Weekly Hashkafa #67: Power of the Jew

Given 09/30/2021

We have now finished Sukkot and this Shabbat is parashat “Bereishis” so I thought it would be very good to talk about Judaism in an incredibly fundamental way, to bring it down to the basic blocks, to talk about what mankind is all about and what a Jew is all about, a fundamental understanding in terms of what is going on. It will prove valuable in providing an insider view of, actually, everything, what mashiach does, what his power is.

Two facts:

1- There is G-d Who is not part of reality. Reality is part of G-d. It isn’t that there is a reality and G-d is part of that. No. There is no reality; there is only G-d. There is nothing we can designate as “reality” that is different or apart from Him. That is a very important concept. The essence of reality is G-d. Whatever there is of reality is what He Created.

2- There is a particular operation, an action G-d does, the most basic and fundamental operation of all reality called “tzimtzum.” It means “contraction” or “restriction.” It is when there is a restriction of the full expression of someone or something, curtailing its manifestation. The entity in question metzamzem(s)—restricts, contracts the manifestation of itself, himself. G-d does this. Is it a real restriction?—yes and no. Such a restriction results in a different reality so, in that sense, there is a reality called G-d which, if fully disclosed, fully manifest, would be completely, exclusively G-d. But, G-d created a process to restrict Himself. It’s not that he shrinks or disappears. He created a process, which is unknown, to restrict His presence thereby creating a reality devoid of His presence to the degree He wishes. He creates a reality in which He is not perceived.

So, there’s G-d fully manifest, G-d using tzimtzum to restrict the manifestation of Himself, and there’s a reality devoid of Him.

G-d applied the action of tzimtzum to Himself which created a reality besides Himself, which Kabballah describes (and which I will go into at a later date) as one in which He is limited. The second tzimztum is the concept of the creation of the neshama—the soul. It is a kind of being that now can perceive itself as some type of a reality. The essential aspect of G-d, termed “ein od milvado”—aside from G-d there is nothing else, literally, becomes restricted or diminished. Finally, He creates a reality in which there can be an “other,” besides G-d. He restricts His power or attribute of ein od milvado so the exclusivity of His Being is restricted allowing the existence of something “else.” For our purpose here, let’s assume that something “else” is the neshama. Actually, the reality that comes into play is called the sefiros—Divine forces that He creates which He can use to do other things. It’s interesting that G-d doesn’t want to do anything with He Himself. He creates intermediaries, these sefiros which he guides and controls and they do things and there are ten of them. They create realities. He is behind them but it seems they create realities, but directed and empowered by G-d. The first thing to be created is the neshama, a being that has consciousness.

How is G-d going to relate to that neshama? He creates spiritual worlds—ruchni—composed of various types of beings, primarily malachim—angels, and He interacts with these worlds via the angelic beings. They are the interface between G-d and the neshama or any other reality.

Then he creates geshem—material reality, different from the spiritual. The other creation was a potential one, which, unfortunately, became actualized, called zoamah. It is the reality of the Satan. It is a force opposite to the sefiros.

The fundamental way all these are created is via tzimtzum, an incredibly powerful device. Imagine that G-d comes over to you and says, “I’m going to give you the power of tzimtzum, to limit or increase My presence. I will voluntarily submit to your actions to increase or reduce My presence.” Imagine he gave that power to you. You would be the most powerful being in all Creation because the most powerful thing of all is the presence of G-d. When He is present, everything is beyond belief, good. When His presence is absent or diminished, when His ha’ohra—illumination restricted, or when His hester--concealment is enhanced, there is a deficiency. Such power determines the degree of any reality.

Guess what!—G-d does that. He creates a being and gives this being the ability of tzimtzum. He places this being, in a manner of speaking, next to a dial—spanning 0-100. He says “You will control this dial, and that dial controls the degree of tzimtzum, to what extent I reveal or conceal Myself. That being is a person to whom the lever of all Creation has been given to control the reality of Creation.

That being to whom it was given was Adam ha’Rishon, the first man, a human with the power to control the ha’ora—holy Light. This is what makes Adam special. That power makes Adam a “Yisrael,” meaning any neshama that has the ability to control the tzimtzum. Therefore, he can turn the dial increasing or decreasing the presence of G-d and determining reality. That was Adam’s power. He was able to destroy or enlighten Creation. He destroyed it ultimately.

And what moves the dial? In doing G-d’s command-- a mitzvah--you undo the original tzimtzum thereby increasing His presence. If, however, you don’t do it, if you do its opposite, an avera—a transgression, you increase the tzimtzum. We now understand how a mitzvah or an aveira—to obey G-d’s Will or defy it—controls the tzimtzum. This is the fundamental understanding of what G-d did and what followed. Man was given the privilege of reversing the tzimtzum or not. This explains how Adam was able to destroy that original reality. He and his wife, Chava, ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil thereby damaging Creation. But how? Wherein lied their power? Was it their control of tzimtzum that G-d gave them?

G-d wanted them to undo the concealment and increase His presence, changing the world from physicality to spirituality and even transforming that further into the Future World which isn’t even spiritual. We can say it is spiritual because it is not physical, but olam ha’ba—the Future World isn’t even spiritual. It is beyond comprehension, a different reality, and we have no conception of what lies beyond. Adam was given the power to introduce that world but he failed.

That power continued with Cain and Hevel (Abel) and for many generations, for 2000 years until the Generation of Dispersion (affiliated with the Tower of Babel). This explains why there was the Flood in the generation of Noah. Until then, all mankind had this power to reduce or increase G-d’s presence in the world, dialing it up or down. The world was destroyed because they enhanced the tzimtzum with their defiant acts. Such was the power of mankind when it was comprised of only Yisrael.

Eventually, G-d said enough is enough! I will take the power of tzimtzum from mankind and leave it only in the hands of Avraham Avinu. So, it comes out that the power would reside solely with the Jew, called “Ivri.” Only Avraham and his descendants would be, from that time onward, Yisrael. They and only they, could bring in or push out G-d and alter reality. The Jew is commanded, through the mitzvot, to operate tzimtzum to affect the darkest part of reality, the zoamah, the power that the Satan has over the physical world. The Jew can destroy the Satan by denying him the ha’ohra, the illumination of G-d which everything requires to exist, to survive. This power to control tzimtzum is the greatest magic wand of all.

When the Satan is destroyed, so is the zoamah. The concealment of G-d is what sustains that world of zoamah. Without zoamah, there is no more decomposition, deterioration, or entropy of physical matter. This is the world of mashiach, particularly of Mashiach ben David. Following that, the geshem is removed and the world becomes spiritual. The world goes up a notch having G-d’s presence reintroduced by the actions of the Jews. The Jews kick off the process of man’s ascension through the spiritual worlds, going higher and higher. Ultimately it stops and becomes a reality that no one can imagine. Kabbalah calls it “adam kadmon”—primordial man or olam ha’ba. It is the world of pure neshama, the residence of G-d and the neshamot—souls.

We now have a basic understanding of what the Jew can do. The power of tzimtzum was taken away from the nations and given to the Jews. By operating this instrument through our mitzvot, teshuva, or suffering, the Jew undoes the restriction that G-d imposed on Himself.

If you want to look at it in a more concrete way, chemistry is about the manipulation of matter at the molecular level. Physics is a discipline enabling manipulation of matter at the atomic level. The Jew can manipulate---not matter--but ha’ohra, neither molecules nor atoms, but the level of the Light of the presence of G-d. That is the most powerful instrument in all Creation.

Tragically, Jews have no idea of their power. Such an individual is a Yisrael, and it has been given over to the descendants of Avraham. Anyone can have that power if he becomes a Jew, choosing to become involved in the process of heeding the word of G-d. G-d in his mercy has allowed anybody to come into that awesome power. It is the Jew who will have changed Creation. That endeavor is called tikkun—rectification, removing the self-imposed restrictions G-d placed upon His presence, bringing Him back, so to speak. That’s how it’s done. That is why the Jew is called the misaken—rectifier, increasing the output, changing the entire reality outside of G-d. No angel can do this. They stand in awe of the Jew. Even though they are—right now, anyway---far superior to humans, the fact that a human has been given a power infinitely greater than any power they have, renders them in awe of the Jew whose power surpasses that of any angel.

All of human history—all of it---is somehow connected to the actions of the Jews. The chazal—sages say that, even if a ship sinks somewhere in the ocean, it’s because of the Jew. Why? In order for it to sink, there has to be some type of denial of ha’orah, of the presence of G-d, that enables the Satan to sink that ship. Who controls that ability?---the Jew.

The world is so busy trying to stop the Jews from operating, reversing tzimtzum, they don’t realize they destroy themselves. This is how we understand what G-d says to Avraham: “Whoever curses you will be cursed (because they want to limit your ability to bring back the Divine Presence) and whoever blesses you will be blessed.” Those who bless you want you to bring the Divine Presence. That is also why G-d tells Avraham, “All the nations will be blessed through you.” What does your blessing have to do with their mazal---luck? G-d could explain it thus: You have the unique ability to determine My absence or presence. If you do My mitzvot, you make my reality bright and all the goyim will bask in that Light. If you don’t do it, you take that situation and deteriorate it, and everybody will suffer. It’s not just one Jew. Every Jew has that power at birth, automatically. That’s the gift G-d gives every Jew based on the covenant G-d made with Avraham. But, the agreement began with Adam ha’Rishon—Adam, the first man.

It isn’t a punishment that the Jew brings on; it is the diminishment of the presence of G-d and, that itself, is the punishment. In the end, we create our own reality. If we sin from the fact that we have diminished the presence of G-d, we did it to ourselves. It’s not that we did an act for which we incur punishment. The sin itself has caused the diminishment which changes the reality we live in.

We need to reduce the tzimtzum and automatically we’ll have changed reality until we will have changed it to olam ha’ba. At that point, we would have removed nearly all the tzimtzum. Let’s say it is as if G-d started at “1” and contracted to “100.” By fulfilling the mitzvot, we can bring it back to “1.” The alternative devices are teshuva--repentance and suffering. Ultimately, we create olam ha’ba. We can do what Adam had the power to do. The difference is that he was one man who had the entire “board” of controls to himself whereas, today, that power is distributed among all Jews. Each Jew has his area whereupon he can act to reduce or increase G-d’s presence.

Q & A

Participant: We’re still trying to correct the stuff from Adam. I don’t understand what we’re trying to do here.

R: We’re trying to undo the damage Adam caused because, by his sin, he introduced zoamah into reality.

Participant: Not enough people are trying; that’s the problem.

R’Kessin: G-d is arranging it so that, ultimately, we will succeed. That is the concept of the messianic era. Mashiach is the successful reversal of the damage of Adam ha’Rishon.

Participant: So, removing the zoamah is a way to feel His presence more and and He does it through the sefirot also? He will be clearing the pipelines? How does it work?

R’Kessin: Remember, the klippot, the zoamah, are blockages. The first thing is to remove the blockages and the second thing is to increase the ohr. As we energize, we change the amount of blockage, remove it completely—that’s the messianic era—then we increase the ohr, the Light, and that happens after the messianic era. So, the primary work of the Jews is to get rid of the zoamah and begin to affect the physical universe, but the real effect starts after the messianic era is over, between 6000-7000. Until the 6000th year, we will have removed all the zoamah. The amount of Light, spiritual energy, is enormous, just by removing the blockage. We can barely imagine what the world will be like without blockage. The actual change of the physical world into the spiritual happens after 6,000 years. I mentioned from 6-7,7-8, and 8-9. After the 9000th year, we will have energized all the sefirot to bring down all their Light and change the entire universe. That is when olam ha’ba begins. It will be a universe of which we have no comprehension.

Participant: A person has to die and be buried to get rid of the zoamah?

Yes, within your body. You cannot purify a material body that has zoamah in it. You have to get rid of it and then the physical substance can rejuvenate itself. This is the problem. Once the zoamah becomes attached to the physical body, you cannot purify the body. You have to separate the physical from the neshama. That’s the purpose of death. It separates the physical body from the neshama which leaves the body. The body decomposes and the zoamah leaves it. Then, when the time comes for the neshama to re-enter, the rejuvenated body is devoid of zoamah and able to resurrect to be a physical body without zoamah. That is t’chiat ha’meitim—resurrection of the dead. That happens during the time of Mashiach ben David. People will be walking around with bodies that have no Satan, no yetzer ha’ra—evil inclination, no death, no disease, no decomposition, nothing except a body which is pure geshem—materiality. Geshem itself becomes purified after the year 6,000/2240 when the reversal of the physical into a spiritual world continues toward a meta-spiritual existence called olam ha’ba. It’s a long process. But the major job now, and which has been the job for 4000 years, is to get rid of the zoamah and purify the physical body. Then the process continues by itself. This is what G-d wants. He doesn’t need us to transform the universe, only to fight the Satan, to get rid of the zoamah so there is no consequence of the Satan.

Participant: If all the Jews, every single one, did teshuva, it would tip the scales?

R’Kessin: If every Jew did it, mashiach would come that day because it would have reversed the tzimtzum and G-d’s presence would come right back.

Participant: Jews who aren’t doing teshuva but are doing mitzvot or suffering, those don’t have the same weight as teshuva?

R’Kessin: It clearly does something but we don’t know how much has to be done; only G-d knows exactly what has to be removed. The entire operation, only He knows. When it is all removed, we are redeemed.

Participant: If we know that olam ha’ba doesn’t begin until 6000, technically, G-d gives us the option of doing teshuva and He knows we’re only human and the circumstances we’re under and how rabbis who speak about the End Times don’t wish to be alive during these times because of the amount of Darkness…..so we’re just playing it out because, at the end of the day, we’re just waiting for that specific day for it to happen because it isn’t technically in our hands because of human nature.

R’Kessin: It is in our hands.

Participant: But because of the circumstances we live with, we can’t get many Jews to do teshuva; it’s impossible.

That is one of the reasons that G-d has removed the culpability, the guilt, of many Jews so even if they sin, it doesn’t register. The only way it registers is if a person has bechira—free choice. If a person has no free choice, nothing happens even if it’s a sin. The way to reduce bechira is to remove Torah. Then you don’t know the difference between right and wrong. You’re missing vital information. If you sin, it doesn’t count. That is why, before mashiach comes, there’s an enormous amount of ignorance. Ever notice how much ignorance of Torah there is and that, during the Holocaust, how many of those places where so many were killed were places where there were Torah scholars and yeshivas? This was to reduce the culpability of Jews so they were not held guilty if they sinned. If you don’t know the Torah, then you are innocent. What G-d has done, simultaneous to the galus—exile, is to reduce the amount of scholarship. But that has to be reversed. That is the concept of G-d gathering us. He says “I will gather you and bring you to Me.” I’ve spoken of this, that the Jews must again come back to their Torah to greet the mashiach. That is what He does to speed up the process, making the Jews amaratzim—ignoramuses.

Participant: They say that when you see someone doing wrong, transgressing, you’re supposed to rebuke them in a nice way. So, if G-d wants them to be ignorant, do you rebuke them?

R’Kessin: It’s the old game. There used to be a king named Hezkiyahu, one of the great kings of Israel and also a prophet. He knew he would have a son, Menashe, who would be a terrible king because he would introduce an incredible amount of idolatry. So, he decided he wouldn’t marry or have kids. So, the prophet, Yeshayahu, warned him that G-d would take his life. Why? He told the king: It’s true that you know from your own prophetic power that Menashe will come from you but you can’t play around with that knowledge. G-d commanded you to have children. With the secrets of G-d, what is it your business? You have to do as you are commanded. You can’t play around and think ‘I’ll help G-d by not having Menashe’.

You have to do as you are commanded. Like the mitzvah of tochacha—rebuke, admonition you have to do it. If that is what is operative, you have to do it. You can’t say, “I’ll close down all the yeshivas to make sure no Jews are culpable.” You can’t do that even though that would be a strange kind of strategy. We are commanded to study Torah and spread it. Even if it makes more Jews guilty or culpable, so be it. We can’t be smarter than G-d. We can’t intervene in His plan by going against His Will. This is what Yishayahu told Hezkiyahu. So Hezkiyahu married, had Menashe, which was terrible, but this is G-d’s business, not ours. We can’t second-guess

G-d. We cannot sin to advance His plan. Whatever comes out of it, comes out of it.

Participant: Through the power of the Jew, we give the power to the mashiach?

R’Kessin: Correct. Well, it’s not that mashiach has the power on his own. He takes what we contributed, takes our power and uses it. He’s not the one with power independent of us. We do the tikkun, not him. He brings the show to a close, like Moshe. It was the power of all the Jews. We are the actors. He closes the act. Moshe realized that. He expressed it this way: if you want to make me the guy (rebuild the nation from me, eradicating the tribes), erase me from your sefer—book (Torah). Moshe realized he was nobody. It was the Jews who did the tikkun. That is also true today.

Know that everything you do, in whatever area is assigned to you by G-d--each Jew has an area of operation---empowers you to affect the presence or absence of G-d in that particular area, a power unique to each Jew. Adam had it but he had it over the entire Creation whereas we have it over our own area.

We can influence others. If you have a school and teach other Jews mitzvot, Torah, and then they go out and do mitzvot, you will have enabled them to use their power for which you will be given tremendous credit. In this sense, all of us have unbelievable power and not only the power to exert, but to imbue power within others to exert. We control an enormous amount of power far beyond that of an individual. That is why is it great to give a shiur---lesson to thousands of people because you influence them to do mitzvot and you have a chelek—portion of their power, of their merit, indirectly. That is why I always maintain that zikui ha’rabim, to bring merit to the public is the greatest of all jobs because it gives you unlimited power to bring merit to every Jew you influence and increase your portion in olam ha’ba.

Participant: Through increasing your power, you increase the presence of G-d to yourself. Is that through the sefirot and the anatomy of the body?

R’Kessin: If you increase the energy, it increases not only within you but all things connected to you: your kids, your spouse, any endeavor you’re involved in, and your situation. It increases the blessing you have with all the things connected to you. It’s far beyond just you. I maintain that the greatest investment is to help other Jews, particularly in the area of Torah and mitzvot.

Participant: You can ripple-effect your blessing to other people just because you’re connected to them?

R’Kessin: Yes. There are fathers who go astray and give up Judaism but the reason they get olam ha’ba will be because their kids did teshuva. See? So that is why it is important to educate others because every time they do a mitzvah, it is added to your “bank account.” Then your account grows exponentially—not only because of what you do but for what they do. Just think about those leaders of the Jewish people, what their “bank accounts” look like, what their rewards are like. Imagine someone like Rashi. Everyone since his time learns with Rashi so you can imagine what his account must look like! That is why it is great to be part of a mitzvah at the beginning because everything that comes from it afterward you get a chelek---portion. If you kicked off the mitzvah or was one of the founders, then every person that gets connected to that mitzvah, you have a portion in his portion. If you come later, you only have a portion from people later on.

Participant: So, the recording (of the lecture) brings the reward….

R’Kessin: Tremendous. We don’t know the repercussions. There are thousands who listen to these recordings. The shiur can’t go on if there is no one here (participating), so everyone who participates in the initial shiur gets a reward for every person that listens to it. There is a lecture I gave and I’m told almost 7,000 have heard it, so imagine getting the reward of 7,000 who listened even if they don’t do any mitzvot! And what if they change and do more or do them more fervently? Can you imagine the reward just for listening to a phone call?

Participant: Baruch ha’Shem—thank G-d.

R’Kessin: Exactly. Imagine the shock of people who, when they arrive at their day of judgment and are made aware of their reward and are shown the reward of an entire planet! They’ll say, “I didn’t do this” and will be told “you did do this.” Because it isn’t just them; it’s their kids and their kids until the end of time. And G-d can keep track. He’s an expert in that. He can track every cause for which you were responsible and then you get a portion. We cannot begin to figure it out.

Participant: What about the non-religious who don’t want to hear it, get fed up with one’s efforts to help them?

R’Kessin: That’s a good question. That’s the situation today but everyone has free will. They have to decide what is important, what makes sense and doesn’t make sense. It’s tragic.

Participant: Do we get credit even though our efforts doesn’t work?

R’Kessin: Yes. If you want to do a mitzvah but are prevented, for external reasons, you still get the credit as though you’d done it. The machshava—intention is very important. G-d knows that a person might want to do it but can’t. At the End of Time, many Jews cannot imagine the credit they will have amassed by their influence which pervaded the consciousness of other Jews to do mitzvot. G-d knows exactly the weight of each influence you have.

Participant: G-d willing, we live through both mashiachs, the beis ha’mikdash, t’chiat ha’meitim, into olam ha’ba. If we live through all of that, when does the day of judgement happen for us?

R’Kessin: The first day of judgement is the annual Rosh ha’Shana. The second time is when a person dies. But that is not the final judgment because a person’s works live on beyond his own life. The last judgement day is the yom ha’din ha’godol v’hanorah—the Great and Awesome Judgement Day. It is the last day of the existence of this world when you’re judged based on everything you’ve ever done throughout all the generations and all the people you’ve influenced. It collects everything that has come out of your acts and that will determine your place in the Future World.

Participant: It includes all the gilgulim—reincarnations?

R’Kessin: Yes. It includes those, every act you did, total.

Participant: When does this happen?

R’Kessin: On the last day of the planet, in the year 2240 on the 364th day.

Participant: And we’ll all have been resurrected?

R’Kessin: Yes. That’s right. That’s the final judgment as to everyone’s contribution to the overall tikkun process and it determines your eternity. It determines if you will exist in the Future World and at what level—and we’re talking about eternity here. This is why I encourage not only the doing of mitzvot but in influencing other to do them. Just being on a shiur, enabling it to happen, is an unbelievable investment. You don’t realize that, by tomorrow, the shiur will be put up and 1500 will have listened to it within about 24 hours because that is what I’m averaging so far. In a week or two, you can have as many as 6,000. All of you listening won’t even realize this.

Participant: We don’t know where it takes us, in the olamot—worlds, don’t know what it’s doing. How come we don’t know? If we knew more, more would be done.

R’Kessin: That’s part of my job. G-d wants someone to teach this. That’s how you know. That’s what I’m telling you. Thousands listen to the shiur and who knows what that is worth, and that’s just one shiur. These classes with you have gone on now for about a year and a half. Imagine the influence! Nope, we don’t realize but it is very important to think about.

And what is especially important to realize is not only how many listen, but what the forces of opposition are. What does it take to get a person to listen as opposed to not listen? The yetzer ha’ra is working actively to try to get people not to listen. The harsher the climate to do the mitzvah, the infinitely greater the reward. How can we calculate this? It’s not just the numbers, it’s the difficulty, the struggle, of listening when it’s so easy not to.