End of Days - Where are we? (part 3 of 3)
The Death of Rav Kaduri and Additional Tzaddikim - And the Connection to Redemption
The elder Kabbalist, Rav Yitzhak Kaduri זיע"א, who returned his pure soul to heaven on the night of Erev Rosh Hodesh Shevat, 5766, was promised, according to a number of reports, that he would see the Mashiah before he died. Many claim that he in fact met the Mashiah, as was reported in newspapers in the past, and therefore, the condition was fulfilled. However, for those who don't accept this, an explanation can be found in the words of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, Shlit"a, who brought down the words of Baba Sali, who was also promised to merit seeing Mashiah. The Baba Sali, before he died, told the Kabbalist Rav Mordechai Eliyahu why he's leaving the world before Mashiah's arrival. This also appears to be so from the words of the Kabbalist Rav Daniel Zer Shlit"a about the rabbi (See here similar ideas. See here a hint to Hamas' rise to power before the Tzaddik passed away.) Similarly, the topic of the death of Rav Kaduri and other Tzaddikim was revealed in a dream to one of the Tzadikim of our generation, as was mentioned in this post (under the headline of ‘אין ישראל נגאלין' וכו').
However, Rav Kaduri זצוק"ל was not the only Tzaddik to pass away. In a short span of just a few months, many Tzaddikim died, which I'm afraid to list here for fear of forgetting one of them. As such, it is possible to see the realization of the words of Haza"l, who describe what will occur to greet the arrival of Mashiah:
Rabbi Yohanan said: The generation that Ben David will come in, Torah scholars will die, while those that remain - their eyes weaken with sorrow and groaning, and many troubles come on the community, and harsh decrees begin anew: while the first one is still in existance, another one is brought and is placed close to it.
(Pesikta of Rav Kahana 1:9, Pesikta Rabbati, Shir Hashirim Rabba. Also, in Tractate Sanhedrin with a small deviation of "will decrease" instead of "will die".)
In one of the posts of Rabbi Lazer Brody Shlit"a, he memorializes the death of 3 Tzaddikim within a week, he points out that the first name of each of them was "Moshe", and he describes them in the aspect of Moshe Rabbeinu of our generation. Rabbi Brody doesn't say these words for no reason, since in the writings of Rabbi Natan of Breslov (the main disciple of Rabbi Nahman), the following words appear, which appear to be speaking exactly about the process that we pointed out recently:
...and the final endtime is very hidden and concealed from everyone's eyes. Nevertheless, there will be found tremendous Tzaddikim even in the footsteps of Mashiah, in the final endtime, who will understand deep concepts, and will enlighten Israel that "Hashem's glory fills the entire land" and that "there is no reason for giving up hope in the world at all".
And even though the Antagonist [Evil Inclination] and the Sitra Ahora and their armies will spread out and become stronger, as they will spread out specifically on each and every person, and generally, with the increase of divisiveness, which is a great source of indictment among the Torah scholars, since this is the main destruction that precedes Mashiah... Nevertheless, He will be quick and expedite the Redemption through enlightening their holy knowledge in the world. This is because even though the Sitra Ahora became so strong that the true Tzaddikim with the aspect of Moshe needed to depart from the world, nevertheless, through this will be the salvation and Redemption, and their mourning will be turned to joy.
This is because the departing and absense of Tzaddikim is the greatest and most bitter trouble of all troubles, as our rabbis, of blessed memory, said: "The departing of Tzaddikim is twice as difficult as the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, etc.", but even this will turn around for good and consolation. This is because specifically through their departing to higher and higher worlds will they rise to an aspect of orbiters that are so high and lofty, that they will specifically from there enlighten more - with an aspect of "Hashem's glory fills the entire land" - to their students who have the aspect of Yehoshua... until they work and finish that which they started to enlighten in the world the aforementioned knowledge, that everyone will know that "Hashem's glory fills the entire land", and they will return to Hashem, blessed be He, with truth, because through this, the Redemption will come.
This is because from the abundance of deficiencies and sins, they will be forced to rise to such great heights that it would be impossible for them to rise there while enclothed in a body in this world. Of course, all this is from his [Rav Nahman's?]holy speeches. This is the aspect of the death of Tzaddikim which atones for the sin of the generation, as our rabbis, of blessed memory, said... This is because Tzaddikim are greater in their death than in their life...
(Likutei Halachot, Laws of Washing Hands and Breaking Bread, 6)
The Difficult Period for Israel
When looking at events in connection to the Redemption, it is worth mentioning the following story that is brought in the Gemara:
Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Yehoshua, and Rabbi Akiva...were once going up to Yerushalayim (after its destruction). When they reached Mt. Scopus, they tore their garments. Once they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a weasel leaving the Holy of Holies. They started crying, but Rabbi Akiva was laughing.
They asked him, "Why are you laughing?"
He asked them, "Why are you crying?"
They told him, "The place about which it is written 'and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death' (Bemidbar 1), and now weasels have gone in it. We shouldn't cry?"
He told them, "This is why I am laughing: Since it is written 'and I will take unto Me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah'. Now, what business does Uriah have to be next to Zechariah?! Uriah was in the time period of the first Beit Hamikdash, while Zecharia was in the time period of the second! Rather, the verse is making the prophecy of Zechariah dependant on the prophecy of Uriah. Regarding Uriah, it says 'Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field' (Micha 3). Regarding Zecharia, it says 'There shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem' (Zeharia 8). Until the prophecy of Uriah was fulfilled, I was afraid that the prophecy of Zechariah would not be fulfilled. However, now that I see that Uriah's prophecy was fulfilled, I can be assured that the prophecy of Zehariah will be fulfilled in this exact wording!"
They said to him, "Akiva, you have comforted us. Akiva, you have comforted us."
(End of Tractate Makkot)
The moral lesson from this story, besides the obvious lesson to always look on the bright side (that this is really the attainment of the 50th level of holiness, which Rabbi Akiva merited, as is told over in the Gemara about negative things that occurred to Rabbi Akiva, in which Rabbi Akiva only saw the good in them, and in the close Redemption, with Hashem's help, we should all also attain the 50th level of holiness), is that the many stages that occur prior to the Redemption, even though they appear negative, in a deeper outlook, they are only for the best and connected to hastening the Redemption, and therefore, one should not give up hope (despite the fact that giving up hope itself is a sign for Redemption, as is explained in this post in connection to the depressing situation in our days as a sign for Redemption, and from it, it comes out that the more depressing the situation looks, the more happy it makes the truth of the matter).
For example, the Disengagement - which was definitely a negative topic from many different reasons, where it's extremely difficult to find anything optimistic in it - was the breakthrough point of the Redemption process. This is known via the mouth of prophecies that were accepted from generation to generation from the holy Baal Shem Tov, who received it from the prophet Ahiya Hashiloni - as a righteous rabbi, who is a cousin of one of the 5 most important Admo"rs explained, with a clear proof to his words (see an additional point on the topic in this post). Incidentally, it appears that the Disengagement itself was prophecied about 1500 years ago in the ancient "Child Prophecy".
Unfortunately, if the merit of Torah study and repentance of the Jewish nation in recent years will not protect us enough, we can expect in the near future a number of difficult processes in Israel. If I could quote Rabbi Lazer Brody Shlit"a, "Gush Katif is chocolate pudding compared to the tests of faith that await us."
It's logical to say that in regards to the topic of giving over territories of our homeland, there are very harsh statements of great leaders of the generation who explain that it will be so before the Redemption arrives: the Rosh Yeshiva of the Kabbalists, the Gaon Rav Binayahu Shmueli Shlit"a, said at the end of 5765 that the return of the territories will not break, and it will continue in all of the territories. He brings as proof what the Gerrer Rebbe, the Beit Yisrael זצוק"ל, wrote that only after all the territories are returned can Mashiah come. However, Rav Shmueli did not categorize it as a decree that's impossible to cancel - rather he said that we need to return in repentance and plead to the Creator of the world to have mercy on the Jewish nation. Rabbi David Druckman Shlit"a from Chabad (the chief rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin) brings dows some lesser-known things from the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding returning territory, where he said in a private conversation as an answer to the question of "What will be?" "They will return all the territory...Israel will be a lowly country." For the matter expanded, including sources from the Gemara, you can read the aforementioned post.
In the beginning of Tevet, 5766, it was publicized in one of the newspapers "A governmental plan" of Israel which was that "The only game [to play with is] in Yerushalayim, and it's worth it that we start thinking about this seriously, and to get used to it." This public announcement would have no meaning as far as we're concerned, if it were not for the fact that it fits incredibly well with the words that the Tsunami-predicting rabbi said since Sivan, 5765, and if it were not for the fact that the chances of this becoming reality became higher when Hamas came to power. According to what appears from the matter, what will occur in the future if we don't do sufficient repentance is a scenario that is roughly based on the following points:
- The preparations of the government for the next stage of the Disengagement (the "Convergence Plan") will be quick. However, the territories will be given over to the Palestinians with the support of the Americans and the Western (Christian) nations, who will be responsible for the area by Israel's request. The government already signed with the Americans over returning all of the territories, but this piece of information was hidden from the public (according to the Tsunami-predicting rabbi).
- A public debate will progress regarding this "Convergence", which, at the end of it, will also include the division of Yerushalayim. This debate will be the "Final Filtering", according to the Tsunami-predicting rabbi, since according to his words, anyone who supports removing Yerushalayim from our hands "Does not have a Jewish soul".
- At the end of the [debate], the "Convergence Plan" will take effect, and it will hurt 5000 times more than what happened in Gush Katif.
- After transfering authority and power to the Western nations and mainly to the U.S., it appears that in all the territories, but specifically in Yerushalayim, where this will be demonstrated, the Arabs will be the ones who will object to a Christian presence in Yerushalayim, and an armed conflict between the Muslims and Christians will begin, where [armies] from foreign nations will arrive as a "peacekeeping force".
- This conflict will be the final war that the Zohar speaks about between Christianity and Islam, which, according to the Zohar, will be close to Yerushalayim. The war will conclude with the coming of our righteous redeemer [Mashiah] and with the killing of all evildoers.
One should again remember that all these scenarios are not final and there are other scenarios too (like a U.N. embargo on Israel), where some of them speak of an actual war between all the nations against Israel (which appears to only be possible after a Torah-based rule of law is established, which today seems to only be possible with the coming of Mashiah. According to some of the explanations, Midrashim and what comes out of Tehillim chapter 2 and the words of Haza"l on it, Mashiah will come first, and only after it, will the final stage of Gog Umagog take place - when all the nations will actually join forces against Israel - and according to this scenario that a Mashiah-based rule will be established in Israel, this would make a lot of sense). The Kaliver Rebbe Shlit"a already warned in Nissan, 5766, that "hundreds of millions want to shed Jewish blood". However, everything could change at any moment for good with Hashem's help, by way of an improvement in our actions towards Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Hakadosh Baruch Hu doesn't need any dates or scenarios in order to bring the Redemption - He can bring it in an instant, as the Rosh Yeshiva of Kabbalists in Yerushalayim, the Kabbalist Rav Binayahu Shmueli, explained.
The Coming of Mashiah
During recent months, many predictions and many statements were received from Tzaddikim about the imminent coming of Mashiah (How do we know the real Mashiah? See here) and the beginning of the blows and the disasters that will befall the nations. This will be a phenomenon - unprecedented in all the days of the world. The Gerrer Rebbe Shlit"a was one of the first who predicted the coming of Mashiah for the year 5767, and it's brought down in the name of Rav Kaduri that on Yom Hakippurim, 5766, the soul of Mashiah was transfered to a Jew "from Yisrael", and there are a lot of posts about this on the site. Besides the clear predictions from our generation, there is also a nice hint to the coming of Mashiah.
Signs and Omens
Besides the military events, there are a number of signs that demonstrate the period before the coming of Mashiah. One of them is a special rainbow with especially clear colors which is said to be seen before the Redemption according to the Zohar (see this post - paragraph 2). There is also signs in the heavens and "star wars" when they accompany shooting stars. Other signs include the destruction of the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. (see an interesting expansion of this topic here), floods all over the world, and also very harsh natural disasters that will make the disasters of our days look like child's play. It's brought down in a Midrash:
When will the King Mashiah come?
Rabbi Elazar said: Close to the days of Mashiah, 10 places will be swallowed up, 10 places will be overturned, and 10 places will be killed.
Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba said: The King Mashiah will only come in a generation whose face is that of a dog.
Rabbi Elazar said: In a generation that deserves utter destruction, the King Mashiah will come.
Rabbi Levi said: Close to the days of Mashiah, a great thing comes to the world.
(Pesikta Rabbati 1)
The economic hardships of the Torah-learners in this generation is a clear omen according to the Zohar for the period of Mashiah, leading up to the latest incarnation of the Erev Rav. Also, the lowering of values and moral standards is an omen, in addition to the other omens that Haza"l gave for the generation of Mashiah. Even the name of Olmert himself is mentioned in Haza"l as a name of the ruler that will be during the endtime. The solar eclipse that occurred at the end of the month of Adar, 5766, also foretells, according to ancient and correct sources, the soon coming of the Mashiah. (For an additional explanation on the eclipse, one should look here.)
The nice thing is that one who is an expert in the words of our rabbis regarding the period that precedes the coming of Mashiah can find in many current events as a manifestation of their words. So, for example, one could analyze the warnings of the Zeiler Commission (the commission which investigated the ties of senior policemen to organized crime) to the heads of the Israeli police, and on the other hand, with the soon retirement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court - Aharon Barak - in the coming fall (as is mandated by law), whose relation to Jews and Judaism doesn't require explanation. Some say that it's possible that the Supreme Court will be left with only 10 justices (instead of 15), and then, it will be possible that almost half of those will be religious justices (last year, it was about a quarter). However, we have to wait and see what the day will bring, but it's possible perhaps to see in these two processes a fulfillment of the words of Haza"l that "Ben David will not come until all the [evil] judges and officers will be destroyed from Israel" (Sanhedrin 98).
So What is the Next Stage?
The next stage is our stage, and the ball is currently in our court.
As the Tsunami-predicting rabbi described it, we are now in a "vulnerable time", overtime, and at any moment we can hear the whistle that tells us that time is up. However, if we will continue a bit with his metaphor, these are the most decisive moments of the game. Fans of the team that is winning are waiting for the referee to blow the whistle as soon as possible. Fans of the losing team are hoping that the referee's whistle breaks... In the general score between the Children of Light and Children of Darkness, it's clear that the winning team is the Light team, and that's why we are so expecting the arrival of our righteous Mashiah. However, in the personal court, of every man opposite his creator, it's possible that we're winning, but it's also possible that we're losing. And perhaps, the situation is a draw? Practically speaking, we can never know where we stand, but it's certain that at the time that the referee blows the whistle, we will want to be on the winning side.
In the lesson from the metaphor, Hakadosh Baruch Hu is, of course, the referee. The teams that play in this general game are that nation of Israel and the Sitra Ahora. The nation of Israel is in the lead, while the Sitra Ahora wants the referee not to blow the whistle today, this month, this year, and to win. Don't tell anyone, but the Referee is on our side. So, why doesn't He blow the whistle already, you ask? How does He allow the Sitra Ahora to take goals away from us and to narrow the gap? There are 2 sides to this:
On the one hand, He wants the Sitra Ahora to wear itself out until the end - to give it all it's got until it's pretty much done with itself - and there will be no power left in it for this time period or another time period.
However, on the other hand, He also looks at the private games that each and every one of us play. Perhaps, some of us think that we are on the winning side, but it could be that we are decisively not. He knows that when He will blow the whistle, the game will be over also for each and every one of us [privately], and once the time period closes, and there won't be any more games, we will no longer have the ability to fix the result. Hakadosh Baruch Hu, the Referee, doesn't want us to lose. If we will fulfil one more Mitzvah, if we will smile more to others, if we will strengthen ourselves more against our inclinations, if we will honor our parents and families more, if we will keep Shabbat better, if we will learn more Torah, if we will guard our eyes more, if we will give more charity, if we will speak less Leshon Hara, if we will do more of what Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants and less of what our inclination wants, then we're definitely on the right track to change the result on our private field. And when our Father in Heaven, the Referee who roots for us, will see that even on the private field of you and me, we're winning, He will be happy to blow the whistle a second earlier, and kick the Sitra Ahora out of the league and this world once and for all.
Advice from Haza"l for This Era
Although, as we said earlier, any little Mitzvah that was performed brings us closer to the final whistle blow, our rabbis gave us a number of pieces of advice regarding our era, that it's worth focusing on here:
- What should a person do to be saved from the pangs of Mashiah? He should be busy with Torah and doing kindnesses (Sanhedrin 98)
- All who [keep Shabbat and] fulfil three meals (with bread, at least 30 grams, by saying the "Hamotzi" blessing in the beginning and saying Birkat Hamazon at the end) on Shabbat (the first meal on Friday night, the second in the morning before midday, and the third from the time of Minha and on), will be saved from 3 punishments: from the pangs of Mashiah, from the judgement of Gehinnom, and from the War of Gog Umagog. (Shabbat 118)
Another thing that seems to be important to focus on according to the words of the Tzaddik Rav Levi Sa'adia Nahmeni זיע"א (a Tzaddik who was known for acurate predictions, and was also the rabbi of the Tsunami-predicting rabbi) is love for Hakadosh Baruch Hu. As you may recall, Rav Nahmeni זצוק"ל spoke about the difference between repentance from love and repentance from fear. Repentance from fear is exemplified by what Israel did in the Gulf War, when from their great fear, they prayed to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and then the following verse was fulfilled about them: "רצון יראיו יעשה, ואת שוועתם ישמע, ויושיעם" (He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him (repentance from fear); He also will hear their cry, and will save them.) We were saved from the war, but our enemies were not destroyed. Repentance from love, according to the words, is repentance that we are destined to perform in the War of Gog Umagog, and then, the following verse will be fulfilled: שומר ה’ את כל אוהביו, ואת כל הרשעים ישמיד (The LORD preserveth all them that love Him (repentance from love); but all the wicked will He destroy.) We will not only be saved, but also our enemies, foes, and those who seek to do us harm will be destroyed forever. And since [the Redemption] is so dependant on our repenting from love, I thought it would be worth it to include here a number of links to sites that help to recognize Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and to love Him more:
- >Hidabroot (the video and MP3 sections are recommended)
- HaOlam Hayahadut VeHakabbala (the toolbar for the holy stations is recommended)
- Haemet Ha'absolutit
- Shofar (the video and audio sections are recommended)
- Rabeinu Daniel (the library of speeches section is recommended)
- Breslov Israel
- Hazon Mutzafi (learning Torah via the audio library section and also video)
A Lesson Recommended for Listening
To conclude, I found in my possession a tape of a lesson from the Honorable Gaon Kabbalist Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi, Shlit"a - a lesson that took place on Hol Hamoed Sukkot 5762, a few days before the war of the U.S. against Afghanistan started. The lesson referred to the Haftarah that was read that week - the Haftara of Gog Umagog in the Book of Yehezkel. The rabbi Shlit"a explained at length in the lesson the sources in regards to the war and the Redemption (interesting words even for someone who has heard his set of speeches on the topic of the End of Days). The lessons by Rav Mutzafi are extremely dear to me, both because of the breadth of the material that can be taken from them, and also because of the amazing knowledge of the rabbi. The rabbi's site, Hazon Mutzafi is warmly recommended.
To expand on the topic of the End of Days, it's recommended and worth it to read the book "Otzrot Aharit Hayamim" from Rav Yehuda Hiyun, which includes a priceless breadth of knowledge about our era (I personally recommend to acquire the actual book mainly for the vast amounts of wonderful Midrashim of our rabbis in volume 2, which were not included in the electronic version of the book).