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Do All You Can

You are standing at a bus stop on a freezing cold day. Not even a bus shelter, but a stop fully exposed to the brutal outdoor weather, and the bus is late. Surely it will be there at any moment…

*

For generations, the Jewish people have been awaiting Moshiach anxiously, desperately. In our morning, afternoon and evening prayers, we recite, “My our eyes behold Your return to Zion with mercy.” The belief in the coming of Moshiach is one of Maimonides’ thirteen core principles of Jewish faith.

According to Jewish law, faith alone is not enough—there must also be anticipation. Maimonides rules, “One who does not believe in [Moshiach] and does not anticipate his coming, not only does he deny the prophets, but also the Torah and Moses our teacher.” In other words, faith in Moshiach is not in some abstract process that may or may not materialize someday. We must view it as an event that is bound to happen in our time, sooner rather than later, the same way we anticipate the arrival of a bus to arrive on a cold, snowy day.

*

While faith in Moshiach’s coming is one of the cornerstones of Judaism, not in every generation was the matter of Redemption on top of the agenda. The intensive preoccupation with Redemption only began within the last 50 years or so.

The one most responsible for the outpouring of enthusiasm and anticipation for Moshiach is no doubt the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Since he assumed leadership of the Chabad Movement, the Rebbe made it his mission to prepare the world for Moshiach. He lost no opportunity to expound on and clarify this theme. Through his emissaries and chassidim around the world, the Rebbe managed to affect all of us with his passion. Under his leadership, the topic of Moshiach went from being an obscure bit of philosophy to an integral part of Jewish life.

*

On the 28th of Nissan, 5751 (1991), the Rebbe dropped a bombshell. It was after the evening prayers, and the Rebbe got up to speak before the congregation. The Rebbe turned to the chassidim and spoke with great pain; at times his voice choked with tears. He spoke about the upcoming Redemption and said, “I have done everything that is in my hands. From now on I give it over to you. Do all that is in your power to bring Moshiach in actuality!” The Rebbe went on to say that if there would be even one persistent person who would not give up in the attempt to bring Moshiach, certainly he would succeed!

*

That evening turned a new page with regard to our faith and anticipation for Moshiach, particularly our anticipation that the Rebbe himself would be revealed as Moshiach. There is no end to the projects and campaigns that were initiated in the wake of the Rebbe’s talk. Today it is safe to say that there is no place in the world that hasn’t been reached with the Rebbe’s message on Redemption.

Twenty-four years have passed since then, but the fact that as of this writing the Redemption has not yet come tells us that we have not yet reached the limit of our obstinacy. We must continue to press on until we reach the goal—the true and final Redemption.

 

 


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