Robin Diamond
Robin Diamond

Light of redemption throughout history: Rabbi Mendel Kessin, part 3

PART 3 of 3

Preparations for Messianic Enlightenment in Our Times

New-Age Ideas, cont.: When you contemplate the mood of the ‘60s and the introduction of Kabbalah into the secular and religious worlds, you see the beginning of the preparations for spiritual enlightenment. Were you to go into any bookstore and find the “New Age” section, there you’d find kabbalistic literature. Half a century ago, this was unheard of. Go to Barnes and Noble. Ask anybody, “Where are books to learn Kabbalah?” They’ll refer you to a list of possibilities: “Kabbalah for the Layman,” “Kabbalah for Dummies.” I hate to use the word “hot,” but Kabbalah is “hot.” We don’t even realize how many gentiles are looking into this stuff because Kabbalah is spiritual and they want a piece of it. They have no idea that they’re promoting spirituality and religiosity. The problem is the tumah. However, that’s how you appease the Satan so that he won’t prosecute; Kabbalah can come down but with some distortion. It’s a very important concept.

Revolution in the Proliferation of Talmudic Literature:
In the Jewish world, the same phenomena of enlightenment has to happen. Indeed, certain very interesting things are. First, the Torah is emerging from the klippa, a sort of spiritual shell or impediment that conceals holy content. For instance, we are currently witnessing a revolution in the way Talmudic literature is being written. Let’s take ArtScroll publishers as an example. What I’m about to say is an incredible advertisement for ArtScroll because, for the first time in history, the Talmud is being fully explained — fully, and in English; it is no longer a “foreign language.” Second, all the unstated thinking that underlies the complex discussion in the Talmud — for, after all, the Talmud is essentially a notebook — is now inserted. It’s a full and comprehensive composition. All the background information that is generally not available is now provided for the student along with notes and commentaries. Today, a typical Jewish student can reach great heights in the spheres of intellectual attainment, halachic jurisprudence, and religious insight by delving into the contemporary Judaic literature that revolves around Talmudic studies. The legwork has been done; it’s all explained, regurgitated, and digested for you. People think this “availability” of knowledge is just so modern. In reality, the abounding and increasing dissemination of Jewish wisdom is far more than just a modern development.

Let us go deeper in our appreciation of this subject: We have indicated that the Torah is emerging from the klippa. One way of understanding the notion of the Torah being immersed in the klippa in the first place is to realize that the Torah is written in a form that is actually very difficult to access. We have already noted that the Mishnah — the first major written redaction of the Jewish Oral Law and traditions known as the “Oral Torah” — is also difficult to fathom because it is not sequenced. For instance, there are topics introduced in one section yet the topic that should logically ensue in the legal discussion may be next encountered and treated five chapters later. Because of its brevity, the Mishnah is missing much needed information. This is the way Torah has been presented over the generations but, with our emerging understanding of the nature of the klippa, we understand that this apparent sense of disorganization has been characteristic of the chomer — content when it was embedded in the traditional tzurah–form of the klippa.

Torah is now rising out of the klippa due to Artscroll and similar publishers. The Mishnah and its derivative work, the Gemara, has,in many ways, become “another” book. One corollary of the emerging enlightenment that has infused the study of Jewish sacred texts has become the proliferation of the project known as Daf Yomi whereby tens of thousands of Jews around the globe study, daily in study groups, prescribed pages of the Talmud. This amazing and probably unprecedented phenomenon is unheard of among any other peoples or religions in the world. None of this could ever have happened, none of these publishing development could have come to pass, were the Torah still in the klippa. In the old days, a limited number of Talmudic students studied the magnum opus in its regular, brief form. Today, the Talmud is presented in several languages on a “silver platter.” Intellectual labor is still required but, basically, the material is readily available for study. Had the Talmud been written in such a clear manner years earlier, believe me, we would have a different Jewish people. We would have fewer disputes, doubt, because everything would have been right there. I can just envisage a publisher like ArtScroll advertising as follows: ‘”Come and experience the Ohr Rishon even before mashiach arrives!”

It’s not only in the field of Talmud that this proliferation of Jewish knowledge has occurred. Did you ever go into a Hebrew bookstore, looking for Judaica? The first thing that hits you is all the English stuff; that’s the first thing: translations, elucidations, and collections. It’s astounding what’s in English; this never happened before. This is the proliferation of chochmah. G-d now wants everybody know Torah so the tzurah has changed its form and made Torah more accessible to anyone who wants to learn. Today you have the whole of the Talmudic literature on tape and CD. You can learn the entire body of Talmud by just plugging in earphones. Every Jew today could potentially be a talmid chacham, one well versed in Jewish law, a Torah scholar. This is not happening in reality for reasons that we’ll talk about later.

Daf Yomi: Toil Without Acquisition, As Required: But there is something else happening which is interesting. Why is there now a concept of the daily study of the Talmud: Daf Yomi — daily page? Has anybody ever wondered? What about the tradition of our sages going back many centuries — they never talked about such a rigorous daily study. What happened? And I repeat; this concept of Daf Yomi can only really be understood according to propositions relating to the advent of the messianic era. Wth all this having been said, there is still a remaining problem, that before mashiach comes, there has to be tremendous Darkness.

The Paradox: Today the Torah is being taken out of the klippa which encloses it, encases it, within tumah. But the paradox is that if there is to be Darkness before the mashiach, then nobody (among the Jews) is studying Torah because “Darkness” translates as “ignorance.” So, if nobody is learning, there’s no reward. If there’s no reward, how does the ohr rishon get out of the klippa? Enter Daf Yomi. Every day the students in this worldwide project review two sides of a page of the Talmud within a brief stretch of time. Wonderful! But there is so much material studied that, in essence, the students barely absorbs the mass of material. In fact, and in practice, anyone who participates in this daily dose of Talmud study hardly remembers anything at all! In fact Daf Yomi is the only way a guy can say, “I forgot the whole body of the Talmud!”

I am about to tell you a very strange thing: The establishment of Daf Yomi actually had nothing to do with education! Then why is it being lauded among observant Jews as a method of saving the Jews from themselves, as it were? Everyone in the orthodox Jewish world is promoting Daf Yomi, even though it takes no less than seven and half years too plow through the thousands of pages of the Talmud and nobody remembers anything. They asked a guy, “What do you remember of the past seven and a half years of the Daf?”

The guy responds, “Not much. But maybe the second time around I’ll remember more.” Well, that’s another seven and a half years. I mean, is this education?

So, amazingly, the purpose of Daf Yomi isn’t to teach Jews Torah. It’s real purpose is in triggering Jews to rise very early in the morning to form these study groups, to display their eagerness to participate in the study of Torah and to express what is called messiras nefesh — self-sacrifice. By rising to the challenge of meeting high goals and ambitions above one’s natural strength, by committing to such a project of going to a daily class of Talmud study, he has to think about the (content) of that daily study page every day. The reward emanates from the effort, not from the study per se, because the study is largely unproductive.

I know it seems strange. Nevertheless, in the generation before mashiach, when there’s incredible Darkness, the reward cannot be derived from the learning of Torah itself, but it can come through the self-sacrifice, the effort associated with Torah study. Yes, this somewhat lack of educational value explains why the concept never emerged in earlier times. Yes, Jews should study Torah! But at this time, before mashiach, the value will not be in knowing the material; there is now “darkness on the face of the deep,” that dismal condition before the mashiach is revealed. Therefore, Daf Yomi is a critical mechanism that allows people to be able to struggle in Torah and yet not really know Torah.

Incredibly Close to Mashiach.

All the signs are there. All of this shows you that we are incredibly close to the mashiach: just look at the signs!

1- We have Eretz Yisrael: It is the first time a nation returned to its land and reclaimed it 2000 years later.
2- Hebrew is now spoken. Whoever heard of a language dead for 2000 years being brought back to life?
3- The return of the exiles to the land powerfully indicates that the klippa of the nations of the world can no longer hold them.
4- Chochma has found expression as the proliferation of knowledge and its increased accessibility through the internet—global connectivity. Of course, the Satan takes it over and tries to destroy lives through the Internet. But we can now anticipate and understand the real, underlying purpose of the internet. Soon, everybody will be able to sit down and watch the mashiach make a presentation in real time, even in the middle of a desert! Yes, according to our understanding, that is what the internet is really for. All of this sounds funny, if not weird, but that’s what it’s for, a lesson for seven billion people!
5- Israel is becoming an economic power: There’s more entrepreneurship in Israel than in all of the European countries combined. Israel has become an economic and innovation powerhouse. That’s the rise of Israel that sets the stage for the Jews returning to the Land of Israel.

The Last Klippah: The Eirev Rav When the Eirev Rav are gone, then you know it’s over. As we have noted, the Eirev Rav is, basically, the government of Israel in concert with secular anti-religious elements who try to destroy authentic Judaism. Yeah, the government works with the religious (political) parties because they need their votes in the cabinet, but it’s all a charade. When Lapid was in the government, all the coalition parties, including the Likud, ganged up against the orthodox Jewish political elements. But when they need the orthodox parties, they suddenly become “sincere” devotees of religion. It’s nonsense! But that’s the concept of an Eirev Rav, to destroy the supremacy of Torah Judaism and to reduce Jewish identity to cultural icons.

So, within this scenario, how will klal Yisrael be rehabilitated quickly enough to accept the mashiach?

It’s Up to G-d. When Haman (of the Purim saga) came out with his decree, it looked really bad. However, it doesn’t make a difference how it looks. It’s up to G-d and what He wants to do and either He’s going to purify Esav (the good part of Esav–America) or not. In a broader sense, it’s not any particular administration; it’s Esav / Edom/America, which is on the line.

The Supreme Court: One of the most dangerous institutions in America is the Supreme Court. From my perspective, you don’t realize that the courts already have made America “liable to the death penalty” because they interpreted the Constitution in favor of homosexuality — the same-sex marriage agenda. You know that G-d destroyed the world because of this. The Flood and the concept of retribution against New Orleans for its Southern Decadence Day show us that America is playing with fire. I don’t care what you have against Trump; at least Trump didn’t appoint liberals and radicals to the Supreme Court.
It’s up to G-d and what He wants. If He wants to destroy America, He will. If He wants to purify America, which I believe He does (and I’ll tell you why in the next class), it’s Trump. It doesn’t make any difference how bad it looks because, in one fell swoop, G-d can change it. All that’s needed is a new revelation. It doesn’t take much to sway Americans; they are foolish, naïve, fickle.

Don’t Worry!  What G-d intends for Edom is the subject matter. Will he purify Edom to help Israel survive the onslaught of Ishmael? If G-d destroys Edom, the good aspect of Esav, then something else will have to happen for Israel to stand up against Iran.

About the Author
Robin is a retired Language Arts high school teacher who taught in the Los Angeles Unified District for 25 years. After retiring in 2010, she hurriedly made aliyah in 2011.
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