The Exodus in the Days of Mashiach

למען תזכור את יום צטתך מארץ מצרים כל ימי חייך.. ימי חייך – העולם הזה, כל ימי חייך – להביא לימות המשיח

‘So that you remember the day you came out of Egypt all the days of your life’:... ‘The days of your life’ signifies this world; ‘all the days of your life’ includes as well the Days of Mashiach”1

The Exodus from Egypt represents the mode of avodah called iskafya — the suppression of evil; the future Redemption represents the mode of avodah called is’hapcha — the transformation of evil.2

At the time of the Exodus, the Jewish people were not yet refined; “the evil in the [animal] souls of Israel was still strong.”3 They therefore had to flee from the evil and impurity of Egypt; as it is written,4 “for the people fled.” This is an avodah of iskafya. At the time of the future Redemption, however, the spirit of impurity will be removed from the earth. Concerning that time, therefore, it is written,5 “You will not go out in haste.” The avodah at that time will thus be in a mode of is’hapcha.

One might ask: Since the avodah of is’hapcha (through which evil is altogether nullified) is higher than the avodah of iskafya, why should one continue to speak of the Exodus from Egypt at the time of the future Redemption?

The answer lies in a certain respect in which iskafya is superior to is’hapcha, for the individual practicing it toils and battles and suppresses the evil within him. In other words: At the core of is’hapcha lies yichud (lit., “unification”) — the individual becomes unified with Divinity by means of his self-purification; at the core of iskafya lies bittul (lit., “nullification”) — by nullifying his own will, the individual compels himself to serve his Maker.

This is why even at the time of the future Redemption we will continue to speak of the Exodus from Egypt. For the Divine intent is that both modes of spiritual service be practiced — on the one hand, yichud by means of self-purification, and on the other hand, bittul by the humbling of self.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVI, p. 125

Subjugation to Gentile Kingdoms

אין בין עולם הזה לימות המשיח אלא שעבוד מלכיות בלבד

“There will be no difference between the current age and the Era of Mashiach except [our emancipation from] subservience to the [gentile] kingdoms”6

Whoever does not believe in hashgachah peratis, the involvement of Divine Providence in every aspect of this world, is enslaved to the kelippah, which covers and conceals Divine Providence. This is the inner meaning of “subservience to the [gentile] kingdoms.” In the future, however, when the spirit of impurity will be removed from the earth, this Providence will become manifest; at that time, everyone will see how every single occurrence derives from G‑d.

Keser Shem Tov, sec. 607

Yitzchak Is Our Father

כי אתה אבינו

“In the time to come... [the Jewish people] will say [to Yitzchak Avinu]: ‘For you are our father.’7

The name Yitzchak implies laughter,8 and hence, delight. In the time to come, when all the sparks of Divinity embedded in the material universe will have been uncovered and elevated, G‑d’s delight at the completion of this task will become manifest.

Torah Or, Vayeitzei, p. 21c

A Name for Revelation

העולם הזה, נכתב ביו"ד ה"י ונקרא באל"ף דל"ת, אבל לעולם הבא... נכתב ביו"ד ה"י ונקרא ביו"ד ה"י

“In this world, [the Divine Name] is written [with the four letters of the Name Havayah which begin with] Yud and Hei, but is pronounced with the Name [which begins with the letters] Alef and Daled; in the world to come, however,... [the Divine Name] will be [both] written with Yud and Hei [etc.], and pronounced with Yud and Hei [etc.]”9

When Mashiach comes, there will a revelation of the level of Divinity which transcends nature. The Divine Name will therefore be pronounced as it is written, for then, the entire universe will be irradiated by the Name Havayah, which transcends time and place. For this Name is a composite of הי-ה and הוה and יהי-ה, inasmuch is G‑d Himself10 “was, is, and will be, simultaneously.” The irradiation of the Name Havayah throughout the entire universe at that time will resemble the revelation that in former times pervaded the Beis HaMikdash.

Kuntreis Inyanah shel Toras HaChassidus, sec. 411

The Month of Redemption (i)

רבי אליעזר אומר, בניסן נגאלו, בתשרי עתידין ליגאל; רבי יהושע אומר, בניסן נגאלו בניסן עתידין ליגאל

“R. Eliezer says: In Nissan [our people] were redeemed, in Tishrei they will be redeemed; R. Yehoshua says: In Nissan [our people] were redeemed, in Nissan they will be redeemed”12

The Midrash13 determines according to the view of R. Yehoshua, that the time of the Redemption is the month of Nissan. For Nissan is a time of Chessed, whereas Tishrei is a time of Gevurah, a time of judgment.

Sefer HaMaamarim 5700 [1940], p. 28

The Month of Redemption (ii)

According to the view of R. Eliezer, our people will be redeemed in Tishrei.

The month of Tishrei, when we pray for rain,14 represents a direction in divine service wherein that which is below is uplifted,15 for rain is granted as a response to “an arousal from below”;16 as it is written,17 “A mist rose from the earth.” The month of Nissan, by contrast, represents a direction in divine service wherein that which is above is drawn downward;18 in this month we pray for dew,19 which is granted on the initiative of “an arousal from above.”20

At the time of the Exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel were enmeshed in the 49 Gates of Impurity. Nothing less than a revelation from above could release them from this state. And in fact,21 “The supreme King of kings was revealed over them, and redeemed them.” That is why this redemption took place in Nissan, which is characterized by the direction in divine service wherein that which is above is drawn downward.

The future Redemption, by contrast, will follow in the wake of our service of G‑d through the study of Torah and the observance of mitzvos. This service refines the world and transforms it into a vessel for Divinity. (For, as is explained in Chassidus, the Giving of the Torah heralded a new world order, whereby the loftiest of spiritual revelations, even those of the future Redemption, are intimately integrated into this world.) That is why this Redemption will take place in Tishrei, which is characterized by the direction in divine service wherein that which is below is uplifted. This will take place by virtue of the above-mentioned integration of the Divine light within the very fiber of this world (despite the fact that when divine service takes the direction of haalaah, an inferior level of light is evoked).

R. Yehoshua holds that the future Redemption will take place in Nissan, since it will be initiated from above. Nevertheless, since the light of this Redemption will be integrated within this world, we will gain the advantages of both sides.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 235

G‑d Will Slaughter the Evil Inclination (i)

לעתיד לבא, מביאו הקדוש-ברוך-הוא ליצר הרע, ושוחטו

“In the time to come, G‑d will bring the Evil Inclination and slaughter it”22

This shechitah — slaughtering for kosher consumption — implies the removal of the evil within the Evil Inclination, so that what is left is a holy angel. In this way, the נבל (“the scoundrel”) is transposed and transformed into לבן (“a white one”).

Keser Shem Tov, sec. 265

G‑d Will Slaughter the Evil Inclination (ii)

Why should the Evil Inclination be slaughtered? Was he not created in order to carry out his task?

The answer is that he will be punished for having posed as the Good Inclination, deluding a sinner that he is fulfilling a mitzvah.

In this light we can understand the following verse:23 דברי פיו און ומרמה, חדל להשכיל להיטיב — “The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit; he has ceased being wise and doing good.” [As explained here, the subject of the first part of the verse is the Evil Inclination; the subject of the second part of the verse is his prey.] The Evil Inclination deceives a man (“The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit”), by explaining to him that the sin he has just done is in fact a mitzvah. As a result, it does not occur to this man to repent (“he has ceased being wise and doing good”), for no man chooses to repent over the mitzvos he has done.

Keser Shem Tov, sec. 78

The Sun Unsheathed

לעתיד לבא, הקדוש-ברוך-הוא מוציא חמה מנרתיקה, צדיקים מתרפאין בה, ורשעים מתלהטין

“In the time to come, G‑d will unsheath the sun; the tzaddikim will be healed by it, and the wicked will be burnt by it”24

Just as it is impossible to gaze upon the sun because of its intense brightness, and one needs a protective screen, so too the intense radiation of the Divine Name Havayah must be screened and attenuated by means of the Name Elokim, which is numerically equivalent to הטבע (“nature”).

In the future time, however, G‑d will unsheath the “sun” (i.e., the Name Havayah) from its “sheath” (i.e., the obscurity of the Name Elokim).

“The tzaddikim will be healed by it”: They will experience the promise of the verse,25 “Your eyes shall behold your Teacher.” G‑d will relate to the tzaddikim on a supernatural level, and they will be enabled to receive His intense brightness and His abundant mercies.

“...and the wicked will be burnt by it”: For them the attribute of Divine mercy, as expressed by the Name Havayah, will be transformed into the attribute of stern justice; as it is written,26 “G‑d will go forth like a warrior.”

Keser Shem Tov, sec. 246

The Banquet of Livyasan

עתיד הקדוש-ברוך-הוא לעשות סעודה לצדיקים מבשרו של לויתן

“In the future time, G‑d will make a banquet for the tzaddikim from the flesh of the Leviathan27

This banquet, as is explained in the literature of Chassidus,28 is replete with spiritual allusions: the Livyasan, the Wild Ox, the “preserved wine,” — each has its profound mystical significance. At the same time, however, this will also be a physical banquet.

For, as is well known, the ultimate reward in the days of Mashiach will not be granted in Gan Eden,29 “where there is neither eating nor drinking,” but in the World of Resurrection,30 to souls garbed in bodies. (This statement follows the view of the Ramban,31 which is affirmed by the teachings of Chassidus.32 )

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

Time for Torah Study

שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, ותן חלקנו בתורתך

“May it be Your will... that the Beis HaMikdash be speedily rebuilt in our days, and grant us our portion in Your Torah”33

What is the connection between these two requests?

When the Beis HaMikdash is rebuilt, we will see the fulfillment of the prophecy, that34 “strangers will stand and pasture your flocks.” And when that happens, every Jew will able to devote himself exclusively to the study of the Torah.

From a talk of the Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Re’eh, 5741 [1981]

A Harp of Eight Strings (i)

כנור של מקדש שבעת נימין הי-ה... ושל ימות המשיח – של שמונה

“The harp of the Beis HaMikdash had seven strings..., and the harp of the Days of Mashiach will have eight”35

The word for harp — כנור — is made up36 of the letters כ"ו נר. The first two letters signify 26, which is the numerical equivalent of the Divine Name Havayah; the last two letters comprise the word נר (“lamp”), for the soul is called37 “a lamp of G‑d.” The word כנור thus alludes to the spiritual light of the Name Havayah that shines into the soul.

This takes place in either of two modes. The כנור of seven strings signifies an elicitation of the Name Havayah in the manner in which it is revealed within the seven Supernal attributes.38 The כנור of eight strings, by contrast, signifies the revelation of the Name Havayah in a manner which transcends the seven Supernal attributes. This mode of revelation transcends the limitations of Hishtalshelus, the chainlike downward progression whereby the ethereal, pristine, spiritual light undergoes successive stages of self-imposed screening and condensation.

Likkutei Torah, Tazria, p. 21d

A Harp of Eight Strings (ii)

Our Sages teach39 that in future time the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, will be read as it is written, whereas now its pronunciation (the kri, viz., Ad-nai) differs from its spelling (the ksiv, viz., Havayah).

What does this mean?

The ksiv represents the realm of Divine self-concealment; the kri represents the realm of Divine self-revelation. In future time, when the Name of G‑d will be read as it is written, these two realms will unite.

The harp of the Days of Mashiach will thus have eight strings: the four letters of the Name Havayah, which represents the self-concealment of the ksiv, will shine forth and be revealed within the four letters of the Name Ad-nai, which represents the self-revelation of the kri.

Likkutei Torah, Tazria, p. 21d

A Harp of Eight Strings (iii)

The number eight has two opposite connotations. On the one hand, it indicates a Divine dynamic that transcends the created universe, which is programmed in cycles of seven.40 On the other hand, the number eight is not self-sufficient, but continues from the number seven which precedes it.

These two polar opposites will be reflected in the future revelation of the glory of G‑d. On the one hand, the glory of G‑d as then revealed will be incomparably superior to the created universe. At the same time, however, the glory of G‑d will become manifest in such a way that the material world will “see” Divinity by virtue of the world’s own nature (and not because the infinite nature of Divinity enables it to become revealed even to material flesh).

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 93

The Mitzvos of the Future

מצות בטלות לעתיד לבוא

The mitzvos will be annulled in future time41

This means that the mitzvos in their present form will be of no account relative to the revelations of the future. The degree of Divine energy elicited by the performance of a mitzvah today is infinitely inferior to the degree of Divine energy that will be elicited by the performance of a mitzvah in the future.

Hemshech 5672, Vol. III, p. 1279

A New Torah (i)

תורה חדשה תאתי תצא

A new Torah shall go forth from Me42

In the present, the Torah is garbed in narratives — the story of Lavan, the story of Bilam, and the like. In the time to come, however, the mysteries hidden in these narratives will be disclosed: it will become apparent how these stories in fact speak of G‑d, of the building of supernal worlds. This is why G‑d says that at that time the Torah will go forth from Me: the way in which the entire Torah speaks of G‑d will then be revealed.

Keser Shem Tov, sec. 84 and 242

A New Torah (ii)

This “new Torah” too was given at the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, for the Giving of the Torah will never be repeated.43 The “new Torah” is no real innovation, but simply the revelation of that which had been concealed.

It will be noted that the verse specifies that it will proceed from Me, and will thus not be an accomplishment of the King Mashiach. This is a subject on which much remains to be said.

Likkutei Sichos, Parshas Vayigash, 5751 [1990]

From the North (i)

המלך המשיח עתיד לבוא מצפון, שנאמר: העירותי מצפון ויאת

The King Mashiach is destined to come from the north, as it is written,44 “I have aroused [him] from the north and he has come”45

Specifically the north — concerning which it is written,46 “From the north will the evil begin” — is related to the coming of Mashiach. For the coming of Mashiach will mark the completion of the refinement and elevation of this “north”, the transformation of the evil itself to good. As it is written,47 “And night will illumine like day.” The “north” itself will diffuse light.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 514

From the North (ii)

One of the towns in the north of Eretz Yisrael is the holy city of Tzfas (Safed), and it has a specific connection with the coming of Mashiach.

(a) The King Mashiach will be revealed in the Galilee,48 and Tzfas is one of the Galilean towns.

(b) It was in Tzfas that the revelation of the innermost, mystical dimension of the Torah began (through the AriZal and his disciples). As is well known, this unveiling of the pnimiyus of the Torah is a preparation and a prelude to the teachings of Mashiach, which constitute49 “the secret reasons and the hidden mysteries” of the Torah.

(c) The very name Tzfas (צפת) derives from the root that appears in the phrase,50 צפה הצפית — “Look far, O watchman!” This concept characterizes the future Redemption, when51 “together all flesh shall see that the mouth of G‑d has spoken.”

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 515

The Teachings of Mashiach

למד בעולם הזה הבל הוא לפני תורתו של משיח

“The Torah that a man studies in this world is meaningless relative to the Torah teachings of Mashiach”52

It is thus evident that the study of Torah in this world is no more than an educational preparation for the study proper that will take place in time to come. Indeed, studying Torah in this world grants one the merit of studying the Torah teachings of Mashiach.

This concept enables us to understand why the very first law detailed in the Hilchos Talmud Torah53 of the Alter Rebbe, instead of stating that an adult is obliged to study Torah, is the following: “It is a positive commandment explicit in the Torah that a father teach his young son Torah.” Why this precedence?

There is a hint here — that the entire study of the Torah in this world is essentially chinuch, an educational preparation, like the studies of a little child.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 280

Future Purity

לעתיד לבוא, שהשכינה ביניהם, אינם אסורים

“In time to come, when the Divine Name is among [the Jewish people], [contact with a niddah] will not be forbidden”54

This may be understood in two ways:

(a) Concerning the future time it is written,55 “I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth.” Accordingly, in a verse which speaks of remaining silent from Torah study56 (נאלמתי דומי' החשיתי), the initial letters of this phrase spell the word נדה — and this state of impurity will be reversed in the future, for at that time,57 “together all flesh shall see that the mouth of G‑d has spoken.”

At that time, therefore, the prohibition concerning the state of niddah will not apply.

(b) Underlying this prohibition is the fact that Chavah (Eve) shed Adam’s blood.58 In the future this will be remedied, for Mashiach will be at the level of Adam before the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. This is hinted at in a verse describing Mashiach:59 ירום ונשא וגבה מאד — “He shall be exalted and extolled, and very lofty.” When transposed, the letters that spell מאד spell אדם — Adam.

Biurei HaZohar (by the Tzemach Tzedek), p. 947

Future Festivals

כל המועדים עתידים להבטל, חוץ מפורים

“All the festivals will be annulled in future time, except for Purim60

The future revelation of Divinity will be so intense that the revelation currently evinced by the festivals will be as insignificant as a midday candle.

Purim, however, will be the exception, because the Purim miracle was called forth by the year-long self-sacrifice of the Jewish people of that time. (They could have averted Haman’s decree by apostasy.) Their mesirus nefesh evoked a Divine reaction so sublime that even in the future time it will never be annulled.

Sefer HaMaamarim 5626, p. 34

All Lands Holy Land

עתידה ארץ ישראל שתתפשט בכל העולם

“The Land of Israel is destined to spread forth over the whole world”61

Outside the Land of Israel, the flow of Divine energy descends from the World of Atzilus by being successively vested in the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. In the Land of Israel, by contrast, this flow is drawn downward by being successively vested in the Worlds of Beriah and Yetzirah alone. From that point it proceeds to descend — by way of the angel which presides over the World of Asiyah and which has dominion over Eretz Yisrael — as an untrammeled transient62 through the World of Asiyah, rather than being involved and vested63 in it.

The flow that reaches Eretz Yisrael thus relates back to the World of Yetzirah, whereas the flow that reaches the lands of the Diaspora relates to the World of Asiyah. This explains the ritual impurity of those lands, as determined by the Sages,64 for in the World of Asiyah the Divine light is thickly screened by kelippos.

In the future, however, when the world is refined and all kelippos are annulled, nothing will obstruct Divinity. The lands of the Diaspora will thus also be refined, and will become elevated to the level of the Land of Israel. In this sense, then, “The Land of Israel is destined to spread forth over the whole world.”

Likkutei Torah, Masei, p. 89b

In the Merit of Righteous Women

אין הדורות נגאלין אלא בשכר נשים צדקניות שיש בדור

“The generations will be redeemed only in the merit of the righteous women of each generation”65

This teaching is also true of our forefathers’ redemption from Egypt.66 Since this redemption took place for the sake of the Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai soon after,67 the women were given precedence at that time. This is seen in the comment of Rashi on the verse,68 “Thus shall you say to the House of Yaakov (Rashi: ‘This refers to the women’) and speak to the Children of Israel” (Rashi: ‘This refers to the men’).”

The same will be true of the future Redemption: since it will come about in the merit of the righteous women of Israel, they will likewise be shown precedence with regard to the Torah teachings of Mashiach, concerning which it is written,69 “A renewed Torah shall go forth from Me.”

This parallel is reinforced by the teaching70 that our generation is a reincarnation of the generation that was redeemed from Egypt.

Sefer HaSichos 5749 [1989], Vol. I, p. 239

Dimensions of Prophecy

כל הנביאים עתידים להבטל, חוץ ממגילת אסתר

“[In time to come] all the Prophetic Books will be annulled, except for the Scroll of Esther71

This means that the Divine light that is revealed by means of prophecy will be so dim, relative to the intense light that will be revealed in time to come, that it will be as insignificant as a mere ray of sunlight relative to the sun.

This does not mean (heaven forfend) that prophecy will cease among Israel. On the contrary, we have G‑d’s promise72 that in future time “I shall pour My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”

Shaarei Orah, p. 57

Impurity — Suspended and Banished

למה נקרא חזיר? – שעתיד הקב"ה להחזירו לנו

Why is the [pig] called chazir? — Because in time to come G‑d will restore it (lehachaziro) to us73

This refers to the first stage within the time to come, when the categories of “forbidden” and “impure” will still exist.74 Only then will the pig be rendered pure. After this stage, however, with the fulfillment of the prophecy that75 “I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth,” the entire “impure Chariot” (comprising the camel, the rabbit, the hare, etc.) will cease to exist.

Igros Kodesh (Letters) of the Rebbe, Vol. III, p. 153

The Rainbow

עד דיתחזי קשת

Until the rainbow will be seen...76

The Zohar states that the rainbow is one of the signs of the future Redemption. What is the connection?

It has been taught77 that the rainbow is a sign of the purification and refinement that the world underwent by means of the Flood. Before that time the clouds were made of coarser matter, which did not reflect sunlight. After the Flood had purified the world, the clouds too became more refined: they reflect sunlight, and a rainbow is produced.

In this lies the connection between the rainbow and the coming of Mashiach, for at that time the entire physical world will attain the peak of refinement.

From a talk of the Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Noach, 5721 [1960]

Teshuvah for Tzaddikim (i)

משיח אתא לאתבא צדיקיא בתיובתא

Mashiach will come in order to cause the righteous to return in repentance78

When Mashiach comes, such a sublime level of Divinity79 will be revealed that by comparison, even the lofty level of Divine Wisdom80 will be regarded as being as lowly as the World of Asiyah, and the Higher Garden of Eden81 will be regarded as being a mere wilderness. And when this sublime level of Divinity is revealed, even a tzaddik will be aroused with feelings of teshuvah.

We are not speaking of teshuvah of the ordinary kind: this is not relevant to a tzaddik, for he has had no taste of sin.

Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim, p. 50b

Teshuvah for Tzaddikim (ii)

Teshuvah can be relevant even for a tzaddik, in the spirit of the teaching of our Sages that a person should live “all his days in teshuvah.”82 For as soon as he wastes even a moment from his customary level of avodah in Torah study and in prayer, at that moment he is (so to speak) falling — and this calls for teshuvah.

Or HaTorah, Shir HaShirim, p. 688

Teshuvah for Tzaddikim (iii)

In the days of Mashiach there will be a stupendous revelation of Divinity. For G‑d, who is known as83 “the tzaddik of the world,” this revelation will be a kind of “teshuvah” — for having withheld this light from His people throughout all the years of exile.

Or HaTorah, Vayikra, p. 235

Teshuvah for Tzaddikim (iv)

Even in the present period the avodah of tzaddikim includes an element of teshuvah, but it is different from the teshuvah that will be aroused within them by Mashiach.

The teshuvah that a tzaddik experiences during the present period focuses on distance:84 since his body is now invested in a body, he is (so to speak) distant from G‑d, by comparison with the nearness that his soul experienced before it descended to this world. For even85 “a perfect tzaddik, serving G‑d with fear and delighting in an abundant love [of Him], will not attain the quality of his attachment to G‑d... before his descent into this world.” In the present, therefore, his teshuvah consists of anguish over this distance, and a yearning to restore his soul to its former ambiance.

In time to come, by contrast, G‑d’s glory will be as manifest down here below as it is above. Since the former distance will no longer exist, the teshuvah of the tzaddik will no longer focus on distance: it will consist of an infinite love of G‑d, the degree of love of which it is written,86 bechol meodecha — “[You shall love the L‑rd your G‑d]... with all your might.” At present, for the most part, this degree of love is experienced most fully by a penitent, a baal teshuvah. His soul’s thirst for G‑d, as a result of its former distance from Him, is urgent, just as a man flees from death with his entire being. A tzaddik does not quite experience this kind of thirst. When Mashiach comes, however, G‑d’s Being and Essence will become manifest in this world below. This intense revelation will rouse the tzaddik to an infinite ascent, so that he, too, will become capable of the ultimate degree of love which is called bechol meodecha: at that time he, too, will be able to love G‑d with all his might.

Likkutei Sichos, Parshas HaChodesh, 5751 [1991]

Teshuvah by Choice

הבטיחה תורה שסוף ישראל לעשות תשובה בסוף גלותן, ומיד הן נגאלים

The Torah has promised that ultimately the Jewish people will repent at the end of their exile, and then they will be redeemed at once87

It would appear that this statement intends to say that the Jewish people will do teshuvah on their own initiative, and not because heaven has compelled them to do so. The repentance will be theirs.

What supports this view?

In the two preceding chapters Rambam explains at length the concept of free choice, and then begins this chapter as follows: “Since every man has been granted permission..., he should endeavor to do teshuvah and to confess.” His intention may be understood as follows: A man should endeavor to undertake truthful teshuvah, i.e., teshuvah that springs from his own free will (rather than wait until he is coerced from above to do so). It is immediately after this that Rambam writes that “ultimately the Jewish people will repent”: they will do this kind of teshuvah, that which is freely chosen.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 215

The Red Heifer

ותשע פרות אדומות נעשו...: ראשונה עשה משה רבינו, שני-ה עשה עזרא, ושבע מעזרא עד חורבן הבית. והעשירית יעשה מלך המשיח – מהרה יגלה, אמן כן יהי רצון

Nine Red Heifers88 were prepared...: the first was prepared by Moshe Rabbeinu, the second by Ezra, and there were seven from the time of Ezra until the Destruction of the [Second] Beis HaMikdash. The tenth will be prepared by the King Mashiach — May he speedily be revealed! Amen, may this be G‑d’s will!89

Now why should Rambam have chosen to place this closing prayer for the coming of Mashiach specifically here, among the laws of the Red Heifer?

By way of explanation: The era of exile shares the state of impurity which is imparted by contact with a corpse. In addition to the simple sense of this kind of impurity, which today we are all presumed to have contracted, this is also the spiritual content of the state of exile. For the exile was brought about by the sins of Israel, by a lack in the fulfillment of the verse,90 ואתם הדבקים בה' אלקיכם — “You who cleave to the L‑rd your G‑d....” As a result, there is also a lack in the fulfillment of the continuation of the same verse, חיים כולכם היום — “You are all alive today.” And the ash of the Red Heifer, by means of which a person who has become defiled is cleansed of the impurity contracted by contact with a corpse, alludes to the future Redemption, for it will remove the analogous kind of impurity.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVIII, p. 137