The arrows of Ishmael - the rise of Islam in the US

Suddenly, it doesn't seem like the America I grew up in. There is a foreign and virulent strain of Muslim anti-Semitism which never existed before in America.

Rabbi Moshe L. Kuskin

Judaism Torah saved from Kristallnacht`
Torah saved from Kristallnacht`

“He (Yishmael) would argue with Yitzchok (Isaac) over the inheritance and say ‘I am the first born and deserve a double portion, and they would go to the field and he (Ishmael) would take his bow and shoot arrows at him ”(Rashi on Bereishis 21:10).

How prescient is the Torah! The first recorded interaction of Yishmael, progenitor of the Arab, Muslim nations and Yitzchok, progenitor of the Jewish people, reveals Yishmael evincing his desire to kill Yitzchok!

The New anti-Semitism

Not long ago, a very disturbing article caught my eye. Lara Kollab, a Muslim American who received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from none other than Touro College, a New York City-based Jewish college that prides itself on being “rooted in Jewish tradition, built on Jewish values,” was fired from her residency at a Cleveland hospital  after she publicly averred on twitter “… I’ll purposely give all the [Jews] the wrong meds.” In other tweets she referred to Jews as “dogs” and expressed her lack of sympathy for Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

Suddenly, this didn’t seem like the America I grew up in. This represented a foreign and virulent strain of Muslim anti-Semitism which never existed before in America.  And in the current political milieu, it did not appear to be an anomaly, as I noticed additional disturbing trends in the U.S. Congress, particularly among Democrats, traditionally a bastion of support for the state of Israel and by proxy, of Jews.

Openly anti-Semitic, Muslim Democrats are now ensconced in the halls of Congress and association by many congressional Democrats with the most notorious Jew hater, Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, has now emerged.

Institutional anti-Semitism

When anti-Semitism has become legitimized and has found a safe haven in the institutions of government, religion and education in the surrounding society, it has always been a pre-cursor to the worst forms of oppression of the Jewish people.
Imams across America incite their congregants against the Jews in the most vile and hateful manner with impunity, and college campuses have become centers of anti-Israel activism, particularly through advocacy of the BDS movement, an accepted, surreptitious form of anti-Semitism. Muslim student organization leaders spew blatant anti-Semitic rhetoric without censure.

When anti-Semitism has become legitimized and has found a safe haven in the institutions of government, religion and education in the surrounding society, it has always been a pre-cursor to the worst forms of oppression of the Jewish people.

Even after the Holocaust, the cancer of neo-Nazism and white supremacism continues to spread, but it is the increasing Muslim populations across Europe and America, with its attendant incitement against Jews, which clearly represents the greatest potential threat.

Biblical Prophecies Fulfilled

It is only in our generation that we have come to see the fruition of the Torah’s prophecy regarding Yishmael and his descendants that “…his hand will be against everyone and the hand of everyone will be against him, and he will dwell in the face of all his brethren”) Bereishis 16:12). There is hardly a nation today that has not experienced Muslim terrorism, and Muslim populations have exploded across the globe to western countries by virtue of their open immigration policies.

One can clearly see the hand of G-d where homogeneous populations that have existed for millennia, suddenly, inexplicably, have opened the floodgates to an extremist Muslim population, in which terrorism flourishes, and where there exists little or no desire to assimilate, but rather a desire to take over the indigenous populace and ultimately establish a Muslim caliphate.

This Muslim population is projected to double and could quadruple by 2050 if high immigration rates continue.

Jacob’s Ladder

In the famous verse describing Yaakov Avinu’s prophetic vision of a ladder (Bereishis 28:12) descending from Heaven to earth, the prodigious thirteenth century Torah commentator, Ramban (Nachmanides), explains that the angels ascending and descending represented the four golius, exiles, the Jewish people would endure before Moshiach arrives. These four kingdoms will rise and eventually fall, which will lead us to the final redemption. They are:

1.Golus Bavel, which occurred after the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash, followed by

2. Golus Poras u’Modai (in which the story of Megillas Esther occurred), then

3ץ Golus Yavan (Greek-Assyrians under the rule of Antiochus) which took place after the rebuilding of the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem when the miracle of Hannukah occurred, and finally

4. Golus Edom, our current diaspora of almost than 2000 years, begun by the Roman legions’ destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash in 70 C.E. and the murder or exile of a large percentage of the Jewish population.

However, Rabbi Chaim Vital, the main disciple of the master Kabbalist, the Arizal, who lived in the holy city of Tzfas in northern Israel in the sixteenth century, writes that there will be a fifth period of “exile” or diaspora which will sprout from the current exile of Rome.

At that time, the suffering will be so severe that the only salvation will be for the Jewish people to cry out to G-d, and He will listen and bring the redemption. This is intimated in the term, itself, used to describe this period-- Golus Yishmael: “yishma-eil”—“G-d will hear” our cries and bring Moshiach, as it states in Tehilim (55:20),  " ‘Keil’ (G-d) will hear and will answer them.”

Prescription for Salvation

The Malbim on Tehillim (118:10), which we recite in Hallel, offes a unique explanation of the simple reading of the verse, "All nations surround me; in the name of the Lord, I will cut them off." It means that when we see all the nations of the world surrounding us, we must realize that they are merely following a Divine directive, they are surrounding us "in the name of Hashem," in order that we should ultimately “cut them off” and destroy them.

Hashem will cause all the non-Jewish nations to come and lay siege to Yerushalayim, in order that they be defeated there. We must realize that everything is following the Divine Plan, and we should prepare ourselves and watch as the Geula unfolds.

However, we know that “Hakol bidei Shamayim chutz m’yiras Shamayim,” that fear and awe of G-d is left to our own free will and choice, and that in order that the final redemption occur without terrible suffering, we must have the requisite merit accrued through our faith and devotion to Hashem, His Torah and its mitzvos.

G-d is expecting us to turn totally to Him, as we did during the days of Purim, related in the Story of (Queen) Esther, when our total reliance on G-d --our fasting and prayers directed to the Al-mighty, saved the Jewish people from destruction and brought them ascendance amid joy and gladness.

Ultimate Prophecy

There is a second verse referring to the descendants of Yishmael at the end of Parshas Chayei Sarah, “And he dwelled in the face of all his brethren” (25:18), similar to the one quoted above, occurring in Parshas Lech-L’cha.  

In this second verse the Hebrew word “nafal” is used to mean “dwell,” but it has a double meaning--“to fall.” It also directly precedes the verse which begins, “These are the descendants of Yitzchok…” The Baal HaTurim explains the cryptic meaning of the juxtaposition of these two verses, "and he fell in the presence of all his brothers"-- When Yishmael “falls” at the end of Days, then Moshiach ben Dovid, our righteous redeemer, will arise from the “descendants of Yitzchak.”

May we merit speedily, in our days, the final redemption of the Jewish people, the ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of the third and eternal holy Temple, and the ushering in of that halcyon time when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of G-d” ( Habakkuk 2:14).