There are moments when we recognize that the world is shifting and that something momentous is happening. We all have our view of the future and what it will be. Those of us who are believers tend to have varied accounts of the End of Days. Despite the many interpretations of Biblical passages dealing with the final Redemption all agree on the main points. These involve a return of the people of Israel to their ancestral homeland within the borders of their ancient Kingdom. This return appears to occur after millenia of years wandering in exile. The Land which lay fallow suddenly sprouts again and more than that the People of Israel become a leading force for good throughout the whoe world. Of course there are prophecies and accounts of trepidation as envisioned in multiple chapters in Zecharia and Ezekiel, but there is not saying to what extent these prophecies must occur because each prophet spoke in generalities.
Most of the prophecies detailing the return of the Jewish people to their Divinely ordained homeland have occurred. The miraculous wars fought against all odds and the continuing ingathering of the exiles and now the next stage which appears to be about locating and integrating the lost tribes back into Israel is already well under way.
The 70th Year Marks a Crossing Point
The number 70 in Judaism is a critical number. Our sages recognize it as an end of one stage and a beginning of the next. 70 played an important role at the end of the first exile when it was clear that King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Israel after 70 years just as the prophets said he would.
We are now at an important inflection point in world history. This is the 70th year since Israel’s founding and we have a President and Vice President in America that not only won the election last year in miraculous fashion, but seem to understand that they are meant to play a pivotal role in history.
Mike Pence knows the Bible and with this knowledge it is no surprise that when he spoke at the Knesset yesterday he mentioned the number 70 and its connection to the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital.
Mike Pence spoke on this fact with the following words:
“Seventy years ago, the United States was proud to be the first nation in the world to recognize the State of Israel. But as you well know, the work we began on that day was left unfinished, for while the United States recognized your nation, one administration after another refused to recognize your capital.
But just last month, President Donald Trump made history. He righted a 70-year wrong; he kept his word to the American people when he announced that the United States of America will finally acknowledge Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
The Jewish people’s unbreakable bond to this sacred city reaches back more than 3,000 years. It was here, in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, and was credited with righteousness for his faith in God.
It was here, in Jerusalem, that King David consecrated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. And since its rebirth, the modern State of Israel has called this city the seat of its government.”
The Vilna Gaon said that the final redemption will occur in a similar fashion as the redemption during the Second Temple period. That is up until the very end. Pence paid homage to the very fact that the people of Israel are the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He made a clear connection to the miraculous rise of the Nation of Israel in its historic homeland to the final redemption.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev clearly states that the end will not begin on Pesach, but rather Purim. He is not talking about actual dates, but concepts. Purim is about the miraculous wrapped within the guise of the mundane. So too now. What seems like simple politics is the Redemption literally unfolding in front of our eyes.
Esav’s Head Can Be Rectified While Its Body Dies
Our sages teach us that the Roman Empire and the subsequent Catholic Church and now the decadent morality of the Western World are the outgrowth of Esav, Jacob’s brother. Yet there is a curious midrash, which details the burial of Jacob and the subsequent decapitation of Esav (who tried to stop it). Esav’s head mysteriously rolled into the Cave of the Patriarchs along with Jacob’s body.
We know from extra biblical sources that Esav knew and believed in Torah and the Creator, but his body’s lusts and drives overtook his reasoning and drove his decisions. The midrash I detailed above indicates that at the end Esav’s head can be and will be redeemed and come to Jacob’s aid.
There is no question about it. America is far different from any other nation aside from Israel. In the cosmic archetype structure of the universe, the European drive to destroy Israel as well as individual freedom appears to be analogous to Esav’s body. Juxtaposed to this is America, which sought out to redeem and return Christianity to its original source.
Pence said the following in regards to America’s special reverence to the Bible and Christianity’s Hebrew roots:
“My country’s very first settlers also saw themselves as pilgrims, sent by Providence, to build a new Promised Land. The songs and stories of the people of Israel were their anthems, and they faithfully taught them to their children, and do to this day. And our founders, as others have said, turned to the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible for direction, guidance, and inspiration.
America’s first President, George Washington, wrote with favor to “the children of the stock of Abraham.” Our second President, John Adams, declared that the Jews, in his words, “have done more to civilize man than any other nation.”
And your story inspired my forebears to create what our 16th President called a “new birth of freedom.” And down through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates of the Jewish people’s aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers to claim your own new birth of freedom in your beloved homeland.”
With Esav’s cosmic head now severed from its decadent European body, the American ideal can be restored to its true roots. While European leaders deny the miraculous return of the Jewish people to their homeland, Americans do the opposite. Mike Pence said as much with the following:
“The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that “even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,” from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed.
Through a 2,000-year exile, the longest of any people, anywhere, through conquests and expulsions, inquisitions and pogroms, the Jewish people held on to this promise, and they held on to it through the longest and darkest of nights. A night that Elie Wiesel proclaimed “seven times sealed.” A night that transformed the small faces of children into smoke under a silent sky. A night that consumed the faith of so many and that challenges the faith of so many still.
And tomorrow, when I stand with my wife at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust, we will marvel at the faith and resilience of your people, who just three years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect yourselves, to reclaim a Jewish future, and to rebuild the Jewish state.
And this April, we will mark the day when the Jewish people answered that ancient question — can a country be born in a day, can a nation be born in a moment? — as the State of Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its birth.
As you prepare to commemorate this historic milestone, I say, along with the good people of Israel, here and around the world: Shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu la’z’man ha’zeh.”
Never during exile have we the Jewish people, the Children of Israel received such praise and admiration and offers of true partnership to fulfill the Creator’s will. It is precisely this that seems to indicate that we may not be in exile anymore. The 70 years since the creation of the State of Israel is almost up. It is this 70 years that was a transition between exile and redemption.
We have been so busy building our nation that it takes rightous gentiles yearning to be part of G-D’s grand plan to tell us what is happening before us. The Nation of Israel is meant to be a light to the world; a magnet for others to come and join us for the work ahead. The next stage of the Redemption is this work.