My brother-in-law is a shliach in a suburb of Paris. On one of our trips from Eretz Yisrael to the Rebbe, my family and I stopped midway and visited him for a Shabbos. At the farbrengen after Shabbos services, the main speaker was a longhaired young man of Moroccan descent who had spent the previous Shabbos at 770.

He was speaking with deep emotion. I don’t understand French, but my brother-in-law translated for me.

The young man was saying that he knew now that there was a G‑d, that the Torah is true, that he had a yetzer hora (a natural inclination), and that he had to conquer it. All this, he said, he had learned from the Rebbe.

What did he mean, “he had learned from the Rebbe”?! Though he had attended the Rebbe’s farbrengen, he didn’t understand Yiddish, and had not heard a translation. Yes, he had passed by the Rebbe on Sunday morning to receive a dollar for tzedakah , and the Rebbe had given him a short blessing. But nothing more.

So how did the Rebbe teach him?

This is not an isolated incident; it has repeated itself time and again with people from many countries and backgrounds. When people met the Rebbe, they began to believe.

For a person who was not yet observant, meeting the Rebbe often prompted that vital first step toward Jewish awareness and practice. If a person was already observant, ideas which he knew and accepted would suddenly be felt as actual truth.

This is not to say that on every occasion, the Rebbe told people something which dissolved their doubts and hesitations. Certainly the Rebbe taught, but often the most powerful effect he had on people was experienced without their comprehending or even hearing a word he said.

In Chassidus,1 we learn that the core of every person’s soul is yechidah, that dimension which is one with G‑d. When the level of yechidah manifests itself, a person believes, not because he suddenly has a “reason” to believe, but because at that plane, G‑dliness is the only reality; there is nothing else. This truth is so powerful that even as the person exists within our material frame of reference, he must acknowledge this ultimate truth

Just as every individual soul possesses a yechidah, in every generation there is an individual who constitutes the yechidah of the Jewish nation as a whole. G‑dliness is as real to this individual as ordinary material existence is to us.

When people come into contact with such an individual, they cannot remain unmoved. On the contrary, meeting a person whose yechidah is openly revealed stirs their own yechidah into expression. This is why people began believing when they met the Rebbe.

Mashiach is described as the yechidah of history itself. At the time of his coming, this innate awareness of G‑d will spread throughout the world. This is intimated by Maimonides at the end of his discussion about the era of Mashiach,2 with his quotation of the verse:\super3 “And the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d, as the waters cover the ocean bed.”

A multitude of creatures inhabit the ocean. Nevertheless, when looking at the sea, what we see is the ocean as a whole, and not the countless entities it contains. Similarly, in the era of Mashiach , every individual creature will be suffused with the knowledge of G‑d. This will become our frame of reference.

This helps explain why the Rebbe pressed so powerfully for the coming of the Redemption. It was not only that he was a visionary, able to appreciate that the spiritual climate of the times is changing, and that “the time for your Redemption has come.”4

There was something more fundamental involved. Since the Rebbe was identified with yechidah, Mashiach was his mission. He was a harbinger of the future, already possessing the mindset that will characterize the era of Mashiach , and he shared that mindset with others.

This sharing was more than a contact between minds; it was a connection between souls. When you came face-to-face with the Rebbe, you believed, you felt, you lived Mashiach.

Tzaddikim possess a certain dimension of immortality. It is our hope that after reading this book, you will feel that you have encountered the Rebbe.