Texts: Genesis 25:19 – 28:9 || Malachi 1:1-2:7 (Haftarah)
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
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We are at the 6th Weekly Reading of this Year and we will this week not present our own commentary on Toldot, but instead, present commentaries by two totally unrelated sources.
The first Commentary is an extract from a commentary by Rabbi Bernie Fox.
DISCLAIMER – The authors whom we quote from for this Commentary are not associated with KOL HA’TOR and need not agree with our views expressed herein or in our other publications. While we publish their views for its relative value to the interpretation of the Parashah, KOL HATOR does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these authors.
Torah’s Vision of the Eschatological Age
Comments from Kol HaTor are shown between [ ].
“And Hashem appeared to him and said: Do not descend to Egypt. Dwell in the land that I tell you. Dwell in this land and I will be with you and I will bless you because to you and to your descendants I will give all of these lands. And I will fulfill the promise that I made to your father Avraham.” (Beresheit 26:2-3)
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1. Yitzchak relocation to Gerar
Virtually the Torah’s entire discussion of Yitzchak is contained in Parshat Toldot. This is the account of his experiences in the Land of the Pelishtim [Palestine].
The Land of Cana’an is stricken by famine. Yitzchak decides to follow the example of his father, Avraham, and lead his family to Egypt for the duration of the famine. For both Avraham and Yitzchak, this was a logical decision. The Land of Cana’an “Israel” depends primarily upon precipitation for irrigation. Drought inevitably produces famine. Egypt’s agriculture is supported by the Nile River. Therefore, Egypt was often spared from regional droughts and famines. As Yitzchak prepares to descend to Egypt, Hashem appears to him and directs him to not travel to Egypt but to remain in the Land of Cana’an. Then, Hashem explains the reason He requires that Yitzchak remain in the Land of Cana’an. Hashem promised to give the Land of Cana’an to Avraham’s descendants. The fulfillment of this Promise will begin with Yitzchak’s uninterrupted residence in the Land and continue with his descendant’s’ possession of the Land.
The reasoning of the passages is not completely clear. Yitzchak was told to remain in the Land of Cana’an because it had been given to him and his descendants.
Yet, Yaakov left the Land of Cana’an with Hashem’s blessings in order to flee from the wrath of his brother Esav. Later, he and his children abandoned the Land of Cana’an and descended to Egypt in order to escape a famine that ravaged the region. Again, Yaakov’s descent to Egypt took place with Hashem’s blessing.
Why was it inappropriate for Yitzchak to leave the land but acceptable for Yaakov to do so?
2. Two views on Hashem’s instruction
We will consider two views on Hashem’s instruction to Yitzchak to remain in Cana’an. Netziv suggests that Hashem commanded Yitzchak to remain in to order to demonstrate his love for the Land of Israel. In other words, Yitzchak’s remaining in a time of famine would demonstrate that he was willing to endure hardship in order to remain within the Land.
Rabbaynu Ovadia Sforno offers an alternative interpretation of the passages. He explains that Yitzchak was destined to be acknowledged by the people of the Land as a prince of Hashem. His occupation of the Land as Hashem’s prince would establish his presence and rightful title to the Land. Therefore, his descendants would return to a Land that was their legacy from their forefather Yitzchak. However, Yitzchak’s title to the Land was dependent upon his treating it as his own. Therefore, he could not abandon it in this time of famine.
According to Sforno’s interpretation, the commandment to remain in the Land applied to Yitzchak. He was responsible to establish title over the Land. This mission did not apply to Yaakov. Therefore, when circumstances required that he leave the Land, he did so.
“And Yitzchak dwelled in Gerar.” (Beresheit 26:6)
3. Yitzchak’s conflict with the Pelishtim [Palestinians]
Yitzchak remains in the Land of Israel, and following the example of his father, he settles in Gerrar. The Torah describes Yitzchak’s experiences in Gerar in some detail. Yitzchak arrives and – like Avraham – he conceals that Rivkah is his wife. He is discovered by the king – Avimelech – who commands the people to not harm Yitzchak or Rivkah. Despite the famine, Yitzchak is successful in harvesting a bumper crop, and while in Gerar, becomes increasingly wealthy.
Yitzchak’s success is followed by a number of unpleasant events. First, the Pelishtim destroy the wells that Avraham had developed in their land. Then, Avimelech, responding to jealously evoked by Yitzchak’s success, ask Yitzchak to leave Gerar and settle elsewhere. Yitzchak re-digs the wells developed by Avraham and restores to them the names that had been given to them by his father. He digs additional wells. Ownership of the first two wells is contested by the Pelishtim. The first he names Eysek – meaning quarrel. The second he names Sitnah – meaning conflict or hostility. Yitzchak again relocates. Finally, he develops a new well and it is not contested. The Torah provides additional details of Yitzchak’s experiences. The account ends with Avimelech coming to Yitzchak and asking that they renew the covenant originally established between Avraham and the Pelishtim.
4. The symbolic meaning of Yitzchak’s wells
[Well presents source of water = wisdom].
Nachmanides comments that this account is included in the Torah as an allusion to the future. The three wells developed by Yitzchak refer to the three Batai Mikdash – Holy Temples. The first and second were opposed by the nations of the world and eventually destroyed by the enemies of Bnai Yisrael [sons of Israel, 12 Tribes]. The final well represents the future and final Bait HaMikdash – Holy Temple. It will be accepted by all nations as Hashem’s sacred temple and will be a place for universal worship of Hashem.
Nachmanides’ comments and his interpretation of these passages require careful consideration. Is his conclusion that these passages are an allusion to future events based upon a tradition or is there some element within the passages that suggests this interpretation?
“And all of the wells that the servants of his father dug during the days of Avraham his father the Pelishtim sealed and filled with dirt.” (Beresheit 26:15)
And Yitzchak again dug the wells of water that they dug in the days of Avraham his father and that the Pelishtim had sealed after the death of Avraham and he called them by names corresponding with the names his father called them. (Beresheit 26:18).
[The filling of the wells symbolize the covering up of the True Religious concepts with pagan theology. Something which rebelling 10-Israel was also guilty of].
5. The significance of the names Avraham assigned to his wells
As explained above, one of the conflicts between Yitzchak and the Pelishtim was over the wells that Avraham had developed in their land. The Pelishtim destroyed these wells and Yitzchak not only re-dug them, but he also reestablished the names given to the wells by his father.
Why were these wells the source of such vigorous contention?
HaKetav VeHaKabalah offers a compelling response. He explains that Avraham chose the name for each of his wells very carefully. Each was assigned a name that communicated that Hashem is the only true G-d and only He should be worshiped [in Truth]. In other words, Avraham used each well as an educational tool. People would come to the well to draw its water. They would learn its name. The unusual name would provoke discussion and consideration of the message communicated by the name. During Avraham’s lifetime, the Pelishtim preserved the wells and their names. In part, this reflected an acceptance of the ideas communicated by the names and in part, the wells and their names were preserved out of respect to Avraham. With his passing, the Pelishtim reverted to their idolatry and they chose to forget Avraham. The wells, that were reminders of Avraham and his message, were destroyed. Yitzchak reestablished the wells and restored their names. This reflected his commitment to the mission of his father.
6. The strange names that Yitzchak assigned to his wells.
It is interesting that Yitzchak was eager to reestablish his father’s wells and to restore their names, yet to the first two wells that he developed, he gave rather odd names that do not seem to communicate a message regarding Hashem or monotheism. Instead, these names communicate messages of conflict and strife!
Perhaps, it is this odd behavior of Yitzchak that serves as the basis of Nachmanides’ comments.
The names that Yitzchak gave to his wells are difficult to understand if considered individually. However, when considered together, these names communicate an important message. Understanding this message requires appreciating the significance of the wells developed by Avraham and Yitzchak. These wells were an important economic resource for Yitzchak and Avraham. However, they were also an enormous contribution to the people of the region. Agriculture, settlement, and animal husbandry all require access to an adequate supply of water. In an arid region, the development of wells is a prerequisite for the settlement and the economic development of the region. Each well developed by Avraham and Yitzchak benefited all of the people of the area.
The wells are also a fitting representation of the religious message communicated by Avraham and Yitzchak. These ideas elevated humankind from paganism and barbarity and established monotheism and justice. Avraham reinforced the association of the wells with his revolutionary message by assigning each of his wells a name that communicated an important idea.
7. Yitzchak preserved his story through the names he assigned the wells
Taken together, the names that Yitzchak gave to the wells describe Yitzchak’s experience among the Pelishtim. The name of the first well reveals, that initially, Yitzchak experienced rejection. He was the scion of Avraham and prosperous in his own right, nonetheless, he was shunned by his neighbors. This well which benefited all of the people in its region was destroyed by those whom it benefited. His continued prosperity and his successful development of a second well did not change matters. As the name of the second well reveals, his neighbors continued to reject him and were eager to forego the benefits of the well rather than accept Yitzchak.
Nonetheless, Yitzchak persevered. He did not contend with his neighbors, he merely developed a third well. Suddenly, the neighbors who previously rejected him abandoned their resistance and accepted Yitzchak.
On a superficial level – without any reference of the deeper meaning of the wells – the account teaches an important lesson. Yitzchak did not achieve success and overcome resistance through conquest of his neighbors. He could not claim responsibility for his eventual success. He was powerless to overcome the resistance and hatred of his neighbors, and with the passage of time, this resistance remained intense and showed no sign of abating. However, suddenly Yitzchak’s neighbors concluded that they could no longer deny the evidence that Yitzchak enjoyed a providential relationship with his G-d – Hashem. With this realization, they no longer contended with him and accepted him. The lesson of the experience is that Yitzchak’s salvation and even triumph over resistance and antagonism was not the consequence of political maneuvers, military triumph, or shrewd financial plays. He did not achieve acceptance through a gradual, incremental process. Instead, banishment and rejection were suddenly replaced by acceptance and admiration. Without forewarning of change, the people came to accept the reality of Yitzchak’s special relationship with Hashem.
The names that Yitzchak selected for his wells demonstrate his confidence in his eventual success. The names he gave to the first two wells recall his conflict and strife with his neighbors. He gave these names to the wells knowing that the tension between him and the Pelishtim would be replaced by acceptance. He wanted the names to recall his emergence from persecution to acceptance and teach a lesson. Hashem’s deliverance is sudden and its precise moment is unknown. However, His covenant is eternal and will be fulfilled.
8. The eschatological message of Yitzchak’s wells
When the wells are considered as representations of Avraham’s and Yitzchak’s mission, the message of the passages is even more significant. The passages are no longer merely a biographical account of Yitzchak’s experiences. They emerge as an assertion regarding the triumph of truth and justice. The passages describe humanity’s encounter with the religious and moral system introduced by Avraham, promoted by Yitzchak, and embodied in the Torah given to Bnai Yisrael. The passages describe a prolonged period of self-destructive rejection and denial. The advanced religious ideals and moral principles introduced by the Patriarchs and formalized in the Torah were a boon to all humanity. Nonetheless, these teachings – represented by the wells – are despised and discredited. Humanity dwells in a relentless self-imposed darkness. Enlightenment seems impossible. But suddenly and without forewarning, light penetrates the darkness and knowledge and truth triumph over ignorance.
[There is a distinct message for 10-Israel in all this. They, like the Philistines, have rejected, and despised G-d’s Torah and discredited His teachers (Rabbinism, the Mechoqeck of G-d, His Lawgivers – ref. our Mechoqeck study), but suddenly, over the last few decades light and knowledge have penetrated the dark and millions of re-awakening Ten Tribers in exile amongst the nations are returning to their Hebrew Roots].
Now, Nachmanides’ interpretation of the passages can be fully understood. The lessons represented by the wells are embodied in the Bait HaMikdash. It is the focal point of monotheistic and enlightened service to Hashem. From the Granite Chamber adjacent to the Temple, the highest court of the nation teaches justice and morality. Yitzchak’s experiences are a harbinger of the future. The first and second Temples were despised by the nations of the world and they were destroyed by them.
Nonetheless, there will be a third Bait HaMikdash. This third Temple will be embraced and acknowledged by the very peoples who destroyed its predecessors
9. A unique element of the Torah’s Eschatological vision
The eschatological vision represented by these passages is unique. Many religions and nations long for conquest and power over their enemies or those whose view oppose their own. Many religions seek to impose their ideas upon those who deny their “truth”. The Torah’s view of the Messianic era differs drastically from these perspectives. Ultimately, it is a vision of the triumph of ideas and the acceptance of the Torah’s truths – not their imposition upon others. The triumph of the ideas embodied in these Temples will not be achieved through Bnai Yisrael’s conquest of its opponents or through the imposition of Torah doctrine upon “nonbelievers”. Instead, it will be achieved through the triumph of truth over falsehood and the capacity of the light of wisdom to penetrate the darkness of ignorance.
[Can it be that 10-Israel’s return to Torah could serve as a testimony to the nations of the Triumph of Truth over falsehood? While to Judah it could be fulfillment of HaShem’s Prophecy that He would “make them jealous with a foolish nation”?]
In short, Yitzchak’s experiences are representative of an eschatological perspective. They describe the destiny of his descendants – Bnai Yisrael. Yitzchak experiences presages the rejection, persecution, banishment, and eventual and sudden acceptance and triumph of Bnai Yisrael in the Messianic era.
Our second ref. is from www.jewishpress.com
It focuses on the perspective of War in the Divine Plan for humanity. This article was specially written in the context of the Gaza War (which started in the week of Toldot 2012). It’s theme is clear from the title: “We Are Seeing Moshiach in Action!”.
This article was not written as a commentary on Parashat Toldot but we present it here in our commentary as offering the link to our first section above, viz. being part of the message embedded in Yitzchak’s 3rdWell – of Truth coming suddenly to the pagan nations who have all along rejected the Torah, Judaism and Rabbinism.
Whereas one could construe from the first part above that the “acceptance of Yitzchak’s Mission by the Philistines (Palestinians, i.e. Arabs) will come in a quiet intellectual way”, this review of “Messiah in Action” brings the war factor into perspective. As such it explains why this latest Gaza War ignited at such an inconspicuous date – because it may be part of the approaching Time of “the triumph of truth and justice. The Time of humanity’s encounter with the religious and moral system introduced by Avraham, promoted by Yitzchak, and embodied in the Torah given to the (12-tribed) nation of Yisrael.” (to paraphrase Rabbi Fox’s words above).
We Are Seeing Moshiach in Action!
by Tzvi Fishman
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel “Tevye in the Promised Land.”
(Refer to our Disclaimer under the Main Heading above).
The Pillar of Cloud, otherwise known as the Clouds of Glory, or Amud HaAnan, protected the Jewish People [rather: the 12 Tribes of Israel] in the Wilderness, and the “Amud HaAnan” Operation which Tzahal (Israel Defense Forces) has now undertaken is intended to protect our beleaguered citizens in the South.
But it is much more than that.
Rabbi Kook writes:
When there is a great war in the world, the power of Moshiach awakens. The time of the song bird [Kol HaTor] has come, with the weeding away of tyrants. The evil ones are obliterated from the world, the world becomes more perfected, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our Land.
[i.e. the Prophetic Time for the ingathering of exiles – Gaon of Vilna]
And after the war has climaxed, the world is revitalized with a new spirit, and the Footsteps of the Moshiach are exceedingly revealed. The greater the war’s measure, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the greater the expectation for the “Footsteps of the Moshiach” which the war reveals.
“With great insight, incredible valor, with deep and penetrating logic, with true desire, and with clear understanding, we need to receive the exalted contents of the light of G-d which is revealed in wondrous action in the workings of precisely these wars.”
Rabbi Kook ends his essay by quoting from our morning prayers. Make no mistake. This is what Operation “Amud HaAnan” is really all about:
“The Master of wars, sower of righteousness, Who causes salvation to sprout, the Creator or cures, awesome in praise, the Master of wonders, Who renews His goodness every day the act of Creation, cause a new light to shine upon Zion, and may we all be privileged to see its light” (Orot, 2:1).
Hashem is the Master of wars. And now, as citizens in the south of Israel sit anxiously in their bomb shelters, Hashem is at war. Hashem is weeding out tyrants, the killers of Jewish men, women, and children. Hashem is obliterating evil ones from the world, the murderers from the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The Moshiach has awakened. He is sitting in the cockpit beside our pilots as they soar over Gaza, cleansing and perfecting the world. While the Israeli Army is fighting, Hashem is sowing righteousness. Hashem is causing salvation to sprout. He is causing a new light to shine upon Zion, and it is our task to open our eyes and see it. No, my friends, this is not a mere war – this is Moshiach in action!
The Mashiach is not only the ideal Jewish king, but a process which evolves over time. The Gemara informs us that, there are 2000 years of Moshiach (Sanhedrin 97A). In Tractate Megilla, we learn that, “War is also the beginning of Redemption” (Megilla 17B). The Rambam tells us that one of Moshiach’s premier tasks is to fight the wars of Hashem (Laws of Kings and Their Wars, 11:4).
Yes, Operation “Amud HaAnan” has come to protect our citizens, to teach Hamas a painful lesson, and to return our power of detriment, but when you watch the footage on TV, know that you are watching the “Footsteps of Moshiach” You are witnessing the Sanctification of G-d in the world. Let the word go forth, “There is a living G-d in Israel”.
Yes, war is hell. Yes, if war could be abandoned, the world would be a better place. But the Redemption of Am Yisrael also comes through wars. In the roar of our jets streaking over Gaza, Moshiach is on the way! When evil doers are uprooted from the world, the light of Moshiach appears. The greater the magnitude and force of the war, the greater the revelation of Moshiach which follows.
Our hearts and prayers are with the soldiers of Israel. May Hashem grant them and their commanders the holy courage and valor to finish the job and wipe out the evil in our midst, for the betterment of the world. And may we all be privileged to see and enjoy the new light shining on Zion!
(End of Quote)
Additional observations by Kol HaTor:
The 1st World war in 1917, in its aftermath arranged the nations in a way of which the outcome was the Balfour Declaration, according to which a Home Land was declared for Jews.
The 2nd World War, as a result of Hitler’s persecution of Jews, resulted in the Return of Jews (The House of Judah) to the Land promised to Abraham and his descendants.
[Refer to the Prophecy of Rabbi Judah ben Samuel in Postscript below.
The international repercussions of the Return of Judah to their Land would lead to World War 3, now in the making. Jerusalem is facing nuclear and bio-chemical annihilation. ZecharYah 14:2 “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” – This all at the Time of His Coming to establish His Kingdom on earth (refer the last part of chapter 14).
This turnabout in the realization of Israel’s opposers will come suddenly:
- when they see the G-d of Israel Coming to defend and save Israel from total annihilation.
- when they realize that these Jews and their Torah culture, which they have always despised, is the Elect of G-d;
- when they see His “Jewish” World Rule set up in Jerusalem – not Islam, not Christianity, not any of the other isms, but Judaism, the Message of Yitzchak’s 3rd Well will be fulfilled – when the Toldot (generations) of Abraham are settled in the Promised Land, in its Greater format. And these “generations” will include the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel which will be re-identified, returned to the Land and reconciled with the House of Judah to form the Reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of the G-d of Israel! (Refer Kol HaTor Web Site and especially the long list of clear and specific Prophecies about their Return)
Why will they so suddenly accept Abraham and Yitzchak’s culture?
Imagine when these Prophecies come to be fulfilled in the World, when they will see:
ZecharYah 12:2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.”
ZecharYah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
ZecharYah 12:8 “In that day shall HaShem defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as G-d, as the angel of HaShem before them.”
ZecharYah 12:9 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
ZecharYah 14:4 “And his (G-d’s) feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” (They shall see it on international TV and on Internet!)
ZecharYah 14:12 “And this shall be the plague wherewith HaShem will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”
ZecharYah 14:16 “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, HaShem of hosts, and to keep the feast of Succot.”
Ezekiel 38:18 “This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am HaShem.”
Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel Prophecy
JERUSALEM – Judah Ben Samuel was a legendary and prolific Germanrabbi of the 12th century who made some astonishing and specific predictions about the future of Jerusalem and Israel that came true.
Judah Ben Samuel, also known as Judah he-Hasid (Judah the Pious), lived and worked from the end of the 12th century until the beginning of the 13th century in Regensburg, authoring a number of books in the German language.
Ludwig Schneider of Israel Today magazine has translated some of his work into English over the last few years, including “The Book of the Pious”, “Sefer Hasidim” and the Book of Calculations “Sefer Gematriyot”.
Following the Christian crusades to the Holy Land, between 1096-1270, a regular correspondence developed between the Jews in the Holy Land and the Christian West. Thus, for example, the rabbis in Worms and Regensburg in Germany knew that Saladin’s Ayyubids had been ruling in the Holy Land since 1187.
At this time, Judah Ben Samuel published the results of his biblical calculations (Gematria) and astrological observations and summarized as follows: “When the Ottomans (Turks) – who were already a power to be reckoned with on the Bosporus in the time of Judah Ben Samuel – conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
One jubilee is 50 years (Leviticus 25). It is the 50th year after seven times seven years, the year in which each person should regain ownership of his or her land. Ben Samuel’s calculations were purely theoretical; there was absolutely no sign at that time of their being fulfilled. He himself was not able to experience their fulfillment, for it was only 300 years after his death that the first of his predictions were to come true.
The Mamluks, who had been reigning in Jerusalem since 1250, were conquered in 1517 by the Ottoman Turks. They remained for eight jubilees (8 x 50 = 400 years), that is to say they were in Jerusalem for 400 years. Exactly 400 years later, in 1917, the Ottoman Turks were conquered by the British. The League of Nations conferred the Mandate for the Holy Land and Jerusalem to the British. Thus, from 1917, under international law, Jerusalem was no-man’s land.
Then, when Israel captured Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967, exactly one jubilee (50 years) after 1917, Jerusalem reverted to Jewish-Israeli ownership once again. Thereby, according to the prophecies of Judah Ben Samuel, the Messianic End Times began.
Many scholars have studied and made reference to Judah Ben Samuel’s writings in an effort to understand how he reached his conclusions.
The secret of how Judah the Pious arrived at such accurate predictions has less to do with the actual calculations than it does with the fact that he had consecrated his life to G-d. Ben Samuel was often called “Light of Israel”. Even bishops came to him for advice. If anyone asked him where his wisdom came from he would answer,
But to recap the astonishing predictions: In AD 1217 this scholarly and pious rabbi prophesied that the Ottoman Turks would rule over the holy city of Jerusalem for eight Jubilees. Now, keep in mind, he made this prediction 300 years before the Ottoman Turks seized control of Jerusalem in 1517. If indeed 1217 and 1517 were jubilee years as Judah Ben Samuel believed, then his prophecy was exactly right, because exactly 400 years after the Turks took control of Jerusalem they were driven out of the city and the holy land in 1917 by the Allied forces under the command of General George Allenby – on Hanukkah, by the way.
[Note: There is no 100% consensus in Judaism as to which years are the exact Jubilee years today].
But it gets more interesting still.
The rabbi also prophesied that during the ninth Jubilee Jerusalem would be a “no-man’s land”. This is exactly what happened from 1917 to 1967, due to the fact that the Holy Land was placed under British Mandate in 1917 by the League of Nations and literally “belonged” to no nation.
Even after Israel’s war of independence in 1948-49, Jerusalem was still divided by a strip of land running right through the heart of the city, with Jordan controlling the eastern part of the city and Israel controlling the western part of the city. That strip of land was considered and even called “no-man’s land” by both the Israelis and the Jordanians.
It was not until the Six Day War in 1967 when the entire West Bank of the Holy Land was conquered by the Israeli army that the whole city of Jerusalem passed back into the possession of Israel. So once again the prophecy made by the rabbi 750 years previously was fulfilled to the letter.
It certainly would be significant if both 1917 and 1967 were Jubilee years, considering the significance of what happened in Jerusalem on those years. But it gets even more interesting, because Judah Ben Samuel also prophesied that during the 10th Jubilee Jerusalem would be under the control of the Jews and the Messianic “end times” would begin. If he’s right, the 10th Jubilee began in 1967 and will be concluded in 2017.