According to a 200-year-old esoteric source, the final Messianic battle will be an all-out war against an unexpected threat: one from within the Nation of Israel itself. Called the erev rav, or “mixed multitude”, Israel failed to conquer this enemy in the desert and will face it again at the End of Days. Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a scholar who has studied the source in depth, identified this perennial enemy as existing today, arguing that the battle has already begun.
Rabbi Hillel Rivlin of Shklov, an 18th-century Torah scholar credited with reviving the Jewish community in Israel, compiled teachings about the Messiah in a seminal work called Kol Hator. Rabbi Rivlin described a process including two distinct, sequential Messiahs and the enemies they battle.
The general function of the two Messiahs, Messiah from the House of David and the Messiah from the House of Joseph, is to protect us against the three klipot (layers): Esau, Ishmael, and the erev rav. (Kol Hator)
The Biblical names are used as eternal archetypes. Most sources understand Ishmael to be Muslims, who self-identify as the descendants of Biblical Ishmael. Esau is usually interpreted as being Rome, or its cultural descendant, Western society.
The final enemy named in Kol Hator presents a serious impediment to redemption. Erev rav (mixed multitude) is described in the Exodus as those who came out of Egypt along with the Jews, becoming part of the Jewish people, joining the Jews with impure motives.
And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. Exodus 12:38
The Kol Hator describes the erev rav as the final enemy that must be defeated by a combined effort of the two Messiahs.
The specific function of Messiah from the House of David is against Esau. The specific function of Messiah from the House of Joseph is against Ishmael. Together, the Messiah of David and Joseph, will oppose the coupling of Esau and Ishmael, which is the erev rav which can destroy Israel and the entire world. (Kol Hator)
Rabbi Pinchas Winston explained the identity of the erev rav to Breaking Israel News, saying that today, as in the Biblical account, the erev rav exists within the Jewish nation.
“A Jew who actively goes to war against Judaism and Israel is the best example we have of erev rav today,” Rabbi Winston said. However, he added, merely “being critical of Torah or Israel is not the same as working against their very existence, which is the defining trait of the erev rav that needs to be destroyed in the times of the Messiah.”
Rabbi Winston noted the unfortunate phenomenon of Jewish groups that oppose Israel as a modern-day incarnation of the erev rav. The rabbi did not specify any particular groups, but one example is clearly the US-based NGO J Street. J Street claims to be working for the good of Israel by bringing about a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, but their left-wing sentiments occasionally cross into anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
When Marcia Freedman, an American-Israeli political activist, spoke at a J Street conference last March calling for the destruction of the Jewish state and declaring that it would be better for the Jewish Israelis to be under Muslim rule, her statement was received with wild applause.
Left-wing Jews are often found as leaders in initiatives that challenge Israel’s right to exist. Israel’s Channel Two filmed a documentary last year investigating the proliferation of Jewish leaders in anti-Israel movements. They interviewed Candace Graff and Brandon Davis, American activist leaders in Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), an organization fighting the “Jewish Occupation”.
Davis said openly in the interview that his intention is to bring about changes that would end Israel as we know it. “I want the end of a Jewish Israel,” he stated unequivocally, calling the Jewish state “supremacist”. Candace Graff, a Jewish student from Harvard, agreed wholeheartedly.
It is not only American leftist Jews who are against Israel, but left-wing Jewish Israelis themselves as well. In a May report by Dr. Shahar Golan of the right-wing group Im Tirtzu, Dr. Golan revealed that 20 Israeli professors were the leading force behind an American Anthropological Association vote to boycott Israel.
Similarly, last year, a blatantly anti-Israel conference at Southampton University in England titled “International Law and the State of Israel” was organized by Israeli professor Oren Ben-Dor. Fortunately, after much outcry, the conference was cancelled.
Rabbi Winston notes that according to Kol Hatur, there is no neutral ground. Anyone who does not actively take part in battling the erev rav is essentially joining their side.
Advised the rabbi, “Since the erev rav has no power of its own and only works through misinformation, the best way to go to war against them is through spreading truth.”