Foresight And Denial Of Future Catastrophes (Part II) – OpEd


They decided to try once again, just four years after their first descent, to storm the heavens and learn what the 58th century had in store for the Jewish people.

Zeitlin and Korczak succeeded in reaching the first two heavenly temple-palaces but encountered nothing. They persisted all night, their heads between their knees, until they reached the third heavenly temple-palace. Here there were colors of all tints and hues. But they dazzled so much that it was hard to concentrate. They searched for Metatron and eventually found him. They begged him to show them what the coming century would be like. They confessed their feelings of dread and dismay. (To read Part I click here)

Metatron replied, “Only a few others have seen visions of the future once. You, who have seen one vision and been allowed to change it, now wish to see the new future reality because your fears are greater now than at first. Are you sure you want to know?” “Yes, we must. Will you tell us?”

Metatron replied, “Then look and behold! To the East, on the left, arose a very large and fierce red bear. It grew large and its eyes were crazed. It began to trample the fields, tearing up the harvest and creating large piles of dead bodies. The bear carried away millions of people to die in the prison of ice.

Then to the right, arose a black wolf. It grew larger and larger and its eyes flashed fire and burned with fury. It began to eat up all the neighboring lands. The bear and the wolf made an agreement to divide a horse between them, and after both had consumed the horse, the wolf turned to the West and ate up the land of grapes and its neighbors.

The bear watched the wolf grow stronger but spent its time scratching itself and biting its claws. Then suddenly the wolf attacked the bear and tore it to pieces. Then the wolf turned south consuming the camels and destroying the Land of Milk and Honey. The honey bees were driven into the desert and all died there. The wolf set up ovens in many places and the honey bees were gassed to death.The big eagle stayed in its nest as did the little one on the island. In its lair the wolf developed a mushroom seed that could poison a large city. The wolf dropped the seed on one city on the island and on three cities in the eagle’s nest and destroyed them. The mushroom seed enabled the wolf to become master of the world. All the honey bees throughout the world were killed.

Many others were also murdered, some because they were weak, or dark, and some because they thought too much. The wolf was ten times as destructive as the bear and it extinguished the lights throughout the world. The vision darkened until it was no more.

Zeitlin and Korczak were silent. They were filled with feelings of foreboding and doom. They asked what the vision meant, but Metatron refused to tell them. He said, “Ascend if you dare to the fourth heavenly temple-palace and inquire there.”They placed their heads between their knees and repeated the Kabbalistic exercises that had brought them to this experience. They descended even deeper into the Merkavah until they reached the fourth heavenly temple-palace. Here the colors were more harmonious and the shadows more distinct. Music could be heard and colored fountains of water moved rhythmically to the music of a choir. They searched until they found Michael. “We wanted to know the fate of our people and Metatron showed us a vision of the coming century. We are afraid we understood it, except for the mushroom seed. Will you interpret that for us?”

“I can and I will, but you will not like what you hear,” said Michael. ” The mushroom seed is an atomic bomb powerful enough to destroy a city and reduce a nation to surrender. Germany is the most important center of scientific research in the world, especially in the field of atomic research. Between 1901 and 1933, 31 scientists received the Nobel Prize in chemistry, of whom 14 were German. In physics during the same time period 30% of the Nobel Prize winners were German.

With this lead German dominance of military technology will be assured. The Germans will realize the need for more powerful weapons. In a few years they will develop an atomic bomb which they will use against the British and the Americans before the Americans are able to develop their own atomic bomb. This will result in Nazi domination of the world for the rest of the century, and the death of over 300 million people. What will happen in the 59th century I do not know.”

Zeitlin and Korczak were devastated by the vision of Nazi domination. For a very long time they could only weep. Then Zeitlin demanded that God prevent the Nazi victory. “Why can’t God just give Hitler a heart attack and stop it all now?”

“Did the death of Lenin make things better in Russia?”, asked Michael. “Don’t be so sure that you know God’s solution to problems. It’s hard enough to try and figure out what human beings should do. Human beings create evil and human beings must accept responsibility for overcoming evil.

Why did the Germans elect Hitler? Why did the Roman Catholic Church sign a concordat with him? Why did the Western democracies abandon Czechoslovakia to him? Why were good-hearted pro-peace idealists wrong in opposing the use of force to stop Hitler? Why did the U. S. remain isolated and refuse to give refuge to thousands of Jewish children?

Why did the Palestinians refuse hospitality to their long lost cousins who were desperately seeking to come home? Don’t make demands of God until human beings have lived up to their responsibilities.”Zeitlin was silent. The most universal sin of all, he thought, was apathy.
Praise me, says God, I will know that you love me.
Curse me, I will know that you love me.
 Praise me or curse me.
I will know that you love me. Sing out my graces, says God,
Raise your fist against me and revile,
Sing my graces or revile.
Reviling is also praise, says God.But if you sit fenced off in your apathy,
Entrenched in “I couldn’t care less”, says God.

If you look at the stars and yawn,
If you see suffering and don’t cry out,
If you don’t praise and don’t revile,
Then I created you in vain, says God.Then Korczak spoke up. “We cannot demand. We can only pray. For the sake of the children, the little innocent ones that I have devoted my life to helping, may the Nazis fail. We offer our lives, and that of our generation, if we can only save the next generation from this catastrophe.

“You have spoken well,” replied Michael,”but once the sword is let loose it cuts down the good and the evil; the young and the old. You are old. If you can find two young souls as holy as yours willing to offer themselves, then the forces of evil can be weakened. Penetrate into the fifth heavenly temple-palace and seek out the Shekhina (the Divine Presence), she will help you.”

Zeitlin and Korczak thanked Michael and, placing their heads between their knees, they resumed the Kabbalistic exercises that had brought them to this experience. After a very long time they entered the fifth heavenly temple-palace. Everything seemed to be made of translucent marble. Light came not from outside but from inside everything. Inside and outside seemed to have no meaning. The marble itself was permeable and seemed to flow like water. The Shekhina found them, and without their asking offered them her compassion.”There are many holy and pure Jewish souls among our youth but for the 58th century you will need those of the daughters of Sarah. I will connect you to two of the holiest. One had escaped from Germany to Holland in 1933, but will soon be endangered again and will have to go into hiding. The other will soon arrive in the Holy Land and will be safe. If they are willing to test their faith and offer up their lives the German victories will be cut short. I will touch them and return to you.”

The younger of the two holy souls was Anne Frank. Her parents fled from Germany to Amsterdam when she was four. In the summer of 1941, when the Nazis closed the Dutch schools to Jewish children she transferred to a Jewish High School. In 1942 deportations of Jews from Holland began, and her family went into hiding for two years, until they were betrayed to the German police.

On her thirteenth birthday Anne received a diary in which she wrote about her life cooped up in a small room with seven other people. In spite of all that had happened she did not despair of God or of humanity. She wrote: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

The older of the two holy souls was Hannah Szenes. Born in Budapest, Hungary, she became a Zionist as a teenager. In 1939, at age 18, she immigrated to Israel and two years later joined a kibbutz. In 1943 she volunteered to parachute into occupied Europe behind the German lines in order to try and organize a Jewish Resistance Movement in Hungary. While behind enemy lines she wrote: Blessed is the match that is consumed in kindling flame,
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret-fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match that is consumed in kindling flame.

When the Shekhina returned, she told them that the offering was pure and holy. Michael would explain to them the mundane way that things work.

Michael told them that of the 10 Nobel Prize winners in physics who were living and working in Germany in 1933 (plus the 8 who would win the Nobel Prize in later years) half had already been directly affected by anti-semitism and forced to immigrate: Einstein, Franck, Hertz, Stern, Pauli, Bloch, Borne, Wigner and Bethe. In addition, 2 non-Jews with Jewish wives, Hess and the Italian Fermi, had also immigrated. Only one, totally lacking in Jewish connections, left for moral reasons; Schrodinger.

Almost two thirds of Germany’s top scientists already have been repelled by Nazi anti-semitism. Most of them have gone to the U.S. where knowing and fearing Germany’s nuclear potential, they would influence the American government to build an atomic bomb.

“To make sure that the Germans do not develop it first, I will harden Hitler’s heart with hatred and he will not listen to those who advise him to build an atomic bomb because he will be convinced that Einstein’s theory is a “Jewish bluff”, and that results based on Einstein’s and Bohr’s theories are to be dismissed as “Jewish speculations”.However, said Michael sadly, before the Nazis are defeated they will be responsible for the death in battle of more than 20 million people, and they will be directly responsible for the cruel and arrogant murder of almost 11 million civilians, including almost 6 million Jews.

This Nazi cruelty and arrogance will so alienate the oppressed peoples in the Soviet Union that even those who would have joined in fighting against the Communists will after a while become the enemies of Germany. Thus Germany will not only fail to conquer the world, but will even fail to conquer the Soviet Union.

Zeitlin and Korczak were amazed that in the heavenly realms the purity of soul of the two daughters of Sarah could have such a powerful effect on the mundane world. Idealists though they were, they feared they were dreaming. Michael assured them that most of the Jewish people would survive the 58th century. The Jews in the Holy Land, strengthened by the survivors, would resurrect a Jewish State, and even though it would be attacked several times by its neighbors, it would grow stronger and tougher over time.

After a generation the great bear would grow ill and be dismembered. Many honey bees will escape from its belly and its limbs. Although a large percentage of the honey bees outside the Land of Israel will wander away from the hive and become lost, those living in the Holy Land will be fruitful and multiply. During this time the camels will gather together for war and finally for peace. Before the end of the 58th century a new world of justice and international peace could be born.

The two of them were silent for several moments. Then Zeitlin said, “The price is very high. Why do Jewish souls always have to pay the price? It is not just. Why can’t Jewish history be like that of everyone else? Why can’t we be ordinary; just average?”

“Jews are not average,” said the Shekhina, “and that’s why Israel has survived. You are part of a Covenant. You can choose to give yourself to that Covenant as Anne and Hannah did or you can choose to alienate yourself from it, but the people of Israel have been chosen to be the catalyst for the Messianic Age. I can show you what would have happened if the red bear and the black wolf had never been born.””Surely it would have been a better world for everyone, including the Jews,” said Korczak.

“Don’t be so quick to judge.”

The vision unfolded before them. They saw a world gradually growing richer. People had more and expected even more. People lived longer and took longer to die. Community tensions and boundaries dissolved in individualism. The honeybees stopped producing honey. They left their hives for the nests of others, and as the generations passed, they numbered fewer and fewer. The Messianic Age would have begun in the 60th century, but the honeybees became extinct. Everyone was normal – no one was exceptional. Life was sweet and dull.”It isn’t so bad,” said Korczak.

“It’s terrible,” said Zeitlin.

“It doesn’t have to be that way,” said Korczak, “If the Zionists succeed in resurrecting a Jewish State it wouldn’t come out that way.”

“There will be no Jewish State without the wolf and the lamb,” said the Shekhina with tears in her eyes, “They are part of the birth pangs of the New World.”

Zeitlin and Korczak remained silent for a long time. When they withdrew from the presence of the Shekhina they felt her kiss in their hearts.

When they returned to their normal selves they did not speak publicly of their visions or of their experiences. But in July 1939 Zeitlin related to a group of friends and disciples a vision of the Nazi enemy going from town to town brutally attacking the old and the young, and leaving no remnant. An account of this vision was published in a Yiddish periodical, “Der Nayer Ruf”.

On August the fifth 1942, the Germans rounded up the 200 children at the Warsaw Jewish Orphanage and marched them off to the deportation trains that took them to Treblinka, where they were all gassed to death. Although Polish friends had made arrangements to hide him, Korzcak went with his children to the end.

On Rosh Hashanah 5703 (September 12, 1942) wearing his talit and tefillin, Zeitlin was shot to death with the other Jews from the Jewish Hospital.

In June 1944, Hannah Szenes was captured by the Hungarian police. She was imprisoned and tortured but refused to reveal her radio codes and contacts. After five months in prison she was shot by a firing squad shortly before the city was liberated by the Russians.

In August 1944, the Frank family was betrayed to the German police. In December, Anne and her sister were sent to Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. In March of 1945 shortly before the camp was liberated and the war ended, Anne Frank died. She was sixteen years old. When Anne was 15 she wrote in her diary: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. 

I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the day will come when I shall be able to carry them out.”

There is no way to know if the Russians would have conquered Germany, Western Europe and most of the world if Stalin had attacked Hitler first. There is no way to know if Germany would have developed the atomic bomb first and used it to conquer the world. Both of these were very real possibilities. Either of them would have endangered Jewish survival in Europe, in Israel and eventually throughout the world.

In the next century or two, the total assimilation of the Jewish People living in the diaspora is a significant probability. Without a Jewish State, the Jewish People could become extinct. Perhaps these historical possibilities did not, and will not occur because of the activities I described. I do not know. In any case, when we consider these possibilities we can only say “Thank God they didn’t happen!”

The Jewish sages say that we should always end with a note of hope, and the 58th century still has time for something marvelous for the Jewish people and the world. The Qur’an refers to Prophet Abraham as a community or a nation: “Abraham was a nation/community [Ummah]; dutiful to God, a monotheist [hanif], not one of the polytheists.” (16:120) If Prophet Abraham is an Ummah; then fighting between the descendants of Prophets Ishmael and Isaac is a civil war and should always be avoided. Prior to the 20th century Arabs and Jews never did make war with each other. “Lo yisa goy el goy kherev velo yilmedu od milkhama” “Nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

If all Arabs and Jews can live up to the ideal that ‘the descendants of Abraham’s sons should never make war against each other’ is the will of God; we will help fulfill the 2700 year old vision of Prophet Isaiah: “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel  will join a three-party alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing upon the heart. The LORD of Hosts will bless them saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”…(Isaiah 19:23-5)

Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Allen Maller retired in 2006 after 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, Calif. He is the author of an introduction to Jewish mysticism. God. Sex and Kabbalah and editor of the Tikun series of High Holy Day prayerbooks.

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