The Redemption of Wine

"When a man or woman utters a nazir vow...

The laws of a nazirite teach us a most significant principle about our belief in the coming of Moshiach: Torah law decrees that if one declares on a weekday, "I undertake to become a nazirite on the day that Moshiach will come," he is bound by it from that very moment. (If, however, he made his vow on a Shabbat or festival, it becomes operative on the next day, as it is uncertain whether Moshiach will or will not arrive on a Shabbat or Jewish Holiday.) This clearly shows that Moshiach can arrive at any moment, as we say in our daily prayers, "Every day we hope for Your salvation."
(Peninei HaGeula)

…he shall abstain from new and old wine... grape beverages, grapes and raisins." (Numbers 6:2-3)

In the Messianic age, the fears of the harm that wine can induce1 will have faded together with sin, and "on that day, the mountains shall drip with sweet wine."2 Wine, and the unrestricted joy it symbolizes, will abound. Nevertheless, the concept of the nazirite will be relevant then, too.

Beyond abstinence and asceticism, becoming a nazirite also connotes a higher caliber of holiness, a transcendence of worldliness, as the Torah proclaims,3 "he is holy unto God." This transcendence also characterizes the Messianic age, in which "the sole ambition of all mankind will be to perceive God…and the earth shall be full of the perception of God as the waters cover the ocean bed." 4 In this sense, we will then all be Nazirites.

Because of this association between the nazirite and the Messianic age-the latter achieving the purest and most consummate state of the former-the halachic source for the possibility that the Messiah will indeed come on any given day is found in the laws of the nazirite: one who says, "I proclaim myself a nazirite on the day that the Messiah will come"…is forbidden [to drink wine, cut his hair, etc.] forever after. 5 This law demonstrates that the Messiah realistically can-and perhaps will-arrive any day.

[Translated-adapted by Betzalel Lipshitz from Sefer HaSichot 5751, pp. 588-89; Sefer HaLikutim, entry L'atid Lavo for The Lubavitcher Rebbe's Chumash..]


1 Cf. Sotah 2b; Vayikra Rabbah 14, end.
2 Joel 4:18.
3 Numbers 6:8.
4 Mishneh Torah, Melachim 12:5.
5 Eruvin 43b.

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