The concept of simchah shares a connection to the Future Redemption. For it is in the Era of the Redemption that we will experience the consummate level of simchah. At that time, all undesirable influences will be negated as reflected in the verse, “And G-d will wipe away tears from every face.” Indeed, all the negative influences will be transformed into good.
This will greatly increase the simchah we will experience, enabling it to reach consummate perfection. Therefore the returnees to Eretz Yisrael are described as being “crowned with eternal joy.” The relation between the concepts of simchah and Redemption is alluded to by the fact that the roots of the words simchah and Mashiach share the same three letters shin mem ches.
To explain the connection between the two: Simchah breaks through (poretzes in Hebrew) all barriers. This is also the nature of Mashiach, who is a descendant of Peretz, and is referred to as haporetz, “the one who breaks through,” as it is written, “The one who breaks through will ascend before them.” For Mashiach will break through all barriers and limitations.
On the verse, “Zion – there are none who seek her out,” our Sages comment, “This indicates that one should seek her out,” implying that we must demand the Redemption. Similarly, we must seek out joy, including the ultimate joy, the joy of the Redemption. We must demand that G-d grant us the consummate joy of the Era of the Redemption.
I, therefore, offer the following suggestion and request: that we increase our rejoicing with the intent of actually bringing Mashiach and the true and ultimate Redemption.
Throughout the years of exile, the Jewish people have longed for the Redemption and prayed for it earnestly every day. Surely this applies to the tzaddikim, and the nesi’im of the Jewish people who had an overwhelmingly powerful desire for Mashiach. Indeed, as related in the annals of our national history, some actually sacrificed their lives to force Mashiach to come earlier (although there is a specific warning against doing so).
Nevertheless, these earlier activities cannot be compared to the storm for the coming of the Redemption aroused by the Previous Rebbe with his cry (printed more than forty years ago): L’alter leteshuvah, l’alter legeulah, “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption.” And his intent with the word “immediately” was simple: at once, straight-away.
Moreover, this is not considered as forcing the Redemption to come before its time. For the time of the Redemption has arrived. As the Previous Rebbe stated many times: all the service necessary has been completed; all that is necessary is to polish the buttons, and to await Mashiach’s coming.
To explain in a more specific manner: For several generations prior to the Previous Rebbe, special efforts were made to bring about Mashiach’s coming, including – and with a special emphasis on – the revelation of the teachings of Chassidus by the Baal Shem Tov. For in reply to the Baal Shem Tov’s question, “When are you coming?” Mashiach answered, “When the wellsprings of your teachings spread outward.”
Afterwards, these teachings were expanded and developed through the teachings of Chabad which enabled them to be understood and grasped within the context of our intellectual powers. To cite the analogy offered by the Alter Rebbe: the precious stone in the king’s crown has been crushed and mixed with water so that it can be poured into the mouth of the king’s son to save his life.
From generation to generation, the Rebbeim have continued and expanded the efforts to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus outward. These efforts reached their zenith in the time of the Previous Rebbe who spread these teachings outward in an incomparable manner, reaching out to each and every locale throughout the world, extending the wellsprings of Chassidus to the furthest possible peripheries. Similarly, his efforts included the translation of Chassidic texts (including deeper concepts in Chassidus) into foreign languages. He did not remain content with a translation into Yiddish, the language spoken by most of the Jews of his age (and the language in which the Baal Shem Tov and the Rebbeim which followed him would deliver Chassidic teachings), and spread these teachings into the seventy secular languages as well.
Nevertheless, in these earlier generations (and even in the beginning of the Previous Rebbe’s time) the fundamental emphasis was on spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outward and not (as intensely) on the goal of this process – bringing Mashiach. It was known that the object of these endeavors was to bring Mashiach, and from time to time (e.g., during the farbrengens of Yud Tes [the 19th of] Kislev and the like) this was spoken about, but this purpose was not the focus of attention.
After the Previous Rebbe issued the call, “Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption” and continuing to the present day, by contrast, the emphasis has been placed on actually bringing Mashiach to the extent that every phase of our efforts in our Divine service (including the endeavors to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus) must be permeated with the intent to bring Mashiach. For this is the mission of our generation: to actually bring the Redemption.
Many decades have past since the time of the Previous Rebbe’s announcement, “Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,” and the storm of activities initiated to bring Mashiach. Nevertheless, Mashiach has not yet come.
There is no explanation for this. Our Sages stated, “All the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have already passed.” Although they continued, “and the matter is dependent on teshuvah alone,” surely we have already turned to G-d in teshuvah. Indeed, through a single thought of teshuvah, a person becomes transformed into a perfect tzaddik. And unquestionably, there is not a single Jew who has not had several thoughts of teshuvah.
What is there left to do? Tehillim, the Psalms of David, the [first] anointed king, we have said in abundance. Farbrengens have been held on numerous occasions. In spreading the wellsprings outward – for seven generations since the Baal Shem Tov – endeavors have been made, and they have enjoyed prodigious success. One might say that even greater efforts could be undertaken, so that these activities will be performed – to borrow a phrase from the liturgy – “in accord with the commandments of Your will.” But that is possible only as stated in that same prayer “there,” in the Beis HaMikdash.
G-d only makes demands on an individual according to the potential he possesses. And if indeed, G-d wants us to fulfill this service in a perfect way, let Him create the environment that will enable us to do so by bringing the Redemption. Afterwards, the Divine service of the Jews will surely be “in accord with the commandments of Your will,” in consummate perfection.
And so, it is natural to ask: what can we do to bring Mashiach that has not already been done?
In reply, it is possible to suggest, as above, that the Divine service necessary is the expression of joy for the sake of bringing Mashiach.
Simchah breaks through barriers, including the barriers of exile. Moreover, simchah has a unique potential to bring about the Redemption. As explained in the series of discourses entitled Samach Tisamach, although the phrase “the day of the rejoicing of His heart” is interpreted as a reference to the building of the Beis HaMikdash, during the First and Second Batei HaMikdash, G-d’s happiness was not complete. It is only in the Beis HaMikdash to be built in the Era of the Redemption that there will be perfect happiness. “Then the happiness will reflect the essence of the Ein Sof.”
The maamar continues to explain that this essential joy can be aroused by the simchah experienced in connection with a mitzvah. Indeed, the simchah reaches higher than the mitzvah itself, precipitating the expression of the essential joy of the Era of the Redemption.
In the previous generations, people surely experienced simchah in connection with their observance of mitzvos. For the experience of this simchah is a fundamental element of Divine service as it is written, “Serve G-d with happiness.” Nevertheless, in previous generations, the emphasis was on the service of G-d, and that service was infused with happiness. The suggestion to use simchah as a catalyst to bring Mashiach, by contrast, puts the emphasis on the simchah itself, simchah in its pure and consummate state.
(Needless to say, for a Jew, even this pure expression of happiness must be connected with his Divine service in the Torah and its mitzvos, as it is written, “The precepts of G-d are just, bringing joy to the heart.” Nevertheless, the emphasis is on the simchah itself, not on the factors which bring it about. And this service of simchah should have as its goal – bringing Mashiach.)
One might ask: Why in the previous generations – especially after the Previous Rebbe’s declaration “Immediately to Redemption” – was there not an emphasis on bringing Mashiach through simchah? Everything possible to bring Mashiach was done. To refer to the analogy cited previously, the precious jewel in the king’s crown was pulverized so that it could be poured into the mouth of the king’s son – indeed, the precious stone was spread into seventy languages so that even a gentile could grasp it – and yet, there was no effort to bring Mashiach through simchah.
The resolution to this question is obvious. When the entire Jewish people – and the Shechinah – are found in the darkness of exile, the pain of exile prevents a pure and consummate expression of simchah.
Nevertheless, this should not hold us back from efforts in this direction, for ultimately, we must bring about the Redemption. And therefore the service of pure and consummate simchah is necessary. Moreover, the hardships of the exile should not create an impediment, for since this service is necessary to bring the Redemption, the potential is granted to experience such pure and consummate simchah.
This is within the grasp of every individual. By meditating on the imminence of Mashiach’s coming and the knowledge that at that time, perfect simchah will spread throughout the entire world, it is possible to experience a microcosm of this simchah at present.
Indeed, the lengthy explanation of this concept is not in place, deed is what is most important. Announcements must be made about the importance of increasing simchah with the intent of bringing Mashiach. And if anyone questions the effectiveness of this proposal, let him put it to the test and he will see its effectiveness.
And this simchah will surely lead to the ultimate simchah, the rejoicing of the Redemption, when “then our mouths will be filled with joy.”
1. Isaiah 25:8.
2. As evident from the Rambam’s ruling (at the conclusion of Hilchos Taanios in the Mishneh Torah: “In the future, all these [commemorative] fasts will be negated in the Era of the Mashiach. Moreover, they will then become festivals, and days of rejoicing and joy.”
3. Yeshayahu 35:10, 51:11.
4. The hei of the word simchah alludes to the concept of extension and expansion (as explained in Iggeres HaTeshuvah, ch. 4), while the yud of the word Mashiach refers to the fact that Mashiach reflects the essential point of Chochmah. It can be explained that simchah has the potential to expand and reveal the influence of Mashiach.
5. See the series of discourses entitled Samach Tisamach, 5657.
6. See the conclusion of the Book of Ruth.
7. Michah 2:13.
8. Yirmeyahu 30:17.
9. Rosh HaShanah 31a.
10. E.g., R. Yosef DiLorino and the Seer of Lublin.
11. See Kesuvos 111a and Rashi’s commentary. It can be explained that the charge against trying to force the Redemption to come before its time is necessary because of the great desire the Jewish people have for the Redemption. So powerful is their desire, that it is necessary to warn them not to try to bring the Redemption before its time.
12. In the Kol Korei (announcement) published in HaKeriah VehaKedushah (Sivan-Tammuz, 5701; Elul, 5702).
13. Within the expression itself, the emphasis is on “Immediately to Redemption” as reflected by the fact that “Immediately to Redemption” is mentioned several times in the announcement alone, without the preface “Immediately to teshuvah.” “Immediately to teshuvah” is necessary only as a preface for Redemption, as the Rambam writes (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 7:5): “The Torah has promised that ultimately, at the conclusion of its exile, Israel will turn to G-d in teshuvah and immediately afterwards, [the nation] will be redeemed.”
14. See Sichos Simchas Torah, 5689.
[Publisher’s note: The Rebbe delivered this sichah in 5748 (1988). Subsequently, from the summer of 5751 (1991) onward, he was wont to say, “the buttons are already polished,” i.e., this final stage of Divine service has also been completed.
15. See the renowned letter of the Baal Shem Tov printed at the beginning of Kesser Shem Tov.
16. To refer to the analogy of a wellspring: a spring often flows in droplets, although these drops have great power, as reflected in the law (Hilchos Mikvaos 9:8) that a drop of water from a spring, regardless of its size, is able to restore an object to a state of ritual purity. Nevertheless, through the teachings of Chabad, these wellsprings have been expanded and broadened.
17. HaTamim, Vol. II, p. 49.
18. The connection between the Previous Rebbe and the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus is reflected in the establishment of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah, Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim, during the week of his wedding celebration. At that time, the Rebbe Rashab said, “By starting this yeshivah… I am kindling the lights which the Baal Shem Tov and the subsequent Rebbeim bequeathed to us, to fulfill the promise of spreading the wellsprings outward, to hasten the coming of the Mashiach” (Sefer HaMaamarim 5702, p. 133).
19. Although the translation of Chassidus into secular tongues reflects a descent from the original, the Previous Rebbe encouraged this step to amplify the efforts to spread the teachings of Chassidus outward and thus hasten the coming of Mashiach.
20. In this manner, not only Jews, but also gentiles have the potential to comprehend these spiritual concepts. Indeed, we can actually see this in the present day.
21. Sanhedrin 97b.
22. Kiddushin 49b (according to the text cited by the Or Zerua).
23. Musaf liturgy, Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 195.
24. C.f. Midrash Tanchuma, Naso, sec. 11.
25. Sefer HaMaamarim 5657, pgs. 233, 252.
26. Shir HaShirim 3:11.
27.See the conclusion of the tractate of Taanis.
28. Tehillim 100:2. See the explanation of this verse in the Zohar, Vol. III, p. 56a. See also the conclusion of Hilchos Lulav in the Mishneh Torah.
29. Tehillim 19:9.
30. Ibid. 126:2.