Way It Will Be Then
Sichos In English
Parshas Acharei-Kedoshim; 13th Day of Iyar, 5751
1. Every moment, we should await the coming of Moshiach. This is reflected
in Torah law, as our Sages state that a person who vows not to drink wine on the
day Moshiach comes is forbidden to drink wine forever. Therefore, it is
necessary to focus our attention on what every Jew must do to bring about the
coming of the Redemption.
word for Redemption, Geula, teaches us a significant lesson: The
difference between geula, and gola is just one letter, the Alef,
which stands for G-d (Alufo Shel Olam). This implies that the Jewish
people’s service involves bringing G-d (the Alef) into the exile,
transforming the exile into Redemption.
does not mean that we abandon all the activities we carry out in the exile. On
the contrary, by definition, the word implies that during the exile certain
activities were carried out under subjugation to other forces, and in the Era of
the Redemption, we will be freed from this subjugation.
Redemption will involve freeing all the elements of existence that have been
subjugated in the exile. Nothing will be lost. On the contrary, everything will
be redeemed. Every single Jew will be redeemed. We will leave exile "with
our youth and with our elders...with our sons and with our daughters." And
their gold and silver will accompany them. All the positive activities and
achievements of the Jews (and also the non-Jews) in the exile will not be
nullified. What will be nullified is the concealment of the world’s true inner
being (caused by the material substance of the world and the subjugation to the
rules of nature that exists at present). But all the positive aspects of the
exile will remain and will be elevated.
continued presence of our material frame of reference in the Era of Redemption
is emphasized by the Rambam’s statements concerning Moshiach. He writes:
not presume that in the Era of Moshiach, any element of the natural order will
be nullified, or that there will be innovations in the work of creation. Rather,
the world will continue according to its pattern.... Our Sages taught: ‘There
will be no difference between the current age and the Era of Moshiach except
[the emancipation] from our subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms.’
then will be the uniqueness of the Era of the Redemption? The entire world will
return to the true faith, and Moshiach will improve the entire world,
[motivating] all the nations to serve G-d together."
indicates that the Redemption will include all the positive elements of the
exile, but will add an Alef to them, i.e., it will reveal the G-dliness
hidden in our service at present. This is the ultimate purpose of the exile,
that its inner true nature be revealed through its transformation into
question, however, arises: Why is the inclusion of the exile within the
Redemption so fundamental that it is alluded to in the very name of the
Redemption? Furthermore, as apparent from the explanation of the Rambam’s
conception of the Era of the Redemption, there will be two periods, and the
second period will be marked by the introduction of a miraculous order of
existence. This period will also be described as Geula and thus will
share a connection to exile, gola.
this, we can conclude that even the most transcendent revelations of the
Redemption are dependent on our service at present and on our efforts to reveal
the Alef in exile, i.e., to draw G-dliness into this limited world. This
activity is the catalyst which will lead to all the elements of the Redemption.
The above concepts relate to an explanation of the first teaching of the chapter
of Pirkei Avos which we study this Shabbos. That chapter begins:
"Reflect upon three things.... Know from where you came, and to where you
the surface, it is difficult to understand: Seemingly, the Mishna could
have begun: "Know from where you came, and to where you are going...."
Why did it mention the need to reflect on three things?
however, lies an allusion to a concept of much greater scope. In addition to the
obvious reference to the three concepts that follow, the Mishna teaches a
person that he must have three things in mind, and when he does so, "he
will not come to sin."
a person thinks about two things – himself and G-d, for "I was created
solely to serve my Creator." The Mishna comes to teach us that he
must be aware of a third entity, the world at large, which was created by G-d
for a Jew to use in service of Him.
ultimate intent of the creation of the world and of the descent of the Jews’
souls into the world is to fulfill G-d’s desire for a dwelling within this
world. A Jew, through his service, should refine his body and his animal soul
and spread refinement in the world at large, transforming it into a dwelling for
is accomplished through our observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. The
performance of most of the mitzvos is clothed within material things. By
using these entities for the fulfillment of a mitzva, we refine them and
make them a medium for G-dliness. The classic example is the mitzvah of
tzedaka, which is described as being "equivalent to all the mitzvos."
A person takes the money he earned through his labor in the material world and
gives it away for a spiritual purpose.
service is not a matter of little consequence. Instead, it relates to the
fulfillment of each person’s soul, as the Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya:
"And this is the ultimate [purpose] for man, his creation, and the descent
of his soul into this world – to make a dwelling for G-d in the lower
a Jew’s soul is rooted in a sublime spiritual source, G-d causes it to descend
to this lowly material world to fulfill His desire and transform this world into
a dwelling for Him. On the surface, causing the soul to descend into this world
is the opposite of G-d’s nature. G-d is the ultimate of all good, and yet He
is willing to cause the soul to undergo a drastic descent to this earthly realm.
points to two concepts: a) The importance of the service of transforming this
world into a dwelling for G-d. This service brings about the revelation of G-d’s
essence which is far greater and far more significant than the service of the
soul in the spiritual realms. b) This service is ultimately for the good of the
soul itself. Although the soul is not in need of refinement, and its descent is
to refine the world at large (but not itself), by carrying out this service, the
soul establishes a connection to G-d’s essence, which it could not have
appreciated before its descent into this world.
is the intent of the directive to "reflect upon three things." A
person must always keep in mind the ultimate goal of his service: It is not only
a two-way relationship between him and G-d; it must encompass a third entity,
the world at large. Indeed, it is through service within the world and by
transforming it into a vessel for G-dliness that one’s ultimate purpose –
and the purpose of the entire world – is fulfilled.
idea complements the concept of the interrelation of exile and Redemption
mentioned above. Since the purpose is to establish a dwelling place for G-d in
the lower worlds, the Redemption is not intended to negate the exile, but rather
to reveal G-dliness (the Alef) within it. The ultimate purpose is the
revelation of G-dliness within the context of this world, including those
elements of the world that exist in exile, and thus to transform the entire
world into a dwelling for Him.
this reason, the coming of the Redemption depends on our service in the exile.
Since the intent is that G-dliness be revealed within the world, it is necessary
that the service that prepares for that revelation be of the same nature as the
revelation itself, and thus have as its goal drawing G-dliness down into every
element of worldly existence. In this manner, G-d’s dwelling is brought about,
not through revelation from Above, but rather through a service connected with
the nature of this limited, material world.
There is a connection between the above concepts and the Counting of the Omer.
The Counting of the Omer is intended to refine and elevate our seven emotional
qualities, a service that is fundamental in the present era of exile. This
service is intended so that we may be purified and sanctified with supernal
holiness, and thus have an effect on the world at large by drawing down abundant
bounty in all the worlds.
the service of Counting the Omer involves drawing G-dliness into the world, it
relates to the concept of revealing the Alef of Geula in the gola,
exile. Therefore, directly after fulfilling this mitzva, we make the
request: "May the Merciful One restore the Beis HaMikdash...."
particular, the s’fira associated with the present day, malchus she’b’netzach
(kingship within victory) has a particular connection to the coming of Moshiach,
for the ultimate victory over the exile will come when Moshiach reveals his
Parshas Acharei begins by describing the service of the High Priest in the Holy
of Holies. This shares a connection with the Redemption. There was no
concealment of the Divine presence in the Holy of Holies, yet the High Priest
experienced this revelation as a human being within a physical body. Similarly,
in the Era of the Redemption, G-dliness will be manifest throughout the world
and yet the natural order will not change and we will appreciate this revelation
in a state similar to our present one.
microcosm, this service was carried out by all priests, for they performed their
holy service in an imperfect world, a world in which they had to be careful to
separate themselves from impurity. The ultimate purity will be revealed in the
Era of the Redemption (and the priests’ observing safeguards to protect
themselves from impurity can be considered as a preparation for the advent of
priests’ service was performed wearing the priestly garments which were to be
donned "for honor and for beauty." This reflects how these two
qualities, materialistic elements of our physical environment, are employed for
the sake of the service of G-d.
a complete sense, this was reflected in the High Priest’s service, for he wore
eight priestly garments, wearing the golden garments in addition to the four
garments worn by the common priests. A parallel to this concept is reflected in
the idea that a High Priest is required to be wealthier than all the other
priests. This is a clear indication of how his additional holiness must be
reflected within the material elements of our world.
fusion of holiness with our material framework of reference is borne out by the
interpretation of the verse, "With this shall Aharon come." The Midrash
comments, "Whenever he [Aharon] desires to enter the Holy of Holies, he
may; all that is necessary is that he perform this service."
the Holy of Holies is the true place of the High Priest, i.e., it is his
spiritual level, he can enter at any time. At present, however, because of our
lack of refinement, and that of the world at large, this potential cannot be
revealed. But in the Era of the Redemption, when all negative forces will be
eliminated, holiness will be drawn down into this world in a complete way, and
it will be possible for the High Priest to enter the Holy of Holies whenever he
is relevant to every Jew, for our entire nation is "a nation of
priests." As the Baal HaTurim comments on the above verse, each Jew is on
the spiritual level of a High Priest. Thus, each Jew has the potential to enter
the Holy of Holies at all times. In the era of the prophets, Yehoash, the heir
to the throne, was hidden in the loft of the Holy of Holies for six years. It
was in this sacred place that he ate, drank and slept. This was an actual
expression of the concept that the real place of each Jew is the Holy of Holies.
And in the Era of the Redemption this level will be revealed.
The above can be connected with the name of the person whose yahrtzeit is
commemorated today, Rav Yisroel Aryeh Leib [i.e., the Rebbe shlita’s
brother]. Although he is a private individual, nevertheless, each Jew is
interconnected with the entire Jewish people, for the entire Jewish people are
allegorically described as a single body. Indeed, in regard to the individual
mentioned above, this interconnection is further emphasized by the fact that his
first name is Yisroel, the name of the Jewish people as a whole.
name Yisroel conveys two seemingly opposite concepts: On one hand, the name
Yisroel is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase meaning "There are 600,000
letters in the Torah." This highlights the connection between the Torah and
the 600,000 general souls which make up the Jewish people; every Jewish soul has
a letter of the Torah, and that letter is the source of his life-force. Also,
the Torah associates the name Yisroel with the service of "striving with
man and angels and prevailing." This implies involvement with the world at
large, and even engaging in war with the opposing forces. Thus, this
interpretation appears to convey an opposite approach than the previous
interpretation, which emphasizes a Jew’s connection with the Torah, a level
above worldly involvement.
difficulty can be resolved as follows: First and foremost, a Jew must realize
that his life-force is derived from his letter in the Torah and, therefore, all
aspects of his conduct must be governed by the Torah’s directives.
Simultaneously, he must be aware that the ultimate goal of his service is not to
separate himself from the world at large, but, as mentioned above, to
"reflect on three things," and carry out his service in creating a
dwelling for G-d in this lowly world. This requires contending with
"angels" – i.e., the spiritual sources of the creations in this
material world, as our Sages say, "Every blade of grass in this world has a
source in the heavens that compels it to grow" – and with
"men," with Eisav and Lavan, who represent the gentile nations of this
world. Despite having to deal with such an environment, a Jew is able to prevail
and transform his surroundings into a dwelling
implies that he does not negate the worldly environment in which he lives, but
rather, he employs it for the service of G-d. Similarly, in his involvement with
gentiles, he also influences them to recognize and serve G-d. And through
carrying out this service, the Jewish people themselves are given a greater
potential to expand their own activities.
service of Yisroel should be carried out in a manner of Aryeh Leib. Aryeh means
lion, implying that a Jew must "be as fierce as a lion to carry out the
will of your Father in Heaven." This energy must be employed in regard to
holy matters, and also, as implied by the name Leib, the Yiddish derivative of
the name Aryeh, utilized in regard to matters that are of a worldly nature.
also contains the letters of the word ‘’leiv," meaning heart,
with the addition of a Yud, which stands for our ten powers of the soul,
or in an alternate spelling, two Yuddim, which stand for the two names of
the Jewish people at large, Yaakov and Yisroel.
date of the yahrtzeit, the thirteenth of Iyar, is also significant.
Thirteen is numerically equivalent to ‘’echad," meaning one. It
points to the service of revealing the Oneness of G-d in the world, a service
which will culminate in the Era of the Redemption, when "G-d will be King
over the entire earth and on that day He will be One and His Name, One."
At present, we are at the conclusion of the exile and at any moment Moshiach
will come. First of all, a response is needed for all those who are worried when
they hear a clamor that everyone is required to do what they can do to bring
Moshiach. They are concerned that the entire time they spent building up
business and social relationships in exile will be forfeited when the Redemption
worries can be assuaged on the basis of the concepts explained above: The
Redemption will not nullify the natural order as it exists at present. On the
contrary, all the positive achievements of the exile will remain and indeed,
will be elevated with the coming of the Redemption. Within them, will be
revealed the Alef, G-d’s presence. This will put the focus on what the
true intent of these activities is – the revelation of G-d’s glory
throughout the world.
a person need not worry about what will become of his business activities when
Moshiach comes. On the contrary, he can rest assured that all the activities
that he carried out according to the Torah’s guidelines, even those not
directly associated with the Torah and its mitzvos, are of value.
However, this also points to the importance of a person keeping the fundamental
purpose of his business activity in mind, and making sure that his efforts are
directed to revealing G-d’s glory.
person should not think that the Redemption will be totally a spiritual matter
without any connection to our activities within this world. This is not the
case. On the contrary, it is through our activities in exile that we will merit
the coming of the Redemption. Within those activities must also be a fundamental
stress on reflecting on three things, as explained above; i.e., focusing one’s
energies on elevating the world at large. In particular, this should be
expressed in increasing one’s donations to tzedaka, giving of one’s
physical effort and wealth to provide another person with his material needs.
see in fact that the nature of the world encourages such activities. In that
context, it is worthy to mention the discovery of jewels in a far-removed corner
of the world. These jewels will be used for "bride’s ornaments," to
increase the merit of the Jewish people through gifts to tzedaka.
In connection with the Redemption, we find the prophecy, "And Kingship will
be the L-rd’s." This includes kingship, not only over the Jews, but also
over the gentile nations. Hence, as a preparation for Moshiach’s coming, it is
also important to spread the observance of the seven universal laws commanded to
the descendants of Noach.
is worthy to mention how the activities of the world and that of the gentile
nations appear to be assisting the coming of the Redemption. In previous
generations, the Jewish people suffered oppression at the hands of the gentile
nations, and in the present generation, the opposite is true. Most Jews live in
countries whose governments are generous and assist them in the observance of
the Torah and mitzvos, allowing them to carry out the inner service that
will bring about a personal redemption, which will hasten the coming of the
Redemption as a whole. Surely this is true of the country in which we are
living. Furthermore, these countries are also granting assistance to Jews in the
world at large, helping Jews immigrate to Eretz Yisroel.
the last few years, we have seen this tendency spread to other nations
throughout the world, even to Russia. Instead of suppressing the observance of
the Torah and its mitzvos as in previous generations, they now grant
religious freedom and allow Jews the opportunity to emigrate to Eretz Yisroel.
Furthermore, they assist them in this objective. This helps prepare the way for
the ultimate ingathering of the exiles in the Era of the Redemption.
we see how the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, has
dedicated its resources for the purpose of charity and education, two of the
most fundamental activities necessary to create a stable environment in the
this purpose, the United States has sent hundreds of its soldiers to help hungry
and starving people in a far-off corner of the world. Instead of using its
airplanes for war, it employed them to reach those people who require such
assistance. And instead of using its wealth for the benefit of its own people
alone, it gave of that wealth to save the lives of unfortunate people and
children. Although the people of this country had little contact with these
unfortunate people previously, as soon as they heard of their suffering, they
volunteered their assistance.
in these days, the president of this country has issued proclamations calling
for an increase in education. At the very beginning of his presidency he stated
his desire to be known as "the education president," and at present,
efforts are being made to strengthen education throughout the country.
interrelationship exists between the fact that these steps are being taken by
the United States and that the United States has been established as the most
powerful nation in the world. Because the United States has dedicated itself to
these goals, G-d has granted it such power. This reveals how there is an inner
process of causation operating within the world, pushing it to reveal its true