"The Time of Our Simcha"
After unvieling the identity of Sasson and analyzing his highly paradoxical personality we are now at the point where an obvious question that has been glossed over must be answered. Who is Simcha? In the Last Generation of the Ikveta D'Meshicha who is the embodiment of the other Jewish heretic called Simcha and what, in today's Jewish world, is the form of his disbelief?
It is very clear that Sasson and Simcha are a pair. An obvious symmetry exists between them and one cannot exist without the other. Yet, basing himself on the GRA's sod of "the Torah that has been given over to the external forces," R. Yitzchak Izik speaks only of the collective personality of Sasson. He is strangely silent concerning the nature of Sasson's compatriot Simcha. It may be suggested that since the Talmud only records a secular-religious debate between R. Abbahu and Sasson, and not with Simcha, R. Yitzchak Izik likewise saw fit to concentrate exclusively on the sod of Sasson.
Yet, this is precisely the question. Why doesn't the Talmud record a similar conflict between R. Abbahu and Simcha? Did such a dialogue never occur? An "obvious symmetry" notwithstanding, the sages themselves appear to be strangely silent about further detailing the identity of Simcha. Is there something else in the sod of Sasson and Simcha that they were careful not to even allude to indirectly? And after the Kabbalah of the GRA has revealed the amazing hidden personality of Sasson, is there anything left about Simcha that could shock us?
It is evident, however, from their own debate - "I am better than you," "No, I am better than you" - that Sasson and Simcha are an eternal polarity in the makeup of the collective heart and soul of Am Yisrael. They are, in fact, as R. Hillel revealed above in accord with the GRA's doctrine of the Trein Mesheecheen, the embodiment of the Two Messiahs - ben Yoseph and ben David - that exist and operate in every generation. Indeed, if there was any doubt, it is now imperative that one cannot exist without the other. This is especially true in the "Last Generation," as explained at length in Kol HaTor (Chapter 2, section b) which is entitled "The Two Messiahs of the Generations."
Whether they are in a state of Kedushah or in a state of Klipah (as is the case with our Sasson and Simcha), the eternal polarity as well as the absolute interdependency of the Trein Mesheecheen functions according to a well known law in the Kabbalah. This is known as the Netzach/Hod paradigm. Netzach and Hod are the 7th and 8th of the Ten Sefirot that correspond to the two legs of the human form. Just as the two legs "split" the singular trunk of the body into two branches so too do Netzach and Hod "split" the higher unity of divine providence into two parallel modes of influence. They are therefore known in the Zohar as Trei Palgei Gufa, "Two Halves of [One] Body." They are the greatest manifestation of the paradox of the "dual unity" that is found throughout the Kabbalah. This is especially true here in our case where the Trei Palgei Gufa are the underlying structure of the Trein Mesheecheen. Therefore, the Two Messiahs are not only dependent on each other, but each one defines the other because each one contains the other.
There is one other fragment of a manuscript in which the GRA himself comments on the sod of Sasson and Simcha. Apparently even R. Yitzchak Izik did not know of it. There the GRA writes:
... Netzach is called Sasson and Hod is called Simcha. Their parallel in the Klipot (Sitra Achara) is described in the verse, "The runners went forth, rushed by the King's order, and the law was announced in Shushan the capital. The King and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was bewildered" (Esther 3:15). [The runners here are the evil aspect of the two legs and feet of Netzach and Hod ] as it is written in the Zohar. [They were bewildered because] their point of vulnerability is there [below the trunk of the body where the split begins] as explained in the Idra Rabba. One is more elevated than the other... (here a line was accidently skipped in the original transcription). Netzach is more elevated from one point of view, and Hod is more elevated from another.
This is the meaning of Sasson's statement to Simcha, "I am better than you" and Simcha's statement to Sasson, "I am better than you." "One day," said Sasson to Simcha, "they will take you out [from heaven] and make you a runner, since it is written, 'For with Simcha they will go forth'" (Isaiah 55:12). "One day," said Simcha to Sasson, "they will take you out and [after removing your skin] use you to draw water, for it is written, 'You will draw water with Sasson from the wellsprings of salvation"' (Isaiah 12:3). As explained above, they [Netzach-Hod and Sasson-Simcha ] are the two conduits of divine water (i.e. Supernal Wisdom). In the future, a Succah -Canopy will be made from the skin of the Leviathan. This is the sod of the stripping of the skin [of the Klipot of Sasson and Simcha] that is mentioned here. This will signal the advent of the "Time of our Simcha (happiness )." For Netzach and Hod are both from the side of Gevurah... from which the sweetened waters of Gevurah which are called "Salvations" will be drawn. This is the meaning of the verse, "You will draw waters with Sasson (joy) from the wellsprings of salvation."
An essential fact that we learn from the GRA's explanation is that, similar to the Sasson/Netzach aspect of the Trein Mesheecheen , the Simcha/Hod aspect also has a vulnerable "backside" or potential Klipah. Actually, we already know this simply from the fact that the prototype of Simcha in the Talmud is also portrayed as a heretic. This means that the Kedushah of Simcha is also temporarily in a "fallen" state of heresy.
When we overlay the symmetry of the Trein Mesheecheen upon this framework, an obvious yet no less surprising equation emerges. The aspect of Mashiach ben David also has a vulnerable backside and if, as in the case with Mashiach ben Yoseph, his mission is thwarted on the surface, it will continue regardless, only now partially inverting "inside-out" and going "underground" into his respective Klipah. Yet, because the ben David process is quite different relative to the ben Yoseph process, the mode of its Klipah will accordingly also be very different. In order to grasp the sod of Simcha it is essential to remember that although the symmetry between Sasson ben Yoseph and Simcha ben David demands that they are both equally necessary, they are not equally equivalent. The form of Simcha's Klipah and the nature of his disbelief and rejection of Torah theosophy will be very different from that of Sasson's. It will be so different that the observant Jew will initially recoil from even the insinuation that the GRA would consider his religious belief system as containing elements of "heresy."
In order to take a closer look at Simcha's identity - which is synonymous with the phenomenon of the forced descent of Mashiach ben David into its relative Klipah - we must first present another as yet unsolved riddle in the GRA's teachings. The question is, who is the Erev Zeir? Every student of Torah is familiar with the Erev Rav - the great Mixed Multitude of converts that Moshe Rabbienu brought out with him from the Land of Egypt at the time of the Exodus. The Erev Rav, however, has a twin brother (which by now should have been logically suspected) - the Erev Zeir.
In his commentary to the Tikkuney Zohar Chadash the GRA writes:
All arrogant and wicked Jews in every generation are the transmigrated souls of the Erev Rav, the sons of Cain. Our suffering, the destruction of our Temple and the long exile from our Land, all of these began when Moshe accepted the Erev Rav as righteous converts from the side of the "good." Concerning the true righteous converts, the sages said, "The Holy One exiled Israel only in order for them to gather converts" (Pesachim 87b). The mixed multitudes, however, were from the side of evil, as is indicated in the initials of the words Erev R av, which spell Ra -Evil backwards.
The Erev Rav is also alluded to in the verse, "Woe to us for the day has turned and the shadows of the evening (erev ) have stretched out" (Jeremiah 6:4). The "evening shadows" are the Erev Rav that began constructing the Golden Calf at the 6th hour of the day (high noon), as the Talmud interprets the verse, "The people saw that Moshe was late (bo-shesh ) in coming down the mountain" (Exodus 32:1). The Talmud (Shabbat 89a) explains that the word bo-shesh (literally, "the 6th hour has come") alludes to the fact that the "people," the Erev Rav, gained their power only at the 6th hour. This is the period known as Erev Rav, the Greater Evening.
There is also an Erev Zeir, a Lesser Evening. This is the significance of the term Bein HaArvayim, which means literally, "Between the Evenings," and indicates that there are two evenings, a Greater Evening and a Lesser Evening. Paralleling these, the sages instituted two periods for praying the afternoon Minchah service - Minchah Gedolah (the Greater Minchah) and Minchah Katanah (the Lesser Minchah) - in order to weaken the power of the Klipot of the two Erevs.
The GRA continues:
Another sense of the word Rav is "Leader." This is because the Erev Rav act as the leaders of the nation while it is in exile. The public at large, who are good, are subjugated under these men... They are the Chametz (leaven) in the bread [i.e. the evil inclination]. The reason that the Torah requires the removal of Chametz from the 6th hour after sunrise on the day before Passover is because the Erev Rav constructed the Golden Calf exactly at this time. They are considered worse than idolators, for the people of Israel are fooled by their apparent success. In reality, they are the cause for the length of our exile.
The GRA has made it clear that the Erev Zeir is a necessary counterpart to the Erev Rav. He has also explained that the collective soul of the Erev Rav transmigrates in every generation. The next logical step is to conclude that this must also be the case with the Erev Zeir. Our question now is, who are the Erev Rav today and, correspondingly, who are the Erev Zeir? The answer to this question will supply the missing clue to the riddle of Simcha's identity and to the unique form of his disbelief.
It has been pointed out by a number of Torah masters and accepted as religious truth for many decades in certain Orthodox Torah circles that the contemporary manifestation of the Erev Rav is none other than the secular Zionist leadership. According to this school of thought, it is to the phenomenon of secular Zionism that the sages referred when they prophesied, "In the Ikveta D'Meshicha [i.e. prior to Mashiach ben David] Chutzpah-Arrogance will increase" (Sota 9:16). It was the leaders of the "New Erev Rav" who consciously led an entire generation of Jewish youth away from a life of Torah and away from the deeper meaning and purpose of the Jewish People. They rallied around the idolatry of a new Golden Calf - a secular state fueled exclusively from secular aspirations and secular knowledge. They struggled hard to remove and uproot traditional Torah values and, in 1948, when the incarnated Erev Rav gained political control over the Land of Israel they hopefully predicted that Orthodox Judaism would all but disappear within a generation.
Yet it was these very men and women whose blood, sweat and tears powered by a mighty spirit paved the way for a whole generation of Jews to enter into a new era and into a new land - Palestine. With their statesmanship, scholarship, artistic vision, literary talent and technical knowledge they led and continue to lead and influence much of the Jewish world. How do we explain the powerful, almost miraculous phenomenon of secular Zionism?
Once again, as in the case of science and technology, it is not sufficient to simply label it the workings of the "Sitra Achra."- the Other Side As we have demonstrated above at length, this is because the existence and continuing success of the forces of evil - the "Other Side" - depends entirely on the immutable law of the inverse relationship. Therefore, just as the Chochmah aspect of Mashiach ben Yoseph is forced to go "underground" into its respective Klipah, the same paradoxical principle is true regarding the Land of Israel. In other words, because the Torah leaders did not sufficiently behold the GRA's "Vision of Zion" and grab the hour, the Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael fell into its own "backside" - the "Tumah" of Medinat Yisrael. Secular Zionism is simply the political or nationalistic corollary of Mashiach ben Yoseph being inverted "inside-out" and forced to go "underground" into its corresponding Klipah. Yet, after the fact, regardless of the many paradoxes incurred and the difficult Halachic questions now to be solved, the Divine Will, not stopping for a single moment, continues to be fulfilled.
Here, in preparation for what follows, a point of clarification is in order. Until now we have identified the heresy of the Jewish scientist as the actual forced descent of Mashiach ben Yoseph into the K'lipa. Now the GRA has introduced a new concept - the Erev Rav. The Erev Rav is simply the political counterpart in the Jewish world to the phenomenon of the Jewish scientist in the scientific world. The Jewish scientist in the Klipah of Science is the "backside" of Mashiach ben Yoseph's ownwisdom (the "Soul" of the Jewish body), whereas the Jewish secularist in the Klipah of Zionism is the "backside" of Mashiach ben Yoseph's owngeography (the "Body" of the Jewish soul). The point is that Sasson and the Erev Rav are both just different modes of the same "backside" of Mashiach ben Yoseph.
Now, we are ready to introduce another fallenstar into this constellation of forces, namely the Erev Zeir. Since, as we said, the messianic process of Mashiach ben David is different than that of Mashiach ben Yoseph, its Klipa will necessarily be of a different nature altogether. Nevertheless, the light of Mashiach ben David is also forced into its corresponding Klipa and this is what the GRA identifies as the Erev Zeir.
Just as the phenomenon of the Erev Rav is the "backside" of Mashiach ben Yoseph, the symmetry in the GRA's system requires that the Erev Zeir will be the "backside" of Mashiach ben David. Moreover, since the Erev Rav Klipah of Mashiach ben Yoseph contains two aspects, a "body" and a "soul," the GRA's system requires that the same relationship will exist in the Erev Zeir Klipah of Mashiach ben David. This follows from the fact that each of the Trein Mesheecheen (Netzach/Hod) is an inverted mirror image of the other. This does not contradict the fact that the Trein Mesheecheen represent, respectively, the "body" and the "soul" of the Jewish collective. Although both of them contain both aspects, in a more general sense Mashiach ben Yoseph is the "body" and Mashiach ben David is the "soul" of Israel. When this double split takes place in the spiritual essence of the Jewish people, one of its manifestations is the great chasm between the secular and the religious Jewish world view. Both, however, are but a fallen version of their true identity as it exists in its higher unified state. The powerful Klipah of the "body" of the Supernal Torah is the Erev Rav. The powerful Klipah of the "soul" of the Supernal Torah is the Erev Zeir. The Erev Rav are among the leaders of Jewish secularism. The Erev Zeir are among the leaders of Jewish orthodoxy.
Another formula that reveals this symmetry within Mashiach ben Yoseph is found in the first chapter of Kol HaTor. R. Hillel writes:
According to our master the GRA, the ingathering of the exiles via the awakening from below comes through a process reclamation and redemption. This follows from the verse, "God's redeemed will return and they will come singing to Zion... they shall obtain joy and happiness" (Isaiah 35:10 and 51:11). This redemption will take place under the leadership of Mashiach ben Yoseph. It will be a redemption from bodily subjugation and redemption from the subjugation of the soul. "God's redeemed (plural) will return" implies this two-fold process: "They will return to Zion" in body [i.e. the secular body of Israel], and "they will come singing to Zion" in spirit [i.e. the religious spirit of Israel]. They will then [both] return in Teshuvah -Repentance. This is implied in the continuation of the verse, "They shall obtain joy (sasson ) and happiness (simcha )."
The double split in the Trein Mesheecheen is a key to understanding seemingly contradictory statements in the writings of the GRA and his students. In the passage quoted above, R. Hillel defines a "soul-body" relationship within the specific mission of Mashiach ben Yoseph. Commenting on a similar statement of the GRA himself, R. Yitzchak Izik Chaver writes:
It is known that [the energies of] Netzach and Hod are contained within each other... Nevertheless, Israel's redemption from the physical subjugation of the other nations will come about specifically through Mashiach ben Yoseph. It is for this reason that his mission involves the [initial] ingathering of the exiles. Ultimate spiritual liberation from the Angel of Death, however, will only be brought about through Mashiach ben David.
The double split in the Trein Mesheecheen is a key to understanding seemingly contradictory statements in the writings of the GRA and his students. On the one hand, in the passage quoted above, R. Hillel defines a "soul-body" relationship within the specific mission of Mashiach ben Yoseph. R. Yitzchak Izik, on the other hand, agrees "that [the energies of] Netzach and Hod are [holographically] contained within eachother..." i.e., both of the Trein Mesheecheen contain a "body" aspect and and both contain a "soul" aspect. Nevertheleses, he goes on to emphasize that in the overall scheme of redemption Mashiach ben Yoseph's mission involves the ingathering of the "body" of Israel, while Mashiach ben David's mission relates to the ultimate redemption of the "soul." The main thing to be gleaned from both of these passages is this: Both the secular Jew and the religous Jew are involved, in their respective Klipot, with "body" and "soul." Still, the release from physical bondage is the highest aspiration of secularism, while the release from the bondage of the soul is the highest aspiration of religion.
According to the underlying geometry in this doctrine, the inverse side of the Erev Rav Klipah of secular Zionism is the subtle Erev Zeir Klipah of anti-Zionism. The former proclaims itself as a paradoxical "secular" fulfillment of historical Judaism. [It bases its claim to the Land of Israel on the very Biblical teachings that it scorns.] The latter manifests as an outright rejection of the secular state as a distortion of the Torah's prophetic teachings of redemption, or simply as apathy and non-involvement regarding the role of immigration in the redemption process. R. Hillel is very adamant about this last point. Concerning the refusal of the Torah leaders of his time (end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries) to encourage immigration and to initiate the resettlement of Eretz Yisrael he writes:
What will they say, those with their lame excuses, to the words of the sages, "When Jerusalem will be rebuilt then the Son of David will come"? Likewise, on the verse, "A redeemer will come to Zion" (Isaiah 59:20), the Midrash and Rashi both explain that, "As long as Zion is not built the Redeemer will not come." Rather, they are like the lichen growing out of the walls coming to do battle with the ceders of lebanon. Their excuses are none other than those of the Spies whom Moshe sent to scout the Land of Israel. They spread evil reports that discourage the Jewish People from emigrating to the Land. This is what the sages referred to when they said, "In the Ikveta D'Meshicha truth will become diminished and Chutzpah-Arrogance will increase." This arrogance is an attack against the holy words of our prophets and seers. It is an attack against the past Leaders of Israel and it is an attack against the conviction and holy commandment of the Saint of Israel, our master the GRA. It is our prayer that all of those within whom the spirit of Amalek dwells should quickly return from their evil ways. "[God] is merciful and He forgives iniquity."
It is essential to note in what context R. Hillel is using the well known rabbinic formula "In the Ikveta D'Meshicha truth will become diminished and Chutzpah-Arrogance will increase." This has always been used to refer to modern secularism and atheism as was the case above with the heresy of Sasson. Here, however, it is used to refer to the religious leaders themselves! Thus, we now have another important symmetry in the larger formula. This time it is two modes of Chutzpah - the "Greater Chutzpah" of the Erev Rav and the "Lesser Chutzpah" of the Erev Zeir.
. It is printed at the end of Biurei HaGRA Al Aggadot HaShas, p. 146.
. bring exact source in tikuney zohar chadash and then refer to even shleima p. 102 (51b) as a secondary source.
. Explain simply why the earlier of the two, minchah gedolah, is called the Greater Minchah, i.e. because a greater part of the day is still left. The sun has reached its ascendancy, from here on until actual evening, this is the time of dinim. The Minchah Katanah, on the other hand, is when there is only a little time left to the day. It is ending. See below, note 70, where the implications of these two times are applied to the millennial clock.
. another page in tikuney zohar chadash.
Epoch of the Messiah, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, zt'l, Goldman-Otzar HaSefarim, N.Y.
. Chapter 1, paragraph 3, p. 464 in Kasher.
. Likutey HaGRA, pp. 40 and 63. (i would like to see the original)
. Chapter 5, p. 536 in Kasher.
. R. Hillel's language here is quite shocking and it is difficult to believe that this is a great Torah master and kabbalist talking about other Torah masters and religious leaders of Russia and Europe of his time. This example, however, is not unique in Kol HaTor. In fact, this sharp criticism of aspects of the rabbinic establishment is another reason why the authenticity of Kol HaTor has been challenged. They maintain that it is impossible that the GRA or even R. Hillel could have entertained such "heretical" beliefs let alone express them in writing. Such remarks are obviously interpolations by the hand of a "modern Zionist" (presumably Shlomo Zalman Rivlin who helped edit and publish Kol HaTor in 1947). Therefore, they claim that the entire work cannot be trusted since one cannot know what is authentic and what is not. This argument, however, is groundless on three accounts. 1) throughout the lengthy series of poems by R. Yoseph (Yosha) Rivlin (R. Hillel Rivlin's grandson and Shlomo Zalman Rivlin's father), who was a recognized Torah master and leader of the 19th century Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem, identical expressions are common. In fact, his tone was so sharp that in a number of verses the actual words were clearly censored by his relatives so as to not provoke the religious establishment more than was already the case. 2) Throughout the speeches and articles that have survived from the disciples of the GRA going back to R. Binyamin Rivlin and thereafter, the inner fire of their messianic fervor and open attacks on opposing rabbis and communal leaders is well documented. 3) The GRA himself strongly denounced not only the Maskilim on the "left" but also, when he deemed necessary, rabbinic authorities and their schools of thought on the "right." He is well known for his extremely sharp attack on the Rambam and the Rema for their praise of philosophy and their interpretation of the Kabbalah. In fact, once again, parts of the GRA's criticism of the Rambam were actually censored from his famous commentary on the Shulchan Aruch by the editor either because it was too embarrassing or no one would believe that the greatest Torah sage, kabbalist and Tzadik of his time could ever have ever spoken such "heresy." The truth, however, is that the GRA did express such views there and elsewhere, and his close disciple R. Hillel did likewise throughout Kol HaTor.
 There are many levels of parallelism between the two "Erevs." On the political front there is an important facet that can be observed although, at this point, it can only be presented as speculation. The year 1990 witnessed extraordinary political events not only in the world at large but also in Israel. After 42 years in power the Israeli government of the secular Zionist leaders - the Erev Rav - fell at the hands of the religious non-Zionist leaders. First, the recognized Sepharadi halachic authority R. Ovadia Yosef and his Shas party were the key pin that were instrumental in bringing down the Shamir led government. Then, R. Eliezer Shach, the Rosh Yeshivah of Ponavitch and acclaimed leader of the Lithuwanian Yeshivah world, and his Degel HaTorah party were handed the political reigns and wrought havoc throughout the secular Israeli community and abroad. This was following the totally unprecedented power granted to him (or to any other rabbinic leader to date) through the vast media coverage of a speech he delivered on the media's false assumption that his party was going to announce a significant change in political policy. This was followed by the world leader of Chassidic Jewry and acclaimed Tzaddik of the generation R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubuvitzcher Rebbe, directing his representative in the Agudat Yisrael party not to join in a Perez led government. Only after Perez was assured of the support of all the members of Agudat Yisrael and only after his public proclamation that he was indeed going to form the next government, did the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in affect, pull the political carpet out from beneath Shimon Perez - the archetypal representative of the Erev Rav - and topple his dreams as well as most likely his career.
What is most amazing about this new phenomenon of religious political activism is that only a few years prior Shas and Degel HaTorah did not exist and Agudat Yisrael played a very low profile in the Kenesset. Furthermore, prior to this, these Torah leaders made repeated claims based upon their religious convictions that they did not want to be directly involved in a secular and anti-religious government (of the Erev Rav). Certainly, they made it clear that they did not want to be the ones responsible for making or breaking the government. Yet, as they entered the year 1990 the One Above threw the political ball into their courts and now, almost against their own will, they were drawn into the furnace of Israeli politics and granted the gift of unprecedented political control over the destiny of the Nation of Israel. Now, could there be a hidden pattern of the Trein Mesheecheen lying somewhere beneath these political events?
As the GRA explained above,one of the reasons the Erev Rav is called by that name is because it was during the period of the ascent of the sun during the the 6th hour of the day - the "Great Evening" - that the "mazal" of this collective group ascended and they gained power. The Erev Zeir, on the other hand, was that collective group of leaders whose "mazal" ascended afterwards and gained power only as the sun began setting - the "Lesser Evening." As explained in the introduction, according to the GRA each 1,000 year period is divided into 24 hours - one day. Thus, each "hour" is equal to 41 years and 8 months From the rise of the sun on the "6th millennial day" (1740) to high noon (1990) 6 full "hours" have passed (41 years and 8 months times 6 equals exactly 250 years or a quarter of the millennia). The 6th hour itself began in 1948 and finished in 1990 precisely as Israel observed its 42nd year of independence . The symmetry now speaks for itself. It was only in 1948 as the ascent of the 6th hour played into their hands that the "New Erev Rav" of secular Zionism gained miraculous political control over the Land of Israel and its direction. And it was only in 1990 as the power of the 6th hour weakened and the period of the "Lesser Evening" gained ascendency that the "New Erev Zeir" - the religious leaders - emerged and were compelled to play their different although equally vital role in the final unfolding of the Divine Drama of the Trein Mesheecheen.