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Hastening the Redemption

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Shabbat Parshat Matot Masei/ Shabbat Mevarchim and Shabbat Chazak
How to Bring Moshiach Now
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We are now in the period of mourning for the destruction of the Bait HaMikdash known as the Three Weeks. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains[1] that the Shabbatot during these weeks represent the power to transform this sad time to a joyous one. This is because every Shabbat is a taste of the redemption.[2] When the redemption occurs, a level of G-dliness will be revealed that will render it impossible for another exile to ever take place. As such, when we experience Shabbat during the Three Weeks, we are, in a small way, experiencing the remedy for the exile. It is therefore important to celebrate these Shabbatot with complete joy[3] and not show any sign of mourning during them.[4]
Thus it is appropriate that the messages in the parshiyot (Torah portions) of these weeks teach us how to overcome the destruction and achieve the rebuilding of the Bait HaMikdash with the coming of Moshiach. Specifically, much of the Torah portion of Pinchas discusses the korbanot (sacrifices), all of which will be restored with the coming of Moshiach. The portions of Matot, Masei and Devarim discuss the conquering of the Land of Israel and its distribution among the various tribes which will once again take place with the coming of Moshiach, may it be speedily in our days.[5]
As such, I felt that at this time it would be appropriate to write an article explaining various things we can do to hasten the coming of Moshiach.
An Opportunity Worth Millions
The Chafetz Chaim said, “There is something I wonder about. When it comes to monetary matters, if a person becomes aware of a business opportunity which will make him a multi-millionaire, that person will not rest until he accomplishes this. So, in spiritual matters, there is a tremendous and awesome opportunity-that of restoring the Shechina (Divine Presence) to its place, rebuilding the Bait HaMikdash and returning the Jewish people to their land. This is greater than all the wealth in the world. Why are we not all grabbing this opportunity immediately?”[6]
Participate in Building the Bait HaMikdash
The Chafetz Chaim said “Every Jew yearns for the building of the Bait HaMikdash. Certainly, if we were able to, every Jew would assist in the building of the Bait HaMikdash, whether financially or bodily, and take the time to help build the house of G-d. In truth, to merit building this house we don’t need to spend money or even travel to Yerushalayim. All we have to do is refrain from sinning in a way that prevents its rebuilding and do the mitzvot which hasten it.
A great reward awaits all those who participate in this. It is worthwhile to participate, even if that effort will be (only) one millionth of the (total) effort towards the rebuilding.”[7]
What We Can Do
Here are some things that can hasten the redemption according to our sages. This is only a partial list. With Hashem’s help we will continue it in a future article.
Teshuva
The Talmud says[8] that “Teshuva (repentance) is great in that it hastens the redemption,” i.e., it causes the redemption to come even before its appointed time.[9] This is derived from the verse, “And a redeemer will come to Zion and to those in Jacob who repent of their transgressions.”[10] This means that the redeemer (Moshiach) will come to Zion (the Holy Land) when the Jewish people (Jacob) repent from their sins. Since we were exiled because of our sins,[11] when we do teshuva which corrects these sins, this brings the exile to an end. Teshuva in this context means to decide that all one’s sins are a thing of the past and that from now on he will fulfill the teaching that “I was created only to serve my Creator”[12] which includes “yearning every day that Moshiach should come.”[13]
This also includes every person utilizing his power to inspire other Jews to do teshuvah. This is especially true in the Holy Land – the place that Hashem has His eyes upon throughout the whole year.[14]
Facing Moshiach
The word teshuvah also means “return.” This means that if we would simply “turn towards Moshiach,” i.e., be truthfully and deeply aware and yearning for his imminent arrival, we would indeed merit it.[15]
The Chafetz Chaim was present when a delegation from the city of Brisk came to offer the position of Rav of their city to the great Yosef Dov (also known as Yoshe Ber) Soloveitchik (the Bait HaLevi). Rabbi Soloveitchik told them that after he left the city of Slutsk he had decided that he would no longer seek a Rabbinic post. One of the members of the delegation cried out, “Rebbe, how can you turn us away? 25,000 Jews are waiting for you.” When Rabbi Soloveitchik heard this, he went to his wife and exclaimed “Please give me my coat and hat. We must go right away. I cannot keep the 25,000 Jews of Brisk waiting!”
The Chafetz Chaim would say “If Reb Yoshe Ber hurried off so as not to keep the Jews of Brisk waiting, certainly Moshiach would come immediately if he only knew that all of the Jewish people are waiting for him.”[15.5]
Studying Mishnayot
The Midrash says[16] that the diaspora will be gathered in the merit of studying Mishnayot, as the verse says, “Also when you will be placed (יתנו) amongst the gentiles, I will gather you in.”[17] The word “יתנו” means (in Mishnaic Hebrew) “to study Mishnah.[18]” Thus, the verse can be interpreted to mean “Also when you will study Mishnah amongst the gentiles, I will gather you in.”
There are several explanations as to why studying Mishnayot hastens the ingathering of the exiles:
  • Some say that Mishnayot in this context means any part of the Oral Torah (because the Mishnah is the core of the Oral Torah). When studying the Oral Torah about the sacrifices and other mitzvot that can only be fulfilled when Moshiach comes, this hastens his arrival.[19]
  • For Moshiach to come, all the spiritual energy that is “lost” in the world must be elevated. In Kabbalistic terms, this is known as birur hanitzotzot (the purification of the sparks). Since the Mishnah was written by the Tan’aim (sages of the Mishnah) who studied Torah with absolute bitul (self-effacement) to G-d, and it discusses the laws of all kinds of physical activities, when one learns the Mishnah about those physical matters, it effects a spiritual elevation of the spirituality trapped in these matters. For example, studying the Mishnayot about planting trees elevates all kinds of horticultural activities. The same obtains when studying about business activities or the animal kingdom and so on. Thus studying the Mishnah purifies the world and prepares it for the redemption.[20]
  • The sin which brought about the destruction of the first Bait HaMikdash[21] was that the Jewish people did not study Torah for the sake of Heaven[22] while the sin which caused the destruction of the second Bait HaMikdash was that of baseless hatred (sinat chinam).[23] The study of Mishnah is the antidote to both these sins. Although the Mishnah presents different views, it usually clarifies the final halacha by stating one view as the majority opinion or by citing one view without a name (this is known as stam Mishnah) which is the final halacha (law). Thus, when studying the Mishnah, one realizes that, despite the arguments, there is unity among the Rabbinic sages. In addition, one gets the sense that one is studying one Torah, coming from one G-d, to the one Jewish people. When one is aware of the holiness of the Torah he will then study it for the sake of Heaven. (While the written Torah too, has no arguments and is clearly the word of G-d, this is obvious since it emanates directly from G-d. The Oral Torah, which has reached us through mankind however, is where there is a need to show unity and a sense of G-dliness. And this is realized through the study of Mishnah.)[24]
Tzedakah
The Talmud also says[25] that the Jewish people will be redeemed only in the merit of Tzedakah (charity).
Tzedakah in this context means both providing the poor with their physical needs as well as teaching and inspiring those who are impoverished spiritually. [26]
As explained above, by elevating the sparks of holiness in the world, we hasten the redemption. In this sense, the mitzvah of giving tzedakah is unique. One’s money is considered to “contain” one’s energy either because one worked to earn it, so the energy expended at work is represented by that money, or because that money could have been used to purchase food which would have given him life. Therefore, when giving tzedakah, one is not merely elevating a specific aspect of himself but his entire being. Thus, the mitzvah accomplishes a great elevation of Divine energy in the world and thereby hastens the redemption.[27]
In addition, every poor person represents the Jewish people who are in a state of spiritual (and sometimes physical) poverty while in exile. By elevating the individual poor person from his state of poverty, we effect an elevation of the entire nation and lift it from impoverishment in this exile.[28]
Learn About It
The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that learning about the redemption will hasten its arrival. This is because learning about Moshiach increases our yearning for his arrival. The yearning itself hastens the redemption (see above). In addition, G-d considers that when we learn about something which we cannot do, it is as if we did it. So Hashem considers our learning about Moshiach as if we are actually bringing him.
In fact, learning about the Messianic times is not merely a “segulah” which hastens the redemption. It is rather, and primarily, something that enables us to “live with the redemption.” One’s mind becomes full with the understanding of redemption and Moshiach as explained in the Torah. This is turn affects the feelings in a person’s heart until it influences his actual behavior in thought, speech and action – that these should be appropriate for this unique time when we are standing at the entranceway to the redemption and pointing our fingers saying, “Behold, Moshiach has arrived.”[29]
As far as what to learn, the Rebbe mentioned the following sources:
  • The written Torah, including the Torah portion of Balak and many of the writings of the prophets (which are filled with these matters[30]), especially the Book of Isaiah.
  • The Talmud – Tractates Sanhedrin (the chapter called Chelek) and (the end of) Sotah.
  • The Midrashim (these can be found in books that have indexes)
  • The Rambam – the final two chapters of the Mishnah Torah.[31]
  • The Zohar (in the merit of this study we will be redeemed from this exile with mercy.[32])
  • The material about Moshiach that is explained in the books of Chassidut. (Indeed, Moshiach himself told the Ba’al Shem Tov that when the Ba’al Shem Tov’s wellsprings are spread to the outside world, Moshiach will come[33]).
  • The Ma’amarim (Chassidic discourses) and Likutei Sichot (collected talks) of the Rebbe that elucidate these matters.
In practice, the Rebbe recommended that these matters be studied by both Torah scholars and laymen, by men, women and children, each on their level. In addition, it would be best if these matters were studied in groups of ten (or more) as the Shechinah (Divine Presence) is present, and the joy felt in the group will enhance the yearning for the redemption. It is best to add in Tzedakah during the course of this learning, giving it with the intention of hastening the redemption.
All of this should lead to an increase in one’s care (hidur) in fulfilling all of the mitzvot, especially that of giving tzedakah.[34]
May we indeed merit the revelation of Moshiach so we can celebrate Tisha Be’Av as a Yom Tov in Yerushalayim this year!

[1] Sicha of parshat Motot Masei, 5715, Se’if 1
[2] See the end of Tractate Sotah and Brachot 57b
[3] See O.C. 552:10 that, even on Shabbat which coincides with Tisha Be’Av one may have a feast like the feast of Solomon – for his third meal (before the sunset).
[4] In fact, the Rebbe mentions (Sicha of Parshat Matot, 5714, Se’if 7) that in countries that chanted Lecha Dodi to the mournful tune of Eli Tziyon on Shabbat Chazon there were negative decrees which resulted (on a spiritual level) from this behavior. See also Darkei Chaim VeShalom by the Munkatcher Rebbe, ot 662.
[5] Sicha of Parshat Pinchas, 5711, Se’if 1
[6] Chovat HaShmira 8:15
[7] Ibid
[8] Yoma 86b
[9] Maharsha
[10] Isiah 59:20. We recite this verse in our morning prayers.
[11] Language of the Musaf prayer
[12] Kiddushin 82b
[13] The Nusach of Ani Ma’amin based on Chabakuk 2:3
[14] Sha’arei Ge’ulah, vol. 1, pages 143 – 144 based on Likutei Sichot, 20, pg. 535 and Igrot Kodesh 12, pg. 335
[15] Ibid
[15.5] From the Book The Chafetz Chaim by Rabbi Moshe Yoshor published by Artscroll, pages 451 and 452
[16] Vayikra Rabbah, 7:3
[17] Hoshe’a, 810
[18] In the Talmud, “Tanu Rabanan” means “our rabbis (of the Mishnah) taught.”
[19] Etz Yosef and Pirush Maharzu on the Midrash. The Chidushei HaRadal adds that the Mishnah is specified because the Gemara does not cover the laws relating to the sacrifices.
[20] Torah Ohr, Shemot, pg. 49b and c
[21] Although the Bait HaMikdash was rebuilt after 70 years of exile, it did not include the holy ark, the Urim Vetumim, the staff of Aharon, the jar of Manna and the Anointing Oil (Yoma 52b and Rambam, Laws of Bait HaBechirah 4:1). Clearly then, this sin was not fully rectified.
[22] Nedarim 81a as explained in Ran D.H. Davar Zeh in the name of Rabbeinu Yonah
[23] Yoma 9b
[24] Sha’arie Geulah vol. 1 pgs. 145-146 based on Igrot Kodesh, vol. 1, pg. 242
[25] Shabbat 139a
[26] Sha’arei Geulah page 155
[27] Likutei Amarim Tanya, 37 as explained in Sha’arei Geulah, page 152
[28] Ibid, from Hitva’aduyot 5742 page 1953
[29] Sha’arei Ge’ulah, page 151
[30] Rambam, Hilchot Malachim, 11:2
[31] In the Rambam published in Venice 5284, the last set of laws in the Rambam are called “The Laws of Kings, Wars and the King Moshiach.”
[32] Zohar vol. 3, 124b in the Raya Mehemna
[33] See the letter of the Ba’al Shem Tov printed in the beginning of Ketter Shem Tov
[34] Sha’arei Geulah, pages 148 – 151
Wishing You all a Shabbat Shalom!
Aryeh Citron

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