On Iraq And The Gulf Crisis Pt. 2: The Final Redemption

Iraq is not a political issue; it is a religious one. The pitiful, finite, temporary players on the stage of history, Saddam and Bush and Kuwait and Hussein, are mere instruments of the Almighty in His move to bring to an end a world that moves inexorably into the final part of this era of "ikvot d'mshicha" and "atchalta d'geula", the footsteps of the Messiah and the beginning of the redemption. One does not look to the New York Times or Time Magazine or ABC to understand what will be in the world, in America, in the Middle East, in Israel. One goes to the source of all that was, is and will be - Torah Judaism. But the authentic kind. And from the lips of those who have escaped the terrible grip of an exile that has so corrupted and perverted us with its majority gentilized influence.

Everything that happens in the world - including and especially Iraq and Kuwait and the awful crisis that brings the agonies of the Messiah closer and more terribly so - happens because of the Jewish People. Saddam and Bush are mere instruments, staffs of G-d's wrath. Horror or joy will occur, not because of a Texas millionaire who vacations in Maine and temporarily sits in the White House, or an Arab barbarian and Hun who temporarily sits in the same Assyria-Babylon that was once the "staff of my wrath". We live in the final era and the final redemption comes; but G-d help us, may we not have see the needless horrors that accompany it because of our sins.

Iraq? Kuwait? War? Gas? What will happen to Israel? What will happen to you Jews who sit in the quicksand of Exile? Turn not to "experts" in political science, to William Saffires, to pundits and political analysts.

"Return unto me and I will return unto you", is the key to what will be. To look at ourselves, and at our own sins. Introspection. What are the stains on our souls? Desecration of the Sabbath? Dishonesty? Greed? The sloth of material comfort that sees Torah learning and piety slip away in favor of the good life? The refusal to leave the Exile and come home to Israel where we are commanded to live? Fear of the gentile and the consequent fear of removing the Arab cancer and annexing the territories that are part of Eretz Yisrael?

There are the things that will decide the fate of Saddam Hussein. And of ourselves.

That the startling and incredible events in the Middle East are yet one more giant leap in this, the era of
�atchalta d'geula� and "ikvot d'mshicha", the beginning of the redemption and the footsteps of the Messiah, is too painfully clear for all but the most blinded to see. The gathering together of armies and nations to the doorstep of Israel, the terrible threat of awesome weapons, the raging and pandemonium of economies and politics and nations, all testify to the escalation by the Almighty of the final era, the inexorable progression toward the battle of Gog, coming up against the Land of Israel.

The basic rule and concept of the final redemption is that the era of the Messiah, and the battle of Gog, that is an integral part of it, can come about in one of two ways: Either swiftly and gloriously or slowly and accompanied by terrible agonies that culminate in
"chevlei mashiach", pangs of the Messiah, that finally bring the redemption. This is certainly not the place to go into great detail concerning this or the general outline and discussion of the overview of the redemption. (That is part of my new sefer which will be hopefully out, in Hebrew and for scholars, in a year.) Nevertheless, a general understanding of the era of the redemption and the battle of Gog is not only important but essential for us in order to save our people and ourselves.

The above rule is enunciated a number of times by our Rabbis. Thus, in Sanhedrin 98a, we find:
"Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi brought down the following contradiction: It says (in the verse in Isaiah 60): 'in its time will I hurry it [the redemption]' - 'in its time' and it says 'I will hurry it.' (i.e. how is it possible for a thing that has a "time", a definite and fixed time, to be hurried?) But if they [Israel] merit it - it will be hurried; if they do not merit it - it will be only 'in its time.'" And the Rabbis (ibid) continue and bring down yet another contradiction. "It says (Daniel 7): 'And behold there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man', and it says (Zecharia 9) 'lowly and riding upon a donkey.' If they merit it - it [the redemption] will be 'with the clouds of heaven,' if they do not merit it - only 'lowly and riding upon a donkey.'"

And in Sanhedrin 97b, a discussion between Rabbi Eliezar and Rabbi Yehoshua is brought down.
"Rabbi Eliezar says: If Israel repents, they will be redeemed and if not, they will not be. Rabbi Yehoshua says: If they do not repent, they will not be redeemed but the Almighty sets up against them a king whose decrees are as bitter as those of Haman and because of that they repent and return to good." And clearly the meaning of R. Yehoshua is that the repentance will not come because Israel really returns, but out of terrible fear and a sense of hopelessness in the face of isolation and as the Rabbis say (Sanhedrin 97a) concerning the verse in Dvarim 32: "�When He seeth that their power is gone and there is none to help, they are blocked and forsaken,� The son of David will not come until Israel loses hope of redemption, as it is said, 'When he seeth that their power is gone�' as if to say, there is no one to support or aid them."

And, indeed, similarly, concerning the verse (Jeremiah 3):
"Return backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I have lorded over you," the Rabbis say (Yuma 86a): "This speaks of [redemption] through suffering".

And concerning the difference between R. Yehoshua and R. Eliezar, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) concludes with R. Yehoshua bringing proof from a verse for his position and concludes
"And R. Eliezar was silent" (i.e. accepted R. Yehoshua's view).

And so, the rule is clear: The redemption comes in one of two ways, one magnificently and the other terrible prior suffering and all is dependent on whether the Jews repent and thus deserve the redemption based on their own merits or not. (And the reason for a redemption that is undeserved is one that over the years we have brought down continually, i.e. in order for the Almighty to sanctify His name that was defiled daily by the very existence of an exile that sees Jews not only massacred and persecuted but forced to live under the tolerance and sovereignty of the gentiles.)

To our sorrow and because of our sins we did not merit the redemption of the swift and glorious duration and so the redemption of "in its time" is upon us, that of which the Rabbis said (Sanhedrin 98b):
"Let it come but I do not want to see it�"

And the time is now and we are beginning to see not only the first buds of redemption but the first taste of the terrible sorrow that precedes it. And the Rabbis tell us (Avoda Zara 9a):
"The world will be six thousand years. Two thousand - of anarchy [without Torah]; two thousand - of Torah; two thousand - the days of the Messiah. And because of our many sins, of the two thousand (when the Messiah could have come at any time, even from the beginning) there have already come and gone all the years that came and went."

The horrors of redemption that comes about not through our merit but in spite of it, are alluded to in the Talmud:

"In the generation in which the Son of David will come, there will be a diminishing of scholars, and those who remain will see agony and sorrow, and great troubles and harsh decrees will be renewed; before the first passes, the next shall come"
(Sandhedrin, 97a).

"If you see a generation with troubles that come upon it as a river, wait for him [the Messiah]�" (ibid 98a).

"In the footsteps of the Messiah, brazenness will spread and value will be debased; the vine will give its fruit in plenty and wine will still be dear and none will admonish; the house of gathering of scholars will become harlotry; the Galilee will be destroyed and the people of the borders will wander from town to town and none will have mercy on them; the wisdom of the scribes will be despised and pious men scorned and the truth will be absent and the face of the generation will be as that of the dog; the young will shame the elderly and the great will have to stand before the small; the son will deal obscenely with his father and the daughter shall rise against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and the members of his household will be a man's enemies� And upon whom can we rely? Only on our Father in Heaven�"

"The Son of David shall not come until the informers shall multiply� until the kingdom shall all become deniers (of Torah)� until they despair of being redeemed" (Ibid 97a).

"The Son of David will not come until the
[evil] kingdom shall conquer Israel for nine months" (Ibid 98b). Which led Ulla and Rabba to say: "Let him come and let me not see it" (Ibid).

This is the horror of a redemption that comes despite our sins - and the gathering up of the nations against the Land of Israel, which will be the battle of Gog, will be in any event. But were Israel to be worthy of redemption, then the battle and the glorious victory over Gog and the nations will be swift and majestic, with Israel saved from the travails of the Messiah. On the other hand, if Israel is not worthy - let him come but�

The battle of Gog coming up with the nations and hosts of armies against the Land of Israel, as foretold by the Prophets and the Rabbis, is the climatic final part of the final redemption. It is a thing that must be, whether the redemption comes swiftly and gloriously or with terrible agonies. Gog will be brought there, enticed by the will and desire of G-d, as the ultimate attack upon and desecration of the Lord, G-d of Israel, through the humiliation of His people, Israel. He will be brought there for the purpose of the ultimate, incredible glorious, breathtaking destruction of the armies of the nations by the Almighty, of their arrogance, as a prelude to the entire world bowing in awe and fear before the Almighty, the G-d of Israel, and accepting His sovereignty.

"Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn thee about and put hooks into thy jaws and I will bring thee forth and all thine army� Persia, Cush and Put among them, all with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his bands; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north and all his bands; even many peoples with thee� in the latter years thou shalt come against the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, against the mountains of Israel."

How that battle will play itself out depends upon us. If we deserve it and merit it through our deeds and our deep faith in G-d as manifested by actions that defy the gentiles and are rooted in total trust in Him, then the battle will be swift, glorious and the destruction and collapse and humiliation of the nations, total and complete. If not, if we do not merit it, because of our stiff-necked and stubborn refusal to accept the yoke of Heaven, then, in the words of our Rabbis:
"The Son of David will not come until the [evil] kingdom will conquer Israel for nine months" (Sanhedrin 98b). And in the words of the Prophet (Zacharia 14): "And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women ravished�" The choice is ours.

The Almighty, in His infinite mercy, gives the Jew, time and time again, a grace period, another and another opportunity to repent. Each time period that lapses, however, without repentance, moves history further down the final path of the redemption with horrors. And that is what Kuwait and Iraq and the entire incredible and stupefying spectacle of the nations of the world moving their armies but a stone's throw from the Land of Israel means. The final war of Gog and the nations going up against Israel moves a giant step forward - and we still see and understand nothing.

The un-Jewish Jew, the secularized and Hellenized and gentilized "step-son" of Abraham, who looks at all with the eye of the denier and scoffer, for whom G-d is an absolute stranger in the halls of political, military, economic and historical events, is cursed with the tunnel vision of all horses and donkeys with blinders. The thought that
everything that is happening in the Gulf and the Middle East is only because of Jewry and that, indeed, everything that happens in world affairs is only because of the Jew, is so foreign and, indeed, tribalistic and "racist" to him, that it never trespasses his barren mind.

And so everything is looked at through geo-political lenses, and so few understand what it means! So many are overjoyed to see the United States facing an Arab enemy and so many echo the sad little man of little vision who is the Prime Minister of Israel as he issues declarations that "at last the whole world sees that the PLO and the Arabs do not want peace." And how happy we are and grateful and certain that this is all good for Israel and how Jews who are un-Jewish in their thinking can understand and see nothing!

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
September - October, 1990
Kahane Magazine
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