The Final Test
Chazal say, מעשה אבות סימן לבנים– "the deeds of our Fathers are a sign for the children". There are so many parallels between the Yidden’s sojourn in the desert and our journey through Galus until the ultimate redemption.
The Exodus from Egypt was supposed to lead to a quick entrance into the Promised Land, heralding of the days of Moshiach. Unfortunately though, the Yidden sinned in the desert with the Meraglim, delaying their entry into Eretz Yisrael by 40 years. The entire generation of those who left Egypt had to perish in the desert first. Instead of Moshe Rabbeinu leading the Yidden into Eretz Yisrael and building the Beis Hamikdash, his student Yehoshua brought them in and the building of the Holy Temple was delayed by hundreds of years. Even then, it was only a temporary building, ultimately destroyed twice by our enemies.
The sin of the Meraglim stemmed from a lack of faith that the Yidden (with Hashem's help) could conquer the land. This resulted in the entire generation perishing and not meriting to enter the land.
Over the past few hundred years of galus, as we get much closer to the ultimate redemption, the Yidden in Europe became steadily convinced that they can't "beat" the power of the culture around them, and that the only way to survive would be by joining the non-Jews and their culture instead. This resulted in 80% of the Jewish people leaving the path of their forefathers. Once again, Hashem decided that this generation would not be the one to enter the promised land, and the terrible Holocaust happened - right before the Jewish people merited to regain sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael.
Now, back to the time in the desert. It is interesting to note that the LAST downfall of the Yidden in the desert before they entered Eretz Yisrael was the test of the "daughters of Midyan" - of z'nus and promiscuity. As a result of these sins, 24,000 Yidden died in a plague. After this happened, Hashem commanded Moshe to go to war and take revenge on Midyan ("and after this, you shall pass on").
The parallel to our times is striking. Once again, the last great test of galus before Moshiach finally comes is in the arena of licentious and promiscuity. We can see today with our own eyes the huge damage and havoc that technology is having on the kedusha of our people.
Perhaps this is what Bilam meant when he said to Balak: לְכָה, אִיעָצְךָ, אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה הָעָם הַזֶּה לעמך באחרית הימים - Let me advise you what this nation will do (to yours) at the end of days. Rashi explains: "Let me advise you" is referring to Bilam's advice to Balak to cause the Yidden to sin with the daughters of Midyan. He said to Balak: "The G-d of these people hates promiscuity... if you can get them to sin in this area, their G-d will be angry at them and destroy them.” It's interesting that Bilam mentions "the end of days" in the same breath of his advice to Balak. Perhaps he was hinting through prophecy, that at the end of days – i.e. in our times, the final test will once again be the same as Bilam’s advice back then: Promiscuity.
And what was Hashem’s final Mitzva to Moshe? What was the last great battle the Yidden needed to wage in the desert before entering the Promised Land? צרור את המדינים! Gather 1,000 men from each of the 12 tribes and wage battle against the promiscuity! In our times as well, we are waging the final battle before Moshiach comes.
And who are the warriors? All of us on GYE! We are on the front lines, fighting this last battle of the final great test - on behalf of the entire Jewish people!