Robin Diamond
Robin Diamond

Mashiach’s Current Struggle: Rabbi Mendel Kessin

“Why haven’t you come?”

Such is the question from tzaddikim—righteous individuals who pass away and request an audience with the mashiach. “Everything looks so bleak.”

The mashiach responds, “You want me to come. Fine. But if I come now, there are those among the Jewish people who will not merit to see the Future World.”

So, the tzaddikim–righteous ones opt for a delay. Only G-d knows when each of us will deserve it, will have fulfilled his mission, his tikkun—rectification of Creation. Because all Jews are related to each other, G-d will not redeem the world until every Jew is able to be in olam ha’ba—Future World. It is an “all or nothing type of thing.”

Participant: Moshe was explaining to Yitro (his father-in-law) the extent to which the Jews in Egypt were degraded, assimilated, unworthy, and generally unaware of G-d’s existence. Since we are in the same predicament today, why couldn’t G-d do the same and rescue us?

Free Will: To successfully complete one’s G-d-given mission, one must exert free will. Without it, our actions neither rectify nor damage; they have no effect.  In Egypt, G-d’s revelation came only after much suffering provided atonement, merit. Only G-d knows when, even without free will, it is time to reveal Himself. In Egypt, they had to gather the straw. Thanks to G-d’s decree which, ironically compounded their suffering, they accomplished what was required so that free will, thereafter, was suspended.

This is the issue of free will. “If the truth is obvious, there is no reward.” Angels haven’t free will because “G-d’s presence is so obvious, they cannot sin; they can make a mistake but they cannot sin. They can’t go against the Will of G-d.” The concept of free will is a critical element in the ability to rectify Creation. When G-d performs a miracle, it is either concealed–the effect being that we are oblivious to it–or it looks like coincidence. This is termed “hashgacha pratis”—Divine Providence but coincidence itself is the concealment of a miracle. What are the odds that two events on two different chains of events could happen at the same time to affect each other even though each is happening on its own?

Open Miracles: When Mashiach ben Yosef does come, there will be open miracles. For example, the Third Temple, built by G-d through His emissary, the mashiach, will “descend from heaven.” Performance of evident miracles will be one hallmark of mashiach’s identity. He will have tremendous powers of ruach ha’kodesh—Divine inspiration.  In the subsequent era of Mashiach ben David, miracles will be both evident and continuous. We live in a time when miracles are concealed. Later, they are revealed but “spotty.” Later, they are the “natural order.” Miracles, such as the eradication of death and sickness, will be commonplace.

To the original question about miracles in Egypt, the rabbi points out that those miracles were “explicit” because the Jews had released the energy of the sefirot—spiritual energies which took the form of their earthy analogues. In the End of Days, there will be similar revelation when sefirot will be revealed but in different forms than those of the Egyptian plagues. What the geulah-Redemption really is, is that time when emission of Divine energies is no longer concealed, no longer impeded.

The desert experience was continually miraculous. Without agriculture, food was provided, coming down from heaven. The ‘maan,’ (was) a “perfect food: never spoils, comes down daily…”  provided nutrition “without ever having to go to the bathroom!….Imagine opening your refrigerator every day and it is filled with food you didn’t buy! Your clothing never became ruined….and there were the clouds of glory—surrounded by clouds that protected you north, south, east, and west, clouds of miraculous properties—and also hovered over the tabernacle. Imagine living for 40 years with continuous miracles!”

This was due to the Jews having done the tikkun—rectification. These miracles continued despite the sins of the Golden Calf and the spies. “No one ever got sick. When it came a person’s time to die, because of the decree that those over the age of 20 could die, they would dig a grave, lie in it for 5 or 6 days from tisha b’av—9th day of the month of Av until tes-vav b’Av—15th day of the month of Av, and they were either dead or not.” This continuity of miraculous experience will be the “state of existence” when Mashiach ben David is here. “Every morning is the start of an incredible day. There is no danger—you can have a lion as a pet!” Evil and hostility are gone because the Satan is gone. And everybody is a prophet and non-Jews serve the Jews because they want to experience G-d, not because they are subservient. The desert experience is unimaginable by current standards. The messianic era is many times more miraculous.

Now, in 2021—the world ending in 2240—96% of the world’s time has already passed. The last 4% will not be marked as a “quantitative distinction”—like things are now but with no problems. It will be a “qualitative distinction,” something we cannot imagine. The Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu—our teacher, the comprehension of G-d, the kabbalistic ideas available up until now, will be nothing compared to the “Torah” of mashiach, the revelations of G-d, the spiritual underpinnings of physical reality, that will be accessible to all at that time. Many think the messianic era is a kind of political and economic utopia. But utopia is nothing more than this world devoid of deficiencies. That time is a different reality because the shekhina—G-d’s presence in the physical world will come to re-inhabit not just the Land of Israel, but the entire world…and you will be able to converse with malachim—angels like Abraham did with the three human-like angels he invited into his tent or those angels who took Lot out of Sodom.

Doomsday Scenarios: Evil is completely dominant in the world today. The rabbi expresses the general incredulity of America’s having become an evil country intent on “purging” liberty, the freedom of the individual to “grow….to destroy and strip you of your humanity…to enslave you. This is the window closing—almost.  If you ever wondered what that would look like, this is it.” The rabbi repeats the well-known statement by Abraham Lincoln who once said of America that it was the “last best hope “of humanity, a saying conveying both urgency and peril. Well, it is the last no more. Freedom of speech is gone and that is the beginning of the end. When you look at the Gemara, many commentators speak of doomsday scenarios: brazenness, poverty, suffering. We see the transition from decent society to that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

This transition is a trade-off, as the rabbi has pointed out many times. The trade-off is the exchange the Satan demands for the termination of the dominion of the Eirev Rav—the Mixed Multitude, those Jews intent on destroying the covenant that G-d has with the Jewish nation through the Torah. G-d bribes him with the freedom to wreak havoc to increase evil to abound and nourishes him.

Another reason America is being usurped by iniquity is because G-d’s power to subdue evil must be worked upon a formidable and powerful entity. G-d subdues an “Olympian,” not a lightweight. He advances evil to the extent that the evil thinks itself unconquerable. America, China, dictatorships in many countries, all consider themselves invincible. G-d allows evil to grow immeasurably to elevate the illusion of their power. Then, they are to be swiftly and utterly destroyed.  This is like what happened in Egypt under Ramses. When the Jews were taken out, Egypt was the greatest nation on Earth. It demonstrates the awesome power of G-d, smashing Egypt “to smithereens.”

One of the greatest mitzvot—commandments is that of bein adam l’chaveiro—between man and his fellow men, to extend kindness and brotherhood. Evil is not the defiance of G-d, but the intent, the desire, to destroy other people. The current administration in America is intent on such cruelty. To deny citizens a fruitful life, to hamper their freedom to criticize their government, to curtail their freedom and control them is a violation of this basic commandment.

G-d wants also to “shake up” the Jewish people. For Jews, like others who traveled to American shores, America enjoyed the reputation as the “golden medina,” that bastion of opportunity and liberty. G-d is disturbing the image that Jewish Americans have long had of America.

But that is only half the equation. The demoralization of Jews with America must be combined with a revitalized Israel. Right now, the situation in Israel is bad in many respects: terrorism, sinas chinam–baseless hatred, anti-Hareidi hostility, economic stagnation, insufficiency of housing, poor infrastructure.

Wherever one looks in the world, there is immorality, corruption, cruelty. It is highly reasonable to assume that mashiach is around the corner. The greater the evil, the closer the messianic redemption. That, in a sense, is good news.

What we have to do is “hang in there.” This is the chevlei mashiach—birthpangs of messiah. Just like a fetus cannot conceive of life outside the womb, we cannot conceive of the redeemed world. “’Great’ is an understatement: unimaginable comfort, security, pleasure and absolute goodness. We have only to hang in there, do the mitzvot, don’t speak loshon ha’ra—harmful speech and have bitachon—security borne of trust in G-d.”

Participant: If G-d is waiting for us to do the tikkun, and we are falling to the 49th level of defilement (as low as can be fallen without automatic annihilation), how far are we going to fall down waiting for everybody?

Rabbi: Obviously, we can’t fall too much more. Eleven million Jews are gone. Last Sunday, three tremendous tzaddikim: Rav Scheiner–the Brisker Rav, Rav Soloveichik, and Rav Twerski passed away. The commonality of all three were that all were involved in spreading the Torah to many thousands of students, and the public generally. Each was a “pillar of Torah” and irreplaceable. When we see that the Torah itself is “darkening,” because few great masters, great scholars are left, and though there is learning, there is little mastery, and little accomplishment, “wherever you look, there is a diminution of kedusha–holiness,” a different world.

Participant: What is the story with the sar—chief (angelic representative) of America and Israel which, according to the Egyptian model, has to be destroyed before Redemption can take place?

Rabbi: The sar–chief of America is Edom which descends from Esav which is Satan himself. G-d enables this evil entity to magnify his harm toward the End.  This is the notion of tigboret ha’ra—the strengthening of evil, which G-d eventually terminates. When a nation is decreed for destruction, that angel’s power is terminated. The problem is that the Satan is not the emissary of any particular nation. He has a bechor—firstborn. That bechor at any given time varies and is his agent. Today, his bechor is Western Civilization, particularly America, and the Eirev Rav (more of them later in the lecture). Paradoxically, toward the End, he doesn’t get weaker; he gets stronger because he represents din-justice. Since justice must be satisfied, he becomes stronger resulting in more suffering (for atonement). At the end, he appears invincible. Like a supernova, he explodes with tremendous power, then vanishes.

Proliferation of Evil and the Satan’s Role: When Jacob left Charan to return to Cana’an, he dreamed of a ladder upon which angels were ascending and descending. They were the angels of Greece, Babylon, and Persia. But the angel of Edom ascended without descending. Jacob inquired of G-d why this was so and what would bring that angel down. G-d answered that He, Himself, would do so. Why is that?

To destroy nations, that nation’s angel is “brought down.” But Edom’s angel, the Satan, is “raised.” His power grows. Though Edom is a “nation,” the Satan’s job isn’t to solely preside over a particular nation as other angels do. He has, instead, an agent who at any particular time in history and, in general, has the gargantuan task to represent justice. Therefore, his role is unique. G-d treats the Satan differently from all other angelic emissaries. When evil proliferates, markedly, we can assume the End is in sight.

The Satan is unique also in that he can be bribed and often is. It is as if G-d says, “Back off and don’t prosecute My people and, in return, I will give you your due.” He goes for the deal because then he can urge more Jews to sin and nourish himself off the holiness he garners, holiness which would have otherwise gone to the Jews.

Another aspect of proliferation of evil and the Satan’s role is that evil’s growth means that the “cup of iniquity” of evil-doers approaches capacity, a mark that justice determines. G-d’s assessment is so exacting that each merit and demerit affects that point at which the balance is upset and evil can then be justifiably annihilated.

In light of the Satan’s role as an agent of justice, the rabbi believes that justice has been satisfied so the Eirev Rav’s dominion can finally be removed because “the greatest blockage to geula—Redemption is the Eirev Rav. That will be a miracle because they are, and have been, so “entrenched.” Who are they? They are those Jews who want to divorce the Jews from G-d and His Torah. Their contempt for religiosity expresses itself in their regard for Judaism as a culture rather than a covenant. The Eirev Rav have become the Satan’s bechor—the firstborn as was mentioned before. Because they are Jews nonetheless, they are hard to dislodge because, as Jews, whatever mitzvah they might perform has great value and merit.

Participant:  Are we seeing this already with Bibi being on trial?

Rabbi: Correct. And it isn’t only the trial. It is that they have failed to form a coalition, even after 4 elections (as of this publishing). The “Unity” government was a sham. The rabbi notes the myriad problems Israel has with corruption, stagnation, high cost of living, etc. To make Israel attractive to spur emigration, G-d must elevate it.

Participant: Is it ironic that Bibi’s trial began today, the same day as the impeachment trial of President Trump?

Rabbi:  Yes. Isn’t that amazing! Is that a coincidence or is it Divinely inspired? (rhetorical question) Trump’s trial was the rise of evil—which is good because it signals the End. Netanyahu’s trial is a trial against corruption (evil) and the fall of the Eirev Rav is good.  “Everything makes sense when you have the proper framework,” says the rabbi.

Participant:  Is it wishful thinking to believe that the mashiach could come this year given all the pre-requisites that need to happen?

Rabbi: Was it wishful thinking to imagine a president of the U.S. who did so much good for Israel as Trump did would hold office?

Participant:  Trump got rid of the United Nations but now the Biden administration has gone back to the UN to try Israel for war crimes via the ICC (International Criminal Court).

Rabbi: Like I’ve said before, you are looking at the War of Gog u’Magog; their resurrection signals the End.

Participant: You once said that the resurrection of the dead begins in 2028 or 2029 but it doesn’t seem like mashiach is coming soon because all I see are things getting worse, people dying….

Rabbi: That is exactly what I’ve been saying. It must get worse which is what makes it get better! Just like in Egypt.  I guarantee you that, in Egypt, when Pharoah worsened their suffering by demanding that they gather their own straw, everyone had a fit. Not only did it get worse, it got worse because the mashiach, Moses, appealed to him to let the Jews go. The population then would have spoken as you speak now! The Jews are redeemed because they deserve it.  All this suffering is to bring the Jews “up to speed.”

Participant:  To end this on a good note, what can we have in mind for the month of Adar?

Rabbi: The coming month of Adar is a month traditionally associated with celebration and happiness for the Jewish people. The mazal—fortune of the nation of Amalek is overturned in Adar and this is due to the mazal of Mashiach ben Yosef. We can’t know the length of time of tigboret ha’ra—proliferation of evil. But, like in Egypt, we know that the cries of the Jews went up to G-d and, as the pasuk–verse says, “vayeda Elokim”—and G-d knew, and the sephira—spiritual force of yesodfoundation went into (the sephira of) malchut—kingship. This is associated with “knowing. “There comes that point in time when it is over. Then came the Burning Bush.”

Reversal: But it seems that in the present, we’re seeing a reversal from what happened in Egypt.  The mashiach, Moses, came and then came the g’zera—the decree of the growth of evil.  What seem to be happening now is the reverse. Now we see the proliferation of evil—to satisfy justice–to be followed, as we would expect, by the revelation of mashiach. As it says: “For one second, I will abandon you, but I will gather you with rachamim g’dolim—tremendous mercy. This is an alteration of the system of justice. Since we may be looking at the End, G-d may be reversing the order of things. Once mashiach comes, it will be “straight good to go up and up and up.” Unlike Egypt, this is more than just mashiach coming. It is the End.

We should note that the Jews in Egypt were stronger than we are now. They were slaves for 210 years.  We have been in galut–exiles to the nations of the world for 2,000 years, with a tremendous amount of suffering: slaughter, pogroms, inquisitions, expulsions, persecutions, crusades, holocausts. Therefore, we are much weaker. Were G-d to bring mashiach and then exacerbate the suffering, we couldn’t bear it. We haven’t the bitachon—the trust in G-d. This has to be the awesome mercy, a deviation from what should have been. G-d first brings the evil to satisfy justice, and then brings mashiach.

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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