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Redemption With a Sense of Urgency

Friday, 9 April, 2021 - 2:24 pm

In 1943 a young man was riding the subway in Brooklyn when he overheard the following conversation between two Jews. They were on the line that rides along Eastern Parkway. When they stopped at the Kingston Ave station (in front of 770 Eastern Parkway – Chabad HQ), one asked the other, “Do you know who lives here, the Lubavitchers!” “Who are the Lubavitchers?” “The folks who really believe in the coming of Moshiach.” This anecdote took place shortly after the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe launched a campaign in response to WWII under the slogan (loosely translated from the Hebrew original) “Imminent Repentance Brings Imminent Redemption.”

Less than a decade later, upon assuming the leadership of Chabad, the Rebbe made the push for redemption the focus of his mandate. Over the next 40 years, every campaign and initiative was anchored to the goal of hastening the coming of Moshiach. On this night thirty years ago, the Rebbe gave a talk in which he expressed his deep-seated pain at the fact that all of the efforts had not yet born the fruit of Redemption. He asked all of us to shoulder this responsibility with him and do all that we could to complete the process. From then on the sense of urgency has increased even more.

There is a quote that is cited as a preface to Hayom Yom, “Every person must ask, ‘What have I done today to hasten the Redemption through the coming of Moshiach?’”

But what actually is Redemption? Many are uncomfortable talking about things like Moshiach. There is an association with other religions that may even make it feel un-Jewish. In order for us to have the sense of urgency to orient our lives in this way and be receptive to these ideas, we must become informed. We have to familiarize ourselves with the sources and concepts. We have to educate ourselves on the centrality of Redemption to Judaism. We must make it personal and relevant to us as 21st century occupants of this universe.

This Saturday night a marathon of Moshiach learning and inspiration begins at 8:30 our time. It can be accessed at www.tutaltz.com. I encourage you to participate and learn more.

In a similar vein, the JLI Course “This CAN Never Happen” begins at the end of the month, being taught both Uptown as well as Metairie. For the uptown course (on Zoom and in person) www.chabadneworleans.com/jli. For the Metairie course www.jewishlouisiana.com/jli.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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