Today, I read the following signs up at the Kotel:
“According to the directives of the Ministry of Health, it is forbidden to kiss the stones of the Western Wall.”
Every day I go at the moment, there is some fresh madness, some new ‘announcement’ designed to put me off from praying to Hashem.
My husband gave up on trying to find a minyan at Kever Rachel – where they are strictly enforcing the no more than 10 people rule – and ended up praying in the Sephardi minyan up the road here, where people are still shaking hands then kissing their fingers afterwards, like they’ve been doing for 2000 years already.
Then, I logged on to the news sites (which I’ve started reading a few times a day again, primarily so I get some warning if they decide to shut down all the supermarkets or cancel all the buses) – and there was a whole parade of what I’m going to call:
Headlines that get me worried
But probably not for the same reasons they are getting most people worried. Let me list a few of them below, so you can get the flavor of how the police state we apparently all live in – regardless of what country we call ‘home’ – is starting to come out of the shadows
Worshippers told not to kiss stones at Western Wall; attendance limited
Government approves digital surveillance of Coronavirus police
No more touching – your life is about to change
Health Ministry approves experimental treatments for coronavirus
Due to recent instructions from the Health Ministry, MADA paramedics had to shave their beards to reduce being infected with COVID-19.
How can anyone take this seriously?
Two months ago, when the State of Israel started going after Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim, they said then that Shuvu Banim was only going to be the beginning of a war against religion and religious Jews.
With the anti-religious Benny Gantz trying to become PM by sucking up to the Arab parties – exactly as Rabbi Berland predicted months and months ago – that war looks like it’s heating up.
The last two days, I’ve been taking my kids to a load of different places, trying to get ready for the apparently inevitable ‘lockdown’ that the authorities here keep saying is only a matter of time.
Never mind that of the 7000 people tested for COVID-19 in Israel so far, only 324 of them have it, and of those only 5 are in serious condition, and NO-ONE has died here at all yet, thank God.
Regardless of the facts on the ground, the lockdown appears to be coming.
So, while I’ve been running around trying to prepare for that, I’ve been all over Jerusalem, refuelled my car in Shoresh, and been all around Gush Etzion and also Petach Tikva. And here’s what I’ve noticed:
Way more people in Israel are adopting a laissez faire attitude to Coronavirus than are taking it seriously.
There are still cafes and restaurants open, there are still ‘non-essential’ stores open and doing business, the number of people in face masks and gloves is minuscule (but strangely, face masks seem to be far more prevalent amongst the Arab residents) – in short, most of the people I’m seeing are just not buying all the government propaganda.
And while that’s true generally for a lot of Israelis, amongst the chareidi community, there is even less buy-in to the idea that normal life and Torah learning and praying and going to school needs to somehow stop just because there’s another virus on the loose out there.
And so, the battle lines are being drawn, between those members of the population who believe the government – wherever they happen to live – and those members of the public who really don’t.
We live in such interesting times.
Rabbi Berland is sweetening all this COVID-19 stuff at its root, which is why the next week or so is going to be ‘hinge’ event where everything starts to turn around.
Right now, the government can still get away with imposing draconian measures on the public by using fear tactics and manipulation. But if the number of new cases doesn’t get more ‘impressive’ very soon, God forbid, and if the number of people dying from it stays at zero, God willing, the Israeli public’s patience with the circus that is going on here will start to wear very thin.
And then, things will get very interesting.
One last thing to add, for now, is that I think this current panic is just a dry run.
I believe Rabbi Berland, when he says it will be sweetened and over by Erev Pesach, however unlikely that currently looks, but I also think that then there will be a short window of opportunity to learn the lessons of what’s going on now, and to make plans to move to Israel, if you’re currently abroad.
Because the next ‘birth pang’ won’t be long in coming, even when COVID-19 fades from sight.
Remember that wave of antisemitic attacks that occurred in the USA a few months ago?
I reported an unconfirmed statement from Rabbi Berland HERE that said the attacks would stop until the 7th day of Pesach.
Sure enough, as soon as I posted that statement up, the attacks stopped.
But I’ve been wondering about that ‘7th day of Pesach’ thing ever since, and pondering what’s meant to happen then.
I’m not a prophet, so I don’t know.
But I do know that unless this COVID-19 concludes with the open revelation of Moshiach, we will need at least one more ‘birth pang’ to move us forward, and it’s common knowledge that they get stronger and more unbearable as the actual delivery approaches.
So don’t wait for the situation to be as difficult as it is right now, with COVID-19, to make your plans to move here.
There will be another short window.
But it won’t be there for long.
And things are only going to get more intense from here.
Let’s give the last word to Shwekey. Press ‘play’ and dance along, because what else can we really do, at this point?
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