Is the Defamation of Israel Paving Way for the Moshiach?

Dear Jew in the City,

Is the world supposed to be upside down before Moshiach comes? How are people accusing Israel of doing the horrific things Hamas has done? 



Dear Oren,
Thanks for your questions. I’m breaking it down into three parts, which I’ll address separately: (1) “Is the world supposed to be upside down” (2) “before Moshiach comes,” and (3) “How are people accusing Israel of doing the horrific things Hamas has done?”

  1. I’m afraid you’re mistaken about the upside-down world thing. There is such a concept, but it refers to Olam Haba (the “Next World”), not to the Messianic era. 

Let me give you the context of “an upside-down world.” It’s from the Talmud in Pesachim (50a). Rav Yoseif, the son of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, became seriously ill and had a near-death experience. When he recuperated, his father asked him what he had seen. 

“I saw an upside-down world,” Rav Yoseif said. “The lowly were honored and the important were held in low regard.”

“No,” Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi answered his son, “what you saw was the real world, clearly for the first time.”

The point of this story is that our priorities in this world are upside down. We honor people for all the wrong reasons, and disregard those who truly deserve it. In the Next World, which is also known as Olam ha’Emes (the World of Truth), this shortcoming is rectified.

  1. We previously discussed what the world will be like before Moshiach comes. According to the last mishna in tractate Sotah (9:15):

With the approach of Moshiach, insolence will increase and prices will rise sharply. The vine will yield produce but wine will be expensive. The government will turn to heresy and no one will be qualified to give rebuke. The meeting places will be used for promiscuity, the Galilee will be destroyed and the Gavlan (perhaps referring to the Golan) will be desolate. Those who live on the frontier will wander from place to place (seeking charity) but no one will take pity on them. The wisdom of scholars will deteriorate, people who fear sin will be despised and truth won’t be found. Young people will shame their elders, old men having to stand up for the young, as per Micah 7:6, “A son despises his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” The face of the generation preceding Moshiach will be like that of a dog; a son will feel no shame before his father. There is no one upon whom we can rely except for our Father in Heaven.

That’s certainly a messed-up world, and in many ways it reflects our world, but this scenario is not referred to as an “upside-down world.”

I should point out, as I do when people seem overly concerned with signs of Moshiach’s imminent arrival, that trying to figure it out is discouraged. Rav Zeira said that speculating about Moshiach’s arrival actually delays it, because it will only happen when we don’t expect it (Sanhedrin 97a). Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani cursed those who try to calculate the time of Moshiach’s arrival because they weaken others’ faith when their calculations are wrong (ibid., 97b). You can read more about this here

  1. How can people accuse Israel of the horrible things that Hamas did? Now there’s a question! The answer is surprisingly simple.

In Talmud Kiddushin 70b, Rav Yehuda declared a certain person to be the descendant of slaves (i.e., of flawed lineage). When Rav Nachman asked why he did that, Rav Yehuda said it was because this person was in the habit of accusing others of that flaw. When one unfairly accuses others of a character defect or other fault, it’s typically a defect that the accuser himself possesses. In the words of Shmuel, he tries to disqualify others with his own blemish.

While the gemara may have described this concept some 2,000 years ago, psychology caught up only a little over a century ago, with the concept of projection. As Freud formalized it, things we can’t accept about ourselves are attributed to others. The result is that liars accuse others of lying, cheaters accuse others of cheating, gaslighters accuse others of gaslighting and yes, genocidal maniacs accuse others of being genocidal maniacs.

It’s well documented that Israel goes out of its way to try to avoid civilian casualties (it’s why they switched from air strikes to ground forces, even though the latter results in more Israeli casualties). Hamas, on the other hand, actually has in its charter the destruction of Jews not just in Israel, but worldwide. But regardless of whether one’s motivation in supporting Hamas is antisemitism, a misguided love for the perceived underdog or simply swallowing the narrative, no one is going to come out and say, “I support genocidal maniacs.” Rather, they project this trait onto their enemy, Israel.

This, of course, results in some incredible mental gymnastics. People who formerly screamed “believe women” now deny rape or justify it as legitimate resistance, because “context.” And, of course, “kill all Jews because they support genocide” is an utterly irrational sentiment. So are things upside-down and backwards? Absolutely. Things are wayyy messed up. But, unfortunately, to paraphrase old Ben Kenobi, that’s not the messianic prophecy you’re looking for. 


Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Educational Correspondent
Follow Ask Rabbi Jack on YouTube

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  • Avatar photo John Jeffrey Bias says on March 14, 2024

    I helped Jewish Charity mails several times but money cannot solve people’s problems. I want people trust in Adonai HaShem without money or Gold or Silver. I invested in Silver coins and Graded Silver coins but I know Gold and Silver will not save people from HaShem’s wrath in Old Testament. I know many people rejected laws of Moses got laws from HaShem. I know USA support Palestinians more than Israelites. I knew April 8th 2024 eclipse will end of USA empire support Palestine more than Israel. HaShem said Jerusalem belongs to Jewish people. I am Noahide and obey laws of Moses. I am not trying to eat unclean pig meat or unclean mice meat because HaShem hate unclean meats. Peace Out John Bias


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