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Foreword

Maamar Eichah Yoshvah Bodad Hair Rabosi Am

Maamar Kimei Tzeischa Meieretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos

Maamar VeNachah Alov Ruach HaShem

Maamar Vihayah Eikev Tishmaun

Maamar Beela Hamaves Lanetzach

Maamar Hachodesh Hazeh Lachem

Maamar Kimei Tzeischa Meieretz Mitzrayim Arenu Niflaos

Maamar Vihayah Bayom Hahu

Founders Of Chassidism & Leaders Of Chabad-Lubavitch

Glossary

Anticipating The Redemption - Volume 2

Foreword

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 Maamar Eichah Yoshvah Bodad Hair Rabosi Am  

Anticipating The Redemption

Volume 2


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ISBN 1-8814-0022-0


Publisher's Foreword

Past, Present, And Future

It is hard to define what differentiates history from the present. Once a moment has passed, it can no longer be termed present. From an absolute perspective, there is no difference whether an event occurred one minute ago, a year ago, ten years ago, or a century previously. Since it is not a present happening, all that remains is memory.

On the other hand, there are moments which stand out dramatically; events which we constantly relive, not merely remember. In Likkutei Dibburim,[1] the Previous Rebbe tells a story about an ex-soldier who fainted when he remembered standing before the king. Why did he faint? Because to him, the event was no mere memory; he was reliving the experience.

All of us have a number of like experiences engraved in our subconsciousness. Some of these experiences are positive some are negative. Others are powerful, yet cannot be defined as either positive or negative.

For the overwhelming majority of Lubavitcher chassidim, the 28th of Nissan 5751 was such an experience. The night began in an ordinary fashion. The Rebbe returned from the ohel. He davenned Minchah and then Maariv with the chassidim, and then began to deliver a sichah.

The Rebbe started speaking about the theme of the Redemption, explaining how it related to the distinct spiritual potential of the current year, the current month and week. And then suddenly, a strange type of electricity filled the air. The Rebbe was no longer speaking abstractly. Instead, in very clear and direct terms, he turned to his chassidim and addressed them in the second person:[2]

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 has been done until now has been to no avail. For we are still in exile; moreover, we are in an inner exile with 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 bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately....

I have done whatever I can; from now on, you must do whatever you can.... May you actually be successful and bring about the true and complete Redemption.

And from that moment onward, Lubavitch has never been the same.

In the ensuing weeks and months, the Rebbe continued to speak about the Redemption. He did not address Mashiach's coming as a vision, a dream, or a prayer. He wasn't speaking about goals for the future. He was sharing his appreciation of a dynamic which he saw unfolding before us.

He invited us to see what he saw. Repeatedly, he told us to open our eyes, look around, and see that this is the era of Mashiach. As an example, he pointed to the disarmament talks among the world powers and said[3] that this was a foretaste of the fulfillment of the prophecy:[4] "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks."

But disarmament is not the only sign of Mashiach in our midst. When we take an honest look at what the information age has brought us, we must admit that we are living in a wondrous era. Things which only ten and fifteen years ago would have been considered absolute miracles are commonplace events in our lives.

And it is not going to stop now. On the contrary, every year, the rate of change grows faster and faster. Indeed, at present, there is the potential for revolutionary steps in bio-technology and gene manipulation which could radically change the face of our environment, if not of our very selves.

Why aren't these changes being implemented immediately? Because society realizes that our ethics have not kept abreast of our technology, and that these advances might not be properly used if made available.

Similarly, there exists the potential to employ robots in factories and workplaces which would make a minimum of one-fourth, and perhaps three-fourths, of the jobs we do obsolete. Nevertheless, this option is not being employed for two reasons: a) The fear that we would not know how to use the resultant free time. Without work to keep us busy, we ask, what would we do? b) The people who are laid off would have no way of earning their livelihood.

In other words, the world realizes its readiness for a miraculously wondrous age of prosperity and plenty, but that it lacks the spiritual and moral fiber to appreciate these benefits and distribute them fairly.

Changing One's Thoughts And Changing The World

Consider the above concepts in the context of what the Rebbe said on the Shabbasos directly following the 28th of Nissan: Shabbos Parshas Shemini and Shabbos Parshas Tazria-Metzora. At the farbrengens on these Shabbasos, he emphasized that bringing Mashiach is not the burden of one man, but rather of the entire Jewish community. He stated that the primary catalyst for bringing Redemption is knowledge. By living with the Redemption, anticipating and adopting the mindset that will characterize that era, we will make it an actual reality.

There is a concept of spiritual causation; that studying refined concepts makes them current and accessible to people at large.[5] And as the Zohar[6] states, "the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world. A mortal looks into the Torah and maintains the world." Every change in existence in the world at large begins with a development in Torah. Study brings about change, for it taps the building blocks of creation and transforms them from potential energies to dynamic forces.

But without discounting these influences, it would appear that the Rebbe was speaking about a more direct process of change. The backdrop for the Redemption has already been created. The world at large has produced a setting in which the peace, unity, and knowledge that will characterize the Era of the Redemption are factors that are operating within - and indeed motivating - our society today. As we internalize this approach within our own minds and spread it to others, we can precipitate it becoming a top to bottom reality within the world at large.

Regarding the importance of studying the subjects relevant to the Redemption, the Rebbe specifically singled out the study of "the maamarim and Likkutei Sichos of the Nasi of our generation." For these teachings contain not only those insights that make people long for the Redemption, but the germ concepts that enable them to make Redemption a part of their lives. These teachings probe the nature of the spiritual changes that will characterize that Future era and explain how they can be applied to our lives at present.

With the intent of communicating these teachings, Sichos In English published I Await His Coming Every Day, a collection of the Rebbe's sichos dealing with the Redemption (this collection was based on the Dvar Malchus which the Rebbe himself distributed on Iyar 15, 5751) and Anticipating the Redemption, Vol. I, which presented a collection of the Rebbe's maamarim which deal with the themes of Redemption and Resurrection. In response to the continued demand to make these teachings available in English, we are presenting a second collection of maamarim.

The maamarim in the present collection are not merely inspirational in content. On the contrary, they communicate some of the deeper Chassidic teachings which the Rebbe revealed. Unquestionably, the ideas contained in them require time to digest and assimilate. On the other hand, we tried to avoid maamarim that involve a large amount of Kabbalistic and Chassidic terminology. We did not want our readers to get bogged down in a struggle over vocabulary. Instead, we wanted their efforts to be focused on the ideas. For the ideas are difficult enough, and they are what is fundamentally important. Several of the concepts are uniquely revolutionary in nature. They require a restructuring of our conceptual processes, an inner turnover that will encourage our inner, individual redemption and hasten the coming of Mashiach in the world at large.

"They Will Form A Single Band To Carry Out Your Will"[7]

One of the themes that will characterize the Era of the Redemption is unity: "In that era, there will be... neither envy, nor competition." Instead of seeing other people as potential adversaries or rivals, we will appreciate how they complement us, serving as partners in a combined effort.

This perspective was certainly relevant in the composition of this text, for it fuses together the efforts of many different contributors. The full list of all those who contributed is too long to mention, but notice should be made of the following: Rabbi Eliyahu Touger who was responsible for the translation, Rabbi Aharon Leib Raskin who annotated the sources and checked the authenticity of the translation, Rochel Chana Schilder who edited the text, Yosef Yitzchok Turner who provided the layout and typography, and Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, Director of Sichos In English, who supervised every phase of the project's development.

Plunging Into The Sea

One of the recurrent themes of these maamarim is elokus bip'shitus and olamos bihischadshus. P'shitus means the natural, ordinary way we look at things. Bihischadshus means something incremental, a new perspective that must be confronted and "learned."

At present, we get up in the morning and become conscious of our "selves" and the material environment in which we live. This is our p'shitus. In the Era of the Redemption, this perspective will change, and elokus (G-dliness) will be bip'shitus; Elokus will be the starting point for our conscious experience. We will also come to terms with material reality (olamos), but this will be bihischadshus, a secondary factor, beyond our ordinary framework of reference.

The Rebbe pointed[8] to this concept as the implication of the Rambam's citation[9] of the prophecy:[10] "The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed" at the conclusion of his discussion of the concept of Mashiach.

To explain: The vast majority of created beings that live on dry land are readily discernible as discrete entities. A host of created beings also inhabit the ocean. Nevertheless, when we look at the ocean, we see it as a whole and not as an amalgam of the particular entities which it contains. Similarly, in the Era of the Redemption, although all the material entities within the world will continue to exist, the individual identities of these created beings will be subsumed, for all existence will be suffused with the overwhelming awareness of G-dliness.[11]

Extending the above concepts, those who heard the Rebbe at farbrengens will testify that when he delivered a sichah or recited a maamar, we understood the meaning of elokus bip'shitus. We were in the water; we felt G-dliness as actual reality. Listening to the Rebbe was not merely an intellectual exercise, it was a step into another realm of experience.

The study of a text, and surely a translation, can never recapture such feelings entirely. And yet, even as the Rebbe's words are presented in print - and it is our hope, even in translation - there is a unique dimension to these teachings. They are not merely a logical presentation of ideas. They are a foretaste of the teachings of Mashiach. It is not only that after studying these teachings, one desires Mashiach's coming more. One feels an awareness of what Mashiach's era will actually be like.

May the study of these teachings lead to the actual coming of Mashiach and the resurrection, when we will again hear Torah from the Rebbe. May this be speedily in our days.

Erev Rosh HaShanah, 5758

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Vol. I, p. 164a (English translation, Vol. II, p. 35).

  2. (Back to text) See Sound the Great Shofar, p. 35.

  3. (Back to text) See ibid., p. 143ff.

  4. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 2:24.

  5. (Back to text) In Chassidus (Meah Shearim, p. 28a), it is explained that at times, the Maggid of Mezeritch would deliver addresses that he knew his listeners would not understand with the intent of drawing down the concepts into the atmosphere of this world.

  6. (Back to text) Vol. II, p. 161a ff.

  7. (Back to text) High Holiday Liturgy, Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 271.

  8. (Back to text) See the essay entitled "The Ultimate Good of the Era of the Redemption" in I Await His Coming Every Day.

  9. (Back to text) Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5.

  10. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 11:9.

  11. (Back to text) Furthermore, in the context of the laws governing immersion in a mikveh, Tractate Mikvaos 6:7 cites the view of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel that a sea-creature is not considered to be an intervening substance between a person and the sea water. According to this opinion, not only do the creatures of the ocean appear to be of no account, but in truth their essential nature does not really differ from its own.


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