Ukraine war in Torah portion, rabbis say: 'Nothing is coincidence'

Rabbis Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz share Torah lessons with non-Jews.

JEREMY GIMPEL and Ari Abramowitz (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
JEREMY GIMPEL and Ari Abramowitz
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

What makes the Torah’s wisdom Divine?

That’s a question more and more Christians are asking as they explore the Hebrew roots of Christianity.

Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel and his partner Rabbi Ari Abramowitz lead a weekly online Torah study group specifically designed for non-Jews. Called "The Land of Israel Fellowship," their mission is to bring the universal wisdom of Torah to the world.

Gimpel reported that “hundreds of families from 50 countries around the world” gather weekly in their online forum.

What Is Biblical Prophecy?

In a brief segment from this week’s lesson, Gimpel opened by explaining that most people think of Biblical prophecy as something that was spoken thousands of years ago that foretells the future. He argues that this is only one way to understand prophecy.

A more sophisticated understanding of Biblical prophecy, and the Divine messages of Torah, comes from studying the weekly Torah portion, he asserted.

Each week in synagogues, Jewish homes and schools throughout the world, the same section of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible is studied. Gimpel shared that that practice is expanding into the Christian world as, “more and more believers are joining into the Torah cycle.”

The Torah Speaks to Us Today

“What makes the Torah’s wisdom Divine is that the text itself is speaking to us right now," Gimpel explained. "It’s not something that was told to us so many years ago that’s foretelling the future, but if your eyes are open, then the actual text of what we read every week speaks directly to us every single week.”

He illustrated this claim with a current example: The weekly Torah portion is called Pekudei and comes from Exodus 38:21–40:38.

a beka a head, half a shekel by the sanctuary weight, for each one who was entered in the records, from the age of twenty years up, 603,550 men (Exodus 38:26).

Focusing on this verse, Gimpel pointed that 603,550 is the number of men of military age the Torah tells us existed at that time. 

Ukraine has a land mass of exactly 603,550 square kilometers (Credit: Screenshot from WorldData.info)Ukraine has a land mass of exactly 603,550 square kilometers (Credit: Screenshot from WorldData.info)

But why is that seemingly obscure number significant this week?

Ukraine, a country that has been dominating the world’s headlines this week, has a land mass of exactly 603,550 square kilometers, according to the website WorldData.info.

Gimpel wanted his students to notice the extraordinary parallel. Exactly when the Torah portion being read speaks of 603,550 men fit for military service, Ukraine, with a total land mass of 603,550 square kilometers is at war. 

“What are the chances?” Gimpel asked. “All of this is happening because the Torah portion is speaking to us right now.”

God’s Message to the World

"The world may look chaotic. It may look like, oh my goodness, two years of a global pandemic and now we’re entering into WWIII?! What’s going on here? Everything seems so random and so chaotic.

“But if your eyes are on the Torah portion, and your eyes are understanding that prophecy is not just what was spoken then and it’s happening now, but the text itself is speaking to us right now. Then we realize, nothing here is by chance. Nothing here is a coincidence.”

He reminded his listeners that the context of the Torah portion is the building of the Tabernacle, the temporary dwelling place of the Divine presence and the precursor to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

“Everyone here should take a lot of strength and encouragement to know that nothing here is [by] chance,” he assured. “God’s Presence is on His way back to dwelling in Zion.

"The Clouds of Glory will fill the Temple in Jerusalem. World peace will come, even though it looks like world war is about to break out,” he concluded.