Dreaming of Moshiach

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Secrets of the Greatest Emunah Test

This extremely interesting essay was originally translated from Hebrew and annotated by Reb Nutie Abrams.

The Alter of Kelem, Rabbi Simcha Zisel Ziv zt”l says on Parshat Shemot that the Jews in Egypt were not worthy to be redeemed without the merit of “Faith.” Without their faith, no miracle would have occurred for Moshe Rabenu and Aharon HaKohen when they appeared before Par’o.
The Alter concludes, “The redemption from Egypt is a model for the future redemption. Let us merit to properly prepare ourselves in this manner, so that it will go well for us through this period.”

Chazal (the Sages) says (Hoshea 2:22), “And you will be betrothed to Me through faith.” In the Yalkut Shim’oni on that verse (Remez 519) it states: You will find that the in-gathering of the exiles happens only as a reward for faith... . Also, we find that our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt only in the merit of their faith, as the verse states, “The nation had faith.”

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov zs'l in Sichos HaRan says "a great disbelief would grow in the world because of our many sins. Praiseworthy are those who hold on to faith in these times. And he said, even though he is forewarning of this phenomenon, and urging a strengthening of faith, it will not prevent it from happening. Disbelief and confusion will prevail. Have not Daniel and others like him already informed us that many will be selected, whitened and refined like ore (smelting) in this test of faith. He who merits passing the test and remains with his faith is praiseworthy and will merit all the good that will come to us, speedily, in our days. The good that all our prophets and sages have prophesized. Now since this has all been revealed in advance, it is fitting that each person should be perceptive and be compassionate on himself by insuring that he remains strong in his faith. And then he will not have any test and refinement like ore (smelting) at all since he has already been informed of this beforehand. However, truthfully, even though these people might be informed beforehand, it will still be a great test. Many will fail and become wicked as the verse states “The wicked will become wicked”.

However, even so, I inform of this beforehand for the sake of those few proper people who will strengthen themselves in their faith. Even so, there will certainly be great battles in their minds, so this foreknowledge will be soothing to the soul and will strengthen them and give them courage when they see that this has been foreseen."

I will now reveal a secret to you. There will be great disbelief in the world. The disbelief will come from above as a test. Now I know that my people will truly strengthen themselves in faith and remain firm in their belief even without this. However, I reveal this to you now so that they will strengthen themselves even more, knowing that this has been foreseen and discussed.” Words like these were heard from his holy mouth several times. He would heave many sighs about this matter and would say: “Woe, how will a few people be able to stand against the whole world?.”

Rabbi Ya’akov Teitelbaum zt”l was a foremost disciple of the great Rabbi Meir Arik zt”l said he wanted to convey something before passing away and requested that I publicize it in any place in the world that it might reach.

“My grandfather on my mother’s side,” began the Rav, “was a regular guest in the home of the great Rizhiner Rebbe zt”l. I heard from him that the Rizhiner would often say that just like a fire descended from heaven for Eliyahu the Prophet on Mount Carmel (validating the Torah and invalidating the Baal worshipers, as is related in Melachim I,18:39), so too, before the coming of the Mashiach a fire will descend, but this time, for the Prophets of Baal, and it will be as difficult (for the Jews) as scaling a straight wall to cling to the faith.

I related this to many Jewish leaders,” continued the Rabbi, “until I reached the Skullener Rebbe (zt”l). When the Rebbe heard my words he requested that I repeat them. After repeating them, he asked me to repeat them again, and so I did. Then I asked him why he had requested that I repeat the matter twice? The Rebbe answered that he had a similar tradition, passed down to him from the Slonimer Tzaddik zt”l, that before the coming of Mashiach the Jewish people would lose patience. They will not want to wait for Mashiach to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (as explained by Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Kings, chapter 11, paragraph 1) but will erect it on their own initiative and will bring sacrifices on the alter. And a fire will descend from heaven and will accept their offerings. However, the Jewish people will be expected to understand that this fire that descended from heaven came from ‘the side of evil,’ not from ‘the side of good’ (since they should have waited for Mashiach to come and do it properly). The Skullener Rebbe explained that he had asked me to review the words of the Rizhiner Rebbe several times because he wanted to determine if I would also mention that this ‘descending of fire from heaven for the Prophets of Baal’ will occur on the site of the Temple, as he had heard.

“I answered him,” continued Rabbi Teitelbaum, “that even though my grandfather never mentioned that the Rizhiner Rebbe specified the site of the Temple, I understood on my own that a momentous thing like this would most likely occur in a very holy place.”

The Rabbi then said to me, “Imagine what a tremendous test this will be for all Jews - to hold on to their faith even though they are witnessing the fire descending from heaven for the benefit of the Prophets of Baal. Therefore, I request of you: Publicize this matter in the whole world, wherever life brings you, in order that the Nation of Israel will prepare themselves and be ready for this great test.”

Yalkut Haro’im, which was printed in 1885, contains a collection of volumes including: The Wellspring of Wisdom (attributed to Moshe), The Tractate of Atzilut, The Tractate of Gehinom, and others. It also includes The Book of Eliyahu and the Chapters of Mashiach. In that volume, I was dumbfounded to find these awesome words:

And Israel will say to the king of the Arabs, “The Holy Temple is ours - take gold and silver, and leave the Temple to us.”

And the Arab king will say “You have no claim to this Temple. However, if you will first choose an offering, as you did in days of old, and we will also present an offering. And we will all become part of the nation whose offering is accepted.”

Israel will present their offering and it will NOT be accepted, because Satan will prosecute us in front of Hashem.

And the sons of Kedar will present their offering and it will be accepted, as the verse states: “All the sheep of Kedar will gather together to you.”

Then, the Arabs will say to Israel, “Come, believe in our faith.”

And Israel will answer, “We will kill, or be killed, but we will not deny the Essence.”

Then, swords will be unsheathed, bows will be drawn, arrows will be fired, and corpses will be felled from the Gate of Efraim till the Gate of Pinah. And Nechemiah (most probably, Mashiach ben Yosef) will be among those that are killed.

Those who escape will flee to the desert of Moav and to the land of the Sons of Amon. There, the Israeli refugees will remain, and Hashem will perform miracles for them there, and a wellspring will emerge from the depths, etc., and they will eat the roots of thorn bushes, for forty five days. At the end of forty five days, Eliyahu HaNavi and King Mashiach will sprout from there, etc., etc.
The hairs of our head should stand on end, when we imagine this great test that all of Israel will undergo opposite the Arabs. The Jewish People, and, most likely, the Jewish leaders and the righteous of our generation, will pray - and we will not be answered. And opposite them will stand the leaders of the Arabs and their shamans, and they will pray - and will be answered from heaven.

Therefore, Rabbi Teitelbaum commanded me to publicize this matter in order that we should prepare ourselves, sons, daughters, grandchildren, students and friends to strengthen our faith and trust in Hashem, so that we not be influenced by any test, heaven forbid. (I don’t know if we are obligated to accept all that is described above literally. Perhaps this all falls into the category of the verse, in Mishlei 1:6, “To understand parable and prose, words of Sages and their riddles.” In other words, there will be great tests in the matter of faith before Mashiach comes, and in order to merit redemption we must pass those tests with Hashem’s help).

May Hashem strengthen us and rescue us from tests, always. And may He send us the Righteous Redeemer, in the merit of our faith in the Creator of all Worlds, and redeem us soon, with all of Israel, speedily, in our days, Amen.




והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו