This post is a continuation of the earlier post, The End of Days I. In this Torah Portion, Shemot, we read about the encounter between Moses and the Almighty at the Burning Bush.

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Moses) in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed… Moreover, He said: ‘I am the G‑d of thy father, the G‑d of Abraham, the G‑d of Isaac, and the G‑d of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon G‑d. And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the affliction of My people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their pains… Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.’ And Moses said unto G‑d: ‘Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ And Moses said unto G‑d: ‘Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them: The G‑d of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me: What is His name? what shall I say unto them?’ And G‑d said unto Moses: ‘I WILL BE what I WILL BE’; and He said: ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel: I WILL BE hath sent me unto you…’ And Moses said unto the Lord: ‘Oh Lord, I am not a man of words, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.’ 11 And the Lord said unto him: ‘Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh a man dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? is it not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak.’ And he said: ‘Oh Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send.’ (Gen. 3:2-4:13)

What a strange dialogue! G‑d tells Moses to go to Egypt to redeem the Jews, but Moses argues with G‑d, “Oh Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send.” Rashi and other classical commentators suggest that “send… him whom Thou wilt send” refers to the ultimate redeemer—the Messiah. But why is Moses refusing to return to Egypt to redeem the Jews?

Rabbi Shimshon Ostropoler (Shimshon ben Pesah of Ostropoli), provides the following explanation (see my earlier post, The End of Days I): Moses knew about the sale of Joseph by his brothers that caused the Egyptian exile. Moreover, he received the mystical tradition that, when the nine brothers needed to convene a Beit Din (an Ecclesiastic Court), they were missing one for the Minyan (the quorum of ten) and enlisted the Shechina (G‑d’s Presence) for this purpose. Moses knew that the brothers had misused a Divine Name to enlist the Shechinah, as it were, into the Beit Din, thereby causing the blemish in that Name. However, Moses did not know which Name was affected. He mistakenly thought it was the proper Name of G‑d—the Tetragrammaton or Havayah—Y‑H‑W‑H. According to his calculation, the Egyptian exile was supposed to last 216 years (190 years—the gematria of “Ketz“—plus 26 years—the gematriah of Y‑H‑W‑H). Essentially, Moses was asking G‑d, “Why are You sending me now when the exile is going to last several more years—send whomever You will choose when the time will come.” G‑d answers Moses, “You are mistaken. The Name which was misused by the brothers was not Y‑H‑W‑H, but AHYH—Ehyeh, therefore, the time to redeem Jewish people has come.” (The gematria of Ehyeh is 21 so the Egyptian exile was only going to last 210 years and in the 211th year they would be redeemed.) Thus far is Rabbi Shimshon Ostropoler.

One can ask an obvious question: If, according to Rashi, Moses’ argument was that he was not the ultimate redeemer, and G‑d should send instead Mashiach, who would redeem the Jews once and for all, G‑d’s answer appears to be a non-sequitur—the fact that the Egyptian exile was going to end earlier than Moses calculated and it was time to take Jews out of Egypt did not address Moses’ objection that he was not destined to be the ultimate redeemer and G‑d should send the Messiah (Mashiach) instead.

In my previous post, The End of Days I, I proposed that this logic can be applied to the current exile, which began with the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 c.e. If the end of the first exile was based on the numerical value of the word “end” (Ketz), 190, then the date of the ultimate redemption may depend on the “ultimate value” of this word multiplied by ten—1,900. Adding 1,900 to the year 70 c.e. gives us the year 1970. This was the year when the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, ordered the completion of the Sefer Torah of Mashiach. Adding to this 21 years, corresponding to the numerical value of the Divine Name Ahyeh (AHYH), gives us the year 1991, when the Lubavitcher Rebbe announced, “The time of your redemption has arrived!” However, alas, Mashiach did not come that year.

Incredibly, the Rebbe, himself pointed to the connection to the number 1900 and expressed his bewilderment of why the Redemption had not yet arrived. In 5752, in the week when we read the Torah portion Tetzaveh, the Rebbe said that we had been over 1900 years in exile, yet the Redemption has still not arrived. The number 1900 hints at the key to the cipher.

If we are to interpret the dialogue between Moses and G‑d in terms of the ultimate redemption, G‑d gives Moses a hint: the name G‑d uses to denote the ultimate redemption is Ehyeh asher Ehyeh (I WILL BE what I WILL BE). The name Ehyeh appears here twice separated by the word “asher”. Adding 21 to 1991 get us to the year 2012. The question is, what does the word “asher” tell us?  May we merit the immediate redemption!



Burning Bush, by Chagall

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