We have discussed the two stages of redemption. Practically speaking, the primary awakening from exile does not take place during the first stage, the ingathering of the exiles – the externality of the redemption, for that stage relates to the growth of the ‘body’, not of consciousness and its expansion. In this stage, we are yet living in a state of separation. This may be likened to a growing child. At first, his primary growth is physical. Only later does he develop a consciousness of independence. It is known from the teachings of the Arizal that the stage of gestation and nursing are referred to as “katnus” and are almost synonymous. The primary identity of a person forms during the stage of emerging consciousness, “Mochin D’Gadlus.” For it is indeed true that the person is his consciousness. This is why, in the first stage of his birth and early development, he isn’t called by his own name, rather existing as “a fetus in his mother’s womb” (Yevamos 78b) and depending on his parent’s intellect to help him develop and prepare him for his own independence and the completion of his being.
Similarly, the primary stage oof redemption will be when consciousness arises within the nation, the consciousness of redemption, enabling them to understand and attain the reality of the existence in which we are found – a reality of redemption and the literal “days of Moshiach”. When this consciousness arises, the nation will know how to call out with the explicit Name of Hashem. They will understand the true significance of our having returned to the Land and the footsteps necessary for us to take as a nation waking up to its redemption and its light that was hidden away from the days of old. Then, all confusion, all lack of direction and bewilderment with regard to existential, social, and practical matters will evaporate. With joy and elation, holy illumination and vibrant confidence, we will become elevated and straightened to renew our days with the spirit of Hashem that has filled us.
This is the second stage, the stage that we are currently experiencing. This is the stage of, “I will give of My Spirit within them, and they will come to life,” (Yechezkel 37:14) mentioned in the Vision of the Dry Bones and refers to the time when the redemption effects our consciousness, and not simply our external life circumstances. It then begins to permeate our hearts and minds, expanding and illuminating them, to open the eyes of the blind, “Saying to those trapped, ‘Leave!’, and to those that sit in darkness, ‘Be redeemed!’.”
This stage is also described in Yechezkel, Chapter 36, where it is written that after the first stage which is the redemption of the ‘body’, relating to externality as the verse states, “I have taken you from among the nations and I have gathered you from all the lands, bringing you upon your land,” (36:24), the second stage arrives, the secret of the interior redemption, hinted to in the verse, “And I have given you a new heart and I will place within you a new spirit,” a reference to arrival of life-force into the depths of the collective nation, as the prophet describes: (36:25-28)
“I will sprinkle pure water upon you, and you shall be clean: I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your desires. And I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of fleshy; and I will put My spirit into you. Thus, I will act so that you will follow My laws and faithfully observe My statutes. Then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people and I will be your God.”
We are literally standing on the threshold of this awakening, for our souls are ripe for this level – to live a life of national unity instead of an individualistic life, to perceive ourselves as cells in a great body instead of separate beings focused only on our personal wellbeing and our reward in the world to come.
 See Klach Pischei Chochmah 121.
So too with each individual Jew. Each person has the perception of his individual, independent being which stands on its own, in addition to the depth of his essence, in which he is understood to represent a spark from the light of the Shechinah, a limb and a cell in the great body that is the collective Jewish nation.
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