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Ten Expressions
When Moshiach comes, will reality change? Will we all turn into spiritual beings? What about the goals and ambitions that we have worked towards for our entire lives – money, assets, career, accomplishments. Will all those be thrown away? There are people who are genuinely disturbed by such questions, to the point that they do not welcome the prospect of Moshiach’s coming. Rather, they see it as a rather fearful upheaval of the life they know.

However, it’s important to realize that the question is based on a faulty premise. The Redemption will not transform the world from a physical place to a purely spiritual realm. On the contrary: the world will remain physical. We will still have physical bodies and enjoy physical pleasures. What will change is the integration of the physical with the spiritual – instead of the two being opposing forces, we will finally achieve balance and harmony between our physical and spiritual needs.Today, the physical reality is the one most familiar and real to us, while the existence of the spiritual world is something that we believe in, conceptualize, but cannot experience directly. This is what will change in the time of Redemption: We will actually see G-d. Money, possessions, career, ambitions – these will fade into the background, except to the extent that they facilitate our relationship with G-d.

The Hebrew word for exile, “golah,” and the Hebrew word for Redemption, “Geulah,” differ by only one letter – Alef. When we take the Alef, the first letter of the Alef-bet, which represents the Master of the universe, and insert it into the exile – the result is Geulah, redemption.*In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) it is written that the world was created with ten utterances. Speech is the vehicle human beings use for communication. When we speak with someone, we decide what the message is that we want them to hear, and we try to tailor our words in a way that the listener is able to understand them.

G-d went through a similar process when creating the world. He chose each word, each expression, so that it would reach the world in a way that the recipients could contain it. We are able to receive only those G-dly lights that He sent into this world through the vehicle of those ten expressions. If we were to be exposed to G-dly light in any other form, we would not be able to withstand it – the force would be too powerful.

However, in the time of Redemption this will no longer hold true. We will be able to receive G-dly light in any form, without any limitation. How will this be?*The explanation for this is that, in parallel with the ten utterances, we also received the Ten Commandments, G-d’s decrees in the Torah, which contain a wealth of G-dly light that far surpasses the ten utterances. When we fulfill G-d’s commandments here in this physical world, we refine it to the point that it becomes a vessel for those G-dly lights. Ever since the Torah was given, 3,300 years ago, we have studied the Torah and kept its mitzvot under a wide range of conditions, across the globe. We have brought the light of Torah and G-dliness to the furthest reaches of the universe, and thus caused the Divine light to express itself throughout the world.

The first of the ten commandments, Anochi, begins with the letter Alef. Through keeping all the commandments, we bring the Alef into exile, golah, and usher in the final Geulah.
 

 


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