Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe by Rabbi Israel Rubin

Our belief in Moshiach is stated in Maimonides' Thirteen Principles of Faith: "I fully believe in the coming of Moshiach, each day, that he will come. And even though he may tarry, I still wait for him."

Our people have lived and died with this belief throughout history. We made this declaration through thick and thin, in good times and in bad; in the Golden Age of Spain and through the Inquisition, in the Polish ghettoes and in the gas chambers, while enjoying the comforts of the Western world, and in thriving and growing Israel. These hallowed words have been set to various tunes and melodies, some pensive and reflective, others joyous and triumphant.

We are presently on the threshold of Redemption. But what does that mean practically? Should we drop whatever we're doing and just sit around and wait? Should we refrain from making long term commitments or investments, and live out of a suitcase because Moshiach is imminent?

G‑d forbid that we should use the concept of Moshiach as an escape from reality. We must eagerly look forward to Moshiach as our ultimate goal and aspiration within the context of daily life in our mundane world. When the Israelites wandered forty years in the desert, they stopped in different places. Some of these stations were for very a brief period of time, just a day or two. Yet even when they stopped for just a single day, they set up camp in a permanent way, working to fully erect the Holy Tabernacle and performing all the services there, although the encampment was going to be dismantled the next day.

Even in times of challenge and crisis, we should not allow our detractors to disrupt our routine. On the contrary, 'Business as usual' helps us retain our strength through the difficulties. But 'Business as usual' doesn't mean that we are oblivious to the special circumstances. Even as we follow our regular schedules and responsibilities, we are fully alert to what is happening, and remain in a state of heightened awareness.

Exile and redemption may seem contradictory terms, but they are not mutually exclusive, for one leads into the other.

This is why Maimonides describes the era of Moshiach (at least its initial phase) as a time when the world will continue to conduct itself normally -'business as usual.'

Rather than drastic supernatural changes, our physical world will be upgraded and 'infused with Divine knowledge as the waters cover the sea.' The eradication of evil will establish universal peace and harmony.

This is not to downplay Moshiach's effect on the world, but rather to emphasize that the ultimate reward is when we will be able actually experience the Divine presence here in a physical state. A common misconception about Moshiach is that the sky suddenly opens and a Divine being descends in an apocalyptic fiery explosion that ends all of existence as we know it.

Judaism, by contrast, sees Redemption as a down-to-earth process, in which the world's innate unity and perfection unfolds, and the true essence of each creation is realized.

G‑d's creation is perfect. Despite the fragmentation around us, the diverse elements are all united with intrinsic harmony and purpose. In the era of Moshiach this underlying natural harmony will be readily perceived by all. Even in our divided and conflict-ridden world, layers of diversity are peeling away in crucial areas to reveal the unified reality at their core. Take physical science. When man first began to study the workings of his world, he identified many diverse laws and principles to explain what he saw.

But the more we examined these laws, the more they proved to be expressions of a less numerous set of laws; in turn, these laws, too, narrowed down to more basic fundamentals. Today, the stated aim of modern physics is to discover the Unified Theory encapsulating all natural phenomena in a single formula.

We're not starting from scratch. The process of perfection has been maturing throughout the generations. Every positive act has expressed the intrinsic goodness of creation, and those achievements have accumulated over time.

Quite humbly, we certainly do not consider ourselves better than our predecessors. But we are now in the position of a "midget standing on a giant's shoulders,'' of a mason setting the final brick of a magnificent mansion.

Moshiach 'changes' the world like the final straw that breaks the camel's back, or the 212th degree of heat that boils the water. The transformation is achieved by the combined effect of all the straws, and all the calories of heat.

Yet, that final cumulative increment is the catalyst for change. Moshiach is more than just gradual change. It is a specific point in time when Moshiach affects very marked and profound changes, more spiritual than physical.

We all want a better world. This is basically our belief in Moshiach, the eternal triumph of good. Good is like water collecting in a cup-drop by drop, Mitzvah by Mitzvah. The cup overflows when it is full, and working to fill this world with good will bring Moshiach.