The fox was hungry. On top of one of the trees in the forest sat a group of birds, plump and delicious—but completely out of the fox's reach.

With foxy slyness, the animal struck up a conversation with the fowl: "Have you heard the great news?" he asked with a huge smile. "The Messiah has just come! No longer do you need to fear hitherto dangerous predators like myself—all now live without fear; global harmony prevails! Come on down from your high perch, together let us celebrate this historic moment..."

The naïve birds were about to take the fox up on his offer when suddenly the forest was filled with the sound of barking dogs.

"What's the matter?" asked the birds, noticing the fox's startled and frightened expression.

"Those are hunting dogs," the fox huffed. "They're conducting a fox hunt."

"So, why are you panicking? The Messiah has arrived; surely no one will harm you!"

"True," responded the fox before rushing off, "but the dogs have not yet been notified of this very recent development..."

The economy is slowly recovering. The stock market has modestly rallied. It's back up where it was five months ago, and job losses last month were half what they were just half a year ago. A few months ago, the economic news was black; every report, every indicator, was negative. Now, while newscasters still talk about bankruptcies and national belt-tightening, glimmers of light appear in every broadcast. This sector is doing better, this company is stabilizing, people are starting to buy more of this product, etc.

Nationally, the picture is improving—but go tell that to any of the 345,000 people who lost their jobs in May. They are the proverbial hunting dogs who have not yet heard the good news...

Such is the nature of the beast. It takes time for a national recovery to trickle down to every affected individual. That's why an accurate assessment cannot be made looking through the lens of any one individual, region or sector. To properly assess the situation, one has to look at the larger picture, compare trends, examine consumer confidence indices, etc.

Nearly two decades ago, the Rebbe began proclaiming: "The time of Redemption is upon us. We are the last generation of galut (exile), the generation that will experience the Redemption."

As a nation, this was not the first time that we've heard a tzaddik (righteous person) convey such an assurance. Sadly, however, to this date, none of the prior declarations have actualized, for reasons known to G‑d alone.

But the Rebbe's declarations contained an element that was never heard before. The Rebbe insisted that he wasn't speaking of an event that would transpire, but of an event that was already in the making.

Don't trust me on my word alone, the Rebbe entreated. Look around and see what's happening in the world around us. Open your eyes and you'll see that this era of G‑dliness, unity and harmony that we've awaited for thousands of years—it's happening! The world is slowly becoming a better and holier place.

(For more on this, see The Anti-War Movement, Is the world really getting better? and Technology of the Redemption.)

But, we ask, if the world is getting better, if we are approaching the Messianic Age, why is there still disease? Why is there still war?

Here's where we need to look at the larger picture: How many diseases have been eradicated? How many cures have been discovered for illnesses that a short while ago were considered certain killers? Was there ever a time when so many nations were committed to peace and human rights? Look at the cooperation between so many nations—all for peaceful purposes that benefit all of humanity! Has there ever been a time when G‑dly wisdom – the Torah – has been so readily available to all? When was the last time that nearly 100% of our brothers and sisters lived in lands where they were free to serve G‑d as they wished?

Perhaps the birds in our story were naïve. But if we were to climb up to the top of the tree and take a bird's eye view of our forest, perhaps we would see that the foxes are changing their dietary habits after all.