Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Prophecy Being Fulfilled

                                                                                       בס"ד
I have mentioned that every verse, every word, even every letter of the Torah is prophecy. I have also presented the evaluations of the Haftarah on many parshas showing how Hashem is telling us through the prophet the way the prophecy will be fulfilled.

We are now in a series of three parshas that tell the story of Jacob and his brother Esau, from birth through the time of conflict between the brothers. It is not the end of their story, but it does seem to cover the details of the present exile of Edom (Jacob being the Jewish people and Edom being the descendants of Esau, better known as Xtians, who have been trying to kill us for thousands of years).

The details of the story of the two brothers is extensive and not my purpose here. We must only know that Esau hated his brother Jacob and wanted to kill him. This is the parallel of our history for the past two thousand years of the exile of Edom. We are told that when Jacob studied Torah, Esau couldn’t touch his brother. Unfortunately, the Jewish people went into just about every country and made the same mistake. If we studied Torah, the non-Jews were powerless to hurt us, but we assimilated into the societies of these countries against Hashem’s will, and forgot our Torah. This resulted in Esau trying to kill us, and, chas v’shalom, succeeding in many places (the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Pogroms, the Holocaust, etc). We strayed from Torah, we strayed from Hashem’s very clear instructions, and we suffered.

Now the good news (I see everything as good news since it is all from Hashem). These parshas and especially the prophesies in their Haftarahs are very much hinting to the end of the Exile, followed, of course, by the worldwide redemption.

Let us get specific:

Parshas Toldot that we read last Shabbos has the prophesy of the last prophet, Malachi. The book of Malachi starts with this Haftarah and ends with the prophecy of the coming of the Star of Healing for the righteous, and the wiping out of the wicked (I have talked about that many times). The prophet Malachi ends with the famous announcement of the coming of the prophet Elijah just before the great day of awe of Hashem. Malachi, by the way, is Hebrew for “my messenger,” the perfect name for the last prophet.

To give more detail about the Haftarah, I use the commentary from the Artscroll Chumash:

Haftaras Toldos – Malachi 1:1 – 2:7
The Parshah depicts perhaps the major turning point in the spiritual history of the world - the choice of Jacob over Esau to receive the Torah and bear the Patriarchal legacy. But the choice was not automatic. Esau was the firstborn and, however one understands Isaac's motives, he wished to confer the blessings upon Esau. Only Hashem's will, as set in motion by Rebecca, secured the blessings for Jacob.

The Haftarah says at the outset that Hashem's choice of Jacob was a sign of His love for Jacob and His hatred for Esau. Because of this hatred, the prophet states that Edom, the nation that stems from Esau, will not prosper eternally; that it is doomed to destruction, as indeed the evil that is incarnated in Edom will ultimately be destroyed. It will take time. The Roman Empire brought about the current exile and most of the powers of Edom. Like most prophecies, we do not know when this one will be fulfilled; we know only that it will.

But this is not enough. Israel cannot achieve its destiny merely because of Esau's downfall. A chosen people must deserve its chosenness. Thus the prophet chastises Israel severely for the hypocrisy of those who think that they, who are encouraged and abetted by their self-serving priests, can turn their service of Hashem into an insincere practice. How dare they offer their old, crippled, and ill animals as offerings to Hashem, while retaining the best for themselves? Would they dare do the same for their human rulers?

In closing, the prophet exhorts the Kohanim to live up to their calling. They must be the teachers and models. Only if they live up to their responsibility can they pull the people up with them. The same responsibility applies to all leaders - they have the duty to teach and lead by example.
We can see that the prophecy tells us who the players are in this exile, but it also clearly tells us why it has taken so long. We have not turned to Hashem and performed His will with completely devoted service. Like our prayers, we give it lip-service and take shortcuts. A very strong lesson for those who like to ask: why are we waiting so long for Moshiach? Until we do sincere Teshuvah, we are not ready.

Then we get the lesson of this coming Shabbos. The Torah continues to tell of the conflict with Parshas Vayeitzei. The parshah starts with the famous story of Jacob’s ladder, where he dreamed of angels going up and down a ladder, the number of rungs representing the number of years of each of the exiles. The last exile, the present one from Edom the angels went up and up and were not even visible. This was the prophecy that this exile would last thousands of years. Once again the many prophetic details of the parshah will not be covered here.

The Haftarah covers another aspect of our long exile:

Haftaras Vayeitzei -- Hosea 11:7 – 14:10
The Sages teach that Hosea, the prophet of this Haftarah, was one of the greatest of the prophets. A contemporary of Isaiah, he too cried out vainly against the rapidly deteriorating Kingdom of Samaria, the Ten Tribes of Israel. Hosea remonstrates with the people, and contrasts Hashem’s mercies of the past with Israel's failure to recognize that everything they have is due to Hashem's kindness. And it is a kindness that remains strong, despite Israel's shortcomings. Hashem says poignantly that He will never desert Ephraim, the wayward leader of the Ten Tribes, despite His justifiable wrath. Like a spurned but still merciful Father, Hashem confesses that He will not make a permanent end of Ephraim, because He has pledged that Israel will remain His people and because Israel, innately good as it is, will eventually heed Hashem’s call to repent and resume its mission. When Hashem will roar like a lion that the End has come, even Ephraim's children will come rushing from the west to declare their renewed allegiance to Him.

The prophet contrasts the rebelliousness of Ephraim with the loyalty of Judah, but declares that Judah, too, will falter. And when that time comes, Judah will be punished as well. It will be a sad outcome for the people who descended from a Patriarch who defeated Esau's angel, as described in the parshah, but Hashem’s justice must be served. Thus Judah will join Ephraim in an exile that will recall the origins of the nation in Egypt.

The prophet continues his rebuke of the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes, which - led by Ephraim - had come to think that it was invincible, because of its wealth and power. It had forgotten its humble origins - that Jacob had once been a humble shepherd who had been reduced to tending sheep in order to earn the right to his bride, and that Ephraim had achieved its eminence as a leading tribe only because it spoke harshly against Solomon's successor, Rehoboam, who abused his holy calling. Thus it should have been clear to Ephraim that protection and success are gifts of Hashem, and are not acquired by strength, guile, or coincidence.

But Ephraim sinned through arrogance and idolatry, and therefore was condemned to defeat, exile and death. Hashem does not forget sins; He binds them up and stores them away, as it were, to punish the perpetrators when His wisdom decrees that they are no longer entitled to Divine forbearance. Israel's sins are all the more serious because the nation ignored its infinite debt to Hashem. Had He not brought them forth from Egypt and made them a nation?

Nevertheless, Hashem does not abandon Israel. The prophet's ghastly warning of retribution concludes with a loving call to repentance. It is the same passage which begins the Haftarah of Shabbos Shuvah, the Sabbath of the Ten Days of Repentance. True, Israel, as symbolized by Ephraim, has sinned grievously, but its essence remains good and pure. It is not hopelessly evil; it has stumbled into sin. The potential for repentance always remains, and Hashem is always ready to accept it and forgive.
Another important event in this parshah is the fight that Jacob had with the angel of Esau. It continued to typify their relationship, but it ended with the angel giving Jacob the new name of Israel. From this we now have the Land of Israel, which goes back thousands of years and not to 1948 as the propaganda of the Muslim’s would have us believe.

A very important aspect of this Haftarah is the including of the ten lost tribes of Israel that are included in the present exile. That is why I continue to talk about the 2.5 billion people of this world who will be saved (Zechariah 13:8). It is not just the Jews of the world, approximately 14 million, but all those who don’t even know that they are descended from the nation of Israel and will be returning when the exile is completed.

That is enough for today. Tomorrow I will cover the last of the three parshas and Haftarahs and do my dot-connecting to show why this seems to indicate that these prophecies are being fulfilled now.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tests and Suffering

                                                                                       בס"ד
I received this excellent essay from one of our dear readers:

In our own lives, we all go through different periods of hardship. Sometimes we ask aloud to our Creator: “Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why are You sending me these hardships? There is nothing wrong with asking these questions.[1] For the Gemara [2] says, “A person whose suffering causes him to challenge G-d is not sinful.”

Then, why does Hashem send us hardships? Is it to make us miserable? The Chofetz Chayim[3] tells us that the reason Hashem sends us hardships is: “…in order to test you, to do good for you in your end.”[4] Yes, to test you! Nevertheless, most of us would rather take a written or oral test, than to have G-d test us in life.

Yet, the Medrash[5] tell us something astounding: “G-d does not elevate a person to greatness until He first tests him – with a small matter.”[6] For tests and challenges are not an unfortunate fact of life, but a sign of Hashem’s trust and confidence in our ability to prevail.[7] Yes, He ‘knows’ how difficult things are for us.[8] For the Gemara [9] states: “G-d does not make matters difficult for His creatures. However, He does expect a person to perform according to his capacity.” As Koheles [10] says, “Whatever you are capable of doing with your own strength, do it.”

Hashem gave us free will.[11] Therefore, if we fail a challenge that He sends us, don’t give up! Rav Tzadok HaKohein of Lublin writes: “Just as one must believe in Hashem, so too, one must believe in himself. Hashem wants us to BELIEVE in our strengths, capabilities, ability to overcome evil and achieve greatness.”[12] In the words of Rav Scheinberg: “Serving the Almighty properly involves constant challenges, which takes consistency and persistence to succeed… Only FOOLS give up HOPE.”[13]

What about suffering? Why do we suffer? The Chofetz Chayim cites a Medrash [14] which states that Yitzchak Avinu asked that man should endure suffering as an atonement. No one can escape suffering. As the Medrash [15] states: “There is no man who goes through life without afflictions!” Still, the Gemara [16] says: “Pain that a person suffers[17] in this world atones for sins.”

Speaking of atonement, the Gemara asks: “Why are the righteous removed before their time? To atone for sins of the generation. Because when the wicked flourish in the world, the righteous found among them are seized for their sins.”[18] Then, there is the universal question of: “Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer?”[19] Rashi [20] answers that in his lifetime (i.e. of the wicked person), he pays him that which is coming to him for the good that he has done, in order ‘to make him perish’ from the World to Come.

The posuk [21] said: “In order to test you, to do good for you in your end.” What does “in your end” mean? It’s referring to the World to Come. We create our ‘estate’ in the World to Come based on how one deals with the challenges and situations that He sends us in This World. For the Gemara [22] says that World to Come is one of the three good gifts that Hashem gave to Yisroel that only comes through suffering. Furthermore, the Chofetz Chayim [23] states: “Whenever a person suffers in any way for the honor of Hashem, he is lifted to a higher station in the World to Come.”

What’s the next one? Torah. For Avos [24] states that one of the 48 ways that Torah is acquired with acceptance of suffering. As the Medrash [25] states: “…Fortunate is the man for whom the Torah is the source of his affliction.” As the saying goes: “No pain, no gain. ”For instance, one is in middle of Talmud Torah and suddenly he gets a headache, stomachache, bodily ailment or a situation came up that deprived him of sleep; don’t stop learning! Why? Because “The reward for keeping G-d’s commandments is increased in proportion to the effort and discomfort one experiences in its performance.” [26][27] The Medrash [28] says: “If you learn Torah when it is difficult for you, your reward is one thousand; when things are going smoothly for you, the reward is [only] two hundred. ”On the bright side, whoever engages in Torah study, the Torah makes him great and exalts him above all things. [29]

What’s the “best type” of suffering to endure? The Gemara answer: “When a person ignores insults, Heaven ignores his or her sins.”[30] Rabbi Moshe Cordovero [31] points out that it is far better to achieve atonement for a sin by suffering an insult in silence than to undergo physical punishment which may interfere with one’s ability to perform mitzvos or study Torah.

Let’s face our daily challenges instead of running away from them. In this merit, may Hashem help us bring forth the hidden greatness that lies within ourselves!
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[1] Yet, Rabbi David Aaron tells us: “When life gets rough, ask not ‘why’ this is happening to me but ‘what’ this happening is asking of me. In every painful situation choose to find opportunities for growth and humbly reserve judgment of the Master Mind of the universe.”

[2] Bava Basra 16b.

[3] Chafetz Chaim on the Torah volume 2, pages 241-243 and 253-254 (Israel Bookshop).

[4] Devarim 8:16.

[5] Bereishis Rabbah 55:1 and Shemos Rabbah 2:3.

[6] See The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, page 156 and Ramban to Bereishis 22:1.

[7] The Six Constant Mitzvos by Rabbi Yehuda Heimowitz and Rabbi Shai Markowitz, pages 146-147. See also The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, page 156.

[8] Because, “He knows all our thoughts” (see Tehillim 33:15).

[9] Avodah Zarah 3a. See also Shemos Rabbah 34:1.

[10] 9:10.

[11] If You Were G-d by Aryeh Kaplan, zt”l, page 180.

[12] Tzidkas Hatzadik #154.

[13] Rav Scheinberg by Rabbi Yechiel Spero, page 261.

[14] Bereishis Rabbah 65:9.

[15] Ibid. 92:1.

[16] Arachin 16b.

[17] I.e. physically, emotionally or mentally.

[18] See Shabbos 33b, Mo’ed Katan 28a and Vayikra Rabbah 20:12.

[19] Berachos 7a.

[20] Devarim 7:10 “ומשלם לשנאיו אל פניו”.

[21] See note 3.

[22] Berachos 5a-b.

[23] See note 2.

[24] Avos 6:6.

[25] Bereishis Rabbah 92:1

[26] See Avos 5:25. There are many situations in life to which this applies.

[27] Interestingly, Toras Kohanim (20:26) tell us, “A person should not say that he doesn’t want to wear shatnez or that he has no desire to eat pork; rather, he should say that he would love to wear shatnez or to eat non-kosher meat, but he refrained from doing so because of Hashem’s command.”

[28] Shir HaShirim Rabbah 8:14.

[29] See Avos 6:1.

[30] Rosh Hashanah 17a.

[31] Tomer Devorah, chapter 2, 'השלישית - שיחשוב'.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why do we Dream?

                                                                 בס"ד
by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher
Dean of Students, Diaspora Yeshiva

Row, row, row your boat... Life is but a Dream. The Mishna in Avot states, "One moment of pleasure in the After-Life is better than all of life in this world."

How can we have confidence that another world awaits us after death? The answer is dreams! Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid, that you experienced it as if it were reality, but then you woke up and realized that it was all an illusion?

Dreams remind us that this world is not the ultimate reality. After death, we will awake to an even more real existence, and our experience in this world will be like a dream to us. That is why the Talmud in B'rachot describes sleep as one sixtieth of death, so that we can taste the After-Life in this world. And that is why there are two events in life that one cannot predict when they occur - Sleep and Death. The Zohar teaches that everything in this world serves to teach us about the ultimate reality of the Spiritual World. This world is really just an illusion and the Next World is the ultimate reality.

This world may seem real, but one day, we will leave this physical dimension and enter an entirely different spiritual dimension, which I call the Fifth Dimension!

A dream is a humbling experience, and it is the key to belief in the After-Life. So even a dream, the experience of illusion teaches us about the ultimate reality of the World To Come. This is what the Mishna in Avot means, "This world is compared to a foyer or lobby before the World To Come. Prepare yourself in the foyer, so that you may enter the banquet hall of the After-Life."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Very Interesting Message from Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, Shlita, Parashat Toldot, 26 Cheshvan 5777 (27.11.16)

בס"ד
When G-d loves a Jew and doesn't want to disconnect from him, he torments him with all kinds of interference so that he is always connected to Him. Jews will not disconnect from G-d. G-d torments those he loves so that they pray to Him.

Abraham and Sarah went through agony. Sarah was righteous; she did not have children and did not think of children. When did she feel that it was missing and painful? When she gave Abraham Hagar and Hagar gave birth to Ismael from Abraham. Then, Sarah felt terrible pain; she felt what it was like to have children and the connection between Abraham, Hagar, and Ismael. Sarah felt pain and was afraid that Abraham would leave her if he had more children with Hagar. She prayed for 13 years until G-d made her pregnant. Thirteen years she was afraid and begged G-d to have children so that the world will continue, and when she was told, she laughed, but did not mock, heaven forbid. G-d listened to her for fourteen years. She could have asked for children before Hagar came, but she didn't, she didn't and Abraham didn't. Itzak and Rivka prayed and cried to   G-d for almost 20 years until Yaakov and Eisav were born.

G-d has mercy on all of the requests of man. If a Jew asks and his prayers are not answered, he must not despair; G-d is testing him to check if he really loves G-d and asking from the heart. G-d will not give a Jew what he wants until he asks from the heart.

Every Jew that obeys the commandments is loved by G-d, connected to G-d, and G-d is helping him with all his wishes.

All of the fires are arson from terrorists, some from gentiles within Israel who are more dangerous than those outside the borders. They are all working together; they have a unit and a head of the unit that is Abu Mazen. Hundreds and thousands of years ago, they use fire as weapons because there are people who don't do anything, they get more and more confident. The Shin Bet and Mossad need to check their phones so that they find their plans. These fires are not from G-d, they are not the forces of nature. G-d is simply not interfering to show the Jews and the world: Look at this evil, look at what the gentiles living within us and around us are doing. We feed them and give them work, let them buy houses, give them social security benefits, service at health clinics and hospitals, and this is what we get from them.

The left and right must be united, the government and citizens; the Arabs cannot be trusted! They use the left to attack the land of Israel; they don't want peace. It is hard to catch the Arabs within Israel. They are all waiting for instructions from Abu Mazen, how to proceed and how to harm the Jews in Israel. They pretend to help with the fires while sending people to start more fires.

G-d will give wisdom and knowledge to the government of Israel, the IDF, Shin Bet, and Mossad, to find the person responsible for all of the attacks, arsons, and stabbings in Israel and put them away.

Trump has been elected in the US. Everyone waited for Obama who made promises to the Palestinians, now Obama is gone and Hillary did not win so they are causing trouble. G-d is telling them: The fires and stabbings or any other threat won't help you; the people of Israel are getting stronger with each day and getting back their strength! The people of Israel are a nation that is rebuilt anew every time. When the left and right are united in one faith, all of the Palestinians and Arabs in Israel will stop harming the Jews. The Jews in Israel are helping each other and are kind to each other. Israel is rich and anything that is done to Israel will only make it grow! They started fires so that we are busy with the fires and Hamas can continue digging tunnels toward Israel; they want to surprise army bases.

There is no hope for Egypt. There is hunger. Slowly, a revolution is coming.

Jordan is being eaten away by refugees and infiltrators.

Turkey is trying to be a friend to Israel so that Israel helps Turkey get rid of the terrorists and ISIS and to learn from the Jews how to grow the economy.

Iraq has no basis, it is the same.

Iran is acting, dressing up as good and sweet people. They hid papers that prove that they bribed people in the United States; they are afraid of Trump. They are deathly afraid of Israel, and that if Israel's air force blows up their nuclear factories, Iran will be gone from this world.

Syria is a training ground for the world's air forces.

In the United States, Trump is quietly choosing his people; he wants to create a strong power to bring peace to the world.

In Russia, Putin is happy, he loves Israel and is happy that Trump won to work together and bring peace to the world.

In Europe, all of the countries are in worse than bad shape. Infiltrators, refugees, and ISIS are eating away every piece of good land, every store and every home. Tens of millions of refugees will continue to invade Europe, they will take houses that Jews bought, throw them out and take their houses. G-d wants the Jews to invest and build homes in the Holy Land!

The earthquakes will continue in Japan.

China is copying patents from Israel.

Israel must keep all of the patents within Israel, and Israel will help the world.

The forces of nature: earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, winds, are all outside the borders of Israel. G-d Himself is operating the forces of nature, and in Israel, G-d is not using the forces of nature! The fires were not from   G-d or the forces of nature. The rain will come in its own time and there will be no shortage of rain in Israel.

Jewish parents - watch over your sons and daughters so that they don't assimilate. Protect them from gambling, drugs, and alcohol abuse.

All those who take and give bribes, all of the cheats, thieves, those who live on the backs of others, and perverts will be revealed one after the other. If they repent, G-d will have mercy on them.

When G-d gives the scepter to the Messiah King who everyone is waiting for, all will open! A large part will open and continue to open for the crowning of the Messiah King. The mothers Leah and Rachel have released the lower and upper Messiah. Now they are connected in stages, and G-d has taken the Messiah out to the world's light!

Courtesy of the site "Tair Neri"

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Follow-up to My Happy Sad Story

                                                                                         בס"ד
I did not tell the story of my sister for any other reason than to tell you about the ways of Hashem, and how much it means to you. The story is a story to which each of us can relate. I have had so many of my dear readers tell me how frustrating it is to be working hard to come close to Hashem, while at the same time having loved ones, friends, neighbors, etc still living in the upside-down world and being on a path for disaster. Why can’t they see the Absolute Truth and follow it?

The biggest lesson to learn from my story is that we are not alone, and that Hashem has a plan for each one of us. That doesn’t mean we should stop helping our loved ones to find their way, the way that will give them tremendous happiness of all eternity. It just means we need to be a little smarter about our approach, and to know we will succeed, because Hashem guarantees it.

I have mentioned that there are two types of Jews in the world: frum Jews, and those who are not frum yet. Frum (Yiddish פֿרום), meaning "devout" or "pious," is a Yiddish adjective. To be frum means to be committed to the observance of Jewish law that often exceeds the bare requirements of Halachah, the collective body of Jewish laws. Hashem’s plan is that all Jews (and I must add that all righteous non-Jews) will turn to Him in the end and will follow His ways, the way they should. I will not go into a long explanation since I have already talked about it several times, but one of the events that will happen with the worldwide redemption is the circumcision of the heart. What does that mean? The Yetzer Harah will be removed, the person will be purified and will only want with complete conviction to follow Hashem and be close to Him.

I mentioned that I worked on my sister (and many others) for decades. I always knew that they would succeed and be on the right path to salvation and eternal happiness. Since only Hashem knows when each individual will reach that realization, and start to live the Absolute Truth, it has always been incumbent upon me to work hard and help them. Yes, I experienced the frustration, but with total faith in Hashem, I also knew with complete confidence that successful results would be achieved.

Hopefully, now you feel better about your loved ones coming around, just knowing that Hashem will make it happen. Having a very positive attitude (how many times have I said that) is the key to succeeding. If all you do is complain about your relatives, Hashem will delay the inevitable success. If you approach it with a very enlightened attitude that Hashem will only bring goodness, you will speed up the process.

So what is the best way to approach a secular loved one and help him or her? I am glad you asked. The most important thing is to let people discover the truth themselves. You, however, must continue to set the example and not hide your frumkeit, thinking it is best. Just be realistic and know that you can’t jam knowledge into a person’s head when they aren’t interested, but you can increase their curiosity and encourage them to have more of a desire to do the jamming.

Jews like to answer a question with a question. So, ask:

Have you seen the tremendous increase in earthquakes around the world? What do you think is causing them?

Have you seen the great increase in volcanic eruptions worldwide? Why is this happening?

Have you noticed the crazy weather everywhere? What is going on?

Have you paid attention to the vast changes in the Earth, the moon, the sun? Examples: the sun and moon have rotated and are setting in a different place; the Earth has changed its axis; magnetic north is now to the west; the North Star has moved slightly east; the fish are dying; the birds are dying; the sinkholes are huge and many; oceans are rising (and it is definitely not due to global warming since there are places on Earth that have decreased dramatically in temperature); the radiation is greatly increasing, etc, etc, etc (this has gotten into one of my famous run-on sentences).

Are you familiar with Nibiru, a companion binary solar system to our solar system that happens to be getting very close? Why am I mentioning Nibiru? Its great gravitational and tremendous magnetic effects happen to be the cause of everything above. What is Nibiru and why do you think it is happening? You have just opened the floor to very curious discussion without mentioning Hashem or Yiddishkeit once. How is that for going into the same house by using the back door?

Everything that is happening is not mystery at all. It has all been prophesied and happening exactly as we were told thousands of years ago. An example: we knew Trump would win the election months ago; it is encoded in the Torah:

Donald Trump - President of the States? in bible code by Rav Glazerson, Published on Jul 6, 2016 (emphasis on the date of the video).

We knew about Nibiru and its purpose years ago; it is encoded in the Jewish Bible hundreds of times. We also know that the Moshiach is here and about to be announced. When? When Nibiru is overhead and the entire Earth is shaking under our feet. It is the same day that there will be no atheists in foxholes, and everyone, including all our standoffish loved ones will be turning to us and asking questions. If not before, that is when they will want to hear us tell the Absolute Truth. When their curiosity has peaked and we have their full frightened attention, we can show them all the proof in the Bible about what is happening, and what we must do to be protected and saved. That is a gotcha!!! In other words, it is not what we say or do, it is Hashem’s visual and audible messages that guarantees they will do Teshuvah.

We have many examples in scriptures about people who were skeptics, until they realized how much trouble they were in. Perhaps the most well know story is in parashat Korach. Korach and his rebellious followers protested against Moshe saying that he should not be the leader, but Korach is the better choice. You can read the story yourself in the parashah. What is of interest to us was the final result. Korach and his 250 followers angered Hashem. Hashem open up the ground and swallowed them and their households. As the ground opened, the sons of Korach shouted out “Hashem is righteous, His verdict is true, and the words of His servant Moshe are true.” With those few words of Teshuvah, Hashem provided a platform that prevented the sons of Korach from falling down to a very unpleasant place (you know, the H word). I should mention that you have to go to parashat Pinchas (26:11) for the wording: But, the sons of Korach did not die.”

The message here and other places in other stories is that Hashem is merciful, and in the last seconds before destruction, an individual can do Teshuvah and be saved. That is what happened to my sister, and it is what will happen to all the Jews and righteous non-Jews in the end.

I should note that this does not mean that one should wait until the end and catch salvation instantly. It is definitely much better for everyone to do it as soon as possible, including increased sincere Teshuvah for the already frum. As I have said many times a million Jews will receive a million different levels of happiness and spirituality for eternity. The harder one works now, the better it will be.

One last note. I am so happy that Moshiach didn’t get announced last year. It is so obvious that Hashem’s mercy was extended to give us more time to climb even higher before the cutoff. My sister would not have fared so well if Moshiach had been announced in 5776. I now see the great advantage of having a little more time to get it right (or better). Yes, we all want Moshiach, but is it just because we want all our personal problems to go away? It should be because the world is so horrible and needs help. But, most of all for each of us as individuals, we have worked hard and did much Teshuvah, Tefillah, Tzedukah, Limud HaTorah, Ahavas Yisroel, etc. I can tell you that I am not ready and have much more to do.

I have a very positive attitude that we are close, but none of us should let down our guard and think that we are ready. Take advantage of Hashem’s infinite mercy and continue to work hard for yourself and your loved ones. Cram for the finals and on Judgment Day, when we receive our final grades, we should be that much happier. I hate to bring up my old employer’s slogan, but it is so appropriate: “Be all that you can be, you can do it in Hashem’s Army (slight variation).”