Dedicated to Rini, Regina bat Yosef Reuven
From Parshat “Noach,” this week’s Torah portion, we begin to understand the concept of messianic Light. What is all that about? The place to start is this: What G-d has done is to conceal reality. He allows a certain amount to be perceived, but most is concealed and He wants to reveal all of it. Current reality allows for the perception of 2% which means that 98% is concealed. The messianic era is when all that has been concealed becomes obvious and revealed.
But this isn’t the end of the story. After the messianic era is over, G-d wants to change reality (beyond just revealing it). The reality of olam ha’ba--Future World, is not just a further revelation; it is a change. There is something else that happens and we don’t know what it is. The Gemara says, “The eye has never beheld what the messianic era is.” The reason is because that era doesn’t resemble our reality. Even the reality of the mashiach which is far beyond what we can imagine, is absolutely awesome. The analogy is that of an infant in its mother’s womb. What does it know of the world outside? Its understanding of reality is a complete distortion. Once the infant is born, it comes to know that which was totally incompatible with what it perceived before it was born. We are like unborn children and all we see is what is within which is limited. The messianic era exposes a universe, a reality, that is so different that we can’t possibly imagine it.
Even after birth, the five-day-old infant has only the mind of a five-day-old. It looks around trying to understand what is going on. The perception of an infant is infinitely less than that of an adult. Our current reality is as if we are in the uterus. When the mashiach comes, there is a new, stunning reality and we are very immature in our perception of it. Then olam ha’ba presents us with a reality which we can perceive as adults as compared to our perception of the messianic era when our perception is comparable to that of an infant.
These are the three stages of growth: there’s olam ha’ze which is primarily a concealment of
G-d and truth. Then there is the messianic era which isn’t even the full reality G-d wants to show us. He wants to show us that which we cannot imagine—the Future World--not because it is a quantitative difference, but a qualitative one. That world is comprised of what doesn’t exist in this reality or even in the messianic era’s reality.
Now we begin to understand the messianic Light also called “ohr rishon”—First Light (apparent in the first day of Creation), and the ohr ha’ganuz—Hidden Light, comprising the second stage. What will be in the Future World, nobody knows. No one has ever had an inkling of it.
Even the reality we’re looking forward to when the mashiach comes is not understood. What is it? It is this: it is in the first pasuk--verse of Bereishis—Genesis: “And there was evening and morning, yom echad--one day, “one” being a cardinal number. Subsequent days are referred to as “first” day and “second” day and so on, these being ordinal numbers. Why the distinction? Rashi explains the first day as being the “Day of One” because there were no conscious beings at all. Even the angels, the intermediaries, were created on the second day. The day of One means there were no sentient beings other than G-d.
But there is another way to decipher that reference of “Day of One.” If you were to look at the world on that day, you could see how everything is connected to G-d. Even though there were trillions and trillions of things that He created (planets, starts, galaxies, etc.) you could understand in some way that they all emanated from G-d. It was the Light of the echad—One, the ability to perceive that the world, everything, was a unified emanation from Him. That is the messianic Light.
The reality of the olam ha’ba is different. We not only perceive how all emanates from Him, we experience that. The reality of experiencing G-d is completely different from knowing Him.
What G-d wanted was for mankind, in those first ten generations, to observe the Noahide Laws for the purpose of tikkun---rectifying Creation. As a result, after ten generations, they would experience that yom echad--- Day of One. This brings us to the generation of Noah and they failed. They absorbed the opposite lesson, each person feeling himself to be an independent reality besides G-d. Not only did they not rectify Creation, they destroyed it. How?
As I said in last week’s lecture, G-d gave mankind the power to restrict, undo the tzimtzum---contraction that G-d imposed upon Himself, concealing Himself. Mankind could thereby increase G-d’s apparent “presence” in the world. It was later that such power was given to Avraham and his descendants or Jewish converts. By the time of the generation of Noach, G-d’s presence was severely diminished. The situation was due to G-d having given mankind total control over the process by which G-d’s presence or absence could be realized. If mankind wanted, it could cloud reality, obscuring G-d, which is what it did. Mankind created the situation of what is termed the “49th Gate of Defilement,” so G-d decided to destroy the world.
By promising not to destroy the entire world again, He was limiting mankind’s control of tzimtzum, guaranteeing that the world will not be destroyed. Because mankind sinned terribly, the judgement was to give mankind an opposite, an analogue, of what they should have gotten. Rather than the messianic Light, (having rectified, in their ten generations, the Light of the ten sefiros—Divine forces which would have allowed their light to pervade the universe) they got something else. G-d said, in essence: since you denied that Light to enter Creation as it was meant to, it will enter in a different form—water, a destructive Flood which destroyed them. Water is the analogue for the ohr rishon. Water is a universal material and ohr rishon is the universal understanding of reality. The water poured forth from both the Heavens and also from the great abyss—two directions, the sky and earth.
Why from two directions? The ohr rishon is also about two directions because it unites, unifies all knowledge of the physical world (via the sciences), and connects it with spiritual knowledge. What is that spiritual knowledge? It is that everything physical in Creation emanates from spirituality. Before we can understand this, we have to understand the physical universe. The water from below is the information about the physical universe which “will be
exceedingly great.” This knowledge then combines with the knowledge from above, that of the spiritual worlds, the ohr from above. It is a merger of information. This is what we see as “One.”
Because of the acts of mankind, the ohr went into what Kabbala terms the “klippa,” meaning it was taken over by the Satan. He could now conceal this Light, and that concealment denied mankind chochma—wisdom. It became the job, after another ten generations of failure, to affect tzimtzum but in a limited way. Mankind can bring 90% of tumah—contamination, Darkness, into the world but cannot affect 10%, thereby preventing G-d from destroying the world.
Having been consigned to the klippa, mankind was denied access to that spiritual knowledge, the ohr rishon, until the Jews went to Egypt. They were able to take the Light out of the klippa, gaining this unbelievable clarity of information of total reality. That is what matan Torah—giving of the Torah really was. There is an interesting remez---allusion to this: “Moshe took out the bones of Yosef.” Yosef represents the forerunner or root of Mashiach ben Yosef. The main idea of Joseph in Egypt is his title, Zaphenat Paneach—revealer of secrets. The concept of messianic Light is, ultimately, revealed by Mashiach ben Yosef. Moshe is showing that this knowledge, this unbelievable height of spiritual information, was released and could be given to the Jews. That is what they accomplished in the exodus from Egypt. This is why it says “and Moshe took out the bones of Yosef” which can also be read (because the Torah does not have nekudot--vowel punctuation) as: Moshe took “atzmut Yosef”
---essence of Yosef. That is what he took out of Egypt, the sparks of holiness, but it all means the same idea. That information was out of the hands of the Satan and could be revealed to the Jews at Sinai.
That Torah was not the same Torah that we have today. That Torah was the ohr mashiach but they had to earn it again so they were given the test of the Golden Calf. What Moshe brought down was that First Light. There are many allusions to this truth such as that you could read the original from both sides while looking only at one side. There was no blockage at all on those luchot rishonot—first tablets. There was understanding with no barrier, no difficulty in understanding it.
With the sin of worshipping the ox they made---the ox being a symbol of Mashiach ben Yosef--- came the Light’s having gone back into the klippa. That is why they built an ox. Moshe recognized this. G-d said to him, “Go down,” indicating that the Jews had corrupted themselves. Moshe knew this but he had a tremendous quandary. He realized that the Torah should really have been given back to G-d; the Jews didn’t deserve those first tablets.
Moshe also recognized that G-d wasn’t asking for them back; He didn’t really want them back. He wanted the Jews to have it. But the problem was that, even if G-d doesn’t want it back, He couldn’t give it to the Jewish people because the level of spirituality that would have been brought to anyone who learns them, sees them, would destroy him. That’s what happens. If a person is exposed to a level of kedusha--holiness much greater than he is, he can die. His physical body can’t contain that holiness. What did Moshe do? He threw it to the bottom of the mountain. They would gather up the pieces. The pieces were placed into, contained within, the aron--ark. You cannot learn them because they was shattered, but they are on Earth, so the Jews can absorb their aura, experience some aspect of that Light. Moshe brilliantly solved the problem. All the pieces were placed in the aron along with the second tablets, but how was the ohr disguised? The shattered remnants correlate to their physical position in the aron. If you look at it, all the pieces are disordered, not cohesive, like a jigsaw puzzle without a box to guide how to assemble it, how to learn it. That is exactly the form that Torah is in now, a kind of jigsaw puzzle, disorganized and disordered. If you learn it analytically, you can see different piece of it, but it is the klippa. Shattered. Our job is to re-order it, figure out what the big picture is. Its concealment is its fragmented condition.
When will it be taken out, revealed? There’s a Zohar that speaks to the verse: “In the 600th year of Noach’s life, the rains began.” Therefore, in the 600th year of the 5th millennium, that also will happen, the waters coming down, but this time as chochma—knowledge. The waters of the Flood will be restored as revelation. What year is this?—1840/5600. There is a portion from the Kushnetzer Magid which says that, if the Jews merit it, we will get this knowledge. However, if the Jews don’t merit it, then the goyim will get it.
The goyim did get it. How? Historically, 1840 was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the transition from an agrarian economy and culture to an industrial, technological one. There was a leap in discovery beginning about that time, onward. Many scientists were making great strides: Faraday, Maxwell.
What happened with the Jews?—nothing, although there was someone who did introduce that type of thinking , of analysis. That was Rav Chaim Brisker. That’s what the “Brisker derech”—Brisker path is. The goyim got the scientific method with a new approach and the Jews got a methodology that became popular, having had b’siyata d’shamaya---Divine assistance. That’s the comparison, though the scientific revolution was a giant leap compared to what we got.
The entire world’s knowledge advanced slowly for millennia, advancing in a gradual arithmetic progression. But from 1840, human knowledge advanced in a geometric progression and with substantial speed. Now it is exponential. Today, growth of knowledge is of a magnitude that 7500 scientific articles appear every year. At that rate, human knowledge doubles every five years. There are 80 million volumes in the Library of Congress. Imagine that doubling every five years! This is the ohr rishon coming down, but going predominantly to the goyim rather than the Jews. There is little difference between the lifestyle of someone who lived in 1840 B.C.E. and someone who lived during 1840 C.E. except in superficial ways. However, there is a colossal distinction between life in 1840 C.E. and 2021 C.E. How is it possible that mankind made a quantum leap in his understanding of the physical universe?—the ohr rishon.
This knowledge of the physical world that is growing exponentially will, ultimately, be combined with spiritual revelation. Together they connect and that is the real ohr. The first phase is via science, secular information. When the spiritual information comes---the Torah of mashiach—human knowledge will grow to an unprecedented extent. That is stage two.
There is another Zohar that indicates that the ohr began to descend in what translated to the year 1240. Why? There are six days to Creation and Friday is erev Shabbat and right before Shabbat is the Light, the messianic era. Therefore, we know there are 6000 years, each millennium corresponding to each of the six days. If the sixth day is erev Shabbat, that means that Thursday is 5,000 years and, at 6pm Thursday night, it’s the beginning of the 6th day, the beginning of the last millennium, the year 5000. Since that is erev Shabbat, it is the time of preparation for Shabbat. In world history, it is the preparation for the ohr mashiach, the ohr rishon.
If you look at that year, 1240, was there an indication that the world would now begin to see tremendous rise in chochma---wisdom? Yes. Roger Bacon initiated the “scientific method.” The world moved away from philosophical thought alone, from Aristotle, to this new methodology of scientific experimentation. We see, therefore, an advancement in secular knowledge.
But the Jews also advanced. The Zohar appeared around 1290. It is the spiritual information, the Kabbalah, that is the spiritual manifestation of the ohr rishon. Both types of knowledge began at approximately the year 5000, the 13th century. Both began, advanced, and grew.
The Creation Calendar also has a Clock. Dawn was 1740/5500, equivalent to Friday morning (right before preparations for Shabbat begin). This indicates that there would be a push to increase the ohr rishon. How? What are the indications?
Shortly before 1740, Sir Isaac Newton lived and advanced science to a great degree. This was the time when the switch was to have been made but wasn’t, as the Kushnetzer Magid pointed out. I believe that it went to the goyim and not to the Jews for the reason as expressed in the Chmielnicki Massacre which destroyed more than one third of the Jews of Europe. The “Tosefos Yom Tov” says this happened because people talk in shul and we know what they talked—loshon ha’ra—harmful speech. This is what transferred the ohr, which had to come down at that time, to the goyim. And we are still, tragically, without that because of a great amount of sinas chinam—baseless hatred and loshon ha’ra—harmful, slanderous speech. So, the ohr is growing, but growing for the goyim. There is so much chochmah, from Newton onward, which they’ve acquired. There are thousands of journals that promote the frontiers of knowledge. It would take you a lifetime to go through a medical library. That is how much material there is. There are hundreds of different fields with their amassed knowledge. It is incredible to see the descent of the ohr. Hopefully what will happen is that it will switch over to the Jews and there will an unbelievable descent of that Light to the Jewish people.
What’s interesting is that this was all incremental. Even though G-d gave this to the goyim, it can only be in an incremental way because G-d doesn’t want to destroy them. You cannot expose this kind of information in one year; they could never handle it. They would die from fright. Once He decided to give it to them, G-d spread it out over many centuries so they could slowly acclimate themselves.
When G-d decides to finally give the knowledge to the Jews, it will be much quicker. We’ve already been exposed to tremendous internal understandings of the physical so we wouldn’t be frightened when we see it in the Torah itself. We’ve already been exposed to science, technology, etc. so we will be able to absorb it more quickly.
This is an abbreviated history of the ohr rishon as an indicator of what is happening and what will happen, eventually. That which happened thousands of years ago—the Flood—is not just a story of the earth being flooded. It is much more profound; it’s a story of an awareness of the true nature of reality that should have been available but which was thwarted and delayed. But, like the Zohar says, it will come back. The problem is that there is a delay. Just like in the 600th year of the life of Noach, or the 5th millennium, it came down, but it went to the goyim, this is only for a limited amount of time. There has to be a switch-over when, all of a sudden, something supernatural will happen, and the Jews will access their Torah is a way they couldn’t have believed. This is to happen before mashiach comes. As I’ve spoken of before, this is the concept of rehabilitation. It will happen and, hopefully, very soon.
Participant: You speak of the mayim--water, which is a metaphor for knowledge. On the second day, G-d separates the mayim, upper and lower. Upper knowledge, I’m assuming, is spiritual knowledge and the lower would be the physical knowledge (of the physical universe). At what point there is no more firmament between them?
R’Kessin: That is what the messianic era does, connects the two. It connects the two realities.
Participant: We have water on the ground, oceans, etc. Is there water above us?
R’Kessin: The Torah is all the knowledge that there is. As the midrash says, the Torah is the blueprint that G-d used to create all reality. We know the Torah now as a physical set of laws but really the Torah is the blueprint, the architectural plans, for the totality of reality. That will be exposed in the messianic era.
Participant: G-d calls the upper waters, “shamayim.” What is the purpose of the letter “shin” at the beginning?
R’Kessin: The meforshim---commentators say that “shamayim” is really two words: “shom”—there and “mayim”---water. Together, it says: “there is water.” But what I’m trying to say is that the water is a metaphor for spirituality. It is the messianic Light that will connect with knowledge of the physical universe. We cannot begin to imagine the enormity of this knowledge when the two are connected. What looks separate is not separate but a massive tapestry.
Participant: If there is an ohr rishon, is there a choshech rishon---First Darkness?
R’Kessin: Yeah, the choshech rishon is the substitute, alternative reality, like Greece. It had an understanding that was opposed to the Torah’s. They didn’t believe in a spiritual universe; it was all physical. That can be seen as choshech. It is not just an absence of light but an alternative understanding of the universe.
Participant: When the beginning of us having more Torah consciousness coming before mashiach comes, what kind of depth are you speaking of? How can those who have no connection to Torah be open to looking into it, studying it, understanding it?
R’Kessin: Why is it so difficult to learn Torah? We have to labor to understand it. It is difficult because there is a klippa--shell surrounding it! There is a satanic force that blocks everyone’s ability to learn. The way to break that is called “yegiah”—effort and when, all of sudden, someone applies effort, that shell is shattered. It flies into his mind. The ohr rishon is information that is automatically in your mind. You see the totality of ideas. Therefore, our ability to learn Torah is really inherent in us, but there has been a blockage. When the Jews will finally have done the tikkun, right before mashiach comes, the klippah, the barrier will be gone and it will take absolutely no effort and you can see the totality of the ideas. It will fly into your mind supernaturally. It is as when, sometimes, you think of a problem and the solution flies into your mind.
G-d has to bring the Jews up a certain level. You cannot allow them to meet this person, mashiach, who will introduce us to an entire kingdom of insight and holiness. We see this by Egypt. The Jews had to be prepared for matan Torah. The first thing was the ten makot---strikes or blows (though commonly thought to refer to the plagues). These were the giluyim—revelations while the makot were going on. Then they had the kriat yam suf—splitting of the Reed Sea, the revelations from which we cannot imagine. Then, they had the forty-nine days. There were three stages to get to what?—to get to matan Torah. They died despite the stages of preparation. G-d spoke to them directly of the first commandments (they died and were resurrected).
G-d will speak to each Jew. It is like a fetus who has no conception of reality outside that uterus. That is how limited we are. That is how much the world will change. So, my answer to you is that it will be supernatural but the real reason for that is because there is no more blockage; the klippa will have been removed.
Participant: When it is removed, the Torah will revert to those First Tablets?
R’Kessin: Correct! If we’d had the first, we’d have had the ohr rishon and learning would have been effortless. There is an Ari (Arizal) that says that, when someone is learning, and he has a question, where does that question come from? The answer is: that is a klippa. That question one has is the manifestation of the blockage that the Satan can manufacture for you. But what if there were no satanic force? There would be no questions. It would fly into your mind. It is nevuah---prophecy, effortless. Prophecy is effortless. In prophecy, you sit back, in a trance, and the info presents itself with tremendous clarity and definition. That is the way the information will present itself to all the Jews.
Participant: When the tablets were shattered and the information became disorganized, isn’t that the way the Jews are now, all in different places in the world, at different levels, not united, as the luchot were.
R’Kessin: The essential phenomenon the Satan creates is called “disunity.” That is what he wants, perud-separation. It happens in many spheres, in learning and also in the achdut--unity that Jews have with one another. This is why we find by matan Torah it says: “ish echad v’lev echad”—one people with one heart when Israel encamped at the mountain. Instead of using “they encamped,” the singular noun, “Israel” is used. Rashi points out that, at Sinai, the Jews were greatly united, “as one person with one heart.” The essential strategy of the Satan is to disunite the Jewish people. There is a disunity and fragmentation now. It is not only with the Jews. The Torah itself is fragmented. Our relationship to the Torah is fragmented. Everything is fragmented. A lot of energy, time, etc. is spent trying to put everything together. The essential state of Creation is fragmented. Ultimately in the messianic era, everything will merge into a magnificent tapestry when everything will be seen as truly united.
Participant: On the Creation Clock, where are we now?
R’Kessin: We are, if I remember correctly, at about 12:45 pm Friday. The goal is to get to 12:30. Actually, it is to get to chatzos which is 12:00 noon. But the problem is that when the sun is at noon, at the meridian, we don’t see the shadow. After that, when the sun heads west, we can begin to see the shadow. That’s why it takes six-and-a-half hours to notice that the sun has crossed the meridian. We can, from then, daven mincha gedolah—pray the full afternoon prayer. Therefore (on the Creation Clock), we are passed that. It says in navi---Book of the Prophets, “and there will be evening there will be light” which refers to the six and a half hours, or “bein arbaim” which starts at 12:00 noon. So, we’re overdue for mashiach.
Chatzos—12:00 noon was September, 1989. A month later, the Berlin WALL collapsed. That began the overthrow, the change, among the nations of the world. Communism ended a year or two after that. That was the beginning of the end and it’s accelerating. What used to take many years, occurs now on a weekly basis, or a daily basis. Obviously, G-d is rushing, wants to end it all. Why? The world is finished, having entered a period of Darkness that, in many ways, is irreversible like Noach’s time with the LGBTQ, the pursuit of physicality, the minimization of spirituality. We are fifteen minutes overdue.
Participant: Are there other specific times on the clock, like 1:00, when something is supposed to happen or we don’t know?
R’Kessin: We don’t know exactly according to specific times of the day but there are remuzim—allusions, clues. We know that Adam ha’Rishon—Adam the first human, was created at noon and the Gemara Sanhedrin goes through the different things that happened prior to when he sinned at 5pm.
The critical thing is the rehabilitation of the Jewish people. That is an indication of the upward swing, when the mazal of the Jews goes up even while we see Darkness grow among the goyim. We are seeing it now. We’re really in the thick of it. We are beyond….in overtime. That is why we are seeing the rapidity of things happening in world events, happening 1-2-3.
Participant: The suffering now is incredible. People don’t even want to believe in G-d and want to give up. If an malach---angel taught us the whole Torah before we were born, is there any way to activate any of the power you talked about last week to help people to get through this. It’s really bleak. What really is in our minds right now, any bit of that Torah the malach taught?
R’Kessin: The malach teaching the Torah to us (before we are born) is to lay out the path for that individual. When a neshama---Divine soul comes down, it has to know what is expected of it. The problem is that, when the neshama emerges (in birth), it forgets. But intuitively there is a sense of direction. I believe that the critical thing to have today is emuna—faith, to believe that all of this has a purpose, that there is a G-d, that He means the best for the Jewish people, that He wants to redeem them, not playing around with them, to bring them to a tremendous place. Like the chazal---sages say, when you learn the mishnayot of Sotah, tractate of Gemara Sanhedrin, we see that the problem is that in order for this to happen, justice has to be satisfied. Just hold on to faith and trust in G-d that He wants the best for us. It will lead to tremendous redemption. We just have to go through these conditions for this to happen. When we have such trust in Him, He will respond by acting toward us with rachmanut—compassion, mercy, and hatzlacha—good fortune, success. Who does this will stay above the storm that rages around us, a hurricane of evil, incompetence, crime. Hang in there and go through what you must, refrain from loshon ha’ra, fulfill mitzvot---commandments and, eventually, you will be validated.