Shalom again from Yerushalayim as we advance further day by day into the New Year 5778, which we pray will surely be a Year of Grace and Favor for us and for all Israel.
As we prepare now for Yom Kippur this coming Shabbat (and Yom Kippur on Shabbat is itself supremely exalted), I feel it may enhance the sincerity of our prayers and penitence on this holiest of all days in our calendar if we will bear in mind the following comments by Rabbi Mordechai Ganut, outstanding contemporary expert on the intricacies and mysteries of the Torah calendar and all the related halachic, astronomical and historical factors, and author-editor of the annual Hebrew calendar and almanack, Davar Be-Ito:
“Once every ten years we have the privilege of a year ending in the number eight. And if you ask, ‘So what?’ The fact is that the great majority of the outstanding events that have occurred in the history of the people of Israel have occurred in years whose number ends in eight, signified in Hebrew by the letter Chet. That is why we are all gripped with excitement as we once again enter a year ending in the number eight, and we are all praying that we will be worthy of the coming of our Righteous Anointed Mashiach.” (Davar Be-Ito 5778 p. 110)
Rabbi Ganut goes on to list some of the major historical events that have taken place in years ending with the number eight. (All the Hebrew years of the Biblical events enumerated here are based on Midrash Seder Olam and derive from exact calculations of all the various time spans given in different places throughout the TaNaKh. To convert any given Hebrew year into the corresponding secular year, simply subtract 3760 from the Hebrew date in question, with -minus years being B.C.E.)
Birth of the patriarch Abraham 1948
Birth of the matriarch Sarah 1958
Covenant between the Parts 2018
Birth of the patriarch Isaac 2048
Marriage of Isaac with Rebecca 2088
Birth of the patriarch Jacob 2108
Death of the patriarch Isaac 2228
Descent of Jacob and his sons to Egypt 2238
Birth of Moses our Teacher 2368
Exodus from Egypt 2448
Giving of the Torah 2448
Death of Moses our Teacher 2488
Entry of Israel into the Land of Israel under Joshua 2488
Building of the First Temple 2928
Destruction of the First Temple and Exile to Babylon 3338
Building of the Second Temple 3408
Exile of the Sanhedrin from Jerusalem prior to the Destruction of the Second Temple 3788
Destruction of the Second Temple 3828
Establishment of the State of Israel 5708
Many critical situations are developing swiftly around the world, such as the N. Korea missile crisis, the Iranian race for nuclear weapons and their advance into Syria with backing from Russia and China, talk of possible rapprochement between some Sunni Arab states and Israel, the potentially explosive demand of the Kurds for their own independent state, the migrant crisis in Europe and America combined with growing rifts and tensions and escalating anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism across the world. We seem to have all the ingredients for some very major developments this year! Fasten your seat-belts!
Let us open our hearts and bare our souls before G-d in these precious days of Teshuvah, and with His help and mercy may we see true Redemption in our times!
Shanah Tovah UMevorechet! Have a good and blessed New Year. G’mar Chatimah Tovah! May you and all your dear ones be sealed for good with all the House of Israel.
Shalom from Jerusalem
Avraham be Yaakov