On Simchas Torah 92 years ago, the students of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah in Lubavitch were stirred into action by a historic call to arms: Kol HaYotzei LeMilchemes Beis David (“Whoever goes out to a battle of the House of David...”). With this Talmudic phrase* the Rebbe Rashab issued all past and present students of the Yeshivah with their lifelong marching orders — on a self-sacrificing trek whose unrelenting exertion will ultimately bring about the coming of Mashiach, for the “House of David” alludes to the revelation of Mashiach, David’s descendant.

Past and present students of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah are known in Chabad circles as temimim. The Rebbe Shlita once explained in a different context** that this lifetime title of honor may also be used to embrace many individuals (and their families) whose connection with Tomchei Temimim might superficially appear to be quite peripheral — such as supporters of the Yeshivah, and even “those whose foot once crossed its threshold.” Accordingly, many tens of thousands of readers who themselves were perhaps not privileged to be educated in the halls of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah, will no doubt sense intuitively that this call is equally addressed to them, and seek to respond to it.

On the fifteenth of Elul, 5749 (תשמ"ט; 1989), the anniversary of the founding of the parent Yeshivah in Lubavitch in 5657 (תרנ"ז; 1897), that call to arms resonated afresh, as the Rebbe Shlita called attention to the decidedly contemporary message of its published version, the classic treatise which is based on the above address of the Rebbe Rashab to the students of the Yeshivah on its third anniversary, Simchas Torah, 5661 (תרס"א; 1900).*** Since many years had passed since its publication he urged that it be reprinted alone and studied intently, in order to mark the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the Yeshivah and the 50th anniversary of the extension of the Yeshivah’s activities to the U.S. It was the latter point (and see also the opening remarks of the Previous Rebbe’s address) that motivated the translation into English of both the treatise and the address. Source references, some taken from the original text and some added here, have been included as footnotes.

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Early in the discourse of the Rebbe Rashab we encounter an ominous prediction: “I am certain...that I can see the woeful turn for the worse and the suffering that [the maskilim] will bring upon our people, and this will be followed by the sweet conclusion of the fifty-year period of the ‘footsteps of Mashiach,’ which will ultimately bring about the coming of Mashiach.”

It has been observed that fifty years from the year of these prophetic words, 5661 (תרס"א) brings us to 5711 (תשי"א), the year (1951) in which the Rebbe Shlita officially consented to assume the position of Rebbe — the beginning of the “sweet conclusion ... which will ultimately bring about the coming of Mashiach.”

G‑d grant that we behold his coming soon!

Sichos In English