Think Judaism is about tradition? It’s not!
Because the tradition itself is about something much bigger. About Abraham smashing the idols in his father’s house. Moses liberating a people from slavery. Isaiah lecturing a war-hungry civilization on world peace. It’s about changing the world and making it the way it’s supposed to be.
Every book of Torah is filled with that idea. Every mitzvah we do is part of creating that world. Every moment of our history, that hope beats in our hearts. Today we discover that humanity has bought into our dream. That the pieces are neatly falling in place. That rays of a new dawn have already begun to shine. Upon arriving on American shores, the previous Rebbe was warned: “America is different! Here one has little time for spiritual concerns…” His first effort, therefore, was to eliminate this notion – for G-d is One, and His Oneness extends throughout the entire earth.
The Rebbe ignored his own physical wellbeing, and even put his own spiritual wellbeing aside, all to help a fellow Jew transform from “different” to ”son.” The Previous Rebbe’s lifelong tireless efforts for Jewish youth are well-known. First in Eastern Europe, then in America, he succeeded in drawing the hearts of the younger generation back to their age-old Jewish heritage. The Baal Shem Tov teaches: The verse says, “You shall be for Me a desirable land.” In G-d’s eyes, every individual Jew is a “desirable land,” for inside him or her lie precious stones and gems, wellsprings of living waters.
Our forefather Isaac dug wells. Digging a well doesn’t “create” water; the water was always there, but if you don’t make the effort to dig, it will remain hidden. Comes Isaac, and he is not intimidated that it is the “land of the Philistines.” He digs one time… A second time… A third time… until he successfully reveals a gushing spring. So too, the Rebbe dug to reveal the living waters deep within every individual. One must only endure and spare no effort – to the point of actual self-sacrifice – to dig up the wellsprings within every Jew, until the living waters come gushing forth.
From the dawn of time, G‑d envisioned for Himself a “dwelling place” right here on Planet Earth. And He put us here to fashion this home. To transform darkness into light. And soon the day will come when G‑d’s glory will be revealed in this nether-realm, and we will enjoy the fruits of our millennia-long work, the end-product of our labor of love. The curtain will be ripped aside, and all flesh will perceive G‑d. It will be the culmination of the master plan.
The belief in Moshiach has sustained our nation throughout a 2,000 year exile fraught with pogroms, expulsions and persecution—our ancestors’ firm belief in a better time to come, and their trust that they would be resurrected to witness that day. And today, finally, we stand at the threshold of redemption. One more good deed by one more person may be all that’s needed to seal the deal.