Analytical Studies by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
of the Rambam's Rulings on Mashiach and the Ultimate Redemption
To many people, Mashiach
is merely a theoretical concept; indeed, his sudden appearance one day would only ruffle the langor of their accustomed routine. Couldn't tomorrow's world have continued like yesterday's?
In fact, of course, the Sages teach us the very opposite view: "The world was created solely for Mashiach." G-d created the world in order that He should have a dwelling place among mortals - and it is in the Era of the Redemption that this ideal will be realized, for the Divine Presence will then become manifest in this world.
From his earliest years, the Rebbe Shlita has been working to motivate our generation to help the world attain the goal for which it was created. Fifty years ago, on 28 Sivan, 5701 (June 23, 1941), finally able to leave German-occupied France behind him, the Rebbe first set foot on the safer shores of America, together with the saintly Rebbitzin Chaya Mushka. Immediately on his arrival he was appointed by his father-in-law, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, to positions of pivotal importance in the spiritual guidance of the chassidic community. At the same time he initiated massive, trailblazing outreach projects for the dissemination of classical Torah values and practice throughout world Jewry. Following the passing of the Previous Rebbe nine years later, and in response to the earnest pleas of the worldwide chassidic community, the Rebbe Shlita con-sented to assume the mantle of leadership.
Throughout all these years, the Rebbe has never rested in his efforts to make the Jews of the world feel a desperate need for spiritual rejuvenation - for that is what Mashiach will bring to the Jewish people and to the world at large. Four months ago, on the eve of 28 Nissan, this endeavor came to a climax when the Rebbe appealed to Jews around the globe: "What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Mashiach? All that has been done until now has been to no avail. For we are still in exile.... All that I can possibly do is to give the matter over to you. Now, do everything you can to bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately...."
On the following Shabbos, Parshas Tazria-Metzora, the Rebbe explained that he was not advocating flamboyant exploits, but rather, concrete activity within the reach of every earnest individual:
- broadening and deepening one's study of the Torah, on both the revealed level (of Talmud and Torah law) and the mystical level (of pnimiyus haTorah, i.e., Chassidus) - especially on the subjects of Mashiach and the impending Redemption, and in particular as they feature in the Likkutei Sichos of the Nasi of our generation:
- upgrading one's observance of the mitzvos - behiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner.
To offer English readers access to relevant primary sources, this booklet assembles selected translations prepared and published in recent months by Sichos In English. The original texts, adapted here, all deal with the theme of Mashiach and the ultimate Redemption, as illuminated by the Rebbe Shlita's innovative studies of the relevant chapters of the Rambam. Four of them (items 2-5 in the above Table of Contents) were recently published together in a Hebrew booklet entitled Dvar Malchus, No. 12, which was presented by the Rebbe Shlita on Monday, 15 Iyar (April 29), to all those who were present at "770" after Maariv that evening. The sixth item, on The Ultimate Good of the Era of the Redemption, is adapted from two other discourses of the Rebbe Shlita on the Mishneh Torah, which have been published elsewhere.
The texts were all adapted and translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and edited by Uri Kaploun. The anthology was structured and prepared for publication by Rabbi Yonah Avtzon, Director of Sichos In English. Yitzchok Turner is responsible for the layout and typography, and Avrohom Weg designed the cover.
The discourses of the Rebbe Shlita on the Rambam's Mishneh Torah, as listed in the above Table of Contents, all refer directly to the two chapters (11 & 12) which conclude the final section (Hilchos Melachim - "The Laws Concerning Kings") of its final Book (Sefer Shoftim - "The Book of Judges"). For the convenience of our readers, therefore, the present booklet opens with these two chapters (which are sometimes referred to as Hilchos Melech HaMashiach - "The Laws Concerning King Mashiach"), both in the vocalized Hebrew original and in a new translation by Sichos In English. Of particular interest is the fact that the footnotes to this translation include most of the passages expurgated by medieval censors.
In the popular version of the Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith, the twelfth Principle reads: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Mashiach. Even if he delays, I will wait every day for him to come."
The Rebbe Shlita points out that this does not mean that every day we should wait for Mashiach's ultimate coming, but that every day we should wait expectantly for Mashiach to come on that very day. The Gemara teaches that "Thinking is potent." Accordingly, the very fact that Jews around the world are intensely and persistently focusing their hearts and minds on the world's urgent need for Mashiach, will in itself surely speed his coming. And thus, "that very day" can become "this very day."
Kehot Publication Society
20 Menachem Av, 5751 [July 31, 1991]
The yahrzeit of the saintly R. Levi Yitzchak Schneerson father of the Rebbe Shlita
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 98b.
- (Back to text) Midrash Tanchuma, Parshas Bechukosai, sec. 3.
- (Back to text) See the essay published by Sichos In English, on "Helping to Bring Mashiach."
- (Back to text) Detailed bibliographical information on the original Hebrew texts is given in the first footnote to each of the essays below.
- (Back to text) In the Venice edition of 1524, chs. 11 and 12 of this section are given a separate heading, viz., Hilchos Melachim U'Milchamos U'Melech HaMashiach ("The Laws of Kings and of War, and of the Messianic King").
- (Back to text) Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 394.
- (Back to text) Sanhedrin 26b.