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I saw in a response to an article on Israelnn.com the following: "the Erev Rav, that conned us with their sincerity in converting and dragged along with us @ Y'ziat Mitzraim, and we have been suffering because of them since then. Our great sages have foretold that they will be in control of the land after we regain it (1948). But just before Moshiach's arrival, they will be in total control; it's all part of the redemption process. They are called the enemy within and will be our worst enemies. Not my words, but this is from our Torah and holy sages."

I remember reading something similar to this concept before as well.

Can anybody here provide a legitimate source for this idea (if one exists) and what that source actually says?

Does the term "Erev Rav" apply to any group of trouble-makers within the Jewish people during a particular generation? (i.e. those that were involved in the Golden Calf 3500 years ago, and those that work to expel fellow Jews from their homes today, etc.)?

Either way, we are still required to love these Jews just the same as all others, so what is the point of identifying who is part of the Erev Rav and who is not? Will knowing this information somehow help us hasten the Redemption?

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The Zohar uses the term "erev rav" quite extensively, and yes, usually meaning the people opposed to the Torah scholars of their period. (It parallels the usage of "am haaretz" in Pesachim 49a-b, where it also means people who are hostile to Torah (rather than just ignorant of it, as is the usual usage of "am haaretz") - like R' Akiva, quoted there as saying that in his ignorant youth "he would have bitten a Torah scholar like a donkey."

Specifically, in Raya Mehemna 124a ff the Zohar associates the erev rav with the difficulties before Moshiach's arrival (chevlei Moshiach). I haven't yet found anything that speaks about them being "in control of the land," though.

With that said, even an insincere convert (like the original erev rav) is of course a Jew and must be treated as such. So yes, the mitzvah of "love your fellow Jew" applies across the board. That doesn't mean condoning their improper actions, but as R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes in Tanya (ch. 32), one can love the person and hate the sin - or actually, pity their Jewish soul which has fallen so low, and bring them close as much as possible.

(Technically there are exceptions to this, such as heretics, of whom the halachah is that "moridin ve'ein maalin." But do such really exist nowadays? Virtually everyone who is anti-religious is so because of their upbringing, putting them in the category of "tinok shenishba.")

So what's the point of identifying the erev rav? I suppose a practical benefit is that it helps make sense of the galus experience we are going through. When we realize that all that is happening is part of Hashem's master plan as foretold by our Sages, then yes, that strengthens our faith in Hashem, and our confidence that the promises of redemption and Moshiach will also come true (like R' Akiva when he saw the ruins of the Beis Hamikdash - end of Tractate Makkos).

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Great answer! Informative, level-headed, and even optimistic. –  Isaac Moses Jul 30 '10 at 18:40
    
I agree, great answer. Thank you. I am going to leave this "unanswered" for a couple days to try to get other responses, but thank you for yours. –  chaimp Jul 30 '10 at 22:05
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Here is a 56 page pdf with different references to the Eruv Rav in the last generations.

The sources are mostly Kabbalistic. It starts with a mention of what the Eruv Rav were originally, and then explains how the spiritual Eruv Rav comes into existence.

I just skimmed it, but I didn't see any mention to the Eruv Rav being in control of the land specifically. There were a couple references that might be what the information you saw was referring to.

One of them is an idea mentioned that the Leaders of the Jewish People in the final generations will be from the Eruv Rav, but the way I read it, it is referring to religious leaders, not secular leaders (Although I guess it could be interpreted as two separate types of leaders).

As to why tell us this, In order to fight evil, you have to know what that evil is. These sources identify the evil so that we may fight it.

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