REPOST FROM 2017 Knishta Chada issue #52 “Between Mashiach ‘coming’ and being ‘revealed’.”
‘In motzei shivi’it (the post-sabbatical year) he comes’ – When will he be revealed already?!!
We’ve just finished the year 5776, motzei shivi’it, and everyone was sure that this was the year which our Sages spoke of when they said (Sanhedrin 97), “In motzei shivi’it, the son of David will come.” Yet to our sorrow and anguish, our state of affairs just continues in its usual routine with no light or salvation – or perhaps not? Perhaps, in reality, something is already happening and we’re already situated in the midst of a process, only that not everyone feels it. When a group of autistics [known already for their uncanny ability to see hidden phenomena] were asked recently on the Talmudic dictum, “In motzei shivi’it, the son of David will come,” they replied, “Yes, he most likely came, though he hasn’t yet been revealed.”
“Mashiach [Messiah] is riding on a donkey” (Sanhedrin 98). Rashi interprets this to mean that he will be revealed, “bit by bit” – little by little. Our Sages state that Mashiach will be revealed first of all to individuals and then afterwards to more and more people until, in the end, everyone will know about him. Only that before all this happens, he needs to come from somewhere, as the language of the Talmud expresses, “motzei shivi’it the son of David will come.” Then from where does he come?
From the Holy Land or from the Exile?
There is a difference of opinion amongst our Sages regarding whether Mashiach comes from the land of Israel or from the exile. In the Chabad newsletter “Sichas HaShavua” (edition 1206), Rabbi Menachem Brod brings a list of sources for both positions. A portion of them say that Mashiach will come from the exile. It is brought in Hosea 2:2, Targum Yonasan on Song of Songs 8:1, as well as in the Midrash (Exodus Rabbah 1:31), that before the redemption, Mashiach will be situated in the lands of exile: “Melech HaMashiach (King Messiah), who will take vengeance from Edom, dwells with them in [their] country.” There are also Sages who say that Melech HaMashiach will come specifically from the Holy Land as it says in the Zohar (I 119a; II 7b), “Melech HaMashiach will be revealed in the Galilee region.” So too, the Rambam writes (Igeres Teiman 4), “He will rise in the land of Israel and there he will begin to be revealed.”
Rabbi Brod resolves the seeming contradiction, writing: “It’s possible to say that these sources are speaking about [different] stages in the revelation of Mashiach – in the beginning he will be situated in the exile, and there he will begin to act; afterwards, he will come to the Holy Land.” Likewise, we find in Abravanel (Yeshuos Meshicho 1:3) that Mashiach will first be situated in the exile and from there will come to the Holy Land [and will begin to be revealed there]. We find that if we analyze precisely the language of our Sages, it comes out that there is no contradiction. In the language of our Sages, Mashiach will “dwell” in the exile, and from there he will begin to act. Then he “comes” to the Holy Land in motzei shivi’it, and he will “rise” there specifically [in the Galilee region] “and there will begin his revelation.”
People err in thinking that Mashiach will come and be revealed in a thousandth of a second in a single boom, and everything will be ok. That’s not how our Sages described it – rather, “bit by bit.” We have here an entire process which takes several years at minimum. From the time that Moshe came to Egypt with the command to redeem the people, they still needed to pass through enormous birurim (difficult spiritual purifications) – the ten plagues, the Passover sacrifice, to follow after him into the desert, etc., until they came to experience the revelation at Mount Sinai. And all of this is still called “in haste.” However, the final redemption isn’t like the first. It’s written regarding the first redemption, “In haste, you exited the land of Egypt,” and regarding the final redemption it’s written, “You will not leave in haste, nor go in flight”
However, don’t worry. It appears that we’re already approaching the end of the birurim.
How will the coming of Melech HaMashiach look?
The Ramban describes the coming of Melech HaMashiach. It is written (Zechariah 9:9), “Behold, your king will come to you, righteous and redeemed is he, a poor man riding upon a donkey,” to which the Ramban comments (Kisuvim), “When he comes at first, poor and riding upon a donkey, all the city’s taskmasters and law enforcers will come upon him and torture him with insults and blasphemies, and [people] will say [of him] ‘a scorned and poor man riding upon a donkey.’”
The Ramban already told us almost a thousand years ago that when Mashiach comes in motzei shivi’it, he won’t come with trumpet blasts while the entire nation submits to him. On the contrary, he will come accompanied by police officers, pursuit, and insults. If that’s not enough, we will also sit in jail, as the Midrash says, and as it says in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a): Mashiach sits at the “gates of Rome.” The Ramchal understands the “gates of Rome” to mean prison (Kinas Hashem Tzevakos 2).
These are the signs of Mashiach, as the Talmud says, “His sign is that he sits between poor people who are suffering illnesses (Sanhedrin ibid.), and that he also is afflicted (Rashi).
The picture is not a pretty one and certainly isn’t what we have waited thousands of years for. However, in the end he does finally come, only accompanied by police, oppression, insults and blasphemies. Not only that, but we can’t see him because he will sit in prison. However, Rabbeinu Nachman of Breslev already warned us with very clear words, “In the beginning, there will be enormous opposition to Mashiach” (Megilas Sesarim – see Peulas HaTzaddik 504). Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising when this will happen. On the contrary, it will only confirm the matter in the eyes of those with faith.
However, Rabbeinu warned, that despite the fact that he already revealed this, there will still be great tests of faith: “Daniel and others predicted that this would happen in the days before Mashiach. They said, ‘Many will be tested, refined, and sifted out.’ It has already been predicted that there will be great temptations before Mashiach’s coming, where ‘many will be tested, sifted out, and their faith refined’… Knowing full well that this has already been predicted, it would seem ridiculous for one to succumb to any temptation to abandon his beliefs. It would seem obvious that every Jew would have enough intelligence to remain firm. But still it is a great trial and many will fall away and be evil. Still, I am revealing this for the sake of the few faithful who will remain strong in their belief. They will certainly have great conflicts. But when they see that this has already been predicted, it will give them additional strength and encouragement” (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 35, see there).
What will the nation do when he sits in prison?
We would think that since Melech HaMashiach accepts upon himself all of this sorrow and hardship only in order to lighten the judgment for us and to bring closer the redemption, it would be obvious that in return we would have mercy on him and appreciate him. However, this is not at all the case. The Midrash says (Pisikta Rabbasi Parsha 34): Even at the time that he is sitting in prison for our sins, there will be such “G-d – fearing people” who will mock and ridicule him.
And what will be the response of this person who suffers for them? The Midrash answers (ibid.): “TZaDiK (righteous) and noSHa (redeemed) is he” – “This is Mashiach who maTZ’DiK (justifies) the case of Israel when they mocked him as he sat in prison. [This is why] he is called TZaDiK. [And] why is he called noSHa? It is because he justifies the case of Israel and says to them, ‘Aren’t you all my children? All of you shall tevaSHu (be redeemed) with the Holy One’s mercy.’”
The Midrash continues: “’Poor and riding upon a donkey’ – this is Mashiach. And why is he called ANi (poor)? Because he was nitANeh (oppressed) all of those years that he was in prison and Jewish sinners mocked him because he was riding on a donkey; [this was] for the sake of all the wicked that have no merit. In the merit of Mashiach, G-d shields them, walking them on a righteous path and redeeming them.”
In the merit of Mashiach, his prayers and self-sacrifice for them, G-d has mercy upon the same wicked people who cause him all his suffering through their sins, which he rectifies.
How much suffering does he bear?
The Midrash says (Yalkut Yeshayahu 52: 476): “’He is pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities; the chastisement upon him is for our benefit, and through his wounds, we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5): Rav Huna said in the name of Rabbi Acha: ‘Suffering was divided into three portions – one portion given to the forefathers and all generations; one portion given to the generations of genocide; and one given to Melech HaMashiach.’” Thus, Mashiach accepted upon himself a third of all the suffering from the time of creation.
This isn’t just physical suffering. When the Romans scraped Rabbi Akiva’s body with iron combs, he didn’t feel pain, because it was a delight for him to die in the sanctification of G-d’s name. It was for this that he prayed throughout his life (Brochos 61b). Not only him, but all tzaddikim are ready at every single moment to go through all the suffering in the world in order to give a even little bit of spiritual satisfaction to G-d. Rabbi Elazar would invite hardships onto himself and call out to them, “Come, my brothers and friends” (Baba Metzia 84b). Rabbeinu said (Likutey Moharan 250): “Know, that all types of suffering and pain only come from a lack of spiritual knowledge. A person who has spiritual knowledge doesn’t have pain, and doesn’t feel any suffering.”
Rather, the main suffering that tzaddikim bear is spiritual suffering. Regarding this, Rabbeinu said (Likutey Moharan II, 77): “The greater a person’s spiritual knowledge, the greater his suffering, as in ‘The more knowledge, the more suffering.’” The suffering of the tzaddik is manifested in his being prevented from drawing more Jews closer to Hashem. There is no greater suffering for the tzaddik than when he sees that as a result of his accepting upon himself the disgrace which his divine service requires of him, he can’t have so much influence on people; on the contrary, people distance themselves as a result of the desecration of Hashem’s Name. This was the great test of Avraham at the time of the binding of Isaac. If we take a person who is on the spiritual level of Avraham, who speaks to Hashem face to face, and Hashem tells him to slaughter his son, and there is no doubt that this is Hashem’s will, why should it be so hard for him to fulfill G-d’s will?
However, the test for Avraham is expressed in the question of whether, as a result of the binding of Isaac, he is prepared to allow a rumor to spread that he commits the very sin that he has cried out against for some hundred years. Then all of his self-sacrificing labor of drawing the world closer to Hashem could dissolve at once in the moment that everyone says – “See Avraham that hypocrite! Preaches to everyone about idolatry while he himself sins in the very same thing.” As is known, in the time of Avraham, the main yezer hara / temptation was for idolatry (as in brought in Yoma 69). His entire life was invested in eliminating this temptation from the world. People would slaughter their children for the sake of idolatry, and Avraham had to convince them that this was not the way. He would argue with them: ‘A person needs to have mercy on the world and do kindness for others. All the more so on children.’ Avraham was a man of kindness. He himself turned into the divine attribute of kindness (Sefer HaBahir), and in this way revealed the attribute of kindness in the world. And now, after all his labor, by causing the world to think that he also slaughters children, he could lose everything that he worked for throughout his life.
In our generation, the main yetzer hara / temptation is licentiousness, and because of this we are suffering all the pain of exile. It follows then that specifically the tzaddik who is complete to the highest degree of purity from any residue of this yetzer hara (and who has succeeded for decades of self-sacrifice in bringing countless Jews to the path of truth and to be repulsed by all lusts of this world) that his test and that of his followers is specifically that a rumor should spread which is liable to spoil everything and cause a desecration of Hashem’s Name, G-d forbid. This is the greatest anguish to the tzaddik.
This is what Rashi said on Isaiah 53 regarding what is written about Mashiach, “He was considered among the wicked, for he bore the sin of the multitudes”: “He bore suffering as if he had sinned and rebelled – this was for the sake of others, he bore the sin of the masses.” The suffering which Mashiach bears is suffering “as if he had sinned and rebelled” – that a rumor will go out that he had sinned and rebelled, and because of this he won’t have very much influence on the public. This causes a desecration of Hashem’s Name that causes people to distance themselves. See the book “Mara’os HaTzovos” by the holy Alshich on Isaiah 52-53 where he discusses this topic at great length. There he discusses how Melech HaMashiach suffers from being counted amongst the wicked and sinners and lacks the power to influence, and how through this specifically he rectifies the world and brings the redemption, in order that ultimately, there won’t be desecration of Hashem’s Name at all. On the contrary, through this specifically, Hashem’s Name will be sanctified all over the world through the Holy Temple returning to its splendor and through the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
This is the meaning of the tza’aras [a divinely-inflicted skin affliction, often mistranslated as ‘leprosy’] that Mashiach suffers, as is brought in the passage from tractate Sanhedrin mentioned above: “Mashiachs name is the ‘tza’aras-afflicted one of the academy of Rebbe’ as it says, ‘Therefore, our sicknesses he bore, our pains he suffered, and we thought of him as afflicted and stricken by G-d, and tortured.’” Because tza’aras is a spiritual sickness that comes about through sin, spreading out on the skin to show to the world “as if he sinned,” this itself is “he bore the sin of the masses.” Take note of this.
And this is the secret of the tza’aras of Moshe. See the Ramchal (Kinas Hashem, II), who says that this was the second sign that Hashem gave him to show that he would succeed in bringing the Jewish people out of exile. And this is also the case with the sign of his staff turning into a serpent and turning back into a staff. These signs are parallel to the signs that Mashiach has, as is brought in Rebbe Nachman’s stories at the end of the story of the “Burgher and the Pauper,” regarding which Rabbeinu says, “And also about the last redeemer there will certainly be signs.” See there how the entire story is relevant here and full of the greatest secrets regarding the work of Melech HaMashiach in purifying the people, the bringing of the redemption and the work of the people to recognize and accept him in spite of “his marred appearance and visage” (Isaiah 52).
Is this suffering beloved to you?
Don’t think that Hashem burdens him with suffering against his will. Mashiach accepts upon himself everything with great love. Not only that, but Hashem occasionally asks Mashiach if he wants to continue or if it’s enough already. The Midrash says (Yalkut Yeshayahu 60:499): “Hashem says to Mashiach: ‘[Regarding] these [souls] who are concealed with you, their sins will place you into an iron yoke and make you like this calf whose eyes are stricken and whose spirit is stifled in a yoke. Because of their sins your tongue with stick to your palate. Is this what you desire?’ Mashiach says before Hashem, ‘Master of the Universe! With delight and rejoicing of my heart I accept [this] upon myself so that not a single Jew should be lost.’”
At the time that Mashiach accepts upon himself all of this suffering, “he screams and cries, and his voice ascends to the heavens. He says before [Hashem], ‘Master of the Universe! How much is my strength? How much is my spirit? How much is my soul? How much [strength is in] my organs? Am I not flesh and blood?!’ Regarding that moment [King] David cried, ‘My strength is dried out like earthenware.’ At that moment Hashem says to [Mashiach], ‘Ephraim, My righteous Mashiach! You already accepted upon yourself [this] from the six days of creation. Now your suffering will be like My suffering. For, from the day that Nebuchadnezzar the wicked ascended and destroyed My Temple and burned My sanctuary and I exiled my children amongst the nations of the world, by your life, I haven’t sat on My throne. And if you don’t believe Me, see the dew that’s on my head, as it says, ‘my head is filled with dew.’’ At that time [Mashiach] says before Him, ‘Master of the Universe! Now I am calmed, because it’s enough for a slave to be like his master’ (ibid.).”
The holy Zohar says (Vayakhel 212): “At the time that they tell Mashiach about the sorrow of Israel in their exile, and about the wicked amongst them who don’t bother to know their Creator and who cause a lengthening of the exile, Mashiach will then raise his voice and cry over these wicked amongst them. This is what’s written regarding Melech HaMashiach: ‘He was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities.’”
The Zohar continues: “There is one hall in the Garden of Eden called ‘the Hall of Affliction.’ The Mashiach enters this hall and calls out to all the illness, all the pains, all the suffering of Israel, that they should come upon him; and they all come upon him. If it were not for the Mashiach lightening from Israel the suffering and accepting it upon himself, there would be no human who could tolerate the suffering of Israel because of the [severity of] punishment for the affront to Torah. This is what’s written regarding the Mashiach (Isaiah 53): ‘Our illnesses he bore’—the illness that was fitting to come upon us, he accepted and carried upon himself. ‘And their pains he suffered’ – he suffers the pain that was fitting to come upon us. In parallel, Rabbi Elazar in the [physical] world, that he accepts upon himself the suffering of Israel, and would say to his suffering, ‘Come my brothers and friends.’”
Riding upon materialism
Regarding, “Riding upon a CHaMoR (donkey)” CHaMoR is CHoMRius (materialism). The Mashiach descends into prison, to the valley of death, to the depths of the klipos (evil forces), in order to take from the evil forces the bounty which it siphoned off from Israel because of their sins, as is brought in the Zohar (Achrei Mos 69a): “therefore, it’s written ‘righteous and redeem is he, poor and riding upon a donkey.’ The tzaddik himself needs salvation so that he doesn’t remain amongst the evil forces'”, and in this way the redemption will come to all the Jewish people (see there).
Therefore Avraham, Moshe, and Melech HaMashiach all ride on the same chamor/donkey, as Rashi comments (Exodus 4:20) regarding the donkey of Moshe, “The unique donkey – this is the donkey which Avraham saddled for the binding of Isaac, and which in the future Melech HaMashiach will be revealed upon, as is written, ‘poor and riding upon a donkey.” Avraham, Moshe, and the Mashiach, all three of them, were involved in descending into the klipah in order to cancel out its power. Avraham dwelled in the idol shop of his father Terach. Moshe grew up in Pharaoh’s palace. As is brought, that specifically through this is fulfilled “it swallowed [their] strength and vomited it out” – that the evil forces will vomit out all the powers that they swallowed because of Israel’s sins, and this will pave for us the path to redemption. It was specifically at the time of the binding of Isaac, at the time that Avraham went to slaughter his son that it is written that Avraham was riding upon a donkey. So too with Moshe – it is written that he was riding upon a donkey specifically after the incident at the burning bush in which he grasped the tail of the forces of evil and placed his hand in his bosom and it turned to tza’aras (see Zohar Bo 34a). And so too the Mashiach, when he arrives, he is called “riding upon a donkey” – surrounded by police officers as the Ramban writes above. Indeed, it would seem from the outside that Avraham, Moshe, and the Mashiach are the greatest criminals. Avraham, even after he left the house of idols, all the people said that he was a heretic. Moshe, even in the midst of the redemption process, all the people said of him that he was guilty of adultery (sanhedrin 110). And about the Mashiach…both of these accusations, but still nothing stops them from bringing the process of redemption to its completion.
Melech HaMashiach accepts upon himself all of this terrible suffering because specifically through this he brings the redemption. This suffering atones for all the sins for all the generations, as the Radak says (Isaiah 53): “All of the suffering which was fitting to come upon us comes upon him.” And as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says: “I can acquit the entire world from judgment from the time I was created until now, and if my son Elazar is with me, from the time the world was created until now” (Succah 45b). Because of the suffering which he endured while hiding in the cave he bore all the sins of Israel and acquitted them from judgment (Rashi and Maharsha).
It is brought in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97b): “If Israel repents they will be redeemed, if not they won’t be redeemed.” Yet what will happen if Israel doesn’t repent and the final deadline for Mashiach’s coming arrives? The Zohar answers: “Rabbi Eliezer said to Rabbi Akiva, ‘By your life, if the leaders of the Jewish people repent, in the merit of this all the exiles will be ingathered’ (Zohar Chadash Noach 30a). So the tzaddikim repent on behalf of Am Yisrael, as Rabbeinu says: “The tzaddik is obligated to repent on behalf of Am Yisrael” (Likutey Moharan II, 66). In what way do the tzaddikim repent for Am Yisrael? After all, the tzaddik himself never sinned. Regarding what will he repent?! Regarding this Rashi says (Isaiah 53) “He bore suffering as if he [himself] had sinned and rebelled; and for the sake of others he bore the sins of the masses: through the suffering that comes upon him, good comes to the world.” Thus, he bears suffering from this that people think that he sinned, and this itself brings good to the world, as the Radak said. This was the case with the test of Avraham in the binding of Isaac and Moshe at the burning bush, “and also regarding the last redeemer there will certainly be signs,” because “what was [already in the past] – will be [in the future as well] (In Hebrew: Ma SHehaya Hu SHeyiyeh) – initial letters in Hebrew MoSHeH (Moshe).
The Pri Tzaddik said (Pinchas 15), “The rectification will be by Mashiach son of David who will raise the yoke of repentance (as was said in Moed Katan 16b) and Mashiach will be the only one who, through his repentance, the entire world is forgiven (as was said in Yoma 86b). That is, he will cause all of Israel to have thoughts of repentance.”
What does it help us that Mashiach comes?
What does it help us that in “motzei shvi’it the son of David ‘comes’” if he comes “poor and riding upon a donkey,” with all the city’s taskmasters and law enforcers coming upon him and torturing him with insults and blasphemies, and saying “a scorned man?” In what way does it help us that at last he finally comes if he comes in such a fashion? We want him to redeem us. What does it help us that he comes and sits at the gates of Rome, in jail, in the shadow of death, and doesn’t redeem us?!
However, Rashi says (Sanhedrin 98) that just as a donkey walks slowly, so too does Mashiach come slowly, bit by bit, “because you will not leave in haste, nor go in flight.” To Mashiach there is a process. He has work to do—to rectify and purify the world. As the Rav shlit”a said more than a year ago that in “motzei shivi’it ben David is coming,” but he has six years of work to do, until the year 5781-2021, to bring the entire world back in repentance. Then there will be the true redemption. The Rav said in these words: “These six years from 5775 to 5781 are years of redemption. In these years the entire Jewish people return in repentance. All the biggest sinners return in repentance, because there are no libertines amongst the Jewish people. There are no sinners amongst the Jewish people. There are no wicked amongst the Jewish people – all of this being stages in the redemption, all of this being stages in the development of the soul, in being able to receive the portions of the soul.” The Rav shlit”a also said, “Melech HaMashiach will return all the nations of the world in repentance.”
The Ramban explains in another source (Ramban Ma’amar Havikuach—Milchemes Hashem) the secret meaning of Mashiach ‘sitting at the gate of Rome,’ the place of the klipah: “What is said in agadah according to which Mashiach will rise in Rome, that is – until he destroys it. As we found with Moshe, who grew up in the palace of Pharaoh until vengeance was taken from him and he drowned all his people in the sea. And as it says regarding Chiram, king of Tzur, ‘I will bring out fire from within you that will consume you…’” We learn from this that Mashiach will burn the evil forces from within, all those who are holding him. Such is explained in many places in the Holy Zohar and the writings of the Ari, that the last klipah that needs to be shattered before the coming of Mashiach is the klipah of the erev rav / mixed multitude. Moshe erred in that he brought close the mixed multitude who caused all Israel to sin. Therefore, he returns in the last generation to suffer at their hands, and through this he will be the redeemer who saves the people (see Zohar Mishpatim 114b; Sefer HaLikutim – v’Etchanan; ibid. Kings I – 4; Sha’ar HaGilgulim 20, and more).
All of this is explained very clearly in several places in the writings of the Ramchal. In the book “Kinas Hashem Tzevakos,” the Ramchal says: “A different way of rectification will be transmitted to [Mashiach] – that he will go and dress himself in the klipah, and sit there in prison lacking light and influence, and he is illness-inflicted, and I will say to you that this is what [the Sages] said (Sanhedrin 98a), that he ‘sits at the gate of Rome.’ This is really [a fulfillment of] “he submitted himself to his grave with wicked men,” because Moshe needs to rectify Israel so that they will be cleansed of the mixed multitude. And this is the birur that is fitting for him [in that he brought the mixed multitude into Israel]. Therefore, he is buried there with them. Rashbi already commented in parshas Tetzei regarding the grave of Moshe, that it was in an image that wasn’t fitting for him, as we will explain, G-d willing, that statement. Only that the [two] Meshichim need to be at the gate of Rome, and this is called for them a grave in that they need to be dressed within the klipah, which is the klipah of Esau and Ishmael, the nations who rule over Israel. And they need to submit to [Israel] through these Meshichim. And there in Rome the Meshichim sit, and from there they remove the sparks which are needed by Israel; and in their bearing hardship, they lighten [the burden] from Israel.”
In the book “Adir BaMarom” the Ramchal explains further: “Now I will explain to you all of these things, G-d willing, very clearly. The Emanator, blessed is He, wanted Mashiach to suffer illnesses, as is mentioned in the words of our Sages (Sanhedrin 98a), that he suffers the obstructions of the evil forces for the sake of Israel. This is to the detriment of the evil forces, because regarding this it is said, ‘Where he knelt, there he fell, vanquished’ (Judges 5:27). Because in all the places that the evil forces cling to at the time of their rule, they remain entrapped there like a bird in a snare which they can’t flee from afterwards when the holiness takes over. Rather, those levels themselves will be chains around their neck to subdue them under holiness and to do with them the vengeances that needs to be done with them. In this way will be uncovered all the levels of the evil forces which ruled over Israel and over Melech HaMashiach in order to conceal their light and oppress them – [all these levels] will be bound and remain under [Israel’s control] in the future. Therefore, Moshe was placed on a reed in the Nile, because he was also under the klipah of Egypt so that Egypt would remain afterwards tied and bound under him. The Shekhinah (Divine presence) doesn’t abandon the souls which are stuck in the exile, and certainly not souls such as these. Therefore, it’s written [regarding Moshe], ‘And she saw him, that he was good’ (Exodus 2:2) – that the Shekhinah was with him.”
Let’s go back over the sentence that we just read: “Those levels themselves will be chains around their neck to subdue them under holiness and to do with them the vengeances that needs to be done with them.” So specifically Mashiach being confined in chains of iron will bring us in the end to the final rectification and to the exodus of all of us from the yoke of exile into great light.
He arrived but we don’t know it!
The Talmud says in tractate Eruvin (43b) that there could be a situation where Mashiach already comes and people simply don’t know it. Perhaps, in general he is already revealed to individuals or to the greatest tzaddikim. Also it’s possible that Elijah the prophet, who has to come before Mashiach, is only revealed to individuals. Therefore the Talmud says that a person who vowed nezirus (a vow which includes abstention from grape products) from the day that Mashiach comes, is forbidden to drink wine from the day of his vow forward, even on Shabbat when Mashiach can’t come anyways, because perhaps Mashiach already came and he doesn’t know it (Rashi). As we wrote later on regarding the Midrash, “Humble ones! The time of your redemption has arrived!” – that after everything is said and done, Mashiach still needs to arouse the people to open their eyes and understand that the redemption is really happening!
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a
Throughout the year 5776-2016, motzei shivi’it, many people heard from the mouth of the Gaon Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a that it was the year regarding which the Sages said “in motzei shivi’it, the son of David is coming.” Then, on 12 Nissan 5776 – April 20, 2016, a conversation between Rabbi Kanievsky and the head of the beit din of the ‘HaEda HaCharedis’ the Gaon Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch was published. In the conversation Rabbi Kanievsky was heard saying, “Motzei shivi’it still hasn’t finished. ‘In motzei shivi’it the son of David comes.’” Rabbi Sternbuch replied, “The harvest has passed, the summer has ended, but we have not been saved.” Rabbi Kanievsky said, “According to the signs in tractate Kesubos, Mashiach is already compelled to come.” At this point Rabbi Kanievsky took from his bookshelf tractate Kesuvos and begin to read the words of the Talmud on page 112b: “Rabbi Zeira said in the name of Rabbi Yermia bar Abba: In the generation in which the son of David comes, there will be a vilification of Torah scholars.”
“The end of days couldn’t be more revealed that this”
Above, Rabbi Kanievsky brings the Talmudic statement in tractate Kesuvos as proof that Mashiach already is compelled to come because “vilification of Torah scholars” has already been filled. This same quote the Maharsha compares to a quote in tractate Sanhedrin which says that not only is this a sign that Mashiach is compelled to come already, rather, that there is no clearer sign than this!! In the words of the Talmud: “The end of days couldn’t be more revealed than this…that ‘going and coming has no peace’ – that there will be no peace for Torah scholars, and that they will be pursued.”
“He will return in another week”
On 12 Tammuz 5776 – July 18, 2016, close to the end of motzei shivi’it, after 3 years of exile, the Gaon and Tzaddik HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a returned to the land of Israel to the surprise of everyone. But in reality, not everyone was surprised. Tzaddikim who are connected to the spirituality behind the processes that are happening in the world know from the beginning the course of this process, but still this almost always remains a secret. This time an eight-year-old child merited hearing with his own ears how tzaddikim are connected to each other. Even without taking their eyes away from their books they know very well what’s happening in the world. The child Nassan Brocha arrived with his two friends to receive a blessing from Maran Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a, and asked Rabbi Kanievsky to bless HaRav Berland shlit”a that he should make it to Israel. Rabbi Kanievsky said to him, “The Rav will return in another week.” And so it was. (To hear the child’s story, call 077-226-6423)
“Mashiach has already passed the entrance”
A story related by one of the callers on the “Sod HaChashmal” hotline of Rabbi Yekusiel Fish shlit”a:
“People are talking here about what Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky said to one of his followers from Monsey. I want to be precise with the details. [They] are speaking about my uncle. He related to me today precisely what happened. My uncle went in to Rabbi Chaim before Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Chaim said to him: ‘What will be with you? You’re going back to chutz la’aretz?’ Then Rabbi Chaim announced: ‘Mashiach has already passed the threshold. Mashiach has already passed the entrance.’ After Rosh Hashanah, in the middle of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, my uncle returned to the Gaon Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. At that opportunity, he asked Rabbi Chaim shlit”a, ‘The Rabbi said that Mashiach already passed the threshold. Where is he?’ Rabbi Kanievsky responded: ‘He’s already even closer.’”
(To here the conversation, call the “Sod HaChashmal” hotline – 02-580-5801)
Humble ones! The time of your redemption has arrived!
The Midrash (Yalkut Yeshaya ibid.) continues and tells us an amazing thing that teaches us just how important is the matter of faith in the coming of Mashiach, and just how great are the barriers, concealments, and confusions during the period that Melech HaMashiach is revealed. Even when everything is revealed and placed before the Jewish people – they have the Holy Temple, Melech HaMashiach stands in front of them – yet still they need confirmation that in fact such things are happening and that it’s not some kind of a dream or another delusion. The Midrash says, “Our Rabbis taught that at the hour that Melech HaMashiach is revealed, he will stand on the roof of the Holy Temple and proclaim to Israel ‘Humble ones! The time of your redemption has arrived! And if you don’t believe [it], see my light which shines upon you…’” – until here is the language of the Midrash.
What is happening here? You don’t see the Holy Temple? You really don’t see Melech HaMashiach? What’s the intention of the words “If you don’t believe?” Melech HaMashiach is the very one who’s talking to you! And he stands on the roof of the Holy Temple! What else is there to believe?!
Rather, the answer is as the prophet said (Daniel 12:10), “Many will be tested, sifted out and refined” – there will be a great birur and tests in faith (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 35) “and many will become evil.” As the Ramban says (ibid), “Many will be tested, sifted out and refined, and all the wicked won’t understand – the wise will understand. Daniel said that there will be some wicked people who will act evilly by vilifying the heels of Mashiach, and they won’t believe in him at all.” This is as is written, “…who vilify the heels of Your Mashiach” (Psalms 89:52).
The Malbim says an amazing thing! Here, King David sings, “…who vilify the heels of Your Mashiach. Blessed is Hashem forever, Amen and Amen.” Why does he sing “Blessed is Hashem forever” at a time when there are such curses!? And why “Amen and Amen” when there will be such insults?! To this, the Malbim says: King David “wants to say that I have comfort in that I know that the fact that they vilify, that itself is the ‘heels of Your Mashiach’ – that by way of the insults, the heels of Mashiach come. And in the period that their insults increase, this itself is the sign that the heels of Melech HaMashiach are coming. Therefore, ‘blessed is Hashem, Amen and Amen.” Amazing!
This is what Midrash Tehilim 18 says: “When Mashiach comes, one is not to sing praises until Mashiach is insulted, as it says ‘who vilify the heels of Your Mashiach.” When we see that people are insulting him, then it will be possible already to sing praise!
In the chapter on Melech HaMashiach (Hilch. Melachim, ch. 11) the Rambam writes, “Anyone who doesn’t believe in him or anyone who doesn’t wait for his coming, not only does he deny the rest of the prophets, but he [also] denies the Torah and Moshe.” Here we have a halachic (Jewish legal) ruling on how important is the matter of faith in these times.
“Many will be tested, sifted out and refined”
The kabbalist Rabbi David Chaim Stern shlit”a from Bnei Brak arrived on one occasion at the Melaveh Malka (post-Shabbat) meal at King David’s tomb saying publicly: “Whoever speaks against HaRav Eliezer Berland shlit”a will have no portion in the coming redemption.”
Recently, Rabbi Aaron Farkas who gives the Likutey Moharan Daf Yomi shiur in Breslev, was being menachem ovel (comforting mourners) by Rav Stern at his home in Bnei Brak following the passing of his sister. Rabbi Farkas related on the Breslov hotline what was said there, these were his words: “Rabbi Meir Shlomo entered with me to comfort mourners in the presence of many others. At the visit, Rav Stern was telling stories and among other things that he was saying was that the complete redemption is extremely close and that one of the things which is preventing the redemption is lack of tznius (modesty). Then we asked him what is happening with Rav Berland. Why does he need to suffer so much and be in prison? When he heard this, he was shaken up and sat himself up straight and said, ‘You should know, that Rav Berland is a pure and holy tzaddik who never sinned in his life. He is as pure as a one-day-old baby. He has never sinned, and he has no connection whatsoever with sin. All those people who are doing this will never be able to leave gehinnom (purgatory), and they will not merit seeing the imminent redemption. You should know that soon Rav Berland will get out of jail and the redemption will come, but these people will have no part whatsoever in the redemption.
“So I said to him, ‘You know, Rav Berland constantly prays for the wellbeing of his persecutors, and he is judging them favorably.’ So he said to me, ‘Rav Berland can forgive, but Hashem does not forgive them and they will die a horrible death. What they are doing to Rav Berland is an incomprehensible, terrible and horrible sin, that such a holy and pure tzaddik is sitting in jail. They are cursed wicked people. They will not see the redemption. They will pass through all seven fires of hell. I do not envy them.’ There were many people present and Rabbi Stern spoke these words before everyone.”
In conclusion Rabbi Stern added, “True, HaRav Berland willingly takes upon himself disgrace, but this doesn’t exempt them for responsibility for their actions. They are cursed wicked people who have no place in the world to come. May their names be obliterated.”
(To listen, call the information hotline 02-800-8800. From the USA – 1-845-640-0007. From the UK 442038073333.)
This is the test of our generation – to stay strong in faith. Rabbeinu Nachman of Breslev warned us many times over 200 years ago, saying (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 35), “Great apikorsus (heresy) is coming to the world because of our many sins. Fortunate is he who remains strong in faith in these times.”
What is the implication of the word “Apikorus (heretic)?” The Talmud says, “Apikorus” – this is a person who disgraces a Torah scholar.” In tractate Rosh Hashanah it says, “The apikorsim descend to gehinnom and are judged there for all time. Gehinnom will be terminated, but [their punishment] will not be terminated…” Rashi comments there on “Apikorus – this is a person who disgraces a Torah scholar”, they are worse than the greatest sinners in the world who descend to gehinnom for twelve months. However, these apikorsim descend for all time. The Talmud asks, “Why is [their punishment so severe]?!” It answers: “Because the Holy Temple was destroyed because of their sins.” The Chofetz Chaim adds in his gloss – and they prevent the third Temple from being built.
The Zohar says (Genesis 25b) that there are five types of mixed multitude in Israel and the worst of all are those who are called “Amalekim.” These are the conflict-mongers who will be eliminated from the world the moment the light of redemption begins to shine. Regarding them it is written, “And you shall obliterate the memory of Amalek” (Gra—Aderes Eliyahu, Deut. 1:1, Even Shlomo 11:8)
“If a King from the House of David will rise”
The Talmud asks (Sanhedrin 98b), “What is the name of Mashiach? The academy of Rabbi Shila says, ‘His name is Shilo.’ The academy of Rabbi Yanai says, ‘His name is Yinon.’ The academy of Rabbi Chanina says, ‘His name is Chanina.’ The Rabbis say, ‘His name is the ‘tza’aras-afflicted one of the academy of Rebbe (Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi).’ Rav Nachman says, ‘If he is among the living, he is like me.’”
The “Pri Tzaddik” says on the Talmud (Parshas Devarim 13), “In every generation there is one soul who is fitting to be Mashiach if the generation is worthy, as we find in the above quote from the Talmud, that every individual says about his rabbi that he is the soul that is fitting to be Mashiach if the generation is worthy of it.”
The Chasam Sofer writes in a responsa: “From the day that the Holy Temple was destroyed, until this day, one [soul] is born who, through his righteousness, is fitting to be the redeemer. When the time comes, Hashem will reveal Himself to him and send him” (Shu”t Chasam Sofer, Section 6, 98).
Therefore, not only during the time of the Talmud was it proper to say that certain extraordinary tzaddikim have the soul of Mashiach, but also throughout the generations this was the case amongst the Jewish people. The holy Or HaChaim wrote that the name of Mashiach is Chaim, and most people understand him to be speaking about himself. However, there are those who say that he was in fact talking about his own rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Abulafia. Also Rabbi Shachneh (the rabbi of the Rama) said that Mashiach’s name was Shachneh (Even HaEzer 129, Shemos Ha’Anashim, Shin). Similarly, the Arizal said about himself that he was Mashiach of his generation. Also Rabbi Nachman of Breslev said, “If he is amongst the living, he is me” (Chochma b’Tevuna 2:12-13).
The Rambam says (Hilch. Melachim 11:3): “It shouldn’t enter your mind that Melech HaMashiach needs to do miracles and wonders, reinvent things in the world, or revive the dead and similar things. That’s not how it is. Indeed, Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Sages of the Mishnah, supported Ben Koziba, saying of him that he was Melech HaMashiach. And he and all the Sages of his generation considered him to be Mashiach until [Bar Koziba] was killed because of sins. [Only] because he was killed, the Sages knew that he wasn’t [Mashiach] – they didn’t demand of him any miracle or wonder [to prove himself].
The Rambam continues there (Halacha 4): “And if a king from the House of David is established who contemplates Torah and observes mitzvos like David his father according to both the written and oral Torah, who compels all Israel to go in the way [of Torah], and rectifies breaches [in its observance], and fights the wars of Hashem, [we may], with assurance, [consider] him Mashiach.” Therefore, throughout the generations, people said about the tzaddik of the generation that he is Mashiach. The Rambam continues: “If he succeeds [in the wars of Hashem], builds the Holy Temple in its place, and ingathers the exiles, then this is certainly Mashiach,” and for this we are waiting.
However, Ra’avad disputes the Rambam regarding Bar Koziba and says that all the Sages came out against him and that, in the end, the Sages themselves killed Bar Koziba. Even so, the Radbaz says that Rabbi Akiva believed in him even in opposition to the rest of the Sages, even after they checked Ben Koziba to see whether he could “[detect a person who is liable in] judgment through his sense of smell [alone]” and found that he couldn’t.
What’s going on here? How could Rabbi Akiva make such great errors? After all, the Midrash tells us that “things which were not revealed to Moshe were revealed to Rabbi Akiva” (Midrash Rabba 19). Then how could he have erred?
To this difficulty, the “Lechem Mishneh” answers (on the Rambam above) regarding the intention of our Sages “in checking if he could ‘sniff and judge,’” citing the interpretation of Rabbi Alexandri in Sanhedrin 93b. “MoRaCH” – the intention isn’t “MaRiaCH (sniff), rather it denotes the language of “ReCHayim (a millstone)” – that Mashiach accepts upon himself suffering like being grinded in a millstone. From here it’s possible to better understand the Talmudic version of the Ra’avad – that Rabbi Akiva saw in Bar Koziba a tzaddik who accepted upon himself such insults and suffering that it eventually led to all the Sages coming out against him (according to the Radbaz, there was controversy between the Sages regarding this), and it was specifically this quality which caused Rabbi Akiva to announce that he was Mashiach, in accordance to what is written, “We considered him inflicted, stricken by G-d and oppressed by G-d, but he was pained because of our rebellious sins and oppressed through our iniquities and through his wounds we were healed…our ills he bore” (Isaiah 53).
What would people do today? If we had a situation such as this where a ba’al teshuva who up to the age of forty was secular, who used to say, “Give me a Torah scholar and I’ll bite him like a donkey.” And now he turns himself around completely and announces in the street that a certain man who most of the Sages of the generation are against is Mashiach!? No doubt that they would curse and throw stones at him and open news channels to warn the public about this dangerous group that has no connection to Judaism.
This is the Rabbi Akiva that all of Judaism is dependent upon!
The Age of Mashiach
There are two statements of our Sages regarding the age of the redeemer. In Midrash Rabbah (Genesis 39:13), it is brought in this language: “Abram went as Hashem had said to him – and Lot was subordinate to him. Abram was 75 years old – Rabbi Brechia said in the name of the Rabbis there: The Holy One said to Avraham, ‘You left your father’s house at 75 years old. By your life, also the Redeemer who I will establish from you[r descendants] will be 75 years old, like the numerical value of hadassa (myrtle).’ In another place the Ba’al HaTurim says (on Genesis 50:24), “’I [Joseph] am dying, and G-d Pakod yiPHkod (will certainly redeem) you,’ meaning “I, who am flesh and blood, am here today and tomorrow in the grave. But G-d, the Living and Enduring King, will redeem you. And the allusion Peh Peh [two Hebrews letters ‘peh’ in the expression ‘Pakod yiPHkod’] means that just as I ruled 80 years, so will the Redeemer come at the age of 80.”
Seemingly the two sources contradict each other. However, in reality, it’s understood from them that just as Avraham left to exile at the age of 75, so too the final redeemer will go into exile at the age of 75. And just as Joseph ruled 80 years, it follows that the final redeemer will rule at the age of 80 when he ends his exile.
All of this parallels well with the statement that we started with regarding the place of his revelation. There are those who say it will be in the exile and there are those who say it will be in the land of Israel. Here we have two stages in his revelation and war. One at the age of 75 when he goes into exile, as is written (Isaiah ibid.), “He was cut off from the land of life.” Then we have his revelation in the land of Israel at the age of 80: “He will be revealed in the Galilee area.” Then his revelation will truly begin, as the Rambam says in Igeres Teiman.
“You waited for My Torah, but you didn’t wait for My Kingship”
The Midrash (Pesikta Rabasi 34) divides the Jewish people into three groups according to the level of their faith in Melech HaMashiach during the period that he is oppressed and tortured by the sins of the people.
The first level, according to the Midrash: “These are the mourners who coveted the redemption evening, morning, and afternoon, and who had terrible sorrow from Jews who would scorn and vilify them. They would make fun and say [to them] “perhaps Mashiach is diseased.” They strengthened themselves in faith in Mashiach despite all the Jewish people scorning and vilifying them and Mashiach. Regarding these who held strong to their faith from the beginning to the end, the Midrash says, “His reward will be multiplied over and over again.”
The second level, says the Midrash, are those tzaddikim of the world who love words of Torah, but don’t wait for Melech HaMashiach or share in his suffering. “The Holy One announces to all the tzaddikim of every generation, saying to them, ‘Tzaddikim of the world! Even though words of Torah are beloved to Me, [but still] you waited for My Torah, but you didn’t wait for My Kingship. I [already] have made an oath that I Myself [will] testify for the benefit of anyone who waits for My kingship.’” The Midrash adds, “The tzaddikim of the generation stand and raise their prayers and place them on the ground, saying before Him, ‘Master of the Universe! We didn’t behave well. For all those years we strayed like sheep.’ The Holy One says to them, ‘You are forgiven.’ He kisses them and places a crown on them, saying, ‘He who has the merit of Torah, it should stand for him.’
“And the Holy One says, ‘I [already] have made an oath that I Myself [will] testify for the benefit of anyone who waits for My kingship. Now, I testify for all those mourners who felt sorrow with Me over my destroyed Temple and desolate Sanctuary, as it says, ‘I am et (with) daka (the despondent) and lowly of spirit’ (Isaiah 57:15). Don’t read “ET daka (with the despondent), rather EiTi daka (the despondent are with Me). These are the mourners of Zion who made their spirit lowly and heard themselves being disgraced and were silent, and who didn’t demand benefit for themselves.’ And the Holy One rebukes those who didn’t wait, saying ‘On the day I rise to testify for My Mashiach, whose merit is equal to that of My entire angelic family, [I will say to them, ‘You had] all of the [scriptural assurances and] praises of Mashiach and you wouldn’t wait for him?!’
“They say before the Holy One, ‘Master of the Universe! You gave us a heart of stone and that’s what led us astray. And what was with [the angels] Aza and Azel whose bodies were of fire, but nonetheless when they descended to the world they sinned? With us all the more so!’ Hashem says to them, ‘The mourners who merited to and recognized him [Mashiach] you did not desire them’. At that hour all the tzaddikim of the world are destined to cry and say before Him, “Master of the Universe! They count and we don’t?!’ At that time the Holy One says to them, ‘Don’t cry My holy and mighty ones! I have already heard your prayer. Perhaps you [think] that you have been deprived of the reward for your Torah. All the more so…your reward is double, and all those benefits that I do for you is in the merit of Mashiach who was delayed all of those years.’
Regarding the third level, the Midrash says, “’I will clothe his enemies in shame’ (Psalms 132:18) – these are those who outright oppose him. ‘But upon him, his crown will shine’ – upon him and all those who are like him.”
“The secular will immediately believe in Mashiach”
Part of a lesson by our Teacher the Rav shlit”a before Rosh Hashana 5777:
“Rabbeinu says that Mashiach won’t have any problems with the secular. The secular will immediately believe in Mashiach. Others will tell [him], ‘You’re not my rabbi, you’re not the attendant of my rabbi.’ Until people will digest that Mashiach isn’t exactly their rabbi, it will take several months or several years. However, the secular, for them there’s no problem. They’ll immediately see that Mashiach is Mashiach [according to] its simple meaning – they have no conflict. All the secular here are waiting for Mashiach to come. They say to me, “What’s this?! You’re not bringing Mashiach. What’s going on here?!’ The secular only believe in Mashiach, even if they don’t believe in anything else. When the real Mashiach comes, they’ll immediately believe in him! This is the matter of the year 5777-2017, the year of the coming of Mashiach, 777.”
The desecration of Hashem’s Name with turn into The Great Sanctification of His Name
It can’t be that the situation will remain as it is now. Indeed, it’s known that the tzaddik accepted upon himself all the sorrow and suffering intentionally. However, what about the desecration of Hashem’s Name that this causes in the world? Therefore, everything must turn around, as we said, and there will be a great sanctification of Hashem’s Name throughout the world. Everyone will return in repentance and the complete redemption will come. There’s no other possibility.
Rabbi Chaim Reicher recently visited our Teacher the Rav shlit”a in prison, in the Galilee, and related incredible accounts from his visit on the information hotline. “The Rav dances and is happy all the time and tells how it’s good for him there.” Then Rabbi Chaim asked him, “It appears that the Rav wants to stay [here]?” The Rav answered, “True, but it’s worthwhile already to rectify the desecration of Hashem’s Name that was caused. So it’s preferable to leave already.”
We have two months to prepare for Mashiach
Adapted from a lesson that the Rav shlit”a gave to the Breslev Kollel “Shuvu Banim” in Miami over the phone – 3 Cheshvan-November 4, Friday evening, Parshas Noach:
It is written regarding the dove which Noach sent from the ark (Zohar, Shelach Lecha 3, 165): ‘An olive leaf plucked in its bill’ (Genesis 8:11). This alludes to the soul of Mashiach son of David. Noach is the soul of Mashiach son of David. Hashem wanted for Noach to bring down a Holy Temple of fire and an ‘olive leaf plucked in its bill,’ this is the soul of Melech HaMashiach. Because it is written in Psalms (52:10-11), ‘But I am like an ever-fresh olive tree in the House of G-d, I trust in the kindness of G-d forever and ever. I will thank You forever because You have done [it], and in the presence of Your devout ones I will hope to Your Name, for it is good.” The Zohar says that this entire chapter is about Noach who needed to bring down a Holy Temple of fire. Because the ark was like the Holy Temple after Noach was inside it for twelve months. The bedroom was Holy of Holies, like Jacob who came to Isaac inside the Holy of Holies, and from there he received from the dew of the heavens (ibid 27:28) the power to revive the dead. Because Noach lost the power to revive the dead. If Noach hadn’t drunken the wine, he wouldn’t have lost the level of reviving the dead. [Why did he drink?] Because this was the [grape] branch from the Garden of Eden. The branch came to him from the Garden of Eden and suddenly Noach became confused. ‘But I am like an ever-fresh olive tree in the House of G-d’ – even if you see a branch in the House of G-d, don’t touch. The Zohar says (164b) that the dove wasn’t the same dove which he sent. The dove was switched, the dove that returned was the dove from the Garden of Eden. ‘You place on his head a crown of pure gold’ (Psalms 21:4). The crown of Mashiach – the dove which brought the olive will also bring the crown to Melech HaMashiach. The Chasam Sofer says that in every generation there is Melech HaMashiach, [and that we] only need to merit to it like Noach. Noach succeeded in bringing the dove which will bring the crown to Melech HaMashiach. It’s written in “Sefer Karnaim” of Rabbi Shimshon of Ostropoli that Mashiach will be revealed in the Hebrew month of Tevet. ‘Tik’demenu Berachot Tov (You will precede us [with] good blessings)’ – initial Hebrew letters: TeVeT. Because the month of Tevet is the month of [much] goodness – another two months, we have now sixty days to prepare for the coming of Melech HaMashiach. This third of Tevet [January 1], we all need to prepare the matter of Mashiach, to prepare the sanctuary, to prepare the palace for Melech HaMashiach, because first Mashiach will come to Miami; ‘Life [he] asked of you.’ Because Mashiach son of David needs to die, but he won’t die if he travels to Uman. He won’t die because Mashiach also needs to travel to Uman. ‘OReKh YaMiM’ (length of days) – the letters of which [when rearranged] spell KeReM MIAMI (Vineyard of Miami) [Note: the Hebrew letter Aleph here can denote both ‘A’ or ‘O’ in English]. We will open Yeshivas Kerem Miami after the name Orekh Yamim. 10 X 26 = 260. ‘Kerem” [has a numerical value of] ten times the Holy Name Havaya (260) – Kerem Yisrael (the Vineyard of Israel) – that the redemption of the Jewish people will begin from Miami.”
Taken from a letter of our Teacher the Rav shlit”a sent to the tent encampment outside the prison 1 Cheshvan 5777—November 2, 2016
“A sea of pure olive oil, and an olive leaf plucked in its bill” – this is the soul of Mashiach son of David, “but I am like an ever-fresh olive tree in the House of G-d” – because Mashiach son of David will merit to the aspect of Yechida [the highest of five levels of soul]. Because only he will do true and complete repentance for all the sins of all the generations, from Adam HaRishon [the first man] until the revival of the dead, “and all of them will go out in clothes of sapphire and jacinth stones.” Therefore, this is the haftarah [weekly reading from the prophets] of Noach, that the dove which came from the Garden of Eden brought with her the soul of Mashiach son of David, an olive leaf plucked in its bill, but I am like an ever-fresh olive tree in the House of G-d [see in detail, Zohar Shelach Lecha 165].
“Eighty for strength”
On the date of 23 Tevet—January 21, our Teacher the Rav shlit”a will reach eighty years old. All of the Jewish people wish him “length of days and years of life and peace shall [they] add to you”…Amen
“We merited to great levels in Tzalmon, but now the situation has become life-threatening”
Pidyon Shvuyim (Redemption of Captives)
In the light of all that has been said above, how is it possible to sit with our hands clasped? Here we have an historic opportunity to help free the tzaddik who is the foundation of the world and who the entire world is dependent upon…to bring him from darkness to awesome light. This is the message of our Teacher the Rav shlit”a to the entire Jewish people: “Everyone from 17 and up should contribute a thousand shekels to the charity ‘Ke’ayal Ta’arog’ to our success in the judgment. We now need to cancel the harsh decree that the Rav has already been in prison for seven months. They hired a team of top lawyers who could turn everything around. The court case costs around a millions shekels. Therefore, it’s necessary that everyone should participate; everyone from the age of 17 and up should join in and donate a thousand shekels. This is a life-threatening situation. Captivity is worse than starvation and war. In captivity, you have all 39 lashes. This is like [being scraped with] iron combs; to be in Tzalmon is like [being scraped with] iron combs. We must obtain the million shekels.” The Rav shlit”a requests with his holy voice. Who will hear and who will run to seize the rare opportunity of pidyon shvuyim such as this?!
The Rav shlit”a continues: “In Tzalmon, a Holy of Temple of fire needs to descend. Here all the sins are turned white, all the transgressions that man has committed since the sin of the first man, because here the scarlet thread turns white. Tzalmon is an aspect of Mount Sinai where all the sins are forgiven and their contamination is terminated, as Midrash Tanchuma says, that [after Mount Sinai] the contamination stopped, people were no longer impure—all forty years [in the desert], they were pure. And he who merits to be an aspect of Mount Sinai in Tzalmon merits that all the sins are removed from him, because Mount Sinai is also called Mount Bashan, whose Hebrew numerical value [is the same as] Nachman ben Simcha.
“A person comes to the world only to crown Hashem over the world, to show that only Hashem rules. Hashem guides each individual in a miraculous way, just don’t thrown away the insults, because every insult is a diamond. Every individual has the ability to stop a Holocaust. If everyone would scream – ‘In the merit of Rabbi Nachman’ there wouldn’t be any [evil] decrees, because the names of tzaddikim sweeten all the decrees.
“We have merited that we are in Tzalmon where we receive here all the insults. It’s forbidden to fight against the insults. Rabbeinu says (Likutey Moharan 55) that the insults stand you up and cause you to ascend. An insult is a diamond the size of a house and it’s impossible to ascend any level without being insulted – to the point that Rabbeinu said of himself that he needed to be insulted from moment to moment. And when Rabbeinu returned from his trip to the Holy Land, he said that he brought us a gift – opposition. The intention was that he brought us the strength to stand up [in the face of] the opposition and insults which every person goes through. A person needs the entire world to oppose him; that 24 hours a day he should go through insults.
“Also if a person confessed all day long saying: we have been guilty, we have betrayed, etc, he won’t be ashamed at all, until others say that about him.
“Set up charity collectors in every single city, in every single settlement, in every single synagogue, and the Rav can be released. And to the Jews there was light and gladness and joy and honor.” These were the words of the Rav shlit”a.
The time has come to be released, the Rav shlit”a reveals to us. Really, in Tzalmon, we have ascended to high levels and have merited to new understanding, but we’ve reached a life-threatening situation. Who is wise and won’t race to respond to the holy calling of the tzaddik. We all want to be blessed in livelihood and struggle for it through various means and efforts, but there is nothing which sprouts blessing more than donating to the tzaddik – “Anyone who gives charity to this tzaddik is blessed immediately. He has sown seeds in earth whose yield is copious” (Likutey Moharan 70).