John Hagee said this on a recent program and in his book The 4 Blood Moons (chapter 16):

Rabbi Judah heHasid – “In the ninth jubilee Jerusalem will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which will signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”

I (a non-Jewish Christian), recently heard about this incredible Rabbi of the 12th Century who correctly interpreted (or prophesied--I'm not sure which) the rise and fall of the Ottomon Empire, which lasted 400 years. Keep in mind that he predicted both its rise and fall.

First of all, is this quotation accurate?

My main question regards his hermeneutic: in interpreting Jubilees, is he using Gemetria, citing some source I'm not aware of, or is this pure prophecy?

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  • @All-After further examination, I found my "hunch" proved correct: Rabbi Judah ben Samuel is mentioned and quoted extensively in Chapter 16 of his "4 Blood Moons" book. It is said he used 'gemetria', have not others used the same when interpreting "666"? Since I don't read Hebrew, all I have to go on is what others have quoted him to say. The incidence of the "4 Blood Moons"-one of them occuring on Passover 2014 has been verified by NASA, so what Rabbi Judah ben Samuel had to say, or more relevant(to me) is how he said it(what context he used). – user2479 Dec 23 '13 at 2:21
  • Hi, Can you explain what exactly you want to know? Do you want to understand why he picked 8/9 Jubilees? What a Jubilee is? Why he counted in Jubilees and not years? If he got the idea from some other source? I'm not clear on what you want to know. – avi Dec 25 '13 at 14:24
  • I feel the need to point out however that from 1917 - 1967 Jerusalem was not a no-man's land. From 1917-1948 it was controlled by the British, and Jews were living in Jerusalem. From 1948-1967 it was occupied by Jordan. There was a noman's land created in 1948, but it only lasted until 1967, not from 1917. – avi Dec 25 '13 at 14:29
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    @SethJ, how is this off-topic? The question is about understanding the methodology of one of our sages. The stated motivation for wanting to understand this methodology is due to his being quoted outside Judaism, but that doesn't change the inherent topicality of what's being asked. – Isaac Moses Dec 26 '13 at 15:31
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This story originated and was first publicized by the Jewish Christian and long time Christian Missionary to the Jews, Ludwig Schneider, on page 18 in the March 2008 edition of Israel Today Magazine. Here is the link.

He states clearly that this is found in Sefer HaGematriyot of Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid (Yehudah ben Shmuel).

I have the sefer and to date have been unsuccessful in locating the citation he refers to. When I have questioned anyone, Jew or otherwise, as to the precise citation, no one seems to be able to produce an exact page or parsha. The book is long and the gematriot and other tzerufim are numerous. I will, bli neder, continue to go through the sefer and if and when I find the citation, will report back.

To complete the report on this citation, it does not exist in Sefer HaGematriot of Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid. So the report from Ludwig Schneider is false.

The actual source for this concept is from the Zohar, Volume 2, parshat VaEra, page 32a beginning with the words ות״ח, ארבע מאה שנין. It is a statement of Rabbi Yossi said in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. It explains that the 400 years which are derived from the 8 Yovelot correspond to the reward due to Yishmael for the fact that he was circumcised by Avraham. The normal time for circumcision (Milah) is on the 8th day after birth. Since Yishmael was already 13 years old, he isn't credited with proper fulfillment.

Schneider says this is a calculation relating to a 400 year empire that would rule over Jerusalem. The Ottoman Turkish Empire, which was formed by Osman I in 1299, didn't exist at the time of Yehudah HaChassid's death in 1217. Osman I lived from 1258-1326. So whatever reference Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid might have made is not about the Turkish Empire. It would be generic. If the citation is accurate, the association to the Turkish Empire is speculation by Schneider.

For the time being, the time line stated by Schneider is the following:

He says, Allenby conquered Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turkish empire on the first day of Hanukkah, December 9, 1917 (24 Kislev 5678). He counts back 400 years which he says corresponds to 8 Yovelot (Jubilees). There is a Torah sourced basis for this 50 years per Yovel calculation. That places the year at 1517 (15 Kislev 5278) which corresponds with the approximate time frame that Selim I of the Ottoman Empire conquered the area of the Middle East which included Jerusalem from Shah Ismail of the Safavid Persian Empire.

The significance of the removal of control of Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Ottoman Turkish empire is based upon Yechezkel 46:17.

וכי־יתן מתנה מנחלתו לאחד מעבדיו והיתה לו עד־שנת הדרור ושבת לנשיא אך נחלתו בניו להם תהיה

"But if he gives a gift from His inheritance (meaning Yerushalayim, the undivided Capital of the land of Israel) to one of His servants, it shall be his until the year of liberty; then it shall return to the prince. His inheritance shall be only his sons'; it shall belong to them."

The 'Prince' (Nasi) being referred to here is an abbreviation of 'Nitzutz Shel Yaacov Avinu". It means the entire Jewish people as a single entity, the idea of 'Tzibbur'. And so Yovel (Shnat HaDror) starts to be counted either when the 'possession' begins to be removed from the servant (the Islamic Caliphate), which would be 1917 or when it actually comes into the possession of the the nation of Israel (the children), which would be 1967.

Schneider points out that from 1917 until 1967, another Yovel of 50 years, Jerusalem was like a "no mans land" with control shifting between Britain and Jordan. During that time period, the modern state of Israel was established on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar 5708). And then, on June 7, 1967 (28 Iyar 5727), Jerusalem was reunited under the Jewish state's control during the Six Day War with Rabbi Shlomo Goren actually ascending the Temple Mount and blowing shofar from the Dome of the Rock.

http://www.vilnagaon.org/mount/goren_history.html

To complete this picture, Christians also try to connect this with the blood moon prophecies found in Yoel 3:3-4, 4:1-15. These particular prophecies speak to days of judgement for the nations of the world. Yoel 3:3 in particular is classically associated with the beginning of the first of three wars that comprise the Wars of Gog u'Magog. (See Sefer Avkat Rochel by Rabbeinu Makir ben Abba Mori, Book 1, Signs 1 through 5. It seems to be associated with the detonation of the two Atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki which began on August 6, 1945 (27 Av 5705). The "Date Palm trees of smoke" corresponding with the "Mushroom Clouds". The shape is the same.

As is known, following shortly on the heels of the reestablishment of the modern state of Israel, a blood moon cycle started on April 13, 1949 (14 Nisan 5709). This also happened again just before the reunification of Jerusalem on April 24, 1967 (14 Nisan 5727).

As is common knowledge, we just completed another blood moon cycle this last Sukkot, September 28, 2015 (15 Tishrei 5776).

It is worth pointing out that the conclusion of this section of Zohar quoted above says that following this period where the Bnai Yishmael merit to occupy the land of Israel during its desolation, they will precipitate three very harsh wars in the world. One is by Sea, and one is by Dry Land and the third is about Support of Jerusalem. And it says Israel will not be delivered into the hands of the Bnai Edom in these conflicts.

These first three conflicts appear to be associated with what are called the Gulf War (by Sea), August 1990-February 1991, and Desert Storm (by Dry Land), January 1991-February 1991. The third element of this conflict resulted from the attacks on Jerusalem by Saddam Hussein by firing Scud missiles. This emboldened the Palestinians and Hezbollah to continue rocket and missile type attacks against Israel. This third stage continues to this day.

The Zohar continues and says that during this time period, one nation from the ends of the earth will make a war against Rome (the capital of Edom) which will cause all the Bnai Edom from the whole world to come and fight them. It says this conflict is associated with the posuk from Isaiah 34:6 which says HaShem makes a sacrifice of Basra. It says at the conclusion of this conflict all of Bnai Yishmael will be removed from the land of Israel by HaShem.

This additional conflict coincides with the Afghanistan War (September 11, 2001 to the present) and the second Iraq War (March 2003 to the present). The Afghanistan War started with the attacks on both New York City, the financial capital of the United States and Washington DC, the political capital of the United States. The city of Basra in Iraq has been an ongoing center of conflict since the second Iraq War broke out through the influence of the Mahdi Army.

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    You are confusing en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bozrah with en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basra – Double AA Mar 21 '17 at 19:18
  • @DoubleAA No, there is no confusion. I'm not the first to make the association. In fact, the Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out the connection during the Gulf War. – Yaacov Deane Mar 21 '17 at 19:48
  • Your not being the first to confuse the two doesn't make it accurate or valuable. Isaiah said כִּי זֶבַח לַיהוָה בְּבָצְרָה, וְטֶבַח גָּדוֹל בְּאֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם paralleling Batzra with Edom, and indeed Bozra, Jordan was the capital of Edom. Taking בצרה to refer to Basra, Iraq is like taking the next phrase ארץ אדום to refer to Texas (which is the land of Edom). – Double AA Mar 21 '17 at 19:49

First, I think there is a misunderstanding in the question. The Book of Jubilees is not recognized at all in Rabbinic Judaism (although Wikipedia records some speculation that as late as the 12th century some authors of Medrashim had access to it), rather the reference, if it exists, is to the concept of a Jubiliee year (meaning a 49 or 50 year period of time).

Second, the 12th century Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid himself writes in his work Sefer HaChassidim (206) that anyone who prophesies a specific time of Moshiach is, at best, using Kabbalistic* techniques which will yield him the wrong answer and embarrass him and all who follow him. Although this may have been in reaction to a specific astrologer that he didn't want to name so that no one would think that he credits him in any area, this is still a fairly strong indication that prophecy was not involved.

If the quote is accurate, it is probably in a book written by a student of his, quoting his teachings, called Sefer Gematriot, which as the title indicates is a book about Gematria. I don't have access to it to check.

* Today we would call that Kabbalistic, although it is a bit anachronistic in this context, I'm using the word for clarity, it literally means using G-d's name to communicate with angels. He says the angels will deliberately mislead.

  • Thank you for your response! As I was admiring the Blood Red Moon, occurring exactly on the Feast of Passover(2014), I was wondering, "Will this question ever be answered ?" Of course, it is a very audacious prophecy, but then to accurately predict the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire was equally audacious. Yes, the Book of Jubilees(like the Book of Enoch) contains some 'impossibilities', yet lays out understandings(like Jubilees) to which the uninitiated(like myself) can grasp and see the cycles and patterns which Ancient Israel was privy to. – user2479 Jan 6 '15 at 18:30
  • @Yishai I'm not arguing with your answer. I'm questioning how you understand the concept of prophecy. I assume you are familiar about Rambam's family tradition that the return of prophecy from his time (meaning well before Yehuda HaChassid or his students) was anticipated as a sign of the redemption. Similarly, when the Rebbe spoke during the Gulf War saying it was words of Nevuah, are you suggesting it was some kind of Kabbalistic exercise? I haven't seen that anywhere. Have you? – Yaacov Deane Mar 21 '17 at 23:12
  • You cannot separate the statement from Sefer Chassidim 206 from the statement there in 205. He is discussing the subject of binding angels while in a state of tumah. Such an action is prohibited. The consequence is very negative like he spells out. It is not the same thing as like when Rabbi Yosef Karo is communicating with the Maggid (the Angel) of the Mishnah. And it's worth pointing out that even with the Beit Yosef, the veracity of the answers received from a Maggid are in relation to the station of the person. – Yaacov Deane Mar 21 '17 at 23:22

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