Weekly Hashkafa #74: “The Divine Shield of America---Where Did it Go?”

Given November 15, 2021



Note: Much of this shiur deals with current events regarding America. But the latter portion, the “Q & A” discusses extraordinary, revolutionary ideas in Jewish education that will further the process of Geula—Redemption.



We certainly live during exciting times---that’s an understatement. It’s impossible to refrain from seeing that this governmental situation makes no sense. How could a person become president and within---I don’t know, ten months?---he’s an utter disaster! We’ve never seen anything like this, such an incredible failure that proceeds at such an incredible pace. The question is: what is the meaning behind all this? We know that behind all this is the ribono shel olam---Master of the world, G-d, and that everything that happens is part of a Divine Plan. We also know that, ultimately, it is designed to usher in the messianic age.


When you look at American history, G-d has always been behind America in one way or another, always protected America. America’s home-front was never attacked until 9-11. That was the first time and, since then, America’s gone through very difficult times because, after 9-11, began the threat from Al Qaeda, ISIS, bin Laden, Islamic radicalism in general. There was also the recession from 2008 which did enormous damage to the stock market and “Main Street.” Who knows how many people lost their life savings, their invested wealth! In the last 15-20 years, the worsening conditions prompts you to ask—why?


There is an enormous amount of evil in the world---we don’t know the extent of what’s out there, but the reason it is subdued to the point that it doesn’t take over the entire planet is because the ribono shel olam does not allow it. One of the main instruments that He has used to stop evil from proliferating and dominating is America. Whatever America’s faults are---and there are many--- it is a good country. Besides the concept of democracy are the concepts of fair-play, liberty, freedom, free-choice, and the upholding of justice. It also has a history of chesed---kindness, manifest as foreign aid, tremendous amounts of foreign aid, being the greatest contributor in the world. It also enjoyed the merit of enabling Jews to learn Torah without worrying if pogroms or the gestapo are coming, such devastating menaces as Jews have been subjected to for thousands of years. Jews can practice Judaism, learn and spread Torah, and do mitzvot without fear or threat of reprisals. That presents a great merit for America.


This is made possible by the Constitution, one of the greatest document ever written in terms of the governance of mankind. There’s no question in my mind that all of this was influenced by divinity, by the ribono shel olam because, when you look at the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, it’s a magnificent statement of human rights.


America has been down the road of many bad mistakes but, in comparison to other countries, America is angelic---you can almost say. Despite the mistakes America has made in the past, such as slavery---which I’ve spoken about ---by and large, America has been a haven for the Jews. Keeping in mind that the Jews have experienced anti-Semitism no matter where they’ve been, I believe that G-d has protected America, made it prosperous. We live better than an emperor of Rome---and we take it for granted. Who doesn’t own a car? Many own their own homes. You go into any supermarket and you can’t believe the variety and quantity of food available. There is no question that this bounty is an expression of America’s merit.


We must remember too that G-d uses America as a policeman against evils such as child-trafficking, and so on, to prevent the unchecked growth of evil. It was the only bulwark against Soviet communism that wanted to take over the world but, because of America, failed. Many evil enterprises failed because of America.


This raises the question: why does G-d seem to be destroying America---in terms of inflation which is higher now than in the past thirty years---in terms of the border? The borders of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico are being destroyed. America is infested with Covid. There’s no energy with oil wells being shut down. The supply chain, the shortages…..the question remains: what happened to the Divine shield for America?


As I’ve said before: as long as America is righteous in the sense that it is G-d-fearing, G-d supports it. However, America has become a beacon for tumah---defilement, contamination and hashchosa---corruption. G-d removes His Divine protection and His Divine blessing. They don’t understand this. They think that America has a claim on success and wealth, economic prosperity, but it doesn’t. America doesn’t understand that there is no such thing as success unless G-d Wills it. It’s not up to America. When America becomes the beacon, the lighthouse for evil, for tremendous corruption, for stupidity and nonsense and persecution of ordinary people, G-d removes His DivineiHis protection. The perfect candidate to exemplify this fall is Biden, obviously.


We all know what the problem is with Biden. G-d has allowed an evil person to become president of the United States. As senile as he is, he knows what’s going on though he may not realize the consequences. He knows what’s going on but he doesn’t care. He’s not interested. He just wants to declare himself to be the person who inherits the title and the legacy of Franklin Delaware Roosevelt to really change America but he doesn’t care who suffers as a result. During Roosevelt’s time, he was trying to escape the results of the Great Depression which was destroying the US. There’s no such situation now---on the contrary. We were coming off the success of Trump. America was doing fabulously with Trump. What is incredibly stupid is that most people consider a president’s character as more important than his competence, that he can “deliver the goods,” run the country with expertise. Trump had a strange “character” in the sense that his tweets were…..but who cares? Do people think the other presidents were angels? I would dare say that Trump was great, one of the greatest presidents in American history in terms of what he did for the country. I’m not even going into what he did for Israel---which is legendary.


It is asinine what America has done to itself and is getting what it deserves. It is no longer that beacon of righteousness, the standard-bearer of justice. G-d says, in a sense: if you want to allow the world to destroy itself because you’re no longer My policeman, then I will destroy you; I have no need of you anymore.


For the Jewish people, there’s a different cheshbon---accounting, to bring the messianic era. We know that right before that happens, the world turns dark and becomes a difficult place to survive as is attested to in the “Gemara Sanhedrin,” that things are going to take a terribly dark turn. There are amoraim---scholars whose views are recorded in Talmudic literature who’ve said, “Let them come (the End Times) but I don’t want to be there” because they know this would happen. The critical issue for the Jews is that they must deserve the mashiach.


There are those who say regarding mashiach “come!” but there’s a concept called “mishpat”---justice, so mashiach can’t just walk in. Because the world runs on justice, the Jews have to deserve the mashiach. All this suffering that we see in America, with Covid, with the power of China---which is extremely dangerous---with Iran and Russian etc., all this is to satisfy justice. The satanic prosecutions seek to deny the Jews’ deservedness and G-d is agreeing and, therefore, justice must be satisfied same as we see with Moshe in Egypt. The Jews are suffering greatly, particularly the Hareidim who are the target of a war precipitated by Israel’s government.


As I’ve said before, it is not just the Progressive agenda that is a problem in America. It is the gender-related, sexual perversions that has become commonplace. It used to be more hidden but now it is not only blatant but preferred. These aberrations are now admired, even lauded. This takes away Divine protection. America thinks that freedom is about doing whatever you want, so it’s fine, that it’s not evil. The push is to remove distinctions in gender, allowing a betterment. According to the Torah, it’s evil.


It’s interesting and almost prophetic, the “defund the police” movement. It says that police are no longer needed so there’s no more bail law; you just let them out. Since America has “defunded” itself, in a sense, from being the world’s policeman, the connection to this movement is like G-d saying: I will allow America to see what has become of itself. American values see this gender-related thing as something liberating. In the eyes of G-d, it is worthy of the deterioration of America and the general Darkness which has been foretold in the “Gemara” in “Sanhedrin” and “Sota.”


I see this as going in one of two directions and it’s not easy to know which. One way is with Biden, getting worse---much worse---very fast. Everybody is going to rush to vote the democrats out of Congress and Senate which could, at least, mitigate the blow. Biden is a puppet. The democratic party represents the evil. If the democrats lose, it could be as though G-d is expressing; I’ve punished you enough. I’m going to get rid of the Democratic Party because they represent evil and the antithesis of what Trump did.


This would be good news for the Jews and America because it means that the g’zera---decree against America is over and, hopefully, Trump will return. If the Republicans take over the House and Senate, then Biden would be a lame duck president.


The other possibility is that G-d continues to punish America and the current direction is not sufficient punishment. The current failure could be so extreme, Biden’s incompetence so blatant---look what was done with Afghanistan, it boggles the mind---that he is gotten rid of with the 25th amendment and in comes Kamala Harris. She’s not only incompetent but comes across as a half-wit. She could be instrumental in getting states to secede from the union. Many see, though perhaps not yet, that she’s crazy. We have never seen the country so divided. How long can the white race be blamed and accused of being racist? All whites are white supremacists and all blacks are victims. It’s ludicrous. Racism or prejudice is a fact of mankind’s history. Nationalism too. What nation doesn’t think itself superior to all others? But racism is no longer the dominant feature of American society. If that were so, how could Obama have been a two-term president?


If Harris becomes president, then we know that G-d is behind the further destruction. The FBI, CIA, the leadership of many governmental agencies---it’s a nightmare scenario. This would be particularly bad for Jews because Progressives hate Jews. We see this in the rise of anti-Semitism which is, really, man’s hatred of G-d (because the Jews are His ambassadors). When men want power over other men, they must “destroy” G-d because He is the rival power. Were anti-Semitism to worsen, it might hasten Jews considering Israel as the preferred place to live.


The recent election in which the democrats were slaughtered may indicate that the first scenario---that G-d is done punishing America---is what is unfolding, G-d ending the harsh decree. But we have to see America restored to sanity. We need to see the restoration of Israel to the Jewish people, restored to Torah and mitzvot. How that will happen is unknown. But these developments must precede the advent of the messianic era. The salvation of America can happen at any time, in any way. For Israel, G-d can create some form of crisis which prompts one of the Arab parties to walk out so there’s no majority. Let’s hope for scenario number one. Let’s hope Trump will return and that authentic Torah Judaism will be fostered and encouraged by a real Jewish government.


I believe the more probable scenario is “A” because of the amount of Torah learned in America whether it be Daf Yomi, the Dirshu programs coupled with who-knows-how-many years of learning having taken place before in Europe etc. The tragedy of this, of course, is that there’s a lot of learning, but as to how much knowing there is---that’s another discussion. There is an enormous amount of mitzvot being done by the Jewish people despite being a struggle in many ways. This will protect America and, hopefully, steer it in direction “A.”


Q & A


Participant: I hope G-d destroys Biden and Kamala because the next choice is that stupid Pelosi. She’s third in line.


R’Kessin: I know (she’s third) but she will never become president. It’s either Biden or Harris depending on how senile he becomes.


Participant: You saw he just signed this trillion-dollar package that is really going to put the economy in the garbage, the infrastructure bill.


R’Kessin: Yeah, it’s all part of the inflation, the destruction of the economy. There are several problems with it. First, where is America going to get 1.2 trillion dollars? Do you know how much a trillion dollars is? I will give you a dramatic example. If I have stack of $100 bills, how high would the stack be to amount to one million dollars? It would be 42 inches high. Now, if I have the same stack of $100 bills, how high would that stack be to amount to one trillion dollars?---674 miles! People don’t realize what a trillion dollars is. And they just voted a 1.2 trillion-dollar budget. America doesn’t have it. What they will do is pump that money into the economy and what’s going to happen? It will flood the market with bills that are not hard to print. The danger is that countries will abandon the dollar as their reserve currency. Maybe they’ll take, instead, the yen, or whatever. This will reduce America to being a third-world country.


Another problem with the bill is that only one-third of the bill is for the improvement of infrastructure. America does need to improve deteriorating bridges and tunnels. etc. The other two-thirds is for giveaways. They want to give everything for free in order to buy votes. This is a problem which is what’s called “chutzpah”---gaul, because they are playing around with the value of the dollar, making people suffer enormously just so that their party can be in power. It should be illegal. They’re not interested in America, only in their power. They’ve put it before the country. Many speculate that this will wreak havoc with the dollar. It is already falling in Israel. I think it is about 3.2 shekels.


Participant: They say it will drop to 3.11


R’Kessin: Wow! I’ve never seen that before. Imagine what that means for people in Israel who live on the dollar! If that other bill, the $1.75-trillion one, which is complete giveaways is voted in, it will destroy America. Biden is interested in one thing, to be president for at least one term so he feels he will have made his mark, garnered prestige. We have to wait and see. If Harris becomes president, it could generate a civil war. Americans have 400 million guns. In fact, it’s hard to get a gun license because there are no guns or ammunition available. It’s all been bought.


Participant: But you’re talking about two years from now. We’re gonna sit here for two more years in this…what do you mean, 2024 is the new presidency? We’re going into 2022 so we have two more years with Biden as president.


R’Kessin: Actually, three years, until January 20th of 2025.


Participant: How is this giving us hope if we’re talking about making Biden a lame duck. It’s not us; it’s all ha’Shem---G-d.


R’Kessin: This is why next year is pivotal to see if the Republicans win the House. If they don’t, it’s very, very bad---also for the Jewish people.


Participant: Who trusts the voting system anymore?---not me. And the 13 Republicans for this stupid bill. They’re probably being blackmailed.


R’Kessin: …or bought off, but they’ll suffer at the polls. Democrats are running scared because of the previous election when they were slaughtered. They’re scared because most of the congressional seats are up for election. Next year’s election is not only an indicator about America but also what the ribono shel olam wants to do about the messianic process.


Participant: Do you think that ha’Shem is waiting until next year to start the process?


R’Kessin: No. I once said the process does not begin with America. It begins when the Torah comes out of the klippa---“shell or curtain,” that which obscures. It’s not a political process; it’s a process of revelation. It happens when Torah is taken out of the hands of the Satan, when G-d bestows the Yechida---level of transcendant soul of Adam Kadmon---priomordial man---half of it---as the crown of Mashiach ben Yosef. When that individual gets it, he who is to be mashiach, he begins his growth. That’s the key. These things will happen simultaneously. It won’t wait until Trump. They are two different processes. I’m describing the scenarios in terms of justice being satisfied and so on but the real concept of a messianic process is, like I say, the Torah coming out of the Darkness, the obscurity. G-d has to bring His people back to Him as I’ve quoted many times: “Even if you are outcasts at the ends of heaven, from there (not Israel!), I will bring you, gather you, take you from there to Me.” This has nothing to do with America. It has to do with the Darkness ending and the Redemption beginning.


Anyway, it is going to take time until the Jews get re-educated. Slowly, they make their way back to their bonus level. This process doesn’t know about Biden or Harris or Bennett or any of these people. I’m not worried about what’s happened to America. I’m worried about the amaratzus--- Jews ignorant of Judaism, the ignoramuses, the fact that millions of Jews are disappearing. Eleven million are gone and there’s a diminishment in spirituality. That’s the worry. So, don’t lose hope; one is not connected to the other. Each will work its way through what it has to do.


Participant: When the Torah is released, what actually happens?


R’Kessin: Many are not familiar with this midrash---exegetical commentary and don’t understand the concept of it, a midrash “Rabah” in sefer “Vayikra,” parashat “Tzav,” in the third section if you want to look it up. It says that the galut---exiles will only be gathered---which indicates the end of the exile---only beshvil---due to the merit of limud mishnayot---learning of Mishna. Most will wonder what the learning of Mishna has to do with this. What most people don’t understand is that there are two ways to earn the merit of a mitzvah: by doing a mitzvah or learning the Torah, the halachot---laws of that mitzvah. To learn it is considered by G-d as if you’d done the mitzvah. The midrash brings the proof of this when it says, “This is the law of the chatos---sin-offering.” Why doesn’t it just say, “This is the chatos”? Why does it say this is the “Torah of the chatos”? This tells us that if you learn about the laws of chatos or kodshim---an order of the mishnayos about the operation of the beis ha’Mikdash, it is as if you have brought an animal to the altar. In this case, learning is equivalent to doing. You need both, but learning about Torah is almost the same as doing Torah. That is why it also says, “Talmud Torah k’neged kulam”---Torah learning is equal to all other mitzvot, not only in terms of the reward but because learning is akin to doing.


The question is this: if G-d wants to bring back the Jewish people from the diaspora, from the exile, to gather them to Himself to be talmid chachamim---scholars, how will He do it? He wants them to have done the whole Torah, but how? The answer is mishnayot because it is the entire Oral Law. There are 4192 of them. The average mishna has seven or eight halachot, so 8 x 4192 is 33,000 yediot---facts of Torah. That’s a staggering amount of knowledge of the Oral Law.


But most mishnayot are missing some information. They don’t provide the background information. If you were to add all that information needed, the pre-mishnaic, the post-mishnaic, all the ideas one must know before and after, it would total more than 100,000 yediot. Could you imagine knowing that? Today, it’s possible because there are many good mishnaot that bring all the relevant data in order to understand every mishna clearly. So, it comes out that the shortcut, if you want call it that, is that everybody can know the entire law and, knowing it is akin to having done it. They will have fulfilled the mitzvot. That’s the kicker here! This fulfills “misham yekabetzcha”—from there He will gather you, will separate you from the nations of the world, and bring you to Him. This means He will make you a talmid chacham---scholar. That’s what it means to be close to G-d. This is how G-d can fulfill this.


You may say: Hey! Wait a minute! 4192 mishnayot takes time to learn. Not really! If you apply the “Method” of the RaMCHaL which is to see the structure from top down, to see the ideas as a kind of map, a “mishnaic map,” a structure of every mesechte---organizational elements---63 of them---you could teach the totality of the Oral Law in one year!


People are not going to believe that but that’s because people have never learned with the advantage of structure or a map. They usually learn “linearly” which means it’s fragmented. If you look at the Torah, each masechte as a map, you see how all aspects of the information relate to each other. You first see the map and then see more and more related detail that can be learned in one year.


If G-d could create a climate, which of course He can, this type of Mishnaic curriculum could be developed and disseminated. It would revolutionize Klal Israel because everybody would become a formidable talmid chacham. It’s possible, and I’m not even talking about a messianic approach, about something supernatural. If it were implemented in yeshivot, schools for ba’alei teshuva---students returning to Judaism, it would be a miracle, absolutely astounding. There are hundreds of thousands of ba’alei teshuva---I’m not even including the eleven million who are gone---who, in this environment G-d will foster, would realize that there is a G-d, there is Judaism, and they will want to come back. How will you teach them? Supernaturally? That’s not the goal. It will happen naturally but what natural force is there? This is the way to do it. G-d just needs to create the environment whereby the Jews suddenly want to come back and learn.


You would have 63 diagrams, each one representing the totality of the entire tractate, the misechte, so not only would you see the totality of the map, but you would be able to link every mishna to that map!


The upshot of this is that you could take a million people and teach them the entire Oral Law in one year. There are many groups, organizations to help and benefit. Chabad has 4000-5000 shluchim---emissaries, the Lev L’achim, and others. What do they do with people who come back? They can’t do much. Maybe you can get a guy a chavruta---learning group but the problem is that so much of his life has gone without Torah, he doesn’t have the time to sit down and acquire the entire Oral Law. He’s married, has to work, raise kids. He doesn’t have thirty-five years to do this. But what if there were an institute that would specialize in this approach, where every person who entered would master the entire shisha sidrei Mishna---the six orders of Mishna in one year?


The content is easy to memorize if you have an organized system, a natural way it can happen. That is what the midrash is saying, that the exile ends because of the learning of mishnayot. And learning the entire oral law gives you the practice of it! There you are.


We’re not far away from this, but it does take a miracle to create such an environment where people will want to sign up for this. I’ll tell you how it can be done. There’s a saying in English: “Nothing succeeds like success.” Success is the greatest impetus to continue striving. The beauty of Torah is that, when a person learns Torah, there is a spark ignited in his neshama---Divine soul, and there’s a reason for that. That spark turns him on but it happens only when he is successful. That is what motivates him to continue learning. But success is elusive. But what happens if a person has mastered the entire Oral Law through mishnayot in the proper way, knowing vast amounts of Torah, facts from the Mishna? He will never stop because he will have been incredibly successful. That is the way to reach him. The target audience are ba’alei teshuva, those returning.


Once you learn the entire Mishna, the 100,000 facts, then you sit down and learn Gemara. And since you know 40% of shas, and every mishna and every baraita---ancillary material, you can learn two blatt---pages and finish the whole thing in 3.7 years. So, it comes out 3.7 plus 1……so in 4.7 years, you will be a master of the Oral Law, an adam godol---great man of Judaism The beauty of what frames this is the structured mishnayot that allows everything you learn to be easily located within that structure. Like the use of a map, you can’t get lost.


Imagine giving this to kids, starting at aged 13. In one year, they master mishnayot! All he then needs is another three or four years to go through the rest of the 2711 pages. Since he has the entire framework, it’s easy. That means that, in five years, by the time he’s 18-years-old, when he leaves high school, he will be one of many great scholars on the planet! He will remember everything because there are systems of memory that can make your mind almost photographic.


In accordance with the miraculous rise of this environment would be the need for funding and sponsorship.


What I’ve been trying to show you is that it can happen al pi teva---in accordance with nature. Biden is around or not, it doesn’t make a difference. That will run on its own track.


Participant: Would you consider it as being in the klippa as long as it is not fully developed and it will be released at the same time as mashiach is released from his klippa?


R’Kessin: Yes. It has to be released. But I believe it will be released before the mashiach is crowned. Once he is crowned, he will grow tremendously and fast. There is no time to start this when he is released; it must start earlier. By the time he is released and grows fast---because that is what holiness does to a person, what the crown will do---we’re not talking about salvation, but Redemption, the single greatest event in the history of the entire Creation, what everyone is waiting for. Once the klippa is gone, the Redemption must happen, so I believe this environment must start before.


In the old days, it would be difficult to master the Mishna, but today there are many good mishnayos that can bring the information to you. Art Scroll has three versions which are very good. The best of all is the Saita Dishmaya. Then there’s the Kahati. Among these, it saves you the effort of researching. A hundred years ago, no. The method of the RaMCHaL which is explained in Derech Hashem---the way of G-d (if you have this book, read the introduction!) explains that the method of learning through structure is termed “rapid education.” You can learn with incredible speed.


Take ten young students and teach them this way. They will be so enthralled that they will tell ten of their friends. Ten will tell ten more and so ten will become one hundred. Then you can advertise and the next year, one hundred will tell their friends and they too become enthralled. Now you are up to a thousand and each of them bring ten because there is nothing greater than mastering the entire Oral Law.