Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile
27 Adar, 5761  /  March 22, 2001

 Rabbonim declare

 'Time of Jacob's Trouble'

Note: The following is an email sent to the House of Joseph email list by Maggid ben Yoseif on March 22, 2001.


Send reply to: address removed
Subject: BULLETIN: Orthodox and Hassidic Rabbonim Declare "Time of Jacob's Trouble"
Date sent: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 21:37:27 +0200


Well, you eschatology buffs will LOVE this one.

At the Western Wall today and in yeshivas and synagogues and religious schools throughout Israel the sound of shofar blasts, the singing of Hebrew Psalms and cries and tears and wails of repentance were heard in response to a declaration by the Gedolei Yisrael (Great Ones of Israel) formally recognizing the beginning of the "time of Jacob's trouble."

Thursday, March 22, 2001 (the 27th of Adar, 5761), was earlier designated the time to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Nisan, (the first day of Nisan), since the first day of Nisan actually falls on Sunday. Ordinarily Rosh Chodesh Nisan is designated a Yom Kippur Katan (a small Yom Kippur).

So over the past 24 hours the Jewish community here in Israel and throughout the world has united in prayer. What is unusual about this year's Yom Kippur Katan is that in light of the 6-month-old Palestinian uprising which has claimed the lives of 57 Israelis, including more than 20 through the direct involvement and participation of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, the rabbis have added the designation as "a time of Jacob's trouble."

Further it is signed by ALL 27 of the leading Orthodox and Chassidic sages, both the "maranan verabonon" (masters and teachers) and the "gedolei ha-Torah vehaChassidus (Torah sages among the Chassidut)."

The declaration begins and is formally designated:


The declaration continues in full:  

"Israel, the holy nation, is experiencing a time of suffering. Wicked people are launching attacks against our people, and are intent on causing trouble for the Jews in the Holy Land."

"May Hashem safeguard the Jewish nation in Eretz Hakodesh (the holy land) from the wicked machinations of our enemies. May He protect us from the oppressive calamities which crush body and soul. May He grant succor to those who suffer from severe and bitter illnesses. May he save us from the terrible plague in the form of traffic accidents. May He ease the pain of the hearts which grieve over the spiritual degeneration in our times, and over the decline in the belief in our sacred Torah.

"Our only power is in exercising of the age-old tool of our fathers, which is to cry out and to cause an uproar, as the Rambam says at the beginning of Hilchos Taanis: "It is a positive command of the Torah to cry out and to sound the shofar over every calamity which strikes the community, as it is written, "At hatsar hastsoreir eschem veharei'osem bechatzotzeros (against the adversary that oppresses you, you should blow an alarm with the trumpets -- Numbers 10:9) - the word tsar alluding to everything which oppresses (metsar) you.

"Therefore we entreat Jews everywhere -- men, womem and children -- to assemble at worldwide prayer rallies and to plead with the A-mighty, Who is most compassionate and kind, for deliverance. On Thursday, 27 Adar, erev rosh chodesh Nisan, in the shmittah year, we will gather with one heart, to issue pleas and fervent cries to the Master of all, and to recite the prayers of Yom Kippur Katan, selichos and Tehillim.

"Hashem will not reject the prayers of the many, and will accept our prayers and hearken to our outcries with compassion and grace. He will issue a spirit of purity from Above, in order to return us to Ovinu shebaShomayim. Fathers will return to their sons and sons to their fathers. Hashem will heed us, and we will not be lost. We will merit the coming of Moshiach tzidkeinu speedily, out of great mercy and kindness."

While precious minutes of 27 Adar remain, I encourage every JOE on this list who wishes to unite his heart in prayer with Judah to MINIMALLY pray the MINCHAH prayers (on my website ) or the prayers for the State of Israel and if you have a shofar to sound it before sunset tonight. (The alarm of Yom Kippur is "one continuous blast" but I heard a variety of blasts today.)

The special prayers for 27 Adar actually began last night in a celebration of Thanksgiving to Hashem for what was being termed throughout Jerusalem today as a "very great NES (miracle)." A car packed full of explosives was parked in the heart of Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood on Rehov Mea Shearim in Kikar Shabbat (Shabbat Square). An off-duty parking warden noticed the car parked illegally in a taxi-only zone, looked inside and thought he saw suspicious wires coming out of a cellphone. He recruited local passersby to clear pedestrians and bloc traffic until police arrived and confirmed it was a car-bomb.

Helicopters flew overhead as a mass evacuation took place of the neighborhood surrounding the car and Israeli bomb squads (Sappers) to partially disarm the device and to conduct two controlled detonations. Buses and cars were backed up for miles in all directions but the inconvenience of walking two miles and more from Mea Shearim to the nearest bus stop that was still accessible was mitigated by the spontaneous praises and thanksgivings ... and added to the crowds on hand in the shuls for Yom Kippur Katan.

The air in and around Jerusalem today was noticeably lighter and spirits were noticeably uplifted as this REVIVAL INITIATED BY THE MODERN TORAH SAGES got underway.

ben Yoseif


Send reply to: address removed
Subject: more on the "time of Jacob's trouble."
Date sent: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 14:14:41 +0200


A few of you have enquired as to whether the declaration of a "time of Jacob's trouble" Yesterday with a Yom Kippur Katan (little Yom Kippur) was the first time this has been done by the rabbonim.

I did not know the answer so I spoke this morning with the Breslov Hasid Rav Yisrael Schneider about this. He said the kabbalists characteristically think of the eve of EVERY new month as a "Yom Kippur Katan," but this is not the ordinary practice of the Orthodox or the rest of the Hassidim, including the Breslovers.

He added that Yom Kippur Katan is more often associated with Erev Chodesh Nisan due primarily to the growing influence of the tzaddikim among the Hassidim and Orthodox and the desire to prepare for the Passover two weeks later through a "little" day of atonement.

But he said the phrase "time of Jacob's trouble" is a special declaration. He recalls the catch phrase being thrown around (at least informally) during the Gulf War when the Scud attacks were ongoing and even a good percentage of secular Jews were seeking some consolance in the shuls on Shabbat. But while it may be simply a "catch phrase," when the world seems to be getting out of hand from the perspective of the rabbonim, he agreed with me that Hashem can use it to ignite something at the grass roots, which appears to be what is happening.

It is too early to say just how far this "revival" will go and whether it will spread at all. But whatever else can be said of yesterday, it is clear that hearts cried out to Hashem in a way that had to be pleasing to Him.

At the same time, Rav Schneider places the responsibility for the current problems solely on the heads of rabbonim who had the opportunity to resist and speak out against Oslo and did not, against Palestinian autonomy in Judea-Samaria-Gaza and did not. The rabbonim were united in their support for retaining the Golan and supported the rally for a reunited Jerusalem and in those two areas, Israel remains strong and committed and inflexible. The same could be true with Judea-Samaria and the Jewish settlement towns today had the rabbonim so chosen.

I know that I personally approached several rabbis to support the "right-wing opposition" and the Jewish settlers back in 1992-93 when the movement was looking to THEM for spiritual leadership and was sorely disappointed at their response, so I share Rav Schneider's sentiment about this FAILURE on their part, which branded those of us who were arrested or imprisoned or deported for our "fragmented" oppositon. On the other hand, perhaps the spiritual leadership of Judah had to wash its hands of Samaria before Hashem could awaken JOES to their rights and responsibilities in this same area!)

It is promising that the rabbonim are NOW FINALLY uniting but there is much spiritual ground to be reclaimed. Again, Joes, I believe that without the spiritual and perhaps even the human resources of the House of Joseph, what can NOW be done by the House of Judah in this regard is limited. It is my hope that as part of this crying out to Hashem for an answer, that more of Judah will come to this realization as well.

And that is another MAJOR reason why the authority of the rabbonim should be respected and obeyed. In fact, I will go so far as to say that Hashem could be bringing about this very change of heart NOW, BECAUSE -- NOW -- there are Joes who do respect rabbinic authority and ARE waiting on their lead.

So, the bottom line to me is the "time of Jacob's trouble" is not a time of just "JUDAH's" trouble. It is a time when JOES must share in the responsibility as part of JACOB. I can't say it often enough. Two-thirds of those unannexed territories are the inheritance of the tribes of Joseph.

Since I am NOT an eschatologist I can't tell you what else could be implied by the words of Daniel and in the New Testament as it relates to the "time of Jacob's trouble." To me it simply represents an OPPORTUNITY for greater solidarity with my Jewish brothers and the recognition by the spiritual leaders of Judah that they need Hashem's help and greater spiritual resources. But Rav Schneider has some mystical ideas that tie it to the removal of the "wicked" Saddam and the coming of Moshiah, which we have discussed earlier and I will try to pin him down on later.

Shalom Shalom & Shabbat Shalom & Hashem's love & blessings,
Maggid ben Yoseif