The world we live in is in bad shape. But what you may not know is that it was built this way. This world–the world of the body, of physical dimensions–was created by G-d to conceal the Divine: We see the world as an entity independent of G-d. However, in truth, it is totally dependent on G-d, because it is His creative force that is actively regenerating the world every moment. The Hebrew word “olam” (meaning “world”) also means “concealment,” for that is what the world is–a place where the Divine is concealed and G-d is perceived as a stranger.
However this concealment of G-d was not built to last. Our job in this world is to transform and elevate physical matter, revealing the Divine in this world and making this world His home, a “dwelling place for G-d.” We accomplish this by fulfilling G-d’s will. For example, by putting on tefillin we elevate ourselves, the cow (leather and parchment from which the tefillin were made), the grass the cow ate, and the water it drank. When we eat and drink and use that acquired strength and energy for Torah study, we elevate the food and drink, our brain, and our body. When a critical mass of matter has been elevated, the world will be ready for the messianic era. To paraphrase Maimonides: The moshiach (the leader of the Jewish people at the time) will rebuild the Holy Temple, gather all the Jews to Israel, and usher in an era without hunger, jealousy, war, or illness. Then humankind’s sole occupation will be to know G-d, in other words, to perceive His creative force within each thing.