Monday, May 01, 2017

Metushelah, the Verona Earthquake, the State of Israel, and the Choice

Bereishit 5:27:

כז  וַיִּהְיוּ, כָּל-יְמֵי מְתוּשֶׁלַח, תֵּשַׁע וְשִׁשִּׁים שָׁנָה, וּתְשַׁע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה; וַיָּמֹת.  27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years; and he died. 
Metushelah, at 969, was the oldest person who ever lived (certain Midrashim notwithstanding).  He died 7 days before the Great Flood of 1656 wherein his grandson No'ah and his family were the sole survivors.  The flood was delayed 7 days in his honor so he could be properly mourned, as he was a very righteous person.  The death of Metushelah therefore marked a pivotal point in human history.

The word מתושלח can be rearranged as ו' תשמלח.  The ו can possibly be alluding to the sixth millennium while the rest of the word has the gematria of 778.  This can possibly mean the year 5778, but following the theme of the ו being within the sixth millennium, it would be more reasonable to say that it's referring to within the 5778th year, which is this year - 5777.

Note further that the 69 years is separated from the 900 years by the doubling of the word שנה.  [This doubling of the word שנה is not unique to Metushelah as this occurs in all the generations from Adam to No'ah.  However, we are only dealing with Metushelah right now.]  If we take 5777 as the ending point (as we explained from the word מתושלח), we can therefore look at 69 years prior and 900 years prior and see what we find.

Nine hundred years ago, in the year 4877, ... well, I'll let Seder Hadorot tell you what happened, quoting Tzemah David (my translation and links):
In the year 4877, there was a great and terrifying earthquake in Italy and Germany and great towers fell.  And it was a hot summer and a great heat-wave, causing the springs and rivers to dry up.  And there were two lunar eclipses and many times the moon was red like blood.  And many times, the entire area of the sky appeared like this color.  And there were great winds, thunder, and lightning, and fire flashing.  And hail smote all the crops of the earth along with man and beast.
Sixty nine years ago, in the year 5708, the State of Israel was created.  This was obviously a great turning point in Jewish history.  Not since the days of Bar Kochba did we have Jews as rulers over Jews in the ancestral land of the Jews.  Yes, there were many problems, but via the State of Israel, the world had changed for the better.  And furthermore, it allowed for the ingathering of Jews from all over the world, thereby becoming a prerequisite for the Geula process.

What's the connection between these two events?  Perhaps, the idea is that Hashem is giving us a choice.  Do we want the terrifying events of 900 years ago to reoccur in the form of "an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone"?  Or do we want to walk on the path of Teshuva and relive the euphoric events of 69 years ago a thousandfold?

Our choice is therefore the following:

וַיִּהְיוּ, כָּל-יְמֵי מְתוּשֶׁלַח, תֵּשַׁע וְשִׁשִּׁים שָׁנָה - If we follow the righteous ways of Metushelah, like No'ah and his family, then we will continue on the next stage of the Geula process like we did 69 years ago.

וּתְשַׁע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה; וַיָּמֹת - However, if we don't and we follow the ways of the rest of the Generation of the Flood, we will experience things similar to what was experienced 900 years ago, and our demise will (לא עלינו) follow.

ובחרת בחיים.  Let's make the right choice.


At Mon May 01, 01:46:00 PM 2017, Blogger Neshama said...

Rabbi Kessin shlita also spoke of choice, "being the only power we have, as HaShem controls the ideas and thoughts" that enter our minds. It is up to us to make the correct choice, choose life, choose to follow the Torah!

At Mon May 01, 03:01:00 PM 2017, Blogger Devorah said...

Yaak: this is brilliant, and it does tie in with Rabbi Kessin's shiur. Could go either way.

At Tue May 02, 02:19:00 AM 2017, Anonymous Myrtle Rising said...

Cuts to the chase and is very inspiring.

Thank you.

At Tue May 02, 06:05:00 PM 2017, Blogger michael shekalim said...

Wonderfully insightful . We always choose ' LIFE ' .


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