Given: May 9, 2022
In these last four shiurim, I’ve been going into great detail about what the entire saga of Mitzraim--Egypt is. One of the reasons for this is because it’s the model for the future Redemption. All the ideas, all the different aspects and details and major themes that we see in the exodus from Egypt are identical to what happens at the End of Time. Therefore, I’ve been going into this with such detail so you understand it from more than just an historical perspective. The perspective is also mystical, kabbalistic so you can look into a different type of window to view what this historical event of yetzias Mitzraim--exodus from Egypt was really about from a cosmic standpoint.
This theme continues as we get closer to matan Torah--giving of the Torah. I’ll continue with some fascinating ideas in terms of the whole concept of “sefira,” matan Torah, ideas which most people are probably unfamiliar with.
I mentioned last time that the major idea of Mizraim is about taking away the nitzotsos--sparks of holiness, transfering them from the Satan, the sitra achra--other side to the sitra d’kedusha--side of holiness, putting them back into the sefiros. If that happens, we know that zohama--defilement that the Satan projects into the world will collapse and he is evicted and, if all the sparks leave him, he will die. This is a cosmic understanding of the exodus. This is the kabbalistic theme of yitzias Mitzraim.
Bones of Yosef, Essence of Yosef
This is really what the Jews accomplished. For the first time in history since Adam ha’Rishon--the first man introduced the sparks into the hand of the Satan, the Jews succeeded in taking it back, so the zohama collapsed. Also, as I mentioned, the four worlds, the four environments of evil also collapsed--so that is characterized by atzmus Yosef--the bones of Yosef, Yosef who is the forerunner of Mashiach ben Yosef. When the Jews left Egypt taking Yosef’s bones with them, what they were really taking out is the origin of the ohr mashiach--Messianic Light, also called the ohr rishon--“First Light.” That “Light” offers the ability to have insight into the spiritual realms which is what mashiach is going to reveal. All of that was in the “hands” of the klippa--“husk,” negative spiritual energy--the Satan. That’s what it means that the sparks of holiness are in the hands of the Satan. We fail to have understanding of the upper worlds and how everything connects. That’s what is symbolized in the atzmus Yosef.
Until then, he was buried in the Nile. That indicates that the Light he represents is also buried in the Nile and the Satan has access to that. When the Jews took out the sparks, they took out that messianic Light from the klippa that blocks access to holiness. They released it from the tumah--impurity of the Satan. That is what the removal of his bones from Egypt symbolizes. I mentioned too that the meaning isn’t just “atzmos” Yosef--bones of Yosef. It can also be read as “atzmus” Yosef--essence of Yosef. Even the word “etzem,”--bone has a connotative meaning of “essence.”
The Basic Scenario of Redemption
This is what’s happening. We see that there’s a sequence:
First: Jews are sinning, or the world before Avraham is sinning, giving sparks to the Satan.
Second: The Satan uses this acquired, holy power to control the world, to get it to rebel or defy G-D.
Three: the task is to recover all the sparks causing him to die and his domain to collapse. Then the messianic Light can enter this world.
This is basically the scenario of Redemption. It’s the scenario of what it’s all about. The messianic Light is the last stage and that is represented by the bones of Yosef. That’s what’s coming out of Egypt and is heading toward Mount Sinai.
To show this is true, if you recall, I told you that when G-d said, “yeitzu b’rechush gadol.”--they will leave Egypt with great possessions, the gematria--numerological value of that statement in Hebrew is equal to the gematria of “nitzotsei kedusha”--holy sparks.
When they left, as written in Torah portion “Beshalach”: “v’yotzu kol tzivaos Ha’Shem m’eretz Mitzraim”--and all the hosts of G-D went out of Egypt. What are these “hosts of G-D”?-- the sparks. The gematria of “v’yotzu kol tzivaos Ha’Shem” is equal to “sparks of holiness.” That’s remarkable. They were captured and now they have to be released. It’s all about this incredible Divine energy which will now to be available to the Jewish people. That is, ultimately, what the luchos rishones--first (stone) tablets were.
Moshe rabbeinu--our teacher was, himself, Mashiach ben Yosef. That’s who he really was and he fulfilled that purpose. He took the Jews out of tumah, the zohama, brought them to Eretz Yisrael without entering it himself. He gave them the Torah. In many ways, he did the job of Mashiach ben Yosef. By matan Torah--giving of the Torah, there were the luchos rishones-- first tablets. Those first tablets were really the messianic Light. In many ways they were magical. It’s been said that if you were viewing the tablets from one side, you could read the other side without having to turn them around. That’s what the ohr mashiach is, the ability to “see completely through” any type pf phenomena, to have extraordinary understanding of the essence of all phenomena.
Because of the egel--Golden Calf, the Satan was re-energized and was, once again, able to project his zohama, his pollution, and it re-entered the body of the Jew. The luchos rishonos which Moshe would have given the Jewish people could no longer be given to them because the messianic Light cannot come to Jews if the zohama is in their bodies. Being purified of it is a very important precondition. One cannot live, so to speak, side by side with the other. The zohama is an exact contradiction to the messianic Light. Because they’d reintroduced the zohama, they could no longer receive the luchos and the Light they represented.
A second set of tablets, luchos shnius, were no longer the messianic Light. They were the Torah in the form of halachos, laws and commandments to facilitate the process of evicting the Satan and destroying him and, ultimately, bringing the Light. These second tablets were no longer the Torah of reward, no longer the ultimate outcome of removing the zohama. They were no longer that which gave insight into all phenomena in terms of its ultimate cause. It now had the form of an “instrument.”
What are the mitzvahs really? They themselves are not reward, obviously. Many times, they present difficulty in execution, require self-sacrifice in performing them. They are instruments, triggers to bring down the Light, the energy, the power of the sefiros. It’s like walking into a room and flipping on the light-switch. When you do a mitzvah, it releases, somewhere in the structure of heaven, an ohr of the sefiros. That ohr, in some way, comes down and addresses you.
The Torah is also a form of reward, a consequence which is the Light itself that was released because of the mitzvahs, the instruments. That’s really the relationship between the original tablets and the second tablets. The first tablets were the ohr mashiach, the messianic Light which is really what’s called the “payoff,” the reward. The second set, the luchos shnios, is the Torah in its form of the instrument to again destroy the Satan by taking back all the sparks of holiness? That’s the clear distinction.
The consequence of doing the mitzvos, ultimately, will not be revealed in the messianic era. The vast ohr of the sefiros will be released in Olam Ha’Ba--Future World. We’ve no conception what that means when all that energy and Light of the sefiros will be released.
Moshe had a big problem, a quandary. You’ll notice that the Ribono Shel Olam--Master of the Universe told Moshe after the sin of the calf, “lech, reid,”--Go down because your nation has corrupted itself! Here’s Moshe holding the first tablets, the messianic Light, and G-D, while Moshe is still “up there,” tells him that he must “go down” from his ability to be mashiach because, now, the Jews no longer deserve it. We know about the Sin of the Golden Calf.
What did Moshe do? He goes down the mountain, sees the Jews sinning and throws the tablets down to shatter them into, probably, thousands of pieces. That’s odd behavior. Why did he do that?
Imagine someone gives you jewelry, a diamond necklace, and says, “Do me a favor; give this necklace to so-and-so who lives on your block! I can’t get there but, perhaps, on your way home, you can deliver it as a gift on my behalf.“
The person says “okay” and what does he do? He goes to the home of the supposed recipient, knocks on the door, and one of the recipient’s kids opens it. The messenger asks if the father is home and the kids says “no.”
“Is there a way to speak to him?”
“You can’t because he’s away on a business trip to Israel. My mother works with him so she too is away in Israel so the gift can’t be given to her either.” The kid closes the door.
You think: I can’t give it to them so I’ll just throw it in the garbage pail.
Does that make any sense?--of course not! You can’t do that simply because the recipient is no longer there! You can’t destroy that which you’re supposed to give! But isn’t that what Moshe did?
When the Ribono Shel Olam told Moshe that the nation had corrupted itself, Moshe could have said, “Okay, obviously they cannot have this now because they reintroduced zohama into their bodies so, here G-D, take it back!” Is that what Moshe should have done? Of course. Even G-D said that the nation had corrupted itself.
Here’s what happens: if a person receives a spiritual “gift” which is much greater than his capacity for that level of spirituality, they can die; they can’t handle it. You have to be at a certain level to handle any tremendous elevation in spirituality. Moshe was “holding” the messianic Light! Obviously, he couldn’t give it to the Jews because it would kill them all. Since they had the zohama back in their bodies, they could not, in any way, receive it; they hadn’t the capacity.
So, either G-D should have asked for it back or Moshe should have told G-D, “Take it back!” Instead, he throws it to the bottom of the mountain, shattering it. He threw the gift in the garbage because the parents weren’t home. Makes no sense; it’s mysterious.
What’s even a double mystery is the Gemara mentioning that Moshe did certain things and G-D agreed with him. Not only that, G-D’s attitude was as if He’d said, “Yosher koach”--congratulations. You’ve done this amazing thing!” G-D was maskim--in agreement with what Moshe did. Where did Moshe get the idea to do this? How could it be a solution? It was true the Jews were not worthy, but how did Moshe know what to do? Why didn’t G-D ask for it back? Why did G-d congratulate Moshe?
Here is really what happened: the truth is that Moshe had a tremendous problem. Imagine that, in his hand, is the power source of the messianic Light, the first tablets, and he realized the Jews couldn’t receive it because they were unworthy and it could kill them. This holiness is beyond their ability to receive and will overpower them. He didn’t know what to do but then realized that G-D was not requesting the first tablets be given back. He realized G-D doesn’t want them back. G-D wants the Jews to have this Light. If it’s given back to G-D, then the Jews will not experience any of the Light until the mashiach comes. That’s terrible! So, Moshe realized that and had to have said to himself: G-D wants me to figure out a way to give it to the Jews, to elevate their spiritual level in a way that wouldn’t kill them.
Kabbalah: Fragmented Messianic Light
The amazing compromise, given that his concerns were always, first and foremost, for the Jews, was to bring it down but not in such a way that they can actually read it. I’m gonna bust it up, shatter it into, perhaps, a thousand pieces. Where are those pieces now?
The Gemara, in mesechte “Shabbos,” says that the shards of the first tablets are in the aron--holy ark, placed there together with the second tablets. Moshe understood that he could, at least, give them the fragments. Here’s how this tactic solves the problem; If they can’t read it, they can’t understand it so they won’t die from being overpowered with a Light they cannot tolerate, but they’ll have the pieces and will experience the kedusha, the colossal force of the sefiros that are “tied” to these fragments.
Even though we don’t have the messianic Light, we do have allusions, hints. We have the force, somewhat, to elevate ourselves in kedusha.That’s the study of Kabbalah. The messianic Light is really Kabbalah. It’s all about the upper worlds, Who G-D is, the interface between G-D and the physical world and how we connect with those upper worlds. It’s about another reality. That reality has been given to us because we have the first tablets, shattered though they are.
Moshe solved the problem. Therefore, G-D said, in essence, “Congratulations!” G-D doesn’t want it back. He wants the Jews to have it but they can’t in its totality. G-D congratulated Moshe because he came up with the perfect compromise. The Jews have it, but it’s unintelligible. Since we have the pieces, we can receive their holiness. Moshe always had to be at the “top of his game.” He had to figure out--and this was not the first time--how to help the Jews even though they were sinning. He always had to figure things out; that’s true leadership and who Moshe rabbeinu really is.
Messianic Light: Knowledge Acquisition and Connection
If the Jews had gotten the first tablets, what would have happened? In the messianic era, what’s gonna happen? Every Jew will close his eyes, sit down and, suddenly, become an incredible navi--prophet because, remember, there’s no zohama blocking the ability to see that messianic Light. You will have complete clarity of whatever concepts you are realizing. This is the highest level of prophecy that you will be experiencing.
Not only will you have clarity of ideas, you will understand the implications of the ideas. Many times, we get an idea that has implications, derivatives, what can be derived from the idea. Not only will you have the ideas with this prophetic capability but those derivatives will be automatically known. There will be no hardship whatsoever.
These days, when you learn, what happens? You struggle to understand what’s called a “sugiya”--portion of Gemara. Spending weeks on one sugiya is not unusual but, when the messianic Light goes into your mind, there’s no difficulty. That is because the zohama that was part of you acted as a barrier, a blockage, hampering your ability to discern wonderous, spiritual, Divine knowledge. That’s what makes it so hard now. One of the ways the blockage is manifest is that you don’t see the idea or you have a lot of questions and you don’t know the answers. There’s to be tremendous speed in knowing the ideas. They come with tremendous acceleration.
Aside from speed of acquisition of ideas and their ramifications, the knowledge is experiential and emotional. It’s an experience, emotionally, of the information.
All the information in this Light is super-organized. It’s no longer difficult to configure because it’s all over the place. It’s organized; every idea, all information is in its right place. All the relationships among Torah ideas are revealed completely, automatically, immediately. Yes! We will all experience this when the mashiach comes. It’s an entirely different way of connecting to G-D and the spiritual universe.
Torah in the Klippa, The Task of “Taking it Out”
Once the Jews sinned with the golden calf, not only did the zohama re-enter the body of the Jew, but the Torah itself became incredibly difficult to access. The Torah entered the klippa. In other words, what surrounds the Torah now is what’s called the “klippa,” the Satan, the zohama. This serves as a barrier which is why Torah is so difficult. If Torah were not surrounded by the zohama, it would be the ohr rishon--First Light (messianic Light) and would be, as I said before, clear, apparent, experiential, organized, and accessible with accelerated efficiency. As is, it’s laborious, slow, takes years to figure out, and is, in many ways, disorganized.
It’s like a jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces. If I gave you such a puzzle, the first thing you’d ask me for is the box because you need to see the “big picture.” Torah is like a thousand-piece puzzle without the box! The relationships among many, many ideas is not revealed. All of this is due to the zohama that came into Creation.
In the Gemara, there’s a pasuk--verse in “Eicha” that says, “b’michashchim hoshivani”--you’ve placed me in darkness. What does “being placed in darkness” mean? It says, “zu talmud bavli”--this is the Babylonian Talmud. There are different pshatim--literal meanings but the central idea is that, when you learn Gemara, it’s like making one’s way in the darkness or trying to assemble a vast puzzle without the box.
The primary task of learning Torah is really the task of taking it out of the klippa, out of the zohama. To do so would make available the original messianic Light. It would immediately emerge and there would be clarity, ease, speed, intuition, and organization. The task is less about learning and more about taking it out of the klippa which obscures it.
Supernatural Power of Yegiah--Wearying Effort
How do you do that?--yegiah--wearying effort. The more a person labors, strives, works hard and sweats to learn Torah, the greater is the “breakage” of the zohama, of the klippa, that surrounds it. For example, somebody could learn the Torah and really sweat over an idea in New York, breaking the klippa that surrounds and obscures that idea for someone learning it in Los Angeles! That’s the task, to remove the barriers through great effort.
We now understand what the essential task is. We now understand why it says, “They strive and we strive.” They, meaning non-Jews, strive “v’eino m’kabel schar”--without getting reward. Why? In the non-Jewish world, what counts isn’t how much you struggle; it’s what you know. If you know your stuff, great. If you struggled and it took you ten hours to figure it out, who cares? It’s nice, but the main idea is not the effort but the achievement of the product.
Judaism says that they, the non-Jews, labor but doesn’t get the reward. Their reward is knowing the fact. Our reward comes because--and it sounds strange--we break the barriers with struggle. It’s an entirely different objective, the information being freed.
Revelation of the First Two Commandments
G-D revealed the first two commandments of the ten--"I’m the Lord your G-D Who took you out of Egypt and you shall have no other G-Ds before Me”--and so on. The first two commandments were not given by Moshe. We know they were given by G-D directly to the Jews. That is why the numerical value of “Torah” is not 613; it’s 611. Toras Moshe is only 611 commandments. Amazing. G-D wanted to do that. It comes out that the Jews were the recipients of the first two commandments of the Torah not through Moshe. That has tremendous implications.
First, the single precondition to receiving Torah, especially if you’re the first recipient, is if you have the level of prophecy of Moshe. For those first two of the ten mitzvahs that were revealed to each and every Jew directly, all the Jews at Sinai had to have been equal to Moshe in terms of prophetic ability. We are told that Moshe is the greatest prophet that ever lived. Every Jew experienced that extraordinary level. They had to because they were to be the conduit of the first two commandments for the rest of the Jews for all time. For that, they had to have the highest level in order for the transmission to be completely clear.
Why did G-D do that? Why didn’t He just give the Torah to Moshe with the first two mitzvahs. The chazal--sages tell us that the experience of the first two mitzvahs was so overpowering--could you imagine G-D revealing to you the same as He did for Moshe--that every Jew died. They couldn’t handle that prophetic level. Moshe was used to that level. The chazal also tell us that Moshe was half man-half god. The Jews, on the other hand, had just come out of Egypt and it was fifty days after the exodus. They certainly were not at that level yet. It’s what was anticipated.
Resurrection and Purification
The chazal also say that the Torah “came before G-D” and that Moshe said: “I don’t understand; you’re going to give Torah to a dead people?”
“No,” said G-D. “I’m going to resurrect them.” He gave them the dew of tchias ha’meisim--resurrection of the dead and all the Jews were resurrected. That’s incredible. This is t’chias ha’meisim. Obviously, He had to resurrect them to give them the rest of the Torah. When they were resurrected, they came running to Moshe and said, “You give us the Torah! We cannot tolerate this.”
That’s why Moshe had to give over the rest of the Torah. What do we see from this? We see that G-D wanted to give all the mitzvahs, not just the first two. The only reason He didn’t was because the Jews said they can’t abide it, can’t tolerate it. Moshe was the conduit to receive the Torah.
How do we begin to understand this? G-D knew, of course, that everyone would die from hearing the commandments directly from G-D. So, why did He do it and then have to resurrect them? It was because, as I mentioned, the way to remove the zohama is through death. The body decomposes and the zohama leaves. The body then becomes pure geshem--materiality and then the neshama returns. That’s tchias ha’meisim. That’s the only way to remove the zohama.
The Jews had removed the zohama, having done so with their suffering in Egypt, but that only removed the basic foundational zohama. The residue had to be removed as well. They all had to die and experience resurrection of the dead so that, when they got up, they would have no zohama at all. On purpose, G-D had them die to remove the residual zohama. The Satan was, at that point, external to the human body. That’s what happens in Gan Eden.
I said, quite a while ago, that a person is supposed to have zikuch--purification. That requires that, first, the zohama must be removed and then the neshama re-enters, purifying the physical body to a higher level. That is the ascent a person experiences going from a world of geshem to a world of spirituality. From there, he goes to the world of the Divine, as neshama in Olam Ha’Ba. But since the neshama can’t remove or purify zohama, that’s the purpose of death. He dies; the zohama leaves, but where does the neshama go? It has to wait in Gan Eden which is a “holding cell” where all the neshamos await their re-entrance to a body by tchias ha’meisim. Then zichuch begins.
At Sinai, these Jews would be geshem which is a fitting way of receiving the first tablets. That was G-D’s original plan. If it weren’t for the Sin of the Golden Calf, it would have been a completely different plan and outcome.
Residence of G-D
Every Jew would have been a residence of the Divine Presence. Without the zohama, every Jew would become a Beis Ha’Mikdash--Holy Temple. G-D says in the Torah portion, “Terumah,” “v’shochanti besocham“--I will dwell in their midst. It could have said, “I will dwell in it,” meaning the mishkan-- tabernacle, but it says “I will dwell in their midst,” meaning G-D will dwell within them. The residence of G-D is really the neshama; that’s how He enters Creation, through the neshama. We are the Beis Ha’Mikdash. Before the golden calf, every Jew would have been a residence for G-D. As it turned out, we do not experience the shechina--Divine Presence internally. The only way to experience the shechina is to go to the Beis Ha’Mikdash. It became a building; that’s the change. Before, every Jew should have been the Beis Ha’Mikdash. He meant for His entrance into Creation to be like a portal, the neshama of the Jew. But since the Sin of the Golden Calf, to experience the shechina, he has to go to a place in Jerusalem.
There would have been a mishkan anyway in order to bring sacrifices or offerings. Not then, but later on, the Temple was to unify the Jews with the three pilgrimage festivals. But, in the beginning, these were not the purpose of the Beis Ha’Mikdash. Each Jew would be a Beis Ha’Mikdash.
The second thing G-D intended was that each Jew should receive the Torah by himself, not through Moshe. G-D wanted to reveal Himself to each Jew. That revelation encompassed two mitzvahs so, really, G-D wanted every Jew to be the conduit, the mekabel--receiver, of Torah. But they didn’t do it and said they couldn’t tolerate that level of holiness and asked Moshe to be their conduit.
Restoration of G-D’s Original Intent
That original plan will be restored in the messianic era. It will be very different from the way it is now. The messianic era is when each Jew will really be a Beis Ha’Mikdash. Of course, we’ll have the Third Temple as an additional residence of the shechina, but it will be more for the purpose of offerings and for the pilgrimage festivals to unify us as a nation. There will always be a Temple, but the Divine Presence will be within each Jew. It’s something we cannot begin to understand now. The messianic era is one without zohama, without barrier, without the Satan.
From that original event of exodus from Egypt and G-D giving each Jew two mitzvahs directly without Moshe as intermediary, we learn what G-D’s original intent was. The Jews rejected that plan and we can ask: does that mean that G-D’s plan was foiled? Obviously, that’s not what happened.
G-D went so far as to give the two commandments and they all died and were resurrected. That instigated the complete eviction of the zohama and then they had the last test to kill the Satan. They told Moshe they couldn’t endure hearing the mitzvahs directly and requested that he intervene. So, what happened to G-D’s plan? We know that in the messianic era it will be rejuvenated.
For Next Time…
Something else went on; G-D did not give up. There’s an incredible event that occurred that indicates that G-D did not give up. He still wanted the Jews to receive the Torah personally, to become a Beis Ha’Mikdash, but I will tell you that next week.
Q & A
Participant: The neshama is located in the brain, right?
R’Kessin: Yes, it’s connected to the brain.
Participant: That enables us to connect to spirituality and mitzvot?
R’Kessin: Yes. There are two parts of the neshama that are higher, the chaya and yechida. There are five parts to the neshama: The nefesh is connected to the liver. Ruach is connected to the heart. The neshama is connected to the brain. The chaya surrounds the body like an aura. The yechida is not connected to the body but is your link to the shechina--Divine Presence.
Participant: “Shochanti b’tocham,” that idea of “dwelling within them” is technically, mostly, in the neshama? In what part of us, of the neshama, is the spark?
R’Kessin: That’s the shechina which is connected to the yechida. That’s how you connect to it. From the yechida, whatever influence or energy is being radiated from G-D to the yechida, goes to the neshama, then to ruach and then to nefesh. You are connected to G-D based on the yechida. That’s why the yechida, in a certain sense, is so holy. It’s not connected to the body, not the way the other four parts are. When it says, “v’shochanti b’socham,” it means that G-D connects to every Jew through the yechida. That’s how, in an amazing way, you are the Beis Ha’Mikdash. The essential idea of the Temple is that it is a residence of G-D. To whomever asks, “Why do I have to go to an outside place to experience G-D?” the answer is that you don’t.
Had the Jews not sinned, they would have had no need to go to a physical Temple. They could experience the shechina within themselves. That’s what will happen to the Jews during the messianic era.
The mishkan, in those days, was very important after the sin in order to bring korbonos--offerings which is very important part of the avodah--service of klal Yisrael--community of Israel and the place of reunification for all the Jewish people three times per year during the three regalim--pilgrimages. We don’t know what it was like when all the Jews went to Jerusalem to be part of Pesach, Shavuos and Sukkoth. It must have been unbelievable!
The shechina enters Creation through the neshama and always will but, because of the sin, G-D said: even though I enter through you so you can certainly experience Me, the zohama and its reintroduction made experiencing Me from within yourselves not possible. You have to go to the Beis Ha’Mikdash to experience Me within you.
Participant: Do we have access to the yechida now? Is there anything we can do to access it?
R’Kessin: No, we have no access to the yechida. The one who has the yechida is the mashiach. Both ben Yosef and ben David have the yechida. Adam Ha’Rishon had the yechida of all the Jews because he was the composite of everybody. His yechida was gigantic, if you want to look at it that way. That’s called “knesses Yisrael.”
When Adam sinned, that yechida split; one half of his yechida left him in order that it shouldn’t be tainted by his sin of eating from the etz ha’das--tree of knowledge. That’s really amazing. The yechida is the only thing of Adam Ha’Rishon that doesn’t have any kind of tumah, klippah, whatever you want to call it. It “flew away,” disconnected right before Adam ate from the tree and later it split. One half of yechida goes to Mashiach ben Yosef and the other half goes to Mashich ben David. That’s what makes them the meshichim--messiahs.
The yechida is the “crown” that makes these people meshichim. That is why they are so incredible. They have everyone’s yechida but it’s not that they have it and they keep it--no. They have the yechida, meaning they have the power of the yechida. This power goes through their yechida and connects to you. Yechida is the only aspect of the neshama of Adam that was never defiled by the sin. Those are the messianic crowns and only the true messiah has that, or will have that. That is how they can access the origin of the Divine energy of the sefiros and have the greatest amount of connection to G-D. It’s just unbelievable what their power is because they have the yechida of Adam Ha’Rishon.
Participant: I once read that the act of doing a mitzvah has five parts to it correlating to the five parts of the neshama and that the highest way to activate a mitzvah is to do the mitzvah through happiness. There are five steps and the highest step is to do it with happiness and that’s when it really gets elevated to Ha’Shem.
R’Kessin: Yeah, I could see what he means, whoever said that. It’s related to one of the curses that G-D utters while he’s bringing the afflictions.“Because you did not serve G-D with joy…” is one of the reasons why the Jews are afflicted with terrible punishments and so on. Based on this, lack of joy would make a person worthy of punishment. This is one of the ideas as to why the Jews have to be punished, because they did not experience simcha--joy. I would term it more than “happiness” because happiness is lower than joy, joy being much higher. The mitzvahs not done with joy is akin to not experiencing the joy of being a prince of G-D, not worshipping Him with such ecstasy and joy, yeah…..that’s a very important part of the avoda.
Someone once asked the great kabbalist, the Ari (Arizal),how was it that he merited to have the incredible amount of knowledge about Kabbalah.
He answered that he was very careful to think about the mitzvah he was doing, to work himself up to a great state of joy. The reward for that ecstasy, that exhilarating joy, gave him the merit to be given his awesome knowledge. We do see, clearly, allusions to that joy as being among the highest attributes of that madrega--level that a Jew can have.
Logic prompts a question: if a person does something, what does he believe about what he’s doing? What is his mind-set, his “belief-set”? The way you can always perceive a person’s mind-set about what he’s doing is to observe his emotions. If you see somebody with an incredible display of joy when he does some particular thing, then you know he really believes in the value of that thing. If it weren’t valuable, would he be so happy?
Let’s imagine that you walk over to a guy and say, “By the way, you just won the lottery of $400 million dollars! It’s yours.” What’s that guy gonna do, assuming he wouldn’t faint. He wouldn’t know what to do with himself. The manifestation of joy would be beyond belief. Why? He believes that money will satisfy all his wishes and he was just granted all his wishes. His joy is a reflection of what his belief is.
If you believe G-D exists and that doing the mitzvah will give you Olam Ha’Ba--Future World-- which is definitely greater than $400 million dollars--then, guess what! Wild horses couldn’t keep you back from that mitzvah. You’d run to do that mitzvah. The joy would be unbelievable! In the end, joy is the disclosure about what your belief is about what you’re doing.
When G-D says that you didn’t serve Him with joy, it prompts the question as to what you believe. Do you really believe that this is gonna give you Olam Ha’Ba?- no, not really. If you did, you’d run to do every mitzvah. That’s why joy is among the greatest--maybe it is the greatest--indicator of what you believe a mitzvah’s value is. You are testifying to the observance of the mitzvah being supreme in the eyes of G-D and that it will lead to a situation in which you will be infinitely blessed.
This was the problem, that the Jews did not have that and G-D said: I will bring punishment, the afflictions, because you don’t have joy. If Rav Nachman said that, that’s what he was alluding to and the truth is, he’s right. I’m simply explaining what joy, psychologically, does for a person. If we all believed in what a mitzvah really is, that it connects us to G-D directly, that it gets us Olam Ha’Ba, that it puts us in a Divine state of dveikus--attachment, we would run to do the mitzvah.
Let me tell you something: if a guy has a lottery ticket and, like I said in the previous example, he finds out that his lottery ticket has the winning numbers for $400 million dollars, wouldn’t he run to that place that he bought the ticket (to claim his win)? Do you think he’s gonna walk? If he does walk, it’s because he’s about to faint. He’s gonna run because the belief in what that ticket will afford him is beyond his expectation. Same idea with a mitzvah.
That’s what the Ari said, that his ability to know the value of his mitzvos and, therefore, be incredibly joyous, made him zoche--deserving to know the secrets of G-D.
Participant: The people at the time of the first tablets weren’t big enough of a vessel to receive the messianic Light that the first tablets had because of the sin. So now, how are we going to be big enough of a vessel to receive that Light?
R’Kessin: The answer to that has several parts. First of all, you have to remember one thing; they were at the beginning of the “job,” and we’re at the end of it. We don’t have that much to do. I once said that we don’t realize that 98%--maybe 99% by now--of the sparks of holiness are back on the side of kedusha. We don’t realize that. The job the Jews have been struggling with for thousands of years--we’re looking since Avraham avinu--is mostly done. They, by the Sin of the Golden Calf, started out at the mission 3,300 years ago. We could say that they had much more to do. How much more is there to do? We’re at the end of the job. That’s number one.
The second aspect is--and this has been verified by gedolim--master sages--that, in fact, if I remember correctly, Rav Chaim Vital asked the Ari: who are we? We’re nobodies compared to the amaraim and the tannaim (previous generation of the greatest scholars). Who are we, really? If they couldn’t bring mashiach, we’re gonna bring mashiach?
In a certain sense, we’re greater than they!
The test, or the amount of reward, is according to the pain. The Gemara says this. That means two people could do the same mitzvah but one person’s reward is a million times greater. Why? They did the same physical act. Maybe one person had to give up an enormous amount so his test was much harder. His self-sacrifice was “off the chart” so his deed was much greater than the person who did the identical mitzvah, physically. It’s important to remember that we live in a generation in which our effort is much greater than those of previous generations and this is what the Ari meant.
We live in a generation in which there are 49 levels of tumah. There are so many distractions, so many yetzer ha’ras--evil inclinations, so many perversions, so many foreign ideologies, atheistic ideologies, theological ideologies, so much to distract us; it’s unbelievable!
Because we live in a generation that has so much darkness, our observance of mitzvos means much more than the same avoda done a thousand years ago. It’s easy to think of ourselves as nobodies; it’s true. In a sense, we are nobodies. What level of holiness have we reached? What level of righteousness have we reached? It’s actually quite embarrassing but, because we live in a generation of unbelievable hardship and darkness while trying to maintain being religious, every mitzvah counts a million times more than if we were in a generation of--let’s say--Rabbi Akiva, a time when you have people walking around that can do tchias ha’meisim--resurrection of the dead. They were greater in that way.
We are greater but it’s not due to physical acts or level of spiritual achievement. We are greater because our difficulty is greater so our reward is greater even though we don’t experience the same spiritual level as they for obvious reasons. This generation does not allow us to.
The day will come when the messianic era will be open for everybody to see. Then you will be given your proper reward of nevuah--prophecy and dveikus--attachment to G-D based on your hardship and not, necessarily, on your mitzvahs though you have to do mitzvahs. The real payoff is based on how difficult it has been for us to remain religious.
As I often say, 12 million Jews are gone. That never happened before. They’re not Torah observant. Many Jews don’t even know they’re Jews. What is there--15 million Jews? That shows how hard it is to remain a Jew and to learn Torah and do mitzvos. Why are they gone? That indicates how difficult it is to remain observant in this generation. Every Jew who struggles daily to remain a believing Jew with bitachon--faith is worth “trillions of dollars” to
G-D. We don’t see that now but we will.
Therefore, the answer is that you are not what you think you are. None of us are what we think we are. We are millions of times greater than we can imagine and, to cap it off, now you understand how.
The son of Rabbi Yeshua Halevi went up to heaven and then came down. It doesn’t mean he went up physically. He went “up” in consciousness. He had ruach ha’kodesh--holy spirit so he could see into the world of Yetzira. When he came back, he was asked what he saw up there. He uttered the famous statement, “olam hafoch hu”--it’s an upside-down world. Whoever was great here is, basically, almost a nobody up there, and whoever was nobody here was an incredible godol--person of great stature up there. How could that be?
How could we not see who’s really worth something? The answer is: the critical determinant of who you are is not your physical act; it’s the yegiah--hardship, the darkness of the klippa that you have to undergo to remain G-D-fearing, to believe and trust in G-D. That we cannot see. You could have Mr. A who is unbelievably diligent in doing mitzvahs, and Mr. B who hardly does any, but Mr. B may have a terrible struggle to do the few mitzvahs he does. This makes him much greater than Mr. A.
We don’t see it here but the son of Rabbi Yeshua ha’Levi saw it up there and he said: you can’t believe it! Guys who are nobody down here are gedolim up there! How? We don’t have the ability to measure righteousness--forget about it! I can tell you now that the level of righteousness of people who are Torah observant today is off the charts. We cannot believe the accomplishment that they have to bring the End.
Participant: Mashiach ben Yosef is the one who starts that messianic Light coming in?
R’Kessin: Yes, because he has the yechida of Adam Ha’Rishon, the real connection to the shechina.
Participant: Does he give it to everyone at the same time or do certain people get it first? How does that work?
R’Kessin: You mean what is the sequence of giving it out?
Paritcipant: Yeah, meaning if you did more mitzvos or you have more dveikut to Ha’Shem, so earlier on you probably will access your yechida more quickly than people that didn’t?
R’Kessin: That concept of incremental growth is true of t’chias ha’meisim, which I once mentioned. When it starts eight years from now, according to the Zohar taking 210 years for everybody to get up, what you get depends on how “thick” your zohama is and that, obviously, depends on how much you were involved with Olam Ha’Ze--this physical world. When Mashiach ben Yosef comes and introduces the ohr rishon, it’s open to everybody. The ability to connect to it will be simultaneous but the amount will be proportional to your avodah. The mere fact that you are open to the ohr rishon without having zohama will automatically place you a million miles from where you are now.
We see this with the maid-servant at krias Yam Suf--splitting of the Reed Sea. She was a maid-servant, right? So, you think: what’s the big deal about her? Yet she saw more than the prophet Ezekiel who described, kabbalistically, the Divine Chariot. If that’s what a common maid-servant saw, could you imagine what the other people who were much greater in righteousness than she were able to see? Once it’s open, it’s open. The issue is about quantity. That will depend on who you are. Resurrection of the dead will depend on who you are. There has to be some type of differentiation. There’s what’s called “commonality,” a common occurrence, and then there are occurrences which are based on your level of striving. So, you really have both.