So, of course, you can't keep a good man down. Despite my last post, which was pretty forthright about predictions, I will share with you some thoughts that I have had recently about Moshiach and this year that may end up sounding a bit contradictory to what I wrote... Just remember that what I am writing is my hergesh - my feeling - and not fact. It is also not a prediction, and it is not meant to be concrete in any way.
When I wrote the whole post about Mincha Gedolah and Rosh Chodesh Av of 5770, there was more than one comment about the fact that the counting that we do of the years is based on the first year of creation being the year 1. If we would count from the year 0, as we normally do when thinking of the age of a person, we would actually be in the year 5770 right now, not 5771. According to this counting, we will actually reach Mincha Gedolah in the current year, in Tammuz, as it is also a leap year. Now, what is truly interesting is that there is always a concept of אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים, which means that there are always multiple perspectives and ways to look at each matter. As I understand it in this context, there are two layers of 5770, one which occurred last year, which, we could say, is a more hidden layer, and the one that occurs this year, which may be the more revealed aspect of it. For me personally, Rosh Chodesh Av was a significant point in my life, perhaps even the beginning of a new stage in my life. I do see myself very strongly in the role of the general tafkid of Moshiach ben Yosef. (I am not Moshiach! Just have strong aspects of his mission as part of my psyche, as per Kol Hator's second bechina of MBY - many multiple individuals who take part in MBY's mission.) In any event, my hergesh tells me that there is something that is going on right now in the mission of Moshiach ben Yosef which is getting concretized, started Rosh Chodesh Av of 5770, and will continue until Tammuz of 5771. I want to stress something which I mentioned in that post, which is that the nature of Moshiach ben Yosef is to remain hidden behind the scenes. This is true even when he starts to show his face - it is still in a hidden fashion. Just food for thought.
I was recently thinking about something which I have mentioned to a number of audiences over the past few days. I sang for a seminary on Friday night here in Ramat Bet Shemesh which has a strong Tzioni bent, and I also sang last night for a yeshiva. In both contexts I mentioned the fact that one has to be blind to what is going on in Eretz Yisrael right now. The Jewish population is nearing six million. When that is taken in contrast with the approximately 600,000 that were here in 1948, it is actually quite mind boggling. Compare the number to the miniscule amount of Jews that were here in the early 1800s, the miracle of the Jewish people's return to Israel in the current age is no less great than the hidden miracle of Purim. Just like one has to read the Megilla from start to finish and put the pieces together, one must take a purview of history and put the pieces together. When one does so with an open heart and an open mind, it is hard to ignore. What hit me so hard when I was thinking about this was the fact that the Jewish people are asking for Moshiach every day, three times a day. We bentch and we mention the rebuilding of Jerusalem. We end off each speech, no matter the topic, with mention of the advent of Moshiach. And the thing is - he's already here! We are guessing when he's going to come, and we are saying this year will be the year - and the truth is that it's all true! This is the year. And so was 5768, and so was 5769, and so was 5770. It's really no different than the Purim story, where each and every step - from Esther becoming the queen to Mordechai catching the plot to kill the king, etc. - all were geulah points and steps in the process. Purim is such a wonderful mashal for what is going on because Mordechai and Esther were aspects of Moshiach ben Yosef, and they were involved in a hidden geulah, similar to our current geulah process. In any event, the power of this is that 'He's finally here' is really true. Moshiach is here. His name is Moshiach ben Yosef, and by definition he hides himself - but he's there!
I was really moved by the following thought that Hashem gave me. When the brothers first came down to Egypt to get food for their families, the ten of them came in through different entrances in order to look for Yosef, to find where he had been sold, and to perhaps redeem him. This was what gave the 'viceroy' an excuse to accuse them of being spies. Now, the intense irony was that they were looking for Yosef - and they found him! They just did not recognize him. It is such a wonderful mashal for where we are today. The Jewish people is pining for a salvation from all of our problems. We are inundated with relationship issues, no different than in the times of Yosef himself - family issues and rebellious youth, lacks in communication. We are waiting for Moshiach, really, looking for Yosef, trying to find him from any direction - coming into Egypt from ten different entrances. And we are staring at Yosef in the face - and we don't recognize him! He's here! Moshiach is finally here! Rabosai, it is time to wake up! Why are we still in America? Why are we still in Europe? Why are we everywhere but here? He's moving the process along slowly behind the scenes, and it is not yet the right moment to reveal himself, because the Jewish people have not yet completed their tikkun, just as the brothers of Yosef had not yet done so. But we are oh so close. It is the time, my friends.
I was also hit the other day with another powerful thought, another gift from Hashem. I have had the opportunity to deal with a certain issue that is facing the Jewish people. This is the issue of the internet, which I can deeply thank Hashem for the fact that the internet is not a source of nisayon for myself. But for most of the Jewish people, it is an intense test. It is so intense that for many, it is not even a test, because there is almost no choice but to fall in. It is a test that is unprecedented in all of Jewish history. Every single home has a tool with which one can fall into the darkest, most destructive forms of psychological damage known to man, through the many evocative images and pornographic content available with the touch of a button. The intensity of the problem is one that astounds and confounds Jewish educators everywhere - and the educators themselves face the same test as the ones they seek to help! I personally believe that there is salvation in powerful tools like group therapy (as are starting now in the Jerusalem and Ramat Bet Shemesh area), as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a qualified practitioner. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the problem is not something that will be solved in a simple and sweeping manner. What struck me so deeply was that this is the greatest sign that we are mamish holding at the end. R' Mendel and R' Shimon Kessin both speak of the Yetzer Hara - the Satan - at the end of time. It is like a star that is at the end of its cycle, about to burn out and end its life. At that point, briefly, before it dies, it becomes a supernova and releases the light of ten stars. The yetzer hara is slaughtered with the advent of Moshiach - his role is completely transformed as he moves out of the inside of man and becomes an external force. He knows this, and will not take this without a fight. Thus, as he is about to be bested, he puts up his greatest fight. He throws off the light of ten stars in intense battle. This is the nisayon of the internet - it is the yetzer hara's last stand. He wants so badly to destroy us and pull us down - and he is succeeding! But it is just a show. He's about to fall and die. He is about to be extinguished. My friends, we are witnessing the final battles being played out in front of us, in our very homes, in the privacy of our own most secret thoughts. It is do or die.
And this is the battle of Yosef - the battle with forbidden sexual pleasures. This is the battle that has many, or even most individuals falling into and failing with. But at the same time, there are those who are fighting and winning. There are those who realize that even the one time out of ten that they overcome - that is a success. The gemara in Succah says that when Moshiach comes, Hashem slaughters the yetzer hara, and everyone cries. The Tzadikim (righteous) cry, because the yetzer hara seems to have been a mountain, and they overcame him. The reshaim (evil ones) cry, because they envision him as a hair, and they were unable to overcome it. My thought on this chazal was that the difference in power between a sin today as opposed to the victory of overcoming that sin - is between a hair and a mountain. The spiritual power of that victory is so intense that it is like a mountain in comparison with the deleterious effect of the sin, which is a hair. This is not to minimize the effect of the sin. It is just to give us a true perspective of the power of doing what's right. The yetzer hara is on his way out, and he is going down kicking. There is a once in history opportunity for each on of us to act in the bechina of Moshiach ben Yosef, to latch onto a picture of Yakov Avinu, of spiritual purity - to literally aid the Moshiach ben Yosef process and bring about the final tikkun for the sin of Adam harishon. This sin created the concept of shame and nakedness, of the misuse of the sexual capacity of man for disconnection instead of connection. It is now the final moment when we are battling to take back the proper use of our means of connection. It is a difficult battle, of the order of Yosef's test with potifar's wife - a daily battle with no obvious victory. But if we are strong and face it with courage, perhaps we will indeed see Moshiach in the year 5771.