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 Rebbe’s 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 to dwell.
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 redemption.
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 everywhere.
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.