Appreciate the Spiritual Message
The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything a person sees or hears should provide him with a lesson in his service of haShem (see more in HaYom Yom, entry for 7 Tishrei). Therefore, when trying to comprehend any event that takes place in the world at large, we should sensitize our perception — to look beyond that event’s overt socio-economic causes, and appreciate its spiritual message. In this context, the events of the past week take on unique significance…
The air of Mashiach
… The trend towards disarmament and unity that we are witnessing, results from the heightened desire for the coming of the Redemption that has been expressed in recent years.
Rabbis have issued halachic decisions, ruling that Mashiach must come. The attention of Jews — and of mankind in general — has focused on the imminence of the Geulah (Redemption) and the subject has been highlighted in reports in the news media. This process has effected changes within the world at large, producing developments that anticipate the peace and harmony which will permeate the world in the Era of the Geulah.
“He [Mashiach] will then perfect the entire world, [motivating all the nations] to serve G‑d together, as it is written (Zephaniah 3:9), ‘I will make the peoples pure of speech, so that they will all call upon the Name of G‑d and serve Him with one purpose.’ ” Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:4
Not only does the pattern of events in the world at large give us a foretaste of the Redemption: it also demonstrates the nature of the activities necessary to hasten its coming.
The unity, cooperation and sharing espoused by the world powers reflect thrusts that are fundamentally necessary in preparing the world for the Geulah (“Redemption”).
Our Sages teach that G‑d created the world so that He would have a dwelling place among mortals. This ideal will be realized in the Era of the Redemption. What is the essence of this concept?
Just as it is in a person’s home that his personality finds expression without restraint or inhibition, it will be in this world, G‑d’s dwelling place, that G‑dliness will be revealed without restraint.
To allow for this revelation, unity is necessary. We see a precedent for this in Jewish history (Mechilta and Rashi, commenting on Shmot 19:2). When the Jews approached Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, they camped “as one man, with one heart.” This oneness created the spiritual climate necessary for the giving of the Torah. Similarly, to merit the revelations of the Redemption, a macrocosm of the revelations which accompanied the giving of the Torah, we must join together in unity.
Material and Spiritual Charity
This unity must be expressed, not only on the level of feeling, but also through concrete acts within the context of our daily lives. This is implied by our Sages’ statement:
“Great indeed is tzedakah, for it brings the Redemption near” (Bava Basra 10a.).
Sharing with our fellow men and seeking their material welfare reflects how the bonds of unity that we share permeate every dimension of our existence.
These efforts should also be accompanied by “spiritual charity,” sharing knowledge. This increase of knowledge will herald the coming of the era when:
“One man will no longer teach another,… for they will all know Me.” (Yirmeyahu 31:33.)
Anticipating Future Harmony
In the Era of the Redemption:
“There will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance…. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G‑d”. (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 12:5)
In these days, which are moments before the advent of that era, we have the potential to anticipate this new and forthcoming world order, and to currently live our lives in the spirit of the Redemption. We can reflect the interpersonal unity which will characterize that age in our present conduct. And these efforts will hasten the coming of that era, when G‑d’s all-encompassing oneness will permeate the totality of existence.
From the Rebbe’s talk on Shabbat Parshas Mishpatim- 27th Day of Shvat, 5752(1992). Free translation.
[Translator’s Note: The primary theme of the farbrengen on that day was Rebbe Shlita’s interpretation of the recent disarmament talks as a foreglimpse of the fulfillment of the prophecy (Isaiah 2:4), “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares.”]