14 December 2008
Over 50 years ago, when the Rebbe became the 7th Rebbe, he began to emphasize that our generation is ”the last generation of exile and the first generation of the Redemption”. The purpose of our generation is to prepare the world for Moshiach. That is why the Rebbe sent his emissaries to the farthest reaching corners of the world. We find a parallel with Moshe Rabbeinu who was the 7th generation, after Avrohom. Avrohom was the first person in the world to recognize G-d and to spread G-dliness. After Avrohomm, his son Yitzchok continued that mission. Every leader in the following generations followed suit, in their own unique way, until the 7th leader, Moshe, finally took the Jews out of Egypt, culminating in the giving of the Torah. We too are the 7th generation. The Lubavitcher Rebbe's mission is similar to that of Moshe's. The Midrash Rabbah tells us (on Shir Hashirim 5:1) that when the world was first created the Ikar Shechinah (essence of the Divine Presence) was down here in this world. However, because of seven sins (starting with the sin of the Tree of Knowledge) the Shechinah ascended the seven heavens only to be brought back down by seven righteous people. The 7th one, Moshe, was the one who actually brought the Shechinah down to this world on Mt. Sinai, and eventually to the Tabernacle.
The Rebbe's empahsis is that our generation is the seventh generation (starting from the first Chabad Rebbe) of the revelation of Chabad Chassidus. It is our generation who will, once again, bring the Shechinah down - in the Holy Temple with the ultimate Redemption. Ergo, there's no generation 8!
Very recently, in fact within days of each other, two prominent chassidim passed away. Both were in their 90's. One is Rabbi Tzvi Yosef Kotlarsky, who fled the Nazi invasion of Poland via Lithuania and Japan and went on to serve as chief administrator of the United Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn. He was 91. The other is Rabbi Mendel Feldman, 93. Reb Mendel was the Rov of the Kehila of Tzemach Tzedek in Baltimore and a Shliach of the Frierdiker Rebbe for over 60 years.
They both were the Rebbe's conteporaries, albeit 13-15 younger or closer to the younger boundary of what can be assumed as a generation ( 25-30 years).
There aren't very many remaining "dor hashviiniks" left (may they all live to 120) so the time may be at hand.
Add to that everything else that's been happening all around us and the thought that comes to mind is that we must be close indeed.
May we merit the ultimate Redemption immediately and be rachamim rabim. Amen