"And He Will Redeem us":
The Rebbe Responds
Rabbi Y. OliverOn 10 Shevat, 5711, at the conclusion of the Rebbe’s very first ma’amar (see here) he declared, “May we merit to see and be together with the [Previous] Rebbe, down here in a physical body and within our immediate reach, and he will redeem us.”
Several days later, on 13 Shevat, the first Shabbos after that ma’amar was delivered, the Rebbe publicly responded to a question that had been asked concerning his statement. It should be noted that this response was edited by the Rebbe:
I was asked concerning my statement that soon the prophecy that “those who lie in the dust will awaken and sing” [Yeshayahu 26:19] will be fulfilled, and he—the [Previous] Rebbe, my father-in-law—will be among them, and he, the [Previous] Rebbe, will take us out of exile. [I was asked:] Isn’t the order of events—as is also referenced in the teachings of Chassidus—that first Moshiach will arrive, then the Messianic Age will commence, and only after a period of time will the dead be resurrected?In my own words:
The answer to this is that indeed, in general the correct order of events will be: The coming of Moshiach, the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, the ingathering of the exiles, and the resurrection. However, the resurrection of individuals has occurred and will occur even beforehand [i.e., even before the coming of Moshiach]. There are several famous stories in the Gemara and in Medrash [of individuals who came back to life] and [stories] of Tzaddikim who resurrected the dead, as our sages say, that “[Even] the smallest amongst you can resurrect the dead” [Avoda Zarah 10b].
Someone asked how the Rebbe could say that the Previous Rebbe could come back to life as the Moshiach. How can Moshiach come from the dead, if the resurrection will not take place until a while after Moshiach comes?
The Rebbe answered that this is only true of the mass resurrection; however, since individuals can be (and have been) resurrected before Moshiach comes, Moshiach can come from one who was resurrected in the time of exile. Thus, the Rebbe’s wish that the Previous Rebbe will redeem us does not contradict the belief in a general resurrection that takes place only at some later point.
I find it noteworthy that the Rebbe chooses not to prove the concept that Moshiach can come from the dead from the statement of the Gemara in Sanhedrin 98b, which some have quoted as proof that Moshiach can come from the dead: “Rav said ‘If he [Moshiach] is from the living, [then he is] like Rabbeinu Hakadosh [Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi]; if he is from the dead, [then he is] like Daniel, the delightful one.’” Rashi comments there that this does not necessarily refer to Daniel himself, but that it could refer to someone who resembles Daniel in his righteousness. Why the Rebbe did not cite this reference here, I do not know.
I also find it noteworthy the words “and will occur,” which to me appear to allude to and presage our current situation.
In any case, according to the principle that the Rebbe taught us that “the Rebbe rules on himself” (see here), it appears that this sicha provides support for the belief of chassidim, based on the Rebbe’s own words, that the Rebbe will come back to life “and he will redeem us”—he will be revealed as Moshiach, and redeem the Jewish people.