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The purpose of the exile


Why were the Jewish people sent into exile?


The Jewish people were sent into exile on a holy mission.


Ultimately, the main intent of exile is not to punish, but to refine and purify the Jewish people so as to make them worthy recipients of the revelations of Divinity which Moshiach will bring about. As is explained in Chassidus, "The ultimate intent of the descent and exile is to prepare for a great ascent, when, in the Days of Moshiach, the light of G-d will radiate manifestly." Now, during the exile, we need to prepare "vessels" - receptors - for these revelations.

Once the Baal Shem Tov ascended to the heavenly realms and posed this question to Moshiach: "My master, when are you coming?" Moshiach's answer was, "When your wellsprings will be disseminated outward." The light within the teachings of Chassidus is the vessel which can receive the revelation of Moshiach. When the vessel is complete, the light will be revealed.

Furthermore, our sages teach that "The only reason for which G-d exiled the Jewish People among the nations of the world was that proselytes by added to them." But were there in fact so many converts in the course of exile? Our sages are actually alluding to a different task - the task of sifting and refining the materiality of this world, and elevating the sparks of holiness that are to be found within it. A convert is someone who was first distant and later came close; so, too, these sparks were first subject to impure rule, and through man's spiritual labors they are brought ever nearer to the realm of holiness.

Thus, the Jewish people were sent into exile on a holy mission: To become worthy recipients of the Divine light, and to purify and elevate the physicality of this world.


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