Before Moshiach shows up, it says the troubles will pile up non-stop.

The last few months, I don’t think I’ve had a single night of peaceful, unbroken sleep. Between the teenagers, the heat (I don’t have air-conditioning) and the endless mosquitoes, every single night has seen me wake up multiple times.

And this has been going on since November. And really, I can’t even blame the teenagers because even on the nights that they’ve both been in school, I still have been sleeping pretty badly.

All this means that I am plodding through life like a half-dazed zombie at the moment. There are some days I’m so tired, I can’t even think about what to make for supper, let alone actually go and buy the stuff. It’s a problem.

I feel I can’t really ‘interact’ at more than a basic level with anyone right now, because I’m totally whacked out and I just don’t have the energy to do it. And then, there’s the matter of the book.

====

I was actually just finishing up a piece of creative non-fiction five months ago, that I’d been working on with a developmental editor, and it was coming along very nicely. Literally as I got to the last page of that, One in a Generation Volume II suddenly came back on to the radar as a ‘live’ project, and I spent the 6 weeks before Pesach working at the speed of light to get that book out before Seder night.

I don’t know why there was such a mad rush, exactly, but I had the sense that it was very important spiritually to get that book ‘out there’, even though so few people have actually bought it or read it.

Then it was Pesach, which I had to sort out in a week as I had so little time beforehand because I’d been working on One in a Generation, and like all of us, I found preparing for the festival pretty exhausting. Over chol hamoed, I was so whacked out that mostly all I did was stay home, which is pretty unusual for me.

Time to slow down a bit, paint some more, do things at a quieter pace, I told my husband back then, as he nodded sagely.

That’s not exactly what happened.

====

Post-Pesach, Shuvu Banim decided that they’d like to make something of a PR push around the book.

They found a professional who was happy to volunteer their services, so that more people would have a chance of hearing the truth about the huge miscarriage of justice around Rabbi Berland. So, I spent the month after Pesach putting together one PR proposal after another, one website after another, and having regular meetings to try to get One in a Generation to take off, somehow.

So much effort. So much work. So little to really show for it.

====

====

This is how the PR guy recently summed up our campaign, in an email he sent me about all the problems he was having with the newswires.

“They think Rav Merav didn’t say his quote, that we faked it. But they don’t want to speak with him and then they want him to have an email with an official domain of a business or a Shuvu Banim email to then go through some verification process. However the strength of his quote is the fact he is an independent well known rabbi and not part of Shuvu Banim. We followed their process without giving him a Shuvu email and they said it was not good enough…
They also said a couple lines from your quote must be removed because it is against the Israeli court ruling… They also said we could not link to your video because of the same.  They didn’t want the parts saying there was fake evidence, the accusations were false, and that this was like Yosef from 3,000 years ago.  They got very nasty on the phone…
Most opposition I ever got in 15 years and that includes working for a company accused of compromising US national security and another accused of causing cancer!”
====

Go back and read that again, because I want you to really grasp how much censorship of information is going on in the world generally, and about Rabbi Berland specifically. The media is totally manipulating the public to only think what they want us all to think, and to suppress any facts that goes against their narrative.

In the end, we had to shoot a video of Rabbi Meirav with totally toned-down quotes, just so the newswire would agree to even cover it. More ‘troubles’….

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So then, we got up to Shavuot and I was feeling mega exhausted.

I asked my husband if we could go to Uman for the chag, just us two. He agreed, we went – and then I discovered that the kever is totally closed to women over Shavuot, so I couldn’t get in. More ‘troubles’…

Instead, I went to Gan Sofia, and spent isru chag lying under some massive trees on an island in the middle of the main lake there. It was bliss. It was probably the first time I’ve ever chilled out in Uman, and I felt like Rabbenu was giving me a massive dose of ‘relaxation’ to counter-balance all the stress and lack of sleep of recent months.

The night we flew out, we’d also swung past Hevron for an hour, to join in Rabbi Berland’s prayer gathering, which he’d called after we’d already booked our tickets to the Ukraine. Rabbi Berland promised: Everyone who comes won’t have a minute more of suffering!

Who could resist a deal like that?

So now we get to the crux of this post.

====

The day after I got back from Uman, I answered an ad looking for a new service that was looking for books to launch as part of a pilot program that was heavily discounted from what they’d charge once they’d got it all figured out.

I figured I’d try my luck, so I sent a two line email describing a book that was ‘almost finished’, that maybe would fit their program. In reality, I hadn’t written it yet, I just had the title, but I was so sure they wouldn’t respond.

Long story short: they took the book.

Which means I’ve spent the last few weeks furiously typing like a banshee again, trying to get the draft done to something at least approaching the time scale. It’s nearly done now, but in the meantime I’ve been totally neglecting my household and family the last month, AGAIN, and I know that’s not good, but what could I do, really?

The ‘troubles’ pile up like one wave after another, before one trouble is over, another begins…

====

Yesterday night, after another day’s hard typing, I staggered off to bed at 10pm to see if I could try and get a good night sleep.

Just as I was dozing off, the ubiquitous mosquito showed up, and started dive-bombing my face.

This usually occurs in the five minutes just before I’m about to drop off, and I can get so agitated trying to find the mosquito zapper to electrocute it that all my adrenalin starts pumping, and then it takes me hours and hours to calm down enough to get back to sleep.

Yesterday, I was so tired, I couldn’t be bothered fighting that thing.

Let it bite me, let it suck my blood. I’m past caring.

I fell asleep – and an hour later, I woke up again because my husband had come home, and had just switched on the bedside light to try and track down the mosquito. He’s a great guy, but he’s got this habit of shining that spotlight straight in my face in the middle of the night, like he’s practicing to join a Mexican torture gang.

I squinted at him standing there with the mosquito zapper, looking apologetic but determined, and I wondered to myself:

God, are You out to get me? Because I have to tell you, it’s really starting to feel that way.

====

I was too tired to take it further yesterday night, but this morning, I think I finally figured out what’s going on.

It says before Moshiach comes, the troubles will come so thick and fast that before one ‘problem’ is even over, the next one starts up. I know so many people are going through the ringer at the moment, with awful, massive problems hitting them thick and fast.

And in my house?

The ‘problems’ are my books, which are taking up so much headspace and energy without really giving a heck of a lot back, and the ‘troubles’ are the mosquitos, that hide out in my room just waiting for me to go to sleep.

But this morning, I realized just how lucky I am to have troubles like these.

Yes, on one level I’m having difficulties coping with the daily challenge of not getting enough sleep, but I’m not really suffering from all this, even though it’s challenging.

After Hevron, it seems ‘the troubles’ got sweetened.

But let’s be clear, I’m still looking forward to the time when I get have a good night’s sleep again, and not walk through life like a spaced-out zombie, and have a bit of time to paint and to actually interact with people.

But at least until Tu B’Av, it seems that just ain’t going to happen.

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Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash

You can feel the holiness shining off the pages.

That’s what someone told me a couple of days ago, when someone sent me a message about One in a Generation Volume II. I asked their permission to share it more widely, and they kindly gave it. It gave me a lot of chizzuk, as getting Rabbi Berland’s books out has been a lot of hard work, with very little ‘obvious’ success.

For example, we currently have a PR person trying to place a press release about One in a Generation II to tie in with the recent announcement by the Bet Din that all slander about Rabbi Berland has to stop, and that any complaint should be brought straight to them for evaluation.

The news wires rejected it.

But that’s not all, when our PR guy went back to find out what’s going on, they accused him of making up quotes, then insisted he take out any suggestion that any of the charges against Rabbi Berland were fabricated. They also totally refused to link to the video I made setting out the other side of the story.

====

I never heard of anything like this. I asked the PR guy, has this ever happened to you before, on any of the things you’ve ever worked on?

Nope.

Hmm.

So as you can see, getting the real story about Rabbi Berland out there has not been so easy. Which is why I was thrilled to get this email. Every person who reads the books can feel the truth about Rabbi Berland. And I think probably, that’s the biggest reason that so many people out there don’t want to risk pick them up, and why the news wires are shunning our releases. It’s very hard to admit we got something wrong, especially something as significant as this.

But at some point, the truth has to get out there.

I hope.

====

I’m a 42-year old observant Noahide, living in the US.

I’ve been a huge devotee of Rav Arush for a few years now, but it was only a few months ago that I made the connection between the Rav Berland who taught him and the Rav Berland I’d heard the scandal stories about.

I found your blog a few weeks ago, along with ravberland.com. I was curious to know if there had been any major developments in his story since I first heard it a few years ago, and to review R. Arush’s defence of him, which I’d heard of. In the same search session. I read a story by his detractors. They were just so ridiculous and over the top that, even without R. Arush’s testimony, they pretty much destroyed what little credibility they started with.

A week ago, actually it was the early morning of the 4th, I couldn’t sleep. Normally when this happens it’s a big hint to me that I really ought to be talking to HaShem, instead of just lying there like a dingbat. This time I actually did something about it.

I was lying in my hammock in my back yard. I believe I had asked God what the truth was about Rav Berland. Knowing almost nothing about him except that he taught R. Arush, the allegations seemed like the sort of thing that has been known to happen, particularly in other religions.

God made it very clear, very quickly, that this was not the case. Immediately I was seized by an impulse to go back inside and look at your blog. I saw the links for One in a Generation 1 and 2, and was driven to immediately purchase them, almost as if I had no say in the matter.

As I read them both over last week (I wanted to jump straight to two, but it felt righter to get all the background), the holiness of the Rav shone through in your words in a way I’ve never felt. Any tentative feeling of credibility even the slightest claims against the Rav had ever had evaporated like they’d been hit by a supernova.

The holiness of the Rav came through so strongly, in fact, that about halfway through volume 1 something in the text nudged sonething in my soul (I don’t know how else to put it) and I was inspired that there was a connection between the problem I’d been having around my eyes and the mitzvah of guarding one’s eyes, which I’ve never been very much for, sadly.

This week I’ve been really making an effort, averting my eyes from women around my office, saving them for my wife. I can’t even tell you how remarkable the difference us when I look at my wife now with holy (or at least slightly holier) eyes. Well, I’m sure your husband knows all about it. [I’ve also been talking to HaShem a lot more this week, in the light of this experience.]

Thank you very much. I just wanted you to know that, no matter how apparently insignificant the sales figures are, two of them were generated by HaShem Himself, and have brought some real, if small, measure of holiness into the world. You share the merit with Rav Berland in this. Thank you.

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For the next couple of weeks, you can get the Kindle version of One in a Generation Volume II for 99 cents.
Go HERE to buy it.

I know it’s hard to keep going, but don’t give up just yet.

If I had to describe the vibe floating around right now, I would call it ‘despairing dissatisfaction’. Everywhere you look, everywhere you turn, there are people giving up on their dreams in droves right now.

I had a bit of a shock yesterday, as I was trying to put together a list of orthodox Jewish bloggers who maybe would be interested in reviewing One in a Generation Volume 2, (aka, my own personal pit of despair).

Lo and behold, nearly all of them have stopped writing, and the ones who are still going are for the most part very disturbed individuals who are ‘anti’ Rav Berland.

So many writers, so many bloggers, have just given up the ghost and stopped, especially over the last two years – and not just in the orthodox Jewish world. It’s a phenomenon that’s happening all over the place, where people are throwing up their hands, and sinking deep into despair and apathy that nothing can ever really change. Nothing can ever really improve. All you get is hassle, and problems, and difficulties, and things will never, ever come good.

Like I said, I also had quite a hearty dose of that after One in a Generation Volume 2 came out, and apparently sank like a stone.

It’s not easy to see three years of your life so roundly ignored.

At this stage, I’m thinking I probably would have even have preferred it if I’d been attacked over the book, because at least that would prove it was actually published, and maybe even had been read….

(Then again, it’s really not fun messing with the psychos who are ‘anti’ Rav Berland, so maybe not.)

But in any event, it’s been quite a struggle to find the motivation to keep going recently, and that’s a big part of why I headed off to Uman a couple of weeks ago, to see if Rebbe Nachman could help me restart my mojo and joie de vivre.

The whole trip, I got one message over and over and over again:

Don’t give up! Continue! Things are about to change in a very big way, and the whole thing right now is to just not give up!

I came home to find that Rabbi Berland had given over exactly the same message, in different words, at the latest prayer gathering in Hevron. He told the crowd over and over again:

Lo le’vater! Don’t give in! We won’t give in! No-one is giving in here, or giving up!

And then he got the crowd to shout it after him a few times, because while it’s easy to say these words, it’s so very hard to internalize them at the moment.

Everyone I’m in touch with seems to have some sort of profound crisis occurring in their personal life at the moment.

For some people, it’s problems with the spouse and / or children; for others it’s serious illnesses – like one after another, requiring surgery, with no let up. For others, it’s a deep malaise and dissatisfaction with the route their life seems to be taking. So much effort, for what? So much expenditure of time and money, for what?

And for others, they can’t put their finger on what’s ‘wrong’ exactly, but they are still feeling totally out of sorts, unhappy and lost in the world.

God has arranged things right now that the world is burstingly-full of hassle and disappointment, and apparently pretty empty of true happiness, satisfaction and peace of mind.

And we’re all feeling it.

A few weeks ago, I was reading through one of the Breslov books, as I often like to do on Shabbat, and my eye fell on a footnote, where Rav Natan was talking about how other rabbis used to boast about their students, who knew 1000 pages of the Gemara by heart. Rav Natan had a different ‘boast’ about his students.

He said: “I have a student, Rav Ozer, who can say one thousand times Ribono Shel Olam!”

I read that, and I thought to myself how hard can it be, to say a thousand times Ribono Shel Olam?

Let me try and do it, too.

So I did.

And what I can tell you is that while it was very hard to keep going in the middle, because frankly it was so flipping tedious! And it felt a little pointless! And I started to think that maybe I’m just an idiot for trying this stuff out! – It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be, yetzer haras aside.

And once I was done, I suddenly realized that God had been teaching me a tremendous lesson in what is really required from us, at this stage of things. Simply, to just keep going. To not pay any attention to the inner voices that are telling us we aren’t doing it right, or we didn’t count properly, or that we’re doing in life is totally pointless.

Ribono shel olam! Master of the world!

Please, keep giving me the energy and motivation to get out of bed in the morning, and to continue trying to serve You, however imperfectly! Please keep standing me back up on my feet, when the despair and apathy is battering me down again! Please keep reassuring me that You are seeing everything that is passing over me, that You are with me, and that nothing that is happening right now is for naught!

That’s how we get through this next little bit with our souls intact, and without turning into bitter, angry, toxic zombies.

Ribono shel olam, a thousand times!!!

And nothing else.

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Well, this is the new look for www.rivkalevy.com…

Whaddya think?

I know that all the comments got deleted in the move, and I wasn’t expecting that to happen, so apologies. I guess that new starts sometimes take us by surprise in a whole bunch of different ways.

But overall, I’m really pleased with the new look, because I think it’ll make it much easier for you, the reader, to find more of the hundreds of posts that are up on the site, and for me, the blogger, to put different sorts of posts together in a way that’s easier to digest.

I will re-post the last article about Rebbe Nachman on Israel, and don’t forget that you can still download One in a Generation for free on Amazon HERE, until Thursday May 2, 2019.

(I just checked the download pages, and 87 people have downloaded it so far… which is definitely a good start. I won’t get more excited than that.)

BH, I’m investing in the site moving forward, as I’d actually like to get more of my stuff ‘out there’ and read, and God has been prodding me for ages to up the ante on the blog, and to start doing things more professionally.

So, we’ll see where it all leads.

But thanks for coming along with me this far, and I have a lot more things left to say, apparently.

Don’t forget to download the book, and to let other people know about it, if you feel like doing that.

Go HERE for your free copy, and here’s to the future on www.rivkalevy.com.

 

A thoughtful review of the biography of Rabbi Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia, One in a Generation #2.

I’m still officially taking it easy throughout the rest of Pesach, but I just got emailed a great review of Volume II of One in a Generation: Into Exile, which finally sets the record straight about what happened with Rav Eliezer Berland, and why he was forced to admit to crimes he never committed.

The review appears on the myrtlerising blog, and you can see it at the link below:

http://www.myrtlerising.com/blog/a-tell-all-turned-inside-out-a-review-of-one-in-a-generation-volume-ii-into-exile

My co-author else sent me a personal review of the book they received over email, which I’m also bringing below:

I have just finished reading the whole book and it is totally amazing! Beautifully written and it reads like the greatest of fast-moving novels. I literally couldn’t put it down! I was just in Uman and I can picture it on the best-seller table at Steimatskys at the airport. If I had seen it there and read that great back-cover I would certainly have bought it.

The first book was more biographical, almost like a list of his early life, but this one actually flies!
I would consider myself to have a lot of emuna in the Rav, especially after being stuck to him body and soul for over 30 years, but I felt that even my belief in him was strengthened while reading the book. You have done a great and important job, and that Rivkah Levi, whoever she is, has enhanced it enormously.
(Yes, nothing like a book review to keep you humble….)

There’s a chance to get the book for free, next week

So stay tuned, especially from Tuesday (April 30th) onwards, and I’ll post more information and details up once I have them.
And last but not least – please leave a review of the book if you’ve read it and liked it, particularly on Amazon.
You don’t need to write anything, you can just rate it with stars if that’s easier. The Amazon algorhythm works on:
1) Number of sales
2) Number of reviews
If we don’t have a lot of either, then Amazon won’t recommend the book more widely to other readers. So, if you read it and liked it, please take the two minutes required to leave a review, and do your bit to get the real story ‘out there’ to more people.
Thanks.
I appreciate it.
You can leave a review on Amazon HERE.
You can get the PDF or paperback version at the ravberland.com website HERE.
And, you can also pick up the paperback version directly from the Ein Yaakov Bookstore in Meah Shearim.
UPDATE:

Baruch Hashem, if I didn’t have to clean for Pesach, I’d write a 50 page post on what a saga getting this book out there, finally, has been.

But Baruch Hashem, with so much siyatta di shmeya, after three years hard work, it’s finally out there!

This post over on ravberland.com has more info, and now I guess we’ll wait to see what ‘reaction’ this is going to bring.

(That’s the bit that’s scaring me, a little….)

But Baruch Hashem! It’s out!

BREAKING: One in a Generation Volume II is out!

You can buy it on Amazon HERE.

If you’re in Israel, it may be a better option to get it straight from the ravberland.com website HERE – it’s also $15 as opposed to $17.99.

And lastly, you can get the e-book / PDF version for immediate reading, HERE, for $8.99

Volume 2: One in a Generation – Into Exile

Every few weeks, I interview another talented orthodox Jewish author for Sasson’s Jewish Book Review Podcast.

These are the authors interviewed to date:

(Click the name to go through to their Podcast):

Yael Shahar – Author of Returning

Esther Cameron – Author of Soul’s Evidence

Nathan Wolff – Author of Outdated

Joseph Cox – Author of City on the Heights

Libi Astaire – Author of the Jewish Regency Mystery Series

Click HERE to hear the latest interviews.

A little while back, when I was talking to God about how One in a Generation, the biography of Rav Eliezer Berland, seemed to have gotten permanently stuck, I got the following insight:

That book can only come out with a lot of shaflut (lowliness) and humility.

Aha! So now I understood the problem: I was still far too full of myself and patting myself on the back for writing the book, and that was the main spiritual issue holding it up. But how to resolve that problem? (Because let’s be clear, working on these bad middot takes years and years and years…)

God gave me another insight:

“Rivka, I am going to send you people to diss you day and night, until the book sees the light of day!”

Great, thanks Hashem!

And you know what? He’s kept His word.

The last month, barely a day has gone past without someone having a go at me either in person, on the phone, via text or online.

One of my kids has been particularly good at dishing out the shaflut in person- her recent PTA meeting was one of the most humbling experiences of the type I’ve had, BH – but she’s by no means the only person drenching me in these ‘dissing diamonds’.

One time, I got chewed out so badly – and so unexpectedly – that I sat on the couch shaking for a full hour after the conversation (which if you follow spiritualselfhelp.org, you’ll know is the body’s natural response to ‘shaking out’ the trauma, so you don’t get PTSD or C-PTSD).

Yes, it was that bad.

There’s also been a flurry of people queuing up to diss my writing, too, and my general lack of editorial professionalism. And then there’s been a few sent along to diss my overall grasp of reality and good judgment.

And that’s on top of all my ongoing, bog standard shaflut that comes from earning zero pence whilst working like a dog; being a really bad housewife; and still being unable to express myself properly in the local makolet (corner shop).

Man, it’s been a veritable dissing extravaganza the last few weeks, with the diamonds literally pouring in through the roof!

And you know what?

It’s working.

Yesterday, on zot Chanuka, I sent the manuscript for Volume 1 of One in a Generation to the designer, and I already know that for this part of the process to get completed in a timely way with minimal issues, I am going to have to continue to be dissed royally for at least the next month.

And that’s even before the book comes out, which let’s be clear, is going to lead to yet another huge ‘diss Rivka’ event on Facebook etc, as the usual suspects gear themselves up for more self-righteous, confused-thinking evil speech.

Yay! I can’t wait.

The upside of all this dissing is that I am definitely seeing a huge number of brachas occurring in a number of areas of my life, just as Rav Berland said would happen.

The downside is that I’m really starting to go off interacting with people, and the thought of retiring to some remote island with no internet connection – or people – is getting more and more appealing.

How to square this circle?

Enter, Rav Ofer Erez, who wrote this great article on his website, last week:

“We have to remember that Yosef was just 18 years old when he was sent to prison. Usually, when something much smaller happens to us – if just two people don’t treat us so nicely we immediately start believing that everyone’s a liar, everyone’s a fraud and there’s no such thing as a good person – i.e. we immediately lose our faith in humanity, and become bitter, angry and harshly judgmental of others….

“For 12 whole years, Yosef worked on this point, that he shouldn’t become angry, bitter and harshly judgmental against other people, inasmuch as everything came from Hashem, and was ultimately for his good.

“…How can a person merit to avoid any trace of harsh judgment and anger? This is called the secret of dancing.

“We need to know that if people are making us angry, or hurting us, then just doing hitbodedut (personal prayer) isn’t going to be enough. We also need to dance during our hitbodedut, and to do at least 8 minutes of dancing.”

Aha!

Just what I needed to know, because while I am still trying to understand the deeper reasons behind why so many people are chewing me out, and while I am still trying to forgive them and to not hold a grudge against them, it’s sooooo hard to do this in practice!

Especially the times when I know I don’t deserve it, and the person is actually just projecting their own issues on to me. (I wish I could tell you that’s always the case, but clearly I often do deserve being dissed, because I’m not always nice, or thoughtful, or considerate of other people.)

So today, I was careful to dance for a full 8 minutes, as recommended by Rav Ofer, and it really did help.

If I’m going to get ‘dissing diamonds’ raining down on my head, let me at least have buns of steel.

I haven’t been doing as much ‘Sefirat HaOmer’ stuff as I hoped on the blog this year, partially because it took a lot of effort to get ’49 Days’ out, before the Omer, and partially because I’ve had a heck of a lot of stuff going on since Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

But in this, the last week of counting the Omer, and heading into the last days, I have a story to share with you that sums up very nicely the power of today, ‘The spiritual dimension focusing on gratitude.’

As you may or may not know, my eldest started Ulpana (religious girls’ boarding school) last year, and really has been hating every minute.

The school she ended up in as miles away from civilization, surrounded by desert, and has a bus that gets to it precisely once a week from Jerusalem.

If she misses that bus (as does occasionally happen…) it’s a 5 hour round trip for me or my husband to drop her off.

But that’s not all: the school itself is well-meaning but SOOOO boring. There is no library, two extra-curricular classes (either pottery, or drama), no sports (they didn’t even have a sports teacher, the first two months) – and absolutely nothing to do to keep the girls occupied after classes are finished.

My daughter has been going slowly bonkers there for months, but decided to stick it out because she persuaded her best friend to go to that school too, and she felt super-guilty about leaving her in the lurch.

Then three months’ ago, Hashem did a miracle: The best friend flunked out of school, and her parents yanked her out and put in the local high school. With that problem resolved, my daughter was free to find another place.

Just one difficulty: every single school we applied to, that she was even remotely interested in, told us that they were full. By last week, with just two weeks’ to go, things were looking pretty desperate, and I had no idea where else to try.

Cue: the unexpected phone call from a new ulpana who mistakenly thought I’d tried to contact them. On the face of things, it didn’t sound so promising: The girls get up at 5.30am to go and work in the fields for a couple of hours before really starting the rest of their day.

Hmmmm.

My daughter is NOT a morning person. Still, the headmistress sounded so darned enthusiastic and plain nice, that I asked my daughter if she’d attend the open day, just to see. “Look, God arranged for them to phone me out of the blue,” I explained to her. “So maybe, this is the place!”

Silence.

But she agreed to go along to the open day that happened to be last Thursday. I risked a text mid-day, to ask her how it was going.

‘Good!’ came back the reply.

For the first time in months, I started to hope that maybe, just maybe, we’d found my daughter a school she could be happy in.

Long story short, my daughter came back glowing, so happy to have met girls on her wavelength, and willing to try crazy ideas like getting up at 5.30am to pick tomatoes…

The school accepted her formally this week, and for the first time in a year, I heard my daughter giggle again.

She hasn’t giggled for ages.

In the past, I’ve tried marathon prayer sessions to get things to move, school-wise , for my kids, and sometimes they’ve worked a treat. This time round, I didn’t have the energy to do that. But God showed me that He still cares, He was still looking out for my daughter, and He loves us anyway.

Even without a six hour hitbodedut, God still pulled the right string, to get my daughter into the right school, at the right time.

But if I want her to get up at 5.30am in the morning, something tells me that a bit more praying may still be in order.

?

> You can buy 49 Days: An Interactive Journal of Self-development on Amazon and on the Book Depository

Someone said to me the other day:

‘The real battle today, in terms of idol worship, is in healthcare. We’ve got a real fight on our hands to show people that they don’t have to rely on doctors and medicines.’

My friend is a frum Jew, very involved in trying to promote more awareness about the potential harm associated with vaccines, and is part of the more alternative health scene, with a focus on healthy eating.

But here’s the rub: the big ‘healthcare’ idol worship problem we’re up against isn’t only on the conventional side of things; it’s also very much alive and kicking in the alternative healthcare world, too – and in some ways, even more problematic.

Before I continue, here’s the definition of ‘idol worship’ that I’m working with, so we’re all nice and clear what the problem actually is:

Idol worship is any time a person thinks they can cut God out of the picture, and achieve some aim or get some benefit ‘under their own steam’.

So, if you’re sitting with a doctor or psychiatrist who’s telling you how the latest little designer pill is going to cure all your woes without any further input, effort, or prayer from you – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.

Or, if you’re sitting with some meditation guru, who’s telling you how saying ‘om’ and emptying your mind completely of all thought is going to cure all your woes (again, without any further input, effort or prayer from you) – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.

As you’re probably working out for yourselves, idol worship is currently happening all over the place, from your dentist, to your reflexologist, to your macrobiotic diet expert, to your OBGYN, to your acupuncturist and your pediatrician.

The world is full of health ‘experts’, alternative and mainstream, physical and mental, Jewish and otherwise, who are trying to tell you that they can cure you, heal you, make you better, while God is completely out of the picture.

But while conventional medicine is only messing things up at the level of the body, or the Nefesh, which is the lowest and most coarse of the five levels of our soul, many alternative practices work on the principles of energy medicine, which tap right into the higher levels of the soul, namely the Ruach and Neshama.

To put this a little more clearly, Western medicine can (and often does…) kill your body. Alternative medicine can (and often does…) kill your soul.

There are three ‘cardinal sins’ that a Jew is meant to die, instead of transgressing: murder, idol worship, and sexual immorality.

If ‘murder’ is what Western Medicine specializes this (and please read THIS if you think I’m being overly dramatic, here) – then the other two are definitely the professional reserve of the alternative health world.

When God is out of the picture, for example, then you start getting all sorts of just plain evil messages about health and happiness being directly connected to your reproductive organs. Louise Hay, founder of the alternative health empire Hay House, regularly advises people to pleasure themselves as a ‘release’.

Spiritually, wasting seed is probably the worst thing you can do, in terms of destroying the world and fuelling the forces of evil (if you don’t know why, THESE ARTICLES set the problem out, very clearly).

But when God is out of the picture – hey, what do you care?

Even yoga, that kosher pig of a discipline, is very focused on reproductive energy. There’s all this talk about harnessing something called ‘kundalini’ energy, which is described as being a very powerful, ‘snake-like’ energy, that’s coiled at the bottom of the spine.

Hmm. SNAKE-ENERGY, anyone? Am I the only one picking up this clue?

Yoga journals are replete with stories of regular yoga fans who got zapped by a massive dose of ‘snake-energy’ and never recovered their mental or physical health, as a result. This stuff is dangerous, because it’s working at a much higher level of the soul, but still disconnected from God.

Maybe, the rest of the world can handle it better because their souls don’t have the huge spiritual potential of a Jewish soul. But for Jews, when their healthcare gets disconnected from God, that’s a disaster.

Because (and here I’m going to shout, sorry) NOTHING IS NEUTRAL IN THE WORLD.

Either something and someone is attached to God, and coming from a good place, or they’re disconnected from God, and coming from a bad place.

I will write more on this separately, as I experienced something recently (well, quite a few things actually) that really brought this point home to me in a very clear way.

If you asked me what’s better: go Western, and risk killing the body, or go Eastern, and risk killing the soul – at this stage, I really don’t know what I’d suggest.

But one thing I can tell you for sure, even at this stage of trying to figure it all out: If you don’t put God in your own personal picture, your chances of staying happy, healthy and holy are pretty much zilch.

And if that doesn’t scare you into doing at least a little bit of hitbodedut, at least a little bit of the time, then I don’t know what will.

  • If you’d like to find out how to approach holistic healthcare in a spiritually-safe, authentically-Jewish way, pick up a copy of my book: Talk to God and Fix Your Health: The Real Reasons Why We Get Sick, and How to Stay Healthy, on Amazon, or the Book Depository.