Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, known as the Alter Rebbe, once observed a street-cleaner at work. Pushing a large broom, the man first swept the garbage, strewn randomly about the street, into small piles. These were then swept together into a smaller number of larger piles. The process was repeated several times until a single mound of garbage stood in the middle of the street, ready for removal.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman turned away from the window and said to his chassidim: “This is how things will proceed before the coming of Mashiach. Today, material wealth is spread about the population randomly but widely: there are the poor, the better off, the slightly rich, the rich, the very rich, etc. Before the coming of Mashiach, the ‘garbage’ will begin to concentrate in fewer and fewer piles, until all wealth will be in the hands of the government or a few individuals.”

MiGoleh LeGeulah, p. 106