Gog, Magog and MOSHIACH (left, right and middle lines)

by Rav Pinchas Winston.
For millennia, Jews have eagerly anticipated the arrival of Moshiach. EXILE AND REDEMPTION

The centrality of Moshiach and the belief in his eventual arrival is part-and-parcel of Jewish belief, as Maimonides emphasized in his classic “Thirteen Principles of Faith”:

I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Moshiach, and even though he may tarry, nevertheless, I will wait for him everyday, that he will come. (Principle #12)

— and a promise from the prophets:

The smallest shall become a thousand, and the least, a mighty nation. I am the Lord, in its time, I will hasten it. (Isaiah 60:22)

According to tradition, the prophet Isaiah was referring to the future arrival of the savior of the Jewish people — Moshiach ben Dovid — Moshiach, a descendant of King David, from the tribe of Yehudah. There are many similar references to his eventual arrival in the Jewish Bible and subsequent commentaries, and this is one of the most-discussed concepts in Torah literature.

To appreciate the importance of Moshiach’s arrival, one must first appreciate that the Jewish people are in exile, as we have been for thousands of years. This is true even with the present-day State of Israel; “exile”from a Torah perspective can occur even when the Jews are living in Israel, as was the case during the Greek Exile (319-139 BCE) which ended with the miracles of Chanukah.

In other words, “exile”, from a Torah-perspective, is defined as “anything short of a complete and perfect Torah society living on the Land of Israel under the leadership of Moshiach.”That will be a time when all nations will accept the existence of God, and the need for devotion to Him.

Until this is an absolute reality, exile will still be a primary theme of Jewish history.

From a non-Torah perspective, events in the Middle East today may be reason for grave concern, but are not necessarily a “portal”to significant change in the spiritual quality of society and mankind. From this perspective, the only hope is that somehow the situation will find rectification, so that the lives of those affected can return to “normal,”a subjective term defined by each individual and society.

The million-dollar question has always been, “When will Moshiach come?”From a non-Torah viewpoint, the concept of “Moshiach”and a spiritually utopian society may be burdensome, even to be feared and avoided, since its goals are so radically different. Indeed, the yearning for Moshiach is usually appreciated only once a person gains a deeper understanding of Torah, its values, and God’s master plan for creation and humanity.


The million-dollar question has always been, “When will Moshiach come?” To that end, calculations have been made throughout history — obviously without success. As well, false messiahs have popped up all over the world throughout history, sometimes to no effect, sometimes causing great despair, and sometimes leaving whole new religions in their wake.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) speaks of two possible dates for the arrival of Moshiach, one is the early date, and one is the last possible moment. Bringing Moshiach “early”means, for the most part, national repentance to the ways of Torah, after which the rest of the world will fall into line.

However, should the Jewish people avoid a return to Torah, then history will be allowed to run its “natural course”until the time that God pre-destined from creation for it to end. And end it must, for creation has much bigger goals to accomplish than we have seen until now. As the Sages say: “This world is but a corridor to the next world”(Pirkei Avot 4:16).


The first thing to know is that history will last only 6,000 years (Talmud – Sanhedrin 97a). This is because the six millennia are based upon the six days of creation, as hinted to in the following verse:

For one thousand years in Your [God’s] eyes are but a day that has passed. (Psalms 90:4)

— which, in turn, are spiritually rooted in the six Sefirot:

…This is why so much time must transpire from the time of creation until the time of the tikkun (i.e., Moshiach’s coming). All the forces of Gevurot are rooted in the six Sefirot — Chesed, Gevurah, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod — which are the six days of creation… and also the 6,000 years of history that the world will exist. And within [the six Sefirot] are the roots of all that will happen from the six days of creation until the Final Tikkun… We find that all that transpires is the result of the sparks from the time of Tohu, Chaos… (Drushei Olam HaTohu 2:151b)
Spiritual DNA influences the direction of history for that particular millennium.This is why events happen in history as they do, when they do. Just like physical DNA determines much of our direction in life, so too, spiritual DNA influences the direction of history for that particular millennium. In the first 1,000 years of humanity, the Divine trait of Chesed (Kindness) gave people long lifespans, though they didn’t deserve it. In the second millennium, Gevurah (Strength/Judgment) brought down Divine justice on mankind through the Flood and the dispersion from the Tower of Babel. Tifferet (Beauty) made Torah possible in the third millennium, the time of Abraham and Moses. And so on…

Today in 2001, we are in the year 5761 from creation, 239 years until Year 6000 — the end of “This World.”This represents slightly less than four percent of all of history as we are used to it. However, though this information in and of itself may not create a sense of urgency, a lot is meant to happen within this remaining thin slice of time, part of which may be already affecting the direction of events around the world, particularly those relating to the Jewish people.


One of the most important concepts in Jewish thought is that there was a radical transformation in man as a result of Adam disobeying God’s command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This resulted in a spiritual distancing of God from man, and an intense “hiding of God’s face,”so-to-speak (hester panim), which in turn resulted in the “physicalization”of mankind and creation.

According to the Zohar, prior to the sin of eating, Man was such a spiritual being that his skin was translucent like light. Our skin today is solid and opaque, which limits our ability to rise above nature and act spiritually as someone made in the image of God ought to.

Though this “physicalized” state of man suits our period of history, it is unacceptable for higher spiritual planes, especially that of the World to Come. Therefore, before humanity can enter that ultimate phase of history, we must reverse the process and return again to the state that Adam enjoyed before everything went wrong.

This period of “rebuilding”is called Techiyat HaMeitim — “Resurrection of the Dead,”a concept that we mention every day in the Amidah prayer. This time period will be characterized by people dying, decomposing in the ground (as part of the atonement process), and then being re-built anew on a much higher spiritual plane. Compared to today, it would be like looking at an angel.

Though many rabbis believe this period will not occur for a long time to come, there are some sources — the Zohar (Midrash Ne’elam – Toldot 140a), and the “Leshem Shevo v’Achlamah”(Drushei Olam HaTohu, 2:4:12:9-12) — that suggest that this period will begin no later than 210 years in advance of Year 6000. That’s 29 years from today!

For us, this is hard to believe. Twenty-nine years is not a lot of time, and the transformation from “this”reality to “that”reality is unimaginable. However, this difficulty in imagining may be unique to our generation, which did not witness how Europe and the entire world were transformed literally overnight, over a short period in the early 1940s.

Kabbalists say that everything will change at breath-taking speed.Furthermore, when God is directly involved in such transformations, they can take place in very short periods of time, like the 10 months it took to bring the Jews from the lowest rung in Egypt to the highest one, culminating in the Jewish slave nation devastating the powerful empire of Egypt.

The Talmud (Brachot 13a) says that the Final Redemption will outdo all previous redemptions, and Kabbalists say that once this happens, everything will change at breath-taking speed. By the time history hits Year 5790, the world may still resemble what it looked like in the past, but at the same time, it may be experientially very different. ‘Paradise’ will not be something dreamed about, but rather lived within.


The Zohar (Toldot 139a) says that in advance of the 210 years of the Resurrection of the Dead, there is a 40-year period of Kibbutz Galiot, literally the “Ingathering of the Exiles.”As the name implies, it is the period during which all remaining Jews will be brought back to the Land of Israel. And as the number implies, it corresponds to the 40 years the Jewish people wandered in the desert.

In other words, the end of Jewish history perfectly mirrors the beginning of Jewish history in the time of Moses. We began with 210 years of life in Egypt, meant to bring us back to the level of Adam before the sin (though just the opposite resulted), and then, we “wandered”outside the Land of Israel for 40 years. So too, at the end of history, we may experience a process of returning to the land over the course of 40 years, followed by a 210-year period necessary to return to the level of Adam before his sin.

This period of ingathering will have two phases: Pre-Moshiach and Post-Moshiach. During the Pre-Moshiach period, history will still be subject to hidden Divine Providence. There will be limited aliyah (immigration) to Israel, but many situations will force Jews around the world to reconcile their feelings regarding the Land of Israel and redemption.

During that phase, it may look as if not much is happening to help the process of exile-ingathering, when in fact, a hidden winnowing process could be in full swing. Some Jews may feel a yearning to live in Israel, whether they will get there or not, while others may feel disenchanted and neutral to the idea of living on the land.

At that time, the importance of one’s feelings and attachment to the Land of Israel may be virtually unnoticeable to most people. However, many midrashim explain that where a person stood with respect to the concept of living in Israel and their drive for closeness to God will make an important difference during Phase Two.

Phase One, within this 40-year period of ingathering, will come to a conclusion just before and during the arrival of Moshiach ben Dovid. Having come to save the Jewish people from the cataclysmic war of Gog and Magog (if that is the path history takes), and to rid the world of evil, the reality of God, the priority of Torah, and, the centrality of the Land of Israel will become eminently clear.

With the evil impulse (yetzer hara) on the way out of history for good, the era of free will choice will come to an end forever (Talmud – Sukkah 52a). With the end of free will, the opportunity to earn reward and enhance one’s portion in the World to Come will also cease — forever.


According to some sources in the Zohar, the official beginning of the ingathering may have been the year 5750 from creation, or 1990 CE. This corresponds to the demise of the Soviet Union and its stranglehold on millions of Jews. This also corresponds to the last quarter of the sixth millennium, which — corresponding to the six days of creation — equals the afternoon just prior to Shabbat, when preparations greatly accelerate life’s pace. Indeed, the world seems to have quickened over the last decade with the advent of cyberspace, and major shifts in world thinking have since occurred.

Certainly, recent events in Israel have dominated world attention, forcing Jews to take sides and make decisions about their vision of Israel’s future. Very little middle ground seems to exist today, with Jews being forced either to the right or the left. This is not incidental or just plain politics; this is a function of the “period of ingathering.”

The transference from Phase One of the ingathering to Phase Two signals the Final Redemption under the leadership of Moshiach ben Dovid. When exactly this will happen is the big question mark in Jewish history, and the subject of many trial calculations and controversy.

However, the Zohar (Bereishit 118a) says that just as the actual birth of a child becomes increasingly obvious with time, so, too, will Moshiach’s arrival eventually become so obvious that even a school child will be able to make the calculation.

What is important to us is that as the moment of transition from Phase One to Phase Two approaches, one can expect miracles to become increasingly more obvious, free will to become increasingly reduced, and world history to become increasingly more precarious.


The Talmud records:

Rabbi Shmuel ben Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonaton: “May the spirit of those who calculate the end expire. For they say, “Since the pre-determined time has arrived, and [Moshiach] has yet to come, he will never come!” (Sanhedrin 97b)

Whoever forecasts the date of Moshiach’s arrival has no place in the World to Come. (Derech Eretz 11)

We see that the Talmud is concerned about making calculations regarding the precise day for Moshiach’s arrival, since errors in such calculations usually result in national disappointment, and perhaps, revelations of false messiahs. Furthermore, the Talmud states:

When Rav Zeira happened upon scholars who were engaged [in calculating the date of Moshiach’s arrival], he told them, “I beg you! do not postpone it … for it has been taught, ‘Three things come when the mind is occupied otherwise: Moshiach …'” (Sanhedrin 97a)

Additionally, there is the concern that believing in a specific date will prevent a person from expecting Moshiach earlier than that date, a violation of the principle of “anticipating him any day.” Failure to believe this, says Mamonides, can give such a Jew the status of a heretic (Laws of Kings 11:1).

Yet we see that great rabbis over the ages did attempt to predict the precise date of Moshiach’s arrival. This is because the prohibition has been interpreted differently by many rabbis throughout the ages, as follows:

According to the Abarbanel (15th century Spain), it is only forbidden to make calculations based on astrology, however it is permissible to calculate the date of Moshiach;s arrival based on Biblical sources (Maayeni HaYeshuah 1:2).

Nachmanides says that the prohibition applied only to earlier generations, and now that we are on the eve of redemption (he was writing in the 13th century!), there is no prohibition (Sefer HaGeulah, Ma’amer 4).

Signs all around us foreshadow redemption.The Malbim (19th century Europe) provides an analogy of a father and son traveling a long distance. As they start out, the son begins to ask when they will arrive, and of course the father does not answer. However, as they near the town, the son asks the same question, and this time the father readily answers that it is only a short while before they reach their destination. “So too, as the time of redemption is clearly approaching, we cannot help but notice the signs all around us that foreshadow that redemption. As the end grows nearer, doubts will become smaller, and at the very end, all doubts will be removed… As the time grows closer, uncertainty recedes in the wake of increasingly abundant wisdom” (Introduction to the Book of Daniel).

The Vilna Gaon (18th century Lithuania), whose commentary offers a formula for calculating the end, entreats those who understand the formula not to reveal it to others:

“…And from here [what I have just written] you can calculate the time of the Final Redemption if, God forbid, we do not merit [to bring it earlier]. However, I have imposed an oath, in the name of the God of Israel, on the reader of this that he should not reveal it.” (Biur HaGra, Safra D’Tzniusa, Chapter Five)

The events of the 20th century were put into perspective by the greatest Sage of our time. Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian wrote:

heard in London from the holy Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, quoting the Chafetz Chaim, that the Sages say the war of Gog and Magog will be threefold. After World War One, the Chafetz Chaim said that this was the first battle of Gog and Magog, and in about 25 years (1942) there would be a second world war, which would make the first one seem insignificant. And then there would be a third battle…

Rav Elchanan concluded that one must suffer the pangs of Moshiach, but the wise man will quietly prepare himself during that time — perhaps he will be worthy of seeing the comforting of Tzion and Yerushalayim.” (Leiv Eliyahu, Shmot p.172)

It is frightening to think that after so many years of pain and persecution, the Jewish people may be on the brink of true redemption. Who will merit to see this awesome reality? The Talmud teaches:

Rava said: When they bring a person for judgment, they will ask: “Did you deal faithfully in business? Did you set aside fixed times for Torah? Did you try to have children? Did you anticipate the redemption…”(Shabbat 31a)

This question is not merely theoretical. It will actually determine the quality of each individual’s redemptive experience. As Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein wrote:

The Exodus from Egypt liberated only one out of five Jews (and some say one out of every 50) because all those who were bound to Egypt and did not want to depart died in the three days of darkness and were not privileged to leave. Only those who desired redemption with all their hearts were redeemed. The Final Redemption, likewise, depends upon our yearning. (Ohr Yechezkel, Emunat HaGeulah)

May we all merit to see the Redemption, speedily in our days.

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19 Responses to Gog, Magog and MOSHIACH (left, right and middle lines)

  1. By Naftali Silberberg:

    The prophet Ezekiel (chapters 38-39) describes a climactic battle that will be instigated by Gog and/of Magog, and will be waged against Israel and G‑d. The defeat of Gog and Magog will precipitate the Messianic Redemption. It is difficult to dwell on this topic because it is so shrouded in mystery. We are uncertain as to the identity of Gog and Magog, whether Gog and Magog are the names of nations or individuals, whether this battle will be a physical or spiritual battle, and even whether it has already occurred or not.

    Some say that Elijah will arrive before the war of Gog and Magog, while others say that he will arrive three days prior to the revelation of Moshiach.

    According to tradition, the central personality in this war is Moshiach ben YosefAccording to tradition, the central personality in this war is Moshiach ben Yosef—Moshiach of the tribe of Joseph. Jewish tradition speaks of two redeemers, each one called Moshiach. Both are involved in ushering in the Messianic Era. They are Moshiach ben David and Moshiach ben Yosef. (The unqualified term “Moshiach,” however, belongs exclusively to Moshiach ben David, the ultimate redeemer.)

    Moshiach ben Yosef will be killed in the war against Gog and Magog. Again, it is unclear whether the death will be in physical battle, or as a result of the spiritual battles which he will wage against the forces of evil. Either way, the prophet Zechariah (12:10) describes the national mourning that will follow his death.

    Apparently, though, the death of Moshiach ben Yosef is not inevitable. The master-kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, known as the Arizal, said that when saying in the Amidah the words, “speedily establish the throne of Your servant David,” one should beseech G‑d that Moshiach ben Yosef should not die in the course of his struggles.

    According to certain sources, Moshiach be Yosef will serve as Moshiach ben David’s viceroy. Thus finally bringing to an end the schism between the northern Ten Tribes, which were ruled by Joseph’s descendants, and the Kingdom of Judea, which was ruled by the Davidic dynasty.

    By J. Immanuel Schochet:

    Jewish tradition speaks of two redeemers, each one called Mashiach. Both are involved in ushering in the Messianic era. They are Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yossef.1

    The term Mashiach unqualified always refers to Mashiach ben David (Mashiach the descendant of David) of the tribe of Judah. He is the actual (final) redeemer who shall rule in the Messianic age. All that was said in our text relates to him.

    Mashiach ben Yossef (Mashiach the descendant of Joseph) of the tribe of Ephraim (son of Joseph), is also referred to as Mashiach ben Ephrayim, Mashiach the descendant of Ephraim.2 He will come first, before the final redeemer, and later will serve as his viceroy.3

    The essential task of Mashiach ben Yossef is to act as precursor to Mashiach ben David: he will prepare the world for the coming of the final redeemer. Different sources attribute to him different functions, some even charging him with tasks traditionally associated with Mashiach ben David (such as the ingathering of the exiles, the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash, and so forth).4

    The principal and final function ascribed to Mashiach ben Yossef is of political and military nature. He shall wage war against the forces of evil that oppress Israel. More specifically, he will do battle against Edom, the descendants of Esau.5 Edom is the comprehensive designation of the enemies of Israel,6 and it will be crushed through the progeny of Joseph. Thus it was prophesied of old, “The House of Jacob will be a fire and the House of Joseph a flame, and the House of Esau for stubble..” (Obadiah 1:18): “the progeny of Esau shall be delivered only into the hands of the progeny of Joseph.”7

    This ultimate confrontation between Joseph and Esau is alluded already in the very birth of Joseph when his mother Rachel exclaimed, “G‑d has taken away my disgrace” (Genesis 30:23): with prophetic vision she foresaw that an “anointed savior” will descend from Joseph and that he will remove the disgrace of Israel.8 In this context she called his name “Yossef, saying ‘yossef Hashem – may G‑d add to me ben acher (lit., another son), i.e., ben acharono shel olam – one who will be at the end of the world’s time,’9 from which it follows that ‘meshu’ach milchamah – one anointed for battle’ will descend from Joseph.”10

    The immediate results of this war11 will be disastrous: Mashiach ben Yossef will be killed. This is described in the prophecy of Zechariah, who says of this tragedy that “they shall mourn him as one mourns for an only child.” (Zechariah 12:10).12 His death will be followed by a period of great calamities. These new tribulations shall be the final test for Israel, and shortly thereafter Mashiach ben David shall come, avenge his death, resurrect him, and inaugurate the Messianic era of everlasting peace and bliss.13

    This, in brief, is the general perception of the “second Mashiach,” the descendant of Joseph through the tribe of Ephraim.

    Quite significantly, R. Saadiah Gaon (one of the few to elaborate on the role of Mashiach ben Yossef) notes that this sequence is not definite but contingent! Mashiach ben Yossef will not have to appear before Mashiach ben David, nor will the activities attributed to him or his death have to occur. All depends on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people at the time the redemption is to take place:

    The essential function of Mashiach ben Yossef is to prepare Israel for the final redemption, to put them into the proper condition in order to clear the way for Mashiach ben David to come. Of that ultimate redemption it is said, that if Israel repent (return to G‑d) they shall be redeemed immediately (even before the predetermined date for Mashiach’s coming). If they will not repent and thus become dependent on the final date, “the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a ruler over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman’s, thus causing Israel to repent, and thereby bringing them back to the right path.”14 In other words, if Israel shall return to G‑d on their own and make themselves worthy of the redemption, there is no need for the trials and tribulations associated with the above account of events related to Mashiach ben Yossef. Mashiach ben David will come directly and redeem us.15

    Moreover, even if there be a need for the earlier appearance of Mashiach ben Yossef, the consequences need not be as severe as described. Our present prayers and meritorious actions can mitigate these. R. Isaac Luria (Ari-zal) notes that the descendant of Joseph, by being the precursor of the ultimate Mashiach, is in effect kissey David, the “seat” or “throne” of David, i.e., of Mashiach. Thus when praying in the daily Amidah, “speedily establish the throne of Your servant David,” one should consider that this refers to Mashiach ben Yossef and beseech G‑d that he should not die in the Messianic struggle.16 As all prayers, this one, too, will have its effect.

    It follows, then, that all the above is not an essential or unavoidable part of the Messianic redemption that we await. Indeed, it – (and the same may be said of the climactic war of Gog and Magog) – may occur (or may have occured already!) in modified fashion.17 This may explain why Rambam does not mention anything about Mashiach ben Yossef. R. Saadiah Gaon18 and R. Hai Gaon,19 as well as a good number of commentators, do refer to him briefly or at length. In view of the divergent Midrashim and interpretations on this subject it is practically impossible to present a more definitive synopsis that would go far beyond the above. Thus it is wisest to cite and follow R. Chasdai Crescas who states that “no certain knowledge can be derived from the interpretations of the prophecies about Mashiach ben Yossef, nor from the statements about him by some of the Geonim;” there is no point, therefore, in elaborating on the subject.20

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    Appendix INext »
    1. See Sukah 52b; Zohar I:25b; ibid. II:120a, III:153b, 246b and 252a. (See Sha’arei Zohar on Sukah 52a for further relevant sources in the Zohar-writings.)

    2. Sukah 52a-b; Zohar I:25b; ibid. III:246b and 252b etc.; and Midrash Agadat Mashiach; use the term Mashiach ben Yossef. Targum Yehonathan on Exodus 40:11; Zohar II:120a; ibid. 153b, 194b, and 243b etc.; Midrash Tehilim 60:3; and other Midrashim refer to Mashiach ben Ephrayim. Pesikta Rabaty, ch. 36-37 (ed. Friedmann, ch. 35-36) refers to Ephrayim Meshiach Tzidki (Ephraim, My righteous Mashiach); the term Ephraim, though, may relate here to collective Israel, thus referring to Mashiach ben David.

    Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty, ch. 39 (Batei Midrashot, ed. Wertheimer, vol. I) and Sefer Zerubavel (ibid., vol. II), offer his personal name as Nechemiah ben Chushiel (likewise in Midrash Tehilim 60:3), adding “who is of Ephraim the son of Joseph.” (Interestingly enough, Pirkei deR. Eliezer, ch. 19, calls him Menachem ben Ammi’el, the very name the other sources – and Zohar III:173b – attribute to Mashiach ben David.

    Targum Yehonathan on Exodus 40:11 traces his descent to Joshua (cf. below, note 7). Other sources state that he is a descendant of Yeravam ben Nevat, with practical implications in the Providential scheme for this genealogy; see Zohar Chadash, Balak:56b; commentary of R. Abraham Galante on Zohar II:120a (cited in Or Hachamah there); and Emek Hamelech, Sha’ar Olam Hatohu:ch. 46. Cf Devash Lefi, s.v. mem:par. 18. (Note also the sources cited in Sha’arei Zohar on Sukah 52a with regards to other views about his lineage.)

    3. The harmony and cooperation between Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yossef signifies the total unity of Israel, removing the historical rivalries between the tribes of Judah and Joseph; see Isaiah 11:13 and Rashi there. (Cf. Bereishit Rabba 70:15; and Torah Shelemah on Genesis 29:16, note 49.)

    4. See Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty, ch. 39; Sefer Zerubavel; Midrash Agadat Mashiach (most of which is quoted in Lekach Tov, Balak, on Numbers 24:17ff.); and cf. Rashi on Sukah 52b, s.v. charashim. See also Ramban, Commentary on Song 8:13.

    5. Note that the final battle of Mashiach ben Yossef is said to be against Armilus, ruler of Edom. See the Messianic Midrashim Zerubavel; Agadat Mashiach; Vayosha etc. (Specific references are offered in R. Margolius, Malachei Elyon, part II, s.v. Armilas; and see also the sources cited below, notes 18-19.) Note that the final battle of Mashiach ben Yossef is said to be against Armilus, ruler of Edom. See the Messianic Midrashim Zerubavel; Agadat Mashiach; Vayosha etc. (Specific references are offered in R. Margolius, Malachei Elyon, part II, s.v. Armilas; and see also the sources cited below, notes 18-19.)

    6. Edom is the perpetual enemy of Israel (see Sifre, Beha’alotecha, par. 69, cited by Rashi on Genesis 33:4; and see also Megilah 6a) and its final foe: the present galut is referred to as the galut of Edom (see Bereishit Rabba 44:17; Vayikra Rabba 13:5; and parallel passages) and Edom will be defeated ultimately by Mashiach (Obadiah; Yoma 10a; Midrash Tehilim 6:2; and cf. Tanchuma, Bo:4).

    Interestingly enough, according to Pirkei deR. Eliezer ch. 28 (in non-censored versions), the Ishmaelites (Arabs) will be the final kingdom to be defeated by Mashiach. Other sources state “Edom and Ishmael” (see Torah Shelemah on Genesis 15:12, note 130). Note, however, Pirkei deR. Eliezer, ch. 44 (and cf. Midrash Tehilim 2:6 and 83:3) that Edom and Ishmael have become intermingled. See also Mayanei Hayeshu’ah, Mayan 11:8.

    7. Baba Batra 123b. Targum Yehonathan on Genesis 30:23. Tanchuma, ed. Buber, Vayetze:15; and Bereishit Rabba 73:7; and the parallel passages cited there. See Bereishit Rabba 99:2, that Edom shall fall by the meshu’ach milchamah (the one anointed for battle; see below, note 10 for this term) who will be descended from Joseph.

    Mashiach ben Yossef’s battle against Edom is analogous to, and the culmination of, Israel’s first battle against Edom (Amalek) after the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 17:5ff.). In that first battle, the Jewish army was led by Joshua – who is also of the tribe of Ephraim, and (according to some) this Mashiach’s ancestor (see above note 2); see Ramban on Exodus 17:9, and R. Bachaya on Exodus 18:1. Cf. also R. Bachaya on Exodus 1:5, drawing an analogy between the role of Joseph in Egypt and the role of the Mashiach descended from him in the ultimate redemption.

    8. The Messianic aspect is derived by analogy with Isaiah 4:1.

    9. The Messianic aspect is derived by analogy with Genesis 4:25 which in Agadat Mashiach (cited in Lekach Tov on Numbers 24:17) is put into Messianic context.

    10. Midrash Yelamdenu, cited in Kuntres Acharon of Yalkut Shimoni. (This Kuntres Acharon appears only in very few editions of Yalkut Shimoni, but was republished in Jellinek’s Bet Hamidrash, vol. VI. Our passage appears there on p. 81, par. 20; and is also cited in Torah Shelemah on Genesis 30:23-24, par. 84 and 89.)

    In context of his military function, Mashiach ben Yossef is referred to as meshu’ach milchamah (cf. Sotah 42a, and Rashi on Deuteronomy 20:2, for this term); see Bereishit Rabba 75:6 and 99:2; Shir Rabba 2:13 (a parallel passage of Sukah 52b); and Agadat Bereishit, ch. (63) 64.

    11. Targum Yehonathan on Exodus 40:11, and on Zechariah 12:10 (manuscript-version in ed. A. Sperber); Agadat Mashiach; Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty (in version cited by Ramban, Sefer Hage’ulah, sha’ar IV; ed. Chavel, p. 291); and Rashi on Sukah 52a; identify the battle of Mashiach ben Yossef with the war of Gog and Magog.

    12. Sukah 52a, and parallel passages.

    13. Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty, ch. 39 (cited in Sefer Hage’ulah, sha’ar IV); Sefer Zerubavel; Agadat Mashiach (cited in Lekach Tov, ibid.). See R. Saadiah Gaon, Emunot Vede’ot VIII:ch. 5, adding Scriptural “prooftexts” or allusions for all details; and the lengthy responsum of R. Hai Gaon on the redemption, published in Otzar Hageonim on Sukah 52a, and in Midreshei Ge’ulah, ed. Y. Ibn Shemuel, p. 135ff. Cf. Rashi and Ibn Ezra on Zechariah 12:10; Ibn Ezra and Redak on Zechariah 13:7.

    14. Sanhedrin 97b

    15. Emunot Vede’ot VIII:6; see there at length. Cf. Or Hachayim on Numbers 24:17.

    16. Peri Eitz Chayim, Sha’ar Ha’amidah:ch. 19; and Siddur Ha-Ari; on this blessing. The Ari’s teaching is cited in Or Hachayim on Leviticus 14:9, see there (and also on Numbers 24:17, where he relates this prayer to the next blessing of the Amidah); and see also Even Shelemah, ch. 11, note 6. Cf. Zohar II:120a (and Or Hachamah there), and ibid. III:153b. See next note.

    17. The battle of Gog and Magog (see above, Appendix I, note 2) is another of the complex issues of the Messianic redemption. In fact, an authoritative tradition from the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov states that the extraordinary length of the present severe galut has already made up for the troubles of that battle and the trauma of the death of Mashiach ben Yossef, so that these will no longer occur; see R. Shemuel of Sochachev, Shem MiShemuel, Vayigash, s.v. Vayigash 5677 (s.v. venireh od, p. 298bf.).

    18. Emunot Vede’ot VIII:ch. 5-6. See also the commentary on Shir Hashirim attributed to R. Saadiah Gaon, published in Chamesh Megilot im Perushim Atikim (Miginzei Teyman), ed. Y. Kapach, on Song 7:12-14 (p. 115; and also in Midreshei Ge’ulah, p. 131f.; as noted already by the editors, this passage is most probably based on Sefer Zerubavel).

    19. See his extensive responsum, cited above note 13.

    20. Or Hashem, Ma’amar III, klal 8: end of ch. 1.

  2. The fall of Yishmael – then will sprout the son of David
    From: Shney Luchot HaBrit — the Sh’lah, as translated, condensed, and annotated by Eliyahu Munk.

    (Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (1565-1630), known as the ‘Sh’lah’ – an acronym of the title, was born in Prague. A scholar of outstanding reputation, he served as chief Rabbi of Cracow, and more famously, of Frankfort (1610-1620). After his first wife passed away, he remarried and moved to Israel in 1621, where he became the first Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. He later moved to Tiberias, where he is buried, near the tomb of the Rambam.)

    I have explained the deeper meaning of brit milah [circumcision] elsewhere at length. However, we cannot simply pass by this opportunity to comment on such an important commandment and some of the secrets contained in that mitzvah. This is especially so in view of the Torah relating the fulfillment of this commandment to Israel’s possessing the Holy Land, seeing that G-d said to Abraham: ‘I shall give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you sojourn, the whole of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; I shall be their G-d’ (Genesis 17,8).

    Our sages comment that G-d told Abraham: ‘If your offspring will observe the commandment of circumcision they will enter the Holy Land; if not, they will not enter.’ (compare Rashi on Joshua 5, 4). We observe that the land of Israel is closely tied up with the rite of circumcision, the relevant verse in Scriptures (Deut. 32,9) being ‘For the Lord’s portion is His people, Jacob His own allotment’ (the ‘allotment’ being the land of Israel).

    G-d chose us from all the other seventy nations to be our G-d, and chose us to be His people. He gave the other seventy nations their respective languages and countries, all under the supervision of seventy representatives at the Celestial Court. Our tongue, however, is a holy tongue. To us He gave the Holy Land, a land that is supervised by G-d directly and not through one of His agents. This land is situated ‘opposite’ its counterpart in the Heavenly Spheres. We cannot lay a claim to this land except through removal of the foreskin.”

    And Abraham was 99 years old when he circumcised the flesh of his own foreskin. And Ishmael his son was 13 years old whenthe flesh of his foreskin was circumcised.
    Genesis 17:24-25
    According to Jewish tradition, in return for Ishmael’s undergoing circumcision at the age of 13, his descendants could hold dominion over the Holy Land upon which time the ownership of the land will return to the descendants of Jacob.

    The Zohar (written about 1,800 years ago by Rabbi Shimon the son of Yohai), Va’eirah:

    And in the future, the Children of Ishmael are to rule in the Holy Land for a long time, when it is completely empty… and they will delay the Children of Israel from returning to their place, until that merit of the Children of Ishmael is finished.

    It materialized. One hundred year for each year of Ishmael’s thirteen years, for a total of 1,300 years.

    The Moslem forces under Mohammed conquered the Land of Israel from the Mameluks in the early seventh century. Ishmael’s 1300 year control over the land came to an end in the 20th century.

    The Arab Claim to the Land of Israel

    And his son Ishmael was thirteen years old when he wascircumcised on the flesh of his foreskin.
    Genesis 17:25
    “For hundreds of years it was predominantly the Arabs who lived in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel.) Then, the land was barren and desolate. During the 20th century the Jews returned in their millions and the land began to come alive and flourish. Let us pose three questions:
    In what merit were the Arabs privileged to live in Eretz Yisrael?
    Why did the land remain barren and desolate during theirpredominance?
    And why did the land begin to flourish again when the Jews returned

    In the Zohar we find a very interesting way to answer these questions. The Zohar says, because the descendants of Ishmael (the Arabs), will perform the mitzvah of bris mila (circumcision), they will merit to live in Eretz Yisrael. However, since they only partially perform the mitzvah, they can only live in the land when it is barren and desolate. However, towards the end of time, the land will once again flourish. Then, only the Jews will have the merit to live in the land because they perform the complete mitzvah of mila.

    The Zohar goes on to say, that the descendants of Ishmael will not give up easilly. Rather, they will make difficult wars through out the world in order to stay. But, because their merit of mila has gone, they will not be successful.”

    Source: Ta’am VeDas by Rav Moshe Sternbach

    The full text from the holy Zohar, Exodus, Va’era:

    And the Ishmaelites shall rule the holy land, at the time when it is empty, for a long time, as their circumcision is empty, and notwhole (Moslems only remove the prepuce (ORLA). Jews have another stage for the Brith called PRIAA), and they shall prevent the Israelites from returning to their homeland until that privilege of the Ishmaelites will expire. And the Ishamelites shall ignite big wars in the world, until they will make the Edomites (which are Christians by Jewish tradition) gather to a war against them.

    And shall make wars: one on the sea, one in land and (one) near Jerusalem. And those shall rule over those… At that time, one people will be awaken from the end of the world to the big sinful city, and there he will ignite a war… Until all the Edomites (Christians) will gather on him. Then HaShem will be awakened on them.

    This is the meaning of the writing (Isiah 34,6): “For HaShem has a sacrifice in Bazrah” (in todays Iraq) etc. and at the end of it, it says (Job 38,13): “to take hold of the ends of the earth”.

    And shall destroy the Ishamelites from us…

    And at that time it is written (Zefaniah 3): “For then I shall turn to peoples in a clear language, all to call the name of HaShem, to worship him together”. And it is written (Zechariah 14): “And HaShem (G-d) shall be the King of all the land, on that day HaShem will be one, and his name will be one”.

    And G-d’s angel told her [Hagar]: you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you shall name him Ishmael, for G-d has heard your prayers. And he shall be a wild man, his hand shall be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him.
    Genesis 16:11-12

    Rise up, lift up the youth [Ishmael] and grasp him with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.
    Genesis 21:18
    Understanding Ishmael:

    “This year, [2001] in a speech delivered during the Aseret Y’mai T’shuvah (the Ten Days of Repentance) on behalf of Just One Life, Rabbi Yisocher Frand of Ner Israel Baltimore, made the following insightful analysis of the relationship of Ishmael to the Jewish people.

    The Torah tells us in Genesis 25:18, “V’ay’leh tol’dot Yishmael,”[these are the descendants of Ishmael], “Al p’nay kol eh’ch’av nafal,” [he dwelt besides all his brothers]. Why the language “nafal”, asks Rabbi Frand, which really means to fall? Quoting the Baal HaTurim (Rabbi Yaakov son of the Rosh, c.1275- c.1340), Rabbi Frand explains that only when Ishmael will have his downfall, only then will the Moshiach come.

    In effect, the Torah predicts that there is going to be an epic battle which will continue throughout history between the descendantsof Ishmael and the descendants of Yitzchak. When Sarah tells Abraham (Genesis 21:10), “Ga’raish et ha’ama ha’azot v’et b’nah,” [expel this handmaiden and her son], that is the beginning of this greatbattle.

    Rabbi Frand underscores that only two nations in the world have names that are invested with the name of G-d–only Ishmael and Yisrael. Because he has G-d’s name in his name, Ishmael feels that everything he does, no matter how evil or perverted, can be justified in the name of G-d.

    Rabbi Frand points out additionally that Ishmael is armed with a potent weapon, a supreme weapon, that he can use to his advantage– the power of prayer. After all, Ishmael is born as a result of the power of prayer. The angels tell Hagar (Genesis 16:11), “Hee’nach harah v’ya’ladet ben,” [behold you are going to bear a child], “Kee sha’ma Hashem el ahn’yaich,” [for G-d has heard the cry of your travail]. After the expulsion from Abraham’s home, Ishmael himself is saved by the power of prayer. Genesis 21:17, “Kee sha’ma Elokim et kol ha’na’ar,” [G-d heard the cries of the child], the angel tells Hagar.

    That is why when Yitzchak meets Rivka, the Torah reports that he was returning from Be’er L’chai Ro’eeh, (Genesis 24:62) [the well of the living G-d], the very well at which G-d appeared to Hagar. Yitzchak goes to Be’er L’chai Ro’eeh in order to neutralize Ishmael’s prayer. The Pirkei D’rav Eliezer (an early Midrash composed about 100CE) asks why Ishmael’s name is constructed in the future tense, G-d will hear, rather than in the past tense? The Midrash suggests that the future tense implies that the cries of G-d’s people who are suffering at the hand of Ishmael will be heard by G-d. “Yishmael,” means that the prayers of the Jews will be heard and will be answered.”

    From Rabbi Yissocher Frand:

    We Are Still Suffering From Yishmael’s Resentment
    “The very end of this week’s Parsha [Bereshis 36:43] contains a type of verse that we typically read through without giving it a second thought: “The chief of Magdiel and the chief of Iram; these are the chiefs of Edom by their settlements, in the land of their possession — he is Eisav, father of Edom.”

    What lesson can we learn from this pasuk? Who ever heard of the chief of Magdiel or the chief of Iram? What is their significance? Although the meaning of such a passage escapes us, it did not escape the likes of Rav Yitzchak Hutner (1907-1980), zt”l.

    In the late summer of 1970, Rav Hutner was returning to New York from Eretz Yisrael when Palestinian terrorists hijacked his return flight and two other jets. The planes and passengers sat on a hot runway in Jordan for over a week, while the PLO negotiated for release of Palestinian terrorists being held in Israeli prisons.

    When Rav Hutner emerged from that experience, he spoke publicly about the ordeal. Among other things, he explained the difference between the descendants of Eisav and the descendants of Yishmael. Rav Hutner said that even though both of them have persecuted Jews and we have suffered miserably and horribly at the hands of both of them, there is a difference between the two cultures.

    The descendants of Eisav never thought of taking our land. The Torah clearly spells out that the descendants of Eisav were given Mt. Seir [Devorim 2:5]. Eisav knew that he had his own land to the East of the Land of Israel. Although Eisav’s descendants killed us and tortured us, they never wanted our land — because they had their own inheritance.

    Yishmael, however, was thrown out of Avraham’s home without an inheritance [Bereshis 21:10]. This profoundly affected the development of history. Yishmael still feels as if we have his land. Magdiel and Iram had their own settlements, in the land of their own inheritance. They had their own land, and so they did not have their eyes on ours. But the pasuk regarding the children of Yishmael says, “These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names by their open courtyards (Chatzeirehem) and their strongholds (tirosam)” [Bereshis 25:16]. They are nomads. They are left with tents. They may have hundreds of thousands of square miles in the Middle East, but they do not have what they think is their land. They think that “their” land is a small piece of real estate called Palestine and they continuously want it “back.”

    The whole trouble stems from this point. Eisav received his inheritance – Mt. Seir. But G-d ordered Yishmael sent out of the house of Avraham without an inheritance, causing the inheritance to go only to his younger brother Yitzchak. This is something that Yishmael has never gotten over. Unfortunately, this is something he will never “get over” until the end of days. He is always going to want to take back the land that he thought should have been his rather than Yitzchak’s. Unfortunately, we are still suffering from this resentment to this day.”

    By Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Torah.org.

    In the festival of Succot, according to Jewish Halacha, Jews in the synagogues read the Ezekiel 38 – the description of Gog and Magog war. The Haftarah is called “Gog” Haftarah. The Chafetz Chayim (passed away in the 30th of this century), wrote in his commentary, why this is what we read in Succot:

    Because in the time to come, the Gog and Magog war will start on Tishrey

    The war in Afghanistan broke on Tishrey.

    The ADMOR of Zejichov, who lived some 200 years ago, wrote in his book a commentary about Exodus 4:13. The rabbi asks, how come the word “NA” (which is translated in English to ‘please’) is written in the verse. And he answers:

    Know this: Gog and Magog war will start at Hosha-Na Raba.

    The war in Afgfanistan broke at Tishrey 21st, which is Hosha-Na Raba.

    The last words in parshat Chaye Sarah hints to what will happen to the children of Yishmael in the days of Mashiach. The last verse (Bereshit 25:18) ends:

    And before all his brothers he lived.
    This same statement is recorded earlier (16:12) in the promise to Yishmael’s mother. But the Hebrew words used for the phrase, “he lived,” are much different in the two places. Earlier, it is clearly written, “he shall live” (yishkon). But here, the word, “nafal,” is used, which literally means, “he fell”. Why is it written in this way?
    The Midrash gives 3 reasons for why it is written “he fell.” One reason is that during the lifetime of Avraham he “lived” but after Avraham’s death, he “fell.” The 2nd reason is that before his descendants attacked the Bait Hamikdash, they “lived,” but after they attacked it, they “fell.”

    And finally, in the time of exile the descendants of Yishmael “live,” but in the days of Mashiach, they will “fall.”

    Bereshit Rabah 62:5

    On the face of all his brethren he fell (Gen. 25:18)
    ‘On the face of all his brethren he fell’ is followed immediately by ‘and these are the children of Isaac,’ to teach us that the son of David, who stems from the children of Isaac will sprout when Yishmael will fall at the end of days, then will sprout the son of David, who stems from the children of Isaac.

    Baal HaTurim (Rabbi Yaakov son of the Rosh, c. 1275- c.1340)
    Shenizke lege’ula sh’lema bimehera beyamenu, amen.

  3. A burst in technology, a drop in morality, and the Jewish return to Israel are all predicted as precursors to the Messiah.
    by Rav Aryeh Kaplan:

    An excerpt from Rav Kaplan’s Handbook of Jewish Thought.

    The coming of the Messiah and the subsequent redemption of Israel is a basic belief of Judaism.

    God will bring the redemption in His own time. If all Israel were to return to God, the Messiah would appear and the final redemption would be ushered in immediately. Otherwise, the redemption will not occur until the final time decreed by God. This is the meaning of the verse, “I, God, will accelerate it in its due time” (Isaiah 60:22). That is, if Israel is worthy, God will hasten the redemption; if they are not, it will come, but only in its due time.

    Thus, we find two contradictory concepts regarding the advent of the Messianic Era in the Bible. There are many passages which indicate that the Messianic Era will be ushered in with miracles, such as, “In visions of the night, I beheld the likes of a human being who came with the clouds of heaven… and he was given… an everlasting dominion which will never pass away” (Daniel 7:13-14).

    On the other hand, numerous passages indicate that the Messiah will come in a more prosaic manner, such as “Behold, your king comes to you… humble and riding upon a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). Here again, we are taught that there are two basic ways in which the Messianic Era can commence. If Israel is worthy, it will indeed by accompanied by heavenly miracles. If not, the Messianic Era will arrive through an apparently natural unfolding of historical events. In either case, God Himself will guide the forces of history to eventually bring about the Messianic Era.

    Redemption will not come all at once, but gradually, in a natural manner.Many of our sages maintained that there would be very little difference between now and the onset of the Messianic Era except with respect to Israel’s subjugation by other governments. Similarly, we are taught that the redemption will not come all at once, but gradually, in a natural manner.

    Nevertheless, the Messiah can come at any time, totally without warning. The reason for this is that many of the traditions regarding events which will precede the Messianic Era are contingent upon factors known only to God. Not all are necessary conditions for the redemption. It is for this reason that one should not attempt to calculate the date of the coming of the Messiah. Our sages thus taught, “May the soul of those who calculate the end rot.”


    Many of our traditions predict that there will be an extremely advanced technology in the Messianic Era. All disease will be eliminated, as the prophet foretold, “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame man will leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb will sing” (Isaiah 35:5-6).

    In order that man devote himself totally to achieving spiritual perfection, many forms of labor will become obsolete. A number of miracles are predicted, such as grapes as large as hen’s eggs and grains of wheat as big as a fist. As we now know, all this can become possible with a technology not too far removed from that of today. Indeed, when Rabbi Gamliel spoke of these predicted miracles, he stated that they would not involve any change in the laws of nature, but are allusions to a highly advanced technology. Thus, so little labor will be needed to process agricultural products that clothing and loaves of bread will seem to grow on trees. Similarly, as we learn the secrets of all life processes, it will become possible to make trees bear fruit continually.

    When we think of the miracles of the Messianic Age as being technological rather than manifest, then we have no trouble understanding traditions that predict such things as space flight and interstellar colonization in the Messianic Age, even according to those who believe that it will not be a time of manifest miracles.

    All of this would be mere conjecture and even forced interpretation if it were not for the fact that our present technological revolution has also been predicted, with an approximate date as to its inception. Almost 2000 years ago, the Zohar predicted, “In the 600th year of the 6th millennium, the gates of wisdom on high and the wellsprings of lower wisdom will be opened. This will prepare the world to enter the 7th millennium, just as a person prepares himself toward sunset on Friday for the Sabbath. It is the same here. And the mnemonic for this is (Genesis 7:11), ‘In the 600th year… all the foundations of the great deep were split’.”

    The Zohar predicts with almost uncanny accuracy the onset of the technological revolution. Here we see a clear prediction that in the Jewish year 5600 (1840 CE), the wellsprings of lower wisdom would be opened and there would be a sudden expansion of secular knowledge. Although the year 1840 did not yield any major scientific breakthrough, the date corresponds with almost uncanny accuracy to the onset of the present scientific revolution.

    The tradition may have even anticipated the tremendous destructive powers of our modern technology. Thus, we are taught that the Messianic Era will begin in a generation with the power to destroy itself.

    The rapid changes on both a technological and sociological level will result in great social upheaval. The cataclysmic changes will result in considerable suffering, often referred to as the Chevley Mashiach or birth pangs of the Messiah. If the Messiah comes with miracles, these may be avoided, but the great changes involved in his coming in a natural manner may make these birth pangs inevitable.


    There is a tradition that the Jewish people will begin to despise the values of their religion in the generations preceding the coming of the Messiah. Since in a period of such accelerated change parents and children will grow up in literally different worlds, traditions handed down from father to son will be among the major casualties. Our sages thus teach us that neither parents nor the aged will be respected, the old will have to seek favors from the young, and a person’s household will become his enemies. Insolence will increase, people will no longer have respect, and none will offer correction. Religious studies will be despised and used by nonbelievers to strengthen their own claims; the government will become godless, academies places of immorality, and the pious denigrated.

    Judaism will suffer greatly because of these upheavals. There is a tradition that the Jewish people will split up into various groups, each laying claim to the truth, making it almost impossible to discern true Judaism from the false. This is the meaning of the prophecy, “Truth will fail” (Isaiah 59:15).

    It has also been predicted that a great wave of atheism would sweep the world. As a result, many would leave the fold of Judaism completely. This is how our sages interpret the prophecy, “Many will purify themselves… and be refined. But the wicked will do evil; not one of them will understand. Only the wise will understand” (Daniel 12:10). That is, only the wise will understand that this is a test from heaven and that they must stand firm in their faith.

    Jews will return to the true values of Judaism after having been estranged. Of course, there will be some Jews who remain loyal to their traditions. Still others will return to the true values of Judaism after having been estranged. They will realize that they are witnessing the death throes of a degenerate old order and will not be drawn into it. But they will suffer all the more for this, and be dubbed fools for not conforming to the debased ways of the pre-Messianic period. This is the meaning of the prophecy, “He who departs from evil will be considered a fool” (Isaiah 59:15).

    There is an apparent tradition that there will be a population explosion prior to the coming of the Messiah.

    There is a tradition that if Israel does not repent, God will raise up a king like Haman who will want to annihilate the entire Jewish people. This may be the reason for Hitler’s almost incomprehensible career.


    One of the most important traditions regarding the Messianic Era concerns the ingathering of the Diaspora and the resettlement of the Land of Israel. There are numerous traditions that the Jewish people will begin to return to the Land of Israel as a prelude to the Messiah. The ingathering will begin with a measure of political independence, and according to some, with the permission of the other nations.

    As the holiest spot in the Land of Israel, Jerusalem is the most important city that must be rebuilt there. There is a tradition that the ingathering of the exile and the rebuilding of Jerusalem will go hand in hand as the two most important preludes to the coming of the Messiah. According to this tradition, first a small percentage of the exile will return to the Holy Land, and then Jerusalem will come under Jewish control and be rebuilt. Only then will the majority of Jews in the world return to their homeland. It is thus written, “God is rebuilding Jerusalem; [then] He will gather the dispersed of Israel” (Psalms 147:2).

    There is a tradition that the Land of Israel will be cultivated at that time, after a long period of desolation. This is based on the prophecy, “O mountains of Israel, let your branches sprout forth; yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are at hand to come” (Ezekiel 36:8).

    There is another important reason why the ingathering of the exile must precede the coming of the Messiah. One of our traditions regarding the advent of the Messianic Era is that it will mark the return of prophecy among the Jewish people. Furthermore, according to the final words ever spoken by a prophet, Elijah will return as a prophet and announce the coming of the Messiah, as it is written, “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of God” (Malachi 3:23). This is necessary because the Messiah will be a king, and a king can be anointed only by a prophet. Besides this, the Messiah himself will be a prophet, the greatest of them all, second only to Moses.

    Thus, the restoration of prophecy is very important in the unfolding of the Messianic drama. This, however, requires a number of conditions. First of all, prophecy can usually take place only in the Land of Israel, and not in any other land. The Land of Israel, however, is not conducive to prophecy at all times. Before prophecy can exist in the Land of Israel, it must be inhabited by the majority of Jews in the world. Thus, unless we assume that this rule is to be broken, more than half of the Jewish people will have to live in the Land of Israel before the Messianic Era commences.


    One of the most important events in the Messianic Era will be the rebuilding of the Holy Temple (Beit HaMikdash). Indeed, according to Maimonides, it is the act of building the Temple which will establish the identity of the Messiah beyond any shadow of a doubt. There are, however, many things involving the Temple which can only be ascertained prophetically, such as, for example, the precise location of the Altar. When Ezra rebuilt the Temple after the Babylonian exile, the place of the Altar had to be revealed prophetically, and the same will apparently be true when the Temple is rebuilt in the Messianic Ages.

    Regarding the conquest of the Land of Israel, the Torah states, “Clear out the land and live in it” (Numbers 33:53). Many authorities maintain that this commandment remains in full force today.

    There is a tradition that the Land of Israel will only be regained through great suffering. This has been fulfilled to obtain that part of the Land which we possess today.

    Although some measure of political independence has been obtained in Israel, the complete ingathering of the exile will only be accomplished by the Messiah. Regarding this, the prophet foretold, “On that day, God will stretch forth His hand a second time to bring back the remnant of His people… He will hold up a banner for the nations, assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:11-12).


    There is a tradition that there will be great suffering before the advent of the Messiah. We are thus taught, “One third of the world’s woes will come in the generation preceding the Messiah.”

    There are prophecies that there will be a “War of Gog and Magog” around Jerusalem. According to this tradition, when the nations hear of the success of the Jewish people in rebuilding their land, they will gather to do battle against them near Jerusalem, led by Gog, the king of Magog. The battle will symbolize the final war between good and evil. In Jerusalem, all evil will ultimately be vanquished.


    The Messiah of whom we have been speaking will be a direct descendent of King David, from the tribe of Judah. He is therefore known as Mashiach ben Dovid or Messiah the son of David. There is also a tradition that there will be another Messiah, from the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, who will precede Mashiach ben Dovid. He is therefore known as Mashiach ben Yosef or Mashiach ben Ephraim.

    There is a tradition that Israel’s enemies will only succumb to a descendant of Joseph. Thus, Mashiach ben Yosef will be the one who will lead Israel to victory in the war of Gog and Magog. This is the meaning of the verse, “The house of Jacob will be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble. They will set them ablaze, and consume them; there will be no survivor of the house of Esau, for God has spoken” (Ovadiah 1:18).

    Elijah the prophet will announce the Messiah’s coming. Concerning the relationship between the two Messiahs — the initial Messiah, Mashiach ben Yosef, and the final Messiah, Mashiach ben Dovid — the prophet declared, “Ephraim’s envy will depart and Judah’s adversaries will be cut off. Ephraim will not envy Judah, and Judah will not harass Ephraim” (Isaiah 11:13). That is, each Messiah will perform his appointed task, without jealousy. It is likewise written, “Son of man, take a stick, and write upon it, ‘For Judah, and the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick, and write upon it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Join them together into one stick, so that they are one in your hand” (Ezekiel 37:16-17).

    According to ancient tradition, the initial Messiah will fight and be killed in the war of Gog and Magog. He will be mourned by all Israel, as it is written, “They shall look to Me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns his first born son” (Zechariah 12:10).

    Before the appearance of the final Messiah, a prophet will arise to announce his coming and to draw the Jewish people back to God. This prophet is referred to as Elijah the prophet. It is thus written, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of God” (Malachi 3:23). His primary task will be to bring peace to the world by leading all people back to God. The prophecy thus concludes, “He will turn the ears of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I [God] come and strike the world with destruction” (ibid. 3:24).

    There is a tradition that Elijah will reveal himself sometime after the war of Gog and Magog, immediately before Mashiach ben Dovid appears.

    Some maintain that Elijah is a kohen, who will serve as the High Priest in the days of the Messiah, in the Third Temple.

    From “The Handbook of Jewish Thought” (Vol. 2, Maznaim Publishing).

  4. Kabbalah prophecies

    Terror in Our Time
    From the teachings of Rabbi Meir Leibush

    In a prophecy that most of the commentators say refers to the End of Days, Ezekiel refers to the punishment that will befall those who strike terror in the “Land of the Living”. The Targum of Yonatan Ben Uziel translates this phrase as the Land of Israel [Ara-a deYisrael] and this leads the classical commentator the Malbim, Rabbi Meir Loeb ben Yechiel Micheal (1809-1879), to make some startling observations.

    For thus says the Lord G-d: The sword of the King of Babylon shall come upon you… (Ez. 32:11)

    …And it came to pass in the twelfth year, on the 15th day of the month, that the word of the Lord came to me, saying: (Ibid. 32:17) Purim is the exact anniversary of the cessation of the first Gulf War…
    The twelfth Hebrew month is Adar, and the 15th of Adar, Purim, is the exact anniversary of the cessation of the first Gulf War. It was also the date of the commencement of hostilities in the recent conflict. The fact that the prophet states this time reference could therefore be taken to mean that the word of G-d was directed to exactly our time. It also comes in the context of the first Gulf war when Iraq/Babylon did indeed attack Israel.

    The Malbim notes that the date of the first prophecy is given in verse 1 as “the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month.” Now it appears that the prophet is receiving the same prophecy again. He says:

    This second prophecy is very hard to understand. It is not clear what it wants to tell us although the Maharal of Prague has already explained that it is a prophecy referring to the future, at the End of Days, in the days of Gog and MaGog – that in those days all of the nations will gather around Jerusalem, and this is the true interpretation.

    Some say that this could refer to the Oslo process that was supposed to result in Israel giving up sovereignty over ancient Jerusalem. Here Gog could be George who started the Oslo process after the first Gulf war and MaGog – meaning “from Gog” – George Bush Junior who has to deal with the continuation of the war.

    However I don’t agree with his interpretation relating to Gog and MaGog, and my way of interpreting it is different to his so I will interpret these verses according to my own way. Here, at the End of Days, after Israel has already settled on the land of Israel [!], in the future, the peoples of the world will gather together to conquer Jerusalem. Then will gather together to conquer the land of Israel from the Jews Gog, the President of [the country] Meshek [meaning “Market”] and Tuval from the lands of the North and West who are uncircumcised and called Edom. Meshek and Tuval are of the descendants of Yafet [one of the three sons of Noah] that live [now] in Europe, as Josephus has written; there it is also written “Persia and Kush and Put are with them” (Ez. 38:5). And also [with them will be] the house of Torgama that are all circumcised and adhere to the religion of the Ishmaelite [Islam]. Edom and Ishmael will fight against each other…
    But when they come there will be trouble between them, and they will fight each other – that is, Edom and Ishmael will fight against each other because their religions are different. There G-d will judge them with sword and blood. This is as is written there and in Zechariah, chapter 14. In relation to this, it is told here how each will fall into the abyss. First Egypt and Assyria and Elam that hold by Islam – they are all circumcised nowadays – and after He will account for Meshek and Tuval and Edom and their kings and princes in the North who are all uncircumcised. The first and most important to fall will be Egypt because they are close to the land of Israel. They will come first and be defeated. Then the Assyrians and the Persians will come to take their vengeance and the two sides will both fall.

    Thus far the comments of the Malbim. Among the first to fight the modern state of Israel was indeed Egypt. The Assyrians could perhaps be the modern countries of Syria and Iraq. The RaDaK in his explanation of Joel 4:19 states that Egypt is a general term for all Ishmaelites, since the mother of Ishmael, Hagar, was an Egyptian, and he married an Egyptian woman. All of them slain…because they struck terror in the Land of the Living…
    We also note another interesting fact in these passages from Ezekiel: in the verses from 23 to 32 the prophet mentions 7 times the same word “terror” in seven different verses. For example:

    Their graves are set in the sides of the pit, and her company is around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, because they struck terror in the Land of the Living. (Ibid. 32:23)

    There is Elam and all her multitude around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who have gone down uncircumcised into the netherworld because they struck terror in the Land of the Living; and they have carried their shame with those who go down to the pit. (Ibid. 32:24)

    It seems clear that the Prophet is drawing a clear connection between this war between the West and the Ishmaelite and terror in Israel!

    [Translation and commentary by Simcha Treister]

  5. The Zohar speaks of a fifth exile at the End of Days:
    The Final Battle with Ishmael
    By Pinchas Winston

    The Midrash speaks of four exiles in advance of Mashiach’s arrival and the Final Redemption: Babylonian, Median, Greek, and Roman (Bereishit Rabba 2:4). Yet the Zohar speaks of another aspect of exile at the End of Days:

    …The descendents of Ishmael will go up at that time [End of Days] with the nations of the world against Jerusalem… (Zohar 1:119a)

    There is a tradition that Ishmael will be the final extension of the Roman Exile. It will be with his descendants that the final generation of Jews before the redemption will have to contend. This is supported by the Midrash:

    Israel will say to the king of the Arabs, “Take silver and gold and leave the Temple.” The king of the Arabs will say, “You have nothing to do with this Temple. However, if you want, choose a sacrifice as you did in the past, and we will also offer a sacrifice, and with the one whose sacrifice is accepted, we will all become one people.” The Jewish people will offer theirs, but it will not be accepted because the Satan will lay charges against them before The Holy One, Blessed is He. The descendents of Kedar will offer theirs, and it will be accepted…. At that time, the Arabs will say to Israel, “Come and believe in our faith,” but Israel will answer, “We will kill or be killed, but we will not deny our belief!” At that time, swords will be drawn, bows will be strung and arrows will be sent, and many will fall… (Sefer Eliyahu, Pirkei Mashiach, p. 236)

    Furthermore, says the Zohar:

    [During the Resurrection of the Dead], many camps will arise in Land of the Galilee, because that is where Mashiach is going to be revealed, since it is part of Joseph’s territory. It will be the first place to be destroyed. It will begin there ahead of all other places, and then spread to the nations… (Vayakhel 220a)

    When the latest Intifadah began, one of the first places to be destroyed was the Tomb of Joseph. The barbaric destruction of this Jewish holy site caught the world’s attention, though the damage could not be reversed.


    “During the year in which the Messiah will appear, the kings of the nations will quarrel with one another. The king of Persia will quarrel with the king of Arabia, and the king of Arabia will go to Aram to seek council. The king of Persia will destroy the whole world, and all the nations of the world will be agitated and confused, they will fall on their faces and pains will seize them like birth-pangs. And Israel will be agitated and confused, and they will say; “What shall become of us, what shall become of us?” And God will say to them: “My children, have no fear. All that I have done I have done only for your sake…The time of your redemption has come!…”
    (Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov)

    Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday (02/18/2015) that his country would resist global sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program, saying: “If sanctions are to be the way, the Iranian nation can also do it. A big collection of the world’s oil and gas is in Iran so Iran if necessary can hold back on the gas that Europe and the world is so dependent on.”

  7. Hello Mjchael Craig Clark,

    we don’t know your origin, but according to your comment you see Iran as an independent from the Creator force, which is all against Judaism’s point of world view.

    Iran may be used by the Creator to influence the world for its correction, but if necessary, the Creator will transfer “Iran?” oil and gas to any part of the world He needs, not mentioning, of course, what He can make to “Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ” in a moment.

    Modesty and repentance works wonders, hope for all of us to learn it through studying Torah and performing Mitzvot and not through suffering and pain due to our egoistic attitude to the Creator’s World.

    Wish you all the Best

  8. Yehudith; I couldn’t agree with you more on the fact that our dependency upon the Sovereignty of the Almighty override all even world events, but as we see those events unfold before our eyes, should not we attribute that awareness to G_D also. Israel is now in the most vulnerable position to depend upon Torah and the Omnipotent One more than ever before, knowing that its dependency upon foreign powers has been taken from it. Obviously all nations are now against Israel just as we have been told would happen at the time of the redemption, should not we expect Him to deliver on His Promise to deliver, with Messiah, at this time, or have I read something wrong? Rav Pinchas Winston, in this article has laid out very well a logical time sequence leading up to the time we are now at, and now being 25 years into the first phase of the 40 years, leaves an open door to begin phase 2 with the appearance of Messiah. And to further make that point I have presented a further view, as indicated by Kitov, as to the every year for that to happen, and seeing Nissan and more importantly, Pesach, upon us, shouldn’t we be under great expectation or, again, have I misunderstood something well outlined in Israel’s history for this hour. Please correct me if I am wrong, but this is the way I see it. love Michael


    Ezekiel 38 Gog and Arab invasion took place Nov 29, 2012 with the 3ed overturning of Jerusalem according to Ezekiel 21: 27 and according to Zechariah 14:1-2 Jerusalem was divided at that time.
    Hosea 6
    6 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
    2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
    3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
    Joel 2:23
    23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. Nissan 2015

    Messiah ben Joseph will be revealed end of 2 years
    Genesis 45

    4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
    5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
    6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.

    Saul, being the type of government over Israel today which fell in battle Nov 29, 2012 is followed with continued reign for 2 more years before Messiah ben David rules all Israel

    2 Samuel 2

    10 Ishbosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned (two years). But the house of Judah followed David.
    11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

    2 Samuel 5
    5 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
    2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
    3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the Lord: and they anointed David king over Israel.
    4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.
    5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
    love Michael of Dan 12:1

  10. Hello, Michael

    I don’t find anything wrong in your above research , but there is one point I would like to remind us. Prophecy in Judaism is very relevant, it shows and speaks in general about the events to come in Future, but it NEVER determines their realization. All depends on our ways and the level of the correction of the Israel and the world.

    There is no doubt we can see a lot of parallels in current events and the situations described and predicted by Prophets, BUT a lot of them can be solved through inner work and willing correction of our wish to get. It is what Kabbalah is about, Kabbalah is the way of correction of the events without their actual realization, through the inner understanding of the wrong&evil the egoistic attitude to the world brings with it.

    The War of Gog and Magog can be also seen as inner work and shouldn’t be expected to be realized, on the contrary we should do all possible to make it resolved through the inner work.

    We are commanded to wait for coming of Moshiach every moment of our life, BUT we are also commanded to make everything possible to make his coming earlier than it is expected according to the Prophecy.

    Zohar speaks about two possibilities of Moshiach’s coming: in advance and in time, the first variant is much better than the other, so even in this question we are given the choice.

    Waiting for Moshiach and doing nothing with our egoistic nature is as wrong as not believing in his coming.

    Hope that together with your research you study Rabash’s articles where he explains all the details of inner work and its importance for the personal correction as a part of general correction of the world.


  11. Yehudith; “Moshiach’s coming: in advance and in time…” exactly my point, isn’t it better to be aware ahead of pending events with knowledge that we might act according to that knowledge with the wisdom to tell others, having not that awareness, at the time it is needed when it does actually happen? A true watchmen knows his position and obligation to blow the Trumpet, warning or declaring with a certain sound, otherwise how will the people know to respond when that sound is made? No better time for tuning the instruments than before the orchestra begins to play, because once it has started its to late, and no one appreciates a bad and untimely note of cacophony, especially in such a serious hour as this. All to often we are given many of the puzzle pieces and with them seem to have all the answers we need, however if this were true, there would be no need for Messiah now would there? Like an army in need of a Commander in Chief, or a bride in waiting, in need of a husbandman, all remains inadequate , in and of itself, without Messiah. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

  12. To Michael

    All you say above sounds very nice, but is not exactly in accordance with Baal haSulam&Rabash’s explanations of the situation.

    Baal haSulam and Rabash dedicated their activity to let us understand the importance of each and every knowledge of their role in the life.

    In our days there may not be those leading and those lead by others, we all should properly understand the situation and our role in it. We do need THE leader-Moshi’akh, but it doesn’t mean we are going to be lead as a blind group of followers, we are here to help Moshi’akh to fulfill the purpose of creation and for that matter we have to be Mamlekhet Kohanim and Go’i Gadol=to be on a very high spiritual level ourselves.

    The personal responsibility of each of us is the greatest ever in our days and all the Prophecies are here to help us understand the importance of the task.

    Baal haSulam and Rabash’s Kabbalah is ALL ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
    and that is why they are less studied and taught, because learning about personal responsibility leaves us no way to see others even Mashi’akh as more responsible for correction than each and every of us.

    Moshi’akh comes in each and every generation as our Sages say, but he has never come to be recognized yet, because we are not ready to fulfill our part of correction process and so he comes and goes being not noticed by us.

    You may blow the Trumpet and even give a right tune to the orchestra, but you may not make others hear it.


  13. Yehudith; you couldn’t have said it better, the things of which you speak enlighten us to the fact that the Almighty works from both sides of the mountain to bring both aspects of Himself to an awareness of the objective, being convergence at the apex. Everything displayed to us as reality in our frame of reference, as we are given to see it, speaks of this long awaited marriage and convergence. Israel is the prototype, that we might understand the bigger picture, thus a frame of reference that we might know and understand. A roadmap doesn’t get you to your destination without following its directives, but like everything, those directions are subject to interpretation and its value as to reaching your desired objective remains no better than who is interpreting the map to you. Destiny is a clock preset, and any claim that one controls such, only leaves one to believe that if he pulls the stem and resets the time, by self determination, that such will change time. Who has had the authority, until now, to even determine what the face of the clock says when coming up by way of that back side. Until now all that has been known through the cycles of the law shows how the clock works, but in itself really displays no awareness of the time. A yardstick is no better than what point you start the first inch, then the rest will accurately, by destiny, follow sequentially. Who has the authority, until now, to determine that starting point or the first cause to everything. Until now, Its all just a theory and without the body of evidence to prove that theory correct, speculation prevails. That is why Messiah, to converge the front and back of the clock. In short, when Israel’s current government fails to deliver from its enemies will you be there in support of its NEW GOVERNMENT? Sincerely, E=MCC ∞

  14. To Michael

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights, as for supporting any goverment or organization they should be equal in form to the laws of the Creator, in this very amount my support goes to them.

  15. Yehudith; I have enjoyed the ride so far but as you say the faithful have their work cut out for them to get the house clean. Best to you and yours with those efforts in this season in preparation for the most important time on the clock. love Michael
    PS; feel free to contact me via e-mail as you like and again, enjoyed speaking with you and looking forward to more in the near future.

  16. Thank you very much for the discussion and hope to hear from you more, as you may see we have a page on our site “Guests’ Articles” we’ll be honored to present to our readers your thoughts, insights or links

    Chodesh Nissan Same’akh
    Pesakh Kasher
    May we live to the days of Moshi’akh

  17. One more thing in response to your earlier statement; “You may blow the Trumpet and even give a right tune to the orchestra, but you may not make others hear it.” The Almighty is in the receiving as well as in the delivery and like anything in life, when what you have quits working for you the tendency to hear something new will open your ears very well. Give it a few days and Israel will be dancing to a different tune once they find the old one no long works for them. G-D is the best disc joky and knows how to get what He wants when He wants it.

  18. George says:

    Toldot in the Zohar speaks of the year 5408. This is the year 2017-370 = 1647.
    This is probably why sabbtai zvi thought he was the Messiah since the Zohar predicted the resurrection of the dead at that time.

  19. Hello, George, there is a lot of information about Messiah and the resurrection of the dead in Jewish worldview, but the point is that even the visions of the Prophets are understood differently by different Sages. Needless to say that reality proved, that whatever Shabbtai Zvi thought about himself was wrong.

    Mashi’akh is, first of all, a certain spiritual level which is found in each and ever soul in a potential form, but for its activation we need a certain level of correction of Jewish People, as Mash’ikh IS NOT COMING TO DO IT INSTEAD OF US!!!

    It is a mistake to think that somebody can do somebody’s else portion of correction, as it is a mistake to think that the desire of Mash’ikh’s coming is brining His coming closer.

    Without everyday bits of correction of all Jewish People on all the levels of desire to GET, the potential may not be activated, and we hope that the activation of this potential will not happen due to the War of Gog and Ma’gog…

    It is better to wake up and do what we ALL are destined to do: to correct our wish to get for the sake of getting by transforming it into wish to get for the sake of bestowing with the help of performing Mitzvot and studying Torah LeShma.

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