Once the Baal Shem Tov had a vision in which he ascended through various spiritual realms until he came to the palace of Mashiach. Coming face to face with mankind’s redeemer, he had only one question: “When are you coming?”

Mashiach answered him: “When the wellsprings of your teachings spread outward.”

Yud Tes Kislev

Chassidus explains that Mashiach was not giving the Baal Shem Tov a time frame, he was explaining to him the pattern of spiritual causation.

When will Mashiach come? When the world is ready to receive him. And when will the world be ready to receive him? When the wellsprings of Chassidus, the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings, spread outward.

Chassidus makes us aware of the G‑dly spark within our souls and the spiritual reality that permeates the world at large. When the awareness of these factors spreads throughout humanity, the world will be prepared to accept Mashiach.

Yud-Tes (the 19th of) Kislev, the anniversary of the release of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, founder of the Chabad movement) from prison in Czarist Russia, is celebrated as a milestone in spreading Chassidus outward. It is explained that the inner, mystical cause of R. Shneur Zalman’s imprisonment was the resistance in the heavenly realms to his unrestrained efforts to spread Chassidus.His release thus served as a sign that the spiritual forces opposing the dissemination of these teachings had been overcome and it was possible to continue that initiative.

Looking to the Horizon

Theteachings of Chassidus are a foretaste of the wisdom that Mashiach will reveal. On Friday afternoon, before the onset of the Shabbos, it is customary to taste the foods prepared for that special day. So, too, Mashiachs era is referred to as “the day that is all Shabbos and rest.” Within the context of the world’s spiritual history, it is now Friday afternoon; the midday hours are almost over, and it is possible to sense a gleam of the approaching Shabbos. This is the reason why the teachings of Chassidus were revealed at this juncture of time.

The uniqueness of the era of Mashiach will be the outpouring of the knowledge of G‑d. As the Prophet tells us: “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters cover up the ocean bed.” Our existence will be submerged in the awareness of G‑d; in every element of our lives, we will sense His presence.

The foretaste of that revelation is an overflow of spiritual knowledge: We gain an understanding of the spiritual forces governing our existence, we learn to appreciate G‑d’s hand guiding our lives, and we sense the oneness with Him contributed by every element of the Torah and its mitzvos. This is granted to us by the teachings of Chassidus.