The Final War by Ilan Griboff


The Haftarah we read on Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot, from the Navi Yechezkel, depicts the war between Gog and Magog before the coming of Mashiach.  Why is this Haftarah read on Sukkot?  According to some commentaries, it is because Gog’s defeat will take place during Tishrei.  In fact, one Midrash states that Gog’s defeat will take place on Hoshanah Rabbah. Additionally, during the holiday of Sukkot we sit in a Sukkah that is covered by a very flimsy roof, which is composed of Sechach.  This shows our trust in Hashem to keep us safe, in contrast to the reliance of Gog, whose name means “the dreadful one,” on its own power.

Although we do not know when this war will take place, the Rambam says that it will occur after Eliyahu comes to direct all of Bnei Yisrael towards Hashem and to help us all do Teshuvah.  Only then will we have the ability to counteract the force of Gog, who is trying to drive us away from Hashem.

The Nevuah starts with “VeHayah Bayom HaHu BeYom Bo Gog Al Admat Yisrael….”  The Rabbanan explain that when this war begins, Gog will come forth with a tremendous army made of representatives from all of the seventy nations.  They will all be united to achieve one final goal: to wipe out the Jews and prevent the coming of Mashiach.

This will cause Hashem’s anger, which He has restrained throughout all of the Exile, to be aroused, and He will perform many large and open miracles.  This will destroy Gog’s plans and send his army into complete confusion.

This Hoshanah Rabbah, may Hashem bring about the final battle, the ultimate defeat of Gog, and the coming of Mashiach.


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