1. In the last few years, it has been customary to emphasize the connection every concept shares with the ultimate redemption. Sometimes, effort has to expended in order to find such a connection, but there is always a point of association. Since “all the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have already passed,” and in particular, several years have passed since the Previous Rebbe announced “All of you stand prepared” to proceed to the redemption, every concept surely shares a connection with that era.

[In particular, each term within the Previous Rebbe’s statement is worthy of elaboration: “All of you” is significant because it emphasizes how the future redemption will — in contrast to the previous redemptions experienced by our people — encompass every single Jew without distinction.1 Not only will the large majority of our people be redeemed, the redemption will involve each and every Jew. Also, in an expanded sense, “all of you” refers to the totality of each person’s existence, all of his powers and his portion in the world at large. “Stand” indicates the adoption of a position of strength in the service of G‑d as reflected in the verse, “to stand and serve before G‑d.” “Prepared” emphasizes the importance of the object for which one is preparing as reflected in our Sages’ differentiation between the meals of Shabbos and Yom Tov which involve preparation, and those of an ordinary weekday which do not.]

Although as explained above, every concept shares a connection to the redemption, there are times — for example, this present Shabbos — when the connection is openly revealed. To explain: Vayakhel begins with the description of Moshe’s calling together the Jewish people to study Torah. From this, we derive the custom of calling Jews together for Torah study each Shabbos.2 However, in an ultimate sense, Vayakhel alludes to the most complete and inclusive congregation, the time when “a great congregation will return here,” in the Era of Redemption.

Similarly, Pekudei which means “counting” in an ultimate sense refers to the tenth census of the Jewish people which will be held in the Era of Redemption. In particular, when the two parshiyos are combined together as in this year, that allusion to the future redemption is clearly emphasized.

To explain, Vayakhel in and of itself does not necessarily point to the Redemption. As explained above, it can refer to the congregation of Jews for Torah study. Similarly, Pekudei can be associated with the other censuses that were held throughout Jewish history, or to the service in the Beis HaMikdash that involved Pa’is, counting the priests’ fingers to determine who would be privileged to perform the service.

When, however, the two parshiyos are combined, we see a clear reference to that census which will be held when, “a great congregation will return here.”3 A further connection to the Redemption is that this is the Shabbos which blesses the month of Nissan, a month associated with “miracles of a truly miraculous nature,”4 and is known as “the month of redemption.”

[Indeed, the Shabbos which blesses Nissan possesses a more powerful quality than the month itself, because the entity which conveys a blessing on another entity must itself possess a higher quality.]

We find that there are several levels of redemption as reflected by the fact that Adar is also a month of redemption. Nevertheless, our Sages speak of joining redemption to redemption, i.e., proceeding from one level of redemption to the next. [Their intent is to join the redemption of Purim to the redemption of Pesach. Since they do not explicitly mention this, however, we can interpret this as referring to joining the redemption of Purim to the ultimate Redemption.]

The concept of redemption also shares a connection with Shabbos, because Shabbos represents a redemption from the mundane activities of the weekdays. Indeed, on Shabbos a person must be on an elevated plane to the extent that he feels that, “all his work is completed.”

All the above is enhanced by the fact that this year, 5751, is a year when, “I will show you wonders.”5 This refers to the wonders of the redemption which will surpass the miracles of the exodus from Egypt. Furthermore, the redemption from Egypt was only temporary in nature and allowed the possibility for future exiles. In contrast, after the future redemption, the potential for exile will no longer exist.

May we soon merit that redemption. Then we will see the priestly garments which are described in our Torah portion. In regard to those garments, there are several different opinions mentioned in the Talmud. Furthermore, there is a difference of opinion regarding the High Priest’s head plate between the Sages — whose opinion is accepted as halachah — who maintain that the words קודש לה' were written on two lines, and Rabbi Eliezar ben Yossi who said, “I saw the High Priest’s head plate in Rome and the words קודש לה' were written on only one line.” This indicates that there were several different approaches to actually fashioning these garments. Both of these approaches were acceptable because the Torah does not specify how the words קודש לה' should be written.

Similarly, we find several approaches to the fashioning of the High Priest’s cloak and to the leggings worn by the priests. All of these different approaches are acceptable and were actually present in the Beis HaMikdash. This multiplicity is desirable. Since the Torah is “the Torah of truth,” and truth is multi-faceted in nature, the ultimate expression of this truth is for all these different dimensions to be actually revealed on the level of deed.

May we no longer have to debate how these garments should be made because we will actually see them in the Third Beis HaMikdash. Then we will witness the ultimate expression of Vayikra, the Torah reading begun in today’s Minchah service, “And He called to Moshe.”6

The redemption will come and will be accompanied by open miracles. There is an advantage to conduct according to the natural order, for in this manner, the natural order itself is elevated. Nevertheless, since we have waited so long for the ultimate redemption, we can rest assured that it will be characterized by open miracles. May this be in the immediate future.

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2. This Shabbos, which begins the last week of Adar, represents the transition between Adar and Nissan. On the surface, Nissan is above Adar, for the miracles of Nissan transcended the natural order, while those of Adar were confined within nature. One could explain the entire sequence of events — the deposition of Vashti, the appointment of Esther, and the like — as a matter of coincidence. Thus, indeed our Sages explain that the allusion to Esther in the Torah is the verse, “I will surely conceal My face,” i.e., the veiling of G‑dliness within the natural order. (This also is reflected in the fact that G‑d’s name is not mentioned in the Megillah.)

There is, however, an advantage to the Purim sequence, miracles enclothed within nature, for they permeate — and thus elevate — the natural order. Indeed, this is the intent of our service, to lift up the worldly order of existence and to have G‑dliness revealed on this plane.

We see this concept reflected in the renown story of the Alter Rebbe who, during his imprisonment in Petersburg, was once ferried from one prison to another in the middle of the night. Seeing the moon, he sought to use this opportunity to recite the Kiddush Levanah (Sanctification of the Moon7 ) prayers and asked the boatman to halt the vessel’s progress. When the latter refused, the Alter Rebbe halted the vessel in a miraculous way, allowed it to continue, and then asked the boatman again to stop. Seeing that he had no alternative, the boatman consented and it was only then, that the Alter Rebbe recited his prayers. Why was the boatman’s consent necessary? So that the mitzvah could be fulfilled within the context of the natural order.

The circumstances in which this story took place emphasize the relevance of its lesson. The Alter Rebbe’s imprisonment came because of his efforts to spread Chassidus and his redemption signified Heavenly consent for the intensification of those activities. Indeed, were undesirable elements not to have interfered, with his redemption, we would have merited the full revelation of the two lights (Shneur), the light of the revealed Torah and the light of the Torah of Chassidus. And this revelation is drawn down l’zman, (לזמן a word which results from the rearrangement of the letters of the Alter Rebbe’s second name Zalman זלמן) meaning “to time,” an indication how this revelation will permeate time and space, the limitations of this world.

Indeed, we see an allusion to the redemption in the Alter Rebbe’s life span — 68 years. 68 is numerically equivalent to the word (סח), meaning “diversion of attention.” Our Sages declare, “Mashiach will come when our attention is diverted,” like the discovery of a lost object which comes unexpectedly. The connection of this concept to Mashiach is reflected in the verse “I found David, My servant.”

This relates to the fusion of the concepts of Vayakhel and Pekudei mentioned above, i.e., the ultimate gathering together of the Jewish people which will come in the Era of Redemption and the tenth census which will be taken then. This census will differ from the previous ones which included only men over the age of twenty. This census will count every Jew, men, women, and child.

One of the unique aspects of a census is that it reflects the dearness of the entities which are counted, to quote our Sages, “because He cherishes them, He counts them at all times.” Thus, the counting of the Jews in the Era of Redemption will reflect how every Jew — even the youngest child — is treasured by G‑d.

This points to the importance of Jewish education, of reaching out to every Jewish child. The Baal Shem Tov taught that even a leaf’s turning in the wind is controlled by Divine Providence. Surely, there is a special Divine Providence controlling everything that occurs to each member of the Jewish people, even a young child. We must, within the context of this unique Providence, do whatever we can to prepare each member of the Jewish people, and every aspect of the world at large, for the ultimate Redemption.

{The Rebbe Shlita continued the sicha with references to the conflict in the Persian Gulf, a promise that the miraculous sequence of events which we have witnessed will continue, and a call to increase our efforts to provide our fellow Jews with their Pesach needs. These concepts were presented in an essay, “The Ultimate Miracles are Yet to Come.”}

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3. [After the distribution of mashkeh in connection with various positive activities, the Rebbe Shlita said:} All that is necessary is for a person to perform one small act and G‑d will help him and lift him above all things. This is enhanced by the influence of a Chassidic farbrengen which — as revealed in the note which descended from Heaven — can achieve more than the influence of the angel Michoel.

Nothing brings a father greater joy than seeing his children join together in harmony. Similarly, when the Jews join together in unity, love, and joy, G‑d derives great happiness, as it were, and grants them abundant blessings, including the ultimate blessing, which is of such fundamental importance at present, the coming of the Future Redemption.