The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) continues to rise as rain continues to fall in Israel, rising six centimeters over the weekend, bringing its level to 209 meters below sea level and just 20 centimeters below the upper red line signaling that the lake is full. The lake is currently at the highest level it’s been since 2004.
Yonatan Dadon of Radio 2000, an Orthodox Hebrew language broadcaster, interviewed Rabbi Yaakov Zissholtz on his weekly Melaveh Malkah program in February. Rabbi Zissholtz discussed several predictions by major Israeli rabbis concerning the geula (redemption).
“Rabbi Dov Kook (a mystic from Israel with a large following), as everyone knows, is a huge tzaddik (saintly man),” Rabbi Zissholtz said to Dadon, “He is one of the greatest men of our generation as well as one of the least well known. The Haredi community knows that he is a great man but they don’t really understand how wondrous a man he is, that his soul rises up to heaven.”
Rabbi Kook is a descendant of Israel’s first chief Rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, who is revered to this day and began the religious Zionist movement.
“Ten years ago, Israel was suffering from a horrible drought. Someone asked Rabbi Kook when the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) will be full. Rabbi Kook said, ‘When the Messiah arrives, the Kinneret will be full.’”
Rabbi Dov Kook, based in Tiberias, is understandably focused on the role the Kineret (the Sea of Galilee plays in the end-of-days. The Zohar, the foundational work of Jewish mysticism compiled by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai a Jewish sage from the second century known by the acronym Rashbi, cites the Galilee as the place in which the beginnings of the Messiah can first be seen.
The Messiah… will arise in the land of Galilee… the Messiah shall reveal himself in the land of Galilee because in this part of the Holy Land the desolation (Babylonian exile) first began, therefore he will manifest himself there first. [Zohar III, Shemoth 7b, 8b, 220a; Otzar Midrashim, 466]
Two years ago, Rabbi Kook made a startling announcement at a gathering of his followers. In the vision, the Rashbi told Rabbi Kook that the rains filling up the Kinneret are a sure sign that the Messiah’s arrival is imminent.
This is also taught in the Pri Chayim (fruit of life), the teachings of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the preeminent 16th century Kabbalist known by the acronym ‘Ari’ (lion), as recorded by his student Rabbi Chayim Vital in Tsfat (Safed). It is written in the Pri Chayim that גֶּשֶׁם (rain) is an acronym for ‘גְּאֻלָּה שְׁלֵמָה מְהֵרָה’ (‘complete redemption quickly’).
Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, known in Israel as the author of the Torah blog, “Sod Ha’Chashmal,” explained this section of the Pri Chayim by saying that rain in Israel is not simply a result of set natural processes. Rain in Israel is an aspect of God’s mercy and as such necessarily precedes the Moshiach (Messiah).
The Bible specifically describes rain in Israel as a reflection of the relationship between the Jews and God.
If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving Hashem your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. Deuteronomy 11:13
This was not lost on Rabbi Kook who commented last year during the late unusual late rains, “Rain is the marriage of heaven and earth and these downpours hint that the Messiah is about to arrive. The heavens are God’s domain and the earth is Israel. This rain is clearly the rain of redemption.”
In a later broadcast, Rabbi Zissholtz again referred to Rabbi Kook for advice concerning these difficult times.
“Whoever does not repent now, he is not a sinner,” Rabbi Zissholtz said. “He is simply insane.”
Rabbi Kook tested positive for coronavirus last week and was self-quarantining in a private home until his condition deteriorated and he was taken to Poriya hospital in Tiberias, where he is currently in the intensive care unit.
His name for prayer is: Rabbi Dov, son of Shoshana; may he have a complete recovery along with all the others who are ill.
One of the probable outcomes of the overabundance of rain could be the Israel Water Authority opening the Degania Dam, thereby allowing the overflow to enter the Jordan River. This will inevitably lead to more water than normal flowing into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea’s water levels have been dropping by a meter each year.
Despite the plight of the world’s lowest body of water, scientists have been shocked to discover that the sinkholes appearing around the sea are filling up with fish and other forms of life previously unseen in the inhospitable region. The unusually heavy rains this winter brought forth unusual fields of flowers.
It can only be hoped that the release of life-giving waters from the Kinneret, along with water flowing from the adjacent wadis (dry washes) could bring about Ezekiel’s vision of the Dead Sea as a post-Messiah source of life.
All kinds of trees for food will grow up on both banks of the stream. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail; they will yield new fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the Temple. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12