14 August 2014

Part 2: Identifying the Enemy in this War

18 Menachem Av 5774

(Part 1)

Now that we see that the real war is being fought on an intellectual level, it's easier to understand how the battle is for the hearts and minds of mankind. But, who or what is the enemy?

The enemy is not so much a certain group of people as it is the ideas certain people embody and promote.

From Rabbi Aryeh Carmell's "Who is Messiah?"...
...the first to predict the rise of a secular Jewish state as prelude to the coming of the Messiah is Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague (1525-1609) known as "Maharal", in his discussion of the rise of "the Kingdom of the Messiah".
...Maharal affirms that the coming of the Messiah is not, as often thought a sudden event; it is a process. The "Holy kingdom of Israel" - Maharal's term for the reign of the Messiah will emerge from an earlier, non-holy kingdom.
The Midrash states: Just as Moshe, who was destined to break the power of Pharaoh, was brought up in Pharaoh's palace, so the Messiah, who is destined to settle accounts with Edom, will live with them in their city. The ultimate failure of the empire of Edom will give rise to a new and different kingdom- the Kingdom of the Messiah...
This is why Yaacov was born holding on to the heel of Esav (Bereshit 25:26).
Now, "the kingdom of Edom" refers to the last of the four empires of the world foreseen by Daniel (chapters 4-5): Babylonia, Media, Greece, and Rome. Rome, as world power, is long since dead and gone. But its heritage, Western Civilization, rules the world. Our Rabbis indicate that the kingdom of the Messiah will grow up in the context of Western civilization. Indeed, the parable of "the heel of Esav" signifies that the spiritual failure and moral bankruptcy of that civilization will be the catalyst for the coming of the Messiah.
So far Maharal - properly understood - has described how the kingdom of the Messiah emerges from the break down of Western civilization.
But this is not all. Maharal's vision is guided by veiled hints in the Midrash: the "Kingdom of Israel" itself undergoes development. In its immature stage it forms part of the Fourth Empire, and only when it reaches maturity does it throw off this attachment and emerge as "the holy kingdom of the Messiah".
Maharal continues:
So long as the kingdom of the Messiah has not yet reached perfection, the kingdom of the Messiah is attached to Edom (nigar el Edom) ...The holy kingdom of Israel... must grow out of the non-holy kingdom that preceded it.
Maharal, in a telling parable, describes the relationship between the embryonic "kingdom of Israel" and its "Edomite" environment: Fruit grows within a husk; when the fruit ripens the husks falls off... So it is with Israel. Their kingdom emerges and grows from within the kingdom of the nations i.e., from the existential power of the kingdom of the nations, and from their level, it raises itself to a higher level. And when the kingdom of Israel reaches complete maturity the kingdom of nations is removed, just as the husk is removed, and falls off when the fruit reaches its perfection.
The Messianic RevolutionThe Messianic revolution will take place in the hearts and minds of the people. The "falling off of the husk" does not refer to a political or military event, nor does "kingdom of the nations" refer to a political entity. The husk refers to the value system of the Western world. The falling off of the husk signifies the victory of spirituality over materialism, faith in G-d over unbounded trust in one's own power, and awareness of divine providence over belief in blind chance.
Now that we have identified this war for hearts and minds as one of Western values versus Torah values, let's go the next step to distinguish between the two. Many, many Jews today truly believe that they are one and the same. They couldn't be more wrong. And this may be the single most important problem among Am Yisrael - clinging to Eisav, instead of becoming Yisrael.

You can't win a war, if you don't identify and understand who your enemy is.

(Part 3)


  1. I can't thank you enough for both translating and explaining the Maharal.
    It is comforting to know that all this seeming chaos is simply the natural process of the fruit ripening to the point where the husk can fall off.
    I feel it also helps with centering oneself. The process is totally out of our hands, so we need to just focus on being part of the ripening fruit, and making sure we're not part of the husk.

  2. Thank you, Dassie, but I can't take credit for translating. I have the book in English, although I think it is out of print now. On the rest, you are absolutely right. B"H!