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Publisher's Foreword

The Message of the Year 5751; Appreciating the Wonders which G-d is Revealing

Every Jew Has A Silver Lining

The Safest Place In The World

Purim Miracles Today

The Ultimate Wonders Are Yet to Come

Divine Miracles are Not Past History

I Will Show You Wonders
A reprint of public statements of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson,
Before and During the Gulf Crisis


Divine Miracles are Not Past History

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  The Ultimate Wonders Are Yet to Come 

An Adaptation of a Public Address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, at the Communal Yechidus, on the 25th of Nissan, 5751

Publisher's Foreword

Our Sages ordained that whenever a person sees a place where miracles occurred to him or to the Jewish people as a whole, he is obligated to recite a blessing.[67] This law reflects one of Judaism's fundamental ideals - not to be kefui tovah, unappreciative of the favors one has received. In recognition of the miracles G-d performs, we should express our thanks and praise.

The results of ingratitude can be awesome. Our Sages relate[68] that G-d desired that King Chizkiyahu be revealed as the Mashiach. Nevertheless, when he failed to recite a song of praise after the miraculous defeat of Sancheriv and his armies,[69] G-d withheld this from him and from the Jewish people at large.

As the Lubavitcher Rebbe emphasizes - and has emphasized over the entire course of the past nine months - we have witnessed miracles and, indeed, wonders so great that no one can fail to notice them. These are times of epic proportions; our experiences are of historic import.

As this miraculous sequence continues, it is easy to lose one's awareness of G-d's hand, and to begin to accept today's events as a matter of course. The Rebbe warns against such complacency, and assures us, moreover, that our acknowledgment of G-d's wonders will amplify their effects and lead to new wonders in the near future.

May we see a complete fulfillment of the prophecy, "As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders"[70] - in these days, the season of the exodus, with the coming of Mashiach.


In each and every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as if he personally left Egypt.... It was not only our ancestors whom the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed; rather, He redeemed us together with them.[71]

The Pesach Seder does not merely commemorate the events of the past. Rather, it offers every individual an active, dynamic experience which brings him to a present awareness of redemption.

We, Too, Witness Miracles

In the midst of this experience, however, a person may ask: How can we compare our individual appreciation of redemption with the redemption of our ancestors? Our ancestors' redemption from Egypt was accompanied by visible miracles and wonders. Why do we not see miracles like our ancestors did?

The answer is that indeed we do! One of the miracles which accompanied the exodus from Egypt was that G-d "smote Egypt through their firstborn."[72] After Moshe informed Pharaoh that the last of the Ten Plagues would be the slaying of the firstborn, the Egyptians' firstborn sons demanded he release the Jews. When he refused, the firstborn waged war against him.[73] This turnabout represented a great miracle: the firstborn - the symbol of the Egyptians' might - waged war against them for the sake of the Jews.[74]

In this present year, the year in which "I will show you wonders,"[75] beginning from the days of Purim,[76] we have seen a reenactment of the miracle of "smiting Egypt through their firstborn." Mitzrayim, Egypt in Hebrew, is related to the word meitzarim which means "cause suffering," and thus refers to "those who cause suffering to the Jews."[77] The firstborn of Egypt, i.e., the most powerful forces among the gentile nations, struck out against the tyrant who desired to cause suffering to the Jews, weakening his power, humiliating him, and forcing him to carry out all the directives which they dictated to him, beginning from his acknowledgment of regret for his previous conduct.

The Loving Relationship Between G-d And The Jews Is Still Vibrant

This miraculous sequence of events cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed. We must realize that it is not only in the distant past that G-d has worked miracles for the Jewish people. Ancient events like the exodus from Egypt or the Purim miracles of Shushan are not the only examples of our unique relationship with G-d.

As we have seen, miracles are happening today. Indeed the miracles of Purim this year surpassed those recorded in the Megillah. Those miracles were disguised within the natural order of political intrigue and took several years to unfold. In contrast, the miracles of the present year were openly revealed. Despite the grim forebodings of the international opinionmakers, we ourselves have seen how the enemy of the Jewish people has been routed and humiliated, and furthermore, how that humiliation has continued and increased until the present day.

Purim was just the beginning of his downfall; his descent has continued from day to day, until at present, in the last days of Nissan, the firstborn (the mightiest forces) of the gentiles (i.e., the United Nations) have given him a detailed list of instructions including: a) the return of all captives, which is to be supervised by the U.N. to insure that this commitment is indeed kept, and b) the payment of reparations for all the damages that he caused, according to a fixed timetable. Furthermore, they are compelling him to reveal and to destroy all the weaponry which he has concealed until the present.

What We Can Do

Everyone knows about all these matters because they have been widely publicized by the media. Indeed, we have been thoroughly saturated with reports of the goings on in the Gulf; and in truth, over-saturated. There is a limit to the extent of interest and involvement a person should invest in these events. There is no objective need to investigate all the particulars, to listen precisely to the statements of all the generals, and then to venture a sage opinion on strategy and tactics.

A person's energies should be directed into areas in which they bear fruit. For in truth, a Jew's direct effect on global crises is very limited. How can he have an effect? By reciting a chapter of Tehillim or by increasing his study of the Torah and enhancing his performance of its mitzvos, and doing the latter behiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner. And most importantly, by studying pnimiyus haTorah - the inner, mystical dimension of the Torah - which prepares the world for Mashiach's coming. This is where a Jew should devote his energies.

There is, however, positive value in being aware of the above-mentioned current events, for this allows us to appreciate how - not only in the past, but also at present - G-d works miracles for the sake of the Jewish people. Surely, we will see more wonders of this nature in the future, and, indeed, in the very near future.

There are individuals who have convinced themselves that nothing special is happening, that everything is carrying on in an ordinary manner. We should reach out to such people, and help them open their eyes to G-d's wonders. After an honest look at the sequence of events that is unfolding before us, they will surely realize that these are indeed miraculous.

A Present-Day Exodus

There is another dimension to the miraculous sequence of events which is taking place at present that resembles the exodus from Egypt. Our Sages relate that when the Jews asked the Egyptians for gifts in partial payment for the labor of centuries,[78] the Egyptians uncovered all the gold and the silver which they had hidden away and, in fact, forced the Jews to take their treasured property.[79]

Similarly, today, after the enemy of the Jews was routed, he was forced to reveal all his hidden treasures and surrender them to other nations. Among the recipients are generous nations who will employ these resources for positive purposes. These include the granting of assistance to Jews who have in a very real way recently experienced an exodus from Egypt, i.e., the Jews who are leaving Russia to settle in Eretz Yisrael, ensuring them the possibility for a safe and flourishing future, both materially and spiritually.

It is noteworthy that, in addition to the assistance rendered by other nations, the entire Jewish people are extending themselves in helping these Russian Jews settle in Eretz Yisrael. Among those offering this assistance are Jews who previously did not have a visible connection to the Torah and its mitzvos. They are now beginning to develop such a connection by helping other people advance in their observance. No doubt, step by step, they and their families will themselves take a further interest and begin studying the Torah and observing its mitzvos, and do so with happiness and joy.

Why Be Embarrassed To Celebrate?

May we be privileged to witness a continuation of this miraculous process. And this will start with our appreciation of the miracles which have happened already - an appreciation so vibrant that we will not be embarrassed to dance in celebration, as befits the overt miracles which we are witnessing every day. Moreover, these miracles will be further amplified when we make an effort to share our awareness of them with others.

This, together with our increase in the study of Torah and the performance of its commandments behiddur, will bring about the time when "the pleasantness of G-d [i.e., the ultimate satisfaction that will be revealed in the era of Redemption] will be upon us" and "the work of our hands will establish it."[80] I.e., this revelation will be earned by our own service of G-d. And may this take place in the immediate future.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Berachos 54a.

  2. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 94a.

  3. (Back to text) See II Kings, ch. 19.

  4. (Back to text) Michah 7:15.

  5. (Back to text) The Haggadah; Pesachim 116b.

  6. (Back to text) Tehillim 136:10.

  7. (Back to text) Shulchan Aruch HaRav 430:1.

  8. (Back to text) Although the war waged by the firstborn inflicted severe losses upon the Egyptians, it did not dislodge Pharaoh from his throne. Even after this war, he retained his authority.

  9. (Back to text) Michah 7:15. See the essay, "The Message of the Year 5751," published by Sichos In English.

  10. (Back to text) See the essay, "Purim Miracles Today," published by Sichos In English.

  11. (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 16:4.

  12. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 91a.

  13. (Back to text) See Berachos 9b.

  14. (Back to text) Tehillim 90:16-17. See Sichas Parshas Tzav, 5751.


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