31 July 2023

The True Face of Esau

13 Menachem Av 5783

Some, no doubt well-meaning, people have come to the conclusion (based on what I don't know) that Esau (Eisav) has done (or will do) teshuvah and become a "fourth" with the other three avot

From the Stone Edition Chumash Commentary on Vayishlach: 
[Note:  Comments in brackets are mine.]

After he had received the Patriarchal blessings from Isaac, Jacob had been sent away from home to protect him against Esau’s threatened vengeance.  Now, thirty-four years later…Esau’s hatred remained implacable and,…Esau advanced toward [Jacob] with an imposing, frightening army, determined to carry out his old, but still-fresh threat. 

Rashi from Midrash on "Esau…embraced him".  Esau’s compassion was aroused by Jacob’s seven prostrations.  [The demonstration of obeisance and servitude appeased his anger.] 

[On the kiss] …R’ Shimon bar Yochai says that, although it is an immutable rule that Esau hates Jacob, at that moment his mercy was aroused and he kissed Jacob with all his heart (Rashi). 

[On Esau’s response to Jacob, “I have plenty.”]  …wicked people like Esau speak boastfully…emphasizing the abundance of their possessions and proclaiming that they have accumulated more than they could ever want (Rashi). 

In the plain sense, Jacob had to exhort Esau to accept the gift, but the Midrash teaches that Esau had no intention of refusing it; his protestations were but an outer display of formal, insincere etiquette. 

…Jacob wanted to end the reunion as quickly as possible; whether or not Esau’s kisses were sincere, the momentary friendship could not be expected to last indefinitely.  

Jacob had no intention of going as far as Seir…he merely wanted Esau to think he would, so that, in case Esau planned to attack him later, he would be waiting for an encounter which would never take place.  [i.e., the “kiss” was no indicator of teshuvah.] 

[Jacob, the epitome of truth did not lie to Esau.]  The Sages explain that Jacob was alluding to the End of Days, when, as Ovadiah (1:21) prophesied, Jacob’s descendants will come to Mount Seir to render judgment against Esau’s descendants (Rashi).

Apparently, there was a coolness between Jacob and Esau at the parting.  It was not accompanied by kissing, as was Jacob’s departure form Laban. 

It is critical that we Jews never lose sight of Esau’s true nature and lack of repentance because we must never let our guard down with him.  Especially with people like Trump and Pence and Pompeo, etc. and the Christian Zionist “Lovers” of Israel. 

"Whether or not Esau’s kisses were sincere, the momentary friendship could not be expected to last indefinitely." 

Their “love” and “friendship” must always be viewed as somewhat insincere and very temporary.  We must always be on guard for the change of face from friend to foe, because that is the true face of Esau. 

Excerpts from When Christian 'Love' Can Hurt Us
by Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

… Rabbi Bornstein discusses a deeper meaning of the following words from Yaakov's prayer to be saved from the harmful plans of his brother, Eisav: "Save me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Eisav." (Genesis 32:12)

…Why does Yaakov first refer to Eisav as "my brother" and then refer to him by name? Some commentators explain that Yaakov was more frightened of Eisav as a brother and friend than as Eisav - the one known for his violence. This is because Yaakov was concerned that Eisav might attempt to become close to him in order to draw him to Eisav's harmful philosophy and distorted ways. This was potentially very dangerous to Yaacov and his family, for it could lead to the end of the spiritual mission to which Yaakov had dedicated his life. We are therefore told that Yaacov primarily feared his "brother," and only then "Eisav."

... Rabbi Soloveitchik explains that Yaakov was concerned about two facets of Eisav's strategy - the hand of brotherhood and the hand of violence. He first mentions the hand of brotherhood, for he recognized the serious danger posed by the "love" of Eisav when its goal is to wean Yaakov away from the right path.

...Rabbi Soloveitchik then cites various midrashim that describe how, in a later stage of our history, these descendants of Eisav will ask us to modify our tradition so as to lessen the distance between their religion and Judaism. Rabbi Soloveitchik explains that they will even adopt certain tenets of Judaism in order to tempt us to give up some of our heritage.

...One trait of Esau that few will fail to recognize in the civilization and culture of the West is the emphasis on the image over substance, leavened with a good measure of hypocrisy.

He (Esau) was a hypocrite (Shocher Tov 14,3).

Esau would hunt him (Yitshak) and deceive him with words (Genesis Rabbah 63,10).

...The following midrash typifies the personalization of Rome and the West as Esau while not sparing his hypocrisy.

In the future Esau will wrap himself in a tallis, sit down next to Yaakov and say to him, "You are my brother"....

That was Esau's intention when he told Yaakov, "Let us travel together and I will go before you" (Genesis 33,12). He wanted them to join together in both this world and the world to come, to meet each other halfway, with each modifying his conduct until they were alike (Yalkut Shimoni, Genesis 133). Indeed, Esau will even adopt certain tenets of Judaism...but only if Israel will give up some of its heritage. Similarly, according to Tanna D'Bei Eliahu Zuta (19), Esau proposed. "Give up some of the mitzvos that divide us. You will thereby enjoy this world and still have half the world to come. Isn't that enough? (Bais Halevy, Vayishlach).


In the future, Esau will wrap himself in a tallis, sit down next to Yaakov and say to him, "You are my brother"....Yaakov will say to him, "My brother, you will not be like me. I will lead you to death, I will be the pestilence that leads you to Sheol (Hoshea 13,14). Had I upheld decrees that you promulgated against me, I would have been guilty at the eyes of Heaven. Had I violated them, you would have killed me (Yalkut Shimoni, Yirmiahu 333).

"That was Esau's intention when he told Yaakov, 'Let us travel together and I will go before you' (Genesis 33,12). He wanted them to join together in both this world and the world to come, to meet each other halfway, with each modifying his conduct until they were alike (Yalkut Shimoni, Genesis 133). 


30 July 2023

Hashem Just Slapped Uncle Sam Upside the Head.

13 Menachem Av 5783

"...The voice of Hashem breaks the cedar ...  The voice of Hashem cleaves with shafts of fire.  ...[it] strips the forests bare;..." (Psalm 29)

Every time they try to bend our will to theirs and force "peace" down our throats, Hashem shouts at them.  Somehow, I don't think they are listening.


"With an upraised hand, and an outstretched arm and with fury poured out."
[i.e. with ever increasing severity]             (Yechezkel 20.34)

These are all still just warnings!  What is it really going to take to get their full attention?

Are We "Soft" Enough Yet?

12 Menachem Av 5783

Softening up of a Target as a War Tactic:  

In military parlance, "softening up of target" refers to the process of weakening or neutralizing an enemy target before an attack. This can involve various tactics such as bombing, artillery strikes, or psychological operations in order to weaken the target's defenses or morale. It is an important step in the overall battle plan, as it can greatly increase the chances of success for an attack.
Understand that it didn't start with this particular crisis - "The Judicial Overhaul Plan" - but for certain everything connected to it has come down to this...

A potential normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel would require “significant concessions” to the Palestinians that are unlikely to be approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline coalition, and could instead require him to seek the formation of a unity government, The New York Times reported Saturday.  
This is the big push now.  It's the main headline on every major news site this morning...
  • Times of Israel
  • Jerusalem Post
  • YNET News
  • Israel National News
  • The Jewish Press
  • Israel HaYom
  • Kikkar Shabbat
  • Bechadrei Chareidim
Their talking points:
  • A majority of the public polled says they want a unity government.
  • Netanyahu really wanted to compromise but his "hard-liners"/"extremists in the coalition" (take your pick) wouldn't "let" him.  (Solution - get rid of the "troublemakers")  
  • The US would be very approving of a unity government and stands ready to reward us with a "peace deal", no doubt starting with a great photo-op for Netanyahu in the Oval.
They are testing to see of we are "done" yet.  

But what they fail to recall is that We are a Stiff-Necked People.  HKB"H even says so.  But that quality can be a positive or a negative.  Depends on whether we are keshai oref to be loyal to HKB"H and His Torah or to rebel against Him.  

They really have no appreciation for what they are dealing with, not the least of which the Master of the Universe is on Our side.  They are like children playing with the Tsar Bomba.

"It will be a time of trouble for Jacob but from it he will be saved."  Our Sages said this means, the "trouble" itself will save us.  Around the year 2000, Ehud Barak, as Prime Minister, reportedly offered Arafat 95% of everything he asked for, but Arafat inexplicably launched the second intifada instead of taking the offer.  This is one example.  The trouble was very great and still is, but up to now, we are still standing.  

Perhaps, Iran will be the one to come to our "rescue" now.

28 July 2023

A Purifying Fire

10 Menachem Av 5783
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashah Va'Etchanan - Shabbat Nachamu

"For You Hashem, with fire You consumed her
and with fire You will rebuild her,...."
(From the Nacheim prayer of the Tisha b'Av Minchah service)

Expounding on the verses in Ezekiel and Daniel, the sages of the Talmud [Yoma 77a] and Midrash give a description of what took place in heaven when it came time for the Holy Temple to be set on fire:

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Michael, the ministering angel of the Jewish people: Michael, your nation has sinned.

[Michael] replied: Master of the Universe, may it be enough for the good people among them to save them from destruction.

[G‑d] said to him: I will burn them and the good among them [because the good do not rebuke the wicked].

Immediately [G‑d spoke to Gabriel, as the verse states]: “He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said: Go in between the wheelwork and beneath the cherub, and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubs, and scatter them over the city; and he came before my eyes.” Immediately: “And the cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubs into the fire that was between the cherubs, and took and put it into the hands of him that was clothed in linen, who took it and went out.”  (Source)


27 July 2023

The SA Will Never Concede (IMPORTANT UPDATE)

10 Menachem Av 5783

For the benefit of those who have not already read the post below, I'll put it in a nutshell.

Below, I share information which indicates that the next step in this orchestrated battle appears to be for the protesters to double-down on their claim that this is an illegitimate government and “it’s forbidden to believe or hold dialogue with an illegitimate government,”.... 

 A supposedly staunch antagonist of Netanyahu has made the suggestion that the PM fire his right-wing coalition partners and form an "emergency government" with Gantz et al.  (Details below.)  

Ben Gvir has been made out to be the boogey man of our tale, so it's no surprise that the media is coming down hard on him today: for "police excesses" against the protestors, as well as some video/audio of him "attacking" a foreign worker; and of course, his trip to the Temple Mount which was roundly condemned by the US, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

What makes this point more interesting is the breaking news from the NYT's reporter Thomas Friedman, may his name and memory be erased.  Whenever the US government wants to send a message loud and clear, they use Mr. Friedman.

NYT: Biden weighing Saudi agreement, Israel may face concessions to Palestinians

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who is considered close to U.S. President Joe Biden, wrote Wednesday in his weekly column that he spoke with the American president about the possibility of a Saudi-Israeli agreement. The agreement would include concessions to the Palestinians that would preserve the option of a two-state solution in the future.

...According to him, “if the U.S. forges a security alliance with Saudi Arabia — on the conditions that it normalize relations with Israel and that Israel make meaningful concessions to the Palestinians — Netanyahu’s ruling coalition of Jewish supremacists and religious extremists would have to answer this question: You can annex the West Bank, or you can have peace with Saudi Arabia and the whole Muslim world, but you can’t have both, so which will it be?”

...The New York Times first reported about Biden’s efforts toward a historic agreement last month. The report stated that with an eye on the 2024 elections, Biden and his senior officials have engaged in extensive diplomatic efforts to reach a normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Riyadh. The emerging agreement, essentially being negotiated behind closed doors, will require each side to abandon longstanding positions they have held.

...In recent months, several senior Israeli officials have been tasked with the matter, including Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi. Both have visited the United States several times in recent months, discussing this issue among other things with senior American officials.

Netanyahu himself does not hide his hopes for an agreement with Riyadh, and in an ABC interview Wednesday, he mentioned the issue. He addressed his relationship with the U.S. president, who has not yet officially invited him to the White House, seven months after the start of his sixth term as prime minister, and said, "Our relations are very strong. I can tell you that we are working on things that I think will change history."

They aren't mentioning this little tidbit, but surely it's on the table, too.

Opinion: Netanyahu must start mulling the transfer of custodianship over the Jerusalem compound, holy to both Jews and Muslims, from Jordan to Saudi Arabia in effort to promote relations 

We have to prepare ourselves for a bumpy ride. They all, including Netanyahu (and I think Ben Gvir, also), are in on this plan and each is just playing his part.  I think they will pull this off and the world will pour accolades on them.  Will this finally push Iran into action???

9 Av 5783

Anti-overhaul protesters to rally tomorrow [July 27] against ‘clearly illegitimate’ reasonableness law

“The Israeli government passed a clearly illegitimate law that has a black flag flying above it,” the protesters say in a statement, “and therefore is becoming a clearly illegitimate government.”

“It’s forbidden to believe or hold dialogue with an illegitimate government,” they add.

Zur unexpectedly calls on the heads of the opposition parties to enter a unity government with Netanyahu. Just a few days ago, he called for the collective resignation of the opposition against the background of the reasonableness grounds legislation.

...Ronan Tzur, a political consultant and one of the prominent and extreme opponents of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the reform of the judicial system, surprises in the last day when he calls on the opposition parties to join the government with Netanyahu in place of the extreme right-wing parties.

...Enter an emergency government now.  Replace the madmen.  Take command of security, justice, internal security.  Put your hands on the wheel.  Don't let them destroy the house.

...In the following he details the outline he offers:

  • Emergency government for 24 months and elections.

  •  Rotation between Gantz and Netanyahu.

  • Arrangement of a preliminary constitution outline.

  •  Expulsion of the madmen from the government.

Just before the right-wing number, Tzur turned to the opposition parties and called on them to break the rules: "Lapid, Gantz, Michaeli and Lieberman.  Don't stop.  Don't be afraid.  Don't be afraid.  Collective resignation.  Final.  This image will resonate throughout the whole world.

So this is the next step we can expect from the rebels.  Condemnation continues to come in from abroad, both from foreign governments as well as Diaspora Jewish Institutions.

A new world does not come about without a lot of pain and suffering, chaos and confusion, blood and fear.  But!  It doesn't have to be our pain and suffering, chaos and confusion, blood and fear!  The whole point of understanding what's really happening and why and who wins in the end is so that we can cross through this transition the way we crossed the Reed Sea - in full confidence and trust in HKB"H and without fear or harm as our enemies go down.  Just rest in the assurance that all is from HKB"H and is for the ultimate good.  He is taking down all the gods of "Egypt," and democracy is just one.


26 July 2023

Attempting to Pre-Empt Mashiach

 8 Av 5783

As is now known, the disruptions in Israeli society were planned years ago and it is part of a greater agenda.  This is the Israeli "Spring".  And nothing is really as it seems.  

"The most right-wing, religious government in Israel's history" - fake news.

"Netanyahu is a dictator" - fake news.

"This is the death of democracy in Israel" - fake news.

From the mass of silver tents to the mass of red costumes to the black covers of the newspapers (and more) a lot of money has flowed into this effort.  And if you want to know the truth, just think the opposite of what you read in the media.  Is Biden really upset with Bibi? Is the US really concerned about what's happening here?  Since it's all fake, then I have to conclude that their staged reaction is also fake.  It's all a show and Bibi is the knowing fall guy.  It's a fake falling out between the US and Israel in order to inspire fear and manipulate Israelis into self-destructive behavior which will give the powers that be an excuse to insert themselves further into our business.  They've even gone as far as to orchestrate a lowered credit rating, a fall in stock value and the decline of the sheqel!  

And why?  

Because they want to discredit Judaism, and religious Jews in particular.  See Ben Gvir put front and center as the embodiment of the danger "messianism" poses to the "liberal democracy," which itself was the result of the first attempt at preventing Mashiach from coming.  Ben Gvir will instantly be recognized by the Christian/Western world as representative of Judas the Betrayer, or one of those loathed Pharisees.  And even though Ben Gvir has no real power (everyone has refused to follow his instructions), media reports, both here and abroad, find a way to lay the blame for all the troubles at his feet, and by extension, those whom he represents.  

See all that they are capable of doing in an attempt to quash the pathway down which Mashiach will come.  

They want a civil war here.  They are instigating a civil war here.  That's why Olmert is announcing to the world that there is a civil war here.  But it's FAKE NEWS!  

Have any of you wondered why two national traumas have occurred at this particular time of year for the Jews - the "vote" taken yesterday and the expulsion from Gush Katif in 2005.  The pressure was built higher and higher until it culminated right at Tisha b'Av.  Why?  A very wise woman told me, and I agree with her, that it is because we, as a people, are most cognizant at this time of year of the danger and peril of sinat chinam and lack of unity.  Their plan was to do these evil deeds right when we were most vulnerable to the charges of sinat chinam and disunity, and it would hamper any impulse on our part to fight them.

This is the army of the Sitra Achra trying to pre-empt Mashiach's arrival and prevent the redemption which marks the end of their reign of terror over humanity.  This is surely what was spoken of in Kol HaTor (Ch. 2, Part 2:2):

The erev rav is our greatest enemy.  It is what separates between the two MessiahsIts impurity operates only via indirect deception.  Hence, the war against the erev rav is the hardest and most bitter, and we must gird ourselves with our last strength toward this end.  Whoever does not actively take part in the war against the erev rav automatically becomes a partner to its impurity, and whoever he is, he is better off not having been born.  The main strength of the erev rav is in the gates of Jerusalem, especially at the entrance to the city on the western dividing line. [Where the entire government complex is located - the Knesset, the High Court, the Bank of Israel, etc.]

Let's enter our fast, if fast we must, with a determination to do a complete teshuvah and dedicate ourselves to the war which lies before us, the war which Mashiach ben Yosef will lead in what I sincerely and desperately hope are the coming days and weeks.  Amen!!

The Day of Hashem's Vengeance

 8 Av 5783 

The evidence indicates that it is Israel who brings down the West.  In what way, shape or form that takes is anybody’s guess.

Quoting from The Stone Edition Chumash with commentary:

…For the day of Hashem [His day of vengeance] upon all the nations is close; as you have done, so shall be done to you; your requital shall return upon your head.  For just as you drank on My holy mountain, so will all the nations drink ceaselessly; they will drink and be confounded, and become as if they never were.

On Mount Zion there will be refuge, and it will be holy; and the house of Jacob will inherit those who had dispossessed them.  The house of Jacob will be fire, the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for straw; and they will ignite and devour them.  There will be no survivor to the house of Esau, for Hashem has spoken.

…the saviors will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau and the kingdom will be Hashem’s.  (Ovadiah 1.15-18, 21)


…Your awe-inspiring presence has misled you, the wickedness of your heart, you who dwells in the crags of the rock, who has seized the height of the hill.  Even if you raise your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there – the word of Hashem.  Edom shall be desolate; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and whistle over all its afflictions, like the overturning of Sodom and Gomorrah and its neighbors – said Hashem – where no man shall dwell and no human shall sojourn.

Behold he will ascend as a lion from the heights of the Jordan to a secure pasture land; for I shall bring the enemy suddenly and make him overrun her, and he who is chosen I shall charge against her.  For who is like Me?  Who can challenge Me?  And who is the shepherd who can stand before Me?

…From the sound of their fall the earth quakes; a cry, at the Sea of Reeds their voice is heard.  Behold he will ascend like an eagle and swoop down and spread his wings over Bozrah.  On that day, the hearts of the mighty men of Edom will be like the heart of a woman in travail.  (Yirmiyahu 49.15 -22)

[Commentary on 49:20]  “The enemy, who was earlier compared to a ferocious lion (v.19), is here likened to the youngest sheep, because Edom will be conquered by Israel, which is regarded lightly by all its enemies (Kara).

Who is this coming from Edom, with sullied garments, from Bozrah?  (Yeshayahu 63.1)


When I queried Google, this was the response: “Bozrah, bordering on Lebanon and Franklin, is thought to be the only town with this name in the United States.”

According to a persistent legend, the name "Bozrah" was derived from [a] Biblical text, which came to someone's mind under the particular circumstances surrounding the community's petition to the Connecticut General Assembly for township status. Whether or not the story is true, the informal, early name "New Concord" was dropped when the town was incorporated.

The community, according to the legend, really wanted to call itself "Bath" after the famous spa in England. The local man chosen to carry the parish's request to Hartford had a somewhat eccentric manner of dress, however, and when he appeared before the Legislature he was dressed in loud, parti-colored homespun so odd as to bring to the mind of one amused legislator the query of Isaiah 63:1: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?" Overcome by the humorous appropriateness of this verse, the Assembly decided to name the town "Bozrah" when it incorporated the place. (Wiki)


Still hoping there won't be a fast, but if there is, I hope it is the last time.  Use it well!

25 July 2023

"Fun Fact"

 7 Av 5783

The Shia Muslims will celebrate a fasting holiday - Ashura - on the 10th of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, which this year falls out on our 10th of Av (July 27-28).  Strangely, their celebratory traditions include deep mourning and fasting.  While our own fast will be ending when theirs is just beginning, some aspects of our mourning carry over to the 10th as our sages say this was when the majority of the burning of our Holy Temple took place.

There is a history of attacks on Shia Muslims on this particular day.  It is apparently a very real and ongoing threat...

Might some diabolical enemy of Iran, the champion of all Shias, perceive this as an auspicious time to attack them?  It seems like just anything can happen right now.

24 July 2023

Netanyahu Warns...

6 Av 5783 

Israel Is on the Brink of a Military Coup
by David Israel, Jewish Press, July 21, 2023

This is a must, must, MUST read article!!  No one can afford to miss out on this information!!!

The depth of the evil of these rashaim is on full display so you should have no qualms or feelings of regret when HKB"H metes out their just reward.  They richly deserve whatever is coming for them.

Please pass it on.  Thank you!!

Day of Destiny?

 6 Av 5783

UPDATE: After massive opposition and failed compromise talks, Knesset okays Reasonableness Law

Voting has begun in the Knesset.

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Monday’s events as they happen.

Opportunity Knocks

6 Av 5783

"For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the spring of living waters, to dig for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that do not hold water." (Yirmiyahu 2.13)  

This sums up our current situation.

HKB"H gave us the Torah - The Instruction Manual for Life.  It cannot be improved upon.  It is perfect.  Yet we tossed it aside as something not "realistic" - too far out of our reach; across the sea or up in Heaven - a wonderful idea but pragmatically speaking, impossible to put into practice.

So, here we are - Am Yisrael, the "light to the nations" - fighting over a broken cistern, a flawed system of governance invented by men.  And Israel doesn't even have the best model of it.  

Mankind would rather suffer than be healed if it means accepting Hashem's sovereignty over them.  As it says somewhere: "The Satan proclaimed, Better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven."  

We, as a nation must repent of these "two evils."  The proof of true repentance is doing it right at the first opportunity.  I believe we are about to get that opportunity.  Don't miss out!

23 July 2023

Why You Won't Find Me at the "Million" Demonstration in Tel Aviv Tonight

5 Av 5783

(h/t Hava)

The following are excerpts from a summons issued by The Sovereignty Movement along with my comments:

Dear Friends, we must all attend the demonstration in Tel Aviv this Sunday!
It is not enough to go to the polls once every four years; we must constantly battle to ensure that the victory at the ballot box is also realized on the ground, as well.

Me:  Even when the "other side" wins?  Because if this situation continues, they are sure to be back in power at some point.

Unfortunately, the Right always capitulates. Some right-wing elements in our camp undermine the struggle. Shikma Bressler, the instigator of the coup d’etat, manages to draw after her right-wing individuals whose intentions are good, but their naiveté splits the camp and prevents the right-wing government, a democratically elected government, from ruling.

Me:  So far, the greatest threat to right-wing rule is the vacillation and procrastination of the heads of the right-wing, democratically-elected government.  In the many months since the government was formed, it has accomplished exactly zero as it has delayed and delayed and delayed taking firm action, allowing this anarchy in the streets to go on and on with no real repercussions or consequences.  

...Sunday's Vigil of the Million in Tel Aviv is a test for the Right; to what extent are we willing to support Yariv Levin, Simcha Rothman, Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit, the Likud, Sovereignty over the Land of Israel, Jewish tradition, and Jewish identity.

Me:  Support for Likud?  The party that banned Rabbi Kahane as a racist?  Because they are right-wing?  

They are right that this is a test.  How much longer are real Jews with a real Jewish identity going to stop playing this unwinnable game of This or That?  Democrat or Republican, Labour or Conservative, Communist or Fascist, democratic or totalitarian?  Left wing or right-wing? 

This is the game the nations play, but we, as Torah Jews, have no part in it.  Yishmael (Islam) comes from Avraham Avinu who is rooted in Chesed on the right of the sefirotEisav (Christianity) comes from Yitzchak who is rooted in Gevurah (Din) on the left of the sefirot.  

So, what then?  We have no identity of our own that we must choose between left and right?  As President George W. Bush famously said, "You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists."  Uh, no!  I don't have to take either side, because I'm not for either one of them.  The same goes for Russia and Ukraine.  They can destroy each other and the world will be better off.  

I am for the JEWISH/TORAH side - Ya'aqov is Tiferet (Beauty) the middle balance of Chesed and Gevurah.  We are Bnei Yisrael - the offspring of Ya'aqov/Yisrael.  And we, as well as those righteous among the nations who attach themselves to HKB"H, are the only ones on this side.

We are the majority. This time, let us truly realize the victory at the polls. This is true democracy!

Even the United States is not a "true democracy."  It was established as a republic. But, again, what happens when the left takes power back through a democratic vote?  What happens when the Arabs take over through a democratic vote?  Why are these Jews being so shortsighted?  Democracy is not our savior, it's not even our friend.  It keeps us under control of the exile and prevents us from realizing our Divine destiny.

I know immediately that people with little faith will say, "I agree with you on an ideological level, but we have to be realistic."  What they really mean is that they are comfortable with things the way they are.  They are afraid of being truly independent of the nations and totally dependent on HKB"H because they aren't certain that He really exists or is really actively involved in our lives and what happens here in His own chosen Land;  the same reasons why many Jews fail to make aliyah.

No, you won't find me at a demonstration in favor of Democracy - one of the false gods of our age.  I'll be home praying that HKB"H will deliver us from this attachment to Edom and the regime of the Erev Rav and restore our nation to its own Torah laws and the Torah way of governance.  

I hope my readers will join me.

21 July 2023

"Shabbat of Vision"

 3 Av 5783
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Shabbat Chazon - Parashat Devarim

Can you see it?

The Stone Edition Chumash...

[Moshe Rabbeinu]  "Hashem, our God, spoke to us in Horeb, saying: Enough of your dwelling by this mountain.  Turn yourselves around and journey, and come to the Amorite mountain and all its neighbors, in the Arabah, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south, and at the seacoast; the land of the Canaanite and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River.  See!  I have given the Land before you; come and possess the Land that Hashem swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them and their children after them." (Devarim 1.6-8)

Chumash Commentary...

After almost a year at Mount Sinai, God gave the order to begin the journey to the Land.  Among the regions listed in this passage are the lands of Ammon, Moab, and Seir, and territory as far north as the Euphrates River, but none of them are within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34:1-12.  These regions were among those promised to Abraham (Genesis 15-18-19; see Rashi there), and they would have been part of Eretz Yisrael if the Jews had gone directly to the Land at this point, as God commanded them.  Because they sinned in the affair of the spies, however, these parts of the oath to Abraham will become part of Eretz Yisrael only with the coming of Messiah.

Chumash Commentary on the Haftarah [Yeshayahu 1.1-27]...

This Haftarah, the final one of the "three of affliction," is always read on the Sabbath that precedes Tisha b'Av.  As R' Mendel Hirsch points out, the prophet does not lament because the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed; rather, he laments over the underlying causes of that destruction.  And this annual lesson serves to focus the national mourning of Tisha b'Av not to the past but to the present.  It is not enough to bemoan the great loss suffered by our people with the Destruction of our Land, our Holy City, and our Holy Temple.  We must use our mourning as a way of initiating an examination of our present-day feelings, thoughts and deeds.  What have we done to eliminate the attitudes and practices that thousands of years ago sent our ancestors into exile - not once, but twice?  

How have we improved our approach to the Divine Service as a way of life, a life devoted to duty rather than a substitute for it?  Are our verbal offerings, like the animal offerings described by the prophet, merely perfunctorily performed rituals, never internalized, never spoken from the heart, just from the lips and outward?  And as R' Hirsch puts it, "Is our Jewish contemporary present already so deeply imbued with the Jewish spirit, so filled with the Jewish way of thinking, with knowledge of Judaism, with knowledge of the all-comprising and deep contents of the Torah that it could form a worthy environment for a Temple of God to be erected in our midst?  Does not the gulf between Israel and its God yawn perhaps wider than ever?"

 Rebbe Yochanan said, “The son of David will not come until the whole generation is meritorious, or blameworthy.” (Sanhedrin)  We can see now the true meaning of that statement as this generation, in the past few years, has been choosing which side it is on.  When HKB"H decides that the birrur is complete, every person will have earned his designation as either "meritorious or blameworthy."  This example from yesterday is a case in point.  Can anyone doubt how firmly this person has chosen their own fate...

Life is just chock full of these experiences right now.  It appears to be the main task of our present time as the Creator of the World contends with his creatures to know who is worth saving and who is not.  This world has always been about preparation for the World to Come.  Not everyone will make the cut.  But, if not, it was by their own choice.  

Right now, I just feel like the reward of the righteous would be to not have to live any longer in a world with people who wish to hurt others.


20 July 2023

(Repost) What to Expect from the Transition Phase of the Messianic Era

2 Av 5783

(Reposting from July 17, 2016/12 Tamuz 5776)

Excerpted from Redemption Unfolding by Alexander Aryeh Mandelbaum (Chapter 11, Birthpangs of the World of Mashiach):

The Pains of the Transition Process

In the writings of the Maharal [1520-1609] we find a profound insight into this issue.

He wrote (Netzach Yisrael, Chapter 36) that in nature, all transitions, from one condition to another, involve yissurim. For example, the period of transition from summer to winter, or winter to summer, often brings on physical and/or emotional ailments. Similarly, the period of transition from childhood to adulthood is known to be a very difficult time, during which the teenager and everyone around him or her are prone to tensions and misunderstandings.

So, too, wrote the Maharal, the transition to the system of the Messianic Age will involve yissurim

The Messianic Era

Many of us were brought up to think that in the Messianic era, the world will continue to exist as it exists today, albeit with a few improvements. Wealth and peace will be abundant; life will be full of happiness and contentment. However, the Maharal (Netzach Yisrael, Chapter 47) wrote, this is a superficial and unrealistic understanding of the times of Moshiach. In reality, a complete change will come over the world, to the extent that the world of Moshiach will be considered a new creation in comparison to the world as we know it.

Our Sages said (see Maharal, ibid.) that the world of Moshiach will be a spiritual world of true reality. It says in Tehillim (126:1): "...with the return of Zion [we understood that we had been] dreaming." When we witness the spiritual world of Moshiach, we will understand that our current world was superficial, unreal - a fantasy dream (Machsheves Charutz 3).


The Changeover of Systems

In that new world all the old systems will undergo regeneration.

An example of such a changeover of systems is the birth of a baby. At the exact moment of birth all of the life support systems of the fetus (respiratory, blood systems, etc.) undergo a radical change. The systems that enabled life in the womb would cause instant death outside the womb. Likewise, if the new life support systems took over inside the womb, they, too would cause death to the fetus.

Our Sages called the troubles before the coming of Moshiach, 'birth pangs of the Moshiach.' Just as birth pangs precede and actuate the changing of the life systems, so too the troubles of Ikvesa DeMashicha allow for the changeover of world systems, from our present world to the world of Moshiach.

The World of True Reality

The transition to the world of Moshiach necessitates the negation of all of the false systems which abound in our world.

In this vein, Rav Eliyahu Dessler wrote (Michtav Me'Eliyahu, Part 3, page 205): "The destruction of Edom [our last exile] will only come through the destruction of this world [as we know it]. The Holy One Blessed be He will cause the very foundations of life on earth to collapse. Tranquility will be disrupted, personal lives will be filled with worry, fear and yissurim, and the entire world will cower in dread of destruction and devastation.... Only then will the light of Moshiach be revealed - 'and the saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Eisav....' (Ovadya 1:21).

"For only by achieving nullification and obliteration of this world will mankind be able to rise up and see with a true spiritual perspective. Then the kingdom of Edom will be destroyed, and the light of Moshiach will be revealed."

19 July 2023

Living in the Time of Destruction

1 Av 5783
Rosh Chodesh

Thus begins the Nine Days of Av - "acute" days of mourning over the loss of our Beit Hamikdash...

The Book of Our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov:

Since the day of the destruction of the Beis Ha-Mikdash, an iron wall has separated Israel and her Father in Heaven, and the Shechinah has withdrawn to Heaven.  Others say that the Shechinah will never leave the Western Wall.  It is as if God has no joy or happiness until Jerusalem is rebuilt and the people of Israel are restored to her.

The gates of prayer were locked and prophecy was removed from the Prophets and given to the Sages, to the foolish and to the children.  The urim v'tumim have ceased and there is no longer leadership from the House of David.  God has only the four amos of the Halachah, for the Destruction did not affect the halachic process and it remains as strong today as it was before the Destruction.

Since the time of the Destruction, it was decreed that the houses of the righteous would be destroyed.  Wise counsel was taken from us, and great men of faith have ceased from Israel.  The scholars are ashamed.  There are few men of righteousness, and the physically strong and verbally facile prevail.  The Sages are considered to be like scribes, the scribes like public officials, and the public officials like the ignorant, and there is no day without its attendant curse.

Since the time of the Destruction of the Beis Ha-Mikdash, the firmament has not been seen in its purity, the rains no longer fall from the storehouse of bounty and have become scant, and the dew does not provide blessing.  The fruits have lost their taste and the wine is no longer full-bodied.  The sweet cinnamon plant has been hidden, the shamir no longer exists, there is no dripping honey, white crystal has disappeared, meat has lost its flavor, physical pleasure has been given over to those who transgress, and the world lacks true healing.

There is no way that we, so long after the Destruction, can even imagine what its loss means - for the entire world.

18 July 2023

Payback Time for the Nations?

 29 Tammuz 5783
Erev Rosh Chodesh
Yom Kippur Katan

"For lo, the sun comes, glowing like a furnace, and all the audacious sinners and all the perpetrators of wickedness will be stubble. And the sun that comes shall burn them up so that it will leave them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of Hosts." (Malachi 3.19)


Our Sun is raging... 

Russian scientists warn of powerful solar flare activity on Monday

Powerful Solar Flare, S2 Proton Storm at Earth, Super-Wide CME

Unprecedented scale of heat suffering...

We're coming into The Nine Days...

The nations burned down G-d's House in the month of Av - twice!  Surely, the nations have forgotten the role they played and that payday would arrive at the End of Days.
"...the Lord God of Hosts, for your day has come, the time I visit retribution upon you.  ...I will kindle fire in his cities, and it shall consume all those around him.  ...it is the time of the Lord's vengeance;  ...tell in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His Temple."  (Yirmiyahu 50)
May all our mourning turn to joy this Tisha b'Av!

17 July 2023

Don't Be Afraid and Don't Lose Hope

 28 Tammuz 5783

Often, my mind wanders back down the COVID corridors of time and I always think about how the entire world was brought under control by FEAR.  And then I think about how Rebbe Nachman said not to fear at all; that this was the "main thing" - the ikkar - just not to fear at all.  And then lately, I've been thinking also about how they made this bold promise to the entire world:  "This is the new normal.  It will never go back to the way it was before."  And then, I see that this also was a tactic to demoralize us and make us feel hopeless alongside the fear - a double whammy - because they were unable to keep that promise.  

Therefore, to Rebbe Nachman's "just don't fear at all," I would also add to keep your hopes up, because our hope is in HKB"H and His love for us and His ability and willingness to keep the promises He made to us through our holy prophets - the geulah will come and we will be redeemed, no matter how long it takes.

Although my doom-and-gloom messages don't always reflect it, I tend to be overly optimistic in my assessments of current events, or maybe just eternally hopeful.  All of the evidence would seem to indicate that the covert war going on between the US and Iran will necessarily go head-to-head at some point.  Iran has tentacles extended in every direction.  They can choose to attack the US mainland or they can strike at their bases abroad.  I still have beloved family in the US.  I'd rather Iran stick to its own neighborhood, even though I live in it.  We have Divine protection in EY.  That's why I was hoping that the July 14th "siege" on the US Embassy in Baghdad would be their opening shot.  Too hopeful, I guess.

I think it is safe to say that Syria is likely to be the epicenter for whatever comes next.  Just look at the recent headlines:

The world is sitting on a giant powder keg and based on the Yalkut Shimoni - "Paras will go and destroy the whole world" - it's my opinion that Iran, while maybe not the one who lights it, will be the instigating cause for it being lit.  The prophet Ovadyah wrote:  "And the house of Jacob shall be fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble, and they shall ignite them and consume them, and the house of Esau shall have no survivors, for the Lord has spoken."

16 July 2023

"The Messianic Process" : A Review

 27 Tammuz 5783

For those who have forgotten, or who missed it when originally posted in 2015/5775, a review of Rabbi Aryeh Carmell's "The Messianic Process" is in order.  The news these days is full of adjectives like "unprecedented, historical, apocalyptic," even "Biblical".  Whether it is weather disasters or political upheaval, the media wants us to know that we are now in uncharted territory.  This is one of the clearest signs that we have reached a point of no return where all of this chaos and confusion only ends when Mashiach comes to power. 

What functions (or not) as the Israeli government today is a poor copy of a Western-style democracy which does not work for a Torah-based society.  Not only does the current Israeli form of government have to be replaced, the Western powers which it imitates and which prop it up and keep it going for their own interests have to lose their ability to influence and enforce it.  As Rabbi Carmell writes:  "The ultimate failure of the empire of Edom will give rise to a new and different kingdom- the Kingdom of the Messiah.  ...the kingdom of the Messiah emerges from the breakdown of Western civilization."

An honest assessment of the absolute bankruptcy of Western culture today, again indicates how close we are to the revelation of Mashiach.  Everybody knows that the world can't possibly continue the way it is today.  A global revolution is already underway.

What follows is priceless information and critical to know since we have now reached the very point of the "falling off of the husks."  It explains everything that is happening around us, so please be sure to read to the very end.

Who is the Messiah?
By Rabbi Aryeh Carmell

The Messianic Process

It is a cardinal tenet of Jewish faith that the events of history are all foreshadowed in the several layers of meaning that lie behind the surface words of our Tanach. For Tanach is not merely a book of history or legislation on how to live our lives. It is also a book of prophecy whose subtle messages are not only found in the formal prophetic texts, but throughout the Tanach and the Oral Tradition, which accompanies it.

What of the momentous events of the end of the twentieth century: the establishment of a Jewish state, its dramatic victories and conquests, and the apparently irrevocable retreats and withdrawals that we have witnessed in recent years? Where are these alluded to in our sacred sources?

1. The Zohar predicts that "at the end of days G-d will return Israel to the Holyland and gather them in from the exile," emphasizing that at the same time that "the end of days" refers here not to the messianic era but to the closing years of the exile - the era which will have seen terrible and devastating blows dealt to the Jewish people.

But 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.

2. 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". (Kingdom is, of course synonymous with "state".)
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 Revolution

The 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.

Yet it appears that the "kingdom of Israel" in its infancy (and here "kingdom" means both state and cultural entity) is still definitely "attached to Edom". Could Maharal, from his 16th century vantage point, be referring to the reality of the State of Israel today?

But why does the Messiah have to "sit at the gates of Rome"? Why does the holy have to "grow out of the unholy"?

Maharal here touches upon a principle of universal import. According to an idea enunciated by Rabbi E.E. Dessler, one of the foremost exponents of Mussar in the 20th century, the highest levels of holiness can be reached only as a reaction to a situation which is steeped in the very opposite of holiness. Avraham Avinu became the spiritual pioneer that he was only because he grew up in the house of Terah the idol maker. This spurred him to rebel against Nimrod and the ten generations of idolators who preceeded him. Moshe Rabbenu only became the greatest of all prophets because he was brought up in the palace of Pharaoh. His revolution against the evil he saw in the palace propelled him to heights that no other human being ever achieved. Similarly, the Messiah grows to full stature only because he "dwells at the gates of Rome". He must be challenged by the value system of the West, rebel against it and overcome it. It is thus fair to say that the "Messianic Kingdom" must begin its career as part of Western civilization, but can reach its full potential only by rejecting those aspects of that civilization which are destructive to Torah life. This husk must fall off for the Messianic ideal to be revealed in all its purity.

3. But what of the fruit which is silently reaching maturity within its husk? And how does the husk eventually fall off?

Maharal is silent on these processes.

For further enlightenment, we must turn to a passage in the Talmud, in Sanhedrin, (Perek Helek 97b-98a). The sugya - part of a wide-ranging discussion of the coming of the Messiah consists of two beraitot.

The first beraita is relatively brief:

The Rabbi taught: Rabbi Eliezer states that if Israel repent they will be redeemed, and if not, they will not be redeemed. Said to him Rabbi Yehoshua: And if they fail to repent, they will not be redeemed? [Surely Jewish history must culminate in redemption?] But the Holy One blessed be He, will raise up against them a king whose decrees will be as harsh as those of Haman [i.e. G-d forbid, the utter destruction of the Jewish nation, men, women and children] and they will repent and so He will restore them to the path of goodness.

According to this source, it appears that Rabbi Eliezer's view wins the day. Repentance will be the outcome, even if the repentance is in a sense forced upon the people. But the sugya continues:

Another beraita: Rabbi Eliezer states that if Israel repent, they will be redeemed, as it says [citing a biblical verse implying this]. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him, but does it not say [citing another verse implying the opposite]?

Three times Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua exchange verses without reaching any resolution of the dispute. But in the fourth round Rabbi Yehoshua cites a verse in Daniel which is clearly conclusive, and in fact the beraita ends: "Rabbi Eliezer was silent." What is the verse with which Daniel concludes the argument?

In Daniel 12:6 the question raised: when is the end of wonders? [i.e. when is the end of the exile?]. And the reply is given in dramatic terms in the following verse (12:7), which is the one finally cited by Rabbi Yehoshua:

"I heard the man attired in white linen [the angel Gabriel] above the waters of the River and he raised his right hand and left hand to the heavens and swore by the Life of the World, that by a season, seasons and a half, and at the conclusion of the extension of power of the nation of holiness, all these things shall cease".

Rashi's Opinion

On which Rashi comments as follows (Sanhedrin 98a):

That 'by a season, seasons': So we see there is an "end" involved [although the precise meaning is obscure, it certainly refers to a date, and it can therefore not be dependent on repentance]? And at the conclusion of the extension of power of the nation of holiness. When an end comes to their tekuma [national revival] and the power of their [military] might, which had previously spread further and further, [with] power and efficiency to advance this way and that - after their might shall end, so that they become very low - [All these things] shall cease. All the troubles [shall cease] and the Messiah will come; as it says [Devarim 32:36]: "...and He will see their power is gone..."

Is Rashi here reading Daniel as referring to the emergence of a Jewish state at the end of the Exile, but before the coming of the Messiah? Certainly the "military might" and "territorial conquest," which Rashi deduces on the basis of the verse in Daniel, can be predicated only on an independent state. Rashi also points to this as a harbinger of the Messiah: they will become "shefalah me'od" ("very low"). As Deut. 32:36 puts it; "their power is gone". At that point their troubles will cease and the Messiah will come.

This reading of Rashi, on it face, is surprising. How do retreat and failing military might lead to the Messiah? Are these the "husks" of Maharal - the attachment to Western values - which must fall off before the Messiah can be revealed?

One cannot be certain in such matters, of course, but Rashi's reading of the verse in Daniel does suggest a fresh perspective on contemporary events. For example, must the power and might of a secular state be deflated before G-d can reveal Himself eschatologically? Are the bitterness of withdrawal and the sense of helplessness in the face of suicide bombers an integral step in the process which Rashi calls "shefalah me'od"?

"A Generation Either Wholly Meritorious, or Wholly Guilty"

Later on in the same folio of Sanhedrin to which we have already referred (98a) we find the well-known statement of Rabbi Yochanan: "The son of David (theMessiah) will come either in a generation, which is wholly meritorious, or in one that is wholly guilty". Much thought has been given to the question why a wholly guilty generation should be more likely to bring the Messiah than a mediocre one.

In fact, whatever the reason may be, we recall that Rabbi Yehoshua (in the sugya cited above) insisted that repentance is not always a necessary prerequisite for redemption to come in such circumstances.

In the two beraitot in which his views are expressed as Rabbi Yehoshua proposes two different solutions: (1) "a king whose decrees resemble Haman's"; (2) "The end of power of the nation of holiness. It may well be that these two solutions represent two different scenarios, which have actually occurred, or are actually occurring in our time.

Some 50-60 years ago we felt on our own flesh the cruel harshness of the "decree like Haman's", in which we lost a third of our nation including 90% of its Torah adherents. But neither the threat nor the execution resulted in a mass movement of teshuva on the lines of Megilat Esther (4:3) as interpreted by our Sages. True, a few years later we encountered a new phenomenon, unique in our history. Young Jewish people, all over the world, began searching for their roots and avidly studying Torah at yeshivot of a new type, specially created for them, and then applying what they learned to their own lives. Yet however significant and full of portent this ongoing "teshuva movement" may be, it has not taken on the proportions of a mass movement and therefore does not seem likely to fulfill the requirements of Rabbi Yehoshua.

Since the potential of the first scenario does not appear to have been fully realized, the second scenario is put in operation. Divine providence uses the wills and purposes of human agents to foster the rise ("tekuma") of a Jewish state. The state operates within the framework of the "Fourth Empire" (Western civilization) and sets itself to resist the messianic, spiritual goals of the Torah. Is it this attachment to the Western civilization that Maharal considers a "husk" which must "fall off" if the true messianic "fruit" is to be revealed? Could this be the question, which Rashi is addressing? The "fall off" will be initiated; it seems, by a series of retreats from previous military conquests, until the state is "brought very low".

It is still not clear however how the revolutionaries' switch from Western ideology to messianic idealism will be made. The old question still confronts us. How can a generation of the guilty (even if the majority is "guilty" only as a result of biased education and media manipulation) be brought to accept, and even yearn for the messianic redemption?

"The Lights of the Messiah"

Rabbi E.E. Dessler raises the question. He suggests that divine providence will "cause the light of the Messiah to shine before the coming of the Messiah and draw the hearts of the people towards truth". What this means has to do with the most basic differences between Western beliefs and the Torah outlook. The West is convinced of the randomness and undirectedness of life and history, while Torah thought recognizes the reality, however unobtrusive, of divine providence. Sometimes events occur which cannot be explained by chance. The odds against there being random coincidences are simply too great, and the recognition of a guiding hand becomes inevitable. These are "the lights of the Messiah". We experienced hidden miracles of this sort in 1967 during the Six-Day War and in 1991 during the Gulf War. During the latter episode 39 Scud missiles exploded in the heavily built up Tel Aviv area. In the Iran-Iraq war every such explosion outside Israel cost an average of 29 lives, but in Israel there was inexplicably virtually no loss of life. But the effects of such isolated events such as these are in most cases only transitory. The amazement and excitement soon die down and realization takes over.

In the case of the "lights of Messiah", what may be envisaged is a series of events of such duration and intensity that it will be very difficult to deny the guiding hand behind them. Difficult, but not impossible. For some people it will always be (for personal reasons) preferable to believe the utterly improbable rather than to accept that there is a crack in the facade of apparently random events which seem to make up our world. And this is all for the good. The fact that some find it possible to accept this option gives merit to all those who opt for the logic of the situation and accept the reality of the crack. Since nothing prevents one seeing the hand of G-d more than a sense of self-importance and self-sufficiency, it is clear why deflation of the national ego is a necessary prelude to the messianic revolution.

We must envisage that all this occurs at a very dramatic and perilous moment. We must imagine ourselves at the "very low point" envisaged by Rashi. As a result of her withdrawals Israel has become very vulnerable and her enemies are poised to strike. It is at this critical juncture that divine providence steps in and the amazing coincidences occur which result in the salvation of Israel. Rashi reminds us that this whole scenario is briefly but dramatically recounted in the Song of Haazinu (Devarim 32: 36-39):

"For He will see that the power is gone,
That there is nothing firm or sound.
And he will say...
See now: it is I - I am the one
I bring death as I bring life;
I strike, and I heal."

The words "see now: it is I..." is G-d's invitation to us to accept the reality of His intervention in history. Once this is accepted, and the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of Fourth Empire thought are overthrown, the rest of the messianic revolution come into being.

Having suggested what Maharal might have meant by the falling off of the husks, we could now examine his other image: the fruit ripening slowly within the husk - fruit that is revealed when the husk is cast off. This fruit, he claims, is the Messianic kingdom itself, first concealed and then revealed. This requires some elucidation.

Perhaps the fruit represents those lives which are committed to avodat HaShem, the service of G-d in the broadest possible sense. They constitute the nascent Messianic period before the kingdom is revealed for all to see, for it is they who, by rejecting the values of the Fourth Empire are casting off its husks and making it possible for the Messiah to become manifest.
Thus there are two processes advancing simultaneously. There is our effort down here to advance the messianic goals, and there is the action of divine providence - in the guise of human political decisions - to weaken the husk... until suddenly, the "end" will be reached, the husk will fall off, the revolution will arrive and the Messiah will be revealed.

What emerges from this discussion is the ripening of the Messianic fruit in our human hand. As the fruit ripens, Divine Providence weakens the husk, and the Kingdom of G-d is poised to make its appearance on the stage of history.

1: Zohar III. 270a
2: Shemot Rabba 1:26
3: Maharal: Gevurot ch.18. In our sources Esav is equated with Edom: Bereshit 25:30)
And Edom, or rather one chieftain of Edom is equated with Rome (Bereshit Rabba 83:4 and Rashi, end of Parshat Vayishlach) and Rome with the Fourth Empire (see below).
1: Gevorot Hashem ibid. Maharal
2: Netzach Yisrael ch. 28
3: Michtav Me-Eliyahu 1,159, Strive For Truth! II, 181-5. E.g. Rabbi E.E. Dessler: Michtav Me-Eliyahu 1,159; II, 87, III, 222; IV, 135; and Strive For Truth! II, 181-5
4: B.T. Shabbat 88a
5: Michtav Me-Eliyahu Vol.V P.295