At Twilight on Sabbath Eve

The creation of the world was consummated on the sixth day, concerning which it is written,1 “And G‑d saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good.” To be precise, it was consummated at twilight on the sixth day, with the creation of the ten things listed in Pirkei Avos.2

The same applies to. Rosh HaShanah 31a. “the world [which] will exist for six thousand years.”. On the correspondence between the projected six thousand years of the world’s history and the six weekdays, see the above passage (p. 18) entitled “The Length of the Exile (iii),” and the Chronological Table there. These six millennia will likewise reach their consummation in the sixth millennium, and, more specifically, during the twilight of that era — during the very last generation, the generation that will hear the approaching “footsteps of Mashiach.”3 Significantly, this phrase uses the idiom of the heel (עקב), for it is by virtue of the lowly heel that the whole torso and head of a man can stand erect. In the same way, paradoxical as it may seem, it is our generation, situated at the lowest extremity of our people’s history, that will enable the ultimate intent underlying the creation of the world to be consummated — namely, the transformation of this material world into a dwelling place for G‑d, through the imminent Redemption.

For our generation, therefore, this is clearly a sign of G‑d’s love, a great privilege, and a responsibility.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. IV, p. 1125

The Redemption will be Credited to Whoever Completes It (i)

“A mitzvah is credited only to the one who completes it.”4

True enough, “Our forefathers [who] were like angels”5 served G‑d through Torah study and prayer in a manner that surpassed the divine service of our own generation beyond compare. Nevertheless, we may truly say that the Redemption will be credited only to whoever completes it, because it will be brought about by virtue of the divine service of the Jewish people of this generation of ours, through whom the divine service of all the preceding generations will be brought to fruition.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIX, p. 104

The Redemption will be Credited to Whoever Completes It (ii)

Whether we like it or not, we are the successors to the Chabad chassidim of all the generations that preceded us, all the way back to the wise and mellow chassidim6 of the Alter Rebbe, the founder of the Chabad school of thought.

Generation after generation paved the way for us, so that we only have to finish off our sundry outstanding tasks.7 On the other hand, the obligation rests upon us and upon our generation — to complete the task of elevating the beirurim of the era of the “footsteps of Mashiach,” and to draw the revelation of Mashiach down to “below ten tefachim,”8 all the way down to this physical world.

Even a brief consideration of the above should be enough to make one tremble — for all the awesome things foretold by our Sages, especially as they are explained in Chassidus, regarding the revelations at the time of Mashiach, depend on our divine service.

From a letter of the Rebbe Shlita reprinted in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 458

“Is the Generation Worthy?!” (i)


Goodness and holiness are eternal. Hence, when a Jew fulfills a mitzvah,10 “in the upper spheres this union [between the soul and G‑d] is eternal.”

Evil, by contrast, has no true existence: it is no more than a concealment of the Divine light. Hence, when a person is punished for a sin (for this cleanses the resultant blemish), or when he repents, the evil ceases to exist.

Since good is eternal, all the accumulated good of all the past generations still exists. And this is why now, specifically, we will soon be privileged to witness the coming of Mashiach, even though superficial appearances might indicate that “the generation is unworthy.”

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 245

“Is the Generation Worthy?!” (ii)

Some people have a question: How can one understand the fact that precisely the present orphaned generation should be found worthy of witnessing the Redemption?

Significantly, this very question provides its own answer. Only from ultimate obscurity can one arrive at ultimate revelation. Light, for example, is at its most resplendent when it shines forth from dim obscurity. In the same way, it is the initial distance from the light of G‑dliness that empowers teshuvah to transform darkness into light — since for the penitent,11 “his intentional sins become like virtues.” (The righteous individual, by contrast, repels evil, rather than transforming it into good.)

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 203

“Is the Generation Worthy?!” (iii)

There is a passage12 in which G‑d allays the apprehensions of the farmer who knows that during the Sabbatical Shemitah year his fields must rest: וכי תאמרו מה נאכל בשנה השביעית .... וצויתי את ברכתי בשנה הששית ועשת את התבואה לשלש שנים — “And if you shall say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year?...’ I shall direct My blessing to you in the sixth year, and [the land] will yield a harvest sufficient for three years.”

In addition to its plain meaning, which speaks of the sixth and seventh years in a seven-year cycle, our verses can also be understood on the non-literal level of derush as alluding to the apprehensions of the Jewish people, as the sixth millennium in the cosmic cycle of seven thousand years draws to a close. (For, as the Gemara teaches,33, 34 “The world will exist for six thou­sand years.”) To interpret these verses, then, in this spirit, —

“And if you shall say, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year?’ ”...:

How can we, in this orphaned generation of the “footsteps of Mashiach,” bring about the “seventh year,” i.e.,13 “the Day which is entirely Shabbos and repose”?

“I shall direct My blessing to you in the sixth year...”:

When one carries out the spiritual tasks demanded by this era of exile, and serves G‑d during the sixth millennium with self-sacrifice and with superrational acceptance of His sovereignty, this cosmic “year” is blessed.

“And [the land] will yield a harvest sufficient for three years...”:

Divine service of the above-described caliber will yield a threefold harvest, for the revelations in the time to come will appear in three comprehensive stages:14 the Days of Mashiach, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Seventh Millennium.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 190

“Is the Generation Worthy?!” (iv)

The advent of the future Redemption and the Resurrection of the Dead15 “depends on our actions and divine service throughout the period of exile.”

In other words, the divine service of an individual Jew in our generation is capable of resurrecting the dead of all past generations. Yet this is not really surprising, in spite of the query, “Is the generation worthy?!”

For when the spiritual potential of one generation is compared with the spiritual potential of another, the distinction between them is only a question of the extent to which this potential is manifested or concealed; the distinction does not relate to the actual objective status of the soul of any particular Jew, for this remains16 “truly a part of G‑d above.”

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on the sixth night of Sukkos, 5749 [1988]

“Is the Generation Worthy?!” (v)

There are those who ask: If the preceding generations have already fulfilled the bulk of the spiritual mission of the Jewish people in this world, what value is there in the seemingly inconsequential tasks that remain for our generation?

The answer is that the spiritual labors of all the generations which preceded ours, depend for their consummation on the9 “sundry remnants” which await our attention. It is precisely these seemingly inconsequential tasks which will bring the divine service of all the past generations to a state of perfect completeness — and then the Redemption will come.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. V, p. 34

A Dwarf on the Shoulders of a Giant


Early Jewish ethical writers liked to use the analogy of the dwarf who could see further than the giant — because he was standing on his shoulders.

Our present generation is dwarfed by the gigantic stature of18 “the earlier generations [who] were like the sons of angels.” Nevertheless, since the spiritual labors of our generation follow the accomplishments of the previous generations, it is this generation’s labors which will be rewarded by the future Redemption.

At the same time, it should be clear that the dwarf’s vantage point was not earned by his own efforts: it was the giant who perched him there. There is thus no point is asking whether it is reasonable that the dwarf should be up there (since, after all,19 “the generation is unworthy”), because the A-mighty so ordained.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on the Last Day of Pesach, 5742 [1982]

“The Jewish People Will Ultimately Repent”


Regarding the coming of the Redemption, our Sages taught,21 “This matter depends only on repentance.” The Rambam likewise writes that “The Torah has promised that the Jewish people will ultimately repent at the end of their exile, and will immediately be redeemed.” For three reasons, however, the fulfillment of this condition will not block the coming of the future Redemption.

(a) There is no Jew who has not had a thought of repentance at least a few times in the course of his life. And one such thought of repentance22 transforms even an utter rasha into a perfect tzaddik. This principle is reflected in the Halachah:23 “If a man betroths a woman ‘on condition that I be a tzaddik,’ then she is betrothed, for he may have had a thought of repentance in his heart.”

(b) Those of our contemporaries who are not yet observing the Torah and its commandments, are only24 tinokos shenishbu, “captive infants” who are victims of duress — and25 “The Torah exonerates a victim of duress.” Indeed, a single mitzvah performed by someone in this situation is immeasurably precious in the eyes of G‑d. And it is precisely in this generation that tens of thousands of “captive infants” have returned, and are returning, to the path of the Torah.

(c) The Redemption will come even before the Jewish people repent. For it is written,. Tehillim 130:8. “And He will redeem Israel from all its sins,” and the commentators explain,26 “Even sin will not obstruct the Redemption, for He will redeem Israel from sin.”

This is also seen in the order of the relevant verses cited in the prayers of Nefilas Apayim.27 First comes the request,28 “G‑d, redeem Israel from all its afflictions!” — and only then comes the above-quoted promise,58 “And He will redeem Israel from all its sins.” G‑d will first redeem His people from this distressful exile; only thereafter will He redeem them from their sins.

The same Divine attitude to the imperfections of the generation that is due to be redeemed, has been perceived by some of the classical commentators on the verse,29 מי אל כמוך נושא עוון ועובר על פשע לשארית נחלתו לא החזיק לעד אפו כי חפץ חסד הוא — “Who is a G‑d like You, Who pardons iniquity, and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in mercy.”

The author of Metzudas David comments: “As to ‘the remnant of His heritage,’ those who will survive the suffering of the30 ‘birthpangs of Mashiach,’ ” — [The Rebbe Shlita inserts:] This refers to the31 “firebrand plucked from the conflagration” of this generation — “G‑d will not focus His attention on their transgressions and dispense due retribution, but will ‘forgive [lit., bypass] their transgressions,’ continuing on as if He did not notice them.”

The Radak (R. David Kimche) likewise comments on the same verse: “As to those of our people who will remain when the Redeemer comes,... even though their unworthy deeds could make them liable to the punishment of not being released from exile, G‑d will not direct His attention forever to their deeds, ‘for He delights in mercy.’ ...His mercy will prevail over their transgressions when the time for the Redemption arrives.”

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Vayechi, 5751 [1991]

The Lowest Edges of the Tabernacle

Concluding its description of the Sanctuary which our forefathers assembled in the wilderness, the Torah speaks of32 “the stakes of the Mishkan and the stakes of the enclosure, and their tying ropes.” Rashi explains there that the function of the stakes or tent-pegs was “to tie the lower hems of the hangings and fix them in the ground, so that they would not flap loosely in the wind.”

This hints at a lesson: Only when something is completed down to its most external details can one be sure that it will endure, and “not flap loosely in the wind.”

A similar lesson is to be found in the verse that speaks of the promises that G‑d made to Yitzchak,33 “because Avraham obeyed My voice.” The word here translated “because” is עקב which, when differently vocalized, means “heel”.34 The message here is that when a man’s divine service permeates the entire stature of his personality, including the lowliest and earthiest levels represented by the heel, he can then rest assured that this divine service will firmly withstand the threat of any wind.

This is encouraging indeed for our generation, the genera­tion that can hear35 “the approaching footsteps of Mashiach.”

For it is true that we are merely a “heel”-generation relative to the generations of our illustrious forbears, and the question of the Gemara still stands: “Is the generation worthy?!” Neverthe­less, it is specifically our divine service at the final stages of the beirurim36 — hinted at by the stakes that tied down the lowest edges of the hangings of the Mishkan — that consummates the labors needed to bring about the Redemption.

It will be noted, too, that the lower edges of the hangings had to be tied and fixed in the ground. If we keep in mind the function of the Mishkan,37 this detail reminds us of the task of our generation — to draw the Divine Presence all the way down to the earthiness of this material world.

Likkutei Sichos, Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel, 5749 [1989]

The First Red Heifer and the Tenth

The ashes of the first Red Heifer, the one prepared by Moshe Rabbeinu, have been preserved38 “in safekeeping” until the time of the tenth one, which will be prepared by the King Mashiach.39 This Heifer thus lasts forever: the following [eight] Heifers were sanctified by means of its remnants, and some of these remnants have been preserved for the sanctification of the future Red Heifer.40

What does this signify in terms of the spiritual tasks of our generation?

The labors of all the generations — the spiritual “ashes of the Red Heifer” —are preserved “in safekeeping” forever. This means that they are preserved for our generation, too. In fact, the spiritual labors of Moshe Rabbeinu’s contemporaries have been laid away especially for our times. For Moshe Rabbeinu was humbled by the prospect of the generation of the “footsteps of Mashiach,” a generation of Jews who would resist the trials and the terrors of that epoch, undaunted.41

Moreover, the purifying “ashes” of the spiritual labors of all the generations, especially of ours, are being laid away until the coming of Mashiach. From these accumulated “ashes” will the Red Heifer of Mashiach be sanctified, for the future Redemp­tion42 “depends on our actions and our divine service” through­out all the generations.

At the same time, the spiritual labors of all those years can be regarded as perfect only if they show signs of being under­taken for the express purpose of being safely preserved for the days of Mashiach.

* * *

If so, let no man be discouraged by the darkness of these last days of exile. Quite the contrary. Our generation’s endeavors will bring the tasks of the period of exile to their culmination. And it is these endeavors that have secured the survival of the purifying “ashes” of all our predecessors, including the “ashes of the Red Heifer which Moshe Rabbeinu prepared” — i.e., the divine service of his contemporaries — and the purifying “ashes” of the spiritual work of all the intervening generations.

Sefer HaSichos 5749 [1989], Vol. I, p. 349