Two parshas are read this Shabbos: Ki Seitze (“when you go out to war on your enemy”) in the morning, and in the afternoon the first section of “Ki Savo” (“when you will enter the land to inherit it and to settle it…”). Thus, on one single Shabbos, we have two seemingly opposite lessons from the Torah: going to war against an enemy (the avodah of golus), and settling the land (the reward of the Messianic Era).
Since everything is guided by Divine Providence, we have to learn from this combination: that we can be a situation of doing the avodah of making a war on the enemy in the time of golus and yet at the same time be in a completely “settled” state, which is the reward for this avodah.
How can we accomplish this?
Through the knowledge that in essence a Jew is completely above the existence of any opposition — Hashem “consulted” with the souls of the Jewish people before creating the world, showing that we are in fact one with Hashem and above the world. If so, then why would we agree to the creation of a world that contains “enemies” whom we will have to overcome in war? Because Hashem did not want to give us “bread of shame” (unearned reward), and therefore He created a world for us to earn the reward. And our neshomos agreed. In order to realize Hashem’s desire for a dwelling place in the lower realms, there must be lower realms where there is the possibility of war. But the truth of the matter is: a Jew in his source, and even as he is enclothed in a physical body in this world — remains higher than the concept of any opposition.
When a Jew is aware that this is the true reality, then even his “going out to war against the enemy” is infused with the aspect of “settling the land”. “Settling the land” implies Eretz Yisroel, a land which “desired (רצתה) to do perform the will of her Creator” — where there is no longer a “war” to fulfill Torah and Mitzvos, but rather one overcomes his evil inclination with ease.
The Rebbe adds that:
“the main thing –that the avodah is amidst ease and comfort in the simple sense, ease of the soul and ease of the body, which is achieved through the Holy One, blessed be He, giving to every single Jew all that he needs materially and spiritually, and with abundance.”
This includes all that a Jew needs in order to do the avodah itself, and after that as a reward for the avodah that he performs. And this material (and spiritual) reward is a sampling of the physical reward that will be in the Messianic Era. Not only that, but the Rebbe makes a revolutionary statement, that the verse “then their mouths will be filled with laughter” (explained by Chazal and Chassidic discourses as referring to the Time to Come) is applicable now! “Then” is “now” in the present tense. The rewards of the Time to Come, the Messianic Age, are available to us now. Although they are “locked in a box”, every Jew can open the box whenever he wants. How? By performing one more mitzvah. As the saying goes “the future is now” — but by the Rebbe this is not merely a slogan, it is the reality!
All this receives greater emphasis since the year the sicha was said was 5751 (תנש”א), the letters of which spell out the command “you will be exalted”, referring to Moshiach:
…both as regards the revelation and coming of Moshiach [the distinction between these to concepts will be explained separately, G-d willing] and as regards the wedding of Knesses Yisroel and the Holy One, blessed be He in the Messianic Era, and in the words of the [midrash] Yalkut Shimoni: ‘the year Melech HaMoshiach is revealed in him…he stands on the roof of the Beis Hamikdash …and says humble ones, the time of your redemption has arrived’.
The Rebbe adds in the footnote the continuation of this Midrash:
And if you don’t believe, see via my light…at the same time the Holy One, blessed be He, shines the light of Melech Hamoshiach and of Yisroel and they all go to the light of Melech Hamoshiach and of Yisroel, and they [the nations of the world] come and lick the dust from beneath the feet of Melech Hamoshiach…
We will make a divergence from the main body of the sicha in order to understand this. It is important to note what the Midrash is telling us: that there will come a time following the initial revelation of Moshiach (“Moshiach is revealed in him” means the revelation of the soul of Moshiach in the one who has been anointed by Hashem to be Moshiach, explained in our post on Parshas Naso) when nonetheless the Jewish people will not be prepared to believe him when he says that indeed the time of their redemption has arrived. How do they get out of their own lack of confidence in themselves and in the words of Moshiach? The Midrash says “see via my light” (ראו באורי שזרח עליכם), that through Moshiach’s light, meaning wisdom — the Torah that Moshiach teaches — they will be able to see the reality that Moshiach is describing to them.
Through our effort to learn and understand the Torah that Moshiach is revealing to us, we will merit to see the reality that he is describing to us: the reality that “the time of your redemption has arrived”!