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The Buttons are Polished!
The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson, said more than 70 years ago that all preparations for Moshiach’s coming are already complete. All that’s left for us is to “polish the buttons” on our uniform to greet Moshiach.

The previous Rebbe’s successor, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, further honed the meaning of this statement. Clothing is not part of the body, it only protects the body from cold or heat.  A uniform serves a purpose beyond protection—it identifies the wearer and is a sign of status or position. On the uniform itself, the buttons are an accessory, not an integral part of the garment. And the buttons are already there, they just need to be shined.

In other words, almost all has been done to prepare for Redemption. What’s left is mere cosmetic “polishing,” to make the world glow even brighter. But we’ve completed all the essential work.

On various occasions the Rebbe explained what this polishing entails. The purpose of a button is to join the right and left sides of a garment. The right side represents the side of holiness while the left side represents the opposite. The buttons represent our work of joining these two sides.

The proper way to button clothing according to Chassidic teachings is right over left. In other words, the side of holiness must overpower and subjugate the side of unholiness. Only in this way can the unholy be refined and used for a higher purpose. And this has already been done. All we need to do now is to improve the superficial appearance of the buttons.

At a certain stage the Rebbe changed this expression and said that after decades of polishing the buttons we’ve completed this as well, and the Redemption must come immediately! In fact, overpolishing the buttons can cause them to become worn out. Therefore, G-d must put an end to our travails and bring the Redemption now.

References: Mishneh Torah Hilchot Tefillah 5:5. Tur Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, 98:2. Sicha of the Rebbe Rayatz, Simchat Torah 5689. Sicha of Emor and Balak, 5744. Sefer Hasichot 5748 vol. 1, p. 355. Sefer Hasichot 5752 vol. 1, p. 32 footnote 40.
 

 


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