There are two ways of looking at what has been happening in
Eretz Yisroel lately. One is to observe and examine
everything that transpires from a political, social and
security standpoint: which moves should have been made in the
past and which steps ought to be taken in the future to
ameliorate the situation. The problem is that such a
perspective, which evaluates all events bederech
hateva and disregards Hashgocho protis, borders on
kefiroh. Engaging in political discourse dampens
emunoh. " . . . Voicing their opinion, saying so-and-
so will happen or so-and-so will do this or that, is truly
kefiroh," says the Shomer Emunim. "For those
who believe that Hashem is responsible for turning events and
fills all the worlds and oversees all . . . of what relevance
is it to say: if so-and-so happens it will mean so-and-so and
this will bring about peace and the nations will do this or
that? Through these words they uproot themselves from
emunas Hashem Yisborach (Maamar Ho'emunoh Chap.
The other possibility is to examine all events as part of the
Creator's hashgocho protis over Am Yisroel and Eretz
Yisroel. HaRav Elchonon Wasserman says every event that takes
place in the world is intended exclusively for Yisroel
(Koveitz Maamorim, Zechor Yemos Olom).
The problem with this is that we are unable to comprehend
with any certainty the meaning of a certain event, how Hashem
Yisborach uses it to lead humanity to its purpose and how
HaKodosh Boruch Hu guides Creation. Although
everything written below is in the realm of "maybe" or
"possibly," these speculations avoid a view of events
divorced from hashgocho protis.
According to HaRav Moshe Chaim Luzatto, Hashem governs His
world constantly in two modes: a) Hanhogas hamishpot --
HaKodosh Boruch Hu rules mankind based on human deeds,
i.e. reward and punishment, with dozens of complex rules
including midoh keneged midoh, arichus apayim, kaporoh
through yissurim, and many more; b) Hanhogas
hayichud -- Hashem Yisborach leads humanity along
a fixed course toward a final purpose, namely, the revelation
of His oneness and uniqueness, meaning all of Creation will
recognize the Creator's existence and unity. This mode is
totally independent of hanhogas hamishpot, i.e. human
deeds. Therefore, through it Creation will eventually reach
its purpose in any case (Daas Tevuno).
At all times both modes, hayichud and
hamishpot, operate in tandem: Hashem leads Creation
towards a fixed goal, while ruling over mankind based on
reward and punishment. Yet "at the end of the golus,
HaKodosh Boruch Hu, uses this one [hanhogas
hayichud] predominantly, in order to do a tikkun
keloli of the entire world and therefore Hanhogas
hayichud must be employed, for out of the great oblivion
[that can be present when hanhogas hayichud is
dominant], the great revelation will be born, and the world
will be whole (ibid., Klolim Rishonim, 35).
In those circumstances, it will appear as if there is no
reward and punishment chas vesholom, but the real plan
is to teach us that there is a time when our Master does not
rule the world with the mode of reward and punishment, but
through hanhogas hayichud instead . . . and it should
not be difficult for us [to see it] if tzadikim are
greatly humiliated and people cry out and go unanswered and
all of the other unfavorable signs Chazal spoke of" (Daas
Despite the great hardships we are suffering at the hands of
the Arabs, i.e. Malchus Yishmoel, we must keep in mind that
we are in Golus Edom, the last golus, which will
continue until the arrival of Moshiach, as explained by
Chazal in many places (see Bereishis Rabboh Chap. 44;
Vayikro Rabboh Chap. 29).
According to Rav Eliyohu Dessler, "Malchus Edom is
characterized by pride and heresy derived from notions of
`kochi ve'otzem yodi' and `ani ve'afsi ode' . .
. The Romans stood materialism against spirituality. They
fostered the spirit of the power of material might as if they
could harness the entire world for their own material benefit
"Since the destruction of the Temple, the power and pride of
the Fourth Kingdom have grown . . . Hester and
darkness are increasing and material world-views are taking
over, casting a shadow on ruchniyus. Science is
advancing from generation to generation, bringing
opportunities to make use of this world for human benefit.
This causes human pride to increase, as if everything were in
the power of mankind and nothing is impossible for it.
Heretical world-views stressing the superiority of man's
power inundate the entire world . . . This is the essence of
the golus of the Fourth Kingdom and therefore we must
be aware that this is the challenge Yisroel must overcome
during this golus (Michtav MeEliahu, III pp.
The challenge of Golus Edom will be particularly acute in
Eretz Yisroel, writes Rav Dessler. "This is the
nisoyon that has been placed on Am Yisroel during
Ikveso DeMeshicho. Hashem Yisborach is returning many
Jews to Eretz Yisroel and they rule there. The porkei ol
Hatorah have grown proud as if they caused all this to
happen through their own might, and the more their pride
burgeons, the more their haughtiness and their will to impose
their apikorsus increases" (ibid., p. 218).
Therefore, he concludes, our challenge is to stand firm
against these materialistic views and against false
impressions of "kochi ve'otzem yodi" and to strengthen
ourselves in emunoh and in avodas Hashem.
Since we are in Golus Edom, we must clarify the task of
Malchus Yishmoel during the Ikveso DeMeshicho at the end of
Golus and the meaning behind the calamities we and the
entire world are suffering at the hands of the Yishmaelite
Kingdom. The Maharal and Pachad Yitzchok explain why
Malchus Yishmoel was not among the four kingdoms (i.e.
goluyos) mentioned in Doniel: "The four
kingdoms received their power as the result of the fall of
Yisroel [according to the historical pattern of] one nation
falls and the next rises. Therefore when the people of
Yisroel sinned and descended from their spiritual elevation,
they fell into the hands of each of the kingdoms and were
enslaved. However Yishmoel does not receive its power through
the fall of Yisroel, but has a special power from Hashem
Yisborach Himself in the merit of their descent from
Avrohom Ovinu. `And as for Yishmoel I have heard thee.
Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and
will multiply him exceedingly . . . ' says the Torah
(Bereishis 17:20), and this power allows them to
overcome and oppose Am Yisroel."
I heard the following explanations of Yishmoel's appointed
task from one of our generation's leading talmidei
chachomim in the field of Jewish thought: The Torah says
Avrohom Ovinu asked HaKadosh Boruch Hu, "Lu Yishmoel
yichye lefonecho" (Bereishis 17:18). This raises the
question: how could Hashem's pledge to Avrohom Ovinu to
establish his offspring, to continue in his path of
emunoh, be applied to Yishmoel?
The answer lies in the bris miloh Yishmoel
Bris miloh has two principle functions: removal of the
orloh which implies detachment from gashmiyus,
and a connection with Hashem through the covenant of
(Bris miloh also includes all of the other 612 mitzvos
and therefore it can be viewed as including both a mitzvos
asei and a mitzvos lo saasei. The root of all
mitzvos asei is Onochi Hashem Elokecho--a
connection with Hashem Yisborach, which is one part of
bris miloh--and the root of the mitzvos lo
saasei is lo yihiyeh lecho--a separation from all
avodoh zora, which is the second part of bris
Although Yishmoel performed bris miloh, it lacked the
essence and he was left with just the lower foundation of the
bris, the removal of gashmiyus and the
separation from all avodoh zora.
HaKadosh Boruch Hu's promise to Avrohom Ovinu to
establish descendants who will continue his path was realized
in Yishmoel, since Yishmoel is also a means of conveying the
message of separating from avodoh zora to the nations
of the world. However, Yishmoel is called a "pere odom"
(Bereishis 16:11-14). It is as an "odom" that he
distances himself from avodoh zora, but he does so in
a wild, uncivilized manner. (See Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch's
commentary, which explains that Yishmoel inherited midas
emunoh from Avrohom Ovinu and midos pere, i.e. a
lack of restraint, from Hagar. Thus throughout history the
Yishmoelim wage war without limits or inhibition to further
the spread of emunoh.)
Yishmoel also has a task to perform in Eretz Yisroel.
According to the Zohar Hakodosh (end of Parshas
Vayeiro), "Bnei Yishmoel are destined to control the Holy
Land for an extended period when it is empty and lacks
shleimus, just as their miloh is empty and
lacks shleimus. They will prevent Bnei Yisroel from
returning to their place until Bnei Yishmoel will be
compensated for their merit."
As we will see below, the task of the Yishmoelim is to
maintain a hold on Eretz Yisroel for an extended period in
order to prevent all of the other kingdoms from conquering it
and filling it with avodoh zora. This applies in
particular to Malchus Edom, which is the kingdom currently
dominant, the kingdom under which we are subjugated in the
So, the task of Yishmoel in the world is to stamp out
avodoh zora and their task in Eretz Yisroel is to
prevent Edom from conquering it and filling it with avodoh
Understanding the Current Period
Edom disseminates hashkofos of control over
gashmiyus: materialism and false notions of "kochi
ve'otzem yodi." These hashkofos hold sway in Eretz
Yisroel through porkei ol Torah and in the rest of the
world as well, representing the avodoh zora of our age
(see passage in Michtav MeEliahu quoted above).
According to Rav Dessler, Edom's churban will take
place only through the churban of this world. "When
HaKodosh Boruch Hu brings the world to a state in
which the foundations of life in This World collapse -- peace
of mind will be undermined, individual lives will be full of
worry, fear and suffering, and the whole world will stand in
fear of havoc and destruction -- then it will become apparent
to all that man's vanity and pride about his progress and
supposed conquest of the material world only lead to oblivion
. . . When man loses hope of achieving his wants and desires,
then the light of Moshiach will be revealed and the fall and
destruction of Malchus Edom will be plain for all to see . .
. For only by achieving bitul and [recognizing the]
insignificance of This World is humanity capable of rising up
to see from a spiritual perspective; [and thereby] to abolish
Malchus Edom and then the light of Moshiach will be revealed"
(Michtav MeEliahu III p. 205).
It seems that today this is precisely what Malchus Yishmoel
is doing. The Yishmoelim have undermined the peace of mind of
the materialistic life, have induced a worldwide state of
fear of havoc and destruction, and have upset the false
perceptions of kochi ve'otzem yodi in the world,
especially in Eretz Yisroel. Malchus Yishmoel is distancing
the world from the avodoh zora of Malchus Edom.
This appears to be more than a temporary trend: various
observers say that the world is heading toward a sharp
polarization -- modern, Western culture versus traditional
and conservative Arab culture -- and that a collision between
these two powers is inevitable.
(In fact the War of Gog Umogog is described as a war between
Edom and Yishmoel "because their beliefs are divergent"
[Malbim, Yechezkel 32:17].) As bin Laden said,
"Americanization pollutes the Islamic home" (quoted in Thomas
Friedman's Luxury and the Olive Tree).)