Given: November 9, 2021
Before I begin, I want to dedicate this shiur to Rini Molko, Regina bas Yosef Reuven, in her memory, that the zechut---merit of this shiur should be for aliyat neshama---ascension of her soul.
I’ve been giving these lectures, understandings about the blueprints of Creation, and that is really what they are. These are not sermons, not d’rushes—homilies, not vertlach--preaching, not misurshmuzen---chit-chat. They are about what is, what will be, the messianic era. How do we explain what we witness, the corruption of mankind, and the program that the ribono shel olam---Master of the Universe has set in motion?
I want to give a shiur on that part of the blueprint as to how it was created. I want to give people a kabbalistic understanding of how the world was created and what will eventually transpire to explain some of the phenomena that science recognizes which makes absolutely no sense.
The topic I want to tackle, to try to explain, kabbalistically, is called “quantum mechanics”---the motion of atomic particles. I would imagine that everybody has a inkling about this, the fundamental units of matter—atoms. We know that atoms consist of many sub-particles chief of which is the neutron comprised of quarks. Circling the atom—keeping it simple---are electrons. The atom is the fundamental unit of matter. There are many phenomena that occur that scientists cannot explain. How can kabbalah explain these phenomena and why these phenomena exist and what will be in the End?
The Big Bang
One of the most fundamental problems today which everyone’s heard of is termed the “Big Bang.” In the 1920’s, Edward Hubble discovered that there were many galaxies. Prior to this, it was thought that everything was contained in one galaxy. That was the first big discovery, that the universe has a trillion galaxies and each can have trillions of stars. We can begin to understand the size of it and all of it emanating from G-d. Then Hubble discovered that the further the galaxy is distant from us, the more it is moving away at a certain rate and that the speed with which it is moving away increases the further away it moves.
What was realized is that, if you went back in time, everything would start at one point with an explosion. This became an entirely new field of study, the search for scientific phenomena that had occurred. The big kasher---question is: if you reversed the expansion of the universe and, ultimately, it all comes back to a single point that has infinite density---could you imagine the entire universe in a single dot?---what could precede that big bang? Nobody knows.
The theory is that all was once a singularity, infinitely dense, which exploded. We are witnessing the after-effects which is all galaxies moving away from each other having originally been together. I don’t want to become too technical but this is one of the greatest mysteries of science: it’s not only why there was singularity but what preceded the singularity and the billionth of a second when the explosion took place and everything began to form—time and space. Before that explosion, there was no time or space or energy.
How does Judaism explain this? Is there a kabbalistic explanation for why/how this happened? In order to understand the kabbalistic explanation, I will summarize some fundamental kabbalistic ideas. As I’ve explained many times, the ribono shel olam---G-d emits—in whatever way He does---ten forces, the sefirot, that create reality. And each of these sefirot are, themselves, subdivided into ten more and ten more and ten more…..
But focusing on the main ten, it’s like a building whose ground floor is where the sefirot with the greatest spiritual output create the first reality called “Olam ha’Ba”---World to Come. This constitutes the greatest output of these forces which are purely spiritual. We have no idea what they are but they gradually, as they move from the ground-floor up, diminish in intensity. The first floor is “Olam Atzilut.” The second floor, so to speak, is called “Olam Beriya” followed by a third floor called “Olam Yetzira” and the fourth is named “Olam Asiya,” the “world” where we currently exist.
Each floor is a diminishment of the spiritual energy, but we must remember that we’re not talking about this “world” but about dimensions of reality that existed before our world. The question is: How do you go from spiritual forces creating different levels of reality, different dimensions, to ones that constitute a physical world? After all, we are not spiritual beings; we certainly don’t see spirituality. The answer is that the sefira itself is a “Light,” a spiritual force which, like any light, has a glow, a radiance. These forces radiate and, as the flow diminishes, the most subtle form of matter, physicality, is created. As the energy diminishes, an energy “soup,” is created, ultimately becoming a soup of pure energy. The output diminishes to the lowest possible extent spiritually to create this bowl, this soup of energy which is physical.
This transition to the physical is what created the Big Bang. Suddenly, or so it seems, out of nowhere, the glow, called “ha’ora,” of the sefirot became pure energy of a physical kind, the first appearance of physicality that exists, energy itself. The spiritual forces transform into physical energy that becomes Olam Asiya—World of Action. This world also includes the creation of space and time and, then, energy. The soup creates matter. We know, as I mentioned in last week’s lecture, in part 1, Einstein’s great chidush---discovery, his theory that energy and matter are identical. In some way, energy congeals or condenses to become matter, that energy and matter are really the same thing.
If you have particles in that “energy soup,” it eventually becomes particles, then 92 elements, etc. The Big Bang is really the transition from spiritual forces to the physical ones, the lowest form of spirituality becoming the most subtle form of physicality. Once the energy of the soup of energy has taken physical form, it can give rise to different forms of matter, atoms and their constituents: protons, neutrons, electrons, etc.
Absolute Zero and the Bose-Einstein Condensate
Matter’s emergence from energy requires that motion be imparted to different parts of the soup. I mentioned in last week’s lecture that one of the fundamental principles says that everything is in motion. I raised the question as to whether everything could be brought to a total stop, could reach a state of “Absolute Zero” which is 459.67 degrees below zero. That is 273 Celsius below zero. This state is when atoms stop moving totally. What would happen if matter reached that state is an interesting question. Einstein and Bose speculated about this. They came out with what’s called “Bose-Einstein Condensate” which was achieved in the 1990’s and those responsible received the Nobel Prize for reducing the motion of the atom to one-tenth of one percent of a billionth of a degree of Absolute Zero. That’s how close they came.
What they found was that when atoms almost stop moving, they lose their individuality, merge together as one “block,” an incredible state of matter when movement almost stops and so it turns to a sort of soup once again, into a “bowl of energy.” The universe is always in motion in order to allow the energy to become and maintain that special state of existence of matter.
I’ve been trying to connect the understanding for the explanation of what science recognizes as inexplicable with the diminishment of the output of the spiritual forces of the sefirot. The inexplicable phenomena has tremendous consequences, three of which I will explain.
The concept of free-will can be explained by looking at three phenomena:
Take two electrons, those constituents of an atom which are together being within the same atom, and separate them, one electron flying off in one direction at the speed of light---186,000mph (fast enough to go around the Earth seven times in one second). and the other flung off in the opposite direction. The state when they were together, called “entanglement” has an amazing result.
Electrons have “spin,” spinning like a top. If you subject one of those entangled electrons---both of which are now far apart---to a magnet to flip its spin, you’ve changed a certain aspect of that election. What about the other electron with which it was entangled? Einstein said that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. If each electron is traveling away from the other at the speed of light, there should be no way that electron “A” could know the condition of electron “B” because no information, according to Einstein, can travel from one to the other because nothing moves that fast.
What we find, however, is that electron “A” knows what is happening to “B” instantly and simultaneously. No matter where it is, the flipping of the spin of one electron will flip the other in the same instant of time. That’s one of the greatest puzzlements in science. If you understand what I said, you can understand that this phenomenon emerges from energy: if you impart motion to any part of the soup, that motion will create matter, the great substances, which are all part of the same energy soup. The electrons in the entire universe know exactly what’s happening to every other electron because the rule is that each is part of the same energy soup.
Take an electron that has a negative charge---whatever that means---- toward a wall that has a positive charge---whatever that means. The electron will go toward the wall or through the wall, but what if the wall becomes negatively charged? The electron and the wall are both negative. The electron cannot go through the wall. It stops. It is possible to do this with magnets too. Whatever. So, when both are charged negative, the electron disappears and, guess what?---lo and behold, it reappears at the upper side of the other side of the wall, almost as if it went through a tunnel. This phenomenon is called “Quantum Tunneling.” How do we understand what that means? The electron goes out of existence at the other side of the wall but comes back into existence. How do we understand that something can come in and out of existence?
The answer is the same idea as that which explains entanglement. The electron “disappears” back into the “soup” therefore disappearing into pure energy, so to speak. Then it emerges on the other side of the wall, apparently, having the potential of motion which causes it to reappear. So, again, we encounter the truth that all of reality is nothing more than an energy soup which is a projection of the emergence from that transition from spiritual force of the sefira into energy.
Anthropic Principle and the Double-Slit Experiment
There’s a certain principle called “Anthropic Principle.” The word “anthropic” refers to “human consciousness.” It has been discovered that the way subatomic particles behave depends on you, on us. It is as if there is no absolute reality outside of what depends on human consciousness.
There is a famous experiment, the “Double-Slit Experiment,” in which a beam of light---photons--- is fired at a target. Light is shone through two slits in a sheet of metal onto a screen. The experiment was to derive whether photonic light was a wave or a collection of photonic particles.
When scientists placed detectors at each slit to determine which slit each photon was passing through, it suggested that the very act of observing the photons determined the outcome of the experiment, whether it was a wave or particles. The outcome, reality itself, becomes subjective, depends on consciousness, not an objective reality.
This has tremendous hashkafic implications. It helps explain free-will because we determine phenomena; we make a decision about what we want to do. Regardless of what we decide, we have the power because our decisions change the configuration and the amount of ha’ora---radiance of the sefirot. Those forces are subject to the consciousness of man. Since we can decide because we have free-will, we can go down path “A” often enough to cause the sefirot to react based on that decision. If we choose path “B,” the sefirot will behave in a different way. It’s as if the sefirot await the decisions of men, which is incredible! That is what consciousness is, what free-will is. The Hebrew term for this translates into “awakening from below” because we decide the configuration of the spiritual world and the sefirot themselves. G-d connected the sefirot to mankind and his consciousness, his free-will.
Animals, however, don’t decide. G-d decides what happens to animals or any other life form. G-d determines what the output is to be of the sefirot that affects the behavior of animals, insects, whatever. The movement goes from the higher spiritual world of the sefirot to life on Earth, the “arusa,” the awakening from lemala---above to below to all life forms who must be made to move because they don’t have free-will. The sefirot react to whatever G-d wants to do to change the configuration of the sefirot to affect whatever life form is connected to that sefira. That’s an awakening from above when the movement is initiated by G-d and goes “below” to creatures, to that which lacks free-will.
Man is the only life-form with free-will, Jewish or not. Man decides what reality is. That is the power of free-will, the power that initiates what reality becomes flowing from below to above. The sefirot will be altered, affected, configured, based on what you decide and then it will give its output back “down” to you. You influence the sefirot, how they react and, therefore, how they determine your condition.
What is very interesting is how it seems to occur at the sub-atomic level. What is generally unheard of is that if you decide you want to look to see if light is particles, your consciousness creates a reality of light behaving as a particle, making the reality of the light behave in a certain way. How?---because you have influenced your consciousness, the arrangement of the sefirot and their output. This has influence since you have free-will. If, however, you want to see light behave as a wave, automatically, the light will behave as a wave, will create an interference pattern on a wall behind two slits in the board into which you fired the beam. This is the “Anthropic Principle” operating due to man’s free-will.
We see now how principles of hashkafa---Jewish world-view can explain what happens in the physical world, how the world was created, and even that area of knowledge called “Quantum Mechanics.” The entire physical universe is dependent on the transition between a spiritual reality and the forces of the sefirot, what they create. That’s where kabbalah meets science offering a unique approach to the whole concept of Creation of the world.
Starting from the messianic era, everything will be reversed. The era of Mashiach ben Yosef initiates s marked increase the output of the sefirot, greater and greater, so that the universe begins to reverse itself, a reversed progression from 5th floor to the 4th, then 3rd, then 2nd, then 1st floor to end at the ground floor---Olam ha’Ba---Future World. That field of energy, that soup, goes back to a spiritual presence of Olam Asiya---which is really spiritual, back to the 4th floor, from olam ha’shafel ---the lower world which is our universe to transition back to the 4th floor with is purely spiritual. Ultimately, as a result, there is no more geshem---materialism because the energy has reconverted back into the glow of the sefirot at the level of Olam Asiyah---World of Action. The messianic era initiates this reversal. The lowering of the output of the sefirot into different varying realities reverses so the output gets higher and higher. It’s not that Mashiach ben Yosef changes the physical universe. What he does is to get rid of the zoama---the defiling force, that satanic projection, that part of the Olam ha’Shafel that Adam introduced as a result of his sin. The mashiach’s avoida---service, his work, is to reverse the presence of zoama---gone! The world becomes pure geshem, pure materialism, pure energy without zoama which was an add-on. It’s pure energy, uncontaminated, but still physical.
Mashiach ben David brings to the world of geshem, a return to to Gan Eden , the Edenic lowest part of the 3rd floor---Olam Yetzira. He restores the world to the way it was for Adam before the sin, devoid of satanic contamination. The transition has begun, the gradual reversal into a spiritual dimension.
Stages of Transformation, Quick Reference
The Messianic Era (ending in year 6000): purified version of this world, Olam Asiyah, 5th floor to 4th floor
6001-7000: advance to Olam Yetzira, 4th floor to 3rd floor
7001-8000: advance to Olam Beriya, 3rd floor to 2nd floor
8001-9000: advance to Olam Atzilut. 2nd floor to 1st floor
From 9000 to eternity: advance from Olam Atzilut (the highest level of Olam ha’Ze---this world) to Olam ha’Ba, also known as Adam Kadmon---Primordial Man, 1st floor to ground floor
Now you see how the whole thing can be beautifully understood by examining some of the major mysteries of Cosmology and Particle Physics. This lecture could be extended with much more technical detail, but I want to give you an overview as to how the Torah has the answers to questions about what happens in the spiritual universe and how that universe is expressed in scientific principles. When you combine the two, it’s a beautiful integration of ideas. The mysteries of science are less mysterious.
Q & A
Participant: Does Mashiach ben Yosef use the sefirot to get rid of the zoama?
R’Kessin: Yes, you must use them, can only get rid of the zoama by manipulating the sefirot because they are the forces that create everything. If you want to turn on a machine, you have to flip a switch. You need electricity. You can’t do any work, unless it’s mechanical, unless you have electricity. In a sense, the energy of the sefirot is like electricity. You need it to change or affect matter. Everybody needs these sefirot but the difference is that he, the mashiach, has access to change the sephirot beyond what was restricted to them because of the original intent of Creation. He can actually manipulate the sefirot. As a result, once they are reconfigured in different ways, he can create miracles. That’s really what miracles are. Nature is nothing more than the configuration of sefirot. If you alter the standard configuration of the sefirot, you’ve altered the laws of the physical world. Everything ultimately comes down to what your input into the sefirot is. And---I might as well say it---the greatest way to affect input is through mitzvot because that is what a mitzvah does. Every time you do a mitzvah, it opens up or reconfigures a sefira to give you the energy, the Light, of that sefira. The problem is that, due to the zoama, we cannot in any way enjoy it. It doesn’t happen in this world but, potentially, the sefira can be reconfigured by the mitzvah. This is why a mitzvah is so incredibly important.
Participant: Let’s say when you grow closer to Hashem, when a Jews grows closer in his connection to G-d though mitzvot, through emuna, bitachon, etc., he’s reconfiguring the sefira within him allowing him a higher access to Hashem.
R’Kessin: Yes, you have to remember that a sefira is a conduit, a pipeline that carries the ein sof---eternal One., the shekhina---Divine Presence. Therefore, when you do a mitzvah, you influence the sefira, giving you its output which is really a greater connection to the Infinite One. The sefira itself has no power but it happens to be the carrier of the shekhina. Because it is, you can influence the sefira to give a greater output so that, guess what?---you brought the shekhina closer to the physical universe. If the real power of the sefira is the shekhina, that’s the greatest of all powers. There’s nothing that beats it because the greatest power of all is the Divine Presence, the shekhina.
Participant: If we have that connection to do that for ourselves personally, Mashiach ben Yosef has it for all the Jewish nation?
R’Kessin: Yes. He is given the “crown,” the ability to manipulate the sefirot far beyond what we can imagine. He is commanded, actually, to alter reality; that’s really what he does because he can manipulate the sefirot in ways beyond what we’ve ever seen. That’s how he brings down the Beis ha’Mikdash---Holy Temple and how he can fight the nations of the world and alter them. Where did he get this power, this hatzlacha---success?
You’ll find by Yosef ha’Tzaddik (Joseph, the righteous) that scripture says: “v’chol asher osa, hitzliach Hashem b’yodo”---everything he did, G-d made successful, but how? He’s not a magician, can’t do this stuff unless he does it with the control G-d gave him of the sefirot. Therefore, anything he wanted to do, whether by consciousness or desire, automatically configured the sefirot allowing for powerful Divine Presence to be revealed, to come down. In the end, it’s all the ein sof, all G-d. It’s a mistake to think that anybody has any real power. The sefirot have no power in and of themselves. It is only because they are conduits, vehicles for the shekhina, the ein sof. If you can control the output of the sefirot, you can do anything you want including bringing the geula---Redemption, which is what Yosef does.
Participant: Are there specific sefirot that the Beis ha’Mikdash comes down through? How does that work?
R’Kessin: Once the zoama is gone, the sefirot themselves configure to allow the entry of the shekhina---which I recently gave a shiur about---at the level of Olam Yetzira because, at that level, it has a certain output of the Divine Presence which descends in a physical garb called the beis ha’mikdash tachton---The Holy Temple in this “lower”world. The beis ha’mikdash ha’shlishi---third Temple is the Divine Presence as it inhabits the beis ha’mikdash l’ma’ala---upper world (Yetzira). It descends to Asiya also termed “Olam ha’Shaful”---the lower world. Mashiach ben Yosef is given access.
How did Moshe Rabbeinu do the mokot---"blows,” plagues? How does a man make the entire Nile turn to blood? And we’re not talking about colored water; we’re talking about blood that the Red Cross could have taken for real to use for transfusions, the real stuff. Moshe was given access to those sefirot that could change the physical universe. He could control aspects of the energy soup from which emerges physical reality and, therefore, the matter that emerges from that became the makot. If you can control the soup, matter itself, the sefirot that give it emergence, then it’s no big deal to change the Nile to blood or perform any of the makot that he did. That is why the mata---staff had all ten makot engraved on it. It represents the power he was given to activate the sefirot to change reality, the power of the goel, to be a redeemer.
Participant: I thought that the one to have that power is Mashiach ben Yosef. He doesn’t “kill” the zoama; he fights it. Then Mashiach ben David comes and kills it.
R’Kessin: Yes, Mashiach ben Yosef subdues it.
Participant: …. sufficient for the beis ha’mikdash to come down?
R’Kessin: Remember, the main idea is to terminate the power of the zoama of the Satan. You need to terminate that. There’s a makhloket---argument: either the Satan is killed, as an angel, in which case his projected power, the zoama, is also terminated because he’s dead or ceases to exist, or there’s a shita---opinion that he changes to become a malach tov----good angel. Either way, there’s no more zoama because there’s no longer an evil source. The origin of evil is gone.
Participant: When does the Mashiach ben Yosef start to gain that access to the sefirot to manipulate them for miracles?
R’Kessin: ….when he gets the yechida of Adam ha’Rishon---primordialman. because that is the messianic spiritual crown. That’s when he can do all this stuff. Until then, he is what is called a shorsha ben Yosef, a root soul of the mashiach which means that he is a candidate to be mashiach but he is not a mashiach. That he is a candidate indicates tremendous potential which, as I once mentioned, is in a klippah, a form of imprisonment. But that eventually ends and he will get the yechida, the highest level of soul. There are five aspects to the soul, and yechida being the highest. He gets that which used to belong to Adam ha’Rishon. When Adam disobeyed G-d, it “flew away” so it was never contaminated by the sin of Adam. That splits in half. When the decree of Redemption is present, one part goes to Mashiach ben Yosef and the other part goes to Mashiach ben David. It’s that spiritual crown which gives them both power to access control of the sefirot. That’s what we’re waiting for.
Participant: When the pekida---remembrance (holy language for “imminent redemption”) happens, he automatically gets the yechida?
R’Kessin: Yes. That’s what the pekida is. That is what we pray for. Then he is released and, after that, you have the shekhina that is released; it’s in two stages. The second is the zechira—also “remembrance’ (but indicating a spectacular, incremental increase in output of the sefirot.)
States of physicality listed from basic to complex:
1- Energy, pure
2- Wave: created by motion imparted to energy
3- Bose-Einstein Condensate: motion imparted to waves, intermediate state to that of particles
5- Plasma: differentiated particles that don’t combine or cohere i.e. sun
8- Solid/ 92 Elements
9- Solid/Compounds, i.e molecules