The time and place: Late on a Friday night, 60 years ago, sometime during the Australian summer, in a tiny Australian townlet called Shepparton, at the home of Rabbi Moshe Zalman Feiglin of blessed memory.

Moshe Zalman suddenly woke up from his sleep. He hurried anxiously into the dining room, to discover what had woken him: a framed photograph of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, which for years had occupied a place of pride on a sideboard at the head of the room, had fallen to the floor.

Pointing at the shattered glass he said quietly, "Something has happened!"

Finally, sometime after Shabbat, a telegram arrived from BrooklynHis twelve-year-old grandson, Uri, who slept in his house to keep him company, did his best to reassure him that there must have been a draft or perhaps a tremor, but to no avail.

On Shabbat morning, Moshe Zalman shared his concern with his learned neighbor Rabbi Betzalel Wilschansky. He too sought to reassure him without success.

Moshe Zalman, a man who had never been known to be shocked out of his tranquil faith and equanimity, could find no peace.

Finally, sometime after Shabbat, a telegram arrived from Brooklyn. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was no longer among the living. The date of his passing: Shabbat, the Tenth of Shevat 5710 (1950).

Fast forward exactly one year later.

Far far way, on the other side of the globe, separated by vast oceans, several hundred people, mostly holocaust survivors, crammed into a small room, with a maximum occupancy of about 150. The tension was palpable in the air. Will he agree or not?

It had been twelve months already since the passing of the Rebbe. The leaders of the movement have laid their eyes on a successor to assume the post of the seventh Rebbe in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty. However, he had repeatedly and consistently rebuffed all their efforts.

On this winter evening, the night following the first yahrtzeit of the Rebbe, a chassidic farbrengen (gathering) was held at 770 Eastern Parkway, the Chabad Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, commemorating the occasion. There was a glimmer of hope—maybe maybe he will relent.

At 10:40 p.m. it happened. The new Rebbe, the seventh Rebbe, was inducted. There was no fanfare or ceremony. The Rebbe simply delivered a chassidic discourse and henceforth formally assumed the leadership of the movement.

In this historic discourse and a subsequent address, the Rebbe laid down the mission statement for his followers, the "seventh generation," as he referred to them. The task of the seventh generation, he said, is to bring the Shechinah (Divine presence) into this mundane world.

The call issued that winter night reverberated in the consciousnesses of those present "We are in the midst of the period called ikveta d'meshicha (the time when the approaching footsteps of Moshiach can be heard). Indeed, we are at the conclusion of this period. Our task is to complete the process of drawing down the Divine Presence... so that it should rest within our lowly world."

The call issued that winter night reverberated in the consciousnesses of those few hundred people present in that room. But its echo extended far beyond the walls of "770."

Six decades have ensued. Over this period of time, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, inspired by the Rebbe's call, has been transformed into a vast international movement across six continents, encompassing thousands of Chabad Houses and outreach centers across the globe, including a strong presence in cyberspace.

Sixty years later, the Australian townlet of Shepparton no longer hosts the venerable elderly Chassid, Rabbi Moshe Zalman Feiglin. But across Australasia alone, Chabad's presence has now extended the confines of Shepparton and boasts now over one hundred centers, in regional and rural Australia and New Zealand.

Sixty years. Sixty is a big number. The number sixty figures very prominently in the Torah's dietary laws. According to the "nullified by sixty" principle, any single element mixed in a ratio of one part in sixty is nullified; it is overwhelmed by the total mass and becomes completely indistinguishable. For example, if a piece of non-kosher food accidentally falls into a pot of kosher food, if the "undesirable substance" amounts to 1/60th or less of the total mass, it is "nullified by sixty" and considered kosher; the negative energy becomes neutralized and transformed into positive energy.1

In our case, over these sixty years there might have been some very bleak moments, but the collective power of these sixty years have transformed all undesirable and destructive forces that have come our way into positive, uplifting and nourishing experiences. Any cause for grief or dejection, every hindrance or obstacle, have been – or, at least, has the capacity to be – transformed and metamorphosed into opportunities for growth and rejuvenation.

The "seventh generation" is now entering its seventh decadeBut sixty years is more than just the elimination of everything negative and unholy. Sixty years are also the culmination of six decades and the entry point into the seventh decade, the Shabbat decade. At the age of sixty, one is considered to have attained sagacity and seniority, according to the Mishnah (Ethics 5:22). What this really means is that at the age of sixty one acquires keen intellectual maturity. The intellectual capacities have the propensity to broaden their horizons.

"All sevens are cherished" (Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 29:11). The "seventh generation" is now entering its seventh decade. The seventh decade coincides with the year 5770 since creation, a year which not only began on the seventh day of the week, but the entire year is "770"—a multiple and composite of sevens.

The initial call that issued forth from 770 Eastern Parkway, almost sixty years ago, has since penetrated the globe. The mission statement of drawing down the Shechinah from the "seventh heaven" down here below is no longer a dream of the distant future, but an imminent reality which will very shortly become fully manifest.

We are standing on the threshold of the Redemption. We are getting into high gear just before the onset of "yom shekulo Shabbat" the era which is one long holy Sabbath. Afterwards we will just be in Shabbat mode forever.