12 Кислева 5783 года, третий день недели, гл. Ваишлах

The Goring Ox of Gog and Magog

The commentators explain these three creatures represent nations which will be smitten in the war of Gog and Magog...

27.03.2022 860 (0)
The Goring Ox of Gog and Magog
The Goring Ox of Gog and Magog

The Midrash speaks of a grand battle between a giant fish called “Levyoson” (often translated as Leviathan) and a huge ox called “Behemoth” or “Shor Habor” in varying sources. The giant ox will rip the fish with its horns, while the fish will slaughter the ox (a kosher slaughter) with its fins.

Does this have something to do with our times?

There is a deep explanation by the Alter Rebbe (Baal HaTanya) that explains this as a “battle” between two types of Tzaddikim, each one elevating the other. But there is a complementary explanation from the teachings of his son and grandson, the Mitteler Rebbe and the Tzemach Tzedek which brings us to the war of Gog and Magog, as we will now explain.

While the Alter Rebbe describes this battle as it manifests in its source in Holiness, we have a principle that “G-d created one side opposite the other” (“zeh le’umas zeh bara Elokim“), which simply means that the same phenomena manifest themselves both on the side of Holiness, and also on the side opposite of Holiness. In general, this is the difference between self-nullification (to G-d) as opposed to self-aggrandizement. Humility versus ego.

The Levyoson of “the other side” is mentioned in a verse in the Prophet Yeshayahu (noted here):

On that day, the Lord shall visit with His hard and great and strong sword on Levyoson the straight serpent, and upon Levyoson the crooked serpent, and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

The commentators explain these three creatures represent nations which will be smitten in the war of Gog and Magog (Radak), “the day of vengeance” (Malbim). The Tzemech Tzedek (Ohr Hatorah Tehilim, p.406) writes that this is the Evil Inclination, and “the One who sits in Heaven will laugh at him” — an expression which applies to Gog uMagog (Ohr Hatorah, Nach pp.767-8).

There is also, of course, a Shor Habor of the “other side”. The key element that we want to focus on is the horns of this giant ox, which he uses to rip his opponent, the Levyoson (the giant fish). Horns, as they manifest in holiness, represent a lofty level that is higher than intellect and understanding which is known in kabbalah and Chassidus as the level of “Crown” (“Kesser” or “Keter” in Hebrew). But “opposite this” horns represent the waste matter of the beast’s body which cannot be elevated to holiness. “The main element of harsh judgements (“gevuros kashos”) are in the horns of the ox of klipah, who gores with his horns…” (Mitteler Rebbe, Sha’arei Orah, p.17a)

So the battle between these two giants is referring to the war of Gog and Magog. And as posted elsewhere the war of Gog and Magog can manifest as a plague and as a war (and both, according to the Malbim). And the “clincher” is that the word for “horn” in the Holy tongue is “keren“, which is written (without vowels) using the letters “Kuf-Reish-Nun”.

In English “Kuf-Reish-Nun” are the sounds of K-R-N, as in:

C-o-R-o-N-a;

as in O-m-i-C–R-o-N;

as in U-K–R-a-i-N-E.

And even, in mixed up order, in C-o-N-s-p-i-R-a-c-y...

It seems clear that this is what we are witnessing before our eyes. Nevertheless, regardless of what Hashem is bringing about between the nations of the world, our hope is that the various manifestations of the horns of the goring “wild ox” will speedily make way for the “horn” of holiness, the “horn” of Moshiach, the loftiest levels of G-dly revelation, as expressed in the prayer of Chana:

Those who strive with the Lord will be broken; Upon him will He thunder in Heaven; The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. And He will grant strength to His king, And raise the horn (keren) of His anointed one.
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