BS”D Parashat Ki Tisa 5773

This Shabbat we will read parshat Ki Tisa which is at total variance with the two preceding parshiot – Teruma and Tetzaveh, and parshiot Vayak’hel and Pekudai which follow Ki Tisa.

Teruma and Tetzaveh deal with the Mishkan and its implements, Ki Tisa interrupts the sequence and tells of the sinful, disastrous episode of the Aigel Hazahav (the Golden Calf), and the two final parshiot of the Book of Shemot, Vayak’hel and Pekudai, return to the subject of the Mishkan and its implements.

Mishkan, Mishkan, tragic episode of idolatry, and again Mishkan, Mishkan – what does it mean?

I submit:

The Torah, through the sequence of these five parshiot, is intimating in a very subtle and obscure manner what awaits the Jewish people in the future.

Parshat Teruma alludes to the 479 years of the Mishkan before the Bet Hamikdash was established in Yerushalayin: 39 years in the desert, 14 years in Gilgal, 369 years in Shilo, and 57 years in Nov and Givon.

Tetzaveh alludes to the 410 years of the Bet Hamikdash of King Shlomo on the Temple Mount.

The disastrous, sinful act of idolatry in parashat Ki Tisa alludes to the destruction of King Shlomo’s Bet Hamikdash for reasons of idolatry and the subsequent 70-year exile.

Parshat Vayak’hel, which returns to the matter of the Mishkan, alludes to the Bet Hamikdash which was to be built by Ezra and the Jews who returned with him from Babylon and Persia.

Parshat Pekudai alludes to the magnificent Second Bet HaMikdash, built by Hordus (Herod).

The Temple of Ezra together with the Temple of Hordus stood for a total of 420 years until the Romans destroyed its grandeur, precipitating the subsequent 2000 year exile of the Jewish people from our holy Land. This tragic period of death and destruction of our physical, religious and moral status in the galut is alluded to by the break-off of the Book of Shemot.

The next Book is Vayikra, also called Torat Kohanim (Laws of the Kohanim) because it deals essentially with the Temple service performed by the Kohanim; and alludes to the next and final Bet HaMikdash soon, with the help of Hashem, to be constructed on Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) in Yerushalayim.

In the spirit of anticipating the future, as presented by these five parshiot, I would like to try my hand at foretelling what awaits us as citizens of this planet and more so as sons and daughters of Hashem’s chosen people.

Gentile analysts, diviners, forecasters and oracles delve into the data at hand and predict the evolution of present events into the future, based on their religious, political or social interests.

In contrast to the Gentiles, Am Yisrael’s forecasters are at an advantage, in that we know, at least in a broad scope, what the future holds, and for our analysts, it is just a matter of drawing the correct lines between the historical dots by working backwards from the future to the present.

The sources of our knowledge are the traditions handed down by Chazal (our rabbis) in the Talmud, Midrashim and oral teachings from rabbis to students.

The prophet Yirmiyahu 16:19-20 says:

Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, Our ancestors bequeathed to us false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!”

And the Mechilta (Halachic Midrash on the Book of Shemot) 15,1 states:

When the Holy One, Blessed Be He, exacts payment (brings about the downfall of a nation or society), He begins with their deities (discredits, disgraces and dishonors their religious beliefs).

In Christianity and Islam we find the three cardinal sins: idolatry, sexual perversion and murder. Idolatry and sexual perversion of the Catholic Church at its highest echelons; and religiously authorized and sanctioned murder and sexual perversion in Islam.

What is happening at the present time in the inner chambers of the Catholic Church in the Vatican, is for them a catastrophic earthquake which will not stop resonating until the entire structure is disgraced. The structure will tumble, beginning with the impossible concept of immaculate conception and Christianity in general which has always served as the platform for worldwide anti-Semitism, including preparing the hearts and minds of their believers to Nazism.

I see the Christian world entering a period of revulsion to organized religion. This will dramatically increase the moral decrepitude of people, when God, even a false one, is removed from their lives.

The breakdown of religion in the Christian world will spread to large portions of enlightened Moslems, when they open their eyes to the savagery and brutality of their unholy Koran. And as God is pushed ever more into the background, the innate evil tendencies of people will dominate society, as the pasuk says (Beraishiet 8,21):

The inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.

This will by necessity bring us to what Chazal say (Yalkut Shimoni, Yishayahu 499):

Rabbi Yitzchak said, In the year when the Mashiach appears all the nations of the world will be at war with each other.

As the world becomes ever poorer, less moral and desperate, chaos will overtake humanity and the military of each nation will by necessity have to rule. Democracy, where the seat of power lies with the people, will be a part of the past, and the world will become an armed camp.

Nuclear proliferation, advanced technology geared to development of ever more lethal weapons, no religion, poverty, greed, national paranoia; the world will become a tinderbox ready to explode.

The fate of our brothers and sisters in the galut will be identical with the fate of their gentile neighbors. They too will sink spiritually and physically into the spinning maelstrom to nowhere.

In Eretz Yisrael, the situation will be dramatically different. As the internal and international situation worsens, the Jews in the Holy Land will be drawn back to HaShem and mitzvot. What will impress the people here to make the great return?

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b) states:

Rabbi Eliezer says, if Am Israel does teshuva (repents) they will be redeemed, but if not they will not be redeemed. Rabbi Yehoshua says, the Holy One Blessed Be He, will appoint a monarch whose decrees will be as difficult as those of Haman, and Am Yisrael will do teshuva and they (the decrees) will bring them back to the righteous path.

The decrees could originate in New York, or Washington, or Brussels. The result will be as stated in last week’s parasha, that when the Jews lifted their eyes to the heavens we overcame Amalek.

As the world will draw further away from HaShem, Am Yisrael will look into ourselves and return to the ways of the Torah.

This is what awaits the world – the breakdown of organized religions as we know them today, but with Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael deeply entrenched in the Torah.

This is the worldwide configuration which sets the stage for the Mashiach, when all humanity will have given up hope for a better life, out of desperation will turn to the Jews in Eretz Yisrael for salvation.

For a clearer understanding of how the world will look in the period just prior to the Mashiach, I suggest learning the last half of the last Mishna of Tractate Sota, and the Yalkut Shimoni Yeshayahu chapter 499 which describes the turmoil Iran will create in the world at that time. There is so much more fascinating and intriguing Jewish source material on the subject of the Mashiach and future redemption, enough to fill many days of Shabbat sturdy, and they all point to contemporary times.

The dots of the future are before us in the form of our religious sources. If I failed to connect the dots, it is not important, because the future can be seen from current events.

Gentile humanity will regress as Am Yisrael will assume the role of spiritual leader of the world.

The essence of the matter is stated in our parasha Ki Tisa. Despite the horrific sin of the Golden Calf just 40 days after we received the Torah at Mount Sinai, HaShem promised Moshe that He will forever keep His covenant with the Jewish nation (Shemot 34,8-10):

8 Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.

9 “Lord”, he said, “if I have found favor in Your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you”.

What can we say except to thank HaShem for making us His chosen people and returning us to His Holy land. May we be worthy of all He has done for us.

We bless Him for watching over and preserving His loyal people of Israel who cling to His Torah and await Hashem’s salvation.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773/2013 Nachman Kahana