Weekly Hashkafa #91: The Tikun Process of Passover

Given: April 4, 2022

Dedication: I want to dedicate this shiur to Rini Malko, Regina bas Yosef Reuven, that these teachings will go for aliyas neshama--elevation of the soul in Gan Eden.

We are very close to Pesach, less than two weeks away, so I thought it would be good to introduce Pesach as the definitive holiday of the “Jewish program,” the tikkun program that G-D initiated. It is a very important Yom Tov, definitive in the sense that It’s essential, illustrating an essential idea of what G-D really wants and what the task of the Jew is and, certainly, what the main idea of tikkun--rectification of the Creation is. With such an approach, many questions will be answered about issues that are very mysterious. I’ll go through it comprehensively from beginning to end and answer the following questions:

1- Matza: Why do we eat matzah on Pesach? The historical understanding is that the Jews were rushed out of Egypt and didn’t have time to bake the bread so the dough didn’t rise. Was this an accident, a result of history or is there something else? It has to be something else because it became the essential mitzva of Pesach, eating matzah.

2- Chometz: G-D said we cannot eat chometz. “Chometz” is matza but with se’or, leavening, yeast, so that the matzah ferments, rises. What does this prohibition indicate?

3- Maror: Why do we have to eat bitter herbs?

4- Seder: What is the concept of the seder, which means “arrangement”?

5- Arba kosos--four cups of wine: Why drink four? Why drink at all?

6- Fifth cup: Why do have that fifth cup, the “cup of Eliyahu”?

7- Chag ha’matzos--holiday of matzah? Why call it that?

8- Zman cheruseinu: Why term it “zman cheruseinu”--time of our freedom? Is this merely historical because we left Egypt and were liberated?

9- Korbon Pesach: Every Jew was commanded to bring a korbon Pesach, a sacrifice. Why?

10- Eser Makos: ten plagues, blows, strikes, beatings, whatever you call it….why ten?

11- Yam Suf: The miracle of the splitting of the Reed Sea is, according to midrash--exegesis, more complex than is commonly understood. The sea split into twelve parts and each tribe went in its own path. Why this phenomenon?

12- Death of the firstborn?

Can we see how each of these questions has an answer that unifies them all into a central theme?--yes. The key is to understand what exactly Pesach is all about and why is it so important. Why must the final Redemption, which we await, mirror the redemption from Egypt? As it says, “Behold I will redeem you,” in terms of the final Redemption which we await “which will be as the first.” You see this in the Haggadah when it says that every person has to see himself as if he left Egypt. What’s the meaning of all this?

I’ve spoken of this before in various shiurim over the years, but to put it all together in one uniform “symphony” is critical. All these questions get answered, hopefully. The entire seder and the holiday itself will be commemorated in a renewed way.

Foundational Ideas: Levels of Reality

G-D created different levels of reality. What are they?

The first level is the reality of Who He is, the way He can be experienced, and the way He can interact with His Creation. This is done via the sefiros--Divine forces which He uses as tools, as instruments, to create realities. What is that reality?

The first and highest reality, the one to which we will return, is the reality calledneshamos”-- souls. Within us is a neshama, a soul which is our essential “being.” When we manifest ourselves as neshamos, that is really who we are and that is our identity at the End of Time, in Olam ha’Ba--Future World. The neshama is a pure zuloso--other. G-D created the concept of an “other.” That “other” is the neshama and that is who we are. We are pure souls. The neshama is so great, such a spectacular being, that it’s not even “spiritual” because its essence is far beyond “ruchni”--spirituality. We don’t understand this, but the neshama is higher than ruchni. From our perspective, the soul is spiritual because, as far as we’re concerned, if the neshama is not spiritual, it’s physical, but spirituality itself has levels. Neshama is the highest level of spirituality. It is a level of being that is so high that I would not even call it “spiritual;” I’d call it “divine.” Divinity is the nature of the neshama.

The second level of reality is termed “spirituality,” the realm of the angels and other spiritual forces. It’s important to note that they are spiritual beings, not physical and, as such, they are intermediaries between G-D and His creations. G-D doesn’t interact directly with Creation. He conceals Himself and interacts through the agency of the malachim--angels or other spiritual beings. There are ten “levels” of such beings. He created an entire universe of angels, almost an infinite number, and they represent G-D and are his agents.

G-D “took” the neshamos, not the malachim, and encased them in a third reality called “geshem”--physicality. He created a physical universe, the one we’re familiar with, and joined that highest reality to physicality. He issues a Divine decree that they cannot become separate. No matter what the neshama wants, it cannot separate from the physical reality. So, lo and behold, the soul, which is a reality unto itself, joins with physical reality but doesn’t become it. It is like a suit, a type of garb, that envelops the neshama which is destined to always be connected to, merged with, physical reality.

G-D creates yet another reality, that which is “anti-spiritual,” that of the Satan, the sitra achra--other side. The Satanic reality itself has many different aspects, some that we are familiar with.

The Task

What does G-D want? He wants mankind to engage in a certain task. He conceals the reality of the souls and even the reality of spirituality from man and wants man to do His Will, to recognize that there is a reality beyond the physical, that which we can see. He wants mankind, and especially the Jewish people, to acknowledge that the essential reality is spiritual and also Divine in terms of the neshama, and, especially, to recognize that there is a G-D Who is the root of all reality. That’s what G-D wants.

If mankind does, what it will have succeeded in doing is to increase the “output” of the sefiros--divine forces therefore altering physical reality. That is called “zikuch”--purification. Physical reality begins to change. Since the soul is bound up with the physical, the increase of output of the sefiros causes physical reality to become spiritual, become like angels. That takes place for several thousand years after the year 6000 (Hebrew calendar) taking several thousand years for the gradual dissolution of the physical universe. After that, the physical doesn’t even become spiritual. The neshama, bound to the physical, ultimately becomes the real neshama, itself becoming “the world of neshamos” which is Olam ha’Ba, the Future World.

Through man’s deeds of obeying the Will of G-D, the physical reality changes into a spiritual one and then even the spiritual will no longer be spiritual. It will become Divine. The physical body will still exist but not as physical. There will still be such an entity as physicality turned spiritual but the body that becomes spiritual will then revert into a “thin covering” of the neshama. It will always have a physical garb, but that garb no longer encloses the neshama and hides its essence. The neshama becomes almost Divine. At that stage when each person reverts to being a true Divine being--almost--that is the existence of the Future World and it is eternal.

We have no comprehension of that world but it’s not the same as ruchni--spiritual. This change from physical to spiritual to Divine, which is the essential nature of the neshama, is the transformation G-D wants.

The Sitra Achra, World of Delusion

G-D creates yet another reality, a “dark” reality where the being of G-D is completely concealed, not because there is physicality but because there is a force of evil, actually a force that, in some way, tries to convince man that he exists as a being independent of G-D, denying the reality of spirituality and of G-D. It’s a force of evil. That is really what “evil” is, denial of the spiritual/divine aspects of reality.

Man was not originally put into that reality of the sitra achra. Man has to choose to be in that reality. Therefore, we come to the first man, Adam Ha’Rishon, and he’s got that choice. He was supposed to obey G-D’s Will and start the upward climb. His physical reality which was much higher than ours initially, would have become spiritual and, ultimately, Divine but he sins. He, therefore, enters a lower reality, that of the sitra achra. He not only becomes more physical, his physical body becomes an occlusion of divinity, a blockage more effective than the original physicality to hide the truth.

Not only is man more physical as a result, he sees himself as an independent being from G-D. He’s got the physical body that has no resemblance to anything spiritual so he comes to believe that, besides G-D, there’s only the self. It’s even worse than that. He now enters a world, a place of the sitra achra, the “other side,” where there are forces that compel him to think that he is independent and he can do whatever he wants. It’s like entering an illusion, a world of the Satan, the angel that represents that reality. You not only believe you are independent of G-D but you believe that you, yourself, are a true cause, a force that you can exercise. There is the delusion that, not only can G-D be defied, but that one may freely destroy other beings. It is a world that allows you to entertain this illusion of the absolute intensity of ein od milvadi--there’s nothing besides me, or even yesh od milvado--beside G-D there is also me when, in truth, it is ein od milvado--there’s nothing besides G-D.

This delusion allows you to interfere with other beings. That’s a terrible world in which to exist. The danger is enormous. For man to believe he exists independent of G-D allows for a world of decimation. Man expresses his ein od milvadi: the only one that exists is me by destroying others. In a sense, it’s the way a person can convince himself that he is a god, superior, the only entity that really exists. This is why evil empires always engage in the overthrow of others. They don’t just engage in living as they wish; they’re occupied with the destruction of others because they believe they are independent of G-D, are superior to others, are true existential beings. That is why real evil is a place where there’s murder, damage, destruction of other beings. That’s the height of the illusion of the world of the sitra achra.

Adam Ha’Rishon, who was not supposed to enter that world, does because he sins. It is an ultimate declaration that can defy the Will of G-D because: I exist independent of G-D. By believing that, thereby defying G-D’s Will, he entered the world of the Satan. He now lives in that world of Satanic reality. Adam bequeathed that world to all of mankind.

But G-D still wants mankind to crawl out of that world and go back up the ladder, back to that state of a higher, purer physicality, become ruchni--spiritual, become, ultimately, Divine. G-D still wants that. The problem is that, now, man has to crawl upward from a much lower level. It’s as though Adam was on a high floor of a building then fell into the basement so he’s not even on the first floor anymore. He’s got to get out of the basement to the first floor and then ascent to the second floor. This is the existential situation that man created for himself due to the sin of Adam.

We now understand that the original intent of G-D was for man begin his ascent from higher state, working his way up to be a pure neshama in Olam ha’Ba.

The power in that world of the sitra achra is called “zohama” which is contamination, pollution. That force is connected to you and has control over your physical body and other aspects of physical existence. Now you are subject to that force and have to contend with it. Since that force is now part of your mind, part of you, the task changed, as I’ve described. Being now in the “basement,” man must obliterate, annihilate, purge that Satanic force which keeps him in the basement. Then he reverts to that level where Adam was created, a higher state of geshem. From there, he can resume the task of Adam to do the original tikkun--rectification. The original task was to ascend from higher physicality toward divinity. Now, the task it two-fold, to destroy the Satanic forces separating ourselves from them and then to return to the original, primordial level and the task of ascension.

The way this is done is to observe the Will of G-D. To do so testifies that you believe in His world. Belief in His “world” causes our world to comply with that reality, that belief. The world changes to display that reality of G-D which is ein od milvado. That’s how the tikkun is done, to bring down the force of the sefiros, to turn em up! They will begin to change reality. That’s what they do. This is an important introduction.

The Klippos and Prophecy

In the world of the Satan, there are four different levels of delusion. Each is called a “klipa”--shell, a barrier to understanding the true reality. There are four environments that can cloud a person’s judgment. What are they?

It says, “In the beginning G-D created the heavens and earth” and then it speaks of the “tohu v’vahu,“ of “choshech,” and “tehom.” The earth is the world of the Satan: tohu--chaos,mixture, of vohu--emptiness, of choshech--darkness, and tehom--the great abyss. These four biblical terms refer to the four levels of reality of the Satan. As such, they are important to us because we have to crawl out of these, overturn them, eradicate these four.

When someone became a prophet, he would have to traverse these four realities to arrive at the “worlds” he could see. Even as a prophet, he’s located in this world, this reality, the reality of us all. As such, he would have to traverse the reality of the Satan. Let’s be clear what prophecy entails, what it is.

The prophet’s journey would entail his imagination becoming conscious of different realities. He doesn’t travel anywhere physically. Without going into the entire phenomenon of prophecy here, I can tell you that the prophetic experience entailed closing one’s eyes so the imagination--which everybody has--becomes conscious of other realities and he could “see into them.” A prophet would be able to go beyond the reality of the physical, beyond the world of the Satan, into the world of the angels and “see” them in whatever guise they present themselves. He may not see them as they really are but could view them as they allow themselves to be seen in that world. He could also talk to them.

To get to those worlds, he has to first traverse these klipas. In Yechezkel/Ezekiel, the second perek--portion speaks of the maisa merkava--Divine Chariot, the account of it which uses four different terms.

1- “ruach seora”--stormy wind.

2- “onan godol”--great cloud.

3- esh mislakachas”--striking fire.

4- “nogah”--brilliant light.

These four terms refer to the terms used in the Torah:

1- ruach seora--stormy wind = tehom--great abyss

2- onan godol--great cloud = choshech--darkness

3- eish mislakachas--striking fire = vohu--emptiness, void

4- nogah--brilliant light = tohu--confusion

Yechezkel’s prophetic powers required him to go through that world of zoama, of the Satan, then go out of that world into Olam Asiyah--World of Action, this world, and then into Olam Yetzira--World of Formation and be able to look into Briya--World of Creation. Beyond these is Olam Atzilus--World of Emanation.

Just like there are four worlds of the sitra achra, there are four worlds of holiness, called “sitra kedusha” so, obviously, prophesy is about going higher to those four worlds of kedusha. Yechezkel could become conscious of Yetzira and communicate with the angels and see unbelievable, divine images. Yechezkel, in certain ways, was a “low-class” prophet. Imagine that! Prophets before him were able to be conscious of Olam Briyah, which is higher than Yetzira. They were able to see into Atzilus. The concept of prophecy is to be able to see into Atzilus which is inhabited by G-D as He is manifest there and can be “viewed” in Olam ha’Ze--the Creation. That prophetic experience is the highest representation of G-D there is. Every prophet, basically, was able to go into that upper world and see into Atzilus. From there, he could access awesome divine messages and views. Yechezkel was not as great as the other nevi’im--prophets because he lived at the end of prophetic times. He was only able to go into Yetzira. After him, prophecy ended.

The main idea that I want to bring out is that, in order to get to the higher worlds, a prophet had to go through the world of the Satan, the world of the four klippas. That is what the terms in Yechezkel refer to and he was able to do that.

The “Mindset” of the Klippos

To recap, the world of the Satan has four terms in Torah, four levels of reality in which there is an intense inclination to believe in “self” as opposed to believing in G-D. Each of these levels of reality has a different delusional system.

The lowest, weakest klippa, “nogah is where you see a mixture between good and evil. There is a realization of truth and, with it, there is realization of evil. That’s nogah.

The next klippa, a worse one, is the “eish mislakachas.” That world of delusion has no discernable good, just an environment where you believe yourself to be “everything.”

The next klippa, which is yet worse, is that of the “onen ha’godol,” the great cloud where everything is seen as independent of G-D--not just self, but everything. Everything is separate because the world is its own reality. That is the “dark cloud” that obscures everything.

The worst of all is “ruach seora” in which the ever-increasing delusion pervades the entire earth.

The Nations as Representatives of The Klippos

There have been nations representing different level of klippa, associated with these levels of delusion which pervaded those nation. They are:

1- Babylon represented the delusional level of “nogah,” that mixture of good and evil, the weakest of the delusional levels of reality. Babylon was inclined toward spirituality but believed in many deities rather than one G-D. They practiced avodah zara--idolatry. They harbored some truth about a universe beyond the physical but their universe was inhabited by a pantheon of gods.

2- Persia/Poras was known for its enormous love of physicality and is the “eish mislakachas.”

3- Greece represents that level of delusion in which man is supreme and that delusion is an all-pervasive chochma--ideology. This was the “Weltanschauung”--world-view of Greece. It espoused the greatness and uniqueness of man. Man’s rationality, and the science and philosophy that were its products produced independently of G-D, is the “great cloud.”

4- Rome took the ideology of Greece and spread it throughout the world so it is the tahom, the ruach seorah--stormy wind that would carry the “great cloud” around the world.

These four kingdoms represent the four klippas of the Satan.

This has great significance for the Jewish people. This has all been an introduction to explain what G-D initially wanted, what it turned out to be due to the sin of Adam, and what the job of man was. The other foundational ideas are the description of the Satanic worlds, four different levels of reality represented by four terms in Yechezkel, four terms in Bereishis/Genesis, four different environments, and four different nations. With this knowledge, we are equipped to begin our study of what Pesach is and why it is necessary. I will continue this next session and, hopefully, complete this study next week in advance of Pesach.

Q & A

Participant: I have a lot of questions and I wrote them down. You said that Ha’Shem doesn’t interact with us directly, using angels as intermediaries. All our lives, as Jews, we’re always searching to interact with Ha’Shem directly.

R’Kessin: You have to keep in mind that there are two concepts to the idea of “interaction.” One interaction is G-D response to our deeds. The other are those interactions done through the angels to maintain the stability of the Creation. It is maintained by the malachim--angels. The interaction that is caused by G-D as a result of the deeds of the Jews is sometimes prompted by G-D but not always. The concept of a “heavenly tribunal,” for example, is not G-D. Of course, G-D directs such a tribunal in terms of what it does and what it needs in terms of its power, information, the law, obviously. That’s the beis din she’lemala--heavenly tribunal. Sometimes, G-D “sits” as the chief justice of that court but that is only when the Jews, as a nation, are being judged. Many times, it is the court that judges Jews. In a sense, you have G-D judging the world directly but only as a result of their deeds, their behavior. In terms of Creation’s existence itself, to stabilize it, the sefiros, via the courts, do it. You have a duality here. With the Jews, G-D will preside sometimes. With the Gentiles, with the nations of the world, the courts do it, not G-D. Each nation has a representative, a malach--angel, to serve as its defendant in court.

For instance, when the angel of Egypt tried to defend Egypt so as to prevent its destruction, that was in court. There are those angels who take on the case. Michael, the angel of Israel, sometimes has that role. There is an intermediate system G-D employs.

Participant: Those rare times when you feel a close connection to Ha’Shem when you feel, not His presence, but you feel something, are we feeling the angels, the intermediaries, or G-D?

R’Kessin: We’re feeling G-D. G-D does that too. G-D interacts with each soul directly. It is not through a malach. What a malach can do is transmit the gilui--revelation of G-D. Malachim do bring down the force of G-D. Somehow it goes through the sefiros and that’s carried by the malachim but what you are experiencing is not the malachim. They are merely the carriers of the revelation. You are experiencing G-D because you are a neshama. The beauty of a neshama is that it is much greater than the malachim. The soul, of which we have no concept, is who we really are and it is the greatest existential being ever made. It is a direct being that emerges from the sefiros. So, you are experiencing G-D.

Participant: When you’re speaking about the neshama, the idea that it’s bound to spirituality and then turns into the Divine and then, in Olam Ha’Ba, the physical ends up being like a translucent layer…so my question is: when it is Divine, where do our merits weigh in? Do merits dictate how divine one’s neshama will be?

R’Kessin: No. It dictates how much shefa--divine flow you will receive. In other words, your reality becomes the reality of the soul so there’s no barrier, basically. How much quantity of shefa, of divine revelation, you’ll experience depends on your deeds. The greater your mitzvah observance, the greater your love and fear of G-D, the greater your dedication to G-D’s Will, the less of a barrier to being spiritual will be your situation. There will certainly be no zoama. Then the amount of shefa, of divine revelation of G-D’s presence you receive depends on your deeds. There are no more barriers--no zohama or physical barriers nor even any spiritual barrier. You are now a neshama which is the greatest form of divinity that we could possibly imagine. But it’s not really G-D because G-D is not Divine. G-D is beyond Divine. G-D is something we cannot fathom. The neshama is Divine, the closest thing that we can call “Divine.” We call

G-D “Divine” from that perspective because we have no other term for Him or what His reality is. He is “super-existential,” whatever that means.

Participant: When we get up, when we have resurrection of the dead, the neshama’s job is to turn from physical to spiritual….

R’Kessin: Yes, with tchias ha’meisim which will occur after Mashiach ben David comes, that tekufa--period during Mashiach ben David, the world of the sitra achra, that “basement,” is wiped out, ceases to exist. That’s what is meant by “Chad Gadya” the song we sing at the end of the Pesach seder. It says that the malach ha’maves--Angel of Death gets slaughtered. That’s the end of the zohama. There’s no more death, no more degeneration. You will always feel phenomenal. You will revert to being purely physical as Adam before the sin. Then, when the world turns 6000/2240, that’s the end of the messianic era of Mashiach ben David. Then the world begins to change from being physical to being spiritual. That will take place over the course of 3,000 years because there are three spiritual worlds to ascend through. There’s Olam Yetzira, then Olam Briya, and then Olam Atzilus.

To become a being whose existence can traverse those three spiritual worlds takes 1000 years each. Therefore, by the year 9000, the process is complete. This is because, at 6000, this world is over. From 6000-7000, then 7-8, then 8-9, you’ll have traversed different realities and become a different reality in each. Each of those worlds is what the entire universe turns into. So, by 9001, the world, the universe, will have been through the end of Atzilus, which is the greatest world of the ascension process in Olam Ha’Ze. From the year 9000 begins Olam Ha’Ba, and we don’t know what that is because, like I told you, it is not really a world of spirituality. We use the word “ruchni”--spiritual because we have no other term for that which is not physical. In Kabbalah, it’s called “Adam Kadmon”--primordial man and, everything below it, the four worlds, is almost infinite. That millennium beginning from 9000 begins when you become a soul entity and, even though you have a “formal body,” that body is completely “transparent” in the sense that it doesn’t exert any influence on the soul which is, by then, all bound up with G-D. That binding to Him is based on the extent to which that neshama loved G-D, feared G-D, did the Will of G-D.

Participant: Throughout those thousands of years, your soul and whatever amount of shefa you got in its time living in this world, grows accordingly. That’s it? You can’t grow beyond that? Our shefa in Olam Ha’Ba is from the merits we earned in this world? Between 6000-7000 we’re moving up in the olamot--worlds. The shefa stays the same, stagnates, or is it able to grow?

R’Kessin: Yes, it can grow. In fact, what’s interesting is that the amount of shefa, of Divine power, Divine closeness, dveikus--attachment you deserved based on your deeds, begins after death in Gan Eden. Gan Eden is a place where, basically, you’ve entered Olam Yetzira. You’re no longer part of the Olam Asiyah, the physical world. You are then in a spiritual world but, even in a spiritual world, each person will receive in conformity with what he/she did by that time. The differences among people are already apparent in Gan Eden which is Olam Yetzira. They don’t have to wait 4000 years before they begin to see the gradations because of their deeds, their merits. It already begins with death. In Yetzira, if you are an unbelievable tzaddik, then and there you begin to receive some type of shefa. It’s nowhere near what you would get in the Future World but it already begins. You are already graded on what you did during your lifetime. Even then, it’s not the full reception because a person is judged at the End of Time, at the Great Judgement, because you are judged not only on what you did during your lifetime, but also upon what you did in all the lives that you lived, all the incarnations, and after the resurrection.

You are also judged according to all the influences that you caused. In a sense, that’s why one of the greatest things you can do is to influence Jews to do mitzvos, to believe in G-D. There’s no greater type of endeavor than to influence Jews because you are rewarded for what they do, what their kids do, and even what and their kids do until the end of all generations. Could you imagine what kind of payment that is! This is why it is so important, just from that standpoint, to sponsor the heightening of Jewish spirituality. You will collect on what the influence they and their progeny have until final generation at the End of Time.

Participant: The zohama that is inside us….I know that the navi--prophet could go through those four physical realities of the zohama and be able to surpass them but, as the normal, regular person, can we deplete the zohama within us while still living in this zohama world?

R’Kessin: No. There were those who were able to do that and, because they could, were able to enter Gan Eden alive with their bodies. Chanoch was able to do that. Then there was Eliyahu Ha’Navi. He went up alive. Then there was Serach bas Asher, the one who told Ya’akov that “Yosef still lives.” She was blessed that she should live forever. Other than those three, nobody ever surpassed the zohama. Everybody has to die first.

Participant: Could you minimize it? Don’t we always fight the yetzer ha’ra within us and isn’t that a part of the zohama?

R’Kessin: What you say is true, yes. There are two levels of zohama. There’s a level that is a remnant, a residue, from Adam Ha’Rishon. You cannot remove that. That’s what causes everyone to die. That’s why, when a person dies, they put the body in the mikvah.

The other level is based on the concept of sin versus righteousness. That is why they exhume a corpse of a tzaddik and he looks as though he’s simply sleeping. He could be dead a hundred years but has not deteriorated. This means that the person lived the life of such righteousness that the level of zohama did not have the ability to decompose the body. There are many stories about tzaddikim being exhumedand appear to have simply lied down to sleep. Such righteousness neutralized that particular level of zohama, so what you’re saying is true. On the other hand, there is another level you can’t get rid of until G-D allows the process of neutralizing the zohama to begin. That will not happen until Mashiach ben David.

Participant: If we know the four levels of the klippas of the Satan, how come the knowledge doesn’t help us surpass it? How come, as a whole, we’re not able to….we know what the klippa is and how to fight it so why can’t we….

R’Kessin: Many people know traffic laws but that doesn’t mean we can be traffic-law-abiding citizens automatically. That’s the choice of man. There are many things we know are not good for us but we do them anyway because we have a self-interest. Usually it’s taiva--pleasure-seeking. Everybody wants pleasure, wants to do what he wants. People don’t want to listen to authority. They seek honor and glory. Most people know, when doing something they shouldn’t, that it’s wrong. Why are they doing it? The courts are filled with this, right? Our lives are filled with activities that we know are wrong or detrimental. We’re blinded by self-interest.

It's a huge topic, why we ignore the internal warning that something we’re doing is bad for us. Having the knowledge to distinguish between right and wrong is no guarantee that we will always make the right choice. That’s the human condition. We must strengthen this knowledge and try to make it work for us in a practical way. It’s a life-long struggle. Many people struggle their entire lives with this.

Participant: Now that you’re telling us about the levels of klippa and the levels of the Satan, as a nation it’s nearly impossible to get out of it without the mashiach. Since our merits need to bring the mashiach, how do we bring it if it’s impossible for us to move beyond it?

R’Kessin: G-D swore to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov that we will ultimately bring mashiach either through Torah mitzvos, or teshuva--repentance or yesurin--suffering. That’s how we do it--suffering. That’s how they brought Moshe Rabbeinu in Egypt. That’s the guarantee that we will bring mashiach in what is called “b’ita”--in its time. G-D swore that there must come a time when we will have brought the mashiach no matter what. That is why He “instituted” three different ways. One is through the doing of mitzvos. The second way is through teshuva--repentance. The third way is through yesurin--suffering. Of course, it’s a combination of all three. In this way, G-D guarantees it and that is His oath to the avos--patriarchs. The time will come when we will have brought mashiach and then He will end it all. These methods are employed on a national level and on a personal level.

Participant: About those three ways, must they be instituted on the whole or can they be only personalized?

R’Kessin: It’s both. They’re on a national level and personal level. That’s why every Jew, in the end is, basically, guaranteed to be in Olam Ha’Ba.

What does that mean? Where is his level of receiving the shefa. Every Jew will be in Olam Ha’Ba. Why? It’s because G-D can guarantee that every person will have, in some way, undone their aveiros--sins. The question regarding Olam Ha’Ba is not how much suffering you want but how much reward you want. Maybe you get into Olam Ha’Ba and wind up in a shack instead of a palace, but you’ll be in the Future World. The purpose is not so much to avoid sin but to gather mitzvos, gather reward. That’s the challenge.

Participant: Your soul will be aware of its level of shefa compared to that of others in Olam Ha’Ba?

R’Kessin: No, but even if it were aware, you will not have the midda--characteristic of jealousy. Could you imagine if you were jealous, if you realized the differences and, all of a sudden, became embarrassed of your own level, for eternity?

Participant: You’d be sad.

R’Kessin: You wouldn’t be sad; you’d be devastated. Olam Ha’ba is forever. Imagine being devastated forever? That’s Gehenom--purgatory. What kind of Olam Ha’ba is that? Therefore, either you will not be aware of somebody else’s level because he’ll experience it in a personal way, or you will be aware but it will mean nothing. G-D will take away the feelings of devastation and jealousy or else you couldn’t possibly enjoy your Future World. There will be differences and those differences are already apparent in Gan Eden. Why wait for your merit until Olam Ha’Ba? You don’t. Your merits are already applied and benefit you in Gan Eden.

Participant: If Ha’Shem interacts with the soul individually, is it just with Jewish neshamas or those of the rest of the nations, of the world?

R’Kessin: It’s basically the Jews but I think that He interacts even with non-Jews if they are what we call “Noahide.” Noahides are those who observe the seven mitzvos of Noach because they are commanded by G-D to do so. If he/she observes for that reason, he/she is considered a “righteous gentile” and G-D will react with him also. Yes. Goyim--they don’t understand this; what a tragedy! They’ve no idea what awaits them--who become Noahide and observe those seven mitzvos, becomes what is termed a “ben Noach” or “ger toshav” and G-D will interact with him on a personal level because he has become righteous.

G-D is not a “racist.” It doesn’t make a difference who you are. I mean it does, in a certain way, but if somebody wants to become a Noahide and remain so, then he too will get Olam Ha’Ba or Gan Eden, or whatever.

Participant: G-D is shaking up the world now and more people are saying that this is G-D that is waking up the rest of the world.

R’Kessin: Right. And it will get much more severe. The world, even now, is beginning to recognize that the world has reached its nadir, its lowest point in terms of morality and righteousness. This is the pits! What can you say? Even now, people are beginning to say “Maybe we are reaching the end of this world and the beginning of a messianic era.” This sentiment will get stronger together with Mashiach ben Yosef.