We’re told that the generation which will usher in the final redemption will experience a wave of teshuva, a return to Hashem unlike anything experienced in previous generations. Similarly the Rambam writes, “Hivticha torah shebisof golusan Yisroel osin Teshuvah umiyad hein nigalin – The Torah guarantees that at the end of their exile the Yidden will do teshuva, and they will be immediately redeemed.” The grand finale will be preceded by a return of the Jewish people to their Father in Heaven.
Today it’s the norm to meet people who did not know what a siddur or a Shabbos table looks like until later on in life, and yet they left their comfort zones and little by little became complete shomrei torah umitzvos. Each has their own story, and at times encountered great hardship.
Teshuva obviously also exists for those brought up keeping Shabbos and eating kosher. Indeed, in a certain sense, it’s harder to return to the creator and keep Torah & mitzvos lishmah – for the sake of heaven – when one was brought up doing so than if introduced to it later on. When there are warm memories of singing “Sholom Aleichem” Friday night or swaying over a Chumash in elementary school, there’s a real challenge in finding G-d in it all vs treating a Torah way of life as merely a beautiful societal and cultural tradition.
Here too though we are witnessing a return to Hashem and His commandments. One can easily find friends, relatives, and even ourselves becoming more meticulous about a certain mitzvah, spending more time and effort in performing it right. People who were “cool” and “with it” are suddenly becoming serious about the way they keep the halachos of the Shulchan Aruch.
Certainly as we return to our Creator, He is “returning to us”, “remembering” our challenges, pain, and the distance between us. Although Hashem must find a lot of nachas in the Yidden’s avodah in these final days of golus, surely Hashem will be mivater on this enjoyment and show us the light of olam haba so that we too can appreciate our accomplishments.
This Tuesday, Yud Aleph Nissan, was the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s birthday (1902). The Rebbe, a private person in the extreme, exhibited mesiras nefesh by entering the public leadership position of Rebbe so that he could lead the Jews of our generation in returning to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and ultimately to our true inner selves. He taught us that every Jew, by performing even one mitzvah is returning to Hashem. And every Jew, even if his days are filled with mitzvos, should return to Hashem. For our inner soul is one with Him.
The Rebbe’s lifelong dream was for the world to experience the G-dly redemption of the Jewish people. Let us continue doing everything we can to make it a reality, ending this dark and confusing exile – this time for good.
May us, our families and communities experience a truly chag kasher v’sameach,