A problematic issue in today's world is the question of authority. Within the Jewish community there are frequent challenges to the authority of the Rabbis and the Beth Din. In general society world-wide, there are sectors of the population which reject the authority of the legal system. This leads to lawlessness, organized crime, chaos.

The coming of the Messiah will, by definition, bring a time when this situation will change, for all humanity. The Jewish people will properly keep the 613 mitzvot, and the non-Jews will keep the Seven Noahide Laws.1 Everyone, everywhere, will be transformed into peaceful, law-abiding citizens. How is this transformation going to be achieved? Will there be police everywhere making sure that no one is disobedient?

A comment by the Lubavitcher Rebbe may help us. This week's Torah reading, Shoftim, begins by speaking about shoftim, "judges," and shotrim, "police." It commands us to appoint judges and police in the Land of Israel. In the time before the Messianic Age not only do we need judges to tell us what the law is, we also need police to try to make sure that it is enforced.

By contrast, there is a verse in Isaiah (1:26) which speaks about the atmosphere of the future Redemption: "I will return your judges as at first and your counselors as at the beginning." This verse mentions judges and counselors, but it does not mention police. The reason is because in the time of the Messiah we will no longer have police in order to enforce the law. Instead there will be "counselors." Why?

There are two contrasting kinds of authority: a judge and a counselor, "yo'etz." When the judge tells a person to do something, he or she may well feel that the judge is only concerned with the Law, not with "me" as a person. Hence people often feel resentful against authority and sometimes even rebel completely. So police are necessary in order to ensure that people keep the law.

By contrast, a yo'etz is someone who, one feels, has my very own interest at heart. The counselor is concerned about each person as an individual and his advice is something one feels one wants to follow, not because one must, but because one feels that this is best for oneself as a person.

In the time of the Messiah there will be the kind of leadership expressed by the counselor. People will want to follow his advice, because they will feel that through this they will find true fulfillment of their own personal needs.

This personalized leadership will combine with that of the judge, so that we can also benefit from the exalted and transcendent dimension of the law. The counselor will help us realize that the judge too is concerned about each of us as an individual.

What is the nature of the coming Redemption? In a sense, the discovery made by each person that he or she is at the center of existence, and that G‑d's teaching is given to him or her as the route to harmony. This transforms the concept of the "bad authority": it becomes good, both genuinely in itself, and also in the way it is perceived by others, bringing peace and fulfillment to the world.2