Given: December 27, 2021
We are approaching the parasha---Torah portion about Egypt---the book of Shemos, “Vayeira,” and I thought it would be interesting to gain an understanding of what all this means. There are certain ideas which I’ve mentioned which bear summing up and to which I’d like to add other dimensions in order to understand what happened then and what’s happening now.
I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating. In this parasha, Moshe goes among his fellow Jews and sees one hitting another. He asks the assailant why he is attacking his fellow Jew. The assailant responds, “Are you going to kill me like you killed the Egyptian?” Moshe rabbeinu---our rabbi/teacher responds with a strange statement, “achen noda ha’davar”---surely the matter is known.” What does that mean? The simple meaning conveys Moshe’s assumption that this Jew will inform Pharoah, the authorities, of his deed killing an Egyptian and he will be imperiled, harmed, perhaps killed.
Rashi says that these ideas we could attribute to Moshe were not the real cause of his concern. This statement by the assailant prompted Moshe to wonder as to why the Jews are punished so severely, more than other nations. “Surely the matter is known” meant, to Moshe, that the matter is known to me because I am aware that the Jews speak loshon ha’ra---evil speech and such speech will reveal to Pharoah that I killed an Egyptian. Moshe realized that it is their engagement in loshon ha’ra that is the cause of their great and singular suffering. This realization occurred when Moshe was very young, before he fled Egypt.
Does this tell us that the reason why the Jews are in exile in Egypt is due to their engaging in negative, defamatory speech? It would certainly seem so. Moshe fled because his suspicions were realized. The Jewish assailant informed on Moshe and a death decree was issued against him. He fled Egypt and was gone many years.
We find that, at the sne---burning bush, G-D approaches Moshe and tells him to take the Jews out (of Egypt). He instructs Moshe to put his hand in his coat, then take it, then repeat that action, demonstrating that the condition of tzaras---a skin-type plague was momentarily created on his flesh and, just as quickly, cured. What was G-D conveying by creating this disease and quickly curing it?
The Kley Yakor wrote what became a famous commentary on this episode in the chumash---the 5 books of Moses. Moshe asks why he is being sent to liberate the Jews when they will not be able to go out due to the loshon ha’ra they speak. G-D’s demonstration of creating, and quickly curing, the tsaras---a malady afflicting those who engage in loshon ha’ra, as the Gemara explains---was G-D’s way of explaining that, yes, the Jews were exiled due to their loshon ha’ra, but this was no longer the case. They stopped speaking thus and, therefore, deserved to be taken out of Egypt. There is a midrash---exegetical commentary which says, three times, that the Jews were redeemed from Egypt solely due to the fact that nobody spoke loshon ha’ra. It’s an amazing idea!
We can ask what caused them to stop speaking loshon ha’ra. The exile in Egypt was terminated but the midrash does not explain what happened to cause their loshon ha’ra to totally cease. We know only that it says that they stopped. The next questions we have to ask are: why are they in Egypt because of loshon ha’ra and why did they get out because they stopped?
We know that the reason they were in Egypt is because they worshipped idols. In fact, when they stood at the Yam Suf---Sea of Reeds, the angel of Egypt asked G-D, “Why is it that You want to take the Jews out, save them and kill the Egyptians when the Jews too worship idols just like the Egyptians?” We see, therefore, that the Jews did worship idols. In fact, we know that the Jews were at the mem-tet sha’arei tumah---49th Gate of Defilement; that’s how bad they had become. This raises the question as to what their idol worship had to do with loshon ha’ra.
This question brings to the fore a very important concept, as we’ll see, because it has a great bearing on, and application to, today’s times.
As I’ve mentioned previously, based on a gemara in Sanhedrin where it says that “ha’im Mashiach ben David bo”--- the Mashiach ben David will only come in the “dor”---generation that’s “kulum chayavim”---completely sinful or “zako’im”---meritorious. It’s astounding! It’s saying that the generation in which mashiach comes can only be a generation in which everybody is meritorious, meaning doing mitzvos so as to complete the tikkun---rectification so that redemption is here, or a generation in which everyone is sinning. That’s astounding because, if everyone is sinning, why would they deserve the messiah?
The gemara is alluding to very important ideas. What is important to know is what the gemara is referring to a “generation in which everybody is sinning.” What does that mean? That generation of Jews finds itself in a climate, an environment, of mem-tet sharei tumah, that 49th Gate of Defilement, of sinning, that they’ve created. So, again we ask: why would the mashiach come in a generation in which everyone is sinning? This doesn’t mean “everyone,” literally, but refers to an overwhelming majority of Jews who’ve created an environment of tremendous contamination. What does this indicate?
Mankind goes on its way, sometimes being good, sometimes not so good but, when a generation….I’ll give you an example.
Let’s take the generation of Sdom and Amorah in the generation of Avraham avinu---our father. The Ribono Shel Olam---Master of the Universe appears to Avraham and says: I’m going to wipe out Sdom, which is remarkable. G-D was going to wipe out the entire city, and not only that city but all other cities connected to Sdom. It was a powerful city in those days of city-states, and G-D was going to wipe them out. G-D has a dialogue with Avraham in which Avraham is negotiating with G-D to save the inhabitants. In any case, G-D intended to destroy these cities supernaturally. He sent malachim---angels to wipe them out, with one angel designated to save Lot. Why wipe them out?
These cities had created an environment of mem-tet sharei tumah, that level of corruption so severe that they had to be destroyed. It focused on two terrible sins. They made a mockery of civilization with many laws that---hard to believe---for instance, if someone would come and bring a thief to court, the court would make liable the victim, not the perpetrator!---the victim! The victim would have to pay the thief! Why? If the victim did not have the item the thief stole, the thief would never have stolen it. Can you believe this kind of “justice”? It’s not only that the city practices a bizarre form of justice, but it perpetuated a mockery of justice. Civilization cannot survive with such laws. That’s the first thing.
The second aspect of Sdom was that they were horribly corrupt regarding sexual matters. We find that the angels that came to rescue Lot and destroy the city were imperiled. The city had gotten wind of their visit and many of its residents went to Lot’s residence to have some kind of homosexual contact with these two angels who they perceived as ordinary men. In order to preserve the honor of these two men---in truth, angels---Lot asked that they not be touched, that they were under his protection and, instead, offered them his daughters, which is very difficult to understand, his willingness to sacrifice his daughters to prevent these acts to be committed upon these two “strangers.” Lot’s offer is refused; the people want those two guys. They begin to barge through the doorway of Lot’s house to take the two guys by force. Little did they know they were fooling around with the wrong guys. The malachim---angels cast a spell of blindness, blinding the whole city. Unbelievable, right? What does the chumash say? These people didn’t even care and, despite being blind, they wearied themselves trying to break down the door. The malachim tell Lot to grab his daughters and sons-in-law and flee.
We see from this that the city was corrupt not only regarding criminal law but in matters of sexual deviation. A city cannot survive that way therefore G-D said, “I must destroy it.” It had reached that 49th level of degradation and deserved to be wiped out.
I always find it interesting, the question….before G-D destroys a city or a total municipality, He always issues a warning. We see that He does so. Before the mabul---Flood, the building of the ark by Noah took 120 years to warn the inhabitants. In Ninveh too they were warned so why didn’t He warn Sdom? He was going to kill everybody.
The answer is right in the pasuk---verse. When is it appropriate to warn a city, or a person?---when they fear death. You can say, “Well, you fear death and, if you continue doing what you’re doing, you will die.” Since the person fears death, he will stop. But, what happens if a person doesn’t fear death? In fact, his desire to commit the sin is greater than his fear of death. In this case, you can’t warn him; he’s not interested. In Sdom, when the angels cast a spell of blindness on the entire city, the population knew these were not normal human beings they sought to violate, that they were supernatural. The normal reaction to this extraordinary situation would be the perpetrators saying to themselves, “We need to flee because they’ll kill us next.” But, they didn’t. The Torah tells us, on the contrary, they wearied themselves breaking down the door. That doesn’t make sense. We could think to ask them: aren’t you afraid that these guys who can blind you will kill you next? Obviously, they didn’t care because it shows you the extent of the hashchasa---corruption. Knowing they could die didn’t diminish their desire for evil. Such is the 49th Gate.
We see the same with the Flood. We know why the Flood was unleashed. There were two reasons. The first cause was that there was a tremendous amount of g’zela---robbery. “Robbery” means that nobody’s possessions are safe. It’s a mockery of justice, a violation of basic law. What is “law” really for?---to secure the safety of citizens and their possessions, in order to maintain a lifestyle, enable business to be conducted. If everybody is stealing from everybody else, how do you live in a city like that? It’s not merely your life that is threatened. Everything you own is threatened. How can a civilization be maintained? That’s the generation of the Flood.
The second sin was their incredibly deviant sexual behavior. The midrash Raba in “Noach,” says the following: the reason why the decree against the people of that generation of the Flood was sealed was---listen to this!---because a man would marry a man or an animal. We’re not just talking about homosexuality but also bestiality. The law deemed it necessary to write a kesuba---marriage contract, legalizing it. They enshrined it into law. Can you believe this? Such deviant acts were done so often that they made it legal. A contract was drawn up to spell out the obligations they would have to that which they “owned.” Well, guess what! This means that the Flood was the result of that generation’s position at the 49th level. Mankind had descended to that state where they invited in the 49th level of defilement, and the world could not continue because civilization cannot maintain itself.
So, G-D had one of two choices. G-D wants to press the “restart button” which means that, if the world has reached such a low environmental level at the 49th Gate in which it cannot survive, then G-D must press that restart button. In some way, He has to end it, like He did in Sdom when He wiped out several cities. One of the cities he allowed Lot and his family to flee to but, basically, G-D wiped out that entire section of Eretz Yisrael near the Dead Sea. In the generation of the Flood, He wiped out the entire world. Can you imagine the seriousness of their sins, how serious that decree was to result in the total annihilation of mankind? G-D warned them and they didn’t care. G-D created mankind for a specific purpose, one I’ve mentioned many times. It wasn’t being fulfilled so G-D wiped them out but allowed Noach and his sons and their wives and all the animals to survive to restart civilization.
Besides this, we see something else that’s interesting; when G-D “presses the restart button,” what does He do? Gemara Sanhedrin reveals an awesome idea, that one of the ways of restarting civilization is to end it, but end it not through utter destruction but by means of bringing the mashiach---yes! This is what it means when it says that the messiah can only come in a generation that is either meritorious, when everything has been accomplished, or in a generation which is so bad, at that 49th Gate. G-D must start it all over again. This time, however, G-D doesn’t start over; He ends it by bringing mashiach. Where do we see this?
We certainly didn’t see it by Sdom. We didn’t see it by the generation of the Flood. We do see it in Egypt. This is a very important idea because, as we will see, we are now in the same exact situation as then in Egypt. The Jews were sinning terribly, had descended to that 49th Gate from a very lofty position. When they first entered Egypt as 70 neshamos---holy souls who came with Ya’akov avinu, they were very high spiritually. After 210 years, they had fallen, worshipped idols and, as a result, brought (lower) the environment of Egypt which was like that anyway. Egypt was an incredibly licentious place, zima---lewd. The Jews were involved in avoda zara---idol worship as I mentioned.
G-D decided that if the Jews slip further toward the 50th Gate of defilement from which there is no redemption possible, will have descended too far, will have overwhelmed the entire place with evil, their sins having become so grave that they will no longer have free will---somebody born into such a situation where the environment is so sinful doesn’t have a chance, cannot do mitzvos, cannot be righteous---and can’t get out. So, G-D decides that if they are all chayuvim---guilty, He wants to press that restart button.
This is where the problems begin because the mashiach is not coming because the tikkun---rectification has been completed; he’s coming to save the Jews.
In such a situation, the following occurs: The Satan, the great heavenly prosecuting attorney, suddenly stands up, enters the beis din shel l’ma’ala---Heavenly Tribunal, and begins to protest. He has a right to do so because it is his assignment, to defend justice. Here’s what he says:
First, he says, “What do you mean? You can’t bring the mashiach.” What does he mean? Who’s the mashiach? He’s the one tasked to take the Jews out of Egypt, bring them to Eretz Yisrael, give them the Torah, and so on---a Moshe rabbeinu. The Satan continues, “They haven’t done the tikkun,” supposedly done during the 400 years they were to have been in Egypt but were only there 210 years so the tikkun isn’t complete.
The second argument of the Satan’s protest is, “How could you bring Redemption which is a climate of unbelievable righteousness, holiness, visions of Divine prophecy? They don’t deserve it.”
The Satan’s third argument is that justice must be served. They’re sinning so much. The Satan argues that “his people” those who do evil, should be dominant; it’s only fair!
The Satan is being mekatreg---nourished because G-D wants to bring mashiach, to press the restart button instead of destroying the Jews, but the Satan has a claim to his insistence on the continued domination of evil.
In order to bring mashiach in this climate, certain things have to happen. One of them is the eradication of loshon ha’ra. Why? Without going into it in depth---I have an entire shiur on the inner meaning, the inner true power of speaking loshon ha’ra and you can even get the transcription---when a person speaks loshon ha’ra, that is the basic way you induce a kitrug---a prosecutorial action against yourself in the Heavenly Court. It’s mida-kneged-mida---measure-for-measure. When such speech condemns another Jew, the Satan has the right to condemn the speaker in the Heavenly Tribunal. Such condemnation is called a “prosecution.” The great damage that this does is that it awakens the judicial court, invoking a judgment upon the person who spoke loshon ha’ra. Since they condemned, denigrated a Jew, they themselves can be condemned. The Satan has the right to “open your file” that contains all your sins and, for every word of defamation or denigration you uttered, the Satan can pull out one file---one word, one file. Two words, two files. With such evidence, the Satan can prosecute. In fact, loshon ha’ra is the primary way a person finds himself in court. A person’s failure to guard his speech is the primary way he invokes the judicial process. It doesn’t invoke a judicial process against the one he defamed or accused, but against himself. It isn’t his own sins that invoke the process; it’s his defamation of another.
In the reverse, if a person doesn’t speak as such, if he guards his speech, makes it his business to refrain from loshon ha’ra, then it is difficult for the Satan to prosecute him. The Satan will not have the wherewithal to invoke the judicial process against this person. It turns out that shmiras ha’loshon---guarding one’s speech is one of the greatest ways to prevent your going to court in heaven. Therefore, you preserve your mazal---fortune. All the good that lies in store for you is not disturbed. It is the best way a person can protect himself. Being tried in the Heavenly Tribunal can wreak havoc with the good things in a person’s life. In addition to not speaking it, one should be careful not to listen to such speech nor believe the content of such speech. I’m not going to get into the details any further here.
What Moshe said was this---and we can now understand it beautifully---I know the Jews worship idols but if they don’t speak talk loshon ha’ra, then there are no prosecutions in Heaven because the Satan cannot invoke a judicial process. His supposition was, I think they don’t speak loshon ha’ra so, even though they sin and are that 49th Gate, they are protected.
But when Moshe realized that one Jew was going to speak against him because he killed the Egyptian, he realized that they do speak loshon ha’ra which meant that the fact that they worshipped idols and introduced the evil commensurate with the 49th Gate is what was destroying them. That is why they were in exile. All this is known to the Satan and so he invokes the judicial process against the Jews. This is what Moshe meant when the Torah attributes to Moshe: “Surely the matter is known.” It’s an amazing concept.
This is why, later on, we find that when Moshe is being tasked by G-D to take the Jews out of Egypt, Moshe correctly argues “You can’t take them out.” It was Moshe’s way of conveying that: You, G-D, created “justice” and You must answer the Satan who is screaming that the Jews do, indeed, worship idols which he is aware of because they invoked a judicial process having spoken ha’ra.
This is when G-D conveys: no they don’t speak it anymore and the symbolism for this was G-D’s demonstration of the tsaras on Moshe’s hand when he was told to place it in his coat and out again twice. This conveyed that there was a movement in Egypt which made the Jews realize what was destroying them, that it wasn’t their sins but the exposure of their sins to the Satan because of their loshon ha’ra. Moshe realized he can now proceed to save them, as a mashiach, because they stopped Satan’s ability to prosecute them for their sins.
Now we understand something else. When they finally get to the Reed Sea, they begin to malign Moshe and G-d with complaints about being brought there and how they will die in the desert and so on. What were they doing?---speaking loshon ha’ra against Moshe and G-D which would empower the Satan to, again, invoke the judicial process. Now we understand what Moshe meant when he declared to the Jews at the shore of the Reed Sea, “Stand back and watch the salvation of G-D; He will fight for you. Be silent!”
We can ask ourselves, “Where does the ‘be silent’ come from?” What does this have to do with G-D’s fighting on their behalf? As Moshe surmised, this is why G-D can take them out of their bondage in Egypt, because they don’t invoke prosecution for their sins because they refrain from loshon ha’ra. The directive to “be silent” preserves their worthiness despite their sinfulness. But if they start up the old business of speaking loshon ha’ra, invoking those kitrugim---prosecutions, G-D will have to justify His acts of rescuing them to the Satan! Moshe’s statement is a way of warning the Jews that they were making it worse for themselves so they must “be silent.”
Meanwhile, the Satan had brought those arguments up, so here’s the problem. The Jews are being taken out, G-D has pressed the restart button, but the truth is that the tikkun was not complete. It’s not only that; their sinning prompts G-D to do something remarkable in order to satisfy justice. When Pharoah ordered the Jews to gather straw at night making their suffering worse---imagine making the bricks by day and having to gather the straw for their manufacture by night, and without flashlights!---such was G-D’s tactic for satisfying the demands of justice. This was the cause of the escalation of their suffering. It was Moshe’s coming as mashiach, the pressing of that restart button, that required the decree to gather the straw. G-D’s actions to prevent their fall into the 50th Gate required that justice be satisfied because the Jews were unworthy.
There’s one more thing the Jews needed in order to get out of Egypt. There was a colossal judgment being considered in Heaven as to whether or not the Egyptians die and, if so, do the Jews deserve to die too. The angel of Egypt argued as to why only the Egyptians were to die due to their idol worship when Jews too worshipped idols. G-D said that, in the merit of the Torah that they would accept, they could be rescued.
We see something very interesting, that the merit of accepting the Torah can actually stand up against the extent of sin that placed them at the 49th Gate. With the merit that they would earn when they would say, “na’ase v’nishma”---we will do and we will understand, they became worthy.
Now we understand what has to come: Mashiach has to come as a restart button. Suffering has to greatly increase to satisfy justice because we are unworthy. Shmiras ha’loshon---guarding one’s speech must be activated to reduce the substantial number of prosecutions pending, and there must be some type of merit of Torah to quieten the guilt of being at the level of that 49th Gate. This is what happened at the time of Egypt.
The Current Time
This brings us to the current time. Whether we realize it or not, we are at the 49th Gate. Eleven million Jews, at least, are “gone” to assimilation, are disappearing. It’s true that much Torah is being learned but it’s a small population---maybe a couple hundred-thousand Jews---and maybe a million are observant, maybe even two million, but the overwhelming majority of Jews are assimilated, intermarried. You can read the statistics and you can’t believe it. Seven out of every ten Jews who are not orthodox, not observant, assimilate and/or intermarry. It’s incredible what’s happening and it’s true all over the world. The mem-tet sha’arei tumah---the 49th Gate of defilement is where we’re located.
It would seem that the Jews would disappear completely but, obviously, G-D will not allow that.
It’s not only this. Look at civilization, what the non-Jews are doing. In June or July of 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court---I think the fifth judge was Arthur Kennedy---permitted sexual deviation constitutionally. The judgement declared that one cannot discriminate against a homosexual. It legalized the LGBTQ-plus agenda. Not only is it legal and tolerated, but being homosexual or transgender is preferred, even celebrated.
Look at the corruption, what is happening in America which has, heretofore, been considered the “beacon” of justice for the entire world. It comes out that the entire world is at the 49th Gate, identical to that generation of the Flood.
If this is the case, then the world has to end, like it did with the Flood. This is what I’ve tried to show you. G-D will not tolerate the destruction of civilization. Remember what I explained, that the decree was sealed only because a man could marry another man or an animal and had to write a ketubah---marriage contract. That’s what sealed it. It wasn’t even theft or other sins. We are now in a state identical to that model. Hard to believe we are in such a situation. The world is in the situation when it can be destroyed. That is one of the reasons why we see such incredible weather extremes seemingly out of nowhere. It’s not climate problems; that’s nonsense. It’s because G-D is warning the world that He will not tolerate this.
If this is the case, we know, like the Torah shows us, G-D must press the restart button. It’s already at the end of the tikkun process, toward the end, so He won’t destroy the world. The 4000-year-long exile of the Jews produced so much suffering enabling the world to be redeemed despite the depth of its depravity.
G-D will, therefore, bring mashiach—that’s right! We are the generation that will see mashiach, first Mashiach ben Yosef, and then Mashiach ben David. The world is being prepared for that. Now we understand. If that’s the case, we know there’s a stunning number of prosecutions---just think of it! It would go something like this:
The prosecutor says, “Wait a minute! The Jews don’t deserve Redemption.”
G-D says, “You’re right.”
This is one of the reasons for Covid. In fact, the midrash says that, before mashiach comes, there will be a tremendous “dever”---plague, epidemic, pandemic on the earth. It’s a midrash! Its purpose is to satisfy justice. The world will end in righteousness in the sense that justice will have been satisfied. The pandemic will have seen to that.
Satisfying justice is also why the world is in such turmoil. It’s an upheaval, upside-down in terms of the economy, people dying, so much misery and fear. Mankind’s energies and progress have been halted. This situation is not limited to one country. Omicron, though relatively benign, has spread with unbelievable speed all over the planet. G-D wants to rush things. He isn’t going to wait for years. He wants to do it now, so the suffering has to accelerate with enormous speed to satisfy justice.
When the Satan argues that “my people” should dominate given the extent of evil in the world, his motive speaks to his interest in getting Jews to sin, more of them to sin more. Such sin is what the Satan nourishes himself from. The kedusha---holiness that would have gone to the Jews from their mitzvos, their service to G-D, goes, instead, to the Satan when they sin. Such is what nourishes the Satan---more nourishment, more holiness. That’s the name of the game, to get the Jews to sin. For that to happen, evil must dominate.
G-D says, “You’re right.” He gives permission for evil to dominate and that’s why, all of a sudden, you find liberals, the Democrats, the “progressives,” engaging in such an incredible amount of evil. America is topsy-turvy. This “woke” generation is ludicrous. This “cancel culture” movement is ludicrous. These decrees and mandates that people are making to deal with the budget, with debt, are crazy. This is what constitutes the domination of evil.
In Israel, we have the greatest---meaning worst---generation of Jews who constitute the Eirev Rav making war against G-D and Judaism. (The Eirev Rav are Jews who have the wherewithal to influence other Jews to distance themselves from Torah, from the covenant with G-D.) They want to alter the laws of Shabbos, of conversion, marriage, divorce, diminish Torah learning in schools, the army, even management of the laws governing the Kotel in Jerusalem! It has never been so bad.
Evil dominates the world. Iran is building up to become a nuclear power and America, basically, doesn’t care. They’re not home anymore; they’ve checked out. Then there’s Russia which wants to create instability in Europe and elsewhere. Then, of course, there’s CCP in China, one of the greatest dangers that the world faces.
All this is nothing more than evil dominating the globe. Why?---same idea. It’s part of the prosecutions of the Satan who says, “Wait a minute! I have the justified right to dominate--not goodness, righteousness, holiness!” He’s right because of the world being at the level of the 49th Gate.
Rise in Consciousness: Shmiras ha’Loshon and Learning Mishnayos
Two interesting things you will also note, that during the last thirty years, there’s been a formidable rise in consciousness regarding shmiras ha’loshon. Do you wonder why? It’s been generated because of the Chofetz Chaim. He’s the one who, in 1871, began to write the sefer---book about the subject of loshon ha’ra. That’s a long time ago. The shmiras ha’loshon “movement” really starts at the end of the 1980’s. Why? This is no accident. Like Egypt, G-D needs the Jews to stop speaking loshon ha’ra to minimize the prosecutions. This is part of the strategy, the plan which says that this redemption will be as the first, the one from Egypt. This is why there needs to be a rise in consciousness about guarding one’s speech. It is critical to spread such consciousness as far and wide as possible in order to subjugate the claims of the Satan. We are replicating what happened then.
One more thing: Just like the Jews were saved because of matan Torah---the giving of the Torah that they accepted unconditionally, G-D said He would save them and not the Egyptians. Now, we understand something else, a midrash using very interesting language that I’ve quoted before, but now you’ll understand why it says it as it does.
The midrash is from midrash Raba in parshas--chapter “Tzav” from sefer---book of Vayikra, section 3. It says that the exiles will only be gathered---meaning the exile will end---in the merit of the learning of mishnayos---the detailed content of the Mishna.
We can understand learning---which is nice---Torah, and learning it is the greatest thing of all, but what has it to do with ending the exile? We need that last “lynchpin” which is to accept Torah. That’s why it’s critical that mishnayos be learned. Learning Torah is a double-edged sword. The first thing benefit comes from the mitzvah of limud ha’Torah---learning Torah. The beauty of mishnayos is that it’s the entire Oral Law so, by learning it, you will have learned the entire Oral Law, not just part of it. Beyond even this, learning the entire Oral Law is akin to observing it. As it is said, that is how Torah is “k’neged kulam.” Learning the laws is the same as having the merit of observing the laws. This is what we need as the final requirement to get the Jews away from prosecutorial danger presented by the 49th Gate. Isn’t it remarkable that we are so close to mashiach and replicating what happened in Egypt! (Note: the rabbi’s webpage has a new addition labelled Mishnaim Map, RAMAT which explores this topic further. Please visit it at torahthinking.org and click on the tab with that title.)
So, what is to be done? Being silent, encouraging the guarding of one’s speech is the most potent antidote that the Satan can ever contend with because it throws him out of court. If you don’t condemn anybody, the Satan cannot condemn you.
Something very good has begun on Shabbos, the learning of two mishnayos, which is really great! They learn two mishnayos per day, and so finish shisha sidre Mishna, all 4,190 in less than six years. It would be great if yeshiva had a seder---an orderly progression, a structured approach---what’s called “yedios ha’Torah”---which is the knowledge of the entire Torah efficiently structured and expediently learned. That would be great. (Again, see the note about the new webpage: Mishnaic Map, RAMAT mentioned earlier.)
Then the mashiach will come. We’re in the midst of that. It’s just a matter of time until justice will have been satisfied, until enough guarding of one’s speech and enough learning will have taken place to when Mashiach ben Yosef, who is the first messiah, can come and contend with evil. He is the one who fights evil. He is the famed “karnei re’em”---the horns of the re’em, that creature with the majestic horns with those protrusions from its head symbolic of the wisdom with which he will “gore the nations,” meaning triumph over global evil. Then, he will introduce the incredible messianic era which is presided over by the Divine Presence’s return and the Beis ha’Mikdash---Holy Temple. Prophecy will be restored to the Jewish people and the entire world will benefit. It’s utopia for the whole world. Let’s hope that it happens speedily in our days. We will finally be able to bask, truly, in the glorious Divine Presence of G-D.
Participant: When B’nei Yisrael were working on not speaking loshon ha’ra and, due to the z’chus---merit of (learning) Torah it reached Ha’Shem to allow the process to be redeemed, but what was the initial, first, sign after the straw, after Ha’Shem brought the straw….what was the first sign that it was a switchover to where the process started?
R’Kessin: The switchover was when Moshe was allowed to go back to Pharoah and said, “Let my people go!” because now he had the power. The ketrugim---prosecutions were silenced. He could now go back and bring the makkos---plagues, blows.
Just as an aside, I’ll share an interesting concept. The Torah says, “You shall not go as a tale-bearer amongst your people.” In other words, don’t speak loshon ha’ra, don’t defame or gossip! Right after that, the next passage says, “You shall not stand by the blood of your neighbor,” ---meaning your friend, your associate---okay? What’s the connection? People who speak loshon ha’ra spill blood many times. Terrible outcomes result. If you walk over to somebody and tell that person, “Do you know what so-and-so said about you, what so-and-so did to you or wants to do to you?” That’s called “rechilus” where the person speaking is part of the report, is implicated in what the target character wants to do. In any case, it is akin to shedding blood. It can cause that many times over. So, the verse says, “do not stand by the blood of your neighbor,” and I find it very interesting that the first makko---blow against Egypt was that of blood. It was the blood of the Egyptians, of the Nile. Instead of Jewish blood, it became the blood of Egypt because the Nile represents Egypt. When Moshe returned to Pharoah, justice had been satisfied---as seen in this reversal of the Jewish blood for Egyptian blood.
Participant: How can we correlate that to now? Our mashiach didn’t appear yet so how can we correlate it?
R’Kessin: There is no correlation yet---not yet. It’s like during the decree of straw. For many months there was no correlation, no turn-around. They were in the midst of satisfying justice, same as now. We don’t see it yet, but I believe that we are seeing it in a certain sense because evil is being subdued.
They wanted to pass a budget that would have destroyed America, economically. It’s astounding that they don’t care. There’s a guy, Joe Manchin, a senator, who refuses to go along so they can’t pass that insane budget.
In general, there’s such evil. The Constitution, the basic law of the land, guarantees that America will preserve a way of civilized life; that’s what it’s for. That requires different things such as a standing army and other things that a government needs to progress. What it does not require---and it is wrong---is for the government to put its hands in your pocket, take out your money, and give it to somebody else. It’s illegal; it’s theft and is contrary to the Constitution. If you want to help your neighbor, fine. Give charity!--- fine. What empowers the government putting its hands in your pocket, taking your money and giving it for welfare programs? They can’t do that. They can encourage you to give charity or make it easier, but they aren’t charity organizations that can work against the Constitution. You should know that this is what I believe to be one of the evils of this government, of all governments, whose intent it is to redistribute wealth. It’s called “legitimized or legal theft.” That’s exactly what this bill is. The government wants to sponsor, fund, all kinds of welfare programs. That, in itself, is nice but let people do it because they freely choose to do so, not because the government is forcing them. The fact that the bill was defeated, discontinued, failing, is a sign that evil is being vanquished. Slowly, they are dissolving and that’s a very good sign.
Participant: In a lot of midrashim about the time of mashiach, it brings up a lot of things that could scare a person like the War of Gog u’Magog, shortages of food….but when you speak about it, you make it sound exhilarating and amazing and miraculous, so are those things in the midrashim gonna be there but, because we have the knowledge about mashiach’s presence, we’re not gonna be exposed to that as much?
R’Kessin: I’m not exactly understanding what you’re asking.
Participant(s): Okay. Whenever you hear about the process of (the coming of) mashiach, there’s always a lot of negative things that they say are going to happen in the world, like: a lot of people are going to die, a lot of bad news, one third of the world will be destroyed, darkness in the world. But when you speak about it, you make is sound exhilarating, amazing, miraculous. My question is, as Jews, where do we fall in this process? Are we gonna be like the Jews in Egypt where, like with the makot, they weren’t affected?
R’Kessin: For us, it means everything has a silver lining. I try to explain both sides, why there are such difficulties, such problems, why the Jews suffer so much. But what I always try to do is show the good side, the meaning of it which is that it’s all to benefit the Jews, to cure the Jews. Remember, in the end, G-D is a rofeh---healer. In the end, G-D says, “I’m your healer.” This indicates two things: At the end of “Ha’azinu” it says, “I kill and give life. I cure. I kill. From My Hand there is no rescuer.” G-D does both. He introduces the “kill,” the bad news, but He also introduces the fact that He cures. There are two good sides to this. Why would I want to introduce one side and not the other? The truth of the matter is that it’s a complete picture. You have to understand that whatever we go through, it’s a cure and not a punishment. This is what is meant when it says in the navi---prophets, “Eis tzoro l’Ya’akov”---there will come a time of suffering to Jacob, and “u’meimena”---from it, “yevasheia”---he will be saved. The suffering will cause the salvation.
Do you want to look at the disease itself or look at it as what enabled you to get ahead. Everything G-D does---and this is critical---is for the good. It’s not to destroy, to punish. We’re not talking about compensation. Everything G-D does is called “rehabilitation.” Sometimes the rehabilitation is the suffering. That is what happens when a person goes for rehabilitation, trying to get his body back in shape. I have to show that everything that happens has meaning, has logic, is part of the plan and that plan is to rehabilitate the Jewish people. That’s the take-home message. That’s what Rabbi Akiva said, “Gam zu l’tova”---this too is for the good. It’s never meant as retribution or to “get even” with us. The purpose is to rehabilitate us, to save us. We don’t understand how or why. That will be revealed by mashiach.
In the End of Time, here’s what’s going to happen. The Jewish people, as one body, are going to scream, “Thank you for what You did to us” because we will realize that, because of it, this is what saved us. Without the suffering, we could never have been redeemed. All the Jews are going to say that together, thanking G-D for all the suffering, all the difficulties, the miseries. These together were the very device that saved us. That’s the lesson of all this and what I’m trying to bring out. It’s all rehabilitation, every iota.
Participant: In this week’s parasha, that is what I was reading in “Me’am Lo’ez,” that all the suffering was only to rehabilitate us.
R’Kessin: Exactly. Everything happening today is nothing more than a repeat performance of what happened in Egypt. The only difference is the people doing the evil but, basically, it’s identical.
Participant: When I was reading the parasha last week, “Shema,” it was parallel to what we’re seeing now, there’s a lot of moms confused about whether or not to vaccinate their kids. Should they not and, it was basically, Pharoah who was the first to “depopulate society” by killing the firstborn boys and then it was the mothers to decide whether to fall into the government’s decree to kill their firstborn or trust in Ha’Shem and protect their children so that they could live which is what Yocheved did putting Moshe in a basket and that’s how he survived. It was just like today…..I don’t know how a parent can inject a child with the percentage of .002 that it could be a problem….it’s up to the parent to protect their kid from government tyranny or end up killing your child.
R’Kessin: Yeah, that’s right. It is astounding how America has fallen into bloodshed by this pro-choice movement, a bunch of killers; that’s what they are. It’s astounding how stupid people have become unable to even see this, really incredible. Also incredible is that Biden is the biggest promoter of infanticide, of abortion, while claiming he is a Christian. What he’s doing is a mortal sin according to Christianity, yet he has been let go by the bishops who have not condemned him and by the pope who has not condemned him. They are, actually, promoting abortion on demand. It’s amazing; a mother can kill her kid for whatever reason….and they call themselves “practicing Christian, Roman Catholic” and they have not condemned him. That will go down as a tremendous blot against the pope, the bishops, against the whole of Christianity. They’ve become an accessory to murder. It’s incredible what America has become.
Participant: In ancient days, they used to sacrifice their children to Molech. Who was the ruler at that time? Maybe he (Biden) is the gilgul of them.
R’Kessin: Maybe. Could be. Could you believe it? They used to kill their kids, yeah. It’s amazing how stupid mankind is. The Aztecs had a whole bunch of girls lined up, would bring them up to the temple---whatever they had there---and while the girl was drugged, would rip out her heart and offer it to their avodah zara---idol (worship). This is the greatness, the great intellect, of mankind? It’s unbelievable how stupid people can be, but---listen---that’s what people are; it’s tragic.
Participant: When Pharoah was killing the newborns, he took their blood and was soaking his body with it.
R’Kessin: Yeah, he bathed in it.
Participant: And, mida-k’neged-mida---measure-for-measure that’s why the first makah---plague, blow was done (as blood).
R’Kessin: Like I say, “hold on.” As they say in Hebrew, “od me’at”---a little longer. I’m sure it will come in our time.