Executive Summary: A careful comparison of current events vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the so-called Peace Process with a variety of Jewish sources concerning events that are destined to take place at the Final Redemption, leads to surprising and positive possibilities. The following article describes a possible scenario and the Jewish sources on which it is based.
Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 12) teaches that the Jewish Oral Tradition does not clarify the details of future events described by the Prophets of Israel in the Bible. In his words,וכל אלו הדברים וכיוצא בהן לא ידע אדם איך יהיו עד שיהיו – "and in all these things and related matters man will not know how they will come about until they come about." In other words, no one knows exactly what the Prophets are describing until it takes place.
The Jewish Oral Tradition (תורה שבעל פה Torah she-Beal Peh) gives us abundant guidance on matters of Halakha – for instance, the פרי עץ הדר – “the fruit of the beauteous tree to be taken on Sukkot” - is defined by the Oral Tradition as the אתרוג etrog – the citron. Or, the Biblical injunction to וקשרתם לאות על ידך והיו לטטפת בין עיניך"bind them as a sign on your arms and frontlets between your eyes" we understand from the Torah she-Beal Peh refers to phylacteries – Tefillin – which are cubic black leather boxes containing parchments inscribed with very specific Biblical passages. Without the Oral Tradition, we would have no way of knowing this.
A comparable guide to understanding prophetic statements, however, is not revealed by the Oral Tradition. For instance, Isaiah 60:08, in reference to the returning of the Exiles to Israel in the Final Redemption, states: מי אלה כעב תעופינה וכיונים אל ארבתיהם – "who are these who will fly like a cloud, and like doves to their dovecotes?"
Before the era of piloted manned flight began in the early twentieth century, classical commentators were simply unable to understand this passage. Today, when virtually all modern-era immigrants have reached Israel by flying at the altitude of clouds, and, like doves, always landing in the same place – the Ben Gurion Airport, we understand clearly the prediction of Isaiah concerning this phenomenon of airborne ingathering of Exiles.
Another example is Isaiah 26:20 לך עמי בא בחדריך וסגור דלתך בעדך חבי כמעט רגע עד יעבר זעם - “Go My people come into your rooms and close your doors behind you, hide for just a moment until the fury passes". The Biblical commentator Radak comments that this will occur during the War of Gog Umagog and the reference to "rooms" is allegorical and refers to "taking shelter" so to speak, by doing good deeds and doing penance. Rashi states that the Jews will go to their synagogues and study halls at that time.
As we now know, this passage is a very accurate description of the seclusion in the "sealed rooms" used as a protection in Israel against chemical warfare agents in the first Gulf War in 1991 and the "fury passing" occurred when the "All Clear" sounded (the code words were "Sharav Kaved") allowing people to exit the sealed rooms after the Scud missile landed and was determined to be chemically non-threatening.
As Maimonides had said, when the prophecy comes to pass, we are able to understand the passage, and so it was.
The People of Israel have been experiencing events described as those of אחרית הימים "Acharit Hayamim" – the "Last of the Years" [not, as often mistranslated, "The End of Days"] referred to by the Torah and the prophets, when there is to be a massive ingathering of Jews to the Land of Israel, an extensive rebuilding of the country and its communities, and a Golden Age when כי מציון תצא תורה ודבר השם מירושלים - "for from Zion shall issue forth Torah (Teaching = knowledge, including technological and scientific advances) and the Word of G-d from Jerusalem" Isaiah 2:3 and Michah 4:2.
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As quoted above, Maimonides warns that no one knows for sure to what events specific prophecies refer until they come to pass. However, we live in times so replete with prophecies in the midst of fulfillment that we may be forgiven for constructing possible scenarios.
The above is one such scenario, congruent with Jewish sources. There may be others with different outcomes. If there is an armed invasion of Israel by a joint Christian-Moslem force intending to eject Jews from the historic Land of Israel, and this takes place in early 2012, there will be those who will ominously predict the imminent demise of the independent State of Israel, as there are even those who do so today.
However, as described above, the outcome may be dramatically more favorable for the Jews. There will be no room for despair, but rather for intense optimism, and that precisely is the message of Rav Saadyah Gaon above in explaining why we have been provided by Divine guidance with all this information.
[Note: The ideas and substance of the above, including the key dates and details, were broadcast on Arutz 7 Internet Radio – the Tamar Yonah Show, on the occasion of Yom Yerushalayim 5770 (on May 11, 2010) in an interview conducted by Tamar with the author. It is interesting to note that the events of the last 10 months, including the Palestinian absolute refusal to negotiate and their marshalling of many countries to support the 1967 cease-fire lines as their borders, have served only to reinforce the impression that this scenario is indeed underway.]
- As reported in my last memo, a huge American military base is nearing completion in Israel. Reportedly, it has holding facilities for as many as 18,000 protesters.
- After visiting it yesterday, I'd say way more. This base is massive. I counted ten enormous US Army issue prefab warehouses and more were going up. At the base guard post, the American flag is waving in the wind. A sign proclaims that the project manager is one Jerry Ray.
- I start taking photos of the base with a cheap camera. The guard asked what I was doing. I replied, "I'm a journalist proving that a huge American military base is being constructed on Israeli soil."
- "What's wrong with that?" he asked. "Who else will protect us from the Palestinians?"
- "Where are the Americans?," I probed.
- "What do you mean, they're everywhere here. Everyone in charge is American."
- We drove away. My friend at the wheel was even more depressed than me. "It's a concentration camp," he said.