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Tuesday, September 26, 2023 - 11 Tishrei 5784
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As Long as He Comes

There was an elderly chassid who once commented, “I know that Moshiach will definitely not be a chassid. Most likely, he will be a misnaged [opponent of Chassidic teachings].”

His colleagues were naturally puzzled by this statement and asked him to explain.

“Simple,” he replied. “The true Moshiach will have to be accepted by everyone. If Moshiach is a chassid, there is no way the misnagdim will accept him. But if Moshiach is a misnaged, the chassidim will say, ‘Who cares who Moshiach is, as long as he is here!’”

This story takes on special significance in our time, when we live on the cusp of the true and complete Redemption. About 20 years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe made it clear that we had passed a certain threshold in our preparations for Moshiach, and it was time to take that message to the world in a more broad and open manner than ever before. At that point, many chassidim approached the Rebbe to ask whether it would be appropriate to refer to the Rebbe as Moshiach, in an explicit way. The Rebbe gave his approval.

The events of Gimmel Tamuz, 5754 (1994), 17 years ago, put all those activities into question. On that day, the Rebbe appeared to have passed from this world. Many chassidim to this day avoid using any expression that implies that the Rebbe is no longer with us. But what about the well-publicized Moshiach campaign? Were the chassidim wrong to go forward so openly, so boldly, with their assertion that the Rebbe was Moshiach? Perhaps the time had come to reassess, perhaps even to retract and bury that message.

But the Rebbe had awakened in us a yearning for Moshiach that could simply not be quieted. The chassid’s steadfast insistence that the Rebbe is still here and will yet one day be revealed as Moshiach stems from an overpowering need—to see the Redemption in actuality.

One thing we know is that when Moshiach does reveal himself we will be overjoyed to accept him, regardless of who he is. But in order for Moshiach to come, we need to prepare ourselves. The teachings of the Rebbe over the past half-century have given us the tools we need to do just that. Nobody can disagree that the Rebbe during his leadership has infused the Jewish world with an unprecedented excitement and anticipation for the era of Moshiach.

It would be easy to simply put the controversy behind us, carry on with business as usual and set aside our hope for Moshiach until the next dynamic leader comes along. But the Rebbe gave us a goal. A mission to accomplish. We cannot just sit back passively and let someone else do the work. We need to do our part to complete the process and bring the Geulah in actuality. We have the directions and the tools that the Rebbe has given us. Now it is up to us.


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