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Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 19 Cheshvan 5780
 
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Sudden Change

We are now unfortunately living through a global financial crisis. The formerly most stable currencies -- the dollar and the Euro -- are now in a steep decline, while the prices of commodities such as oil, wheat and rice are soaring. The financial crisis began to snowball within moments, it seemed, without any advance warning.

Within the past few decades, we have witnessed a number of crises and drastic changes that seemingly came upon us without notice. The fall of the World Trade Center in 2001; the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. These events, with their massive global impact, were not foreseen by political scientists or commentators. Even Mikhail Gorbachev, the last premier of the Soviet Union before the collapse, admitted that when he took office, he himself could not have predicted what would happen during his term.

 *

Regarding the surprising fall of the Soviet Union, this was actually predicted by Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneerson, the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe. When the communists first rose to power, he foresaw that their rule would not last more than 70 years. As is known, one of the goals of the communist movement was to destroy organized religion, and Judaism in particular. To oppose their aims, there arose one fearless leader, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneerson, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe. At a time when most other Jewish leaders were leaving the Soviet Union in droves, the Rebbe stayed on, spearheading a movement to keep Judaism alive despite communist oppression.

Naturally, the communists strongly resented the Rebbe's activities. The “Evil Empire,” which amply earned its name during those dark years, seized the Rebbe and imprisoned him, threatening him with death. Had they succeeded, this would have been a resounding victory for evil.

However, Heaven desired otherwise. Through a series of open miracles, the oppressive regime released the Rebbe on the 12th of Tamuz, 1927.

*

Many years later, the successor of the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, explained that the struggle that had transpired between the Chabad movement led by the Previous Rebbe and the Soviet Regime was nothing less than an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. The Rebbe’s rescue from the clutches of the Soviet Union was a potent symbol that goodness would ultimately prevail; the powers of evil ultimately do not have the fortitude to overcome the good.

The eventual collapse and breakup of the Soviet Union, although it did not occur until 60 years later, came about as a result of the blows that had been struck in the early stages, through the work and the release of the Previous Rebbe. This process, of strengthening the powers of good, testifies to our closeness to the ultimate Redemption, a period in which the forces of good will clearly prevail and holiness will triumph without any challengers. Because of our closeness to the ultimate Redemption, we are currently experiencing upheavals. They are what our sages refer to as the “birthpangs of Moshiach,” the suffering we undergo as we make the transition from exile to Redemption.

Once, several chassidim were standing near the door of the Rebbe's office, speculating about how Moshiach would finally appear. Suddenly, the Rebbe opened the door to his office. “This is how he will appear,” the Rebbe said before walking by.

The Geulah will appear suddenly, rapidly, and can occur at any moment. The sudden transformations and upheavals in this world are all part of this process.
 

 


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