The State of Israel is currently celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem, as well as Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights in 1967. While these miraculous events took most Israelis by surprise, there was one Jew who precisely foretold of their occurrence, as well as that of other significant events, some 200 years in advance.
One of the most celebrated rabbis of all-time, the Vilna Gaon (the Genius of Vilna) lived from 1720-1797, but his teachings and visions inform Torah study to this day.
The Vilna Gaon sought to immigrate to the Land of Israel to hasten the process of redemption, but was unsuccessful. He devoted the last eighteen years of his life entirely to bringing redemption and encouraged his disciples to immigrate to the Land of Israel and redeem it.
Jewish scholar Rabbi Samuel Yaniv notes a general principle of the Vilna Gaon, set forth in the work Ma’aseh Roke’ah by Rabbi Eleazar Rokach, which teaches that there is occasionally a connection between the order of verses in the Torah and what occurs historically in the corresponding Jewish year. Thus is the modern history of the establishment of Israel, beginning with the Holocaust, foretold.
The 5,700th verse of the Torah reads:
So the Lord was incensed at that land and brought upon it all the curses recorded in this book. Deuteronomy 29:26
The Hebrew year 5700 (1940) marked the beginning of the Holocaust, of which the Vilna Gaon had forewarned, teaching that before redemption comes there would be dreadful destruction in the Diaspora. However, he pointed to another verse prophesying Israel’s survival in Jerusalem.
But on Zion’s mount a remnant shall survive, and it shall be holy. Obadiah 1:17
Following the same pattern and prophecy, the 5,708th verse of the Torah reads:
And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed and you shall possess it. Deuteronomy 30:5
In the Hebrew year 5708 (1948), the state of Israel was established.
According to Rabbi Uri Sherki, the Director of Brit Olam, the disciples of the Vilna Gaon had an additional tradition that predicted the date of the founding of the state of Israel.
According to this belief, the life of King David marks the exact midpoint of human history. From the time of Adam until David, the world continued to exist as a result of the primordial inertia through which it and humanity were created. Through the effort of his wars, King David established the physical earthly Kingdom of Israel, which laid the way for the success of the process of history and for the mending of the path of the world.
The name of Adam himself hints to this view of history – Adam David Mashiach (Messiah).
Therefore the time span from the birth of Adam until the birth of David is the same as the timespan from David’s birth until the redemption.
The calculation is very simple: David was born in the year 2854 after the creation of the world. Thus the date of the beginning of the redemption is twice that, or 5708 – the year of Israel’s establishment.