1. The beginning of the month of Elul is associated with the third forty day period which Moshe spent on Mount Sinai, the forty “days of will” which culminated with G‑d’s pronouncement, “I have forgiven according to your words.” On Yom Kippur, the Jews reach a level equivalent to that of the angels. They attain this spiritual rung while they are living within this material world.1

The connection between spirituality and our material world is also expressed by the fact that today is Friday, the sixth day, the day on which the creation of the world was completed. Our Sages also associate the sixth day with the sixth of Sivan, the day on which the Torah was given, explaining that the giving of the Torah contributed an aspect of stability to the world.

This also is related to the Messianic Era for “the giving of the Torah will not be repeated” and thus, the “new Torah which will emanate from Me” in the Messianic Age was also given at Mount Sinai. The revelations of that age will be unique. In contrast to the present age, teaching will be through sight, as the prophet declares, “And all flesh will see that the mouth of G‑d speaks.”

The teaching will be through sight because it will reveal a level which transcends all division and can be revealed to all — men, women, and children — without distinction. Intellectual concepts generally have to be taught to each person according to his level, but because the revelations of the Messianic Age will be of a transcendent nature, the nature of instruction will be different. Furthermore, G‑d, Himself will be the teacher, as the prophet relates, “Your eyes will behold your teacher.”

This will also cause a difference in the way the teachings are received by the Jews. Sight makes an extremely powerful impression on a person as reflected in the law “a witness cannot serve as a judge;” i.e., after a person sees a crime being committed, he loses his objectivity and will not be able to accept arguments on behalf of the defendant.2

The connection between Elul and the Messianic Age is also reflected in the verse: אז ישיר משה...את השירה הזאת לה' ויאמרו לאמר אשירה ה'... — “Then, Moshe... sang this song to G‑d and spoke saying, ‘I will sing...,”‘ in which the letters of the word Elul are found in reverse order. Our Sages explain that the fact that this verse uses the future tense alludes to the Messianic redemption. Though it describes a historical event which actually happened, the celebration at the splitting of the Red Sea, it also points to the time when the Jews will join together in the tenth song, celebrating the ultimate redemption.3

This fusion of past and future is also related to this week’s portion, Parshas Shoftim, which begins with the mitzvah to “Appoint judges and police in all your gates.” Though this relates to the judges appointed by Moshe and those appointed by Yehoshua, the fact that the verse uses the future tense is an allusion to the Messianic Age. (Similarly, the mitzvah of separating Cities of Refuge which is also mentioned in this portion reflects both the past and future. Though there were six Cities of Refuge within Eretz Yisrael and Trans-Jordan, the ultimate fulfillment of this mitzvah will come when three additional cities will be added in the Messianic Age.)

From the study of the nature of the Messianic Age (particularly as it is revealed within the last two chapters of the Mishneh Torah which are also called Hilchos Melech HaMashiach), we will proceed to the actual redemption as implied by our Sages’ expression: Whoever studies the laws of a particular sacrifice is considered to have offered it.

In particular, the Rambam concludes this text by quoting the prophecy, “And the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the waters covers the ocean bed.” This implies that the sea will be totally covered by the waters — [“the waters of knowledge”] — to the extent that it will have no concept of independent existence. Though the sea itself represents a high level — for it is also a body of water — it will be lifted to a higher rung when covered by the waters.4

In this context, we can understand the implications of our Sages’ statement that “In the Messianic Era, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will make wings for the righteous and they will glide above the waters.” This implies that in that era, the true source of the Jews, the level on which they are one with G‑d, will be revealed. Every Jew — men, women, and children — will be above the water — i.e., above Torah — and unite with G‑d’s essence.

May all these levels become manifest in a physical manner. This is particularly true since we have completed the service required of us. As obvious from the Previous Rebbe’s statements, we have already completed the service of “polishing the buttons” and all that is necessary is that we stand together prepared to greet Mashiach.5

This is particularly true since this is Friday, a day associated with tasting the foods of Shabbos. May we taste the revelations of the era which is “all Shabbos and rest for eternity.”