Weekly Hashkafa #77: Aspects of Evil Before Mashiach

Given: December 5, 2021



Participant: The question was: how will we know that the pekida---remembrance (and “code” language for Redemption) happened because you were telling us how we’ll see more and more good is going to prevail and spread out and evil will lose its power.


R’Kessin: The formula is that whenever you see evil grow to a tremendous extent, as it’s doing now, it means that justice is being applied because evil has a claim against the attribute of the justice of G-D. The Satan’s claim goes like this: wait a minute! Everybody is sinning so why don’t I have dominion or domination over the world to do what I want which is to increase evil? Since everyone is sinning, why should I be subdued?


G-D responds: well, that’s justice so, therefore, I will give you more power, more opportunity to allow people to influence each other to do evil.


That’s one side of the equation. The other side is that Jews are then punished in order to again satisfy justice, deserving punishment for all the sins that they do. So, there are really two mechanisms at work simultaneously.



Dominion of Evil, Proliferation

Also important is to ask the question as to why evil wants to have dominion. It’s true that people are sinning all over the place---we see how the world is doing that---so what does evil gain if it has dominion over people, allowing (compelling them) to sin? There’s only one thing that interests the Satan. It’s not really to have dominion in the sense that he wants to dominate, but he has an interest in the proliferation of evil, that people be attracted to it. If they are attracted to evil, seeing it all around them---particularly in their feeling permitted to do whatever they want, as we see in America---they will sin and the Satan can be yoneg--nourished off of that. He can sustain and empower himself from the energy of the sefira, that Divine force.


When a Jew sins rather than doing a mitzvah---commandment, then the holiness he would have drawn down, that holy energy, he gets. It’s the see-saw. When one side is up, the other is down. If evil dominates, meaning that, suddenly, there are incredible opportunities to do bad, to be non-spiritual---doing bad isn’t simply to commit robbery or murder although that is happening a lot---because “bad” is also a life devoid of spirituality. All one does is engage with whatever pursuits bring pleasure, power, the freedom to indulge in whatever deviant behavior one wants. It is this indulgence, without any notion of reckoning, that assists and nourishes and empowers the Satan. The more dominion he gets, the more nourishment, and the more people are enticed to sin and it’s a vicious cycle.


To this end, the Satan tries to promote leaders, really evil people---evil is not only about damage and destruction---who will make others more inclined toward the material, the physical, the non-spiritual. The leader, being in the position to influence many, is somehow allowed, by the Satan, to do so. This is facilitated through prosecutions he conducts via the demands of justice, that their machinations will be victorious, successful. When you have somebody who’s in a position of power and influence, much greater sinning can be instigated.


That is what evil wants. We witness that with what is happening in America. Those who can influence have wrecked morality, particularly with the LGBTQ-Plus movement, of removing the concept of gender as determined at birth. This has destroyed morality and is a destruction of civilization. People are attracted to these deviations, and these ideas are growing and becoming powerful. This thinking is now not just tolerated and permitted; it’s preferred. Can you imagine that some guy who’s----I hate to say “married” to another guy---but is married in the eyes of the law and has a status that is now preferred and looked up to? It is now promoted in movies, magazines, and by acts of Congress. It’s beyond belief but that’s what the Satan wants. Those who might not have gone that route are now encouraged. The taboo is gone and, as a result, more will engage in this deviant behavior. In fact, if you talk against it, you’ll be called a “racist,” a “homophobe,” so the environment prompts you to keep your mouth shut.


The other part of the Satan’s agenda is to allow very evil people to destroy civilization to provoke desperation prompting people to cling to whatever soothes them, alleviates their despair. This further empowers the powerbrokers. Desperate people turn to these evildoers and depend upon them. We see this globally, particularly with the rise of China and Russia. We are waiting for them to act in ways that endanger the entire world. This is the Satan nourishing on what Kabbalah refers to as “sparks of holiness.”


This proliferation of evil is one of the greatest proofs that mashiach is right around the corner. The world has entered a period of Darkness that it hasn’t seen before. America, considered the “beacon of hope” to the entire world, has become degraded in its conferring upon homosexuals and other advocates of deviant behavior a status of honor and esteem. G-D will not tolerate that and will “press the restart button” just as He did with the mabul---Flood. But this time, that restart is the mashiach.


In many ways, this pervasive evil is the last claim of the Satan, his last attempt to energize himself. As the world gets closer to its tikkun---rectification, he becomes more and more desperate to renew his power that he gets from the sins of the Jewish people. So, the current conditions will continue until justice is satisfied and then it will be annihilated, even if it takes an open miracle which will happen because we have Egypt. We can’t imagine the miracles of Egypt. Imagine looking at the Nile and it’s pure blood. What of the lice, the frogs, the wild animals, the hail connected to fire? We can’t imagine these things. These phenomena aren’t just supernatural; they are supernatural in the extreme. The culmination came with the splitting of the Reed Sea. Imagine that which is incredible, watching a large body of water splitting, parting, and this pales In comparison to the nissim---miracles that will occur in the upcoming geula—Redemption! Those miraculous blows upon Egypt will be minuscule in comparison. Everything that is happening has been predicted. Any questions on this portion?


Participant: Last week we were going according to the parasha---Torah portion saying how Yosef gets released from prison and going straight into becoming the viceroy of Egypt. G-D-willing that’s a sign that maybe this past weekend, Yosef would get out of the klippah---spiritual “husk” impeding holiness that holds him. The parasha coming up has that famous line, “v’lo yachol l’hitapek,” that correlation being that ha’Shem can’t hold it in anymore, that He just wants to bring Redemption, correct?


R’Kessin: Yes, in many ways, that excerpt is meramez---allusive. Yosef clearly is a mashiach; that’s who he really is. At the End of Time, Yosef represents Mashiach ben Yosef at a time when the world doesn’t really deserve the Redemption. It almost does, so what will happen is explained by that verse which says, “I will exercise mercy; for one second I will abandon you but then, with tremendous mercy, I will gather you.” What does that mean? There will come a time when we are very close but not close enough. Therefore, what will happen is that G-D Himself will decide: I’m not waiting for justice; I will bend justice and bring Redemption. It’s an interesting concept. It’s important to remember with this idea that G-D is not bound by justice. If He wants, He can end everything in an instant of time whether the world has realized its justice or not. In other words, whether the Jews are deserving or not really doesn’t make a difference. He can just suspend justice, abandon it, and does what He wants. Remember, G-D is the boss and He does, ultimately, what He wants.


At the End of Time, this pasuk---verse that you (the participant) are bringing down is a revelation, a secret. We think that justice has to be totally satisfied but that would mean it may take another couple years or whatever time it takes, What that pasuk means is that Mashiach ben Yosef is the agent of G-D and he will respond to G-D’s mida---behavior which is described with that which you said, that G-D will, for one second, abandon you but with rachamim gedomlim, yekabetzcha---with tremendous mercy, G-D will gather all the Jews, meaning He will separate them from the goyim, from tumah---impurity first and then yekakecha---gather them to Himself, to spirituality, to kedusha---holiness. Then He will bring them to Israel.


Geula---Redemption will begin in the countries where the Jews are but that kibbutz---gathering is interesting because, at that point in time, the Jews don’t really deserve Redemption but, because G-D is above justice, He will, in a certain sense, ignore the status quo, put it aside, and do what He wants. Since G-D is not dependent on the dictates of justice; He voluntarily submits to justice because He wants everybody to deserve what they get but, at that point in time, His mida of almost infinite mercy will take over and suspend the claim of justice. That argument of the Satan who says: hey, wait a minute! What are You doing? You can’t do this! is suspended, which is really incredible.


The Extraordinary Parallel with Yosef


This is what is reflected in Yosef. As it says in the next parasha, Vayigash, suddenly, Yosef couldn’t hold himself back. He couldn’t resist anymore the impulse to reveal himself to his brothers. They were stunned. He revealed himself by saying, simply, “Ani Yosef---I am Yosef.” That’s all he said. He is the forerunner of Mashaich ben Yosef. All of a sudden, whoever he is, he will come out and announce himself: by the way, I am Mashiach ben Yosef” and everybody will be stunned. Many will be unsuspecting. This is what it says in Yeshayahu, in mem-tet---49, the last eight pesukim---verses where it says that everybody’s going to look at him and be in shock. You're Mashiach benYosef?---impossible! We would never have believed it! This is alluded to by that episode when the brothers didn’t recognize him until he says, “I’m Yosef.” It wasn’t only because they didn’t expect to find him. They had been talking with him for days when he’s accusing them of being spies, etc. and, despite repeated contact, they didn’t recognize him. Imagine the deception being practiced, that the Ribono Shel Olam---G-D concealed from them who Yosef was! That’s exactly what will happen with Mashiach ben Yosef. People will know him, will have known him, but not that he is the mashiach. They’ll have met him, have spoken to him, thinking: sounds like a nice guy, right? He’s probably intelligent, bright---know what I mean? But he will be Mashiach ben Yosef.


Why did G-D do that? Why did He allow such an incredible deception? It’s because a mashiach needs concealment from the Satan. If he finds out the identity of the redeemer, he’ll mekatreg----bring a prosecutorial case, examine every detail of this individual’s behavior and try to stop him.


G-D does this all the time. We know that by David, that it was concealed that he was to become king and that Mashiach ben David would descend from him. Another way He does this is to have the mashiach born in sin. We see this with Lot’s daughter and with Ruth, the Moabite, who is the progenitor of the mother of David.


It’s the same idea with Yosef. His brothers perceived him as a threat to their family stability; this is why they sold him. Imagine selling a person who has that type of spiritual height, selling him down to Egypt in the middle of the tumah! Of course, they had no idea who this man really was, that he was so great as to have been allotted two shvatim---tribes (something I will talk more about). A tribe cannot have a tribe because he doesn’t have the loftiness of neshama---soul to give birth to another tribe. You have Menashe and Ephraim, two tribes of Israel, but how is that possible? In brief, the neshama of Yosef was far above the neshamot of his brothers, lofty to the extent that he could give birth to tribes even though he is a tribe. I’ll leave this for another time.


So, at the End, justice is suspended for some duration of time when G-D asserts his awesome authority and dispenses justice saying: I must bring the geulah now. This urgency shows how close this world is to destruction, not only from threats of world war but from utterly incomprehensible amounts of corruption and tumah that is rampant globally.


Again, Yosef’s revelation is that when he does reveal himself, all are stunned, as I said. You could have sat and talked with him---that would be interesting, wouldn’t it? Imagine you meet him at a wedding and you sit and talk with him thinking: this guy’s interesting, unique perhaps, but the messiah? His concealment ensures his survival. I’ve discussed this before, the sufferings of the mashiach, why and how he suffers.


Future Merit Affects the Present


This idea of dispensing with justice---which is not dispensed with completely---is like in Egypt when the Jews were about to enter the sea which was soon to split. The malach---angel of Egypt said, “Why do you want to destroy my people, the Egyptians? Hebrews too worship idols so why only punish Egypt and allow the Hebrews to survive?” The reason given lies in what the angel was saying, that G-D was denying justice because both nations were equally sinful. G-D agrees that, yes, they were equally sinful but the Jews would survive---why? G-D counts a future merit as though it exists in the present. When they would arrive at Sinai, they would accept the Torah saying that they would do (accept) and then would understand what they’d accepted. They would fulfill it before understanding it. Such was the greatness of their response. In the merit of that future occurrence, they were protected. G-D “uses” the future many times. If something will happen, something that confers much merit, it will be counted in judgment of today. G-D’s knowledge is fact even in the present to determine the future to reflect back on the here and now.


The Jews will accept the messiah and become, as a result, incredibly righteous when there’s still free-will. We’re not talking about Mashiach ben David. This merit of their acceptance will be used now by G-D to remove any claims upon justice that the Satan could argue to remove those claims that the Jews don’t deserve the Redemption.


It is comforting to know that G-D is not going to wait---as they say----to the bitter end like in Egypt. Imagine if G-D had said: well, I’m sorry but justice hasn’t been served, the Jews haven’t done the tikkun. On the contrary, they’re holding at the 49th Gate of Tumah---defilement.


But G-D said, instead: I want to rescue them, to stop them from descending in the 50th Gate of contamination from where there is no redemption. We see from this that G-D will not allow justice to determine, ultimately, what He does. He can intervene, interfere, but will do so only because He considers a future merit to influence the present. The pasuk doesn’t say “rachamim”---mercy; it says “rachamim gedolim”---great mercy. In this we understand that the demands of justice can be suspended.


As I remind you, it is not only that the Jews will be redeemed; G-D will go “into the klippah,” into those places of corruption, go among the nations, and redeem them from within. It’s not just that He will get them to Israel and provide them with safety. It will be Mashiach ben Yosef’s job to go into the tumah to accomplish this. He will deal with the nations of the world, vanquishing them. This is what is alluded to in the blessing that Moshe gives to Yosef’s tribes. He says that Yosef is the horns of the Re’em, that creature with majestic horns protruding from its head. With these emanations from the head, alluding to chochma---wisdom, Yosef will vanquish the nations. He will battle with evil until he destroys it. That’s war.


The Higher Calling


G-D Himself is sick of this and wants to end it. If we ourselves are sick and tired of the evil, the illogic and irrationality, the defilement and contamination of this world, imagine G-d looking at this world and likely saying to Himself: what have I created? It’s an important principle that everybody must deserve his reward (in the Future World) but when you observe what’s happening.....it’s important to remember that evil doesn’t necessarily mean to inflict harm or rob or even kill. It can even mean a person’s preoccupation in promotion of self, of disinterest in any understanding of another world where man has a higher purpose to realize a spiritual reality and to worship G-D and do His will. Even if a person is what we call an “upright citizen,” observes the laws of the land---fine. But Judaism teaches that such upright lawfulness is not enough. One needs to observe the laws of G-D which are the concepts of spirituality. This is the mistake many people make.


America prides itself being a place of fairness, of individual decency, but even that is not the purpose of mankind’s existence. Its purpose is exemplified by the purpose of the Jewish people, to be holy and righteous. Within that context, you are to be good. The standards of civilization are different than Judaic standards. Being a good citizen allows society to exist, allows people to live together, to fulfill common needs, but the requirements to deserve the Future World are more stringent. One must acknowledge that we are really spiritual, have souls, are denizens of another universe of a different dimension of reality in which there is kedusha---holiness. The Torah says that we are to be “holy,” not “upright citizens.” The world’s standard is a type of evil because it denies mankind’s true calling for what a person should be. Ruchniut---spirituality, holiness, the lack of these, to aspire to these, is what is wrong with the world. G-D’s patience is exhausted.


The Torah tells us that G-D is rachum v’chanun---merciful and gracious and He says, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and merciful to whom I will be merciful.” It sounds like double-talk because it seems so obvious, self-explanatory. What is not obvious is the meaning that He will be gracious because: I will decide to whom I will be gracious whether he deserves it or not. G-D is saying: I decide, not his acts. As we’ve come to understand, what G-D gives is not dependent solely on din---justice because His Will is supreme. The same can be said of His mercy. Ultimately, nothing can oppose Him---nothing. As it says in parashat Ha’azinu: “I cure and I heal.” Also, it says, “From My Hand there is no rescuer.” These are statements that bespeak the quality of G-D’s power that nothing can oppose. It also says, “ein koach acher”---there is no other power, not even a shred, even including justice and the accusations or statements of the Satan. G-D just moves all else aside and does what He does and this is a central idea of the geula.


We have to hope that moment is here, the moment of the secret that Yosef’s inability to restrain himself any longer is that expression of G-D’s will to exert His will to end it. The secret is to protect mashiach based on his handicaps that nobody could imagine, that this guy could be a messiah. And Yosef’s revelation isn’t that he’s some guy in the street declaring himself to be Yosef to his brothers. He is Yosef, the Grand Vizier of Egypt, the second most powerful man in the empire, the greatest nation in the world of that time. The mashiach will, likewise, be the greatest person of the Jewish people, the greatest person on the planet because he will have been freed.


I believe it will happen soon because the world has stepped over the red line. The depravity is irreversible. Evil’s depravity is the central feature of the war, of civilization, what they stand for. That is the red line they’ve crossed.


Q & A


Participant: How will we know that G-D has ended it?


R’Kessin: The mere appearance of Mashiach ben Yosef marks the end. But before he appears, the evil will grow to such an extent that it will be incredible. And that evil has two parts, two types: first, it’s about domination in terms of what the world’s destruction---like what China wants to do---developing hypersonic missiles to destroy---what---Bolivia? No, obviously these are to dominate the world. The other evil is the tumah of civilization. Mankind has decided that it wants to remove G-D totally from the acts of man which is what the progressive agenda wants, to dominate and throw G-D out. They want to get rid of religion, take over, like the ruling party in China, the CCP, does. The world has reached that stage, so G-D will step in even if evil has a claim because people are sinning.


Participant: I’m curious about this night, auguring the 8th day, being “Zos Chanukah” the final day that has the most Light. I know some rabbis compare this last day with Yom Kippur during “Neila” (the prayer) when the Gates are open for all, comparing it to these next 24 hours. Why is that so?


R’Kessin. I mentioned previously that the eight day of Chanukah parallel the eight days of Sukkoth, that it’s really a holiday when, suddenly, the agreement between G-D and the Jews has been rededicated, re-formed, reinstated and that the eighth day of Sukkoth is not about Jews rededicating themselves but about G-D affixing His signature. So, the first seven days of Sukkoth are the Jews’ attempt to rededicate themselves through service to the tikkun, with the eighth day being G-D’s signature. This is why there are no mitzvot on the eighth day. Seven days is the input of the Jews; the eighth day is G-D’s contribution.


It’s the same with Chanukah. The first seven days represents our input declaring that G-D runs everything, which is the antithesis of what Greek Hellenism declares. The eighth day is G-D’s revelation as to Who He really is as a response to our input, our sacrifice represented by the first seven days.


There’s the old question regarding the menorah as to why we celebrate eight days rather than seven. It is the seven that burned miraculously with only one day’s oil. When you think about it, the miracle wasn’t for eight days but only for seven. It shouldn’t have burned for seven days but for only one. The miracle, actually, is our very existence, doing the avodah---service. The fact Jews exist is a miracle.


G-D shows us this in the birth of Yitzchak, a birth that could never happen. Avraham was 100-years-old at the time. Sarah was 90. It was a nes niglah---open miracle. What this tells us, of course, is that the existence of the Jew is miraculous so, therefore, seven days burns miraculously. They did the avodah. The eighth day, however, is not a miracle because, for one day, it certainly could have burned with the oil it had. In a certain sense, that singular day represents G-D Who doesn’t need miracles to do what He does. He is the miracle or, ---rather I should say---His actions are Him so there’s nothing miraculous. There’s nothing that can stop Him from doing what He wants.


Since this is the case, Zos Chanukah really is the final upshot of the entire thing. In fact, it is in the eighth day of it being anointed that refers to mashiach. That last day is the greatest day because it is G-D’s interaction with the Jews’ accomplishment represented by the seven days. So Chanukah and Sukkoth are parallel. In both, G-D demonstrates His absolute authority and supremacy.


It is also said that Chanukah is the end of the judgment that started on Rosh Ha’Shana with the writing of the judgment, with Yom Kippur being the signature upon it. Hoshana Rabbah was the seal of judgment but you still have to deliver it. Chanukah ends the delivery. Those are the four times that punctuate the process of judgment. Whatever that judgment is will be actualized throughout the entire year. So, Chanukah, in many ways, is an incredible time to pray for whatever you want to happen.


Participant: Let’s say that, technically speaking, G-D couldn't bring the Redemption because the final delivery is not until tomorrow.


R’Kessin: Yes, that’s right although, obviously, the Ribono Shel Olam---literally, Master of the World can do whatever He wants. Today is a very auspicious day. It is also the yahrzeit---memorial of Avraham avinu---our father. He died on this day. Some people hold that it is earlier but some others hold that it is today.


Partcipant: If Avraham’s yahrzeit is on Rosh Chodesh Teves, is there a reason---because the energy now is supposedly shifted to Esav because Teves is his month---that perhaps his passing on that day shifts the energy so that his merit could help us?


R’Kessin: Yes, there is not doubt this is true. What is the greatest representation of evil?---Esav. He represents the greatest, longest, most intense form of evil, the exact opposite of what G-D wants. Who started the entire opposition to that evil?---Avraham. His death, the death of a tzaddik----righteous individual on that day makes it a propitious day. It sums up the person’s life so the fact that Avraham’s yahrzeit is on Zos Chanukah indicates that his whole life was about opposing the “Teves,” evil of Esav, that whole policy.


Participant: Overall rabbi, this holiday with the Light that we get from the

Ohr ha’Ganuz---concealed Light from Chanukah, what is your feeling about everything that’s happening?


R’Kessin: In light of what’s happening, I have a very good feeling. I think yesterday was very significant. Shabbat, as I mentioned.....there are seven things that happened on Shabbat, really incredible...the holiness of Shabbat, the parasha Mikeitz about Yosef’s release from prison and his appointment as Grand Vizier, Rosh Chodesh Teves, the total eclipse of the sun---all happened yesterday. Whoever heard of a day that has so many symbolic references to holiness? They all converged on one day. It will be revealed later on.


Participant: Does it have to be that mashiach comes on the first night of Passover?


R’Kessin: You have to remember that there are different stages to the Redemption. When the chazal---sages tell us we were redeemed in the month of Nisan and will be redeemed again in that month, does that time mark the beginning, or the appearance or the victory of Mashiach ben Yosef over the nations of the world? Is it the entry of it or the victory of Mashiach ben David over the entire world because he’ll be fighting Gog u’Magog? Which stage does Nisan apply to? It could start much earlier. Nisan will, obviously, mark a major stage of the Redemption itself.


Participant: Did you hear that Israel is sending representatives to the White House to convince them to attack Iran because they have nuclear capability?


R’Kessin: No, but I don't believe Biden will do anything. Based on the midrash---commentaryYalkut Shimoni,” Iran will attempt to do something. Will they achieve anything? Even if they can launch....depends on the missile....but they will achieve something and I feel there will be a major war between Israel and whoever contends with Iran. It will come to a showdown. (garbled mention of CNN and the firing of Cuomo’s brother from his job as reporter) They are incredibly arrogant people. It’s tragic they got caught up with such arrogance. It’s a blow to the Cuomo family. He had a great job and now he’s gone.


Participant: Does this show that evil is losing its grip?


R’Kessin: Yes, that’s another sign. That is retribution to evil that should not be happening. Even though evil has been given permission to dominate, it’s slipping. Even Biden is down in the polls---to 36% I think---and Harris doesn’t even have 28%. They’re losing---big time---and G-D is blinding them to where they don’t even understand that it’s their own policies that are destroying them. So, it’s a good sign.


This is like Zeresh, the wife of Haman, who, when Haman tells her that Mordechai has been appointed, honored, Zeresh said something important. She said that, once you see someone is falling, they will surely fall. Once you see evil slipping, see it’s not succeeding, that’s the beginning of the end. If it were in its prime, it would not falter. All the evil in America....G-D is slowly taking them out. Cuomo and his brother are part of that.