1. I have heard in the name of the Chofetz Chaim that after 10 “shemittah” cycles, Moshiach will come. I understand that the time for this has already passed. The question is: What is preventing the coming of Moshiach? Is there anything holding him back altogether, and if there is, what is the main reason that Hashem isn’t sending Moshiach? I am asking this because if we would be informed what the reason is for his prevention, then each person could know what needs to be done, whether through investing time or money in making the coming of Moshiach possible, whether by bringing in Rabbonim who could speak about the main issue we need to fix, or by distributing CDs about the topic.
2. The Rav explains in the shiurim that the only way to be saved from the “50th gate of defilement” is through the way of the inner dimension of Torah, which means to become connected to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. On a superficial level, I understand this to mean that people need to learn more about the inner Torah. So the question then becomes: Which holy sefarim can the Rav recommend that we learn, which address the inner part of the Torah, so that we can begin and continue the process?
3. How much time a day does the Rav recommend we spend on learning the inner dimension of Torah? And how much time needs to spent on the external part of learning, such as Gemara, halachah, Chumash and Mishnayos?
1) The “light of Moshiach” is termed by our Sages as “the 50th gate of holiness.” This is countered by the “50th gate of defilement”, which prevents the revelation of holiness. To explain the concept, there are 49 “gates” of the spiritual dimension [both in holiness and in the side of evil], corresponding to 7 levels that each subdivide into 7 levels. Our world is on the spiritual level of the number 7, for there are six days of the week and a seventh day of Shabbos. That is the perspective of “division” in Creation [as opposed to the original state of undifferentiated oneness]. Each of these 7 divides into another 7, as implied by the daily morning prayer, “Today is the first day to the Shabbos”, “Today is the second day to the Shabbos”, etc. The Sages said that the “son of David [the Moshiach] cannot come until all of the perutos (coins) are finished” – and it is brought in the name of Eliyahu HaNavi that the word perutah (coin) is from the word peratiyos, “individual”, meaning that Mashiach cannot come until all of the “individuality” ceases, and collectiveness (kelalus) is revealed. This collectiveness (kelalus) is also called the 50th gate of holiness.
In the side of holiness, kelalus\collectiveness is the concept where all details become unified as one: “On that day it will be that Hashem will be One and His Name will be One”. It is when all souls of the Jewish people will become connected together, “as one man, with one heart”, the unification of all souls, and the unity of all the creations. They will all become unified under the oneness of Hashem’s Name. It will all come together, forming one perfected form of man. For all of the creations – including the non-living, plants and animals – are all but parts of the perfected man. Currently, this is all seen as disparate parts, each with their own design, but in the inner dimension, they are all but parts of one perfected man. This perfected state is called the “light of Moshiach”. In contrast, the 50th gate of defilement is a “pseudo”, imitation form of oneness. In depth, it is total disparity. It is a unifying which leads to total disparity. It begins with unity and ends with disparity. Superficially, it appears to be unity, but on the inside, it is disparity.
How does the “50th gate of defilement” manifest itself? Anyone with a logical and simplistic perspective can see that in the last few decades, the world is becoming more and more collected into one whole. As an example, a huge distance between continents has been vastly reduced to a short amount of time travel, and it takes little time and money to get to faraway places, and it is also made very comfortable. People are able to communicate with each other instantaneously, in any place in the world, and at any time. It is possible to see a person found on the opposite side of the world, by means of the media/technology. It is a way to “see from one end of the world to the other”.
The very concept and essence all media/technology in general, and the “smartphone” in particular, is all a means of using “one tool” which is all-inclusive of all existing information and knowledge. It unifies all possible information that can be sensed through seeing, hearing, smell, speaking, and touch. I am not even referring to all of the harm that result from all of this – those are just the results. I am referring to the very concept of how technology unifies everything together. It is the evil and twisted use of the power of echad, “oneness”, because it unifies all information together. It is the very “50th gate of defilement”, with all that this entails. For it can open up a person to a dimension which includes everything, and that is the very idea of the “50th gate” – an all-inclusiveness.
Any logical person can understand that the Redemption is the idea of echad, oneness, and that the very idea of hester/concealment [the period preceding the Redemption] is a “pseudo”, imitation form of “echad”/oneness. The clearer that the light of true oneness will shine, the more that people will realize how the “oneness” of the Other Side is an illusory kind of oneness. That is the secret of the Redemption.
2-3) Everything contains an external and inner aspect.
The external aspect of a matter is always about “disparity”. On an impaired level, disparity is epitomized by the dissension of Korach and his followers and all that resulted from their dissension. On the repaired level, disparity is epitomized by the arguments between Hilel and Shamai, of which it is said, “Their words and their words are the words of the living G-d.”
Getting more specific, “disparity” is used on a repaired level when one sees all of the parts in something. Rav Chaim Soloveitchik would split every concept into 2 different parts, and the Rogotchover Gaon would split everything into 3 different parts. Getting even more specific, one uses “disparity” on a repaired level by seeing all of the different factors and aspects of a matter. One can split every matter into two different points, right and left, or into 3 different points: right, left, and middle. The idea is to take one concept and split it into either 2 or 3 parts – to see all the different parts to the matter.
The inner aspect of a matter, however, is always about unification and oneness. It is to see how all the different details are rooted in one matter, and how all of the details can be returned to their root. This is epitomized by the rule of “kelal, prat, klal” – the inclusion, then the exclusion, then the inclusion.” It is to begin from the klal/whole and then return to the klal/whole. It is to take 2 different concepts and unify them into one. This way is explained often by the Rogotchover Gaon, author of Tzafnas Paneach. There is a statement in the name of the Chazon Ish that Rav Chaim Soloveitchik turns 1 matter into 2 matters, and the Rogotchover turns 2 matters into 1 matter. This is part of his way in Torah learning. He would also turn 1 matter into 3 different matters, as mentioned earlier, but instead of splitting 1 matter into 2, he formulates two extremes and then a third middle point which connects them together. This is what it means to learn the Torah on an inner level [Editor’s Note: Refer to the Rav’s series of דע את תורתך – דרכי הלימוד]
Therefore, there is an external layer as well as an internal layer when it comes to the surface understanding of Torah (pshat), the hinted understanding (remez), the homiletic interpretations of the Sages (derush), and the secret understanding (sod). This is what we mean when we say that a person should also learn the inner dimension of the Torah.
Since there are different levels of souls, each person has his own root in Torah. Therefore, each person needs to learn his own share. Included in one’s personal share is to learn the Torah both on an external level as well as on an internal level, as explained above. How much time does one need to spend learning the external part of his Torah learning, and how much time should he spend on the inner way to learn Torah? This is subjective, for it depends on each person’s unique soul root and each person’s share in the Torah. But all people will need to touch upon the inner method of learning Torah, even if only a little, for that is where one will become unified, with his soul, with the collective whole of the Jewish people, with all of the creations, and with his root – with the Creator.