11 Nisan 5774
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Shabbat Hagadol - Before Redemption - Rabbi Meir Kahane
For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and all the evildoers will be like straw... (Malachi 3:19) Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome Day of Hashem. And he will turn back [to G-d] the hearts of fathers with [their] sons and the hearts of sons with their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with utter destruction. (Malachi 3:23,24)
Then you will return and see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves G-d and one who does not serve Him. (Malachi 3:18) Before us, then, there is a fundamental principle regarding the future of the Jewish People:
Redemption can come by one of two ways. If we merit it, through repentance and deeds worthy of it – especially faith and trust in G-d, without fear of the non-Jew – it can come through G-d hastening it, quickly, immediately, “today, if we hearken to His voice”. Not only will it come quickly, but with glory and majesty, without the suffering or Messianic birth pangs of which both Ula and Rabbah said (Sanhedrin 98b), “Let it come without my seeing it”. If we do not merit this, however, then the Messiah will certainly come and the Redemption with him, but only later on, “in its time”. This redemption will be accompanied, G-d forbid, by the terrible suffering of Chevlei Mashiach, Messianic birthpangs.
We seem to have two contradictory redemption processes before us; [...] but there is no contradiction. Rather, both are possibilities. That is, either can happen, but not both. As for which it will be, that depends on the Jewish People and their deeds. If they prove worthy, they will merit redemption “in haste”, glorious and majestic, without Messianic birth pangs.
Otherwise, a different process will occur, a process that does not have to be – complete redemption through unparalleled suffering, and all because of our sins and our stubbornness. Only the blind and those who refuse to see will fail to understand that today we are right at the very heart of the Ikveta DeMeshicha, “the footsteps of the Messiah”, the beginning of the redemption. This State of Israel is the beginning of G-d's wrath against the nations who do not know Him and who have profaned His name with scorn and derision.
Yet, it is clear that a redemption whose beginning is based exclusively on redemption “in its time”, on, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel” (Ezek. 36:22), on, “Not for your sake do I do this, says the L-rd G-d. Be it known unto you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel (Ezek. 36:32) has concealed within it tragedies and Messianic suffering from the Supreme King of Kings; and whoever says that G-d concedes shall concede his life (Bava Kamma 50a).
There will be no “hasty” redemption (Isaiah 60:22), glorious and majestic, devoid of dreadful suffering, unless the Jewish people return to their Father in Heaven, accept His yoke, and chiefly, unless they trust in Him completely and are ready to sanctify His name through self-sacrifice. The redemption which began despite our sins in order to sanctify G-d's name before the nations in might and splendor, has, in the hands of an “ungrateful, unwise nation” (Deut. 32:6), turned into a profanation and a blasphemy carried out precisely by those whom G-d sought to redeem. If the beginning of the redemption and the state served to sanctify G-d's name, then the only way to move on to “hasty” redemption is to continue reinforcing the Kiddush Hashem which the state's very establishment constituted.
The Divine imperative is continued Kiddush Hashem through trusting in G-d, and liquidating the Chilul Hashem without fear of the non-Jew, without fear of flesh and blood. Every retreat, every submission, every concession to the non-Jew, every hand raised against the Jew, every attack, let alone murder, of a Jew in the Land, every taunt and curse by a non-Jew in the Land is a Chilul Hashem. Now, instead of continuing to reinforce the Kiddush Hashem process, the Jewish people retreat and profane G-d's name.
Whoever does not allow Jews to live everywhere in the Land, whoever ties their hands and prevents their taking the revenge of G-d and Israel against the nations who curse and revile G-d, profanes G-d's name and profanes the great miracle and the powerful dream realized by G-d at the start of the redemption.
A time will come when G-d sees that to the nations and most of Israel, it seems that “His power is gone” - He is impotent. He will see that for many Jews and non-Jews, He is “nothing”, non-existent, Heaven forbid. For many others who pay lip service to His existence, He will appear “hindered”, powerless to act, a king “caught in tresses” (Song of Songs, 7:7), without connection or relevance to the world. He will see that there are masses of Jews who keep rituals, who keep the practical mitzvot by rote, yet who in times of danger, at the moment of truth, abandon their faith and trust in G-d. For them, G-d will become like one “abandoned”, and no Chilul Hashem could be greater. G-d will then wish to sanctify His great name, transformed by faithless heretics to “nothing, hindered, and abandoned.”
Listen well, my friend, to a great axiom of redemption. Ostensibly, those who ridiculed the mourners of Zion, who mocked those who believed in redemption, were the nations. Clearly this is so, yet also countless Jews do not believe, and they ridicule those who look forward to redemption, and, in general, the whole concept of redemption and the Messiah.
Do not let your brother, friend or the rabbi to whom you feel closest lead you astray by saying that redemption will come without suffering or tragedy, for that is impossible without repentance and trust in G-d through bold deeds without fear of the nations.
Redak's quotation from Isaiah is part of the following (Isaiah 26:20-21):
Come, My people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a brief moment until the wrath is past. For the L-rd shall leave His abode to punish the earth's inhabitants for their sin.
With this, G-d informs Israel that before redemption comes, before G-d leaves His abode to punish the nations for their sin, there will be a moment of wrath; that is, a period of wrath and suffering. This clearly is referring to the war of Gog and Magog.
Although it says, “Hide yourself for a brief moment”, and Redak commented that they would “suffer briefly”, woe to us for that brief moment, for it will include Jerusalem's conquest and accompanying atrocities, [...] and the nations' conquest of Eretz Israel for nine months, and in G-d's eyes, that, too will constitute just a “brief moment”. Who can measure the suffering and anguish which that moment will generate, if it comes through redemption “in its time”? All the same G-d, Who has control over time and place, has the power to transform that “moment” into a very short time, if redemption comes “in haste”. This is a major principle regarding the Messianic birthpangs, and we must not forget it. If Israel heed G-d's voice and follow in His ways, He will subdue Gog and Israel's enemies “kim'at”, like the kim'at rega, the “brief moment” of Isaiah 26:20. Then, redemption will come quickly and “forever”.
Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, says Hashem, Master of Legions… (Malachi 3:7) And this is a repetition of the same promise that is given in Zechariah 1:3, in a tremendous oath! The redemption will come to the extent that we long for it and demand it.
[Source: compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from "The Jewish Idea" of Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D]