Friday night during Shabbos of the Torah portion Shmos I had a dream in which I saw huge slabs of white stone – perhaps thirty feet long or more – lying on the ground. I said to a man near me that G-d had told me he should start building the Holy Temple using those stones. Later, I was facing the entrance to a large tunnel, like a highway tunnel that pierces a mountain. I saw that those slabs, instead of being used for the Holy Temple, had been placed around the entrance to the tunnel. I was extremely upset because those stone slabs were meant for only one purpose: to build the Holy Temple.
Shortly after I had the dream, my friend Reb Yechiel Warman brought to my attention an amazingly relevant Gemora: “Rabbi Yochanan was sitting and expounding: in the future, the Holy One, Blessed is He, will bring precious stones … that are thirty by thirty amos and will cut out from them [an opening] ten by twenty [amos] high and he will install them at the gates of Jerusalem, as it is stated (Isaiah 54:12)… ‘I will make your … gates out of hewn stones…’” (Sanhedrin 100a).
The dream seems to indicate that G-d is ready to build the Holy Temple. The materials have been given to us, but it seems that we are using our energy for the wrong purposes, meaning that we are concentrating on building materiality when we should be building spirituality.
This week, the Torah portion ofBo describes the earth-shaking moment when “G-d took the Children of Israel out of the Land of Egypt in their legions” (Exodus 12:51). This G-d-willing is about to be repeated, when the Master of the Universe rescues us from our own terrible exile.
The Jewish People was given the unique mission to re-introduce G-d’s Presence to the world and to rescue the children of Adam from rebellion against our Creator. If we do not perform our unique mission, if we use the stones to build tunnels rather than structures of spirituality, then we are failing our Creator, ourselves, and all mankind. Although we have to make a living in order to eat, we cannot afford to forget that we are here for only one purpose, to bring spirituality into the world.
We must be vigilant. There is a certain euphoria among Jews in the wake of the recent elections, as if the new president is going to bring about salvation which will lead to the coming of the Messiah. Mr. Trump’s attitude toward Israel so far seems extremely commendable, but we should not forget that bringing the Messiah is the unique mission of the Jewish People and that we can facilitate his coming only through the spirituality we bring into the world. There is no other path.
Our Sages state that, in order to protect oneself during the birthpangs of the Messiah, one should “occupy himself with [the study of] Torah and gamillus chassadim - acts of kindness” (Sanhedrin 98b). The era of the Messiah is going to be attained only through our spiritual elevation, just as our ascent to Mount Sinai was attained only through our spiritual elevation. The massive stones that I saw in the dream are meant only for the Holy Temple and not to build material structures. The other nations are focused on the material world; we, on the other hand, are focused on G-d, Who builds all worlds and transcends those worlds.
I have often mentioned the Malbim’s commentary on a certain passage in Ezekiel. Years ago, the illustrious Amos Bunim zt”l showed this Malbim to me, and I later used it as the introduction to my book, 2020 Vision. The Malbim describes how, at the end of history, the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Esau will unite against us but ultimately turn against each other and destroy each other, leading to the Final Redemption.
I thought it appropriate to look at the original passage (Ezekiel 32:17-32) through the eyes of Rabbi Moses Eisemann Shlita”h, who edited Ezekiel for the Artscroll Edition. The passage apparently describes the day on which Egypt will “drink” its third and final “cup of defeat and suffering.” The first cup was in the days of Moses, as we read in this week’s Torah portion; the second was at the hands of Babylonia, and the third “will be the one which Egypt will drink together with her fellow nations in Messianic times” (Rabbi Eisemann).
This passage refers to the nations who have tried to destroy us as “arailim … uncircumcised.” The word “arail” is used to describe “one whose heart is obtuse and unreceptive to spirituality… [and] one of the promises which G-d made to the Jewish People about the Messianic Era is that He will circumcise our hearts (Deuteronomy 30:6). Ramban explains that this means a return to the state of innocence and rectitude that had been Adam’s nature before he sinned. Sin ‘closes off’ the heart, making it unreceptive to the apprehension of spirituality. The hallmark of the Messianic era will be the openness and receptiveness of mankind’s hearts to G-d.”
According to Rabbi Eisemann, the guilt of the nations who will be punished at the end of history is based on their attempt to close off the heart of the Jewish People to prevent us from adhering to the will of the Master of the Universe. On the Day of our Redemption, “Man shall return … to [the spiritual state] he was in before the sin of the first man, when he would do by nature that which is proper …” (Ramban on Deuteronomy 30:6). The terror which the “arailim” imposed on us will be transformed into yiras Shomayim - fear of Heaven, and we will once more find ourselves in the Garden of Eden as it was before the sin.
May we use our strength for spirituality and soon see the Day when the great stones are raised to build the Holy Temple and the Jewish People regains our stature as “mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh … a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).