Some people think Judaism is all about tradition.

It's not.

It's about making a whole new world.

Sure, our tradition is important. It starts with Abraham smashing the idols in his father's house. Moses liberating a people from slavery. Isaiah lecturing a war-hungry civilization on world peace.

It's a long tradition and it's all about one thing: Changing the world, getting it in tune with its real purpose, with what it really is. We've been doing that for four thousand years, with the conviction that it's really going to happen. The time will come.

Our mothers and fathers in every generation prayed for that time. Every book of Torah is filled with the idea. Every mitzvah we do is meant to create that world. For all our history, we lived and sacrificed our lives with that hope in our hearts and on our lips.

Until today, when we discover that most of humanity has bought into our dream. That the pieces needed for this new world have been neatly falling in place. That the rays of a new dawn have already begun to filter through the horizon's clouds.

Don't quite see it? Try this experiment:

Call Home

Nowadays you can call anywhere from anywhere. How about this:

"Hi, great-grandma, great-grandpa! This is your great-grandchild calling from a hundred years later!"

"So wonderful to hear from you! How is life in the 21st century? Do you have enough to eat?"

"Well, when I want to eat, I go to my refrigerator. It keeps all the food cold."

"You only eat cold? Poor thing!"

"No, I stick it in my microwave for a minute and it comes out warm and cooked."

You go on to describe your menu, including produce and packages from every part of the world. You can take a cute little device out of your pocket and have a conversation with someone anywhere in the world, anytime. And if you need a piece of information, or to study any subject, you have access to libraries and helpful people around the world- without even stepping out the door.

Your home is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. No Cossacks come to burn it down. In fact, the government guarantees freedom of religion. In Moscow, the government helps build places of worship for Jews, as they do for all those who wish to worship in their own way. The people around you teach their children tolerance and love of peace — because, for the first time in history, war is despised and world peace is a value. The world produces enough food to feed each of its six billion citizens. Scientists, rather than challenging faith, point out the mysterious wonders of the universe and its essential oneness.

To them, you are describing a miraculous world. A world more distant from theirs than theirs was from the ancients. They could only reach one conclusion: You must be calling them from the times of Moshiach.

Yes, you left out a few details. For example, that you still owe the bank for that house. That the food produced is not reaching those who need it. That the information superhighway is often used for hate and pornography rather than for the wisdom it is destined for. That the world is still struggling with evil and suffering.

But the point is: The stage is set, all is in place. Never before has the world been anywhere near this position. All that's left is for the curtains to be drawn and the lights to shine on the scene.

A Goal

Time began. As impossible as it is to imagine, all we know of — space, time, the very nature of things — all has a beginning.

And it has a goal, an ultimate state. Every era, every event, every moment that it passes through is a step along that way. Every star in every galaxy, every cell of life on our planet, every particle and every charge of energy is brought into being as part of that plan.

What is that plan? It is a drama, the ultimate masterpiece of beauty. A marriage of opposites, the fusion of finite and infinite, light and darkness, heaven and earth. The drama of a lowly world becoming the home of an infinite G‑d.

We are the players in that drama. With our every action, we have the power to reveal the Infinite in our mundane world. With acts of wisdom and of beauty, with the guidance of Torah and its light.

This is the mission of every soul that comes to walk upon this earth: Not to escape to the heavens, but to grapple with the challenges of this world. Until each one of us has uncovered our own sparks of heaven here on earth. And when all those sparks are gathered, the masterpiece is complete.

The Rebbe on Moshiach

No Jewish leader in recent history has done as much to raise our awareness and fire our anticipation of the coming of moshiach.

From the beginning of the Rebbe's leadership, he stood by the conviction that our generation is the generation of the Geulah — the liberation of the world. He saw technology as the world readying itself for that time. He saw the rebellion of youth in the sixties as an awakening of the spirit of moshiach.

In the early 1980s, the Rebbe began to talk even more about the future. He envisioned the collapse of the Soviet empire years before it began. When Russian Jews were suddenly free to return to their roots, his people were already in place to teach them. He saw the conflict with Iraq as a sign of a miraculous new world order. He spoke with absolute certitude, with a fire in his heart and in his voice, proclaiming that the time has come.

"Moshiach is already on his way," he said. "We only need to increase in acts of goodness and kindness to make it happen sooner."

Here is a sampling of some of the things the Rebbe said about moshiach and the redemption:

Power of One

(Shortly after World War II the Rebbe said:)

One individual brought the world to the brink of destruction, if not for the mercies of the King of the Universe, who ordained, "the earth shall stand firm and shall not fall."

Such is the power of a single human being to do evil. A thousand times over is each one's power to do good.

Plant Now

True, we have faith that Moshiach will be here tomorrow, because he will come today in the very next moment. And if so, why build a house? Why plant a tree? Why teach a child?

But this is the journey that builds the world to come. At each encampment, we do all this place demands of us —even if we are only there for the moment.

For each moment is an entire world.

Good Signs

Whenever things got worse, Jews would say, "This is a sign! Moshiach is coming!" But in those days, a messianic era would have meant a radical change in the natural order of things. Today, the material world itself is prepared.

UnApocalypse

This world was not created for some apocalyptic finale; its magnificence was not formed to dissipate into ionized gas. Each thing was formed for the glory of its Maker who stands forever.

Only the darkness must wind itself to its end, and it must be robbed of the treasures it holds. For the most precious things of this world are held in darkness.

Look now. The shell has begun to crack.

What To Do Now

● The making of a whole new world is like any interactive experience: You could just sit back and watch it happen — eventually. Or you could take a proactive role and be one of those who make it happen. Being part of it is obviously going to be more rewarding.

● Anyone who adds even one more act of kindness to this world is a partner in building the whole new world we are waiting for. A helping hand, a friendly smile... who knows, that one beautiful act may be the final one needed to tip the scales.

● It's hard to yearn for something when you don't really know what it is. Organize a seminar. Attend one already in session. Debate with your local Chabad rabbi. Or study online.

● Imagine life in the times of Moshiach — a life untainted by stress and worry, beyond petty jealousies and quarrels, where all human occupations are transformed to spiritual paths towards a deeper wisdom and a higher knowledge. Imagine it and then start to live it now.

As the Rebbe repeatedly said, "Everything is here, now. All that's left is for us to open our eyes."