Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stumbling into Redemption

Human nature pushes you to keep trying despite failures along the way to success. Like a child who first learns to walk, but falters as he tries to stand up or take a step - falling down only gives reason to try again.

What holds true for children applies equally to the most sublime of adult endeavors.

The Era of Moshiach depends in large measure on human effort, so much so it gives rise to the concept of "bringing Moshiach". Mankind is capable of hastening the advent of Moshiach - by fulfilling required preliminaries.

The transition period from non-Moshiach to Moshiach times incorporates the same natural, built-in template. So how does this interval manifest? How does the world transform itself into a Messianic lifestyle?

The sages tell us our merits could conceivably precipitate the transition overnight. But we mustn't rely on a miraculous turn of events. (See Extraordinarily Ordinary). So, how should we expect the changeover will happen?

The answer to another question will give us a clue.

God created the world in a way where His spirituality, through a protracted series of "contractions" and "concealments", transformed itself into a physicality, which is the world as we know it.

Why did God choose this way when He could just as easily have created a world in one single act, without all those intermediary steps?

Because this was God's way to inject into nature an inherent ability to elevate the being, a nature to reach higher levels incrementally - on our own. Otherwise, the jump to a lofty level in one high-jump would not be feasible. It's the difference between climbing a high mountain or jumping onto a high cliff, the latter being naturally impossible.

Actually that too isn't an altogether satisfying answer because God could just as well have injected nature with springboard capabilities, allowing someone to jump onto that cliff if he so chooses.

But rather, God implanted in us both a good and an evil inclination. This paradigm renders the human psyche in constant battle, continually having to determine which inclination shall receive the green light for control. This, in turn, reflects as the ups and downs we experience, as we seek to overcome our drawbacks. We climb, fall, slip back a bit, get back up, struggle further, etc.

God "enjoys" this battle of wits. The struggle of man to achieve his own elevation, therefore, seems to be the divine will.

We Jews living today straddle two generations at one time. We have one foot in the pre-Messianic era and the other in the Messianic Era. In order to have both feet in the Messianic Era, we need to improve ourselves, and, as the Rebbe pointed out, we must fulfil the preliminaries he spelled out for us (see "New Marching Orders").

In Egypt, during the Plague of Darkness, those Jews who rejected the prospect of emancipation, lost their lives. In contrast, the Rebbe said - of our generation, slated to usher in the Era of Redemption - every Jew will be included and, unlike what happened in Egypt, no Jew will be left behind.

It behooves the soldiers of the Rebbe, therefore, to do their part and persuade the Jews who do not know yet, or who continue to disbelieve, that the Rebbe is the Moses of our generation - the Moshiach. There has been a Psak-Din that confirms this declaration (e.g. "Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik's Verdict").

Even among Chabad chassidim there are those who believe "it will never happen" (see "Chabad Stragglers"). There are such Jews, included in Chabad, who base their beliefs entirely on the forces of Nature. For thousands of years Jews existed in exile. Based on a view of looking backwards, and assuming that that perspective carries momentum, some assume a reality in the future cannot transform that existentialism.

But the Rebbe kept urging, "Think good and THAT will make it good!" A positive outlook is not an empty promise to remove gloom. It promises that proactive work of a positive Jew has consequences that determine the future. The Rebbe wants Jews to do something to extract from a future eventuality available resources that NOW can hasten its occurrence. The Redemption of the future can be drawn much closer because every Jew has that power. Every Jew who lives with the past as his guide - surrenders that power!

Every Jew must be recruited for this job because every Jew is an important cog in the wheel. A dog "leads" his master by always looking backwards, in effect thereby being led by behind. A Jew mustn't be "led from behind". He must think and function proactively. The Redemption calls for an all-inclusive bandwagon and until everybody is aboard, we won't cross the finish line.

God created the world in ten utterances, instead of one, to give human nature the boost it needs to struggle forward and achieve. Just as a parent enjoys watching his baby struggle to stand up and walk, despite occasional stumbles, God enjoys seeing us prepare for the march into the Era of Redemption. Let us therefore oblige Him.

1 comment: