Given: March 8, 2022
There is crisis in this world that is happening right now and I have certain observations and thoughts that are different--I think--from most peoples’ so I’ll talk about that. Putin attacked Ukraine and is actively bombing it. It is being reported that 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled. That’s a lot of people. We live, thank G-D, in relative safety. We can hardly comprehend what upheaval, what turmoil that sum indicates. Imagine having to take your family, move to a place that’s unfamiliar, leave job and community with no expectation as to when you’ll be able to return. It’s a terrible plight.
There are certain ideas that I think are important and will likely contradict what almost the entire world is saying. There’s a saying: “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Sometimes, using discretion, hindering the impulse to be boldly arrogant in favor of quiet bravery is best exhibited by surrender. What does that mean? A person has to exercise wisdom in everything. I believe that this war which resulted from Zelensky refusing to give in to Russia was a terrible mistake on his part, the wrong decision, one that is terrible for Ukraine. If you are in a room with an 800-pound gorilla, you don’t start up with the gorilla. The better part of bravery is not to fight the gorilla; you get out of the room. That’s what wisdom says. You have to choose what to defend even if you’re in the right.
The Premise for Incursion
Russia is a superpower. They have at least 1500 ICBMs pointed at Europe, the US, Ukraine, etc. Putin is an evil person, capable of killing you if you defy him or show him you’re his opponent. You try to avoid confrontation. Even though he’s evil and you’re on the side of good, it’s not a fight you want to engage in because he can destroy you. You have to wait for another day when you have the upper-hand.
Initially, Putin threatened Ukraine--with what?--not to join NATO. He didn’t threaten to take over any territory, initially. From Putin’s point-of-view, he could say: to join NATO is to allow NATO to place missiles in Ukraine and point them at us at our border.
The U.S. did the exact same thing in 1962. Khrushchev, who was the leader of Russia at that time, decided to put missiles in Cuba which is only 90 miles from Florida. So, Kennedy came out with the “Kennedy Doctrine” which declared that neither Russia nor any other country could give heavy armaments to America’s next-door neighbor or anywhere in the Western Hemisphere threatening America’s security. Kennedy ostensibly told Khrushchev: I’m not allowing this. You do this and I’m going to bomb you guys. It will be a shooting war. Everyone thought that would lead to WW3 and everyone was frightened.
Khrushchev was a very evil person. Who knows how many Ukrainians he starved, in addition to what Stalin did. Fortunately, Khrushchev backed down and “lost face” and Kennedy won the day. Was Kennedy right to forbid that missiles be in Cuba, right to insist on the Kennedy Doctrine, forbidding nuclear missiles in the Western Hemisphere?--yes. That’s what happened here between Russia and Ukraine. You want to join NATO, that’s one thing. But that means, from Russia’s perspective: missiles would be pointed at us. Putin didn’t threaten occupation or conquest or annexation. What would wisdom say? Does wisdom say to tell Putin to jump in the lake and don’t interfere with my liberty or, knowing that Russia is a ruthless superpower with an overwhelming air force and army but not directly threatening your independence, to back off?
Russia has a right to be concerned for its security even though Putin is making the wrong assessment since NATO is a such that it takes a defensive posture. So, what does Zelensky say? “Don’t tell me what to do!” He defies Putin who is capable of wreaking great damage, committing murder, right? Does this make sense to you?
Putin lived up to his reputation. He decided to remove the Ukrainian government. He does have dreams of restoring Ukraine to Russia, to Russia’s sphere of influence. That is Putin’s delusion, but, as far as I know, Putin never threatened Ukraine with conquest and usurpation. Putin didn’t demand more or less than Kennedy did when Khrushchev threatened America. I may disagree with Putin but I recognize where he’s coming from. How could Zelensky confront and defy him? It doesn’t make sense. What he could have done was declare he wouldn’t join NATO or appeal to Putin promising that there would be no NATO weapons in Ukraine. He should have backed off rather than decided to fight the gorilla.
Putin now has too much invested so Zelensky has doomed his nation. Who knows how far Putin will go? He can’t give up now. Zelensky subjected his nation to an absurd resolution and he was wrong to have done it. How many have already died because of Zelensky’s decision? How many lives have been disrupted? How much damage has there been and, ultimately, will be?
Thank G-D that Putin, since 1991, didn’t attack Ukraine since it became sovereign.
There’s a fable to illustrate what’s going on. There was a lion eating its prey and got a bone stuck in his teeth causing him pain. He espies a crane and makes a proposal. “With your long beak, you can pull the bone out of my teeth,” said the lion. “If you’ll do it, I’ll reward you.”
The crane responds, “You want me to stick my head in your mouth? That’s the most dangerous place in the world.”
“I won’t harm you. You will be helping me,” reassures the lion.
The crane agrees and successfully removes the aggravating bone. The lion thanks him.
Upon being reminded by the crane of the promised reward, the lion answers, “Your reward is that you can say you stuck your head in the mouth of a lion without it being chomped off. That’s your reward.”
If you are close to an evil person and that person has not harmed you and has allowed you to thrive, thank G-D. The last thing you do is confront him. It’s idiotic what Zelensky did. He is responsible, as far as I’m concerned, for the destruction of Ukraine. He gave a pretext to Putin to fulfill his dream of taking over Ukraine which was not Putin’s original intent. Zelensky should have stuck to comedy.
Zelensky said to himself, I’m gonna stand up to this guy, show him what Ukraine is and the west is gonna back me. We could answer incredulously: Really--a guy like Biden, who ran from Afghanistan, who pulled out of there and left Americans to fend for themselves? That guy? The guy who doesn’t know what day of the week it is? He’s gonna defend you? Ridiculous!
Of course, the west deserted him, at least militarily. Okay, now they’re sending some armaments but much of Ukraine has been severely damaged already. It’s hard to believe that these are grown men who are making these absurd decisions and it’s hard to believe that the west goaded Zelensky into taking this ruinous course. As a result, the whole world is shaking in fear unsure of what Putin will do. It’s amazing that the reputation of the Russian army is falling off a cliff. Ukraine which is a third-world country, and corrupt, is putting up a fight and Putin can’t even win. Look how long it’s taking. The great Russian army….
When a man like Putin loses face, be careful. He’s activated nuclear weapons, a unit that manages the nuclear stockpile. The world is worried about WW3. These are the repercussions for making an ego-driven decision.
Existential Threats and Satisfying Justice
Why is G-D putting the world though this incredible anxiety? First it was Covid. Why is G-D doing it again, globally? It’s a punishment to the entire world because of Iran. The US is working on a deal with Iran. The original agreement from 2015 said that, in ten years, in 2025, Iran can purify as much nuclear material as it wants. That still holds. That means that they can purify uranium to become weapons-grade in only three years. That’s insane! That’s an existential threat to the Jewish people and Israel. It’s not just that Iran wants to do what we know they want to do because they are evil--which we know they are. They feel they are theologically commanded to destroy Israel. That is why they are willing to commit suicide. They believe their messiah will only come when much of the world is destroyed.
How can Biden’s administration sit down to negotiate with a country so inclined to terror, and not just toward Israel but the entire Middle East? G-D says--and this is my take--you want to threaten My people existentially? Guess what?--I will distract you from Iran and have someone else threaten you with extinction, a possible WW3 initiated by Russia. G-D arranges a scenario where Russia threatens the world often mentioning that the nuclear option is “on the table.” That’s a punishment for the world. Keep in mind that Iran is a threat to the entire region because, as Shi’ites, they believe that their form of Islam is the legitimate one and they deserve to dominate the Sunnis. They will cause great unrest, attempting to dominate the oil market and, ultimately, take nuclear weapons to Europe.
Iran is a monster and what America is doing is unconscionable and unpardonable. America is unleashing a monster called “Iran.” Where is the sechel--common sense of these people? Are they crazy? The Iran threat is being answered by G-D with a nuclear threat to the world.
You never know…if Putin has to save face and, despite all efforts to realize his aims, he isn’t able to, you never know what he might do. Maybe Ukraine will win. In that case, how will Putin save face? A guy like him could launch a nuclear missile and blow a city in Ukraine to smithereens. He would be condemned, but he doesn’t care. He’s already condemned by the entire world so what does he have to lose? Putin is not a loser; Putin always want to be a winner. That is very dangerous set of characteristics in a person, that type of personality.
I don’t believe, ultimately, that Putin will launch a nuclear strike. There is one thing we do know about Putin which differentiates his mind-set from that of the Iranians. Putin is not suicidal. He gets charged up by leadership, by being a dictator. Power is what he wants and he knows, too, that the United States could flatten him. The U.S. is the most powerful nation on earth and if they aim a nuclear missile toward Moscow, that’s the end of Putin. The Russians will rise up against Putin and kill him so he won’t do that. He revels in power and he’s not suicidal. The Iranians are different. Theologically, as I said, they believe their mahdi, their messiah, can come only if the world endures near-utter destruction. That’s a whole different scenario. They are suicidal. Putin is threatening and nobody wants to test him.
That energy to “test” him comes only from Zelensky who is a fool for being suckered in to defying Putin. He was goaded on by the west, by people who are absolute idiots because they put Ukraine on the path of destruction because Zelensky decided to be the hero and stand up to an 800-pound gorilla. Sometimes you have to know when to back off. Zelensky does not know so he’s put his nation on the path to destruction because Putin will not stop until he gets rid of the Zelensky regime and installs a government that is favorable to him, that will incorporate Ukraine into the sphere of his influence. That’s my take.
Q & A
Participant: We’re waiting on what right now? What are we looking out for?
R’Kessin: Like I said last time, I’m hoping that Putin will be removed because he is destroying Russia at the same time. The Russian ruble is worth one penny. They’ll experience a massive depression as it is. Russia is a very poor country so, hopefully, the people will revolt against Putin.
The idiocy of all this is Biden. His administration keeps buying oil from Russia, 600 million barrels a day--I think--billions of dollars per day, financing Putin’s war. You can’t even make this stuff up. If Putin were removed, Russia may be able to join the community of nations. That would be the continuation of the dissolution of evil, a reversal that has started.
Participant: How come Biden doesn’t pump oil in the U.S.? Why do we have to be dependent on others? Why is he such a moron?
R’Kessin: Biden is a slave, a puppet, of very evil people who want to change America and change it into a “communist” dictatorship. Biden is beholden to those people and knows that. He knows that he hasn’t the smarts to govern. Because of that, he’s wedded to the idea called “climate change,” willing to forego being one of the greatest oil producers in the world. With Alaska, the Keystone Pipeline, the U.S. could not only have enough oil for itself, but could supply for one-third of Europe. That’s how much oil the U.S. has, but the “progressive left” doesn’t want to use fossil fuels. They want electric cars, technology that is “climate-friendly” but you can’t abruptly stop the production of oil because most of the economies of the planet depend on fuel. He is such a moron. It is hard to believe that Biden believes what he says. What he is doing is helping finance Russia’s war. Were he to stop buying Russia’s oil not only would it cause Russia to collapse, it would make America the recipient of great wealth.
Nonetheless, it’s all part of the gezera--the decree. Biden is the scourge of America, it’s punishment, because it all boils down to the nation’s moral decay. That’s what’s behind it all. It’s like what destroyed the world at the Flood. America has become a very corrupt, perverse, and degenerate nation morally and ethically and G-D will not permit it. I
It’s interesting that Russia is against the LGBTQ and all the expressions of moral degeneracy that weaken a society (and defies the edicts of G-D). Even though Putin and Russia embody the evil aspect of Esav, the “ra she’b’Esav,” their resistance to these western, degenerate ideas gives Russia the merit to be the persecutors of the world, in a sense. They’re more righteous than the west. In fact, I think Putin accuses the west of such degradation.
Even when someone is inclined toward evil, attempts to put it into practice, G-D doesn’t always allow them to. Sometimes, an evil person is not evil in every respect. It sometimes happens that a person with strong evil inclinations and actions will still have merits. It is those merits that enable him to carry out his evil deeds sometimes. Even and evil person needs merit to succeed in their evil.
I believe that G-D is allowing Putin to intimidate the world, despite his evil inclinations, because he has merit from having expressed and standing for morally righteous principles in rejecting the idea of “gender fluidity,” homosexual marriage, the embracing of the LGBTQ agenda, all that which weakens the family and, therefore, community. Sometimes, a rasha-- evil person, rogue needs a zchus--merit in order to carry out his wicked actions. Sometimes, G-D needs an evil person to enact his evil intents and that person is Divinely selected because of some merit.
This is part of what is going on. America doesn’t realize this and won’t wake up to it. It doesn’t realize how close it is to destruction. G-D will not destroy America because America is part of the Redemption itself, as I mentioned many times, with Trump’s contributions, but this doesn’t mean G-D won’t punish America.
A while ago, I spoke about the American Civil War. Even though America didn’t kidnap the blacks from Africa, they did trade them as slaves, furthering slavery, furthering kidnapping. As long as a person is not free, he is considered as though kidnapped. A goy is forbidden to kidnap another goy. Therefore, G-D brought upon America a civil war as an atonement. Once a person engages in kidnapping, the penalty is death. America was under such a death penalty and required atonement for such a dire sin. It was accomplished through war rather than destruction. G-D does punish America.
This gets expressed by Putin being able to threaten America, causing anxiety, disruption, because he and his society have a different moral orientation regarding gender distortion and perversion.
G-D’s got it “all figured out,” knowing exactly the evil and virtues of every person and, therefore, what that person is entitled to and what he should punished for. Even an evil person who does a righteous deed must be rewarded. G-D doesn’t deny any particular kind of consequence that is rightfully due any person. Everyone has some virtuous deed for which G-D rewards. If the person is, overall, evil, in the end he will be destroyed.
This is what we’re seeing play itself out with Russian and Putin and I’m hoping that this is the beginning of the fall of Putin. It will take a long time until Ukraine gets its act together so that some semblance of normalcy can be restored. Let’s not forget that Ukraine has, historically, been a terrible place for Jews. Someone told me a statistic that, overall--not individually but overall--sixty-four percent of Ukrainians are anti-Semitic. I don’t know where that stat came from nor can I vouch for its validity but, if true, that’s terrible. It does confirm the nation’s history of pogroms, particularly the Khmelnytsky massacres and those that were conducted during both world wars.
Such is part of G-D’s reckoning with any country, and G-D’s reckoning is very exact. Each person gets what he deserves. If they don’t deserve it, they don’t get it.
Participant: As Jews, where does this place us? Are we just sitting back and watching?
R’Kessin: As Jews, we have to be extremely sensitive and responsible for the Jews in Ukraine. It’s a great mitzvah to help them. It’s interesting that Putin is not anti-Semitic. On the contrary, he likes Jews and so Ukrainian Jews are not threatened in terms of anti-Semitism. That’s not the problem. Ukraine is threatened generally, as a nation. Putin doesn’t aim destruction at Jews.
Participant: I don’t know why they didn’t leave when Putin threatened to invade.
R’Kessin: Most didn’t believe it. Remember, in 1994 they had the Ukraine give back all the nuclear weapons. The signatories on that agreement were the U.S., Britain, and Russia, guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity. In 2014, their territorial integrity was violated, partially, with Putin’s aggression to reclaim Crimea saying it was part of Russia. Besides that, Ukraine has been surviving as a sovereign nation for thirty-one years, since 1991. The population probably didn’t believe Putin would invade.
Participant: Does RaMCHaL say anything that signals or points to these events happening now?
R’Kessin: No, only in a general way, that, at the End of Time, things will be very bad and that’s just what the Gemara says. It conveys ideas about great harm, destruction, Darkness. RaMCHaL doesn’t make any specific predictions.
Participant: He doesn’t define the Darkness; just says it will be Dark.
Participant: Does it say how long the Darkness lasts? If you really think about it, the entire exile has been Darkness so….
R’Kessin: Yes, that’s true. It’s the old story about how, right before dawn, is the greatest darkness. That’s exactly what’s happening. That’s how we know we are very close to the messianic era. We see such an enormous amount of sinning, so we know we’re really at the end. It’s interesting to watch current events from the perspective of the Divine agenda.
Participant: This has similarities to the beginning of the Covid. First, this threat of war is global. The confusion, the where did this come from, and the what’s going on is the signature of Ha’Shem--G-D. Whenever we don’t understand, it’s Him.
Participant: G-D is sending the same message just in a different form.
R’Kessin: Remember, justice has to be satisfied. Even though the Ribono Shel Olam is a merachem--one who is compassionate, that attribute is in the service of justice. Anybody who will get Olam Ha’Ba--Future World must be deserving of Olam Ha’Ba. What we’re witnessing how G-D “evens the score.” Before the End, G-D accelerates the process creating situations that involve suffering in order to even the score and proceed with Redemption.
This is exactly what happened in Egypt. Even though Moshe Rabbeinu came to the Jews as a mashiach, the Jews had to even the score in terms of what they deserved. They did this. They did not deserve to be redeemed; that was the problem. So, G-D created the scenario in which Pharoah issued that decree that they would have to gather the straw at night from which to make the bricks during the day. They were accustomed to the bricks being provided for their slave labor but, with Moshe’s coming, things got worse and they had to work all night to gather the straw. It was horrendous. Why?--because that is the ultimate Divine decree, that all must satisfy din--justice at the End.
Same thing happens now. We’re looking at the many ways justice is being satisfied. Many are suffering. We don’t know what those who are suffering have done to deserve it but G-D knows exactly what He has to do. When mashiach comes, we will know; he’ll explain it. He will give a very long seminar as to why everything happened as it did, to every individual, and why it was fully justified. It will be explained how it was for the good of that person that they endured hardship to satisfy justice so he/she can go on to his/her reward without any complaint.
This process is hidden. The real accounting is beyond us. The End of Time has its emphasis on the satisfaction of justice whereby the Satan can no longer mekatreg--gain sustenance, nourishment from the prosecutorial cases he wins. He no longer has a claim on anyone and can no longer prosecute or accuse in the heavenly court. Then G-D will bring the Redemption. It’s a strict reckoning, so we pray that G-D accelerates the process but, in doing so, things get worse. The conditions get more severe, more intense. That’s the acceleration of the process, quieting the kitrugim--prosecutions of the Satan so that progress toward the Redemption can be made.
These principles are what create the climate we are looking at now. This is why things are worsening in America. The price of gas at $4.50 per gallon is incredible. That’s the good part; it will likely go up to $7-8. It’s all part of the punishment to gain atonement. It’s economic punishment. What will it do to people to have to pay exorbitant prices for heating oil, gasoline, and food? The price of food is a fortune. It’s all part of the scenario. At the end, it will be good.
Like at a basketball game, just keep your eyes on the ball, that it goes through the basket. That’s it. The whole purpose of the game--same thing. The purpose of Creation is like the purpose of the game, to end up in Olam Ha’Ba--Future World with justification, to have earned it. That’s the end-game.
There are so many ins-and-outs. Who knows the final reckoning? There are so many nuances and we’ve no idea how many sins we committed whether in this incarnation or a previous one. It would take a super-computer the size of the universe to calculate everybody’s position on the scales of justice. G-D does it with ease. We’re trying to figure out the game-plan. Where is this going to wind up?
I’ve tried to offer conjecture as to the game-plan based on chazal--the sages, on logic, and we hope it’s accurate.
Participant: I have a weird question.
R’Kessin: How weird?
Participant: Do you think that right now, because it’s really scary and all the things we’re suffering from i.e. prices of food and gas and war and some people saying he (Putin) will take over even more of Europe and advance so….does Ha’Shem want us to feel scared or does He want us to feel simcha--happiness like we’re…?
R’Kessin: No. He wants us to feel scared. Pachad--fear, particularly fear of death, affords us a great kappara--atonement. I, personally, don’t believe he’ll take over Europe because that would constitute an attack against NATO. Like I said, Putin is not suicidal. He loves power and wants to be the power-broker, not the guy who’s dead. The U.S. would attack him and it would be WW3. He doesn’t want that because then he’s got no kingdom to reign over except his grave. But, he will likely take over Ukraine and, maybe, Moldova. I wouldn’t worry about it. He doesn’t want WW3 because it would mean his destruction and that of Russia.
Participant: Thank you, rabbi. It’s very helpful because when you’re davening--praying, you can feel super happy but then you can become very serious.
R’Kessin: Yes, of course. It will turn out okay. It looks pretty bad in the interim but it’s meant to save the Jewish people, to save the world. Unfortunately, it comes with pain and suffering but that’s what it’s for. It will have a good ending but, for now, there’s not much you can do about it.