There is a lot to say with this post, but I'm running out of time. So if it doesn't make sense, perhaps you will understand.
I learned some years ago that we are living in a time some people believe to be the "heels" of Moshiach, i.e. the Messiah. If only I remembered what I was taught more clearly and/or if there were more time, I would go more deeply into it, but just please, suspend your disbelief for a moment and suppose we are living in such a time.
Now I know it may sound strange, but I was sitting in my car outside a barn (my daughter was having a horseback riding lesson) the other day, reading The Knowing Heart by Moshe Chayim Luzzatto (18th century Italian kabbalist), when I came across some passages which are amazingly relevant today... whether or not you believe the Jewish teachings about this epoch.
I'd better let the RaMChal take it from here -before I get too convoluted- because it really is quite straightforward:
.... what is needed for settling our minds and clarifying our faith we certainly possess. The Lord, Gd, did not create a condition whereby belief would be undermined through inability to resolve a matter....
....it is of the deep counsel of the Blessed One to so orient things that they will resolve themselves into an ordinance of good alone, with no existence whatsoever for evil in the world....
.... He allows evil to intensify itself to its fullest possible extent, that is, until, but not including the destruction of the universe... The intensification of evil consists... in Gd's completely concealing His countenance from the universe, as it is written (Proverbs 1:28):
Then they will call Me and I will not answer
and (Isaiah 59:15): And truth was lacking and the forsaker of evil was accounted senseless.
This is referred to as complete concealment....
In this order and ordinance, heed is not paid to merit or guilt, but the ordinance proceeds.... by allowing evil to intensify in order to reveal afterwards the reign of good.
And all the time that evil is intensifying, the righteous too must abide its oppression - not because this is just, but because the time requires it.... In the period of the intensification of the evil... merits will not avail to save them from it.
... not only will the merit of the righteous not avail them to escape from evil, but, to the contrary, wicked men will prosper and fortune will smile upon them while the righteous will be tortured and oppressed, as our sages stated (Sota 49a):
In the footsteps of the Messiah, audacity will prevail,
the wisdom of the scribes will be despised...
.... at that time the doers of evil are built up, and the heads of the righteous are lowered to the ground.
Amona - AP photo via mentalblog
After this He will reveal His kingdom, the fruit of that revelation being the transformation of evil itself to good.
No matter who you are or what you think, if you read this blog, you know that audacity prevails today. Just see the very next post if you have any doubt.
For me it is a comfort that a rabbi in Europe in the 1700s knew this would come, and assures us that "After this," will come nothing less than the transformation of evil itself to good. Moreover, the evil and the audacity that we witness today is part and parcel of that very transformation.
I hope it is a comfort to you as well, and if not, well maybe you'll get a kick out of this:
The word in Hebrew for "audacity" in the original text is (literally) ... chutzpah.
My thanks to JDB for allowing me to post his illustration.
Also, my apologies for adding in the photos. I wanted to bring Luzzatto's words into the present, but I may have overstepped some bounds.