Election Day in America was delayed one week this year, resulting in a remarkable confluence of events that at first glance seem insignificant, but taken all together contain a message that Jews in America should seriously consider: it’s time to move to Israel.
Elections are normally held the first Tuesday in November, but this year, they were postponed. As a result, the US elections coincided with three events that are significant to Jews: National Aliyah Day in Israel, the reading of the weekly Torah portion pertaining to Abraham leaving his homeland for Israel, and the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
For Rabbi Yitzchak Batzri, a noted kabbalist from Jerusalem, the message was unmistakable.
“American Jews should see this as a clear message to come home to Israel,” stated the rabbi unequivocally. “If they didn’t know this before, now it is clear that their situation is not secure. Trump won the election only because he supported Israel’s right to Jerusalem. More than any other campaign, this one focused on Israel. The election was very close and though it is impossible to say the Jews are being threatened, it is clear the status of the Jews in America has changed, and their future may be in jeopardy.”
This was also the week when Jews around the world studied the Torah portion of Lech Lecha – “Go for yourself” (Genesis 12:1–17:27). The reading focuses on God ordering Avram to leave his homeland and travel to Israel.
According to Jewish homiletical teachings, one of the reasons Abraham fled his ancestral home was due to religious persecution by the political leader, Nimrod.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, agreed that recent political events were a sign that Jews in America should relocate to Israel, noting he had seen a reference to this in an esoteric teaching in an ancient commentary on this week’s Torah reading.
“Within God’s command to Abraham to leave his homeland and come to Israel is a hidden message to Jews in the galut (diaspora) that this year they must do as Abraham did, and come home,” said Rabbi Berger.
Rabbi Berger referred to the Baal Haturim, a 13th century Biblical commentator from Cologne. The Baal Haturim explained that the first word of the verse, ‘Lech’ (the command ‘go’) was written twice as a reference to the two diasporas: Egypt and Babylonia. He explained that God showed the future exiles to Abraham in great detail through a prophetic vision.
Rabbi Berger used a technique in gematria (Biblical numerology) called kolel, which adds one to the numerical value of each word. In this case, the value of the word ‘Ar’echa’ – “I will show you” – becomes 223.
“This year is exactly 223 years until the year 6000, which is the latest possible date the Messiah can come, according to kabbalah,” explained Rabbi Berger. “The door to come home from exile is quickly closing.”
The coinciding of the Torah portion and the election was just one of several signs indicating Jews should be moving to Israel. Last year, the Israeli government designated the 7th of Cheshvan as National Aliyah Day, a holiday celebrating new immigrants in the Holy Land. This date was chosen specifically because it falls during the portion of Lech Lecha.
Perhaps most disturbing is the coincidental connection between Kristallnacht and what many see as a political upheaval. Kristallnacht was a nation-wide coordinated wave of pogroms against Jews throughout Nazi Germany on 9–10 of November, 1938. Destruction of Jewish homes, businesses, and institutions was carried out by SA paramilitary forces and German civilians with the tacit consent of the German authorities..
The name Kristallnacht – “night of broken glass” – comes from the shards of broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned businesses and homes. It signalled a turning point for German Jews, when Nazi persecution became impossible to ignore or deny. Less than one year later, war broke out and German Jews were trapped, their fate unavoidable.