Exile = undesirable state
Redemption = taken out of Exile state
Three levels of Exile:
The Ultimate Redemption will solve all three Exile states
Jewish Survival is both physical and spiritual.
The Jewish People have undergone Physical Exile ever since (and even before) the Destruction of the Temple up until recent history.
However toward the end of this Exile, these Four Signs come in attempt to destroy the spirit of the Jewish People.
The ultimate test is the last of the Four Signs – when there’s no longer persecution and the transition into Physical Redemption has commenced:
Will we still hope for the Ultimate Redemption or will we give up (thinking it is no longer required)?
Moshiach comes at this time to repair these signs, especially the loss of faith in the Redemption. After all, he will bring the Ultimate Redemption and an integral part of it is faith in its coming.
However this repair doesn't just revive the same old faith in salvation. With Physical Exile behind us, the renewed faith is for salvation from Mental and Divine Exiles (which remain burning hot). That's a deeper level of faith in the Redemption as the spiritual dimensions of the Ultimate Redemption will be supreme.
This renewed faith is synonymous with the new growth that emerges from the trunk of an old tree, and that’s why the old tree (faith in Physical Redemption) will need to go – to make room for the higher level of faith (in Mental & Divine Redemption).
The “Old” faith in Physical Redemption was not wrong. Physical Redemption is an integral part of the Ultimate Redemption. Hence the New Tree is not a separate tree but of the same stock as the Old Tree.
Sorry but no level of Redemption will completely stand alone on its own until the Ultimate Redemption is realized. Not even Physical Redemption – security and freedom...
Now we can also better understand the following:
The severity of Modern Times Crises, which take place on both levels concurrently – physically, from the nations (culminating with WW1 and WW2), and spiritually with the Four Signs. Hence the hardest times in history!
Sanherib’s Forest (Isaiah 10) represents physical annihilation which was the problem then, even in the face of their lofty spiritual status (see Sanhedrin 95a). Whereas Spiritual Annihilation is only hinted by a new shoot / staff (implying the old tree is gone), because this only applies at the End of Days (Isaiah 11).
The first three signs: Informers increase, Torah Scholars decrease, Jewish Funds deplete. Introducing and promulgating Mental Exile.
The fourth sign: Giving up on the Redemption = Zionism = independent solution to (Physical) Exile.
Physical Redemption shaping up while Mental Exile thickens.
Restores the first three signs (via renewing faith in G-d which instigates Repentance), causing Mental Redemption.
Restores the fourth sign by renewing & amplified faith in the Ultimate Redemption.
Ultimate Redemption achieved.
The Four Signs
The Three Aspects of the Tree
Summary of the Three Exiles
Questions & Answers
How is the Jewish "Tree" managing to survive these Signs?
Well, that’s when Moshiach comes – to restore these unpleasant signs and renew the faith in the Redemption (on higher levels – Mental and Divine, as opposed to just Physical Redemption). If it were not for Moshiach's arrival then G-d forbid, the Jewish Tree wouldn't survive. To put it positively, these extreme signs are only happening because Moshiach is coming.
How these signs indicate the arrival of Moshiach? Seemingly there is no connection...
Well, these signs are corroding the spirit of the Jewish People all the way up to and including their deepest inspiration – the belief in the Coming of Moshiach.
Why does Moshiach's arrival depend on these signs?
Because faith in Physical Redemption (the Old Tree) has to give way to faith in both Mental and Divine Redemption (the New Growth). This will make the Ultimate Redemption more meaningful.
Why Moshiach hasn't come yet if these Signs have already happened?
These signs are for the Coming of Moshiach (who will rectify their negative aspect and thereby bring the Redemption), not for the Redemption itself. The signs are still ongoing (as already noted) and Moshiach needs to fix them up for the Ultimate Redemption to be realized. This will mean: (1) increased faith in G-d (Mental Redemption), and (2) increased faith in the Ultimate (Divine) Redemption.
Why Jewish informers (winds) and not the (much stronger) persecuting winds of the Gentiles?
Because so long as persecution comes from Gentiles, that is even more of a cause for awaiting the Redemption, when the tables will completely turn. However when the persecution originates from within the Jewish Community, the tree itself becomes much more fragile...
The order of the Four Signs is: Wind, Roots, Soil and the Tree. Why not start with the Tree itself, then its roots, then the soil around it and then the winds which are completely external to it?
As it turned out in history, the troubles started with the Informers, who turned young Torah Students into Secular Education and repurposed funds previously used to support Torah Institutions. The informers' ultimate goal being to make the Jews forget about Redemption. Each sign has been responsible for the next one. In that sense, there is no alignment with MAHARAL's tree analogy where each sign is independent from the other.
The first three signs (Informers, Students, Funds) are beyond our control, and also make sense as Signs: Be ready for these tragedies to happen and be comforted that these are signs for the Coming of Moshiach. But despairing the Redemption is within our control, and not a sign in the world? Furthermore, why would we despair if we see the very signs for the Coming of Moshiach being fulfilled?!
As explained, there are two factors behind losing hope in the Redemption:
(1) The first three signs have deeply affected the spirit of the general Jewish Population, to the extent of acquiring a secular outlook on life. For such people, the "Talmud" is of no concern, especially when the signs describe such people as themselves!
(2) Surging Antisemitism around many Jewish Communities has pushed the Jews to wall. According to Torah, the purpose of widespread outbreaks is to get people to repent from their evil ways (the whole Talmudic Tractate of Taanit is built on this premise). But with such an attitude of perceived independence of G-d, the only option is to try ensuring your own security (thereby giving up on Redemption from G-d).
How will the new growth (from the Old Tree, Moshiach/Hope for Redemption) survive under the same hostile conditions (Four Signs) that killed the Old Tree?
The new growth (hope for Mental / Divine Redemption) – although from the same stock as the Old Tree – is of grander and stronger characteristics. Hence it cannot be tarnished by the Four Signs. On the contrary, the new growth thrives on them: The Four Signs are responsible for Mental Exile and – for those awaken by Moshiach (with renewed faith) – Mental Exile is the very cause and push for wanting (Mental) Redemption.