Levi Liberow, Beis Moshiach
“My enemy’s enemy is not always my friend,” is a good rule for life. Even when we’re not talking about enemies, just different points of view and schools of thought, not always is the classic counterpart of a flawed view indeed the correct one.
Last week we explored an erroneous belief prevalent among a considerable segment of religious Jews running contrary to established Halacha. Namely, that certain messianic promises, including the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, can be fulfilled by the Jewish people in the absence of Moshiach.
The other side of this debate is the traditional Jewish belief that Hashem will bring Moshiach when He sees it fit. But many segments of religious Jewry understand that to mean that any and every effort to bring the Geulah, besides doing Mitzvos and praying for it, is wrong.
Chassidim of the Rebbe will find a hard time to associate the Rebbe with either one of these schools of thought. Waiting passively for the Geulah doesn’t bring the Rebbe to mind, but there is no stronger critic of labeling the founding of the State of Israel as a stage of the Geulah.
I like to find points of agreement with people with whom I disagree. Here is another quote from the Temple Institute video I wrote about last week: “We mustn’t pin our excuses for inaction on Moshiach. We have our jobs, and he has his. ”
I couldn’t agree more with that, but what is our job?
So, the question we need to resolve is not if we can take part in the process, but what is our role? What has Hashem given us the power to do, and what has He not?
There is galus of the body and galus of the soul. Hashem put us in the “galus of the body,” but our souls are a whole different story:
The Rebbe Rashab famously said, “Not by our will have we been exiled from Eretz Yisrael, and not with our powers can we return to it. Our father and king … exiled us, and He will redeem us … through Moshiach.
“But all the nations on the face of the earth must know: Our bodies alone were banished into exile … our souls were never exiled, nor were they subjected to the rule of the nations.”
So if you feel your soul is in galus, it is a state you can get out of, if only you are prepared to put in some effort.
In the Rebbe Rashab’s times, the Geulah achievable by our Neshama was not to allow the forces which exiled our bodies to control our souls, but many things happened since.
While there is always a need to maintain our way of life, religious oppression — the most outstanding symbol of the “galus of the bodies” – is Baruch Hashem, a thing of the past. The world is rapidly adapting itself to a Geulah mode; think health, poverty, personal safety, growing world peace, and many other things. It is far less interested in imposing galus on the Jewish soul than it was a century ago.
So, while we wait for the fulfillment of the remaining, defining aspects of the “Geulah of the body” — the Beis Hamikdash, Kibbutz Galuyos, etc., (which, of course, will also have a profound effect on our spiritual life), our souls are waiting to be redeemed by no one but ourselves.
The sicha of Parshas Balak 5751 (portions of it appeared in this and the last few issues of Beis Moshiach) is a must-learn landmark sicha. It explains and defines the time we live in, in unequivocal terms. The Rebbe also talks about the avoda required of us at this time, which is to “live with Moshiach.”
Ironically, a perplexing statement sheds a bright light on the essence of our avoda now. The Rebbe says that “the study of the laws of the Beis Hamikdash this year must be in an entirely different fashion than in the past. It is [now] relevant Halacha for practical application in the very next moment.”
Why? — “Because the ‘the anticipated Future Sanctuary, already built and fully developed’ above, will soon ‘be revealed and arrive from Heaven!’”
Doesn’t that sound strange? If our help were needed in the building, the requirement of learning about the Beis Hamikdash in a way of Halacha L’Maaseh would be very logical.
The folks at the Temple Institute are doing just that — they take practical Beis Hamikdash study very seriously. They even prepared keilim, bigdei kehuna, a Para Aduma, and so on.
But if it will come from Heaven ready-made, (or even if Melech HaMoshiach will build it) why is our knowledge of the Halacha in a practical manner needed? Moshe and Aharon will be there to help, and not every single Jew needs to master all the practical details…
Wouldn’t it be better to call upon us to know the Halachos of bringing and eating Korbanos instead?
[It should be noted that the Chofetz Chayim initiated a campaign to learn Hilchos Kodshim and the Rebbe spoke about it at least twice in a favorable manner. (See Hadran on Zevachim from Chof Av 5729, Sichos Kodesh vol. 2 p. 368), but studying Hilchos Beis Habechira clearly has a different objective.]
It is clear to me that when the Rebbe is talking about “practical study,” it’s not in the sense of “my opinion will matter, so I’d better get to know my stuff.” It means this: When you learn Hilchos Tefillin (whether or not you are arriving at conclusions), the concepts are tangible and realistic. The same tangibility, in your mind, should apply to the laws of the Beis Hamikdash, because even though it’s not here yet, it will be in the moment after this one.
The Tzemach Tzedek once announced at a farbrengen that “when you repeat a teaching, you should imagine it’s author standing before you.” He added that “the same is true with a niggun” and began to sing the Alter Rebbe’s niggun of the Daled Bavos. “Soon enough,” the Frierdiker Rebbe relates, “everyone present turned around to check if the Alter Rebbe was standing at his side.”
It’s about developing consciousness of Geulah, that’s our part of the process.
Learning more Chassidus and inyanei Moshiach and thinking more Chassidus and inyanei Moshiach is the way to do this.
Hashem could arrange a Beis Hamikdash, a Para Aduma and all the rest Himself. He is only requesting the honor of our presence.
Let’s not confuse the roles.
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