Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, an expert in Kabbalah, cited a Midrash written almost 1,200 years ago that predicted that snow in the month of Nisan preceding a Sabbatical year was a harbinger of a great famine that will bring in the Messianic era. This prophecy takes on new significance after a polar vortex brought to the Midwestern US the worst winter in a century.
Rabbi Fish wrote in his Hebrew-language blog about a Midrash in Psiktah Rabbati, a collection of aggadic Midrash (homilies) composed around 845 CE concerning the Pentateuchal and prophetic readings from the special Sabbaths. The Midrash states that in the Hebrew month of Nisan in the year before the Shemittah (the sabbatical), a great snowstorm will cause widespread global famine in order to raise in the collective consciousness that the Messiah is indeed imminent. The month of Nisan in which Passover, the holiday commemorating the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, begins in eight days,.
“We find in the Midrash that the snow will begin by damaging seeds and young plants,” Rabbi Fish explained. “The snow will grow stronger until the months preceding the Shemittah, continuing until the shemittah itself. This is all so that people will begin to talk about the Moshiach (Messiah) and so they will stop ridiculing the mourners of Zion who are expecting redemption.”
The Midrash is based on a verse in the Book of Isaiah:
Their offspring shall be known among the nations, Their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them shall recognize That they are a stock Hashem has blessed. Isaiah 61:9
“Who is Isaiah speaking of in this verse?” the Midrash asks. “This is the mourners of Zion for whom God will bring great victories against their enemies.”
The Midrash then makes a play on words to illustrate its point, relating a tradition that the word זַרְעָם (Zar’am; their offspring) can, in this case, be understood also as זַרְעָם (Zar’am; the strong arms).
“It is God who will come with His great strength,” the Midrash explains. The Midrash brings a verse as an example of this word being used in this manner.
Hashem, be gracious to us! It is to You we have looked; Be their arm every morning, Also our deliverance in time of stress. Isaiah 33:2
“These are the mourners of Zion who anticipated the Redemption morning, noon, and night and were ridiculed by those. They will therefore be the first ones to see the Moshiach. An unprecedented tribulation will arrive that will show those that ridiculed that the Moshiach is indeed imminent.”
Rabbi Fish explains that many of those who ridicule them will still maintain that the Messiah will not come, even when the famine becomes unbearable.
“We see this even with the pandemic,” Rabbi Fish wrote. “That even though this is unprecedented in their lifetimes, they still claim that nothing unusual is happening and nothing unprecedented will come out of it, while still ridiculing the idea of Moshiach.”
The Midrash goes on to list other great calamities that will precede the Moshiach.
“In Nisan in the year preceding the Shemittah, great snow will fall from the heavens and strike the seeds and plantings for the next year,” the Midrash states.
It should be noted that the seven-year sabbatical cycle will begin on Rosh Hashannah 5782 which will fall on September 6, 2021.
“After this, it will be clear that it is time for the Moshiach to be revealed,” the Midrash stated. “But even then, they will doubt, so they will be judged during the Shemittah year and their faces will be like ‘the rims of pots (black and sooty). In what will they be judged? By famine. And the righteous of the generation will lay them out on the ground and pray, saying, ‘Creator of the world, all these years they erred’. And God will answer and forgive them, giving them a crown and kissing them, and whoever has the merit of Torah will gather his reward.”
The rabbi noted that the year 5774 (2014) preceded the Shemittah and heavy snow fell in Jerusalem on the Tenth of Tevet, a fast day mourning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia.
“Apparently this day was auspicious and had the potential to bring the Redemption but it was put off for one more sabbatical,” Rabbi Fish said.
Rabbi Fish then noted that שלג תשפ”א (snow in 5781, the current year) is in gematria (Hebrew numerology) equivalent to the first line of the Shema prayer that acknowledges the kingship of God. He also noted that שלג גאולה (Sheleg geula; the snow of redemption) is equivalent in gematria to Ben Yishai, the son of Jesse, designating the line of King David that will be reinstated in the Messianic era.
Rabbi Fish told Israel365 News that the recent catastrophic polar vortex that struck the central US was a taste of things to come as hinted in the Midrash. It should also be noted that this current winter season also saw heavy snow in Saudi Arabia and the Sahara Desert, record-breaking snow in Japan, and record-breaking cold in countless locations.
“In today’s complicated world in which few people grow their own food and many live distant from food and water sources, a famine could be caused by the stock market crashing, or by a cyber-attack that disables vital infrastructure,” Rabbi Fish warned. “For the second year in a row, we are about to enter our houses for the Passover seder while the Angel of Death wanders the streets. Those who ridiculed Moses and Aaron, those who rejected the Redemption, were left behind to perish in Egypt. It is time to answer the call for redemption.”