No matter where I began writing this week, it felt like a run on sentence with the same ending: the signs are everywhere that Moshiach’s arrival is imminent. The Rebbe urged everyone to “open your eyes and see,” implying that the signs of this reality are visible if we know what to look for and strive to incorporate this perspective into our lives.
Chassidus teaches that everything that occurs in the physical world has a counterpart in the spiritual world. With that understanding, the best indication that Moshiach’s arrival is coming quickly is the dizzying pace with which technology is advancing. For example, when I Google almost anything, I understand physically that “everything is known,” which makes it easier to “see” the spiritual reality that everything is known– by G-d.
Last week’s truth-is-stranger-than-fiction saga regarding Sony’s executive emails being hacked was a striking “everything is known” moment for anyone who want to “see” it as an opportunity to recognize the spiritual corollary. Of course, after Moshiach comes and the world is permeated with the knowledge of G-d, Sony may want to scratch the lowbrow comedies, and for sure the terrorists will have to find other things to do.
Comma, which brings me to the next part of my run on sentence.
My daughter Sara and I went to an event a few days ago marking the shloshim, the thirty day mourning period, for the four Jewish men who died in the terror attack in the Har Nof synagogue last month. The event was telecast from Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue, featuring the mother of Naftali Frenkel, one of the three teenagers murdered this past summer, and two of the widows who spoke about losing their husbands in the attack. Mrs. Frenkel spoke about how she was inspired by the Jewish unity surrounding her son’s death, Mrs. Kopinsky shared the heartbreaking details of unpacking her husband’s Chanukah menorah without him, and Mrs. Levine led the charge by suggesting positive action, particularly undertaken by women, in her husband’s memory.
Through The Actions Project (TAP), these women categorized practical actions, like visiting an older person or talking to G-d on a regular basis, because, “small actions make big changes.” They encouraged women to commit themselves to this effort, (although many of these actions could be undertaken by men and non-Jews, too), not because it’s the Jewish way, not because it makes the world a better place, not because light banishes darkness–although all these are true, too–but in order “to take a real step upwards in the readiness of Klal Yisrael for the Geulah.”
The willingness of these women to publicize that Moshiach is a goal within striking distance to attain is itself a clear indication of the world’s new state of readiness. Up until relatively recently, the majority of observant Jews believed in Moshiach as an essential principle of Jewish faith, but only followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe talked about Moshiach coming anytime soon. Judging from that Jerusalem telecast, the Rebbe’s message has clearly spread.
In this week’s parsha, Vayigash, we read how Yosef, the viceroy of Egypt, reveals himself to his brothers who sold him into slavery years earlier.The brothers may have meant harm (that’s a separate subject), but in this “aha!” moment, everything makes sense and everyone understands why events had to happen the way they did in order for Yosef to be in the powerful position to save the whole Jewish nation from famine. This magnificent moment is Torah’s precursor to the time of Moshiach’s revelation, when we will all understand and appreciate why everything in this world had to happen the way it did in order to fulfill G-d’s purpose for creating this world in the first place.
These mothers and widows featured in the telecast “see” with painful clarity that only Moshiach can truly transform their suffering– and everyone’s– by transforming the world’s natural order into one in which G-dliness and goodness are revealed for all of eternity.
Period. End of run on sentence.