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The Messianic Spark on Pesach

On the Seder night, we will gather together, family by family, groups, and friends, and relate the story of the Exodus from Egypt. This is the foundational Jewish story, which we bequeath to generation after generation – to all the four sons sitting around the table. Pesach is the birthday of the Nation of Israel, the day that God took us out – all at once – with leaps and bounds, from the house of bondage to eternal liberty, from exile to redemption. With faith and trust in God, the Redeemer of Israel, a nation suddenly rose to its feet and set out on its journey. This is the beginning of the grand trek to the desert, to Mount Sinai, to the Promised Land and to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The journey is not over and we continue to tread the path until this very day. But we always return to the starting point: “In every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as if he came out of Egypt.” Every year, we renew the fountains of faith and emerge from all the meitzarim (narrow places, same word as Mitzrayim, Egypt).

On the Seventh Day of Pesach, we pass through the channels of the Red Sea, within the sea but on dry land, like a baby who has emerged from the amniotic fluid of his mother’s womb. Egypt is behind us and we emerge to the vast expanses, breathing the air of redemption. “Then Moses and the Children of Israel sang” – the mouth opens in great song “a new song did the redeemed praise” and we can already sense the wondrous future that awaits us and the entire world: “The Temple of God have Your hands established, God will reign forever.” This is the transition from the redemption from Egypt to the redemption of the future – from Moses, the first redeemer, to Mashiach ben David, the final redeemer (“The first redeemer is the final redeemer”).

The anticipation for Mashiach is highlighted in the haftarah of the final day of Pesach, which pertains (more than any haftarah read throughout the year) to the messianic vision in the prophecy of Isaiah (chapter 11): “And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots. And the spirit of God shall rest upon him…and the wolf shall dwell with the sheep…for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.” (It is worthwhile for those of us who have the merit to live in the Land of Israel to read these verses – as is customary to say “The Ten Songs” on the seventh night of Pesach). The anticipation strengthens and intensifies at the Feast of Mashiach which is held toward the end of the festival, as initiated by the Ba’al Shem Tov. (This feast is not obligatory according to Jewish law, but it is replete with Messianic energy that should not be missed).

“I believe in the coming of the Mashiach.” We have a great past and a glorious future. Our lives are stretched between the Exodus from Egypt and the days of Mashiach. What are the days of Mashiach? Who is the Mashiach? This is a topic that requires in-depth study (as the Lubavitcher Rebbe demanded in our generation). We have to know what to expect and to fan the flames of anticipation, to motivate ourselves to take action that will bring the Mashiach closer. The King Mashiach himself is a human being, one of a kind. But each and every one of us has a spark of Mashiach (as the Ba’al Shem Tov taught). This is a revolutionary messianic spark that aspires to redemption and the perfection of the world. Its motto is “You and I will change the world.”

In the rectification of the state: Faith in the coming of Mashiach influences our actions to rectify the state of Israel here and now. When we imagine a rectified Jewish state that works in the name of the Jewish People and for it, according to the Torah, we must remember that the ultimate goal is Mashiach. With that in mind, we don’t work in a vacuum and with uncertainty. Instead, we are imbued with faith and confidence. Mashiach will complete the rectification of the state in the transition from the era of chaos in which “each person does what is fit in his eyes” to the golden age in which “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.”

Currently, it seems that the Jewish People are being pulled apart at the seams. But all of us, no matter what our beliefs and opinions, have forgotten the main point! Is democracy all that we have to offer? Is any political goal our great message to the world? It is only the great vision that calls for the rectification of man and of the world, which begins with the return to our Jewish faith and roots and aims for the days of Mashiach that will ignite the messianic spark in the heart and light the fire in the eyes. This is the vision that belongs to everyone. With God’s help, we can all gather around it and march toward the true, complete redemption, may it be speedily in our days.

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