Recent comments of
the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson Ç"êëîÖ,
on the Gulf Crisis
and the ultimate Redemption
On Shabbos Parshas Terumah and on several other occasions in recent weeks the Rebbe Shlita has commented on the connection between current events -- and the Divinely-engineered cosmic process leading up to the ultimate Redemption. In particular, the Rebbe has translated this connection into specific life-tasks that confront the individual. This essay summarizes some of the recurring themes.
Our Sages state,
"When Adar enters, joy increases." In fact the service of G-d should be animated by joy at all times -- not only when one is motivated by the love of G-d, but even when one is standing in awe of Him. As the Rama rules in his final gloss to the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, "A good-hearted person is always celebrating."
Adar, however, is a unique month when this quality reigns supreme. It is a month which our Sages associate with good fortune and strength for the Jewish people.
Indeed, the Megillah itself describes it as "the month transformed... to happiness, and... festivity."
Based on this verse, our Sages perceive the Purim miracle as being the theme of the entire month. Thus, Adar is also a month of redemption in which G-d performed miracles, totally nullifying the power of Haman, and bringing the Jewish people of his era into positions of power and prestige.
Purim is not Ancient History: It's Today's News
Now the events of Purim are not merely a historical narrative. A hint of this may be found in the mishnah which teaches that "One who reads the Megillah in improper sequence does not fulfill his obligation." This the Baal Shem Tov interprets as follows: A person who is unaware of the sequence of past and present and reads the Megillah only as a story of the past, has missed the point.
Just as G-d utterly destroyed Haman, his family, and his entire power base, He will utterly destroy the Hamans that arise in all subsequent generations, erasing all traces of their influence.
Conversely, just as Mordechai was elevated by the ruler of his land to a position of affluence and power, so, too, the gentile nations of later generations will assist the Jewish people. The full extent of their power and wealth will be used to help the Jewish people advance in both material and spiritual ways.
We are in the midst of a unique period of Divine favor for the Jewish people.
There is no need for the Jewish people to do anything to remove the threats to their safety: these threats will be removed by G-d Himself.
"The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps." He will destroy the nations which threaten the Jewish people and will leave only those which help them in their observance of the Torah and its commandments.
Miracles on All Sides
The personal and public miracles which are happening at present are unique in nature. To see them, one does not even have to go so far as to open a newspaper and read how one non-Jew aimed a missile at a concentration of Jewish people and another non-Jew, a righteous gentile, dispatched another missile which intercepted it. All one has to do is look at the world around him and appreciate the miracles, miracles of a positive nature, which are occurring to him and to those around him.
The World Serves Me: I Serve the World
Our Sages taught, "A person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for me.' " Everything that happens in the world, including the unique and miraculous Divine Providence which we are witnessing, was created "for me." And on the other hand, in the world G-d created there is room enough for every single individual to make his own personal contribution to the world's welfare.
The task of transforming the world into a dwelling place for G-d should begin in one's own immediate surroundings. One can always help those around him meet their material needs; one can also teach them, enriching the insight and understanding which they already possess. And beyond one's immediate environment, there is no limit to the scope of one's possible influence. Indeed, this is reflected in the miracles we are witnessing.
Giving Tzedakah -- and Enjoying It
The acknowledgment of G-d's miracles is also particularly related to the mitzvah of tzedakah, whereby one devotes part of his financial resources for a G-dly purpose. Jewish law requires one to give away a minimum of ten percent of one's capital, and preferably twenty percent. At present, however, one should give without any reservations at all, particularly since our Sages teach that "Tzedakah brings the redemption ever nearer."
And in the spirit of Adar, these activities should be carried out happily. Our happiness will bring G-d happiness, as it were, and thus augment the Divine blessings that are being showered upon us, nullifying our enemies, and encouraging other nations in their support of the Jewish people.
A Foretaste of Redemption
These two developments, the nullification of the enemies of the Jewish people and the assistance offered them by the gentile nations, represent a foretaste of the era of redemption. For at that time we will see prophecies fulfilled: "I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the earth," and "And all your brethren from among the nations shall bring an offering for G-d... to My holy mountain, Jerusalem."
May we soon no longer have to content ourselves with a foretaste, for the redemption will have actually come. Thus, we will "join redemption to redemption," and even before celebrating the redemptions of Purim and Pesach, experience the ultimate and complete redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.
- (Back to text) Taanis 29a.
- (Back to text) Orach Chayim 697:1, quoting Mishlei 15:15.
- (Back to text) Taanis 29b.
- (Back to text) Esther 9:22.
- (Back to text) Talmud Yerushalmi, Megillah 1:1 (2a), quoted in the Shulchan Aruch 688:7.
- (Back to text) Megillah 2:1.
- (Back to text) Divrei Shalom, Parshas Bo; see also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VI, p. 189.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 121:4.
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 37a.
- (Back to text) See Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 249:1.
- (Back to text) See Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 10, in which the Alter Rebbe advises "squandering" one's wealth for charity. Just as a person would give everything he has for his own health, he should be prepared to make similar sacrifices for spiritual purposes.
- (Back to text) Bava Basra 10a.
- (Back to text) Zechariah 13:2.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 66:20.
- (Back to text) Megillah 6b.
* See the sichah of Shabbos Parshas Emor, 5750.