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Rabbi’s Blog: March Madness

03/01/2024 12:18:32 PM


Dear OZ family,


Shalom U’vracha,


Chazal say that just before the Messianic arrival, the world will devolve into chaos. Rambam cautioned us to point to any particular signs to herald the redemptive age, but that we should await its arrival each and every day. It’s interesting that Shiite theology also calls for a chaotic world just before the arrival of the 12th Imam. There is one great difference, though, between these two theologies. We try as best we can to maintain order in the world. In fact, the chaos that Yechezkel and Zechariah speak about that will lead into the Messianic era (The War of Gog U’Magog), is interpreted by many commentaries as an ideological war, not necessarily one that will be fought with weapons of mass destruction.


Iran not only believes that this chaos will physically devastate the world, but that it eagerly attempts to promote that chaos to press the envelope with the invitation to the 12th Imam in it. This is manifest in the seeds of destruction it sows all over the world towards that end. There is no negotiation with such madness. They don’t mind mutually assured destruction. They have already paved wide roads for the 12th Imam to triumphantly drive through after conquering the West. Is this an entity with which one can make agreements? Of course Iran finds common cause with the worst governments on the planet. The counterpart of the 12th Imam in our theology is Eliyahu Hanavi. In our Benching, we speak of Eliyahu bringing us good news. Let us share good news about others. Let us banish all bad expressions, also known as Lashon Hara. Let’s make this a “Lashon Hara Free” Shabbos.


POSTSCRIPT: We refer to the pre-Messianic chaos as “Milchemet Gog U’Magog”. Those words do not appear in the Tanach. Rather, Yechezkel refers to an evil king named Gog, who is the king of a place called Magog. Magog in early Bereshit, is closely aligned with Ashkenaz, which is Germany. The Malbim wrote that the Gemara referred to the battle as Gog U’magog because those two words have a numerical value of 70, to indicate that they felt that the battle to initiate the Messianic era would be a conflict in which the entire world would somehow be involved, (relating to the 70 nations of the world in Tanach). even if they remained neutral.  The prophet, Zecharia speaks of two thirds of the Jews in this conflict perishing and the remaining third would build back the people to its earlier glory. This points us to the assertion that World War II was Milchemet Gog U’magog. The advantage of such an assertion is as follows:


We believe that the pre-Messianic chaos is behind us, and that the first sprouts of our redemption is being felt and observed. We believe that the third of European Jewry that survived the flames of the Holocaust helped to sow the seeds of our redemption, and is manifest in the miracle that is the State of Israel. There are still birth pangs of the redemption ahead, but consider the following. This past year, we can say for the first time in over 2,700 years, that there are more people who identify as Jews, living in Israel than outside of Israel.


Am Yisrael Chai!

Stay well and healthy

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Allen Schwartz



Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635




Sat, April 13 2024 5 Nisan 5784