The Iraqi News of 5763 (2003)
in a Sichah of 5751 (1991)
Sichos In English
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On a wintry Shabbos afternoon right after Gulf War I had begun - Parshas Bo, 5751 (January 19, 1991) - the Rebbe held a farbrengen and addressed the chassidic community assembled at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. The chassidim no doubt guessed that he would speak about the war. After all, starting from the previous summer, he had continually referred to a certain prophetic passage in the classic Midrashic text, Yalkut Shimoni. It describes a crisis in the Gulf zone that will cause "nations to challenge each other" and "the entire world to panic and be stricken with consternation." And he had promised that despite the threats from Iraq, once called Babylonia, Eretz Yisrael would be "the safest place on earth."
Still, when the Rebbe started speaking, they were surprised. The Rebbe spoke of destruction being wrought in the innermost rooms of the royal palace, the king of Babylonia fleeing and losing contact with his troops, and his family being sent to hiding places all over the world. Now they were confounded. They had heard the news and nothing like that was happening. The war was going fine, but the Americans had no intention of entering Baghdad, and Saddam and his family were not threatened. What could the Rebbe be talking about?
That Saturday night, the scribes who would memorize the words delivered on Shabbos afternoon sat down to write them up. They understood the quandary, but felt that the Rebbe’s words should be recorded for posterity, regardless. As they were finishing the task, Rabbi Leibl Groner, the Rebbe’s secretary, approached them with a message from the Rebbe: "The talk should not be published at present." However, the Rebbe intimated, there would come a time when it would become relevant.
They saved the text of the talk and published it recently. We have translated excerpts from it in the pages that follow.
After the victory in Gulf War I, the Rebbe spoke about the need for joyous thanksgiving for the miracles G-d had wrought. After the current victory, seeing the prophecies made by the Rebbe that Shabbos afternoon fulfilled in a wondrous manner obviously calls for an expression of thanks and praise. We must, however, look beyond this celebrative acknowledgment and see the greater picture. This entire sequence of events is leading us to the time when, to recall the passage from Yalkut Shimoni cited above, Mashiach will stand on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and announce: "Humble ones, the time for your redemption has come."
Erev Shabbos HaGadol, 5763 (2003)