A World Order Of Justice And Peace
Sichos in English

Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim; 27th Day of Shvat, 5752
1. In Parshas Mishpatim, there is an allusion to the conclusion of the exile and the beginning of the Redemption. Parshas Mishpatim is primarily concerned with laws governing the social and business relations between individuals. In the Mishna, these laws are included in the order Nezikin. Our Sages explain that the entire order of Nezikin is a single tractate. In particular, this applies to the three tractates of Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, and Bava Basra, which form a single continuum. Therein lies a connection to the concepts of exile and redemption. Generally, the concept of nezikin (damages) refers to exile. In particular, the three tractates mentioned above refer to the three periods of exile endured by the Jews: the Egyptian exile, the exile after the destruction of the First Beis HaMikdash, and the present exile, which began after the destruction of the Second Beis HaMikdash.

When comparing these three tractates, a marked difference becomes apparent. Bava Kama and Bava Metzia begin with negative factors, the four sources of damages and a dispute over a lost article. Bava Basra, by contrast, begins with a description of partners who voluntarily desire to minimize the damage one might cause the other.

Similarly, the conclusion of the tractate focuses on an increase in wisdom, alluding to the ultimate increase in wisdom that will accompany the Era of the Redemption. The increase in wisdom will nullify all the undesirable influences in the world.

Spreading peace and unity serves as a catalyst for the Redemption. This is also reflected in Parshas Mishpatim, for the purpose of the laws in the category of mishpatim is to increase peace. In a similar context, our Sages relate that Tziyon will be rebuilt through judgment, as it is written, "Tziyon will be redeemed through judgment, and those who return to her, through tzedaka." Significantly, we find an emphasis on deeds of kindness in Parshas Mishpatim, which mentions the mitzva of offering interest free loans.

And the tractate Bava Basra associates this with the Redemption, stating "great is charity for it brings close the Redemption."

There is an allusion to these concepts in the present days of the month, beginning with the previous Thursday, the twenty-fifth of the month, which is associated with the Priestly blessing that begins, "ko ["thus," which is numerically equivalent to 25] shall you bless the children of Israel." As our Sages mention, this blessing must be recited with feelings of love for every member of the Jewish people. This blessing contains all the blessings required by the Jewish people in a perfect manner, including the ultimate blessing, the blessings of the Redemption.

This leads to the twenty-sixth of the month, which is numerically equivalent to G-d’s Name Havaya, which relates to the service of "I have placed G-d before me at all times," a service that will hasten the coming of the Redemption and the revelation of G-dliness throughout the world. (This revelation is also connected with the recitation of G-d’s Name in the Priestly blessing in the Beis HaMikdash.)

The present date, the twenty-seventh of Shvat, is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word "Zach," which means pure, alluding to the pure oil with which the menora in the Beis HaMikdash was kindled.

This Shabbos is also the Shabbos on which the month of Adar is blessed. This blessing is associated with Rosh Chodesh, the renewal of the moon. The renewal of the moon after its concealment is used as an analogy for the Redemption and the complete renewal of the Jewish people, who will in the future be renewed as [the moon] is renewed. This is particularly true in connection with the month of Adar, whose "mazal (source of influence) is healthy."

Our Sages associate the month of Adar with joining one redemption (the redemption of Purim) with another redemption (the redemption of Pesach). May we merit the ultimate Redemption immediately, miyad, with all the significance of the word "miyad." As explained on previous occasions, this word refers to the three Jewish leaders associated with Redemption; Moshe, Yisroel (the Baal Shem Tov), and David (who is referred to as Malka Meshicha, the Anointed King). Most importantly, may we merit the simple meaning of the word "miyad," that the Redemption come immediately without any delay.


Swords Into Plowshares:

The headlines of the last days of Shvat this year (corresponding to the last days of January, 1992) informed the world that the president of the U.S.A. – and a few days later, a meeting of major world leaders – announced the intention to significantly reduce arms budgets in favor of the more peaceful needs of agriculture.

In public addresses soon after, the Rebbe shlita declared that this news signified a tangible foretaste of the Redemption envisioned by the prophet Yeshayahu: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more."

Here, before our very eyes, the major powers are proclaiming their desire to establish a new and humanitarian world order of justice and peace.

Humanity learned its first lesson in the ideals of justice and peace when G-d revealed His Law to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai. It is thus no mere coincidence that the recent meeting of world leaders took place at the time that Jewish congregations around the world read the weekly Torah portion known as Mishpatim, which begins with the words, "and these are the laws which you [Moshe Rabbeinu] shall set before them." Analyzing the opening words of this passage, the Sages explain that even the laws regulating interpersonal conduct, which mortal understanding grasps and even dictates, should be observed by Jews and gentiles alike, not by virtue of any transient social or intellectual imperative, but by virtue of their Divine origin.

In the addresses outlined in the essay before us, the Rebbe shlita teaches us how to react to the headlines of our unique era. Living our daily lives in the harmonious and brotherly spirit of the imminent Redemption will not only grant us a foretaste of the Redemption, but will expedite its coming.

* * *

The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything a person sees or hears should provide him with a lesson in his service of G-d. Therefore, when trying to comprehend any event that takes place in the world at large, we should sensitize our perception to look beyond that event’s overt socio-economic causes, and appreciate its spiritual message.

In this context, the events of the past week take on unique significance. In his annual address to his people, the president of the most powerful nation in the world announced major cuts in military expenditure with the intent that the resources saved be devoted to agriculture and social improvements.

Directly afterward, he met with the leaders of other world powers, including the leader of the country which until recently had led an opposing bloc of nations, and they joined in this path to disarmament, proclaiming their desire to establish a new world order of justice and peace.

These efforts are a foretaste of the fulfillment of the prophecy, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares... Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more." For from "swords," representing armaments in general, these nations have agreed to make "plowshares," implements that will cultivate the earth and feed the world’s hungry millions.


In their commentaries on the above verse, our Sages emphasize that the nations’ progress towards peace will be motivated by Moshiach. He will judge among the nations and rebuke many peoples, and this will provide them with the impetus to resolve their differences.

In harmony with this motif, it can be explained that the above trend towards disarmament and unity that we are witnessing results from the heightened desire for the coming of the Redemption that has been expressed in recent years. Rabbis have issued halachic decisions, ruling that Moshiach must come. The attention of Jews – and of mankind in general – has focused on the imminence of the Redemption and the subject has been highlighted in reports in the news media.

This process has effected changes within the world at large, producing developments that anticipate the peace and harmony that will permeate the world in the Era of the Redemption.

Nevertheless, as we open our eyes and see so many signs of the Redemption, we cannot help but wonder: Why hasn’t the Redemption actually come? We are at the pinnacle of Jewish history, the time most appropriate for Moshiach’s coming – and yet he has not arrived. Ad Masai?! How much longer must we wait in exile?


Not only does the pattern of events in the world give us a foretaste of the Redemption, it also demonstrates the nature of the activities necessary to hasten its coming. The unity, cooperation, and sharing espoused by the world powers reflect pathways that are fundamentally necessary in preparing the world for the Redemption.

Our Sages teach that G-d created the world so that He would have a dwelling place among mortals. This ideal will be realized in the Era of the Redemption. What is the essence of this concept? Just as it is in a person’s home that his personality finds expression without restraint or inhibition, it will be in this world, G-d’s dwelling place, that G-dliness will be revealed without restraint.

To allow for this revelation, unity is necessary. We see a precedent for this in Jewish history. When the Jews approached Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, they camped "as one man, with one heart." This oneness created the spiritual climate necessary for the giving of the Torah. Similarly, to merit the revelations of the Redemption, which will be a macrocosm of the revelations that accompanied the giving of the Torah, we must join together in unity.


This unity must be expressed not only on the level of feeling, but also through concrete acts within the context of our daily lives. This is implied by our Sages’ statement, "great is tzedaka, for it brings the Redemption near." Sharing with our fellow men and seeking their material welfare reflects how the bonds of unity that we share permeate every dimension of our existence.

These efforts should also be accompanied by spiritual charity, sharing knowledge. This increase of knowledge will herald the coming of the era when "one man will no longer teach another...for they will all know Me."

This emphasis on deeds of kindness and tzedaka should be communicated to others, Jew and gentile alike. As evident from the decision of the world powers to "beat their swords into plowshares," the climate in the world at large is ripe for these ideas to be accepted and implemented.


In the Era of the Redemption "there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance... The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d."

In these days, which are moments before the advent of that era, we have the potential to anticipate this new and forthcoming world order, and to currently live our lives in the spirit of the Redemption. We can express the interpersonal unity that will characterize that age in our present conduct. These efforts will hasten the coming of that era, when G-d’s all-encompassing Oneness will permeate the totality of existence.


Here, before our very eyes, the major powers are proclaiming their desire to establish a new and humanitarian world order of justice and peace.




We have the potential to anticipate this new and forthcoming world order, and to currently live our lives in the spirit of the Redemption.


Home | Contents | Archives | Interactive | Calendar | Contact | Bulletin Board | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.