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Wednesday
Mar072018

DON’T EVEN BLINK: MOSHIACH IS COMING NOW!

If G-d had caused the Jewish people to remain exiled in Egypt a little while longer, they would have completed the ultimate purpose for which the world was created. Nevertheless, “Once the time of redemption had arrived, G-d did not delay even the blink of an eye

Translated by Boruch Merkur

ROSH CHODESH OF REDEMPTION

Rosh Chodesh Nissan is characterized by the concept of redemption, as our Sages say: “From the time that G-d chose His world, He established in it the heads of months and years. And when He chose Yaakov and his descendants, He established the Rosh Chodesh of redemption, when the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt and when they are destined to be redeemed in the future, as it is said, ‘As in the days of your exodus from the Land of Egypt, I will show you wonders.’”

From this it is understood that since it is the Shabbos immediately preceding Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the Shabbos that blesses Rosh Chodesh Nissan, there must be an especial emphasis and active enthusiasm (shturem) regarding the concept of redemption – “In Nissan they are destined to be redeemed.”

To be more specific, this excitement regarding the redemption is both on account of the certainly that the time of redemption has already arrived, as well as with regard to the fact that the redemption must be realized in the simple, literal sense. Both of these concepts – the imminence of redemption as well as the real, physical manifestation of redemption – can be traced to the redemption from Egypt [the source of all future redemptions], as will be discussed.

PRAISED FOR KEEPING THE PROMISE OF REDEMPTION

On the topic of the process of redemption, the speed with which the redemption unfolds once the time has arrived, our Sages have said [regarding the exodus from Egypt], “Once the time of redemption (ha’keitz) had arrived, G-d did not delay even the blink of an eye.”

The innovation here emerges in light of the Rebbe Rayatz’s elucidation of the words in the Hagada, “Blessed is He Who keeps his promise to the Jewish people. Blessed is He, for G-d had determined the appropriate time (ha’keitz) for action”:

G-d fulfilled His promise to redeem the Jewish people. But at first glance, what is so praiseworthy (“Blessed is He”) in fulfilling a promise? [Keeping one’s word is common decency.] The answer is as follows. “G-d desired to have for Himself a dwelling place in the lower realms.” G-d’s “dwelling place” is established through the Divine service of refining the material world. This service gives G-d great pleasure, as it were. On this basis though, there may never be, G-d forbid, an “appropriate time (keitz)” or deadline [for the redemption from exile, when the opportunity exists for us to give pleasure to G-d by refining the world]. To that extent it is indeed a statement of great praise and acclaim to say, “Blessed is He, for G-d had determined the appropriate time for action,” lauding G-d for concluding the [Jewish people’s] service of refining the world, effectively ending the war waged against exile and subjugation.”

IF ONLY I HAD MORE TIME…

In further detail:

It is said in the writings of the Arizal that throughout the course of the exile in Egypt the Jewish people refined 202 of the 288 G-dly sparks that descended in the Shattering of the Vessels, etc. Thus, it is written, “Also a mixed multitude (eirev rav) ascended [from Egypt] with them [i.e., with the Jewish people]” – [alluding to the ascension and refinement of] 202 (rav) sparks, leaving only 86 sparks to be elevated, the numerical equivalent of “Elokim,” “the Alm-ghty” [alluding to the predominant role, from that point on, to refine the aspect of G-dliness that is concealed within nature (ha’teva in Hebrew, which is also numerically equivalent to 86)].”

Think about it. The service of refining the sparks that fell during the Shattering of the Vessels of the World of Tohu, Chaos, is the ultimate purpose for which the World of Tikkun, Order, was created, and throughout the duration of the exile in Egypt the Jewish people accomplished the vast majority of their mission – refining 202 of the 288 sparks. On this basis, if G-d had caused the Jewish people to remain exiled in Egypt a little while longer, they would have completed the refinement of all 288 of the sparks of the World of Tohu, which would have amounted to the completion of the entire purpose for which the world was created. Nevertheless, “Once the time of redemption had arrived, G-d did not delay even the blink of an eye.” Indeed, this was in accordance with the will of the Jewish people, who offered to forgo the promise of “And thereafter they shall emerge with great wealth” (the “wealth” of having extracted the holy sparks) in order to get themselves out of exile (“If only we would get out alive” [i.e., without the wealth]) immediately – “enough of exile!” And indeed they succeeded in making that happen, as it is said, “G-d did not delay even the blink of an eye.”

A DOWN-TO-EARTH REDEMPTION

Regarding the manner of the redemption:

The exodus from Egypt was a redemption in the simple and literal sense. That is, it was not just a spiritual redemption, elevating the Jewish people to a greater spiritual height, but a physical redemption, manifested in the Jewish people leaving the Land of Egypt in order to go to receive the Torah (as it is written, “When you take the people out of Egypt, you shall serve the L-rd on this mountain”; i.e., in addition to the fact that receiving the Torah is “the merit that stands for the Jewish people,” the merit by which they were freed from Egypt, receiving the Torah is also the purpose and reason for the exodus from Egypt), and immediately enter the Land of Yisroel, as it is written, “I have taken you out from beneath the persecution of Egypt, etc., and I have brought you to the land.”

The point here is that although prior to the exodus from Egypt the Jewish people were already in a lofty state, etc., they still needed the redemption in the simple [material] sense.

WHY PHARAOH WANTED US AROUND

With regard to the subjugation the Jewish people suffered in Egypt, it is said that “On Rosh HaShana the servitude of our forefathers was nullified in Egypt,” meaning that half a year prior to the exodus from Egypt they were already not enslaved in Egypt.”

In fact, after this point, Egypt was crushed, stricken with the Plagues, etc., the harshest of which was, of course, the Plague of the Firstborn. The Plague of the Firstborn, besides being an awesome act of harsh destruction, was a particularly brutal blow to Pharaoh King of Egypt. Moshe told Pharaoh, “All your servants shall come down to me and prostrate themselves to me” (including “Pharaoh himself” –Rashi on Parshas Bo 11:8). Pharaoh heard these words; indeed “he heard and he listened.”

To that extent, the Jewish people were able to continue to remain in Egypt, in the Land of Goshen, in a state of freedom from the persecution of Egypt. And Pharaoh would have agreed to their staying, for even after “the servitude of our forefathers was nullified in Egypt” (and of consequence, the benefit derived from their servitude had ended), Pharaoh did not agree to send them out of his land.

The reason for Pharaoh’s refusal, simply speaking, is his awareness that “From the time Yaakov granted Pharaoh his blessing and onward, Pharaoh would go to the Nile and it would come up to greet him, irrigating the land.” The livelihood of the entire Land of Egypt was dependent upon the blessing of Yaakov. Pharaoh understood that the very presence of the Jewish people [the descendants of Yaakov] in his land brought about blessings, etc., to the Land of Egypt.; it was the mechanism whereby Pharaoh was able to establish the full rule of his empire, for Pharaoh was “ruler of the world.” Thus, he agreed to all conditions, so long as the Jewish people would remain in his land.

Nevertheless, there had to be the redemption from Egypt in the simple sense. Not just freedom from servitude but an exodus from the Land of Egypt in the literal sense. […]

REDEMPTION: THIS VERY INSTANT!

And from this it is understood with regard to the exodus from this final exile – “As in the days of your exodus from the Land of Egypt, I will show you wonders”:

With regard to the time of the redemption, since “All the predicted dates [for the advent of Moshiach] have passed,” certainly the redemption must unfold immediately – as it is said, “He did not delay even the blink of an eye,” and as expressed in the well-known saying [of the Rebbe Rayatz], “L’alter l’geula! – Immediate redemption!” And “l’alter” doesn’t mean tomorrow but this very instant!

And with regard to the manner of redemption – it shall not be just a spiritual milestone, etc., but the true and complete redemption in the simple, literal sense, realized materially, “below ten handbreadths.”

(From the address of Shabbos VaYakhel-P’kudei, Parshas HaChodesh 5747, bilti muga)

 

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