I take the liberty of quoting from the amazing Malbim at the beginning of my book 2020 Vision: “In the end of days, after the Children of Israel have returned to their land, the children of Yishmael and the children of Eisav will unite to attack Yerushalayim. They will form a world coalition against the tiny nation of Israel” (Malbim on Yechezkel 32:17).
This is exactly what we have been discussing: Yishmael and Eisav are uniting to attack Yerushalayim. But look what the Malbim says now: “Something will go wrong with their plan. The religious beliefs of the children of Yishmael and the children of Eisav will clash, and the two nations will collide and destroy each other. This is what is referred to as the War of Gog and Magog. Following this cataclysmic conflict, the Final Redemption of the Jewish People will occur with the coming of Mashiach ben David.”
Here is Am Yisrael, the Jewish people, all alone, apparently unable to oppose the mighty coalition forming against us. But that coalition itself is about to explode. Look at the world right now. Does the “mighty” culture of Eisav look so imposing? Is the United States the unified, mighty power it once was? Is the economy vibrant? Is the moral fiber strong?
Consider a recent Associated Press news story: The owners of an orchard in Colorado decided to give away their peaches because the fruit was too small to sell commercially, so they “offered it free to those willing to pick it. The peaches were gone within days, but people kept coming, even though the [owners] posted signs saying the orchard was closed and trespassing was prohibited…. People still knocked on their door. One person threw rocks and others drove into the orchard, hitting a tree and breaking pipes. Some helped themselves to apples that hadn’t been offered, while others took from a neighbor’s orchard too.”
I don’t know about you, but to me this looks very much like a society on the verge of chaos, a society whose moral and social fabric is coming apart.
And look at Europe. Need I mention the problems?
Western culture, which aspired to mastery over nature and the creation of a technological paradise, now seems totally unable to control its own present and future. When you combine this with mushrooming fanaticism and chaos in the Muslim world, you get a very volatile brew, which seems on the point of combustion. When nations are in trouble, they frequently go to war in order to aim people’s frustration at an outside source. The Children of Israel are the world’s most popular target.
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This is the world we face on the Eve of Yom Kippur, a world of powerful enemies and explosive conflict, a world of violent hatreds and growing chaos. How are we supposed to deal with this boiling world situation? I write these words from the holy city of Yerushalayim, the place that, we are warned, the madman in Iran is targeting for his missiles of destruction, God forbid. I am thinking intensely about this subject because those missiles seem to be pointing right where I stand. Not that I think any place is safe in the world these days; I don’t. But we all know the eyes of the world are upon Israel because of the hatred of Yishmael and Eisav, the jealousy that has bubbled for thousands of years in the subterranean depths of the souls of these brothers and half-brothers and cousins, who scheme without end to wrench away from us the treasure that has been bequeathed to us by the Creator of the universe. How do we deal with this?
We have only one place to turn – to the words of Torah that have sustained us through every crisis since the days of Avraham Avinu. It is particularly amazing that the prophecies we read at this exact time of year are the prophecies that seem to deal with the exact situation we face in the world at this time.
Is there any other way to deal with this? I spent decades as a young man trying to escape from Torah, and no matter the direction I turned, I failed. There is no other Place. If we didn’t believe in the reality of Torah before, we must know that now there is nowhere else to turn.