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.