Grant Salvation to Your People

Since people may not be counted by being numbered,1 the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes2 that “it is customary to count [congregants to see whether a minyan of ten is present] by reciting the following verse,79 which comprises ten words: הושיעה את עמך, וברך את נחלתך, ורעם ונשאם עד העולם — ‘Grant salvation to Your people and bless Your heritage; tend them and exalt them forever.’ ” This is somewhat surprising, for Rashi writes explicitly in his Sefer HaPardes3 that one counts by using a different verse,4 which also has ten words: ואני ברוב חסדך אבוא ביתך, אשתחוה אל היכל קדשך ביראתך — “And I, through Your abundant kindness, come into Your house; I bow toward Your holy sanctuary in awe of You.”

This change may be explained as follows.

In these last generations that await the approaching footsteps of Mashiach, in a time pervaded by the doubly dense darkness of exile, the very first request of any ten Jews that assemble together is — that G‑d bring about the Redemption. And so it is that even before they begin to daven they plead: הושיעה את עמך — “Grant salvation to Your people and bless Your heritage; tend them and exalt them forever!”

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei, 5743 [1983]

Clapping on Shabbos and Yom-Tov

The Shulchan Aruch5 records the following rulings: “One may not clap...nor dance... [on Shabbos and Yom-Tov].... The reason that no objection is raised nowadays when people do clap and dance is that6 ‘it is better that they should act innocently [i.e., out of ignorance, than that they should act willfully]....’ Some authorities hold that in our times this is all permissible....”

It is the custom among chassidim (and this we have seen among the Rebbeim of Chabad) to clap and dance on Shabbos and Yom-Tov. The deep-rooted reason for this may be explained as follows. Since we are coming ever closer to the arrival of Mashiach, we follow the custom of David, the King Mashiach, of whom it is written,7 “And David leaped about before G‑d with all his strength.”

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 230

Elijah’s Cup

The custom of filling a goblet of wine for the Prophet Eliyahu at the Seder night on Pesach is not mentioned in the Gemara nor in the Rishonim, the early medieval halachic authorities. Its earliest source is in the writings of the Acharonim, the authorities of the sixteenth century and later. Why is this so?

This custom is an expression of the Jewish people’s belief in the coming of Mashiach and in the coming of Eliyahu, who will herald the imminent Redemption. The nearer we approach the time of the Redemption, the more keenly is this faithful anticipation felt in the heart of every Jew. This is why the above custom came to light and became widespread in recent generations, even though we do not find tangible evidence of it in earlier days.

Ibid., Vol. XXVII, p. 55

The Twelfth of Tammuz

The outstanding date in the month of Tammuz is the seventeenth, which recalls themes of destruction and exile.8 In our times an additional date stands out, with an opposite theme — the Festival of Liberation, celebrated on the twelfth and thirteenth of the month (Yud-Beis and Yud-Gimmel Tammuz), marking the release of the Rebbe Rayatz from incarceration and exile in Stalinist Russia in 1927. His release from mortal danger was a redemption for the cause of Torah and the practice of Judaism at large.

For what underlying reason does the latter date fall in the midst of the somber month of Tammuz? — Because it is in our very generation, the generation that can hear the closely-approaching footsteps of Mashiach, that the theme of redemption which lies hidden in the month of Tammuz has been revealed.

Ibid., Vol. XVIII, p. 310

The Advance of Scientific Discovery

The Zohar9 teaches that in the six-hundredth year of the sixth millennium after Creation,10 there will be a great advance in the secular sciences, in order to ready the world for the advent of the seventh millennium.

This can be understood from three perspectives:

(a) Utilizing this knowledge for the service of G‑d provides us with a certain glimpse of the level of perception that will be attained in the Era of the Redemption:. Yeshayahu 40:5. וראו כל בשר — “And all flesh will see that the mouth of G‑d has spoken.” I.e., all flesh will then enjoy perceptions of divine service with physical, sensory vision. The telephone and radio, for example, provide us with palpable models that enable us to visualize the concept of11 “an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears.”

(b) When the radio, for example, is used to disseminate Torah knowledge worldwide, it pre-echoes the universal diffusion of knowledge in future time:12 כי מלאה הארץ דעה את ה' — “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d, as the waters cover the ocean bed.” Moreover, it foreshadows the promise of the above-quoted verse,94 that “all flesh will see...,” for the physical sound is heard simultaneously around the world.

(c) The advance of scientific understanding is increasingly revealing the inherent unity in the universe, as expressed in the forces of nature.13 Being aware of this can serve as a preparation and prologue to the Era of Mashiach, for at that time the Creator’s simple, uncompounded Unity will become evident. That time will also reveal the way in which G‑d’s Unity finds expression in the unity that is inherent in all of Creation.

Ibid., Vol. XV, p. 42

The Exile Transformed: A Foretaste

At the time of the future Redemption, the darkness of exile will be transformed into light; indeed, the exile itself will be transformed into redemption. Indeed already now, in the time of exile, we are allowed to savor a semblance of this transformation — when even in conditions of exile Jews are granted mastery over worldly things, and receive assistance from the governments under which they live.

This is especially evident in our generation, both in this benevolent land, and in that other land,14 which has helped Jews find their way from distress to freedom.

The reason: Ours is the last generation of the exile and the first generation of the Redemption. And the nearer we approach the Redemption, the more clearly can we perceive that the world is being prepared for the transformation of the exile in the imminent Redemption, by means of our foretaste of this transformation during the time of exile.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, 5751 [1990]