But Rav Arush very rarely comes out with any statement you could characterize as ‘ponderous’, so when that does occasionally happen, I always sit up and take notice.
On Shabbat, Rav Arush’s parsha sheet bore the following title: “Who is going to merit [seeing] the Geula”. Rav Arush then went on to describe how the final redemption is going to proceed along the same sorts of lines as the original exodus from Egypt, and explained how Am Yisrael is currently in the modern plague of darkness, where 4/5 of the Jewish people died.
Here’s a little of his own language:
“We are mamash in the time of the plague of darkness, which was the final plague before the Egyptian redemption (geula). In our generation, there is not a single house which doesn’t have it’s ‘dead people’, both in the spiritual and the material realms.
“Whether it’s kids who have fallen off the Derech and ‘died’ spiritually; or the spiritually-unclean (tameh) computers that have entered into every crack, cranny of even the most sheltered groups; or the very difficult illnesses that only seems to gather steam from one day to the next..; or delays in finding a soulmate, or the homes that are being broken up by a lack of shalom bayit and divorces; or the terrible emotional and spiritual illnesses (machalot hanefesh), God should have mercy.”
Rav Arush continued that all of us can feel this darkness in our lives at the moment, in whatever way our own personal ‘darkness’ is manifesting, and that the nation is mamash ‘at the entrance’ to the time of the geula.
Rav Arush also explained who is going to make it through to geula, and who isn’t. Again, this is his words:
“Baalei machloket (i.e. people who cause trouble and strife and speak badly of others) and the people who follow after them have no part in the geula. They don’t have any connection whatsoever to the geula.”
This is very strong language from Rav Arush.
He continues: “A Jew could see miracles and wonders, and see the open revelation of the Divine Presence and God’s holiness, and he could go to Torah classes and understand deep things, and he could study [Torah] in depth, and be a ‘lamdan’ (person who’s very knowledgeable in Torah) - but if he’s not working on himself, and working on his middot, and on his his lusts, and especially the ‘lust’ of participating in machloket - he’s going to die, and he won’t have a share in the geula, God should have mercy!”
Again, this is not ‘standard’ for Rav Arush. My husband was pretty surprised when he read this week’s parsha sheet, with such a stark warning that so many Jews - millions of Jews, even - won’t make it through to the geula if they keep stirring controversies, creating scandals, talking badly, making trouble, and participating in all the strife and gossip that unfortunately characterizes so much of even the ‘frummest’ sections of the Jewish world today.
And Rav Arush specifically made the point that speaking against the Tzaddik is the worst possible variant of this type of machloket.
The last thing I wanted to share with you from Rav Arush’s parsha sheet was his description of why people persist in all their victory-seeking, trouble-making, gossip and controversy-stirring behavior, when the geula is so near. Again, this is his own words, describing the 4/5 who died in Egypt’s plague of darkness, instead of working on their bad middot and leaving with Moshe Rabbenu:
“They had amongst them ‘learned people’ and people of ‘understanding and ideas’, who came against Moshe Rabbenu with all sorts of conjecture and rationalisations. There were those that said:
‘How can it be that we are going to be redeemed, when there’s still another 190 years to go?!?’ and so then they came and argued against Moshe. And there were also those that said: ‘How can it be, that the redeemer is coming from the tribe of Levi, when Yaacov said he’d come from the tribe of Yehuda?!?”
“They probably had a whole bunch of other rationalisations and arguments, too, and they wrote entire books containing them, and newsletters, and discourses….And what was the end of all of these ‘truth seekers’ who were causing controversy against the Tzaddikim? They all died in the plague of darkness.”
This work begins at home, with our ‘difficult’ relatives, and expands out through our circles of friends and acquaintances, all the way up to reading blogs, newspapers and other things that typically slander, criticize and disdain other Jews - and especially enormous tzaddikim!
(I'm so tempted to add in 'such as Rav Berland...' but I won't.)
It’s really, really hard work!
But that’s the only way we’re going to make it through to geula.