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Thursday
Jan312019

WHAT IF G-D HIMSELF WANTS THE STATUS QUO?

As the leader and prophet of our generation, the Rebbe has heralded the imminent redemption, yet still we wait and wait. As discussed in last weeks editorial, so much time has elapsed since then that the very dignity of our beloved Rebbe is at stake. We react with outrage and screamad masai?!

But how do we summon the audacity to approach the Alm-ghty with such intense emotions and demands? Is it not self-evident that it is G-d’s will for us to endure the exile a little while longer? We need a living leader, a king, to sit upon a physical throne in Yerushalayim. Yet as things stand, nature seems to fly in the face of our destiny.

The power of a Jew to confront the obstacles of the world is a theme that is well established in Chassidus, tracing back to the Baal Shem Tov’s teaching on the verse, “Va’yashav ha’yahm lifnos boker l’eisano” (see HaYom Yom of 17 Shvat.) If on the path to redemption a Jew faces an impassable sea, either the sea splits before him or it reverts to nonexistence, as it was before it was even created.

Nothing in nature can prevent a Jew from fulfilling G-d’s will. True, nature itself exists in virtue of G-d’s will, and an impenetrable body of water can claim existential precedence, having been created on the third day whereas man was only created on the sixth. But the Creator imbedded within nature, within Creation itself and preceding it, the precondition that the will of a tzaddik prevails (“And all Your people are tzaddikim”); the laws of nature are bent to accommodate a tzaddik’s avodas Hashem.

The power to invoke G-d’s precondition with nature is in virtue of a Jew bending his own nature. Man is inclined to manipulate the world for his own benefit, to maximize his influence, and to pursue his own pleasure. G-d has fashioned man in this way to bring him merit in conquering his selfish pursuits.

In Ohr Torah siman 89, the Mezritcher Maggid attributes this power of transcending nature to “one who keeps his covenant, one who is called tzaddik yesod olam.” Bris mila embodies the Jew’s supremacy over his natural inclination. By embracing his true identity of ruling over nature, nature crumbles before the Jew to accommodate his avodas Hashem.

But what if it is G-d’s will in this unique moment in history for nature to stand up to us even if we are found to be meritorious, even if we do keep the covenant? Perhaps the answer can be found in this same teaching in Ohr Torah, which also speaks of a Jew who has the power to evince in G-d an entirely new will:

With this we shall understand the saying of our Sages, “Tzaddikim osim retzono shel makom” [which literally means, “The righteous enact the will of G-d”]. It does not say “osim d’varo o maamaro” [i.e., it does not say that the righteous enact the “words” or “utterances” of G-d; they do something even deeper, as we shall see]. An analogy for this concept is a father who states a law or a novel insight in Torah before his son. Emerging from his sharp thinking and brilliant analysis, the son contradicts his father’s words [with his own perspective and insight on the topic his father introduced]. Although the son opposes his father and contradicts his words, his father is pleased and derives tremendous pleasure and joy from it … In fact, the father prefers this approach to the son remaining silent and agreeing with his words. Thus, the tzaddik “rules with the fear of G-d” (Shmuel II 23:3). [See Rashi’s second interpretation: “Dovid said: ‘The G-d of Yisroel spoke to me, the Rock of Yisroel told me: I am ruler over men. And who rules over Me? The tzaddik, because I issue a decree and he [can] annul it.’” (Moed Katan 16b)] This explanation expresses the meaning of “osim retzono,” they enact G-d’s will [even creating it], even though they do not enact “d’varo u’maamaro,” His words and His statements.

If G-d’s will is, chas v’shalom, to delay the redemption even further, that will can be changed – and to G-d’s greater pleasure and satisfaction! As the Rebbe says in the maamer “HaYosheves B’Ganim 5729”: “This is the concept of ‘osim retzono’ – that they establish and draw [into G-d] a new will.” And the Rebbe says that this is accomplished through the power of t’shuva.

The Rebbe has said many times, Moshiach is ready to come now; it is no longer dependent on t’shuva. Yet still Moshiach has not come. But the t’shuva we speak of here is not to correct ourselves or to bring us forgiveness or merit; it is meant to create in G-d a new will, so that He will agree with his son and relent, ending the incessant prolonging of galus. Eliciting in G-d a new will can thus immediately bring about the fulfillment of the Rebbe’s prophecy and put an end to this unfathomably long exile.

Boruch welcomes opportunities to speak further about Moshiach and a variety of topics. Please email editor@beismoshiach.org for details.

 



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