“From the time that I was a child attending cheder, and even earlier than that, there began to take form in my mind a vision of the future Redemption: the redemption of Israel from its last exile, redemption such as would explicate the suffering, the decrees and the massacres of galut (exile).”

—The Rebbe, in a 1956 letter to Israel’s president

The Rebbe imparted to his Shluchim and to each person with whom he came in contact, a spirit of freedom that would enable them to dedicate their lives to the care of others.

This freedom is expressed through total immersion in the wellbeing of his or her particular sphere of influence: family, neighborhood, and so forth. For the individual Shliach, this freedom is, for the most part, expressed through concern for a particular country, state, city, institution, or program.

However, the Rebbe’s ultimate concern was the entire world – the entirety of the Jewish people and all of humankind.The Rebbe described himself “obsessed” with Moshiach

Only a great soul, free of personal constraints, can truly care about the ultimate fulfillment of creation, the destiny of the world, and global wellbeing.

This was truly the Rebbe’s ultimate desire: to see the world perfected, to see the fruition of Creation’s very purpose – that the world become an abode for the Divine. Hence, the Rebbe’s overarching desire for the coming of Moshiach and the era of redemption.

In his own words, the Rebbe described himself “obsessed” with Moshiach.

The Rebbe yearned for Moshiach not only because it would bring an end to the world’s pain and suffering, but moreover, because the era of Moshiach is the ultimate destiny of the world and the purpose for which it was created.

As one who was able to see things from a broader and higher perspective, the Rebbe saw all of Jewish history– from our sojourn in the desert through the saga of our exiles up until the present day – as a continuous path leading inexorably toward the ultimate goal of Creation.

So, too, the Rebbe saw every positive action of each individual as a redemptive act in its own right, and a step on the road to global Redemption. For each mitzvah and each word of Torah contains G‑d’s infinite energy – wherein lies the secret of another advancement toward the ultimate goal of perfecting this world as a place where G‑d “feels at home.”

Global Village, Global Destiny

Throughout the ages, Moshiach was an immediate concern only for the loftiest tzadikim (righteous people), who constantly directed their thoughts and actions toward this end.

Ordinary Jews, preoccupied with earning a living and struggling to maintain their Jewishness, could not have been expected to be occupied with the concern of the ultimate destiny of the world.

Even Torah scholars and pious Jews who devoted their lives to the service of G‑d did so out of their love for Him and in order to fulfill His will – as individuals, satisfying their thirst to come close to G‑d.

However, as the world moves closer to that perfect time, indications abound that the world has changed. The tyranny of Communism has been relegated to history’s dust bin. Jews have been gathering in the Land of Israel. There is hardly a government anywhere in the world that openly endorses anti-G‑d policies.

Today it is actually possible for everyone to direct his or her thoughts and deeds toward the world’s destiny.

Furthermore, as the world truly becomes a global village, we see empirically that what happens in one small corner of the world affects the entire world. Today the idea of global destiny is not merely less foreign than it once was, it is our daily reality.

Accordingly, the Rebbe’s final and most prominent awareness campaign is to insist that Jews, who for thousands of years have prayed and asked of G‑d to “return in mercy to Jerusalem,” should now say these words with heightened intensity, to direct their actions toward the fulfillment of this goal, and to bring this dream to the very forefront of their lives.

The Rebbe called upon every Jew to connect consciously to this destiny, the true tikun olam (perfecting the world), by intensifying our commitment to achieve this end through goodness and holiness.

Bringing us into the Boardroom

Thanks to the Rebbe, the idea of Moshiach is no longer an abstraction.

He elevated us and empowered us to appreciate its centrality in Judaism, and to understand why it is one of the principles of our faith.

No longer is the idea of Moshiach a reward, simply a prize for good behavior.

The Rebbe taught that the redemption is an outgrowth of our actions. It is the ultimate goalNo longer is the idea of Moshiach simply a prize for good behavior for which the world was created. He brought us “into the boardroom,” so to speak, and afforded us a view from the inside.

It took the Rebbe over four decades to bring us around to this orientation.

Forty-four years of raising Jewish consciousness, of elevating the spirit of the global Jewish community – campaign by campaign, individual by individual, program by program, institution by institution, state by state, country by country.

Forty-four years of exemplifying and teaching how to free ourselves of our own pettiness, how to look beyond ourselves – all of this laid the groundwork so that everyone might accept their share in the universal concern for the destiny of creation.

About Moshiach

One of the principles of Judaism is faith in the fulfillment of G‑d’s promise for a peaceful and perfect world that will be ushered in with the arrival of Moshiach.

Moshiach, according to Torah and the prophets, is a righteous person – a human being – whose personality and teaching will inspire the world to serve one G‑d, and to act in a peaceful and harmonious manner.

Faith in the imminent coming of Moshiach is a constant – it has kept the Jewish spirit and hope alive in good times and bad – ever since we were exiled from our land some 2,000 years ago.

Everything In Its Season

From the very start, the Rebbe steered the world Jewish consciousness to the orientation of redemption – true tikkun olam and awareness of Moshiach – undertaking the most daring mission of all: to bring the world toward the era of Moshiach and redemption for humankind.

The Rebbe always talked about Moshiach. In his first public discourse, upon accepting the mantle of leadership, he declared that this is the mission of our generation. At the time, his audience did not fully appreciate the meaning and true magnitude of the Rebbe’s vision. However, rather than overwhelm his listeners with a concept for which they were not yet prepared, he enabled them to proceed gradually, through study of Torah, observance of mitzvos, leading a Jewish life, and reaching out to others with vigor and enthusiasm.

Despite the global, even cosmic, scope of his goal, the Rebbe proceeded in an orderly fashion. He educated his Chasidim and the world progressively and gradually – mitzvah by mitzvah, campaign by campaign. He emphasized the value of particular, individual mitzvos and their respective connections to specific times. He dispatched his emissaries, shliach by shliach, community by community, to help raise the consciousness of the Jewish people, to promulgate the Jewish orientation of spirituality, Divinity, and the absolute necessity of living a G‑dly, Torah life.

He pointed to the changes in the world. And only then, when he felt that the world was ready, did the Rebbe launch the Moshiach campaign, addressing the very purpose of the giving of the Torah, the creation of the world, and the secret of our service throughout the ages – to bring the world to a state of perfection and recognition of the one G‑d.

His restraint and patience were remarkable, for over the course of so many years he put such effort into and emphasis on the means to this desired end. Only a leader like the Rebbe could contain his own passionate desire for the sake of his flock and the ultimate realization of the intended goal.

The Call For Partnership

In his clarion call on the 28th of Nissan, 5751 (1991), the Rebbe called upon everyone to tune in to the idea of Moshiach and to arouse a genuine yearning for his coming.

In his opening statement, theDespite the global scope of his goal, the Rebbe proceeded in an orderly fashion Rebbe said: “I have done all that I could… [Now I] give it over to you to do all that you can – indeed, oros d’tohu (a kabbalistic term connoting an immense force), but [it should be] in keilim d’tikkun (contained in an orderly fashion) to bring Moshiach....

In keeping with he Rebbe’s modus operandi of allowing and encouraging individual style and personal expression in the service of G‑d, in calling upon everyone to join in the effort to bring Moshiach, inevitably there would be diverse ways with which people would identify and in which they would exhibit their desire for His coming.

To caution that it would be done in the right way, the Rebbe immediately added that, even though it is oros d’tohu, an enormous task, nevertheless it must be in keilim d’tikun, an orderly fashion. He was telling his audience that even though this campaign, by its very nature, is beyond their ordinary orientation, requiring enthusiasm and vigor, it must, however, be contained and channeled in a traditional, balanced manner. Specifically, he was stressing that the same methods of the study of Torah and observance of mitzvos must be utilized, but with an added measure of a desire to affect the coming of Moshiach.

In the following eleven months, in every public talk in which the Rebbe referred to the imminent coming of Moshiach, without exception, he stressed that the true significance of this realization is in translating it into a greater diligence in the study of Torah and observance of mitzvos.

As with every other point of his campaigns, the Rebbe took the twelfth principle of our faith (as enumerated by Maimonides) out of the books and into the awareness of the broader Jewish community. He made it part of the Jewish lexicon and program.

However, he did so in the spirit of “I give it over to you” – everyone is invited to join in the campaign. Such all-inclusiveness will inevitably result in some errors derived from varying modes of personal expression. Eventually, however, regardless of individual perceptions, everyone will come to realize that the desire for Moshiach must be matched by action of Torah and mitzvot, in the way the Rebbe taught then, and throughout the years.