More on Minha Gedola and Tzel
Josh commented with tongue-in-cheek 2 posts ago that he predicts that "in the coming year, people will kvetch sources and err in their calculations so as to predict with absolute certainty that THIS is the year".
Not to disappoint, I will be the first to kvetch a source - even before the year begins! Just for the record, I say nothing with absolute certainty, and it's very possible I might err too.
The commenters on my last post on the subject convinced me that Minha Gedola of the sixth millennium will occur in Av of 5771 - not 5770 as originally thought.
If you recall in that last post, we used the verse ימי כצל נטוי ואני כעשב איבש and showed how the shadow starts to lengthen at Minha Gedola.
I found an interesting Zohar that seems to have relevance. The Zohar in Va'et'hanan (p. 270) says:
Although it says בשירותא - which seems to mean the beginning of the millennium - it possibly could mean the beginning of the evening shadow, which is at Minha Gedola. The reason to say this is because the Zohar compares it to the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash, in the year 3828 - only about 50-60 years after Minha Gedola of the 4th millennium. It also uses the verse in Yirmiyah 6:4. Here is the full verse:ומדשארי צל למעבד בשירותא דיומא אחרא, כמה בזמנא
דאתחריב מקדשא הוה, ונטה צל למיעל, הה"ד, אוי לנו כי פנה היום כי
ינטו צללי ערב. יום וצל, הוא סוף גלותא. ושיעורא דהאי צל, שית קמצין
ופלגא. ובגודל דמשחא דבר נש, גבר בין גוברין. ודוכרנא דהאי רזא דבין
חברייא, דכתיב כי תמול אנחנו ולא נדע כי צל ימינו עלי ארץ. כי תמול
אנחנו בגלותא, ולא הוינא ידעי כי צל ימינו עלי ארץ, לאשראה לון קב״ה
Here again, we have the words נטה and צל. We can again use 'Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon!' 'Woe unto us! for the day declineth, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out!'Rashi in Shabbat 9b to show that Minha Gedola is when the sun is נוטה toward the west. And from this verse, it seems to be a time not far after צהרים - noon. What this Zohar might be saying is: Just like the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash is sometime after Minha Gedola, similarly the end of Galut will be at the beginning בשירותא of the time after Minha Gedola where the shadow starts to lengthen. The word בשירותא modifies the whole phrase "דיומא אחרא, כמה בזמנא דאתחריב מקדשא הוה, ונטה צל למיעל".
This Zohar then says the Galut will last יום וצל - a day and a shadow. "Day" refers to the 5th millennium. "Shadow" refers to a portion of the 6th millennium. It mentions the measurement of this shadow being 6.5 Kamtzin. What is a Kamtza? The Sulam seems to say it's the measurement of man. I saw another explanation that says that it's a Tefah. לולי דמסתפינא, could a Kamtza be a daylight hour? That means 6.5 daylight hours, which is exactly Minha Gedola. And knowing that an hour is 41.666666 years, Minha Gedola will be Av, 5771. That would make sense as the measurement of צל since that is when the shadow starts to lengthen.
And it only starts to lengthen then when you have ובגודל דמשחא דבר נש, גבר בין גוברין - an average man's height. A shorter man's shadow may not be recognizable until later.
OK, it's a kvetch, but I like it.
May we merit to see Mashiah come even today.
Update: I am very excited to find a Sefer (the Bechorei Yaakov, quoting the Mikdash Melech) who agrees with me in saying that קמצין means "hours". He seems to say it in regard to Mashiah coming in 5541 since 1000 / 12 * 6.5 = 541.67. If we use a 24 hour day instead of a 12 hour day, however, we will get to 5771 since 5501 + (500 / 12 * 6.5) = 5771. ברוך שכוונתי. Maybe it's not such a Kvetch after all...