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Publisher's Foreword

Introduction

Part One: Exile

Part Two: On the Way to the Redemption

Part Three: On the Threshold of the Redemption

Part Four: Yearning For the Redemption

   Prologue: My Soul is Lovesick for G-d

Chapter 1: I Await His Coming Every Day

Chapter 2: We Want Mashiach Now!

Chapter 3: Bringing the Redemption An Individual Obligation

Chapter 4: Catalysts of the Redemption

Founders of Chassidism & Leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch

Glossary

From Exile to Redemption - Volume 1
Chassidic Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson and the preceding Rebbeim of Chabad
on the Future Redemption and the Coming of Mashiach


Part Four: Yearning For the Redemption
Chapter 2: We Want Mashiach Now!
Compiled by Rabbi Alter Eliyahu Friedman
Translated by Uri Kaploun

Published and copyright © by Sichos In English
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  Chapter 1: I Await His Coming Every DayChapter 3: Bringing the Redemption An Individual Obligation  

"Because They Did Not Demand It"

The coming of Mashiach is hastened when it is asked for and eagerly anticipated.

In this spirit our Sages taught:[445] "All those thousands who fell in battle in the days of King David, fell only because they did not demand that the Beis HaMikdash be built.... Now if such things and such punishment were brought upon those people for not having demanded it -- people who had not had the Beis HaMikdash in their midst, and in whose days it had not been destroyed, -- then we, in whose days it was destroyed, and who do not lament its destruction, and who do not seek Divine compassion for it, are ever so much more accountable. This is why the righteous men of earlier generations ordained that we should pray three times a day, and in the prayers they inserted the request, 'O Compassionate One! In Your abundant mercies restore Your Divine Presence to Zion and the Temple service to Jerusalem!' They likewise instituted the request for the rebuilding of Jerusalem as a separate blessing (concluding with the words, boneh yerushalayim) in the Shemoneh Esreh, and as a separate blessing in the Grace After Meals."[446]

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Re'eh, 5746 [1986]

The Answer to a Prayer

The Shelah writes:[447] "There is something puzzling about the statement of the Sages that[448] 'The A-mighty does not spurn the prayer of a multitude.' Our own eyes testify otherwise, for three times a day the entire Jewish people pray the Shemoneh Esreh, which speaks of the Redemption several times.... Yet we are still in exile after over 1554 years!"

To resolve this, the Shelah explains that "G-d acts in keeping with the nature of this request. For every day there is a redemption: ...the nations of the world rise up against us to destroy us, and G-d saves us."

The Rebbe Shlita adds the following comment: "The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya[449] that when a Jew requests something of G-d in the course of a blessing, this request is certainly fulfilled 'without the faintest vestige of doubt, ...[for] we are forbidden to recite a blessing of doubtful obligation, for fear that it be pronounced in vain.' We are forced to conclude, therefore, that the Jewish people's request for the Redemption is in fact fulfilled."

From talks of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Va'eira and Shabbos Parshas Bo, 5744 [1983-84]

Birthpangs

The coming of Mashiach has been likened to birth, for it is Mashiach [the scion of David] who is alluded to in the verse,[450] "This day I have begotten you." Birth, in essence, is the revelation of an infant who had been concealed in its mother's womb. With the coming of Mashiach, the essential Four-Letter Name of G-d, which is now concealed in the self-obscuring, self-screening tzimtzumim of the Divine Name Elokim, will likewise become manifest. When a Jew stimulates the revelation of the Name Havayah by his fulfillment of the mitzvos, he brings nearer the self-revelation which will take place in time to come.

Just as birth is preceded and accompanied by birthpangs, there are likewise "pangs of Mashiach" in the generation in which the Son of David will appear.

And just as birthpangs hamper a birth, the greatest outcry in that generation will come when the obstacles are most numerous. Before the revelation of the Name Havayah the Jewish people will cry out to G-d on account of the dense obscurity which obstructs the revelation of His light.

Torah Or (Hosafos) on Shmos, p. 106a

Father: Enough!

The Rebbe Rayatz once said: "If all the Jews, great and small alike, together said, 'Father, enough! Have pity on us and send us our Mashiach!' -- Mashiach would certainly come!"

Sefer HaSichos 5696 [1936], p. 312

Mashiach Now (i)

The distinctive goal and task of this generation is to bring Mashiach immediately. We want Mashiach now![451]

There is nothing innovative about this. After all, every Jew requests in the prayers of Shemoneh Esreh,[452] "Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish, ...for we hope for Your salvation all day long." And when it is time for the afternoon prayers of Minchah, and Mashiach has not yet come, we say it again; and if (G-d forbid) the "speedily" is further delayed, we repeat the same prayer yet again in the evening prayers of Maariv!

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XX, p. 458

Mashiach Now (ii)

Rashi writes:[453] "Yaakov Avinu desired to reveal the end [of the exile]."

A Jew should desire and should ask that the Redemption become manifest. Moreover, this request in itself -- together with his contemplation of this subject -- grants him help and encouragement in his service of the Creator. When a Jew is told that "Mashiach is just around the corner," or "We want Mashiach now," this energizes and intensifies his divine service, and makes him be ever more vigilant that he should not do anything that will (G-d forbid) hinder the coming of Mashiach.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XX, p. 234

But Why in English?

One's anticipation and yearning for Mashiach should be expressed in English, too, as well as in any language in which this can be expressed.

  1. In this way, all the world will know that the Jewish people want Mashiach to come now.

  2. There are Jews who for many and various reasons find this language closer to them than the Holy Tongue. And since there is no time to wait until such a Jew returns to his true language (the Holy Tongue), because Mashiach is needed now, there is no alternative than that he should proclaim and cry out aloud in his language: "We want Mashiach now!"

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Chai Elul, 5742 [1982]

How Much Longer? (i)

The current vociferous outcry -- "We want Mashiach now!" is no innovation introduced in recent years. For the essence of many verses in the Tanach is the heartfelt plea of the Jews that they are no longer able to withstand the sufferings of exile. One example is the verse,[454] "How much longer will You not have pity upon Jerusalem and the cities of Judah?" Likewise, certain versions of Tikkun Chatzos include a hymn of six stanzas, each of them beginning with the words, ad masai.

It goes without saying that this phrase expresses the feeling that people can wait no longer.

And this is the very essence of Tikkun Chatzos: the anguish of exile is so unbearable that a Jew can no longer restrain himself -- he gets up in the middle of the night in order to lament and to cry out about the length of this exile.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, 5744 [1984]

How Much Longer? (ii)

Perhaps the reason for the continuation of the exile for yet one moment longer, is that[455] "G-d desires the prayers of the righteous."

Now, since[456] "Your people are all righteous," let them pray and request and plead and make demands of G-d on account of this long exile: "Ad masai? -- How much longer?" And then Mashiach will come at once.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, 5747 [1987]

Brain vs. Heart (i)

Chassidus is replete with explanations about the positive aspects of exile[457] -- it is a descent for the sake of an ultimate ascent; it demonstrates[458] "the superiority of light [that proceeds] from darkness"; and so on. These explanations are all addressed to the mind. As far as the feelings of the heart are concerned, however, the bitterness of the exile makes all of these explanations unacceptable.

And that is why, even after all the explanations have been offered, the Jewish people still ask and cry out in prayer that the exile should finally be annulled, and that the Redemption should come.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim, 5741 [1981]

Brain vs. Heart (ii)

The teachings of Chassidus explain the great spiritual gains of our descent into exile. Thus it is written,[459] "I will thank You, G-d, for You have been angry with me." When Mashiach comes, Israel will thank G-d for the exile, for they will then appreciate the great gains that it brought about.

At the same time, this knowledge must not dampen (G-d forbid) one's will and desire to leave the exile. One should cry out, and truthfully so, "for we hope for Your salvation all day long."

This means that a Jew is expected to house two opposites simultaneously. On the one hand he is expected to believe that there is something good in exile, and on the other hand he is expected to cry out from the bottom of his heart that he wants to get out of it.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on the eve of Hoshana Rabbah, 5744 [1983]

"Carry Me Out of Egypt"

The opening verses of Parshas Vayechi[460] tell how Yaakov Avinu asked his son Yosef, "Please do not bury me in Egypt.... Carry me out of Egypt..., and swear unto me."

This teaches us that a Jew should unceasingly cry out to G-d with the request, "Carry me out of Egypt!" It may indeed be said of him, Vayechi (lit., "He lived"), inasmuch as he studies Torah and observes the mitzvos -- but exile is not his proper environment. For this reason he begs of G-d, and even (so to speak) administers an oath to Him, "Carry me out of Egypt!" For he desires to leave this exile.

Likkutei Sichos, Parshas Vayechi, 5747 [1987]

"They Groaned and Cried Out"

Describing the Egyptian bondage, the Torah writes:[461] "The Israelites groaned on account of their labors and cried out, and their pleas on account of their labors went up before G-d."

This means that Jews should cry out to G-d because of this long exile and beg Him to take them out of it. They should argue that they have already completed their tasks (as hinted at in the verse, "they groaned...on account of their labors"); and if so, why are they still being detained in exile?

And when Jews cry out to G-d over the length of the exile, this will no doubt arouse the Divine reaction,[462] "G-d took note" -- and He will send them the righteous Redeemer.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Shmos, 5743 [1982]

"Why Have You Mistreated This People?"

The concluding verses of Parshas Shmos record Moshe Rabbeinu's plaint to G-d concerning the plight of the Jews enslaved in Egypt:[463] "Why have You mistreated this people?"

What does this teach us?

A Jew should not resign himself to the state of being in exile, assuming that he can (G-d forbid) linger in such a state; he should cry out to G-d, "Why have You mistreated this people?" He should ask for the coming of the Redemption.

Now it is true that the Torah teaches us that G-d said to Moshe,[464] "Alas for those who have passed away, and whose likes are no longer to be found! I have good cause to lament the passing of the Patriarchs.... They did not doubt the justice of My decisions, whereas you argued, 'Why have You mistreated this people?'"

At the same time, G-d gave the command that this plaint of Moshe Rabbeinu be recorded in the Torah -- because in this plaint, too, there is an everlasting lesson for every single Jew.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Va'eira, 5743 [1983]

"Why Should We Be Deprived?"

Unlike all the other commandments of the Torah, the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni[465] was not given by G-d in the first place; it was only initiated as a result of the Jews' demand, "Why should we be deprived from offering G-d's sacrifice at its appointed time, among all the children of Israel?"

Recalling this plaint during the present long exile, when our people are either wandering "on a distant road," or "defiled by contact with the dead" (for since the Destruction we do not have the ashes of the Red Heifer through which to become ritually cleansed[466]), we ought to state our claim to G-d: "Why should we be deprived from offering G-d's sacrifice? We want -- now -- to participate in the sacrificial offerings in the Third Beis HaMikdash!"

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXII, p. 215

The Subject of the Request

In response to the request of Moshe Rabbeinu that he be permitted to cross the Jordan and see the Promised Land, G-d says,[467] "Enough! Do not speak to Me any more about this!" On this Rashi comments, "...in order that people should not say, 'Look how hardhearted the master is, and how persistently the disciple is pleading!'"

It is self-evident that this argument does not apply to prayers and requests for the coming of the Redemption. On the contrary, it is G-d's will that Jews entreat Him for this -- and, in fact, the Men of the Great Assembly incorporated such supplications in each of the thrice-daily prayers.

When it comes to supplications for the coming of the Redemption, G-d is prepared to overlook any misgivings as to whether people might say, "Look how hardhearted the master is, and how persistently the disciple is pleading!" Why? -- In order that through their multitudinous prayers and entreaties, the Jewish people will bring about the coming of the Redemption.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Acharei-Kedoshim, 5745 [1985]

Thirsting for Dear Life

King David writes,[468] "As a deer pants after the water brooks,... my soul thirsts for G-d."

In these words, speaking for every single Jew, the Sweet Singer of Israel[469] expresses the Jewish people's anguish over the exile, and their yearning for the Redemption. "Mashiach now" is not only something that they want: it is something for which their "soul thirsts," like the intense thirst of a man who is desperate for water to save his life[470] -- for the Redemption is something on which one's very life depends.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shavuos, 5745 [1985]

"Be Not Silent!"

"O G-d, be not silent; do not hold Your peace and be not still, O G-d!"[471]

Commenting on this verse, the Sages teach:[472] "The righteous tell G-d what [He] should do;... they tell Him, 'Be not silent,' and He hears them."

As a classic instance of this, Chassidus[473] cites Choni the Circle-Drawer, "whose prayer changed (so to speak) the will of the Creator"; as one of the Sages said to him,[474] "You fondly plead with G-d, and He fulfills your request, like a son who fondly pleads with his father, and he fulfills his request." The same source likens this case to "someone who takes his friend by the hand and does not let him go, and changes his will...."

It is self-understood, then, that when a Jew asks G-d, "Be not silent," He certainly hears his request and actually fulfills it, since every Jew is "like a son who fondly pleads with his father," as it is written,[475] "You are children of the L-rd your G-d." This relationship may be appreciated even more richly in the light of the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov,[476] that every Jew is esteemed and cherished by G-d like an only son born to parents of an advanced age.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on 11 Nissan, 5744 [1984]

"Even the Bird has Found a Home"

"Even the bird has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself!"[477]

The particular care of Divine Providence extends even to seeing to it that a creature as small as a bird should find a home. And even the swallow, which is constantly on the wing and has no fixed home, has at least a nest. The only son of the King of kings, however, has neither home nor nest, neither a permanent nor a temporary home: he is a restless wanderer in exile.

Hence the pained cry that erupts from every heart: "Ad masai? How much longer?"

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Ki Sissa, 5747 [1987]

Self-Sacrifice for Mashiach

In a recently republished letter,[478] the author of Minchas Elazar [R. Elazar Chaim of Munkatch] writes explicitly and unequivocally that one is obliged to be prepared to sacrifice one's life for the sake of the coming of Mashiach, just as one is obliged to undergo mesirus nefesh rather than transgress any one of the three prohibitions concerning which our Sages ruled,[479] "Rather be killed than transgress."

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz, 5744 [1983]

A Life-Threatening Danger

It is an unquestioned principle in Torah law that the saving of a life overrules all the commandments of the Torah (except for three[480]).

Now, we are going through an extremely difficult period, when the very survival of the spiritual life of Jews is constantly threatened by intermarriage and assimilation. Accordingly, G-d is obliged to liberate His people from this exile, without detaining them for one moment longer -- for spiritually, this is a life-saving emergency!

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, 5745 [1985]

A Jewish Bondman

Our Sages teach,[481] "If one acquires a Jewish bondman, it is as if he acquired a master over himself."

Since he serves G-d, every Jew may be regarded as a "Jewish bondman." G-d is thus obliged not only to supply him with all his material and spiritual needs, but in addition, He is obliged to respond to the pleas of His people that they can no longer tolerate this exile.

And our Sages have taught,[482] "A tzaddik decrees..." ("and your people are all tzaddikim"[483]) "...and G-d fulfills."

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Yisro, 5745 [1985]

Striking One's Son

The Torah rules that it is forbidden to strike one's grown son.[484]

How much more must this be forbidden when we are speaking of all the Children of Israel, who ever since the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah have been[485] "a great ('fully-grown') nation."

Yet despite all this, this exile has continued for over 1900 years!

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Tzav, 5742 [1982]

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Midrash Tehillim, Mizmor 17; Rokeiach, Hilchos Tefillah, sec. 322; Beis Yosef on Tur Orach Chayim, sec. 188, s.v. uksav haRambam.

  2. (Back to text) Siddur Tehillat HaShem, pp. 56 and 91, respectively.

  3. (Back to text) Shnei Luchos HaBris, p. 251a.

  4. (Back to text) Berachos 8a.

  5. (Back to text) Iggeres HaTeshuvah, ch. 11.

  6. (Back to text) Tehillim 2:7.

  7. (Back to text) This sentence was said in English. See "But Why in English?" (below).

  8. (Back to text) Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 56.

  9. (Back to text) On Bereishis 49:1.

  10. (Back to text) Zechariah 1:12. The quotation begins with the words, ad masai (lit., "Until when...?").

  11. (Back to text) Yevamos 64a.

  12. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 60:21.

  13. (Back to text) See (above) Part I, ch. 2, on "The Aim and Purpose of Exile" (p. 29ff.).

  14. (Back to text) Koheles 2:13.

  15. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 12:1.

  16. (Back to text) Bereishis 47:29-31.

  17. (Back to text) Shmos 2:23.

  18. (Back to text) Loc. cit., v. 25.

  19. (Back to text) Shmos 5:22.

  20. (Back to text) Rashi on the beginning of Parshas Va'eira.

  21. (Back to text) A person who was unable to offer the Paschal sacrifice on the 14th of Nissan because he had become "defiled by contact with the dead" or because he was "on a distant road," was given a second chance to do so one month later, on the 14th of Iyar, which is called Pesach Sheni ("Second Pesach"); see Bamidbar 9:6ff.

  22. (Back to text) Bamidbar, ch. 19.

  23. (Back to text) Devarim 3:26.

  24. (Back to text) Tehillim 42:1-2.

  25. (Back to text) II Shmuel 23:1.

  26. (Back to text) See the commentaries on this phrase.

  27. (Back to text) Tehillim 83:2.

  28. (Back to text) Midrash Tehillim, loc. cit.

  29. (Back to text) Yahel Or, loc. cit.

  30. (Back to text) Taanis 3:8.

  31. (Back to text) Devarim 14:1.

  32. (Back to text) Keser Shem Tov (Hosafos), sec. 133.

  33. (Back to text) Tehillim 84:4.

  34. (Back to text) In Igros Shapirin, p. 238ff.

  35. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 74a.

  36. (Back to text) Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 5:1.

  37. (Back to text) Kiddushin 20a, where the Sages stipulate that an employer is obliged by Torah law to provide his bondman (eved Ivri) with better wine and bread and a more comfortable mattress, than his own.

  38. (Back to text) Cf. Taanis 23a.

  39. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 60:21.

  40. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 240:20.

  41. (Back to text) Devarim 4:7.


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