Terror and totalitarian cruelty loom across the continents, Iran arrives at the brink of nuclear technology, African nations suffer genocide, Russia and China advance in military might, Islam spreads its tentacles of horror, European and U.S. economies are as good as dead, freedom in Europe and the U.S. hangs on a thread ... and a World War threatens the world - for those who have eyes in their heads.
How then can we rectify the contradiction? On the one hand, we were promised utopia to anticipate, yet grief portends to come at us from every other angle.
We are the last generation of exile and the first generation of Redemption. We are about to watch the transformation of the world as it is thrown into an inferno, in order to refine away the evil from the good.
Unless we recognize what's happening, we will be caught in a vice. As long as we remain cognizant, we'll understand the significance of the squeeze. If we remain aloof in mind over threats that might terrorize our hearts - we will withstand the torment and even see how it configures well to our own benefit.
The world will undergo a bewildering upheaval, on the largest and widest scale it has ever yet experienced. But Jews and good people will be spectators as evil gets consumed by the fires of a World War wrought by God to vanquish evil once and for all. It also will serve to convince any Jew who hasn't yet discovered the paradise that awaits him in believing and trusting in God.
As if the physical mappings of disaster weren't enough, we also find ourselves enshrouded in spiritual darkness, in an era apparently bereft of a spiritual leader.
But just as the physical aspects of disaster will try our beliefs, the same holds true for our spiritual senses. We are being tested in our belief in Moshiach who will redeem the Jewish people, who will finalize the utopia now developing, which will blossom full bloom in short time. We are being squeezed spiritually because many Jews have yet to submit and yearn for Moshiach's second revelation. They are being tested as Daniel's says at the end of his book, " Happy are those who wait for him ..." (12:12) and as Rashi there explains, "for he will be revealed, then covered up, and then revealed again!"
The 3rd of Tammuz is the day Joshua stopped the sun. It would not set until many hours later.
The sun, aside from it being a physical body, also has its metaphorical counterpart. The Gemora explains (Yoma 28b), "that the sun does not set unless another sun has been created". In other words, the greatest luminary of the generation, the tzaddik, the righteous Jew upon whom the entire world rests ("צדיק יסוד עולם", ibid), in the sense that it cannot exist unless this personage exists, cannot be extinguished unless another such luminary is first born to replace him.
The significance of the 3rd of Tammuz in Jewish history that occurred during the first generation of Jews in the Land of Israel, shares the same with this last generation of exile and the first generation that enters into the Era of Redemption. The leader of this generation, the solitary major luminary of our generation, is the sun that never set - the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the present Rebbe of Chabad.
This 3rd of Tammuz marks the 18th year (!חי) we've been under trial of belief in the Rebbe's words. This week's portion of Torah is Korach. It says in Rashi there (Num. 17:13):
Note this assertion's incisive, unequivocal and emphatic tenor - "does not say anything but"! Accordingly, we believe God spoke through the lips of the Rebbe and all that he said will happen will happen. May it be already now!