Zechariah – Chapter 14

Aleinu

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

A day beloved to G-d is coming and the people will all share the wealth they acquired from their conquered attackers. G-d will inspire the nations to attack Jerusalem. The city will be captured and half the people will be forced to evacuate. Then G-d will go to war against the invaders like He did against Egypt at the Red Sea. He will “stand” on the Mount of Olives, which will split in half. People will run away as they did during the big earthquake (see Amos chapter 1). G-d will come to Jerusalem, escorted by an entourage of angels, to protect His people.

That day will have neither the light of glory nor the darkness of disaster. Before the time is up, the light of all good things will shine for Israel and the spring discussed in the previous chapter will flow from Jerusalem.

G-d will be recognized as King over the whole world. On that day, His Name will be called by all mankind. (These are the closing verses to the prayer “Aleinu.”) The world will be leveled, like one great plain, and Jerusalem will be its highest point. Jerusalem will be rebuilt and secure.

The nations that tried to invade will be stricken with a degenerative disease that will eat away at their flesh. They will turn against one another, possibly because of misunderstandings. Even the cities of Judah will have been forced by Gog and Magog to attack Jerusalem. The wealth of the defeated invaders will lie before them. The survivors of the attackers (the one-third who defected and turned to G-d, as described in the previous chapter) will go to celebrate the holiday of Succos, as detailed in Talmud Avodah Zara 3a. Whoever does not go will not have rain. (From here is derived the concept that the world’s water is Divinely-decreed each year on Succos – see Mishna Rosh Hashana 1:2). Egypt might think they’re exempt from this, since they rely on the Nile rather than on the rains, but the same holds true: if they don’t show up, they will have famine.

At this future time, people will recognize that even the bells on the horses taking them to Jerusalem are consecrated to G-d. Every pot and bowl in Jerusalem will be dedicated to the service of G-d because of the vast number of sacrifices being brought. The Temple coffers will be so full, they won’t need to engage in trade for sacrificial needs.

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