Rabbi Aryeh Weingarten has been working his entire life to helping others, leading a unique charitable organization. As a young man, he longed for the Messiah so deeply that he penned a prayer to bring the Messiah. Millions of copies of the prayer have been printed and can be found tucked inside prayer books around the world.
Rabbi Weingarten was studying the Zohar from the weekly Torah portion of Vayera (Genesis 18:1–22:24) when he came across a surprising statement.
“The Zohar states that every 60 years from the beginning of the final series of 1,000 years is especially auspicious for the arrival of the Messiah, what is referred to as עת רצון (et ratzon; the time of will)” Rabbi Weingarten said to Breaking Israel News. “Though this may sound convoluted, it is really straightforward. According to the Jewish sources, the Messiah must come by the year 6,000. The current year is 5780 so we are currently in the final millennium. According to the Zohar, every 60 years from the year 5,700 has the potential for the Messiah to come if the actions of Israel merit it.”
“According to this accounting, we are currently in the year that marks the 13th cycle of 60 years,” Rabbi Weingarten explained. “The year, 5780 divided by 60 equal 13.”
The rabbi noted the significance of the number thirteen in gematria (Hebrew numerology).
“Thirteen equals אהבה (ahava; love) and it also equals אחד (echad; one),” Rabbi Weingarten said, citing a verse noting that the singularity of God is the most significant aspect of the end-of-days.
And Hashem shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Hashem with one name.Zechariah 14:9
Rabbi Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, praised Rabbi Weingarten’s explanation of the Zohar.
“Never before in modern history has there been a universal sign of the Messiah like what we are currently experiencing with the coronavirus,” Rabbi Berger said. “There have been powerful signs but they were localized. Even 9-11 was just in the United States. There have been global pandemics and global wars. But the fact that the current pandemic came on so suddenly in the year that the Zohar says can be the geula (redemption) is astounding.”
“And the corona/crown virus comes to establish Hashem (God: literally, ‘the name’) as king,” Rabbi Berger said.
Rabbi Berger noted that the Bible gives one powerful cure that can save men from death.
“Six months ago, it was unthinkable that the entire world economy would come to a standstill, that people around the world would be isolated in their homes. Precisely like the beginning of the verse says, wealth did not help China. And the cure is charity.”
The rabbi noted that as we enter the Passover holiday, we are reminded that charity is what brought the Jews out of Egypt.
“The Jews were slaves,” Berger said. “They were the poorest people in Egypt. But they each went around giving charity to other Jews and even to non-Jews in Egypt who were not as poor as them. When God saw this, when he saw that their true nature was to give to others, he couldn’t hold back. He immediately brought them out of Egypt. He knew that they needed to be free in order to give more charity.”
Rabbi Berger emphasized that Jews learn about the Exodus every year as a reminder that once, we were slaves in Egypt who had nothing.
“Someone who has nothing prays for worldly goods,” Berger said. “But when a slave who has nothing prays to be able to give charity, God cannot help but answer his prayers.”
Rabbi Weingarten cited this Biblical precedent as establishing the period before Passover as auspicious for charity.
“Families are contacting me, saying that they literally have nothing to eat this Passover,” Rabbi Weingarten said. “Their misfortune is an opportunity for other to earn the final merit we need to bring in the final redemption.”
About 15 years ago, Rabbi Weingarten founded Karmey Chesed, an organization that helps poor families in Israel with charitable donations, food, and, in an innovative program, provides them with second-hand donated appliances.