Unpacking the Zohar on the Geula
There seems to be so much ‘geula stuff’ flying around at the moment, it’s hard to know what to focus on. But while it’s nice to get chizzuk from the autistics, and heartening to see the psak din from the Badatz Beis Din forbidding any more evil speech and slander against Rabbi Berland and his followers, if we really want to know what’s happening right now, we have to go back to our sources, and our real rabbis.
A few weeks’ ago, Rabbi Berland made a number of statements about the coming of Moshiach, which sounded a little strange to the ears of most people. It was stuff about shofars being blown, and Moshe Rabbenu’s tomb opening, and then the Moshiach showing up – all very deep, and to nearly all of us, pretty much impossible to relate to.
Going back to the Zohar
Then, the Shivivei Or Newsletter decided to bring the Zohar (Zohar Hadash Parshat Balak 65) that Rabbi Berland’s statements were rooted in – because every word out of the Rav’s mouth is really the most sublime Torah, just we don’t understand what our ears are hearing.
And even more helpfully, they translated that into Hebrew, from the Aramaic. Then, ravberland.com translated that into English, to make it even more accessible – but I get the feeling most of us still missed a whole bunch of the clues it contained about what’s really going on right now.
So let’s see if we can pick some of them up in this post, and pull them together into something a little easier to understand.
When does the End of Days actually start?
The Zohar starts with a discussion between Eliyahu (maybe the Prophet Elijah) and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar, where they are bemoaning the length and harshness of this awful exile.
Then, we get into this statement about when the End of Days starts:
“In the end of days, according to the hour of the day, at the time when the sun will rise and shine from the sixth day, which is the sixth thousand, in the hour that it will be made ready and take place according to a counting of years, which will be shmittah and yovel together, in one year, which is 274 years from the sixth thousand.”
Some quick maths shows us that 6000 – 274 years brings us to the Hebrew year of 5726 – 1966.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the End of Days process began right around this time, i.e. with the Six Days War that occurred in 1967. At that time, the State of Israel reclaimed huge chunks of the Jewish biblical heritage, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron, and of course, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
(See the update at the end of the post, for an alternative view of what this date might be referring to.)
What happens next?
“So in the future a voice will be awakened from the highest heights of the firmament, a sad and bitter voice, something that has never been since the worlds were created.”
The Hebrew year 5726 marks the start of the geula / End of Days, but what is now being described by the Zohar takes place at some undetermined time in the future, after 5726.
Next, the Zohar talks about a series of earthquakes that starts rocking the world, in order to ‘wake up’ the three Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov. This is connected to Hashem ‘remembering’ the Shechina, and remembering the Jewish people, and re-activating our ancestral merits and claim to the land of Israel, as embodied by the three Patriarchs.
Then, what happens?
There’s a lot of talk about two yeshivas, one in the Heavens, that ‘belongs’ to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and another one below, that belongs to an angelic figure called the Angel Matat.
Then, the Zohar tells us that from this stage on:
“At this hour, multiple woes will be awoken upon the Holy People, one after another, with tremendous pressure, and they will cry out cries, one after another, and spill many tears. And they will awaken the Shechina, and then she will proclaim her voice in weeping, about the suffering of her children.”
From 1973 on, Israel has been subject to one difficulty after another. We had the Yom Kippur War in 1973; Lebanon I in 1982, the first Intifada in 1989, the Second Intifada in 2000, Lebanon II in 2006, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Operation Protective Edge in 2014…. Then we had the threat of the Iranian nuke, the ‘stabbing Intifada’, the ‘running people over Intifada’, incendiary balloons coming over the fence in Gaza, hundreds of rockets being popped off here and there…
“[M]ultiple woes will be awoken upon the Holy People, one after another, with tremendous pressure, and they will cry out cries, one after another, and spill many tears.”
Maybe this is also a good place to notice that the Zohar begins this passage with ‘in this hour’ – and we know an hour of Hashem equates to 41 years and 8 months. That takes us up to the year 2014.
Let’s also remember that the underlying ‘goal’ of all this suffering was to get the Jewish people to ‘cry out’ in teshuva, and to spill many tears of repentance, and to come back to Hashem. And that’s also what happened beginning 1973, when hundreds of thousands of Jews came back to orthodox observance, especially in Israel.
Now what happens next?
“And then, all the peoples of the world will be mixed-up and confused. One people will fight another, and nations will fight nations.”
Ah, has there ever been a time in history when people have been MORE mixed up than now? With all the fake news, with all the lies being told about everything from evolution to global warming to pharmaceuticals to peace in the Middle East, we are totally and utterly mixed up and confused in 2019.
Are ‘people’ fighting ‘people’? Yup. The world is polarised, and there are ‘wars’ going on within our societies right now. And there are also ‘nation states’ fighting ‘nation states’, too.
Next, the Zohar tells us:
“And a person who is not suitable to be king, it will be given to him that he should rule.”
I’m totally a-political, but doesn’t this statement make you think of a particular person who nobody ever thought in a million years would make a successful politician, much less a Head of State?
And when did this ‘unsuitable king’ take office?
Could this next bit be referring to all the ‘foreign people’ being parachuted into the Middle East to try to impose ‘the Deal of the Century’ on Israel?
“And strange / foreign people will come with him, [with] a foreign manner of speaking, and the din (law) is not known to them, and who don’t know the hock-ay malchut (laws of the land).”
Then the Zohar tells us:
“And how many wars, will they think to make!
“And in the midst of soft words and sweet talk, his ratzon (will / desire) will be done, and he will rule, and he will think of many thoughts, to do evil. And the evil legislation will be made especially upon Am Yisrael, apart from all of the other nations.
“Then, there will be suffering upon suffering for that special people, set apart from the rest of the nations.”
This part is pretty straightforward, no?
We’re back to war with Iran, and war with North Korea, and war with China, all the other ‘wars’ being waged by more covert means, and ‘trade wars’ etc.
The soft talk / sweet words seems to be a clear reference to diplomatic efforts on behalf of the the ‘unsuitable king’, to get him what he wants in the world. The ‘evil legislation’ could well be the demand for Israel to give up parts of the land that Hashem gave to us, for a flimsy attempt at ‘man-made peace’.
And then what happens immediately after this attempt is made:
“Then, there will be suffering upon suffering for that special people, set apart from the rest of the nations.”
Sadly, we don’t need to unpack this statement. Rockets, terrorists, BDS, Iranian nukes, who knows what?
But wait, before we fall deep into depression and despair, the narrative now takes a significant shift in a different direction:
Hashem wakes up at this time.
Which means He starts to fight on behalf of the Shechina and the Jewish nation, because the nations of the world are coming against Israel in every direction.
And then what happens?
“And this same king, who rules with sweet talk, will govern with great anger, and with rage and with force, against the holy people.”
All the diplomacy goes out the window, and instead, we have – suddenly and erratically – great anger, rage, and threats of force against the Jewish people. Just think ‘Deal of the Century’ and free-associate what the Zohar is really telling us here.
Now we’re up to the section that begins with this:
“And in the third month, in the month of Sivan, on the 4th of the days of the month, at nine and a half hours, all of the sons of the yeshiva will go with the Shechina to the grave of the faithful Shepherd, who is Moshe Rabbenu, as it’s written: “he is a faithful servant in all of my home”. And she will give three blasts against the grave, in the hour when the sun will be gathered in and will be turned from the world.”
This year, the 4th of Sivan fell out on June 6th, 2019. The prayer gathering called by Rabbi Eliezer Berland in Hevron, at the Tomb of the Patriarchs began at 10pm at night.
That’s when the ‘sons of the yeshiva’ – the bnei yeshiva – went to the grave of Moshe Rabbenu. (In his commentary on Parshat Chayei Sarah, Rabbi David, grandson of Maimonides, recorded the tradition that Moshe was buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs, an idea which gains some support, as we read on).
There’s another clue to pick up here. Rabbi Shimon tells us this is occurring:
“[I]n the hour when the sun will be gathered in and will be turned from the world.”
This would appear to be a reference to the Grand Solar Minimum, where the sun’s sunspots disappear, and the sun’s energy is ‘turned from the world’. More and more scientists (or at least, the honest ones who aren’t trying to brainwash everyone into believing in anthropological global warming) believe that the beginning of the Grand Solar Minimum may well be occurring as I type, in June 2019.
Grand Solar Minimums come along with increased earthquake and volcanic activity, and also increasingly erratic weather patterns, increased snow and precipitation, and at some point, another little Ice Age.
Do we see any of that playing out in the world right now?
Let’s move on.
Rabbi Shimon now tells us that Moshe Rabbenu and the Shechina and the Three Patriarchs (who are buried in Hevron, in the Mearat HaMachpela, which translates literally as the ‘Double Caves’) come together in Moshe’s ‘cave’, and:
“[T]hen Moshiach will be awakened on that night, and he will be found there, with them.”
Again, this equates to June 6, 2019.
And immediately afterwards, on the morning of Sivan 5th, the Moshiach is again ‘hidden’ again. It looks like nothing happened, nothing changed, Moshiach didn’t come after all. A few passages later, Rabbi Shimon gives us a clue as to what is going on, here.
He explains that the shofar announcing the Moshiach’s arrival:
“[I]s a hidden and concealed shofar, and it doesn’t travel in a revealed way.”
It’s not obvious. No-one is writing about Moshiach in Time Magazine, none of the gedolei haDor are sending out big statements formally welcoming him. It’s still all happening under the radar, out of view and out of earshot.
Then the Zohar explains:
“And on that same day, the Ten Tribes will be awakened, to arrange wars in the four directions of the earth, together with the Moshiach who will be anointed over them as king, and who will receive the anointing of the Malchut (government) by way of one Kohen Tzedek, who is Eliyahu HaNavi, and the seven faithful shepherds will be with him.”
Now, the Zohar goes off on something of a tangent, talking about the antecedents of the ‘Moshiach of Ephraim’. Then Rabbi Shimon returns to the main narrative, and says:
“But, in the Northern Land and in the Yemenite government, how many hardships upon hardships will be awoken upon Am Yisrael, on that same day.
But their prayers will be accepted b’ratzon (favorably), when they will pray about their suffering.
And so in the night of that same day, the Shechina will return to her home, and the Moshiach to his place, and the Patriarchs will return to their me’arah (cave).”
The Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen are continuing to wage war against the Saudi-backed Yemenite government.
Saudia Arabia is directly to the North of Yemen. Immediately after Shavuot, the tensions between the USA and Iran also ratcheted up through the roof, to the point where we almost had all-out war last week, when President Trump ordered a strike on Iran, and then inexplicably changed his mind while the planes were in the air.
(We know what was going on there, to change his mind, but let’s continue.)
Rabbi Shimon tells us:
“At the end of 70 days, the cries of the Children of Israel that there will be from all the suffering [they are experiencing] from the four directions of the world, will ascend before the Holy King. And a group on the South side will be lost and destroyed, and five true Tzaddikim will be killed amongst them.”
If this 70 days begins from when the Moshiach is ‘hidden’, on Sivan 5th, (June 7-8th 2019), that takes us up to August 15th-16th 2019 – Tu B’Av.
Unless the decrees are sweetened somehow, it seems that at this time ‘a group on the South side will be lost and destroyed’, including five true tzaddikim.
“And then at the end of 32 days after this same group is killed, HaKadosh Baruch Hu will dress Himself in jealousy for this same small shofar, which is the Shechina.”
32 days after Tu B’Av takes us up to September 16-17, 2019 – the day of the Israeli Elections.
Then things start to happen in pretty quick succession:
“[T]his same Moshiach ben Ephraim will spread out … and will fight the wars of Hashem, and will gore the nations like an ox.”
“[T]he flags of this Moshiach will go forth, and an awful noise will fall upon the land, by way of the sound of the shofar. And all the children of the nations will hear and will be afeared…”
We know that many people have started hearing strange ‘shofar’ noises coming from the sky again this year, after a few years’ break. We see massive earthquakes rocking the world more frequently. We see massive volcanic eruptions happening, one after another….
Then what happens:
“The idols will be [destroyed/removed/burned] from the holy land and three wars will be made by the children of Yishmael with this Moshiach.”
There will be three wars between Israel and the Arabs, apparently in quick succession, that the Moshiach will fight.
(Note: If this Zohar really is speaking about events to unfold this year, it’s difficult to reconcile the timing that Rabbi Shimon gives in the next passage. Clearly, it’s an assumption to say this could be happening this year, as it always is with trying to figure out what the Zohar’s prophecies are actually telling us.)
“And they will come and bow down to the Master of the World on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. These wars will take place in the six thousandth, on the 16th day of the seventh month of the 59th year of the six thousandth – will be all these wars.”
Tishrei is the seventh month, if we begin the New Year on the 1st of Nissan, as this chronology in the Zohar appears to be doing. Rosh Hashana 5780 begins on the evening of September 29, 2019. The 16th day of Tishrei takes us up to October 15-16, 2019 – Sukkot, 5780. (I wrongly thought that this particular date was the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Nachman, who died on October 16th, but I got it wrong. His yahrzeit is the 18th of Tishrei.)
Now, Rebbe Shimon tells us:
“In the month of Cheshvan the haters of Israel will fall and all those idols that remain in the holy land there will be [destroyed/removed/burned] and nullified. And from there will go out and awaken wars in the world, and whilst they are making wars in the world, the people of Edom will gather against the holy land and seize it and will rule over it for 12 months.”
Edom is identified as the West / Christianity. Which part of ‘Edom’ is going to gather against Israel, seize it and rule over it for 12 months? Take a look back over what we’ve written so far, and make your own educated guess.
“At the end of the 12 months, the entire world will shake and will be filled with noise, and between these times the Shechina will go and return to the cave of Moshe. The king Moshiach will be hidden for 9 months, like the months of childbirth, and in these 9 months how much suffering and [destruction] he will take upon himself to atone for Am Yisrael.”
This 12 months takes us up to Cheshvan 5781 – November 2020, when America is going back to the polls. At that point, there will be massive, enormous earthquakes (Grand Solar Minimum, anyone?) and then Moshiach will somehow ‘disappear’ again, for another 9 months.
This takes us up to August 5781 – i.e. the Three Weeks and Tisha B’Av, the day when the Moshiach is finally meant to be revealed.
The passage from the Zohar concludes:
“And after these nine months have passed, then HaKadosh Baruch Hu will awaken this Moshiach, and will take him out of Gan Eden.
And on that same day that he exits, the whole world will shudder, and the whole world will think that it’s about to die, from all the fear and the terror that will be then….
The fear of Hashem, this is the Shechina, she will rise up on that day and your Doe, and also the Moshiach will rise up with her, for what is written, that the Moshiach will be adorned with his greatness….this will be in the 60 years of the sixth thousand. And Israel will go [free] to Eretz Yisrael, after HaKadosh Baruch Hu will do many miracles for them, in the ingathering of the exiles.”
Only at this stage do the remnant of those Jews abroad get ingathered to Israel.
So much to think about, isn’t there? As always, Rabbi Berland and the other true tzaddikim are toiling to sweeten all the harsh judgments day and night, and ‘the plan’ has already been changed and ameliorated so many times already.
But this Zohar at least gives us some idea of what might be waiting up ahead, and how the geula process may be unfolding from here.
I just want to end with this comment from Devorah, as I think it summed up so much of what we’re all feeling:
“W]hile we are partners with Hashem and trying to daven our hearts out to avert decrees….this is so way beyond us….”
It is. That’s why we just need to keep close to our true tzaddikim, keep trying to make teshuva in our small dalet amot, and keep the prayers flowing.
There’s really nothing else we can do.
The Zohar in question is:
Zohar Hadash Parshat Balak 65.
You can see a translation HERE.
- Please note that this is just the author’s personal musings on the Zohar, and not the ‘official’ take on this Zohar from Rabbi Eliezer Berland himself.
The blogger Yaak of the Yeranen Yaakov blog sent in the following clarification:
“In the year 5774, Rav Fish and others have used this Zohar to say it refers to 274 years from the daytime hours of the millennium. As we know from the verse in Tehillim, 1 of HKB”H’s days is equal to 1000 human years. And each 24-hour day starts at night. Therefore, each millennium’s “day” starts at a year that ends with “500”. So, 5500 started the “day” (i.e. daylight hours) of the sixth millennium. Therefore, 274 years afterwards was 5774. One can also say that the “day” started in 5501 so 274 years afterwards was 5775.”
This fits the Moshiach chronology even better, as set out by Rabbi Berland HERE, when he told us back in 5775 (August 2015) that the process of Moshiach coming would begin then, and continue for 7 years until 5781.