Rabbi Yekutiel Fish, a prominent kabbalist in Jerusalem, followed a trail of clues through Jewish literature and discovered that this the somber day of Tisha B’Av, the day commemorating the destruction of the Jewish Temple that will be observed on Saturday night, has several unique aspects that set it aside as especially auspicious as a harbinger of the Third Temple.
Tisha B’Av: Prophesied to become a day of Messianic joy
The trail of clues began with Psikta Rabbati, a collection of Midrash on the Bible composed around 845 CE, which comments on the Book of Jeremiah:
Then shall maidens dance gaily, Young men and old alike. I will turn their mourning to joy, I will comfort them and cheer them in their grief. Jeremiah 31:12
Abaye, a third-century Biblical “amora” from Babylonia, cited a tradition claiming that the Messiah will arrive on Tisha B’Av, the Ninth day of Av commemorating the destruction of the Jewish Temples in Jerusalem, thereby turning the day of mourning for the Temples into a day of joy and celebration.
This was further explained by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, a prominent rabbi of the Chabad Hassidic movement, who noted that the Hebrew month of Av is the fifth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. Rabbi Ginsburgh noted that the letters of the word for ‘the fifth’ (חמישי chamishi) can be rearranged to spell Moshiach (משיח Messiah).
Rabbi Fish also brought a teaching from Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zakai who was told by Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, one of the most preeminent mystics of the past century who passed away in 2006, that the Messiah will arrive in the month of Av.
Sabbatical: Harbinger of Messiah
Rabbi Fish then went on to cite the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) which states, “During the Shemitta (Sabbatical Year), the wars 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.”
Rabbi Fish noted that Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, a prominent Biblical scholar known popularly as the Chofetz Chaim who passed away in 1933, taught that the War of Gog and Magog will come in three stages. Rabbi Fish noted that World War One, which began in 1914 (5674 in the Hebrew calendar) included a Shemitta year in 1916 (5677). Similarly, the Second War, which began in 1939 (5699) included a Shemitta in 1944 (5705).
Rabbi Fish then noted that, as per the prediction in the Talmud that had been seen in two world wars until now, there is a distinct probability that the Third World War will begin sometime before the year 5782 which begins after Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, in September.
“And Ben David (the son of David, i.e. the Messiah) will come in the Shemmitta, that is to say, the exit of the Shemitta year, that is to say on the Ninth of Av after the Shemitta ends,” Rabbi Fish explained.
Rabbi Fish cited a Talmud (Taanit 29a) that states:
“The Sages said: When the Temple was destroyed for the first time, that day was the Ninth of Av; and it was the conclusion of Shabbat; and it was the year after a Sabbatical Year; and it was the week of the priestly watch of Jehoiarib; and the Levites were singing the song and standing on their platform. And what song were they singing? They were singing the verse: “And He brought upon them their own iniquity, and He will cut them off in their own evil” (Psalms 94:23). And they did not manage to recite the end of the verse: “The Lord our God will cut them off,” before gentiles came and conquered them. And likewise, the same happened when the Second Temple was destroyed.”
In fact, according to the Talmud (Taanit 29 a) the First Temple was destroyed on the Ninth of Av on Motzei Shabbat, the night after Shabbat, in a Shemitta year. The Talmud adds that this was, according to many opinions, also true of the Second Temple. Many later opinions place the destruction of the Second Temple on the Ninth of Av 4828, which was in a sabbatical year on the night after Shabbat.
Rav Fish noted that similarly, this year, the Ninth of Av falls on Shabbat. Since it is forbidden to fast on Shabbat, the fast will be observed on Sunday. In addition, the Ninth of Av next year also falls on Shabbat. He cited the Jerusalem Talmud (Megilla 5b) which explains that if the Ninth of Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is “uprooted”.
“The fast is uprooted, meaning that instead of fasting on the Ninth of Av, we are having the Shabbat feasts, effectively turning the Tisha B’av fast into the prophesied feast,” Rabbi Fish explained. “This is a taste of the Messianic era when every Tisha B’Av will be a feast.”
“There is a mistaken perception of time as a line made up of separate points,” Rabbi Fish said. “The world was created in seven days and each day of creation is represented in its corresponding day of the week. This is also true of holy days. The Ninth of Av has an aspect every year that connects it to the previous years. So if the Ninth of Av this year is even more similar to the actual days on which the Temples were destroyed which were in the Shemitta and were on the night after Shabbat, it will be even more connected.”
“But the lesson of Tisha B’av on prophecy is that the final redemption will appear difficult and destructive but it will actually be a time of great rejoicing,” Rabbi Fish said. “And, indeed, for people who have rejected Hashem, it will be a horrific day of judgment and Gog and Magog will be a time of woe. But for those who have longed to connect to Hashem, all the obstacles will be taken away and it will be a day of great rejoicing. The war will not touch them and most especially not touch Israel.”