Over Shabbos, and continuing until today, I have had a few thoughts that I found inspiring and wanted to share with you. On Friday night, when I came home from davening, I opened up the Mishpacha magazine, and I read something that was so exciting, it literally made me sing with joy. It was an article about the PA's bid for international recognition, which is slowly but surely gaining momentum. The article said that Netanyahu was presented with the scenario of the 'Palestinians' (who henceforth will be appropriately called 'Arabs') unilaterally declaring statehood. Norway has already called for an Arab state in Judaea and Samaria (commonly called the 'West Bank') in 2011, and similar types of recognition are coming out of the EU, as well as others. The article stressed that the Obama administration would likely take the side of the Arabs on border issues, and considers such places as Beitar, Ramat Eshkol (my sister lives there), Neveh Yakov (my brother-in-law lives there), and the Har Habayis (our hearts live there) to be 'settlements' that should ultimately end up in the hands of the Arabs. The Arab prime-minister, stated the article, is respected in the world at large for his expertise in finance, and thus, when the Arabs have a government that seems to be functioning, the time would be ripe for them to declare a state. The ramifications of this type of declaration on the half a million Jews living within the Judaea and Samaria areas would be tumultous, and certainly so for those who are more in the heart of that area, as opposed to the 'green line' itself. To me, this was extremely exciting, as it seems Hashem is forcing the Moshiach process forward with ever-increasing speed. It does not take a lot of imagination to picture what will happen when Yishmael stakes its claim to the heart of our Holy Eretz Yisrael. This clearly is a definitive representation of Yishmael's claim that they are the true heirs of Avraham, which will be met with a cosmic response from the people of Yisrael, whose claim is the true claim. And, of course, the scene will center around Jerusalem.
Now, I have spoken of Jerusalem on a few different occasions, but a deep thought came to me that has to do with some information I have shared more recently. We mentioned the concept that the Ramchal teaches, which is that Binyamin is the one who serves to unite Moshiach ben Yosef (represented by Yosef) and Moshiach ben Dovid (represented by Yehuda). Yehuda had guaranteed to return Binyamin safely to his father Yakov, and that guarantee was challenged when Yosef threatened to take Binyamin as his slave. Yosef had orchestrated this scenario in order to create a full tikkun for Yehuda's role in selling him years before. By standing up for Binyamin, as Yosef knew he would have to, Yehuda rectified the sin of selling Yosef and creating a tear in the fabric of the Jewish people. That seam was sewn together through his defiance of Yosef, his protection of Binyamin, and allowed Yosef to reveal himself and complete the reunification with his brothers. This unification of the Jewish people was what allowed the Divine Presence to return to them, as occurred when Yakov learned that Yosef was still alive. The unity of the Jewish people is a prerequisite for the Shechina to dwell upon them, and in turn, upon the world. The physical location of this revelation in the world is Jerusalem, and more specifically, the Temple mount. It is not a coincidence that this very location is situated on the border between the portions of Yehuda and Binyamin. The guarantee of Yehuda to protect Binyamin was what created the reunification of the Jewish people in the past, and that bond would always represent their unity, and the resulting Presence of Hashem that would be placed upon us.
With this understanding, we start to see how important Jerusalem is in the Moshiach ben Yosef process. Just as Yosef could not reveal himself until Yehuda stood up for Binyamin and created that bond, Moshiach ben Yosef will not reveal himself until their is an opportunity for the Jewish people to acknowledge their bond with Jerusalem, the place that represents Jewish unity and the Divine Presence. As I mentioned in a previous post, it would seem that Hashem is orchestrating events in such a way that Jerusalem's rightful Jewish ownership will be challenged. This itself will serve to cause the Jewish people - everywhere - of all stripes and types - to stand up for her, to acknowledge her and to stand by her side, as Yehuda did with Binyamin. This, itself, will be the tikkun for the sin that caused the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, which was Sinas Chinam - baseless hatred - a lack of unity. Hashem needs us to identify with the Jewish people, to identify with Jerusalem, to identify with the pain of the Shechina.
I mentioned my excitement about the Mishpacha article to a neighbor, and I was handed a book called "Fascinating Torah Prophecies" by Rabbi Nisan Aryeh Novick, which was published in 1997. I was intrigued by this little book that did not mention Moshiach ben Yosef and had no reference to Kol Hator, but still made all of the same observations that we have been making. The most remarkable thing was a midrash he quoted at the very beginning of his book, which was basically a conversation between Yakov and his sons after they had decimated the people of the city of Shechem. He berated them for having done this deed, as it could potentially arouse the surrounding people of Canaan to battle with the children of Israel. Yakov stressed that it was not the right time to have such a battle, as the Jewish people had not yet reached the number of 600,000 which is essential for them to be unbeatable. R' Novick marveled at the fact that the Jewish population of Israel in 1948, just prior to the war of independence was just above 600,000. He also remarked how the national census in Israel just prior to the 1967 war placed the number of males over the age 20 (of army age) at just a bit more than 600,000.
The greater significance of this to me was that I had recently mentioned to my wife that the Jewish population in Israel is nearing the six million mark. As the Ramchal mentions (I believe it in his sefer Kinas Hashem Tzeva'kos), the number 600,000 is significant because it is really the number six (divided or multiplied by 10x10x10x10x10, because the sefiros are each made of up ten sefiros, which are in turn made up of 10, ad infinitum), which corresponds to the male concept, which in turn corresponds to Yosef. 600,000 thus represents the power of Moshiach ben Yosef, which came into force in 1948, and again in 1967. This power is about to be ready to be unleashed once more in the near future, as we hit 6,000,0000, which is ten times the 600,000 of 1948. It is remarkable that at each moment where a significant 600,000 was reached, within a short time there was some necessity to use that power in the Moshiach ben Yosef process. This observation, combined with the PA's movement toward recognition, is hard to ignore.
I would like to share one last thought on Moshiach ben Yosef which occurred to me this morning, with Hashem's help. I was learning the sefer "Inner Space" by R' Aryeh Kaplan. On pages 90-91, he mentions the fact that after Kayin killed Hevel, he repented from his sin, and received a lighter sentence than had originally been handed down by Hashem. When Adam saw this, he inquired as to why he had not received the full brunt of his punishment. Hashem explained that Kayin had done Teshuva. At that point, it was 130 years after the sin of Adam, and he realized that he could do Teshuva, and both he and Chava did so. They had been apart for those 130 years, and they came back together and conceived Shes (Seth). They accomplished a tikkun for the sin of the eitz HaDa'as - the tree of knowledge. This brought them back into a state of Da'as with each other - the Da'as union of their marriage that would create Shes.
It was remarkable to me that this tikkun for the sin of Adam, which corresponds to the job of Moshiach ben Yosef, and the events that we are currently witnessing, was prompted by the death of Hevel and the subsequent teshuva of Kayin. As mentioned in a previous post, Hevel was an aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef, and thus, it would seem to parallel the death of Moshiach ben Yosef himself in the future, which the Gemara says will serve to cause the Jewish people to repent completely, bringing about the era of Moshiach. Although the Gra's understanding is that "Od Yosef Chai" - Moshiach ben Yosef will not die - we still have an aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef's death that is seen throughout the reality of the Jewish people today. The very fact that the Jewish people does not recognize the importance of living in Israel is itself a certain type of death of Moshiach ben Yosef. The fact that the deeper wisdom of the Torah is, in a certain sense, rejected by the Orthodox world, is also a certain aspect of death of Moshiach ben Yosef. The sorry state of the relationships of the Jewish people, whether it is the shidduch crisis, the at-risk youth issues, or the internet difficulties that so many face - all of these are aspects of the fallen state of Da'as, the death of Moshiach ben Yosef. Somehow, in Hashem's greater plan, all of these aspects of the death of Moshiach ben Yosef will serve to awaken the Jewish people to repent and complete a full Teshuva - to act as the Yehuda standing up for Binyamin, to finally bring back our relationships from their state of destruction back into a state of perfection. Then we will finally see the Divine Presence dwelling in our lives and the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash on the Har Habayis, where It will be apparent for all to see.
P.S. Just thought it important to remark that the day in Tammuz that corresponds to Rosh Chodesh Av of last year is 22/23 Tammuz, which is July 24/25. It is toward the end of the month, because the way you get to that date is by calculating two thirds of the year. Since this year consists of 13 months, the moment of 12:30 is a week or so before Rosh Chodesh Av.