President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead (Public Domain)
The remarkable announcement that the U.S. will cease participation in the the ill-conceived deal struck with Iran in 2015 (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) came on May 8, just days before the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Noted scholar Rabbi Mendel Kessin offers startling insights into the magnitude of these two events, stating that they are of such profound seriousness as to possibly surpass all others in Jewish history.
Speaking at a recent shiur, Rabbi Kessin returned to a theme he’s illuminated before — the significance of U.S. President Donald Trump’s role mirroring that of Esau’s role in the messianic process. A leading expert on the Ramhal, Rabbi Kessin, who received smicha (ordination) from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, based his insights on the prophecy Rivkah received from Shem and Ever when she sought counsel regarding her turbulent pregnancy. She was told “rav ya’aved/ya’avod tzair” (Gen 25:23). Though generally translated as “the elder (i.e., Esau) will serve the younger (i.e., Jacob),” the absence of pronunciation markings (nekudot) entitles the reader to interpret the sentence otherwise as “the elder will subjugate the younger.”
For much of Jewish history, Esau’s “job” was to subjugate erring Jews, the descendants of Jacob. Esau, known as Edom, Rome, Christianity, Western Civilization, and by extension as America, carried out the edict to inflict yesurim (suffering) as a device to accomplish tikkun (rectification) for the Jews if doing mitzvot (commandments) or teshuva (repentance) was not forthcoming. But Esau himself was never left out of the tikkun process.
At the end of time, however, Esau’s original mission — to assist and serve his brother Ya’akov, who is the foremost purveyor of tikkun — resumes. Rabbi Kessin has maintained ever since Trump’s announcement of his presidential bid that Trump is a messianic figure signifying the rectification (tikkun) of Edom, who will shift the paradigm of Edom’s subjugation of the Jewish people to that of assistance, support, and protection of them.
How can this be understood both in light of Trump’s confrontation with Iran and the inauguration of the embassy? Trump assigned a deadline for deciding whether America will remain in or abrogate inclusion in the deal, which the Obama administration and Europe struck with Iran. During Trump’s campaign speeches, he often called it the “worst deal in American history” and promised to revoke it.
The astounding revelation made last week of the copious documentation the Mossad obtained, proving that Iran could not be trusted and had all along violated the terms of the treaty, guaranteed that Trump would keep his campaign promise to revoke America’s part in the deal and reinitiate sanctions.
But why is Trump’s decision about this deal “messianic”? The prophecy of a final war in which Paras (Persia, present-day Iran) seeks war with Arav (Arabia, present-day Saudi Arabia) now seems to be on the verge of suspension (Yalkut Shimoni 499). We know that an unfortunate decree can be nullified by doing teshuva, toiling in Torah, or performing acts of chesed (kindness). In this case, Trump’s confrontation with Iran includes the demand to cease any and all efforts toward nuclear proficiency, to permit total and unlimited transparency about all their nuclear endeavors at all their facilities at all times, and to cease all terrorist activity and hostility toward Israel and the Middle East. To refuse would be to incur their own destruction.
According to Rabbi Kessin, this confrontation will be in lieu of a full-on war. Esau’s support, via Trump, could very well “neutralize” the threat of or the impact of the prophesied war.
The existential war of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38-39) that has haunted the Jewish people through millenia may also have been neutralized. It is commonly held that this war will be a single war in three stages, as Rabbi Kessin has explained in previous lectures. The first stage was World War I. The second was the Holocaust. The final war has been presumed to be the one waged by the world, represented by the United Nations (U.N.), against Jerusalem, as when it insisted that Jerusalem was not the capital of the Jewish state.
Why is the U.N. described as Gog and Magog? The gematria (an interpretation of a word based on its numerical value) of Gog and Magog is 70, a number synonymous with the 70 nations of the world, which have 70 roots. As the representative of the nations of the world, the U.N.’s most recent and vociferous attacks on Israel calling on nations not to locate diplomatic missions in Jerusalem effectively denied it’s status as Israel’s capital, and denounced Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, whereby he in essence stated that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.
Rabbi Kessin is convinced that the upcoming inauguration of the U.S. Embassy is Trump’s most definitive gesture that “closes the book” on an actual Gog and Magog war, particularly when several other countries follow suit by moving their embassies to Jerusalem. As Rabbi Kessin points out, “The book of Eicha (Lamentations) read on Tisha b’Av says we despair over a Jerusalem that is desolate and bleak, but which will be restored” (Eicha 5:21).
Rabbi Kessin believes that we are witnessing that restoration in the context of the final dissolution of Gog. The nations have gathered against Israel and their petition has been forever rejected. A physical war need not even take place.
In light of Jerusalem’s glorious resurgence of prestige and two wars being quashed before they even begin, only one obstacle remains before the mashiach’s (messiah’s) appearance: invalidating the influence of the erev rav. Literally the term refers to the mixed multitude of insincere non-Jews who left Egypt with the Jews, but today it means those among the Jews who seek to destroy the authority of the Torah.
Anyone seeking further clarification and explanation of current events and the messianic process is invited to visit Rabbi Kessin’s website, torahthinking.com, for the complete “21st Century” series of video lectures along with 300 shiurim which deal extensively with the hashkafa of the Ramchal. His videos can also be found at https://www.torahanytime.com and on YouTube.
Rabbi Kessin received smicha from Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the greatest posek ha’dor of the previous generation. The rabbi also received a doctoral degree in psychology from Fordham University, NY. In 1987, Rabbi Kessin helped found the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Rabbi Kessin is considered an expert in the writings of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal; he lectures extensively and internationally on the Torah of the Ramchal.