We are experiencing a revolution
of knowledge and technology. All this is a prelude to the
final redemption, when there will be neither famine nor war,
neither envy nor strife, because goodness will flow in
abundance and all delightful things will be as available as
dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to
know G-d -- The Rebbe
When the Rebbe first assumed leadership of the Lubavitch movement, in 1951,
he declared that the long process of human history was finally
coming to fruition. This generation is the final generation
of exile, he declared, and the first generation
of redemption -- personal redemption and universal redemption,
leading to the perfection of society and a world filled
with the awareness of G-d. Everything now depends on us.
Throughout his leadership, this would remain the Rebbes essential theme:
the role of the current generation in making G-d a reality
in our lives, in making this world a welcome place for Him
Where are we headed?
Can we expect that our future will be better than our past?
Will this world ever become a better place?
Imagine that you have lived your entire life in a dark
tunnel. Your parents and grandparents lived here too, and
so did their parents and grandparents. You have been
told that long ago, your ancestors lived in a very different,
well-lighted place, but can you really believe some old
tale about the possibility of life on the outside?
But no matter how accustomed you have become to the darkness,
you still feel restless and insecure. You realize that,
although the darkness may be a part of life, it is
not life itself.
As we stumble through life, we have all wondered if we
will ever find peace within ourselves and lead a truly meaningful
life. After all, even though human nature craves a higher
purpose, what is the point of working so hard to live a
virtuous life if it is not leading anywhere?
The answer to all these questions is just one word: redemption.
Redemption is the light at the end of the tunnel. Redemption
is the belief that this world was created by design, and
its purpose will indeed be realized -- that goodness will
prevail and that our lives can be meaningful. Without
redemption, our lives would indeed be meaningless -- a never-ending
tunnel of darkness, with little awareness of an alternative
existence and no hope of ever reaching the light.
How do we get out of the tunnel?
G-d created within each of us a divine spark which, when
cultivated, allows us to illuminate the darkness and move
on. How does one cultivate this spark? By recognizing the
strength within your soul. By rising above your ego and
acknowledging an absolute force that is far greater than
yourself. And above all, by realizing that, amidst the darkness
there is indeed a light to be found, which will instill
every act of virtue with infinite meaning. To be redeemed
means to be freed from an overbearing employer or a tyrannical
regime; to be freed from a dangerous habit or an abusive
situation; to be freed from the fear within ourselves and
the confusion that clouds our vision.
Where do we stand now?
The sweeping technological changes that have taken place
during the past several generations are in keeping with
the prediction some two thousand years ago in the Zohar,
a classical text of mysticism, stating that in the year
1840, there would be an outburst of lower wisdom,
or advancements in the physical universe, and an increase
in sublime wisdom, or spirituality, would begin
to usher true unity into the world, leading toward the final
So the current technological revolution is in fact the
hand of G-d at work; it is meant to help us make G-d a reality
in our lives. And as time goes on, science will show itself
more and more to parallel the truths of G-d, thereby revealing
the intrinsic unity in the entire universe.
The divine purpose of the present information revolution,
for instance, which gives an individual unprecedented power
and opportunity, is to allow us to share knowledge -- spiritual
knowledge with each other, empowering and unifying individuals
And the final step is what?
After the thousands of years of living in the tunnel and
traveling through its darkness, we now stand on the threshold
of the era of redemption. This means, in part, that people
will perceive G-d in all their experiences. We will all
see our material pursuits through the filter of sanctity
-- not as an end in themselves, but as means to a higher
end. Revolutionary changes are taking place on all fronts
-- on a personal level and on a global scale, in technology,
in politics, and in the human spirit.
We are now approaching the end of the tunnel, and we are
beginning to feel and see the warm, bright light. Now, then,
is not the time to be skeptical or selfish. Even the smallest
things -- a kind word, a dollar to charity, a few minutes
of prayer -- are immeasurably significant. We must do anything
we can to throw even one ray of light into the darkness.
Our journey is about to end; we are set to reach our destination,
our rendezvous with G-d. The next move is yours.
Add in acts of goodness and kindness.
Because the challenge is so large, you must start small.
Take an inspiring class or go to a lecture.
Learn about G-d and the purpose of creation.
Remember, the first step in escaping the darkness is acknowledging
that it is darkness. Familiarize yourself with these
ideas at your own pace, and you will begin to see a larger
picture taking shape in your mind. Pause for a moment
to reflect on the true priorities in your life.
Make your home a loving environment; make your office a
place where generosity and compassion replace selfishness
and aggression. And above all, share these ideas with your
family and friends.
If one person can resolve to make these changes, then ten
can. And if ten can, so can one hundred, and on and on.
After all, we are intrinsically good; we naturally want
to lead better, more productive, more meaningful lives.
Commit yourself today and exhort others to do the same.
This is an excerpt from Toward
a Meaningful Life The Wisdom of the Rebbe by
Rabbi Simon Jacobson. Available from our online