The Talmud teaches that since the destruction of the Holy Temple, prophecy has been relegated to fools and children. Prophecy, in the Jewish sense, is not simply predicting the future or foretelling events that have yet to occur. Jewish prophecy was intended primarily to remind the Jew of who he really is, where his shortcomings are, where he needs to improve, and what he should aspire to become. Perhaps the most overlooked and underappreciated insights into the shortcomings of the Jew, both in terms of his actions and his aspirations can be gleaned from our generation’s greatest fools- who may also happen to be its greatest prophets. I speak of non-other than the modern-day anti-Semite.
When anti- Semites speak, our tendency is to ignore them, as they are fools. When a young Muslim thug approaches an elderly hassid walking in the street in Antwerp and waves a Palestinian flag, its easy to overlook it as a simple act of hatred and stupidity. Why chose a Palestinian flag to harass an anti-Zionist rabbi in Belgium? What connection does he have to Israel? Stupidity. Bigotry. But perhaps there is a deeper message to be gleaned from this act of seeming random anti-Semitism.
When hareidi Jews in Jersey City, Monsey, Brooklyn and cities around the world are attacked by anti- Semites who have grievances against the Israeli government for their treatment of Palestinians, it's easy to ignore this as senseless and illogical hatred. What do Jews who are either non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, who are not even living in Israel have to do with policies of the Israeli government? Are the haters not intelligent enough to do some research and figure out that these people whom they attack have “no connection” to Israel? Can’t they see that hareidi Jews whom they attack do not live in Israel nor support the government and may not even necessarily support the idea that Jews should be living there until the Messiah comes?
Certainly these Jewish victims of hate themselves don’t feel personally obligated to actually live in Israel. They are living happy and fulfilling lives in Golders Green, Lakewood, Boro Park and Montreal. So why are diaspora Jews with no obvious connection to Israel being attacked every time some Jew hater has grievances against the secular Zionist State of Israel?
Can this be a form of prophecy? If so, what is the message that we are to learn from it? Is it possible that perhaps the Jew in Galus needs a reminder of who they really are and where they really belong? Certainly if a Rabbi were to deliver such a stark message, it would be cynically dismissed as cheap Zionism, alarmism, even heresy. If G-d were to want to deliver such a striking rebuke to the Jewish people, a simple rabbi would not be a sufficient messenger. Such a mission requires the likes of someone of no less stature than a prophet. What greater prophets do we have in our midst today, than the greatest fools of our generation?
As a nation, are we like a dog that when hit, gets angry at the stick instead of the owner? When the haters pour their wrath upon us, are we so close minded as to not see these people are not talking and acting of their own accord? If they are messengers or perhaps prophets, it would behoove us to pay attention when they speak and seek out meaning in what they say. Perhaps they are sending us a wake up call about who we are, who we ought to be and where we ought to be. Perhaps what they are saying is modern day prophecy. For example:
In a 1998 interview with ABC news, Osama Bin Laden noted that he foresaw the Zionists planning to expand their boundaries into Arab lands as per the Biblical concept of Greater Israel which reaches until the Euphrates River. This was a message often repeated by Yasser Arafat, Hamas and Iran in claiming that the two blue lines of the Israeli flag really represent the Nile and Euphrates Rivers, the future boundaries of Greater Israel. They further claim that the map of Israel on the 10 agorot coin, represents the map of Greater Israel-in all its expanded boundaries. No rabbi or political leader in Israel would dare speak of Biblical Greater Israel today. Those advocating for full sovereignty in only Judea and Samaria are dreamers. What did Yasser Arafat and Osama Bin Laden know that we have forgotten? Let’s not underestimate the ability of our enemies to deliver a message that we were meant to hear.
Avraham Shusteris is an accountant in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He made aliyah from Monsey with his family in 2018.