Is privacy going extinct in the digital age? Not a week goes by that we don’t learn of another serious breach of Internet security. Passwords. Credit cards. Personal photos. Social Security numbers. None of our personal data can be considered safe anymore.

What’s moreIs privacy going extinct in the digital age? frightening is that the erosion of what we used to call privacy happened right under our very noses. We signed away our confidentiality willingly, if obliviously. We continue to download apps that can track our every move and action. We still query search engines and give them access to our innermost thoughts. We upload our most intimate photos to the cloud, where any determined hacker can access them.

We read in the Torah about the birth of twins to Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and Tamar. The hand of one baby emerged, and the midwife tied a shiny crimson thread on it, saying, “This one came out first.” Then the hand retracted, and his brother emerged. He was called Peretz because he “burst forth.”1 Then the next baby came out, still wearing the crimson thread, and they called him Zerach, meaning “shiny.”

Peretz is the progenitor of King David and Moshiach, who himself is alluded to as the poretz, the one who breaks through.2 The coming of Moshiach is associated with a time when societal boundaries will be breached. A well-known Mishnah describes the era immediately preceding Moshiach thusly:

With the advent of the footsteps of Moshiach, insolence will increase and prices will soar . . . The government will turn to heresy and no one will rebuke them; the meeting place of scholars will be used for immorality . . . The wisdom of scholars will degenerate, those who fear sin will be despised and the truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame, elders will reside in deference to the young, a son will revile his father, a daughter will rise up against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law . . . the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog; a son will feel no shame before his father.3

Sounds like an apt description of a society falling to pieces?

In a characteristic twist, the Lubavitcher Rebbe offers a positive interpretation of the above passage: the ones spearheading the revolution of society will be the youth. They are the ones who refuse to accept the status quo, the ones who perversely believe that there is more to life than accumulating wealth. They will reclaim the Jewish observance that may have fallen by the wayside when their parents and grandparents struggled to conform to American society. They will have the courage to assert themselves, to demand an end to shallowness, an end to society’s headlong rush to self-destruction—in short, to demand Moshiach.4

The Rebbe reminds us that the “breaking of boundaries” is more than the disintegration of conventions—it’s a forward thrust. We live in an era with daily technological breakthroughs, extending the boundaries of what we consider possible. Self-driving cars. Personal joy rides into space.

As we witness the crumbling of society as we know it, a new one is emerging to take its place. We already live in a global village, where geographic and cultural boundaries are rapidly falling away. We are more ready to form friendships with people of different cultural backgrounds. We are more respectful of people with disabilities and other differences.

Personal inhibitions—the ones that keep us from relating frankly and honestly with each other—will be next to go. We will learn to share in a way that is not exploitative, but compassionate and trusting. We will learn to open up and express unrestrained gratitude, joy, pride, appreciation.

The holy writings describe a time when the most hidden information will be made public. Regarding the Redemption, the prophet Isaiah states: “And the earth will be filled with knowledge of G‑d, as waters cover the oceans.”5 All the divine secrets will be revealed. The floodgates will open, and there will be an outpouring of knowledge in both secular and spiritual spheres.

The process of “bursting boundaries” associated with Moshiach’s coming has been likened to childbirth. The labor pains intensify and reach a peak, at which point the baby emerges from the womb. Similarly, during exile our suffering intensifies until the moment that Moshiach is revealed, which puts an abrupt end to the pain. It is safe to say that we are now in the midst of the birthing process. Very soon, G‑d will emerge from the shadows in which He concealed Himself, and we will all have access to the most sublime of G‑dly revelations.

Now, in the final moments ofDuring exile, our suffering intensifies exile, it is time for preparation. Now is the time to break through all barriers—self-imposed or otherwise—that keep us from reaching our true potential. Take on a new mitzvah. Call someone with whom you’ve had a spat—someone you haven’t talked to in years. Start a new Torah-study session in an area you’ve never studied before. When we go outside the barriers of our own character and personality, G‑d reciprocates. He will break through the boundaries of exile and bring the complete Redemption.