Secular Israel’s War against the Chareidim.
I find myself doing a lot of research at the moment, into the shockingly anti-semitic attitudes of so many of the secular Jews in Israel. It’s impossible to understand how the State of Israel’s judiciary, police force and media could mobilize to conduct a totally false witch hunt against rabbinic leaders like Rabbi Berland unless you have the proper historic context.
So much of that context has been hidden away in Hebrew, but the last 70 years of secular life in Israel is littered with the sort of vile anti-semitism that makes that recent cartoon in the New York Times look like a tame joke. For decades, Israeli newspapers were filled with cartoons – drawn by Jews – showing grotesque chareidi men literally drinking the blood of the secular Jew in Israel.
I am trying to track more of this stuff down, as there’s a white-wash going on to make it much harder for this generation to figure out what’s really going on, here. But the video, below, with English subtitles, does an excellent job of introducing the subject, and providing more of the context of the ‘war against the Chareidim’ that has been raging in Israel for many decades.
It’s a war that’s been fought by secular politicians, by the courts, and above all, by the media.
The short clip below begins with the instruction manual for the Shomer HaTzair youth group, for how to pull religious youngsters who had just arrived in Israel away from their belief in God. My father was one of those Moroccan teenagers that experienced this treatment. The anti-religious, anti-Sephardi Ashkenazi establishment in Israel literally ruined his life, and caused him to flee the country 45 years ago.
The story of what happened to the Yemenite Jews, and the Yemenite children, also fit firmly into this picture. And the persecution of Rabbi Berland is just the latest in a very long line of atrocities that the secular establishment in Israel has perpetrated against religious Jews of all denominations over the last 70+ years.
This clip is 11 minutes long, and it makes very important – albeit very disturbing – viewing.
The media in Israel has been brainwashing us all for decades that the chareidim are sub-human, poisoning Israeli society to death, and about to ‘take over’ and turn us into a Jewish Iran.
If you look carefully, you will hear the same words being echoed and re-echoed at you again and again by the media in Israel. I’m working on a much more detailed expose of what’s really going on, but even today, the Israeli media is leading the charge against religion and religious Jews.
And a lot of people are literally losing their souls and the world-to-come by believing the media’s lies, most notably with the Rabbi Berland affair.
Around three years ago, a new face appeared amongst Jerusalem’s ‘bag men’.
Those people who sleep rough in the Holy City. This new face stood out, because it belonged to a fairly young man who began his journey into madness and destitution wearing Nike trainers and looking like a male model. It happens not infrequently that some visitors to the Holy City, especially younger men, spend a night or two sleeping rough on one of the benches dotted around.
Usually, they’ve run out of money before the plane home, although sometimes, it can also happen to people who live here more permanently. The crime rate is so low, even in a big city like Jerusalem, and the weather for 7-8 months a year is so warm, that sleeping outside on a bench is not a terrible option.
So, the first few weeks I saw this young man asleep on a bench, I figured he was a student, a backpacker, a tourist, who’d run out of cash and was just waiting for his plane home.
He had a large knitted kippa on his head, and a straggly beard together with his long blonde hair, so I had him pegged as a new baal teshuva from America, or some place similar.
Maybe, he’s found God and his parents back home are upset and have cut off the funding…
That’s what I thought, the first few weeks I saw him sleeping rough.
Then, he went off the radar for a while, and I forgot all about him.
A year later, I saw him again – and this time, he was wearing an outfit made entirely of black bin bags, that he’d turned into some sort of suit. He even had bin bags wrapped, and wrapped again, around his feet, like a cheap copy of the shoes worn by mine zappers.
The beard was longer, and there was a wild look in his eyes that signaled that the madness had completely taken over, and dragged him down to that place of searching trash cans for the recyclable bottles that were going to buy him a meal.
I felt so sorry for him.
But what could I do? Honestly, he looked a bit scary at that point, and I wasn’t so close to him, to go over to try and speak to him or give him some money. And he wasn’t asking for money – if anything, he was giving off a mad, proud vibe that he was some sort of independent hunter-gatherer, spearing one old coke bottle after another, for supper.
No-one should get in the way!!!
That’s the vibe I got, as he stalked over to one trash can after another, a look of intense concentration on his face.
The next time I saw him, I was in the car and he was speed walking along the pavement by the trempiada leading out Jerusalem. Again, he had that fixed, mad determined look on his face, in a rush to get somewhere fast. His clothes had deteriorated even more – he was wearing some sort of loin cloth made of supermarket plastic, and another plastic bag on his head that he’d fashioned into some sort of head-covering.
The bags on his feet were gone, and with his long blonde hair and beard, he looked for all the world like the poster boy for an ecological apocalypse.
My heart went out to him. I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t pull over, but I decided there and then, next time I see him, I am going to buy him some clothes.
The next time I saw him was yesterday, almost a year later.
He was walking along the road by the French Hospice that leads onto Tzahal Plaza¸then on again to the Old City. Thank God, he was wearing real clothes, and even a pair of real sneakers, that were ripped at the sides but still functional.
The bag on his head had been replaced by a big knitted kippa, but the fixed, determined madness still shone out of his face, and he still walked fast.
This mad, homeless man was always in a perpetual rush to get somewhere else.
It took me a few second to figure out who he was as he passed by, but then I realized it was the man I’d promised to buy clothes for. I fumbled in my purse for some money, saw that I had 20 shekels I could give, as an opening gambit, and ran after him.
As I got close to him, I made the mistake of calling out hey! I’ve got some money I want to give you!
For a moment, I forgot he was mad. I forgot he’d been living rough for three years. I forgot that people only go mad like that in the first place when they’ve been through unspeakable things in their childhood.
First he cowered away from me, like I was going to attack him. Then he half-pushed / half-slapped me away, and sped walked off.
It didn’t hurt.
Mad as he was, he was still pretty gentle. He could have punched much, much harder, but he didn’t. He just didn’t have the words to tell me to leave him alone, and it was very clear that he wanted me to leave him alone.
He didn’t want money, he didn’t want my concern, he didn’t want any offers to buy a new pair of pants. He was off, searching for truth, searching for God, running away from who-knows-what, and he didn’t want anyone getting in the way.
I sighed a deep sigh, stuffed my money back in my purse, and walked off in the other direction.
I can’t help him. He’s so far gone, no-one can help him. Only God can help him.
And let’s be clear, God is helping him, because he’s totally out of this world, and yet he must still be finding food, and a place to sleep and even a place to shower every day, because he looked clean and didn’t smell bad at all.
And then I thought of all the other people out there struggling with such enormous problems, and the poor, mad person came to personify our poor, battered nation.
We’re all in such a rush, rush, rush today, and we have no idea why. No-one can talk to us, no-one can offer us help. Even when our Tzaddikim rush after us with bounty and blessings in their hands, we attack them and push them away.
Leave us alone! We know what we’re doing! We know where we’re going! We don’t need help from anyone!
The same madness that is propelling this man from trash can to endless trash can is weaving its pernicious spells around us, too. We’re so busy dumpster-diving, trying to come up with a new deal, a new client, a new business, a new project, a new holiday, we have no time to stop and to really think.
What is all this for? Where is all this going? What is the point, really?
Not for the first time, God showed me that I can’t solve other people’s problems.
All I can do is pray.
Rebbe Nachman explains the difference between Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben David
Over Shabbat, I was reading one of Rebbe Nachman’s stories, which I realized is describing the difference between Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben David. I’m bringing an abridged version of it below, together with the commentary that goes together with it from Rav Natan, and from Likutey Moharan I:20 [in bold, square brackets]. My own comments will be underlined.
New Stories: #209 in Tzaddik, by the Breslov Research Institute
The beginning of the Summer, 5564 (1804). The Rebbe said: I will tell you what I saw. And you tell your children.
There was someone lying on the ground and around him people were sitting in a circle.
This is Moshiach ben Yosef.
Around this circle was another circle. And around that circle was another circle, and so on – many circles. Then around them were sitting more people in no particular order. The circles contain Moshiach ben Yosef’s followers.
The one who was sitting in the middle – he was leaning on his side – was moving his lips and all those around him were moving their lips after him.
[This refers to teaching / learning Torah – this soul is the source of all the Torah explanations.]
After this, I looked and he was not sitting there – the one in the middle, that is. And all those sitting around stopped moving their lips. I asked, “What is this?” They answered me that he had become cold and had expired and he had stopped speaking.
After this, they started to run, and I ran after them. I saw two palaces – very fine, beautiful buildings. Sitting there were two commanders. They all ran to these two commanders and started arguing with them.
[This refers to the concept of machloket and controversy – the opposition which is aroused against the Tzaddikim when the power to draw forth Torah explanations is withdrawn.]
“Why did you deceive us?” They wanted to kill them.
The followers of the original Moshiach ben Yosef are very unhappy that they didn’t actually get Moshiach / geula, in the end. Rebbe Nachman now explains the spiritual reasons for this, by way of a parable.
The commanders fled outside. I saw them, and their nature was very good in my eyes. I ran after them and I saw in the distance a beautiful tent. From there they cried out to the commanders: “Turn back and seek out all the merits you have and take them in your hands and go to the light which is hanging there. There you will accomplish everything you want.”
They turned back and took their merits – i.e. all their mitzvahs – there were bundles of merits there – and they ran to the light. I ran after them and saw a gleaming light suspended in the air. The commanders came and threw their merits to the light.
[They mentioned their merits and good deeds, and tried to get the geula that way.]
From the light, sparks fell into their mouths. Then the NoR, lamp, turned into a NahaR, river, and everybody drank from the river, and creatures were formed inside them. When they started to speak the creatures came out of them and I saw them running and returning. They were neither men nor any kind of animal – just creatures.
[These creatures are angels, who get their strength from Edom, who has been appointed over all the punishments of the wicked.]
After this they decided to go back to their place.
This is referring to Eretz Yisrael / Beit HaMikdash / the state of spiritual purity that existed at the time of the Garden of Eden, and which will exist again in the world-to-come.
But they said: “How can we go back to our place?” Somebody said: “We should sent to the one who stands there holding a sword which reaches from heaven to earth.”
[This is a reference to the angel of Edom, Esav’s angel, aka the Samech Mem himself.]
Edom, i.e. the West / Christianity is what’s stopping the Jews from returning to Israel en masse and rebuilding the Bet HaMikdash, and also has the ‘power’ the Jewish people requires to punish and subdue the wicked.
They said: “Who should we send?” They thought they should send for the creatures, and the creatures went there. I ran after them and I saw him. He was terrifying. His stature reached from the heaven to the earth. In his hand was a sword reaching from heaven to earth. It had many blades.
One of them was sharp – this was for killing. One of them was for poverty, one of them for weakness. There were also many other blades for other punishments.
They started pleading: “All this long time we have been suffering at your hands. Now help us and bring us to our place.” He said: “I cannot help you.” They pleaded: “Give us the blade for death and we’ll kill them.” But he didn’t want to. They asked for a different blade, but he did not want to give them a single blade.
[He didn’t want to help them to subdue the wicked people, because of the mistake they made by trying to ‘force’ the geula via good deeds etc, instead of breaking their hearts, begging and entreating Hashem to bring it.]
They went back.
Either back to ‘normal’ life, forgetting all about Moshiach / geula, or back to their bad habits before they made teshuva as a result of learning the Moshiach ben Yosef’s Torah teachings.
In the meantime, there was an order to kill the commanders, and they cut off their heads.
[The ‘head’ can refer to daat, internalized spiritual knowledge, as well as the more obvious connotation as the ‘head’ of a particular movement or group.]
Meanwhile, the sequence of event returned to what it had been before – namely that someone was lying in the ground surrounded by circles of people, and so on.
This is now referring to Moshiach ben David, and his followers.
They ran to the commanders – everything happened as described before – except that now I saw that the commanders did not throw their merits to the light. They simply took their merits and went to the light and broke their hearts i.e. did some hitbodedut, which Rebbe Nachman frequently characterizes as spending an hour being broken-hearted before Hashem, while you do a cheshbon hanefesh and acknowledge your faults, flaws and errors.
And they began to beg and make entreaties before the light- another reference to praying – and sparks fell from the light into their mouths. They entreated more and the light turned into a river, and the creatures were formed etc.
They told me, “These ones will live” – i.e. Moshiach ben David and his followers will actually make it through to geula and the world to come – because the first ones deserved to be killed for throwing their merits to the light and not making entreaties like these latter ones. I didn’t know what this meant.
They said to me: “Go into that room and they will tell you the explanation of this.” I went and there sat an old man. I asked him about the matter. He took his beard in his hand and said to me: “My beard is the explanation of what happened.” I still don’t know,” I said. “Go to that room,” he replied, “and there you will find the explanation.”
I went there and saw a room infinitely long and broad, entirely filled with writings. Wherever I opened I saw the explanation of the story.
[This vision is connected to Lesson 20 in Likutey Moharan Part 1.]
HERE IS SOME OF WHAT REBBE NACHMAN WRITES IN LESSON 1:20:
“When one prays before giving over a [Torah] lecture, one must pray with supplication, begging God for gratis instead of asking for one’s due….
“But Moses [i.e. the redeemer / Moshiach ben Yosef] did not do this. He rather cited his own goodness and righteousness…as one who grabs something forcefully and without consent, for he sought in the power of his good deeds….
“…whoever tries to ‘force the moment’ (literally, ‘pressures time’) – the ‘time’ pressures him, causing one to die before one’s time. [This is why Moshiach ben Yosef died ‘prematurely’, before the job of bringing the geula was completed.] For this reason, one should never pressure oneself for anything, but beg with supplication. If God grants it, good, and if not, not.”
Next, Rabbenu turns to the subject of attaining the Land of Israel.
“[T]he land of Israel is one of the three things that can only be attained through suffering (Brachot 5a) and the main suffering is the obstacles of the wicked, who slander the land. These wicked must first be subdued with a sword and death, and only then can one enter the Land of Israel.
“However, the power to punish the wicked can only be acquired from the power of Edom, for that is his power, as in: “You will live by your sword” (Genesis 27:40), and he draws sustenance from the astrological sign of Mars. [Which is related to bloodshed and war, and the Jewish month of Nisan – the month of redemption.]”
Rebbe Nachman now explains that the Angels which can defeat and kill the wicked are formed from the original Torah insights of the Tzaddik / Moshiach ben Yosef / Moshiach ben David.
But, when the Tzaddik’s followers don’t put an emphasis on personal holiness – i.e. guarding the brit, guarding the eyes, modest behavior and dress – these Angels then lack the power to actually destroy the wicked people who are slandering the Land of Israel.
Depending on how ‘weak’ these angels become, in descending order:
They can’t kill them; then they can’t punish and intimidate them; then they can’t rouse the nations of the world against them; then they can’t even silence them from speaking evil in our presence “so that their words do not enter the ears of the masses. And sometimes even this power they lack – all according to the degree of holiness that is lacking.”
Rabbenu then goes on to explain that the lack of personal holiness amongst the Jews is the main thing empowering the wicked people who are slandering the land, and preventing the Jews from returning to the Land of Israel.
Moshiach ben David succeeds where Moshiach ben Yosef failed, because he prays before he gives over his Torah lessons, and he focuses on increasing personal holiness amongst his followers, not just doing more good deeds and mitzvahs.
Rebbe Nachman then explains the nine rectifications of the beard, and how they lead to the Land of Israel, as follows:
- Take the staff – this refers to the Tzaddik’s Torah lectures that he gives over to his followers. This Torah has to be drawn with prayer, not with ‘force’, in order for the rest of the process to work.
- ‘Gather the people together’ – to subdue the evil elements the community contains.
- ‘Speak to the rock with supplications’ and prayers – this refers to the need to have yirat shemayim, or Fear of Hashem.
- ‘In their presence’, to bond with them – the Tzaddik’s soul has to become ‘bound up’ with his followers / the Jewish people.
- To draw fiery words – actually an allusion to drawing down Divine mercy on the Jewish people.
- To draw Torah – the Tzaddikim are judged to a hairsbreadth, and if they are blemished in some way, they can no longer draw the Torah required to bring geula.
- To create angels.
- To receive power from Edom to subdue the enemies / wicked who are slandering the Land of Israel.
- To enter the Land of Israel.
If any of these steps are missing, we can’t ‘enter the Land of Israel’ / truly get to the geula shleima.
(If you want more insights into the very deep concepts being brought in this story, take a look at Day 3 of Rebbe Nachman’s tale of the Seven Beggars. The ‘heart of the world’ also seems to be refering to Moshiach ben Yosef and his followers.)
Moshiach ben Yosef failed to bring geula, because the emphasis was on stressing how many mitzvoth and good deeds were going on, as opposed to praying heartbroken prayers that God should bring the geula, as a free gift. Trying to force the issue just led to the Moshiach ben Yosef dying prematurely, leaving his movement without a ‘head’, i.e. a real direction, or daat, internalized spiritual knowledge of what to do next.
Hopefully, Moshiach ben David will have more success.
These things are so awesomely deep, there are so many spiritual rectifications going on. It’s totally beyond us to understand what’s really happening by ourselves, and only our true Torah sources and real rabbis can guide us in the right direction.
Why ‘aliyah bullying’ is just a massive red herring.
For most of us who live in places where Chabad has a presence, we’ve got used to their ubiquitous little tables set up with tefillin, and the inspiring way they encourage so many Jews who otherwise wouldn’t give the mitzvah of laying tefillin a second thought, as they run around their busy lives.
Come rain or shine, those Chabad shlichim don’t miss an opportunity to call Jews over to them on the street, and ask them if they’d like to lay tefillin.
Let me ask you something:
Is that ‘tefillin bullying’?
I mean, there are 613 mitzvahs, and not everyone is going to have the privilege of doing all of them in one lifetime. Surely, when the Chabad shlichim are coaxing people to spend a few precious moment connecting to God, and putting God’s mitzvah of laying tefillin ahead of what they themselves wanted to be doing at that precise moment, that is a good thing, isn’t it?
Let’s explore another example.
Say, we have a guy who doesn’t eat kosher. Say, that guy has a ‘religious’ sister who is trying to encourage him to swear off the pork, and to only eat kosher meat. Let’s eavesdrop on that conversation, a little:
Sister: You know, my dear brother, every time you eat another rasher of bacon, it’s disconnecting you from God and doing terrible damage to your soul. You are such a refined Jewish neshama! Eating pork products is so beneath you, sweet brother. And also, God doesn’t like it very much.
Brother: I find your comment to be kosher bullying. You telling me that God doesn’t like it when I eat pork doesn’t help me to feel good about myself as a Jew, and it doesn’t help anyone.
Do we agree with him?
What about the Jewish boy who is seriously dating that nice, non-Jewish girlfriend? His mother realizes that things are getting serious, and arranges to have a last-ditch talk with him:
Mother: I know I didn’t raise you right, I know I didn’t take the Torah seriously, I know I put what was easy and comfortable for myself ahead of what God really wanted me to do, and how He really wanted me to live, as a Jew – but please, I’m begging you, don’t marry that girl! It’ll devastate me, and end 3,000 years of Jewish continuity, because your kids won’t be Jewish!
Son: Mother, I feel intimidated by these kind of comments. I’m fed up with all your nonsense about your grandchildren not being Jewish. I’m standing up for my rights to live exactly how I want. There are many, varied reasons why I just couldn’t find a Jewish girl to date, and at this stage, I don’t believe I need to.
[Mother bursts into heart-wrenching sobs].
Son (increasingly defensive…): I’m just defending my right to live my life and not be attacked because I can’t just break up with the woman I love and marry someone Jewish instead. Well done to you, mother, that you married a Jew, but spare a thought for those who have tried and failed to find a Jewish spouse. I had to date outside the faith just to get a girlfriend, and I have other Jewish friends who won’t even consider marrying a Jew now, because it was so hard for them on the Jewish dating scene.
Is this “don’t marry out” bullying?
And if the answer is ‘yes’, is that a bad thing?
If something is a mitzvah, if something is a Torah commandment, then surely we should be encouraging other Jews to do it, with all our strength? Part of the reason I’m so in awe of my local Chabad shlichim here in Jerusalem is that they are actively encouraging Jews to do mitzvahs every single day.
Come listen to the Purim Megillah!
Come join us for the Pesach Seder!
Come participate in Kaparot, come listen to a lecture on the Tanya, come give some tzedaka to build our new shul!
Do I have the wrong end of the stick here?
Instead of thinking how awesomely inspiring it is that they are constantly encouraging me to move out of my comfort zone, and to move past my laziness and apathy and yeoush and disinterest, I should be accusing them of mitzvah bullying, instead?
That doesn’t sound right to me.
Everyone has their reasons why certain mitzvahs are hard for them. For example, the mitzvah of covering my hair as a married woman is really, really hard for me. It was so hard for me, I didn’t do it for the first eight years I was married.
But that doesn’t meant that I started justifying what I was doing to myself, and explaining how my ‘mission’ in life didn’t include covering my hair, or how my big, important job working for the British government meant I had a free pass on covering my hair.
I didn’t cover my hair because I wasn’t sufficiently motivated to cover my hair, and my personal circumstances, outlook, work (and crazy, crazy big hair!) all made it very difficult to do.
But I still acknowledged I was in the wrong, and that God really did want me to cover my hair.
And, I was still very impressed by my friends and acquaintances who were covering their hair full-time, because I knew how much inner strength and determination that required.
So what changed?
Things changed when we finally got to Israel, and my parnassa hit the skids, and I started to realise that me not covering my hair – as well as a whole bunch of other ‘little’ things, like not benching after bread, and wearing jeans, and going to the movies – actually had some serious spiritual consequences, and was causing me a lot of issues in my actual day-to-day life.
I started covering my hair with such a bad grace – but my shalom bayit picked up instantly, and my parnassa also rebounded (not immediately. God likes to maintain something of an illusion with these things, to preserve our free choice.)
So now, I happily choose to cover my (still crazy….) hair, not because I like the mitzvah, not because it’s easy – it’s still so very, very hard, and I’ll post about all that another time – but because:
I realized this is what God wants.
And that doing what God wants makes my life so much easier and nicer.
There are certain spiritual rules God put in place for how He wants Jews to live, and how Jews can best maximize their spiritual potential. Sadly, plenty of Jews today don’t even know about these spiritual rules, and the mitzvoth that they are clothed in.
The fewer of these ‘rules’ a Jew operates by, the more difficult, stressful and challenging their lives inevitably will be.
So let’s ask this again, is it right to ‘lecture’ other Jews about doing mitzvoth?
That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? When people put out memes with “love your fellow Jew as yourself”, is that considered ‘lecturing’? How about if they share a shiur on avoiding sinat chinam and lashon hara?
Is that considered ‘lecturing’?
Couldn’t every single one of us turn around and say something like:
Nice for you, that you’re managing to avoid slandering people all the time and hating other Jews who are different, but some of us just couldn’t get there, hard as we tried. Some of didn’t have the strength to avoid participating in all the juicy gossip on Facebook. Some of us just couldn’t continue seeing the good in other people, some of us just had way too many bad middot to overcome to have the energy to start working on our own sinat chinam, even though we know deep down that’s preventing the geula and causing us so much suffering in our own lives.
But God is surely going to save me, despite all my bad middot and unrepentant aveirot! I don’t doubt that for a moment!
Couldn’t we all make that same argument about every mitzvah we find hard, and that we don’t really want to do?
And then what? Where does reward and punishment fit into this picture?
If a Jew can do anything they want, pick and choose their mitzvahs, then state that for sure, God is going to reward them exactly the same regardless of the mitzvahs they’re actually striving to do, or are saying they are ‘exempt’ from doing, that totally negates the concept of reward and punishment.
This is Judaism 101. This comes from Jewishvirtuallibrary.org:
The doctrine of reward and punishment is central to Judaism throughout the ages; that man receives his just reward for his good deeds and just retribution for his transgressions is the very basis of the conception of both human and divine justice.
Rambam states in the 11th of the 13 Principles of Faith that:
“God gives reward to he who does the commandments of the Torah and punishes those that transgress its admonishments and warnings. And the great reward is the life of the world to come; and the punishment is the cutting off of the soul [in the world to come]. And we already said regarding this topic what these are. And the verse that attests to this principle is (Exodus 32) “And now if You would but forgive their sins – and if not erase me from this book that You have written.” And God answered him, “He who sinned against Me I will erase from My book.” This is a proof that God knows the sinner and the fulfiller in order to mete out reward to one, and punishment to the other.”
Can you see the problem, here?
Moving to Israel is a mitzvah. (I know there are apparently ‘frum’ people who are so confused they are even doubting that, so please take a look at the daas Torah in this post, Deconstructing Aliyah, which sets out a whole bunch of real, actual Torah sources on the subject, if you’d like a change from all the ‘daas me‘ flying around the internet.)
So, if we’re going to start accusing other people of ‘aliyah bullying’ then we have to be consistent, and also start accusing other people of ‘kosher bullying’ and ‘tefillin bullying’ and ‘not marrying out’ bullying too, because as you can hopefully see for yourself, the same arguments are effectively playing out in each of these arenas.
It’s always hard to keep mitzvahs, in some ways. God expects us to keep striving out of comfort zone, to keep trying to give Him what He wants, and to not give up on the mitzvoth even when we can’t quite reach them.
I have so many mitzvoth I’m still struggling with, not least my own problems with lashon hara and anger.
I could turn around and give God a bunch of excuses why I still flip out and go ballistic – and they’d all be true! But that doesn’t change the picture that God says that getting angry is a very bad thing, and that He wants me to carry on working on it, until 120.
Sure, I can justify my bad behavior all I want.
But that doesn’t change the fact that God wants me to do better, and He wants me to get Him involved in really solving the issue.
So unless we’re also going to start accusing God of being a “good middot bully”, or a “keeping the Torah bully”, it seems to me this whole ‘aliyah bullying’ idea is really just a massive red herring.
How Eliezer ben Etia – aka Rabbi Berland – predicted the Colombo attacks.
Over on RavBerland.com, they just posted up a video with English subtitles where you can clearly here Rabbi Berland talking about Colombo, Sri Lanka, and urging his followers to fly out there, for two weeks prior to the attacks.
You can see the video for yourself, below:
After the attack occurred on April 21, 2019, the Rav said it was meant to have taken place in Jerusalem, but the plans got switched at the last minute. We can see that the prayer gathering definitely had some impact, baruch Hashem.
Now, I have a question for you:
Can you help me arrange a book tour?
I am trying to arrange a book tour in Israel for One in a Generation Volume 2, where I’ll explain the whole story (kind of…) and answer any questions from the audience, and where the book will be available to buy, too.
I’m happy to speak in front of any and all women only audiences, for free, so if you’d like to host something in your area, please do get in touch and let’s discuss.
I have a feeling that things are about to start moving, in a whole bunch of ways. So buckle your seatbelts, and stay close to the true tzaddikim who can really see what’s coming down the pipe, and who can really help us to dodge it.
UPDATE on Eliezer ben Etia:
See this post:
Rebbe Nachman spoke a great deal about the lofty spiritual level of the land of Israel.
After I wrote Rebbe Nachman on making aliyah to Israel, Rachel wanted to know where Rebbe Nachman specifically praised the greatness of the land. So here that passage is, in all its glory:
(It comes from #141 in Tzaddik, published by the Breslov Research Institute):
The Lesson “Nine Tikkunim” in Likutey Moharan, I, 20 speaks at length about the greatness of the Land of Israel and how the real victory in the war comes when we succeed in reaching there. When the Rebbe actually taught this lesson he started it by speaking about the Land of Israel, saying:
“Whoever wants to be a Jew – which means going from level to level – can only succeed through the Land of Israel.
“When he wins the war he is a called a ‘man of war’ but not before. For ‘let not the one who is putting on his armor boast like the one who is taking it off (I Kings 20:11).’ Only after winning is he called a ‘man of war’.”….
After he finished the lesson, when we were talking, I asked him: “What did you mean when you said that the Land of Israel is so great that this is the main victory?”
He took me to task for this and said: “I meant Israel quite literally with its houses and apartments” – i.e. in all his emphasis on the greatness of the Land of Israel, he meant quite literally the Israel Jews go to.
He wanted every Jew who wished to be a true Jew to go to Israel.
This is what inspired and encouraged me more than anything to overcome the innumerable difficulties I myself had and break through everything to get to Israel. Thank God for helping me to break through the obstacles and get there and back safely…
With regard to the main victory being getting to Israel in spite of the difficulties, there was a time when the Rebbe was speaking about the tremendous obstacles and danger he faced in Istanbul and the rest of his journey to Israel. He then said to us that we would be able to get to Israel easily – as if to say that we would not have to face obstacles and dangers like the ones he endured.
But we should still be prepared to suffer and undergo hardship in order to get there, because Israel is one of the three things attained through suffering.
Once, the Rebbe said there are people who imagine they have a great longing to go to Israel, but only if they can travel comfortably, not with discomfort and suffering. This is not perfect desire. Someone who wants to reach Israel should go there even if he has to travel on foot.
As always, Rabbenu sums things up in a very clear fashion. Making aliyah is by no means an easy thing, or a ‘no-brainer’, even with the growing impetus for Jews to run away from the economic, social and anti-semitic fires burning all over the world. It requires an awful lot of mesirut nefesh, and awful lot of self-sacrifice across so many levels.
Moving here is one thing, and staying here is another. I’ve seen so many people move away, because they refused to take God’s cues to really dig deep and acknowledge their bad middot, their real relationship issues, their personal flaws, their ego problems.
You go from level to level, spiritually, in Israel, because at every turn God is challenging you to develop more emuna, more bitachon, to let go of more ego, more status, more assumptions about yourself and others. Every day, you have to deal with obviously crazy people going nutso in your direction; or rockets falling on your head; or the fact that you still don’t know what piece of meat is actually a pot roast. (On that score, if anyone can clue me in, I’d be grateful.)
But it’s still worth it.
Eretz Yisrael is only attained through suffering – but at least you get something to show for it, at the end of it all! Inside or outside of Israel, the ‘suffering’ bit seems to be a given at the moment. So, it’s not so much a question of ‘suffer or don’t suffer’, but a question of ‘suffer and acquire something of lasting, permanent benefit, spiritually – or not’:
“Whoever wants to be a Jew – which means going from level to level – can only succeed through the Land of Israel.”
Yesterday, I got a text telling me that Rabbi Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia, was heading out to Ashdod.
Rabbi Berland was going there after the evening prayers to go to the city square there, and recite the Tikkun Haklali seven times to “stop the rockets.”
I woke up this morning curious to see whether Israel was still being pounded by another round of rockets, after 690 rockets rained down on our head over the previous 48 hours and what did I see?
This is strange for so many reasons. Why did the Palestinians stop? What did Israel do to them, to get them to stop? Yes, there were a few targeted killings, some minor bombing – pretty much business as usual, in this part of the world. But there was nothing I could see that the IDF had done to ‘persuade’ Hamas to stop rocketing.
And on the Israel side of the equation, this latest round of terror has cost us very dear. We’re so used to miracles in Israel, that when I heard that 4 people had died, and that scores had been hospitalized with light-to-moderate-to-critical injuries, it really felt to me like the usual high level of Divine protection we get has dropped off a little.
Of course, teshuva and tehillim can turn everything around, as Rav Berland has repeatedly told us, ever since he first called for the first prayer gathering in Hevron before Chanuka 5778, when he warned us that:
“Every part of Israel is now under threat of being deluged with rockets. After we saw 400 rockets falling on Ashkelon and the surrounding cities, including Beer Sheva, Netivot, Ofakim and Sderot, now they are preparing thousands and thousands of rockets, which will reach to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“And we have no possibility of stopping this from happening, because the whole world is against us. They can launch 10,000 missiles, and if we fire back even just one, they will say that we are the aggressors, and they are the victims.
“They will say that we began [hostilities], and that they are simply defending themselves.
“We have no [military] might, we only have the power of tehillim (psalms). All of the State of Israel’s efforts to stop the missiles of Hezbollah and Hamas ended in failure. Every day, we are threatened with thousands of new rockets. They can reach any target precisely…
So for now, it seems that the seven Tikkun Haklalis – and the rest of our prayers – have worked, and the rockets have stopped.
But it’s still kind of heavy.
I just finished working on a long post that sets out the dark roots of white supremacy in modern America, and it makes for pretty disturbing reading. I’m just running it past the bloke before I go ahead and post it up here, because when I shared some of what I’d discovered with an American friend of mine in Jerusalem, her eyes grew as big as saucers and she looked petrified.
I don’t want to shock anyone unduly, but the situation in America is far more dangerous for Jews than anyone imagines.
A few days ago, a friend of mine on the East coast called me to tell me that whole swathes of Jews are now considering moving out to Texas, from the State of New York.
Why Texas? I wanted to know.
New York is so corrupt, she replied. She told me about the recent law they passed enabling doctors to kill a newborn even as it’s being delivered – for absolutely no reason. Infanticide, pure and simple. Then, she told me about the massive fines New York State is now handing out to the families of unvaccinated children, and how they are ending the exemption from vaccines based on religious views.
Unless I vaccinate, I won’t have a school I can send my kids to next year.
And she’s not going to vaccinate.
Lastly, she told me about the plans to outlaw instruction in Hebrew in religious institutions in New York State, which will effectively make studying the Torah very difficult if they are passed into law. Life is getting very hard for many religious Jews in New York, who want a Torah-true education for their children, and who also don’t want to be forced into giving vaccinations they don’t believe in.
Ok, but why Texas? Why not Israel?
Texas, because the Jewish community is still ‘relatively normal’, and the rest of the state is ‘relatively religious’, and conservative, so it’s easier to continue living an orthodox Jewish life there without being assailed by moral corruption of the highest degree at every turn.
And why not Israel?
Just because I’m scared. It’s scary to think about moving to Israel, even though I do really know that it’s the right thing, and that it’s what God ultimately wants.
I understand her concern. Moving to Israel is scary, for so many of us. New beginnings are always difficult, and it’s not easy re-adjusting to a different culture, and there’s also the challenge of overcoming all the slander and lashon hara that’s spoken about the land.
But after doing all this research on white supremacism in the US, and the Turner Diaries connection to the synagogue shootings, more and more I can see that there are no easy choices up ahead.
Israel has its own problems, as the last two days of rockets clearly shows. You don’t come to Israel for an easy life, or because it’s going to solve your problems, or give you a sun tan.
You come to Israel because that’s what God wants you to do, as a Jew.
But honestly, that’s really the only reason that matters.
- I’m starting to hear more and more stories of people who have apparently been denied the chance to make aliya by the Jewish Agency. If you are an orthodox Jew and you’ve been denied the chance to move to Israel, please drop me an email and tell me your story, so we can start to figure out what’s going on here.