The subliminal stress is through the roof at the moment.
As soon as I leave the house, and I see the masks, or I see the cops, I start to remember that we’re in this crazy Purimshpiel called ‘Coronavirus’ again.
And it’s pretty stressful, even though I know it’s leading to geula the hopefully sweet way, and a much, much better world than we currently live in. The problem is, we are in that ‘in-between’ stage at the moment, when the revealed good still hasn’t been so revealed, while the revealed bad is going all out, because it’s the last chance it has to make it’s bid for global domination.
It’s pretty stressful.
Then, I remind myself that the Israelites in Egypt still had to work, and carry on with ‘pretend normal’ for the first 3 of the 10 plagues, and it seems to me, that was probably the most head-wrecking time of all, because even after the Nile turned to blood, and the frogs were croaking all over the place, and the lice were on every Egyptian head and every Egyptian body – the media were still just blaming all that on global warming.
And the Israelites were still expected to turn out every morning to go to work in the Egyptian civil service, and Nile-Mart was still selling BBQs for half price, and Mr and Mrs Levy were still trying to get a mortgage sorted out on the new pyramid project being built in Harish before the next plague hit and closed the economy down permanently.
So anyway, the subliminal stress has been really high recently, probably for all of us.
Since the full lockdown in Israel ended a couple of months ago, me and my husband have been taking every opportunity we can to do all the things we wanted to do, but didn’t have the time or motivation for, before.
And top of the list is going to visit kivrei tzaddikim, or holy graves of dead holy Jews.
Last week, I booked us to go to the graves of Calev and Yehoshua in Kifel Haris, and also to the grave of Yosef HaTzaddik, in Shechem. Because both places were given away to the Palestinians under Oslo, those visits need to be arranged with an IDF escort, you can’t just drive in yourself (although some people still do….)
But I’m not on that level, so I booked our armored buses, and I was really looking forward to going.
Of course, it got cancelled.
Because of ‘COVID-19’.
(I am doing ‘whatever’ fingers, writing this.)
So instead, I decided to seek out some of the other tombs we haven’t been to visit yet.
Last week, we went to the grave of Yehuda, buried in the middle of a small park surrounded by new apartment buildings in Yehud.
And yesterday, we went to the graves of Binyamin and Shimon – also both sons of the Patriarch Yaakov – who are buried off Route 55, near to Kfar Saba, about a 10 minute drive apart.
We got to Binyamin first, and the car park next to it was full of cars. The site itself was also full of people – mostly Na-Nachs – and there was a very sociable vibe going on. Tables were set up for a haluka, the ceremony where you give a 3 year old boy his first haircut, teenagers were smoking a nargila in one of the structures of to the side, and elsewhere, there were scores of men gathered to hear a shiur.
After all the police enforcement in Jerusalem, it was a really nice change, but still a little bizarre, to say the least.
I turned into the blue-domed structure housing the tomb of Binyamin the son of Yaakov, and there was one other young woman there – wearing a facemask – who left after a couple of minutes.
It was 4.30 in the afternoon, and I still hadn’t said my morning brachot, so I found a siddur, sat on the bench, struggled to say the brachot…then fell asleep with my head on the tomb. That doesn’t happen a lot, but whenever it happens, I always feel something ‘big’ has shifted, spiritually – so big, that I can only actually deal with it by being asleep.
Half an hour later, I woke up, went to find my patient husband (who was catching the shiur, after he’d peeked in and saw I’d fallen asleep) – and then we headed off to Kever Shimon.
Kever Shimon is located in a lonely field, right next to Route 6.
From the dirt track that leads on to it, it looks as though it’s surrounded by brambles and thorns. We walked through them, until we realised that you could drive down the road a little further on, and turn in.
The grave itself was open, covered in memorial candles and tikkun haklalis – and otherwise totally deserted.
The contrast between Binyamin and Shimon was profound.
I sat on the one chair to recite a couple of tikkun haklalis, while my husband wandered around to say his.
It was such a calm vibe there.
I loved it.
I really felt as though the half an hour I spent there filled me up with enough koach to keep going this week, because sometimes it’s hard to keep going.
I know we’re all feeling it at the moment.
I’m trying to concentrate on keeping things as ‘normal’ as I can for my teens, and to keep things going as smoothly as I can on the home front, while the 10 plagues continue to play out past the front door step.
Go and re-book your driving test!!! I tell my teens.
Even though the world is going to change radically very soon, I still want you to be able to drive the car to the supermarket!!!
(For as long as it exists….)
All I can do, is carry on going to the Kivrei Tzaddikim, for as long as I’m able to, and to continue talking to God about everything that’s happening, to try and stay as close to Him as I can, while the madness continues to play out.
I think there’s another 5 months of this, until November 9th.
And I think it’s going to up another level August 9th, in the ‘last trimester’, and get even more intense than it is now.
I have to pace myself.
And staying close to the true tzaddikim, alive and dead, are a big part of that.
For as long as I can continue to do it.
If you want to know what I’m basing the ‘nine months’ on, taking us up to November 9th, 2020, take a look at this: