Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Tanach and Recent Jewish History

The Vilna Gaon famously stated that each Torah portion in the Book of Deuteronomy represents a century of the Sixth Millenia, from the year 5,000 to the year 6,000. Explaining this statement would probably be a book in and of itself.

The 24 Books of the Tanach also appear to be arranged in such a way that each section represents a period in Jewish history. As we come closer to the "end of times," we also appear to be more and more connected to the end of the Tanach. In "The Kabbalah of Time" (Book I) we explained just how much the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel parallel the events recounted in the Book of Esther (the Purim story) and the return of the Jewish people to their homeland in the times of Ezra.

Nowadays, our current events seem to be very similar to the events in the times of Nehemia. For example, the following section seems to be straight out of today's newspapers:

Now the cry of the [poor] people [in Israel] and their wives was great about their brothers, the [rich] Jews. There were some who were saying, "Our sons and our daughters and we, are many; now we shall buy corn and eat and live." And there were some who were saying, "Our fields and our vineyards and our houses we shall pledge, so that we shall buy corn for the hunger [since the rich do not give any of their property up to us for our support](...)

[The Jewish leader announces:] Since the day that he commanded me to be a governor in the land of Judea, [] my brethren and I have not eaten the food allotted to the governor. But the early governors who were before me burdened the people and took from them for bread and wine above forty silver shekels. Also, their servants ruled over the people, but I did not do that because of the fear of God. Also, I adhered to the work of this wall (...)

The wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Ellul, after fifty-two days. Now it came to pass when all our enemies heard that, all the nations around us became frightened, and they fell very low in their own eyes, and they knew that this work had been performed by our God (...)

It was written in [the report to the international authorities], "It is heard among the nations, and Gashmu says that you and the Jews are plotting to rebel; therefore, you are building the wall.

The above is in fact not out of a newspaper, but from the Book of Nehemia, Chapter 5 (1-3; 14-16)and Chapter 6 (6, 15, 16), recorded some 2,500 years ago.

Om a side note, here again we see the prominence of the number 52. The 25th of Elul is the date of the Creation of the World, often the first day of the year and the counting of the "annual omer," the 52 weeks of the year.

Here is another part of Nechemiah (Chapter 13) that appears quite relevant to today's current events:

23Also in those days, I saw the Jews who had married Ashdodite, Ammonite, and Moabite women. כג. גַּם | בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם רָאִיתִי אֶת הַיְּהוּדִים הֹשִׁיבוּ נָשִׁים אַשְׁדֳּדִיּוֹת עַמֳּנִיּוֹת מוֹאֲבִיּוֹת:
24And half their children were speaking Ashdodite, and they did not know how to speak Hebrew, and [so it was] with the language of every people.