How is it that the Prophets foretold the exact situation we are in at this very moment? Did they not write for us?
Did they not have, in their fathomless chesed when they wrote thousands of years ago, thoughts of this orphaned generation?
Did they not know that we would need their words to sustain ourselves as we face the final moments of our seemingly endless Galus?
“Behold, God’s awaited day is coming…. I shall gather all the nations to Jerusalem to wage war. The city will be conquered…. Then Hashem will go out and wage war against those nations as on the day He warred, the day of battle [which, our commentators say, refers to the day Hashem battled for us at the Red Sea]. On that day, His feet will stand astride the Mount of Olives…. On that day fresh water will flow from Yerushalayim…. on that day Hashem will be One and His Name will be One…” (Zechariah 14:1 ff).
I would like to know how we are going to survive the coming days unless we believe the words of the Prophets “with all our heart and all our soul and all our resources.”
I would like to know how we are going to survive unless we take with absolute seriousness the words of Torah.
I would like to know how we are going to survive unless we realize that there is simply nothing but Torah.
“The sum of the matter, when all has been considered: fear God and keep His commandments, for that is man’s whole duty” (the final pasuk of Koheles, which we read on Chol Hamoed Sukkos).
When the ground shakes and the sky lights up, what will sustain us?
“It shall be on that day, on the day that Gog comes on the soil of Israel, the words of my Lord Hashem Elokim, My raging anger shall flare up. For in My indignation and in My blazing wrath I have spoken. I take an oath that on that day a great earthquake shall come upon the soil of Israel.… And there shall quake before Me…every human being on the face of the earth. Mountains shall be overthrown, cliffs shall topple and every wall shall topple to the ground” (Yechezkel 38:18ff, haftarah for Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos).
No one other than Hashem knows exactly what these words mean, but surely world events are building up to a moment of unparalleled finality. It seems our Long Exile will not end without every person on the face of the earth knowing that an era is closing and a new one is beginning.
And that is our job on this Yom Kippur: to hang on to these words of prophecy and to know that, whatever our Father in Heaven does, He does for our good. If and when mountains are overthrown and walls topple to the ground, we will have absolutely nothing to hang on to but the words of Hashem and His Prophets.
But we have those words, and that is all we need.
“Hashem is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Hashem is the strength of my life. Whom shall I dread? When evildoers approach me to devour my flesh, my tormentors and my foes…it is they who will stumble and fall. Even if there would encamp against me an army, my heart would not fear. Even if there would arise against me a war, in this I trust. One thing I asked of Hashem, that I shall seek. Would that I dwell in the House of Hashem all the days of my life to behold the delight of Hashem and to contemplate in His sanctuary. Indeed He will hide me in His sukkah on the day of evil. He will conceal me in the concealment of His tent…” (Psalm 27).
Why do we say this psalm at this season? Don’t you think our beloved King David knew his children would face a day exactly like this at exactly this time? Don’t you think he knew we would need emunah and bitachon to get through the challenges that lie ahead?
This is the beginning of a new year and possibly the beginning of a new era in the world. Our prayers and burning tears will ascend to heaven on the day Hashem will determine “who will live and who will die.”