In developing an understanding of the Fourth Kingdom that dominates the Jewish people up until the coming of Moshiach, HaRav Weintraub explained the core chochmah, wisdom, that lies at the head of the world, and how it is the basis for the conflict and contrast between the Fourth Kingdom and Klal Yisroel. He suggests a link between the wisdom that is the focus of the struggle for geula, and the silence that must be the reaction to what is the chesed of yissurim that are sent when we do not atone for our sins with teshuva.
At this point, we will sum up and connect the ideas which we have brought so far.
The end of the fourth kingdom depends on the workings of process of wisdom which human beings cannot grasp. The process began when the "legs" supporting this kingdom became unsteady, from which time there was a new development in the introduction of the process of wisdom.
In the world of machshovoh (thought), the way to revelation begins with the left, as it says "the original intention (lit. oloh b'machshovo) was for the creation to be created with din." From this there is an inclination toward troubles, which are therefore the way in which the rise from "dust" is initiated.
As a result, the power which corresponds to and opposes Knesses Yisroel at this time is the general power of Edom, which relates to the process of wisdom and can resist its revelations. Therefore, if the situation reaches the point where the midas hadin is carried so far that the world could no longer survive, the instrument for inflicting the blows is Germania of Edom, whose sole platform is the obliteration chas vesholom of "the enemies" of Yisroel.
Furthermore, without teshuva, the only way to remove the hindrance to leaving the "dust" of foreign lands is by undergoing punishment, through which the sins are cleansed. With the removal of the hindering prosecution, a way is opened for leaving the golus.
The sin which has been our greatest prosecutor since the Gaon's time is the heresy which began at that time (secularism), which brings about utter destruction of a person's inner (spiritual) world. This is why, at the time when the prosecution grew strong, and we were subject to the original intention of creation, midas hadin, the destruction was previously unequaled, and continued survival had never been so threatened. Just as at the original Creation there was a process of an original thought to conduct the world with the strict midas hadin, followed by the situation of "He saw that it could not last," so too in the process of the geula from the dust there is a stage of a severe midas hadin, to the point where it appears that there will be no survival.
R' Elchonon Wassermann zt'l wrote that the claims being made against us in shomayim are relayed to us through our enemies in this world. The way to rectify this is to go to the other extreme, which was exemplified by our people's kedoshim who withstood the test and accepted the heavenly decree in silence. They became receptacles for the action of the process of wisdom, by their acceptance of the decree to "Be silent! This was my intention" . The particular service of that period to correspond to the hashgacha was like our own approach to the poro adumah, namely, "I have made a decree and enacted a law and you have no permission to question it". This is the explanation of the silence in the face of the original intention for the creation. The medrash Tanchuma at the beginning of parshas Nitzovim comments that the suffering which we endure, rather than wiping us out, strengthen and support us. This is apparent, says the medrash from the posuk (Dvarim 8:15) "..to test you, to benefit you in your later times" and it is also why the Torah uses the word "nitzavim", meaning "upright", after all the curses of the tochacha. We benefit ultimately, for when suffering befalls us, we become submissive before Hashem. This is expressed in Tehillim (), "I find trouble and grief, and call out the name of Hashem". This is the task of Knesses Yisroel at this stage, albeit an unpleasant one, but one which ultimately progresses another step in the "uprising from the dust", departure from the lands of the nations, and return to our proper home.
Since the four kingdoms were portrayed in Daniel's dream as animals, while Knesses Yisroel appeared as a human, every subsequent step in the separation from the nations means that there has to be a corresponding revelation of the true human form on the part of Knesses Yisroel. Since we have already experienced a degree of uprooting from among the nations and a degree of return to Eretz Yisroel, we should already now be able to see signs of this higher human potential. We can understand this from the Gaon's words (in likutim) that a human differs from an animal in two respects: intellect and laughter. The very perception of certain things as humorous is a definitive sign of humanity. The sense of humor also has a spiritual balance, and the opposing evil side is the rasha who enjoys temporary success called by Chazal, rasha shehasha'a mesachekes lo. Giving the reward of olom haboh in olom hazeh is found with humans. Even though signs of the more elevated human nature do exist, the community as a whole is being subjected to a fearful test wherein it appears that all evildoers seem good to Hashem and seem to find favor with Him; where is the G-d of justice? This is the final test (and see our article of ) and when we do teshuva, we will cast off the outer casing of ra, realizing the full development of human potential and will merit "then our mouths will be filled with laughter, and our tongues with joy" (Tehillim 126:2).