The current darkness and the Mabul: Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Art by Cheryl Beychok, my dear friend: follow her on Instagram @spiritsculptor

This is an edited transcription. It combines quotes and paraphrases.  For this reason, quotation marks are not used except to indicate inventive phraseology or titles.

 Introduction:  The time period before the mashiach comes requires even more elucidation because we are “really in it.” We know the main idea, as chazal — the sages tell us, that there is a period of Darkness, suffering, which I have been talking about. Why?  The rabbi adds more ideas, especially the awareness of G-d’s preliminary conferring upon evil-doers notions of their own grandeur and power only to demonstrate their own nothingness the truth of ein od milvado — besides G-d, there is nothing.

Review: Returning to the extraordinary statement by chazal brought out in the last lecture, we reminded that they don’t want to experience the days we are living through now, these days of the “birth pangs of the messiah.” It isn’t that these spiritual greats were ever intimidated, having lived during Roman times and terrible persecution. It tells us that there will be tremendous trials and tribulations.

  • Since the Jewish people don’t deserve Redemption due to many indictments against them in the Heavenly Court disqualifying them, G-d acts to ensure they become redeemable and that justice is satisfied. Suffering brings that atonement.
  • Due to the Darkness, there is ignorance of truth, righteousness, holiness, spirituality. Most Jews know little to nothing of the Jewish mission so their sins do little or no damage. Their culpability is removed due to ignorance. The sparks of holiness which the Satan would glean from their sins is mitigated.
  • If the Eirev Rav happen to support Torah, they earn merit which stops them from being “put out” of position of domination. But in a period of great Darkness and ignorance, they are less apt to support Torah and do less to further spirituality thus undermining their own survival.
  • Mesiras nefesh — self-sacrifice: since it is more difficult to observe commandments in such a corrupt environment, swayed and influenced as people are by the corrupting influences around them, when they do, their struggle to do so counts for much more in their favor. The more struggle, the more reward.

Regarding mesiras nefesh, the Rhiziner Rebbe tells us that, before the mashiach comes, the lack of spiritual light will be so severe, we are prompted to ask: how difficult will it be to be observant, to serve G-d? It will be like what happened when Eliyahu ha’navi, the prophet Elijah, went atop Mount Carmel to conduct a test.  The worshippers of Ba’al placed their sacrifice on an altar, and Eliyahu ha’Navi placed his on another altar behalf of the worshippers of the G-d of Avraham. Let’s see, he said, which will get the lightning bolt out of a clear, blue sky, consuming the cow. The lightening consumed the cow of the worshippers of the G-d of Abraham and the people proclaimed Him as the Almighty true G-d. Recalling this test, the rebbe predicted that the End Time will be so Dark, that it will be as if the lightning bolt came down and verified the legitimacy of the sacrifice to Ba’al. G-d is aiding and abetting idol worship? Such will be the test at the End of Time.

Another measurement of the current severity and prospective reward is the “Binding of Isaac.” How great was Avraham’s service at the binding of Isaac, an act which we use as merit. The reward for having kept our faith and our observance in these days will rival that earned through Avraham’s binding of Yitzchak. We live in that time.

Surprisingly or not, we live in a time that is not totally unprecedented. Now, before mashiach comes, is similar to the time of Noah and the Flood. What characteristics are the same?

  • Right before the generation of the Flood, humanity was, as now, at the lowest level of defilement, corruption, immorality so that G-d decided to destroy the world and press the “restart button.”
  • G-d did not deny humanity free will to engage in corrupt and immoral behavior, restrict the measure of evil they could do. Their free will was not restrained. But G-d destroyed them and took an oath not to do so again, indicating that He would not allow the world to descend to such an abominable level where free will could not function, so corrupted would they be by their environment. There must be the possibility to choose good.

We are in this exact predicament now. The world is at that tipping point as described, at that mem-tet sha’arei tumah — 49th level of defilement. We’re down to the wire, often described as the “birth pangs of the messiah” likened to the embryo surrounded by darkness and pain. We are about to transition to a totally different reality and its precursor is a demented world. Defund the police?  No security? Gender fluidity?

The Flood was to have been a downpour of messianic Light rather than its analogue, water. G-d wanted to bring the mashiach after ten generations, to Noah’s generation but, instead of that happening, the world become irredeemably evil.  What we learn from this is that, before the Light of utter truth can be seen, a test takes place in which civilization breaks down. We experience Light’s opposite.

The pandemic prior to Covid occurred around 1917-18 which killed one hundred million.  It says in a midrash that, before mashiach is revealed, there will be a plague on the world the purpose of which is to bring suffering for atonement. We should not, however, think that when this pandemic subsides, it will be the end of suffering. We’ve seen how this plague is accompanied by lawlessness, economic hardship, political tyranny, and all manner of degradation of civilization.

There is no emes–truth. We don’t see it anymore, including among the Jewish people, eleven million of whom are gone. Spirituality is eschewed in favor of materialism and pleasure. One of the ways that G-d arranged this, arranged to tamp down spiritual pursuit and remove Light from the world was to remove Jews; that was one objective of the Holocaust. The dramatic devastation wrought by the genocide of six million speeds up the process to degenerate civilization, the objective of which is two-fold: to destroy evil and to teach those who survive a lesson — ein od milvado.

There is a term for the proliferation of evil: tigores ha’ra. It grows exponentially. Why and how? Much of the world is “liberal.” Though the term seems innocuous enough, suggesting tolerance and easing of harsh judgement, it is the mindset of “removing the yoke.” It is the opposite of Torah which sets restrictions on behavior. A liberal is a person who wants to overthrow the restrictions enjoined on a person by Divine decree.

Why should liberality be such a popular inclination? The real conflict of man is his struggle between wanting to be like G-d, overthrow G-d, or think he is G-d. Mankind is obsessed with his own grandeur, the notion that he can do whatever he wants. It is the opposite of ein od milvado — aside from G-d there is nothing. This self-aggrandizement says yesh od milvado — besides G-d, there is something, the self. Man must struggle everyday with his conception of himself and come to the realization that G-d is the only true reality.

Since the messianic Light is that very epiphany, the major struggle at the End is to internalize that message. That struggle is opposed by, and contradicted with, everything that tells us otherwise. Similarly, the Holocaust was the greatest desecration of G-d’s name in all human history. The Jews were known to be G-d’s children, the “chosen” nation. With such a popular notion about this special relationship, what can the world make of the Nazis getting away with killing millions? They conclude that G-d is impotent or the relationship doesn’t exist. He allowed His name to be desecrated for the sake of introducing the current era when evil proliferates.

Why does G-d allow His name to be “dragged through the mud”?  If the lesson to be learned is ein od milvado, G-d instills in mankind the delusion of his own grandeur. Then, when G-d ultimately unleashes his full majesty and overpowers us, man’s sense of his own helplessness will be a shocking realization and demonstrate the absoluteness of ein od milvado. Elevate mankind to believe in his own invincibility and G-d’s weakness and/or indifference. When G-d’s power finally defeats them, the contrast will be striking and inarguable. Such was done with Pharoah. Pharoah said, ostensibly, that not only would he not let the Jews out, but he would show them who’s boss. G-d built him up and then took him down. With the delusion of grandeur G-d allowed him, ultimately, Pharoah saw “what a nobody” he actually was.

Same with Haman. Before he was hung, he was “at the top of his game.” He was invited to the glorious feast.  In two days, he was “taken out” but, before he perished, he realized what a “nothing” he really is.

G-d did it to Titus, the Roman emperor who destroyed the Second Temple. Before he did so, he desecrated the kodesh ha’kedoshim — Holy of Holies, and G-d permitted it. G-d said, “I will allow the smallest of my creatures to destroy you.” The Talmud tells us that a gnat, the tiniest creature, entered his nose and, for seven years, ate away at his brain.

Most of the time, civilization doesn’t break down. It is incredible to watch how many grown adults who should know better, who have been exposed all their lives to civilized values, now believe that the restrictions that have been in place, restrictions which provide security, continuity, decency, are expendable. Like it says in “Pirkei Avot” — Ethics of Our Fathers (compilation of ethical teachings): if it weren’t for the “fear of the kingdom, people would swallow people alive.” So rapacious is the hunger for debauchery. Fear of retribution is what stops immorality and that fear is being removed. Theft is now permitted in California as long as it doesn’t exceed a thousand dollars. Destruction of private property and of parnassa — livelihood, one that may have taken many years to build up, is now acceptable. Isn’t it elementary to think that such behavior destroys civilization?  And yet, this is what we see, incredibly.

G-d is saying, “If you think that evil is the way to go and you are not concerned with the consequences, then I will show you that what you think is a proper society will bring consequences, the destruction of that society.” Without the concepts of the Torah, the bible, man’s inclinations lead to annihilation.

The only difference between this era and the era just before the Flood, is that then the “restart button” was utter destruction. This time, the “restart button” will be Redemption. The concept of evil will still exist during the messianic era but, by the time of the Future World, G-d “yanks out of existence” the conception, the idea, of evil. For us to conceive of something, no matter how novel, it must exist within Creation. When it no longer is given existence, it is inconceivable. That is how complete the Redemption of mankind will be.

In order for the Light to come, we need the Darkness to bring the lessons G-d wants to bring to the world.

Q & A:

Participant: If the rainbow is a sign that G-d wants to destroy the world but He won’t allow it, then why is the rainbow so glorified, particularly for what it has come to signify?

Rabbi: G-d doesn’t want something of beauty to be associated with something frightening.

Participant: Most people don’t take the sign. There are rainbows so often….the world should have been destroyed zillions of times.

Rabbi: Yes, the Gemara says that, at the time of Rav Shimon and Rav Elazar, there were no rainbows. Hard to understand…..light being refracted through raindrops….they were able to atone for their generation.

Participant: Do you think there is a correlation between this (rainbow) and why the gay community chose a rainbow as their sign of pride?

Rabbi: They’ve chosen it because the rainbow is a unification of 7 colors….they are indicating that there are many perversions and corruptions of sexuality….that no matter what your preference is sexually, it is all part of one group. It is one deviancy with many forms. Ironic that they have chosen a symbol that says that they will be annihilated.

Participant: Have you heard that there is another Covid, a deviant called “Delta.”

Rabbi: It is not over yet. The world is going to suffer.

Participant: The way this is going, they may close the border again.

Rabbi: (The rabbi mentions that he was to have taken a flight July 20th) Then I won’t go. I have heard that they are working on a booster shot. The world is in turmoil. China is trying to take over the entire planet. Tremendous threats in the world: Iran….

Participant: Why do you think G-d gave us Trump for four years and then Biden? He gave us a candy and then took it away.

Rabbi: Why does G-d bring Moses as messiah but no one believes him and then things worsen when the slaves have to gather the straw to make bricks that had been provided before. The suffering was needed to bring them “up to speed.” That is why the mashiach comes and things get temporarily worse.  Just like in Egypt, it got worse until something happened which reversed everything. The process must unfold.

Participant: The ones that stay true to G-d’s Light, isn’t their purpose to bring mashiach but they are suffering too.

Rabbi: Yes, everyone, whether in this reincarnation or previous ones,  has to face a lot of the things they’ve done.

Participant: Most people still don’t see their lives in terms of what is happening. When will they realize that every action has a repercussion?

Rabbi: There is a pasuk — biblical verse that says, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.” That is miraculous and mystical. They will see the folly of their lives. All of a sudden, G-d introduces something we cannot imagine, when the whole world experiences G-d and the truth of reality. It will happen with the entry of mashiach.

Participant: Does he have to announce himself first for that to happen?

Rabbi: He doesn’t have to announce it. He just does what mashiach does and everyone realizes that he’s the guy. That is the ultimate proof of who he is. It isn’t an announcement; it’s what he does.  What is the value of saying “I’m the messiah”?  Where’s the proof?

Participant:  It will be on Instagram.

Rabbi: He will do things that are impossible and people will begin to realize. Some will see it and some will say, “No.” It is the deeds of the man that prove it.

Participant: What deeds will he be doing?

Rabbi: There are several.  One is that he will be successful in gathering the exiles. He will bring all the Jews back to Israel and build the Beis ha’Mikdash.  Events will happen that will fall into line enabling him to do what he will do.  Third job is to bring the Torah back to the Jewish people. The Jews are currently so downtrodden, so mixed with the goyim; the exile so thick. We have no idea how he will do it…so many Jews married to non-Jews. These problems seem insurmountable. It will be miraculous.

Participant: I don’t know how much longer we can go on with all the craziness going on in the world. It is a sacana — danger.

 Rabbi: You’re right.  I believe we are in it pretty much. We are watching the acceleration of the corruption; it is so fast that we see this is not going to take years and years. Since the year 2000, there are so many things: Islam, the recession, the World Trade Center…..September 1989 was chatzot — midday on the Creation Calendar, the time when we start thinking about, begin preparing for Shabbat. Look at all that’s happened since 1990 in science, technology. In the past thirty years, the internet has come to dominate the world. Now we are heavy into the corruption of mankind, very heavy.

Participant: I heard one rabbi say that by tu b’Av — 15th of the month of Av, the klippah will be released.

Rabbi: I haven’t heard that. I hope he’s right. So far, all the predictions have been off. We’re still waiting. First there were the autistic children… many times we’ve heard this and that….the only thing we can do is observe events and analyze to what extent they conform to what the chazal tell us. That is what I do. I say the galut–exile is ending because it matches the mabul — Flood.

Participants: There isn’t a Noah.

Rabbi: I like to think I am one small voice to alert people that we are close to the End. I don’t just say it; I show how my hashkafa conforms to what chazal have said. Hopefully, people imbibe it and do teshuva — repent.

Participant: Do you think the acceleration of evil lifts the veil so people wake up?

Rabbi: Yes, that is true. Things are so startling. They thought Biden would be so great but now they see that this man has no clue what he’s doing. That America put him in, a crook…senile, corrupt….it’s absolutely incredible. They are recounting the votes in Arizona.

Participant: Trump said in a recent interview, “I never conceded the election.”

Rabbi: Something will happen suddenly. Then it’s over. You never know. The audit in Arizona is exacting. If it (and similar audits) shows that the election was a fraud, then Trump wins the electors and all that Biden did becomes illegal. That will be one of the most tumultuous events in US history. Cataclysmic. The world will be shocked and that is a sudden event that G-d can do overnight. Once Trump comes back, he will not be overthrown again. Then I think it would be uphill all the way. It is not like nothing is going on. This count is enough to overturn the evil of the Democratic Party, Biden, and cause people to ask themselves, who perpetrated this? As we speak, something is happening to wreak havoc in the US political system and reverse the evil of Biden in one day. And it doesn’t even require a miracle. Let’s see how G-d engineers the whole thing.

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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