Rav Moshe Sternbuch has recently revealed the need to keep a close watch on current events in modern day Turkey. He is the Rav in Yerushalyim of the GR”A Shul in Har Nof. He also happens to be a great grandson of the Vilna Gaon.
It is a well-known Jewish concept that the maximum time the world, as we know it, will exist will be for a 6,000 year period. Currently we are in year 5,776 from the creation of Adam Harishon.
תנא דבי אליהו ששת אלפים שנה הוי עלמא
The academy of Eliyahu taught the following Baraisa: The world is destined to exist for six thousand years. (Talmud Sanhedrin 97a)
Rabeinu Ephraim and the Baalei Tosafot (1100-1328) in 14th century predicted that Moshiach must come by year 5,700. They taught us that if he does not appear by the year 5,700 then there will be an international outpouring of Divine wrath. The year 5,700 fell out on the Christian calendar in the year 1939\1940 – World War II. That year the Holocaust began and millions of people were killed, including, at least, six million Jews who were brutally murdered.
The Rabbis have taught that when we see the nations of the world provoking one another (terrorist actions, wars) then we can look forward to Moshiach’s imminent arrival (Bereishis Rabbah 42:4).
The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Kremer, Rabbi Eilyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, Gaon Rabeinu Eliyahu, GR”A) (1720-1797) in the 1700s, predicted that before the arrival of Moshiach, Russia will become a superpower. Why is this? There is a Kabalistic explanation. Russia is from the klipa of tumah (shell of impurity) called Dubiel; which in turn originated from Paras (Persia) and Edom. The Vilna Gaon concluded that when Russia enters the Crimea (Ukraine) this is a sign that Russia has reached its peak and one should start to soon hear the “bells” [or shofar sound] of Moshiach. He went further to mention that when Russia enters Constantinople (Istanbul) Turkey, that will be the time to put on Shabbos clothes and to go out and greet Moshiach.
The current year 5,776 is one year after the most recent Shemita year in Eretz Yisrael. The Talmud teaches that the year after Shemita, Moshaich ben Dovid will arrive.
שבוע שבין דוד בא בו…בשישית קולות בשביעית מלחמות במוצאי שבת שביעית בן דוד בא.
The seven-year cycle when the son of Dovid will come:…in the sixth year there will be sounds (Maharsha – the judgment of the nations). In the seventh year there will be wars (Rashi- between the idolatrous nations and the Jews). In the eight year, the son of Dovid will come. (Talmud Sanhedrin 97a)
We know that the Messianic time will usher in an era of wars and turmoil with suffering. How do we spare ourselves from this suffering? We need to be immersed in serving G-d by observing the Torah and showing kindness to our fellow Jews.
שאלו תלמידיו של את רבי אלעזר מה יעשב אדם וינצל מחבלו של משיח יעסוק בתורה ובגמילת חסדים
Rav Elazar was asked by his students: what can a person do to be spared the travail of Moshiach? And he responded: One should occupy himself in the study of Torah and in acts of kindness. (Talmud Sanhedrin 98b)
Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaCohen Kagan (The Chafetz Chaim, 1839-1933) wrote in Bikas Hatorah, that the meaning of the words laasok bedivreit torah, לעשוק בדיברי תורה, which we say in our daily prayers; means that to succeed in Torah studies we need to treat our Torah observance like a business. This is the proper we should be studying Torah.
The Zohar explains that the current Arab oppression, terrorism, and occupation of Jewish lands were predicted in Shir Hashirim.
שיר השירים (ה:ב)
אני ישנה וליבי ער, קול דודי דופק פתח לי אחתי רעתי יונתי תמתי שראשי נמלא טל קוצותי רסיסי לילה.
I let my devotion slumber, but the G-d of my heart was awake! A sound! My Beloved knocks! He said, “Open your heart to Me, My sister, My love, My dove, My perfection; (admit Me) and My head is filled with dew like (memories of Avraham); spurn Me and I bear collections of punishing rains and exile-nights.” (Song of Songs 5:2)
This means that before Moshiach arrives we will suffer under Yishmael (the Arabs). The posuk states, “My Beloved knocks”, Hashem is asking us to let Him into our lives and for us to bring Moshiach. Rav Yosef Soleveichik wrote a similar themed essay after the Suez Campaign in 1956 called “Kol Dodi Dofek”.
Eliyahu Hanavi is supposed to bring Moshiach. After the initial wars there will be an era of unprecedented peace.
הלכה למשה מסיני שאין אליהו בא לטמא ולטהר לרחק ולקרב…וחכמים אומרים לא לרחק ןלא לקרב אלא לעשות שלום ביניהם שנאמר: “הנה אנכי שלח לכם את אליה הנביא וגו’ והשיב לב אבות על בנים ןלב בנים על אבותם
A law taught orally to Moshe at Sinai that Eliyahu will not come to declare families impure or pure…He will come neither to distance families nor to draw near families, but only to make peace between them. As it states: Behold, I send you Eliyahu the Prophet etc. And he will reconcile the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the hearts of the son to the fathers. (Malachi 3:23-24) (Talmud Eduyos 9b)
Eliayhu will make peace in the world. The strife that exists between the Jews (Israel) and the world will cease, as all the nations recognize the kingdom of Gd. The return of the father and son refers to their return from the places to which they scattered, having fled in fear of the enemy.
We cannot predict when Moshiach will arrive
The Talmud discusses when Moshiach will arrive. There are two possibilities discussed.
רבי יהושע בן לוי רמי כתיב “בעתה” וכתיב “אחישנה” זכו “אחישנה” לא זכו “בעתה”
Rav Yehoshua ben Levi noted a contradiction: (On the one hand) it is written: “in its time” (Yishaya 60:22), (which implies that the redemption will occur in its preordained time). But on the other hand it is written: “I will hasten it”, (which implies that G-d will bring the redemption before its preordained time! Rav Yehoshua ben Levi resolved this contraction as follows): If [the Jews] are deserving, “I will hasten It ”. If they are not deserving, the redemption will come “in its time”. (Talmud Sanhedrin 98a)
Life sprit blown away for those who calculate arrival moshiach (Sanhedrin 97b)
תיפח עצמן של מחשבי קיצין
May the very essence of those who calculate “Ends” suffer agony! (Talmud Sanhedrin 97b)
The Gemara forbids any attempt to calculate when the Moshiach will come. However, the Ramban (Hilchos Melachim 12:2) clarifies that to strengthen faith one can offer a possible End of times. The issur is offering a definite prediction. Many times have been suited for redemption when moshiach was to arrive if only the Jews of that generation had been worthy.
All previous failed predictions never materialized, why? Those predicted times could have brought Moshiach; they were time of es ratzon, but we, the Jewish People, prevented him from coming based on our collective spiritual status with G-d.
The verse 7:25 in the book of Doniel is supposed to be a key in deciphering the arrival of Moshiach.
ומלין לצד עליא ימלל ולקדישי עליונין יבלא ויסבר להשניה זמנין ודת ויתיהבון בידה עד עדן ועדנין ופלג עדן
He will speak words against the Supreme One, and he will exhaust the holy supreme ones, and he will plan to alter the seasons and the law; and they will be given over into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time. (Doniel 7:25)
A time period is discussed of a time and half a time. This posuk can predict Moshiach. The Zohar on Vayeirah says this posuk refers to a period of one-thousand years of exile after the churban; this is equivalent to one day in G-d terms. Plag idan, in the pasuk, refers to a time period have of this, which is another five-hundred years. All together this is describing a period of 1,000 + 500 = 1,500 years.
Moshiach was to come 1,500 years after churban. This is why, nowadays, if the Beis Hamikdash is not rebuilt in our generation, Chazal says that we are responsible (Talmud Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1).
Up until now we lacked the merit to bring Moshiach. But now it seems that we can hasten the geulah (redemption). These difficult times, prior to Moshiach, are referred to as ikvesa dimeshicha.
בעקבות משיחה חוצפה יסגא ויוקר יאמיר הגפן תתן פריה והיין ביוקר ומלכות תהפך למינות ואין תוכחת בית וועד יהיה לזנות והגליל יחרב והגבלן ישום ואנשי הגבול יסובבו מעיר לעיר ולא יחוננו וחכמות סופרים תסרח וירא חטא ימאסו והאמת תהא נעדרת…פני הדור כפני הכלב…ועל מה יש לנו להשען על אבינו שבשמים.
In the period which will precede the coming of Moshiach, insolence will increase, and costs will soar. [high cost of housing in Israel] The vine will yield its fruit yet wine will be dear, [lots of drinking parties and clubs/bars will abound] and the government will turn to heresy, [the main country of the world will preach secularism] and there shall be no rebuke. [era of political correctness]. The meeting places will be used for licentiousness [gay parades] and the Galil will be destroyed and the Gavlan desolated [IDF predicts major war casualties in the next conflict with Hezbullah in the North], and the people who dwell on the borders will wander about from town to town [the borders will be attacked intermittently at various points, so that the inhabitants of border towns will be driven from town to town], but they will not be secured [gaza belt communities not safe from terrorist tunnels]. And the wisdom of the scribes will decay, and those who dread sin will be despised, and truth will be absent…The face of the generation is like the face of a dog [leaders will first check to see if their views will be popularly received, like a dog that looks back to see if this master follows]…upon what can we rely? Upon our Father in Heaven.
This gemarah teaches that in this time period the Rabbis with be hated and we can only rely on G-d.
The Arab oppression of the Jews – an era of mass media lies
Rav Haim Vital (Eitz Chaim) points out that in the Torah Yishmael is referred to as “pereh adam” – a wild donkey of a man, or a wild man. The Arabs are descendants of Yishmael. We learn from this in the Zohar (Parshat Lech Lecha) that the final stage (exile) prior to Moshiach will be the “galus of Yishmael”.
Rav further on explains that the Arabs will arise seemingly from nowhere and gradually become rulers of the world. Then they will then try to annihilate the Jews.
Yishmael means – “Yishma” “E-l”, G-d will hear.
There will be terrible tzaros from Yishmael which will cause us to cry out, as we did in Egypt prior to Yitzias Mzirayim. Then we will be Yisrael – “Triumphant with G-d”. However, this recent process only started one the children of Yisrael returned to the source of their strength and potential standing firmly an serving G-d properly in “Eretz Yisrael”. Daily we say out loud – “Shema Yisrael !” “Listen Israel !” , return to our G-d in Eretz Yisrael in order to get our strength and blessings that He promised us.
The Navi Yishaya tells us that one day Moshiach will arrive:
הקטן יהיה לאלף והצעיר לגוי עצום אני ה’ בעתה אחישנה
The smallest [tribe] will increase a thousand fold, and the youngest into a mighty nation. I am Hashem, in its time I will hasten it. (Yeshayahu 60:22)
The Talmud in Sanhedrin 98a states that if we merit it then Moshiach will arrive “achishena” “before its time”. If are not deserving based upon our deeds, than we will need to wait “b’itah” for its “predestined time”.
We now planting seeds for Moshiach, as we say three times daily in the Shmoneh Esreh “matzmiach keren yeshuah”.
Current Events in the News about Turkey
A “Nervous” NATO Fears Turkey, Russia May Soon Go To War (Feb 22, 2016). The Russians, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin has an air base and a naval base in Syria. The Kremlin will want to protect those installations during what is likely to be a turbulent couple of years following the demise of the rebel cause. Turkey is now in a bitter feud with the Russians following Erdogan’s ill-fated move to down a Su-24 near the border on November 24, 2015.
All of the above has NATO rattled, but the thing that worries the alliance the most is the possibility that Turkey will end up in an armed, direct confrontation with Russia. Were Russia to attack Turkey, NATO would be obligated to defend Ankara but that defense would mean going to war with Moscow and, most likely, with Iran.
Since Russia became a party to the war in Syria at the end of September, there has been a significant risk of open confrontation between Moscow and Ankara. Russia has thrown its support behind the troops loyal to Syria’s unscrupulous dictator Bashar Assad while Turkey is supporting the rebels who would like to topple his autocracy.
The conflict intensified at the end of November when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane and now Putin has forged an alliance with the Syrian Kurds, Erdogan’s archenemies.
Direct fighting between the Kurds and the Turks could mean that Russian troops would be soon to follow. What, though, would happen were a NATO member state to fire at Russian soldiers?
Erdogan advisor Seref Malkoc made is clear, Ankara is getting fed up with the “cold shoulder” and if there’s anything the Turks aren’t scared to do, it is to act unilaterally.
Turkey has already gotten two strikes. Erodgan downed a Russian drone and then shot down a Russian warplane. Turkey is now shelling areas where Russian and Iranian forces are very likely to be operating. We can be sure that when it comes to shooting at Russian assets, be they planes, drones, or soldiers, Turkey will not get a strike three.
Remember what the Vilna Gaon stated:
“When Russia enters Constantinople (Istanbul) Turkey, that will be the time to put on Shabbos clothes and to go out and greet Moshiach.”