A discussion about several issues relating to how Israeli politics and law intersect with the Jewish religion, with special attention to Old Testament teachings on Mashiach, the establishment and history of the State of Israel, and recent movements to bring about a greater role for the laws of Judaism in Israeli civil law.
According to the writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and others, Mashiach (the Messiah, or “anointed one” of the People of Israel) has several enumerated characteristics, and is to perform several important functions in the Last Days.
Following a time of war and suffering, Mashiach is to destroy the enemies of the People of Israel, and the nations of the Earth will recognize the wrongs they did the People of Israel. Then, Mashiach will gather the exiled Jews dispersed among the many nations of the Earth back to the Land of Israel.
Next, the city of Jerusalem is to be restored – along with the ruined cities of Israel – and the Land of Israel will be re-planted and flourish. Then, the zemach (meaning “branch”) – an expression of Mashiach – is to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem as the Third Temple, under the guidance of and with help by Mashiach.
Concurrent with the re-building and re-dedication of the Temple is the re-imposition of rabbinic law, including the sacrifices and the Laws of Jubilee, as it was during the time of the original Sanhedrin (the Great Assembly which was a sort of “supreme court” of religious law made up of seventy-one rabbis). The Sanhedrin is to be restored, and the process of ordaining rabbis is to be re-established and resumed.
Following the completion of the ordination of the rabbis of the court of the Sanhedrin, the prophet Elijah is to present himself before the court and announce the coming of Mashiach. Mashiach would then rule in justice over the Jews and the nations of the Earth as representative of the L-rd, restoring the reign of the Jews to be again under the patrilineage of King David, through Solomon, excluding branches of their lineage which have been cursed.
Jerusalem will become the center of all world government, ushering in an era of spiritual fulfillment and world peace in which the Jews will be restored to the divine ideal. All of humanity will be converted to Judaism, and the Temple will thereby become a place of worship for people of all nations. Hunger, poverty, disease, and death will cease; the dead will rise again; and weapons of war will be destroyed.
It would appear as though some of these events have come to pass, either partially or completely, while others have not. So how is it that this is so, and what does it mean about whether Mashiach has arrived, or whether Mashiach is yet to come?
Recently, at an event protesting Zionism, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss claimed that the Old Testament says the State of Israel is not to exist unless and until Mashiach establishes it, and that until that happens, any form of sovereign government existing among the Jewish people is always an impediment to peace. A middle-aged woman who supported Zionism responded to the Rabbi that Mashiach had already come. Unfortunately, the Rabbi did not ask the woman to name this Mashiach whom she believed had already appeared, nor whether Mashiach was living or dead.
Precisely what or whom grants Jews the right to have a sovereign state of their own is a matter of controversy. Certainly each nation of people should be permitted to have its own land, because people have to have a land off of which they can live in order to survive. But what specifically entitles the Israelis, citizens of a self-described “Jewish state”, to govern the Land of Israel – otherwise known as the Land of Palestine – through the enforcement of laws made by man and not by G-d?
Are we to accept without question that the permission of the United Nations and the consent of the international community are enough to merit granting the right to modern statist governance of a land occupied by Arabs to a people whom had been absent from that land for nearly a hundred generations, and, moreover, to a people many of whom were converts, or descendants of converts, to Judaism, and thus have little to no ethnic or geographic connection to the land?
Israel was established in May 1948 as a Jewish state, and in the mid-1980’s, its Supreme Court confirmed Israel’s status as a democratic state. The court decreed that what constitutes “a Jewish and democratic state” is to be decided by the Israeli people. Today, the State of Israel more closely resembles a secular state than one which focuses on enacting religious law. About half of Israelis today describe themselves as secular. Much of Jewish culture today is dominated by the Reform (or Progressive) Judaism and Revisionist-Zionism strains of thought. It could easily be argued that these groups place more focus on the importance of cultural heritage as integral to the Jewish lifestyle than on religious heritage and fidelity to Jewish law.
I will mention as a side-note – although my intention is not to focus on the democratic nature of Israel as much as on its status as a Jewish state – that the State of Israel is, today, obviously and demonstrably, a representative democracy, rather than any type of participatory democracy, which would be closer to the democratic ideal. However, its proportional-representation-style parliamentary body – the one-hundred-and-twenty-seat Knesset – is more permissive of minority parties than most other Western democracies.
I will now examine each major attribute and event pertaining to the role of Mashiach in Jewish eschatology, and I will explain whether and to what degree these have been fulfilled by the current generation and the last several generations of Jews. In doing so, I aim to uncover how likely it is either that Mashiach exists in some form today, or that the agents performing these actions become Mashiach in so doing.
As I stated earlier, Mashiach is to come following a time of war and suffering. There have certainly been numerous episodes of war and suffering which have occurred throughout the twentieth century.
Examples of war and suffering having taken place before the establishment of the State of Israel include the First World War, which saw nearly twenty million deaths; the subsequent flu pandemic which killed fifty million; the Ukrainian Holodomor famine of the early 1930s, during which as many as twelve million died, over sixty thousand of them Jews; the conflict between Japan and China before and during World War II which saw the death of nearly twenty million; and European-theater World War II aggression which killed nearly sixty million, five or six million of them Jews.
The series of conflicts between Jews and Arabs in the Levant from 1947 to 1949 saw about fifteen to twenty-four thousand deaths, about a third of the casualties having been sustained by Jews. It was during this time that Israel declared its independence from Great Britain, and the State of Israel was established.
Episodes of war and suffering which followed Israel’s creation included the Suez Crisis of 1956, which saw about thirty-two hundred deaths, with an Egyptian-to-Jew death ratio of about seventeen to one; the Six-Day War in 1967, which saw about twenty-five thousand deaths, with an Arab-to-Jew death ratio of nearly twenty-five to one; and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, which saw ten to twenty-two thousand deaths, with a death ratio of five Jews per Arab.
These facts show that there have been periods of war and suffering before as well as after the establishment of the State of Israel, which means that appearance by Mashiach – either now, in the future, or at any time since the First World War – would be explainable, because Mashiach’s appearance could be shown to follow a time of war and suffering.
Mashiach is to destroy the enemies of the People of Israel. As I have just shown, there have been episodes of war and suffering before, during, and since the establishment of the State of Israel, which have involved partial destruction of the enemies of the People of Israel.
An obvious place to start is the defeat of Germany and the Central Powers in the First World War, and of Germany and the Axis Powers in the Second World War.
Next, in the thirty years which followed the end of World War II, we have the Israeli War of Independence, the Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War, and the Yom Kippur War. Combined, these conflicts totaled somewhere between thirty-eight and fifty-seven thousand deaths of combatants belonging to nations which were enemies of Israel, including the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the countries of North Africa, and the Sudan.
In the First Intifada – the Palestinian uprising against Israel of the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s – about two thousand Palestinians were killed, about half of them as accused Israeli collaborators. In the Second Intifada of the first half-decade of the twenty-first century, Israeli forces killed about five or six thousand Palestinians. The Palestinian death toll from the second half of that decade numbers about one thousand seven hundred, and the Arab-to-Jew death ratio in the Gaza conflict of 2008 to 2009 was more than a hundred to one.
The total number of Arabs killed by Israeli forces in major episodes of conflict since the State of Israel’s War of Independence is somewhere between forty-six thousand and seventy-five thousand, while the Israeli death toll from all of these events combined numbers a mere twenty-five thousand to twenty-nine thousand.
With the exception of the 1973 Yom Kippur War – the only major military event of the Arab-Israeli conflict which saw more Jewish deaths than Arab deaths – the total death ratio of the conflict since Israeli independence comes out to nearly six Arabs per Jew. Including the Yom Kippur War, the death ratio is about two-and-a-half Arabs per Jew.
These figures do not even include the numerous Arab deaths which have occurred between these major conflicts, nor do they take into account the many native inhabitants of the Palestinian territories who fled their homes, or whom have been otherwise displaced, either by choice or by force. The figures also do not take into account the deaths in the several wars in Iraq throughout the last several decades, which could be argued to have been fought in part for the benefit and defense of the State of Israel, and in order to supply it with Iraqi oil.
It may be that none of the so-called “enemies of Israel” which have fought the State since its creation have been completely destroyed, but Israel has been involved in a series of conflicts with Arabs and with Arab states, which, combined, have averaged an Arab-to-Israeli death toll of greater than two-to-one.
The State of Israel, with its approximately eight hundred undeclared nuclear weapons, its refusal to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and its billion-and-a-half dollars in annual military aid from the United States, appears, as always, ready and willing to continue to attempt to defeat and destroy whatever it believes to be an enemy of the People of Israel.
In the end times, the nations of the Earth are to recognize the wrongs they did the People of Israel.
In 1998, the Vatican issued a formal apology for failing to take more decisive action in challenging the Nazi regime during the Second World War in order to stop the extermination of Jews.
Since the 1980s, various European countries have enacted laws which make it a crime to deny, negate, diminish, minimize, excuse, sympathize with, or justify either the Holocaust, other genocides, or crimes against humanity. Such countries include Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.
In 2001, the European Union’s executive commission passed a law which criminalized denial of the Holocaust, but due to efforts by the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries, member states of the E.U. are free to choose whether to impose a maximum three-year jail sentence on individuals found guilty of Holocaust denial.
In 1986, Israel’s parliament passed a law which makes denying or diminishing the Holocaust, or sympathizing or identifying with its perpetrators, a crime punishable by five years of imprisonment.
The significance of these facts is that some nations have recognized the wrongs which were done to the People of Israel, including countries which were responsible for those wrongs, as well as countries which turned blind eyes towards the atrocities.
Mashiach is to gather the Jews dispersed among the nations of the Earth back to the Land of Israel.
Events from the eighth to the sixth centuries before the Common Era, as well as conflicts between the Roman Empire and Judea, contributed to the dispersal of the Jewish people to surrounding Arab-occupied areas and to other nations around the world. From the seventieth year of the Common Era until the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jews were considered to be in exile.
Between 1882 and 1929, nearly two hundred thousand Jews immigrated to the land which later became the State of Israel. A quarter-million more arrived in the following decade, most of this immigration having been illegal. Legal immigration sharply declined during the Second World War.
In the three years following the establishment of the State, another seven hundred thousand immigrants arrived. Between 1952 and 1990, a total of about 1.1 million Jewish immigrants arrived. The year 1991 saw the aliyah, or “ascent”, of about two hundred thousand, mostly due to mass emigration from countries affected by the collapse of communism. Another eight hundred thousand or so have arrived in Israel since the early 1990s.
In order to complete the gathering of the exiles into the Land of Israel, another seven to nine million Jews must make aliyah to Israel. At current immigration rates, and assuming a population growth rate of zero, this would take about four hundred years. This population growth rate is highly improbable because it is a province of Orthodox Judaism to desire significant increases in the birth rate.
Israel’s annual economic growth rate remains strong at about eight percent, and settlements are continuously being built, making room for natural population growth and for more potential immigrants. Throughout the last hundred years, it has been a constant task of Israelis to build in preparation for the arrival of new immigrants.
Today, there are somewhere between thirteen and fifteen million Jews in the world. About 5.8 million of them live in Israel. This means that approximately two-fifths – or forty percent – of the world population of Jews has been gathered into the State of Israel.
Mashiach is to restore the city of Jerusalem and the ruined cities of Israel.
From 1844 to 1944, the population of Jerusalem grew by a factor of ten; from sixteen thousand to 160,000. Jerusalem has gained an additional six hundred thousand residents since the end of the Second World War. Israel’s Basic Laws dictate that Jerusalem, whole and undivided, is the capital of the State of Israel.
When the State of Israel was established, the Old City and adjacent parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank were not yet parts of Israel. They and other territories were captured during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the city limits of Jerusalem were expanded.
Israeli settlements in and outside greater Jerusalem, which combined number about two hundred thousand in population, have been a continuing source of conflict, as well as an impediment to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, in recent years.
The significance of these facts is that the city of Jerusalem has been restored. This is not to say, however, that restoration of Jerusalem would solely entail a physical restoration and growth of the city; to the contrary, it would mean a restoration of the population of the city, which really means a spiritual and cultural rebirth of the Jewish people in general. There will be more on this spiritual rebirth later.
In the end times, the Land of Israel is to be re-planted and flourish.
The Jewish National Fund was founded at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1901 as a quasi-governmental, non-profit organization. Its purpose was to purchase, lease, and serve as a trustee of land in Ottoman Palestine for and on the behalf of the Jewish people, and to develop the land for settlement by Jews.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Jewish National Fund played a central role in the founding of Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s major cities. It also established the Olive Tree Fund, which has led to the planting of more than a quarter billion trees in Israel. The J.N.F. has built over two hundred ten dams, reservoirs, and water treatment plants; over a thousand parks; and hundreds of miles of roads. It has developed a quarter million acres of land, reclaimed more than fifty thousand acres of cropland, and provided infrastructure for more than a thousand communities.
The J.N.F. has funded research into the conservation of soil and water; the rehabilitation of rivers; and development of sustainable ecological practices in order to improve the quality of life among people living in arid regions in the face of water shortages and drought. It has brought life, including forests, to the Negev Desert in the south of Israel, and intends to eventually provide infrastructure for a quarter million new settlers there.
When the State of Israel was founded, the Jewish National Fund owned more than half of the land which was held by Jews in the region, and by 2007, it owned thirteen percent of the total land in Israel.
Additionally, Israel is the site of three desalination plants, and the future site of two planned desalination plants. The plants take salt water from the sea, and employ a process of reverse osmosis, removing salt and minerals in order to create fresh water.
Thus, the Land of Israel has been re-planted, and flourishes.
Mashiach is to rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah – or Mount Zion – in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The First Temple, also known as Solomon’s Temple, existed from 954 Before the Common Era until its destruction at the hands of the conquering Babylonians in 587 B.C.E..
About sixty years later, it was replaced by the Second Temple, which became known as Herod’s Temple when Herod renovated it nineteen years before the Common Era. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in the seventieth year of the Common Era.. There was a failed attempt to rebuild the Temple in 363 C.E..
The site of the Temple Mount is currently home to the Islamic places of worship the Dome of the Rock, completed in 691 C.E., and al-Aqsa Mosque, completed in 705 C.E..
The Jewish Temple which is to be rebuilt would be the Third Temple, also known as Ezekiel’s Temple. It would be used for sacrificial worship, and its existence would provide for the performance of many important mitzvot (meaning “obligations”, “rituals”, or “commandments”) which cannot be exercised without it.
Although there is controversy over whether the Temple is to be rebuilt by human or divine hands, those who participate in the rebuilding of the Temple are considered to act as an expression of Mashiach.
Twelfth-century Spanish rabbi and philosopher Moses ben-Maimon – also known as Maimonides, Moses Maimonides the Great, or simply “the Rambam” – has been interpreted as having said that only Mashiach can build the Temple, but the same statement has also been interpreted as meaning that any Jew who participates in the rebuilding of the Temple is a potential Mashiach.
There are currently three organizations in Israel whose stated goals include building the Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah. They are the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, the Movement for the Establishment of the Temple, and the Temple Institute.
The Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement – “Eretz Yisrael” meaning “the Land of Israel” – was founded in 1967 by Gershon Salomon. In 1990, the group announced that it was going to lay a cornerstone for the Temple on Mount Moriah. Israel’s police and its High Court of Justice prevented this, but not before several dozen Palestinians were killed by Israeli Border Police in riots protesting the announcement.
The influence of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement has declined since 1987, when the more religiously Orthodox elements within the group split off and formed the Movement for the Establishment of the Temple. The Temple Mount Faithful Movement is routinely prevented by Israeli authorities from accessing the Temple Mount. Recently, the group has developed close ties – financial and otherwise – with Christian fundamentalists.
The Temple Institute – or Hachon HaMikdash – was founded in 1987 by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, whom is also involved in an attempt to restore the Sanhedrin (there will be more information on the Sanhedrin shortly). Other prominent members of the Institute include Rabbi Chaim Richman and Rabbi Yehuda Glick. Rabbi Glick believes that the Dome of the Rock should either have the Third Temple built over it, or it should be integrated into the construction plans of the Temple.
The Temple Institute has garnered and spent over twenty-seven million dollars for its operations. It believes that the Rambam should be interpreted as having urged Jews to rebuild the Temple if and when they are able to do so. The Temple Institute’s members visit the Temple Mount at times and locations which are in accordance with the requirements of Halakhic law.
The Temple Institute has made several items which are to be used in ritual services in the Temple. Such services would involve the use of sacred vessels, a mock-up of the Ark of the Covenant, and a red heifer bred to have attributes specifically outlined in the Bible. This red heifer is to be sacrificed – becoming only the eleventh in history – and its ashes are to be used in order to purify the souls of those who have come into contact with the corpses of the dead, or with their graves.
In the last two decades, Christian cow farmer Clyde Lott of Nebraska has assisted the Temple Institute to obtain hundreds of heifers from which the sacrificial animal is to be bred. A candidate for slaughter named Melody was even produced back in 1996, and another was born in 2002, but both were later found to be unsuitable. However, in March 2010, a representative of the Temple Institute claimed that there was “definitely a kosher red heifer here in Israel.”
The significance of this is that there are entities in Israel which are attempting to restore and rebuild the Third Temple, and provide for the existence of the space and the items which are required in order to carry out the ancient rituals.
Mashiach is to re-impose rabbinic law as it was during the time of the Sanhedrin.
This would involve the restoration of the sacrifices which I have just explained, as well as other mitzvot. It would also involve the restoration of the Laws of Jubilee and the proper ordination of rabbis for service on the rabbinic court of the Sanhedrin.
The Laws of Jubilee, or Yobhel – also known as the Laws of the Seventh Year – are laws which integrate the Hebrew calendar into Jewish religious societal life. They dictate that the seventh day of the week (the Sabbath, or Shabbat, or Shabbos, meaning “cessation”) is to be observed as a day of rest.
The laws also dictate that every seventh year – the Sabbatical year, also known as Shmita, or Shemitah – the land is to be given rest in order to improve the yield of crops, and produce from the fields are to become ownerless, allowing virtually free and shared access by everyone.
On the Jubilee – which occurs every forty-nine or fifty years (at the completion of seven cycles of seven years) – indentured servants are to be set free; personal loans and debts between Jews (whether in Israel or elsewhere) are to be cancelled; property, fields, and houses in the Land of Israel are to revert back to their original owners or heirs; and throughout this time period, the price of lands in the Land of Israel are to become less expensive.
The Laws of Jubilee dictate that debts which are owed to courts, or which are owed to or by non-Jews, are not forgiven on the Sabbatical Year; and that produce may be grown on land in Israel which is owned by non-Jews. Rabbinic courts help moderate and supervise the sale and tenancy of land for such arrangements, but this practice is controversial among the ultra-Orthodox community.
The main purposes of these laws are to provide a temporal structure for Jewish society, to guard against excesses and against the accumulation of wealth and land in the hands of the few, and to promote social cohesiveness as well as a sense of connectedness with nature and with the fulfillment of labors performed and enabled by G-d.
As punishment for the seventy years prior to the construction of the Second Temple which the Jews had spent not observing the Laws of Jubilee, they were exiled for an additional seventy years – amongst the seventy nations of the world – so that the land could get its due rest. The numbers seven and seventy are significant for Jews, and appear many times throughout the Old Testament.
There is controversy over whether the Laws of Jubilee are to be obeyed amongst modern Jewry. While some say the laws are always binding whenever there are Jews in the Land of Israel, others say the Laws of Jubilee are purely voluntary. Still others say that the Laws of the Seventh Year only apply when the Jubilee Year is in effect – which occurs either when the majority of the world’s Jews are living in the Land of Israel, or when there are members of all twelve tribes of Israel living there – and that the observance of the law is not a biblical but merely a rabbinic obligation.
In terms of the State of Israel, the government views the laws as voluntary, and the civil courts do not enforce them. There is a need in Israel to maintain modern agricultural and commercial systems, and it is for this reason that rabbinic and civil courts show certain flexibility towards one another.
However, Israel’s Supreme Court intervened when, during the most recent Sabbatical Year, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel tried to avoid taking a position on conflict about the laws which arose between religious communities. The Rabbinate had desired to support localistic decision-making on the issue, but the State mandated nation-wide standards.
Today, the Jubilee Year – meaning the forty-ninth or fiftieth year – is not observed, nor is it designated, because it is unknown on which Sabbatical Year it would fall.
The significance of this is that there is at least a partial upholding of the Laws of Jubilee in modern Israeli society.
Mashiach is to bring about the proper ordination – or Semicha – of rabbis for service on the rabbinic court of the Sanhedrin.
Maimonides said that the coming of Mashiach is not a prerequisite for the re-establishment of the Sanhedrin, and that the people should feel free to re-establish it when and if they are able to do so.
In the year 358, Roman Emperor Theodosius the First forbade the rabbinic court of the Sanhedrin; and declared the ordination of rabbis illegal, under punishment of death, and of destruction of the town where the ordination occurred.
The following century, after the patriarch Rabbi Gamaliel the Sixth – a member of the Davidic dynasty – died without a male heir, Emperor Theodosius the Second abolished the position of Nasi (meaning “prince”) the title of the chief rabbinic justice of the court of the Sanhedrin.
According to Maimonides, in order for the special ordination of rabbis to be re-established and resumed, the rabbis of Israel must agree to grant ordination to one person, whom may then ordain other rabbis. Three attempts to re-establish ordination – the first in 1830, another in 1901, and the last in 1949 – had their chains of ordination broken.
In 2004, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum was elected by consensus to receive Semicha. However, Rabbi Teitelbaum passed away only two years later. Later, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz accepted the position of Nasi, but resigned the position in 2008. Rabbi Re’em Ha-Cohen may become Nasi of the developing Sanhedrin.
The significance of this is that the current developing Sanhedrin may eventually bring about the resumption of the ordination of rabbis.
The Sanhedrin was a supreme court of rabbinic law made up of seventy-one rabbis. There have been numerous past attempts to reinstate the Sanhedrin; they occurred in 1538, 1830, 1901, 1940, and 1949.
Since 2004, there has been an ongoing attempt to restore the Sanhedrin. This would involve establishing the court as an upper house of the Israeli national government, supplanting the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – which would continue to exist as a lower house. A Basic Law would be passed, establishing a Constitution subject to the laws of the Torah, and many democratic mechanisms and civil laws within Israeli law would have to be revised in order to become compliant with Jewish rabbinic law.
Were the Sanhedrin to supplant the Knesset as the supreme seat of legal authority in the State of Israel, it would render the government a theocratic kritarchy, or critocracy, meaning that it would operate under the rule of judges in accordance with Jewish religious law, with representative democracy as a secondary governmental paradigm.
The lack of religious authority in the law of the State of Israel is a constant source of controversy in modern Israeli society. Members of the Orthodox community frequently protest violations of the Sabbath, which include people driving and businesses staying open, and sometimes they even throw stones in protest. The religious education of Israeli children is also a matter of controversy.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews may apply for deferment from Israel’s draft in order to study scripture, but they must perform national or army service afterwards. In 2006, the developing Sanhedrin claimed that it is the only entity which has authority to make policy relating to defense and the military.
Despite this push by some for more religious authority in Israeli law, the government of the State of Israel still operates as a secular institution.
The significance of this is that restoration of rabbinic law has been attempted numerous times, but has not yet been completely successful.
Once the Sanhedrin has been properly ordained, the prophet Elijah will present himself before the court, and proclaim the coming of, and identify, Mashiach.
It almost goes without saying that this event has not yet occurred, although the woman who confronted Rabbi Weiss whom I mentioned towards the beginning of this essay may have some evidence refuting this claim.
Once Mashiach appears, the reign of the Jews will once again be under the lineage of King David, through Solomon.
This lineage is known as the Davidic Dynasty, or the House of David, which I mentioned earlier in discussing the Sanhedrin. In fact, Mashiach is referred to as Mashiach ben David, meaning “Messiah, son of David”. Today, there are genealogy websites dedicated to keeping track of living members of this house.
As a descendant of King David, Mashiach is also known as Mashiach nagid, meaning “anointed prince”. Mashiach would be at once a king, a priest, and a servant, restoring both the nation and the priesthood, and ruling over an Israel that is both a royal and priestly nation.
Once Mashiach reigns over the Jews, the city of Jerusalem is to become the center of all world government.
Those who object to the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel on Jewish religious grounds believe that it is only through the action of Mashiach in the Last Days that the final wars guaranteeing the sovereignty of Israel are to be fought, and a sovereign government among the People of Israel is to begin to exist. They believe that the current State of Israel is illegitimate because Mashiach did not personally establish it, and because the Era of Mashiach is still more than two centuries away.
In the Last Days, hunger, poverty, disease, and death will cease, and the dead will rise again.
Although hunger, poverty, disease, and death have not been completely eliminated, modern medicine, agricultural and commercial systems, and charitable organizations have made significant strides towards preventing and treating these problems.
In the Last Days, weapons of war are to be destroyed.
According to an estimate by Janes Weapons Quarterly, the State of Israel currently possesses approximately eight hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. It has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and receives a billion-and-a-half dollars in annual military aid from the United States. It seems evident that the State of Israel is doing little to bring about the destruction of weapons of war.
However, the world in general is currently witnessing destruction of weapons of war, as the United States and Russia are now in the process of negotiating bilateral nuclear arms reduction, which would see both countries cut their nuclear arsenals approximately in half.
The gun control issue also plays into this question. In 1986, a Jewish gun shop owner in the United States founded a group called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, which currently has more than four thousand members. The group has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League, whose director, Abraham Foxman, is Jewish.
Gun bans were enacted in Fascist Italy and Communist Russia, and German Jews abided by the gun control laws which were strengthened by the Nazis, including an outright ban on the issuing of firearm permits to Jews in 1935.
The significance of this is that lately, Jews have been on both sides of the issue of whether weapons of war should be destroyed.
In the Last Days, all humanity will be converted to Judaism, all people will know the Word of G-d by heart, and the Jews will be restored to the divine ideal in an era of spiritual fulfillment.
This is the restoration of the people of Jerusalem which I mentioned earlier. Today, about half of the citizens of the State of Israel describe themselves as secular, but statistics show that the number of those who consider themselves religiously observant is rising.
In the Last Days, the Third Holy Temple is to become a place of worship and a house of prayer for people of all nations.
In the early 1500s, the Ottomans conquered Jerusalem, and Jews began to gather at the Western Wall to pray. In the first half of the twentieth century, the importance of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall to the Islamic religion grew. In 1929, Muslims rioted against Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall because it was perceived that Jewish prayer endangered Islamic mosques.
When Jordan controlled the Temple Mount in the two decades following the establishment of the State of Israel, the significance of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to Islam subsided. Jewish holy places were desecrated and destroyed, and Jews were denied access to their holy sites.
The significance of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to Islam began to grow again when, during the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel gained control of eastern Jerusalem and the Mount. Subsequently, the Israeli government retained sovereignty and security control over the area, but it turned administrative control over the Temple Mount to the Jordanian Islamic Waqf – which is a religious endowment and trust – as a gesture of peace, ordered an Israeli flag which had been raised over the Mount during the conquest to be removed, and banned Jews from holding prayer services there.
In the mid-1990s, Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority gained administrative and religious control of the Waqf. Israel granted the Palestinian Authority full sovereignty on the Mount in 2000, but the Jordanians began to re-assert their control in 2004.
Today, Muslim citizens of the State of Israel are normally allowed to enter and pray at al-Aqsa Mosque, but certain groups of Muslims – depending on their age; where they are from; and the time and day of the week, which has to do with customary times and dates of prayer – have their prayer restricted by the Israeli government for security reasons.
Since 1967, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has ruled that Jews should not walk on the Temple Mount because they may step on the site of the Holy of Holies, the Tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant once existed. Only the High Priest, i.e., the Nasi, may enter the Tabernacle, and only on Yom Kippur.
Several Jewish religious and political leaders have demanded that Jews be permitted to pray at the site on Jewish holidays. The Israeli Supreme Court has supported individual prayer there, but Israeli police prohibit Jews from praying on the Temple Mount in any overt manner. Overt prayer is strictly regulated, but visiting rights as tourists are less strict.
Some Jews and Christians in Israel interpret the prophecy that the Temple will become a house of prayer for all nations as urging that members of any religion whom are living today should attempt to pray on the Temple Mount. This would undermine the authority of the Waqf to permit or deny prayer by certain individuals and groups at certain dates and times.
Some Jews believe that prayers on the Temple Mount by people of all nations should only take place once the Third Holy Temple has been built and Mashiach has arrived. This is because it is only after Mashiach arrives that all of humanity will be converted to Judaism, which means that the people of all nations would then become Jewish, and all the prayers they would make on the Temple Mount would share the same significance.
Now I will, as briefly as possible, summarize the conclusions which I have drawn from my exposition of information pertaining to the relevance of Jewish Old Testament prophecies about the actions of Mashiach in the Last Days to the history of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in the last hundred years or so.
There have been numerous episodes of war and suffering which have occurred throughout the twentieth century – before, during, and after the establishment of the State of Israel – and many of these events have involved Jews, both as victims and as perpetrators. Therefore, an appearance by Mashiach following any of these events can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that Mashiach is to come after a time of war and suffering.
The defeat of Germany and its allies in both world wars, as well as the repeated defeat of many majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa – partial defeats though some of them may have been – can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that Mashiach is to destroy the enemies of the People of Israel.
The formal apology for inaction during the Holocaust which was made by the Vatican in 1998, as well as the criminalization of Holocaust and genocide denial which has taken place in many European countries in the last thirty years, can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that, in the Last Days, nations are to recognize the wrongs they did the People of Israel.
The immigration of approximately two-fifths of the world’s Jewish population into the State of Israel – most of which having taken place within the last hundred and thirty years – can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that Mashiach is to gather the exiled Jews dispersed among the nations of the Earth back to the Land of Israel.
The growth in the population of Jerusalem in recent years – as well the modernization of the city, the capture of east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount by the State of Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the building of settlements on the outskirts of the city – can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that Mashiach is to physically restore the city of Jerusalem.
The efforts of the Jewish National Fund to plant forests; build dams, reservoirs, water treatment plants, parks, and roads; conserve and develop ecosystems and infrastructure in arid regions – as well as the efforts of the State of Israel’s seawater-desalination industry to create fresh water in order to assist these processes – can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that in the Last Days, the Land of Israel is to be re-planted and flourish.
Efforts in recent years by the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement, the Movement for the Establishment of the Temple, and especially the Temple Institute, to bring about the construction of the Third Holy Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and to obtain the items necessary to bring about ritual ceremonies and sacrifices there, upon the actual completion of the project and the implementation of such ceremonies, can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that Mashiach is to rebuild the Holy Temple as Ezekiel’s Temple in the Last Days.
The efforts to re-start the practice of these ceremonies, as well as recent efforts to nominate a rabbi who would restore the chain of proper and special rabbinical ordination (which would enable the existence of the Sanhedrin court of rabbinic law which could potentially replace or supplant Israel’s parliament – the Knesset – as the supreme court of legal authority in the State of Israel), and at least a partial imposition of the Laws of Jubilee, can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that Mashiach is to re-impose rabbinic law as it was during ancient times.
Due to the fact that the Sanhedrin has not yet been fully re-established, it has not yet and could not yet have come to pass that the prophet Elijah has presented himself before the court to proclaim the coming of Mashiach. Accordingly, the prophecies regarding the reign of the Jews becoming again under the lineage of King David – which would be fulfilled by the return and rule of Mashiach – and the city of Jerusalem becoming the center of all world government, have also not yet occurred.
The progress made by modern medicine, agriculture, commerce, and charity in the last few centuries can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that in the Last Days, hunger, poverty, and disease will cease, although the complete eradication of these problems, as well as the cessation of death and the rising of the dead, have yet to be seen.
The provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the ongoing bilateral nuclear arms reduction negotiations between the United States and Russia, and the spread of gun control legislation can be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that in the Last Days, weapons of war are to be destroyed.
The increase in the number of Israeli citizens who describe themselves as religiously observant, if the trend continues among Jews as a whole worldwide, may be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that in the Last Days, the People of Israel are to be restored to the divine ideal in an era of spiritual fulfillment. However, this would not fulfill the prophecy that all humanity would be converted to Judaism and all people would know the Word of G-d by heart.
Attempts by the Jewish and Christian communities in Jerusalem to pray on the Temple Mount – and demands that prayer by members of all religions be permitted there – can, if successful, be interpreted as fulfillment of the biblical prophecy that the Third Holy Temple is to become a place of worship and a house of prayer for people of all nations. However, it appears evident that this is not to occur through the assertion of legally-protected rights to freedom of religious expression, but only once people of all nations are converted to Judaism and become imbued with knowledge of the Word of G-d, causing their prayers to share the same significance.
The significance of these conclusions is that nearly all of the biblical prophecies pertaining to Mashiach and the Last Days can be interpreted as having been either completely or partially fulfilled, being in the process of fulfillment, or having the potential to be fulfilled given certain circumstances which can only come to pass given the fulfillment of certain other prophecies which would enable them.
Not a single one of these prophecies which can be interpreted as having at least partially come true were performed by a single person. The interesting thing about this is that some of these prophecies are supposed to be performed solely through actions performed by Mashiach.
You may have noticed that nowhere in this essay have I referred to Mashiach as “him” or “he”, nor even as “she” or “her”. Nor have I even addressed whether Mashiach is indeed intended to be conceived as an individual person. Whether Mashiach is an individual person or a collective entity is in fact a matter of dispute among Jewish scholars.
In addition to all the prophecies I just mentioned, Mashiach must bring the epithet “son of G-d”. The Prayer of Enosh refers to Mashiach as a “first-born son” begotten by G-d. In the Book of Daniel, Mashiach is referred to as “son of man”. Isaiah said Mashiach would be “a man of this world; an observant Jew with ‘fear of G-d’”. This would seem to indicate that Mashiach is an individual person.
However, in the Book of Exodus, the L-rd says, “Israel is My son; so, let My son go, that he may serve Me”. By using the word Israel, the L-rd is clearly referring to the People of Israel, and not to any particular individual person. Thus it is evident that the People of Israel bring the epithet “son of G-d”.
Furthermore, Isaiah identified the Suffering Servant as Israel, which several Jewish scholars such as eleventh-century rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki – also known as Rashi – interpret as meaning that the Suffering Servant, the People of Israel, and Mashiach are all one and the same.
Since it can be interpreted that Mashiach is a collective entity, anyone who interprets those biblical prophecies that have at least partially been fulfilled as having occurred through the action of Mashiach could logically conclude that the several most recent generations of the People of Israel, acting as a collective Mashiach, were responsible for such actions.
The most perplexing thing about all of this is that many of the events which have contributed to the fulfillment of these prophecies have occurred since the establishment of the sovereign government of the State of Israel.
This is problematic because, according to the Talmud, Mashiach is not to come until “even the most insignificant form of government no longer exists among the Jewish people”. Rashi interpreted this as meaning that “absolutely no sovereign governmental body of the Jewish people shall exist, even the most minor or trivial type of regime”.
Rabbi Meir Kahane viewed the State of Israel as an entity which possessed the capability of bringing about Redemption, and felt that only the secular elements within the Israeli government, and not the State itself as a whole, had to disappear in order to permit the coming of Mashiach.
Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, the father of Moshe Teitelbaum, differed with Rabbi Kahane on this issue, believing that the entire State apparatus itself, having not been created and headed by Mashiach following the full ordination of the Sanhedrin and the completion of the construction of the Third Holy Temple, must disappear in order to permit the coming of Mashiach. The disagreement between Rabbis Kahane and Teitelbaum embodies the dispute between religious Zionism and religious Anti-Zionism.
Those who believe that the Israeli government is a transitory phase which will eventually bring about the subversion of the secular government to the religious court of the Sanhedrin view themselves and the People of Israel as playing an active role in the immanentization of the eschaton, meaning the bringing-into-being of the circumstances which would enable the events of the Last Days to take place.
If Rabbi Teitelbaum was correct that the disappearance of the entire sovereign government of the State of Israel is required for Mashiach to appear, then why has such a large sector of the Jewish people supported the State government?
In mid-May 1948, Minhelet HaAm – the thirteen-member People’s Administration – voted for the declaration of independence of the State of Israel. Ten members were present for the vote, and the vote was six to four in favor of declaring independence. Two of the members who voted in favor of the declaration were to become Israel’s first two prime ministers. One of the members, David Ben-Gurion, became the First Prime Minister of Israel several days after the vote.
Ben-Gurion’s father Avigdor Grün was a lawyer, and a leader of the Hovevei Zion movement, meaning “Those Who Are Lovers of Zion”. The movement, which began in the 1880s, was established in order to promote and advance Jewish settlement and agriculture in the Land of Israel, which was then Ottoman Syria. The movement was considered apolitical, and its members were of various political persuasions.
In the 1890s, Hovevei Zion became a charity organization which was known as the Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Palestine – also known as the Odessa Committee – so that it could be recognized by the Russian government. Before the committee was closed in 1913, it received contributions by philanthropists such as Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. Rothschild’s son, James Armand Edmond de Rothschild, financed the construction of the Knesset, the parliament building of the government of the State of Israel.
David Ben-Gurion grew up in Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire. While attending the University of Warsaw in the first decade of the twentieth century, Ben-Gurion joined Poalei Tziyon – meaning “workers of Zion” – a movement of socialist Zionist Jewish workers. Another leader of this movement was Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel.
Ben-Gurion identified with the more moderate, “rightist”, social-democratic, non-Marxist strain of the movement which began to diverge from the more radical, orthodox-Marxist left in 1919.
In the following few years, Poalei Tziyon’s left wing – which had evolved into the Jewish Communist Party – split, forming a pro-Zionist faction known as the Palestinian Communist Party, and an anti-Zionist faction called the Communist Party of Palestine. The two factions reunited in 1923.
Yet another sector of the left wing aligned itself with Hashomer Hatzair – meaning “Youth Guard” – eventually evolving into Mapam – which stands for the United Workers Party – the second most popular party at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel.
In 1919, the right wing of Poalei Tziyon, under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, formed Ahdut HaAvoda – meaning Labor Unity – which in 1930 merged with another party to become Mapai – which stands for the Workers’ Party of Eretz Israel – the most popular party at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel.
Theodor Herzl was an Austro-Hungarian writer, journalist, playwright, and political activist. He is known as the father of modern political Zionism. Herzl was raised to speak German in a Jewish household that was more secular than devout, and he saw religion as uncivilized.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Herzl began to believe that persecution against Jews could not be defeated, and so it seemed appropriate to him that Jews should attempt to avoid it by establishing a sovereign Jewish State. He once wrote that he considered the Jewish question not primarily a religious or a social question, but a national question.
Herzl envisioned a Jewish State which would combine a modern Jewish culture with European cultural heritage. He did not imagine that citizens of this State would be religious or even mostly speak Hebrew, and desired that the Temple would be rebuilt on modern principles. Herzl also did not imagine that there would be conflict between Jews and Arabs.
In his 1896 book Der Judenstaat – meaning “The Jewish State” – Herzl expressed interest in creating a State in the Land of Palestine, which he considered the historic homeland of the Jews, although he also considered Argentina a potential location. Herzl’s idea for this sovereign Jewish State in the Land of Palestine was soon after praised by Hovevei Zion, the movement which I mentioned as having had the father of first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as a leader.
Jews and non-Jews alike were attracted to Herzl’s ideas, and representatives of the governments of Britain, Germany, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire – which then ruled the Land of Palestine – met with him. Herzl played a key role in the First Zionist Congress which was held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. The following year, the Second Jewish Congress established the Jewish Colonial Trust. With the backing of Germany, Herzl desired to implore the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to sell land to the trust in exchange for a consolidation of Ottoman debt.
Herzl envisioned the Jewish State as one which would embrace the politicoeconomic philosophy of Mutualism. He desired that there be a developed welfare program, public ownership of natural resources such as agriculture, and cooperative industry and trade. He favored what he termed a gentle expropriation of private property in the land that would become the State, as well as a discrete and circumspect “removal of the poor”.
Josef Stalin was born Ioseb Dzhugashvili in Georgia. Although Stalin married three Jewish women during his life, there is debate over whether he had any Jewish ancestry by blood.
Stalin resented Orthodox Judaism and desired to destroy Jewish culture. He believed that every Jewish nationalist was an agent of American intelligence and that every Jew was a potential spy. Although he actively attempted – and encouraged others to attempt – to incite anti-Semitism, he publicly denounced it.
Stalin viewed what he called “bourgeois Jewish nationalism” as a potential threat to the Soviet Union. He desired to offset the influence of the Zionist movements in Russia which were intent on establishing a State in the Land of Palestine by establishing a Soviet Zion in eastern Siberia. In 1934, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast came into existence, embodying Yiddish cultural heritage in a proletarian socialist framework. The Oblast – which is a territorial administrative jurisdiction – still exists today.
In the last several years of the 1940s, during which the State of Israel was established, Stalin warmed up to Palestinian Zionism, viewing it as a potential proxy nation of the Soviet Union.
One of Stalin’s enemies was Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein in the Ukraine, and he was eventually assassinated on Stalin’s orders.
Trotsky’s family, like the family of Theodor Herzl, was Jewish, but not observantly so. Trotsky’s grandfather discouraged his family from associating with anti-Zionist Orthodox rabbis, and encouraged them to pray for the Czar.
Trotsky believed Jewish persecution would subside due to assimilation of Jews into the cultures of their host nations, but he did not believe the Jewish question could be resolved within the framework of capitalism. Trotsky recognized that a nation cannot normally exist without identification with a geographical territory, and he was very interested in Jewish emigration to the Land of Palestine. While some sources claim that Trotsky did not consider Zionism a solution to Jewish persecution, other sources claim that he enthusiastically desired that Jews leave Europe and establish their own nation-State in Palestine.
Trotsky was at various times a Bolshevik and a Menshevik – respectively meaning “majority” and “minority” – in the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. He attempted to mend rifts between various parties in the R.S.D.L.P., describing himself as a “non-factional social democrat” and opposing bureaucratization in the Soviet Union.
The R.S.D.L.P. was co-founded by a secular Jewish socialist party of highly questionable devotion to Zionism. That party was called the Jewish Labor Bund – which means federation or union – and was also known as the General Jewish Labor Bund of Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. The Bund supported the Bolshevik overthrow of the Russian government, but within several years of the revolution, the Bolsheviks suppressed the teaching of Hebrew, closed down the Zionist parties – including Poalei Tziyon – and arrested thousands of their members.
Vladimir Lenin was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in Russia. Lenin supported an alliance between the working class and the liberal bourgeoisie against the Tsarist regime, while Trotsky believed the working class alone should overthrow the Czar.
As in the case of Stalin, it is debated whether Lenin actually had any ethnic Jewish heritage. If he did, he was one-quarter Jewish. Expressing a similar view to that of Stalin, Lenin wrote in 1913 that those who support Jewish nationalism and Jewish national culture are bourgeois enemies of the proletariat and accomplices of the rabbis.
Lenin and Trotsky were the leaders of the October Revolution which overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which succeeded the Tsarist regime. This so-called “Russian Revolution” was not only disproportionately non-Russian by ethnicity, but rather predominantly Ashkenazic Jewish. The government of the U.S.S.R. became even more predominantly Jewish following purges.
Russian civil rights lawyer Marina Marynova claims that the murders of the Christian Czar and his family – the Romanovs – were deliberately ordered to be carried out by Jews, because it was believed that the Russians participating in the revolution would not have the heart to commit the murders.
Marynova further claims that there existed forensic evidence at the scene of the crime that these murders took place as religious rituals. She claims that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office denied this possibility, and that coded signs and numbers which would indicate a connection with Kabalistic Jewish mysticism were found there.
One of the coded signs was allegedly decrypted by a Kabbalah specialist as meaning “the head of religion, people, and the state was killed here”. Furthermore, the repeated appearance of the number eight in a series of numbers which was alleged to have been found at the scene of the murders has been interpreted as meaning that Czar Nicholas was considered as a sacrifice compared in purity to Christ.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why I am suddenly talking about the Russian Revolution in an essay that was supposed to be about Jewish eschatology.
Notwithstanding the roles which Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Chaim Weizmann, and Menachem Begin played in the development of the significantly less socialistic right wing of Zionism, I believe that the facts which I have laid out about David Ben-Gurion and his father, Theodor Herzl, Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and the various parties, groups and movements which I mentioned, have shown that in a thorough discussion of the history of Zionism, it is impossible not to mention the ideological influence of communism, socialism, social democracy, mutualism, and, naturally, Labor Zionism.
It is perplexing to attempt to explain why these prominent socialist leaders and groups seemed to struggle so much with Zionism, Jewish cultural heritage, and the Jewish religion itself. It is especially confusing to attempt to do so in light of the claim that the murders of the Romanovs during the Russian Revolution were carried out as part of a mystical, Kabalistic Jewish ritual.
It is perhaps even more difficult to explain why labor socialism – which is typically perceived as an anarchistic movement – could have served as the politicoeconomic ideology of a person who helped establish the sovereign State of Israel, and served as its Prime Minister during the first decade-and-a-half of its existence.
Karl Heinrich Marx was born in what is now western Germany, when it was administered by the Kingdom of Prussia. Needless to say, the writings of Marx were highly influential in the development of socialism, social democracy, and communism. “Religion is the opiate of the masses” is perhaps Marx’s most famous quote.
Marx was Jewish on both sides of his family, although his father converted to Lutheranism before he was born. Marx perceived that persecution of the Jews in Europe was largely due to their practice of usury, having said that bills of exchange are the Jews’ only real god.
As Marx died more than a decade before Theodor Herzl’s ideas became popular and widespread, it can only be interpreted from his writings whether he would have supported Zionism. Indeed, some claim that Trotsky’s alleged interest in Zionism to some degree required him to distance himself from Marx’s criticism of Judaism and of religion in general.
Why is it that prominent figures in socialism who may not have even had any Jewish ethnic heritage such as Lenin and Stalin, as well as prominent figures in socialism who were undoubtedly ethnically Jewish but retained a secular character such as Marx and Herzl, were so interested in the question of Jewish persecution?
I admit that the following question may somewhat obscure the varying shades of Zionism, Judaism, and statism which can be found in the people I mentioned, but it certainly still applies to Theodor Herzl, if not to Josef Stalin as well:
How can a person consider himself a secular anarcho-collectivist who abhors Orthodox Judaism, while at the same time actively supporting the establishment of a government which defines itself as a “Jewish State”?
As you may recall, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, whose position on Zionism is subscribed to by Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss and his group Neturei Karta – meaning “the Guardians of the City”, i.e., Jerusalem – was not a secularist, but the Grand Rebbe of ultra-Orthodox Haredi Satmar Judaism.
Rabbi Teitelbaum was also not a statist; he did not believe that Jews should ever attempt to bring about any degree of sovereign government among themselves. Furthermore, he believed that the existence of any such government – even one which intended to supplant the authority of the civil government with a religious one – would always be something which prohibits and prevents the coming of Mashiach.
Ideally, adherents to the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism included – do not only view the authority and Law of G-d to be superior to the authority of the Earthly law of mankind, but believe that G-d is the only entity which is worthy of judging man, and that man’s claimed authority is completely irrelevant and non-existent.
Thus, any claim that either communism, socialism, social democracy – either participatory, representative, or otherwise – mutualism, or any other type of government should be instituted by and among the Jews before Mashiach has arrived and established it personally, flies in the face of the central teachings of Judaism as Rabbi Teitelbaum understood it.
If we assume that Rabbi Teitelbaum’s interpretation of the Word of G-d is correct, that many actions which are supposed to be performed by Mashiach have been at least partially carried out by the several most recent generations of Jews, that Mashiach is a collective entity and not an individual person, and that Russian civil rights lawyer Marina Marynova’s claims that evidence at the scene of the murders of Czar Nicholas and his family indicates that they were carried out as mystical Kabalistic rituals, it would logically follow that only one conclusion can be made:
Some of the individuals who belonged to the several most recent generations of Jews – whether they identify themselves as devoutly Jewish, ethnically Jewish, culturally Jewish, or even do not identify themselves as either of these things at all – believe themselves to belong to an anointed people which has been chosen by G-d to bring into being the events which would serve to hasten the redemption of mankind, including the establishment of a sovereign State of the Jewish people, which will serve to compel the People of Israel to accept the authority – and effectively worship – they themselves, the leaders of the government of that State, as members of the collective Mashiach, G-d the Father incarnate on Earth.
In about two hundred and thirty years, the Hebrew calendar will enter its seventh millennium, which is referred to as “the great and continual Shabbat”. This millennium is what is known as the Era of Mashiach, or the Messianic Era. It will begin in either the year 2239 or 2240 of the Gregorian Calendar.
Rabbi Yisroel Weiss says, “seeing that any political entity can fall within hours, even without any bloodshed”, one can still expect Mashiach any day.
However, if it is true that Mashiach is to appear in the first year of the Era of Mashiach, and if it is also true that the State of Israel’s administration of the Laws of Jubilee is anything but complete and perfect to the ability of which it is possible to administer them given current circumstances, then – in accordance with the fact that the Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel for a period of seventy years as punishment for failing to administer the Laws of Jubilee for the same amount of time – the government of the State of Israel must voluntarily dismantle itself by late 2093, and consent that the People of Israel accept a third exile one hundred forty-five-and-a-half years in duration – which would technically be a mere continuation of the second exile which is already in progress – so that government may not exist among the Jewish people by the beginning of the great and continual Shabbat, and the true Mashiach will be able to arrive on Earth, redeem mankind, and establish the Kingdom of G-d.