March 4

“The fig tree puts forth her green figs.” Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba said: Shortly before the days of the Messiah a great epidemic will come upon the world and the wicked will vanish. “And the vines in blossom give forth their fragrance”: this refers to the survivors, spoken of in the verse “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem.” (Midrash Rabbah Shir Hashirim, Chapter 2, 13:4, Soncino Press translation with minor changes)

This is happening in our time. For those who might scoff and say that there were many plagues throughout history, there are two answers:

1. There were several particularly auspicious windows of opportunity for Moshiach to come throughout history, and unfortunately we squandered them.

2. This is in fact the first time in history the above could have been fulfilled. Only now do we have millions of Jews living in Israel, to whom the second half of the prophecy can refer.

The coronavirus is the real deal, it’s going to trigger widespread devastation, and we should be anticipating the arrival of Moshiach imminently. Let’s all spend a little less time worrying about election fallout, petty grievances, and mundane matters, and spend more time making serious preparations — both for material calamities and to prepare ourselves spiritually for a big shake-up.

We are going to experience very frightening things, but these are also very exciting times. What we have waited for and suffered for for thousands of years is unfolding before us day by day.

If you are STILL voluntarily living in galus, wake up already and commit to returning home as soon as possible. That alone should be a merit to protect you.

If you are already living in Israel, the most important thing is to try to bring greater unity to the Jewish people. The first suggestion I would give is to commit not to say lashon hara about fellow Jews, and especially not on social media. If you have done so in the past, try to rectify it however possible and limit your use of social media as a form of teshuva and as a safeguard.

I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but we are close enough to the end of the story that we can make educated guesses about the final pages of the book. The above is excellent advice in any case. Let’s not be asleep at the wheel.

March 6

This will be the first Pesach in a long time that the Jews in Israel will all be staying in Israel and the Jews in galus will say “Next year in Jerusalem” and really mean it.

March 8

“If she be a wall”: had the Jews gone up from Bavel like a wall, the Temple would not subsequently have been destroyed a second time.Rabbi Zeira once went into the market to buy some goods, and he said to the shopkeeper, “Weigh them carefully.” Said the other to him: “Won’t you get out of here, you Babylonian whose ancestors destroyed the Temple?”

Rabbi Zeira thereupon thought to himself: “Are not my ancestors the same as his?” Later he went into a Beit Midrash, where he heard Rabbi Shila sitting and expounding: “‘If she is a wall’: had the Jews gone up from Bavel like a wall, the Temple would not have been destroyed a second time.”

Said Rabbi Zeira: “That am ha’aretz taught me well!” (Shir Hashirim Rabba Chapter 8, 9:3, Soncino translation with minor changes)

[Also see here for an excellent collection of sources showing Rabbi Zeira’s incredible love for Eretz Yisrael.

Perhaps what is most remarkable is that Rabbi Zeira actually accepted the rebuke on behalf of his ancestors — quite offensive as it was — from the shopkeeper. Nowadays you can hardly quote a pasuk from the Torah or a Halacha from Shulchan Aruch to many people, frum Jews included, without drawing their ire. But I consider it a matter of pikuach nefesh to at least make this information more widely known, and people can pay attention to it, mock it, explain it away, quibble with it, or dismiss it as they wish.

We don’t have living prophets in our time, so it is our responsibility to derive Hashem’s will from the written prophets, Chazal, and messages Hashem sends us through world events.

The message should be abundantly clear that the galus is over, Hashem is fulfilling His oath to bring the Jews back to their homeland, and the only thing standing in His way is the obstinacy of many of our people who simply don’t want to hear it, no matter what.

I write about this extensively in my sefer Go Up Like a Wall, which I am happy to share at no cost to anyone who wishes to read it (hard copies available in Israel for free, pdf can be emailed upon request, available on Amazon for worldwide shipping at the minimum price possible).

We are witnessing incredible changes in the world order, and things are moving with increasing speed as the ge’ulah unfolds, which was also foretold in the Midrash. (Shir Hashirim Rabba Chapter 6, 1:10) If you are not yet in Israel, the best decision you can make is to come now. If it is truly beyond your ability to come now, the second best decision is to resolve to come at the earliest possible opportunity and to pine for it. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be, and it may soon become impossible.

The life as you knew it in galus is over forever, whether you like it or not. Who is a wise person? One who recognizes what is coming.

I don’t care if I sound like a crazy person, an extremist, an alarmist, a Messianist, or whatever else some people might call me. If I wake up one Jew then it’s worth it. And even if I don’t wake up any Jews, at least my conscience will be clear for having tried.

March 8

I’ve just been informed from a relative in the USA that people are stealing gloves and masks from the hospital where she works (which I have heard is happening in other places as well), and that healthcare workers are being forbidden to leave the country. I expect martial law to be declared as things continue to deteriorate, and then you can kiss your rights and freedoms goodbye.

March 9

An urgent call from Rabbonim for the Jews in galus to come to Israel immediately, warning that the gates will soon be closed. Come with whatever you can and just come. The Chofetz Chaim always had a suitcase prepared for the time in which we find ourselves. The goyim are busy “prepping” with food, supplies, and ammunition to protect themselves; a Jew preps by having a suitcase ready and coming home.

In a video two days ago they also referenced the Midrash in Shir Hashirim that foretold a massive plague coming on the heels of Moshiach. This is the one.

For thousands of years Jews have missed the warning signs and paid the ultimate price. If you are their gilgul, this is your time to make a tikun for that. Either way, be the ones to finally learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat it. Come to Israel and just figure it out when you get here. It will work out in Israel. This is where you need to be.

March 9

Things are moving faster than I can even write about them. I was planning on writing today that we can expect Iran to start a war imminently. Tucked away at the end of Tanna Debei Eliyahu Zuta is a little-known Midrash. Rabbi Yitzchak says that before Moshiach comes, Persia will threaten Arabia. Arabia will turn to Rome for help and be rebuffed. Persia will then attack them, triggering the war of Gog Umagog, and they will destroy [much of] the world. Persia is Iran, and Rome is the Western World, primarily the United States. (I don’t have the sefer in front of me at the moment, but I can quote the Hebrew at a later time, unless someone wants to beat me to it.)

Since Iran began making noise with its nuclear program about 10 years ago, I have been citing this Midrash, predicting that they would not be stopped, and anticipating the fulfillment of Rabbi Yitzchak’s words.

I was planning to write about how, thank God, Iran is being pummeled by the coronavirus worse than any other country. Much of their government has been infected, and some of their top leaders have already died. Their economy has been in a shambles and they were already facing massive civil unrest before this plague hit them.

Most countries under such circumstances would place a priority on some combination of salvaging their economy and protecting their citizens. If you had to pick one country that would prioritize neither of those things even in desperate times, it would be Iran. Their greatest priority is to annihilate their enemies in a “holy war”, and their first target is unlikely to be Israel or America, but their Muslim rivals in Saudi Arabia.

I was going to write that we can expect Iran to attack Saudi Arabia very soon, because Iran’s ship is sinking very fast, their leaders are sick and fearful for their lives, this is their greatest wish, and they have nothing left to lose.

That was yesterday. Today I wake up to learn that Saudi Arabia has shocked the world by driving down the price of oil to insanely low levels in an attempt to steal back market share from Russia. This is not only a punch in the gut to Russia, but to its ally and business partner, Iran. Iran’s economy is already crippled, and they cannot afford to lose whatever is left of it to Saudi Arabia.

If you cited the above midrash 50 years ago, people would think you were crazy. If you cited it 10 years ago or five years ago, people would find it interesting but not alarming. If you cite it today, it sounds like something you wouldn’t bet money against.

If you cite it tomorrow, it might already be history.

Gog Umagog is on the way. Jews, come home!

March 9

Saw this paragraph in a Washington Post article: “$20 oil in 2020 is coming,” Ali Khedery, a former US official in Iraq and onetime Middle East expert with Exxon, wrote on Twitter. “Huge geopolitical implications. Timely stimulus for net consumers. Catastrophic for failed/failing petro-kleptocracies Iraq, Iran, etc. — may prove existential 1-2 punch when paired with COVID19.”

Doesn’t take a prophet to predict how Iran is likely to respond at this point. It’s happening in our time.

March 9

From an article of mine in 2018. The time to leave like a mensch has passed. Now it’s a question of whether or not they will leave at all.
___

I am waiting until I must go with only the shirt on my back.

This is generally the Plan B of those with the previous exit plan, though they prefer not to phrase it in these terms. Israel is the safe haven option, if all else fails. It exists primarily so Jews will have a place to run if and when they have to run. Hopefully they will never have to run for their lives, because they don’t really want to live in Israel, ever, and people shouldn’t be forced to live where they don’t want to be.

Historically these Jews are the ones who recognize that they are no longer especially welcome in their foreign country of choice, but wish to liquidate their assets and leave like a mensch. Unfortunately they tend to miscalculate the window for being able to leave like a mensch, and at some point will be fortunate to leave at all.

There are millions of Jews around the world today who are uncomfortable being Jewish in their foreign country of choice, much as they enjoy living there. This discomfort may involve subtle expressions of hatred for the Jew or clear and present physical dangers that they have become used to. (The ability of the Jew to become used to this is second to none.) Even Jews who do not perceive overt threats to their existence generally sense a latent threat that can become activated at any time. We’ve always been everyone’s favorite whipping boy, nothing has changed, and we know it whether we like to admit it or not.

These millions of Jews are all waiting to book the last seat on the last El Al flight out of the country before all hell breaks loose, and do not wish to leave one minute sooner. We can only hope they are not incorrect in their prediction of when all hell will break loose, and that this last flight will not be overbooked. Jews do not have a good track record of timing these things right.

March 13

Another thought…

For many years Israel faced a serious drought, to the extent that the Kinneret neared the lower “black line” and there were fears of irreversible ecological damage. The past couple of winters were better, but the water level remained extremely low. Most winters there were emergency prayers for rain. Israeli farmers were forced to ration water and faced extreme economic difficulties.

This rainy season got off to an extremely slow start as well.

Then it started to rain. And rain and rain and rain. My weekly softball game has been rained out since Chanuka, except for one game in three months that they managed to play on a muddy field. It seems to rain every Friday night, a particularly auspicious sign. Heavy rains are expected again this weekend…

…And now the Kinneret is a few centimeters from being full.

What seemed impossible to most people for many years has now materialized in a matter of weeks.

Just in time for Israel to unleash its farmers so they can grow and grow and grow. The land is already blessed, and soon people will see even greater blessings. The goyim are panic buying whatever is left on the shelves. Soon they will be rioting, looting, rampaging. We will see a breakdown of law and order – and humanity – all over the world.

While this is happening, Israel will enjoy an overabundance of food, and will probably be busy exporting it to those who hate us and wish to boycott us to death. I am generally not in favor of price gouging in times of crisis, but prices can be decided based on the various countries’ track records in voting at the UN, double standards towards Israel, and history of Jew-hatred. Those who openly supported terrorists should be forced to sign declarations that the God of Israel is the only true God and we are His chosen people, or they can choke on their BDS.

The chickens are finally coming home to roost, and how wonderful it is.

Maybe the galus Jews will finally decide to come home, too.

March 19

How long until pogroms against Jews in America? I wouldn’t bet one dollar against this happening. And now the gates of Israel are almost entirely sealed. Will you people STILL not wake up? What will it take? Tell me, please, what does God have to do exactly to get the message across that He is upset that you have chosen galus over Israel and that you should beg for the chance to rectify it?

March 20

In these uncertain times, one thing we can be 100% sure of is that the vaccine to the virus will NOT be created in an Arab country.

March 24

It’s a halacha that Esav hates Yaakov. If Jews get the virus, they claim the Jews are spreading it and use it as a pretext to attack them. If Jews don’t get the virus, they claim the Jews created it and are hiding the antidote, and use it as a pretext to attack them. It is pointless to try to convince our enemies that they are wrong for hating us, and it is foolish to convince ourselves that they are simply misguided and not really our enemies. As always, the Torah tells us the truth, and we would be much better off if we didn’t need to learn it the hard way.

April 2

“Unprecedented joint call from Chief Rabbis of the world for Jewry to unite this Shabbat as a spiritual response to the coronavirus”

I wouldn’t call it unprecedented, as I called for it on March 17 (post copied below), but I’m glad they finally adopted the idea. I have a habit of being so far ahead of the curve that I’m out of view when they finally catch up. Such is my lot.

April 3

Even a Joint List MK denounced the hatred being unleashed against religious Jews! Moshiach is definitely on the way…if only our fellow Jews could uproot the hatred from their hearts as well instead of seeking to justify it.

April 6

Yes, people in Bnei Brak and similar communities were slow to get the message and were very irresponsible. But these communities were among the LAST to experience outbreaks of the virus. The virus spread before reaching them only because countless other people — mostly secular — mocked and disregarded those who warned them about the virus before it was too late. “It’s only a flu; “More people die from the flu”; “People are overreacting”.

So, as is usually the case, those who most vociferously attempt to smear and defame others are in fact the greatest hypocrites, and do so only to deflect attention from their own warts.

Be honest. When did YOU start taking extreme precautions after receiving warnings, and how many people might you have realistically infected before then? Most likely if you are better than the people of Bnei Brak in this regard, it is only marginally so, and you had best be quiet.

Many people were ignorant, many people ignored the warnings for a while, many people were irresponsible. They all have what to learn from this experience, and will do so in the proper time, when we are past this.

If someone drives while texting, they are endangering themselves and others. But if they do get into an accident, we immediately do whatever we can to help them. We don’t self-righteously proclaim they got what they deserve. We won’t leave them to bleed and die. We show compassion and help them. Especially when we know that we’re not the world’s safest drivers, either.

You can split hairs to try to find a difference and argue that THIS is different, that THIS TIME it’s perfectly fine to step on the suffering, but you will only do this if you are a hate-filled, cruel person who has it in for these particular people. Just because you have a “reason” to be hate-filled and cruel doesn’t change the fact that you are hate-filled and cruel.

The smearing of entire communities when people are sick and dying is cruel and completely un-Jewish — so cruel and un-Jewish that I seriously wonder if those who are doing this are really Jewish altogether.

The proper Jewish reaction is to pray for the suffering and pour out compassion and love — even if they are suffering because of ignorance or lack of responsibility. This is what the overwhelming majority of people in Bnei Brak would do for other Jews who are suffering, and this is what they deserve. Those who stand over a community reeling from pain and blaspheme it should be excommunicated.

April 7

Ron Huldai, the Mayor of Tel Aviv, said the following: “Taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis for an incitement campaign against Chareidim is inappropriate. Pesach is a time for mutual responsibility and solidarity. Tonight, we will illuminate City Hall with the caption ‘We Love Bnei Brak’ out of empathy with our neighbor across the Yarkon.”

Huldai is the one of the last people I would have expected to do something like this. It provides great hope that secular people who hate religious people and religious people who call soldiers Nazis can do better. I never thought I would say this, but Kol Hakavod to Ron Huldai. Moshiach is definitely on the way.

April 22

Many Jews unfortunately still do not understand the dangers of congregating even for Torah purposes and the harm it can cause, and that’s a huge problem. At the same time, though, isn’t it beautiful that the soul of a Jew yearns to daven with a minyan and learn in a Beis Midrash, and being prevented from doing so is so unbearable that he cannot think clearly?

The Jews who risked their lives to perform a mitzvah, or even a facsimile of a mitzvah, in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and other such times and places were also probably doing the “wrong” thing from a halachic standpoint. They too were risking their lives and the lives of those around them when maybe they shouldn’t have from a strict halachic standpoint.

No, it’s not a perfect analogy, and no, I’m not advocating for people to congregate during a plague in dangerous ways…but those attacking these people have an axe to grind against them in general, and they never had a kind word to say about them before this happened. They are not objective, and their words come only from a place of hatred, camouflaged in self-righteousness. They are hypocrites. Their goal is not to convince these people to make better decisions — were that the case they would choose an entirely different approach. Their goal is to destroy them, and the virus is convenient fuel for their rage and hatred. They are little different than the anti-Semites using the virus to fuel their hatred for all Jews.

Notice how their “well-intentioned” criticism instantaneously devolves into a wild polemic, with language and wishes they wouldn’t express against anyone else on earth. The virus is just their way of getting their foot in the door to legitimize their broad hatred for these people.

April 22

President Trump just signed an executive order banning all immigration until further notice. It’s bad for the country, so no one’s coming in. Just like that. What if tomorrow he decides that no one’s going out, since it’s bad for the economy, unsafe, or whatever? I know, it’s crazy, it can’t happen, because crazy things never happen, except all the crazy things that have been happening on a daily basis…

Just a thought.

April 23

From Investor’s Business Daily

Dow Jones Today Edges Up On Jobless Claims

Jobless Claims Soar, But Decline from Prior Week
Jobless claims came in at 4.427 million during the week ended April 18, down from 5.237 million claims in the prior week and almost exactly in line with economist expectations.

The decline and the matching of estimates were both positives, but nevertheless brought the total number of first-time unemployment claims filed over the past five weeks to 26 million.

In other words, it’s good news that only 4,427,000 people filed for unemployment this week, because that’s fewer newly unemployed people than the number who lost their jobs last week. Of course, the people who previously lost their jobs still don’t have jobs, but this is great news, and the stock market should celebrate.

One day there will be one person left with a job and he will lose it. The stock market will go up because the previous week there were two new claims, and next week there won’t be any.

One day two homeless, starving, former middle-class people will be sitting on the street together. One will complain about the situation, and the other will tell him to cheer up, the economy must be good because the stock market went up.
The stock market is a total farce and a propaganda tool to manipulate the public.

It’s a good thing they’re printing trillions and trillions of green sheets of toilet paper, so there won’t be a shortage.

Jews, trade in your green toilet paper for a plane ticket while you still can. A caravan in the Negev will soon be a lot more comfortable than a mansion in Jewtown, USA.

May 8

Unemployment will soon reach Great Depression levels, all the job growth of the last 10 years has been wiped out since March, big companies are going bankrupt, small businesses are finished, no one but the very wealthy can even pay their bills anymore, food shortages and massive increase in food prices have already begun, Costco limiting purchases even though Costco only exists so people can buy in bulk, thousands are dying every day, armed protests in many states, brutal police crackdowns on ordinary citizens doing nothing, governors openly stating that the Constitution is basically not relevant as they seize power and strip basic rights with executive orders, media censorship, federal government printing trillions of dollars in Monopoly money and buying up everything that used to belong to the citizens, corrupt FBI and politicians using the justice system as a political tool to destroy the lives of people who stand in their way, criminals freed from prison while ordinary citizens who want to work and stand near someone are thrown in jail, drones spying on people in the streets, judges demanding people apologize for working to feed their kids or go to jail, and, of course, anti-Semitism always on the rise.

This is America. Did I miss anything?

May 8

I said it before, I’ll say it again. Every time Jews have said “it can’t happen here”, they have been wrong. The United States I knew growing up is not what it was, and I don’t think that place is coming back. Mind you, I am not commenting on the average citizen, who in most cases is a decent person. I am commenting on the structural health of the country. In that respect the U.S. is not even really a nation anymore, but a bunch of tribes who are diametrically opposed on the most basic issues: borders, basic rights, capitalism vs. socialism, and the Constitution itself.

There is going to be major turmoil there, and, as is always the case, the Jews are going to get stuck right in the middle of it. I wish they would come home for the right reasons, but if they won’t do that, the trouble ahead will help make them homesick. How many millions of Jews didn’t get out when they could for all the same reasons that we hear today? We have all heard their stories, wish they could have had more foresight, and believed we wouldn’t make the same mistake. Well, history is repeating itself one last time, and many of our people are indeed making the same mistake.

If you are in galus, stop trying to time the exact right moment to leave. Stop thinking you will be able to book the last seat on the last flight out.

Stop waiting for life in Israel to win the comparison test in every respect. It doesn’t have to and shouldn’t have to.

Stop waiting for Israel to be perfect. You’re far from perfect too, you’ve got plenty of issues too. Let’s work on it all together, at home.

(I also believe that those who have an easy absorption tend to be those who try to see the good, and the land returns the favor by seeing the good in them and accepting them. Those who come with a critical eye receive the same treatment from the land, and might not pass inspection either. I have no scientific evidence for this, but I believe it’s true.)

Stop waiting to have everything in your life arranged and planned just right before you are willing to come. Take charge of your destiny, leave some things up to God, and figure some things out after you get here. Refugees have to start with nothing and figure everything out from the beginning. They’ve been able to do that. You’re ahead of the game. Why wait to be a refugee?

Most of all, stop waiting for Moshiach. You have it backwards. Moshiach is waiting for you.

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