Who is Gog?

I was inspired today by something new that Ben Golden wrote. He wrote that the war of Gog Umagog is an internal war that each of us is fighting with our yetzer hara, and depending on every individuals’ fight will be the fate of the world. (That’s how I understood it.)

That being said, the following vort I once heard (I forget where and when) becomes especially potent.

Who is גוג? He doesn’t have to only be a particular person, because he is someone that is inside of us all.

We can understand who גוג is by noticing that Moshiach has a similar name. What, you say? Moshiach has a similar name? Yes, his name is בן דוד. Both names have a single letter repeated and joined by a Vav. גוג is gimel vav gimel. דוד is daled vav daled.

Let us start backwards (or really forwards) with דוד. The main letter in his name is Daled. This letter represents Dalus (or Dalut if you prefer) which means poverty. The poverty we speak of in regards to Dovid is his lack of ego. Dovid represents the level of Malchus or kingship. But unlike the kingship that we think of, Malchus really means complete lack of self, which is the ultimate container for the Divine. Dovid was the prophet who combined all of the seven lower sefiros into himself and brought down the Kingship of Hashem into the world. Hashem only rests his divine presence in places that lack ego (e.g. Am Yisrael – smallest of the nations; Har Sinai, smallest of the mountains). This is דוד, who is pure humility, Dalus connected to Dalus (daled vav daled).

Who is the ultimate enemy of דוד? It can only be גוג who is the exact opposite of דוד. Where as Dovid’s letter is Daled, which is Dalus, ie humility, Gog’s letter is Gimmel, which is Ga’avah – pure, unadulterated pride. His essence bespeaks the fact that he owns the world. He has the audacity to claim that there is no power other than his, and he pushes away, in the ultimate way possible, the Divine presence. He is Gayvah connected to Gayvah (Gimel vav Gimel).

Each one of us contains a little of both of these aspects. We have the ability to connect to humility; to give others the benefit of the doubt; to be more concerned with others’ needs than our own; to be focused on kindness and charity – focused outwards.

We also have the ability to focus only on ourselves; on our own needs and wants; on what everyone else owes us; on the mistakes, insensitivites and injustices others perform to us; on the negative side of life.

It is our choice whether we will associate with גוג or with דוד. It is our choice to attach ourselves to the ultimate good or the ultimate evil.

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