Rabbi Mendel Kessin: The American Upheaval

Continuing his lectures on current events based on hashkofa, this one, given June 19, 2020, addresses the “eruptions, upheavals and catastrophes” in America. Lest we think the rabbi refers only to the most recent events, he reminds us that these upheavals began when Trump announced his candidacy.

The Vendettas

The vendettas began with accusations of Russian collusion and repeated suppositions of treason. Despite being a “hoax,” such accusations and the encumbrances to government function that they created set the tone of Trump’s presidency. These distractions prevented him both from being his most effective and, ultimately, hurt the country’s advance toward the promise of greatness.

The second upheaval was the Mueller investigation which “prolonged the agony” for two years and wasted thirty-five million dollars. Despite this second assault, Trump was still able to achieve impressive feats both domestic and foreign.

Then came the third upheaval—the impeachment trial, a spectacle which only happened twice before in American history. This created tremendous turmoil. Of course, he was acquitted demonstrating the absurdity of the endeavor but not before spending millions of dollars and continuing to handicap Trump’s freedom to perform.

Then came the fourth upheaval—the pandemic which “mopped up America with people dying all over the place” under horrific conditions of isolation, without families being able to provide solace or support. Add to that the economic upheaval and the threat of the dissolution of the American economy.

Coming on the heels of all this, with scarcely the ability to “draw a breath,” insurrection instigated by Black Lives Matter and Antifa rocks the nation. Its fundamental nature stems from a segment of a protesting population being manipulated into rioting, looting, murdering while an incredulous population wonder what is going on.

The Hashkofa

We know none of this is by accident; we know everything is decreed by G-d. The question is, how do we understand this ongoing turbulence in terms of the Divine Agenda? What does this lead to, particularly for the Jewish people? “What are we watching, an aberration of history? Of course not!”

Turning to the Torah where all answers reside, the rabbi refers to events of four thousand year ago, to the story of Noah. “We know that mankind had corrupted itself” to the point of G-d’s termination of mankind’s life on the entire planet. As in previous lectures, he reminds us that this corruption was caused primarily by sexually-related depraved behaviors. An exegesis from “Midrash Raba” teaches that the decree against the destruction of the Earth was “sealed” when contracts were created to legalize and normalize behaviors such as same-sex marriage and even relationships between humans and animals. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the rabbi says. “What G-d wants is tikkun—rectification of Creation” which cannot be accomplished if procreation is inhibited by aberrant behavior. “Pru u’rvu”—be fruitful and mulitiply is a commandment to all mankind in the beginning of Genesis. “Perversion of reproduction is the beginning of the end.” G-d will not permit this. It is a “deal-breaker.”

But why a flood? The Kabbalistic understanding of this particular method makes plain what is happening today. G-d intended that the ten generations after the rebellion of primordial Adam should rectify the ten sephiros—spiritual forces damaged by that rebellion. These forces create the realities of existence. Ten generations, ten sephiros. But those ten generations failed. The hopelessness of the situation required a “restart” and Noah became a second Adam. Kabbalistically speaking, water is the analogue for the Messianic Light. Had mankind succeeded to rectify Creation and bring Redemption, the Messianic Light would have “flooded” the world, restoring man’s knowledge of G-d as “water covers the seabed.” Since G-d’s actions are expressed, as per His established legacy, according to mida k’neged mida—measure for measure, it is logical that, rather than a “flood” of enlightenment and spiritual transformation, the earth was flooded by water.

“Now we can understand what is happening today,” how sexual perversion’s normalization is epidemic and sufficient for G-d to determine, as in the time of Noah, a state of hopelessness. A “restart” is in order. But this time, the planet won’t drown in water but in the Redemptive Light itself. Creation is being restarted but in a qualitatively different way.

Anticipating a question of why a re-start as opposed to interference, the rabbi explains that G-d doesn’t “operate” like that. He desires that man rectify Creation “willingly, using free will, being responsible and accountable” to merit the rewards of his efforts. As the rabbi pointed out in previous lectures, without man being the cause of his own actions, of rectification, he would be incapable of experiencing the infinite goodness, the dveikus—attachment to G-d, that awaits him.

In the “Talmud Yerushalmi”—Jerusalem Talmud, it says that when asked what causes earthquakes, the prophet Eliyahu, rather than answer about techtonic plates rubbing against each other or some other scientific explanation, he blamed sexual deviancy. This shows how disruptive this behavior is and how intolerable a sin to G-d. What is a basic foundation to man’s survival? — the stability of the ground he walks on, lives on, builds on. The threat to man’s survival due to sexual deviance is akin to an earthquake. The foundations are shaken and everything constructed is destroyed.

Current Events

In July of 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. This ruling was a distortion of the Constitution and normalized a perversion of marriage. Reversing such a decision is highly unlikely, if not impossible, requiring a constitutional amendment. “That’s not going to happen!” the rabbi exclaims. It is near to “hopeless as in the time of Noah.” This similar condition will prompt a similar response from G-d—a restart.

How do we recognize this restart in progress? At the same time that this amendment occurred, Donald Trump announced his candidacy. The rabbi has lectured at length about the nature of Trump’s presidency and his mission to accelerate the messianic process. In summary, Trump is a reincarnation of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus whose spiritual root in Esav, the progenitor of Edom which became Rome, Christianity, and Western Civilization. Trump’s mission to enact the teshuva of Esav has been laid out as the rabbi’s thesis since 2015. Briefly, Esav’s statement to Ya’akov to “let that which is yours be yours,” is a stunning admission that the blessings Ya’akov “stole” were deserved and rightfully bestowed. Such is a confession prompting penance, an acknowledgment that the entire “spiritual heritage, the Land of Israel, is ‘yours’.” Esav relinquished everything. Unfortunately, Ya’akov did not acknowledge this gesture and so Esav “returned to Seir” which, emblematically speaking, means that Esav returned to his wicked ways. But G-d says that because Esav atoned, G-d promises that Esav will return to complete his teshuva–repentance in order to fulfil the prophecy that he, as the elder brother, will “serve the younger”—his brother Ya’akov, the Jewish people, in their final push to complete the rectification.

The rabbi emphasizes the miraculous nature of Trump’s election, a victory against so many political “heavyweights” and reiterates that Trump is a messianic figure although not the Jewish messiah. Trump contributes enormously to the messianic process as a messiah of Edom. As such, Trump has several “assignments”:

1- protect the Jewish people and Israel i.e. applying sanctions upon Iran, defunding the U.N., shuttering the Palestinian office in America, cutting aid to UNRWA
2- return the land of Israel to the Jews (as Esav said, “Let that which is yours, be yours”) as he has been doing by recognizing Israel’s claim to the Golan and moving the American embassy to Jerusalem in recognition of it being the capital
3- make America great in order to prompt nations to curry favor with it which prompts deference to Israel as one means of achieving such favor

The situation has worsened when, just a few weeks ago, Neil Gorsuch, the first conservative judge and Trump nominee to the Supreme Court, enacted a stunning and dangerous ruling. It reinterprets and broadens the law against sexual discrimination to include protections for the heretofore nonexistent rights of those who self-identify by gender. Any person can claim to be of any gender-related orientation and, on that basis, claim discrimination and demand legal protection.

A brief reiteration from past lectures on the current status of G-d’s prime persecutory agent and fool, the Satan (please refer to previous three lectures for more on this subject), reminds us he is “dying.” That desperate condition results in a heightening of the stakes in this war between the good and bad of Esav. The evil aspect of Esav is represented by the forces currently wreaking havoc on the streets of America and those who support them whether they be corporate entities, the political establishment, the Democratic Party, and liberal democrats, etc. These are the Satan’s front-line soldiers. The Satan’s chief adversary is Trump and Trump’s America, the America which will bolster Israel’s status and help the Jews finish the tikkun. “Of course,” says the rabbi, “the Satan doesn’t want that! It would end his dominion.” Trump is an existential threat to the evil aspect of Esav and the Satan’s prevalence. The struggle between them appears supernatural. That is how we know it is messianic, says the rabbi. “It never happened before,” particularly, the uncanny and virulent hatred of Trump. The “gut hatred” resembles a national neurosis despite the good that he’s done. Not only will his adversaries never acknowledge the good, they will deny it!

The rabbi expresses his incredulity at yet another expression of Trump Derangement Syndrome, as it has been termed, the propulsion of Joe Biden the role of Democratic candidate despite his senility. The hatred of Trump is so great that “it exceeds the welfare of the United States.” It isn’t just historic, “it’s tragic…it’s abnormal…it’s extraordinary. It’s satanic.”

The rabbi then explains America’s history of racism and slavery in the context of hashkofa. America’s crime, and for which it paid dearly during the Civil War, was the crime of kidnapping. According to Torah, kidnapping makes one liable to the death penalty. Rather than destroy America, G-d decreed that there be the Civil War. The atonement America garnered through the suffering of that war permitted it to survive and, since then, America has succeeded in purging institutional racism. Again, the charges of racism are mostly manufactured, the result of manipulation by forces out to destroy Trump. From a Divine perspective, G-d has allowed the upheaval to take the form of racial struggle, having “commissioned the blacks to rebel because it conforms to His agenda.” America is being punished for its acceptance and comfort with sexually deviant conduct. A history of racial injustice and remnants of such make the ignorant among the black population and liberal whites prone to claim victimhood for themselves and instill guilt in others based on what they deem to be unjust privilege. This hostility prompts G-d’s agenda to be furthered.

The rabbi clarifies the erroneous beliefs about slavery which many believe the Torah condones. The Torah describes a system which has been mischaracterized and defined as “slavery.” It is, more precisely, “indentured servitude” which is voluntary. A destitute person can sell himself into such servitude in order to save himself from dire poverty’s threat to his survival. His servitude is governed by strict rules to ensure his dignity and survival, stipulating limitations and boundaries to his treatment.

The rabbi reviews other examples of Divine responses to sexually deviant behavior and society’s acceptance of it: There is a convergence between the leap forward in the progress of the gay struggle in 1968 and the assassination of Martin Luther King which unleashed tremendous upheaval. Also, as the rabbi has discussed before, Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed New Orleans just two days before the city’s annual “Southern Decadence Day” was slated to allow rampant promiscuity and lewd activity in places it would normally be outlawed. In 2005, G-d prevented the festivities from occurring because the government would not.

The US is now in a makom sacana—life and death situation as when someone is on trial and the outcome is life or death. Either Trump wins to restore America and help Israel, or Biden wins and government would be ruled by those who have been trying to destroy Trump all along. The evil aspect of Esav, the power of the Satan, would endure. They would dismantle the traditions and values of America: independence, freedom, self-determination, free-market economics, and would redirect its course to create bloated government with all its attendant regulations and constraints and restricting the freedoms of all who oppose them.

The rabbi offers his expectation of a Trump victory and the aversion of destruction. He bases this expectation on the value of America’s merits, historically. America’s charity both domestically and internationally is well-known and documented. Its treatment of the Jews and other immigrant groups has endowed it with a reputation for tolerance and generosity. Relatively, its judicial system is fair.

In terms of the Divine Agenda, it can be assumed that G-d wants Trump to continue his “messianic contribution” and Trump will have a powerful victory. How might G-d guarantee this? As the rabbi discussed in the lecture given prior to this one, the nature of the relationship between G-d and the Satan is the key. The Satan thinks that he has the upper hand with American cities rife with violent confrontation, crime, and lawlessness. But it is ironic that the more complacent the Satan is made to feel, the more he is being undermined. The terror being struck in America will produce a backlash against these forces who are actually a minority but whose power is being artificially magnified by the media. What appears to be a win for the rebels will appear differently come November when massive numbers of Trump supporters vote.

The Future

The abiding idea is that the exile must end. As such, we know that G-d’s oath to gather the Jewish nation to Him in Israel is imminently pending. The obstacle is still an Israeli government incompetent to deal with the absorption of millions of Jews. With its copious bureaucracy, overbearing regulations and cost-of-living, insufficient residential real estate, and suppression of creativity, something momentous must happen. The numbers of those wishing to emigrate is, reportedly, beginning to swell. Jews in America have been given a glimpse of an America where safety and stability are no longer a given, not even for the non-Jew. The “love affair” between the Jew and America is fading. Can we expect that G-d will “chase” Jews from places of escalating anti-Semitism to Israel with no prospects for livelihood and residence? The dissolution of the current Israeli government is necessary and imminent, the rabbi believes.

If Trump wins, is the future assured? The rabbi proposes that the future is not assured because academia in America has been inculcating the youth in values contrary to traditional American values, be they economic or sociopolitical. Post second-term, there could be a resurgence of what we are seeing now, particularly if the moral degradation isn’t reversed. “I want to tell you something” the rabbi says forebodingly. “G-d is mad” because America has decided, via the Supreme Court, to legalize that which is forbidden. In the Torah, the punishment for homosexuality is death. It is not what I say; the Torah says it.”

The main thing is that the future is an unknown in terms of how the Redemption will unfold. The rabbi leaves us with an idea he has shared many times over the years, his contention that a spiritual rehabilitation must happen. The Redemption is not just a material one relieving mankind of injustice and tyranny. It is a spiritual transformation in which each person, particularly each Jew long estranged from Judaism, can realize his full potential and a more intimate relationship with G-d.

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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