In his famous dissertation of 28 Nissan, 5751, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, explained that the way to bring Mashiach is by harnessing the great lights of the world of chaos, and channeling them into the perfected vessels of the world of rectification. On a practical level this means that when we invest our energies into bringing the Mashiach, our plan of action must stem from new and creative thinking, from a place outside the framework of conventional wisdom. Our actions, as well, must follow this pattern. The Rebbe urged us to probe the yet "uncharted" areas of our minds, of the Land of Israel and of the world, and to channel the immense energies in those places into compelling, rectified action to bring the Mashiach.
The pinnacle of Mashiach's work is when he will unite all of humanity to serve God "with one shoulder." When working toward the final redemption, we must also turn our energies into lovingly bringing all the nations of the world to rectified service of God.
Is Mashiach White?
The prophets and sages describe Mashiach as a leper. (To learn more about Mashiach as a leper, listen to Harav Ginsburgh's audio lecture: The Messianic Power to Cure) When discussing leprosy, (tzara'at), the Torah says (Leviticus 13:2): "When a person has on his flesh…." The word used for "person" is adam. The Arizal explains that adam is the most lofty synonym for "person," and refers to an all-inclusive soul. Even Moses is generally referred to in the Torah as ish ("man"), which has a more individual connotation. If Moses himself is considered ish, the Arizal concludes, then the only possible candidate for the higher title "adam" is the Mashiach, the quintessential all-inclusive soul. But why is the Mashiach a leper?
Tzara'at ("leprosy") is a disease of the skin in which the affected area of the skin turns pure white. The numerical value of the Hebrew word Mashiach is 358, equal to the value of or lavan, "white skin." Just as the color white includes all the colors of the spectrum, the Mashiach with his white, leprous skin includes all the skin colors of the world.
There are four basic colors of skin; white, red, yellow and black. These skin colors correspond in turn to the four letters of God's Name, Havayah and to their corresponding powers of the soul.
letter of Havayah
power of soul
loving-kindness thru foundation (chesed – yesod)
People of each skin color have their own corresponding characteristics and talents, in which they excel in their service of God.
- White Skin: Service of God with the Faculty of wisdom
Chochmah, "wisdom," is the male-principle, called "Father" in the intellect. Corresponding to the world of Emanation, chochmah is the innovative and essentially unpredictable force that produces spontaneous insights. The inner essence of chochmah is bitul, "self-nullification." The essence of bitul is negating one's "self" in total nullification to God. When one's mind is not preoccupied with ego, it is clear and open to become a conduit of Divine wisdom.Thus, the special talent of people with white skin is to serve God by nullifying their ego and connecting to the Divine. As such, they are particularly predisposed toward new and innovative Torah insights, which can be nurtured to maturity through the companion power of chochmah — binah.
- Red Skin: Service of God with the Faculty of understanding
Binah, "understanding," is the female-principle, called Imma, "Mother" in the intellect. Corresponding to the world of Creation, binah is the cognitive force that absorbs the nuclear "seed" of chochmah and articulates it into fine detail. Once having attained the mature understanding of binah, the soul swells with delight at its achievement. Thus, the inner essence of binah is simcha, "joy." It is the essential response of the soul to accomplishment.
The special talent of people with red skin is to serve God with joy; particularly joy that stems from having nurtured the insights of chochmah into full and mature understanding.
- Yellow Skin: Service of God with the attributes of the heart
The emotional attributes are called Ze'er Anpin, "Son," and correspond to the world of Formation. The full complement of character attributes, lovingkindness, might, beauty, victory, splendor, and foundation, consists of both the emotions of the heart and one's subsequent behavior. The inner powers of these attributes are love, awe, beauty, confidence, sincerity and truthThe special talent of people with yellow skin is to serve God with the full array of their emotions and actions in a perfected and rectified manner.
- Black Skin: Service of God with the Faculty of kingdom
Malchut, "kingdom," is called Nukva, "Daughter." Corresponding to the world of Action, malchut is the ground into which the full creative force of "foundation" is implanted, transforming it to fuel for the perfection of reality. The inner essence of malchut is shiflut, "lowliness." This quality guarantees that one's actions in life are motivated by the highest standards of justice and righteousness, unconcerned with personal gain or advantage.The special talent of people with black skin is their exceptional sense of holy service of God, with no thought of personal benefit.
All in the Family
The purpose of the Mashiach is to unite the Jewish People as one loving family whose every action is inspired by the Torah. The Jewish People will then have the tools with which to unite the entire world to serve God as one family.
One of the main strains of leprosy is called sapachat, which means "annexation." Mashiach will first annex to the Jewish family all Jewish souls, no matter how far they have strayed from their source. The apex of his labor will be when all the peoples of the world — each with their unique talents and qualities — are annexed to the family of servants of the One God of Israel.
talent in serving God
To nullify ego and connect to Divine
To serve God with joy
attributes of heart
To serve God with full array of rectified emotions and actions
Holy service of God with no thought of personal gain
(Based on a lecture given by Harav Ginsburgh in Jericho on the 28th of Nissan, 5764)