Saturday, October 22, 2005

Weekend Posting: And Now for Something Completely Different

It's time for a break from Harriet Miers, Joseph Wilson and Plamegate, politics, and all that unpleasantness. Frequent contributor, former law partner, Orthodox Jew, good friend, and all-around mensch Ralph Kostant contributes some religious news from his side of the fence:

Forget about Madonna, Aston Kutcher, Demi Moore and the Kabbalah Center on Robertson Boulevard. Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, a 104-year old rabbinical scholar and mystic, is a real Kabbalist. This article from Arutz Sheva, Israel National News Service, describes what Rabbi Kaduri announced to his astonished students and fellow worshipers on Yom Kippur, this past Thursday. Rabbi Kaduri had announced just before Yom Kippur that the Jews in the Diaspora should now move to the Land of Israel to avoid dangers from forthcoming natural disasters. On Yom Kippur he stated, “With the help of God, the soul of the Messiah has attached itself to a person in Israel.”

Rabbi Kaduri was born in Iraq, and studied as a child under the famous Baghdadi Rabbi, Yosef Chaim, known as “the Ben Ish Chai” [“the Living Man”], after the title of his most famous work. [Incidentally, in 1901, when Rabbi Kaduri was born, Jews constituted the largest single ethnic group in Baghdad, outnumbering Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds. Less than 60 years ago, there were 125,000 Jews living in that city. Now, after over a century of murders, oppression, and flight, only about 20 Jews are left in Baghdad. Think of that the next time that Israel is accused of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinian Arabs.] The Ben Ish Chai, who died when Rabbi Kaduri was 8 years old, is said to have blessed his young student, saying that Yitzhak Kaduri would live to see the revelation of the Messiah. Rabbi Kaduri immigrated to Palestine in 1914, at the age of 13.

As noted in the article, on September 24, 2001, in commenting on the destruction of the World Trade Center, Rabbi Kaduri said that the Biblical war of Gog and Magog, which in traditional Jewish belief precedes the revelation of the Messiah and the final redemption of the Jewish people, would begin on Hoshana Rabbah, which in 2001 fell on October 7, and would last for 7 years. On October 7, 2001, United States and British aircraft began the aerial bombardment of Afghanistan, commencing the invasion of that country, the overthrow of the Taliban and onset of the War Against Terror.

Incidentally, a number of people, noting that Magog means “from Gog” and that the name George, when spelled in Hebrew is close to “Gog”, have suggested that the war of Gog and Magog, refers to “George who is from George,” i.e., President George W. Bush, the son of President George H. W. Bush.

Readers should note that in traditional Jewish belief, the Messiah is not divine or an incarnation of God, but rather a fully mortal human being.

Regarding his warning to Jews in the Diaspora, no, I am not planning to immediately move to Israel—more’s the pity.

Ralph B. Kostant
I have frequently teased Ralph that in my book the Messiah's planning His second coming, not His first, but there is room for many beliefs on this old planet of ours-- as long as you live in the United States of America.


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