Breaking the Ice
By Boruch Merkur

Traditionally, Jewish life has flourished most in the shtetl, cut off from the rest of the world. But things have changed. Today the call of the hour is to reach out to Jews everywhere - from the smallest settlement to the most massive metropolis - to meet up with our fellow Jews and to speak with them about Judaism, in general, and about Moshiach, in particular.

(Of course, speaking is only the beginning - for "the main thing is action," doing one extra act of goodness and kindness, one extra mitzva to "tip the scales" and bring Moshiach.)

Now, if you were to take a survey among the experts, you are likely to get a variety of opinions regarding how to approach contemporary Jewish outreach, how to break the ice and get to the point: "Moshiach is about to come any moment! What can you and I do right now to prepare?" Convincing arguments could be put forth in support of a number of conflicting views concerning how to best get this message across, but in the following address, the Rebbe tells us - in no uncertain terms - how it is really to be done:


How is it possible to remain calm and silent when the true and complete Redemption has still not come?! How is it possible to hold back from shaking up the world with the cry, "MOSHIACH NOW"?! And when going to speak with another, this approach must also be put into practice - that first off we must shout, "MOSHIACH NOW!"

One might try to argue as follows: How could it be like you say? If you really want to have an affect on someone, you must act like a gentleman. First you must greet him with, "shalom aleichem," and ask him, "what’s doing?" and, "how are you?" - and especially with the English expression - "how do you do?" And afterwards, you must inquire about his wife and children, about the state of his livelihood, what he has done and what he is planning to do, and so on. Then you can begin to speak with him about Jewish matters, beginning, of course, with the "Alef- Beis" of Judaism, until you [eventually] come to the subject of the End of Days. Then you can tell him that "Moshiach is on his way." But to scream "Moshiach now" right from the start - this is a very peculiar approach indeed. And on the contrary, "the words of the wise are soft-spoken," with a settled mind and in a moderate tone, taking things one step at a time. Besides, what kind of impression is going to be left by screaming "Moshiach now"?!

But actually the opposite is true: When an absolutely normal fellow - someone who dresses normally and speaks normally, and so on - all of a sudden begins to shout "MOSHIACH NOW!" - specifically this kind of conduct is what will arouse in the other his inner spirit. For the truth of the matter is that his soul is also shouting "MOSHIACH NOW!" ... If, however, you approach him instead with all the manners of proper etiquette, you will not be able to brush off even the dust and the dirt that covers over his outer shell (klipa ha’chitzonius).

But when you approach him and shout "MOSHIACH NOW!" and you tell him, "listen, Jews simply must have Moshiach," this strips away the outer shell, and of consequence, the inner part of his soul is revealed! And there is no need to find evidence and proof; the main thing is, rather, to "taste and see!" Try this approach and see for yourself the results!

[Hisvaaduyos 5745 III; pp. 1647, 1649-50]

* * *

Deep down inside everybody believes in the imminent coming of Moshiach, one of the Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith, for "every Jew is a believer, son of a believer." It is a good thing, too, because it makes it a whole lot easier to fulfill the obligation "to await his coming every day." The challenge, however, is to reveal this belief, to awaken the part of the soul that screams "Moshiach now!" The challenge is to live with this belief to the extent that it is consciously felt - to the point of eager anticipation.

For this to be accomplished it sometimes takes the help of a friend, someone who is trustworthy and down-to-earth. If this person, all of a sudden starts screaming "MOSHIACH NOW!" - you can bet that he has a good reason, regardless if he has presented "evidence and proofs." Since he is excited about Moshiach and he expresses it openly, "words that come from the heart are sure to enter the heart," he will manage to crack through his friend’s outer shell and reach "the inner part of his soul." He will wake his friend up to this reality and give him a chance to "be a part of it!" - to do something extra to prepare for the true and complete Redemption.


In the time when the Jews were enslaved to Pharaoh, there was a tremendous amount of hidden good, holy energies trapped within the borders of Egypt. After Egypt had been demolished by the Ten Plagues, the Jews finally made their way out. Egypt was left broken and gutted, void of anything of value, as the Sages say, "like the deep waters where there are no fish," for the Jewish people took with them an incredible amount of wealth, an abundance of good things to be used for a good and holy purpose (such as the building of the Sanctuary). With the Ten Plagues, G-d shattered Egypt, rendering its energies openly accessible to the Jewish people.

The first of the Ten Plagues the Alm-ghty brought upon Egypt was the Plague of Blood - G-d turned the water of the Nile into blood. This plague, of course, was no mere illusion; it was a real threat to the Egyptians, as the Nile was their primary source of drinking water and irrigation. In fact, to the Egyptians, the attack on the Nile was an attack on their very being, for they saw the Nile as their source of life - to the point that they actually worshipped it. In order to make it very clear who is the true Source of Life, G-d hit them with the Plague of Blood.

As the Torah is no mere storybook, but a guide to teach us how to live our lives, we must understand what we are meant to learn from this story, from the fact that G-d first struck out at the waters of the Nile with the Plague of Blood.


The Rebbe explains that the waters of the Nile represent coldness, as water is a cold substance by nature. And coldness is opposed to things that are holy, because holiness is the source of life and vitality, the source of warmth. The fact that the Egyptians were caught up in the worship of the Nile tells us that they were likewise caught up in a state of coldness and indifference towards all that is holy.

To punish the Egyptian’s, G-d turned the water of the Nile into blood, the symbol of life, as it is written, "blood is the spirit." From this we learn that a Jew must strive to transform coldness and spiritual indifference into a vibrant state of warmth and life.

The Evil Inclination puts all of its effort into cooling a Jew off, G-d forbid, turning him off of G-dliness and on to foolishness. To fend off this attack, we must not get tangled in a debate with the Evil Inclination - for when you wrestle with a dirty guy, you are bound to get yourself messed up, as well. Rather, we must counter with the same artillery used against Egypt: warming ourselves up to matters of holiness. We must take our belief in Moshiach - that any second the long-awaited Messianic King will come and lead us to the true and complete Redemption - and be bold enough to share this with a friend. Moshiach now!

[Based on Likkutei Sichos, vol. 1; p. 121, 124]


The fact that the Egyptians were caught up in the worship of the Nile tells us that they were likewise caught up in a state of coldness and indifference towards all that is holy.



Moshiach is about to come any moment! What can you and I do right now to prepare?


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