The following is an excerpt from Mevo Shearim, the sefer of Rabbi Kalman Kalmish Shapira, the Piazcezcna Rebbe, Chief Rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto. The “very rough and inadequate translation” has been provided by Rabbi Davide Lustigman of Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo — my chevruta.
It is my Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
When the Baal Shem Tov zt’l had his aliat neshama in 5507 (Rosh HaShana, 1746), he entered the chamber of Moshiach and asked him, “when will sir come?” Moshiach answered him, “when your wellsprings spread forth,” as is known from the Holy Letter found at the end of Porat Yosef. The teachings of chassidut are the final stage of revelation of Torah that precedes the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days. They are the first rays of his holy light. The principal messianic revelation is described by the verse, “and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God, like the waters cover the sea,” and the foundation of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov is the simple meaning, which he revealed in his holiness, zt’l, of the verse, “and the whole earth is filled with His glory.” Many challenged him and attacked him for this, saying that he was “physicalizing” the glory of That Which is Above, but our holy one, the Baal Shem Tov zt’l knew that not only was he not physicalizing, God forbid (and taking away from God’s glory), but, rather, he was increasing and revealing His glory and honor, blessed be He, by this. He was not only teaching a simple understanding of, or intellectual insight into, the verse, but rather, he was awakening the dawn that precedes Moshiach (from above). If they will not make room for the dawn, and the world will not become habituated to the dawn, then the sun of Moshiach, God forbid, will be prevented from rising. Therefore he proclaimed, in his holiness, and said that not only is there in every thing of the world, a godly vitality, and surrounding this godly vitality there is a material crust hiding it, but that this material, which to us appears to be just that, is actually godliness too. All that is needed are eyes to see and a body that is sanctified. Then, when you look at the world around you, you’ll be looking at God and God will be looking at you, “the whole earth is filled with His glory,” even the earthiness of the garment; and vessels, also, are filled with the illumination of His glory, blessed be He. This is the beginning of the fulfillment of the verse “and the world will be filled with the knowledge…” which will be fulfilled in its greatest manner in Messianic times, speedily in our days, that even the earth will be filled with knowledge of God.