3. This Redemption will only occur through the learning of Torah. The main Redemption is dependent on the learning of Kabbalah (*) (**).
(*) Raya Mehemna (2:2), Tikkunei Zohar (4:4), Tikkunei Zohar Chadash (36:3). For this reason, the blessing of Ahava Rabba, which is the blessing of the Torah (Berachos 11), was ordered as we have it – First we ask to learn and teach, and afterwards we ask Hashem to enlighten our eyes, which refers to the hidden aspects of the Torah; we then ask that Hashem bring us, in peace, from the four corners of the Earth (See the Gemara in Baba Basra 8).
(**) It is interesting to note that this Gr’a is oft-quoted, but most commonly, only the first half of his statement is actually mentioned. It is a lesser known fact that the Gr’a holds that the main learning that is necessary to bring the Geulah is the study of Kabbalah. For some reason, the learning of Kabbalah is shunned by certain segments of the Jewish world, in line with the concept that Moshiach ben Yosef, who is to reveal this wisdom, himself is shunned. Interestingly, we see here a manifestation of the idea that Moshiach ben Yosef first reveals himself to the less religious parts of the Jewish people, and only afterwards reveals himself to the ones who are most faithful to the Torah. This strange twist can be seen in the current thirst in the non-religious Jewish world for Kabbalistic knowledge, although it unfortunately is given over by many who are unworthy. This parallels the fact that Yosef first was known to the Egyptians, then was later revealed to his brothers, and finally was revealed to his father, Yakov. This corresponds to the progressive way Moshiach ben Yosef reveals himself. If one thinks about it, it is truly remarkable that Hashem is using all parts of Klal Yisrael to bring about the redemption, even the non-religious world, who one could think is excluded from the process. Here we see that the truth is exactly the opposite of what it seems on the surface (as is always the case with Yosef), that each part of the Jewish people is involved in bringing the Geulah in a different way, and each part has its role to play in the cosmic drama.
4. In the merit of distancing from those who are involved in the teachings of spiritual philosophy, in study and nature, in the future they [who have distanced themselves] will merit to bask in the light of Hashem (Yeshaya 2:6) (*) (**).
(*) See Yoreh De’ah Siman 179:13, where he writes about false philosophy in a negative light, and see Aliyos Eliyahu (17:2). This is clearly not like the other opinion who says that the statement in Yoreh De’ah is not really from the Gr’a. I heard from an extremely trustworthy source that those words were in the original manuscript, written in the holy handwriting of the Gr’a himself, as is clear over here. See also Yoreh De’ah 246:18.
(**) This is also extremely interesting, because the opinion of the Gr’a was that one must be well-versed in the seven wisdoms in order to properly understand Kabbalah, as they are two sides of the same coin (see Sha’ar Be’er Sheva in Kol Hator, only in certain editions). The Gr’a states that according to how much information one lacks in his understanding of Kabbalah, he will lack an understanding in the seven wisdoms, and vice versa. The teachings of philosophy, however, are a completely different area, and they are forbidden because they attempt to divorce reality from a Godly source. The Gr’a there in the first reference in Yoreh De’ah says openly that the Rambam made certain mistakes because he relied on philosophy to understand reality, due to the information he was missing from the deeper sources.
5. The redemption is referred to as the morning, as the verse says, “The morning has come, and also night.” It is also referred to as a birth (**), as the verse says, “For Tzion has… also given birth…” Just like the greatest darkness is immediately before the day, and the pregnant woman has the greatest pain just before the birth, so too, before the redemption, the exile will be heavier [at the point of redemption, more] than the entire length of the exile (*).
(*) (Just as in Egypt, where the greatest difficulty of the Jews’ subjugation directly preceded the redemption, as the verse says, “Make the work heavier on the people…”) These are the birth-pangs of Moshiach. There are seventy words in the psalm “יענך ה’ ביום צרה” – “Hashem will afflict you on the day of oppression,” which correspond to the seventy years of birth-pangs of Moshiach, through which they will be redeemed. (This is what it says there, “Now I know that Hashem has saved his Moshiach…” And it could be that this is why we say this immediately before “ובא לציון גואל” – A redeemer will come to Tzion.) This is found in his explanation of Raya Mehemna 21:2 32:1, Tikkunei Zohar 86:2, Tikkunei Zohar Chadash 27:2, and see there 7:2.
(**) These two analogies are so apt, because both in the case of the fetus in the womb, as well as the darkness of night, one can not see, but can only hear. When the child is born, and when the day breaks, one is able to see all that he had only been able to hear only moments before. In our current state of spiritual darkness, we can only sense spirituality using our capacity to ‘hear,’ that is, by putting the pieces of information together, noticing many different occurrences that, when brought together, clearly show us that Hashem is running the show (as is wonderfully brought out in the story of Esther). In the times of Moshiach, however, we will no longer have deduce Hashem’s presence, but rather the light of day will finally shine on us, and His presence will be absolutely apparent – we will ‘see it’ and believe it. The transition between these two states of existence is one of a transcendental nature, moving out of our current state of darkness into a world of spiritual light. This involves a difficult transition, which, like all transitions, is bound to be painful. This is the reference that the Gr’a makes to the verse, “The morning has come, and also night.” The morning comes, but it brings with it an inevitable experience of the darkest part of the night. As my brother-in-law recently explained to me, everything in creation must show its greatest strength as it is coming to the end of its existence. This is analogous to a star that lets off the greatest amount of light just as it is coming to the end of its life. So too, as the darkness is ending, we experience the greatest intensity of darkness. This is why the world we live in is more atheistic than it ever was in history, and why it is so extremely difficult for us to connect to our spiritual sensitivities. This could also be said to parallel the darkness that Egypt experienced in the ninth plague. It is the final plague before the plague of the first-born that finally causes the Egyptians to usher the Jewish people out of Egypt. This darkness was so intense that the Torah says the darkness was actually tangible. This parallels the spiritual darkness we are experiencing today. What is interesting in this parallel is that although the Egyptians experienced an intense darkness, the Jewish people’s experience was one of intense light, at the very same time. This contrast could parallel the contrast between the world at large, which is currently engulfed by an intense spiritual darkness, as opposed to those who are faithful to the Torah, who can experience an intense spiritual light, despite the darkness that surrounds us. Another parallel is that during the plague of darkness, a large portion of the Jewish people lost their lives, due to the fact that they were not ready to give up the culture they had grown accustomed to in Egypt. Corresponding to this, many Jewish lives have been lost in the spiritual holocaust that
is evident in the Western world today. The darkness has succeeded in once again engulfing these lost souls, causing us to lose many in the uphill battle to maintain our spiritual connection. There is nevertheless comfort in knowing that those who survive this battle, and indeed experience the light of spirituality, can be assured that the final redemption is not far off, as we are traversing the final moments of darkness, about to enter a world of intense spiritual light.