By Boruch Merkur
Traditionally, Jewish life has flourished most in the
shtetl, cut off from the rest of the world. But things have changed. Today
the call of the hour is to reach out to Jews everywhere - from the smallest
settlement to the most massive metropolis - to meet up with our fellow Jews and
to speak with them about Judaism, in general, and about Moshiach, in particular.
(Of course, speaking is only the beginning - for "the main
thing is action," doing one extra act of goodness and kindness, one extra
mitzva to "tip the scales" and bring Moshiach.)
Now, if you were to take a survey among the experts, you are
likely to get a variety of opinions regarding how to approach contemporary
Jewish outreach, how to break the ice and get to the point: "Moshiach is about
to come any moment! What can you and I do right now to prepare?" Convincing
arguments could be put forth in support of a number of conflicting views
concerning how to best get this message across, but in the following address,
the Rebbe tells us - in no uncertain terms - how it is really to be done:
"MOSHIACH NOW" BEFORE "HOW DO YOU DO"
How is it possible to remain calm and silent when the true
and complete Redemption has still not come?! How is it possible to hold back
from shaking up the world with the cry, "MOSHIACH NOW"?! And when going to speak
with another, this approach must also be put into practice - that first off we
must shout, "MOSHIACH NOW!"
One might try to argue as follows: How could it be like you
say? If you really want to have an affect on someone, you must act like a
gentleman. First you must greet him with, "shalom aleichem," and
ask him, "what’s doing?" and, "how are you?" - and especially with the English
expression - "how do you do?" And afterwards, you must inquire about his wife
and children, about the state of his livelihood, what he has done and what he is
planning to do, and so on. Then you can begin to speak with him about
Jewish matters, beginning, of course, with the "Alef- Beis" of
Judaism, until you [eventually] come to the subject of the End of Days. Then
you can tell him that "Moshiach is on his way." But to scream "Moshiach now"
right from the start - this is a very peculiar approach indeed. And on the
contrary, "the words of the wise are soft-spoken," with a settled mind and in a
moderate tone, taking things one step at a time. Besides, what kind of
impression is going to be left by screaming "Moshiach now"?!
But actually the opposite is true: When an absolutely normal
fellow - someone who dresses normally and speaks normally, and so on - all of a
sudden begins to shout "MOSHIACH NOW!" - specifically this kind of conduct is
what will arouse in the other his inner spirit. For the truth of the matter is
that his soul is also shouting "MOSHIACH NOW!" ... If, however, you approach him
instead with all the manners of proper etiquette, you will not be able to brush
off even the dust and the dirt that covers over his outer shell (klipa
But when you approach him and shout "MOSHIACH NOW!" and you
tell him, "listen, Jews simply must have Moshiach," this strips away the outer
shell, and of consequence, the inner part of his soul is revealed! And there is
no need to find evidence and proof; the main thing is, rather, to "taste and
see!" Try this approach and see for yourself the results!
[Hisvaaduyos 5745 III; pp. 1647, 1649-50]
* * *
Deep down inside everybody believes in the imminent coming of
Moshiach, one of the Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith, for "every Jew is
a believer, son of a believer." It is a good thing, too, because it makes it a
whole lot easier to fulfill the obligation "to await his coming every day." The
challenge, however, is to reveal this belief, to awaken the part of the soul
that screams "Moshiach now!" The challenge is to live with this belief to the
extent that it is consciously felt - to the point of eager anticipation.
For this to be accomplished it sometimes takes the help of a
friend, someone who is trustworthy and down-to-earth. If this person, all of a
sudden starts screaming "MOSHIACH NOW!" - you can bet that he has a good reason,
regardless if he has presented "evidence and proofs." Since he is excited about
Moshiach and he expresses it openly, "words that come from the heart are sure to
enter the heart," he will manage to crack through his friend’s outer shell and
reach "the inner part of his soul." He will wake his friend up to this reality
and give him a chance to "be a part of it!" - to do something extra to prepare
for the true and complete Redemption.
EGYPT: A BIG NUT TO CRACK
In the time when the Jews were enslaved to Pharaoh, there was
a tremendous amount of hidden good, holy energies trapped within the borders of
Egypt. After Egypt had been demolished by the Ten Plagues, the Jews finally made
their way out. Egypt was left broken and gutted, void of anything of value, as
the Sages say, "like the deep waters where there are no fish," for the Jewish
people took with them an incredible amount of wealth, an abundance of good
things to be used for a good and holy purpose (such as the building of the
Sanctuary). With the Ten Plagues, G-d shattered Egypt, rendering its energies
openly accessible to the Jewish people.
The first of the Ten Plagues the Alm-ghty brought upon Egypt
was the Plague of Blood - G-d turned the water of the Nile into blood. This
plague, of course, was no mere illusion; it was a real threat to the Egyptians,
as the Nile was their primary source of drinking water and irrigation. In fact,
to the Egyptians, the attack on the Nile was an attack on their very being, for
they saw the Nile as their source of life - to the point that they actually
worshipped it. In order to make it very clear who is the true Source of Life,
G-d hit them with the Plague of Blood.
As the Torah is no mere storybook, but a guide to teach us
how to live our lives, we must understand what we are meant to learn from this
story, from the fact that G-d first struck out at the waters of the Nile with
the Plague of Blood.
WARMING UP TO MOSHIACH
The Rebbe explains that the waters of the Nile represent
coldness, as water is a cold substance by nature. And coldness is opposed to
things that are holy, because holiness is the source of life and vitality, the
source of warmth. The fact that the Egyptians were caught up in the worship of
the Nile tells us that they were likewise caught up in a state of coldness and
indifference towards all that is holy.
To punish the Egyptian’s, G-d turned the water of the Nile
into blood, the symbol of life, as it is written, "blood is the spirit." From
this we learn that a Jew must strive to transform coldness and spiritual
indifference into a vibrant state of warmth and life.
The Evil Inclination puts all of its effort into cooling a
Jew off, G-d forbid, turning him off of G-dliness and on to foolishness. To fend
off this attack, we must not get tangled in a debate with the Evil Inclination -
for when you wrestle with a dirty guy, you are bound to get yourself messed up,
as well. Rather, we must counter with the same artillery used against Egypt:
warming ourselves up to matters of holiness. We must take our belief in Moshiach
- that any second the long-awaited Messianic King will come and lead us to the
true and complete Redemption - and be bold enough to share this with a friend.
[Based on Likkutei Sichos, vol. 1; p. 121, 124]