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Weekly Hashkafa #97: The Tikun Process of Passover - Part 6- Removing the Zohama in Modern Times

Given: May 30, 2022


I want to dedicate this shiur for the aliyas neshama—elevation of the soul of Rini Malko, Regina bas Yosef Reuven, to elevate her soul in Gan Eden.

I’ve been talking extensively about how Pesach is really the model of the whole tikkun--rectification process. This is “part 6.” I want to conclude this series in terms of what the tikkun process really is. When you study this very well, you will understand the basic, fundamental story of what Judaism is, what it seeks to accomplish, and where it wants to take the Jewish people and the entire world.

I will try to answer a fundamental question. Based on the last shiur, we understand that the Jews restored the zohama—spiritual pollution with the Sin of the Golden Calf. Not only was it restored, but the Torah itself became, and is now, surrounded by the zohama. I went into that quite extensively. The question is: what do we do? How do we remove it? They clearly did it in Egypt so how will we do it now in 2022?

There’s no doubt, as I’ve been saying for a long while, that the world today is much worse than it was thirty years ago. There’s a substantial amount of evil prevalent in the world and that evil is being recognized—not all of it, obviously—but there is recognition. Hopefully, this means that the proverbial “window” that the RaMCHaL speaks of is about to shut. We must be very, very close.

You recall that the Zohar says that, 210 years before the End of Time which is 2240, (we’re about 218 years before that End) tchias ha’meisim—resurrection of the dead will begin once Mashiach ben David comes. That is the year 2030 which is less than 8 years from now. That’s why you see such acceleration in events hastening what must be accomplished by then.

What happens now regarding the contamination of the Creation that reasserted itself since the Sin of the Golden Calf? What does it have to do with the mitzvos of Pesach? In order to understand this, we need the introductory, background information which I’ve been discussing. One of these ideas is based on the question: what, exactly, is the result of the zohama?

Reviewing the Fundamentals

At the time of Adam Ha’Rishon, the first man, the nachash—primordial snake was external to man, outside the body. Adam Ha’Rishon and his world of Gan Eden did not have zohama. It had geshem—physicality to a certain degree but didn’t have zohama intertwined with it. I’ve spoken of this before. It was a very different kind of world. The possibility of zohama existed that could intermingle with geshem as potential. What was the problem with Adam?

In order to allow Adam to have a test, he had to suffer a delusion, a false belief. Man doesn’t see reality completely. He, therefore, exists with certain beliefs about the world’s true nature. What was that belief before he did the sin?

His belief was that he is a “self” but he’s not a true cause; he can’t do anything, really. He was created on the sixth day so when he was conscious of himself, he felt a certain sense of self but he saw a created world and so knew he hadn’t made any of “this.” He knew it was G-D. He hadn’t any delusion that he was a cause of anything. He just came into the world conscious of everything, but knowing he hadn’t any input. He’s not a cause of anything.

Stunning Delusion and the Real Test

The problem was that Adam Ha’Rishon thought he could become a cause. That is where the snake comes into it, being the mouthpiece of the Satan, trying to introduce him and his wife to the notion that, no, you can become like G-D; that is exactly what the test was. The snake told them that G-D, Himself, became G-D, gained the ability to create worlds, to do, to have shlita—mastery, to dominate the world, to become a cause of all this because G-D ate from the tree. G-D doesn’t want you to rival Him. That’s why he commanded you not to eat from that tree, the snake explains.

Therefore, Adam Ha’Rishon and Chava had the belief that they could become like G-D. “V’yihitem k’Elokim”—you can be like G-D, they’re told (Genesis 3:5). That was very enticing. They already had a sense of self but one that was infinitely inferior to G-D’s. So, they ate from the tree.

When they did that, what happened? They “fell” into a different world, a world of the zohama, a satanic world. We don’t know exactly what the process was but their world changed. The pollution of the Satan surrounded them and the world and they were “chased out” of Gan Eden and into a world dominated by the Satan. In that world, due to their failure, G-D told Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat bread.”

The RaMCHaL gives a profound understanding of what this mean. It’s not what we might think. It does NOT mean: you’ll have to work hard as a punishment, exert great labor to be able to make a livelihood as is commonly thought, no!

G-D means: Until now, you were in Gan Eden and all was provided you. You didn’t have to do anything to be able to “eat,” to survive; it was all there. No longer! says G-D, but it’s notmeant as a punishment.

Instead, G-D means: since you believed that you can equal Me, believe yourself to be a “self” that can be a cause—and like Rashi says, “one that can create worlds”—can harbor such a false belief, I will create a situation based on your belief that you can equal Me, will put you in a situation in which it will be more difficult for you to recognize that you cannot cause anything.

In order for you to make a livelihood, you will exert great effort, exemplified by “sweat of your brow.” If that’s the case, since you have to exert effort, you will think that you’re a cause! You will think that you are responsible for your livelihood but that’s a delusion. In the end, G-D could say: no matter what you do, I am the One who gives you your bread. Since it comes when you exert yourself, you will fall into the mistaken notion that you caused it. Therefore, your mission is to overcome that delusion, work through that belief and realize it is false.

G-D increased the difficulty of undoing the false belief. Adam would be more deluded, believing himself a true cause. Undoing it would be harder than ever. If Adam undoes it, he realizes he’s not really a “self”—one that causes—and realizes that G-D is not simply the only cause; G-D is the only entity that truly exists and that he, Adam, isn’t even a “self.” That G-D is yichud mitzioso--the only entity that exists, is the first idea of true reality. Nothing exists the way G-D does.

The second idea of true reality is that, since G-D is the only thing that exists, He is the only One Who can do anything, cause anything.

Both of these ideas are what Adam should have worked through. Before he ate from the tree, he did recognize that he isn’t a cause but he did think that he existed as a “self” other than G-D.

His error was in not reaching the idea of “ein od milvado”—besides G-D, there is nothing else. He never reached that truth. Then G-d made that realization that he’s not a cause—which he already had--much more difficult to maintain or achieve because now he’d only be able a earn parnassah--livelihood if he labored which fools him into thinking that he is the cause.

These are very important ideas because they indicate what the real test for man is, to understand that these two beliefs are false. He must work through the two illusions to realize that: a) you’re not a cause and, b) you’re not even a self! Adam Ha’Rishon should have realized the idea he’s not even a “self” but he didn’t. G-D made it more difficult to come to the truth about his own nature and existence.

The Torah’s Allusions to Psychological Drives in Man

What prompts a person to think that he is a true cause is the zohama. In the world of the zohama, things can only happen if you exert effort. In Gan Eden, things happen without exerting effort. This world fools you into believing in your own ability to cause; this is a fundamental flaw in the belief of man. We are now stuck at that second level of illusion. In reality, we do nothing.

The most fundamental psychological drive in the human being, among all the different drives and needs, is the drive for self-preservation, to protect your existence and your life at all costs.

The second psychological drive, one that answers a lot of questions about man’s behavior and, In the end, is the basis of all psychological maladies and trauma, is very much related to this concept of “self.” We are always trying to assert, reassure ourselves that we are “somebody,” that we are not a “nobody.” You don’t realize that everything you do always has either the direct motive or the indirect motive of needing to assert “being.” I won’t get into that now but I gave shiurim about this a long time ago. In the end, we are, in truth, nothing, so we must convince ourselves, repeatedly, that we are somebody.

We see this in the Torah. I’m going to read from parshas—Torah portion “Eikev” in “sheini” which reveals a fundamental idea about the inherent nature of man, about the second most basic psychological drive to assert one’s being, to gain a sense of self-regard and self-worth.

It reads: “v’achalta v’savata”—and you will eat and be satisfied and continues, “you will bless the lord your G-D on the land He gave you.” Here is where it reveals an incredible secret—"and watch out lest you forget the lord your G-D.” In what way will you forget G-D? Not observing His commandments, His ordinances, “that which I commanded you” is the equivalent of forgetting G-D. This is G-D’s warning.

What will cause us to forget G-D’s commandments? The Torah mentions four different situations:

The first is, “lest you eat and be satisfied.” Let’s say you eat a great meal; you’ll forget G-D.

The second way is that, “you’ll build beautiful houses and dwell in them.” That’s the second way to forget G-D. The third way is that “your flocks will multiply” so you’ll own a great number of livestock. The fourth way is that “your wealth, all that is yours, you will increase.”

Why these four? These exemplify the ways that man convinces himself that he is “somebody.” We don’t realize that everything upon which we exercise our will, do what we want, the underlying feeling becomes, automatically, “I am somebody.” If I were “nobody,” how could I will myself to have pleasure without a will?

The Torah uses these as examples of conditions which convey self-hood. The first condition tells us that satisfaction from eating is about willing ourselves to have that pleasure.

The second way we convince ourselves that we’re somebody is called “productivity.” We cause something to happen and so we feel as if we exist. The Torah illustrates this with the example of building good houses to dwell in. That’s productivity. You tell yourself: the house comes into being because I’m causing it, so I’m a somebody.

When it says that “your flocks and sheep you will multiply” it implies that, through our possessions, that which we own, we derive more than just the use of their functionality. Why do people want to own everything? When you possess a thing, you control it. The ability to control conveys a sense of self. That’s why everyone wants to possess things. We conclude: if I can control, I must exist.

“The kesef—money, the gold and silver will increase” conveys a sense of potency, the feeling that you can do anything. Money itself has no inherent function but having a surplus of it, the power you believe you can assert with it, conveys feelings of potency. If you have many millions of dollars, you might become what you think you are—somebody.

All these manifestations of being a somebody is nothing more than incredible arrogance.

What will happen to you as a result of these reaffirmations of delusion? You’re going to forget G-D. The Torah warns that “your heart will grow mighty.” That’s the arrogance! You forget that “I am G-d Who took you out of Egypt, out from the house of slaves.”

Skipping a pasuk, the Torah then says, “You will say in your heart that my strength and the might of my hand did this for me” That’s what you’ll say, G-D warns.

Indeed, accordingly, one thinks: my heart will grow haughty and, therefore, why must I do what G-D wants? I want to do what I want because I exist independent of G-D. What’s my proof? My strength has caused all of this. Incredibly, the Torah told you exactly what would happen.

The Torah is providing you with an understanding of the second-greatest psychological human drive. The first was self-preservation. The second is that which confirms, asserts one’s sense of self. You do this by exercising your will, becoming productive, being creative. You affirm your self-hood by owning things and, through them, feel a sense of control over them and others. If I have a lot of money, I’m “it”! I can do anything I want!

This is all embedded in what G-D said to Adam: “By the sweat of your brow, you will eat bread.” G-D is saying: I am putting you outside Gan Eden and, where you are going, it will be much more difficult for you to erase the fallacy that you are a true cause. Your avoda, your task, is now more difficult.

All of this is due to the zohama. If we were in Gan Eden, we wouldn’t have the delusion that we are a cause. We would maintain the delusion that, besides G-D, there is also us, but we would never think that we are equal to G-D. In a world without zohama, a world of just pure geshem, it would be different.

Granted, physicality is also a barrier because it separates me from G-D so I think: there’s G-D and there’s me, but in no way can I believe that I equal G-D in potency or the ability to cause outcomes.

In a world of zohama, it’s more than just the barrier of physicality; it is physicality intermingled with the pollution of the Satan. That’s a second barrier. We begin to enter that world he enters, where we think that we are not just a self besides G-D but are equal to Him in that we, too, produce.

I won’t get into it now, but this understanding of the drive to assert oneself to achieve self-worth without which psychological illness results, is a lecture in, and of, itself. Everyone has defense mechanisms and suffers, to some extent, from an inferiority complex from which he protects himself.

The zohama causes this; it’s a second barrier besides the physicality of the world in the physical world. After the Jews reintroduced the zohama into the world, the problem became: how do we get rid of this?

The Remedy

The first way was to have had the luchos rishonos—first stone tablets that Moshe brought down and which he shattered. That was to have been the messianic Light. That’s the nun-sha’arei bina—50 Gates of Wisdom. That would have automatically removed that second delusion that we cause anything. It would also have given us the knowledge to render the first delusion mitigated, the delusion that we exist independent of G-D.

In the messianic era, we don’t experience ein od milvado; we know it although we might experience it in a slight way. The way we will fully experience it will be in Olam Ha’ba—the Future World. That is when we will experience the full exposure of the falsity of our independence of G-D.

Recall that the Jews had externalized the zohama by the time they received the Torah. They had become worthy of those first stone tablets. They had become worthy of the insight the tablets would have provided. But with the Sin of the Golden Calf, they’d reintroduced the zohama, those two delusional beliefs. We returned to those delusions. So how do we break it?

G-D gave us the second luchos. They are, what? They are the tablets that have the mitzvos, the concept of avoda—service, a task. When you do a mitzvah, automatically, you are doing the Will of G-D. You are negating your will for His Will. When you do that, you distinctly get the feeling that G-D’s Will is supreme. That is the beginning of the diminishment of self. The second tablets gave us a way to intervene in the world of zohama, to break the grip of the delusions it causes. That’s what Torah does. Torah is the only device that can cause you to break the delusion of self and the delusion of what kind of self you are, one that is a cause.

There are 613 ways to do the Will of G-D and all of them go against, basically, what you want to do. Let’s say you want to eat, right? You pass a restaurant that is not kosher. You’re very hungry but you say to yourself: no, I cannot eat here because G-D commanded me not to eat unkosher food. What you’re really doing is denying your “self,” your will, and adhering to the Will of G-D. That automatically diminishes your sense of self, the delusion of who you really are. You’re asserting that G-D’s Will is supreme because G-D is the only thing that truly exists.

The mitzvah, as the Gemara says, is a tavlin—antidote to the delusions of self. That’s why the Torah is the only device that can do that. Due to the reintroduction of the zohama, the second tablets were critical in diminishing the concept of self though the fulfillment of the commandments. Then you’re on your way to understanding the real idea that, even if you feel your “self,” you don’t cause anything. By denying your will, you deny your self-importance, deny that your will is equal to G-D’s.

Remember that it’s the zohama that causes these beliefs because we must interact with the world in order to get things done so it’s easy to make the mistake that it’s our input that gets things done. The way to dissolve this mistaken belief is to do G-D’s Will.

Another device is that of suffering. How is suffering a device of tikkun—rectification? How is it a device for kaporah—atonement? For instance, if a person is in an ICU (intensive care unit), plugged into all the tubes and the machines, what do you think he feels about himself?—I’m a nobody. If this person were truly a cause, a somebody, he could pull out all the catheters, drips, and needles and walk out. Why can’t he? He knows he can’t. When a person suffers, he is undergoing something that he cannot terminate. That proves to him that he’s a nobody. It breaks the delusion of self; that’s the secret of suffering. It’s a tremendous chesed--kindness that G-D does. He gives us a way, even in the world of zohama, to diminish the sense of self, to provoke an understanding that: I am nothing and G-D is everything. This is how suffering atones for the sin of arrogance. When you sin, you aggrandize the self. Suffering undoes that.

Suffering is also the reversal of the pleasure that you got as a result of sin, the exertion of your will as paramount. It doesn’t make a difference what form the suffering takes. Exile is a form of suffering and so is bankruptcy, divorce, sickness, any form of pain. The pain undoes the pleasure of the sin and the arrogance that prompted and accompanied it. It also, of course, diminishes the delusion of self.

The Egypt Archetype

How did the Jews bring the tikkun? How did they get rid of the zohama? The answer is that they were in Egypt and were able to withstand a certain degree of assimilation or they suffered for many years. It was the primary way they got rid of the zohama, through exile in Egypt. The historical event itself can be called a “primary tikkun device.”

But when they failed because they built a Golden Calf, G-D conveyed: if you replicate, duplicate, symbolic ideas of Egypt by conducting a seder and doing the mitzvos affiliated with it, I will count that as a recognition of the tikkun that was done in those days. Every time you do that, it will remove some of the zohama.

Now you begin to understand the mitzvos of Pesach. The mitzvos are symbolic of the exile and doing them removes the zohama. They are an acknowledgement of what happened in Egypt. That, itself, reduces the zohama. When enough Pesachs go by, we will have removed the zohama. Let’s take a look at the mitzvos.

A Closer Look at the Mitzvos

Matza: Matza is flour and water, no leaven or yeast. It represents the body without zohama. The body is flour and the neshama is water. Matza is the appropriate food for a person without zohama. It has two ingredients, two “ideas.” The body has two “ideas,” two elements.

Chometz—leavened bread has three elements: flour, water, and leaven. That symbolizes the physical body with a neshama and zohama. So, G-D forbids the consumption of chometz on Pesach. You can’t eat it, commands G-D, because it represents you with zohama, symbolically. We eat matzah because it represents us without the zohama.

A third commandment for Pesach is to eat maror--bitter herbs. Since the suffering in Egypt is a tikkun device, we eat maror as a reminder of that suffering that earned the removal of the zohama.

The four kosos—cups of wine represent the redemption from both Egypt and the four levels of zohama. In the first shiur, I mentioned that the zohama expresses itself in four different environments. Leaving Egypt and removing the zohama, the four cups celebrate our release from the four levels, four environments, of zohama:

1- Where there is good and evil

2- Where there is only evil

3- Where evil is philosophically defensible and becomes an alternate reality

4- Where evil’s alternate reality spreads throughout the world

When the Jews left Egypt, they exited from all four evil environments. Therefore, we drink four cups. What of the fifth cup we don’t drink? That’s the kos of Eliyahu Ha’Navi—Elijah the prophet. Even though we achieved the removal of zohama from ourselves, what of the geshem, the physicality? We’re to remove that too and become spiritual. We didn’t do that; we only removed the zohama but we didn’t transform ourselves from being physical to being spiritual. That’s what Eliyahu did; he didn’t die. He was able to remove the zohama and “went up” with his body.

I mentioned also that the concept of the Yam Suf—Reed Sea is that of the reversal of the Flood. Those waters were really the zohama that destroyed the world but, since the Jews removed the zohama during the 49 days of the omer count, they went through the Yam Suf. It split for them because they’d succeeded in removing the zohama. We see that these mitzvos mirror, symbolically, the events of Pesach. There’s the korbon Pesach where a group of people get together to eat the korbon—sacrificial meal of Pesach. What’s that about? The removal of zohama is not enough. The Jews became a nation unto themselves. The korbon Pesach, in many ways, is a membership ritual in which eating this offering to G-D initiated them into the service of G-D. That’s why it’s so important. It initiates a person into being a member of the Jewish people. After leaving Egypt, they truly became a nation.

By the way, there are two mitzvos asei--positive commandments that if you don’t observe them, you get kares—excision, meaning you die before the age of 60. One of them is mila—circumcision; that too is a symbolic membership ritual demonstrating that you are a member of the Jewish people. The second is the korbon Pesach. You remove the zohama and become part of a nation that serves G-D so you must eat the korbon Pesach.

This is also why this mitzvah has a “make-up.” There were those who could not eat it because they were tameh—ritually impure. They said to Moshe, “Why should we be denied that mitzvah?” So, G-D gave Moshe the mitzvah of Pesach sheini—second Passover. What is so important about Pesach sheini? Why did they need a make-up? It could have been reasoned that: so they missed it, okay; they had good reason. They were tameh but this mitzvah symbolizes their membership within the nation. They refused to be exempt from that which ensured their inclusion. It illustrates that they are part of the nation that is leaving the tumah of Egypt and joining G-D in service to Him as part of the Jewish nation. They asked for a make-up and Moshe said: okay and promulgated the mitzvah which G-D gave them then and there.

When we do a seder, it’s a platform that allows us to do these mitzvos of matzah and maror and so on. When the Jews observe Pesach for thousands of years, each time they do it, it diminishes a portion of the zohama. That time period of Pesach is when the zohama becomes erase-able. When the Jews observe Pesach, that’s when it happens.

If you look at the Jewish people today and, particularly, those who do not observe mitzvos, you will notice that there are two mitzvos that they tend to observe: One is mila; even non-orthodox Jews want a bris. There are thousands of stories of Jews that were not religious but wanted to have their sons to have a bris because it’s a membership rite of Judaism. In the same way, everyone makes a seder. They may have chometz together with the matzah because they’re not observant. But even they, the non-religious Jews, have a seder because it represents, mystically, their membership within the nation. It’s interesting that these are the two mitzvahs the non-observant tend to observe.

We now understand what G-D did in giving a second tikkun “device.” These are the mitzvos that mirror the actual primary tikkun event, the exile and exodus. This is how we remove the zohama.

The Secret of the Four Exiles

We must also endure four exiles to remove the four environments of evil. We failed to complete that when we left the exile of Egypt due to the Golden Calf so we have four more to endure. They are: Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome. That is the secret of the four exiles, that we have to duplicate those four evil environments and go through them. Egypt represented all four. What could be done with Egypt can’t be done in the other nations because each has its own particular environment that must be traversed and endured. What the Jews have to go through and, if they remain, to suffer or do mitzvos, they reduce, defeat, that environment of evil. That’s the secret of the four exiles.

The Five Cups, the Five Expressions and Sequence of Events of Redemption

Also interesting is that the five cups also represent the five expressions of redemption:

1- “v’hitzalti”—and I will rescue them;

2- “v’hotzeisi”—and I will take them out;

3- “v’lokachti”—and I will take them;

4- “v’goalti”—and I will redeem them;

5- “v’heiveisi”—and I will bring them (to Eretz Yisrael).

These represent the four ideas of removal from the klipah. The fifth expression is the actual removal of the zohama, the removal of the barrier within the geshem—physicality.

The celebratory expressions of redemption that the five cups of wine represent are replicated, echoed, in parshas “Nitzavim” where G-D assures us that, “even if you are outcasts at the ends of heaven:

1- “yikabetzcho”—I will gather/rescue you,

2- “yikachecho”—I will take you,

3- “v’heiveiacho”—and I will bring you (to Eretz Yisrael).

This is the sequence of Redemption.

First, G-D will separate us from the goyim—non-Jews.

Second, He will then “take us” to Him meaning that, in some way--we don’t know how—He will teach us the Torah. All Jews will, again, become awesome scholars. I’ve lectured several times how this could be done via the concept of mishnayos because there’s a midrash--commentary that says that the only way the Jews can be redeemed is by merit of learning mishnayos. That’s the equivalent of “lokachti” – I will take them to Me and teach them Torah.

The third action of the sequence is “v’heiveisi”—and I will bring them to Eretz Yisrael to the Beis Ha’Mikdash—Holy Temple.

We’ve now covered the entire realm of ideas of the tikkun process from the beginning to the end and understand that the whole redemption from Egypt and the giving of the Torah and the restoration of the zohama—all of this--is the model of the final Redemption itself. It is also, ultimately, of what’s going to happen. We get rid of the zohama through the Torah itself and also by being exiled to four nations, and, lastly, by having a seder and observing mitzvos that represent the actual historical event of Egypt and the exodus.

Q & A

Participant: Now that Shavuos is on its way, what is the mindset we should be in to accept the holiday and then to…

R’Kessin: The main idea of Shavuos is to rejoice in the fact that we received the Torah which is the vehicle to bring the Redemption. The second thing is to know, to reconfirm our desire, to observe the Torah. Those are the main two, to accept the Torah we have and recognize that this is the only way to redeem ourselves, to get rid of the zohama and enter the messianic era.

Most important is to be joyful at having received the Torah. One of the reasons to stay up all night is because, out of a sense of joy, we don’t want to sleep in anticipation of what we’re about to get the next day.

The second idea is to recommit to observing Torah as best we can.

Participant: So, each year we’re counting the omer, counting how we’re ridding ourselves of the zohama, but we’re not ridding ourselves of it, or are we?

R’Kessin: Each year we do something; we don’t know how much, but every year that we observe these mitzvos of Pesach and counting the omer and Shavuos, we diminish the zohama. The time will come when we will have observed the last Pesach, when we’ll have, actually, vanquished the zohama. We don’t know exactly when, but Pesach is what’s called a “secondary tikkun event,” or should I say, the mitzvos of Pesach constitute the “secondary tikkun event.” There’s a diminishment every Pesach. Let’s hope that this one is it.

Participant: As we diminish the zohama within us, the sefiros are re-energized?

R’Kessin: Yes, but they’re not released. There are two processes; one is that the sparks of holiness go back into the sefiros. The second part of the process is that the sefiros are able to release the sparks. That first part of the process is always happening, that the sparks are being restored to the sefiros but only during the pekidah can the sparks be released. The zechirah, is when the shechina is released, which is what the RaMCHaL talks about.

Participant: We’re still awaiting the pekidah or do you think we’re in the process of it?

R’Kessin: I would imagine that we are right up against it, that it hasn’t happened. Let’s say the precursor seems to be happening because evil is failing. America will have a tremendous backlash against the Democrats and liberals that are destroying it. Also, the Eirev Rav in Israel is experiencing a strong possibility of collapse. That has to mean that evil is on its way out but it’s still getting its last claim, same as in Egypt. G-D has to balance the books before he brings the Redemption. That is why, when Moshe came, Pharoah issued the decree that the Jews would have to gather their own straw. There’s a claim that justice has and I think we are in that period of time. Whether we’re before the pekidah or right up to that spot…

Participant: Remind me, what happens when the pekidah happens.

R’Kessin: The yechidah is released and crowns the Mashiach ben Yosef and he begins to grow. He is released from his own prison, the prison of the zohama. That’s the pekidah. That’s the same idea as with Moshe Rabbeinu when it says that “G-D remembered the Jews” right before the sne--Burning Bush.

The pekidah is when the yechidah, the mashiach himself, realizes that he’s the mashiach and he is released so he can begin his growth which takes time because he’s been imprisoned for so many years with so much suffering. The zechirah is when the shechinah is released. That’s the equivalent of the ten makos—blows, plagues, the energy of the sefiros. That’s really the End, the “yikabetzcho,” when G-D “will gather you and bring you to Him and to the Land.” It’s two stages.

Stage one is his release and he gets the yechidah, that portion of the neshama of Adam Ha’Rishon. He can then begin to grow. As the pasuk says, “Behold My servant will grow wise and he will become exceedingly great.” So, he grows and klal Yisrael also grows and then you have the zechirah which is, in a certain sense, the destruction of the evil; they will be destroyed or get whatever onesh—punishment they get.

Participant: The zechirah is the Mashiach ben David?

R’Kessin: Yes.

Participant: Does it say anywhere a time-frame between the two stages?

R’Kessin: To my knowledge, no, but it’s not a long time period. The main idea is that of Mashiach ben Yosef because it is his task to neutralize evil completely, i.e. the Eirev Rav, and bring down the Beis Ha’Mikdash. After that, that’s it; that’s the End. Even though there’s no release yet….

It’s like Moshe in Egypt. There were a number of months where they had to do the suffering but, once that was over, that’s it. Then the Ribono Shel Olam—Master of the Universe destroyed Egypt with the ten makos. Then they left Egypt. So, that’s also what’s going to happen now. There will be the time the Mashiach ben Yosef does his job, but those tasks he does are astounding because, like I say, it’s teaching Torah. It’s also destroying evil and bringing down the Temple and beginning to reveal the ohr rishon—messianic Light. That’s Mashiach ben Yosef. Mashiach ben David is the king to carry on the kingdom.

The four items, components, that end the galus—exile, will become permanent with Mashiach ben David but the one who creates the change is Mashiach ben Yosef. It’s like a woman giving birth. You have the one who takes the baby from the point where it exits and then, all of a sudden, it’s now in the world; that’s the obstetrician. That’s Mashiach ben Yosef. Then you have the one who raises the child; that’s Mashiach ben David, the kingdom itself. The transition of the evil kingdom to a messianic kingdom is Mashiach ben Yosef.

Participant: Wouldn’t the ten makot have to happen when the Beis Ha’Mikdash comes down?

R’Kessin: It would probably happen then, right.

Participant: But you said that’s when the shechina is going to be revealed and that’s when the ten makot happened.

R’Kessin: The Temple is revealed before Mashiach ben David. Whether the makos and ben Yosef and ben David overlap, it doesn’t clearly say. The RaMBaM says that we don’t know exactly when. The actual sequence we don’t know until it happens. RaMBaM says we can, more or less, guess what seems to be the logical order of the sequence, but it could vary.

Participant: Didn’t the RaMCHaL say that some of the stages could happen even simultaneously?

R’Kessin: They could, unless one is the prerequisite for the other, but it’s a possibility. It’s more likely that it will be sequential.

Participant: During the time that Mashiach ben Yosef has to grow, what would the world look like? Is evil still going to be on a high while he’s growing himself?

R’Kessin: You’re looking at the war of Gog U’Magog. When Mashiach ben Yosef grows, he will be totally successful. Nothing will be able to stop him; that’s what Mashiach ben Yosef is all about. It’s an absolute success rate. The world will realize that the world is changing and you will have a reassertion of evil; that’s the concept of Gog U’Magog against Mashiach ben Yosef.

There will be an attempt by evil to recapture, to reassert, itself, its sovereignty. That’s what happened in Egypt. After the Jews left, Egypt ran after them to reassert their domination over the Jewish people. That is the equivalent of Gog from the Land of Magog. That’s part of the process, where evil isn’t just going to give up. Then Mashiach ben David appears to wipe them out. All this is in “Yechezkel” lamed-ches--38 That’s all part of Mashiach ben Yosef’s era except for when Mashiach ben David appears and wipes them out.


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