At bottom, each nation is a product of its dreams and realizations. And while we Jews have certainly come upon a world of realizations in the course of our 2,000 year long exile, we’ve forgotten some of our dreams.
Perhaps the greatest of them, though, is the dream of the coming of the Moshiach (“Messiah”) at long last and our being redeemed. But how will that happen, and what will be going on in the Celestial background to bring it about? Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto discussed all that in an early work entitled Ma’amar HaGeulah (“A Discourse on The Redemption”). It’s a rather short and fairly unknown work that was composed sometime before 1730, and only came to light in 1889 through the research of Rabbi Shmuel Luria. What is manages to do, though, is explain the cosmic backdrop behind the exile we’re in now, the first low stirrings of the Messianic Era, the eventual redemption itself, and much more. It will serve as the source of this series.
We’ll start off the series itself with a quick preliminary overview of classical Jewish ideas of exile and redemption, we’ll then offer the “end of the story” as Ramchal depicts it at the very beginning and thus come to see what we’re all to look forward to, then we’ll go back to the beginning to enjoy a full step by step laying-out of the process.
We’ll only present short samples of the original text itself in translation, and we’ll omit a lot of the work’s out-and-out Kabbalah, simply because it would demand that we step aside from the subject at hand — the redemption — in order to explain terms and concepts tangential to it. But we *will* explain some of the more basic Kabbalistic ideas that lay at the core of Ramchal’s vision of the redemption simply because they’re essential to the story.
As Ramchal points out, the Great Redemption (The “Geulah”) will start to unfurl at a slow, steady pace — and in the Heavens above rather than down here on earth, in fact. For the great Supernal Luminaries will begin the awesome process of adjustment and repair first off. And as we’ll learn, the end will be the perfection of the Jewish Nation along with the rectification of the entire world. But a lot will happen in between, so let’s start to discover it by first offering a short bird’s eye view of “A Discourse on The Redemption”, which we’ll send off next time.