One of the most influential rabbis of the last century gave a prophecy in his final days: a third war, greater than any other before it will come 75 years after the end of World War II. The deadline for that prediction is only a few months away.
THE AMAZING RABBI: A HIDDEN TZADDIK
Rabbi Yisrael Meir (HaKohen) Kagan was one of the most influential rabbis of the early 20th Century. He authored a book on the laws pertaining to slander and gossip, after which he was popularly known as the Chofetz Chaim (desires life) from the verse in Psalms.
Who is the man who is eager for life, who desires years of good fortune?Guard your tongue from evil, your lips from deceitful speech. Psalms 34:14
By all accounts, he was a modest and humble man who struggled to feed his family. Though he could not accept the anti-religious aspects of secular Zionism, he planned on moving to Israel, which was still a neglected part of the Ottoman Empire, but his followers persuaded him to remain in Poland.
During his lifetime, he was venerated by Jews and non-Jews alike. Orthodox Jews across the world viewed him as one of the 36 hidden righteous people and Polish farmers were said to have lured him into their fields believing his feet would bring blessing to their crops.
Known for his writings on halacha (Torah law) and ethics, he was also a firm believer in the Messianic process. It is said that the Chofetz Chaim had a bag packed and at the ready, at all times in case the Moshiach was suddenly to arrive.
PROVENANCE OF THE PROPHECY
Despite this active anticipation, the Chofetz Chaim had very clear ideas on precisely when the Messiah would arrive and that he even passed on this information to several students. Though this claim is known through anecdotal accounts, one clear line of communication is known. Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein was the mashgiach ruchani (spiritual adviser of the Mir yeshiva in Belarus until the Nazi invasion forced him to flee with all of his students to Shanghai and eventually to Israel.
A report published in Hidabrut, a Hebrew language media for ultra-Orthodox Jews, related how, before he died in 1974, Rabbi Levenstein met with Rabbi Sholom Hakohen Schwadron in Jerusalem. Rabbi Schwadron has since passed away.
It should first be noted that the Chofetz Chaim, born in 1838, lived through World War I but passed away in September 1933, six years before the outbreak of World War II.
According to the report in Hidabrut, Rabbi Levenstien remembered precisely what the Chofetz Chaim had said more than half a century earlier and passed this on to Rabbi Schwadron.
While the world was still reeling from the aftereffects of what was dubbed the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, the Chofetz Chaim predicted that yet another war was imminent.
“25 years after the end of the last war, another war will break out that will make the first seem like child’s play,” the Chofetz Chaim told Rabbi Levenstein. The Chofetz Chaim’s prediction was, admittedly, slightly off. World War I ended in 1918, 21 years before the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
“Everyone who heard this was terrified,” Rabbi Levenstein related to Rabbi Schwadron. But Rabbi Schwadron was horrified and dared to ask a question.
“My esteemed teacher, why, after such a horrific war, would he say such things? I said that after such a war, we should only pray that another such war will never befall us again.” Rabbi Schwadron asked of Rabbi Levenstein.
“You don’t understand what the holy Chofetz Chaim was speaking of,” Rabbi Levenstein answered excitedly. “There will be a great darkness of faith in belief in the world. Everything that came before will be like child’s play; even the Great War.”
“75 years after the second war will come the final and greatest war that will make the second seem even smaller,” the Chofetz Chaim continued.
Another tradition of this teaching by the Chofetz Chaim taught by Rabbi Tzvi Meir Zilberberg confirms this.
“My teachers related how the Chofetz Chaim told his students that he had perceived a prophecy through ruach hakodesh (holy spirit),” Rabb Zilberberg said. “There will be another great war, and after that, the Jews will count ten sabbatical years, after which there will be the last sabbatical year. Then there will be an incredible amount of conflict in the world… lucky is anyone who survives this.”
This prophecy is consistent with a section of the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97b) which teaches about the coming of Ben David(i.e. The Messiah).
“During the sixth year, heavenly voices will be heard. During the Sabbatical Year, wars, e.g., the war of Gog and Magog, will be waged involving the Jewish people. During the year after the conclusion of the Sabbatical Year, the son of David will come.”
THIS YEAR: 75 YEARS AFTER WWII
If the first account is word-for-word accurate and the final war, the pre-Messiah war of Gog and Magog will come precisely 75 years after the end of World War II. The armistice was signed on August 14, 1945, but the Japanese surrendered two weeks later on September 2, five days before Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish New Year.
According to the precise understanding of the Chofetz Chaim, the third war is prophesied to begin in the summer of 2020.
TEN SABBATICAL CYCLES
If the war will begin after ten Shmitta cycles, the timetable seems to work out differently and there seems to be room for interpretation. The shmitta years take place every seven years which would seem to indicate that the Chofetz Chaim’s intention was precisely 70 years after the end of Worl War II, i.e. 2015. However, the sabbatical cycle is dependent on Jewish independence in the land of Israel and coincides with the Hebrew calendar year, with sabbatical years being evenly divisible by seven.
The first sabbatical after the creation of the modern State of Israel was 5712 according to the Hebrew calendar, or 1951. The tenth shmitta was 5768, or 2007. The shmitta after that, which the prophecy by the Chofetz Chaim described as the last sabbatical, was 20014. The next sabbatical year, scheduled to arrive in Hebrew year 5782 or 2022, is not expected to arrive without the Messiah according to the prediction by the Chofetz Chaim.
“Moshiach is the cause of [the war]. He stands up for Jerusalem and they come after us because of it,” Rabbi Winston said.