Given: January 31, 2022
I would like to continue to talk about the contribution, the interaction of Esav/Edom and Jews and all this emerges from what I spoke of before, the relationship between Ya’akov and Esav. I want to go much more into what is going on today but which originated with them. We know some very important ideas already, ideas which are principles of what guides world history, certainly Jewish history.
The last prophecy that Rivka heard from the yeshiva of Shem v’Ever explained what was happening inside her with two children, Ya’akov and Esav, that there are two great nations within her and one would always be greater than the other. Ultimately, the message was “rav ya’avod tzair”---the elder will serve the younger. What’s especially interesting is that this service will alternate between two forms but the elder will serve the younger. The meaning of the elder’s behavior and that of his descendants, would be to serve Ya’akov in terms of advancing the tikkun---rectification of Creation. It would be either “rav ya’avod tzair”—elder will serve the younger to advance the tikkun process or “rav ya’aved yzair”—the elder will persecute the younger to advance the tikkun process. Either way, the tikkun process is in progress.
What accounts for the discrepancy in meaning? There is a midrash---exegetical commentary which says that, because the Torah lacks nikudos---phonetic pronunciation markings, the same statement can be read with the word “ya’aved” rather than “ya’avod.” The assistance can be in a good way or can take the form of retribution when the Jews sin and deserve it. This distinction is a very important concept. The bulk of the punishment that Ya’akov and his descendants will receive when they get out of line with be brought to bear, to be the judge, jury and executioner, so to speak. I will show you the terrible repercussions of this, statistics which are staggering. You will see the contribution that Esav and his descendants have made to provide retribution to satisfy justice for the Jewish people.
Esav, Edom, the Etruscans
Let’s take a look at the history of Esav. This must have been about 1600bce. The Jews were subjected to many different nations and the real galus---exile really began with the destruction of the First Temple. There’s a discrepancy between the dates of the English historians and the Jewish tradition. According to Jewish dating, It was destroyed in 420bce whereas the English has it at 586. That’s a substantial difference. Whatever it was, it was destroyed. What is very interesting to note is why it was destroyed, and what the aftermath was, especially in terms of Esav.
You may say, there was no Esav then. Who is Esav? Let’s take a look at that. The Torah says Esav became Edom, was called “Edom,” and gave rise to a nation, the Edomites. They lived in the south of Israel, the Negev area of Israel. Who is Edom? The Gemara identifies Edom as Rome. Rome became a republic, meaning it rose to power, in 525bce which is approximately when the Temple was destroyed. That is significant because one could ask what the relationship was between Rome and Edom. The Edomites were a nation in the south of Israel whereas Rome was a nation in Italy. Israel from Italy is quite a distance. How does one come to the other?
What seemed to be happening is that Italy was, basically, a bunch of provinces. It wasn’t what you have now, the whole Italian Peninsula really being one nation. In those days there were countries or principalities.
There was a nation that conquered Italy, the Etruscans. Theirs was a civilization and there are artifacts from that civilization, but historians don’t really know much about who they were and where they came from. It is considered that the Etruscans which captured Italy from about 800bce until about 525bce were from the Middle-East. That is what is said although it is not known where they were from so it is thought that the Etruscans might well have been Edom. Somehow, Edom travelled to Italy and conquered the Italian Peninsula. Therefore, Italy became Edom.
Also interesting is that around that time I mentioned as the time of the destruction of the First Temple, Rome threw off the yoke of the Etruscans in around 525BCE, declaring themselves to be a separate nation from the Etruscans. In other words, Rome became a republic. Therefore, the beginnings of Rome, as far as the Jews are concerned, is approximately when the Romans overthrew the yoke of the Etruscans, becoming the original Edomites.
The question now becomes: what is the relationship between the fact that the first Beis ha’Mikdsash was destroyed and the sudden appearance of Rome, which is really Edom which is really Esav? I’m going to point out a very important principle, in fact, a secret about anti-Semitism. Besides this, this principle is also the remedy to anti-Semitism and a fascinating idea.
The reason the first Beis ha’Mikdash was destroyed was because the Jewish people---there’s a Gemara in “Yoma” which speaks to this---transgressed the three sins that one is asked to give one’s life rather than transgress. They are: adultery, murder, and idol worship. These are considered “gimel aveiros chamuros”---three cardinal sins for which you are asked to do what’s called “yehoreg v’al ya’avor”---to sacrifice your life rather than commit these sins. You’ll notice a common denominator among these three sins, especially the first two, adultery and murder. They all involve tremendous sina---hatred. Adultery is not merely a sin of pleasure. It’s a sin of complete disregard and disrespect for your fellow Jew to the extent that you will avail yourself of his wife. Obviously, murder is the same. Therefore, we see that the major sin at the time of the first Beis Ha’Mikdash involved baseless hatred even though the chazal---sages don’t tell us directly that it does, but there is no doubt.
We begin to understand a very fundamental principle. Everything that happened between the brothers, the “stealing of the blessings” by Ya’akov, Esav’s subsequent hatred of Ya’akov (the Torah tells us that), is the real beginning of baseless hatred. “Esav hated Ya’akov,” the Torah says.
Therefore, what the Ribono Shel Olam does is interesting. If the Jews are guilty of baseless hatred, accompanied by disrespect to one’s fellow Jew, G-D judges the Jews based on the principle of mida-k’neged-mida---measure for measure. What does that mean? That is true justice because what you do wrong is what happens to you but in an inverted way. G-D could say that that if a Jew hates a Jew, I will bring his original “brother” to awaken his hatred, meaning Esav, of course. G-D allows Esav and his descendants to harm the Jews by means of their hatred. See how mida-k’neged-mida works? This is a very important principle. This measure-for-measure brings out a great deal of anti-Semitism among the descendants of Esav. G-D is saying, essentially, If you want to hate your brother, I will allow your brother Esav, the “original” brother---and still our “brother”---to hate you and have the opportunity to destroy you. This is why the first Temple was destroyed even though the immediate reason was the three cardinal sins. The Jews “merited,” as a result of those sins, to have great hatred visited upon them by somebody that used to be a fellow Jew. That’s the origin of Rome’s hatred of Jews. That is where we begin to see what became common and repeated though time, through history.
This is the concept of Esav, of Rome, becoming a nation in 525bce, at the same time as the Temple was destroyed. This is the real origin of the fulfillment of the prophecy that the elder will persecute the younger in order to bring a kaporah, an atonement for Ya’akov and his descendants because they’re the ones assigned the task to be the primary agents of retribution and atonement for the Jewish people. It’s a very important idea, the entire concept of the relationship between Esav’s job and initiating such retribution and atonement when the Jews are guilty of a national travesty, the three cardinal sins.
I must remind everyone that the major way that Jews fall into this trap of sin is via loshon ha’ra. It is this sort of evil speech, gossip, slander, denigration, believe it or not, that invokes the hatred. Why does one person hate another? There are many incidences when one person hates another and doesn’t even know who they are or has no interaction with them, but we always communicate with each other. Always. That is the most frequent act that people engage in---communication. So, probably, the vast majority of baseless hatred is generated because of this kind of debasing, rancorous speech which one listens to. This idea is a very important idea in terms of bringing mashiach---which I will speak about.
To reiterate, this is the origin of “rav ya’aved tzair,” how it is the origin for the persecutions that follow and the relationship between the destruction of the Beis ha’Mikdash and baseless hatred.
We see this even more blatantly with the destruction of the Second Temple. If you have not been sure what’s going on with the Romans in the first place, when it first became a republic, you will now hear that which chazal---our sages tell us openly. The destruction by the Romans of the second Beis ha’Mikdash, which occurred in 70ce, happened due to baseless hatred. Jews disliked Jews. We don’t know the extent of their hatred for one another, but it was enough to destroy the Beis ha’Mikdash.
We know the formula. When Jews speak ill of one another and inspire hatred for one another,
G-D, in effect, says: you guys hate each other? Then I will arouse your brother’s hatred, that of your “original brother” and give them the opportunity to destroy you.
Emergence of Christianity
Lo and behold, what happens? Esav becomes Christian. What is Christianity, if you really think about it? It’s not merely a religion. It is really Esav incarnate. Let me show you how. What is unusual about Christianity is the following:
Most religions in those days were pagan. Paganism has certain characteristics which Christianity impacted and changed.
Christianity believes, first, that G-D “changed” replacing the Jewish people with Gentiles. These became Christians. That’s called “replacement theology” which posits that they are the basis of “Yisrael,” not us, the Jews.
Second, they believe it is they who have the messiah. They actually believe much worse than that: that he is a god, whether it be a demigod or “son of god.” They regard him as a divine being. They don’t believe in the Jewish messiah(s).
Third, Christians don’t say the Jews have the Torah, which they call the “Old Testament.” They say that it is they who have the Torah which they call the “New Testament.”
They’ve replaced three fundamental principles of Judaism, dismissing it from among us and usurping it. This means that the basis of Christianity is Judaism. If there were no such thing as Judaism, there would not be Christianity. It isn’t a religion that has an independent theology. It is solely based on Judaism---or a “not Judaism” in which it is they who have the Torah, the messiah, and declare themselves to be “beis Yisrael”---House of Israel.
Christianity is really Judaism “on its head,“ a reversal. We say “yes” and they say “no.” There are no pagan elements in Judaism, yet Christianity has the exact opposite. Why?---because that’s Esav. Esav didn’t introduce a new religion but a deviation of Judaism because the concept of Esav is as an oppositional force, an overthrow of Judaism. This is why Judaism is so tied to Christianity, combining Judaism with paganism so that Paul could bring it to the nations of the world making it palatable to them. He is the person most responsible for these pagan ideas being wedded to Judaism, giving Christianity a Jewish veneer.
Due to a resurgence of baseless hatred among Jews at the time of the Second Temple, and as the Torah tells us, “Esav hates Ya’akov,” measure-for-measure, Esav is unleashed and the temple is destroyed. Therefore, we see that the origin of Christian anti-Semitism is the baseless hatred the Jews, themselves, practice and propagate! This was explicitly demonstrated in that destruction of the second Beis ha’Mikdash.
The Chofetz Chaim, and the commentary of the Mahrsha, both say that sinas chinam would not have the ability to destroy the temple, despite it being a terrible sin. It is always the loshon ha’ra that was/is responsible because it is the major vehicle for creating and disseminating baseless hatred. It is also what reawakens, arouses the hatred of Esav/Edom/Christianity.
To prove the validity of this, how Christianity destroys the Jewish people, let me tell you of the greatest work of slander ever authored against the Jews. It is called the “New Testament.” It has statements about Judaism that are absolutely terrible, that the Jews are horrible people, are harlots, children of the devil, and so on. Such declarations are what created the climate that fostered ideas about the Jews being an inferior race, about G-D’s need to exile them for their dastardly practices. This is yet an additional demonstration of justice being meted out measure-for-measure. The ketrugim---prosecutions in the heavenly court against Jews for speaking loshon ha’ra result in Christianity’s condemnation and destructive acts against the Jewish people manifesting in the canonization, the popularization, of that document which spread throughout the entire world slandering the Jews.
In the time of Rome, there was no such thing as anti-Semitism per se. They didn’t hate Jews. Rome was not interested in hating Jews at that time. It was those who they considered inferior such as the Germanic barbarians, the Visigoths, for example, that they wanted to conquer and subject to their domination in order to exact tribute. Rome was interested in conquest. Real anti-Semitism is about visceral hatred of Jews based on theology. It is hatred of the Jews based on who they are, not on a perception of inferiority that makes them easy targets of conquest. We see that anti-Semitism is a true Christian product.
There are many nations that hate Jews but it’s not because of who they are as Jews, necessarily. Many times, it is due to jealousy. It’s not an inherent hatred of Judaism. When it is true anti-Semitism based on religious grounds, that is the punishment Jews get for their own sins: speaking, promoting, engaging in defamatory, evil speech which foments baseless hatred of their fellow Jews. It’s an astonishing concept.
The Power to Stop Anti-Semitism
Perhaps even more astonishing is the idea that Jews, if they wanted to, could stop anti-Semitism---amazing! The sole reason why G-D allows people of the world, particularly Christians, to hate and persecute Jews has been, and still is, due to our own engagement speaking loshon ha’ra. That is why we are seeing, particularly now, a surge of anti-Semitism. Jews hate Jews so this is the consequence. If you take a look today, it’s unbelievable what goes on out there. People in Israel are in conflict due to animosity borne of politics, the variations of practices of minhagim—traditions, customs and every sort of sociological controversy. This is why we are still in exile. The loshon ha’ra creates the baseless hatred that makes it possible for Christianity to renew, in each generation, anti-Semitic violence and persecution.
If Jews practice ahavas Yisrael---love of one’s fellow Jew, or ahavas chinam---unconditional love, then anti-Semitism would disappear. Isn’t that amazing! It’s the Jews themselves that can eradicate anti-Semitism simply by not engaging in loshon ha’ra. Eradicating it isn’t done by forming committees or holding conventions. Such practices are due to ignorance. The world doesn’t get it. Where do we see the classical example as to what anti-Semitism really is? We see this in the destruction of the second Beis ha’Mikdash. It was not random chance that Christianity started to persecute the Jews at that time. Christianity is the form that Esav/Edom took.
Why Rome Became Christianity
Now that we understand the true cause of anti-Semitism and the destruction of the temples, we can ask ourselves to what extent Christianity destroyed Jews? Where is the seat of Christianity, really? As I’ve said, Esav is Edom. The Torah says that Edom is Rome. The
Gemara says that---via the Etruscans---and Rome became Christian, the reason for that being Esav becoming the main agent to punish the Jews as per the prophecy of “rav ya’ved tzair.” This would mean, therefore, that Rome would have had to remain the greatest nation, a great empire, for 2,000 years in order to continue punishing the Jews. Their assignment to that task would mean they would have to dominate the world that long.
So G-D changed Esav from an empirical nation called “Rome” to a religion. Christianity has been the religion of Esav. The name “Rome” still applies in some ways but the real force of Rome became Christianity which then became Western Civilization so, really, it is that which, today, subjects the Jews to the vicissitudes of Rome’s Christianity.
So, let’s answer the question as to where the real seat of Christianity is. It’s in Italy, in Rome. That’s quite bizarre because Yeshu, Christianity’s founder, didn’t live in Italy. He never went to Italy. What had he to do with Rome? Just became Rome became Christian doesn’t mean that that would be the seat of Christianity. Its seat should really be in Jerusalem or somewhere else in Israel, perhaps in the Galil. That’s where he lived. Why is it Rome? Rome is the spiritual heir of Esav because it took over the Esav’s job. It, consequently, became the seat of Christianity. That’s where it is and where it belongs.
I remember being in Italy when I visited the Vatican. It has some very interesting museums. I recall walking into a museum and seeing it filled with Roman statues. I know that I asked myself: what do all these Roman statues have to do with Christianity? Then, of course, I knew the answer. It’s because Christianity became the incarnate of Rome. Therefore, the Vatican, its seat, would have a total connection to Rome.
If you examine the word “Vatican,” and were to spell it in Hebrew and jumble the letters, it spells out the word “tikkun”---rectification. The entire purpose of Rome, or Christianity, is to bring about a tikkun to the Jews when they need it through retribution. So, the word itself represents that function that it fulfills.
Christianity’s Destruction of Jewish Life, the Numbers
To what extent has Christianity destroyed Jews? Here’s a fascinating statistic. Historians estimate that, 2,000 years ago, at the time of Christianity’s inception, approximately ten million Jews lived. How many Chinese were there at that time? The estimate is that there were, two thousand years ago, about 25 million Chinese. How many Chinese are there today, two thousand years later?---approximately 1.4 billion Chinese. If a nation multiplies, undisturbed, for about two millennia, it would go from 25 million to 1.4 billion. That’s growth of about 50-60 times over the course of 2,000 years. Such rate of propagation is formulaic.
How many Jews are there today? Starting off with about 10 million two millennia ago, there should be 60 times more, meaning there should be about 500-600 million Jews in the world. But there are only 15 million. How can that be?
How is it possible that the Jews, the oldest nation, with roots in antiquity, has only 15 million people? That’s all there is? There are about 400-480 million Jews missing! Where are all the Jews? Actually, it should be more than that because we started out at the time of Avraham avinu which was 1800 years even before the inception of Christian Rome. We should be numbering close to one billion!
So, where are all the Jews? Now, you know. Over a billion Jews were destroyed through Christianity’s pogroms, expulsions, inquisitions, holocausts and so on. These have decimated the numbers. Every few years there would be a wipe-out campaign and millions of Jews would die. The current number of about 15 million is the repercussion of two millennia of anti-Semitism. Incredible!
How does it work? G-D doesn’t want to wait to the End of Time to bring death to so many due to sinas chinam. So, He conducts a kind of incremental blood-letting. Every couple of years, there’s some type of wave of murderous anti-Semitism that kills Jews. If you add them up over the years….for instance, from 1648-1657 you had the Khemelnytsky massacre which, cumulatively, was as destructive as the holocaust of the recent generation. One third, perhaps half, of European Jewry died at the hands of the Cossacks. So, over decades, then centuries, millions were killed. G-D applies these campaigns incrementally so as not to do it all at once. In order to satisfy justice, He does it this way.
The main idea regards who is doing this, and the answer is, basically, it’s Christianity who killed Jews neshamos---souls because of, what?---because they weren’t Christian. We don’t understand the judgment that will be passed on the guilty parties once judgment time has arrived, the final judgment. We cannot conceive of the destruction to be visited upon mankind, particularly on Christianity, because, apparently, Christians have done the major work of killing Jews. This concept is indisputable. This was Esav’s assignment in terms of tikkun as per the prophecy given to Rivka.
Christianity’s Positive Contribution
We should remember too, as I mentioned a week or two ago, that Esav also has a positive mission. The first positive mission is to change the world by assisting the Jews in bringing the tikkun. This is in keeping with the prophecy of “rav ya’avod tzair,” that the elder serves the younger to fulfill the rectification of the Creation. And, as I mentioned too, paganism has several features to it which Christianity changed for the better.
Paganism believes in many gods, polytheism, and Christianity introduced the concept of monotheism albeit with a god of three parts, a trinity. But, relatively speaking, that belief is nowhere near as detrimental as the polytheism of ancient Greece and what Rome was before Christianity. Christianity created a kind of “relative monotheism” which is Jewish-like.
A third advantage of Christianity has been to introduce messianism. Paganism does not believe in a messiah, in an individual that comes to change the world and introduce goodness. Christianity does preach the individual who is their founder is a messianic figure that is coming back. Christianity also believes in a messianic era and that the world does not end in evil, that it will “end” in a tremendous spiritual awakening. This is true and it comes from Judaism. Christianity was able to spread these ideas throughout the world.
A fourth positive contribution of Christianity has been to propagate, globally, belief in a hereafter, a life after death. Paganism views death as final. Life is a struggle and you make the most of it while you’re here because there’s no hope for resurrection nor even the concept of resurrection. Christianity believes in a glorious hereafter. That, again, is a Jewish concept.
It is Christianity, therefore, that has introduced distinctly Jewish ideas that have removed paganism from the world’s thinking to a great extent. There are nations that are still paganistic but, by and large, the world has changed due to there being about two and half billion Christians. The beliefs of Christianity have even filtered into Islam, the concept of a messiah, the hereafter. This is very important because, when you believe in a hereafter, you believe that there are repercussions to your decisions and your deeds. If you don’t believe in the hereafter, why be good? You can do what you want while alive. There is no doubt that Christianity has introduced these beneficial ideas that have promoted belief in G-D.
Do these beneficial advances outweigh a great deal of the evil Christianity has done? Of course, G-D will introduce whatever He does to balance everything out. So, Esav does assist Ya’akov by producing clear, Judaic ideas to the world and also assists through persecutorial actions to assist the Jews to attain atonement when they sin.
We now have a beautiful understanding of history based on only one pasuk---verse in the Torah! We also understand the real cause of anti-Semitism, Jewish hatred that automatically brings a measure-for-measure retribution in accordance with the prophecy.
We’re left with the stunning realization that, in order to get rid of anti-Semitism, you must spread shmiras ha’loshon---guarding one’s speech. When Jewish hatred from evil speech stops, automatically, anti-Semitism stops.
I think I’ve shown that these ideas conform beautifully with history of the past 4,000 years and that the chumash, the Five Books of Moshe, is not merely a history book, a chronicle that covers events of three or four millennia. The Torah not only covers an event but offers actual principles of what governs history, the inner depth of historical movement. History conforms to the principles laid down in the Torah.
Q & A
Participant: Even in our days, every time we see a rise in anti-Semitism….even today…I don’t know if you heard, but on ABC (network) is a morning show with an actress named Whoopi Goldberg, and she was saying how the Holocaust wasn’t about race and it wasn’t about racism but just about two groups of white people fighting. And she’s black. Everyone’s talking about it now, how it is the rise of anti-Semitism in our faces. This is on a regular tv show, a news channel. When we see that, automatically, we should think that it’s our doing and how we can stop it through stopping to speak loshon ha’ra.
R’Kessin: Whoever Whoopi Goldberg is---I have no idea---she is a complete ignoramus. All she has to do is read “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s book describing what his beliefs were and how he intended to implement what was written in it if he ever got his act together, which is exactly what he did. It’s astounding to hear so many people make comments which display openly their ignorance of history. Hers was such a foolish comment (in light of) Hitler actually writing why he did it. He says it was because the Jews are the conscience of mankind and, therefore, a scourge on mankind. He said that the Jews make us (the Germans) into weaklings, into wimps, and must be destroyed. It’s beyond belief how stupid and ignorant people can be. Most people recognize that anti-Semitism isn’t about white-on-white but is directed at the Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is unique, different than just one guy hating another guy because of something he did. Anti-Semitism isn’t rational.
It reminds me of WWII when the Japanese were allies of the Nazis so they didn’t understand, being Asian, why Hitler was killing Jews. One of the Japanese leaders, maybe it was the prime minister, the emporer—I’m not sure---called the Amshinover Rebbe to ask him because the Jews went to Kyoto and were in Shanghai which was controlled by the Japanese. He asked the Rebbe why Hitler was killing Jews. What could the Jews have done to deserve such utter destruction? The Rebbe realized that his answer would be incredibly significant because he didn’t want the Japanese doing the same as the Nazis. Fortunately for us, G-D was with the Rebbe who said to the Japanese representative that the reason why they want to kill Jews is because the Nazis hate Orientals and the Jews, as we know, are considered to be Orientals because the Middle East is considered the Orient. It was a brilliant answer because it implied that it isn’t just the Jews the Nazis hate. The Rebbe, essentially, was saying, they hate you guys too. He told them that their alliance with Germany was just so Germany could empower themselves. This is the way the Rebbe explained what is really inexplicable. Everyone knows that anti-Semitism is unique. When you examine it historically, it’s irrational. As it says, “Esav hates Ya’akov.”
The inherent hatred of a Jew can be viewed in various ways but one of the fundamental ways is that it is the price we pay for the neshama---soul G-D gave us. When a person addresses a Jew, inherently his own neshama---whatever neshama a non-Jew has--- feels the kedusha---holiness of the Jew, even if the Jew is not religious. This is the problem. The RaMCHaL says this. The Jew’s neshama, which is nowhere near comparable to that of the non-Jew, is so he should be able to do the tikkun. G-D invested in the Jew a neshama that is extraordinary, connected to all the five olamos---worlds (spiritual worlds). Therefore, when a Jew does a deed, a mitzvah, he affects all five spiritual dimensions. That neshama is awesome. It’s called the “pintileh yid,” an expression that imbues the referent with that quality which conveys how, when one talks to a Jew, one automatically feels something unusual about him even though the person doesn’t know what. It is the Jew himself who barely understands what this phenomenon is. It is a spark, the “Jewish point” that’s the real cause of anti-Semitism, a sense of the Jew’s inherent superior neshama that the non-Jew cannot understand, but it inspires jealousy, especially if the Jews are successful, and they are. The Jews have been the mainstay of so many civilizations, so there’s tremendous jealousy. But the origin of the jealousy is really the distinct difference between the spiritual soul of the Jew and the goy.
The goy doesn’t have to be jealous because, even if he doesn’t becomes Jewish, he can become a Noahide who is on a much greater spiritual level than a goy. His observance, as a ger toshav, as the chumash tells us, places him on a much higher inherent spiritual level and, if he wants to become Jewish, the door is open. When someone becomes Jewish, he gets the actual level of neshama as a Jew. That’s a tremendous gift that G-D gives. Even if you’re not born with it, you can get it by becoming Jewish. But, even if a non-Jew does not want to become Jewish, by becoming Noahide he has elevated himself, qualitatively, to a much higher level.
G-D uses this inherent reaction of jealousy to bring retribution on the Jews. We are the ones who initiate the punishment this anti-Semitism prompts when Jews sin. Remember, it’s mida-k’neged-mida. Jews hating Jews invokes the hatred of Esav. He doesn’t care which Jew he kills as a result. Do you think Hitler cared which Jew he’d go after? Even if you had a mother who was Jewish four generations removed, that didn’t bother him.
Participant: When a Jew passes away, to which olam does it go?
R’Kessin: The first thing is that it goes to judgement. Every neshama of a Jew must complete his mission so it may be either that you have to come back as somebody else or whatever. If your mission is done, if everything’s been absolved and forgiven and you’ve done your tikkun, then you go to Gan Eden and wait for techias ha’meisim---resurrection of the dead. Then you come back along with everyone else. Gan Eden is probably in olam Yetzira, the second world. A determination must be made what to do because you’ve got to finish your mission. There’s no such thing as not finishing one’s mission. It can be determined that you don’t deserve Gan Eden because you completed the mission but you have many sins so you go to Gehinom which is the spiritual place of atonement. If you don’t have to come back here but you still have a lot of “baggage” to clean up, then you go to Gehinom. There are different forms of it which the Zohar talks about, different forms of atonement. A decision is made.
Participant: Is that in the olam as well or below it?
R’Kessin: No, Gehenom is below everything because it is really the world of the sitra achra, the world of the Satan. Whatever is needed out there, whatever punishment has to happen---I once gave an entire lecture about this---Gehenom is not what people imagine it is.
Participant: Is there anything specific that we can do for Rosh Chodesh Adar, anything that we should know?
R’Kessin: We now realize how important it is, how much history is determined, by what we say and how we feel about Jews. Now, especially, in the month of Adar, the month of the mazal---fortune of Yosef, really Mashiach ben Yosef. One of the sins he did was to have spoken loshon ha’ra against his brothers. Therefore, he was punished. By condemning his brothers, he was condemned. This is an auspicious time, therefore, to focus on shmiras ha’loshon.
I want to mention one last thing: the Torah is not a document, a book, about historical events. If you understand that, you can absorb the essential message the Torah lays down. Even though it describes historic events, it lays down the principles that move history, what that movement is based on. Look how much is based on just three words, “rav ya’aved tzair” or its alternate pronunciation and meaning, “rav ya’avod tzair”! Torah is the guidebook to the profound dynamics of history.