The essay that follows differs from the others in this series in that it does not adapt one of the talks of the Rebbe . For obvious reasons, the Rebbe himself has not highlighted the aspect of Yud Shvat which is the focus of this essay. We, however, could not omit this essay from the series, because for many chassidim today, it describes the most significant aspect of Yud Shvat. We have therefore woven together several of the talks of the Rebbe  from different occasions to create an original composition with the intention of communicating feelings which many share.

“The Sun Rises and the Sun Sets”

In one of his public talks regarding Beis Nissan,1 the yahrzeit of the Rebbe Rashab, the Rebbe  pointed out that there are two aspects to the passing of the Rebbe Rashab. The first is that “all his effort... for which he toiled through­out his life... becomes revealed and radiates downward... at the time of his passing.”2 The second is that this date marks the beginning of the nesius of the Rebbe Rayatz, the date on which he assumed the responsibilities of leadership as Rebbe.

On the verse,3 “The sun rises and the sun sets,” our Sages comment4 that a righteous man will not pass away until another righteous man of equal stature arises to take his place. Our Sages also point out5 that G‑d did not delay the death of King David, because the time had come for his son Shlomo to reign, and the reign of one king should not impinge upon the reign of another.

The Rebbe  has explained that while both aspects of Beis Nissan are significant, it is the assumption of the nesius by the Rebbe Rayatz that is of paramount relevance to us. The same surely applies to Yud Shvat,6 the date which marks both the yahrzeit of the Rebbe Rayatz, and the ascent of the Rebbe  to the nesius. Without minimizing the weight of the former aspect of Yud Shvat, for many chassidim today the assumption of the nesius by the Rebbe  is the primary focus of the day.

For the Divine Presence to Dwell among Mortals

In the first maamar the Rebbe  delivered,7 he out­lined his goals for our generation:

We are in the midst of the period called ikvesa diMeshicha (i.e., the time when the approaching foot­steps of Mashiach 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.

In the talks he delivered on the same occasion,8 the Rebbe  explained that though Moshe could have constructed the entire Sanctuary himself, he refrained from doing so, in order to enable the entire Jewish people to participate in this endeavor. Similarly, the Rebbe  continued, the Rebbeim of past generations did not want the campaign to bring Mashiach to be their private undertaking, but rather an effort shared by the Jewish people as a whole, and by each individ­ual Jew.

This goal has been at the heart of the efforts of the Rebbe  throughout his leadership of the Chabad chassidic movement for more than four decades. During this period, he has transformed Chabad-Lubavitch into a vast international movement with farflung influence and a veritable kaleido­scope of activities — all of which, directly or indirectly, share a single purpose, to hasten the coming of the Era of the Redemption.

To Accept Mashiach

A person who has always conceived of the coming of Mashiach as an abstract idea may not appreciate what this means in actual fact. The focus of the Rebbe  has con­stantly been on the concrete reality — that Mashiach actually come and inaugurate a new era for the world.

This has been the center of Lubavitch attention, especially since the eve of the 28th of Nissan, 5751. On that evening, in the midst of what had begun as a scholarly discussion of the distinct spiritual potentials of the current year, month, and date, the Rebbe turned to his followers with a cry from the heart:9

What more can I do to motivate the entire Jewish people to clamor and cry out, and thus actually bring about the coming of Mashiach?... All that I can possi­bly do is give the matter over to you. Now, do every­thing you can do to bring Mashiach, here and now, immediately.... I have done whatever I can; from now on you must do whatever you can.

As the Rebbe  pointed out in the following months, these efforts reflected the unique spiritual climate of our times:10

We are standing on the threshold of the future Redemption. Mashiach’s coming is no longer a dream of the distant future, but an imminent reality which will very shortly become fully manifest.

With increasing energy, the Rebbe  continued to develop this theme in the months that followed:11

Our Sages12 have described the Redemption as a feast. To speak in terms of this analogy,13 the table has already been set, everything has been served, we are sitting at the table together with Mashiach. All we need to do is open our eyes....

Our Sages14 describe Mashiach as waiting anxiously to come. In previous generations, however, his coming was delayed by the fact that the Jewish people had not completed the tasks expected of them. Now, however, those tasks have been accomplished; there is nothing lacking. All we have to do is accept Mashiach.

On Yud Shvat, when a chassid contemplates his relation­ship with the Rebbe , and the course of action this rela­tionship should inspire, it is clear that his energies should be directed to one goal — making the world conscious of Mashiach and creating an environment in which his mission can be fulfilled. May this take place in the immediate future.