3 Levels of Redemption
Redemption from what?
The Ultimate Redemption that Moshiach will bring is obviously from a state of Exile.
What exactly is this "Exile"?
There are 3 Levels:
Even if all-sweet physically, there could be...
Even if all-sweet physically and mentally, there is...
The above 3 levels of Redemption correspond to 3 periods in History:
(of Exile, post Temple destruction)
Everything at Stake
In Physical Exile
The unfortunate consequence of Physical Exile is physical suffering and ultimately physical death (G-d forbid).
The soul then returns to its Maker and resides in the Next World.
The body decomposes but will be resurrected in Future Times.
In Mental Exile
Mental Exile on the other hand leads to spiritual suffering (the suffering of the soul) and can end up in spiritual death (G-d forbid).
- Spiritual death can well mean loss of both worlds (This World and the Next World).
Redemption?? – What For?!
During Physical Exile, Redemption was an obvious want (albeit Physical Redemption).
Easy to sell Redemption to the persecuted.
But when things are physically sweet, what further need is there for "Redemption"?
That's why Mental Exile is so bad. There is no realization that one is in fact very far from what the Redemption is really all about.
- Hence a conscious want for Redemption is missing.
The Redemption Era will have great
And that has definitely started.
However the Ultimate Redemption is primarily about
the Spiritual Heights
that will be attained then.
Hence Mental Redemption
is another essential step toward the Ultimate (Global) Redemption,
as it means Jewish (spiritual) Values are set at the top of the list.
Every soul is rooted in the Divine Presence.
With the collective Mental Exile prevalent in Modern Times –
the Divine Presence is at all-time low.
Its dire state (so-to-speak) impacts the soul, to feel and share the pain.
But the exile here (on a personal level) is
over the whole thing (even if one is "fine" physically and spiritually).
Redemption on this level starts with the
of how alarming Mental Exile is for the Divine Presence.
And the yearning for redemption here stems from the
(so-to-speak) over the intensifying spiritual low.
NOTES & REFERENCES
"Subjugation to the Nations" (שעבוד מלכויות): Whether or not the Jewish People are under the control of other nations is the essential difference between Exile and Redemption: Talmud Shabbat 63a. Rambam Laws of Kings 12:1. Note this can be even while at home, if home is controlled by others.
Exile = subjugation of the שכינה to the forces that conceal it: These forces are the origin of the Nations (Tanya p.278) – hence the Nations have the upper hand physically during Exile (Tanya p.20).
Exile of the שכינה much worse after the destruction of the Temple: "When they were exiled to Edom, the שכינה came along with them" (Midrash Sifri on Numbers 35:34. Also see Talmud Megila 29a). This is then the connecting factor between all three levels of Exile: While being in the lowest places/levels (Edom – Level 1) but not behaving like the people there (Level 2), this undermines the spiritual forces and allowing the שכינה to come out of its Exile.
Jewish People are compared to olives (which produce fine oil when crushed): Midrash Bereshit Rabba 36:1.
The Jewish World influencing the Gentile World: The Jewish People are commanded to influence the Gentiles to observe the Seven Noachide Laws (Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:13). Throughout history there has been limited interaction between the two worlds. During Exile, there's been more (forced) interaction (but note Ghettos). However, the general hostility of the Gentiles made even more dangerous to start talking to them about these laws. The Modern Era is really the first proper opportunity to have a global go at this. But then there's a new challenge... (Mental Exile – see inside).
Spiritual death (sin) leads to loss of both worlds: See Midrash (Sifri) on Deuteronomy 23:9 (brought by Rashi on the verse).
The Ultimate Redemption will have great physical betterment: Rambam Laws of Kings 12:8 et al.
The Ultimate Redemption is about the spiritual heights that will be attained then: Rambam Laws of Repentance 9:2.
The G-dly soul is rooted in the Divine Presence: See Tanya Ch. 2 and 41 et al. This is the reason that wherever the Jewish People have been exiled to, the Divine Presence has accompanied them – Talmud Megila 29a.
Yearning for Redemption because of Divine suffering (so-to-speak): In the Daily Prayers (instituted by the "Men of the Great Assembly"), we ask many times to bring salvation for His sake and the sake of His Name. In fact, Prayer is itself the conduit of extracting the person from his apathetic exile to the empathic state of personal redemption (on this third and last level), thereby causing the Divine Presence itself to also be redeemed. See Tanya 41.