- It’s George Dubbya!
- It’s the US!
- It’s Putin and Red Russia!
- It’s the European Union!
- It’s the UN!
And so on and so forth.
I was like that with everything a decade ago, thinking that all the apocalyptical events and dramatic upheavals, and wars being banded about were mamash just occurring in the physical world. When you live in Israel, which averages a small war approximately every two years, (terrorist attacks not included) it’s easy to see why.
But a few years’ ago, I started to shift away from the ‘war on the outside’ model, to realize that the war being fought by the Jewish people today is 100% internal. Gog and Magog is taking place inside of us, inside of our homes, inside our relationships, inside our communities.
Gog and Magog is a spiritual war to clarify who is on Hashem’s side, and committed to God and His Torah, and who isn’t. And things are so mixed-up today that just having a beard and a rabbinic ordination, or a long skirt and a reputation for being an excellent speaker on the ‘rent a rabbanit’ circuit doesn’t prove anything, in terms of who you’re really fighting for.
Two hundred years’ ago, Rebbe Nachman wrote what’s referred to as the ‘Secret Scroll’, a scroll written in code, that described in detail what would occur before Moshiach came. That scroll has been a closely guarded secret for years, but before he died a little while back, Rav Eliezer Schick, ZTL, wrote a little about the Scroll’s contents in his book, Paolot HaTzaddik.
(You can see the full excerpt HERE).
Rav Shick revealed that there would be a terrible ‘war’ prosecuted against the nation’s leading Tzaddikim, as part of the preparations for Geula.
“[T]he wars of Gog and Magog will include all the machloket (disagreements) and the accusations that will be made against the true Tzaddikim, those who uncover the true will of Hashem Yitborach.
“There are people who want to eat [these Tzaddikim] alive, and who say every forbidden thing against them, and mock them a lot. And by doing this, they greatly distance Jewish souls from coming near to them, and also lengthen the duration of our bitter exile.
“And they are the brazen-faced of the generation, the people with the face of a dog [RL note: these are both code words for the Erev Rav], the soldiers of Gog and Magog, who conceal the truth, and they are the wicked people of the generation…
“It’s written in the Midrash (BeMidbar Rabba, יח:י): ‘He who is brazen-faced, and who is not ashamed in front of those who are bigger than him, and he who is a baal machloket (troublemaker), you’ll see that he is the wickedest of the wicked.”
“And if I would have known, my dear brother, what was written in the Megillat Setorim regarding these soldiers of Gog and Magog, and the people who cover over the truth, I would have fallen on my face from fear and dismay, about how this bitter exile would be lengthened by them….
“If you help the true Tzaddikim, then you will bring the geula closer, and you will merit to have all the good that has been set aside for the soldiers of the House of David. [Referring to Moshiach].”
What can we take from this?
Here’s the main points Rebbe Nachman, via Rav Schick, seems to be telling us about the true war of Gog and Magog:
1. It’s spiritual. We don’t need to look for the soldiers of Gog and Magog in Russia, or on the Syrian border, because really, they’re all around us, in our homes and communities.
2. The ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ are the people who mock our true Tzaddikim and Torah scholars, and who persecute them, libel them, speak falsehoods against them and generally do anything they can to ‘eat them alive’.
3. They conceal the truth - i.e., they don’t just make innocent mistakes or wrong assumptions, they go all-out to tell lies and fabrications, and deliberately bury the truth in a web of lies, mockery and deceit.
4. They make trouble for other people.
5. They aren’t ashamed to challenge people with more mitzvot, middot, learning, knowledge or experience - which covers pretty much everything that’s happening online, and in the world today generally, one way or another.
6. They are the ‘brazen-faced’ of the generation - which is always a scriptural ‘code-word’ for the Erev Rav. (See HERE for more information and background supporting this point.)
So now, what can we learn about the ‘soldiers of the House of David’, i.e. the good guys that are going to bring Moshiach and help Am Yisrael get redeemed via their struggles and efforts?
They help the true Tzaddikim.
In World War II, Switzerland liked to make a big show of its famous ‘neutrality’. Really, they were in the Germans’ back pocket, and were happy to stow away as much stolen wealth, artworks and museum pieces as the Germans could send them, in return for being left alone and not officially invaded.
World War II showed Switzerland’s true moral colors, despite all its posturing of impartiality and ‘not taking sides’, and they weren’t pretty.
Today, I think many of us are trying to follow the Swiss template in the war of Gog and Magog, and to sit on the sidelines keeping out of the action and continuing to live the good life, while our Tzaddikim and the other good people in our midst get taken out by the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’.
- Like the soldier who killed a terrorist in Hevron, and got sent to prison for 9 years to show how ‘just’ Israel is to the rest of the world…
- Like the IDF Rabbi who is being hounded in the press for correctly stating what halacha is, and correctly quoting the Torah…
- Like Rav Berland, and others, who have been hounded, persecuted, chased and vilified for years, by people who are anti-Torah and anti-God.
You want to be Switzerland?
Go right ahead - I’m sure that wherever those Swiss bankers ended up, there’s always room for more people to join them.
But if you want to really bring Moshiach and the geula, then you’re going to have to fight for them. You’re going to have to throw your hat in the ring with the ‘soldiers of King David’, and start sticking up for God and his Torah and his Tzaddikim, even when it’s really uncomfortable or scary to do that.
The Vilna Gaon famously wrote about the Erev Rav that we have to split off from them, and not follow their path and their ways. And that if someone didn’t manage to do that - i.e., they wanted to continue being ‘Switzerland’, spiritually - then it would be better for them if they’d never been born.
All week, we’ve been seeing the latest episode of ‘Gog and Magog’ playing out in the world. On one side, Rav Berland, Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Dov Kook, Rav David Abuchatzeira and a bunch more Tzaddikim (both known and more ‘hidden’). On the other: the press, and the government, and the mocking, slanderous, emotionally-abusive people of all stripes.
I think it’s getting clearer and clearer which side is the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ and which side is the ‘soldiers of King David’. And the war is still going on. If you want Moshiach and redemption, help our true Tzaddikim! Get up and be counted.
Don’t let the soldiers of Gog and Magog completely dominate the battlefield.
There’s big things at stake here. ‘Switzerland’ can’t exist in a world that’s only truth. But remember, the main weapon of a Jew is prayer. If it’s too scary to take on the crazy lunatics in the world, then at least start praying for the good guys to win, or give some tzedaka to the people who are waging the war on our behalf.
Start saying Tikkun HaKlali. Start talking to God every day. Start rooting out the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ that are hiding out inside every single one of us. Do your bit!
And if you - and me, and as many other people as possible out there in the world - do that, then good will win out sooner rather than later, Moshiach will come now, and the war of Gog and Magog will finally be over.