Just like Biblical Jacob, a rabbi renowned for his piety left a deathbed message last week for Israel, explaining that the extreme difficulties facing the Jews today are the prophesied end-of-days pangs of Messiah. But the message was also meant to reassure Israel by revealing that a guardian angel is protecting the Jews.
After a throat operation last year, Rabbi Yaakov Edelstein, the chief rabbi of Ramat Hasharon, communicated only through writing notes. After he passed away last Thursday at the age of 93, his family discovered two notes he had written in the last hour of his life, bearing powerful messages concerning the end of days. The first message read, “Michael will rise up, for these are difficult times.”
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, explained the meaning of the rabbi’s message.
“In Jewish tradition, when a tzaddik (righteous man) is about to leave the world, he receives a greater vision, a form of prophecy,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Rabbi Edelstein was referring to the last chapter in Daniel that discusses the war of Gog and Magog preceding the Messiah.”
In the book of Daniel, Michael, the archangel and savior of the Jews, appears three times to bring mercy to the Jews at that difficult time.
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Daniel 12:1
“It is clear that the Rabbi Edelstein, a revered and holy rabbi, believed that we are in the later stages of the Moshiach, times that have potential to be especially difficult for the Jews,” explained Rabbi Berger. He cited Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, a late-nineteenth century sage known by the name of his epic book, Chafetz Chaim (“Desire Life”). Rabbi Kagan taught that the final war of Gog and Magog will be fought in three stages. At the end of the First World War, Rabbi Kagan stated that it had been the first stage of Gog and Magog.
Rabbi Edelstein’s note continued, “Our comfort: A fox goes out and the rabbis cry, but Rabbi Akiva laughs?”
This is a reference to a section of the Talmud Rabbi Edelstein wrote about in the second note.
“Look carefully at the last page of the Talmud folio of Makot, and learn it well,” Rabbi Edelsten wrote. “May blessed God protect us that the danger will pass.”
The page of the Talmud Rabbi Edelstein referred to concerns a group of rabbis, including Rabbi Akiva, one of the most revered scholars in the history of Judaism, who went up to the Temple Mount after the destruction of the Temple.
The rabbis performed the mitzvah (commandment) of tearing their clothes upon seeing the destruction. Then a fox ran through the ruins of the Holy of Holies, causing the rabbis to cry. Rabbi Akiva, on the other hand, began to laugh.
Rabbi Akiva asked the other rabbis why they cried and they related the prophecy from the Bible:
When the Mishkan is to be pitched, the Leviim shall set it up; and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death. Number 1:51
The rabbis explained that now that the Temple was well and truly destroyed, even an impure animal like a fox could go into the holiest area with impunity.
Rabbi Akiva explained that he had laughed because of two other prophecies.
Rabbi Akiva stated that since the first prophecy had come to pass, as evidenced by the fox running through the ruined Temple, the later prophecies concerning the Temple could now also come to pass.
“It is clear that what the rabbi was saying in his final hour was that the Angel Michael is bringing mercy to the Jews even in these difficult times,” said Rabbi Berger. “Today, an impurity worse than any animal is ruling over the Temple Mount, but just as Rabbi Akiva saw the redemption in the fox, in the end, all of the prophecies will appear, the Messiah will come, and the Third Temple will stand in its proper place.”
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