Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The onset of the Birthpangs of Mashiach, circa 1495

A key milestone in our people's reflection on the relationship between the reality at hand and the redemption described and promised by the Prophets was a comment made by Rabbi Yosef Shaltiel the end of the kabbalistic text Sefer HaPliah ('The Book of Wonder'), a book he wrote in double exile from the Island of Rhodes. In the year 1495, equivalent to 5255, or resh nun heh on the Jewish calendar, the penultimate year he ascribes to the great tragedy of the Spanish Inquisition to European Jewry, he writes the following:
I think that the tragedy faced by the Jews in all kingdoms of Edom from the year resh nun of the sixth millennium through the year resh nun heh are a time of trouble for Jacob, out of which he will be saved, these are the birthpangs of Mashiach.
According to the modern scholar of Judaism Gershom Scholem, Shaltiel's and others' reflection on the catastrophe of the Spanish Inquisition marked the beginning of interpreting reality as a prism for chevlei mashiach - the catastrophe out of which a new era will be born. Which can only mean one thing...there is one very large baby on the other end of this 516-year-long labor.

Check this out: Ditch your calculator and try adding 516 to 1495 on paper. Could there be any more 1's? Maybe that's why Hashem loves the number [20]11.

Also, the number of years between when Rabbi Shaltiel announced the beginning of chevlei mashiach in Sefer HaPliah and today is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word תיקו, which means [it's a] 'tie' in Talmudic discourse. According to prophecy Mashiach is destined to resolve all of the instances of a Talmudic tie and ascertain truth where it has been split in two.

The God-given destiny of the Jewish people is to turn darkness into light by revealing the unity behind creation. What is the meaning of the verse a time of trouble for Jacob, out of which he will be saved? From the trouble itself the salvation is churned and born. Enduring narrow straits produces a light so bright that it eclipses the darkness, stage after stage, until all darkness has been revealed --through what may be felt as great duress -- as condensed light.

For what better time for the light of moon to shine as bright as the sun than on the background of the darkest night of the year?

All that remains is to say 
ad masai 
until - when
as if your these were the lyrics with which your heart beats

kind of like 
when you call a travel agent in Eretz Yisrael, 
and after you tell them when you want to depart, they respond,
ad matai?

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