We continue with the first chapter of Acharis Ke’raishis:
Here we have ‘two prophets saying a similar prophecy.’ The order of the redemption is split into two stages. One is the redemption itself, and the other is the beginning of the redemption, referred to as the “פקידה.” [This language of פקידה is found in the Gemara (Rosh Hashana 10b), where it says that on Rosh Hashana, Sarah was “נפקדה” – remembered. Rashi explains that this means that their memory came for good (before Hashem) and a pregnancy was decreed for them. It is clear that before the birth, which is the completion of the redemption, and as we will see its process is compared to birth, the process starts with a פקידה remembrance, where Hashem remembers (פוקד) his people, and remembers (זוכר) them for good in order to begin their redemption. See Beraishis (21:1) on the verse, “And Hashem remembered (פקד) Sarah as He spoke, and did to Sarah as He said.” There Rashi explains, based on the midrash, that the words ‘as He spoke’ refer to conception, and the words ‘as He said’ refer to birth. These are precisely the two stages we are speaking about.]
Similarly we see [from both the Ramchal and the Gra] that the order of the beginning of the [final] redemption will be as it was with the Second Temple in the days of Koresh (Cyrus), and it will also be similar to the order of the redemption from Egypt, that at first their labor was intensified, nevertheless, they had already reached the beginning of redemption. Only afterwards was there a movement from the Right side [the side of Kindness].
These ideas are also mentioned in the words of the Gra explicitly in his explanation of the Zohar on Parshas Mishpatim קכ ע”א “The פקידה (first stage) will be in Tishrei, but [the redemption] will be pushed off until Nissan, because Tishrei is the Left arm – Rosh Hashana – as is known.” See there. Also explained there (קיט ע”ב) is that the beginning of the redemption which we mentioned is referred to as the “חבלי משיח” – the birth pangs of Moshiach. These are his words:
The night is compared to exile, and the morning [is compared] to redemption, like the verse says (Rus 3), “Sleep until morning.” And before the redemption, the exile will become more severe than the entire exile, as it says (Berachos 6b), “אגרא דכלה דוחקא” – the reward of the ‘bride’ [i.e. the Shechina and Klal Yisrael] is made greater by difficulty. This is the darkness (שחרות) of the morning (שחר), that before the day breaks, it is the darkest part of the night, and therefore it is called שחר [which connotes both morning and darkness]. And the seventy קלין (voices or cries) are seventy years which are referred to as the birth pangs of Moshiach, because the entire exile is like a pregnant woman whose due date is getting closer every day, and the redemption is compared to a birth, as we find in the verse (Yeshaya 66), “Would a nation be born… Zion has birthed her children…” When the time comes for birth, the pain is greater than all of the time she was pregnant, as we find in the verse (Bereshis 3), “I will make your difficulty great, and your pregnancy will be painful” – pregnancy is the exile. The birth pangs of Moshiach correspond to a woman about to give birth.
He writes further in ביאור אגדות סבי דבי אתונא “נחש בכמה מיעבר”:
All the preparations that Hakadosh Baruch Hu prepares for the good of the world are done in a hidden place near Him. When the preparation is completed, the action is done, and this is its birth… However, during the preparation, that good is not revealed at all, and the original state of destruction seems to continue. For in order for the rectification of that state of destruction to take place, the Supernal Thought is continuously activating its plans; but it is not a complete destruction [even while the plans are not completely activated], and when Hakadosh Baruch Hu takes [that plan], there is an immediate effect to rectify the matter so the world will not be destroyed. Nevertheless, the destruction of the order [of the world on the surface] remains as long as the preparation is made in the Transcendental realm without being revealed below. From this, we can also understand that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is only doing good, and even in a time of hiddenness, it is not that He is disgusted with His world, rather that He is preparing the rectification for its damage. Nevertheless, this preparation is done in a hidden place, and either way, the world undergoes many evils and difficulty.
To be continued…