Rabbi Yitzchok David Smith
Issue No. 1
Erev Shabbos Parshos Yisro, 17 Shevat, 5758
In 1991, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, leader of our generation, stated clearly that we are in the time of the final Redemption of the Jewish people from exile. Just as the Jewish people were redeemed from the exile of Egypt, we are witnessing our own Redemption. As part of his announcement of the Redemption, the Rebbe, as the Jewish leader, has repeatedly reassured the Jewish people regarding the situation in the Land of Israel and the Middle East. The Rebbe has said that we need to know this information to have a complete and correct picture of the current world situation. To this end, the Rebbe has asked that his statements be publicized as widely and urgently as possible to all the Jewish people in these dramatic times; thus this publication.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that that the Land of Israel is the one land where Hashem continually watches over and that the events there are signals of the imminence of the redemption. Exactly seven years ago when Saddam Hussein was making war in the Middle East and Jews feared to travel to Israel, the Lubavitcher Rebbe reassured the Jewish people stating:
Our prophets state that "A great congregation will return here", here meaning to our Holy Land, the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is the "land which Hashem, your G-d, cares for always, and the eyes of the Hashem are upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year."
Even before the Redemption, the Jewish people will dwell in the Land of Israel in security and should not be afraid of the fact that the nations of the world challenge one another and the entire world is seized with panic and consternation. Hashem has reassured the Jewish people: "My children, do not be afraid, all that I have done, I have done only for your sakes…do not be afraid, the time of your redemption has arrived." Furthermore, "King Moshiach stands on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and declares to the Jewish people, 'Humble ones, the time of your redemption has arrived.' "
(Shabbos Parshos Yisro, 18 Shevat, 5751)
In recent news, Saddam Hussein has threatened to gas Israel, G-d forbid, the PLO is arming and calling for war if Israel does not make even more crippling concessions and simultaneously intensifying the Intifada, and so forth.
Today the same protagonists are threatening to destroy Israel, G-d forbid, from within and without. The main thrust of their efforts is to terrify the Jewish people into surrendering land to the PLO. However, their blustering and threats are without effect as long as we remember that Hashem has told us not to be afraid and promised us that all the tribulations are for our sake and a part of the unfolding of the final and complete Redemption.
The Rebbe further emphasized, based in part on events in the world, that we are on the edge of the Redemption:
In our times, we stand very near to the immediate true and complete Redemption. As has been stated numerous times, all the prerequisites for the Redemption are already fulfilled and all that remains is that there be the Redemption itself in actuality.
Our generation is the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption. Therefore, all the events in our times, even events that externally seem to contradict the concept of Redemption, are, in fact, part of the Redemption and serve only to bring an elevation, namely the elevation of the true and complete Redemption. Unique to our generation is the fact that we have completed all the work of all the Jewish people throughout all the generations, including even the polishing of the buttons.(1) The purpose of our generation is to bring the Redemption in actuality. [The Rebbe then discussed the central role of Jewish women in bringing the Redemption -- that just as the Redemption was merited by the work of the Jewish women so too now the Redemption comes in the merit of the Jewish women.]
(Shabbos Parshos Yisro, 20 Shevat, and 22 Shevat, 5752)
The belief in, and the anticipation of, the imminent coming of Moshiach is one of the thirteen principles of Jewish faith enumerated by the great Jewish scholar, Maimonides. Periodically, we will provide you and your family with more details about Moshiach and the imminent Redemption and your part in hastening the Redemption.
What is Moshiach, and why is he so important?
In short, the answer is that Moshiach is the person who will lead us to the Redemption -- the ultimate purpose of the whole Torah and thus of the creation of the entire world!
Hashem (G-d) created the world because He desired a dwelling place -- a home -- in a physical world. Of all the places we spend each day, we feel most at home in our own houses. This results from the fact that we feel most comfortable there, free to be ourselves, and everyone knows that everything belongs to us.
The vast universe that Hashem created and all it contains belongs to Hashem. However, just as we cannot see Hashem with our eyes, it is not always visible how everything in the world belongs to Hashem. Hashem concealed himself to the extent that one could be misled into forgetting that Hashem is here and that everything is created by and belongs to Hashem. This type of world is not a fitting 'home' for Hashem.
For this reason, Hashem gave us Torah and Mitzvos (actions that Hashem wants the Jewish people to do to perfect the world and bring Moshiach). When we perform Mitzvos, we reveal how Hashem is here, and everything is created to serve Him. For example, when we make a blessing on a glass of water, we are demonstrating that the water belongs to Hashem, and therefore, we must make a blessing to request permission to drink it. Likewise, when we take a nickel and drop it into a Tzedakah (Charity) box, we are demonstrating that this coin was created to serve Hashem, by being used for a Mitzvah. This is the purpose for which Hashem wants it to be used.
Whenever we perform a Mitzvah, we reveal how Hashem's presence 'lives' here, and that everything belongs to Him. By learning Torah and performing Mitzvos, we make this world into a fitting 'home' for Hashem. This is why Hashem created everything -- so that we could make the world into a suitable dwelling place for Him.
When our job is finished, when enough Mitzvos are performed to make the entire world fit to be Hashem's dwelling place -- then Hashem will 'live' in the home we have made for Him in a revealed manner. We will perceive with our physical eyes how Hashem is present in this world. We will then see the 'fruits of our labor' -- how our performance of Hashem's Mitzvos throughout the centuries of Exile (Golus) has transformed the entire world into a dwelling place and 'home' for Hashem.
Preparing a home for Hashem cannot be accomplished overnight. Indeed, Jews have been working toward this goal for over 3300 years, since Mattan Torah (the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai). Every Mitzvah that has been done has "added another brick to Hashem's home" and made the world much holier. When Moshiach comes, Hashem will openly reveal His presence in this world. This is why the coming of Moshiach is so important -- it is the revelation of G-dliness in the world and the fulfillment of G-d's purpose in creating the world.
What you can do now to speed the coming of the Redemption:
Share your knowledge of Torah and Mitzvos and Moshiach with your family, friends and co-workers, thereby bringing us all even closer to the era when there will be no more strife and no more hatred and all nations will live in peace.
1. When a soldier prepares for a review parade, the last item of preparation is polishing the buttons of his coat. Therefore, the term "polishing the buttons" is used when describing the very last details of the work of the Jewish people in the time of exile in preparation for the Redemption.
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