From the outside, things look pretty tough at the moment.
The people with their eyes open are sitting here holding their breath, waiting to see what ‘the next stage’ of this destructive ‘chaos’ process that’s going to lead to geula entails.
And the people who are holding their eyes deliberately shut are feeling all that internal anxiety, that they don’t want to deal with, but still can’t escape.
I see those people in the shuk, looking mega-stressed while trying too hard to have a good time.
Or spending all their weekends at some big forest rave, trying to let the drugs and loud music ‘drown out’ the inner panic.
Or on their couches plugged into a screen, trying to keep their minds ‘occupied’, so they don’t have to think too much about what they can feel approaching.
The last couple of weeks, I’ve had a few days when I’ve done that last option myself.
Sometimes, it’s really hard to deal with all this uncertainty.
There is a tightrope to be walked here, between ‘giving in’ to the panic, and going in to full denial about the reality of what is really occurring all around and within.
It’s not helpful to go ‘full truther’, 24/7.
And it’s also not helpful to just keep pretending everything is fine.
So, how do we cope with a reality that is getting increasingly difficult to handle?
Here’s my suggestions.
Talk to God for an hour a day.
You probably guessed I was going to start here, no?
Rabbenu teaches us that in that hour a day of talking to God, aka hitbodedut – that’s when we take off all the masks, and really look our pain in the face.
That’s when we plumb the depths of our fear and anxiety and anger and hatred – and all the other bad middot that every single one of us has.
That’s when I sit and tell God,
God, I’m so sad that ‘x’ is happening in the world….Sometimes I feel so alone and helpless in all this… sometimes, I feel like whatever effort I made for the good, it just didn’t get there…
Those conversations can sometimes continue in that vein for a few weeks, even, where I’m just filled with pain and questions and sadness and anger. But sooner or later, if I don’t run away from my true feelings, and I keep examining what’s going on, here, and keep turning things over with Hashem’s help – I get some clarity about why things actually have to be that way, after all.
And why God is only good.
At that stage, I can make my peace with the matzav, take whatever actions are required, make whatever teshuva is necessary, and move on with my life in a much better frame of mind.
All of us have difficulties and heartaches to deal with right now.
Running away from all the pain in the world – especially our own pain – doesn’t solve any problems, it just gives us chronic anxiety and takes us even further away from God and geula.
No-one is saying sit in your pain 24/7, for the next three months!!!
That would be awful.
But you owe it to yourself, to your soul, to face your pain down for at least an hour a day, and to really listen to it and embrace what it’s telling you. With God’s help.
And that is what the daily of hitbodedut is for.
2. Follow Rav Berland’s advice.
Before I hit Rav Berland, I was still doing an hour of hitbodedut a day, and still paying a lot of charity, and trying to learn a lot of Torah, and trying to make a lot of teshuva.
But honestly, my life still sucked in a lot of massive ways, and I was feeling totally overwhelmed by negative emotions and feelings, and a seeming inability to have any true ‘sweetness’ in my life.
We are at the end of days, and all of us are paying things down from the last 400 lives we stuffed up – in one shot!
No wonder we’re all clamoring for the Prozac and the weed and the fentanyl.
When I started following Rav Berland’s advice, tho, that’s when things instantly started to feel lighter, and more cope-able.
Here’s a short breakdown of the things I am doing, as a result of following the Rav, that really help me so very much, to cope with what’s going on.
i. Say a Tikkun Haklali every single day.
The Tikkun Haklali is meant to rectify issues with a lack of emuna and bitachon, or faith and trust in Hashem.
You can download a PDF of the Tikkun Haklali with a good English transliteration, here: pdfslide.net_interlinear-tikkun-haklali
ii. Say a ‘Pirchey Nivarchim’ at least once a week, preferably on Shabbat.
These are the set of 10 tehillim that the hidden Tzaddikim explain help Moshiach to fight his spiritual wars in the world, to overcome all that evil in the world.
Including the ‘evil’ that’s pushing for more wars, and taking bread out of the mouths of babes, and force-vaxxing billions of people with experimental gene therapies that have already killed and injured so many people.
(It’s a side note, but a friend just send me a link to a study that came out in the New England Medical Journal that showed that 82% of pregnant women in the study who were vaxxed at the 1st or 2nd trimester stage of pregnancy lost their babies in ‘spontaneous abortions’. There are no stats as to what happened to the women who were vaccinated at the 3rd trimester stage, when losing a baby would be characterised as a ‘still birth’, not a ‘spontaneous abortion’.)
HERE is where you can download a PDF of the Pirchey Nivarchim with a side-by-side English translation.
Here’s the link spelled out:
And here’s the explanation as to how reciting the Pirchey Nivarchim can help fix all that ‘past life’ stuff that is mamash making life so unpleasant and so difficult for so many of us:
[Translated from the Hebrew notes in the back of the booklet you can download from the above link.]
The ten mizmorim (Tehillim) of the Tikkun Haklali are associated with the ten fingers of the hand, [and with] the Sixth Beggar [from Rebbe Nachman’s Tale of the Seven Beggars], who is called: ‘Without Hands’, who heals the Princess who falls into terrible weakness, with the holy niggun (melody)[played] with his hands.
And the ten mizmorim of the Prachim Nivarchim are associated with the ten toes of the feet, [and with] the Seventh Beggar, who is called ‘Without Feet’, who heals the Prince who totally fell from his emuna, with the dancing and circle dances of his holy legs….
The Prachim Nivarchim rectifies all of a person’s gilgulim (previous lifetimes) – all the way back to the sin of Adam HaRishon.
iii. Do a Pidyon Nefesh with the Rav, on a regular basis.
Go HERE for more explanation and more information, but just know that while no-one can currently speak to the Rav personally, you can still do a ‘pidyon nefesh’ via his official website HERE – but you have to have emuna, mamash, now that it’s going to do what’s required.
Last week, on Thursday, after doing a lot of research into the Miami condo, I suddenly felt very weak, and started throwing up.
I felt REALLY ill.
My husband came home, saw how bad I looked, and instantly went off to do a pidyon nefesh on the Rav’s website. Within a couple of hours, I felt much better again.
Pidyon nefesh with the Rav just helps to ‘smooth over’ so much of the jagged edges our path is edged with, and that we have to traverse, because that’s just our tikkun this time around.
And is a huge part of why my life is just way more cope-able than it used to be.
iv: Practise bitul, i.e. self-nullifcation.
This is something that totally changed my life for the better.
I am a strong character – I could SO easily be like all those psychos I write about here, and elsewhere, who can’t ‘see’ anyone else in the picture, or hear anyone else’s point of view.
What’s stopped that, really, is the Rav’s advice to practise the art of bitul as much as possible.
And it’s really hard.
But especially with my kids and my husband, each time I can manage to bitul, I see massive benefits from doing that.
And also in relation to my writing, adopting an approach of bitul means that I can make space for others to tell me what they think, and for others to argue with my ideas, and even, for others to insult me totally – and still continue doing what I’m doing.
It’s been such a present.
I’m sure there’s more I could say, but this sums it up.
In short, if the Rav says ‘pray this prayer’ – I try to do it.
If the Rav says ‘attend this prayer gathering in Hevron’ – I try to do it.
I don’t always manage to follow the Rav’s advice, but I WANT to follow it, even when I can’t.
And I know that this is what is really making all the difference, and helping me to cope with a situation which otherwise, would be totally un-cope-able.
Here in Israel, the corrupt government is talking about ‘enforcing masks’, and closing the airport, and reinstating green passports again.
Not this week.
Not next week.
But almost certainly, in time to totally ruin the summer holidays for most people, as the prelude to ruining the high holidays coming up at the beginning of September.
For a lot of reasons.
But I know if I keep following the Rav’s advice, I’ll somehow manage to come through all this in one piece, spiritually and physically.
And that’s really saying something, at this stage of the game.
Don’t forget to check out the new site, ‘Words from the Rav‘, that brings down some short daily doses of wisdom from Rabbi Eliezer Berland in English.
You can find it HERE.