270 years ago
Excerpts from a letter written by the Baal Shem Tov
On Rosh Hashanah of the year 5507 I performed, by means of oath, an elevation of soul [to the higher spiritual realms], as known to you, and saw wondrous things I had never seen before. That which I saw and learned there is impossible to convey in words, even face to face.
I ascended from level to level until I entered the chamber of the Mashiach, where the Mashiach learns Torah with all the sages and tzadikim and also with the Seven Shepherds
I asked the Mashiach: “When will the Master come?”, and he answered: “By this you shall know:
In the time when your teaching will become public and revealed in the world, and your wellsprings will burst forth to the farthest extremes, that which I have taught you and you have comprehended, and they also shall be able to perform unifications and elevations as you, and then all of the kelipot will cease to exist, and there shall be a time of good will and salvation.”
The Mashiach sets five conditions for his coming; each of these is a step in a cumulative process:
1. “Your teachings will become public and revealed in the world”: As is known, for most mystics and spiritual-focused people becoming a public figure is a very painful experience. Nonetheless, it is a challenge that must be faced if one’s insights and teachings are to affect the world.
2. “Your wellsprings will burst forth to the farthest extremes” (Proverbs 5:16): His whole self, his “wellspring,” must be revealed. If Mashiach is to come, everyone must be able to experience something of what it is like to be the Baal Shem Tov.
3. “That which I have taught you and what you have comprehended [yourself]”: Expressible ideas and even those ideas that are inherently inexpressible must be revealed.
4. “They also shall be able to perform unifications and elevations as you”: The Baal Shem Tov’s power of unification must become public domain. In its simplest sense, this means that everyone must subscribe to the Baal Shem Tov’s doctrine of the equality-of-soul of all Jewish people, the basis of his infinite love of all Jews (see Tanya ch. 32).
5. “All the kelipot will cease to exist and there shall be a time of good will and salvation”: Evil can be eradicated and the transcendent light of G‑d can shine. The eradication of evil on this level can be understood as seeing it as ultimately good. This, however, cannot be successfully accomplished without first attaining the previous four levels.