Given: April 25, 2022
We are in chodesh Nisan--month of Nisan. We’restill there and, therefore, one can talk about Pesach because the Divine energy that comes down due to Pesach is still active. Similar to Sukkoth, we have the first day(s), then chol ha’moed--intermediate celebratory days, then the last day. Pesach too has the same, the shevi’i--seven.
What’s interesting is that this traditional overview is not how you should look at Pesach because from the second day until Shavuos is really the chol ha’moed because it’s all connected. Shavuos is really the last day of Pesach. This is because, thematically, they are connected, which I’ll talk about. That’s an important idea. Pesach does not end on the last day, the achron, of Pesach. It continues all the way through Shavuos. The proof of that is the counting of the sefira, counting 49 days until Shavuos. That shows you that there is clearly a connection between the two. The Divine energy that comes down during Pesach continues through Shavuos. I can certainly still talk about Pesach because it includes all the ideas of the yemei sefira--days of the sefira count and also Shavuos.
As such, the previous two shiurim are not complete without talking about the sefira days which end with Shavuos. To do so will give over the totality of Pesach with a spiritual, kabbalistic framework. That’s what one must have. We’re still in the z’man--time that the shefa--Divine influence that comes down continues to come down through Shavuos. It doesn’t stop because Pesach is over.
The first day of Pesach is yom tov, then comes chol ha’moed which is 49 days long beginning on the second day of Pesach, the 16th day of Iyar. In Israel, there is only one “first day,” one day of yom tov. The second day is already chol ha’moed which continues for 49 days. On the 50th day, Shavuos, is when you have kabbalas ha’Torah--the receiving of the Torah ending with the termination of the shefa--Divine flow. The reason it terminates is because Shavuos actually ends with the successful conclusion of Pesach.
Re-cap: Panorama of Tikkun--Rectification
In the previous portions of these Pesach lectures, I spoke about the bris bein ha’bsarim--Covenant Between the Pieces when the Ribono Shel Olam--Master of the Universe spoke to Avraham making a covenant with him that he and his nation would do the job of tikkun--rectification of Creation to change the world, the first stage of which--since the fall of Adam ha’Rishon, the first man--is to remove the zohama--contamination, the pollution, of the Satan because its introduction is what occurred as a result of the sin. To do so causes the world to revert back to a purely physical world devoid of the zohama that was introduced into its fabric in the form of the Satan. Satanic power of the physical universe will be removed and, once it is, the universe no longer has any satanic influence.
From there, we go from a purified physical universe, which is what the messianic era is, to a spiritual universe where everybody is. From there, we go into a Divine universe of Olam Ha’Ba--Future World. That is the panorama of the entire job of tikkun.
We now know that the Jews went to Egypt to remove the “sparks of holiness” that were trapped and held by the Satan and given to Egypt. All the sins of mankind culminated in the sparks being held captive in Egypt. The Jews had not only to bring down the energy of the sefiros to change the world, they had to take out the sparks of holiness, the sparks of Divine energy, removing them from the domain of the Satan. That job was given to them at the “Covenant Between the Pieces.”
They had to go to a place--Egypt--that they could “take back.” Egypt is called the “bechor”--firstborn of the Satan. Originally, it was the firstborn in a family that had the responsibility that a kohen--priest has today. That was the original intent and which changed after the Sin of the Golden Calf. Therefore, the concept of the bechor is the concept of an individual who possesses the responsibility to do whatever job he’s assigned. The bechor of the Satan was Egypt.
Yosef Ha’Tzadik in Egypt
The one who began to take out the sparks of holiness from the Satan’s bechor, Egypt, was Yosef Ha’Tzaddik. His being in Egypt was because he was a root soul of the Mashiach ben Yosef. His job was to begin to remove those nitzotzei kedusha--holy sparks from Egypt. This is what the real story is. He was tested for thirteen years, imprisoned there, and withstood the tremendous temptations that Egypt offered. It was a land steeped in hashchosa--corruption, especially zima--sexual perversion. Yosef had to withstand that influence and, if successful, would take out a great deal of the holy energy that nurtured Egypt because it nurtured the Satan. Remember, the Satan “eats” from that; it’s where he derives his power. This is precisely what Yosef did and which I will elaborate on. His main task, his main test, was the story of him and Potiphar’s wife and his successful resistance to her wiles which depleted the sparks that Egypt held.
Pharoah’s Dream: Famine Versus Plenty
That is eventually what got him out of prison. He interpreted Pharoah’s dream about seven years of plenty and seven years of terrible famine. Why did Pharoah have that dream? The dream content reflected the future that Egypt would suffer. The reason for the dream and Yosef’s interpretation--without going into the entire story--is a culmination of what had happened to that point.
To that point, the Satan had been depleted of that holy energy upon which he had been yonek--nourished until Yosef passed the test. If the Satan were “starving,” then the Satan’s firstborn, Egypt, the Satan’s agents, would starve too. Logically, Pharoah would dream about something that would affect his kingdom and dream about plenty and famine. The dream content reflected the process that Yosef had affected, his success in depleting Egypt of its “food.” Yosef was the one who created the famine through his resistance to temptation therefore he was freed to interpret Pharoah’s dream.
Also fascinating is Yosef’s appearance before Pharoah to interpret the dream whereupon Pharoah says something very strange. He acknowledges Yosef’s wisdom and decides to make Yosef the second-most powerful person in command, the highest authority in Egypt after me, decrees Pharoah. The question we always ask is: why? Yosef was a released prisoner and, as a talented dream interpreter, he could have been given a reward as a consultant. He’s a dream interpreter! You make him a Grand Vizier? Why did the Pharoah make him the Grand Vizier? It seems to make no sense.
Balance of Power
The answer is a profound concept. This world must reflect the balance between the Satan and the Jews. Who has the majority of the sparks of holiness? Whoever does, has the power in this world. Since Yosef took out so many sparks, he severely diminished and depleted Egypt. Therefore, the balance has to reflect that. Yosef took out so much that he deserved to be the Grand Vizier. The majority of the sparks were in the hands of the Jews. What happened to Yosef was a barometer of his success, so much so that he became the Grand Vizier. Yosef did an incredible job and he did it by remaining righteous because that’s how the Jews do it. He defied temptation so succeeded in taking out, taking back, the sparks of holiness and their being given over, restored, to the Jewish people, to the side of kedusha--holiness. That is what Yosef did.
That is also why the Jews went to Egypt. They had to take out the rest of the sparks. Yosef, as we will see, being “half” a patriarch, was able to take out an enormous amount but not all of it. The Jews had to go down to Egypt to take out the rest.
In the beginning, they went to Egypt to remain gerim--outsiders and avoid assimilation. But they did assimilate so G-D used a second mechanism of tikkun--suffering. If you recall, that is what G-D told Avraham, that his progeny would be in Egypt for hundreds of years as gerim, as aliens. If they assimilate, they become ovdim--servants. If they continue assimilating, getting involved in idol worship and depravity, which they did, then they become slaves and suffer in their bondage. This third mechanism to accomplish the tikkun went beyond bondage to the extent of persecution.
This is, basically, what the Jews were doing, all in the service of trying to get the energy source of the Satan which is the sparks of the holiness that come from the sefiros. The Jews were trying to get that out of Egypt and restore the world to a condition without the zohama. If you remove the sparks, the Satan collapses, dies, because, without the sparks, he cannot survive. If he collapses, so does his power. The zohama, the pollution collapses. Eventually, he dies and the world returns to a purified physicality, the messianic era.
Did the Jews succeed? Yes. For the first time in history, the Jews succeeded in taking out the sparks the Satan had. This put him in a precarious position. The Gemara says that when the Jews stood at Mount Sinai, the zohama was removed and the Jews were equal in spiritual stature to Adam Ha’Rishon before the sin. Before his fall, Adam had no zohama within him. As I mentioned before, the Satan had been external to the body of man before the sin. Afterwards, Adam fell into a physical universe that was inhabited by the Satan and all the four levels of klippa--“husks” that impede purity from being accessed. The Jews were equal at matan Torah--the giving of the Torah and now they were ready for the messianic era, but that did not occur due to the Sin of the Golden Calf which I’ll speak about.
In the book of “Shemos,” we read, “And the Jews groaned from the avoda--servitude” and “v’yeda”--G-D knew. G-D “knew” that the end had come. What’s the connection? The Torah is pointing out that the major mechanism being used to remove the sparks for the eighty years of their servitude was the suffering they endured so they groaned. That was the last amount of suffering that was needed so G-D “knew,” deemed their suffering to be sufficient, to take them out of Egypt.
The next parasha--Torah portion speaks of the Burning Bush, an encounter between G-D and Moshe Rabbeinu. It is incredible because Moshe is speaking to G-D, consciously, while awake, and He tells Moshe to take the Jews out. Moshe, as I’ve pointed out, says something interesting. He says he can’t take them out because their worship of idols is known to the Satan who, therefore is mekatreg--able to prosecute them because the loshon ha’ra--defamatory speech they speak, in addition to worshipping idols, automatically initiated a prosecutorial action against them in the heavenly court. Their sins would not have been exposed and subject to court proceeding had they guarded their tongues. It is a characteristic of justice referred to as “mida k’neged mida”--measure-for-measure. The Jews spoke loshon ha’ra amongst, and about, each other and so the Satan can speak ill and condemn the Jews in the heavenly tribunal.
Moshe told G-D that they speak loshon ha’ra so their idol worship is known to the Satan so: how can You take them out with all those prosecutorial actions? G-D told Moshe that they no longer speak that way so their avoda zara--idol worship is concealed from the Satan; they can now be taken out. The midrash--exegetical commentary says that the reason why the Jews got out of Egypt was because they stopped speaking loshon ha’ra and its why G-D gave Moshe the signs.
G-D told Moshe to place his hand inside his coat and then remove it. Upon removing it, his hand displayed a condition called “tzaras” which a person gets as a consequence of speaking loshon ha’ra. Upon being directed to return his hand to his coat and remove it again, his hand revealed that the tzaras had been cured. That was the sign that the Jews stopped speaking loshen ha’ra.
Then G-D told Moshe that he should take the mateh--the Staff of G-D and throw it to the ground. Moshe did so and it became a snake. G-D then instructed Moshe to take the snake in hand and, lo and behold, it reverted to a staff. G-D was implying what we’ve come to understand, that the sparks of holiness are shared between the Jews and the Satan. Both vie for the same power source. By telling Moshe to throw down the mateh, the symbol of the power source, G-D was implying that the power source which gives rise to the Satan had reverted back to being the Staff of G-D. As such, the power source that “fed” the snake’s survival no longer did. Things are different, G-D could say. It’s in the hands of the Jewish people. That’s incredible! No more sparks in Egypt! The Satan is powerless and Egypt is powerless. Moshe could take them out and that’s what he did.
He went to Pharoah and performed the same series of signs to demonstrate to Pharoah that his own power, his own being, that of the Satan, was powerless and his authority was finished. What would happen? Since the power source of the Satan was back in hands of the Jews, then the ten sefiros were energized and would destroy Egypt. The ten sefiros, manifest physically, are the ten “blows” or “plagues.” There is a direct parallel between the plagues and the ten sefiros. They are conceptually connected. That’s mida k’neged mida. The sparks, restored as the sefiros, would become manifest physically and destroy Egypt. That is why there are four ideas which are parallel.
Parallelism, Conceptual Identicality in “10”
The asara mamoros--ten sayings with which the world was created--as written of in Pirkei Avos--are identical to the ten sefiros. These ten sefiros are identical to the ten makos--plagues. Because of their having successfully removed the sparks of holiness, the power source, the Jews were given a great reward, the aseres ha’dibros--ten commandments. They’re all “ten.” These entities, all coming in “ten,” are conceptual identicalities.
This is what G-D is telling Moshe at the sne--Burning Bush. Moshe then begins the process of bringing the energy of the sefiros to destroy Egypt. What’s interesting is that the Egyptians didn’t know at first how Moshe was pulling this off. Initially, they attributed it to kishuf--magic.
It is written that, of the ten kaben--measures that were given to the world, nine of the ten were given to Egypt. Magic comes from the power of the Satan to alter physical reality. I’m not going to elaborate on that, but kishuf--magic is energized by the Satan and the Egyptians were very good at it. The Egyptians presumed that Moshe was using a magic that they knew well. They wondered how Moshe made the Nile River become blood--real blood, not colored water. They knew the power of magic and how to get the Satan to alter the physical world. Moshe knew how and was a “full-professor” of magic so was much greater than they. They assumed their mechanism to be identical to the one Moshe used--until it got to the plague of lice. The rule of magic is that magic from the Satan cannot work on anything that is smaller in size than a barley grain. It can’t work. But lice is smaller than a barley grain! The Egyptians were shocked to realize it wasn’t the Satan nor their brand of magic Moshe was using. They realized that Moshe’s power source was G-D, was Divine. They said, “etzba elokim hi”--this is the finger of G-D. They realized too that Moshe had access to this incredible power source and that they had no idea how to access Divine energy.
As per the quote “this is the finger of G-D,” we can wonder why we have ten fingers. G-D has ten fingers--the sefiros! There are ten of them and, since man is a model of Divinity, he imitates Divinity. Just as G-D uses ten “fingers,” the ten sefiros, to manipulate and interact with the world, man uses his ten fingers to interact with the world. By saying “finger of G-D,” the court magicians recognized that Moshe’s “mechanism” was G-D Himself.
Transfer of Status of the Firstborn
Who are the “firstborn of Egypt”? Like Egypt is the firstborn of the Satan because they had all the sparks of holiness, more than the other nations, and since the Jews now had the sparks, then they, the Jews, are called “bechor.” G-D changed the bearer of the title of “firstborn.” G-D says, “bechori”--My firstborn because the Jews had the sparks of holiness. As a result of Egypt losing that status of “firstborn” to the Jews, the status automatically transferred and that is why the makos bechoros--plague of the firstborn resulted in the deaths of all the firstborn throughout Egypt. This particular plague signified, indicated this transfer of holy power and status.
The Four Levels of Klippos, The Watery Abyss, The Sea of Reeds
Moshe destroyed the four klippos. If a person destroys the Satan by taking back the sparks, the zohama is destroyed. In a previous lecture, I spoke about the four levels of the klippos, of the zoama. The original concept of this is the Flood during the time of Noach. If you recall previous lectures, the Flood represents the four levels of the klippos that destroyed the world, measure-for-measure. In the time of Noach, it was the last level, the tehom--watery abyss that was released. The klippa itself was turned against the world because the world had created, given rise to, that last klippa, the most powerful of them all--tehom.
To indicate what Moshe did, Moshe took the nation through the Yam Suf--Reed Sea which is also referred to as “tehomos”--plural of “tehom.” The Torah is alluding to the idea that the world was drowned in the Flood of a “watery abyss” but, in contrast, Moshe brought the Jews through a “watery abyss.” This allusion tells us that Moshe reversed the power of those four states of tumah, of zohama. The Jewish people, led by Moshe, “reversed” the Flood. The splitting of the Yam Suf indicates this reversal. The reference to the Yam Suf as “tehomos” indicates that the episode at the Sea of Reeds refers to, and is the undoing of, the Flood.
At Moshe’s birth, he is given several names. The name that stuck and which we use is “Moshe” because Pharoah’s daughter said, “ki min ha’mayim meshisihu”--from the water I have drawn him. The name she gave him is the name the Torah uses to name him. Now we know why the name she gave him “stuck.” It was his job to draw the Jews out of the water, the zohama. That is what he did. He drew them out of the water which means they destroyed, overcame, the zohama, all four stages of it, all levels of it. It collapsed.
Destruction of Zohama, Revelation, Redemption
The splitting of the Yam Suf occurred on the seventh day after leaving Egypt. The revelation at the splitting of the Yam Suf was so extraordinary that, as we’ve come to understand, the most common maid-servant “saw” more into the depths of the Hidden Light, Messianic Light, than Yechezkel Ha’Navi--the prophet Yechezkel in his description of the Divine Chariot. Why? Why is it that, at the Yam Suf, the Jews had a mystical vision of the mechanism of Creation that exceeded Yechezkel’s? His was foundational.
The entire purpose of the Jew--that’s what the 49 days are about--is to remove one layer of zohama at a time. In Egypt, the Jews made the zohama removable so to collapse it. They had to remove every layer and there are 49 of them. Every day of the 49 days, one level was removed until the 49th level, standing at Mount Sinai all of it was removed. The Gemara says that the people were like Adam Ha’Rishon before the sin. The zohama had become externalized. no longer polluting the physical body.
Seven days after leaving Egypt, one-seventh of the zohama had been removed. That process continued through 49 days. One seventh of the human body of the Jews had no zohama. Automatically, the vision that you are granted when you do not have that zohama is extraordinary. We cannot imagine what that is. That is why, in the messianic era, when the Satan is destroyed and all the various stages of evil are terminated, we will be granted a Divine vision of the deepest secrets of Creation. That is the Messianic Light. It will happen when there’s no more zohama. That is why a maid-servant was able to see more--not because she was the greatest scholar--but because She had only 6/7th of zohama remaining. 1/7th had been removed! Automatically they began to see profound secrets.
In the removal of the zohama, there are stages. At the end of the Egyptian exile, the zohama became removable. Gradually, over 49 days, it was being removed so that, by Har Sinai, it had been externalized. We don’t know what the nation was by the time they were at Sinai. They were not human in the sense of having zohama. This already happened after seven days of leaving Egypt. Once removed, they would enter into the 50th gate, that vision of incredible Light.
We’re now getting a real handle, hopefully, of what Egypt really is. It’s an attempt, a venture, of rectifying Creation, the first time that it really happened completely but for the Sin of the Golden Calf which restored the zohama. Even then, it was not totally restored. Egypt is the forerunner of the tikkun process. In order to understand this in greater depth, I will continue this next week. We are still in Nisan so the shefa of Nisan is continuing to come down, doesn’t end, continues to come until Shavuos.
Q & A
Participant: The Yam Suf was a tikkun--rectification for the mabul--Flood itself?
R’Kessin: Yes, it was a reversal, an undoing. The mabul destroyed the Earth, covered everybody. But the Yam Suf split which means that the Jews went through it and came to land which, symbolically, is a reversal of the mabul--Flood. It reflects what the Jews had accomplished spiritually.
Participant: Don’t they say that Moshe had a spark, was a gilgul--reincarnation, of Noach?
R’Kessin: Yes, and now you know why. Noach failed to change the world and get the world to stop sinning. So, the Ribono Shel Olam brought Noach back to rectify his mistake. See? The concept of Moshe’s name being based on “I have drawn him from the water” is, in a certain sense, that rectification of Noach’s failure. The Arizal says this.
Participant: The reason Ha’Shem used water for both rectifications was because the Jews had fallen to the level of tahom?
R’Kessin: Yes. They were at the 49th level of tumah--impurity which is what they were in Egypt.
Participant: That was the level of the tahom in Egypt and the level just before the Flood?
Participant: And we are at that same level of tahom, the 49th level, now?
R’Kessin: Right. Yes. That is a terrible place to be. That is why the Redemption is right up ahead. The world has to get out of that. It cannot sustain itself at the 49th level of tumah. Just look around at what’s happening. It’s filled with so much corruption and evil.
Participant: So, if we rectified the water by splitting it, we need to do that again? But it’s already done. We have to do it again?
R’Kessin: The cheit ha’egel--Sin of the Golden Calf restored the zohama but not completely which I’ll probably talk about next week. It restored it but not completely and we still have to remove the tahom.
Participant: The cheit--sin dropped us back down to the 49th level.
R’Kessin: In a certain sense, yes, but the Jews did not go back totally. The question is; how much, in each level, is the quantity? You can be at the 49th level but--on a scale of 1-10--you could be at the 49th level but at a quantity of “4.” There is a degree of quantity even at the 49th level but there’s no question that Jewish people are at the 49th level. Look at the incredible opposition to religion in Israel and the amoratzus--ignorance of Jews throughout the world. Nearly for the first time in history Jews have almost no connection to their Torah. There is a group, obviously and a lot of learning does go on, but there’s a distinction between learning and knowing. When I gave a shiur on the death of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, I spoke about this. Jews learn a lot but they don’t “know.” We are certainly at the 49th level.
Participant: Ha’Shem needs to do something again with water to make that rectification?
R’Kessin: It’s an interesting idea but, in those days, by Egypt, it was one country. All the Jews were in one country so, basically, it meant that the Jews had to leave that country. The problem today is that the Jews are all over the planet. The tahom is not going to necessarily be a place of water. What can G-D do, split the Atlantic Ocean? What would be the gain? You have to gather all the Jews. We don’t know how G-D will do that.
Participant: The RaMCHaL doesn’t discuss how….
R’Kessin: No, no. He talks of it in general terms, not a blow-by-blow description. Nobody really knows. The RaMBaM says that we don’t know how it will happen. It is hidden from us. We know it will happen but our understanding is in general terms. As I spoke of with the “Windows” and the “Gates”-- that’s what we know. How can He redeem the Jews when the Jews are all over the world and at the mem-tet-sha’arei-tumah--49th level of defilement along with the rest of the world? The world is steeped in evil. Nobody really knows how it will happen except in general terms. I’ve spoken extensively about what I think will happen.
I believe what will happen is….I bring down a pasuk--verse from “Nitzavim” where G-D says: “I will gather you, even if you are outcasts at the ends of Heaven, misham-- from there, yekabetzcha--I will gather you.” G-D will go into the klippa, among the nations, into the evil, go into all of that and pull the Jews out. Then it says that He will bring them--“yekachecha,”--to Himself. He will teach them the Torah because G-D will not bring His nation to Redemption when they are steeped in tumah. Then he will bring them to Eretz Yisrael.
Next week, I will talk about why there are four cups and how five expressions of “redemption” mirror what happens today. Exodus from Egypt is the model for Redemption; it foreshadows what happens now. It will happen but we don’t know exactly how. I suspect that the beis ha’mikdash--Holy Temple, which the Gemara clearly says will come down before Mashiach ben David (is anointed), will, somehow, play a part in gathering the Jews. Imagine that, suddenly, there’s the third Temple with all its glory sitting on the Har ha’Bayis--Temple Mount! What would the world think? It would go crazy. It would be front-page news on every social-media site in the world. The whole world would change as a result of that and all the Jews would seek G-D. Once they see the third Temple--and it won’t just be a Temple; it will be filled with miracles--who won’t want to go to Israel to see it? There will be a massive shake-up of this world but the exact details are unknown.
Participant: They say the sea(s) will split again. Is that true?
R’Kessin: What could that mean if the Jews are all over the world? That’s not clear. How could Yam Suf be duplicated? Those days it was Egypt so you could have a split in the sea but today the Jews are all over the world. G-D will split all the oceans?--unlikely. But there WILL be something that does mirror that.
Participant: As we reverse the mem-tet-shar’arei-tumah, we go through the levels of the klippot of the Satan?
R’Kessin: Yes, right. The manifestation of the zohama are those four levels. That’s how it comes out into the world so, therefore, as the zohama collapses, so do the levels. Participant: Do we know how Moshe did it? What parallels tohu and vohu? How did he reverse them?
R'Kessin: We don’t know. The four stages of satanic environments will collapse but that’s automatic once the zohama is gone. Then the Satan is destroyed.
Participant: This is all the job of Mashiach ben Yosef?
R’Kessin: The actual destruction of the Satan is the job of the Mashiach ben David. He will destroy evil and change the world into a purified physical world that is a manifestation of unbelievable holiness. We’re going to enter Gan Eden. This world, during the messianic era of Mashiach ben David, is really Gan Eden. That’s what it is. It has no zohama even though it is physical. It will be so encompassed by kedusha--holiness that don’t know if it can be called “physical,” not in the way we think of it now. Now it is filled with Satanic zohama. What a physical universe looks like without zohama is unknown to us. The parallel to that is Gan Eden of Adam Ha’Rishon. That was the only time the world has ever been devoid of the zohama except for matan Torah. That was a Gan Eden.
Participant: When we go from the physical to the spiritual, what will that world be like? I know that it is the world of the angels but if it’s not the messianic era and not Olam Ha’Ba. What is it, technically, and what happens when we get to their level? Do they (angels) disappear? What’s their job?
R’Kessin: The angels remain and their job is to do whatever you want them to do.
R’Kessin: You will have a huge entourage of angels ready to serve you.
Participant: What way can they serve us if we are spiritual beings?
R’Kessin: We don’t know what goes on there, the needs, the phenomena of that existence. The malachim--angels in Olam Yetzira, in Briyah, live in some kind of Creation and we don’t know what that is. They have a “world,” an “environment,” and they have rules and regulations that govern their world of angels. It’s all part of Kabbalah but we don’t know the type of nature that beings have on that plane of existence. We don’t even understand what Gan Eden is, a world without a Satan. We would be like Adam Ha’Rishon before the sin. He lived in it. We don’t know what kind of environment he lived in. We are so removed from that type of existence. The olamos--worlds of Yetzira, of Briya, are completely unknown to us. Olam Ha’Ba is not only unknown to us, it is unknowable right now. G-D has to give us a whole different set of lenses to see the Future World. The spiritual world of angels is infinitely inferior to Olam Ha’Ba. We have no idea what Gan Eden is, what the world of angels is, what Olam Ha’Ba is like; all of this lies ahead.
Participant: Do the angels look forward to the process as much as we do, look forward to the point that we go up to their level and they serve us? Is that their goal like it is our goal?
R’Kessin: That’s an interesting question. They look forward to the end of the concealment of G-D’s presence. That’s true. There is a certain measure of--I wouldn’t call it “pain”-- but whenever G-D is concealed, there is a measure of, perhaps, disappointment or….hard to know what it is. That is why I mentioned two weeks ago the concept of the applause for that relief pitcher. They will be screaming--the angels, trillions of them. Why? It is not their well-being they care about. They all want G-D to be realized and acknowledged for Who He really is. Like it says, “v’haya Ha’Shem ha’melech al kol ha’aretz”--and G-D will be king over all the earth and his name will be One. Those in the know, the angels, look forward to that type of reality where G-D is at that level, revealed. It will be astounding! In that sense, yes, they look forward to it. That is all they need. When G-D reveals Himself, there’s an unbelievable joy that Creation will have. We don’t know what that means.
I remember many years ago--about 20 years ago--Romania had a dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu. He was perceived as having destroyed Romania. When the Romanian people threw him out, were able to capture him, I remember how they were vilifying him at the time it was happening--they killed him by the way--and it was on the radio, I remember. When they captured him or he died, there was a screaming of joy that you can’t believe. It was incredible to listen to the unmitigated, extraordinary expression of such simcha. Why? They finally had gotten rid of a terrible person. That, itself, is a cause of unbelievable joy. Could you imagine, in our lives, what it will be like when it’s not like a guy like Ceausescu, but the Satan, the sitra achra--other side that is destroyed for all eternity? Can you imagine the joy when the Satan and all his minions responsible for untold sadness, misery, depression, pain and suffering are forever gone? We will yet witness that, the simcha of the entire Creation when the Satan is destroyed.
Participant: When you speak of Yosef, when he resisted temptation of Potiphar’s wife and was able to restore the sparks, sometimes we find ourselves in places where we, normally, don’t want to be, random places, and we resist temptation in any way, shape, or form--are we there to remove sparks for the tikkun process? Do we have that ability, ordinary Jews?
R’Kessin: Every Jew is assigned his portion to remove the sparks of holiness from the side of the Satan. When a Jew resists temptation, he actually transfers those sparks to the side of holiness. The answer is yes. The difference between us and Yosef is that Yosef had the neshama--soul of a chatzi av--half-patriarch. He was like Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov but a lesser version. He had this incredible capacity so that, if he resists, there is an enormous transfer of sparks. The greater the neshama, the greater the effect of its resistance.
Later, when I talk about Esav and Yosef, what the real temptation was, it turns not to be anything we can imagine, and that is why he was rewarded. Imagine a guy going from being a prisoner, being of the lowest social class in Egypt, to--almost on the same day….the pasuk-verse that describes Yosef’s transformation is one pasuk! They released him, bathed him, dressed him and, in about three hours, he went from being of the lowest class to being Grand Vizier? Can you imagine the amount of nitzasos--holy sparks he took out? The proof of that is the famine. That famine, symbolically, was the famine that the Satan was experiencing because he had so few nitzatsos left. Yosef did that. That’s the difference between him and us. But each of us has that ability, each on our own level, each with our own assignments.
Participant: Our personal tikkun correlates to us completing taking out the sparks that we must in a lifetime?
R’Kessin: Yes, and restoring it to the side of the sefiros. Eventually, all of that will be “lowered,” projected into this world and will change the world, like I’ve said previously. That’s really our job. That was the agreement of the covenant, the agreement G-D made with Avraham. That’s our job. You know what we really are? We’re repairmen or, as they say today, “repairpersons.” We have to repair the existential state of Creation. G-D is concealed, there’s zohama all over the place, and mankind keeps doing evil. Our job is to change it back into its pristine glory, the condition of Adam Ha’Rishon before the sin. That’s the messianic era.
But after that, G-D takes over and advances the process. It then goes from a physical universe to a spiritual universe. We only have a small measure of that process to perform. That’s all we have and even that is so tough, to get rid of the zohama. But that’s it, to come back to the original level. After that, G-D does the rest. We merely initiate the ongoing process of change. Each one of us who is Jewish has that job.
Participant: You know how we say that the mashiach comes and we have more clarity on the revelation on the Creation and revelation of secrets and it goes according to each person’s merits--did that happen at the Yam Suf? Did they have that?
R’Kessin: What’s important to know is that knowing the secrets of G-D is not an intellectual experience. It’s an experience of emotion. The idea is wrapped together with its feeling. It’s not that you “know” something. You know something, and you feel something with the information. It’s a simultaneous joy with a concept, together. That happens to us once in a while. You struggle with something and, suddenly, you realize what the answer is and that is associated with great happiness. That’s what you experience. You “experience” rather than “know,” the idea. It’s in the world of feelings.
Participant: Everyone will get different levels of feeling?
R’Kessin: It depends on the level of knowledge each one is given based on how much he accomplished. But there is a minimal level. There is a minimal level that everyone will experience by the mere fact that he is on a higher level within that minimum and there’s the extra measure you get because of your avoda--service. That’s why it’s so important while we’re all alive to strive for excellence in the avoda. We want to have as much as G-D is giving. You don’t want to short-change yourself.
Participant: Is it possible to get little snippets of that feeling in this lifetime?
R’Kessin: Yes, it is. If you do the avoda right, learn Torah right then, yes, you can experience it. G-D has opened up the door at a small level but it is possible to experience. Even Shabbos is an experience of the Divine which we feel when Shabbos enters.
The problem is that we are so immersed in the 49th level of tumah that it blocks us. It’s a blockage. There’s a great deal to talk about regarding that. It’s unfortunate that many people today…. You could have that if you would know how to observe a yom tov correctly, what it’s about, what spiritual things happen on that yom tov, how to think about G-D during that time. The problem is that the Jews have relegated themselves to experiencing the day in a perfunctory way, going through the motions. Do we really experience that holiday, the joy that the holiday brings? You have to learn about the holiday and people don’t learn about the holidays except in a superficial way. Everybody is so into the halachos--laws, rituals which, of course, are important, but to experience the joy of the avoda of that holiday, you must learn the hashkafa--eschatology. The greater your understanding of the hashkafa of that day, the greater will be your enjoyment. That’s not really taught (note: It is what the rabbi teaches with shiurim like this one.--editor)
Participant: How do you navigate when you see so many people not….I’ll see them and feel bad for them and later on, when Ha’Shem does reveal Himself, they will get only that minimum of it so how do you navigate that? You’ve known this for so long and see it always so what is there to do--pray for them, send them love, send the energy to them--but what else could a person do?
R'Kessin: This is why I give these hashkafa shiurim. I want people to realize what they’re missing. Most people, even if they hear some hashkafa, it’s generally given as more of a sermon than yedia--knowledge. That’s part of the problem. Teaching the facts, the information about what these things are, that’s the only way.
Participant: Is that part of the Satan’s hold on us?
R’Kessin: Oh yeah, of course! He doesn’t want anybody experiencing the real spiritual joy of a holiday. The way he gets you away from that is he gets you in love with your business, with Olam Ha’Ze--this (material) world. That becomes your raison d’être. Your reason for being is your business--how much money you’re making, mundane things, and you’re enamored of that. If that is what is on your conscious mind, how can you get into the spiritual? People make that choice. They are heavily into the physical world and the Satan is, of course, in charge of that.
Participant: It’s beyond many peoples’ choice. They don’t see it at all. Zero. They don’t even know they have a choice. R’Kessin: That’s also Satanic. It says, “G-D says, ‘I will hide My Face on that day’.” There’s a double expression of concealment. There are dual interpretations. Rabbi Mordechai Shlomo Friedman, the Boyaner Rebbe, said something very true: “You think that I have the gilui--revelation of the ohr--Light? No! It’s concealed from me.” The double expression means that it will be hidden not only from the average Jew but also from the g’dolim--revered scholars. That’s satanic, that even they miss the boat--not totally--but even they are mistaken in many ways.
As I said, one of the mistakes that people make is that they don’t learn the spirituality of the holidays. They learn about the historical event but, what takes place spiritually…really? What’s the tikkun all about? I’m not saying that people should learn Kabbalah--which isn’t a bad idea--but certainly they should learn the depth of hashkafa like that which is brought down in RaMChaL. You must meditate on it, not just read it. Ask yourself: what does it mean in terms of my life? How can I meet that goal? This isn’t done. There is a tremendous emphasis on the historical storyline which is very important and true but there is hardly any focus on the spiritual depth of each holiday.
I once gave a shiur on what Shabbos--Sabbath really is. Most people don’t know. They think it’s just a day of rest but it’s really the opening of Olam Yetzira. It’s an entire shiur. This is the mistake people make. They should learn hashkafa in the yeshivas. What is hashkafa? Who is
G-D? How does someone serve G-D? That is why RaMChal wrote about how to learn, what to learn--that’s his “Derech Chachma”--Path of Wisdom. He wrote sefarim--books on all these topics, “Derech Ha’Shem”--Way of G-D, because he saw it as critical to fulfilling your mission.
We remain in our ignorance and that’s the problem.
Participant: You know the concept about not learning Kabbalah until you’re 40 years old and women shouldn’t learn it at all. All those sayings…are they really a part of the Satan’s mission to stop it, discourage it, not let it spread?
R’Kessin: There’s a great deal to say about that. That prohibition about not learning it unless you’re familiar with the Torah, or having to be an adult over 40--that period is over. Many g’dolim like the Vilna Gaon and Rav Chaim Vital say this. Today it’s permitted to delve into these areas. What’s the alternative? Is it better to delve into other areas of chochma, like science, to leave the depths of Creation, leave that to other people? Better to avoid the information about Creation? Jews need anything they can get to save themselves. We are really in the middle of the ocean and the problem is, not only are we in the middle of the ocean, we don’t have a life-raft or we do but we don’t use it.
Participant: What do you think about all the destruction being done on Har Ha’Bayit over the holiday?
R’Kessin: As we get closer and closer, we wonder…there are barometers which indicate that the Satan is trying to engage more and more in the opposition. He realizes that his days are numbered. That’s what happened with kever Yosef--tomb of Yosef. That’s what going on.
Participant: They’re destroying their own holy site.
R’Kessin: That’s what they always do, shoot themselves in the leg.
Participant: Why does Ha’Shem allow that to happen, the desecration of the place where His “House” rests, where He rests, on Har Ha’Bayit?
R’Kessin: G-D justifies it in the heavenly court with the Satan’s kitrugim. The Satan has the right because the Jews are sinning.
Participant: Why does Ha’Shem give the Satan so much power?
R’Kessin: The Satan doesn’t have any power. WE give him his power. His power comes completely from the Jewish people and nowhere else. That is the concept of the sparks. When we sin, we give him the sparks and that’s his power. We give him his power. He has no independent power.