10 July 2016

What Do We Need Do To Bring Redemption?

5 Tamuz 5776

There have been periods in our history when the events of the day brought about doubt and despair with regard to the coming of Mashiach and the arrival of the final and full redemption. At those times we were most vulnerable to making grave errors about what we should be doing. This time is another such period. And there is no end to the number of voices telling us what we should be doing to hasten the redemption and an end to our suffering.  It's a natural human reaction to want to put an end to pain.

We have to be very careful about having our focus misdirected by the Sitra Achra who at every opportunity will cause us to want to do everything but what we should be doing to bring an end to his power and existence.

In short, we need to be doing our job - faithfully - and not be distracted by extraneous demands.

I learned the following from Rabbi Mendel Kessin several years ago and it changed my life. 

He explained how, according to the teachings of the Ramchal, in Gan Eden, the Satan was external to Man and if Man (and Woman) had passed the test of faith in HKB"H and in His word and obeyed their one mitzvah - the Satan thereafter would have been no more. But, instead, when Man sinned, the Satan was internalized as the Yetzer HaRa and now, he had permanent existence. Every time man sins, the Yetzer HaRa is empowered by a transfer of kedushah from the side of good to the side of evil or it might be better expressed by calling it from the side of "loyalty and obedience" to the side of "refusal to accept God's sovereignty and rebellion against His rule". This is how I view "good" and "evil".

So, our job in this world is to collect all the kedushah that has been lost over time and bring it all to the side of "good" at which point when that is accomplished, the Satan and all "evil" will cease to exist. Rabbi Kessin goes into much more detail, but the essential thing to know, I think is that there are three ways by which we can accomplish this, through 1) performance of mitzvot, 2) doing teshuvah, and/or 3) suffering. According to Rabbi Kessin, if I remember correctly, we have re-taken perhaps 98% of the kedushah already. So, be encouraged!

The quicker and more successfully we fulfill this task, the quicker we will reach the full and final redemption. And there are no substitutes! Beware of projects and concepts which people will foist upon you that do nothing more than misdirect your energies away from these essential elements. They may mean well, but they have been deceived by the Yetzer HaRa. Remember...
  • performance of mitzvot
  • doing real teshuvah
  • accepting suffering with love
This is our job in this world and it leads to everything else - the proper functioning of society, the strengthening of our economy, safety and security, appropriate worship of HKB"H, the return of kedushah to the side of "good" so that "evil" will disappear forever.

THIS is what we must be doing to bring about redemption and the arrival, or at this point the revelation, of Mashiach Tzidkeinu.

Keep in mind that there are many laws regarding the proper performance of mitzvot which must be learned and observed in order for them to be effective. Also, teshuvah must be real and complete - meaning the aveirah is not repeated. And we need to understand that our suffering is not a punishment, but another means of accomplishing our ultimate goal. I have found that it helps to say one of the following as a means of creating the necessary kavanah for acceptance of suffering with love rather than rejecting it out of misplaced anger or self-pity. When experiencing pain or loss or any kind of physical, emotional, mental or spiritual suffering, say one of the folowing aloud...
  • Let it be a kapparah (a means of atoning for my sins)
  • Gam Zu l'tova (Even this is for "good")
  • Hakol min Shamayim (Everything comes from Above)
Train yourself to make this your first response and even if you don't mean it at first, slowly over time you will come to accept it as truth and it will be a comfort in your suffering.

When HKB"H finally dispatches Mashiach to deliver us, may he find us all busy doing our jobs to the very best of our abilities. This I believe to be the truth of the matter.