With Light and With Might
Two Chassidic Discourses by
Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn of Lubavitch
An important (but long) excerpt...and it will relate to my next post.
Our Sages teach: "If you see one generation after another scoffing [at G-d and His Torah], be on the watch for the approaching footsteps of Mashiach. For in the above-quoted verse it is written, 'Your enemies, O G-d, have abused...the footsteps of Your Mashiach.' And what is written immediately after that? -- 'Blessed be G-d forever, Amen and Amen.' " I.e., when one generation of scoffers follows another, we can expect the ultimate Divine blessing, the coming of Mashiach.
The first generation of scoffers are the members of the "Society for the Dissemination of Enlightenment," the founders and teachers of the above-described schools. They will educate the second generation of scoffers, who will bring on the "birthpangs of Mashiach" which the world at large and the Jewish people must undergo. This is what necessitates "the battle of the House of David," whose task is to strengthen our people's faith in the Messianic Redemption and to ease its birthpangs.
There are two levels of evil found in the time of "the footsteps of Mashiach." One category comprises "the enemies of G-d," the veteran apikorsim and maskilim, the above-described teachers and their disciples, who do not believe in G-d or in the Torah, and whose prime intent is to ridicule the mitzvos and in particular the faith in the coming of Mashiach. The second category comprises those who believe in G-d and in the Torah, but do not appreciate the holiness of the Torah.
[This category includes] those who believe that they can bring on the Redemption through their own efforts -- such as the new group that distorts the meaning of the verse, "G-d will build Jerusalem and gather in the dispersed of Israel," saying that "when the dispersed of Israel will gather, they will rebuild Jerusalem." May G-d protect us from them and theirs, and ensure that they do not bring about a new spiritual and material destruction.
The other category -- of those who "have abused ... the footsteps of Your Mashiach" -- comprises all kinds of people; in fact, it even includes quite reputable Torah scholars, whose faith in the imminent Redemption is nevertheless weak. They may well rationalize their beliefs with explanations ostensibly based on the fear of heaven. The final word, however, is that their faith in Mashiach's coming is weak.
The guiding strategy for "the battle of the House of David" is the principle, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit." The use of "might" and "power" signifies the rebuking approach of mussar; "My spirit" signifies pnimiyus HaTorah -- the inner, mystical dimension of the Torah embodied in Chassidus, i.e., the comprehension of G-dliness and the service of the heart.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא