Sunday, September 13, 2009

Will Rav Amnon Yitzchak apologize if Moshiach doesn't come in the next six days?

On my post showing how having faith in the apocalyptic predictions of the so-called Tsunami Kabbalist is foolish, an Anonymous commenter wrote:
also remember how rav amnon itzcack live on video available on lazerbrody said this year 5769 is the year. well i guess we got 6 more days. but dont expect him to come on national tv and apologize for his missprophecy.
Here is the second part of Rav Amnon Yitzchak's movie, taken from LazerBeams:



and start watching at about the 5 minute mark.

19 comments:

גילוי said...

So you should know, Josh, it appears that the Rav didn't learn Imrei Binah. It says that the Yovel is in 5768, not 5769.

Also, what he says about Birkat haChamah is not in any of the works I have seen attributed to the Rebbe in question.

Chaim B. said...

Are you bothered by R' A. Y. in particular making predictions, or would you have the same reaction to anyone else making such a claim which then proves false?

There is a long history of predictions of this kind. For two different defenses of how such predictions can be true even if Moshiach has not yet arrived see the Bnei Yissaschar, Sivan, ma'amar 5, and Pi Tzadik (ma'amarim of the Shiniver) meimra 22 citing the Shem Aharon of the Kodinover.

joshwaxman said...

not Rav Amnon Yitzchak in particular, but the general ketz-ism which is prevalent nowadays, with everyone offering false predictions for when mashiach is coming, which they think are true. i think one is not supposed to calculate the ketz. the same is true for the Tzaddik Nistar whom Dreaming of Mashiach promoted; the same is true for the Tsunami Kabbalist I discussed in the linked-to post; what to do with Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky, who expected mashiach to arrive last Sunday, is a good question, and there is room to distinguish.

in the time of the Gra, Christian missionaries, according to their own beliefs, "knew" that mashiach was not going to arrive, and so they converged on Eretz Yisrael to harvest the souls of Yiddin who would be disillusioned when mashiach inevitably did not arrive. And they converted many very religious Jews, including some prominent rabbonim.

Rav Amnon Yitzchok addressed in a giant kiruv seminar many Jews, and promised them mashiach this year. I can imagine personal churbans for at least a few of them, as their emunah is entirely undermined, and if they became baalei teshuva under false pretenses.

Yes, yaak from Yeranen Yaakov has also pointed me towards sources which claim that these messianic predictions were true, even though they did not come to fruition. I'll try to check the ones you point out as well. I regard it as a kvetch and necessary apologetics; but really, all sorts of people, from Ramban to the author of the Zohar, to Rabbi Akiva, made incorrect messianic predictions. And this is dangerous.

kol tuv,
josh

Chaim B. said...

>>>all sorts of people, from Ramban to the author of the Zohar, to Rabbi Akiva, made incorrect messianic predictions. And this is dangerous.

Then I guess it is fair to say that all sorts of people, from the Ramban to R' Akiva, disagree with your assessment of the risks of false predictions.

joshwaxman said...

"Then I guess it is fair to say that all sorts of people..."

it is fair to say, but that is a guess that i would disagree with.

rabbi akiva didn't predict the ketz, but did think he had identified the true messianic figure. and he *saw* the terrible churban which resulted from his mistake. ask him beforehand, and he might have disagreed with my assessment. but ask him after he saw the terrible results of his mistake, and i would guess that he wouldn't have disagreed with me.

rabbi yochanan, who said "Decay should come to the bones of those who calculate the ketz" said so after rabbi akiva.

ramban, prior to predicting the ketz, had to contend with this statement. his defense was that that was only back then, when mashiach was so far off, and so the people would be so discouraged (and iirc also be discouraged by false predictions). but in the Ramban's day, when the ketz was any minute, the gemara never intended this in his days. of course, the Ramban was incorrect that the ketz would be any day, in his days, and over seven hundred years have passed since then, about the same time since rabbi yochanan made the statement until the ramban's own day! see the discussion here.

why should the ramban's erroneous assumption be a guide for us?

at the same time, there have been other major figures who have spoken out against ketz-ism. are rabbi yochanan and the rambam nobody, such that it is merely josh waxman against ramban and rabbi akiva?!

kol tuv,
josh

Yosef Greenberg said...

Rambam himself makes a prediction which he says will follow with Mashiach.

(That date passed without results. The magi'ah, however say's that the ma'atik made a slight change to the prediction since it was so far off. According to his revised one, we still have a while to go.)

joshwaxman said...

interesting. what are the specifics?

as far as i know, rambam wrote in his listing of the ikkarei emuna in perush hamishnayot that העיקרון השנים עשר - האמונה בימות המשיח, "להאמין... שיבוא, ואין לומר שנתאחר אִם יִתְמַהְמָהּ חַכֵּה לוֹ" (חבקוק ב 3). ולפיכך אין לקבוע לו זמן, ולא לחשב את הקץ.

kt,
josh

joshwaxman said...

3rd perek of iggeret teiman?

Yosef Greenberg said...

Yep, it was in Iggeres Taiman. :)

Hebrew Books is down now so I'll quote you: ;)

This is not so surprising, since there is precedent for such disregarding of this Talmudic injunction. While Rambam cites it lehalacha and lehashkafah, in his Iggeret Teiman (3rd perek) he cites a tradition that the ketz was 1212 CE, a date which has long passed. And Ramban gave a teretz for why one can do this, namely that the injunction was only when mashiach was not so close (it seems because people would become disheartened), but now that it is so close, it is permissible. Of course, that was more than 700 years ago, so they were wrong about just how close the ketz was. And everyone who mispredicts the ketz -- and there have been many -- thinks that the end is nigh.

The magi'ah write that the real cheshbon of the Rambam should begin at the end of the era of nevua, as opposed to the time of Bilam's nevua. Hence, the time frame is extended by a mile, and your terutz cited above would be incorrect.

Now, you could call it apologetic, but it sounds like a plausible change. And we still have quite a while to go. We need 2488 years (IIRC) from the end of nevua (Zechariah, Chaggai, Malachi, I think).

Yosef Greenberg said...

BTW: What the Rambam cites is not a tradition. Its a cheshbon he himself made; which he believed to be more correct than all other cheshbonos, and most definitely (and immediately) precedes Moshiach.

In other words, a clever workaround.

(I really should open a blog.)

joshwaxman said...

sounds like an apologetic to me, which one would only say once the ketz had come and gone ;)

i had a post in the works a while back, which never made it out of draft, but i believe that the yerushalmi this is based on (yerushalmi shabbat 39b) was not being exact to the year; the year Bilaam spoke was 2486, which is but 14 years off the 2500 mark. And so Bilaam spoke in *about* the middle of the world. And the *entire* termination of this world would be in the year 5000. thus paralleling the 7000 year cycle, or representing another world cycle, just as the Zoroastrians believed in a 3000 year cycle. And if the entire world would end then, perhaps in the last thousand, the era of mashiach would arrive, though this isn't discussed in Yerushalmi.

This would then not be a ketz per se, just as the belief in Bavli of the 2000 years of Tohu, 2000 of Torah, 2000 of mashiach, are not really a ketz.

this would be Yerushalmi, but not Rambam, of course.

"The magi'ah write that the real cheshbon of the Rambam should begin at the end of the era of nevua, as opposed to the time of Bilam's nevua"
in terms of the plausibility, the Rambam's statement is based on the yerushalmi which reads:

אמר ר' חנינא בריה דר' אבהו, כבחצי ימיו של עולם היה אותו רשע עומד
מ"ט
כעת יאמר ליעקב ולישראל מה פעל אל

if so, how are we to interpret the Yerushalmi in accordance with this reinterpretation? how is Bilaam standing in the middle of the world, when it was Chaggai, Zecharia and Malachi who were standing in the middle of the world? Would the Yerushalmi designate them oto harasha? i can see a really bad kvetch making oto harasha refer to Yeshu, but is this plausible when the prooftext is from Bilaam's prophecy?

how exactly is it plausible? or is it plausible because it is readable into the rambam's words? if so, recall that rambam would be basing himself on yerushalmi...

kol tuv,
josh

joshwaxman said...

"Its a cheshbon he himself made; "

if it is his own cheshbon, then why does it accord exactly with that of the yerushalmi?

kt,
josh

Yosef Greenberg said...

Ouch. You win.

I learned this a while back and I'm still a youngster.

Doesn't the Rambam call this cheshbon his own?

i had a post in the works a while back, which never made it out of draft,

So get it out!

but i believe that the yerushalmi this is based on (yerushalmi shabbat 39b) was not being exact to the year

Assumption 1

just as the Zoroastrians believed in a 3000 year cycle

Assumption 2

Just remember that the Yerushalmi wasn't written in Bavel.

Do you find any other mention of such a cycle in the Yerushalmi at all?

כעת יאמר ליעקב ולישראל מה פעל אל

Oso ha'ish probably didn't say it; he was a Jew. Yes, a bad kvetch.

yaak said...

I still disagree with your assumption that people will be turned off by false predictions.
True, the gemara itself made such a statement (שהיו אומרים: כיון שהגיע את הקץ ולא בא - שוב אינו בא), but I believe that this statement was for the generations before our own.
See more on this here.

Also, see what it says here:

CALCULATING THE DATE OF MASHIACH'S COMING

Making calculations is perfectly acceptable according to many great rabbis of the past, and many did exactly that. For example, according to the Abarbanel, it is only forbidden to make the calculation based upon astrology; however, it is permissible to calculate a date based upon Tanach (Ma’ayeni HaYeshuah 1:2). The Ramban held that the prohibition of the Talmud only applied to earlier generations; now that we are on the eve of redemption, there is no prohibition (Sefer HaGeulah, Ma’amer 4). The Malbim concurs, and provides the following analogy to explain his opinion: The situation is like that of a father and son traveling a long distance. As they start out, the son begins to ask when they will arrive, and of course the father does not answer. However, as they near the town, the son asks the same question, and this time the father readily answers that it is only a short while before they reach their destination. So too it is with us: now that the time is clearly approaching, we cannot help but notice and interpret the signs all around us that tell of the impending geulah ... As the time of the keitz grows nearer, the doubts will become smaller, and at the keitz, all doubts will be removed ... As the time grows closer, the uncertainty recedes in the wake of the increasingly “abounding wisdom” (Introduction to Daniel). The Maggid of Dubno used a similar analogy as well. The Zohar even states that it is not God’s will to reveal the arrival date of the Moshiach, but when the date draws near, even children will be able to make the calculation (Bereishis 118a). According to the Vilna Gaon, there seems to be little problem making the calculation from his commentary, but one who does must promise not to reveal his finding to another: “And from here [what I have just written] you can calculate the time of the Final Redemption if, God forbid, we do not merit [to bring it earlier]; however, I have imposed an oath, in the name of the God of Israel, on the reader of this that he should not reveal it.” (Biur HaGra, Safra D’Tzniusa, Chapter Five)

joshwaxman said...

"True, the gemara itself made such a statement (שהיו אומרים: כיון שהגיע את הקץ ולא בא - שוב אינו בא), but I believe that this statement was for the generations before our own."

does this include the generation of the gra, where, as i wrote, many Jews, including prominent rabbis, were disallusioned and converted to Christianity? this was after the Ramban. and if that was then and not now, because after all, we are right and they were wrong, well, how do we know absolutely that we are right? they also thought that they were right. was ramban on the eve of redemption, such that the malbim's analogy applied?

shlomo hamelech said that because he knew the reason for not marrying many wives and buying many horses, he would do so and not succumb. and then he did.

"Making calculations is perfectly acceptable according to many great rabbis of the past, and many did exactly that"
yes, it certainly is a machlokes. i posit that these many great rabbis -- who by the way all made incorrect calculations -- disagree with rambam, and do away with the injunction in the gemara in various ways. my guess is that for many of them, kabbalah, and the messianic tendencies therein, paved the way for this. but yes, i think that all of them are "reinterpreting" away an inconvenient gemara.

i would also guess that it was a popular pastime in rabbi yochanan's days, with some sort of negative repercussions, or else he would not have had to make a strong statement as he did. the yetzer hara is strong. no rabbi nowadays has to condemn those who stick their fingers in electrical sockets, because no one wants to do it.

kt,
josh

Keter Malchut (Kabbalah Redemption) said...

BS"D

Moshiach's coming is a process, and the process is in very high gear, you don't need big predictions for that.

I wrote an article based on the timelines in the Zohar I 119A and the bottom line was - it is up to us to do Teshuva and experience personal redemption, that brings the Geulah Klalis.

http://ronnierendel.com/2009/09/08/the-year-5770-a-year-of-prophecy-and-redemption-2/

joshwaxman said...

"Doesn't the Rambam call this cheshbon his own?"

I haven't actually seen the iggeret inside. however, according to this book on Iggeres Teiman,

http://books.google.com/books?id=7zAlxRzcUoEC&lpg=PA165&ots=NZ17o1oGon&dq=rambam%20prediction%20ketz&pg=PA169#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Rambam claims that he received this cheshbon from his father, who in turn received it from *his* father, going back to our early ancestors who were exiled from Jerusalem.

no, i don't find any other mention of such a cycle in the yerushalmi, but i still think it is a good guess. and while they did not have direct access to Zoroastrians, they did have access to the Sages of Bavel, who made their own world cycle. so i think it is a reasonable explanation of the yerushalmi, which does not speak of a ketz, so much as sitting in the midpoint of the span of the earth's lifetime.

"Moshiach's coming is a process, and the process is in very high gear, you don't need big predictions for that."
but people said the same thing in the time of the Gra, and during the Napoleonic war, and said as much during WWI, and WWI, and during the Cold War with Russia, and so on and so forth. *To us*, who experience these earth-shaking events, it seems that it must be the time of the apocalypse. And one of these times, we will be right...

kol tuv,
josh

yaak said...

Josh, our generation is different than all the previous ones since the belief that Mashiah is coming VERY soon is accepted Lechol Hadei'ot (meaning among the greatest Talmidei Hachamim of our generation) - as opposed to the previous generations, where predictions were made by 1 rabbi here, one group there, etc.

So, comparisons to previous generations don't fly.

That doesn't mean that we shouldn't learn from our history and be wary of false messiahs - we most certainly should. But, optimism and great expectations should be the code-words of the day - not cynicism and skepticism.

Anonymous said...

Josh your a rav, your obviously a deeper and more open mindef thinker than many, yet for all that the open mind closes and u still believe in such foolishness

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