28 August 2007

Home stretch

Many sources in Torah seem to suggest that we have entered the final phase of the Redemption with the World Trade Center bombing and subsequent war.

We are witnessing before our very eyes the unfolding of the conclusion of the Redemption.

There are, in general, three stages to the war of Gog U’Magog. The first two have already been completed through the Shoah and the Gulf War. The third stage is when Moshiach ben David, Eliyahu HaNavi, Moshe Rabbeinu, Aharon HaKohen Gadol and the other eleven anointed of Israel will be resurrected at the beginning of the days of Moshiach.

Melech HaMoshiach is obligated according to halacha to fight and win the war against Amalek. The remnant of the original inhabitants of Israel are supposed to be returned to the land of Israel by G-d specifically for this purpose. The rashayim from among the non-Jews (specifically the hollalim, as mentioned in T’hillim 5:6; 75 and 76) are supposed to be aligned in this war with the remnant of Amalek. Likewise, Armilus HaRasha (the secular Jewish leader) is also aligned with them.

The hollalim are so completely evil that they are considered insane. If you look at the targum of the word "hollalim," you will discover that it is "talibanim" (the actual verb form is "m’talevin" or "m’talevun").

The Radak and the Meiri address the two chapters mentioned above. They mention that the hollalim will reside in fortified mountain strongholds. Interestingly, the MeiAm Loez, commenting on the Song at the Sea of Reeds, mentions in passing that these people (whom he identifies as the nation of Magog itself) were defeated and imprisoned in this region by Alexander the Great, and that they won’t escape from there to wreak havoc on the world - until the time of the Redemption.

Furthermore, it is mentioned in the Tur, Orach Chaim: 490, in the name of Hai Gaon, that the war of Gog U’Magog will break out during Chol HaMoed Sukkos, and the resurrection of the dead will be in Nissan. According to the book Chesed L’Avrohom, the resurrection of the dead would follow on the heels of the year 5760. The book relates this whole process to the idea of the filling of a mikva, and says this will be the process of "removing the tuma" from the world.

It is no surprise that the actual war started (the bombs started to drop) in Afghanistan at 9:30 p.m. on the night of Hoshana Rabba, the time when the final judgment on the nations of the world is sealed and execution begun. It is also worth noting that the Radak is specific in referring to this as "Gog MiGog" (Gog from Gog) and not "Gog U’Magog" (Gog and Magog). It is also worth noting that Gog is a leader, described by the Radak as the Nasi of Meshech and Tuval. These two roots refer to extreme attraction (as in hamshacha to materialism and incredible material wealth (like teval). In other words, Gog MiGog is the leader of the most materialistic and wealthy nation on earth. Is there any question what nation that is?

In a broader context, the WTC disaster that precipitated the war occurred during the days of "cheshbon ha’nefesh" at the end of the month of Elul. In Elul, the last 12 days of the month correspond with one month of the year. The first day of the 12 corresponds with Tishrei, the second with Cheshvan, and so on. These days are a time of reflecting on what was lacking in our avoda the previous year and what we will correct in the coming year.

Just as we perform this mitzva, so does Hashem. This is in keeping with the verse, "He tells His words to Yaakov and His judgments to Yisroel." The commandments are not only ours to fulfill, they are Hashem’s, too.

The attack on the WTC happened on the 6th day during these 12 days of cheshban ha’nefesh, which corresponds with the month of Adar. This is an allusion to the Gulf War, which concluded in Adar (5751/1991) on Purim. At that time, President Bush, Sr. didn’t finish the job. Loose ends were left that developed into the current situation. In spite of this, President Bush, Sr. recognized that as a result of that war, the entire world order had been changed.

The Rebbe stated explicitly that we had the merit to see the literal fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy on the Redemption (Isaiah 2:4) regarding swords being beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, by the provision of food and medicine using weapons of war. The Rebbe was specifically referring to the food and medicine dropped to the Kurds escaping from northern Iraq, and to the Russians, who welded harvesting attachments to their tanks and other military vehicles in order to bring in the Russian crops before the onset of winter. A threatened famine in Russia was averted in this manner.

The period of the Gulf War coincided with what is referred to in Torah, and in particular, in the Maamer HaGeula of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, as the Pekida. The Pekida is a glimpse of how the final Redemption will unfold. The first stage is temporary, and the final and complete Redemption follows later in the final stage, which is called the Zechira.

It is worth noting that in the chapter of Yoel cited above (Yoel 4:10), that same expression ("swords into plowshares") used by Isaiah is repeated. It would be expected that the same type of activity would be characteristic in this final conflict. Isn’t it amazing that the western media was going out of its way to emphasize that the military was dropping bombs, as well as food and medicine, in this conflict!

The son of President Bush (George from George) is picking up where his father left off. Most of the players in the first administration are the actual players in the current situation. It is important to note that the President and most of the world turned to Hashem in prayer and repentance following the WTC attack. It is also worth noting that it was exactly 26 days from the WTC attack to the beginning of the war on Hoshana Rabba. This number, 26, is an allusion to Whom is making the judgment. The judgment is coming from Hashem directly (the numerical value of G-d’s name is 26). The chapters of T’hillim cited above state that the judgment will come from Hashem.

There is a Zohar (Parshas Balak 3:212b) that is creating much commotion. This is a free rendering of the text:

"On the sixth day, there will be seen a comet" [which is discussed in the paragraph in the text that precedes this quote. Commentaries explain it is not really a comet, but a fireball that will explode in mid-air, heralding 1) the fall of the dominion of the gentile nations, and 2) the transfer of authority to King Moshiach, who is about to be revealed], "on the 25th day of the 6th month" [the 25th of Elul (September 13th in the year 2001)] "and this will conclude on the 7th day, at the end of 70 days" (the implication is that we should watch for something on or around Thanksgiving Day of this year). [Note: As of Thanksgiving Day, news reports revealed that the Taliban began to surrender; since that day there has been a growing sense of imminent triumph on the part of the Americans.]

"The first day [of this event] will be seen in a great (or high) city. Three high walls from this great city will fall on this day, a great palace will fall, and the dominion of this city will be nullified. Then this comet [meaning its result] will be seen to spread throughout the world, and in this time harsh wars will break out in all four corners of the earth. Faith will not be forgotten through them."

It goes on to explain that this process concludes when King Moshiach arises (the actual expression is "grows") from a cave in the land of Israel to be king over the entire world. Some people don’t like to look at the Zohar as literal or physical, but concerning this particular section, Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, in his commentary, Ohr Yakar, says that all of these events happen on a spiritual level and a physical level. All the commentaries I have seen refer the reader to other sections explaining the resurrection for additional details about what takes place.

As is discussed in many places and in particular, in the first Chassidic discourse given by the Rebbe Rayatz, "Reishit Goyim Amalek," once the head of the nations, Amalek, is defeated, the rest of the nations will be uplifted. The conflict, the opposition to G-d’s Will, and the establishment of His kingdom in a complete fashion, depends solely on Amalek and those connected to Amalek. We learn from Yehoshua in the second paragraph of Aleinu that in the end we will all serve Hashem together, and on that day, the L-rd will be One and His Name One.

We thus will see the literal fulfillment of "Arise and sing, sleepers in the dust" as well as "And He will redeem us and lead us upright to our land" immediately and without interruption.

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