Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the leaves bow down their head,
The wind is passing by.1

by Christina Rosetti

This is one of many poems in a favorite poetry collection that I read and loved as a child. Of all of its poems, this one stuck in my memory with the most clarity, surfacing in my consciousness at random times, even years later.

On one afternoon in early spring, I walked the curving road from my seminary to its dormitory. We'd been studying a text that touched upon the topic of redemption, and I was wondering – wondering about the fact that as much as I learn about the Redemption, and as many pressing reasons as I have to await its coming, I still don't feel that I get it. I believe that the world will one day reach an inherent potential far beyond the problems we see around us; I believe that one day conflict will cease and the world will be perfected—and I know a thing or two of how, but it remains an abstraction, apart – I worried – from me, my life and my experience.

It is like a wind passing through I must have left school a little later than my classmates, because the small stretch of Long Island road was mostly deserted. I walked and mused, and observed the leaves fluttering about the road. The air was grayish, like the office buildings along the road, the pavement and the sidewalks. The wind swept crumpled brown leaves over the pavement and into piles by the curbs, heralding some change of weather – signs of spring, perhaps.

"Who has seen the wind…" I thought. I watched the poem illustrated all around me as I continued to walk.

And then I realized why poem may have stayed with me:

So that I could see that the Redemption is like a wind that is passing through the world – stirring it, blowing in refreshing changes. I can see it, touch it, grasp it – if not yet literally, then via its effects. Like the wind, around and within me, Redemption can be mine.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe often spoke about the immediacy of the Redemption, pointing it out by its effects. "We have to open our eyes," the Rebbe emphasized, "to signs of the Redemption.".

The Rebbe pointed to disarmament talks and traced them to Isaiah's prophecy: "And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks2." He took note of science's progress toward uncovering the unity within creation. He celebrated the publication of Tanya in Braille as part of the dissemination of the "wellsprings" of Chassidut, a process promised to hasten the healing and perfection of the world, and so on.

Knowledge can be snobbish I can find signs of Redemption in my own experience, like I found the wind that afternoon. Whether in current events or in moments of inspiration, I can find little pieces of a soon-to-be perfected reality to hold on to.

I need this element of experience in order to internalize the concept of redemption. Knowledge can be snobbish, leaving me feeling inadequate in the shadow of abstractions that remain separate from me. Experience, on the other hand, grounds my knowledge and gives confidence and grace to my next step forward.

I get how a poet would want to see the wind, and this one figured out how.

So can I. May we swiftly see the Redemption itself, unveiled.