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Weekly Hashkafa #75 - Chanukah, Restoring the Messianic Light

Given: November 22, 2021

Foundational Ideas

We are less than a week away from Chanukah. It’s appropriate, obviously, to talk about it. Chanukah teaches us many lessons but one of the most important things it shows us is that everything is orchestrated by the Ribono Shel Olam---G-D. Nothing happens by accident. That’s the first idea. The second idea prompts the question: why do these sorts of events happen? It’s because we have to fulfill---we, meaning the Jewish people---a spiritual task that we’ve accepted to do which is to bring G-D “back” into the Creation. These are more general lessons. It’s not only that He wants to be brought back, but that there really two realities: one

revealed---ours, and one which is concealed, that reality of the spiritual dimension. Our job is to reassert its existence, to bring it back. That’s the job of the Jew---tikkun.

The world is in a highly defective state. We only perceive a certain reality, a very superficial one. The job entails uncovering the “real” reality which is spiritual in nature. That, of course, takes place during the messianic era. This world will remain physical---which is interesting---but will be governed by the spiritual reality. G-D will reveal the spiritual reality. This is the essential idea of the messianic era. In other words, He will reveal a reality which is physical however it will be governed by, and characterized by, the spiritual “mixture” of both. Then, slowly, the physical world becomes a completely spiritual reality.

The first phase is this one, this world, which is Olam ha’Shafel---Lower World which is completely physical. The second phase is the messianic era, the introduction of the spiritual reality, which now is concealed, but is to be revealed and governs the physical. The third phase is the gradual dissolution of the physical dimension gradually revealing a fourth reality, that which even the angels have no conception of. That dimension isn’t really spiritual except to the extent it isn’t physical. The ultimate reality, Olam ha’Ba---Future World is vastly distant from even spiritual reality. All of these transitions are what we can call the “evolution of the realities.” That’s the job of the Jew, to facilitate, to make sure, that all this happens.

In a sense, we’re very lucky that we don’t have to do all the realities. Our work, which is doing the mitzvahs and teshuva, suffering in the exile, is all done in this physical world which transitions it toward the governance of the spiritual. We help usher in that messianic reality. That’s all we have to do. From there, it automatically turns into the next and into the next. That’s no longer our job. The critical question is: at what point in time does G-D decide to transition the physical (which is really governed by the spiritual) which is the actual Redemption itself?

The Jew is commanded to do what?---to move it along until it reaches the point of tikkun ha’klali----total rectification of Creation which is, as far as we’re concerned, the messianic era, the revelation of a spiritual reality which we’ve never seen before. That is termed “Ohr ha’Ganuz”---Concealed Light, “Light” being a metaphor for reality. It’s also called the “Ohr Mashiach---Messianic Light. These terms are interchangeable.

This, so far, has been a birds-eye view of the task of the Jew and what happens to this world.

Origins of Understanding of Messianic Light

I’ve mentioned, briefly, the origin of our understanding of the Messianic Light, what the Torah records saying how “….and there will be evening and morning one day.” That “one day” uses a cardinal number to describe “day.” We would expect it to read “first day“ as an ordinal number (first, second, third, etc.) Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki b.1040-d.1105) deals with that, saying “one day” means “day of One,” pointing out that the first day had no other living entities besides G-D. We can further understand this to mean that, were you present to witness the first day, the “day of one,” you would know it was all, and only, G-D and that He was the Creator. You would see the connection, that everything emanates from G-D Himself, both the spiritual and physical universes. So, even though you would see many, many things, ultimately what you’d realize is that there’s really only one thing---God. That connection is called “yom echad”---Day of One.

We also know that the concept of “Messianic Light” is the weapon of Mashiach ben Yosef which I discussed several lectures ago. That weapon is referred to as “karnei re’em’---the horns of the animal called “re’em.” I mentioned the midrash which is near the end of the Torah where we’re told that Moshe Rabbeinu’s blessing to Yosef says: “b’chor shoro hadar lo”—his firstborn bullock, beauty, majesty is his. Beautiful In what way? The horns of this ox-like creature, this re’em (some type of creature that no longer exists) apparently had horns that were majestic, beautiful to behold. They were perhaps like the antlers of moose or deer or like those animals whose antlers twist and turn in beautiful symmetry. It goes on to say how, with these horns, he will “gore the nations,” meaning that the purpose of these horns is to be weapons, ones that protrude from the head. This creature is a symbol of mashiach ben Yosef because he is the firstborn of the tribe of Yosef and his “horns” are magnificent. Obviously, the mashiach doesn’t, literally, have horns. These are metaphors for a profound wisdom, wisdom so awesome that it will gore the nations, stunning them with wisdom. That is the basis of his majesty.

The other aspect of “beauty” or “majesty” is the concept of integration or harmony that is the product of a blending of all the elements of a thing into a unified whole. When you look at a beautiful painting, it is so because its elements: color, texture, the use of light, the content, all contribute harmoniously to its beauty. The same goes for music. Notes, tempo, harmony all contribute to a great symphony. Mashiach ben Yosef’s beauty is, likewise, an integration of both wisdom and prophecy, the wisdom that emanates from prophecy. His weapons are not guns or assault rifles. His weapon is his prophetic wisdom.

It’s similar concept as Moshe’s experience on Mt. Sinai receiving the Torah in forty days. The chazal---sages tell us that what he received was every single thing that anybody would ever learn in Torah. This is what Moshe knew. His knowledge was prophetically inspired. This is the same with Mashiach ben Yosef; he will be projecting, declaring prophetic knowledge which is “given” to him, prophetic in that this wisdom will explain everything you can imagine. Can you imagine such a person among us, what the messianic era will be like, revelation of another reality? In that reality, everything will be beneficial. There will no longer be wars because everyone will know the truth. You can’t hide anymore from truth, and all evil will be shut off, completely closed off. Any kind of false doctrines will be annihilated. The entire world changes.

Klal Yisrael---the nation of Israel is given the Torah, so what it has to do---and this is part of the tikkun---is to accept the Torah but in a way which is called “superlative acceptance” which is what they did. They said, “na’ase v’nishma”---we will do and (then) we will understand. They were willing to accept the entire Torah without understanding it beforehand. They accepted it and embraced it. That was a superlative kabbalah---acceptance. They were rewarded (without going into the exegetical commentary).

What did they accept? They certainly accepted the written Torah, but there were problems. They did not accept the Oral Law (which I’m not going to get into), but one of the things they also did not really accept is what can be referred to as the third aspect of the Torah, the mystical aspect. That is the ultimate understanding that underlies all of it, the Messianic Light. That Light is not the Torah of mashiach; it’s the Torah of G-D which the mashiach reveals. It was the task of the Jews to accept everything.

But what happened was that Moshe Rabbeinu was delayed coming down, everybody got frightened and, as a result, they decided to build a golden calf. That calf is a violation, a denial, a contradiction to the Messianic Light. How can you build anything that represents G-D? Did they think it was G-D? Certainly, they wanted something to represent G-D but, if you understand the Messianic Light, there is nothing but G-D. You can’t represent Him. You can’t take a physical object to represent Him---of course not! The fact that they built the cheit ha’egel----golden calf is a denial, a rejection of the origin of the Light. What that did, which is really amazing, is create a tremendous pegam---defect in the kabbalat ha’Torah---reception of the Torah. They accepted the written Torah, didn’t really accept the Oral Torah, but certainly did not accept the messianic Torah which is the underlying explanation and meaning of the written and oral law.

It would require an historical event to repair that defect done to what was a spiritual necessity that they should have accomplished. The first event was the acceptance of Torah, all of it. Because they didn’t, there arose a spiritual necessity which is what?---to accept the Torah of the mashiach by performing a rectification of that defect in that spiritual task. So, G-D must create an historical event to repair it and the Jews would again be tested in terms of the Messianic Light and they would pass thereby correcting that defect. This is a very important concept. What I’m explaining is a model of many historical events that have happened to the Jewish people.

The primary event, matan Torah----giving of the Torah, they failed. So, a secondary event, a tikkun---rectification event is created that the Jews have to go through. This is the idea behind all the yom tovim---good day (literal translation) or holidays and I’m now illustrating this concept with Chanukah.

Chanukah as a “Make-up Test”

It says that G-D commanded, or allowed, each of the princes of each of the twelve tribes to offer a korbon---sacrifice as part of the hanukat ha’bayit----the dedication of the mishkan---Tabernacle. Aaron ha’Kohen, the chief priest, was not one of them. Despite being the head of the kohanim, he was not asked to bring an offering. Therefore, according to chazal---sages, he had a chalisha, an episode in which he nearly fainted because he felt that G-D hadn’t forgiven him for being instrumental in the building of the golden calf. In their fear, they ran to Aaron and asked him to assist in building the calf. He complied, demonstrating how it could be done. Now, in the aftermath, he was in despair, depressed.

G-D appeared to him, telling him to light the menorah. This is in parasha---torah portion “Behaloscha.” G-D told him that his lighting the menorah will be for all time. What does that mean? What G-D meant was: on the contrary, what I’m doing for you is greater than what I required of others in that necessity to bring sacrificial offerings. Eventually, the Beis ha’Mikdash----Holy Temple will be destroyed but your lighting the menorah will continue until the end of time. Aaron’s spirits were greatly lifted.

The RaMBaN, one of the major commentators on the Torah, asks: when the Beit ha’Mikdash was destroyed, so was the avoda---service, the procedure, of lighting the menorah because the menorah was in the Beis ha’Mikdash. What does G-D mean by saying to Aaron that his lighting of the menorah will proceed throughout all the generations? The RaMBaN shares a very important concept, that G-D agreed that Aaron was responsible for the Sin of the Golden Calf but the real despair Aaron felt isn’t that the Jews built that calf. It was the shattering of the first tablets which were those of the ohr mashiach----Messianic Light. As a result, it was reasonable to make the calf, a symbol of that loss, that sin. Because of Aaron’s contribution, he blocked or removed the potential of the mashiach’s coming, that mashiach being Moshe. The Jews had already rejected the Torah in its entirety.

Imagine G-D appears to you suddenly and says: by the way, the mashiach would have come and guess who stopped it?---you did with your sin. Can you imagine how you would have felt? Well, that’s what Aaron felt. The despair Aaron felt wasn’t only because he got Israel to sin by worshipping the calf. The problem was that he stopped the coming of Mashiach ben Yosef who was Moshe Rabbeinu. When G-D told him not to worry, that He would light the menorah until the end of time, what He meant, according to RaMBaN, is that, despite the destruction of the Temple, there would be Chanukah. G-D tells Aaron that He realizes that he is in despair having stopped the messiah from coming and will, therefore, give his descendants the wherewithal, the opportunity to rectify that defect that the Jews committed and to which he contributed. G-D says, in essence, I’m giving you a means to atone. Not only do I forgive you, but your descendants are the ones that will actually rectify the defect in rejecting the Messianic Light.

Obviously, Aaron was incredibly raised in spirit. Where do we see this? RaMBaN (Rabbi Moses ben Nachman Gerondi 1195-1270) says that’s Chanukah is the event whose purpose it is to rectify the rejection of the Light. Now we begin to understand its profundity as a tikkun event. This is the secret of Chanukah.

Most people think they know the story of Chanukah, but most people have no idea of the underlying ideas of Torah. They think it’s about how Alexander conquered the world and died at 33-years-old. Imagine conquering the world and dying that young! After he dies, his four major generals each took a portion of the empire. The general Antiochus Epiphanes was one of them and he took over the Middle East, including Judea. Alexander’s purpose in conquest was to spread Hellenism which Greece considered “modernity.” The Jews, of course, rejected it and fought against it and were able to vanquish the Greeks. Most people think that Chanukah is about a war that restored freedom to live as you wish and retain the ideas you value. What I’ve said is completely different from this---that Chanukah is about repairing the rejection of the Messianic Light. This is what the RaMBaN is alluding to.

Greece and Hellenism: Choshech---Darkness

It works like this: at the beginning of the Torah, it says, “The earth was unformed and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Chazal tell us that these four expressions show us how all these terms: “unformed,” and “void,” and “darkness,” and “face of the deep” all refer to the four exiles. They are: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. These are the four nations that subjugated the Jews.

What’s interesting is that each has its own peculiar characteristic. Which refers to Greece? Babylon is “tohu”---unformed. Vohu---empty refers to Persia. Choshech---darkness refers to Greece. Tehom---face of the deep, the abyss is Rome.

Amazingly, of all the nations of antiquity, the Greeks were the most enlightened. Scientists consider Alexander’s campaign as the major impetus to bring modernity to civilizations of the world. The Greeks were way ahead of most other societies that were comparatively primitive. Greek philosophy, logic, science, was emblematic of their scholarship. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle were great thinkers initiating the ideas considered even today as those that embodied modernity and progress. So how can the Torah allude to them as “darkness”?

The answer is that Greece is dark relative to something else. When G-D said, “vayehi ohr”---let there be light, and there was light,” relative to that Light, Greece is “dark.” The “light” the Torah refers to is that Messianic Light, that perception that He is Creator and everything emanates from Him. It is, as I told you, the “Day of One.” On the second day of Creation, this truth was concealed. That’s the havdalah---the differentiation, the separation. But the first day was that which was apparent, G-D’s Oneness from which everything emanated and emerged. Compared to that revelation, Greece is dark.

It’s not that Greece’s modernity is primitive, but its philosophy is contrary to that of “Day of One.” Greek philosophy posits that what runs the world is not spirituality, not G-D. That which is contained in and explained by science, logic, philosophy is what governs the world. The Greeks held that all is physical, nature is physical, and that the human mind can comprehend all of its physicality. There’s no need for a spiritual entity to resolve the irresolvable. The Greek view is the exact opposite of Judaism’s view. Hellenism says that the world is run by natural law. Judaism says that the world is governed by G-D and His spiritual forces, entities. You could say that Hellenism was an “anti-messianic Light” philosophy.

G-D’s design was to create an event to bring the Jews to this nation for subjugation, to the nation of this anti-messianic-Light thesis in order to go through it and test them to see if they will reject Greek culture. This would repair the damage done by the original rejection at Sinai with the Sin of the Golden Calf. G-D allows a young guy, Alexander of Macedonia, to conquer all the nations---all the way to India (do you know how far that is? And it’s one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen). G-D gave him great hatzlacha---success. His teacher was Aristotle. G-D wanted Greece to try to influence Judea toward this kind of modernity. It did and then Alexander died—at 33 years of age. Imagine!---he conquered the world by then. There are young people walking around at 33 with no idea what to do with their lives.

Judea, which is Israel, is exposed to hellenistic ideas contrary to the Messianic Light and the test situation is in force. Will the Jews succumb in which case they will have failed to repair the damage done 800 years prior? They fought the Greeks, threw them out, automatically expressing mesirot nefesh---self-sacrifice for the idea that the Messianic Light represented---that nature’s source is not physical; what governs is the world is spiritual---G-D. Matisyahu and the High Priest and others fought the Greeks and, lo and behold, win. But the victory was their rejection of the Greek thesis, the chochma of Greece, which declared that the ultimate principle of reality is not spiritual. By rejecting this, the Jews repaired the damage.

The upshot of all this is that, with this victory, the Jews did not realize what they had done. They fought a battle wherein 10,000 Jews fought 125,000 battle-hardened Greek soldiers. That, in itself, is a victory, an incredible miracle, but the Jews didn’t know what they’d really achieved. So, G-D sent them a message to impart to them what the spiritual significance of their victory is.

G-D used the very vessel in the Beit ha’Mikdash that “reflects,” or represents, the origin of the Messianic Light---the menorah. He allows it to burn indicating that the pegam---defect of not accepting the Light has been removed, fixed. The Messianic Light shines forth again. We know that the oil used to light the menorah came from the north and it took four days to travel there and four days to get back, which equals eight days. They had oil for the first lighting but didn’t expect it to last more than that, but it burned for eight nights which, obviously, was an open and revealed miracle. The Jews then realized they were witnessing a miracle in the very vessel which represents the entire wisdom of the Messianic Light. They surmised: we have repaired the damage done at matan Torah—giving of the Torah.

Had someone asked a Greek general if he thought 10,000 Jews can overcome 125,000 Greek soldiers, he’d have said, “Of course not!” To his way of thinking, it’s military strategy and tactics that win wars because the world runs on physicality, on physical rules, but the Jews said, in essence, “You’re wrong. What determines historical events is not science or nature, but G-D. If G-D Wills it, 10,000 can easily win over 125,000. It is mida k’neged mida---measure-for-measure in that the Jews believed in the Light therefore they were rewarded with light. In observing the message of the Light, we can see the beautiful poetry of their worthiness. It’s not nature that determines how long the oil burns; it’s G-D. The menorah represents the Jews’ spiritual achievement. That is the war they won!

This is why we are not permitted to use the Chanukah light to read by or for any other reason. It’s because the light of the chanukiah represent wisdom, the Messianic Light. This is why there is no seuda---festive meal. What was saved wasn’t the body of the Jews. The Greeks didn’t want to kill the Jews physically. They wanted to change their value system. It’s the soul that would have been damaged, not the body. Rather than a meal, we say “Hallel” in which the “Shema” praises G-D.

The ones who drove out the Greeks were the Chashmonayim who were the priests. What they should have done was, after conquering the Greek army, re-establish the kingdom. As a result, they should have abdicated the throne because the ones who were assigned to rule over the Jewish people were not the kohanim---priests. The king is supposed to be from Judah. The priests should have abandoned the kingship but they didn’t. The Chashmonayim remained as kings of Israel which was a grave sin. It is written that “the staff shall not depart from Yehuda.” Ultimately, all the Chashmonayim were killed, the last of them being a woman; I think her name was Miriam. This ended their dynasty. She may have committed suicide to avoid marriage to Herod.

This state of affairs answers the question: what if the Chashmonayim had gotten off the throne? Could this episode against the Greeks have been a messianic opportunity when the mashiach could have come but didn’t? If so, the Chashmonayim destroyed that prospect. Therefore, Rebbe who wrote the mishnayot was angry because he, himself, was from the tribe of Yehuda. He decided, therefore, not to honor them. How?—by not writing a mesechta---tractate on Chanukah. This is why there is none, which is very odd. There is a gemara tractate on every single holiday but not on Chanukah. There are laws of Chanukah spread out throughout the mishnas but there is no single masechte devoted or dedicated to Chanukah.

Also interesting is that, because they wouldn’t give up the kingship, it enabled Rome to grow. History relates about the Punic Wars for world domination. It was Rome against Carthage in North Africa. There were three battles. Rome ultimately won and destroyed Carthage. The timing is such that it appears that because the Chashmonayim would not vacate the throne,

G-D enabled Rome which is Esav/Edom, to defeat Carthage and, ultimately, destroy the Beis ha’Mikdash, and to flourish.

There are many interesting allusions to what the essence of Chanukah is. For instance, the word “light” appears for the first time in the Torah as the 25th word. We know that Chanukah is on the 25th day of Kislev. Also, if you look at the travels of the Jews through the desert---42 stations---the 25th is a place called “Chashmana.” Another remez---clue, allusion is on the dreidel. We know that the dreidel has four letters: “hey,” “shin,” “nun,” “gimel” which stand for nes gadol haya sham---great miracle happened there. The gematria of those letters is 358 which is the same numerical value as “mashiach.”

I once gave shiur---lecture, lesson and an Israeli approached me and said that in Israel the dreidels don’t have the “shin,” for the word “shom”---there. In Israel, the dreidels instead have “peh” indicative that the miracle happened po--- “here” and that what I said didn’t add up, doesn’t add up to mashiach, he argued. Thankfully, G-D gave me the answer immediately. I told him, the nun-gimel-heh-peh adds up to 138 which is “Semach,” which is the name of Mashiach ben Yosef. When we pray in the “Shemona Esrai” prayer and it speaks of “offspring of David,” that is mashiach. So, even the dreidel alludes to mashiach.

Another indication is that the month after Chanukah is Teves, the month of Esav. Esav is destined to destroy the Beis ha’Mikdash but Chanukah precedes Teves to indicate that Yosef will overthrow Esav.

When you light the chanukiah, really look at that light. Look at it, if you can, for half an hour because that light is not merely a light that is supposed to benefit you by using it to see your way around. You can’t. It’s a symbol of the Messianic Light. Maybe we’ll be zoche---worthy before or during Chanukah for the messianic process to begin.

Q & A

Participant: When you just said that, G-D-willing, Ha’Shem---G-D will allow the messianic process to begin on or before Chanukah, what does that look like?

R’Kessin: One of the major things that has to transpire is that the Torah has to come out of the klippa---shell, obstruction. The problem is that the Messianic Light really is Torah except it’s a level of Torah we do not see. What is Torah, really? It is a revelation of complete reality. We see it, however, in terms of what we do, halacha, in the physical reality. We have no idea what doing a mitzvah accomplishes in the spiritual realms. We don’t see the totality. In fact, basically, we live in a fog where it clears up a little in front of us and then, suddenly, it clouds over again. We don’t see reality except in a very short distance from us. The Messianic Light is a complete removal of that fog when you see everything and you can’t believe what you’re looking at. The Messianic Light is the essence of Torah. We have Torah but at a fundamental level. You can learn it at the level of only Chumash or at the level of Gemara---the derivation of the all the laws---or at the level of Kabbalah which is the explanation and description of the entire spiritual universe and G-D’s relationship with the Creation.

Therefore, Torah has to come out of the klippa, out of its prison where it is currently bound and chained and concealed. Different levels of Torah are opening up as we’ve seen in terms of all the sefarim---books being printed and so on. That is the essential move that must happen and it’s the beginning. Simultaneous to that will be the release of the mashiach because he’s the one who does that. He’s the one to begin the raising of Torah out of its Darkness.

Participant: Do you think that by staring at the Chanukah lights for 30 minutes, it’s possible to open up your sechel---intellect to the Torah more?

R’Kessin: Yes. There were many great people that, when they lit the lights, they would not leave, not walk away. They’d sit and say their “ha’Neirot Halahu”---hymn or recitation after lighting and look at the lights and contemplate their significance. Many great gedolim---scholars would do that. That itself will create what’s called “heshpa”---Divine influence in you. We don’t know exactly what it could open up in heaven, but there is no doubt it opens up great enlightenments and mazal---good fortune.

Participant: What should we think about? Is there a priority to think about it? What about praying?

R’Kessin: You could do that too, yes. You could be saying Tehillim---Psalms. The key is to remain connected to the Light, not to walk away. You could sing zmirot---songs that are associated with lighting. It would be a great idea to listen to this shiur again to remind you about these different ideas.

Participant: Is that why we put the chanukiah in the window?

R’Kessin: We put the chanukiah by the window so that other people can also be inspired. The fact that we have to advertise, publicize this mitzvah of lighting shows how great it is. The rabbis wanted us to publicize it. The lights represent the essence of Judaism, the understanding that spirituality is the real reality, that it governs the physical. The Greeks, as I said, were the opposite, how everything is all science, all nature.

Participant: Let’s say G-D-willing it happens and the Torah is released. What happens afterward? Does it go very quickly like all of a sudden? It’s announced and then how quickly does it move? Does the pace move and we’re actually in Israel all together there.

R’Kessin: I believe it will be very quick. You know where you can see this?---by Yosef in Egypt. He was a prisoner for years. He was kidnapped at 17 and, at 30, he’s standing before Pharoah. That’s only 13 years and most of that was spent in prison. What’s also interesting is that there is a pasuk---verse that is the Redemption itself where it says “they took him out of the pit,”---prisons were then underground---shaved him, bathed him, and is seen standing before Pharoah. The whole redemption took place in one verse! In that one verse, he not only was released but was made the Grand Vizier. That’s the rapidity.

What’s important to remember is that G-D wants the Redemption, looks forward to it. We read this in a midrash in which we’re told that G-D is mitzape---looks forward to the Redemption, the end of Darkness, the nightmare. We look outside to America, to Israel, all around the world to Iran, China, Russia, etc. and it’s a nightmare. Every day is another destruction of civilization, another act that is so preposterous that you cannot even make this stuff up. That’s how much civilization is deteriorating. G-D doesn’t want that but it’s not only that. G-D doesn’t want His name to be desecrated when the Jews are in the lowest of the low, when anti-Semitism flourishes. We don’t realize it’s not just us; the shechina---Divine Presence suffers.

The shechina is sort of in the klippa. It too suffers in Darkness because the Name of G-D is desecrated. In front of the entire world, that’s what’s happening. Everyone knows who the Jews are, that they are, in many ways, the “chosen” of G-D. They all know that’s what the Torah says. It’s not that we chose G-D, which we did, but G-D shows us. Therefore, it is a desecration of His name. Could you imagine trillions of angels sing praise to G-D every day and the only place in the universe or in Creation that G-D is rejected and desecrated is on this planet earth. So, G-D wants this to end. Therefore, Yosef who was imprisoned, his appointment to be Grand Vizier happened in one pasuk. That’s how quick the Redemption will happen. The difficulty isn’t the speed but to get it started.

The Jews were in Egypt for how long?---210 years. But once the Redemption started with the makot---plagues, blows after justice was satisfied---which I’ve talked about---it was incredible, took less than a year. In six months, they got out. Compare how long they were in Egypt compared to how long it took to get out. It’s unbelievable. Once the Redemption starts, meaning the end of galut---exile, it will go quick, very quick. But it does take time, like it took to destroy Egypt. It will take time to vanquish, subdue all the evil in this civilization called “this world.” It won’t take centuries. It can happen in a year. The trick is to get the messianic process started. Once it starts, it is irrevocable and unstoppable. When will it start?---hopefully, next week.

Participant: Did you ever hear this Rabbi Anava? He thinks that it’s not this Yovel, but in seven years because we don’t know the timing of it. He thinks Yovel is the next cycle, eight years from now.

R’Kessin: You remember what I said, that t’chiat ha’meitim---resurrection of the dead requires 210 years before the End of Time in the year 6,000, or 2240. So, 210 years before that, which is the resurrection of the dead would be 2030. We are almost 2022. Eight years is 2030. That timing could be right, but the Yovel---Jubilee is the completed Redemption. I’m talking about the beginning.

Participant: The Yovel is when Mashiach ben David comes, correct? Technically, what he said could still be true because that’s ben David but we’re right now looking for ben Yosef.

R’Kessin: Yes. Eight years from now will be very bad for the Jews, a lot of difficulties. Simultaneous with the difficulties will be the Redemption. It could be simultaneous. While things are heating up, so to speak, at the same time, whoever the mashiach is will have been released and he is now doing what he does. The main thing is that he is affiliated with the Torah, spreading it.

Participant: We could still be going through all those things that he (R. Anava) was talking about such as famines, war, lots of deaths,….so if we’re anticipating Mashiach ben Yosef, isn’t it to redeem us from all that? What he said was very depressing, to be honest. When you speak about it, it’s about excitement and we can’t wait for him to come, but is the reality….

R’Kessin: It is exciting; let me explain. Something very important, according to the Gemara, is that ben Yosef is supposed to die. But that has been changed. G-D can change---not stop or cancel---but can change the way something is to happen. I once mentioned that what G-D does is that He brings back the mashiach in many incarnations. In each, whoever is to be Mashiach ben Yosef suffers. If you added it up, it would kill him. Since it happened over many lifetimes, he survives. I believe that the Holocaust, in many ways, included a great deal of suffering of the Jews before he comes and that’s why the Holocaust was so brutal. It included a great deal of the g’zera---decree with the Darkness and the trials that happened after he comes. So, it’s not as bad as you think. Even if there’s a decree that has to happen because it’s related to the sins of the Jews over thousands of years, okay, but G-D can “bundle it up,” the punishments. It’s up to G-D. I believe that the Holocaust was not only the greatest of tragedies because of brutality beyond belief, absolute brutality---it’s hard to comprehend what happened to the Jews just from a humanistic standpoint---but that the reason for it was that G-D bundled up all the yessuim---suffering that the Jews had to be subjected to before the messianic era of David, but in the time of Mashiach ben Yosef. As a result, it’s become much lighter, a softening. It’s called hamtakat ha’dinim---sweetening of the judgement of what will happen to the Jews once Mashiach ben Yosef is released. G-D has done this “bundling” many times to help people so they don’t have to go through a severe form of suffering.

I believe that is what there will be, shake-ups, but nothing as severe as what would have been. Even the war of Gog u’Magog which will happen in some way, will not in any way be as severe as it could have been. G-D is not going to subject the Jewish people to the horrors of another Holocaust. He will protect them because the decree for suffering has been satisfied already. So, I would not worry about this. It’s called “mitigation” and a softening. It’s like the pasuk says, “For one minute I will abandon you but, in exceedingly great mercy, I will gather you.” That is accomplished at the same time that justice is satisfied because G-D has now applied whatever the decree was to whatever the sins of the Jews was. He has applied that to another time by bundling it up with the Holocaust itself. G-D does that all the time and I certainly believe he has done that now so that when mashiach is finally released, it will have been with a tremendous amount of rachamim---mercy.

We can ask: why is this event commemorated as a holiday? Jews have always been persecuted and saved. It’s happened thousands of times so how did the rabbis know that what the Jews did merited it being


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