Monday, August 7, 2017

Arab Terror – Is There Any Hope?

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students, Diaspora Yeshiva

Once again, we are engulfed in a wave of brutal and savage Arab Terror. Is there any consolation?

The Talmud in Sanhedrin states that before the arrival of Moshiach, we will experience a period of pain and suffering called the CHEVLEI Moshiach. Literally, this means the birth pangs of Moshiach. It is an interesting choice of words. We understand that the prelude to Moshiach will be painful, a time of war and worldwide terrorism, but why the metaphor of birth pangs?

On a simple level, we can say that this metaphor is meant to describe the pattern of the Messianic tribulations. When a woman goes into labor, the contractions are light, few and far between. The pain is not so severe yet. But then, as the birth comes closer, the contractions become more painful, and they start coming with greater frequency and lasting much longer. As the labor goes into its final stages, the contractions start to come minutes apart, and they are long, and extremely painful. And then, when it seems that the pain would be unbearable, the child is born.

In the same way, the birth pangs of Moshiach become more frequent, more intense, and more painful as we reach the final phase. And then, when it seems that anymore pain would be unbearable, Moshiach will arrive, and our troubles will be over. This is certainly what we are experiencing today. The pain and suffering of Arab terror are more frequent, more intense, more brutal and more painful. Perhaps we are in the final phase of the birth of Moshiach. The proof is in the painful birth pangs of worldwide terrorism, which is becoming more frequent and more savage.

The Maharal offers a Kabbalistic insight into the metaphor of the birth pangs of Moshiach. A child growing in the mother's womb is living in a world of his own, that bears no resemblance to the outside world. His life processes, his eating and drinking, are all controlled by his umbilical cord connected to his mother. His perceptions and sensations are all controlled by the dark, limited world of the womb.

And then she is born, and she emerges into a world that is completely different from anything she has experienced in the womb. Everything is new and exciting. Everything is different. It is a new and wonderful existence.

In the same way, says the Maharal, the arrival of Moshiach will be like the birth of a child. We will emerge from our troubled world, with all its perceptions, attitudes and problems, into a new world that is completely different from anything we have ever known. The arrival of Moshiach will not just bring major new changes. It will bring us, like new born babies, into a brave and wonderful new world, without troubles and problems.

In what way will the world of Moshiach be different from our tragic and pain filled world? Stay tuned! The best is yet to come.

Tu B’Av - Our Greatest Yom Tov?
By Rav Sprecher


  1. Read "The Three Speeches – Do I Have to Listen to Them?":

  2. “What is man to do to be spared the pangs of Mashiach? Let him engage in Torah and acts of loving-kindness!” (Sanhedrin 98b)

    Moreover, there are also good and happy signs indicating the imminent coming of Mashiach: a good measure of prosperity, a renewal of Torah-study (Sanhedrin; Shir Rabba) and opening of the “gates of wisdom above and the wellsprings of wisdom below,” (Zohar) evidenced also by scientific and technological discoveries and advances;

    A manifestation and propagation of the mystical teachings of the Torah (Zohar; Note also Igeret Teyman, ch. 3, that prophecy shall be restored to Israel prior to the coming of Mashiach), and also “In the time that Mashiach will awaken, many signs and miracles will occur in the world.” (Zohar II:8a)