“And He said unto me: ‘Son of man can these bones live?’ And I answered: ‘O Lord GOD Thou knowest.’” Ezekiel 37:3 (The Israel Bible™)
Israel Independence Day comes directly after Memorial Day, in a logical arrangement that one rabbi says reflects the two-stage process of Messiah embodied in the State of Israel.
On May 1, before celebrating the modern miracle that is Israel, Israelis spent 24 hours remembering those who fell in wars or as a result of terror. The following day is Israel Independence day celebrating the day the Israeli government announced their nationhood in 1948.
According to Jewish tradition, there are two stages in the Messiah: Moshiach ben Yosef (Messiah from the House of Joseph) and Moshiach ben David (Messiah from the House of David). Moshiach ben Yosef is a natural, physical process building up the practical aspects of Israel.
Rabbi Apisdorf explained that these two stages are reflected in the Vision of the Dry Bones described in chapter 37 of Ezekiel. The beginning of the vision describes scattered bones.
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied there was a noise and behold a commotion and the bones came together bone to its bone. Ezekiel 37:7
“This part of the vision is a process of bringing the bones together, binding them in the flesh,” explained Rabbi Apisdorf. “This describes Messiah from the House of Joseph. The first vision represents the Jews in exile, when we were like individual bones with no sense of being part of a whole. For the Jewish people, exile is a boneyard.”
Bringing the bones together, the rabbi explained, is the ingathering of the people and the necessary practical arrangements that needed to be made. In the years leading up to 1948 and for many years after, this effort was spearheaded by secular Zionists, who farmed the land and fought in the IDF.
“This is the first stage, the secular Zionists, who, like Joseph in Egypt, provided a physical home for the Jews: food, shelter,and protection,” Rabbi Apsidorf explained. “The Jews who died in this process, of reconstituting the dry bones, physically building up and defending the country, were the embodiment of Moshiach ben Yosef.”
The rabbi then explained that the second vision described in Ezekiel is of a spirit entering the now-reconstituted bodies.
So I prophesied as He commanded me and the breath came into them and they lived and stood up upon their feet an exceeding great host. Ezekiel 37:10
This, the rabbi explained, is a spiritual, internal process.
“The second stage is when the spirit, that has always been there, becomes apparent in all its glory,” Rabbi Apisdorf said. “This process, Moshiach ben David, emphasizes the spiritual. Without the first stage, the spiritual stage will not happen.”
According to tradition, Moshiach ben David is a spiritual process culminating in the Third Temple and the Davidic Dynasty. This, the rabbi said, is contained within Independence Day. The sages teach that the redemption from the third exile, which many believe we are now experiencing, will, unlike the previous two redemptions, never end.
“Moshiach ben Yosef is the seed that contains everything that follows,” said Rabbi Apisdorf. “It’s all there. This was what was happening in the first years of Israel. By looking back on Memorial Day, at Moshiach ben Yosef, at those who fell building up the country, we can see our future geula (redemption), our Moshiach ben David that will be true independence, must inevitably be.”