geographic confines of France. For the role of the entire Jewish people and the cosmic reason for their dispersion throughout the world is associated with the process of tziruf -- "refinement". Nevertheless, in the present era, this function has been completed. To borrow an expression of the Previous Rebbe's,[337] "We have already polished the buttons," and completed the task of refining the world with which our people have been charged.

In the present generation, our people have been given a new responsibility -- to cultivate the world and prepare it for the coming of the Redemption. This involves "opening our eyes";[338] i.e., broadening our conceptual horizons and realizing that the world in which we are living is far greater than we ordinarily conceive -- that it is G-d's dwelling.

This realization, and the communication of it to others, will hasten the coming of the time when[339] "The exiled host of the children of Israel as far as Tzorfas... will take hold of the cities of the South. And saviors will ascend Mount Zion... and sovereignty will be G-d's."

  1.  These included several of the colleagues of the Alter Rebbe -- Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, founder of the Chabad trend of chassidic thought.
  1.  See his letter (evidently dated 1812) addressed to one of his elder chassidim, Reb Moshe Meisels, published in Beis Rebbe, Part I, pp. 93-94, and in Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Alter Rebbe, sec. 64.
  1.  In fact the Alter Rebbe refused on principle to live under French rule. Hence his five-month flight with his entire family from Liadi through the bitter winter of 1812, ending in his demise during the last days of that year in the village of Piena.
A few months earlier, on the eve of Yom Kippur (1812), his son -- later to succeed him as the Mitteler Rebbe --had witnessed the alarming sight of the entire Russian Senate fleeing from Moscow as Napoleon's troops marched triumphantly through its streets. "Father!" he had wept. "Where is your promise of Napoleon's imminent defeat?" And the Alter Rebbe, wearing his tefillin, swore to him that Napoleon's downfall was indeed at hand.
See the English translation of Likkutei Dibburim (Kehot; N.Y., 1987), Vol. I, ch. 2a, sec. 4ff.; see also: Rabbi Nissan Mindel, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Kehot; N.Y., 1971), ch. XIII.
  1. Though the revolutionaries' overthrow of the yoke of mortal monarchy may well have been inspired by humanitarian ideals, these ideals were not rooted in a faith in G-d. Accordingly, some of the farreaching repercussions of this ideological cataclysm, echoing to this day, may be seen as representing a refusal to accept all authority (including the authority of moral restraints), and ultimately a desire to rebel against the Sovereignty of G-d.
  1.  Mishneh Torah, Hilchos De'os 3:1.
  1.  Loc. cit., 2-3.
  1.  Ch. 7.
  1.  Ibid., ch. 6.
  1.  See Sefer HaMaamarim 5702, pp. 67-70 (cited at the beginning of MiGolah LiGeulah, Part I, ch. 2), and other sources.
  1.  I.e., Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn (1834-1882), the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe. See Sefer HaToldos: Admur HaMaharash (Kehot; 1970), pp. 39, 42, 52.
  1.  I.e., Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Schneersohn (1860-1920), the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe. See Likkutei Dibburim, Vol. II, ch. 16, sec. 18 and 22. Some of the Rebbeim, including the Rebbe Rashab, spoke French.
  1.  Translator's Note: The Rebbe Shlita and the Rebbitzin Chayah Mushka lived in France from 1933-1941. (See: Rabbi M. M. Laufer, Yemei Melech (Kehot; N.Y., 1989), Vol. I, ch. XII.) In later years the Rebbitzinonce commented to one of the women sent as emissaries to France: "We plowed and sowed; your job is to harvest."
  1.  Translator's Note: This first happened at "770" on Simchas Torah, 5734.
  1.  Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 157.
  1.  Translator's Note: This took place in the winter of 5734 (1974). Later, in 5741 (1981), the French government reversed its stance and restored the original melody.
  1.  The recognition of this miracle is significant, firstly as a factor in its own right, but also as part of the process of hastening the coming of the Ultimate Redemption. Our Sages (Sanhedrin 94a) relate that during the time of the First Beis HaMikdash, G-d desired to make King Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah) the Mashiach. However, because he failed to recite songs of praise and thanksgiving after the miraculous defeat of the invading Assyrian forces of Sancheriv (Sennacherib), G-d withheld this from him. Taking due notice of the miracles that occur to us is thus a fundamental factor in the process of speeding the coming of Mashiach.
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Bechukosai, sec. 3; Tanya, chs. 33, 36.
  1.  Aggadas Bereishis, sec. 63.
  1.  Michah 2:13.
  1.  Note how Aggadas Bereishis points out the connection between the concept of Mashiach and the phrase (Bereishis 38:29), poratzta olecha poretz.
  1.  Bereishis 28:15.
  1.  See the letter of the Baal Shem Tov referred to in footnotes 12-14 of the above Overview.
  1.  For the significance of this number on the personal level, see footnote 24 to the above essay entitled "A Sanctuary in Microcosm."
  1.  Vayikra Rabbah 29:11.
  1.  This concept is explained at length in the maamarim entitled Basi LeGani 5710 and Basi LeGani 5711, which appear in English translation in Basi LeGani: Chassidic Discourses (Kehot; N.Y, 1990).
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  See the above essay entitled "Open Your Eyes and See."
  1.  Ovadiah 1:20-21, which is included in the Haftorah of Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach.

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, 5752
Publisher's Foreword

"Books with souls." This was a term the Rebbe Shlita once used to describe the vast library of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn.

In an effort to preserve the spiritual heritage of the Jewish people and the chassidic community in particular, the successive Rebbeim of the Chabad-Lubavitch chassidic movement over the last two centuries amassed a collection of many thousands of volumes including rare manuscripts, early printings, and classical texts that are no longer available.

A large portion of this collection, over twelve thousand volumes, fell into the hands of the Russian government in the turmoil that overwhelmed Russia in the years immediately following the Bolshevik Revolution. Subsequently, for over seventy years, the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbeim have attempted to recover these books, but with no success.

Initially, in 1924, the Russian government demanded an exorbitant ransom. At that time, however, the chassidic movement was battling for sheer survival in the face of Russia's relentless anti-religious persecution. Later, when the funds became available, the Soviet government brazenly denied having the books in its possession.

Since that time, the Previous Rebbe and the Rebbe Shlita never exhausted their efforts to locate the library and have it returned to its legitimate owners. In 1980, it was verified that the books were located in the Lenin Library in Moscow. In November of 1990, when the next step became possible, the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita sent a delegation of four Rabbis -- Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Aharonov, Director ofChabad Activities in Israel; Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, Director of Chabad Activities in California; Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan, a prominent Russian-born Lubavitch educator; and Rabbi Shalom Dober Levin, the Senior Curator of the Central Lubavitch Library in New York -- on a mission to bring these books home.

In the year that has passed since then the four met with leading figures in the Soviet academic, legal and political world, and all agreed that the library should be returned. American political figures including President Bush raised the matter with Soviet authorities and received assurances that it would be expedited. When these promises were not honored the matter was brought to a Soviet court, which ruled that the library must be returned to the chassidim. The decision was appealed, and the appeal rejected. And nevertheless, the books have not been returned.

The essay that follows is an adaptation of the Rebbe Shlita's recent response to this chain of events.
13 Teves, 5752 [December 20, 1991]

Insights into a Power Struggle

The world is not governed by chance or caprice. Every motion within it, from the turning of a leaf in the wind to the transition of power from nation to nation, is controlled by a unique Divine Will.[340]

As we approach the advent of the Era of the Redemption,[341] the workings of Divine Providence are becoming more apparent. This is surely true on the international political scene.[342] The values of freedom, tolerance and generosity are spreading throughout the community of nations. Regimes that have defied them have toppled, giving way for greater communication and sharing.

Significantly, it is in the country in which Chassidism in general, and Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidism in particular, have roots,[343] that this process has reached a turning point. On the one hand, its populance has undeniably been granted greater freedom than before. Nevertheless, anomalous trappings of the previous system persist. As that country confronts and grapples with change, a multifaceted power struggle has emerged, with varying influences competing for supremacy.

The motivating force behind this process is, however, a Divine thrust towards progress leading to the improvement of the world at large -- according to the principles of justice and righteousness revealed by G-d at Mount Sinai, and expressed in the seven universal laws commanded to the descendants of Noah.[344] And those powers which contribute to such progress will ultimately prevail.

During the last year, as these divergent forces contend for authority, a striving of a different nature has been taking place in that country. A historic collection of books belonging to the Previous Rebbe is being held by the authorities without any cause or justification. All requests that the books be returned to their rightful owners have fallen on deaf ears. Although the matter has been taken to a court, which duly ruled that the law of the land requires that the books should be returned, to this day the powers that be have resisted this court order.

These two struggles are interrelated. When a regime does not observe its own avowed standards of justice, the indomitable dynamic of the Divine world-plan demands that it be replaced. And this is the inner motivating force underlying the events of the last several weeks.

A Matter of Public Concern

What is at stake is more than a library. The Previous Rebbe, his teachings, and the texts on which they are based are a single indivisible entity. This is not a matter of private concern. The books -- and indeed, the Rebbe himself -- are part of the heritage of the Jewish people as a whole.[345] They must be redeemed from their state of captivity, and restored to an environment in which they will be appreciated, studied, and reprinted for the benefit of our entire people.

Every Individual Counts

Every individual should realize that he can exert an influence on the above question. Our Sages note[346]that, in contrast to the other living beings which were created in pairs, the first man was created alone. Why? So that every individual should say, "The world was created for me" -- so that he should learn to appreciate that his conduct can affect not only his immediate environment, but existence as a whole.

But how can a person influence what transpires in a country thousands of miles away?

On the verse,[347] "G-d is your shadow at your right hand," the Baal Shem Tov explains[348] that G-d has implanted a spiritual dynamic into the universe: Just as the movement of a person's body is reflected and magnified in his shadow, every step of our conduct in this world likewise arouses spiritual forces of incomparable power.

Accordingly, our efforts to show regard for Jewish holy texts will have an effect on the future of the Previous Rebbe's library. By purchasing comparable texts, such as the ethical and philosophical literature ofChabad Chassidus, and subscribing to publishing houses in order to receive new texts on appropriate subjects as soon as they are printed,[349] we can hasten the return of that library to its rightful owners. Even little children should be given books as gifts, in the hope that what is not yet fully appreciated today will be studied before long.

A Harmonious World is Just Around the Corner

The last owner of the library, the Previous Rebbe, had two names, Yosef (Joseph) and Yitzchak (Isaac). Significantly, each of these Hebrew names embodies an allusion to the forthcoming Era of the Redemption. In describing that Era, the prophet Isaiah states:[350] "G-d will again (Hebrew: yosif) extend His hand a second time to take possession of the remnant of His people." Similarly, the name Yitzchak (lit., "he will laugh") was first given in connection with an occasion for laughter[351] -- and it is in the Era of the Redemption that true happiness will be experienced, as in the verse, "Then will our mouths be filled with laughter."[352] For that age will bring perfection to the world at large: "There will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition."[353] In that age, now near at hand, all nations will join together in the service of G-d, thereby fulfilling the prophecy,[354] "I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose."

  1.  This is the approach to Divine Providence articulated by the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), founder of the chassidic movement, and explained by the Rebbe Shlita in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 277.
See also Likkutei Dibburim (in English translation; Kehot, N.Y., 1987), Vol. I, pp.177-180. There the author recalls how his father, the Rebbe Rashab, having once observed that he had unthinkingly plucked a leaf, commented: "How can a person be so lightminded in relation to a creature of the Almighty? This leaf is something created by the Almighty for a particular reason.... One should always remember the mission and the Divine intention of every created thing."
  1.  See the above essays entitled "On the Threshold of the Redemption" and "Open Your Eyes and See."
  1.  A nation is sometimes empowered to counter the might of another nation. For example, at the time of the First Temple, G-d increased the power of Babylonia so that it would destroy Egypt (see Yechezkel,chs. 29-32).
Often, such nations have not appreciated the Divine mandate they had been granted, imagining that it was their own power which had brought them this authority; to quote Devarim 32:27, "They say, 'Our hand has become uplifted; it is not G-d Who has caused this.' "
Some of these nations have even abused their Divinely-endowed power. And one after another, as history testifies, oppressive regimes of this kind have disappeared from the community of nations.
  1.  I.e., Russia.
  1.  These laws, enumerated and defined in the Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim, chs. 9 and 10, comprise six prohibitions -- against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, incest and adultery, theft, and cruelty to animals -- and one positive commandment, viz., the obligation to ordain laws and establish courts of justice.
  1.  In connection with a judgment delivered by an American court in regard to another portion of the Previous Rebbe's library, the Rebbitzin Chayah Mushka (of blessed memory) said, "Not only the library, but also the Rebbe himself belongs to the chassidim." These sentiments were recorded in that judgment. They were also echoed in the verdict recently delivered by the Russian court. (Translator's Note.)
  1.  Tractate Sanhedrin 37a.
  1.  Tehillim 121:5.
  1.  Keser Shem Tov (Kehot, N.Y., 1981), Addenda, sec. 60.
  1.  Subscription plans of this kind are organized, for example, by the Kehot Book Club, under the auspices of the Kehot Publication Society, N.Y. (Translator's Note.)
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:11.
  1.  Bereishis 21:6.
  1.  Tehillim 126:2.
  1.  Rambam, op. cit. 12:5.
  1.  Zephaniah 3:9; quoted by Rambam, op. cit. 11:4.

An Adaptation of an Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, 5752

Publisher's Foreword

Though the farbrengen of Shabbos Parshas Vayigash (7 Teves) was shorter than usual, lasting less than an hour-and-a-half, it dealt in depth with two major themes. One is adapted here in the above essay entitled "Books with Souls."

The title of the present adaptation, "Confronting Our Material World," is self-explanatory. In the learnedsichah which the present essay seeks to summarize and simplify, the Rebbe Shlita discussed the delicate tension between (a) the spiritual life-tasks of a Jew, and (b) the demands of the material environment in which these life-tasks must necessarily be pursued.
This tension calls to mind the well-loved Yiddish phrase that epitomizes a cherished chassidic ideal: "In velt, ois velt." Literally, this would mean, "In the world, out of the world." More specifically, it refers to the ideal balance between (a) keeping one's feet on the ground, so that one lives and functions within the context of the real world of material reality, yet at the same time (b) keeping one's nose out of the mire of crass materiality.
20 Teves, 5752 [December 27, 1991]
Yahrzeit of the Rambam
Acknowledging the Natural Order vs. Defying It

The episodes related in the Torah are not merely historical narratives, but rather contain lessons which are applicable in all times and places. This concept surely applies to the narrative at the beginning of Parshas Vayigash which describes how Yehudah (Judah) approached Yosef (Joseph) and said, "Please, my master, let your servant speak..., for you are like Pharaoh."[355]

Both Yehudah and Yosef represent the entire Jewish people. The very word Yehudi, Hebrew for "Jew", is derived from the name Yehudah.[356] Similarly, the name Yosef is used (as in the Book of Tehillim) to refer to our people as a whole.[357]

Both of these personalities demonstrate the way in which a Jew is not restricted by the limits of the worldly environment in which we live. This is reflected in the above narrative which describes Yosef as "like Pharaoh," i.e., equal in power to the ruler of the entire civilized world. From this same narrative, we can also appreciate the power of Yehudah. For although Yosef was the ruler of the land, Yehudah approached him without any hesitation, without asking permission, ignoring totally the norms of court protocol.[358]
As we look more closely, a distinction can be drawn between the two. Yosef's position was granted to him by Pharaoh. This implies a degree of respect for Pharaoh's authority, i.e., an acknowledgement of the power of the natural order. Yehudah, in contrast, by approaching Yosef as he did,[359] reflects how he refused to acknowledge those limits entirely. As such, he demonstrated the truly infinite power a Jew possesses, a power that cannot be confined by any constraints.

A Conflict of Interests

The difference between the approaches of Yosef and Yehudah and the relevance of these two thrusts to our present-day lives can be clarified by analyzing our Sages' interpretation[360] of the verse from theMegillah,[361] "So had the king established... to do the will of each person." In the original, the latter phrase reads ish va'ish -- lit., "this man and that," and here our Sages perceive an allusion to Mordechai and Haman. I.e., when Achashverosh was preparing his feast, he desired to satisfy the desires of both of them.

There are two opinions among our Sages regarding the success of his venture: One opinion maintains that since Mordechai and Haman represent two diametrically opposed approaches to life, it is impossible for their divergent wills to be satisfied simultaneously. A second opinion concedes that at present it is indeed impossible for these two polar approaches to be reconciled; in the new world-order of the Era of the Redemption, however, this will become possible.

To explain the analogies involved: Achashverosh, as the Sages teach, is representative of G-d;[362] the feast represents our world,[363] and in an ultimate sense, the fulfillment of its purpose,[364] the Redemption.[365] Mordechai represents a Jewish approach to life, while Haman represents the opposite, the challenges which the material world poses to Jewish practice.

Free Will

According to the first of our Sages' interpretations, G-d's desire to make the feast satisfy the desires of Haman and Mordechai refers to the free choice we are granted. To quote the Rambam:[366]

Free will is granted to all men. If one desires to turn towards the path of good... the choice is his.... Man can on his own initiative... know good and evil and do as he desires.... There is no one who compels him, decrees his fate, or leads him to either of these paths.

Thus, at this level, we are confronted with a choice; material involvement would appear to run contrary to the study of the Torah and the observance of its commandments. A Jew, however, has the potential to follow the example of Mordechai, who "would neither bend the knee nor bow down."[367] Despite the pressures of the material environment in which we all live, he can hold steadfast to the life-tasks of the Torah and its mitzvos. Moreover, like Yosef, he can rise to a position of power without compromising his spiritual integrity at all.

Nevertheless, such an approach does not negate the limitations of the material world. On the contrary, at this level, although a Jew is not controlled by the material aspects of his environment, he is still influenced by them. Indeed, the Torah itself teaches that[368] "The law of the land is binding"; i.e., the fundamental climate of all existence is material, and a Jew's spiritual endeavors are carried out in this context.[369]

Satisfying Both Mordechai and Haman

A different perspective, however, is opened up by the second of our Sages' interpretations -- that the Era of the Redemption will accommodate the two contrary thrusts of Mordechai (the Jew's spiritual tasks in this world) and Haman (this world as a barrier to the fulfillment of these tasks).

The Rambam concludes his discussion of that Era with the verse,[370] "The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed." By quoting this prooftext, the Rambam highlights the manner in which G-dliness will permeate the world in that age. To understand the simile: In contrast to the creatures that live on the dry land, the multitude of creatures which inhabit the ocean are not readily discernible as independent entities. When looking at the ocean, it is the ocean as a whole and not these particular beings that we perceive. Similarly, in the Era of the Redemption, though the material world will continue to exist, its limitations will not be apparent, for it will be suffused with G-dliness.[371]

We have the potential to "live with the Redemption," to experience a foretaste of this era, at present. In this manner, one can "satisfy the desires of both Haman and Mordechai": one can live in the material world (Haman's desire), and yet appreciate the spiritual nature of material reality, realizing how in fact it is not separate from G-dliness. And this realization is the ultimate expression of Mordechai's service.

Shabbos as a Foretaste of the World to Come

To clarify this idea further: The Era of the Redemption is described as "the Day which is entirely Shabbos,and rest for life everlasting."[372] Similarly, Shabbos is described as "a microcosm of the World to Come."[373] And indeed we see a fusion of material existence and spirituality on the Sabbath. We are commanded[374] to celebrate it with physical pleasure, yet the prevailing mood of the day is spiritual.

Our Sages[375] state that a Torah scholar is called "Shabbos". This implies that he extends the fusion of materiality and spirituality experienced on Shabbos into the ordinary weekdays, living his life in constant connection to G-dliness.

This is the approach of Yehudah, who is not confined at all by the limitations of material existence. Similarly, our Sages[376] describe a Jew, a Yehudi, as "one who denies the worship of alien gods." In the original, this phrase is avodah zarah (lit., "alien worship"). In an extended sense, this refers not only to a person's outright idolatry, but also to any[377] "worship which is alien to him," as a Jew. This includes not only forbidden activities, but even any motivation that is not directed toward G-dly purposes. For a Jew, then, since he is "one who denies alien worship," even his mundane and seemingly neutral activities are directed to a spiritual purpose. As our Sages taught,[378"All your deeds[379] should be for the sake of Heaven." And it is likewise written,[380] "Know Him in all your ways."

Enjoying the Redemption Ahead of Time

In this way one can anticipate the Redemption, and enjoy a foretaste of it now. Indeed, the potential for "living with the Redemption" in this manner is far greater at present than in earlier times. For all the spiritual tasks G-d has demanded of the Jewish people have been completed. To borrow an expression of the Previous Rebbe,[381] "We have even polished the buttons, and are standing prepared to greetMashiach." The feast of the Redemption is prepared,[382] we are sitting at the table together withMashiach. All that is necessary now is for each of us to open his eyes.[383]

And this can be seen in the world at large: many governments have adopted values of freedom and tolerance; regimes that have defied these values have collapsed; norms of communication and sharing have become widespread. In contrast to the persecution and oppression our people have suffered in earlier years, the nations of the world are giving Jews full permission -- even active assistance -- in their observance of the Torah and its mitzvos.

Reorientation as a Catalyst

At such a time, it is easier than ever before to follow the course of behavior described above. The world has already been refined to the point that all around us we see receptive people, previously unconnected with Judaism, and now able and eager to appreciate and internalize its truths. It is as if the world wereasking a Jew to realize a state of redemption within his own life.

Moreover, "living with the Redemption" in this manner will help make the Redemption an actual reality. Our Sages observe[384] that, in contrast to the other living beings which were created in pairs, man was created alone. Why? -- So that every individual should say, "The world was created for me," and thus appreciate that his conduct can affect the totality of existence. Thus the coming of the Redemption depends on every single individual. Simply put, were people to open their eyes, as said above, the door would open and Mashiach would enter.

Every individual should realize that he is capable of this, of reorienting himself and making a determined step in the direction of teshuvah, which means "return" -- for, as explained above, every Jew is a Yehudi.And it is through realizing this distinctively Jewish potential, that each of us and all of us together can hasten the coming of the scion of the House of Yehudah, the Mashiach.

May this take place in the immediate future.
  1.  Bereishis 44:18.
  1.  See Rashi on Esther 2:5.
  1.  In the verse, Noheg katzon Yosef ("You, Who lead Yosef like a flock"; Tehillim 80:2, and see Rashithere), it is clear from the context that "Yosef" signifies the whole House of Israel.
  1.  Note the comments of Bereishis Rabbah on Bereishis, loc. cit.
  1.  Although Yosef was in fact his brother, Yehudah was not aware of this and considered him simply as an Egyptian viceroy.
  1.  Megillah 12a.
  1.  Esther 1:8.
  1.  Thus the Meorei Or quotes the Midrash which states, "The name Achashverosh -- this alludes to the Holy One, blessed be He, for the beginning and end [of creation] belong to Him."
  1.  Cf.: "The like a wedding feast" (Eruvin 54a).
  1.  Cf. the opening lines of Tanya, ch. 37, on "the ultimate perfection of the Messianic Era...."
  1.  Cf. the sustained metaphor on man's place in the world in Avos 3:16, which culminates with the phrase, "and everything is prepared for the feast."
  1.  Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 5:1-2.
  1.  Esther 3:2.
  1.  Gittin 10b.
  1.  To cite the example of Yosef: Although he functioned as the viceroy of Egypt, the gentile hierarchy of that country still continued to exist. Indeed, Pharaoh ruled as king.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9; quoted in Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.
  1.  See the essay entitled "The Ultimate Good of the Era of the Redemption," reprinted in "I Await His Coming Every Day" (Kehot, N.Y., 1991), where this concept is discussed in a slightly different context.
  1.  In the original, Yom shekulo Shabbos.... See the closing words of Tamid 7:4, incorporated in the Sabbath prayer inserted near the conclusion of the Grace after Meals (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 93), which asks that we be privileged to inherit that eternal Day.
  1.  In the original, Mei'ein Olam HaBa, a phrase which appears in the zemiros sung at the Shabbostable. Cf.: "The Shabbos is a sixtieth part of the World to Come" (Berachos 57a). This too, like the phrase quoted in our text, alludes to "the World to Come, which is entirely Shabbos" (in the original, HaOlam HaBa, shekulo Shabbos; in Osiyos deRabbi Akiva, sec. 4).
  1.  See Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Shabbos, ch. 30.
  1.  Zohar III, 29a; cf. beginning of Shabbos 119a.
  1.  Megillah 13a.
  1.  See Bava Basra 110a, and Rashbam there.
  1.  Avos 5:20.
  1.  In the original, kol maasecha. This implies not only "all of your deeds," as above, but in addition "your deeds in their entirety."
  1.  Mishlei 3:6. See also Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Deos 3:3.
  1.  Sichah of Simchas Torah, 5689 [1928].
  1.  See Pesachim 119b.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "Open Your Eyes and See."
  1.  Sanhedrin 37a.
An Adaptation of Addresses by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim (27 Shvat), as well as on 25 and 28 Shvat, 5752

Publisher's Foreword

The headlines of the last days of Shvat this year (corresponding to the last days of January, 1992) informed the world that the President of the U.S.A. -- and, a few days later, a meeting of major world leaders -- announced an intention to significantly reduce arms budgets in favor of the more peaceful needs of agriculture.

In public addresses soon after, the Rebbe Shlita declared that this news signified a tangible foretaste of the idyll envisioned by the prophet Isaiah*: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more."

Here, before our very eyes, the major powers are proclaiming their desire to establish a new and humanitarian world order of justice and peace.
Humanity learned its first lesson in the ideals of justice and peace when G-d revealed His Law to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai. It is thus no mere coincidence that the recent portentous meeting of world leaders took place at the time that Jewish congregations around the world read the weekly Torah passage known as Mishpatim. This begins with the words,** "And these are the laws which you (Moshe Rabbeinu) shall set before them." Analyzing the opening (Hebrew) words of this passage, the Sages explain: Even the laws regulating interpersonal conduct that mortal understanding grasps and moreover dictates, should be observed -- by Jews and gentiles alike -- not by virtue of any transient social or intellectual imperative, but by virtue of their Divine origin.

In the addresses outlined in the essay before us, the Rebbe Shlita teaches us how to react to the headlines of our unique era. Living our daily lives in the harmonious and brotherly spirit of the imminent Redemption will not only grant us a foretaste of the Redemption, but will expedite its coming.
3 Adar I, 5752 [February 7, 1992]
* Yeshayahu 2:4. See also the above essay entitled "The Fulfillment of Our Human Potential."
** See Shmos 21:1 and Rashi there, based on Gittin 88b.

From Armaments to Agriculture

The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything a person sees or hears should provide him with a lesson in his service of G-d.[385] Therefore, when trying to comprehend any event that takes place in the world at large, we should sensitize our perception -- to look beyond that event's overt socio-economic causes, and appreciate its spiritual message.

In this context, the events of the past week take on unique significance. In his annual address to his people, the president of the most powerful nation in the world announced major cuts in military expenditure with the intent that the resources saved be devoted to agriculture and social improvements.

Directly afterwards, he met with the leaders of other world powers -- including the leader of the country which until recently had led an opposing bloc of nations[386] -- and they joined in this thrust to disarmament, proclaiming their desire to establish a new world order of justice and peace.

These efforts are a foreglimpse of the fulfillment of the prophecy,[387] "They shall beat their swords into plowshares.... Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more." For from "swords", representing armaments in general, these nations have agreed to make "plowshares", implements which will cultivate the earth and feed the world's hungry millions.

A Long-Awaited Advance

In their commentaries on the above verse, our Rabbis[388] emphasize that the nations' progress towards peace will be motivated by Mashiach. He will "judge among the nations and rebuke many peoples," and this will provide them with the impetus to resolve their differences.

In harmony with this motif, it can be explained that the above trend towards disarmament and unity that we are witnessing, results from the heightened desire for the coming of the Redemption that has been expressed in recent years.[389] Rabbis have issued halachic decisions, ruling that Mashiach must come. The attention of Jews -- and of mankind in general -- has focused on the imminence of the Redemption and the subject has been highlighted in reports in the news media.[390] This process has effected changes within the world at large, producing developments that anticipate the peace and harmony which will permeate the world in the Era of the Redemption.[391]

Nevertheless, as we open our eyes and see so many signs of the Redemption, we cannot help but wonder: Why hasn't the Redemption actually come? We are at the pinnacle of Jewish history, the time most appropriate for Mashiach's coming -- and yet he has not arrived. Ad Masai! How much longer must we wait in exile?

Creating the Optimum Spiritual Climate

Not only does the pattern of events in the world at large give us a foretaste of the Redemption: it also demonstrates the nature of the activities necessary to hasten its coming. The unity, cooperation and sharing espoused by the world powers reflect thrusts that are fundamentally necessary in preparing the world for the Redemption.

Our Sages[392] teach that G-d created the world so that He would have a dwelling place among mortals. This ideal will be realized in the Era of the Redemption.[393] What is the essence of this concept? -- Just as it is in a person's home that his personality finds expression without restraint or inhibition, it will be in this world, G-d's dwelling place, that G-dliness will be revealed without restraint.

To allow for this revelation, unity is necessary. We see a precedent for this in Jewish history. When the Jews approached Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, they camped "as one man, with one heart."[394] This oneness created the spiritual climate necessary for the giving of the Torah. Similarly, to merit the revelations of the Redemption, a macrocosm of the revelations which accompanied the giving of the Torah,[395] we must join together in unity.[396]

Material and Spiritual Charity

This unity must be expressed, not only on the level of feeling, but also through concrete acts within the context of our daily lives. This is implied by our Sages' statement,[397] "Great indeed is tzedakah, for it brings the Redemption near." Sharing with our fellow men and seeking their material welfare reflects how the bonds of unity that we share permeate every dimension of our existence.

These efforts should also be accompanied by "spiritual charity," sharing knowledge.[398] This increase of knowledge will herald the coming of the era when "One man will no longer teach another,... for they will all know Me."[399]

This emphasis on deeds of kindness and tzedakah should be communicated to others, to Jews and gentiles alike.[400] And as evident from the decision of the world powers to "beat their swords into plowshares," the climate in the world at large is ripe for these ideas to be accepted and implemented.[401]

Anticipating Future Harmony

In the Era of the Redemption:

There will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance.... The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d.[402]

In these days, which are moments before the advent of that era, we have the potential to anticipate this new and forthcoming world order, and to currently live our lives in the spirit of the Redemption. We can reflect the interpersonal unity which will characterize that age in our present conduct. And these efforts will hasten the coming of that era, when G-d's all-encompassing oneness will permeate the totality of existence.
  1.  HaYom Yom, entry for 7 Tishrei.
  1.  The participation of this nation in these talks is an obvious indication of the transformation that its policies have undergone. In previous years, this nation had enforced its authority through oppression, ruthlessly trying to stamp out all other ideologies. Recently, that entire communist hierarchy underwent a metamorphosis, giving way to a new regime which has announced its intention to foster the ideals of justice and peace.
This reflects a similar process of transformation in this nation's approach to Jewish practice. Previously, every possible effort was made to crush the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. Now, the spread of Jewish observance is being allowed. In earlier years, the emissaries of the Previous Rebbe had to carry on their activities clandestinely, under the constant threat of danger. Today's emissaries are free to conduct such activities openly, and, at times, they are even granted the assistance of the government.
  1.  Yeshayahu 2:4.
  1.  Radak, Yeshayahu, loc. cit.
  1.  This pattern can be seen as having deeper roots. The UN came into being during and after the Second World War, declaring its purpose to be the establishment of peace and harmony between nations. Significantly, it had the above verse from Yeshayahu engraved on its very wall.
What was the underlying cause for this development? -- The change in the spiritual climate of the world brought about by the calls the Previous Rebbe issued at this time, "Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to redemption."
  1.  As an old chassidic adage has it, "When Mashiach comes it will be reported in the newspapers."
  1.  See Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:4: "He [Mashiach] will then perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written (Zephaniah 3:9), 'I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.' "
  1.  Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Bechukosai, sec. 3; Tanya, ch. 33.
  1.  See Tanya, ch. 36.
  1.  Mechilta and Rashi, commenting on Shmos 19:2.
  1.  Tanya, loc. cit.
  1.  Our Sages (Yoma 9b) teach that the cause for the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and our people's exile was unwarranted hatred. Accordingly, if this cause is nullified, its effect, the exile, will also cease.
In the present age, however, our main task in this area is not to negate undesirable influences, but rather to prepare the world positively for the manifestation of G-d's presence, and in this way, to anticipate the oneness of the Era of the Redemption. See the above essay entitled "Living With the Redemption."
  1.  Bava Basra 10a.
  1.  In this context, it is appropriate to mention current efforts to reprint Torah texts that were originally printed in Rashi script, using the more conventional Hebrew typeface, and similarly, extensive projects to translate sacred Jewish texts into other languages. These efforts allow for the wealth contained in these texts to be shared with many additional readers.
  1.  Yirmeyahu 31:33.
  1.  Although tzedakah is not formally and explicitly one of the seven universal laws communicated to Noach and his descendants, it should be practiced by gentiles. See Eichah 4:6 and its commentaries, and the gloss of Rabbeinu Nissim to Sanhedrin 56b. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 157 ff., where this subject is summarized and documented.
  1.  This leads to another concept. On the surface, the importance of sharing among nations and the negation of weapons of destruction is a logical concept that is easily understandable. Nevertheless, throughout the annals of world history, it has never been applied. Why? -- Because the spiritual climate of the world had not been refined, and thus the conduct of individuals and of nations was motivated by selfish interests which hampered their ethical development.
At present, by contrast, the spiritual climate of the world has changed. All the divine service necessary to bring the Redemption has been completed. It is therefore far easier for people today to rise above these selfish concerns, and to conduct themselves according to the values and principles which logic dictates.
  1.  Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on Simchas Torah and Shushan Purim Katan, 5752 and Other Occasions

Publisher's Foreword

Some two-and-a-half thousand years ago, Mordechai gathered 22,000 Jewish children in the courtyards of ancient Shushan, taught them Torah, and showed them how to pray for the welfare of their people. In no age since then has any tzaddik repeated this scene on such a scale, as in our own generation, when the Rebbe Shlita devotes such a substantial proportion of his time to initiating and directing countless educational projects involving children. To take a simple example, tens of thousands of children are gaining their first lesson in tzedakah from the coin which the Rebbe Shlita personally puts into their little hands, as he gives them his blessing.

Drawing on a variety of works originally published in Hebrew and Yiddish, the present essay assembles some of the Rebbe Shlita's teachings on the spiritual sensitivity and unique potential of children, and presents them in accessible fashion, together with references to their respective classical sources. Characteristically, these teachings throw light not only on the distinctive spiritual personality of children, but also show how their positive qualities are manifested in adults and, indeed, by the Jewish people as a whole.

1st Day of Rosh Chodesh Adar II, 5752 [March 5, 1992]

"It Was They Who Recognized Him First"

Our recognition of redemption comes in stages. When Moshe Rabbeinu first announced G-d's promise of redemption to the Jews in Egypt, they believed him and bowed to G-d in grateful acknowledgement.[403]Nevertheless, when that promise did not materialize immediately, "they did not heed Moshe, because of broken spirits and hard labor."[404] Indeed, even after the redemption had become a reality and the Jews had left the land of bondage, their spirits remained in exile. As soon as they heard the Egyptian chariots pursuing them, they were so terror-stricken that they spoke of returning to slavery.[405] It was only after the miracles of the splitting of the sea that they were able to fully conceive of themselves as free men.[406]

As those miracles transpired, there was one group which stood out prominently. The Jewish children had experienced G-d's miraculous providence during the time He protected them in exile, and at the Red Sea, "it was they who recognized Him first."[407] Even the youngest infants joyfully joined in the song of redemption.[408] Consequently, in recognition of the connection between children and redemption, the name Tzivos HaShem -- "the army of G-d," the name given to the entire Jewish people from the time of the Exodus,[409] has been applied in particular to Jewish children.[410]

Children Know What the World is Lacking

Our Sages[411] highlight the connection between children and redemption by interpreting the verse,[412]"Do not touch My anointed ones (meshichai)," as referring to Jewish children. Why are children given this title? -- Because they have no other genuine concern besides Mashiach.[413] A child truly wants to live in a world of peace, harmony, knowledge and joy, and these are the very qualities that will characterize the Era of the Redemption.

Adults often find it difficult to think beyond the mundane details of their day-to-day existence. Children, by contrast, do not have to grapple with such concerns, and thus their true inner desire can express itself. Although their feelings and thoughts may lack sophistication, the simple genuine power of their desires is greater than that of adults. And this fundamental desire is focused on the coming of the Redemption.

This inner will is reflected in the song first sung by Jewish children, "We want Mashiach now." The word "want" also implies "lack". Intuitively, children feel an actual want, a real lack, because Mashiach has not been revealed.[414]

Nurturing Our Children's Yearnings

We should cultivate our children's inner desire for the coming of the Redemption and allow it to develop by exposing them to the teachings of pnimiyus HaTorah[415] and, in particular, by educating them about the Redemption and Mashiach. One should not hesitate for fear that these subjects are too difficult or too complex. Quite the contrary, experience has shown that children have responded with sensitivity and inspiration when these subjects have been presented to them in a form which they can relate to.[416]

A child's connection with the Redemption should also be reflected in the structure of the environment in which he lives -- his home, and in particular, in his individual room. Every child should make his room a "sanctuary in microcosm" by the prominent display of a Siddur, a Chumash, a Tanya, and a tzedakah pushka, reflecting "the three pillars on which the world stands,"[417] Torah study, prayer, and deeds of kindness. By "making this place Eretz Yisrael,"[418] structuring his environment in a manner that reveals G-dliness, he hastens the coming of the era when "the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d."[419]

Since "tzedakah brings the Redemption near,[420] children should be actively encouraged to give tzedakah.Not only should they give money that was given to them for that specific purpose, but they should be given an allowance so that they become accustomed to contribute to tzedakah out of their own funds. Ultimately, this will prepare them for the time when they will make their own contributions towards the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash.[421]

The Child in Each of Us

On a larger scale, the positive aspects of childhood relate to the Jewish people as a whole. This parallel is reflected in the chassidic interpretation[422] of the verse,[423] "For Israel is a youth and I love him": Israel's youthlike qualities arouse G-d's love.

A similar concept can be derived from the verse,[424] "Who will arise on behalf of Yaakov, for he is small?" Positive influence on behalf of Yaakov, the Jewish people, is called down from Above by the fact that "he is small," by virtue of the bittul, selflessness, which characterizes the Jewish people. This quality is the root of all positive attributes and the repository for all blessing.

"And a Young Child shall Lead Them"[425]

In one of the prophecies of the Redemption,[426] we are promised, "Behold I will send you Eliyah[u] the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day.... And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children." Rashi[427] interprets the latter phrase to mean, "he will turn the hearts of the fathers to G-dthrough the medium of the children." Children will awaken in their parents an earnest desire to turn to G-d.[428] Similarly, in the present context, the sincere desire children have for the Redemption should inspire a similar yearning in their parents.

And we will not have to wait long. We are at the pinnacle of Jewish history, the most appropriate time ever for Mashiach to come. The very next moment can be the last moment of exile, and the moment which follows, the first moment of Redemption. At this time, our energies must be directed to "opening our eyes,"[429] appreciating the Redemption and living our lives in its spirit.

  1.  Shmos 4:31.
  1.  Shmos 6:9.
  1.  See Shmos 14:10-12; Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanis 2:5.
  1.  See Mechilta on Shmos 14:30; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 270.
  1.  Sotah 11b; Shmos Rabbah 23:8.
  1.  Sotah 30b.
  1.  Shmos 12:41.
  1.  Cf. the essay entitled "Tzivos HaShem: the Jewish Army," in Sichos In English, Vol. VIII, pp. 121 ff.
  1.  Shabbos 119b.
  1.  I Divrei HaYamim 16:22.
  1.  Compare the differing interpretations of Rashi and the Maharsha respectively, to Shabbos (loc. cit.) -- that at certain times children used to be anointed with oil, and that this title reflects the importance and power that children possess.
  1.  See the sichos of the eve of Simchas Torah, 5752. See also the essay entitled "We WantMashiach Now," in Sichos In English, Vol. VIII, pp. 127-132.
  1.  The Zohar teaches that in the Era of the Redemption children will be well versed in pnimiyus haTorah. See Zohar I, 118a, and other sources there, as discussed in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 510.
  1.  Efforts to educate Jewish children are significant from another perspective. As explained in thesichos of Shavuos, 5751, there are three Jewish leaders associated with the Redemption -- Moshe Rabbeinu, David HaMelech, and the Baal Shem Tov. The pattern in which the leadership qualities of each of these three personages were revealed is expressed by the verse (Tehillim 78:71), "From following the ewes which gave suck, He brought him to shepherd Yaakov, His people."
In regard to Moshe and David, the verse was fulfilled in a literal sense. In regard to the Baal Shem Tov, his "shepherding" experience was gained through caring for Jewish children as a bahelfer ("teacher's assistant") in a cheder.
  1.  Avos 1:1.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "Make This Place Eretz Yisrael."
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:9, with which the Rambam concludes his discussion of the subject of Mashiach in the Mishneh Torah.
  1.  Bava Basra 10b.
  1.  Children will not take part in the actual construction of the Beis HaMikdash, for their study of Torah takes precedence over this mitzvah (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:12). Nevertheless, they will make their own contributions towards this goal and thus have a share in the construction (Avos deRabbi Nasan 11:1).
  1.  The maamar entitled Ki Naar Yisrael, 5766.
  1.  Hoshea 11:1.
  1.  Amos 7:2.
  1.  Yeshayahu 11:6.
  1.  Malachi 3:23-24.
  1.  Loc. cit. Instead of the expected phrase el banim ("to the children"), the Hebrew original says al banim; hence Rashi's interpretation, al yedei banim -- "through the medium of the children."
  1.  Sichah of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5740. The above-quoted verse has sprung to life in the currentteshuvah movement, where in countless instances, sons and daughters have lovingly motivated the return of their entire families to Jewish practice.
  1.  See the above essay entitled "Open Your Eyes and See."

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
on the 24th of Adar Rishon and on Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel, 5752
Publisher's Foreword
What does the adjective "together" really mean?
In the first sichah of the farbrengen on the afternoon of Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel this year, the RebbeShlita discussed the chassidic dimensions of this concept on three levels: nationally, as reflected in the current ingathering of remote exiles; psychologically, as manifested in the functioning of an integrated personality; and interpersonally, as expressed in the mood of mutual appreciation that characterizes the relations between mature individuals.
The concept of our people's inescapable interdependence brings to mind a well-known passage in Iggeres HaKodesh.* There the Alter Rebbe compares the harmonious fellow-feeling among Jews with the simple anatomical fact that all the bodily organs owe their ongoing health to the circulatory system which is common to them all.
There are certain times when this underlying sense of togetherness surfaces. May G-d grant that this be prompted only by happy circumstances.
And, while the Rebbe Shlita is regaining his strength from day to day, we and our readers join the entire House of Israel around the world in a confident prayer -- that G-d send the Rebbe Shlita a speedy and complete recovery, so that in the very near future we will see him happily resuming his familiar daily schedule and his holy life-work.
7 Adar II, 5752 [March 12, 1992]
* Epistle 31. For an elaboration of the teaching of the AriZal that all the souls of the Jewish people are essentially the limbs of one and the same body, see also Mitzvas Ahavas Yisrael in Derech Mitzvosecha, by theTzemach Tzedek.

More Than a Geographic Ingathering

Sound the great shofar for our freedom; raise a banner to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth into our land.[430]

Three times a day we express this fervent wish -- that Mashiach come and gather our people to Eretz Yisrael, the eternal heritage of our people.[431] This involves more than a mere geographic movement on the part of our people. At that time G-d will "bring us together" and establish unity among us, for in that age, the Era of the Redemption,[432] "there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition."

The events of recent years point to the imminence of that era; many signs of the Redemption are appearing. The wondrous ingathering of hundreds of thousands of Jews to Eretz Yisrael is surely an obvious harbinger of the ultimate ingathering of our dispersed nation. Surging waves of migration that stand out boldly in our nation's history are now reaching our holy land, including hundreds of thousands of people who were forcibly held back for decades.[433] Indeed, the very nations which had previously blocked their emigration are now granting them permission and even assistance to settle in Eretz Yisrael.[434]

Integrating a Fragmented Personality

Together with the foretaste of the Redemption that we have been granted, we have also been given the potential to anticipate the Redemption and incorporate the spiritual ideals of that era within our everyday life. In this vein, the concept of gathering in the dispersed has relevance within every individual's personal world, and likewise within the sphere of our relations with others.

It is not only a nation that stands in need of ingathering. In our time, we often encounter fragmented personalities, people who find difficulty integrating their various drives and motivations. The source for this centrifugal thrust lies in a lack of coordination within our multifaceted spiritual makeup. We have ten different potentials[435] and we have been given an ongoing, lifelong task of establishing harmony between them.

This endeavor is illustrated in a renowned chassidic story: Reb Zalman Aharon, the elder son of the Rebbe Maharash, once asked his uncle, Reb Yosef Yitzchak, if he recited his prayers betzibbur, "with the community." Reb Yosef Yitzchak answered in the affirmative. The very next day, however, Reb Zalman Aharon noticed that his uncle prolonged his prayers, lingering far longer than any congregation would.

"Didn't you tell me you prayed betzibbur?" he asked.

"I do," his uncle replied. "Betzibbur literally means 'with the collective.' After I marshall together the ten components of my soul, I pray."

A Bond Above Conscious Thought

How is such a unity established? How can a person bring the divergent thrusts of his personality into harmony? -- Through dedicating them to G-d. When a person makes an all-encompassing commitment to G-d, he gains a wholesome sense of fulfillment[436] that enables him to establish harmony among the diverse elements of his being.

The unity established is not manufactured, but rather reflects the inner truth of every person's being. For the soul is[437] "an actual part of G-d from above." Consequently, all of its potentials reflect this fundamental G-dly core.
This process of establishing internal harmony is reflected in the very first statement a Jew makes upon rising: Modeh Ani -- "I gratefully acknowledge..."[438] What is the core of this declaration? -- That immediately upon awakening, a person gathers together his entire being and devotes it to G-d.
To explain: Seemingly, before a person is able to make such a declaration, he should consciously perceive G-d's presence. This in turn would appear to require that he contemplate the world around him until he comes to the realization that[439] "the entire earth is filled with His glory." Only then would he be able to make an all-encompassing commitment to G-d.

We, however, do not need such preparation, for our connection with G-dliness is intrinsic and constant, shaping our thinking processes even when we sleep. Indeed, a person's bond with G-d may be even greater when he sleeps than when he is awake, for then his conscious intellectual faculties do not control his thoughts. In their absence, his essence can surface. And the essence of every soul is connected with G-d at all times.[440]

When a person rises from sleep, however, he becomes conscious of himself as an individual entity, and indeed, as a powerful entity. Nevertheless, as soon as he becomes aware of his own existence, he gives himself over to G-d with thankful acknowledgement.[441] And this enables him to perceive how "great is Your faithfulness," i.e., how every entity in the world reflects G-d's gracious kindness.

Unconditional Love

Thus the establishment of harmony and unity within our individual beings enables us to perceive the inner unity that pervades the totality of existence.[442] Similarly, it enhances our ability to establish unity in our relations with others.

The importance of such efforts is emphasized by the fact that the Alter Rebbe placed the declaration,[443]"I hereby undertake the fulfillment of the mitzvah, 'Love your fellowman as yourself,' " at the very beginning of the prayer service, making it the foundation of all of one's daily activities.

In simple terms, this command means that when one person sees another, he should try to unite with him, for in truth all men share the same inner G-dly essence. When a person appreciates this fundamental commonalty, he understands that the various differences that exist between people need not lead to division. On the contrary, they enable each person to complement the other and contribute an element which is lacking, or not as developed, in the other's personality.

This thrust toward unity applies not only to those individuals in one's immediate community, but to all people, even those far removed; indeed, even those in a distant corner of the world. Needless to say, the manner in which these feelings of unity are expressed will differ in terms of the practical means of expression available, but the feelings of oneness are universal in nature.

Focusing on Our Shared Connection

Even when the distance between individuals is also spiritual in nature, i.e., when one person does not share another's level of adherence to Torah law, one should persistently focus on the essential connection which is shared, and not on the differences.

In regard to one's own personal conduct, one must emphasize two modes of serving G-d, striving both to[444] "Turn away from evil, and [to] do good." When, however, one relates to another individual, one must channel one's energies solely in the path of[445] "Do[ing] good." The emphasis on a person's positive qualities will, moreover, encourage their expression, for[446] "a little light dispels much darkness."

Although there are times when another individual's conduct warrants reproof,[447] before speaking one should question whether he himself is fit to be the one to administer it. Furthermore, if reproof must be given, it should be offered gently,[448] which will obviously enable it to be accepted more readily than harsh speech. Moreover, such words should be spoken only on select occasions.

These concepts are reflected in the verse,[449] "One who withholds the rod hates his son," which indicates that stiff rebuke may be given only when the relationship between two individuals is like a father and a son. There are two concepts implied by this verse: Firstly, that to give rebuke, one must love the other person just as a father loves his child; secondly, that the difference in level between the two people must be as radical as that between a father and a son. This is not true in most cases. Since all individuals share a fundamental equality, it is appropriate that people relate to each other as equals.

Giving of Oneself

The unity that we share with others should not remain merely in the realm of feeling, but should be translated into actual deeds of love and kindness. In regard to the sacrifices that were brought in the Beis HaMikdash, it is written,[450] "A person who shall bring from you...." The Alter Rebbe[451] notes that seemingly it would have been more proper to say, "A person of you who shall bring...." The transposition of the words in the verse, however, indicates that the offering must be "from you," of a person's own self.

A similar concept applies in regard to tzedakah. One should not give merely what is left over after one has taken care of one's own needs, but should give "from you," from one's own self. And these gifts should be substantial. To borrow the words of a verse,[452] "everything a person owns he will give for the sake of his life." Similarly, the realization of the fundamental unity we share with others will prompt us to give generously, without limits.

Moreover, our gifts to tzedakah should constantly be increased. Every moment, the creation as a whole is being renewed[453] and is receiving additional blessings through G-d's benevolence. Therefore, at every moment, we should renew and increase our commitment to tzedakah, amplifying the manner in which we help others.

"Bless Us, ...All as One"

Unity is the key to G-d's blessings. Thus, in our daily prayers, we say "Bless us, our Father, all as one."The teachings of Chassidus[454] explain that the very fact of being together "all as one," makes us worthy of blessing. And this unity will lead to the ultimate blessing -- the coming of the time when G-d will "sound the great shofar," and together[455] "with our youth and with our elders... with our sons and with our daughters," the entire Jewish people will proceed to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Third Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.

  1.  Daily liturgy, Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 55.
  1.  Note Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:4, which specifies the ingathering of the dispersed remnants of Israel as one of the principal indicators by which the coming of the Redemption can be ascertained.
  1.  Rambam, op. cit., 12:5.
  1.  Needless to say, settling the vast hosts of immigrants in Eretz Yisrael requires massive resources. It is a unique privilege and responsibility to help meet this challenge, and offer substantial assistance. (See the address of the Rebbe Shlita to the participants in the Machne Israel Development Fund, inSichos In English, Vol. 47, pp. 216-221.)
  1.  Unfortunately, there are still isolated countries that prevent Jews from emigrating. Nevertheless, the successful immigration of the many Jews who have reached Eretz Yisrael will generate spiritual influences that will facilitate the immigration of their brethren. See the maamar entitled Amar R. Oshia 5739 (published inSefer HaMaamarim -- Melukat, Vol. IV, p. 89), which explains a similar pattern of spiritual causality.
  1.  These ten qualities in turn further subdivide, producing the full range of emotional attributes. SeeTanya, ch. 3, and "Mystical Concepts in Chassidus," by R. Jacob Immanuel Schochet, ch. 3, sec. 6 (Kehot, N.Y. 1988).
  1.  In a related context, the Maggid of Mezritch offers a non-literal interpretation of the phrase (Bamidbar 10:1) shnei chatzotzros, (lit., "two trumpets"), rendering it as shnei chatzi tzuros, "two half-entities." A Jew and G-d are both "half-entities" until a union is established between them.
  1.  Tanya, ch. 2, paraphrasing Iyov 31:2.
  1.  Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 6.
  1.  Yeshayahu 6:3.
  1.  Note the explanation of the Rambam in Hilchos Gerushin 2:20.
  1.  In the Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4, the Rambam speaks of "those who slumber in the vanities of worldly existence." The fundamental unity all men share with G-d affects these individuals, despite their "sleep". Accordingly, their "slumber" will surely be only temporary. Ultimately, they too will "wake up" and develop a conscious relationship with G-d.
  1.  In this vein, our Sages (Berachos 13b) -- and this is quoted as halachah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 61:6, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 61:6) -- interpret the expression "G-d is one" in the Shema as meaning, not only that there is one G-d, but also that His oneness permeates every element of existence.
  1.  Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 12, quoting Vayikra 19:18.
  1.  Tehillim 34:15.
  1.  When he was four years old, the Rebbe Rayatz asked his father why we need two eyes.
Replied the Rebbe Rashab, "With his right eye one should look at a Siddur and at a fellow Jew; with his left eye one should look at sweets and toys." (Sefer HaToldos of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. I, pp. 8-9.)
  1.  Tanya, ch. 12; cf. Tzeidah LaDerech, sec. 12.
  1.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 608:2; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, sec. 156 and 308.
  1.  Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos De'os 6:8. See also the essays entitled: "The Innate Quality of Every Jew -- The Indivisibility of the Land of Israel" (published in Sichos In English, Vol. 44, pp. 206-209); "Every Jew has a Silver Lining" (ibid., Vol. 47, pp. 11-18); and "The Safest Place in the World" (ibid., pp. 19-24).
  1.  Mishlei 13:24.
  1.  Vayikra 1:2.
  1.  Likkutei Torah, Parshas Vayikra. These concepts are quoted in many later chassidic teachings as well. See Basi LeGani 5710 (translated into English by Sichos In English, 5750).
  1.  Iyov 2:4. In Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, ch. 3, the Alter Rebbe explains that although our Sages prescribe that a person should not give more than a fifth of his resources to tzedakah, there are certain situations when a person can -- and indeed should -- transcend these limits.
  1.  Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VeHaEmunah, ch. 1.
  1.  Tanya, ch. 32.
  1.  Shmos 10:9.

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