21st Century #4: President Trump, Vladamir Putin, and Mashiach

Given: July 2, 2016



At the end of the last class, I asked the following question: Why did Obama give Iran fifteen years to legitimately build a nuclear weapon? Well, before I get into that question, I would like to reiterate the importance and the significance of what these classes are about.

Relevance of Hashkafa, Torah, and G-d’s Hand in History A Clarification. People think that hashkafa---Jewish world-view is about ancient events only, stories from thousands of years ago. They may ask what relevance these ancient stories and ideas have for today. As you have seen, these classes afford me the opportunity to demonstrate very important ideas about the current relevance of hashkafa in our times. There are, indeed, several points to make.

The first point to stress is that the ancient Bible, the Torah, is relevant as much today as it ever was – period. Not only is Torah relevant today, but it explains the history of the Creation and the origin of mankind. So obviously, it's completely relevant. Its relevance extends to its inherent ability to aid our interpretations of current events based on its principles regarding G-d’s supervision of His Creation toward the purpose of the Divine Plan. Does it mean that our interpretation is always correct? I’ve mentioned before that trajectories can change with respect to what Jews are up to in terms of their religious observance or otherwise, which may alter or modify the whole design. And remember, G-d is merciful. He may shift the direction toward outcomes that could be regarded as painful but, because of some good deeds performed by even a small number of individuals, G-d may intervene and slow down or completely stop the flow in that direction. There are so many things that can change the system but, in the end, the system remains stable and the unfolding of the Divine Plan of Creation is headed for fulfillment.

Another thing that I want to demonstrate by revealing G-d’s intervention---the Hand of G-d---is G-d’s consistent and constant involvement in the affairs of the Jewish people. Although it may appear so at times, G-d has not abandoned the Jewish people. He continually asserts what is known in Hebrew as ”hashgachah pratis,” probably best translated as a ‘watchful and directing eye’ over the fortunes of the collective Jewish people for the sake of the whole world.

I also want to demonstrate that we are very near the End, by looking into the book of the “Zohar.” I’m also going to talk about “brexit,” the British exit from the European Union, a development which is very important. I also intend to talk about what I think lies in store for the next fifteen years.


The Zohar on the Resurrection of the Dead

Let’s begin with the Zohar. The Book of the Zohar says that among the events and happenings that Mashiach ben David’s arrival augurs is what is known as the “Resurrection of the Dead.” Most people think that means that everybody's going to get up right away. In practice, records the Zohar, when or how quickly the dead get up is correlated to the extent to which materialism dominated their lives. The more materialism an individual allowed to permeate his or her life in this “worldly” existence, the longer it takes to get up.

The Zohar also says that the span of time that it will take for the resurrection will be 210 years from the time Mashiach ben David is revealed (although others contend that it will take 214 years). Keep in mind, however, that the reign of the mashiach ends in the year 6000, the Gregorian calendar-year 2240. That’s the end of this world as we know it--- “olam ha’zeh”. It also marks the end of the Messianic Era.

After that begins a period of time during which the world begins to dematerialize, to transform itself into the spiritual environment that it essentially is. This process is called “zichuch”---purification / transformation of the material world. If we assume that the world ends in 2240–-and if you subtract at least 210 years, at what year do we arrive?--- 2030. And we are now in 2016, so that's only fourteen years to go, which is like a single blip on the radar screen! So, based on the Zohar, what should happen in the next fourteen years (barring the contingencies mentioned in my disclaimers) is the following:

Clash of Civilizations

First, we will experience the clash of civilizations, Ishmael/Islam and Edom and, especially, the clash between Ishmael and the Jews. This culminates in the entrance of Mashiach Ben Yosef and his task to bring all the Jews back to Israel, build the final Holy Temple to reveal the Messianic Light, and engage in the war of Gog from the land of Magog that will be waged against Mashiach ben David.

It’s cataclysmic! In reality, any one of these events can blow your mind, but when you add all four! During this cataclysmic war, Mashiach ben David appears and wipes out Gog of Magog and his allies, all of whom are fighting against Israel. He doesn't wipe them out militarily, but with decrees: He looses upon them a plague. He will declare, “May this plague afflict so-and-so,” and so it will happen.


While Mashiach ben Yosef’s time constitutes a period when the world is the way it currently is, this era of Mashiach ben David, in contrast, will be replete with miraculous events. Some aspects of the world will still function naturally, but violations of nature will be seen, particularly with regard to Mashiach ben David, as being able to wipe out enemies of the Jewish people.

Several things are currently going at the same time: the tremendous acceleration of events to bring these outcomes, the advent of the messiahs, and, yes, a pronounced descent into immoral, evil behavior.


Moral Decay

The Secretary of Defense came out with an announcement two or three days ago saying that, from now on, the military establishment is accepting transgender soldiers in the army. Is he out of his mind? It’s demoralizing the army, not to mention the gays serving in the army! And now they want bathrooms for indiscriminate use by either males or females---in other words, non-segregated toilets. The fact that the world has now not only legalized homosexuality, but celebrates it making a national shrine of the Stonewall Bar where they started this revolution around 1968, shows you the progression.


We know that G-d destroyed the world by the Flood, mainly due to the ubiquity of homosexuality. Today, the world is again “playing” with G-d, tempting Him, daring Him to destroy the world. And believe me, you don't want to tempt G-d. There's a tremendous descent into what's called the “49th Gate of Impurity.” It is as if G-d is saying: I suspend judgment and you guys can descend as far down as you want because, at the end of time, there has to be Darkness.


We derive all this from the first chapter of Genesis:


And the earth was unformed and void, empty, and there was darkness on the face of the deep. And the spirit of G-d hovered in the midst of the darkness, on the face of the waters. And G-d said, “Let there be light.”


You will now probably recall that Hebrew numerology is a method of understanding the inner meanings of the Hebrew biblical texts. The biblical commentator Ba'al Haturim says that the numerological value of the Hebrew text for the clause: “The spirit of G-d hovered in the midst of the darkness” is equal to the Hebrew sentence: “This is king messiah.” What this means is that the mashiach will come right before the Ohr---messianic Light, which comes in the midst of the Darkness. So now we can begin to understand why our time seems so incredibly dark. “Darkness” doesn't just mean “absence of light.” It means there’s an enormous amount of defilement, pollution, contamination, sin, iniquity, corruption and immorality, and so on. In the End, evil dominates. However, the most spectacular tragedy of all will be when G-d pays back those who caused this defilement.


Obama and the Iran Deal

We can begin coming down to earth again, back to Obama and Iran. Taking into consideration the math, subtracting the span of years it takes for resurrection from the number of years allotted for the finitude of this reality’s existence, we can appreciate the brevity of time we have left. When we add to that the fact that Iran is progressing, legally, to build a nuclear device, we see that it is all coming together.


Only a guy like Obama could have made that possible. His role in arming Iran, as mentioned in an earlier lecture, is one of the main reasons that Obama became president, because only someone as crazy as he would allow the greatest sponsor of terrorism ever known to acquire a nuclear weapon. This was all for his legacy, which includes, of course, endangering Israel and the entire world. Everyone knows what those crazies are going to do because they all believe that the 12th Imam can only come when the world has been destroyed. So that's exactly what they want to do. They are theologically compelled to destroy the world.


When all events converge, you realize what that final point will be: the proliferation of science---the internet as a means and device---whereby mashiach can go online to teach the entire world…yes, we can speculate about what's happening and what could happen, but the most powerful aspect of all of this is the tremendous proliferation of evil and defilement....and technology.


Brexit

Punishment of the European Union Here is what will happen as I see it: First, let’s talk about Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union. There are different levels of understanding and I'd like to cover several of them.


First, Britain is no slouch. Britain still has colossal influence and strength. There was a time when, as they say, the sun never set on the British Empire. That's how extensive their holdings were. Even today, the British Commonwealth---which is really Britain, Canada, and Australia---is something to reckon with.


They all respect the Queen. Did I say happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth? No? “Happy Birthday!” Imagine the merit she has to live to be ninety years old! She became queen at twenty-seven. She's the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Britain. And by the way---and few know this—the queen is really German, from the House of Hanover. She doesn't tell you that because nobody wants to be reminded, and this probably goes all the way back to William the Conqueror who was one of the Germanic kings in 1066. He invaded Saxon England. Anyway, Britain will do fine.


It's amazing to watch this second-greatest European economy maintaining itself militarily and voting to leave the European Union. What does their exit mean? I believe it's a significant punishment to Europe, severely diminishing Europe’s strength. If you think about it, what is Europe’s strength aside from Germany, France and Britain? I don't want to insult Italy, but Italy and most of the other countries are, what? There’s third-world Spain and Greece. Countries like Holland, Luxembourg, and Lichtenstein – oh, I shouldn't forget Lichtenstein, the great world power called Lichtenstein! And, of course, the “greatest” world power of all is Monaco, right? So, Brexit is a tremendous blow to Europe.


Signal of European Dissolution

The European Union has twenty-eight countries and nobody expected Britain to leave. David Cameron went to sleep that night thinking he had it all sewn up. He really put his reputation on the line. Now he has to resign because the fallout is so bad for him. This will diminish the stature of Europe and, like I said, some of the other countries have indicated that they also may leave. What may be happening is the beginning of the dissolution of the EU. If other countries leave, then it’s a “snowball effect.”

I believe G-d is punishing Europe. Europe has become, and has been, a formidable anti-Semitic region of the world. It's incredible how they buck up the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement). Europe still gives money to the “Palestinian” Arabs, despite the fact that so little of it gets to the people. And who are the Palestinians? So many of them are desperate and, therefore, easy recruits as terrorists-for-hire. Moreover, Europe gave billions to Arafat and what did Arafat do? He stole it, just like Abbas. It's an absurd joke.

So G-d seems to be saying, I’ve had enough. I’m going to diminish your stature. In truth, the only ones that are a cause for concern for Israel are France and Germany. Eventually, however, the clout of the European Union, and its influence against Israel, will be greatly diminished.


Putin

I want to talk about a very, very unusual man--- Vladimir Putin. I'm going to tell you what I think is going to happen. What in the world is he doing at Russia’s helm? Putin's a very interesting person. The first thing to consider is that, throughout history, Russian dictators hated Jews. They hated them from the time of the earliest czars and even earlier. Russia is a place that's rife, saturated, with Jewish blood. If you look at the severity and the frequency of the pogroms, it’s astounding to realize how many Jews the Russians killed. Besides murdering Jews, they destroyed Judaism. Most Russian Jews were gone. Now it's a little different --but then!


I heard a story once, quite disheartening, about a family in Russia at around the time of Brezhnev. There was a Jewish family that used to eat a large meal on Yom Kippur (Judaism’s holiest day of the year with a strict 25-hour fast associated with it). This family invited their wider family to join in this meal. They invited the whole family when, “Hello? – Excuse me! What are you doing?” The head-of-household was asked about their feasting on Yom Kippur. He told his relatives that he had no recollection of what Yom Kippur was about, although he did know from his grandparents that Yom Kippur has always been special to the Jews. So they figured that such a day would probably have a festive meal. Could you imagine how far away they were from Judaism? This was due to the Soviet regime.


So, considering the history of Russian anti-Semitism, how did they get a guy like Putin? There is an article in the Jewish magazine “Z’man” entitled: “The Putin Enigma” which includes a short biography. “Crushing Anti-Semitism Putin Style” is the article’s bi-line. An excerpt reads:

Putin has ruthlessly suppressed violent forms of anti-Semitism in Russia to the relief of the Russian Jewish community. He has also made it a point of attending Jewish functions such as the opening of a Jewish museum in the Tolerance Centre in Moscow to which he contributed fifty million dollars of state funds and he even, symbolically, donated one month of his presidential salary.

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What? Who are we talking about here? We're talking about a lover of Jews!

The article continues:

There he was joined by the then President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and Russia's Chief Rabbi Berlazar, sometimes dubbed ‘Putin's Rabbi’ (can you imagine, ‘Putin's Rabbi’?). Putin also attended Chanukah celebrations, and conveyed warm messages to Jews on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New

Year).


This is so utterly unprecedented. I mean this is incredible, especially from a nationalist Russian leader. It’s right out of “Ripley's Believe It or Not.”


Russia and the Soviet Union have a long, sordid, bloody history of anti-Semitism. Russian czars enacted anti-Semitic legislation subjecting the Jews to endure inferior status and forcing them to live in the Pale of Settlement far away from large cities. In fact, the word “pogrom” originated in Russia and refers to violent attacks by non-Jews on Jewish civilians in the Russian empire, the first known pogrom having occurred in Odessa in 1821. Some Russians blamed Jews for the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881 which triggered pogroms and discriminatory laws in 1882.


The earlier pogroms and continuing anti-Semitic legislation in the Soviet Union led many Jews to reassess life in the Russian empire, causing more than two million to emigrate to the United States and Israel. Obviously, Russia was purgatory. As late as the 1990's, Jews were scapegoated as the source of Russia's economic and social problems. Several of the prominent Russian oligarchs were Jewish, and angry Russian commentators and politicians made sure to emphasize that fact, obviously to promote anti-Semitism. The political commentator, Issy Liebler (a prominent writer who met with Soviet ministers and officials for three decades to promote the liberation of Soviet Jewry) wrote, "When the Soviet Union existed as communist Russia, I was able to appreciate first-hand the obsessive anti-Semitism underlying the Kremlin's policy towards Israel and the Jews. And when I say ‘obsessive,’ I mean that they simply couldn't get Jews out of their minds.”


According to this commentator, there would seem to be no rational explanation for Putin's extraordinary positive attitude towards Jews. Some have gone as far as to describe Putin as being motivated by philo-Semitism, which is astounding. But there is a rationale, as we shall see. Some say that Putin was influenced as a youngster by his Jewish German-language teacher. He may also be highly sophisticated and pragmatic; having seen the outcome of Soviet anti-Semitism which was very destructive, he now understands that the Jews in the Soviet Union always contributed favorably to the economy and that, in reality, their support is a national asset on many levels.


The article discusses laws that Putin has passed to prevent anti-Semitism and to convict those who practice anti-Semitism. Not only is Putin ensuring that the Jews in Russia are not subdued or wiped out, he also actively tries to save Jews, promote Jews and Judaism. Putin has also personally intervened in specific cases of anti-Semitism. It’s really amazing; it is almost as if the Satan is doing a good deed! Just think about that!

Although elements in Russia today pine for the Soviet past, these sentiments do not appear to have a significant anti-Semitic component. In fact, anti-Semitism does not seem at all to be a large-scale problem in Russia today. Recent polls show that almost 60% of Russians have a good, or very good, attitude towards Israel compared with 20% bad, or very bad. In 2013, the Russian Jewish Congress documented only ten anti-Semitic attacks compared to dozens in France. This is in Russia!

On January 19, 2016, at a meeting in the Kremlin with the European Jewish Congress, Putin expressed that, in light of recent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, European Jews should take refuge in Russia. You realize what he's saying, right? Let the Jews persecuted in France and elsewhere come to Russia.

Jonathan Arkush, chairman of the European Jewish Community Congress’s General Assembly, suggested that Putin was only speaking lightheartedly. What he was hearing seemed too incredible. Arkush continues describing the reaction of the others around the table. “They laughed. Everybody was laughing. It's like the fox inviting the chickens to his den,” according to Arkush. He claimed that President Putin smiled when he said it, so he thought Putin was probably aware of the irony. Arkush admitted, nevertheless, that Putin’s offer highlighted an uncomfortable truth about Europe: Putin has been far more successful in combating anti-Semitism than European leaders. Indeed, Russia’s attitude towards the Jews is nothing short of a revolution.

You are probably not surprised by now with what I will tell you. You need to understand why Putin is like this. President Putin’s apparently positive feeling towards the Jews may have roots in some important relationships from his early life. Now you see the hashgacha, G-d’s Hand in world affairs once again. Remember what I talked about last week, how G-d made Trump a billionaire so that he would not be subject to coercion or influence by any special interest groups and how he will deliver on his promises? Remember that I mentioned how Trump’s Jewish connections in the world of New York real-estate inspired his familiarity and liking of Jews, and about his daughter who is a practicing Jew, and his Jewish advisors, and so on. How G-dset this up seems incredible. Well, G-d did something similar for Putin. The question is: Why?

Putin grew up in one of Leningrad's toughest neighborhoods and his parents were not a strong presence in his life, which basically means he was abandoned -- not literally, but emotionally. It was a "you're on your own kid” kind of neglect. A religious Jewish family that lived nearby in Leningrad welcomed him into their home and shared their meager accommodation with him so he would be less tempted to roam the streets. What chesed---kindness! They took him in and became surrogate parents. In an autobiography, Putin describes the family as observant Jews who did not work on Saturdays. The man would study the Bible and Talmud all day long. What does that sound like? Obviously, that same man was not going to any formal Jewish study program or institution; he could have been killed just for that. Putin once asked him what he was muttering and he explained to him it was Talmud, and Putin said he was immediately interested.

Then there was Putin's Judo coach, Anatoli Ralin---a Jew. He trained Putin from ages 13- 28. Putin is a Black Belt in Judo. This coach once described himself as Putin's second father. Imagine what a relationship he had with Putin! He wrote: “I was with him fifteen years. His mother died. His father died; I am a second father.” Now you begin to realize what's going on here, the connection that Putin has had to Jews. On Ralin's 75th birthday, Putin presented him with a medal of honor for his achievements in Russian Judo. When Ralin died, Putin issued a statement that he was deeply saddened and that Ralin's death was an irreplaceable loss for him and all of Russia. Reportedly, Putin attended the funeral and shed tears; he was crying for a Jew!

When Putin traveled to Israel in 2005, he paid a surprise visit to his old German teacher, a Jewish woman named Mina Yehudit Skier Berliner. Putin hadn't seen her since she emigrated to Israel in 1973 but his special visit to her proved that she had been a significant influence in his life during his formative years. Imagine, Putin comes to Israel, the whole Knesset is attentive to him and there’s a welcoming committee asking him what they can do for him and where can they take him. The whole government is at his beck-and-call, and what does he ask of them? He tells them he wants to visit his Jewish teacher in Tel Aviv. They probably had a heart attack.

During their meeting, the 94-year old-widow mentioned that she lived in a run-down apartment in Tel Aviv's Florentine district. By the time Putin departed Israel, she was the owner of a new apartment in downtown, Tel Aviv, courtesy of her former student! Isn't that incredible! (Of interest: his teacher died in late 2017. The Russian Foreign Minister arranged her funeral, and Putin is now the owner of her apartment.)

Putin also has a circle of wealthy and influential Jewish friends. Some have been buddies since his childhood, like Akardi and Boris Rottenberg who trained together with him under coach Ralin. They’re Judo-Jewish buddies. The brothers stuck close to their childhood pal Putin and have benefitted enormously. For example, they earned 5.5 billion dollars in construction contracts awarded in connection with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Each brother is estimated to have a net worth of approximately two billion dollars---not bad.

Unlikelihood of Putin’s Leadership Looking at this more broadly, why is G-d doing this? Do you know that Putin should never have become the leader of the Russian Federation? It was a stroke of “luck.” Putin was an operative with the KGB in Germany for years. Quite suddenly, he returned to Russia to become an important right-hand guy to Yeltsin. Yeltsin, who was corrupt, having stolen a lot of money, knew that his political time was coming to an end, but he was afraid that whoever was going to succeed him would convict him. So he appointed Putin because he knew Putin was very loyal. Can you believe this! So Putin got in so Yeltsin could avoid jail time. Once Putin was in, he took advantage and eliminated all his rivals.

Russia as Edom Why did G-d do all this? Clearly, G-d said, “Enough is enough!” Remember that Russia constitutes one of the bad aspects of Esav, atheistic and arrogant. Russia is really the Russian Orthodox Church; it's really Edom, Christianity. So G-d installs an admirer of Jews. G-d made sure that Putin’s parents would be negligent so that he would develop caring, supportive associations with Jews, relationships Putin would never forget. Could you imagine: Putin visits Israel and he's got everybody running after him to please him, and what does he want?---to see his alte bubbe in Tel Aviv. Moreover, he pays for her new apartment which must have been deluxe! What a kindness he did! The question we have to ask ourselves is what's going on here? It’s also true that Putin is a ruthless dictator, so why does G-d want Putin to lead Russia?

Putin confronts the West and couldn't care less about its criticism and political outbursts. Putin took over the Ukraine, Crimea---no problem. He'd prefer to not alienate the West, but this man defies the West and laughs at Obama. Who does that sound like? It sounds like Trump, doesn't it? G-d picks Putin because of his defiance. Now you know why he learned Judo. You don't want to mess with Putin, that's for sure. All of this is incredible hashgachah, G-d’s direction that Putin should have the attributes of arrogance, defiance, and also great intelligence. You begin to see that, just like Trump, he is chosen for a specific mission, to defy the world. Why?

By now, it is easy to figure that out. Yes, of course, Putin has to come to the aid of klal Yisrael, together with Trump, to destroy the Arabs. But there is one more thing. Israel will go to war with Iran and begin to destroy it, but Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, and all these guys, are going to jump into the fray. That will be the last attempt of the Arabs who will all jump in.

Now the problem is this: We know that Israel will be almost unanimously condemned. We know that; it goes on all the time. Even when Israel is right, they are always in the wrong, always condemned because that's the anti-Semitism of the world. Therefore, Trump is going to aid them. He will defy the world, fortify America, and enable Israel to do its job. But I believe that what Israel will do is much more extreme than in the past. I personally believe that Israel will evict the Arabs because of the enormous danger that the Arabs, even now, pose to the integrity of the Jewish state. But what's the problem? What's always been the problem?

As we discussed, the EU are being diminished so G-d is removing the possible obstructions to Trump. Not only is it a punishment to the EU, now you understand that G-d is removing the world’s ability to resist what must happen when Israel defends itself. It's not really the UN; it's really the nations that control the UN. So the Arabs are being destroyed, America is defending Israel, the EU is now a third-rate operation, but who is always the greatest obstruction against Israel?---Russia. They always degrade us. They're the ones who oppose Israel all the time. Remember in 1975, UN declared that Zionism is tantamount to what?---racism! That was a famous statement that the Russians came up with. So Russia has always been an obstruction. Even if Trump defends Israel, Russia, based on history, would go crazy because Russia usually sides with who?---Arabs. You know, Iran.

So, as I explained, G-d has now installed an “admirer of Israel” in Russia. Putin is not only a friend of the Jews, he's a tremendous activist for good. Now Russia and Trump together are going to defy the world. Wow! What a partnership!

G-d is removing the obstacles facing Israel one by one and He is gradually strengthening the allies of the Jews. Israel has now reached out to Japan, China, and India whose head, Modi, is another admirer of Israel. When Israel has more allies, it is harder for other nations to oppose it. When countries have strong economic ties, there’s more incentive for those countries not to oppose you. Yes, there are indeed guys who admire Israel but they don't go anywhere to the extent Putin does. He's gone all the way. He gave fifty million dollars to a Jewish museum!

There's more that translates into yet another reason why Putin likes Israel. Not only is he an admirer of Jews and a doer of good to protect the Jews, he also gives money to all kinds of organizations all over Russia to promote Judaism. In fact, believe it or not, he's probably the largest donor to Torah study in all of Russia! Now, having said that, listen to this: Putin said something very interesting. There are between five hundred and one million Russians in Israel. Putin recognizes that there are one million Russian citizens in Israel most of whom have Russian passports. Putin said that he felt obligated to protect these Russian citizens. So, by default, he must protect Israel. The phenomenon of Russian immigration to Israel, it appears, was not just the fulfillment of the prophecy of the return of the exiles but was also a Divine tactic to solidify Putin's connection to Israel because it has become, in a sense, a Russian satellite.

Isn’t it just incredible to see the chess pieces moving about! And you cannot but appreciate this chess game when you understand G-d’s strategy.