I love the Jewish Jokers. I really do. Some people mistakenly claim that my blogs drip with venom when speaking about Jews who love the Diaspora more than they love Israel, but they are mistaken. When a surgeon has to amputate a gangrened leg, does he wield his scalpel because he dislikes the patient? Obviously no. He is trying to save the patient’s life. So let it be with Fishman.
When I use the term Jewish Jokers, I mean certain religious Jews who read the Torah every year and who know that Hashem repeatedly commanded the Jews to live in Israel, again and again and again.
I call them Jokers because, like the Joker of Batman fame, they make good out of evil, and evil out of good. For example, they consider exile a blessing, and life in Israel a curse, saying: “Israel is filled with gay parades. The Torah is scorned. The Government of Israel destroys Jewish settlements. Torah scholars have to serve in the army. You can’t make a living. Apartments are expensive….”
They don’t understand that what seems in their eyes like glaring “Gevalts!” are all a part of the Divine Game Plan which clearly indicate that Redemption is on the way. How do I know? Simple. This is what the Talmud teaches! That’s why when I look at all of the screaming “Gevalts!” in the country, I am excited and encouraged. Mashiach is on the way!
Let me explain.
The Sages of the Talmud taught that the era preceding the coming of Mashiach would be a time of great anguish for the Jews. They dubbed this period “the birth pangs of the Mashiach” (Ketubot 111A).
In his book “Even Shlema,” the Gaon of Vilna writes that these birth pains represent the dawn of a new age. Redemption is referred to as morning. Just as the thickest darkness comes immediately before the day, and a pregnant woman experiences the greatest pain just before the child’s birth, similarly before the Redemption, the tribulations of the Jewish Nation become more and more intense (“Even Shlema,” 11:5).
Reading the Gemarot which describe this time of travail is like reading the headlines coming out of Israel today. The Sages declare (Sotah 49B):
“In the times of the “Footsteps of Mashiach’ insolence will increase and the honor of scholars will decrease; the vine will yield its fruit abundantly, but wine will be expensive; the government will turn to heresy and no one will rise in rebuttal; the meeting-place of Torah scholars will be used for immorality; the Galilee will be destroyed and the borders made desolate; and the settlers on the frontier will go about begging from place to place without anyone to take pity on them.
"The wisdom of the wise will be scorned; those who fear sin will be hated; truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame; the old will stand up in the presence of the young; a son will revile his father; a daughter will rise against her mother; a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household; the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog; a son will not feel ashamed before his father. So upon whom can we rely? Upon our Father in Heaven.”
Doesn’t it sound just like today?
Furthermore, we find in the tractate Sanhedrin (97A):
“Rabbi Yochanan said, ‘In the generation when the son of David will come, Torah scholars will be few in number, and regarding others, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Endless troubles and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming swiftly before the other has ended.”
So you see – we are right on schedule. The Divine Plan is progressing.
Don’t worry. Everything is under control. Mashiach is on the way. You can throw away your excuses. Join the ingathering! Bring on the parade!
Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."