G‑d Will Act for Him Who Waits for Him

Hoping and yearning for Mashiach, in itself hastens his coming. This is clearly seen in the verse,1 אלקים גו' יעשה למחכה לו — “G‑d ... will act for him who waits for Him.” Or, as rendered in the Aramaic paraphrase of Onkelos, “...for those who hope and wait for Your Redemption.”

How does one’s yearning hasten its coming?

To understand this, we need only observe the comment of the Sages on the Divine promise of the Redemption,2 בעתה אחישנה — “I will hasten it in its time.” Now, is this verse promising that the Redemption will be hastened, or that it will come in its time? To resolve this paradox, the Sages taught:3 זכו אחישנה; לא זכו - בעתה. I.e., if the Jewish people are found worthy, the Redemption will be hastened, ahead of its preordained time; if they are not found worthy, it will come in its time.

And here lies the answer to our above question. If a man yearns for the Redemption in earnest, he lives a worthier life. By virtue of his endeavors, the Jewish people as a whole will increasingly be found worthy, and accordingly, the long-awaited coming of the Redemption will be brought forward.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, p. 359


With Hope Like This, We Deserve to be Redeemed (i)

Regarding the value of anticipating the Redemption, a certain scholar has drawn my attention to an interpretation of the Chida4 on the following teaching of our Sages in Yalkut Tehillim, Remez 736: “Even if the only virtue to Israel’s credit is their hopefulness, this alone makes them worthy of being redeemed.... And if one should think,5 ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved,’ there comes the redoubled exhortation of the verse,6 קוה אל ה' חזק ויאמץ לבך וקוה אל ה' — ‘Hope in G‑d, be strong and let your heart be valiant, and hope in G‑d.’ Why the repetition? — For if salvation has not yet come, hope — and hope again!”

The Chida used this teaching to resolve a seeming difficulty in the wording which the Sages instituted for one of the blessings (את צמח) in the Shemoneh Esreh: “Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish, and increase his power by Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation every day.”7

“What kind of a reason is this?” asks the Chida. “If the Redemption is warranted, then we will merit its coming even without hoping for it; and if it is not warranted, then how can hoping help?”

And he answers, “The above-quoted teaching enables us to understand the thrust of our daily request, ‘Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish.’ Even if the objection be raised that we are unworthy of this, grant our request nevertheless, ‘for we hope for Your salvation.’ We have this hope — and by virtue of this hope, we deserve to be redeemed!”

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Haazinu, 5746 [1985]


With Hope Like This, We Deserve to be Redeemed (ii)

One should trust in the coming of Mashiach with unwavering certainty, “awaiting his coming every day” — anticipating that he will come at once, even if reason and nature offer no grounds for believing so. And this certain trust in itself will speed his coming.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 57


“Did You Yearn for the Redemption?”

8

A man’s spiritual labors should be imbued with a constant yearning for the Redemption, in the spirit of the phrase,9 “I await his coming every day.” Our Sages taught,10 “What is the light that the House of Israel is awaiting? — It is the light of Mashiach.” Thus, too, they taught, “When a man is led into the Heavenly Court he is asked, ‘...Did you yearn for the Redemption?’ ” So since one is obliged to serve G‑d constantly, all day long, it is clear that this hopeful anticipation should likewise be constant, all day long.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXII, p. 77


“To Bring the Days of Mashiach”

11

There is a verse that says,12 “...So that you remember the day you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.” As understood by the Sages, the word “all” indicates that the obligation to recall the Exodus will continue into the days of Mashiach. Thus, quoting the final phrase of the verse and then interpreting it, the Sages say: כל ימי חייך להביא לימות המשיח — “ ‘All the days of your life’ includes (lit., ‘is to bring’) the days of Mashiach.”

This teaching may in turn be interpreted in two ways:

(a) One should consider what every component of This World will be like when Mashiach comes;

(b) Throughout these days of exile, one should constantly intend that one’s present avodah should bring the days of Mashiach, that it should bring about the Redemption.13

Sefer HaSichos 5703 [1943], p. 73


Cosmic Repercussions (i)

The Alter Rebbe writes:. Tanya, beginning of ch. 37. “This ultimate perfection of the Messianic Era and the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, meaning the revelation of the infinite Ein Sof-light in this physical world, depends on our actions and divine service throughout the period of exile.”

Since we are now at the stage of ikvesa diMeshicha, in the era which can hear the approaching footsteps of Mashiach, every individual ought to sense the above teaching in his daily service of G‑d. And when one senses that his Torah study and his divine service speed the coming of the Redemption and bring the world closer to the fulfillment of its ultimate perfection, making it a dwelling place for its Creator,14 he pursues his spiritual labors with redoubled energy and conscientiousness.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 18


Cosmic Repercussions (ii)

A person studying Torah or fulfilling a mitzvah should be aware of the effect of his action. It should be clearly apparent that he is now sowing something that will lead to an ultimate sprouting — the coming of Mashiach.

It can happen that though a person knows that his spiritual labors can bring about the Redemption, they are not affected by this knowledge, for either of two reasons:

(a) His Torah study and his observance of the mitzvos are not spurred by the intention that they should help bring about the Redemption;

(b) He does not really care if the Redemption takes place at some later date, perhaps in some later generation, G‑d forbid: he is quite satisfied with having sown its seeds.

In truth, however, one’s avodah during this period of exile should be permeated with constant anticipation and longing for the Redemption. In his Torah study and in his observance of the mitzvos a Jew should sense that he is thereby bringing about and hastening the coming of the Redemption.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXII, p. 76


Cosmic Repercussions (iii)

A Jew who is steeped in “awaiting his coming every day” seeks the link of every mitzvah and of every festival with the coming of Mashiach. For it is in the days of Mashiach that the true essence of every mitzvah and of every festival will be fully revealed.

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


Living with the Concept of Mashiach

All of a man’s actions, including both his avodah with him­self and his avodah with others, should be immersed in one in­tent: to bring about the14 “ultimate perfection of the Messianic Era” — “the revelation of the infinite Ein Sof-light in this physical world.”

And though one may be undertaking a particular spiritual task repeatedly,14 “throughout the period of exile,” one should nevertheless throw oneself into it with gusto, as if he were now hearing for the first time that this endeavor of his brings about the “ultimate perfection of the Messianic Era.” When one does this, his divine service is fired by all the zest and intensity of his innermost core — the yechidah within his soul, because he is living with the concept of Mashiach.

Sefer HaSichos 5748 [1988], Vol. II, p. 415


“All One’s Days in Repentance”

Rabbi Eliezer taught,15 “Repent one day before your death.”

His disciples asked him,16 “But does a man know on what day he will die?”

“That is exactly the point!” he replied. “Let a man repent today lest he die tomorrow, and in this way he will live all his days in repentance.”

* * *

An alternative reason for doing so is to be found in Sefer Maharil:17 “One should repent every day..., because in the days of Mashiach repentance will not be acceptable. (Similarly, converts will not be accepted then,18 for a person seeking conversion at that time will be prompted not by the love of G‑d but by a desire to share the joyful lot of the Jewish people.) And since we are expecting to be saved every day, whoever does not repent before Mashiach comes (Speedily in our own days!) will no longer be able to repent; he will remain (G‑d forbid) with his sins.”

* * *

If so, then instead of repenting out of a dread of the day of death, surely it is preferable to repent out of a hopeful anticipation of the coming of Mashiach!

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Vayeilech, 5719 [1958]


Awaiting His Coming

The Rambam writes:19 “Nine Red Heifers were prepared from the time that our forefathers were charged with this commandment until the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed the second time..., and the tenth will be prepared by the King Mashiach. (May he be speedily revealed, Amen! May this be G‑d’s will!)”

Now what is the relevance of a prayer or supplication in a legal work, in a work of Halachah? And even if it were to be argued that there is a place for a prayer in the Yad HaChazakah, then surely that place is in the Laws Concerning Mashiach (at the end of the Laws Concerning Kings).

An answer may be found in the ruling of the Rambam20 that beyond merely believing in Mashiach, there is an obligation “to await his coming.” And here, in the Laws Concerning the Red Heifer, the Rambam is teaching us a law as to the extent of this obligation “to await”: Even a passing reference to Mashiach should immediately arouse a prayer for his speedy coming.

Why is this so? — An individual should feel that his own perfect fulfillment depends on the coming of Mashiach, and so long as Mashiach has not come, he is incomplete. When someone who is awaiting his coming mentions Mashiach even in passing, this intensifies his anticipation. The absence of Mashiach becomes one of his needs. And everyone is obliged to pray for the fulfillment of his needs21 — in this case, the coming of Mashiach.

The fact that Rambam does not append this prayer to every mention of Mashiach presents no problem, for this halachah may be taught by one instance alone.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVIII, p. 131


The Effect of Anticipating

The Redemption and the coming of Mashiach are not merely a future reward, but a reward that is an intrinsic part of our present divine service.

This can be explained in two ways:

(a) Believing in the coming of Mashiach and anticipating it are among the principles of the faith. This includes the request and the demand that he come immediately, as (for example) in the thrice-daily prayers,22 ותחזינה עינינו... — “May our eyes behold Your return to Zion...”; or,23 את צמח... — “Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish, ...for we hope for Your salvation every day.”

(b) When one considers that the Redemption is imminent, neither the darkness nor the difficulties of exile will disturb him from performing his divine service cheerfully. His service will then be perfect, being “redeemed” from all kinds of obstacles and hindrances, and thus foreshadowing the future Redemption. Indeed, it will be a foretaste of the Talmudic blessing,24 עולמך תראה בחייך — “May you in your lifetime behold your [share in the] World [to Come].”

Nevertheless, it goes without saying that this degree of perfection does not rule out one’s earnest anticipation of the ultimate Redemption, for one’s present experience of perfection is infinitely inferior to the perfect consummation that will reign at the time of the Redemption, both as regards the mitzvos which cannot be observed today, and likewise as regards the mitzvos which can also be observed today.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIX, p. 275


Speaking About Mashiach

On the phrase,25 עד כי יבא שילה — “...until Shiloh comes,” Rashi comments that this refers to “the King Mashiach, to whom sovereignty belongs.” And on the level of gematria, the author of Baal HaTurim points out that the words יבא שילה are numeri­cally equivalent to the word משיח.

The word יבא contains a profound allusion to the means by which Mashiach can be brought.

This word is numerically equivalent to the word אחד (“one”). When there will be unity among Jews, and in particular, when Jews will unite in speaking about Mashiach, they will (with G‑d’s help) succeed in drawing down and realizing the ultimate Redemption through the hands of the Righteous Mashiach.

Sefer HaSichos 5696 [1936], p. 330


Peering Out of the Ark

After the Deluge had been raging for forty days,26Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.”

Now even if the water had abated, Noah was not allowed to leave until he had been commanded by G‑d to27 “leave the ark.” So why should he look out?

The answer to this question is relevant to our generation, the generation of the Redemption.

The Deluge is known in the Holy Tongue as the מבול, because (as Rashi explains28 ) “it confused everything” בלבל את) (הכל. Accordingly, it alludes to the confusion of our exile, in which some people29 “set darkness for light... and bitter for sweet.” The ultimate purpose of this “deluge” is to purify the world, in the spirit of the prophetic promise,30 ואת רוח הטומאה אעביר מן הארץ — “I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth.”

In today’s deluge, too, when it occurs to a Jew that the time has possibly come for the confused turbulence of exile to come to an end, that the time has come to leave the ark, he should do everything within his power to verify this: instead of sitting and waiting until G‑d gives the order to leave the ark, he should act to hasten the advent of the Redemption.

And when Heaven sees that a Jew is yearning for the Redemption to come “now”, this in itself speeds the giving of the command to “leave the ark” — the exodus from bondage to Redemption.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Shabbos Parshas Chukas, 5745 [1985]


Getting Ready for Shabbos

On the verse,31 “Remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it,” Rashi writes: “Take heed to remember the Shabbos day constantly, so that if you encounter something special [such as a delicacy, in the course of the week], set it aside for Shabbos.”

The same applies to the future Redemption. Even when we are still in the weekdays of the exile,32 we should constantly keep in mind and prepare for the Redemption, for33 “the Day which is entirely Shabbos and repose for life everlasting.”

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on 11 Sivan, 5744 [1984]


“The Beis HaMikdash will be Speedily Rebuilt”

34

There is an opinion in the Gemara that even in our days, after the Destruction, a Kohen is forbidden to drink wine, since it is probable that “the Beis HaMikdash will be speedily rebuilt,” finding him under the influence of wine, and hence disqualified from serving there.

Now this influence can wear off by either of two causes:

(a) sleep; or

(b) the passage of as much time as it takes to walk a mil. According to the longest estimate, this comes to 24 minutes.35

Here, then, we have evidence from the revealed plane of the Torah that in the course of a very short time (i.e., within a maximum of 23 minutes and 59 seconds), Mashiach is likely to arrive together with a completed Beis HaMikdash.”

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 618


“A Nazirite on the Day that Mashiach Comes”

36

The Gemara discusses the case of a person who makes a conditional vow to become a nazir,37 thereby abstaining (among other things) from drinking wine.

“If one vows, ‘I hereby undertake to be a nazir on the day that [Mashiach] the son of David comes,’ — if the vow was undertaken on a weekday, he is forever forbidden to drink wine; if it was undertaken on a Shabbos or a Yom-Tov, then he is permitted to drink wine on that Shabbos or that Yom-Tov, but from then on, this is forbidden forever.”

From this law we learn that Mashiach can come any day.

The fact that the law of the nazir is the source for this principle may be understood in the light of the fact that the nazirite status will find full expression in the Time to Come, in the spirit of the verse,38 “I set up some of your sons as prophets and some of your young men as nazirites.”

There are two facets to this status:

(a) setting oneself apart; and

(b) sanctifying oneself, as in the verse,39 “All the days of his separation, he is holy unto G‑d.”

[As if addressing a nazir,] the Sages say,40 “What the Torah has forbidden you should suffice for you!” — for a man’s divine service ought to be directed at drawing down sanctity into himself and into the material world. For this reason the Rambam writes:41 “To vow unto G‑d by way of [self-]sanctification [as opposed to abstinence for its own sake] is proper and praiseworthy.” And this sanctity of the nazir will attain its consummation with the coming of Mashiach, when there will be no need to abstain from worldly things, for every Jew will be “holy unto G‑d.”

Likkutei Sichos, Parshas Naso, 5751 [1991]


No Hard Feelings

“The Jewish people have been promised that Elijah the Prophet [who will herald the imminent arrival of Mashiach] will come neither on the day preceding Shabbos nor on the day preceding any of the festivals, because of the trouble it would cause.”42 (Rashi explains: “...for they would have to leave their Sabbath eve preparations and go out to greet him.”)

Nevertheless, since his coming hinges on the trouble it might cause, I am certain that if Eliyahu HaNavi were to arrive on a Friday afternoon, the Jewish people would not complain.

From the words of the Rebbe Shlita, Teves 5742 [1982]


This, Too, Has an Answer

The Tzemach Tzedek once spoke of the coming of Mashiach at one of the times concerning which our Sages have taught that he will not come.43 One of his listeners, baffled, queried this.

The Tzemach Tzedek replied: “Let him come! Then, once he comes and finds solutions for all the other unsolved scholarly queries,. An unresolved query in the Gemara is often closed with the word תיקו, which is traditionally understood to be an acronym for four Hebrew words: תשבי יתרץ קושיות ואבעיות — “The Tishbite [i.e., the Prophet Elijah] will solve the [unanswered] Talmudic problems and queries.” he will find a solution for this one, too!”

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 272


Waiting Every Day (i)

The Rambam writes,. The twelfth of the Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Faith, as it appears in the popular version (Ani Maamin) which is printed in many editions of the Siddur. אחכה לו בכל יום שיבא. There are those who understand this to mean, not that one should await his coming every day, but that every day one should await his coming, while his actual coming will take place in due course, “whenever Mashiach should so desire.”

However, if this were the intention of the words, they should have been rearranged thus: בכל יום אחכה לו שיבוא.

The true meaning of the phrase can also be understood from the wording of one of the blessings in the Shemoneh Esreh:. Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 56. את צמח דוד עבדך מהרה תצמיח — “Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish.” Here, “speedily” is obviously intended to be taken literally, in keeping with the continuation of the same passage, “...for we hope for Your salvation every day.”44

If anyone should argue that perhaps the phrase really means that one should hope every day, while anticipating that the actual salvation will come whenever G‑d so pleases, — ask him: “When you pray for some ailing member of your family, do you ask that G‑d should send a complete recovery whenever He so pleases, or immediately?”

Moreover, since45 “Any generation during which [the Beis HaMikdash] is not rebuilt, is reckoned as if it had destroyed it,” G‑d forbid that we should passively say that “Mashiach will come whenever he so desires.”

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita, Shabbos Parshas Eikev, 5744 [1984]


Waiting Every Day (ii)

I was pleased to read in the MiBeis HaLevi edition of the Haggadah that the illustrious scholars of Brisk understood the phrase,46 אחכה לו בכל יום שיבא, to refer to the coming of Mashiach every day, literally. Furthermore, the statement in the daily prayers that47 “we hope for Your salvation all day long” (כל היום) means that one should hope and wait for Mashiach “literally at every single moment.”

The above commentary on the Haggadah goes on to consider a possible objection: We have been promised46 that Elijah the Prophet will appear first to herald the coming of Mashiach; if so, it might be asked, how is it possible that Mashiach should appear today, when Eliyahu HaNavi did not appear yesterday?47

This Haggadah answers simply: When Elijah comes and resolves all the other scholarly problems, he will supply an answer for this query, too!45

From the words of the Rebbe Shlita, Iyar 5743 [1983]


“Next Year in Jerusalem!”

Commenting on the closing prayer of the Pesach Seder, “Next year in Jerusalem!”, the Rebbe Rayatz once said: “One doesn’t have to wait until next year. Rather, the Redemption is already brought into being immediately at the conclusion of the Seder. Then, as a matter of course, next year will be in Jerusalem.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 453


A Redemption that is Tangible (i)

The Tzemach Tzedek was once asked by his son, the future Rebbe Maharash, why Mashiach had not appeared in the year תר"ח (5608; 1848-49), which had been anticipated as a keitz, a time particularly propitious for this.

The Tzemach Tzedek replied: “But that year saw the publica­tion of Likkutei Torah!48

The Rebbe Maharash objected: “But we need Mashiach down here, ‘lower than ten tefachim!’ ”49

* * *

On this exchange the Rebbe Shlita once commented: “It is certain that the Tzemach Tzedek likewise knew that Mashiach is needed plainly and tangibly50 — but he wanted to hear this articulated, as a demand, from someone who was not then at the level of a nasi,51 but who spoke as a mekabel.”52

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 429


A Redemption that is Tangible (ii)

Along the same lines the Rebbe Shlita has said: “When we are speaking of a nasi from the point of view of his bond with his contemporaries, then Mashiach is needed plainly and tangibly. But when we are speaking of a nasi in and of himself, then since he himself is in the world of Sod, the mystical dimension of the Torah, the publication of Likkutei Torah is in a sense an actual coming of Mashiach — for in essence, the coming of Mashiach is the revelation of the innermost, mystical dimension of the Torah.

From a talk of the Rebbe Shlita on Chai Elul, 5742 [1982]


The Shofar of Mashiach

The awe-inspiring Niggun of Four Themes53 is commonly known as “The Alter Rebbe’s Niggun.” The chassidim of the Alter Rebbe used to call it “The Shofar of Mashiach,” because, as they explained, it arouses a yearning for the coming of Mashiach.

Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. VI, p. 172


Jewish Style

One day, when the Tzemach Tzedek was still a young man, he was sitting with a group of chassidim who were discussing the question, “Who knows when Mashiach is going to come?”

He commented: “This kind of talk recalls the style of [the gentile prophet] Bilaam,54 who said [concerning the ultimate Redemption of Israel55], ‘I see it, but not now; I perceive it, but not in the near future’ — as if the Redemption were far away. A Jew, though, should hope and anticipate every day that Mashiach will come on that very day.”

Transmitted by oral tradition


A Poor Businessman

One of the chassidim of the Tzemach Tzedek operated an inn and a store for which he prepaid an annual rent to the local squire. As he was growing old, he sent his son one day to sign the annual contract on his behalf. The son, however, asked the paritz to agree to a three-year contract, which he did, and the son paid for the three years in advance.

Hearing this, his father was irate: “Look here! We believe with perfect faith that Mashiach is coming. In fact, he is coming this year, for sure. And you’ve gone and wasted two years’ payment for nothing?!”

Transmitted by oral tradition