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Erev Rosh Hashanna, 5769, the final minutes of 5768, 10 years to the hour from when the Kabbalists had prophesied that Moshiach would come. I was about to to a mikveh and checked my blackberry for the final time before storing it away. The stock market had just closed and I had an email alert from the NY Times. “The Dow Jones industrials plunged a record 777.68 points, or 6.98 percent, to 10,365.45 after lawmakers failed to approve a $700 billion financial bailout package.”
As the sun set on the last chances for Tshuvah (repentance) before the final decade began, the market lost $1.2 trillion in its final hour. The Dow sank 7%, a total of 777.7 points, or an even 778, and with the revelations about the coming of the Messiah in the year 5778 ever present, whose else hand could there have been in this other than Hashem.
And as has been recently been pointed out to me, 778 is the gematria of בביאת המשיח , (in the coming of the Messiah), and also of “פקד פקדתי , (I have indeed remembered you).” which Joseph used to ask the generation to come to elevate his bones to the Land of Israel in pasha Vayechi.
We’ve written about the connection of Pakad (פקד) to the final redemption before, but we should add that פקד פקדתי are “the secret passwords of redemption which Moses used to prove that he was the real redeemer speaking in G-d’s name.”

The next morning the markets were still, as the shofars blast around the world, this time, after 66.6 jubilee years they heralded the onset of the final redemption.
And that same day, “gold rose $23.20 to $911.70 on the Nymex.” Gold, of gematria, 14, the same as David, rose 232, as in the value of the 4 aspects of the Tetragrammaton, YHVH (Av, Sag, Mah, Ban) to 911 (reshit, beginning) and 70, as in the 70 Nations, and the 70 years of David’s life, and as in the age that Israel will be in 5778.
God’s Hand, also of numerical value 14, was in this, as it is in everything, only this time the world took notice.  It was the largest drop in history, but the 17th largest in percentage terms, 17 is the gematria of tov, good.  And yes, it was good, spiritually; it started to wake people up. It is forcing Tshuva on many of us.
As the ball dropped in Time Square New Years Eve, closing out 2008, 42 tons of garbage were also dropped, a not coincidental allusion to the 42% of the assets in the worldwide markets that year, and to the 42-Letter Name (Ana B’Koach, Shem Mem-Bet) that we know from chazal will help bring about the geula. That 42% translated to $29 trillion dollars–that’s a lot of garbage–that’s a lot of tshuva.
G-d speaks softly, but carries a big stick.  Every day, companies, individuals, scoundrels, and governments are finding new ways to make vast amounts of assets disappear. Earlier this year an investor in Germany had a $9.2 billion empire, last week he committed suicide when much of it collapsed. Bernie Madoff (Mem-bet for those that understand) made $50 billion of people’s money disappear, especially many in the orthodox community and charities.  The US goverment finally made that $700 billion disappear and then some, and now Obama (Mem-bet for those that understand) has declared that besides the $1 Trillion he’s promised to help vanish, we should expect multi-trillion deficits for the next few years. Poof! All gone.
The last time Hashem went “poof, all gone” was with Noach and the Flood, Mabul (Mem-bet for those that understand).  There are easier ways to do tshuva.  It’s time we all look inside ourselves, and ask ourselves what we’re doing to prepare the way for H’MashiachHashem will do His part, of that we can be certain.  We need to do ours.
In London, some group of atheists started 2009 off by taking out ads on 800 Omnibuses declaring “There is no G-d.”  And Bilaam made 42 sacrifices to counteract Moses’ use of the 42-Letter Name (Shem Mem-Bet). It didn’t work; every curse he said became a blessing.  Let’s make the perceived curses all around us into blessings.  The final 10 years have begun, and the shofars have sounded.   Who will answer the call?