Our Dvar Torah: “The Coming War of Magog.”
“Its always darkest just before the dawn.” You've heard this expression no doubt. “Its always darkest just before the dawn.” Its true, and let's be honest: many things look pretty dark right now, do they not? But with emunah in HaShem, which is to say, with active motivating faith in the One True G-d, we know the Light is coming!
The darkness never last forever. HaShem has established the world in such a way that no matter how difficult things get, no matter how seemingly dire, with emunah we see the Light at the end of the tunnel! Adel, the daughter of the Baal Shem Tov of blessed memory, is quoted as saying: “HaShem, I know in the end you'll help. But until you help, can you please me?”
We need His help NOW!
Unless we all make serious teshuvah and return to the Covenant, whether Sinai or the Seven Law Covenant, things will get much darker before we reach the Light of Universal Redemption. This is the theme of our Haftarah, Ezekiel 38:18-39:16
While in this haftarah neither Sukkot nor Shemini Atzeret is specifically mentioned, the coming war described here is identical with the one described Zechariah chapter 14. There we find the connection that all the nations will eventually humble themselves before HaShem and, like Klal Israel, they will dwell in sukkas for seven days plus one. Our sages therefore interpret this section in this context.
Rabbi Chai Ga'on also testified to the existence of an oral tradition that the War of Magog will occur during a month of Tisrei, the month of the High Holy Days and Sukkot. Just as the Sin of the Golden Calf was followed by Divine Judgment and Forgiveness, and the revelation of the Torah to our people, so too the War of Magog will occur because of our infighting, hypocrisy, and isolationism, but to our eventual Redemption. Through teshuvah however it is possible to avoid the War of Magog. But will we?
How can we fulfill our mission to be the nation of priests when we so often hold prejudices against non-Jews, even shunning them in many cases? Is it any surprise that our lack of embracing those Gentiles who come seeking HaShem is leading many of these sincere people into the error of establishing Noahide religions and cults? The very existence of these groups highlight our failures as the Nation of Priests to do our jobs!
Likewise our sectarian infighting, Jew against Jew... its disgusting and its forbidden by the Torah we claim to follow! A great many halachic Jews are not even being accepted as Jews today by some of the major Orthodox sects! They need to read Rambam's Letter to Obadiah the Proselyte, which is available at LearnEmunah.com! How can we honestly beg HaShem to send Mashiach and rebuild the Beit HaMikdash when we knowingly and intentionally practice the exact sins for which it was destroyed in 70 CE?
As the Chofetz Chaim told us:
Our Sages state: "Jerusalem was destroyed only because its inhabitants limited their decisions to the [letter of the] law of Torah" (Bava Metzia 30b). This seems difficult, for Scripture records many sins of which that generation was guilty.
Our discussion sheds light on the matter. Had the people overlooked the wrong caused them, then HaShem would have forgiven them as well. However, they were absolutely unrelenting toward each other, demanding from one another whatever they could possibly extract according to the law -- and Heaven judged them accordingly.
Rebbe Nachman warned that:
Mashiach will conquer the world only through simple people who recite the Psalms simply and sincerely.
You may understand this through a parable about a certain king who went hunting dressed in ordinary clothing for greater comfort. A sudden cloud-burst, a literal flood of water, sent all the ministers scattering in search of shelter. The king was in great danger but finally found the house of a villager, who invited him inside with great honor, dressed him in warm clothes and gave him simple peasant food, lighting a fire and leaving him there to sleep and warm up. The king was so exhausted that the food and rest in the home of the peasant were the sweetest delight, the like of which he felt he had never tasted.
The ministers searched for the king until they came to the peasant's house and found the king asleep. They waited until he awoke. They wanted him to return home with them, but the king said to them: "None of you came to save me: you all scattered in different directions to save yourselves! Only this peasant saved me. Since I have tasted the sweetest delight with him, he will bring me home in his wagon and I will sit on my royal throne in the very clothes in which he dressed me!
Likewise, just before Mashiach comes, there will be a flood of atheism - not a literal flood of water but one of strange thoughts that will cover all the "high mountains" even in the land of Israel, which was not affected by Noah's flood. The rains will teem down with such force that even the "mountains of Israel " will be drenched - even the hearts of the pure will be affected.
Wisdom and sophistication will be of no avail. The only ones who will hold firm are the simple Jews who recite Psalms simply and sincerely. That is why, when the Mashiach comes, they will be the ones who place the royal crown on his head.
Yes my friends. The War of Magog IS coming and it will be the most devastating period in human history. When will it begin? Who can say, but the signs of its birth pangs seem to be everywhere.
Rebbe Nachman said:
Man's world consists only of the present. Whatever you can do to serve God, do immediately and determinedly without delay.
And Pirkei Avot asks:
If not us then who? If not now then when?
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