Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Glorious Redemption OR....?

Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Meir Kahane- Parshat Bechukotai

"If you follow My statutes...I will bring peace in the land...But if you do not listen to Me and carry out all these commands...I will bring on you sudden terror" (Leviticus 26:3-16).

This is the incontrovertible law of the Jewish people, and there is no escaping it. Whether the Jew's future will be bright or bleak, peaceful or horror-filled, depends only on his devotion to his task in this world - bowing his head and subjecting his will to the yoke of heaven.
We find the following in the Talmud regarding the Messiah:

"R. Yehoshua ben Levi raised a contradiction. It says, 'in its time' and it says, 'I will hasten it.'" (He is referring to Isaiah 60:22 - "I, the L-rd, will hasten it in its time" - which is a puzzling verse for how can G-d hasten a redemption that apparently has a set date as implied by the words "its time"?) R. Yehoshua explained: "If the Jews are meritorious, G-d will hasten it. Otherwise, it will be in its time" (Sanhedrin 98a).
In other words, if Israel merits redemption through mitzvot and good deeds worthy of redemption, it will come "in haste" - as in, "Today, if you hearken to His voice" (Psalms 95:7). Otherwise, it will come only "in its time," at the latest time possible, near the end of the sixth millennium.

The Talmud continues:
"R. Yehoshua ben Levi raised a contradiction. It says, 'And behold there came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man' (Daniel 7:13), and it says, 'Lowly, riding upon an ass' (Zechariah 9:9). [He explained:] If the Jews are meritorious, the Messiah will come 'with the clouds of heaven.' Otherwise, he will be 'lowly, riding upon an ass.'"

Before us, then, is a fundamental principle regarding the future of the Jewish people. Redemption can come in one of two ways. If we are worthy, G-d will hasten it with glory and majesty and without the suffering or Messianic birth-pangs about which both Ula and Rabba said, "Let it come without my seeing it" (Sanhedrin 98b).

If we do not merit this scenario, however, the Messiah will certainly still come, but only later on, "in its time" - and this redemption will be accompanied, G-d forbid, by the terrible sufferings of chevlei Mashiach.

Only the blind fail to see that we are living today in "the footsteps of the Messiah." The Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) states explicitly, "R. Abba said: There is no more revealed sign of the end of days than the prophecy of Ezekiel 36:8: 'But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel for it is near to come.'" (Rashi: "When Eretz Yisrael yields its produce in abundance, the end is near, and no sign of the end of days could be more clear.")

G-d is imploring us, His beloved chosen nation, to accept what He desires to give us. The Messiah is knocking at our door, his footsteps can be heard in the streets, the voice of G-d calls, "Return to Me...and I will return to you" (Zechariah 1:3). Hurry! In glory! At this very moment! "Today, if you hearken to His voice!" (Psalms 95:7).

Yet, if G-d forbid we miss our chance and the moment arrives from which there is no turning back, G-d will bring the last stage of redemption "in its time," with Messianic birth-pangs and tragedies the likes of which we have never known.
G-d warns us, "I will bring them into their enemies' land where their stubborn spirit will be humbled and their sin forgiven" (Leviticus 26:41). The Sifra (Bechukotai 8:5) states:
"This is fitting treatment for Israel. I will not let them say, 'Since we have been exiled among the nations, we will emulate their deeds.' Rather, I will establish My prophets over them, and they will restore them to the proper path under My wing. What source have we for this? 'That which comes into your mind shall never come about...With anger poured out will I be king over you' (Ezekiel 20:32-33). Against your will. Not by pleasant means shall I establish My kingdom over you."

G-d will not allow Israel to remain in the Exile and assimilate. Either they will repent and merit majestic redemption "in haste," or, G-d forbid, He will rule over them angrily, against their will. Israel can leave the Exile either through repentance or against their will, by unpleasant means, through exilic horrors from which they will have to flee - if they can.
"If you follow My statutes...I will bring peace in the land...But if you do not listen to Me and carry out these commands...I will bring on you sudden terror" (Leviticus 26:3-16). This is the choice, the ONLY choice. All the rest is worthless and of no avail. TIME IS RUNNING OUT. THE DECISION IS IN OUR HANDS!
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Shabbat Shalom!
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