Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Balak & Moshiach - Since 1991

The “times of Moshiach” is a term that resonates well with most Jews today. Many, to be sure, like many of our secularly-based Jewish friends from academia, see world affairs and divine scripture as unrelated. Orthodox Jewry, on the other hand, aware that Torah commandments have eternal, practical value, feels the imminence of Moshiach in the air.

The Era of Redemption no longer is some quaint, quackish topic for back-room conversation. Jews tuned to Moshiach feel a shift in the winds of history gripping the world and, however things play out dynamically, the world is moving closer to the betterment of the Jewish people and their prophesied cozy utopia.

A particular Midrash tells us what it’ll be like when Moshiach arrives. Well, that scenario, inscribed as prophecy since this Midrash was written, has begun to unfold -- when the Rebbe declared it, in 1991.

This is, by now well-known, the prophecy of the sage Rabi Yitzchok (Yalkut Shimoni, Isaiah:499), namely, “During the year Moshiach is first revealed, all leaders of the world’s nations are inflamed by each other. The King of Persia provokes the Arab King, and an Arab King goes to Aram to seek their advice ... fear not ... for ... I only did all this for your sake, so why are you afraid? Stop being afraid -- your Era of Redemption has arrived!”

The Rebbe in 1991 invoked this Midrash not as a repetition of a prophecy for the future but rather as a prophecy that is currently actualizing. The time line of demarcation from past to present has been crossed.

We’ve crossed over the threshold of this important milestone. The Era we are in now has a quality that went missing two thousands years. What Jews accomplished throughout these two millennia of exile, by keeping Torah and mitzvot, is in this present period being vindicated and redeemed!

Of course we can see the half-filled glass as half-full or as half-empty.

The Rebbe wants us to see it as half-full because a positive perspective reveals that other unexpected lights, though they may appear as random, fit in as pieces of a greater puzzle. A positive view helps you connect the dots of light of the unfolding, underlying Messianic mosaic. A negative perspective robs you of this encompassing view; You remain blind to the cohesiveness that binds the scattered events into the unique phenomenon we are now able to palpably feel happening -- to the world, to the collective Jewish People and to Israel.

It’s no longer a prophecy. It was a prophecy; Actually a sage's prophecy of some details that depict and debut as the Torah's prophecy of a Moshiach era. It is now ongoing -- before our very eyes. If you look, you can see how everything is preparing the Jewish People for their huge crowning state of glory and eternity.

The Torah portion of Balak in particular hoists high the idea of Moshiach who will show up as the King of all the Jews. This end-of-times period is one that waxes honor on Jewish folk. Even though Bilaam hated Jews, he could foresee nothing but praise for the Jewish people, praise for that nation’s matriarchs and patriarchs and praise for their good nature and noble humility.

Bilaam had remarkable prophetic power, at least of the same caliber as had Moses (the sages tell us)! So important was this prophecy, our sages considered including this portion in the daily prayer of the Shema. A mere technicality kept them from including it.

So important is this scriptural portion that even before any praise of God is mentioned in morning prayer, even before quotations from the Torah and Talmud, the very first verse of prayer, the very opening verse of Jewish morning prayer in the synagogue is -- a quote from this Torah portion of Balak (24:5) (“How goodly your tents, of Jacob, your dwellings, of Israel”)!

This prophecy's main end point is clear: In the "Days of Moshiach" the Jewish Nation will rise to supernal glory. During these times they will climb from strength to strength! This is the meaning of the words near the end of this divine prophecy (Balak 24:18):
" ... and the Jews wax in triumph”
וְיִשְׂרָאֵל עֹשֶׂה חָיִל

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Russian Horse in Istanbul - 5776

The strait of Bosphorus that divides the city of Istanbul in Turkey, was recently where the Russian warship Caesar Kunikov passed through while on deck a Russian soldier stood armed with a rocket launcher on his shoulder. This came several days after Turkey shot down a Russian jet in Syrian territory. (Probably Russia was interfering with the flow of oil that Turkey’s wealthy Erdogan family had been importing from Syria, getting the oil cheaply from the terrorist ISIS organization which conquered much of Syria and its oil resources). Russia decried the rogue behavior, scolded Turkey, and days ago brought into Syria next to the Turkish border its latest missile systems to prevent further encroachment.

Wouldn’t you know it, here too we see yet a further sign of the Geulah as these keep popping up. (At least it’s new to me.)

It turns out the Shefa Chaim of Sanz-Klausenburg zt'l brings something down from the Ba’al Shem Tov - no less. He writes, in the name of his dad, who heard it from the Ba’al Shem Tov, that “When they will see a Russian horse in the city of Constantinople they should know Moshiach’s arrival is imminent”! (see below, 2nd para.)

Constantinople today is Istanbul! And just as Moshiach’s arrival on a “donkey” can be taken metaphorically, the Russian’s “horse” may turn out to be the tank!

Turkey took offense of that warship's bravado, and Russia too hasn’t yet been placated for the downing of its aircraft and murder of its pilot. The situation at the Syrian-Turkish border remains tense.
(David Mark at IsraelRising tells why he thinks the two may well go to war soon.)

UPDATE! (7/17/16) - (י׳׳א תמוז ה׳תשע׳׳ו)

Now hear this news, happening today, after a so-called "coup" in Turkey, where a grand, ruthless hoax is being hoisted upon its people, much like happened during Stalin or Lenin with millions of citizens "purged", Turkey has begun to simmer. America too is being dragged in. The conniving leader of Turkey, Erdogan, has fine-tuned his grab for full power, all while castigating countries that recognize the Armenian holocaust, in case anyone wants to remind Turks (as any typical Muslim culture) that genocide is in their bad blood. Terror has come to the streets of Turkey. If one happens to be of the Muslim fundamentalist crowd, they now have the upper hand. Poor boys who went into the army are now suddenly made to look like the bad guys. The civil war there looks to be gruesome. The 1,500 Americans held in Turkey's locked-down Incirlik Air Base, whence jet sorties are made against ISIS, may serve this weasel's desire for pawns to revenge himself against an Iranian defector given refuge in the USA (link), whom Erdogan wants extradited.

ANYHOW, the point is that Istanbul now is one giant step closer to becoming embroiled with Russia or America. As quoted from the Ba’al Shem Tov [above]: “When they will see a Russian horse in the city of Constantinople they should know Moshiach’s arrival is imminent”!

In other words, there are two sides to this story, two views you can take; You can see it as a local phenomenon between competing nations, or you can see it as a sign of global activity predicted to happen as a prelude, or as a forerunner, to a much wider global event  - the imminent revelation of Moshiach!

Update - 10/14/16
Seems these days that Russia is cozying up to or flirting with Turkey, trying to iron out a new relationship where a new oil import-export route can be achieved for their mutual benefit. It could be therefore the Ba'al Shem Tov's aforementioned words mean to say when a high positioned Russian military personage arrives in Turkey, even to partner up in some new relationship - that too could be the meaning of his words, meaning to say, they will align against the USA and perhaps too against Israel, or therefrom will come the pressure to try and squeeze Israel ... which of course will finalize with the full triumph of Moshiach saving the day for all Jews once and for all!

Updates - 10/15, from today's Debka headlines:
Russia & Turkey carve anti-US enclaves in Syria
Turkey agrees to be the first NATO member to house a Russian air defense missile system, which is to be coupled with a Russian air defense missile shield located in Syria.