In 5751, the Rebbe complained that he was having difficulty reading the commentaries whose notes are printed in small letters in the Talmud. His secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, arranged that an ophthalmologist check the Rebbe’s vision. One of the tests required that he insert several drops in the Rebbe’s eyes and wait a few minutes until his pupils would dilate.

Why they were waiting, the doctor inquired whether he could ask the Rebbe a question. The Rebbe, of course, agreed.

The doctor was the head of the Iraqi Jewish community in exile. He explained to the Rebbe that in this role, he had visited Jewish communities in many places throughout the world. He had seen many different activities performed by Lubavitch shluchim both openly and secretly in hundreds of communities, and he had seen how Jews had responded eagerly, expressing their Jewish identity and increasing their Torah observance. “In light of all this,” he asked the Rebbe, “I have only one question. Why hasn’t Mashiach come yet?”

“I have the same question,” the Rebbe answered. “I also don’t know why Mashiach has not yet come. That is why I tell my chassidim not to sleep, and to do more and more so that he will come one moment earlier.”

Parshas Bo

There is an amazing Midrash concerning the Paschal sacrifice found in the holy text Lekach Tov and other sources. Generally, it is explained that just prior to their departure from Egypt, the Jews eagerly circumcised themselves and offered the Paschal sacrifice. This Midrash says otherwise. It explains that when Moses told the people to take a lamb and prepare to bring the Paschal sacrifice, his words fell on deaf ears.

The people simply were not interested. They were grateful to be freed from slavery, but leaving Egypt and going out into the desert did not allure them.

On the fourteenth day of Nissan, Moses was the only one to bring a Paschal sacrifice.

So, why were the Jews redeemed? The Lekach Tov continues, stating that the savory aroma of Moses’ sacrifice spread throughout the entire land of Goshen where the Jews lived. Slowly, somewhat shamefacedly, each one appeared at Moses’ door, requesting: “Your roast smells so good. Can I have a piece?”

Moses told them to circumcise themselves. So anxious were they to taste the meat that they complied. He then explained that this was not simply a piece of roasted meat, it was a sacrifice to G‑d. They nodded in agreement, recited the blessing, and with appetite partook of the sacrifice.

When there is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis, our Sages say: “These and these are the words of the living G‑d.” What that means is that both opinions have important lessons to teach us in our Divine service.

From the Lekach Tov we can learn that it was Moses — and only Moses — who was interested in redemption. The people at large had other concerns. What motivated them to seek redemption? Moses’ influence.

Let’s explain: Obviously, the people did not relish being slaves in Egypt. Nobody likes being compelled to perform hard labor by a taskmaster.

But the exile began well before they were slaves. When they lived as free men in Egypt, they were not upset. After all, Egypt was a nice country with a thriving economy. Would it be so bad if that situation continued forever?

Moses differed. He himself was never enslaved. Nevertheless, he wanted to lead the people out of Egypt because the whole motif of exile was foreign to him.

What’s the difference between Egypt and Eretz Yisrael? In Egypt (exile), the water supply isfrom the Nile, while in Eretz Yisrael, it comes from rain. In Egypt, you think there is a natural, dependable source for maintaining your existence, and in Eretz Yisrael, you must look heavenward.

Moses wanted the people to look beyond the Nile and realize that it and other “natural, dependable sources” of influence also come from G‑d. So, Moses says, “Wake up and live with the truth. Don’t let Egypt and its norms control the way you think!”

The people didn’t listen to Moses because they didn’t understand. After all, they were brought up in Egypt and that setting defined their mentality. Moses was simply speaking about a completely different frame of reference.

But Moses wanted and ultimately succeeded in getting them to accept his level of understanding. When this happened, they were redeemed.

Looking to the Horizon

The prophet tells us “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show [the people] wonders,” establishing a correlation between the exodus from Egypt and the Future Redemption. The equivalence is multi-faceted and the story of the enslavement and redemption of our people from Egypt provides us with many insights with regard to the Future Redemption.

The Torah tells us that when Moses first delivered the message of Redemption, the people “did not heed Moses because of shortness of spirit and difficult work.” It was not that they did not believe Moses. They didn’t hear him. They were too busy. They had their quota of bricks to make and this was all that concerned them. They were not able to take the time to consider any other thought, and certainly not the thought of redemption.

How close a parallel to our present situation! From moment to moment, our world is growing increasingly Messianic as the breakthroughs in science, technology, and communication bring the wondrous Biblical prophecies within our sights. An outpouring of knowledge, the virtual conquest of famine, and even world peace are no longer dreams of the future, but realities that are becoming more immediate from day to day.

The “Moseses” of our people appreciate these cues and invite others to join them. They want people to live on a higher frequency, to understand the world and their relationship with G‑d as it truly is. And through various and sundry means, they endeavor to motivate the people to come and ask to partake of their Paschal sacrifice, i.e., to acknowledge and embrace this deeper appreciation of reality.