As a rav who lives in the shadow of the Temple Mount, I am frequently asked to reveal the deep secrets of the Creator (of which my knowledge is equal to that of my neighbor - the taxi driver) when He brought the Covid-19 pandemic upon humanity.
Indeed, neither I, nor to my knowledge does anyone else living today, have entrance to the “pargoud” (mechitza, separation) between the conscious world and the beyond, but some Torah individuals might have a premonition of what is to come.
I believe that the onset of the pandemic signaled a watershed in contemporary history. It was Hashem’s way of informing the Jewish nation and humanity that it is no longer “business as usual”. What was until now, is over. Humanity has entered its final stage called עיקבתא דמשיחא - the difficult era which will climax with the appearance of our Mashiach. A time when disasters like those which occurred in Meron on Lag Ba’omer, the collapse of the galleries in Pisgat Ze’ez, and the collapse of a building in Surfside Florida, with the loss of many Jewish lives, the results of the Earth’s warming as in the northwest USA, and even the sinkholes that swallowed up twelve cars at Shaarei Tzedek and many other world-wide chaotic events.
It will usher in an age of universal fear.
Last week I wrote about the devastating effects that fear can have on an individual and on a nation and added that this week I will write about fear as a tool which Hashem utilizes at times to achieve His desired objectives.
Potpourri of Dilemmas & Barriers
Among the potpourri of dilemmas and barriers which stand between us and the creation of a Torah-centered Medina, is the presence of too many inappropriate and negative peoples in our land.
There are the close to 400,000 gentiles who arrived here mostly from the former Soviet Union by virtue of the distorted Law of Return. The Law permits entry and citizenship to any goy who has at least one Jewish grandparent and was molded after the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 which defined a Jew as such (if Hitler chose to define who is a Jew, it is insanity and national suicide to let him define who is a Jew for our Medina).
For the most part, these 400,000 (and increasing daily) gentiles have no desire to convert. They are happy to receive the benefits of the Jewish Medina but refuse to accept the major condition of conversion, the observance of the Halakha without qualifications or conditions. Years ago, one could not find a butcher store that sold chazir (pork), but today they abound in every city where these goyim live.
Then there are the 2 million or so Arabs who are found in every corner of the land. There are professions which are monopolized by Arabs, such as in the building trades and service centered professions including the upkeep of hospitals; so that when they strike the hospital must close. The Negev is home to the Bedouin, whose way of life is a cancer endangering the sovereignty of the State.
Then the 80,000 or so foreign illegals, mostly from Africa, who are protected by our progressive Supreme Court which prohibits their expulsion, and who are increasing at a very fast rate in order to create facts on the ground which would make their expulsion impossible.
To round off the slate, there are the Jews who seek to divest our society of every feature of Judaism, in order to make the Medina into a country of all its citizens with no Jewish features.
All these together, under a democratic form of government, create a major threat to the Jewish nature of our country. In these circumstances, the situation is in the hands of Hashem. He must get involved and expel these subversive elements from our land, which as of now appears to be beyond our ability.
How will our Father in Heaven go about doing so?
Possibly, Hashem’s tool will be an over-riding emotion of fear which will arouse the internal enemies of the Jewish nation to “run for their lives”. It could be fear of impending war, or economic breakdown or other chaotic situations. At the end of the process, the remaining population will have the responsibility and privilege of establishing the next Bet Hamikdash commonwealth.
The last Mishna of tractate Sota informs us in some broad details of what to expect in this period which could last for 5 or for 50 years, or more.
Worldwide inflation, where products will be abundant, but money will be scarce or lose its value. The traditional bonds of the immediate family, and certainly of the extended family will disintegrate. Elders will lose the respect due to them. Daughters will challenge mothers. Torah scholars will lose their elevated status. It will be a time when humanity will cease to have confidence, their resourcefulness, and will lead to the time when all the world will recognize Hashem as the sole source of salvation.
To close on a positive note.
This week I received the following message from close friends who have just come on aliya from Florida:
“Just came across a quote from the new ANU Museum which is the rebuilt old Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv:
“Being Jewish means knowing how to pack quickly”.
This quote summarizes my feelings about having made Aliya. I have nothing to pack to go to my home in Israel. Unlike the generations before me, “packing” meant for a Jew forced to leave his temporary home to go to a yet unknown, but more secure place in the world. Having made Aliya, home is now the secure place my ancestors and my people sought but never obtained with certainty and permanence.
This year in Yerushalayim, B “H’
The message is clear and vibrant: we have come home to Eretz Yisrael and will never be exiled again.
About some 50 odd years ago I visited the Tel Aviv home of the editor of the national-religious Hatzofeh newspaper. I remarked on his impressive, quantitative and qualitative library which covered three walls. He then related an incident with a holocaust survivor in that very room. The survivor was taken aback by the quantity of volumes and asked, “What will you do when you will be forced to run away?” He answered that it is not an issue, because there is no reason to fear because we will never have to run away from this land.
The message is clear and vibrant: we have come home to Eretz Yisrael, and we will never be exiled again.
In closing: I see a period of time when the people in Eretz Yisrael will be challenged to choose between remaining or leaving to “save their lives”, as I experienced during the three weeks prior to the Six Day War. We lived in Kiryat Tzanz, Netanya, and there was a steady stream of taxis taking families to the airport.
At the time we had two children and were ridiculed for not “escaping”. I told all our detractors, that Hashem will bring about great miracles of victory which we will experience, while you will see it on TV two continents away. And so it was.
In the period of time prior to the Mashiach, all the foreign and alien elements will “escape” and the land will be filled with the lovers of Torah and the Land of Israel.
Rabbi Nachman Kahana is a Torah scholar, author, teacher and lecturer, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, Co-founder of the Temple Institute, Co-founder of Atara Leyoshna – Ateret Kohanim, was rabbi of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem for 32 years, and is the author of the 15-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, and 3-volume “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah” (2009-2011), and “Reflections from Yerushalayim: Thoughts on the Torah, the Land and the Nation of Israel” (2019) as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com