From Darkness to Light
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say: 'As the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt';


but: 'As the LORD liveth, that brought up and that led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country (ERETZ TZAFONAH), and from all the countries whither I had driven them'; and they shall dwell in their own land. (Jeremiah 23:7-8, 16:14-21, 31:6-13, 3:12-25).  The future redemption and ingathering of the exiles will be so striking that it will outweigh even the redemption from Egypt.

”Ho, ho, flee then from the land of the north, saith the LORD; for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD” (Zechariah 2:10, Isaiah 11:12, Deut. Ch. 30). "From every place where their souls went to wander in all four directions of the world they will be gathered in" (Rashi on Ezekiel 37:9).

Tzafon means "north" and derives from the Ugaritic for the "hidden or dark region", hence its additional Hebrew meaning of concealed. It is also said that the Messiah will come from the north. "


Tzafun" means "hidden" and refers to the larger part of the matzah (afikoman) that was broken and hidden away. In this phase of the Seder ceremony the "lost" afikoman is eaten.


"The Chasam Sofer tells us that each piece alludes to half of the Seder. The half that we ate already alludes to the first half of the Seder. In the first half of the Seder, we thanked Hashem for our redemption from Egypt. However, we are still in exile now, and further redemption is needed. In the second half of the Seder, we ask Hashem for this redemption. The piece of matzo we eat now symbolizes this. Just as this piece of matzo was hidden away, so is the date of our final redemption.

The Passover Hagadah by Rabbi Yehudah Prero


http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/pesach/5759/vol5no02.html


The Messiah and Israel's task is: "To bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isaiah 42:7, 49:1-10). The "prison" is exile, which may be physical, or worse still, mental and spiritual.

Photo Essay: New Immigrants Fulfill Prophecy of Ingathering: 232 North American Jews made aliyah. Among the new citizens are a five-month-old, a 95-year old, 96 children, 27 new Israel Defense Forces soldiers, and 4 dogs hailing from 21 states.

Jeremiah 31:7 "Behold, I will bring them from the north country (ERETZ TZAFON), and gather them from the uttermost parts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; a great company shall they return hither." 

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138485

Isaiah 61:1-2 "The spirit of the Lord God was upon me, since the Lord anointed me to bring tidings (of the redemption)  to the humble, He sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to declare freedom for the captives, and for the prisoners to free from captivity." "The prophet Isaiah is here speaking by himself. Isaiah is preaching some wonderful news to a group of the Jewish people, who were in tyranny. And by this section he reassures again and again Jews who lived there in the times of Assyria, he reassures Jews who lived there in the times of Babylon, and he reassures Jews who are alive today. Jews who are waiting and hoping for the coming of the Messiah. Not a deity, but an anointed leader, mighty as king David.

 

Isaiah is there to bring good news to a people, who all they see is bad news. These are the people Isaiah is speaking to. He is looking at a people, who all they see around them is difficulties and tragedy. He is saying; I know you are poor, I know you are meek, I know you are humble, brokenhearted and captives . But listen: There is salvation at the end of the road" (Rabbi Tovia Singer).


LISTEN FOR FREE: Paul and the Christian Corruption of the Jewish Scriptures by Rabbi Tovia Singer

The minister to the gentiles was preaching to audiences that were completely illiterate, and lacked the ability to discern between genuine Judaism and Bible-tampering. Rabbi Singer demonstrates how Paul corrupted the Jewish scriptures in order to both undermine the Torah, and advance his new, sweeping doctrines that would lay the foundation for Christian theology.

http://www.outreachjudaism.org/faq

On the Other Side (Joshua Ch. 24): "And Joshua said to the whole nation, "Thus said the Lord God of Israel, 'Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the river (Euphrates) from earliest time, Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; and th ey served other gods."

That is the entire area of the side of Israel, which is on the other side of the River Euphrates, of those who are in Babylon and to the rest of the nations who were on the other side of the River, of the side of the land of Israel (Rashi).

"And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the river, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan,.." .

Abraham was called Ivri, his descendants Ivrim, Lit., "from the other side." The word "ivri" comes from the word "eyver," which literally means "from the other side.” Only Abraham's descendants are called "Ivrim" for they alone spoke Hebrew, Ivrit- Eber's language, from which Abraham descended.

Figuratively, standing alone against the whole world, they are on the other side of a moral and spiritual divide from the rest of the world.

"Evil and impurity are often referred to in the Zohar as "the other side" (sitra achra=the evil side), meaning the side distinct from, and opposed to, holiness" (Moshe Miller, The Other Side, Chabad.org).

"There are only two sides: One side lets the truth of G-d's oneness shine through, the other opposes it; one side tells you—or at least admits—that there is nothing else but Him, and the other side denies it" (Tanya Ch. 32).

"The side of holiness is nothing but the indwelling and extension of G-d’s holiness. G-dliness and holiness is the source of vitality for every existing being, as it is written, “You give life to them all” (Nechemiah 9:6) (Tanya Ch. 6).


"You are the Lord God, Who chose Abram, took him out of Ur of the Chaldees and made his name Abraham" (Nehemiah 9:7). Then Abraham went from Haran to Canaan, the promised land – with the souls he and Sarah brought under the Shechinah, God's presence. Abraham would convert the men and Sarah would convert the women (Genesis 11:26-12:5).

Genesis 24:10 calls the region of Haran, Aram-Naharaim, lit., Aram of the pair of rivers. The country was so called because it was situated between two rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris (Rashi).  
G eographically Abraham came from the other side of the river, probably a reference to the Jordan since he came from Mesopotamia (Iraq) to Canaan (Israel) on the other side.


See also Genesis 27:43, Deut. 23:5. Aram-Naharaim includes Ur Kasdim, where Abraham’s father was born. "Ur" actually means "fire." Hence, the name of the city properly understood was "fire of Kasdim" which refers to the fiery pit that Abraham was thrown into, but saved (Rashi - Genesis 11:28). Nimrod was a powerful king of Shinar (Babylon) referenced in Genesis 10:8-10. According to the Midrash, he deified himself and cast Abraham into a fiery furnace when he refused to renounce his faith in monotheism. Abraham was miraculously saved - FOR GOD WAS WITH HIM!


Jacob also went to Haran and brought back souls to Canaan:
Genesis 29:1-5 "Now Jacob lifted his feet and went to the land of the people of the East..." The reference is to Abraham’s ancestral home, Aram and Ur Kasdim, i.e., the regions east of Eretz Israel, ”beyond the river.” " And Jacob said to them, "My brothers, where are you from?" And they said, "We are from Haran. And he said to them, "Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?" And they said, "We know [him]..." Genesis 35:2-6 "Thereupon Jacob said to his household and to all those who were with him, "Remove the deities of the foreign nations, which are in your midst, purify yourselves (from idolatry) and change your clothes...And Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan that is Beth el he and all the people who were with him."

”The story of Jacob’s journey to Haran is the story of every soul’s descent to the physical world.The soul, too, leaves behind the spiritual idyll ...and journeys to Charan (literally, “Wrath”): a place of lies, deceptions, struggle and hardship; a place in which material concerns consume one’s days and nights,sapping one’s energy, confusing one’s priorities, and all but obscuring the purpose for which one has come there in the first place" (Chabad.org).  


The Exile of the Ten Tribes: 1 Kings 14:15 ”And the Lord shall smite Israel as a reed sways in the water, and He will uproot Israel from this good land that He has given to your fathers and He will scatter them on the other side of the river because th ey have made their trees of idol worship which anger the Lord.”

"And it shall come to pass on that day, that the Lord shall gather from the flood of the river to the stream of Egypt, and you shall be gathered one by one, O children of Israel. And it shall come to pass on that day, that a great shofar shall be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria and those exiled in the land of Egypt shall come and they shall prostrate themselves before the Lord on the holy mount in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 27:12-13).

The "strongly flowing river" is either the Euphrates (Rashi) or the River Sambatyon (RaDaK), to the other side of which the Ten Tribes were taken into exile by the Assyrians. From there they doubtless spread to many parts of the world, and from all of these they will be gathered in (Ezekiel 37:9, Deut. 4:25-31 + Ch. 30).

"The Midrash teaches us that in order to merit the days of the Messiah, the entire Jewish people must dwell in their land and be versed in Torah. "The Ten Tribes" - that portion of the Jewish people immersed in its business in the exile, in the "land of the north" (ERETZ TZAFONAH) - acts as a channel for spreading God's name in the world. However, this not the ideal situation. They are, in fact, "asurim," this word means "imprisoned," in the exile...

The Ten Tribes Beyond the Sambatyon By Rabbi Mordechai Hochman

http://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/shiur.asp?id=5896

TZAFON means "north" and derives from the Ugaritic for the "hidden or dark region", hence its additional Hebrew meaning of concealed.

The Mashiach and Israel's task is: "To bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isaiah 42:7, 49:1-10). The "prison" is exile, which may be physical, or worse still, mental and spiritual.


Isaiah 42:6-7,16 "I am the Lord; I called you (Isaiah) with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you for a people's covenant, for a light to nations. To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison. And I will lead the blind (the lost souls of Israel) on a road they did not know; in paths they did not know I will lead them; I will make darkness into light before them, and crooked paths into straight ones. These things, I will do them and I will not forsake them." See also Isaiah 29:18-24, 60:1-3.

Darkness is just the concealment of light, and exists only to challenge us to defeat it, through man's transforming the darkness into light, ie., the evil into goodness. This concealment is an integral component of the intent of Creation, viz., that (Tanya Ch. 36, citing Midrash Tanchuma, Naso 7:1) "The Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have a dwelling place among the mortals." In order to materialize this intent, God created a world in which the Divine Light is so imperceptible that the world seems to enjoy an existence separate and independent of its Creator. And precisely in the midst of such a seemingly lowly world, He seeks to find a dwelling place.

The task of building this dwelling God entrusted to the Jewish people, He created a world of darkness, and commanded His people ("Man's soul is the Lord's lamp" Prov. 20:27), to illuminate it with mitzvot and Torah; "for a commandment is a lamp and the Torah is light" (Prov. 6:23). "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Isaiah 9:1). "O house of Jacob, come and let us go in the light of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:5, 60:1-3).

"The Hebrew scriptures explicitly declare that the Almighty Himself places both the good and the evil that He created before mankind in order to provide His prime creation with free will.  Deuteronomy 30:15 states, "See, I [God] have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil." In Isaiah 45:7, the prophet describes God's creation plan when he reports that, "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things." 

These edifying verses underscore the fundamental biblical teaching that it is the perfect spiritual balance of good and evil in the world that confronts every searching soul.  This is the Almighty's divine sovereign plan for creation: It is through man's personal decision to turn away from evil and choose good that virtue can be attained" (Rabbi Tovia Singer).

Who is Satan?

http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/who-is-satan.html

Isaiah 58:6-11 "Is this not the fast I will choose? To undo the fetters of wickedness, to untie the bands of perverseness, and to let out the oppressed free, and all perverseness (of justice) you shall eliminate (See also 42:1-4). Is it not to share your bread with the hungry (See Amos 8:11-12), and moaning poor you shall bring home; when you see a naked one, you shall clothe him, and from your flesh you shall not hide.

Then your light shall break forth as the dawn, and your healing shall quickly sprout, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall gather you in. Then you shall call and the Lord shall answer, you shall cry and He shall say, "Here I am," if you remove perverseness from your midst, putting forth the finger and speaking wickedness.

And you draw out your soul to the hungry (with consolations of good words), and an afflicted soul you sate, then your light shall shine in the darkness, and your darkness shall be like noon. And the Lord shall always lead you, and He shall satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; and you shall be like a well-watered garden and like a spring of water whose water does not fail. See also Job's parable; Ch. 29.

And [those coming] from you shall build ancient ruins, foundations of generations you shall erect, and you shall be called the repairer of the breaches, restorer of the paths, to dwell in." Restorer of the wicked to the Torah, which insures the settlement of the world.

The Hebrew for Egypt, Mitzrayim, is related to the term meitzar, which refers to boundaries and limitations, a "place of narrowness."  The name is derived from m'tzarim, meaning "narrow straits" (mi, "from," “tzar,” "narrow" or "tight")... and it is written (Micah 7:17): "They shall quake from their imprisonment; they shall fear the Lord, our God, and they shall fear you." They shall quake because of the extreme narrowness of their imprisonment and the confinement of their captivity (Rashi).

"Min ha'meizar karasi kah"  "Out of my straits I called upon the LORD;" or "From the narrowness (of distress) I called to Hashem, He answered me with the breadth of Divine relief” (Psalm  118:5).

 

"In the day of my trouble (Beyom tzarasi ekra'eka…),  I call upon Thee; for Thou wilt answer me" (Psalm 86:7). "In my distress (batzar-li) I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God; out of His temple He heard my voice, and my cry came before Him unto His ears." Psalm 18 is a Psalm of David, who spoke unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. "At the brightness before Him, there passed through His thick clouds hailstones and coals of fire.


The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High gave forth His voice; hailstones and coals of fire. And He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; and He shot forth lightnings, and discomfited them. He delivered me from mine enemy most strong, and from them that hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity; but the LORD was a stay unto me." See also Job 38:22-23, Ezekiel 38:22-23.

Psalm 45:6 "Your arrows are sharpened, nations shall fall under you, in the heart of the king's enemies." The passage speaks of arrows. The scholar’s weapons are the Torah insights. These come only to one who lives according to the Torah. Their sharpness guarantees their effectiveness in penetrating the listener’s heart (Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin). As a reward for Torah, nations shall fall under Israel (Rashi).

Daniel 12:1-2 "And at that time shall Michael (Israel's guardian angel) stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble (tzarah), such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people (Israel) shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.


" The kingdom of Gog will be destroyed and Israel shall be saved (Rashi). Instead of worrying of present-day Persia will harm Israel, we should repent with all our hearts and trust in God (Azamra). "And many who sleep in the dust of the earth (the dead will come to life) will awaken-these for eternal life, and those for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence."

Jeremiah 30:7-11
"Ho! For that day is great (the day of the downfall of Gog), with none like it, and it is a time of distress (it is a time of trouble - v'et-tzarah) for Jacob, through which he shall be saved. And it shall be on that day, says the Lord of Hosts, [that] I will break his yoke off your neck, and I will break your thongs, and strangers shall no longer enslave them.


And they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will set up for them. And you, fear not, My servant Jacob, says the Lord, and do not be dismayed, O Israel, for behold I save you from afar and your seed from the land of their captivity, and Jacob shall again be silent and at ease, and no one will frighten them. For I am with you, says the Lord, to save you, for I will make an end of all the nations where I dispersed you, but of you I will not make an end, but I will chasten you in measure, and I will not completely destroy you. "

 

Deuteronomy 4:30-31”In thy distress ”batzar lecha” , when all these things are come upon thee (the blessing or the curse, Deut. Ch. 30), in the end of days, thou wilt return to the LORD thy God, and hearken unto His voice; for the LORD thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them.” (Leviticus Ch. 26, Deut. 11:26-27, Ch. 28).

Isaiah 48:18-19 "Oh that thou wouldest hearken to My commandments! then would thy peace be as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea; Thy seed also would be as the sand, and the offspring of thy body like the grains thereof; his name would not be cut off nor destroyed from before Me." 

Why will you be destroyed?  Zechariah 12:9 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." See Isaiah 60:12, 41:11-12, Tzefaniah Chs. 1-3, Isaiah 24:1-6).


"And it will be, when all these things come upon you the blessing and the curse which I have set before you that you will consider in your heart, among all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you will return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and you will listen to His voice according to all that I am commanding you this day you and your children, then, the Lord, your God, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where the Lord, your God, had dispersed you.

Even if your exiles are at the end of the heavens, the Lord, your God, will gather you from there, and He will take you from there.
And the Lord, your God, will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed, and you [too] will take possession of it, and He will do good to you, and He will make you more numerous than your forefathers. And the Lord, your God, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, [so that you may] love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, for the sake of your life. And the Lord, your God, will place all these curses upon your enemies and upon your adversaries, who pursued you. (Deut. 30:1-7).

Eloheinu avinu re'einu zuneinu parneseinu ve-chalkeleinu ve-harvicheinu ve-harvach lanu Adonai Eloheinu meheirah mi-kol tzaroteinu. Our God, our Father, look after us and feed us, give us a livelihood and support us, and provide a respite for us -- a respite for us, Lord our God, soon, from all our troubles.

 

Uvi-retzoncha haniyach lanu Adonai Eloheinu she-lo tehei tzarah ve-yagon va-anachah be-yom menuchateinu. So may it please You to grant us rest, Lord our God, with no trouble, or unhappiness, or weeping on our day of rest.

Ha-rachaman hu yishbor uleinu mei'al tzavareinu ve-hu yolicheinu komemiyut le-artzeinu. May the Merciful One break the yoke from our neck and lead us upright to our land (Grace After Meals).

The destruction of the yoke of Edom/Rome (4th kingdom, dominated by Esau and Ishmael, represented by Christianity and Islam) who now enslaves us in the fourth exile, will come at the same time as the redemption of Israel. Ezekiel Ch. 35 foretells the salvation of Israel and the destruction of Edom, the offspring of Esau, who was the embodiment of the primordial serpent and chief adversary of Israel's founding father Jacob.Thus, Haman – from the seed of Amalek, who was Esau’s illegitimate grandson – attained power in Persia, and his descendants appear to have gained power in Iran today as well as over other groups that promote the killing of Jews (Hamas, Hezbullah, Islamic Jihad, etc). See "False Prophets..."

May Hashem in His abundant mercy and kindness shield His nation and heritage, release them from all straits, and take us from darkness to light and from subjugation to redemption.  Amein, may it be His will.

"When life takes a turn through a dark tunnel, we should remember the light at the end. The darkness is a ploy by the forces of evil to cut us off from our holy Source. The darkness doesn’t necessarily come from forces without - It can also come from within..." (Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin).

"For You are my lamp, O' Lord; And the Lord does light my darkness" (2 Samuel 22:29). "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; from whom shall I be frightened? When evildoers draw near to me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies against me-they stumbled and fell. If a camp encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; if a war should rise up against me, in this I trust." Psalm 27:1-3).