Ha'Azinu - Little Miracles

I will see what their end will be, for they are a generation of changes;
 אֶרְאֶה מָה אַחֲרִיתָם כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה
Devarim 32: 20

The Kli Yakar explains that there are 3 names for the Jewish People. The names are 
  • Yisrael (ישראל)
  • Yaacov (יעקב)
  • Yishurun (ישורון)

When you take the last letters of these three names you get the word Lavan (לבן), which refers to whitening or bleaching, inspired by the idea that 'on the merits of Yaacov, Hashem whitens our sins'  (מזכויות יעקב הקב"ה מלבין עונותיהם של ישראל). However, when we mix up the order of the letters in this word, we get Naval (נבל), which can mean disgusting, and was referred to earlier in this parshah in the pasuk this disgraceful, unwise people (עַם נָבָל וְלֹא חָכָם) [Devarim 32:6].

The Generation of the Messiah
We learn in Talmud Sanhedrin about the generation of the Messiah.

It has been taught, R. Nehemiah said: in the generation of Messiah's coming impudence will increase, esteem be perverted, the vine yield its fruit, yet shall wine be dear, and the Kingdom will be converted to heresy with none to rebuke them. This supports R. Isaac, who said: The son of David will not come until the whole world is converted to the belief of the heretics. Raba said: What verse [proves this]? it is all turned white: he is clean. (This refers to leprosy: a white swelling is a symptom of uncleanliness; nevertheless, if the whole skin is so affected, it is declared clean. So here too; when all are heretics, it is a sign that the world is about to be purified by the advent of Messiah.)
Sanhedrin 97a

The time preceding the Messiah will be a time of opposites and mixed up perceptions. We see in the words of Rava the turning of white, which is Lavan (לבן) and we learn out our idea of turning around the letters of this word to Naval (נבל).

Days Preceding the Messiah
So when we go back and look at the verse here, we learn out several ideas.
  • אֶרְאֶה מָה אַחֲרִיתָם: Show what is there end refers to the last letters (end) of the names of Israel and to end of days (prior to the coming of the Messiah). From the last letters we get the LAVAN (לבן).
  • כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה: Since it is a generation of changes (mix ups), refers to mixing up the letters of the word LAVAN to be NAVAL (נבל) and the mixed up state of the generation that will precede the Messiah. 

What is Disgraceful (NAVAL)?
The Kli Yakar earlier in this parshah explained the meaning of the phrase  this disgraceful, unwise people (עַם נָבָל וְלֹא חָכָם) as meaning a time when money and materialism is prized while justice is held in disdain. As it says in the verse (Yirmeyahu 17:11): The cuckoo calls but has not laid, so it is he who gathers riches but not by right; he shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end he stands dishonored

So we see here how this verse hints at the state of society just prior to the arrival of the messiah. May we speedily see in our days the arrival of the Messiah.


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