Geula Update from Rav Berger - Toledot 5776
From Rav Berger's latest (my translation):
The Final Sign Before the Final Redemption
Haza"l in a Mishna at the end of Messechet Sotah have prophesied for us what will occur in "Ikveta Dimshiha" - that period of the footsteps of Mashiah, the period in which the footsteps of Mashiah Tzidkeinu will be heard getting closer. Haza"l prophesied for us the harsh period of "Hevlei Mashiah", in which there will be a spiritual and ethical decline and even a period of harsh and painful troubles:
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MESSIAH INSOLENCE WILL INCREASE AND HONOUR DWINDLE; THE VINE WILL YIELD ITS FRUIT [ABUNDANTLY] BUT WINE WILL BE DEAR; THE GOVERNMENT WILL TURN TO HERESY AND THERE WILL BE NONE [TO OFFER THEM] REPROOF; THE MEETING-PLACE [OF SCHOLARS] WILL BE USED FOR IMMORALITY; GALILEE WILL BE DESTROYED, GABLAN DESOLATED, AND THE DWELLERS ON THE FRONTIER WILL GO ABOUT [BEGGING] FROM PLACE TO PLACE WITHOUT ANYONE TO TAKE PITY ON THEM; THE WISDOM OF THE LEARNED WILL DEGENERATE, FEARERS OF SIN WILL BE DESPISED, AND THE TRUTH WILL BE LACKING; YOUTHS WILL PUT OLD MEN TO SHAME, THE OLD WILL STAND UP IN THE PRESENCE OF THE YOUNG, A SON WILL REVILE HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER WILL RISE AGAINST HER MOTHER, A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, AND A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD; THE FACE OF THE GENERATION WILL BE LIKE THE FACE OF A DOG, A SON WILL NOT FEEL ASHAMED BEFORE HIS FATHER. SO UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.
This situation will cause everyone to lift up their hands [heavenward] to the Creator of the world and say: "Upon Whom is it for us to rely? Who is able to solve our problems? And upon Whom can we rely? Only upon our Father Who is in Heaven!"
The goal of the Birthpangs of Mashiah is to bring the nation of Israel to the conclusion that there is upon no one to rely and we need to seek the true resolution: the revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven by way of the sprouting of the Kingdom of the House of David.
The commentaries explain that Haza"l described before us in great detail all the signs of the period for 2 purposes: 1) So we wouldn't G-d forbid give up hope, and 2) so that we know that these are Birthpangs of Mashiah. And indeed, when we examine everything that is going on in the world especially that last few years, there is no doubt that all the signs of the period of Ikveta Dimshiha have been fulfilled in total - in a way that there is no comparison to any other period.
And for what purpose was it set in such a way that before the coming of Mashiah, the nation of Israel will need to pass through so many troubles?
However, from the nature of things, even when Israel understands that they are in exile, everyone tries to make things better for himself and to do for himself that which is better and easier. And if there are any problems, they try to solve them in one way or another. And when things will be better and calm, everyone is calm and tries to "get through" the days of exile...
However, when the King of the world, HKB"H, wants to already reveal His Kingdom and to cause His Shechina to dwell among us and to cause the sprouting of Mashiah Tzidkeinu to come and lead the nation of Israel, He wants that we want this, that we understand that this is how it is supposed to be - that we understand that the entire purpose of the Creation of the world was for this goal - so that this moment will come in which HKB"H will cause His Shechina to dwell among us and Hashem will be King over the entire earth. This is why He is afflicting us with all types of troubles and tribulations - so that we will cry out, "Father! We have no one to rely upon! We need no one - we want only You! Reveal Your Kingdom already upon us! Please cause the sprouting of our king Meshiah Hashem, who will come to redeem us!"
Three wars of pandemonium (intifada) are the children of Yishmael destined to do in the End of Days... and from there, Ben David will sprout - Pirkei deRibbi Eliezer, chapter 30
No one knows what the day will bring. The cruel enemy, unexpectedly sowed in our hearts fear, hopelessness, and helplessness. It appears as if we have nowhere to run. It appears that we can do nothing. And the rising anger of helplessness adds to the hopelessness and fear.
Those who fight us - it is a holy war for them. We are already tired of hearing about their [i.e., the IDF's] physical strength. Even the endless chatter of politicians doesn't help to contradict the helplessness. However, they also have spiritual power and if we uncover it and know how to fight back, things will be reversed. This is a holy war, and it is also incumbent upon us to recruit a fervor of faith and holy emotions in order to fight against these Pir'ei Adam who are murdering us.
Yishmael. In his name is hidden his power - the power of prayer. Our real and main weapon against Yishmael is the power of prayer. Prayer with intensity, holy prayer, with fervor of faith, with determined persistence.
And such is written in the holy book Pirkei deRibbi Eliezer, one of the earliest Midrashim of the nation of Israel, which was written by the Tanna: Ribbi Eliezer Ben Hurkenos (chapter 32):
And why is his name called "Yishmael"? [It was with HKB"H's instruction Himself, as it says "and thou shalt call his name Ishmael"] Because in the future, HKB"H will hear the sound of the crying out of the nation [of Israel] from what the children of Yishmael will do in the land in the End of Days. Therefore, his name was called Yishmael, as it says: יִשְׁמַע אֵל, וְיַעֲנֵם
It also says there (chapter 30):
Three wars of pandemonium (intifada) are the children of Yishmael destined to do in the End of Days... and from there, Ben David will sprout
The prayer that Heaven is expecting is incumbent upon us to verbalize. A cry splits open the heavens - we are obligated to cry out with all the courage and with all the strength that we can muster up. And if we learn how to pray, our hearts will fill with faith and hope instead of fear and helplessness. Hashem will hear [ישמע א-ל] our cries, the King of the world and its true ruler will be revealed - and His sword is drawn in His hand to fight our wars...