Jewish Leadership Part 27 Submission, Separation and Sweetening
in the Ingathering of the Exiles
Our slavery in Egypt, the prototype of all future exiles, began with Pharaoh saying (Exodus 1:9-10): "Behold, the people of Israel are more and mightier than us. Come let us deal wisely with them lest they multiply..." Only when the ten plagues had devastated Egypt did they expel them (Exodus 12:33): "And Egypt was hurrying the people that they may send them out of the land in haste." Throughout Jewish history, the very nations that invited us into their borders or forcefully brought us there, in due time came to expel us. After World War II, it was a combination of world conscience shocked into action from the nauseating revelations of the Holocaust, and simultaneously their being confronted by a new image of a proud, defiant Jew in Israel which lead to the rebirth of the Jewish State. Another example is Communist Russia which eventually found it was easier to let the Jews go than to deal with their increasing militancy.
The ingathering of the exiles is intrinsically connected to the coming of Mashiach in that both events entail the clarification of all the good trapped in the exile and its ultimate liberation in Israel. At the dawning of the Messianic age, the forces of darkness and evil will attempt their final act of opposition. For that reason they will even appear to succeed as it says: "The hour is laughing for the evil one's good." This is true in some measure in every generation but especially before the full revelation of Mashiach.
It is not surprising that in the last century, as the ingathering of the exiles began in earnest, the land of Israel was settled and rebuilt as Jewish sovereignty and pride reestablished itself. Simultaneously, the opposite forces of genocide, assimilation, and intermarriage have been felt with a vengeance. These forces reveal a cosmic battle of good versus evil that must occur before the Messianic era begins.
Assimilation and intermarriage represent the most extreme manifestation of being swallowed up while in exile, allowing a spirit of folly to not only enter, but to completely overwhelm the Jewish spark within. Ultimately though, no soul will be lost and eventually every spark of holiness will be brought back to Israel. In many cases a Jew, long cut off from his true roots, will begin the spiritual journey back to Judaism only after becoming totally alienated and even disgusted with the very foreign, material values he adopted at the expense of his true Jewish identity. In this sense his own false self-identity vomits him out, thus forcing him to look deep within, where his true Jewish identity begins to reveal itself.
As is clearly evident in Israel today, the complete clarification and redemption of the sparks of holiness is neither an easy nor instantaneous process. Jews from over one hundred countries are now gathered in Israel and an intense period of self-definition and creative energy has been released. A period of recuperation from the long exile is taking place as the Jewish people heal and strengthen themselves for the last battle with the forces of evil.
As in the case of the first manifestation of foolishness, the process of holy folly described here also follows three-stages of Divine service. Submission in the soul is experienced in the consciousness of exile--the sensation of being swallowed up, the feeling of revulsion at false self-identity, and the spirit of folly leading to sin. Even in Israel one can revert to an exile mentality. Before one is able to free himself from the grasp of evil and the "other side," a total awareness of separating good from evil and holy from profane is required. It is this stage of separation that most represents the second manifestation of holy folly. Only when a true separation of good and evil is accomplished can the sparks of holiness be redeemed and all reality sweetened as it reunites with its Divine source.