With the advent of the footsteps of Mashiach, insolence will increase and prices will soar; the vine will yield its fruit, yet wine will be dear; the government will turn to heresy and no one will rebuke them; the meeting place of scholars will be used for immorality; Galilee will be destroyed, Gavlan will be desolate, and those who dwell on the borders will wander about begging from town to town without being pitied; the wisdom of the scholars will degenerate, those who fear sin will be despised, and the truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame, elders will rise in deference to the young, a son will revile his father, a daughter will rise up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household; the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog; a son will not feel ashamed before his father.

So upon whom can we rely? — Upon our Father Who is in heaven.

Sotah 9:15

“Insolence will Increase” (i)

When is the night at its darkest? — Just before dawn. This is the case too with the above teaching of our Sages, that “With the advent of the footsteps of Mashiach, insolence will increase,” and so on. For this is the darkness that is intensifying just before the revelation of the light of the great day, the day which is all light.

Hemshech 5672 [1912], Vol. I, p. 551

“Insolence will Increase” (ii)

The above-mentioned chutzpah should be utilized in a positive way — by asking and demanding of G‑d insistently, that our righteous Mashiach should actually appear. G‑d will surely be pleased with this demand, and will accordingly fulfill it.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on 27 Adar II, 5746 [1986]

“Youths Will Put Old Men to Shame”

In the realm of divine service, regardless of his own attainments even in such basic areas as vigilance in thought, speech and action, a person can take the liberty of influencing, arousing and guiding his environment. This applies not only to the observance of laws but also to orienting one’s life according to the spiritual lifestyle of Chassidus. Likewise, this applies not only to the study of the revealed dimensions of the Torah, but also to the study of the mystical dimension of the Torah and even to its innermost secrets, for these too are incorporated and clarified in the teachings of Chassidus.

Moreover, it sometimes happens that an unseasoned youth encounters scholars who have indeed acquired the wisdom of the Torah, but have not yet been privileged to savor the light within it, namely, the teachings of Chassidus. Let such a youth borrow the words of the above mishnah in a beautiful transmutation: “Youths shall put old men to shame.”

Furthermore, it sometimes happens that even in the young person’s own home, certain religious obligations had been taken somewhat lightly because of environmental conditions in earlier times. In such cases too, young people may likewise take heart from the prediction of the above mishnah — that on the eve of the coming of Mashiach, “a daughter shall rise up against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” If a daughter or a daughter-in-law conducts herself properly in these areas too, irrespective of the conventional standards of the mother or mother-in-law in the past, the mother or mother-in-law will eventually emulate her example.

Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Shlita, Vol. VII, p. 90

“The Face of the Generation will be Like the Face of a Dog” (i)

The eminent Rabbi Yisrael Salanter of blessed memory once explained this teaching as follows.

A dog by nature runs ahead of its master, always turning around to see where he is heading; whatever that direction may be, the dog arrives there first.

Now in common Hebrew and Yiddish parlance, the phrase pnei hador (here translated “the face of the generation”) often signifies those who are [supposed to be] the leaders of the generation. In our days, however, on the eve of the Redemption, these ostensible leaders merely look around to see where their congregants would like to head, and they run there first....

Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. VII, p. 59

“The Face of the Generation will be Like the Face of a Dog” (ii)

This quotation may be understood as alluding to a dog’s perpetual appetite.

On the eve of the coming of Mashiach, the entire generation will be hungry for the word of G‑d, as it is written:1 “ ’Behold, days are coming,’ says the L‑rd G‑d, ‘when I will send a famine in the land — not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of G‑d.’ ” Every man in that day will be as hungry as a dog, in the spirit of the verse,2 “The dogs...are never sated.” Whatever they are given is never enough: they are forever demanding more.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IX, p. 105

“Upon Whom Can We Rely? — Upon Our Father Who Is In Heaven.”

This sentence is not only a conclusion drawn from the previously enumerated symptoms of exile; in addition, it is in itself one of the signs of exile.

One of the difficulties of being in exile is that Jews imagine that there is nothing they can do to light up its darkness. So they sit passively with arms folded and declare: “Upon whom can we rely? — Upon our Father Who is in heaven.” They would simply leave it to G‑d to end the exile and to bring about the Redemption.

From a talk of the Rebbe Rayatz