The past hundred years, even more so the past fifty, and most of all the past ten, have created a burning need for people who can provide points of convergence.
We live on shifting sands where all the signposts point in a disparate array. We are surrounded by so much stuff — ideas, trends, inventions, auto-proliferating information. We need people who can make sense of all this by uncovering a common wholeness about it, by finding the point where they all converge.
The Rebbe is the most stunning point of convergence the twentieth century provided. A person in whom past, present and future all collide with elegance.
A quick, clear example: In 1972, members of the Association of Jewish Scientists were still groping for apologetics that would resolve their perceived conflict between science and Torah. The Rebbe wrote to them: What need is there for apologetics when Werner Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty has been universally accepted?!
Where others saw conflict, the Rebbe saw harmony. Science and Theology are no longer fighting with one another, they are converging. As the Rebbe explained in that and so many other letters, the Celeste Mechanica is obsolete. The world is no longer an autonomous machine, but an idea that leaves room for miracles, for mystery, for a Divine Mind that is conceiving this idea.
On a more practical level: Others saw the society of the present in clash with the past. The old world was gone, Judaism, and especially Chassidism, just didn’t make sense in the context of a new world. The Rebbe looked at the generation of non-conformists that sprung up two decades after the war and said: The present is seeking its past. These are the souls of Israel, seeking the spirituality their grandparents abandoned.
The same occurred with the explosion of technology. For many people, new gadgets mean that old ideas are obsolete. The Rebbe saw the new technology as ancient wisdoms limousine that has finally arrived. Finally, we have fitting analogies from the tangible world for deep ideas. Finally we have communications technology that can be the vehicle for the words of the prophet, that the earth will be filled with wisdom as waters cover the ocean floor.
The Rebbe saw that humankind is not being driven to make these achievements on our initiative alone, but by a higher destiny. Just as the world was cleansed and renewed by a great flood in the times of Noah, the Rebbe said, so our world is now preparing for a new era. There is a downpour of wisdom from above and a flood from below. All with purpose, all part of a Great Plan.
When the world was made the sages say, the Moshiach was the wind hovering over all that would be.
Ever since, the Moshiach dwells within each thing we behold, like the embryo waiting to break out of its egg. In the rhythm of a dandelion shivering in the breeze, in the eyes of the children we raise, in the goals we make in life, in the machines we use and the art we create, in the air we breathe and the blood rushing through our veins.
Today, those who know to listen can hear his voice beckoning: Do no let go of me after all these ages! For the fruit of your labor and the labor of your holy mothers and fathers is about to ripen.
The listening alone, the Rebbe told us, is enough to crack the shell of the egg.