Internationally renowned Jewish inspirational speaker Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis warns that we are feeling the "birth pangs of the Mashiach," with limited time to save ourselves from dark prophecies surrounding his arrival.
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In an exclusive interview on Israel National Radio's popular new show Mah Nishma with host Gavriel Sanders, Rebbetzin Jungreis, who is the founder of the successful 'Hineni' Jewish outreach organization and author of many books including the recently published 'Life is a Test: How to Handle Life's Challenges Successfully', addressed the fear that people feel as turbulent global events begin to make their mark on Jews and their allies around the world.
The birthpangs of the Messiah
"Anyone who has been just looking around and has his or her eyes open must be frightened. Things are happening that just don't make sense. Overnight, our cherished institutions, our icons, have collapsed. We don't understand it. People blame this one and that one. It's not just in the United States, it's all over the world, and we have so many natural disasters, and so much illness. What is happening?"
Rebbetzin Jungreis says G-d is bringing the world closer to redemption in a process called "chevlei Mashiach" – the labor pains of the arrival of the Messiah.
"Now labor pains, you know, could be very, very painful…as the birth becomes more imminent, the pain becomes more intense, to the point where the mother can not bear it anymore, and just when she thinks she can not bear it, it's 'Mazal Tov!', and the baby is born."
'The generation of the dog'
Based on the writings of ancient Jewish sages, Jungreis concludes that this generation is replet
It's going to be a generation that will abound in chutzpah
e with the signs that are prophesied to hail the coming of the Messiah, including endemic impudence, followership, idol worship, disasters, and war.
"All our [sages] agree…they do not want to be present for the chevlei Mashiach, the birth pangs, because the birth pangs are going to be very painful… It's going to be a generation that will abound in chutzpah [audacity]. Chutzpah will be colossal. Families will be fragmented. Children will turn against parents, parents against children. The elderly will not be respected. Youth will be worshipped.
"… The generation will be like the generation of the dog. What does that mean? The dog runs ahead but always looks back to see if the master is behind him. Similarly, people don't have their own opinions today. What is the media saying? The media is controlling the world…"
According to Rebbetzin Jungreis, the greatest idol worship of this generation is money, an obsession which causes the Western world to ignore the lurking danger posed by Islamist terror against Israel and the United States.
"We have been very blessed, perhaps there was never in history such a wealthy Jewish generation as ours was. But there was no Hakaras HaTov, no credit to Hashem. "My strength did all this". We became arrogant, we became chutzpahdik, we forgot Hashem… Imach shemam [their names be obliterated], the sons of Ishmael, every minute it's "Allah". The sons of Esav, "the Lord," every minute. Their leadership is always speaking the name of G-d. Am Yisrael … they heard the word of Hashem panim el panim, face to face - has forgotten its G-d."
The propensity of the world to worship money is so great, says Rebbetzin Jungreis, that the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, Iran's effort to attain a nuclear weapon, and the rise of fascist and anti-Western powers can be attributed to it.
"[Following the US stock market crash in 1929] America was so absorbed, Hitler had the playground of the world at his disposal, and no one stopped him," she says. "Too late did America and the world wake up. Early thirties – no one intervened with Hitler. They were all absorbed in a financial crisis.
"Fast forward. We have a financial crisis now. Ahmadinejad has the entire world at his disposal, came to New York, made the most toxic, poisonous accusations… if you had made those accusations against Muslims they would have burned down New York City, everyone would have been apologizing. Jews? No problem. He says it, and nobody even looks up, no one looks up. And in addition to him, all the rogue nations, all the demagogues, all the new Hitlers got into the act. Russia woke up again, back to its old tricks, making treaties with Chavez of Venezuela, right here in our own hemisphere. And of course, there is always North Korea. And America is worried about the stock market."
Ahmadinejad, Islamist terror - all part of prophecy
Islamist terror, says Rebbetzin Jungreis, is also predicted in the 9th century (Gregorian calendar) Jewish work, ' Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer,' which prophesied that before the coming of Messiah in the end of days, Ishmael – who is described as a brutal, wild man – will rule the world. Rebbetzin Jungreis attributes Arab terror in Israel, the Islamization of Europe, and the welcoming of Iranian President and vocal anti-Zionist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York to the ancient prophetic writing.
"Ahmadinejad comes to New York, and he has the audacity, the chutzpah to proclaim … in public, at the UN, that it's Zionist Jews who are responsible for the financial crisis in the world, that they are manipulating the world, they're controlling the world… And guess what: The entire world is silent, no outcry, no outrage, no one says anything, and he – just for good measure – he adds that Israel is this cesspool that has to be destroyed, annihilated. No outcry, not a word."
The king of Persia is going to have a weapon that is going to terrorize the world.
Ahmadinejad himself has a role in the unfolding arrival of the Messiah, says Jungreis, and was also predicted to wield lethal power during the end of days.
"You know it says in Yalkut Shimoni that right before Mashiach will come, during Chevlei Mashiach, the king of Persia, now what is Persia? Persia is today's Iran. The king of Persia is going to have a weapon that is going to terrorize the entire world."
'Hashem is hiding'
The current low spiritual state of the Jewish People has caused G-d to hide His face from them, says Rebbetzin Jungreis, who says this concealment is meant to provoke the Jewish People to search for Him.
"In parshas Vayelech… Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu that in the future, there will come a generation who will forget Hashem, and terrible sufferings will come upon them. And finally they will say 'you know why this is happening? Ein Eloka, G-d is not with us. G-d is not in our midst.' And then it says … " I will continue to hide My face." Dichotomous. If we admit that G-d is not with us, then why is G-d hiding? … That puts the onus of responsibility upon G-d – it's Your fault. You are not with us. We have to say 'We are not with Hashem! We are not with our Torah! We are not with our Mitzvot! We are responsible."'
Rebbetzin Jungreis says G-d's concealment is a crucial element in developing the proper relationship with Him, with the key to understanding it being found in the biblical story of Adam and Chava [Eve].
"What was the first sin of Adam and Chava?. We say that we ate from a fruit that was forbidden? No! Hashem was ready to negotiate that. The first sin was scapegoating!. 'The woman who You gave to be with me, it's her fault, she made me do it.' Not only was Adam scapegoating, he was an ingrate. And Chava, what did she say? 'It was the serpent.' And that's when Hashem said 'That's it. That's it. Out! Gan Eden is over.' And that is what we are doing.
Hashem is hiding, but He wants us to find Him
But listen to the chesed [kindness] Hashem said. 'I will hide My face.'
"When a mother goes with her toddler to the supermarket, let's say, and the toddler has a temper tantrum, and he doesn't want to go out unless he gets candy, what does the mother do? She says 'Okay, I'm leaving, you will have to stay here by yourself," and she goes away. Is she really going away? Of course not. She is keeping an eye on her baby, but she pretends to go away so the child should seek her out and run after her. So Hashem says 'I'm hiding' but if you're hiding, you want somebody to find you. There's a beautiful mashal [parable] from a Rebbe who was walking on the street and he sees a little boy crying, and he says 'why are you crying my little child?' 'I'm crying because I'm playing hide-and-seek and nobody's looking for me.'… Hashem is hiding, but He wants us to find Him. And we are not looking for Him, so what are we doing? Whose fault was it?"
For part two of the article, click here.
Listen below to the full Israel National radio interview of Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis with Mah Nishma's Gavriel Sanders.