A few weeks ago the attention of the world was gripped by the dramatic rescue of a group of 33 trapped Chilean miners. After two months of imprisonment in the collapsed mine, the miners were hauled one by one to the surface in a space capsule.
For the first seventeen days, the miners were alone in the darkness. Above the earth, we had no idea if any of them were still alive, while down below, they had no way of making contact with the surface. They did not know if anyone was aware of their plight, or if plans were being made for their rescue. They survived by carefully divvying up their remaining food and eating only a small portion each day.
Then, finally, a small ray of hope reached the miners, in the form of a drill bit that broke through to their underground shelter. By means of this lifeline, the miners were able to send word to their loved ones that they were alive. They were able to receive food, air, medical supplies. And through this lifeline they were kept informed of the plans for their rescue.
Hidden deep within the cramped darkness of exile, our souls cry out for salvation. For two thousand years, we have been working as miners, toiling deep below ground to elevate the treasures that G-d scattered throughout the earth. Now our mission has been completed, and we are ready to rise to the surface. We want to break through the darkness to breathe pure air again.
How did we survive throughout the long exile? Like the miners, we were sustained by our unity, our care for one another. Wherever on earth a Jew can be found, he knows that he can count on the protection and support of his fellow Jews. We were also kept alive by our faith that one day we would be redeemed. Despite our fatigue and our fears, we knew that we would survive.
Most of all, we are kept alive by our lifeline, the ray of hope handed to us by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach. In 1991, the Rebbe revealed as a prophecy that the time of our Redemption is at hand. The Rebbe continuously handed down to us supplies “from above”—the teachings of Chassidut were revealed specifically for the generation before Moshiach, to help prepare us for the ultimate Redemption. By keeping in contact with our source above, we are assured that we will never be lost to the darkness. Very soon, led by the Rebbe, we will finally reach the surface light.
Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.