Rosh Chodesh Adar rolled in, and I felt a black cloud start to descend.

So much fear about ‘what will be’…

So much sadness about what is ALREADY happening….

So much anger about all these dumb, evil people, all these ‘selfish narcissists’, psycho parents, egotistical bloggers, fake prophets, Dr Evils, neo-brown-shirt politicians, bureaucrats and journalists etc etc etc.

Man, I’ve been swimming in an ocean of difficult feelings the last few days.

====

Just so much anger at God, so much worry about everything that’s going on, so many recriminations against other people.

And then yesterday, I realised something that changed the whole picture:

I’m having a flashback.

I wrote all about that on my old website, which is sadly no more, but the basis idea is that ‘big feelings’ that we couldn’t deal with from the past can roar back in the present, and ‘drag us back’ to that traumatised state of mind that was never properly dealt with and defused.

====

As soon as you realise what’s going on with emotional flashbacks, they diminish by at least 75%, instantly.

What sparked my ‘flashback’ off was a few different things, including in no real order:

  1. Getting into a minor car crash – which reminded me of the horrible crash I had after the Baba Sali, that meant I had to sell my house and move to Jerusalem in very difficult circumstances.
  2. Having to deal with someone else’s ‘psycho mum‘ – which reminded me of the horrible narcissists I’ve had to deal with in my own dalet amot – until everything got sweetened with a few different pidyonot paid across to Rav Berland.
  3. Seeing that video by Yair Elitzur, filmed in Chut Shel Chesed – which brought back to me just how many high hopes we had when we first moved to Jerusalem of belonging to a real, Breslov community. And how badly they got dashed.

====

If you’ve been with me on the blog for a while, you’ll already know what I’m talking about.

And if you haven’t been with me that long- go buy THIS or THIS or THIS on Amazon, and catch yourself up.

Point is, God has been shoving all these ‘unprocessed’ emotions in my face the last 3 days, because He finally wants me to really deal with them.

And point is, probably He’s also been shoving a whole bunch of ‘unprocessed emotions’ in your face, too.

So, it’s not that your husband / mother-in-law / boss / kid / neighbor is now more annoying and upsetting and dumb than they’ve ever been before.

It’s just that God is using them to do some emotional spring-cleaning.

We’re coming down to the wire, there is no more lying to ourselves about what we really think and feel, what we’re really experiencing and why. This is the world of truth, people, and it’s roaring in a million miles an hour.

====

So, once I realised all this, and I spent some time in hitbodedut finally acknowledging all these deeply buried, undigested feelings, I started to feel way, way better and happier and calmer.

And probably, you will too.

====

I speed-watched most of Rav Anava’s new shiur yesterday, and he made some good points, similar to what I’ve been banging on about on this blog for years, that working on our bad middot is the real test, before geula kicks off in earnest.

(Ooooo, I just had a thought: do you think that I could be Moshiach? I mean, I have a blog…. and I (sometimes…) talk about Torah sources… and (two years ago) I also had a Youtube channel… and I also called out Bill Gates for being a psycho eugenicist when that wasn’t so popular…)

No?

Ah well.

Maybe if I had more of a beard….

====

Which brings me to this:

If you want the upshot, it’s basically saying that having some of the Rav’s prayers in the house is akin to smearing blood on the lintels, ahead of the Plague of the Firstborn, that decimated Egypt – and finally led to the Israelites being freed.

The way things are going, I would highly recommend you get your skates on, and get some of those prayers for yourself, your friends and your family members, while you still can.

(Reality check: I have a lot of friends and family members that I’ve basically given up on, when it comes to Rav Berland.

I guess this is the midda kneged midda part of the process, that anyone who bought all the media lies about the Rav has removed themselves from being able to access the protection of segulot like this. It’s sad, but I can no longer be bothered arguing with anyone, directly, and they’ll have to live with the consequences of their own decisions, like we all will.)

====

The latest update on the Rav is that last week the court decided that he could go to house arrest, if he puts up a total of 4 million shekels (!!!!) in bail money, and agrees to have no phone, no contact – at all – with the outside world, and especially not his community.

Let’s be clear: THERE IS NO CASE.

There never was.

And even if there was a case, surely the year he’s already spent in prison would be equal to any possible sentence they could hand down for the ‘crime’ of doing pidyon nefesh for people?

So, thanks for nothing, cr*ppy State of Israel, who is now extorting a huge fortune out of the Rav and his community, at a time when all the borders are apparently sealed shut, so the ‘flight risk’ is the lowest it could possibly be.

But it’s still progress, of sorts.

Moshiach is riding on a donkey, the process is going excrutiatingly slowly, but it’s still going.

====

Which brings me to this, the last thing for today.

It’s a comment that was left on both the Shirat Devorah and Tomer Devorah blogs – bloggers who bought all the lies about the Rav, and so now refuse to link to anything from the ravberland.com website, or about the Rav.

Which is a shame, because that’s where you are really going to find the real information, the real news, you need to get through the next part of this process intact, however ‘switched on’ you might otherwise be.

The commentator, who calls themselves ‘Real News’, basically synthesized a lot of information from the English and Hebrew Shuvu Banim sites, amongst other places – but God forbid, anyone should link to those sites, or say anything positive about Rav Berland in the comments section of those blogs!!!

I mean, Rav Berland doesn’t have a blog… or a youtube channel… and he never called out Bill Gates for being a (probable) transgendered eugenicist loving psycho live on TV, so for sure, he can’t be Moshiach….

====

Here’s the comment, in the meantime.

I’m bringing it because that ‘fear’ the Rabbanit Stern spoke of, starting Rosh Chodesh Adar, is internal.

It’s linked to all the unfinished emotional business I covered above.

Forewarned is fore-armed, because this process is only going to intensify now, regardless of the Covid 19 Purimshpiel, or the ‘Iranian Nuke’ Purimshpiel, or the ‘war between settlers and arabs’ Purimshpiel, and all the rest of the fake news.

The real war of Gog and Magog is emotional; it’s internal; it’s the war of emuna and emunat tzaddikim.

It’s the war of finally owning up to our bad middot.

And if you’ve been skipping doing that work – well, the consequences of your actions and ego are about to be revealed openly.

There’s no more running away.

There’s no more hiding.

Because that ‘donkey’ that Moshiach is riding is almost here.

====

Real News said…

On June 11, 2020, Rav Yehuda Sheinfeld said, “We are in the last stages of the chevlei Moshiach (birthpangs of the Moshiach). All that’s left is the final few months of the chevlei Moshiah.”

Rav Yehuda Sheinfeld, shlita, is a well-known kabbalist, and close student of the late Milkman, z”tl (https://bit.ly/2ZcJh1B).

This article was published on June 11, 2020. From June 11, 2020 to March 14, 2021 is 9 months and 3 days. Fortunately, the Gemara says that in [the month of*] Nissan we were redeemed from Egypt and in Nissan in the future we will be redeemed in the final redemption (Rosh Hashanah 11a).

*Not on Pesach.
———–
On October 14, the daughter of Rav Dovid Chaim Stern, one of the biggest Kabbalists living now, Rabbanit Stern who is a very big Tzaddaiket said the following:

Then she said: Listen well – the Mashiach is very close and will be revealed soon. In the month of Adar, there is going to be a lot of chaos in the world, in Israel and all over the world, there will be tremendous confusion, many people will die.

Many well respected rabbis are also not going to merit receiving Mashiach, they will not survive, because they are not really tzaddikim.

Why? She said that for them the main thing is learning Torah and they disregard all the requirements of bein adaim l’chaveiro, how a person is supposed to treat others. Love of your fellow man. Not to listen or speak lashon hara.

All those people defile the mitzvah of doing chessed/kindness to others, will not be around when Mashiach is revealed. Ba’alai Machloket, those who stir up strife, will not be around.

Also, those who are not tzinut/modest, they will also not be around when Mashiach comes. Everyone now has time to fix the sin of lashon hara/speaking or thinking badly about others. We have until around the month of Adar (the month when Purim falls), which is around March. It is 4 months from now.

Everyone needs to fix everything in the next 4 months. She continued and said that those who remain will merit to greet Mashiach in the month of Nissan (the month when Pesach falls).

Rabbanit Stern herself said in a recording that there will be tremendous fear, in the world, in the month of Adar. Everyone in the world will be scared, more than right now.

She said, the main thing to work on is Interpersonal Relationships.

The Redemption already has begun, but it is hidden.

There are a lot of people who will not merit to be around.

She said by Pesach there will be a beautiful Redemption (http://bit.ly/3pkDod6).
—–

Remember, you can go HERE to download a bunch of Rav Berland’s prayers for free, to distribute.

And you can also get hard copies of all four of the prayer books on Amazon, by clicking the links below:

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Prayers: Prayers for every day, and every situation

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Prayers 2: Prayers for Health and Wellness

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Prayers 3: Prayers for Holy Children

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Prayers 4: Prayers for Shalom Bayit

====

====

UPDATE:

I got this message from Ida-Fake-Name, and it’s making some good points, so I thought I’d post it up:

Name: Ida-Fake-Name
E-Mail: ida@fakename.com
Subject: comments – the light in the darkness

Message: Dear Mrs. Levy,

This is in response to your responses in the comments section and your newest post. Since the original intent was not in any way to embarrass you, it seems better to respond in a private message… feel free to copy any or all of this to comments or other posts (not out of context, of course). The intent is to help, not to attack and create machloket.

The intent of the original comment was not for bizayon or to attack Rav Berland or you. You generally have very thoughtful posts with a high degree of scrutiny – your “BS-O-Meter” or whatever you want to call it. Generally you investigate things and present them with a critical approach…

In this post, you started writing about all the experiences bringing back different things that needed to be sorted out, etc., and how you were trying hard to change the narrative of Adar / Purim of past years. You talked about spring-cleaning and self improvement, etc., which were great thoughts, insights, goals, and everything. Then you went on to mention Rabbi Anava’s shiur… and went on to make what was either an attempt at humor or a passive aggressive attack either on Rabbi Anava or on other people who hold him in high esteem. The whole “(Ooooo… do you think that I could be Moshiach? blog, youtube, bill gates, etc… maybe if I had more of a beard…” You just got done writing such wonderful things about self improvement, working on middos, etc., then continue into making fun of a rav who, whatever you think of him or others’ opinions of him, has totally dedicated himself to serving Hashem, to emet, to teaching other people and has seriously impacted thousands upon thousands of lives with his shiurim. Whether you agree with him or what others think of him or whatever, the point is is that he’s a holy Jew who is trying to bring kavod Shamayim to the world… and he’s being made fun of – again, not clear if you’re just being silly or whatever, but it comes off as passive aggressive / bitterness, perhaps even bitter that there are people out there who rejected Rav Berland while seemingly embrace Rabbi Anava (this especially seems true based on the later paragraphs about two other blogs who bought all the lies and about “Rav Berland doesn’t have a blog… etc etc etc… he can’t be Moshiach…”). With all of the talk about loving people, accepting them, seeing that they’re here to help us with our middos, fix ourselves, etc., this feels pretty bitter…

That’s what initiated the original comment, although looking at it again, that wasn’t really clear to you that it was the motivation… personally, it really had nothing to do with accepting or rejecting Rav Berland either as a holy Jew, a rav, the tzaddik of the dor or anything.

At the very least, you have made a very convincing argument (here and previously) that Rav Berland has been treated unfairly by the state (understatement) and someone has an agenda to keep him from what he should be doing on behalf of the Jewish people.

That being said, a short while back, you posted the audio of Rabbanit Stern warning very literally to prepare talit / tefillin, a wallet, etc., to be prepared to escape to wherever and you very clearly wrote that you didn’t know to believe it or not, but what would it hurt to be prepared. Fine – but it clearly didn’t happen on Rosh Chodesh the way described in the audio… you went on to write “I’m bringing it because that ‘fear’ the Rabbanit Stern spoke of, starting Rosh Chodesh Adar, is internal.” So now things are being “interpreted” – sure she said to literally prepare a wallet and talit / tefillin and get ready to run to “you’ll know where” on Rosh Chodesh… but she didn’t really mean it literally – it’s a metaphor or something.

That’s what it sounds like you’re saying… which is what was written in the original comment that if someone else related to something like that in a similar way, you would probably call them out on it. It’s like you couldn’t say she was wrong, because now she has something new to say that is good or helpful or whatever… you went on to quote a comment someone else posted, I think from Rav Berland’s website, that Rabbanit Stern is making more predictions or whatever… but who is she and based on what should we now believe her? Because her previous explicit predictions / warnings were inappropriately taken literally when really it was all figurative? On rosh chodesh we were supposed to sleep with our figurative wallet next to our bed and be ready to escape in a metaphoric way for really being somehow turned upside down internally to work on our unfinished emotional business?

“She said by Pesach there will be a beautiful Redemption” – certainly we all hope so!! But was that contingent on the whole upheaval on Rosh Chodesh Adar that didn’t take place? Or really it did in a spiritual / metaphoric / internal way and whoever “ran out with their wallet” in an internal way will now be redeemed?

The point isn’t to keep harping on all of this – my problem was with the less than critical analysis of Rabbanit Stern’s previous warning, then jumping to bringing more of her predictions – from my perspective, none of it had to do with Rav Berland one way or the other – from what is written on your blog, it doesn’t look like what Rabbanit Stern said related to him directly.

In summary – your whole post started talking about how we need to relate to what happens to us by working on our middos, fixing ourselves (ie, it’s not about the other person, it’s about looking inward). Then you apparently mocked Rabbi Anava (which again, regardless of what you think of him or what people say about him, he’s very sincere in his intention), and seemed very bitter… that was followed by not adequately addressing a failed prediction, then bringing further predictions from the same person… then in the comments when the whole part about the comments of Rabbanit Stern were being related to, you responded very angrily and rudely and defensively about the comment having a “dissing the Rav vibe” that you picked up from a mile away.

It seems you should have taken the time to relax and examine it from closer than a mile away and perhaps you could have deciphered the original intent. Apologies for not making it clearer and more explicit and also for seemingly calling you out in the comments – the intent was not to embarrass you, but more to challenge you. You many wonderful things and seem like you want to get to the emet, whatever it is, and therefore challenging your conclusions seemed within the realm of acceptable. Please don’t take it personally and forgive me.

====

Takeaways:

  1. Thanks for prompting me to clarify that my intention was not to mock Rav Anava, God forbid.

He’s a brave person, and he’s doing his best to strive after truth. My intention WAS to mock the people who keep coming up with one ‘personality’ after another who they think is moshiach – including politicians, ex-cons and even non-Jews, without even trying to consider whether they ‘fit’ what the Jewish sources say about the identifying signs for Moshiach.

I can see that I was writing from a bitter place, for a few different reasons, and I appreciate the thoughtful discussion about it. As always, I’m a flawed human being, and I was having a really bad few days, when I wrote this piece.

2. I forgive you, Ida-Fake-Name, for the upset caused.

Please also forgive me for carpeting you publically on the blog.

As a footnote, it would be much easier to avoid nastiness if you would use your real name in future, when commenting.

I try to abide by the laws of lashon hara, but when someone is ‘anonymous’ – they don’t apply. And that’s sometimes too hard a test to pass, to have a loophole for evil speech and not to use it.

3. I AM very frustrated with a lot of the bloggers out there.

It’s frustrating me that other ‘opinion formers’ in the Jewish blogging world are refusing to even discuss the possibility that they got it wrong about the Rav.

But you are right, that approaching this subject with bitterness is counter-productive.

God is doing everything, after all, even apparently hardening the hearts of these people.

So, BH, we’re squared off now, and I’ll put a comment up under the other comments, so people can come check back on the update for this post.

====

You might also like this article:

A couple of days ago, I was having a chat with my friend S.

We were talking about her sudden realisation that there is a ‘parallel universe’ going on in the world, that is not at all soft and fluffy, and that is the very antithesis of everything you and I want for the world, and for ourselves, and for our children and grandchildren.

That’s a terrifying thought.

And most people will quickly shut it down and run away from it – unless they are building the capacity to hold ‘truth’ in their minds and souls via regular talking to God sessions.

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My friend has been doing hitbodedut, on and off, for a while already.

But she said to me:

I don’t get the same sort of ‘messages’ you get from God.

I told her I don’t believe that.

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EVERYONE is getting messages from God all the time, regardless of whether or not they are actually talking to Him every day.

So then we got into a very interesting discussion about what a ‘message from God’ actually is.

My friend asked me to write about it, because she thinks it will help more people out there to take themselves, and their spiritual connection to God, seriously.

So this post is in her zchut.

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Very, very rarely, do I get what most people would think of as a ‘message from God’ in my hitbodedut – i.e. some sort of statement or clearly stated answer to a problem I’m grappling with.

It does happen occasionally, but most of the time, God is actually sending the ‘messages’ via a much simpler route, namely:

Our feelings.

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There has been a war on humanity recognising our true feelings for well over a century.

And probably even longer.

But let’s deal with the most recent bit of this ‘war’ against the part of our soul that goes by the name ruach.

The story starts with the cocaine-using Sigmund Freud.

A lot of the families in Viennese high society were riddled with horrible, unspeakable acts of child abuse and incest.

When Freud started psychoanalysing his patients, a lot of these disturbing memories and stories started to leak out in those sessions.

At some point, Freud realised that if he pursued this line of action – i.e. openly linking people’s mental issues and soul-disfigurement to all the abuse and trauma they’d suffered in childhood – he would be totally shunned in Viennese society and made persona non grata.

So instead, he took the coward’s way out, and sold out abused children for at least the next 60-70 years, by claiming all these ‘memories’ of terrible child abuse and incest by parents were repressed ‘Oedipal’ tendencies.

In other words, he totally and utterly lied.

And he totally and utterly invalidated these children’s traumatic experiences, and memories and even more crucially, their feelings.

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It’s hard for me to not think that Freud himself must have been morally compromised from the start, to have done that.

But I guess we won’t know until Moshiach comes and shows us exactly what’s been going on.

What is beyond a doubt is that the ‘legacy’ of Freudian psychoanalysis has led to some of the worst crimes against humanity being covered up and repressed for well over a hundred years.

It’s a classic ‘gas lighting’ tactic of narcissistic abusers to keep telling their victims that they can’t trust their own memories, their own experiences, their own minds, their own feelings.

And Western society has been built on a paradigm that encourages parents to ‘socialise’ their children out of feeling what they really feel, and out of trusting themselves on a deep soul level.

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Modern society shames people – especially women – for feeling.

It calls us names like ‘over-emotional’, and ‘weak’, and even ‘bi-polar’ and ‘clinically-depressed’ – when really, all these feelings we have, some of which can sometimes be overwhelming and debilitating, are just reactions to things we are experiencing in the world.

Clinically depressed people have ALWAYS had some sort of severe emotional neglect and / or abuse in the past, usually from a parent in a childhood, and especially from a mother.

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Clinical depression is just an extreme form of the FREEZE response to being placed under chronic or acute stress. 

And as such, it’s a perfectly ‘normal’ reaction, albeit not a pleasant or useful one.

No-one’s ‘brain is broken’.

Once people understand that all of their emotional states – even extreme ones – contain messages from God about what they need to deal with, recognise, work on, change or accept, the ’emotional state’ itself gets way, way easier to work with and tame.

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Same with things like ADD – which is just an extreme FLIGHT response to acute or chronic trauma.

Give me any ‘mental health issue’, and I guarantee it’s rooted in some sort of unpleasant experience, or experiences, or fear, or ‘stress’, that the person’s primitive brain is reacting to.

(If you’re interested, I wrote a whole book on how the stress response reacts in different people, called People Smarts, which you can find on Amazon HERE.)

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The point being, that God uses our feelings to communicate some very important messages to us.

For example, so many of my ‘messages’ come from a feeling I have that something is not quite right with a certain picture, or person.

In the past, when my ‘BS-O-Meter’ would start to ping off, I would often just try to ignore it or bury it. I’d been socialised by society to keep talking to creeps and yucky people even when they were making me uncomfortable.

That put me into some very vulnerable positions, because the ‘difficult characters’ out there quickly recognise when they are dealing with someone who can’t stand up for themselves when they need to – and that’s when life can get very unpleasant, very quickly.

Now, when it dings off, I pay very careful attention to it.

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In my hitbodedut, I’ll go back in and I’ll try to figure out why a certain something, a certain someone, is making me feel stressed, unhappy, nervous, angry, on edge – whatever it might be.

I can’t always pin it down – and it’s not always the other person’s problem, either, sometimes they are just triggering something that is entirely my issue to deal with.

But the point is, that God is sending me that ‘feeling’ as part of a message that needs to be decoded and analysed.

Once I learned to start respecting my own feelings, and to give them the ‘space’ they needed for me to really know what it was I was actually feeling, my extreme mood swings pretty much disappeared overnight.

Now, I have no problem standing up for myself against all the creepy, yucky people out there, and as a result, my life is way less complicated and much, much happier than it used to be.

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But ‘feeling’ messages can also work in a positive way, too.

When I didn’t know anything about the Rav, Rabbi Berland, for example, my starting point was a feeling that something was ‘off’ in all the reporting about him.

I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly, but it just didn’t feel right.

That’s when I started doing my own research to see what was really going on, and that’s when I started to unpick the whole, sordid story of how the Rav had been framed by the same evil people who are now pulling the ‘COVID-19’ con trick on us all, via the media.

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But even when I had a bunch of information that seemed to show the Rav was totally innocent of any of the charges that had been fabricated against him, I still took a few months to really work through what my soul was telling me about him.

When I thought about the Rav, what was the feeling I got?

Calm and happy, or uneasy and anxious?

Time and time again, when I explored my real feelings in hitbodedut, I got the ‘calm and happy’ vibe back.

That’s what gave me the courage to cautiously approach the Rav more, and to risk being more part of his community.

But even then, anytime I got even a whiff of the BS-O-Meter going off, I stopped to explore it in my hitbodedut, and to work out the messages that God was trying to give me.

Not everyone around a True Tzaddik is a true tzaddik themselves, and yucky people automatically gravitate to positions where they can have a ‘presumption of innocence’ and trust.

====

Thank God, really, for all the persecution of Shuvu Banim and the Rav.

Because it smoked out so very many of the ‘yucky’ people, who quickly peeled off and went somewhere else, where they didn’t have the whole world poking holes in their cover stories and actively seeking out their misdeeds and bad middot.

The people who are left are, for the most part, some of the best people in the world.

They are people who have been constantly humiliated and disgraced – and who have continued to stand up for the Rav, and continued to try to do what’s right, even at great personal cost to themselves.

But I digress.

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Most people today have been totally cut off from feeling their own feelings, and owning their own emotions.

We are the ‘Prozac’ generation, who were taught that any feeling that is not fake happy is somehow bad and requires medication.

But all feelings – even ‘bad’ feelings – are actually just messages for us to decode, and clues from Hashem that are being sent to lead us forward in life, somehow.

Feelings are part of the soul level called ruach.

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The soul level associated with the physical body and ‘reptilian brain’ is called the nefesh, or animal soul.

The soul level associated with our mind, higher functioning and connection to God is called the neshama.

And the soul level ‘in between’ these two extremes of ‘animal’ and ‘angel’ is the ruach.

The ruach is the part of the brain that’s actually feeling things.

Then, there’s a fight that goes on between the ‘animal’ brain and the ‘angelic’ brain to frame our feelings correctly.

====

When we do hitbodedut regularly – and we try to adopt a more emuna-dik, God-centric approach to life – that strengthens the ‘angel’ brain, and weakens the ‘animal’ brain’s grip on us.

When the ‘angel brain’ is in the driving seat, and ruling over the ‘animal brain’, our extreme emotional states, mood swings and physiological stress responses start to calm down.

BUT ONLY WHEN WE’RE TAKING THE TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE ANY REAL ‘DANGER’, AND TO NOT JUST PUSH IT UNDER A MENTAL CARPET.

====

Let’s use some real-life examples.

If there is a situation or a person that makes you feel very tense – that’s usually a big clue from God that there is ‘something’ there that you are finding threatening or unpleasant.

If you feel wrung-out or down or depleted or ‘missing’ after an interaction, that’s usually a big clue that the other person is sucking way more energy out of you, than they are giving in return. All relationships are give and take, but if you are always the one giving – that’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

For me personally, if I start to feel that someone is trying to manipulate me emotionally with guilt trips or ‘save me’ stories (who aren’t my kids…), I will pull back sharply and put up a barrier.

In the past, I used to feel so bad for other people, I could really get taken advantage of.

Now, when I get that ‘uncomfortable’ feeling in the pit of my stomach, I don’t push it down, I listen to it, and I make a conscious decision whether I still want to engage with the other person, or not. 

====

All this stuff is part of the ‘conversation’ I have with God – and of course, with myself.

The last thing I wanted to touch on in this post, is that the concept of da’at, of ‘knowing’, can’t really be translated into words, it has to be experienced.

Sometimes, the da’at you get in hitbodedut, in talking to God, totally transcends even things like ‘feelings’ or ‘thoughts’.

So many times, I find myself knowing something, but without being able to explain how I have that knowledge, or why I know it to be true.

That is also how Hashem gives us messages.

And I think that’s probably the most sublime way, Hashem gives us messages.

====

Any one out there can get ‘messages’ from Hashem, starting today.

All that’s required is a bit of patience, a bit of work to reconnect to feelings that may have been in the deep freeze for decades, and a bit of courage to follow the truth and the da’at and the direction you’ll get from shemayim, wherever it might take you.

As the world of lies continues to implode, we will need that strong connection to Hashem to keep going through the darkness, and to discern the real light at the end of the tunnel, when it shows up.

Start small, just five minutes a day.

Or even one minute.

Something.

But also remember that God is talking to us via everyone and everything 24/7, and that we are constantly surrounded by opportunities to get to know Him – and ourselves – better.

Don’t be scared to feel, even if those feelings start off overwhelming and ‘angry’.

They are a part of your ruach – mamash, a part of your soul.

And when you make space for them, and really listen to the messages they contain, you’ll see how fast your life starts to transform for the better, and how quickly your feelings become your best friends.

====

If you want me to try to explain more about anything here, or about other aspects of talking to God, let me know in the comments.

====

You might also like this article:

It’s an interesting question isn’t it?

When you ask xtians – and the other groups that espouse a similar theology, like Frankists and Sabbateans – they will tell you that ‘the messiah’ will show up, and then all evil will just kind of vanish in a puff of smoke.

Yes, that’s right folks!

As soon as ‘the messiah’ shows up, all our own bad middot, all the drug cartels, all the abusive parents, all the evil billionaire oligarchs, all the fake rabbis, all the nasty terrorist gangs, the CIA, the satanists – every last Dr Evil in the world – they will all just vanish!!!

It would be great if this were true.

But it’s not.

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One of the biggest con tricks that the yetzer hara has managed to pull on all of us is persuading us that ‘evil’ is always and only someone else’s problem.

My country is good. My army is good. My government is good. My economic theory is good. Whatever is good for me (regardless of its cost to others…) is good.

I started fleshing this theme out in the last post when I was talking about the ‘Laban Parenting Paradigm’, that basically states:

Everything belongs to MEEEE, so I can do whatever the heck I want in order to protect my own interests!!!!

But as we learnt in that last post, this is the polar opposite of a truly authentic Jewish approach to parenting – and also the opposite of a truly Jewish approach to life.

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Judaism teaches us that every Jew is responsible for each other.

It also teaches us that the Jewish people have a very big job to do, to rectify the world.

Christians, reform people and crypo-Frankists also like to talk about tikkun olam, so things can quickly get confusing. Let’s try to sort out the difference between an authentic Jewish approach to tikkun olamand the other guys’ approach.

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In a nutshell, Judaism teaches that we fix the world, by fixing ourselves.

It’s our prayers, our mesirut nefesh, our working to uproot our own arrogance, anger, pride and jealousy and hatred (to name but a few….) that then radiates outwards, and starts to fix the world around us.

In this paradigm, every single person in the whole world, and certainly every single Jew, has an enormous part to play in the process of rectifying the world in order to bring moshiach.

I used to be very puzzled, when I would hear Rav Berland teach that people like me were the ones holding up the geula, and that the secular people weren’t really to blame.

It took quite a bit of time before I heard other shiurim that filled in the gaps, where the Rav explained that if we supposedly ‘religious’ people would take some time to sincerely pray for our fellow Jews, they would make teshuva in an instant.

Why are there still ‘secular’ people in the world, who are far away from Torah and mitzvot? 

Because we apparently ‘religious’ people don’t care about them enough to pray for them to make teshuva.

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That’s why the Rav puts such emphasis on people getting up to say Tikkun Hatzot.

It’s these prayers, in particular, that create a ruach in the world that bring people back to God.

And when people sincerely come back to God, they in turn start praying, and start really connecting their souls up to their spiritual Source, and – most importantly of all – start really acknowledging their ‘inner bad’, and asking God to help them overcome it.

This is how Jews fix the world, and bring geula and Moshiach.

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Sadly, we don’t see a heck of a lot of that going on, not even in the ‘frummest’ areas of the Jewish world, where people are more obsessed with the length of their Torah learning, and their yichus, and their fantastic ‘predictions’ about geula, and the thickness of their tights, than they are with really working on their bad middot.

For years, this puzzled me greatly.

How can it be, that so much of the Jewish world – even the apparently ‘orthodox’ Jewish world – has adopted this xtian paradigm of pretending to be ‘perfect’ on the outside, while committing all manner of misdemeanors behind closed doors?

How can it be, that so much of the Jewish world is effectively teaching that Jews have nothing left to do except ‘polish buttons’, and that Moshiach is just going to show up and fix everything for them?!

This is a xtian idea. It’s a Sabbatean idea. It’s a Frankist idea.

It’s definitely NOT an authentically Jewish idea.

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When people are caught up in this un-Jewish paradigm of tikkun olam, it comes along with a tendency to believe that the problem is everyone else.

When everyone else believes in Yoshki / Shabtai Tzvi / Jacob Frank / [Fill in the blank] – then that dead guy will rise from the grave, and come save the world!!

And all we have to do is believe in him and polish some buttons.

That dead guy will come back, and then poof!!! All the evil will disappear in the world, just like that.

I’m going to stop yelling at my husband just like that…

I’m going to stop being so stingy with my tzedaka just like that…

Don’t you know, that all my miniskirts are going to magically expand into black maxis, my nasty jealous streak is going to evaporate immediately, and all the horrible things I’ve been saying about my friends and neighbors are all just going to vanish, just like that once Moshiach shows up?!

No?

You don’t believe me?

Good for you.

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Breslov teachings, as amplified and clarified by Rabbi Berland, Rav Shalom Arush, and Rav Ofer Erez – amongst many others – make it very clear that the whole work we got sent back down here to do is to work on our emuna, and fix our bad middot.

These two things go hand-in-hand, because if we don’t really believe in Hashem, we will continue to choose the path of being a pious hypocrite, o so makpid in public, for our neighbors’ consumption, and o so yucky in our every day dealings with friends and family members.

It’s only once we realise that we will have to answer for every single person we hurt, every single ‘stain’ we left to grow and metastize on our souls, that we find the koach we need to start doing the work of acknowledging and digging up our bad middot.

If we don’t believe in God, we just will never really bother even trying.

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But it’s only when we start doing the work of trying to dig up our bad middot that our emuna really grows.

Because then, we’ll see that without God’s help, we can’t do anything.

I have spent years and years working to overcome my nasty temper, particularly in relation to my kids, and I can tell you from first hand experience, that the only reason I’m doing so much better today is because I begged God to help me overcome my anger for 10 years +.

And every now and then, perhaps when a smidgeon of arrogance works it’s way back in and I start thinking that I’ve really done something good here, hey?!? – He’ll take the rug out from under my feet and send me a nasty temper fit.

That’s just to remind me that without God’s help, I can’t do anything.

And that’s really good news.

Because the corollary of this is that with God’s help, I can do anything!!!

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I CAN overcome my temper.

And my inability to get out of bed.

And my nasty tendency to complain and whinge and to feel sorry for myself.

And my arrogant streak that likes to tell me that I’m really perfect, and that the problems in the world are really just everyone else’s, and that all I have to do to bring moshiach is just polish some buttons….

(…and aggressively push my ‘religion’ down other people’s throats, so they’ll be sure to recognize my guy as the real messiah, when he finally rises up from the dead…)

With God’s help, I can do all these things and more.

And so can you.

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So, to recap:

Xtians, Sabbateans and Frankists (of all stripes) believe that when ‘their guy’ shows up as the true messiah, the world will automatically get ‘fixed’, and all anyone has to do to get on the ark to salvation is just to believe in their guy, and their religion, and their path.

There is zero talk about working on our own bad middot.

There is zero genuine emphasis on talking to God every single day, and asking for His help.

And there is zero real interest in moving out of the comfort zone, and making the sorts of difficult changes really required to bring the spirit of Moshiach into our own dalet amot.

It’s all flowery ‘bible lessons’, and pointless exegetics, and nice (and often totally untrue…) ‘stories’ and parables about saintly individuals, given over by people who like to pretend that they also belong in that category of ‘saintly’.

Ah yes, plus ‘watch out for the dead guy to rise again and save us’ messaging.

How could I forget that bit?

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By contrast, Jews who are following a path of authentic Judaism believe that the world is only going to get fixed when me, myself and I stop lying to myself about my own bad middot, and about just how much destruction and damage I’m doing every single day – especially to my family members.

Did you spot the difference?

Did you understand that the only way evil is going to ‘vanish from the world’ is when I knuckle down, and start doing the job of digging my own evil out of my own soul, and start praying for others to do the same.

====

I love a shortcut as much as the next guy, I really do.

But it pains me a lot to keep reading all this flowery cr*p-dressed-up-as-yiddishkeit about what it’s really going to take to get to geula the sweet way.

That’ll happen when enough of us start to take responsibility for our own actions and negative impact, and stop turning a blind eye to – or even condoning and excusing and perpetrating – evil.

And it can’t happen any other way.

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In ten days time, I’m meant to be flying out of Israel to go to my brother’s batmitzvah celebration in London.

I spoke to him a couple of days ago, and I told him I don’t think I’m coming.

Israel had just announced that anyone coming back from abroad would have to self-isolate for 14 days in bidud, and much as I love my brother, we have no family here, we just moved and I don’t know the neighbors, and there is no-one who could keep my family unit going with groceries if I’m out of action.

Such strange days we live in.

My daughter is currently coughing her guts up and streaming phlegm, as she always does when Spring appears and her hayfever kicks off. Although this year, with all the anxiety about Corona and a few other things going on in her life, her asthma has also ramped up again.

Most years, my daughter’s seasonal hayfever and asthma is not a big deal.

This year, with all the hysteria about Corona, she’s scared to leave the house in case people think she’s going to kill them with a sneeze.

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In the meantime, in my own dalet amot I’m having such a strange mix of tremendous good, and tremendous confusion. On the one hand, the house we managed to miraculously rent has blossomed into such a beautiful home.

We had Purim seuda yesterday, and for the first time in 7 years we had enough space to invite a few families together. Honestly, it was initially a little strange, but then we whacked the music up, started dancing and the magic happened and le ha fochu. The weird atmosphere broke and everything turned around.

For a few hours.

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So much of the time right now, I don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, what’s right and what’s wrong.

Yesterday, I went for a walk to the Kotel, and I was really pondering to myself if I’m more a Haman, or more a Mordechai, because I honestly have no idea right now if I’m giving God what He really wants, or the opposite.

Everything seems so upside down at the moment.

I know it’s all exploding in madness everywhere you look, but it still seems to me that the best response to everything that’s going on right now (apart from making some serious teshuva, particularly in how we treat other people) is:

To bake cookies.

Yes, you read that right.

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There is nothing better to do right now, apart from reciting lots of tehillim and doing lots of hitbodedut, except to bake cookies. Because until Hashem decides that the world really is ending, we parents have a duty to show our children that the world is still continuing in the meantime.

Already, our kids are struggling to stay in school. Already, they are struggling to get up in the mornings. Already, they are feeling like there is no point in continuing or carrying on, because the apocalypsa is around the corner, so what’s the point?

Honestly, don’t we grown ups feel that way too, so much of the time?

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I’m not saying this lightly.

I’ve been waiting for geula, and trying to prepare for it in as real a way as I can for at least the last 15 years. But now that it looks like we may be coming down to the wire, and the geula really might be materializing before our eyes, increasingly the most important priority for me, as a mother, seems to be keep things as ‘normal’ as I can.

That means baking cookies. That means cleaning toilets. That means doing my best to look after my children, my family, my husband the best way I can right now.

I have my People Smarts Course that’s half done, and my People Smarts book that has been waiting six months to get sent to the printers already. For months, I haven’t been able to get to it.

Finally, last week, I realized that maybe, that’s not my main work right now.

My main work seems to be to look after my family – even tho my kids are 16 and 19 already – and to make my family my main priority.

So, I find myself making sandwiches and suppers in a way that I haven’t done for years, since they were much smaller. I find myself ferrying them around in the car – not least so I can have some quality time to really talk to them – and taking them to different places and appointments and people, because it seems like there is just so much going on, at the moment.

In some ways, it feels like my family, my responsibilities to these people who I live with, and care for tremendously, have kind of been ‘getting in the way’ of my life.

At least, that’s how it looked.

But today, I’m thinking more and more, this is actually my test, right now.

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There is no better way of working on my bad middot and doing acts of kindnesses that really count than by focusing on the people in my home.

Rav Berland explained weeks ago that Corona has the same gematria as ‘mitvot bein adam l’havero’ – the mitzvahs that take place between people.

And nowhere are those mitzvahs more trampled – or more needed – than in the home.

And especially between parents and teens.

So, if you’re reading this, and you have a teen at home, and especially if you have a difficult teen at home who is struggling, stop reading this and go give them a hug. Go tell them that you think they’re amazing. Go and find something to praise about them, to their face, go make them a sandwich, take them out and get them a new top, or take them somewhere they’ve been bugging you to go for ages.

In short, go and love them unconditionally, with as much energy as you can muster.

Because that is the main test right now.

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So many people are now being forced to spend 14 days cooped up with their families, with no distractions.

There’s no malls and chugim to run away to, no work deadlines, no shopping, no shiurim, no beaches and expensive holidays and restaurants.

All there is, is our raw family unit.

And that is the real test – does it feel like gehinnom or gan eden?

Is there love in the home, or constant arguments, guilt trips and withering criticism about all the things that aren’t being done 100% ‘perfectly’?

Are cookies being baked in that home, or not?

That is the question.

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Photo by Ruth Reyer on Unsplash

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5 things you can do right now, to give yourself spiritual protection against the Coronavirus.

Yesterday, I got a text telling me that the Israeli Health Ministry had pinpointed a potential ‘spreader’ of Coronavirus in Baka, the Jerusalem neighborhood where until last week I lived.

I went to check out the Health Ministry website, and saw that a 50 year old woman from NYC who subsequently flew back to the States and then was discovered to have COVID-19 had been all around Baka, and also all around the Mamilla Mall.

The site listed where she’d been on the different days, and told members of the public that if they thought they’d come into contact with this woman, they should ‘self isolate’ at home for 14 days.

So then, I went to check out what ‘self isolate’ actually means, tachlis, and honestly, it was hard to keep a straight face.

The instructions were basically to sit in a ventilated room in your house, come out of it as little as possible, and to wash your hands like a bad case of OCD before and after touching anything. Oh yes, and to wear a facemask whenever you do come out of your ventilated room.

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When I lived in the UK, we went to visit a decommissioned nuclear bunker in the countryside close to London.

This was where HM Government was meant to decamp to in case nuclear war broke out.

It was one of the most interesting places I ever went to, not least because it was screening the ‘propaganda movies’ that the British government was putting out in the 1950s, telling citizens what they should do in the event of a nuclear war.

The basic message was this:

“Draw your curtains, lock your front door, then go and sit under your table.”

Didn’t the British authorities know that none of these things would help a jot, if the Russkies decided to drop a nuke on Old Blighty?

Of course they knew that! But they deliberately put out misleading information encouraging people to ‘sit under their tables’ in order to keep people off the streets if something did trip off, and to give them something to do – however pointless – to help quell that mounting sense of panic.

When I read the Health Ministry instructions yesterday, I caught a powerful whiff of déjà vu.

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So today, I went off to the same bakery in Baka I’ve been going to for two years, that usually has a queue so big on a Friday morning it snakes around a few times – and it was pretty quiet. I went to the health store, that is also usually buzzing Friday morning around their breakfast buffet – and it was also pretty quiet.

I guess half of Baka has decided they need to ‘self isolate’ because that one woman was in the Hadar Mall and Osher Ad, and the rest of the customers have decided to avoid Baka like the plague (so to speak….) until things have calmed down.

Whenever that is meant to be.

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In the meantime, the rubber is really starting to hit the road, with this whole Coronavirus epidemic.

That means that the differences between people who really are trying to have emuna, and who really are holding on to our true tzaddikim, and the people who don’t are about to become very obvious.

Already, some of my kids’ friends are experiencing panic attacks and obsessing over wearing facemasks. Already, some people are starting to stockpile bottles of water, and to buy in six packs of tuna.

But with Pesach barely six weeks away, how much dry goods can you really stockpile anyway? And where are you meant to keep the 90 litres of bottled water you’d really need to keep going for six weeks of chaos? And who is to say that even if you ‘prepped’ like a superstar, and was totally stocked up, that some less prepared people with guns and violent tendencies wouldn’t just come and take it all away, anyway?

Déjà vu. Déjà vu.

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Eleven years ago, back in 2008, when all the banks started to fail, I was deep in my ‘autistics fearmongering’ stage, and I never had less than 36 bottles of water stored somewhere in my house, plus tens of tins of tuna, plus many bags of couscous.

This time around, even tho things are looking like it’s about to get pretty complicated, at least short term, at least in some way, until we see which way this Coronavirus epidemic is really going to swing, I am not stockpiling anything.

Instead, I’m switching my ‘prepping for disaster’ into the spiritual realm, and this is what is in my ‘spiritual survival kit’.

I strongly recommend you also go and put something like this together for yourself, ASAP.

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5 Things That Will Give You Spiritual Protection Against The CoronaVirus

  • A copy of Rabbi Berland’s prayer to be saved from the Coronavirus. You can download it as a PDF here, and I’m also including it here on my site, below, to make this super easy for you. Download it, PRINT IT OFF, so you have a physical hard copy in your home, and say it every day.

https://ravberland.com/wpcontent/uploads/2020/02/coronavirus-prayer.pdf

  • Tikkun HaKlali – there are so many stories of people who saw open miracles in Israel’s past wars, rocket attacks and intifadas, from regularly reciting the Tikkun HaKlali. You can buy one here, or you can get a PDF with English transliteration that you can download and print off HERE.

UPDATE: They took the Tikkun Haklali out of the document because Artscroll complained it was infringing their copyright to transliterate it in that fashion. So, please try THIS version instead – it’s a Hebrew version with an English translation.

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Rabbi Berland just put out a new message asking people to recite 7 Tikkun HaKlalis a day.

I know that’s a lot, but make a commitment to saying at least one – or 3 – or something – every single day, because as I’ve written about previously: we aren’t saying this prayer for the Rav. We are saying these prayers 100% for ourselves. We are the ones who will benefit the most from reciting the Tikkun HaKlali.

  • Make a real effort to improve your mitzvoth bein adam l’chavero. This phrase has the same gematria – 363 – as ‘Corona’ in Hebrew, and was identified by the Rav as being one of the main things that the Coronavirus is coming to rectify.

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Tachlis, that means treating other people nicer.

And the main place to start with this mitzvah is in your own household. How are you treating your spouse? Your kids? Your parents? Your siblings? Are you considerate of other people’s feelings, or are YOU the only one that ever appears in the picture?

How often do you practice bitul, the art of backing down and nullifying what you want or what you prefer, in order to respect someone else’s wishes and free choice? (This is often a huge problem for parents, who can continue to emotionally bully and negate their children well into their adulthood.)

How often do you do a real cheshbon hanefesh, and then apologise for the things that we all say and do, all the time, that hurt other people, even unintentially?

How much tzedaka are you giving out with a happy heart? How much effort are you making to practice Azamra, which is the art of seeing the good in other people, especially our fellow Jew?

And especially ourselves, because people who can’t see the good in themselves, and who don’t like themselves very much, are usually the people who are so very harsh and hurtful to those around them.

Especially their kids, and their spouses.

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  • The next thing in the spiritual toolkit is to work on emunat tzaddikim, and in particular, that means double-checking if you spoke or thought badly of any tzaddik, but especially Rabbi Eliezer Berland.

As you can see HERE, some of the kabbalists in Israel are breaking cover to identify Rabbi Berland as the head of the lamed vav tzaddikim, the 36 holy Jews in whose merit the world continues.

Well-known kabbalists including Rabbi Menashe Amon and Rabbi Amos Guetta have both made statements recently that link the spread of Coronavirus to the treatment of Rabbi Berland, and that also make clear that the Rav is ONLY in prison because he is atoning on behalf of Am Yisrael.

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It’s going to be interesting to watch how this Coronavirus plague starts to operate in Israel, and who it’s going to really affect, because this whole thing is spiritual.

For example, Baka happens to be the stronghold of American Reform and Masorti in Jerusalem, so no big shocker that it’s one of the first places slated for mass quarantine.

But I’ve also heard that chareidi journalists and Israeli prison guards have also already been put into quarantine, as well as generals in the IDF.

They are talking about closing down all of the government institutions this coming week, including courts and prisons, depending on what happens next.

None of this is a coincidence, it’s a direct hint as to who is in the sites of this spiritual virus, and what they might have done to get themselves there.

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The last thing I have in my spiritual toolkit against the Coronavirus is this:

  • Adopt a positive attitude and remember Ein Od Milvado. Sure, I could sit here panicking that the end is nigh, and that total chaos and apocalypse is going to break out any second. But how is that going to help me?

If God wants me dead, He doesn’t need a Coronavirus to do it. I drive in Israel, I live next to a million Arabs on the seam in East Jerusalem. Every day I come back from Route 1 in one piece, that’s a miracle. Every day there isn’t a terrorist attack, a terrorist rocket, a bomb, a stabbing, a ramming incident, that’s an open miracle.

God doesn’t need a germ to kill me.

Also, what I think and believe actually creates the reality.

If I’m panicking 24/7, and believing every little cough is potentially fatal, that is creating that reality for me – and it’s a horrible reality to live.

If instead I adopt a ‘no big deal’ approach to all this stuff – and everything else that’s going on at the moment that could be very worrying and upsetting – then I will come through it all in way better shape emotionally and physically, regardless of what actually happens.

I’m not in charge of the world. God is.

The more I internalize that, the happier I feel.

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So like I said, this whole Coronavirus is going to be a huge test of emuna, and emunat tzaddikim.

It’s going to smoke out the fakers in an obvious way, and it’s going to encourage huge swathes of Am Yisrael to actually stop running away from God, and to sit still and really just be in their lives, for a change.

When you have to spend 14 days at home with your family, with very little distractions, that is bound to show you exactly where the fault lines lie in your relationships and personality.

No more running away into work, or shopping, or exercising, or socializing.

People will just be faced with themselves, and with the true state of their own souls, and with the stark reality that they aren’t in control of anything, however much they hoped and believed different.

And that’s when the real geula magic will start to happen.

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Photo by Ricardo Resende on Unsplash

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For about five minutes yesterday, as I was driving back to Jerusalem on Route 6, I had this amazing feeling of being so connected to God, and seeing how He’s guiding every tiny detail in the world.

The traffic was flowing, the scenery was beautiful, and I had a profound sense of peace and excitement.

Moshiach is almost here, I can feel it….

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I got home, and instantly my mood changed.

Someone had sent me a link to another crappy Israeli TV ‘expose’ about Rabbi Berland, blah blah blah, and somehow, my oldest daughter had opened it up when she was using my computer, and then spent two hours watching more poisonous crap about the Rav.

Excuse my mild swearing.

I’ve just so had enough of all this.

So, I told her:

I can’t keep trying to clean this stuff up for you, spiritually. You want to watch poisonous crap about the Rav, from lying, immoral, anti-God journalists, what can I do? Bezrat Hashem, God will help you to figure out the truth by yourself, because I am no longer prepared to sit her to try and shore up your shaky emunat tzaddikim.

That’s not an easy thing for me to say, because I know that it’s not going to go easy for anyone who finds themselves on the wrong side of the Rabbi Berland equation, and I love my daughter tremendously.

But each person has to fight their own fight.

And I also decided that I am totally coming off Youtube, and once I’ve finished typing this, I’m going to see if there is a way I can totally block it and / or erase access. (If anyone has any tips for me, please leave them in the comments section.)

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The more the current craziness plays out in the world, the more I’m seeing that there is really only one way that we can short-cut things like pandemics, plagues, economic depressions, terminal illnesses and wars, and that’s by working on our own middot.

All this Coronavirus stuff is just a case in point.

Regardless of whether it really is a potential world-killing pandemic, or just a totally over-hyped strain of flu that the media is using to whip-up mass hysteria for some unknown reason, what it actually all boils down to is just a big test of emuna.

Sure, you may be wearing a shawl, and thinking like you are the holiest thing to hit the world since Moshe Rabbenu, but if you’re scared to ride a bus in Jerusalem because of Corona, that is a clear indication that your real level of emuna is actually way, way less than you think.

Wherever there is fear of something that is not Hashem, that’s called ‘fallen fear’.

The whole idea, the whole goal, is to work through all the millions of ‘fallen fears’ that we all have, and to raise them back up to their root in emuna. That means understanding that God runs the world, God is doing everything for our ultimate good, and that everything is just a message from Hashem.

God doesn’t need Corona virus to kill anyone – if He decides we’re going to croak, that’s it, end of story, even if we’re wearing a bacteria-killing mask 24 hours a day and have an IV drip infusing our blood with industrial quantities of Vitamin C.

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God is running the world.

Let me repeat that again, as I know it’s so easy to forget it:

God is running the world.

Once I understand that, I stop obsessing over using the hand sanitizer, and I stop panicking when someone coughs next to me at work, and I stop checking out ‘the latest’ germ-blocking face masks.

And instead, I take some time out, and I go and explore why do I feel so scared? What am I doing, what sins am I engaged in, that are making my soul feel so anxious and frightened?

And top of that list is:

The sins between adam l’chaveiro.

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Recently, I’ve had a lot of kids who dropped out of the Torah world in my orbit, especially from the city of Bet Shemesh.

That place seems to have cornered the market in terms of dysfunctional ‘religious’ families where the parents are so super-duper, mega-crazy ‘frum’ on the outside – but actually treating other people, and particularly their kids, really badly.

What I’ve been learning is that the yetzer has been totally running rings around so many of these people. It’s convinced them harshly criticizing their children for not being ‘perfect’ is the best way to get them to make teshuva  – when of course, the polar opposite is true.

Imagine living in a home where you have a parent that is constantly telling you what you’re doing wrong, and constantly picking up chumrot that they try to shove down your throat, and constantly going on about how ‘bad’ and how ‘evil’ and how ‘defective’ you are, poor kid, and how they’re sure you’re not going to ‘make it’ when Moshiach shows up.

If I lived in a home like that, I would also get a punk hair cut, smoke 2 packs a day and feel really, really angry at God and religion.

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It’s no coincidence that Rabbi Berland has made it very clear that the gematria of ‘Corona’ is 363 – the same gematria as bein adam l’chaveiro.

And the first place to start with fixing that part of the equation is in our homes.

If you are criticising your kid all the time for not being Moshe Rabbenu, or not getting ‘straight As’, or not being perfect all the time – stop!

If you are condescending to your spouse, and you think like you have it all figured out and they are the spiritual retard in the relationship – stop!

If you think you are above doing a cheshbon hanefesh on how you hurt other people’s feelings, and how you use religious observance to try to control other people – again, especially your children – then stop!

Take a breath, take a careful look in the mirror that God is holding up to you, and to me, and to everyone else in the world right now, and see what’s looking back at you.

Is it nice, or nasty? Is it scary, or reassuring? Is the world full of kindness and compassion and understanding, or vicious complaint, din and anger?

Whatever you see peering back at you, that’s just a reflection of your inner dimension.

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Let me share a story with you, to illustrate this point.

I’ve been checking out a few of my ‘anonymous’ commentators IP addresses, especially the ones who like to write comments slagging off Rav Berland.

I discovered that one big critic of the Rav has a slew of court cases against them for illegally manipulating stocks on the New York stock exchange – they are mamash small time mafia. This guy has been extremely fast to loudly yell ‘financial fraud!!!!’ at the Rav and Shuvu Banim.

Now we know why.

Then, there was the commentator who liked to call himself ‘Peewee’, who is also ‘anti Rav’. Guess what? I found out he’s on a police watch list for pedophiles in the States after he was caught propositioning an undercover police woman who he thought was a 13 year old girl on the internet.

The Rav is just a big super-reflecting mirror, shining a light on our own bad middot.

That’s why I am not going to argue with anyone anymore, about what the Rav did or didn’t do, or did or didn’t say.

If you see bad in the Rav – if you see bad in your kids, in your spouse, in everyone else around you – that’s because that bad is really in YOU.

So knuckle down, acknowledge the real problem and get to work on it.

====

This morning, I finally had the energy to walk down to the Kotel, as part of my hour long hitbodedut thing that I do every single day, with God’s help.

I walked down the road that skirts the Gei Hinnom valley, on the side of the Old City, a road called ‘Ma’aleh Shalom’ – the path of peace.

I went with quite a lot of heartache, thinking about some of the things I’ve written above, how I’m seeing so many parents literally destroy their children with their own two hands, all in the name of God and His Torah.

I touched the stones, kissed them, then headed back home. In the plaza, an old frum lady came over to me and called out may Hashem grant you everything you asked for!

I shrugged at her, pulled a tight smile and told her Sorry, I don’t have any money.

She hobbled closer, and told me in English:

You aren’t listening to me. Listen: May Hashem grant you everything you asked for!

She was right. I hadn’t been listening. She was trying to give me a bracha that my prayers should be answered, and I was batting her away like a pesky mosquito.

You’re right. I’m sorry. Amen!

Then she told me:

The most important prayer to say right now, is that we all get out of galut. That Am Yisrael should all get out of galut.

I looked at her twinkly blue eyes, squeezed her arm, and got the message.

What is galut, really, except the prison that we’re all in, that’s keeping us away from God and the people we love, and redemption? And what is that prison, really, except our own bad middot?

Our own fallen fears, and anger, and arrogance, and jealousy?

We all have a lot of work to do.

====

UPDATE:

Daisy Stern has pulled a lot of info together to show why the Kan 11 ‘expose’ my daughter say was a total farce, and just more of the same ‘anti-Rav’ propaganda the media has been steadily churning out for year.

You can see that on her site, HERE.

Also, I saw another abusive comment this morning, this time from someone pretending to be ‘Sam Eisen’ about the Rav. Again, I ran the IP address – and guess what? It’s the same ‘Peewee’ pedo guy I mentioned before.

I won’t detail the comment, but suffice to say it was talking about dying in jail for being a pervert. Yet again, we see the mirror principle in full color.

So, yalla, come on all you ‘anti’ Rav people… send me more of your comments, even with your fake names, and then we’ll find out what’s really going on in your private lives and exactly why it is you are so ‘anti’ a person who exudes goodness and holiness so strongly, you can feel it a million miles away.

No wonder all these people are staying anonymous.

====

Let’s leave the last word to Rabbi Nachman, who writes in Sefer HaMiddot:

“S*xual violators are for the most part opposers of the Tzaddikim.”

Now that I’m looking up the IP addresses on the comments, I’m seeing Rabbenu’s dictum manifest in real time. And I’m really excited to go and do some more digging on all those big mouths who have been so publically ‘anti’ the Rav – so yalla guys, don’t be shy!

Let me have all your disgusting comments, and then let’s find out who YOU really are.

It’s a taste of the World to Come, when the truth will shine out and no-one will be able to hide behind a fake name or a fake email anymore.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?

====

 

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Ladies, it’s really happening!

This Sunday at 10am Jerusalem time (7 hours ahead of EST), we’ll be kicking off the first Zoom class for ladies only, with yours truly.

The idea is to talk about how we can apply some of Rebbe Nachman’s, and Rabbi Berland’s, teachings to our own lives and experiences.

This week, I opened up one of the Rav’s books to get some inspiration for how to kick off, and it opened up to some interesting ideas on humility, so that’s the topic we’re going to kick off with, and we’ll see how things develop.

I’m going to keep the first few classes to 30 minutes, while we figure out how they are going to work best. The idea is for me to set the tone, but I really want YOU to be the ones talking and sharing and discussing, as you get so much input from me anyway, via my blog.

I’m putting the Zoom link for the first class here:

 https://zoom.us/j/231772543

Show up 5 minutes earlier if you’re not sure how to use Zoom, to get comfortable with the set up.

It’s ladies only, so don’t worry about having your video or audio switched off.

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If you can’t make it live (and I know there were a lot of ladies in the US who expressed an interest, but who can’t make this time slot) – replays will be available, but only sent out to people who sign up. Once I move house again in 3 weeks, I’ll look to add another slot, maybe on Mondays, that will work for people in the US, too.

You can sign up below, and I’ll also put this link in my sidebar, and in the sidebar of my blog on ravberland.com, too, to make it easy to access.







Get the replays of the Breslov Womens’ class!

The only way to get the link for the replay of Rivka’s weekly Breslov Women’s class is to sign up!

Marketing by

 

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BH, I'm a little nervous about this, but also quite excited. For years now, I've had the privilege of getting to know some really amazing women, all over the world, and I've been wishing that there was a way more of us could get to know each other.

And now, there just might be!

So, take the plunge with me, and let's see where this goes. No-one has to come every week - not even me! - and in the meantime, it would be so nice to spend half an hour a week chatting things through with other ladies who also happen to really believe in God...

====

And in the meantime, the better half has also taken the plunge, and started recording a 5 minute parsha shiur, you can catch his first one here:

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He was also a little nervous - new beginnings are always hard.

But something beautiful is starting to sprout here, BH, in more ways than one.

====

 

Last week, I had a little nervous breakdown.

The only reason it was little, as opposed to BIG, is because on Thursday morning I told my husband that if I didn’t make it out to Uman for Shabbat, I was probably going to crack up into a million pieces.

The warning signs had been gathering steam for two weeks, but we were deep in a massive cash crunch, so there was just no way I could get to Uman. Then on Tuesday, I was chasing some receipts for my husband’s end of year when we realized we’d been accidentally overcharged for something by 4, 000 shekels – the cost of spending Shabbat in Uman.

So, my husband asked for repayment, and Thursday morning, we booked the flight.

Thank God, because I was in such a low place by that point, I felt like the sky was falling in.

Usually, I’m pretty open about what sparks all this stuff off, and I can tell you that I’m definitely dealing with a million and one big stressors at the moment, that have all been depleting my strength and challenging me. I’ll list them here, to make it neat, but that’s not really what sent me off the deep end.

  • I have to move apartment by end of Feb, and still haven’t found somewhere.
  • I have to complete the purchase of an apt in Harish by end of Feb, and the bank turned down the mortgage.
  • I have to complete my ‘Crush your stress’ masterclass (haha!) and start marketing it properly.
  • I have to somehow figure out tickets for trips to the US and UK for family simchas.
  • My kid wants to drop out of school again.
  • My other kid is leaving her National Service half way through the year

All these stressors could easily pass for ‘the reason I’m cracking up’, and in the past, I’ve made the mistake of thinking they are the root cause of my emotional distress.

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But last week, I realized they are just the icing, not the cake.

The stuff that was really causing me to crack up last week is far more intangible. It just runs so deep, and goes to the heart of this whole idea of what I’m really meant to be doing in the world.

After 46 years, I realized that I’m still the perpetual weirdo, that I’m never going to see things the way other people do, or react to things ‘normally’, or be able to fit myself into the neat little boxes that apparently suit ‘everyone else’ – whoever the heck they are.

I’ve been fighting that clarity since I could think, because it brings a whole big bag of loneliness and self-doubt along with it. For four and a half decades, I’ve been waiting for me to mellow enough to fit in with the world, or for the world to speed up enough to keep up with me.

And last week, I finally understood that it’s never going to happen.

That understanding totally blew me out the water, and left me feeling like ET would feel once he understood the Mothership was never showing up to take him back home.

====

I am a perpetual weirdo, stuck in a place where no-one is ever going to ‘get’ me.

This has implications for a lot of things, not least all my ongoing attempts to keep trying to ‘brainwash’ people – including my family members – into seeing things and experiencing things the way I do.

Up until last week, I thought it was just a matter of time until everyone comes around and starts to pick up the same vibes I do about things. Just a bit more ‘Moshiach light’ needs to slip under the door, just a bit more ‘Moshiach consciousness’ needs to shine in through the windows, and they will finally understand.

But now, I accept that’s never going to happen.

So last week, I fled to Uman to get some advice about how I’m meant to relate to myself in this new paradigm.

====

Now I know I’m just never going to get that meeting of minds I’m craving, that sense of connection, now I know that I have to keep ‘the real me’ mostly under wraps if I want to have peaceful relationships and not cause constant friction, how do I relate to myself? How do I like myself?

How do I use all my ‘weirdness’ in a way that will still benefit the world, without causing me all this heartache because I feel so lonely and misunderstood so much of the time?

That’s why I came knocking on the door of Uman, the only place that makes me feel a little bit ‘normal’.

There was no bolt of lightning, no neon sign that suddenly lit up over the Tziyon saying

Rivka, do THIS!!!!! Be like THIS!!!! Just change THIS!!!!

But I came to Uman dragging a whole big chain of doubt, unhappiness and emotional pain behind me, and mostly, it’s gone.

I’m feeling connected back to my soul and connected back to God and the true Tzaddikim again. I have a lot to figure out still, but somehow, everything is going to turn out for the best.

And now, I have to get on with finding somewhere to live, and putting the finishing touches to my ‘Crush your stress’ course (haha!)

God certainly has a sense of humour.

====

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It’s not easy to give.

But the people who most benefit from our generosity is…ourselves.

I just wrote a whole, long piece about two families who need some serious help to get their children married off this week. Long story short, they need to find $4000 each to pay for the most basic, subsidized wedding you can make, without just eloping.

They’ve raised $2,000 so far – which is totally awesome, and has made all the difference in the world to the family involved. And you can read more of my musings on the whole subject of giving tzedakah on the ravberland.com site, HERE.

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I’m not going to repeat myself, but I do want to just amplify one of the points I made over there, which is that I’ve noticed that the yuckiest people I routinely have to deal with – the critical, judgmental, evil-eyed blamers who are constantly moaning and complaining about how hard their own lives are, and trying to squeeze attention and money out of everyone else whilst giving nothing back – also seem to be the people who are most allergic to the idea of:

  1. Giving tzedaka to other people
  2. Doing pidyon nefeshs 
  3. Rabbi Berland being a big Tzaddik.

It’s amazing to me, how it all seems to go together, but now that I’ve seen this pattern show up again and again and again, I just wanted to flag it here.

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There is one reason why people are ‘anti’ Rav Berland and this is it:

Their own middot suck.

That’s it, that’s the whole ‘big secret’ behind his widespread persecution.

Thank God a million times, I’m not on that side of the equation.

Because the other thing that I’ve noticed is that these people with bad middot live very difficult lives, that are full of harsh judgment and suffering. No-one likes them, no-one wants to hang out with them, and their own families are ‘nightmares on Elm Street’, because when you get all those bad middot amplifying through the children….and the grandchildren….and the siblings….and the parents….

Well, let’s just say it’s unpleasant.

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So, don’t think you’re doing anyone else a favor, when you give tzedaka, or do a pidyon, or work on your bad middot, because you’re really not. There is one person you are helping out, and that is yourself.

And we all need all the help we can get. So even if you just have $5 spare  – or $1 spare – do yourself a favor, and go buy yourself some Divine compassion. You can do that by going HERE, and helping two God-fearing families to marry off their children with a basic measure of dignity.

But let’s be clear, every penny given is not really helping them, even though that’s how it’s dressed-up.

It’s only helping us.

And we all need all the help we can get.

====

Buy your better middot, sweetened judgment and Divine compassion for as little as a buck, by going HERE.

====

UPDATE, FRIDAY 20TH DECEMBER, 2019:

Baruch Hashem, so far they raised around $3600, and they managed to get both couples married off. It mamash took so much of the pressure off the families, so thanks to everyone who contributed. But you don’t have to stop here! Go back, and donate again – $5 even, it all makes a difference, because the families still have to find the remaining $4,400 to cover their debts, and for families like these, that amount is an enormous debt.

I realised this week, that I’ve been in a pretty good mood the last two days because every time I think about how much stuff I’ve got to sort out, and get on with, and work on – in so many ways – just knowing that I went and helped these families a little is making me think on some level, Hashem is going to help me too, bezrat Hashem.

Not because I deserve anything, because I don’t.

But just because it’s a spiritual rule, that God treats us the way we treat others, and I’m doing my best to stop judging harshly, and just to shut up and give a bit of help and kindness.

In the meantime, here’s the father of the bride from yesterday’s wedding, thanking the donors who helped to make it happen. If you gave something, watch this and kvell, and if you didn’t – it’s never too late! Even a $1! What do you care? You’ll buy yourself a smile for the rest of the day.

Buy your better middot, sweetened judgment, Divine compassion and inner smile for as little as a buck, by going HERE.

Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash.

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I want my site to be for stressed-out women, not conpiracy-minded men.

Two weeks ago, I kind of had an ‘epiphany’ moment, about my life and my writing.

For years, I’ve been writing blog posts and articles and even books that have often been very serious, and very ‘justice warrior’-oriented, and where I’ve really tried to do my bit to expose evil and go after the bad guys.

Where did that approach get me?

Honestly…. Not so far. I have a couple of thousand readers of my blogs, the majority of whom Google Analytics tells me are men….

Those men don’t buy my books. They aren’t really the ‘tribe’ I want to interact with, or write for, however nice they actually all might be. So once I took the time to actually read my Google Analytics report (for the first time in 8 years!) I realized that something fundamental has to change here, in the way I’m trying to write for and interact with my audience.

====

Part of me really loves all the buzz of reporting news, and ‘badness’, and unmasking the truth.

That’s my investigative journalist side – the side that lost me my job all those years back, on one of London’s Jewish papers, and has gotten me sued a couple of times, and has kept me awake on countless nights, fighting the dark forces in my head.

But really, where did that part get me, or get anyone else?

I’m pondering that a lot at the moment.

Nearly all the baddies I’ve exposed are still going strong… the bad people are still being protected and defended by the other bad people… No-one really did any major teshuva as a result of what I’ve written about this stuff, or changed their life in any fundamental way.

And I don’t know what I’ve really got out of blogging about these things, all these years.

Honestly.

So much effort, for so little anything much.

====

Two weeks ago, I was ready to start ripping a whole bunch more lies and masquerades to shred in print, and to set out ‘the bad’ in that obvious, hard-to-argue-with way that clears up so many questions, and brings sterling clarity to an issue.

But God kept stopping me from doing that, in my hitbodedut.

And for two weeks, I didn’t know why.

But in the meantime, I had this course on the backburner about reducing stress I’m trying to do for women, so I’ve been turning my attention to that, while I’m waiting for the clarity to descend about where I go to next in my writing.

Yesterday, I think I started to get my answer. Yesterday, I taught two classes on how to start de-stressing over Zoom, and I learnt something profound:

I totally loved interacting with those women.

====

I totally loved teaching about something that really help people tachlis, in their real life, to stop feeling so stressed and anxious and to start to feel like they really can cope, with all the cack we all have to deal with, and that there is fundamentally nothing wrong with them.

All stress is really just a call to action, a message that something needs to change – and that something, nine times out of ten, is internal.

====

So, I came back on to www.rivkalevy.com yesterday, after doing the usual rounds of the 4 blogs and sites I read every day, once, just to stay up on things.

And that’s when it hit me:

I don’t want to be writing about politics or current affairs anymore.

I don’t want to be trading barbs with nutso bloggers who get all their life force from taking provocative stances online and making dumb statements guaranteed to rile people up.

I want to be a force for good in the world.

So, I am hoping to be taking my writing on this blog in a different direction. More along the lines of the Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife – but way more upbeat and actually helpful!

I have been through so much stress, so many crazy experiences the last few years, that God has really shown me how to deal with, using the teachings and advice of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and his students.

I want to help other people – and specifically, other women – to access that light more easily, and to enjoy it in their own lives.

And I can’t do that, if I’m constantly picking fights with nutso bloggers, or opining on pointless politics, or trying to deal with negative commentators who have massive chips on their shoulders. It can honestly ruin my week.

I don’t want to deal with those people any more, I don’t want to cater for them. I don’t want my site to attract that sort of person, because they have been tying up my energy and my headspace for years and years, and preventing me from doing what God really created me to do in the world.

====

So, I’m going in a different direction here on www.rivkalevy.com, where the focus is going to be far more on stressed-out WOMEN and far less on conspiracy-theory-enjoying men.

And far more on putting together real, practical EMUNA EXPERIENCES to help my readers navigate their lives as happily as they can, holding God’s hand, and far less on self-righteous, impractical rants about what everyone else needs to do, to fix the world.

I’m nothing special, not at all. But I do have a bunch of very bad middot that God has helped me to get a grip on (mostly….). If Rebbe Nachman’s advice worked for me, it can work for anyone – and that’s what I’m going to start focusing on doing, sharing that stuff out, as best I can.

====

I was so stoked yesterday, to teach those classes.

I was so thrilled, when another reader called to tell me how much the ‘stress exercise’ had helped her sort something out, in her actual, real life.

So guys, you can carry on reading this blog if you want, but I’d much prefer you tell your wives about what’s going on here now, and let them take over. And nutsos, you can also carry on reading this blog if you want, but I’d honestly much prefer that you don’t, because we are about to blast off into the realm of EMUNA EXPERIENCES, where humility, caring and compassion for others are going to be the name of the game.

There are plenty other blogs out there providing a steady diet of propaganda, fake prophecy, self-righteous opinion and scare stories.

I’m retiring from that field.

I have much bigger and better things to do with my time, a lot of ladies out there who I know I can really help, bezrat Hashem.

And that’s the focus going forward, to build a tribe of LADIES who are trying to bring geula really the only way we can, i.e. by working on ourselves, and our emuna and our stress, and our relationships with our fellow Jews.

This blog, my writing, me  – we’re ready to evolve out of the pupa, and to start doing something useful in the world.

I have to say, I’m pretty excited.

TBC

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Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash

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