Publisher’s Foreword

Hundreds of people of all ages joined forces and danced together in a jubilant circle. White-bearded elders and young boys, learned Rabbis and workmen, placed their hands on each other’s shoulders and raised their voices in exuberant celebration. Passersby on the street outside the synagogue stopped and turned to enter, drawn in by the vibrant power of the rejoicing.

This was not Simchas Torah or Purim, but the night following Tishah BeAv. The prophets promise that in the Era of the Redemption, Tishah BeAv and the other commemorative fasts will be transformed into festivals and days of rejoicing.1 And a foretaste of these celebrations was experienced this year, at “770”, Lubavitch World Headquarters.

Shortly before the conclusion of the fast, the Rebbe Shlita had entered the shul unexpectedly and delivered a short but inspiring sichah. After the evening prayers at the close of the fast, as he turned to depart, he began his father’s Simchas Torah melody. And in response to this, the chassidim present responded with the joyous singing and dancing described above.

With slight differences, this series of events repeated itself the following day. After returning from his prayers at the gravesite of his father-in-law, the Previous Rebbe, the Rebbe Shlita recited the afternoon and evening services with the chassidim.He then delivered another sichah, and after its conclusion distributed dollars to the chassidim to be given to charity.2 During the distribution of the dollars, he encouraged the joyous singing of his followers. Even after the Rebbe departed from the synagogue, the singing and dancing continued for a long time.

It is the content of these two sichos which we have telescoped and highlighted in this essay. The conceptual content of these addresses, however, is not all that must be communicated. All of those in attendance felt the imminence of the Redemption and were stirred with the desire that this actually happen.

And this is what the Rebbe Shlita is trying to impress upon us — that we view the Redemption not as an abstract, theoretical construct, but as a practical matter of imminent relevance. Having stood for some time now on the threshold of the Redemption,3 it is time to be ready — when the time comes — to cross it.

15 Menachem Av, 5751 [July 26, 1991]

Tishah BeAv Generates Energy

Our Sages teach4 that Mashiach was born on Tishah BeAv. This is not merely a description of past history. On the contrary, the intent is that every year, Tishah BeAv generates a new impetus for the coming of the Redemption.

To explain: A birthday is, to quote our Sages,5 a time when mazalo gover, the particular spiritual source of a person’s soul irradiates powerfully. Thus the birthday of Mashiach is a time when he, and the Redemption with which he is associated, is granted new power. And this hastens the advent of the time when the Redemption will become actually manifest.6

The Redemption is commonly described as הגאולה האמיתית והשלמה — “the true and complete Redemption.” “Complete” implies that it encompasses every element of existence and includes every single Jew.

Herein lies one of the differences between the future Redemption and the previous redemptions in our history. In the exodus from Egypt, the Jews who were not found worthy of being redeemed died in the plague of darkness.7 Similarly, in the return to Zion led by Ezra, the majority of the Jewish people remained in Babylon. In contrast, the future Redemption will include all the members of our people: every single Jew will leave the exile.8

For Whom did Moshe Pray?

This concept sheds light on an interesting narrative related in the Torah. In the beginning of Parshas Va’eschanan, Moshe tells the Jewish people how he implored G‑d to allow him to enter Eretz Yisrael. Even after G‑d refused his request, he continued to pray9 until ultimately G‑d told him,10 “This is enough.... Do not speak of this matter any more.”

(Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that, even after this command, that Moshe actually ceased praying. His desire — and indeed, this is the true desire of every Jew — toenter the land had no limitations and therefore he pursued it with self-sacrifice. One can assume that even as he was standing on Mount Nebo and gazing upon the whole of the Promised Land before his death, he was still praying to enter it.)

For whom was Moshe praying? If all that was involved was his individual self, one would assume that his prayers would have been answered. The prayers of every Jew, and surely those of a tzaddik, have great potential. Indeed, our Sages state,11 “A tzaddik decrees and G‑d fulfills.”

A Shepherd of His People

Moshe, however, was not concerned with his own self. He is described by the Sages as a “shepherd of the Jewish people.”12 Accordingly, he could not conceive of a future for himself without his flock. Since it had been decreed that his generation would die in the desert, Moshe neither could, nor would, consider entering Eretz Yisrael without them. How could he leave his flock behind?13

Rather, his prayers were intended for the entire Jewish people as well, requesting that G‑d allow him to lead them into Eretz Yisrael and with that to initiate the ultimate Redemption.

A Spark of Moshe in Every Jew

The above concepts are relevant to us at present. Moshe’s prayers for the Redemption are not merely past history, but rather are active forces today bringing the Redemption closer.14 Furthermore, there is a spark of Moshe within the soul of every Jew.15 That spark motivates every Jew to pray for the Redemption, to cry out, Ad Masai! — “How much longer must we wait in exile?”

This prayer will surely be fulfilled in the near future, and together with Moshe Rabbeinu and the entire Jewish people, together with each and every individual Jew, we will enter Eretz Yisrael with the true and complete Redemption. May this take place in the immediate future.

An Adaptation of Addresses of the Lubavitcher Rebbe שליט"א
on the Eve of the 11th and 12th of Menachem Av, 5751