We are in the middle of the first meltdown of the world since WWII. While those of us in Israel are used to meltdowns every few years, this is the first time the meltdown has gone world wide since WWII.
In Israel, we are used to bombs dropping on us, buses being blown up and Jewish life considered cheap as everyday occurrences, but this is the first time the world is having it happen to them since WWII. At this writing on March 13, 2020, no one has any idea whether we meltdown further or this will be a little burb that no one remembers. One thing is certain, that people learn from experience, and the next time, if there is one, people will look back on this experience to guide themselves.
A Jew turns to the Torah for advice on handling a new situation, that requires creative thinking. This week in the synagogue (those that came and weren’t afraid of the virus-can you imagine the unimaginable-the head Rabbis told us not to come to pray, because of the risk), heard the section of the week read (the Parsha of the week) which was Parsha Ki Tisa.
HaShem responds by disclosing to Moses, who asks Him in 33:18, to show Moses His Glory. G-d says no, no one can see G-d and live, however, He will show Moses His Back. It is only after HaShem passes and Moses sees His back (33:22-23), as it were, that His inscrutable wisdom begins to become clear.
A fundamental religious perspective on life. G-d’s involvement in the affairs of man is not always discernible during the unfolding of present events.
The “crucible of afflictions” (Yeshayahu 48:10) and the “iron furnace of Egypt: (Devarim 4:20) were necessary to purge the Nation and enable them to receive the Torah. And the subsequent sin of the עגל הזהב – its punishment and G-d’s forgiveness – would all provide powerful lessons for imperfect man’s struggle against his demons and the amazing efficacy of teshuvah – repentance. All this, we gratefully perceive, but only with a backward glance as we ponder the lessons of G-d in history.
Now we are in the middle of this “pandemic”. The above thoughts surface as the world convulses under the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Its sheer randomness and unpredictability and the rapidity of its contagion are unnerving and intimidating. To attempt to grapple with the “why” of it all will inevitably lead to disappointment bordering on despair.
Only the Omniscient Almighty can answer the “why” question.
Last week I wrote the following: NO PLANES-NO JEWS CAN COME TO ISRAEL-PREDICTION OF Messiah TIMES Classical Jewish texts depict a Messiah who will come to redeem the Jewish people, gather the exiled to the land of Israel, and rule over a prosperous nation, and relate other more detailed (and diverse) traditions about the Messiah’s arrival as well as the conditions of the messianic era.
According to the Talmud ( Babylonian Talmud Rosh Hashana 31a and Sanhedrin 97), Midrash and the Zohar the ‘deadline’ by which the Messiah must appear is 6000 years from creation (approximately the year 2240 in our calendar though calculations vary
So before we are able to see G-d’s back, is this Messiah times, or another in our many thousands of disappointments. Is this not a utopian dream? No! Judaism fervently believes that, with the correct leadership, humankind can and will change. The leadership quality of Moshiach means that through his dynamic personality and example, coupled with manifest humility, he will inspire all people to strive for good. He will transform a seemingly utopian dream into a reality. He will be recognized as a man of G‑d, with greater leadership qualities than even Moses.
In today’s society, many people are repulsed by the breakdown of ethical and moral standards. Life is cheap, crime is rampant, drug and alcohol abuse is on the increase, children have lost respect for their elders. At the same time, technology has advanced in quantum leaps. There is no doubt that today man has all the resources—if channeled correctly—to create a good standard of living for all mankind. He lacks only the social and political will. Moshiach will inspire all men to fulfill that aim.
Why the belief in a human messiah?
Some people believe that the world will “evolve” by itself into a messianic era without a human figurehead. Judaism rejects this belief. Human history has been dominated by empire builders greedy for power.
Others believe in Armageddon—that the world will self-destruct, either by nuclear war or by terrorism. Again, Judaism rejects this view.
Our prophets speak of the advent of a human leader, of a magnitude that the world has not yet experienced. His unique example and leadership will inspire mankind to change direction.
So the Messiah is predicted to come before Passover, according to the scriptures. By the time Passover ends, we will know if we have seen G-d’s back or another false hope.
Love Yehuda Lave