All the signs mentioned by our sages concerning the generation of "the heels
of Moshiach" indicate that our generation is the last generation of exile
and consequently the first generation of Redemption. This realization has
been greatly increased through the enhancement of efforts to disseminate
the Torah, Judaism and the wellsprings of Torah to the most remote reaches
of the world, extending even to this "lower hemisphere," i.e. the Western
Hemisphere, (as a result of the liberation of the 12th and 13th of Tammuz)
over the course of the last 50 years
Consider this: If at the beginning of this epoch, my sainted
father-in-law, the leader of our generation, issued a proclamation that "Teshuvah
now, Redemption now!" and testified that we have already completed all of
our Divine service, and all that remains for us to do is to "polish the buttons"
and "All of you, stand ready to greet our righteous Moshiach." How much more
so, at the end of this epoch, there is absolutely no shred of doubt
that the time of Redemption has arrived. To borrow a Talmudic expression:
"All of the deadlines have passed." Even Teshuvah (which the
Talmud there states is a prerequisite for Redemption ("Redemption depends
solely on Teshuvah")) has already been fully realized.
'Within our generation itself, there is an added innovation this year:
Besides that we find ourselves in literal proximity to the true and complete
Redemption, in this year of "It shall be a year of miracles I shall show
him," when the prediction of "As in the days you have departed from Egypt,
I shall show him wonders," will be realized. And we have, in
fact, witnessed "wonders" that testify that this is "the year that the
King Moshiach shall be revealed," and the "time when the King Moshiach
will come... and announce to Israel, 'Humble ones, the time for your
Redemption has arrived.'" Further, these wonders and the
announcement that "Behold, he (the King Moshiach) is coming,"
allowing for the translation that "he has already come," mean that
we already stand on the threshold of the beginning of the Messianic Era as
well as on the threshold of the beginning of the Redemption, the continuation
and culmination of which shall occur imminently.
Since we are standing on the threshold of Redemption which will arrive
imminently, it follows that the study of the Laws of building the Temple
this year must be of an entirely different order. First and foremost,
this study must be permeated with the certain awareness and full recognition
that this study is not merely an "academic exercise," but it is relevant
for practical use for the very next moment. For indeed, the "Future Sanctuary
that we are anticipating has already been built and is fully developed (above
and will thus imminently) be revealed and arrive from Heaven"
The attitude towards the study of these laws should be analogous to what
was discussed in the recent past, that the special increase
in the study of the teachings of Torah concerning Redemption and Moshiach
should not simply serve as a catalyst to hasten the coming of Moshiach and
the Redemption. Rather this study should enable us to live with and thrive
on matters of Moshiach and Redemption. We should "live with the time" of
the Messianic Era. This can be attained when one's intellect is filled with
the comprehension of the Torah concepts of Moshiach and Redemption. This
intellectual awareness then extends to and permeates one's emotions, and
then translates into thought, speech and action consistent with this very
auspicious period of time when we stand on the threshold of Redemption and
we are able to point with our finger "Behold he (he King Moshiach) has come."
One might suggest an additional rationale for the need and the virtue of
studying the Torah's teachings concerning Moshiach, Redemption and the building
of the third Temple; as an entrance into the Messianic Era:
Although our Sages have declared that Moshiach will come "when
we are distracted from his coming," this does not contradict, G-d forbid,
the need for thought and reflection of the most powerful
order on matters of Moshiach and Redemption. This means
primarily thought and reflection that we are now standing at the very entrance
of the Messianic Era, that "Behold he is coming," since all the deadlines
have since passed, teshuvah has been done and all of the different aspects
of our Divine service have been completed in accordance with the details
mentioned above. The resolution of this apparent contradiction is that the
term for distraction, "Hesech HaDa'as" (literally "removing one's knowledge")
actually means "transcending one's knowledge." This
implies that after one has allowed this matter of Moshiach to permeate one's
intellect (by applying one's thought and constant reflection, etc.) one then
reaches the level where this then transcends one's knowledge.
Translating the above into practical terms.
Despite the "uproar" associated with this matter in recent times within this
year, the year of "I shall show him wonders," and after witnessing the wonders
which testify that this is "The year that the King Moshiach will be revealed,"
we see how difficult it is to inculcate the awareness and the feeling that
we are literally standing on the threshold of the Messianic Era, to the point
that one begins to "thrive" on matters of Moshiach and Redemption...
The solution to this dilemma is Torah study concerning Moshiach and
Redemption. For Torah - which is G-d's wisdom, and thus transcends the natural
order of the universe - has the capacity to alter the nature of
man. Even when one's emotions are still outside the
parameters of Redemption - G-d forbid - (because he has not yet emerged from
his internal exile), he can nevertheless learn the Torah's teachings concerning
Redemption, and thereby be one elevated to the state of Redemption. One then
begins to thrive on matters of Redemption, borne of the knowledge, awareness
and feeling that "Behold he is coming."
(From the talk of Shabbos Parshas Balak, 17
(numerically equivalent to "tov-good") Tammuz, 5751)
1. Sanhedrin 97b.
2. Michah 7:15.
3. Yalkut Shimoni, Yeshayahu 499.
4. Shir HaShirim 2:8 and Shir HaShirim Rabbah on this verse.
5. Rashi and Tosphos commentaries to Sukkah, 41, end side a and in
6. Above, p. 49 and in other places.
7. Sanhedrin 97a.
8. Da'as, the type of knowledge where "one binds his mind with an
extremely powerful and strong bond; firmly attaching one's thought." - Tanya,
end of ch. 3.
9. Tanya, Igeres HaKodesh (105b).
10. See the comments of our sages on the verse "Lo'keil gomer oh'lye"
(Talmud Yerushlami, Kesubos, 1:2. See there for cross references. Cited
in Halacha by the Shach (and Shulchan Aruch of the Alter
Rebbe), Yoreh Deah, sec. 189:13(23)).