Zohar Predicts Groups of Jews Today
Kikar has an interesting article about how Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai in the Zohar predicted the 3 groups of Jews at the time of the Final Redemption based on the same grouping of Jews at the time of the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
The Zohar in Naso 125a describes the groups:
- The first group is those called "Yisrael", i.e., those from the side of the Tree of Life. When it says וַחֲמֻשִׁים עָלוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם, the word וחמשים is expounded to mean "50", as in the years of Yovel. Of them, it says: במשך היבל המה יעלו בהר, meaning that those who are Talmidei Hachamim will be able to go up on the mountain (i.e., will be redeemed).
- The second group are Amei Ha'aretz, who value Torah, but have desires and sometimes listen to their Yetzer Hara. Of them, it says: וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ, בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר - and they stood on the bottom of the mountain. Hashem will give those from this group a choice: if they will serve the Talmidei Hachamim like a slave before his master, then they will be redeemed as well. If not, they will perish in the exile.
- The third group are the Erev Rav. Of them, it says: וַיַּרְא הָעָם וַיָּנֻעוּ, וַיַּעַמְדוּ מֵרָחֹק - they will stand far, far away from being redeemed. They will see the Talmidei Hachamim with such a great honor, but they will be far from it. They may try to join in and get close to Talmidei Hachamim, but it will not be allowed, as it says: לֹא-תִגַּע בּוֹ יָד, כִּי-סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל אוֹ-יָרֹה יִיָּרֶה. When the Erev Rav is separated from the Jewish people, it says: יְהוָה, בָּדָד יַנְחֶנּוּ וְאֵין עִמּוֹ אֵל נֵכָר.