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Wednesday
Jul122017

THE DREAM OF EXILE

It is not correct to say that the thought of redemption in the time of exile is a dream, but the exact opposite: when we think about exile that is the dream! * It is specifically when one accepts the illusion of exile, that it is a dream; it is only during the (dream of) exile that one fools himself into thinking that it is reality! 

Translated by Boruch Merkur

DELUDING THEMSELVES THAT EXILE IS REAL

The Alter Rebbe wanted to share this insight with the Jewish people in advance. During the time of exile, every Jew must know that exile is a dream! It is explained in Torah Ohr – in the maamer beginning with the words, “A song of ascents: When G-d returns the returnees to Tziyon, we will have been as dreamers” – that exile is like a dream: “we will have been as dreamers.” However, in the midst of the dream [i.e., during exile], people delude themselves into believing that it is real. The fact is though that exile is actually a dream!

The illusion of exile will be openly perceived as such in the Future Era, as the verse teaches, “When G-d returns the returnees to Tziyon, we will have been as dreamers.” In Torah Ohr, the Alter Rebbe elaborates: “The meaning here is that this aspect of dreaming will be revealed in the Future Era. [That is, at that time] everyone will recognize, know, and comprehend that the life-energy drawn to them during the time of exile was from the aspect of dreaming, for which reason they will say, ‘we were as dreamers.’” It is not correct to say that the thought of redemption in the time of exile is a dream, but the exact opposite: when we think about exile – that is the dream!

ADVANCE KNOWLEDGE DURING THE TIME OF EXILE

This teaching was said by the Alter Rebbe during the time of exile, knowing what he states in the maamer that begins with the words “And the one thousand and seven hundred” – that the date predicted as the beginning of the redemption will be decades thereafter, in the year 5603 or 5608. Nevertheless the Alter Rebbe says here that they will then know that exile is a dream! [Curiously, the Alter Rebbe states a fact and then says that this fact will only be known at a later date.]

[To reconcile this seeming contradiction, we must say that] the fact that exile is a dream will only be openly experienced as such in the Future Era, whereas at present, people perceive that the dream of exile is not a dream at all but reality. However, the Alter Rebbe wanted to share this insight with the Jewish people in advance, during the time of exile.

In effect, Dovid HaMelech had already dispelled the illusion of exile in T’hillim with the verse, “When G-d returns the returnees to Tziyon, we will have been as dreamers.” The Alter Rebbe, however, quoted the verse and elucidated it according to the teachings of Chassidus Chabad, and thereafter it was further expounded upon by the Rebbes who followed him. The maamer was then published and publicized in the book Torah Ohr. Certainly the Alter Rebbe wanted Torah Ohr to be disseminated everywhere, insofar as it is relevant to all aspects of Torah, especially the inner dimension of the Torah. Thus, the Alter Rebbe wished to spread word of this insight even amidst our current state [among those who are steeped in the dream of exile]. According to the Alter Rebbe, every Jew must know that exile is a dream!

Since this teaching became part of the Torah and all Jews may study it, this in turn has an impact upon the world and the exile itself, as it is said: “The Alm-ghty gazed into the Torah and created the world” [illustrating the causal relationship between Torah and the world]. Likewise, “anyone who gazes into it, into the Torah, and exerts himself in it, sustains the world, as it were.”

From this it is understood that the fact that we are speaking incessantly about the redemption and clamoring that Moshiach should come now, notwithstanding the fact that we are presently in exile – this is not a dream at all. On the contrary, it is reality!

It is specifically when one accepts the illusion of exile, that it is a dream; it is only during the (dream of) exile that one fools himself into thinking that it is reality!

BUT IT’S NOT THE OPPOSITE OF PROPER FAITH

On the other hand, when Jews consider the exile to be reality, and redemption to be a dream, and when they claim that “Behold, Moshiach comes” is a dream – that is not the opposite of proper faith. Indeed, they believe in the coming of Moshiach, it is just that their faith remains detached from them; it is not internalized. Consequently, the redemption is for them like a dream. […]

Nor is this approach contrary to Torah per se, for the Torah itself states, “we will have been as dreamers.” That is, according to Torah the exile is in fact a dream, a dream to the extent that the perception in the dream of exile is that redemption is a dream and exile is reality. Thus it is understandable why talk about the redemption is met with wonderment.

Similarly with regard to all the questions asked in the time of exile regarding the redemption. For example, the baal ha’geula [the Rebbe Rayatz] said decades ago, “immediately to redemption,” begging the question: how is it possible that this has not yet come to fruition and Moshiach still has not come? It is necessary to know that all these questions, difficulties, and doubts come from the dream of exile. From the mindset of exile, proofs, explanations, and answers are indeed required.

SPEAK ABOUT MOSHIACH UNTIL THEY ARE COMPELLED TO SEND HIM

The reason why we constantly speak about the imminent coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu is because that is the fact; it is no mere dream!

As discussed above, “all predicted dates for the advent of Moshiach have passed and the matter is only dependent upon t’shuva, repentance,” and t’shuva can be done “in a single moment, in a single instance.” Thus, Moshiach Tzidkeinu comes immediately, in reality!

But even if Moshiach has not yet come, and even if Eliyahu HaNavi has not yet come, we speak about it again and again, at every farbrengen – once, twice, even three times, which “is a chazaka, a presumed condition.” We speak about the imminence of Moshiach even a hundred times, at which point habituation becomes habit, the person’s nature (see Tanya Ch. 15) (“second nature,” or “habituation becomes one’s nature” period) – even a hundred and one times (see Chagiga 9b, Tanya Ch. 15; see Likkutei Sichos Vol. 26 pg. 208, note 45). And if, G-d forbid, Moshiach does not come tomorrow or even by today at Mincha time, we shall speak about it yet again, until they will be pestered to such a degree (“nudged,” as people say) – both below and likewise On High, as it were – that it actually brings about the advent of Moshiach!

“MORE THAN THE CALF WANTS TO SUCKLE, THE COW WANTS TO FEED”

This is especially the case insofar as the “cow” is more concerned about it than the “calf” (ala “more than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to feed” –P’sachim 112a, end), as it is written: “‘G-d, your L-rd shall return your returnees’ – it doesn’t say ‘heishiv – return [others]’ but ‘shav – [He shall] return,’ teaching that the Alm-ghty returns with them, among the exiles.’” [That is to say that G-d Himself is anxious to bring about the redemption, for until that time, He suffers, as it were, (along with the Jewish people, His chosen nation) in exile.]

So too with regard to Moshiach, “Behold, he stands behind our walls, observing through the windows, peering through the cracks” – Moshiach stands behind the wall and eagerly awaits and looks, wondering when will he finally be able to come!

The wall is not fully intact; it has windows, cracks, splits, and holes. Through these windows and cracks, Moshiach Tzidkeinu gazes and watches. Of course, [he does not suffice with a passive role, just observing, rather] Moshiach’s gaze has an actual impact.

CONSTANTLY SPEAKING ABOUT IT MAKES THE “DREAM” OF MOSHIACH A REALITY

At every opportunity we continue to speak about the “dream” of Moshiach (according to those who argue that exile is real), for Moshiach Tzidkeinu is indeed coming.

If there are still questions, then “The Tishbi [i.e., Eliyahu HaNavi] will answer difficulties and enquiries,” a phrase that spells the acronym “Teiku” (Tishbi Yitaretz Kushios V’abayos).

Constantly speaking about the advent of Moshiach actually brings about its manifestation in the psychical world (below ten handbreadths), “and he shall fly with the clouds of the heaven,” which is the ultimate dream…

May Moshiach come immediately, on this Shabbos and in this beis midrash, and we shall daven together with him, T’fillas Mincha of Shabbos in the Third Beis HaMikdash, “with our youth and with our elders, etc., with our sons and with our daughters,” all the Jewish people, alive in this physical world.

(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Pinchas 5740, bilti muga)

 

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