Rabbi Judah ben Samuel (1140-1217)
It was in the year of 1217 CE that one of Judah’s most legendary and prolific German Hassidic rabbis made an astounding prediction about the future of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. Known as Judah ben Samuel (Judah He-Hasid or Judah the Pious, he lived in the 12th and 13th century in Regensburg, Germany.
Born in Speyer in 1140, Rabbi ben Samuel died in February 22, 1217 in Regensbug. He was one of the fathers of Chassidei (Hassidic Judaism), a movement of Jewish mysticism in Germany different than Rabbi Lurias Kabbalistic mysticism, where the Chassids emphasized strong moral ethics and prayer.
When Rabbi Judah HeHasid settled in Regensburg at the age of 55, it was here that he wrote his seminal books; the Sefer Hasidim (Book of the Pious), Sefer Gematriyot (a book on astrology) and Sefer Hakavod (Book of Glory). The latter book is now lost and few quotations have remained by subsequent authors.
These years were the time of the Roman Christian crusades into the Holy Land between the years of 1096-1270. During that time also a flourishing correspondence was carried back and forth from Jerusalem and the Holy Land and Europe rabbis in Worms and Regensburg in Germany. It was in these letters that they knew about Saladin the Great and Saladin’s Sunni Ayyubid Dynasty in Egypt.
It was in this year that Rabbi Judah ben Samuel began publishing his biblical calculations called the Gematria, plus his astronomical observations a gave us this summary which we can read today.
Rabbi Judah ben Samuel - “When the Ottomans (Turks) – who were already a power to be reckoned with on the Bosporus in the time of Judah Ben Samuel – conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
According to Leviticus 25, one Jubilee period is 50 years in which the 50th year, each person will regain ownership of his or her tribal lands. As Rabbi Judah the Pious looked into the future, he was postulating theoretical calculations, which today are showing them to be amazingly accurate. It would be over 300 years after his death that his first prediction would become true.
During the Roman Christian Crusades, the Mamluk began their reign in Jerusalem in the year of 1250 CE when the last Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt, Turanshah was assassinated by his Mamluk slave General Aibek. Aibek then founded the Mamluk Bahri dynasty. They held power over Jerusalem until they were conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the year of 1517, three hundred years after the death of Rabbi Judah ben Samuel.
According to Rabbi Judah he-Hasid, the Ottoman Turks would later wrestle power and control over the Middle East and assume power and control over Jerusalem. They would control the Land of Palestine and Jerusalem for eight Jubilees, according to his predictive calculations.
Well, eight Jubilees (50 years x 8 Jubilees) are 400 years. We know again by history that the Ottoman Turks gained control of Jerusalem in the year 1517 and held power over Jerusalem for 400 years, when they were conquered in 1917, by the British military forces under the command of British military General Edmund Allenby on Hanukkah, December 17, 1917. The Ottoman Turks began to falter in 1918 after the defeat of the army at Jerusalem. The city of Damascus fell on October 1, Homs on October 16, and Aleppo on October 25 and Turkey capitulated on October 30, 1918. After this date the League of Nations conferred the Turkey, Syria, and Egypt to the British Mandate that included the Land of Israel, then called Palestine, and Jerusalem to the British.
Then the prophecy continues when it states; “Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee.” Is it not amazing that from the year of 1917 when the British Mandate controlled the city of Jerusalem, Jerusalem did become under international law a “no-man’s land for one jubilee”. It was fifty years after that year in 1917, that the Israeli army captured the city of Jerusalem in the Six Day War on June 17, 1967. Exactly one Jubilee, 50 years later, Jerusalem returned for the first time to the control of the Jewish-Israeli ownership since the day when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE.
Called the “Light of Israel”, Rabbi Ben Samuel truly was a “Light to the World”. He did not discriminate against anyone who wanted to learn from him. Even the Roman Catholic bishops sought his wisdom.
His students were some of the Torah scholars of the ages. Those who have spent their lives studying and referencing the studies of Rabbi Judah he-Hasid, were; Rabbi Isaac Ben Solomon Luria, a mystic dealing with the messianic world (Jerusalem, 1531-1572, Safed); Joseph Solomon Delmegido (1591 Candia – 1655 Prague), a mathematician and astronomer (“Mazref le-Chochma”), Azulai I (1724-1806), a famed bibliographer; Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-1865), a Bible scholar; historian Heinrich Graetz (1817-1891); and Torah scholar Jacob Epstein (1925-1993).
According to his pupils Rabbi Isaac ben Moses (Vienna), Rabbi Baruch ben Samuel (Mainz) and Rabbi Simcha (Speyer), Rabbi Judah the Pious was a model in his role of strict abstinence selflessness and of service to other. His burning desire was awaiting the coming of the Messiah.
When he was asked where he received his wisdom from, his answer was:
Rabbi Judah ben Samuel – “The prophet Elijah, who will precede the Messiah, appeared to me and revealed many things to me and emphasized that the precondition for answered prayer is that it is fueled by enthusiasm and joy for the greatness and holiness of God.”
As we read the studies of this great man of G-d, and review his finding in all their simplicity and accuracy, we stand amazed today. In review, just before 1217 CE, this rabbinic sage and giant of Israel made the amazing prediction that the “Ottoman Turks would rule over the holy city of Jerusalem for eight Jubilees.”
Unknown to Rabbi Judah ben Samuel, the first known reference of the “Ottomans” was in 1215 CE, just two years before he died. The Ottomans were a Turkish speaking tribe that was first ruled by Ertugrul in the land of Anatolia. His rule continued to ascend in power as the Seljuk Turkish Empire decayed. Ertugrul’s son, Osman, became the name-sake “father of the Ottoman Turks” for his name was corrupted in Europe as “Ottoman”.
The Ottomans expanded to Nicaea (present-day Iznik and then went over the Dardanelles in 1362. Almost ninety years later, the Ottoman ruler Mehmed II conquered the Byzantine Imperial capital, Constantinople (Istanbul) in the year of 1453. Eventually the Ottomans ruled over most of the Balkans, the Fertile Crescent and Egypt included the forsaken land of Palestine.
This empire lasted until after World War II, but the Holy Land and Jerusalem were taken possession of in the year of 1917 by the British General Edmund Allenby on Hanukkah, December 17, 1917. Of personal interest, one of my relatives sent a personal account of the Battle of Jerusalem by the British forces under the command of General Edmund Allenby. As written:
Geoffrey – “The story of Jerusalem and General Allenby, which I remember my Grandfather telling me was about the time when Allenby halted the British Army some twenty miles away from the great city and sent a telegram directly to King George V. saying: “I will not fire British Guns on G-D’s City” signed Allenby. Apparently, the King wired him back with one word “PRAY!” And the next day the Turks left without a shot being fired and Allenby led the British Army into Jerusalem.
We survived the German Occupation of the Channel Islands, because we knew who we were – values had been handed down, we were British! We knew right from wrong! And we would, no matter how bad things could become and they did, win the war. Today, we can clearly see that society has forgotten to hand those core values.”
As Judah ben Samuel predicted the years of 1217 and 1517 were recognized as the biblical 50 year Jubilee Years. Three hundred years of six Jubilees after 1217, the Ottoman Turks took control of Jerusalem until its fading years when the Allied Forces swept the last ruler of the Ottoman from power by the forces of the British military troops under the command of General George Allenby in 1917.
Even after the Declaration of Independence by Israel in May 15, 1948 and Israel’s War of Independence against five Islamic nations, the city of Jerusalem still remained a “divided city”. The Jordanian government controlled the eastern part of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. A strip of land divided the State of Israel control of Western Jerusalem and the Jordanian controlled East Jerusalem. This strip of land was called “The No-Man’s Land” by both Israelis and Jordanians.
Then in the year of 1967, Israel was once again attacked. After the Six Day War, on June 17, 1967, the entire region of the West Bank was conquered by the Israeli Army and the entire city of Jerusalem returned back in possession of the Jewish people. Seven hundred and fifty years after the prophecy was first made by Rabbi Judah the Pious, from 1217 to 1967, all the conditions of the prophecy were fulfilled to the letter of the prophetic oracle. Then Rabbi Judah heHasid wrote:
Rabbi Judah heHasid – “In the ninth jubilee Jerusalem will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which will signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
This leaves one more Jubilee, the tenth Jubilee since the Ottoman Turks took control of Jerusalem and the Land of Promise in the years of 1517. According to this Jewish sage, the end of this tenth Jubilee will “signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
As we review the Sabbatical Week of Years, this present Sabbatical Cycle began on Rosh Hashanah 2008 5778. The 8th year would have been the day of the Messiah ending Rosh Hashanah 2009, but the Messiah did not come.
If this Sabbatical Messianic cycle 2009-2017 is completed and the GogUMogog war does begin within the year between Rosh Hashanah 2015 to Rosh Hashanah 2016, then the Messianic Era will commence before Rosh Hashanah 2017. We are currently in the 4th year of the Sabbatical Messianic Cycle that began on Rosh Hashanah 2009, in the Jewish year 5773 (2013).
There is still time for the Messiah the Prince, the anti-Messiah to forge a covenant with the “Holy Ones” of the rabbanim of Jerusalem for a seven year hudna, for the biblical text in Daniel clearly states that it will be abrogated by the anti-Messiah within 3½ years.
Can we look forward to a Middle East Peace Accord by Passover 2013?
If so, 3½ years later, will be see the revealing of the Maschiach ben Dovid before Rosh Hashanah 2016 (Jewish year 5777 between Rosh Hashanahs 5776-7)?