Rebbe Nachman explains what happens when there is ‘war’ in the world.
***More updates, on how to legally refuse to wear a mask in Israel, below***
This is what he says (taken from the English translation ‘His Wisdom’, discourse 77):
The world is full of strife.
There are wars between the great world powers. There are conflicts within different localities. There are feuds among families. There is discord between neighbors. There is friction within a household, between man and wife, between parents and children.
Life is short.
People die every day. The day that has passed will never return, and death comes closer every day.
But people still fight and never once remember their goal in life.
All strife is identical.
The friction within a family is a counterpart of the wars between nations.
Each person in a household is the counterpart of a world power, and their quarrels are the wars between these powers.
The traits of each nation are also reflected in these individuals. Some nations are known for anger, others for blood-thirstiness. Each one has its particular trait. The counterparts of these traits are found in each household.
You may wish to live in peace. You have no desire for strife.
Still, you are forced into dispute and conflict.
Nations are the same.
A nation may desire peace and make many concessions to achieve it.
But no matter how much it tries to remain neutral, it can still be caught up in war.
Two opposing sides can demand its allegiance until it is drawn into war against its will.
The same is true in a household.
Man is a miniature world.
His essence contains the world and everything in it.
A man and his family contain the nations of the world, including all their battles.
A man living alone can become insane.
Within him are all the warring nations.
His personality is that of the victorious nation.
Each time a different nation is victorious, he must change completely, and this can drive him insane. He is alone, and cannot express the war within him.
But when one lives with others, these battles are expressed toward his family and friends.
There may be strife in the household of a Tzadik.
This too, is a war between nations.
It is also the war between the twelve tribes, such between Ephraim and Judah.
When the Moshiach comes, all wars will be abolished.
The world will have eternal peace, as it’s written (Isaiah 11:9): “They will neither hurt nor destroy…”
One of the main reasons I gravitated towards Breslov, 16 years ago, is because Rebbe Nachman was one of the rare ‘Rebbes’ who actually addressed the real problems of real people.
Yeah, sure, it’s great to hear all those pious discourses about overcoming anger – and Breslov also has a lot of practical advice on how to do things like that, too, like THIS – BUT.
Sometimes, there is way more hiding out ‘under the anger’ than just the mere fact that your middot suck, and you need to do some major work on yourself.
That’s where lessons like the one quoted above fill in a very valuable piece of the puzzle.
Sometimes, even when we don’t want to get into fights and strife, that happens anyway.
Especially, when the winds of war are blowing around in the world generally, and we are affected by them.
The last few days, I’ve certainly been experiencing these ‘winds of war’ in my personal dalet amot, in a very pointed fashion.
Yeah, sure, I also have bad middot and I still have a lot of work to do on overcoming my anger – but that’s ALWAYS the case.
What I’m saying, is that the ‘winds of war’ blowing around Ukraine are also showing up in our own lives right now, in a million different ways, and once we are aware of what’s going on, and why, it makes it much easier to approach these bust ups with the right perspective.
What’s the right perspective?
To know that Ein Od Milvado.
Like you, I hate when people have a go at me. Nobody likes being publically called out and shamed, and especially not in a public forum.
That’s just how God made us.
The last couple of days, Baruch Hashem, I’ve had a lot of that going on, both here on the blog, and also via email, and also – bizarrely – by the grave of Yehudah, the son of Yaakov Avinu.
Yesterday, I dragged my husband off to the grave of Yehuda, in the middle of the city of Yehud, because I felt an urgent need to just sit and pray quietly for a bit, somewhere holy and ‘away’ from Jerusalem.
Time to rebalance….time to reconnect to my neshama…time to take a breath and just get away from all the machloket for a bit….
Gveret, either put on a mask or get out.
I looked around to see a middle-aged guy sitting by the door, who had a mask over his mouth but under his nose, gesturing wildly to a pack of blue masks on a table.
I looked at my husband, he looked at me – and we decided to ignore him.
But the guy wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer.
He stood up and launched right into a bullying tirade about how I either needed to put on a mask, or get out. (There was just the three of us in the kever, with a few people outside, who it now seems to me had been ‘bullied out’ of there before we came.)
I continued to ignore him – mentally, I decided I’m just going to kiss the tomb, then go out and do my praying under a tree next to it.
But my husband, rational, kind person that he is, decided to try and reason with the guy, that it’s halachically forbidden to pray with a mask on (see update on this below) – and that anyway, there was no one else around and the grave, even though roofed, was practically outside.
Next thing I know, my husband and the guy almost came to blows.
After cursing me that my prayers would come to nothing, and telling us both that we were reshaim gemorim, the guy then decided he was going to lock us into the grave.
I’d been trying to ignore him, so I wasn’t aware of what he was trying to do until he’d closed one swing door, and was attempting to shut and bolt the other one.
At that point, my husband stuck his foot in the door, and they started having a physical push and shove over the door – and I got up and walked past them, totally amazed at what was going on.
Because while I’m a crazy psycho with Moroccan genes, my husband is totally not.
Long story short, somehow, once I got out, the guy got back into the kever – and I shut the door behind him, and locked it.
Just for 3 seconds.
Just to show him, that when you start threatening all sorts of horrible things against other people, God has a way of causing you to fall into your own trap.
And then I unlocked it, and went to sit under a tree to say some Tikkun Haklalis.
There was an older guy outside, a chassid, who had been watching all this happening, with consternation in his face.
After a minute, he went over to the kever and opened the door (we realised at that point that even without locking it, the guy was trapped in the kever, as that is how the door is made – you can’t open it from the inside.)
Then, he came over to my husband, and started trying to apologise for the guy’s behaviour.
He’s just worried about the Misrad HaBriut, he’s a good guy really, he told us.
There are cameras all over the place now, he’s just worried the Misrad HaBriut will shut the place down, if people aren’t wearing masks….
I didn’t know whether to believe him – I’ve been in plenty of kevers the last few months, all over Israel, where masks are really not a ‘thing’ at all – but I could see he was trying to make peace.
Ok, I said to myself.
I’ll go and apologise to ‘the Tzaddik of the kever’, it’s the right thing to do.
So I went over, said sorry – and then I could see in his face that the guy was totally unrepentant, totally uninterested in ‘making peace’, and just looking for another opportunity to continue telling us how ‘wrong’ we both were, just in more polite terms now.
My husband got more of the lecture than I did, poor guy.
But the older chassid seemed relieved we’d ‘made peace’ with the Tzaddik of the kever, so that was something.
In the car on the way back home, we were discussing what had happened, and whether there was something we could have done differently.
After doing some hitbodedut on it later on, I realised that the right thing to have done was to just get up and leave, and go outside to pray.
I was going to do that anyway, and I should have speeded that process up, because when you’re dealing with ‘tzaddikim’ like this, who are so convinced that their own view point (however faulty…) is the only one that matters, there is no point in arguing.
Then, I also remembered this teaching from Rabbenu, which helped to explain why everyone is so agitated at the moment, and why these ‘wars’ are erupting all over the place in our lives right now.
And the last thing I remembered, is that when you accept an insult with love, that wipes away all your sins.
I always have a lot of sins that need wiping away, and for sure, I was going to get ‘hit’ with a million mekatrigim for putting up R’Emden’s books on the site.
Did I accept all that guy’s insults with love?
On the plus side, I didn’t insult him back, and I only said to him (with maximum sarcasm) ezer Tzaddik!!! a couple of times.
I also didn’t curse him in my heart, or wish bad things on him before, during or after our visit – which for me, is a big deal.
And I went over to apologise – and I bit back the urge to say ezer Tzaddik!!! again, when he pointedly refused to apologise back for what he’d done to us, after telling me he wasn’t being makpid.
On the minus side, I DID lock him in the grave.
But only for three seconds.
So, I don’t know if it really counts, as an ‘accepting the insult with love’ event.
The world is very tense right now.
Everyone is frustrated, up-tight, angry, worried, scared.
Most people are just waiting for some poor ‘victim’ to come along, that they can take all their frustrations out against, whilst hiding behind noble excuses and rational reasons for why they just had to try and lock some people into a kever, for the ‘crime’ of not wearing a mask…
But ultimately, Ein Od Milvado.
Even the psychos are just from Hashem, and everything that happens to us – and to me – is totally, 100% deserved, and actually a deep discount on what I should really be getting.
When I remind myself of that, I feel better again.
And probably, I have more of this stuff waiting in the wings, because I’m not done yet, with sharing important information about how and when our Jewish community was hijacked by Frankist-Freemasons, and how their spiritual descendants are still corrupting everything around us today.
I can’t stop myself from getting angry, at least, not always, and apparently not at the moment.
But I can always do some hitbodedut, introspect, figure out where there is room for improvement, and apologise.
And guess what?
So can you.
HERE’S WHAT THE RAV SAID ABOUT WAR IN UKRAINE, FROM THUR NITE:
(Translated from page 31 of the Shivivei Or Newsletter, number 250):
Now, they announced that Putin is not going to war. This morning, they announced that he met with the president of France, and that he calmed him down, because it looks like he got out of bed on the wrong side, because he doesn’t do an hour of hitbodedut, so he has nothing to calm him down.
And the French president appeased him, to the point where he said, ok, the soldiers will stay there for another month, to show that I am a gibbur (figuratively, ‘a guy you don’t mess with’) – but I’ve already backed down from the idea of having a war.
Today, this morning, they announced already that no [there won’t be a war….]
Those who are in Uman, they need to be told that they should be calm, and that they don’t need to prepare food, and they don’t need to leave Uman, and that it’s possible to travel to Uman quietly.
He [Putin] announced to [unclear], and also had a conversation with the German Chancellor – he also met him, and he said to him, what, do you want another Shoah?! What, to kill another another few tens of thousands of people, for what?! Because you got out of the wrong side of the bed? What’s the matter with you?!
The nations of the world are bored. They don’t have the Gemara, and they don’t have dancing, and they don’t have singing.
Just to add, that dancing and singing and learning Torah are key ways the Rav and Rabbenu explain change and sweeten the harsh judgments in the world.
Apparently, I misheard what my husband was saying about wearing masks while praying being against the halacha, but maybe that’s a good thing, because now I had to go and see if there are sources for saying that, while I was updating the article.
I went back to R Chananya Weissman, to ask him if that concept is something I totally made up, or if I had actually seen something that said that.
Here is what he kindly sent me:
- This snippet from an interview he did HERE with an Italian journalist:
Last question: what does the Torah in regard to closures and masks?
I refer you to some of my articles on the topic and I’ll be happy to clarify any point, if necessary:
There is also a lot more in this regard, and offered as a contribution from other rabbis.
I quote here from an e-mail that someone has shared with me, and that was not attributed:
“The masks are associated with the idolatry in the ancient jewish sources.
The Torah urges us to refrain from any practice that has the slightest connection with idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:26 and elsewhere). The Code of jewish Law does not recognize the masks as a garment that is acceptable. (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 301:20. Shabbos 66a; Ref ibid 30b. Or Zarua Hilchos Shabbos 84).
The masks symbolize division and separation from God.
Likutei Torah of Rabbi Isaac Luria says that there is no garment to the mouth or nose. Similarly, Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch writes in Sefer Maamorim 5665, that there is a garment for the mouth. Rabbi Moses Cordovero writes in Tomer Devorah the mouth and the nose must always remain uncovered, in the likeness of the Divine.
The Jewish law does not permit to undergo the hardship or oppression of the breathing, in the name of a supposed public benefit, because the ‘public health’ is not a value in the Torah (discussed at length in one of the articles that I mentioned above).
And also this:
From the blog of R Michoel Green. Snippet (but go read the whole thing, as he brings a lot of Torah sources in the footnotes there:)
2) It is forbidden to wear a mask during prayer.  It is not appropriate to stand before a king wearing a mask on one’s face. How much more so before the King of kings, the Holy One blessed be He.
 Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch in a recent responsum.
See also Rabbi Daniel Green’s recent article:
“Orach Chayaim 91:5, that one must be dressed during prayer as one would while greeting dignitaries. Wearing gloves, alternatively, is prohibited (S.A. Admur Hazokein, based on the Bach and Magein Avraham). See Piskei Teshuvos Ibid., that this prohibition includes wearing pajamas (as per Mishna Berura Ibid. s.k 11), work clothes for laborers or hospital staff, etc., which would normally not be worn while entertaining important guests, and that even a scarf during cold weather should be avoided during the Shmone Esrei itself (as cited in footnote 40, quoting Imrei Emes Likutim pg. 118, in the name of the Sfas Emes and Chidushei Harim, and Zachor L’avraham chapter 7 ois 19, that the Toldos Aharon was unhappy when a healthy person prayed wrapped in a scarf.”
Furthermore, one is prohibited from praying whilst holding a load that isn’t for the purpose of prayer.  A mask is a load according to halacha.
18] Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 96:1.
Here’s the secular law in Israel, on claiming the right to NOT have to wear a mask, from HERE.
The Ministry of Health’s own site: https://www.gov.il/he/departments/general/pwd_exemption_mask_corona
No Certificate Required:
The law does not require any certificate, document, or other proof of one’s inability to wear a mask. All that is required is for the individual to say that he is exempt.
The Minister of Health, Nitzan Horowitz was asked to explain this point in the Knesset on 28/7/21.
“Indeed, the law has defined an exception that a person due to mental, intellectual or medical disabilities significantly has difficulty wearing a mask, or is prevented from doing so due to his disability that is supposed to cover the mouth and nose, he will be exempt from the mask obligation. The thing is, the law does not define how this exception is made in practice, simply giving an exemption.
Therefore, the wording of the regulation – I can tell you this clearly – does not impose an obligation to present a certificate for the purpose of the exemption and therefore the same person can also verbally claim his right to explain the situation. We will refine this situation among law enforcement agencies so that they know. If you want, you can also ask for a note from a doctor or a letter, if you want, but it is not mandatory.”
So, basically anyone who tries to force you to wear a mask after you say ‘ani pator’ is BREAKING THE SECULAR LAW.
Now, how does this piece of information start to change the picture?
Here’s how you say it legally, in the Hebrew:
When asked to put on you mask you don’t have to explain why, simply say “אני פטור על פי חוק יש לי קושי משמעותי”
Ani patoor(a) al pi hok. Yesh li koshi mashmaoti.
Please, someone out there print some T-shirts with this on it….
Hey, that website also has some stickers to download and print off, here:
I think I’ll pull this stuff out in a separate post tomorrow, just to make sure everyone sees it.
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