Weekly Hashkafa Shiur #70 - The Weapon of Mashiach ben Yosef

Given: 10/18/2021

Rachel and Yosef as Bearers of the Assist to Survive

Yesterday was the yahrzeit---memorial anniversary of Rachel imenu---our mother/matriarch, which was yud-aleph Cheshvan---11th of Cheshvan. I once spoke about the importance of Rachel imenu, that she began a line of people that, in many ways, would serve for the survival of the Jewish people. I connected her son Yosef ha’tzaddik---the righteous, how he was involved in saving the Jewish people. She died in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) where the Jews would ultimately pass on their way to Babylon, would pray at her grave knowing she would pray on their behalf. The reason why she is buried there is on account of the yessurin---suffering she endures not being buried with the avot---patriarchs and the imos---matriarchs, and Adam and Chava at the Machpelah, a deprivation which serves as atonement for the Jewish people. It wasn’t just that she is able to pray and her entreaties are accepted by G-d. She became the model for the notion that, if klal Yisrael needs an assist to survive, needs someone to undertake, to bear the suffering on their behalf, it would be she and her descendants who would be the bearers of that.

Yosef took on the same responsibility. That is why he went to Egypt, to weaken the Satan so the Jews should be able to be redeemed. Her son, Yosef ha’tzaddik, ultimately becomes the Mashiach ben Yosef. What is his weapon, that which he uses to change the world? We know what it is from the last parasha—bible chapter “V’zot ha’bracha.” There’s a rather cryptic statement from Moshe when he gives the bracha---blessing to Yosef ha’tzaddik. He likens him to the “firstborn of an ox” and that “beauty is his.” The horns of this ox, we are told, are the horns of the re’em---oryx, meaning they are magnificent and potent. Moshe goes on to say that, with these horns, Yosef will “gore the nations.” Obviously, Yosef is not an ox even though his symbol on the merkava---Divine chariot is that of an ox, but he will not, literally, gore nations. We know this is a code, a metaphor, of that instrumentation, that device or vehicle, he will use to gore the nations, meaning to change their structural status. That device is really the ohr rishon—the (first) messianic Light. It is information so great that it will ultimately change the world. The firstborn of Yosef is Mashiach ben Yosef, the Josephic messiah. The” beauty” aspect is an important concept. Beauty is when many, many pieces fit together as a harmonious blend. Such integration expresses beauty far beyond the sum of its pieces.

The Horns of Chochma---Wisdom

Revelation is the “horns” that emanate from the head of the creature as a weapon. Those horns, those weapons, are the metaphor for chochma---wisdom. Since the pasuk---verse cites “beauty” we have to ask what the beauty of this wisdom is. All knowledge consists of two different aspects: the content, the chochma itself, the substance of the material of the discipline itself, and is its form. In other words, are we looking at something which is either fragmented or integrated. You can see both each individual piece and the relationship among the pieces. The mashiach’s wisdom is distinguished by that integration whereas the wisdom we have today is piecemeal, fragmented, pirud—separate. Mashiach ben Yosef weaves it all together into a tapestry. He shows us the totality, the scope of the chochma.

In the material realm, this is what science does. It realizes how all phenomena has an underlying structure. Once you have that, you gain tremendous understanding allowing for prediction. The scientist takes a phenomenon and finds one or two underlying principles. It’s called “reduction,” reducing all phenomena to uncover one idea that explains it. This is the goal of science.

Imagine that happening with the Torah! Our perception of the Torah has been one of fragmentation. We don’t see the underlying themes. It is concealed from us. We can see chomer---content but we don’t see tzura---form. That is how G-d created the world, content put together by form. The ohr rishon---first Light, messianic Light, is Torah unified with everything we know in this world: with science, Kabbalah, halacha---laws, mitzvot---commandments, all of it as profound unification which is missing from us, and there is a reason for that.

That is the task, to figure out what the fragments are and connect them with everything else. In order to know something, there are only two things to investigate: the fragment, the piece itself, and what its relationship is to the rest of the fragments. You’ll have analyzed something and synthesized something. Mashiach ben Yosef unifies everything, integrates everything, the physical world with the spiritual world. Everything is to be seen as a jigsaw puzzle—its pieces and the unification of those pieces, the chochma of all reality.

Reality and Value, The Karnei Re’em

What does everyone really seek? They want to know what is real, what reality is. And in this reality, what is really important? That is the concept of “value.” The reality of the wisdom of the Mashiach ben Yosef, the messianic Light is the true reality, from one end to the other end, seeing everything connected. Then you can decide the value, what is important and unimportant. That is what is called the “karnei re’em”---the horns of the re’em. They are magnificent. These are the weapons that the Mashiach ben Yosef uses. That is how he convinces everybody about the truth of G-d, the truth of His Will, of His mitzvot, of the Torah itself. Somehow, he is able to weave together the reality of this world with the truth of the Torah and of all the spiritual worlds. The metaphor for that is the “horns of the re’em.

Initially, G-d created the world “tohu v’vohu”---unformed and void, meaning fragmented, lacking form, cohesion, connection. Then He united that and it becomes the chochma He reveals to the world. The problem is that such chochma has a history. In the beginning, it was sublime. But as the generations went on with Cain, Hevel, Noach, and Avraham, sin grew which interrupted the integration. No longer was there clarity regarding understanding the unity of the Creation.

Testimonial to a Creator

Why? The Satan wants to hide that unity and integration. Were you to see the Creation as a unity, it would testify to there being a Creator. Unity discounts the possibility that things are as they are due to chance. Chance doesn’t work as a mechanism behind integration and unity. Things don’t just develop haphazardly. If you explore the workings of a car, the engine, the chassis etc., it isn’t just pieces. They are connected in a meaningful way that exhibits a purpose despite being incredibly complex. It’s complex unity testifies to a creator, an inventor. It couldn’t have just occurred by chance.

Therefore, form or structure testifies to a maker. So, when the Satan wants to conceal this from man, he conceals chochma making the universe appear as a haphazard reality. One of the strategies of the Satan is to make everything look formless. That is why, when mankind sins, what happens? Chochma becomes fragmented. He wants mankind and the Jews to see the world this way, destroying emuna---faith.

Chochma and the Exile from Egypt

When the Jews went to Egypt, they were able to take out an enormous amount of the Satan’s power, weakening him. As a result, they restored chochma in the form of unification. As they were leaving Egypt, they restored a reality made visible by having structure, unifying reality, evoking “beauty,” that word describing the horns of the re’em. The one whose weapon this is, is Mashiach ben Yosef. That is why Yosef’s title was Tsofnat Paneach---decipherer of secrets. Because of the work of the Jews, Moshe was able to lift the grave, the coffin, of Yosef from the Nile because that’s what the Jews did; they lifted up the weapons of this individual, Mashiach ben Yosef, lifted them out of the klippah---the shell, the husk that encased them, the

zoamah---defilement, entropy, introduced into Creation by Adam’s sin. The Jews’ extrication of the holiness from the Satan’s grasp parallels that other elevation of Yosef’s bones, having extricated them to accompany them for the exodus . The pasuk---verse says “U’Moshe lokach et atzmot Yosef”---and Moshe took Yosef’s bones from the Nile having been placed there by the Egyptians thinking his bones would purify the Nile because Egypt’s fortune depends upon the Nile.

It’s interesting that you can actually read this in another way due to the Torah’s not using nikudot---diacritical markings representing vowels. “Atzmot”---bones can also be pronounced “atzmut”---essence. It was Yosef’s essence they removed. That essence is the messianic Light which was able to be removed because the Jews had eradicated much of the Satanic energy with which he conceals chochma, that wisdom that reveals the true form within reality, one without fragmentation. They then continued for 49 days, removing the zoamah until, finally, by Matan Torah---the giving of the Torah, what they saw was the Torah as reality, saw the integration between the Torah and the physical universe, of the mitzvot as an interface, a trigger for the energy of the sefiros---Divine forces in their descent to earth, the physical realm. They saw that. They succeeded in creating an incredible reality which the Satan could not obscure, a reality that doesn’t obscure its Creator. This was their achievement in Egypt.

The Reversion Back Into the Klippa

They received the Torah, the tablets. But those were not the tablets we have today. Those tablets were a description of all reality, the Torah of the messianic Light, the karnei re’em. Chazal allude to that, pointing out that the original tablets could be read from both sides, though seeing but one side at a time. When the Jews sinned with the Golden Calf, that chochma, that Light, returned to a fragmented state, returned to the klippa, to the Satan’s territory. They worshipped a calf which is really an ox, a symbol of Yosef. This tells us that the messianic Light, that disclosure of a unified reality, reverted to the hands of the Satan and could be worshipped. The second set of tablets given as a replacement was not like the first. These concealed much of what the first set revealed, those connections between the mitzvot---commandments and reality, how the two worlds are one, affected by the mitzvot, how it triggers the Light itself, the holiness of the sefiros that affects reality. It’s all concealed.

There is a physical representation of this. What did Moshe do with the first tablets, the karnei re’em? He shattered them, gathered all the pieces, and put them in the aron---ark behind the second set. There they are, the fragments. The fragments, as substance, were there, but the form was shattered. The exact physical description, the weapon of Mashiach ben Yosef lies in the ark, shattered. That is what happened to the messianic Light. It is shattered and concealed. The physical situation mirrors the spiritual situation. This is what Mashiach ben Yosef must correct that we may know what reality truly is.

The assumption is that the main objective in life is to amass wealth, indulge in pleasure, foster a great reputation---which is true but, in the end, everyone has a need to know what is out there. Why is there a universe altogether? What are these laws and who made them?

The Suffering Messiah

The answers are the karnei re’em which shatters the world’s misunderstanding of reality. Whoever is the Mashiach ben Yosef does not have access to that reality yet. This is the problem. That is the suffering of the mashiach. There is a midrash---exigesis in the “Yalkut Shimoni” which ways that, In the beginning of time, G-d said to Mashiach ben Ephraim—which is Mashiach ben Yosef---that in the End of Time, klal Yisroel---community of Israel will be destroyed due to lack of time for them to atone for all their sins. G-d doesn’t mean, literally, that everybody will be destroyed, but there must be a significant portion who will not earn olam ha’ba---Future World. So, Mashiach ben Yosef offers to suffer on their behalf to atone for every Jew that needs it. G-d then claps an iron yoke upon him, one which causes him to cry out that he cannot bear it, that he is only “basar v’dom”---flesh and blood. G-d then offers to go into exile with him, contributing: I will assume a concealment. This is the tzar of the shechina---pain of the Divine Presence, a beneficent offer to the suffering messiah who reasoned “it is sufficient for a slave to be like his master.”

How does he suffer? He suffers as the karnei re’em unable to bring that revelation, unable to come out with that knowledge he is privy to. Even though he agreed to this, as a living person, he fights. In the prophetic portion of “Yirmiyahu” lamed aleph---31, that portion read on the second day of Rosh ha’Shana, it says that Rachel cries for her children and G-d tells her to put away your tears because the Jews will return to their Land, and that klal Yisrael---meaning, here, Mashiach ben Yosef---is akin to an untrained ox, who complains “You afflicted me and I was afflicted.” Clearly the Mashiach ben Yosef struggled not to do this, not to realize his potential. Clearly, G-d made him suffer, a suffering he accepted but not without resistance. He tried to get out of it but it didn’t help. He was compelled to suffer. The main idea is that his suffering is the karnei re’em because that Is how he brings the Redemption.

This is further borne out when Avraham is told he need not sacrifice his son, Yitzchak. He looks up to notice a ram caught, “entangled in the thicket by its horns.” Unable to escape, Avraham captures it and uses it as the sacrifice instead of his son. This detail prompts us to ask why should we care how the ram was prevented from running away. This entanglement of the creature’s horns is a symbol of the chochma, the Light, the mashiach’s weapon being held unable to be disseminated. That is the yessurin---suffering of the Mashiach ben Yosef.

Redemption From Ignorance and its Inherent Ecstacy

The Geula---Redemption is the redemption from ignorance. When we gain that wisdom, we are released. When it finally happens, and the galus---exile is finally over, an incredible amount of reality is disclosed, and that’s what the geula is all about. That is what is meant by “and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the seabed.” Imagine if all the water in the world became the knowledge of G-d, an integration of all reality. Why water? Water, as I’ve said before, is the metaphor, the analogue, for Torah. We know this from the Flood when the messianic Light was supposed to have “come down” but, due to man’s sinfulness, its analogue, water, flooded the world.

The world will be filled with the understanding of ultimate reality, the unity of physicality and spirituality, and everything is understood: the history of the world, the history of every person, why each of us had to endure what he/she did, history of all the wars, all events, the history of the universe. Why did a particular star become a supernova? How do we understand the different astronomical events? All is based on the ultimate unity of the ultimate reality. This is the karnei re’em. Imagine what the world will realize! It is not merely the shock of knowing; it is experiential. All of a sudden there is an emotional ecstasy, like a drug---connected, the chochma of the ohr rishon. The experience is beyond belief. This is what we have to look forward to.

Q & A

Participant: That understanding happens during Mashiach ben Yosef? Does it come in doses? Do different people wake up at different times, “waking up” meaning “understanding”?

R’Kessin: Meaning, does it hit everybody at the same time, taking the same form? There is no question that everyone will experience a quantum leap in understanding but will it hit everyone at the same time with the same measure? It’s difficult to know. It may be proportional to your spirituality. Eventually, everyone will experience it. The question is: will it happen right away or take a little time? Minimally, it will hit everybody as a quantum leap.

Participant: Even now, there are people who are taking these quantum leaps, gaining more wisdom and opening up to G-d’s glory, His purpose and their purpose in life. Is it possible that it’s happening now?

R’Kessin: Yes, I believe it is. There is an awakening. There is a certain phenomena of greater awakening. Just go into a sefarim--- book store and see how much is published in English. Fifty years ago, none of this existed---Artscroll, translations, so much being produced. There is an enormous proliferation of Torah knowledge. And that isn’t even scientific knowledge which has been proliferating rapidly. Torah knowledge is growing. Chochma is coming out of the klippa.

Participant: Personally, you can gain that chochma even before Mashiach ben Yosef?

R’Kessin: Yes, individually, you can. But you cannot yet access the ohr rishon, the messianic Light. There’s the Light and there’s a glow. What’s happening now is the glow.

Participant: This week, the time leading up to the time when the Flood happened (yud-zayin Cheshvan---18th of Cheshvan) is a portal for the ohr rishon because it (is the anniversary) of when it was supposed to have come down.

R’Kessin: Yes. This is what is termed a “propitious time” when the mabul---Flood happened and so it can happen again.

Participant: Should we do anything?

R’Kessin: It really depends on the national level, what klal Yisrael is doing. Where are we holding? As a private person, I don’t know if there’s anything we can do. If a Jew is aware of things, he can mispalel—pray asking G-d to speed up the process. That is an itarula dilitata---

arousal from below which is a zechus---merit, if someone is aware of this and looks forward to it, aspires to it. Whoever is to be a conduit for this may have a vision, have a. great idea to begin that stage. Yes, that’s true.

Participant: Mashiach ben Yosef will bring the geula, who starts to bring it, who helps us understand that everything is connected. He will teach us this (to prompt us) to love each other….

R’Kessin: Yes, he teaches us so there is no sinas chinam---baselesss hatred anymore. He teaches us how all the neshamot---souls are bound together even though we don’t realize that. We are like Siamese twins: two heads, one body. We don’t realize that; we think we’re individuals. Our souls are bound together in a unit, “Knesset Yisrael.” That certainly will happen. There will be no more sinas chinam, hatred, animosity among Jews; even mankind will experience that unity.

Participant: Does this start to happen before we are gathered out of the exile?

R’Kessin: I think it is the process of the exile. Stay tuned. Hopefully, this week will mean something.