Yes, that includes those who say that America is Rome, on the basis of nothing. And those who claim that President George Bush is Gog, on the basis of a stupid pun ("Gog Bush"), and on the basis of gematrias which can be used to prove anything. It is not the methodology that bothers me so much, even though it is nonsense, and even Baal HaTurim, renowned for his gematriot, would agree it is nonsense. What bothers me is the underlying desire which causes them to kvetch their interpretations and gematriot in the direction of the fall of America.
America is a wonderful country. Historically, it provided a safe-haven for Jews, it fought Germany in World War II, it is a great supporter of Israel on the world stage and in the United nations. It was founded on great ideas such as democracy and the rights of man. Even today, they send so much help to other countries to aid them in their time of need. America is good.
And George Bush is a good man. He was the leader of this wonderful nation I am proud to be a member of. And he meant well. Even though I do not share his Christian faith, and I might have disagreed with some of his policies. Even so, he most certainly meant well, and was guided by the desire to do good. He was not some evil dictator who was trying to start wars in order to kill innocent people, or bring about the apocalypse. To say he was Gog, in many people's minds, means that he is some evildoer and anti-Christ, leader of the forces of evil. Thus, all sorts of loony conspiracy theories that he was part of the freemasons, and was trying to cause this economic crisis.
The same goes for Barack Hussain Obama. I disagree with him on certain political points, both foreign and domestic, and I may think he is inexperienced. But is he evil? Is he now Gog? How insulting! I believe he is well-meaning, and wants to do good, even if I disagree with him. I do not think he is a closet Muslim who came to power in order to kill all the Jews or arm Iran with nuclear weapons, or who knows what not. To suggest he deliberately flubbed the oath of office, as part of a conspiracy involving the Republican justice Roberts, is the height of lunacy, and treats him like some sort of vampire who needs to avoid the cross and garlic, and whatnot. It is silly and, more importantly, hateful.
And America is not the new Rome. It is not the "wicked empire," the classic enemy of Israel. When I hear this, I am hurt and insulted on behalf of my country, which is a medinah shel chessed.
And when I hear gleeful predictions of the fall of America, I cannot help but think that those doing the predictions are no worse than the Muslim terrorists who hope for America's fall. The Palestinians danced in the streets hearing of the fall of the World Trade Center. And apparently the amateur kabbalists are just as gleeful, because they also think of America as a terrible influence on the world, which will be destroyed in fulfillment of messianic prophecies.
This includes predictions that all the banks in America will fail, followed by hopeful waiting for such false-prophecies to be carried out. Disasters such as Katrina, wildfires, and earthquakes are interpreted as America getting what was coming to it. I would like to tell you where to go, but I won't.
The latest was a prediction of the destruction of the Statue of Liberty, perhaps by an earthquake, based on a misinterpretation of a likely-forged kabbalistic text. Well, let me tell you. I live in New York City. I have family and friends in New York City. And if you look at New York City as a den of iniquity, and hope for its destruction -- and yes, with this prediction in place, you are hoping, because you think it will prove you right and also bring the mashiach -- then I do not think kindly thoughts towards you. In fact, I am pretty angry at you, you foolish jerks.
Here is a long video about the prediction, a video which is way too long:
You can get the gist of it from the excellent summary / transcription of it provided by Shirat Devorah. An excerpt:
After many prayers and fasting, Rachel finally became pregnant and on the Thursday which was Rosh Hashanah, she gave birth to a son who they were to call Nachman.As part of the video, at the 3:40 mark, the author introduces the Statue of Liberty and states that it "symbolizes mostly the western values of freedom and permissiveness of Europe and America." Thus, the "idol" that is the Statue of Liberty is taken to be a monument to decadence.
However, when Nachman was born, instead of a newborn cry, the baby began to speak, disclosing great secrets of the world.
Through all the generations these prophecies were accepted as holy, and the Rabbi of "Shomer Emunim" wrote in his book that they are known to be true and the "holy of holies". It is also known that the Tzemach Tzedek accepted these prophecies.
Recently the meaning of a section was discovered by an American - Yaakov Nathan - in the fourth prophecy, letter Tzadik.
The translation is :
"When the idol of Rhodes will be destroyed, know that the end of the Wicked Kingdom is near"
The "Idol of Rhodes" is the Statue of Liberty.
"When the statue of Liberty is destroyed, we will known that the Moshiach is about to be revealed"
Listen, fella. You have no idea what freedom means. Even on Pesach, which we are soon to celebrate, we celebrate cherut, freedom. Perhaps you hope to establish a theocracy according to your version of your religion, but the ideal of Liberty is indeed an ideal. See Emma Lazarus' poem, The New Collosus:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
And if you think so little of my country and what the Statue of Liberty represents, then I am probably correct in thinking that you are hopeful and gleeful of the process of the statue's destruction, and of "Rome" being taken down a peg or two. That makes you a jerk.
In terms of interpreting this cryptic statement, firstly, here is the cryptic statement. The sefer Nevuat Hayeled together with commentary (which does not mention the statue of Liberty) is available here, at Hebrew Books . org.
The line beginning with tzaddi roughly says "the idol of Rhodes when it is destroyed, Rome will soon be destroyed." It does not say "Wicked Kingdom" as in the translation above.
Now, the idol of Rhodes was the statue called Colossus, and it was one of the seven wonders of the world. It was destroyed in about 280 BCE, and therefore many hundreds of years before the purported date of this prophecy. However, at that point, it merely snapped at the knees. It apparently existed for over 800 years at least, where people still went to see it. And at that So depending on the date of authorship of this prophetic poem, the statue itself may still have existed. Indeed, if we take at face value the authorship in the 5th century, then the Collossus itself still existed, so why assume that it refers to some future "Collossus" that will be built. Indeed, at about the same time, in 476, the Western Roman empire collapsed, and so this could have been referring to contemporary events -- or if written later, as a "prophecy" of the purportedly contemporary events, because people witnessed the dismantling and disappearance of the actual Colossus of Rhodes, and close to that time, the final destruction of the Western Roman empire.
But no, everything must focus on us, and we must take excerpts out of contexts from random kabbalistic seforim and interpret them to apply to the present day, for we know that the ketz is now, and not, say, in 100 years from now. Good for you!
Why should we believe it refers to the Statue of Liberty? Well, the Statue of Liberty was based in part on the Collossus, and Emma Lazarus referred to this in her poem. So it is a good fit. But why now?
And if now, I can propose at least three other interpretations:
- Here are a bunch of Mr. Potato Head statues in Rhode Island. Perhaps it was discussing the destruction of those statues, and referring also to the destruction of the actual Rome?
- Mark Rhodes was a contestant on Pop Idol, a British equivalent of American Idol. In that second season of Pop Idol, he came in in second place, rather than winning, and so we can consider it his destruction.
- Forget the Statue of Liberty. There are plans in the works of reconstructing the original Colossus, in Rhodes. To cite Wikipedia:
In November 2008, it was announced that the Colossus of Rhodes was to be rebuilt. According to Dr. Dimitris Koutoulas, who is heading the project in Greece, rather than reproducing the original Colossus, the new structure will be a, "highly, highly innovative light sculpture, one that will stand between 60 and 100 metres tall so that people can physically enter it." The project is expected to cost up to €200m which will be provided by international donors and the German artist Gert Hof. The new Colossus will adorn an outer pier in the harbour area of Rhodes, where it will be visible to passing ships. Koutoulas said, "Although we are still at the drawing board stage, Gert Hof's plan is to make it the world's largest light installation, a structure that has never before been seen in any place of the world."Perhaps the intent was that this Colossus will be built and then destroyed.