by Rabbi Moshe Young
Antisemitism and the Future Transition of Power
There are many disguises for antisemitism. We Jews have often
been accused of imagining antisemitism in the most innocuous
of places. Whenever a Jew is harmed or criticized, and it is
labeled as an act of antisemitism, we are immediately pounced
upon from many directions to be labeled paranoiac. We are
equated with the old saying when the USA used to be
suspicious of the Communists, that wherever you were, there
were always "reds under the bed."
We might indeed be ultra-sensitive to the glances and
innuendos of the outside world, but there is no mistaking
today's manifestation of international antisemitism. There is
no need any longer to be merely suspicious of ambiguous
language or hidden meanings. It is out there in the open.
It is popular to be occupied with Jew-bashing, and it has
even earned a place of respectability. There are, however,
some who might still retain some vestige of conscience, and
instead of openly blaming the Jew for everything, they
substitute the State of Israel as the root of all evil. So
today we cannot be accused of being paranoiac. It is a
reality and so very transparent.
This ongoing and eternal dislike of Jews comes in waves.
Sometimes it is violent and at other times subdued. Sometimes
it is out in the open while at other times it remains
concealed. However, wherever there is a deep feeling of
antisemitism, it is in truth a subconscious rebellion against
On the verse in Tehillim (79, 1), "Nations have
entered your inheritance," the Midrash says that
nations really have the intention of fighting Hashem, but
they are unable to do so. Instead, they abandon this idea and
attack us instead (Midrash Rabboh, Shemos 51. 5), and
as Rabbeinu Bachya adds as an analogy, he who cannot smite
the lion, smites the donkey.
It is very difficult to envisage any relaxation in the
pressure of today's surge of world antisemitism. Unless there
is a sudden manifestation of Hashem's kindness, which could
indeed happen at any moment, we have to be prepared for
antisemitism to continue, and even increase. Our
tefillos and an all-round improvement in shemiras
hamitzvos and limud Torah will undoubtedly relax
any gezeiros. But in the meantime we need to
strengthen our emunah by peering into how Chazal saw
events unfold and how they mapped out some sort of way
through our long exile until the destination of
Moshiach which should come speedily in our time,
In a recent advertisement produced by People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA), in order to stress the inhuman
treatment of cattle and fowl, they showed pictures of pigs
ready for slaughter next to pictures of emaciated Jews lying
on wooden bunks in Nazi concentration camps waiting to die.
Apart from making an obscene equivalence between Jews readied
for the gas- chambers and animals slaughtered for food, the
image of a pig adds an extra obscenity to the comparison.
However, it is by no coincidence that the pig constantly
emerges as a symbol which is anathema to Jews. It is not
simply that the pig is not kosher. The implication of the pig
is much greater. It is the focus of the present Golus,
and while it represents much suffering to Jews, it also
presents an image of hope for the redemption of Klal
Yisroel and freedom for the whole world.
The pig is one of the four animals mentioned in the Torah
(Parshios Shemini and Re'ei) which are not
kosher although each possesses one physical sign of kashrus.
Each of the first three, the camel, the shofon and the
hare, chew their cud but do not have split hoofs. The pig, on
the other hand, does not chew their cud, but it has split
These four animals symbolize the four exiles and four
concepts of civilization through which Jews have passed, and
in which we experienced uncertainty and discomfort. The
exiles are that of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Edom. These
exiles also test the level of trust we have in Hashem and to
what extent we are influenced by our host nation and how much
we resist anti-Torah temptations. We have been living in the
exile of Edom for almost two thousand years since the
destruction of the second Beis Hamikdosh by Rome which
The Midrash gives the reason why Edom is compared to
the pig. The Hebrew for pig is chazir. The word comes
from the root which means returning. The last exile is the
one which will return kingship to Yisroel, Shemachzeres
atoroh leve'oleho, "it will return the crown to its
rightful owners" (Vayikro Rabbah 13. 1).
Only through what Edom stands for can there be a smooth
transition for Yisroel as we move from the era of Edom to the
era of Moshiach. With no other exile would such a
transition be so effective. HaRav Yitzchok Hutner
zt"l, following the analysis of the Maharal (Ner
Mitzvah) explains this as follows (Pachad
Yitzchok, Purim, Inyan 16).
Each exile represents a specific outlook in life. Edom
represents the concept of power over others. The essence of
Edom is encapsulated within the words of Yitzchok Ovinu when
he said in his blessing to Eisov, "al charbecho
sichyeh, you shall live by the sword." Contentment and
fulfilled ambition can only be achieved by him when others
have been vanquished. This is a total manifestation of a
desire to control and the belief that everyone is beneath
There is also a different sort of ga'avoh. That is the
ga'avoh of Hashem, as we say in the pizmon,
Ho'aderes veho'emunah, that Hashem has the
ga'avoh and the geduloh. Ga'avoh here means
that it is only Hashem who has ultimate power and who really
does control everything and is indeed above everyone and
everything. Hashem is, so to speak, clothed in the glory of
this ga'avoh, as we say, "Hashem moloch gei'us
lovesh (Tehillim 93. 1), Hashem rules; He clothes Himself
So when a person assumes an air of ga'avoh, he "pushes
away the "legs" of the Shechinoh and steals glory and
excellence away from Hashem, and when he believes that he
himself controls others.
Yisroel and the Torah represent the Excellence of Hashem.
So we can now understand why the kingdom of Edom must be the
exile which precedes the Moshiach and the kingdom of
Dovid, melech Yisroel. The transition from one to the
other, the machzeres atoroh leve'oleho hinted in the
word chazir, will be a smooth one. The world will
experience the return of international acceptance of the
Glory of Hashem by adjusting and adapting its own personal
and arrogant disposition which seeks control over others. In
place of their personal sense of power, all will acknowledge
that absolute power is Hashem's only.
We can see with our own eyes how countries today vie with
each other over who has the greatest power, who has the
greatest influence and who calls the tune. So the world has
certainly become used to the idea that might is right. The
world has the notion of power flowing through its veins. It
is, therefore, so much easier for the world to accept the
concept of overall power and control.
In this, the world is prepared. It will appreciate Malchus
Shomayim when it comes. The whole world will recognize
that all previous manifestations of power produced nothing
but suffering for mankind.
So the new power, the Power of Hashem, will be easily
recognized and accepted by all. Then the words of the prophet
Ovadiah heralding the end of antisemitism, will be fulfilled,
"The saviors will ascend Mount Zion to judge Esav's mountain,
and the Kingdom will be Hashem's." It should happen soon.
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