"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21
Posted on July 20, 2011 by Avraham Sutton
Posted in Written Torah

 

We are living in a very special time, an EndTime. Many prophecies have already come true, and the fulfillment of many more may just be around the corner. We have returned to our land after two thousand years:

Thus says Hashem: Now I will restore the captivity of Yaacov, and have compassion on the entire House of Israel… When I have brought them back from among the nations and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands; when I am sanctified among them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Eternal One, Hashem their God. I am the One who caused them to be exiled among the nations, and I am the One who will gather them back to their own land, leaving not one of them there any more. Then, I shall no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit [of prophecy] on the House of Israel, says Hashem (Ezekiel 39:25-29).1

But what about the negative prophecies? What are we to do when almost the entire world gangs up against us? Hashem promised us that He will save us, but isn’t so simple. We dare not just sit back and think that we will be saved. We must search deeply within our souls for the answers, for our connection to our Creator.

For instance, we have one little prophecy from the Zohar: The prophet Zechariah wrote: “Behold [O Jerusalem], the day of the Lord comes when your spoils shall be divided in your midst. For I will gather the nations against Jerusalem for battle” (14:1).

The Zohar comments (1:119a):

All the nations shall unite together against the daughter of Yaacov in order to annihilate her from the face of the earth. Concerning that time it is written, “It will be a time of crisis for Yaacov, but he shall be saved from it” (Jeremiah 30:7)… At that time, the children of Yishmael will rouse all the peoples of the world to come up to war against Jerusalem, as it is written, “For I will gather the nations against Jerusalem for battle…” (Zechariah 14:2). Also, “The kings of the earth stand up and the rulers take counsel together against Hashem and against His anointed… He who sits in the heavens will laugh. G-d will mock them” (Psalm 2:2, 4).

In another place the Zohar reveals the true identity of the leaders of these nations who will gather against Israel (2:58b):

In the future, the Holy One will bring back to life [reincarnate] all the kings who harmed Israel, destroying the Temple and Jerusalem. [These include Roman emperors] Hadrian and Lipinus, [as well as Babylonian kings] Nevuchadnezzar and Sancheriv, and all other rulers of peoples who brought about the destruction of His Temple. He will bring them all back together [at the same time] and give them power [over their respective peoples]. The remaining nations will also gather with them [against Israel]. The Holy One will then punish them publicly [in the eyes of all mankind]. [This entire scenario will be brought to its climax] in the environs surrounding Jerusalem. This is the meaning of the verse, “This is the plague with which G-d will smite all the peoples who tzav’u [waged war] against Jerusalem…” It is not written yitzve’u [who will wage war in the future] but tzav’u [who waged war in the past — indicating that all these peoples and their leaders will be reincarnated and together attempt to do in the future what they individually succeeded in doing in the past].

In Ezekiel 38 we read about Gog:

Hashem says to Gog, “I am against you, Gog… I will put hooks in your cheeks (meaning, I will put a desire in you that is so strong that you will not be able to resist it), and I will lead you and your entire army… and many nations with you… Get ready Gog, prepare yourself, you and all your troops… In the distant future you will march against a land restored from the sword, whose people have been gathered from many peoples… You will march against the long desolate mountains of Israel… You will come up, approaching like a storm, like a cloud covering the earth. You and all your divisions and many peoples with you…. In the distant future you will march against My people, Israel, like a cloud covering God’s land, Gog, I will bring you to My land so the nations will know Me, when I become sanctified through you as they watch.”

And in Chapter 39:

“I am against you, Gog… I will destroy you. I will bring you up from the more distant parts of the north, to the mountains of Israel… You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your divisions, and all the peoples with you.”

No question that it’s all true. The danger is extremely real. But we must know one very important fact: Hashem loves us so much. And He wants to help us.

He wouldn’t be putting us in this situation time and again if He didn’t love us so much. He just wants us to call to Him. To really call, from the depths of our hearts, with all the awareness of the physical danger to ourselves, our loved ones, to all mankind. To pray with all the awareness of imminent danger, but with one difference: that Hashem loves us and wants to save us. He just wants us to open up our hearts and to really know that He is here.

This is what Hashem asked of us at the Red Sea:

וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל הָעָם אַל תִּירָאוּ. הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת יְשׁוּעַת ה‘ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה לָכֶם הַיּוֹם. כִּי אֲשֶׁר רְאִיתֶם אֶת מִצְרַיִם הַיּוֹם לֹא תֹסִפוּ לִרְאֹתָם עוֹד עַד עוֹלָם: ה‘ יִלָּחֵם לָכֶם וְאַתֶּם תַּחֲרִשׁוּן:

Moshe said to the people: Do not fear! Stand steady and behold the salvation that Hashem is about to bring you today! For you are now seeing Mitzrayim for the last time today. You will never see them again, forever.Hashem will fight for youyou must just remain still (Ex. 14:13-14).

In Jeremiah 29 we read:

כִּי אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי אֶת הַמַּחֲשָׁבֹת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי חשֵׁב עֲלֵיכֶם נְאֻם ה‘. מַחְשְׁבוֹת שָׁלוֹם וְלֹא לְרָעָה לָתֵת לָכֶם אַחֲרִית וְתִקְוָה: וּקְרָאתֶם אֹתִי וַהֲלַכְתֶּם וְהִתְפַּלַּלְתֶּם אֵלָי וְשָׁמַעְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם: וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּם אֹתִי וּמְצָאתֶם כִּי תִדְרְשֻׁנִי בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם:

For I know the thoughts that I have towards you, says Hashem. They are thoughts of peace; not for evil; [it is all in order] to give you acharit ve’tikvah [an end that filled with hope]. But you must call to Me. You will then find Me, for you will have searched with all your hearts (29:11-13).

When we connect to that deepest place of knowing that Hashem is here with us—that He is the ONE who is running the show—then all of a sudden, those people and their bombs and their evil machinations, they’re not so big. They’ve shrunk to the level of ants.

Each one of us—and all of us together—connecting to the Infinite Source. That’s what it’s all about. Connecting the finite to the Infinite, and bringing more of the Infinite into the finite.

With this we now have the proper perspective to understand the time we are living in. We are living just before the dawn of the Messianic Age. This is why we have been born now. In addition to fixing whatever has to be fixed from previous lifetimes, we have come to participate in the great awakening. We are part of the GREAT DRAMA OF THE SOULS.

Prophecy is just about to be restored. Spiritual sight and understanding. The deeper reasons behind things, including the spiritual powers that operate behind the scenes. And most importantly of all, the Spiritual Power behind all. See how the Torah speaks:

וּפַרְעֹה הִקְרִיב וַיִּשְׂאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת עֵינֵיהֶם וְהִנֵּה מִצְרַיִם נֹסֵעַ אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאוּ מְאֹד וַיִּצְעֲקוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל ה‘:

“As Pharaoh drew close, bnei Yisrael lifted up their eyes, and behold,Mitzrayim [Rashi: i.e., the angel-prince of Egypt] was following behind them; they were terrified; and bnei Yisrael cried out to Hashem” (Exodus 14:10, according to Rashi, based on Devarim Rabbah 1:22).

Barukh Hashem, immediately after this, we saw:

Mitzrayim met al sfat ha’yam—[the angel-prince of] Egypt dead(singular) on the shore of the sea” (Exodus 14:30).

Let’s look at Daniel. The entire seventh chapter of Daniel is devoted to Daniel’s vision of the four empires that would rule the world. He envisioned these empires in the form of four immense, terrifying beasts, followed by the eternal kingdom of the Mashiach:

In my vision at night I was watching when, behold, the four winds of heaven began stirring up the great sea. Four immense beasts then rose up from the sea, each one different from the other. The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings. I was watching until [I saw] its wings were plucked and it was removed from the earth… And behold, another beast, a second one, similar to a bear… After this, I was watching, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four bird’s wings on its back. The beast had four heads, and it was given dominion.

After this, I was watching in night visions, and behold, a fourth beast exceedingly terrifying, awesome, and strong. With immense iron teeth, it was consuming and crumbling, and trampling the rest [i.e., the other beasts] with its feet. It was distinct from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns. I was contemplating the horns, and behold, another horn, a small one, rose up among them, uprooting three of the first horns. And behold, eyes like human eyes were in this horn, and a mouth speaking haughty words.

I watched until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days sat. His garment was as white as snow, and the hair of His head was like clean wool. His throne was of fiery flames; its wheels blazing fire. A stream of fire flowed forth from before Him; a thousand thousands [i.e., one million angels] were serving Him, and myriad myriads [one-hundred million lesser angels] stood before Him. The judgment was set, and the books were opened.

I watched: Because of the voice of the haughty words which the horn had spoken, I watched until the beast was slain and its body destroyed, and consigned to a consuming fire. As for the other beasts, their dominion was taken away, yet their life was prolonged until a season and time.

I was watching in night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven, one like a man came. He approached the Ancient of Days, and they brought him before Him. He gave him dominion, glory, and kingship. Peoples, nations, and languages will serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion. It will not pass away. His kingship will never be destroyed.

As for me, Daniel, my spirit was uneasy in its sheath [body], and the visions of my mind bewildered me. I approached one of the standing ones [angels], and I asked him the truth concerning all this. He spoke to me and made the meaning of these things known to me: “These immense beasts, all four of them, are four empires that will rise up…” (Daniel 7:3-17).

In chapter eight, Daniel sees yet another terrifying vision:

I saw in the vision that I was at the Ulai River.2 I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram is standing before the river, and it has horns; and the horns are high, but one is higher than the other; and the higher one is coming up last. I saw the ram goring westward and northward and southward, and no beasts could stand before it, nor could anyone rescue [anyone else] from it. It did as it wished, and it grew.

I was contemplating, and behold, the he-goat comes from the west, across the face of the whole earth, not touching the ground. And the he-goat had a conspicuous horn between its eyes. It came up to the horned ram I had seen standing before the river, and ran at it with the fury of its might. I saw it reach the ram. It fought bitterly with it, and smote the ram and broke its two horns. The ram did not have the strength to stand before it. It [the he-goat] threw it to the ground and trampled it, and there was no one to rescue the ram from it… (Daniel 8:2-7).

The angel Gavriel appears to Daniel and reveals to him, “The horned ram that you saw are the kings of Madai/Media and Paras/Persia. And the he-goat is the kingdom of Yavan/Greece” (ibid. 8:20-21).

Following this, the arch-angel Gavriel reveals details of the distant future to Daniel. As a result of this angelic revelation Daniel is so upset that he mourns and prays for three weeks: “In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no tasty bread, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I anoint myself, until the completion of three weeks” (ibid. 10:2-3).3

Finally, at the conclusion of the tenth chapter of Daniel, we are told how Gavriel, together with Michael, the heavenly spiritual advocate of Yisrael, stood up against the angel-prince of Paras/Persia:

He [Gavriel] said to me, “Daniel, do not fear! For from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to fast before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come now in the merit of your words [or: in the merit of your prayers I have now been allowed to enter before the divine throne to plead on Israel’s behalf (Yoma 77a)]. The heavenly prince of the kingdom of Paras/Persia stood opposed to me for twenty-one days, when, behold, Michael, one of the foremost heavenly princes, came to help me, and I remained there beside the kings of Paras/Persia [to block them]” (Daniel 10:12-13).

“Now I will return to battle with the heavenly prince of Paras/Persia; then I will depart. But behold, the heavenly prince of Yavan/Greece approaches. All I will tell you now is inscribed in truthful [i.e., unalterable] writing [i.e., though I cannot be of help against the Greeks as I was with the Persians, I will at least forewarn you about what is about to befall your nation]. And no one reinforces me against these [decreed events] except your heavenly prince, Michael” (ibid. 10:20-21).

Right after Gavriel and Michael succeed in overcoming the angel of Paras(thus spelling the end of the Persian empire), the angel of Yavan/Greece appears to take its place. All Gavriel is able to do now is to tell Daniel what will happen. Verses 1-39 of chapter eleven are Gavriel’s detailed prophecy about Israel’s oppression under Greek rule. The remaining five verses at the end of chapter eleven, plus all thirteen verses of the twelfth and final chapter of Daniel take us into the future again, to the end of the fourth empire, the empire of Rome.

The principle here is: Every nation/empire (except Yisrael, whose spiritual power is Hashem) has an angelic-prince in heaven through which it rises to the status of a world power. In order to neutralize the power of that nation/empire, it is only necessary to neutralize its spiritual power source; that nation/empire will then automatically fall.

By revealing to Daniel what transpired in heaven with these angel-princes, Gavriel was informing him what would eventually transpire on earth:

The time allotted for the Persian empire to rule the world would come to an end; it would then be followed by the rise of the Greek empire, which would be followed by the Roman empire, which would be followed by the Messianic Kingdom.

According to our Torah, this is how history works. Each of the four empires that would rule the world (Babylon followed by Persia, followed by Greece, followed by Rome) received its power to rule from Hashem via its heavenly angel-prince. In each case except the last empire, another angel-prince replaced its predecessor.

The last empire, Rome, will not be replaced by another angel. Its end (demise) will rather coincide with the end of the physical world as we know it—which will signal the beginning of the Messianic Era (see below).

How do we deal with our enemies—physical and spiritual? On Rosh Hashanah we take different foods (dates, pomegranates, leeks, and other symbolic foods)—and playing on the double meaning implied in each—say a special prayer:

On tamarim (dates):

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה‘ אֱלֹקֵינוּ וֵאלֹקֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּתַּמּוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשֹוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ:

May it be Your will, Hashem our God and God of our ancestors, sh’yitamu(to put an end to) our foes and our enemies and all who seek to harm us.

On karti (leeks):

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה‘ אֱלֹקֵינוּ וֵאלֹקֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּכָּרְתוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשֹוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ:

May it be Your will, Hashem our God and God of our ancestors,sh’yikaretu (to cut off) our foes and our enemies and all who seek to harm us.

On silka (swiss chard):

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה‘ אֱלֹקֵינוּ וֵאלֹקֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּסְתַּלְּקוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשֹוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ:

May it be Your will, Hashem our God and God of our ancestors, sh’yistalku(to remove) our foes and our enemies and all who seek to harm us.

According to the Ben Ish Chai, our “foes” refers to our outer, physical enemies; our “enemies” refers to our inner, psychological” enemies created by our sins; and “all who seek to harm us” refers to our spiritual enemies (Ben Ish ChaiParashat Nitzavim 4).

Isn’t it obvious that all these “enemies” are different faces of the same thing?4 When we become disconnected within, the corresponding spiritual forces of evil are empowered, which in turn give our physical enemies the ability to harm us, God forbid.

Conversely, when we fix ourselves, return in teshuvah, and thereby re-align ourselves with Hashem, we automatically remove (and even sweeten) any accusations or judgments that may be hanging over us in heaven, which then neutralizes (and even transforms) any outer, physical enemy who might have wanted to harm us.

As we saw above, the last empire, Rome, will not be replaced by another angel. Its end (demise) will rather coincide with the end of the physical world as we know it—which will signal the beginning of the Messianic Era. This, according to the Maharal, is one of the messages we get from Yaacov’s vision of the ladder. First we read in the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah29:2; Pirkey d’Rebbi Eliezer 35):

Rabbi Nachman began his discourse: “And you, O Yaacov My faithful servant, do not be afraid!” (Jeremiah 30:10, 46:27-28, Isaiah 44:2). This verse refers to Yaacov Avinu, as per, “He dreamt, and behold, a ladder was set to the earth, and its summit reached to heaven. Behold, God’s angels ascended and descended upon it” (Genesis 28:12). Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman said: These angels are the angelic-princes of the nations. We learn here that the Holy One showed Yaacov Avinu the angel-prince of Babylon climbing up seventy rungs of the ladder [corresponding to the seventy years that Babylon would rule the world] and descending; the angel-prince of Persia climbing up and descending fifty-two rungs; the angel-prince of Greece climbing up and descending one hundred and eighty rungs; the angel-prince of Edom climbing up higher and higher and higher [and not descending]. At that moment, Yaacov was gripped with dread, and said, “Is it possible that he will not descend?” The Holy One replied, “Do not fear, My servant Yaacov! Even if he ascends to sit right next to Me, from here I will cast him down.” This is the meaning of “Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, and set it among the stars, I will bring you down from there, says Hashem” (Ovadiah 1:4).

Commenting on this Midrash, Maharal wrote (Netzach Yisrael 17):

Yaacov was shown the rise and fall of the first three empires. He also saw the rise of the fourth empire, but not its fall. The reason for this is that Hashem arranged history such that each of the first three would come to their end within the parameters of [the physical laws of] this world… Not so the fourth empire. Its fall will only come about from above [i.e., in a miraculous way, as a revealed act of Heaven]… through the Mashiach who himself represents the revelation of Heaven [that operates far above the physical laws of this world].

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler quotes the above passages. In order to appreciate the full power of his words, we return to the essential verses of Hashem’s prophecy through Ovadiah regarding the end of Edom/Rome:

The pride of your heart has deceived you; you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is on high, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, and set it among the stars, I will bring you down from there, says Hashem… Will I not, in that day, says Hashem, destroy those with wisdom out of Edom, and [those with] discernment out of the Mount of Esav? … For Hashem’s day is near upon all the nations. As you have done, so shall be done to you; your deeds will rebound upon your own head… But upon Mount Zion a remnant will gather, and it will be holy; and the house of Yaacov will inherit its heritage… Redeemers (Mashiach ben David andMashiach ben Yoseph) will ascend Mount Zion to judge Mount Esav. [At that time] it will be revealed that sovereignty has always belonged solely to Hashem (Ovadiah 1:3-21).

Rabbi Dessler cites the Midrash on this concluding verse (Mikhtav MiEliyahu, Volume III, p. 205):

The end (demise) of the fourth empire will not be like those of its predecessors. This is stated explicitly in the Midrash on the following verses in the Torah:

Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon, telling them to speak to the bnei Yisrael and convey the following to them: Of all the animals in the world, these are the ones you may eat: Among mammals, you may eat [any one] that has true hooves that are cloven and that brings up its cud. However, among the cud-chewing, hoofed animals, these are the ones that you may not eat: The gamal (camel) shall be unclean to you although it brings up its cud, since it does not have a true hoof. The shafan (hyrax) shall be unclean to you although it brings up its cud, since it does not have a true hoof. The arnevet (hare) shall be unclean to you although it brings up its cud, since it does not have a true hoof. The chazir (pig) shall be unclean to you although it has a true hoof which is cloven, since it does not chew its cud (Leviticus 11:1-7).

The Midrash reveals another level of information embedded here (Vayikra Rabbah 13:5):

“The camel…maaleh gerah-brings up its cud,” this refers to Babylon whichgarar—drew/brought in its wake another empire to follow it. “The hyrax…maaleh gerah-brings up its cud,” this refers to Persia/Media whichgarar—drew/brought in its wake another empire to follow it. “The hare…maaleh gerah-brings up its cud,” this refers to Greece whichgarar—drew/brought in its wake another empire to follow it. “The pig…gerah lo yigor—chew, it does not chew its cud,” this alludes to Rome, sh’eina goreret—which will not draw/bring any other empire in its wake. Why is it called chazir? It will be the one that mechazeret—returns/restores the crown to its rightful Master. This is the meaning of, “Redeemers will ascend Mount Zion to judge Mount Esav; ve’haita laHashem ha’melukhah—[at that time] it will be revealed that sovereignty has always belonged solely to Hashem.”

The empire of Edom/Rome will not be followed by another empire—for the termination of its rule coincides exactly with the end of this world as we know it, which is none other than the beginning of the Messianic Age. It will therefore be the one to return and restore the crown to its rightful Master—for the kingdom of the Mashiach will actually sprout forth from the midst of the Roman empire; out of the ashes of Edom the kingdom of Heaven will arise and become revealed. “It will be revealed that sovereignty has always belonged solely to Hashem” [i.e., it will become clear retroactively that Hashem was guiding history from the behind the scenes of these external empires; in the kabbalah this is known asShekhinta be’Galuta, the Divine Presence in exile, i.e., operating incognito behind the scenes].

This will signal the end of this world as we know it, when the foundations of civilization will totter and crumble. [During the transition period] there will be no peace; the lives of countless individuals will become filled with anxiety, dread, and hardship. The entire world will shudder under the dread of annihilation and extinction. Then it will be revealed to all that man’s brazenness and his pride in his conquering the world lead only to extinction. All will recognize the emptiness of this world [when it is divorced from Godliness]… But the revelation of this emptiness of Edom is exactly what is needed to bring the world to the revelation of theMashiach. Only by recognizing the absolute meaninglessness of this world [when it is devoid of God] will mankind be elevated to true spiritual vision. [This is what we mean when we declare that] with the demise of Edom will come the revelation of the light of Mashiach.

This is what we saw above [in the Midrash and the Maharal], namely, that the fall of Edom will of necessity come from a level that transcends the laws of this world. This is the level of the Beit HaMikdash, the level of true spiritual vision to which humanity will ascend only after Hashem reveals the unreality of the material world [when it is divorced from Godliness]…

* * *

Remember: Every nation/empire has a spiritual angelic power in heaven through which it receives its power and rises to the pinnacle of success. In order to neutralize the power of that nation/empire, it is only necessary to neutralize its spiritual power source. We now understand that something is required of us—some inner work that we have to do—which can make the difference. It is through this inner work that we can align ourselves with Heaven. In this way, we can neutralize any nation or power in the world that attempts to stand in Heaven’s way…

There are many more examples of this idea. In the Torah, Yaacov fights with an angel. The fight took place on every level of reality simultaneously. The fact that it took place on the physical plane is evidenced by the physical injury Yaacov sustained in his thigh. More importantly, however, this was a spiritual and a psychological battle. Psychologically, Yaacov was being attacked within his own mind. Spiritually he was being attacked in his soul. More, the entire existence ofClal Yisrael was at stake.

It was only by connecting to his spiritual root that Yaacov was able to overcome this assault on his very existence. Finally, at the end of the long night (which represents the night-exile until Mashiach comes) the angel blesses Yaacov, “Your name will no longer be called Yaacov (heel, supplanter), but Yisrael, ki sarita im Elokim ve’im anashim vatukhal (for you have contended with God and man and you have prevailed)” (Genesis 32:29). Yisrael means “sar-El: he who has struggled with God” or “he who is great before God”; it also means “yashar-El: he who goes straight to God” and “he who is upright with God”; “yashir-El: he who sings to God”; “ish-raah-El: he who has seen God.”

The concept of Yisrael existed even before creation, but it was only after this struggle that Yaacov became worthy of carrying both the name and the concept associated with it.

King David taught us how to deal with the evil machinations of our enemies—spiritual and physical. Speaking for all of Israel, he proclaimed:

כָּל גּוֹיִם סְבָבוּנִי בְּשֵׁם ה‘ כִּי אֲמִילַם: סַבּוּנִי גַם סְבָבוּנִי בְּשֵׁם ה‘ כִּי אֲמִילַם: סַבּוּנִי כִדְבוֹרִים דֹּעֲכוּ כְּאֵשׁ קוֹצִים בְּשֵׁם ה‘ כִּי אֲמִילַם:

All the [surrounding] nations encircled me, yet with [one mention of] Hashem’s Name, I cut them down. They encircled me, they continue to encircle me, yet with [one mention of] Hashem’s Name, I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed like a fire [consumes] thorns, for with [one mention of] Hashem’s Name I cut them down (Psalm 118:10-12).

This is exactly how David faced Goliath:

וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל הַפְּלִשְׁתִּי אַתָּה בָּא אֵלַי בְּחֶרֶב וּבַחֲנִית וּבְכִידוֹן וְאָנֹכִי בָא אֵלֶיךָ בְּשֵׁם ה‘ צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי מַעַרְכוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר חֵרַפְתָּ:

But David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come against you with the Name YKVK, the Lord of Hosts, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have blasphemed…” (I Samuel 17:45).

How are we to overcome our enemies? With the Name of Hashem: YOD,KEHVAVKEH, the most powerful word in human language. For it is much more than a word; it is a formula, the formula behind all existence; the formula that the Creator of the world used to bring the world into existence; the formula that He uses to bring the world to its ultimate perfection. We neutralize and overcome our enemies with the Name of Hashem because this Name spells the END OF ALL WAR. It makes all war obsolete, for it lifts man up out of his egocentricity, and allows him to see and admit (if he is courageous enough) how blind he has been.

This is exactly how Mashiach ben David will face his enemies:

And a shoot will spring forth from the stock of Yishai, and a branch will sprout from his roots. Hashem’s Spirit will rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the awe of Hashem. He shall smell with the awe of Hashem, rather than judging with the sight of his eyes or chastising with the hearing of his ears. With righteousness he shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of his lips. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist and faith the girdle of his loins (Isaiah 11:1-6).

1 The Midrash teaches that Hashem gathered the dust of Adam’s body together from all corners of the earth. He then blew a nishmat chayim (soul-breath of life) into him to bring him to life. This Divine act occurred on the first Friday, the 6th day of creation. It is for this reason that Jewish women to this day make challah on Friday in preparation for Sabbath. Adam was the challah, the choice dough of the earth, created on the 6th day of creation, in honor of the Sabbath.

That first Friday also corresponds to the present 6th millennium. During the 6th millennium, we are told, Hashem will gather the dust of Israel’s body from all corners of the earth to the land of Israel. He will then blow a nishmat chayim into Israel, to resuscitate the Jewish people and give it the spiritual power needed to fulfill its prophetic mission at the end of history. This is the meaning of Joel’s prophecy concerning the Messianic Era, “Afterwards, I [Hashem] will pour My spirit out on all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions” (Joel 3:1). All mankind will be lifted up to experience prophecy, but it will begin with Israel.

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) the prophet saw a prophetic vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones. According to the Gaon of Vilna and Malbim, this parallels the resurrection of the Jewish body that will take place as part of the Messianic drama. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, this resurrection will take place in two stages. First, the bones of the body will come together. Only then will the neshamah-soul enter the bodies to revive them completely. In both instances, the physical precedes the spiritual. So too the physical restoration of the Jewish people precedes the restoration of the soul. We are now witnessing the resurrection of the body of Israel. When the soul returns, Israel can then fulfill its mission as the heart and soul, i.e., the true leaders and teachers, of humanity. It is for this reason that Hashem is returning the children of Israel to Himself now.

2 The word ulai in Hebrew means “maybe.” In my humble opinion, this fits exactly with the idea that none of these negative prophecies have to happen. They will happen—the lower plan will continue to unfold—as long as Israel and Mankind have not woken up. But if we do wake up—at any moment—everything can change.

3 According to Abarbanel, Daniel’s consternation was caused by his realization that the complete redemption was still far off (Artscroll Daniel, p. 260).

4 This is reminiscent of the Talmud’s three-in-one description of the yetzer hara (evil inclination): “The yetzer hara [in a man’s heart] is none other than the Prosecutor [on high]. And the Prosecutor [on high] is none other than the Angel of Death. [As the evil inclination,] he comes down [into a person’s thoughts] and tempts him to sin. He then [dresses up as the Prosecutor,] goes up to heaven, and accuses. [Finally, taking off all his disguises,] he comes down as the Angel of Death and takes a man’s soul” (Baba Batra 16a). In very simple terms, we learn from this that the sin, the accusation of guilt, and the punishment are so inextricably intertwined as to be different aspects of the same thing.

 

Want to share or print this? Choose how below:
  • Print
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: