One may look at the challenges facing Am Yisrael today, especially those of us in Eretz Yisrael, and simply shrug and say, “It isn’t easy being a Jew.” True, we have suffered many hardships throughout the centuries and often gone through tough periods in which one challenge after another seems to befall us. It would be so easy for one to write current events off as just another occurrence of such, but one with open eyes can see that there is much more going on than may seem at first glance.
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, in his commentary on the Sefer HaYetzirah explains that the ten sefirot (the fundamental spiritual building blocks of the universe) parallel the different poles on the axises of a 5-dimensional universe. In the 3-dimensional universe there are 6 directions: Up; Down; North; South; East; and West. According to the Ari haKadosh these correspond to the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin (Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod). The fourth dimension as is well known is time. This is represented by the sefirot of Chochmah (past) and Binah (future). What is the 5th dimension which extends beyond space and time? This is the dimension of Morality in which the sefirot of Keter and Malchut correspond to good and evil. Together these 10 make up all of that in existence.
Now the evil forces of the world can not sustain themselves and must draw their sustenance and vitality from the goodness and holiness of the world. Because of this, the darkness of the world and that which is not good seeks to dominate that which is and completely subjugate it to itself. Chassidut teaches that this struggle can be likened to two powerful adversaries locked in hand to hand combat. When one of them starts to get the upper hand, the other, seeing he is about to be overcome, pulls out whatever reserve strength he may have in order to hold out and try to succeed.
And what do we see in the world around us? Our enemies have for quite some time now had us surrounded literally on almost all sides. We have Hezbollah to the north, Hamas to the south, Iran to the East, terrorist smuggling tunnels dug Below, and rockets flying overhead Above. Through their propaganda our enemies have twisted and perverted the Past convincing the world that historically there was a Palestinian people residing in our land though no such people ever existed and that we supposedly stole this imaginary people’s land. The have also dominated the future pushing the world to form their utopian dream of a Palestinian state (which they don’t so often or publicly mention is meant to replace Israel). One only need look at the kidnappings, torture, and suicide bombings as well as the stabbings and rocketing of innocent civilians to acknowledge that they also have the side of Evil pretty well covered.
It seems as if all the has been left untouched was the West (as it is covered by the Mediterranean) and Good (being the Jewish people themselves – the people of G-d and the torchbearers of His Torah and His will vis-a-vis this world). Yet in the past several weeks it seems even these are no longer safe. With the advent of this new flotilla phenomenon we see our enemies have finally filled in the physical gap to our West. As for the aspect of Good/The Jewish people? With the Emmanuel affair bringing up charges of discrimination in the religious world on the one hand and secular courts trying to dictate to to religious communities how to educate their children on the other, it seems Israeli society is about to face some internal struggles that could prove to be more difficult than its external threats.
And so it seems that the negative forces in this world have finally started to close us in on all sides. As the coming of Mashiach approaches closer and closer by the day we see that the side of evil is pulling out all the stops in a last ditch effort to destroy us both physically and spiritually while it still has the chance. Yet as scary as the road ahead of us leading to Mashiach may look we don’t have to be afraid- in fact we can even be excited. Why is this? Rebbe Nachman teaches that Hashem’s holy light permeates all of existence and that there is not a single place that can exist without some form of this light sustaining it- the only difference is how light or dark the place may be. In a place with ordinary darkness an ordinary level of Hashem’s divine light can sustain it, but if a place is totally overcome by evil this requires the most powerful level of Hashem’s light to hide itself and secretly penetrate the darkness of this place (being that the darkness is too strong for a less powerful light to survive in). The Rebbe also teaches that when someone falls to such a dark place, if he is able to hold on and cry out to Hashem and seek His presence, even in the lowly place he finds himself in, eventually he can reveal this awesome hidden light and cause a greater revelation of Hashem and His presence in this place than would be possible in all other places. So as we feel that we may be sinking into a very dark and frightening time in our history, we should take comfort and strengthen ourselves and our faith with the knowledge that we are purposefully being lead into such a situation in order that it should lead to the greatest revelation of light in history – the coming of our righteous Mashiach speedily amen.