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This time last week, I was stuck at the bottom of a huge, ridiculously steep dust mountain, with no way of getting my car up it.

(I wrote about that HERE.)

The message I kept getting from that day ‘off-roading’ in the desert is DON’T GIVE UP.

Don’t give up.

Don’t stop half way, just because you are feeling overwhelmed, scared and exhausted.

Don’t give up!

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On Shabbat, I was doing some hitbodedut in my room, when my eye fell on my 30+ scrolls of Sabbatean-Frankist family trees, shoved in the spare room a few weeks ago.

Why?

Because I gave up. It was too hard, to keep breaking my head over those genealogies again and again and again.

On Shabbat, my soul started whispering at me:

You gave up half way….

Like duh!!! Of course I did.

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My soul didn’t take the hint.

Continue…. there is truth that needs to be brought out for the Jewish community. Don’t stop half way.

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I thought of that humongous, un-passable mountain in the desert.

I thought of how if we’d given up then, even though it seemed totally impossible we could get our car up it, at best we’d probably have had to ditch the car and pay thousands for someone to ‘tow it’.

Like you can get ‘tow trucks’ in the middle of the mountainous desert….

But anyway.

Point is, there was everything to lose from not continuing to try, and to pray, to get the car up the unpassable mountain, and everything to gain from continuing on.

But it was for sure scary and overwhelming.

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Long story short:

I am back buried in my scrolls of family trees.

All this ‘genealogy’ is directly connected to all the ‘bad’ that’s going on in our Jewish community today that needs uprooting, especially in terms of protecting our children from predators, both of the body and of the soul.

So, posting may be a bit slower here again, until I get to some sort of ‘conclusion’, at least for this next stage of the process.

But in the meantime, strange as it is right now, worrying that it could be right now, that they appear to be ‘trying again’ with their masks and plandemics shtick – don’t give up.

Miracles do happen.

And unpassable mountains can be conquered on the way to freedom, peace and a good cup of tea.

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To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, me and the bloke headed off to Mitzpe Ramon.

We were there 25 years ago, just after the ‘Ramon Inn’ first opened, and we thought it would be nice to go back and bring things full circle. One of the things we did all those years ago was take a jeep tour through the Ramon crater, or makhtesh, so we thought to ourselves: lets do that too!

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Our first jeep tour through the crater was with a tour guide I will call ‘Ron’.

He picked us up from the hotel, and first drove us through a couple of the streets of Mitzpe Ramon itself. (Honestly, it really only has a couple of streets…)

There was no planning, in this town, there is no connection between the communities here, he told us, as he drove down one particular street.

Here you have a yeshiva; across the road you have a bunch of Russians, most of whom are xtians. Then, you have a community of Black Hebrews. Then the Chabad house, and across from them, a community of lesbians. We are having a pride parade here on July 1.

How can you have a pride parade in a community as small as Mitzpe Ramon, with its 5,000 residents?

Ron told us: Last year 700 people showed up for it.

We were stunned.

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I learnt some interesting things from Ron.

The interesting things I learnt about the Ramon Crater is that it contained every element required to literally build the State of Israel – which was useful, because Israel was under international sanctions for years and years, and so couldn’t import the stuff required to make basic concrete.

But everything was there, in the Ramon Crater, and up until 2006 when production finally closed down, they’d shovelled out 1 1/2 billion tons of things like gypsum.

Ron also told us that they will never open the Degania dam, no matter how high the Kinneret rises, because if they do that, they will stuff up the potash works operating around the shores of the Dead Sea, which are apparently owned by the Ofer family, and the Chinese.

We’ll probably come back to the Ofers some time soon, they are a big part of the story of who really owns the State of Israel.

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The more interesting stuff that we learnt from Ron is that people like him – staunch secular ‘zionists’, in their 60s and 70s – are totally despairing of what is happening in this country.

Ron told us that he has an only son, and he forbid him from going into a combat unit in the army, after what happened to Elor Azaria.

The only safe way to serve in the army today is behind a desk, he told us. The politicians are corrupt and the judges have ruined everything. I’m sure they are getting bought secret apartments in Miami, or something. If it was up to me, I’d have Smotrich as PM, and Ben Gvir as his deputy. And there are a lot of people like me. I really fear for what is going to be here, in another 10 years. I don’t know what sort of country we will be passing down to our children.

Ron doesn’t like religious people very much, although he likes to quote a lot of Tanach.

And so, he is caught in a very despairing paradigm, where ‘religious people’ are the enemy… but ‘secular people’ are even more the enemy. And the biggest enemy of all, according to Ron, are the Muslims, who he feels are going to take over the whole country, one day, and nothing and no-one can stop them.

I really got the impression that Ron was kind of waiting to die, as his own personal ‘answer’ to what is going on today in Israel…But I digress.

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The following morning, we decided to retrace the route through the crater we’d taken with Ron, in our own little jeep.

We bought it second hand after the first lockdown, as a way to get away into untamed nature, a little, when all the masks and Covid restrictions and horrible police were suffocating me to death.

We’ve been driving it for around two years, and we’ve ‘off roaded’ quite a bit in that time, on less and more challenging routes.

So, I got a detailed map of the crater from the nice lady at the reception desk, that clearly showed all the trails marked, and their degree of difficulty, and we headed off.

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What can I tell you?

Either the map was totally and utterly wrong. And / or the markings showing you where to go where either totally missing, or totally wrong, too.

I’m pretty good at following maps – we don’t have Waze or a satnav, because I have a map book in our car, and a really good sense of direction. But somehow or other, we got totally lost yesterday morning, in the Ramon Crater.

The path we were following, that was meant to be suitable for 4×4 driving, suddenly brought us to a really steep incline, full of dust and boulders. It looked do-able, just about – and I mean, it’s not like they would mark a trail as suitable for 4×4 if it was totally UNSUITABLE for any vehicles except dirt bikes, right?

Not right.

Long story short, half way down, my husband couldn’t get the brakes to ‘catch’ on the dust, and we found ourselves gliding into a boulder. Before we got there, though, Hashem decided we should instead get caught on a big bush, which stopped the car in its tracks, as we kind of dangled sideways.

I was yelling at him to hit the brakes… and when he told me he was hitting the brakes, I knew we had a problem.

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I started clapping my hands furiously, to ‘sweeten the judgements’, as Rabbenu teaches.

I didn’t stop clapping for the next two hours.

Miraculously, my husband managed to restart the car, back it up a little, and to guide it down the rest of that steep dirt pile.

Phewee… now hopefully the trail would even out, some, and go back to being drivable again.

Some hope.

Next we know, we are going up and down some MASSIVE HILLS, all dirt and dust tracks, and each one loomed massive ahead of us, like a mini-Mt Everest.

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After ten minutes of that (I’m still clapping furiously…) , we get to a sign post in the middle of the desert, at the intersection of 4 paths.

And that’s when I realised that the map I had was totally wrong, and that I had no idea where we actually were.

Because while the signposts were saying that the trail we’d just come down was 4×4 suitable, we already knew from experience that was a lie. And I couldn’t even find one of the other locations being signposted on that whole, big map we had of the crater by Mitzpe Ramon.

When you are stuck in the middle of a desert terrain, with massive, huge cliffs everywhere, you can’t just drive around and hope to find your way. It’s dangerous.

At this point, we both started to feel notably anxious.

I redoubled the clapping, and then we decided to ‘go right’, because the Gemara teaches that whenever you don’t know the way, you should ‘go to the right’.

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We drove on really slowly, and then 10 minutes later – a miracle.

Three angels were in a landcruiser just ahead of us, taking measurements for some new electricity pipe thing, in the middle of the desert.

Hey, do you have any idea how we can get back to Route 40 from here? My husband asked them.

Meanwhile, I gave him the map to show them, so at least I could try to get our bearings and figure it out myself, if they couldn’t help us.

One guy looked at the map with a perplexed expression on his face.

Where you are right now isn’t on the map, he told us.

Well, that kind of explained the problem we were having.

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Long story short, they said we should follow them out of the wilderness.

There’s one big incline on the way, but yiyeh beseder, they reassured us.

I told my husband I was just going to keep clapping, until we were finally back on some tarmac. He told me to go right ahead.

At least we probably won’t die in the desert now, I told him. Worst comes to worst, they’ll give us a lift out and we’ll just end up losing the car to the bedouins…

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Twenty minutes later, the ‘big incline’ suddenly loomed into view, and that feeling of anxiety intensified.

It was like a 60-70% incline, up a mountain of dirt.

Totally impossible for us, in our small jeep without a 2.0 engine and totally exaggerated tyres.

Lucky, there was a ‘snake path’ by the side, which meandered from side to side around a bunch of boulders, that lead off down ravines on both sides. That was the ‘easier’ option.

Long story short… our car got stuck half way up, because we didn’t have the revving power of the landcruiser we were following. Yet again, we found ourselves tilted close to a bunch of rocks, seemingly unable to move forward or backwards.

(I’m still clapping furiously….)

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The angels ahead of us stop, and one of them walks back down the hill.

Can I try and drive it up? He asked my husband.

We were only too pleased for him to try, because at that point, we were basically cacking ourselves.

It just doesn’t have the koach to continue up the path, my husband told the guy.

Join the club, I thought.

Somehow, tho, that guy revved the engine through the roof, managed to get it past the small rock that had been holding the car back, and swung it around so that he didn’t go over the side of the ravine, and continued straight up the path.

An open miracle!

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(I’m still clapping….)

We walk up, get back in, and they reassure us that the worst is over.

I’ll believe that when I’m back on Route 40, I whispered to my husband. Let’s never do this again.

Half an hour later, the same thing happens again.

Another very steep incline – but not as drawn out – and again, our small-engined jeep is struggling to find the koach to continue.

Again, the angels ahead stop, again the guy walks back to us, again, he revvs the car through the roof, and somehow manages to get it up the hill.

(I’m still clapping….)

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They turn right on a path clearly marked with a big skull and crossroads, because it goes straight through an army firing zone.

I really hope these guys checked beforehand, that this is an ‘off’ day for the army….

I’m still clapping.

Then we go past a Bedouin encampment, and the road finally starts to resemble more of what we’d got used to, as a regular 4×4 track in Israel.

Route 40 – tarmac!!! – suddenly looms into site, and the angels stop again, to tell us which direction to take, to get back to Jerusalem.

We were miles and miles away from Mitzpe Ramon.

I still can’t understand how we managed to get so totally lost.

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Nothing happens for nothing, and I learnt a lot of important things from this whole episode.

The first thing I learnt is that the deep South of Israel is still very undeveloped, and that ‘off-roading’ there is way more dangerous, partially because of the terrain, but mostly because the paths and tracks just aren’t properly marked, so it’s very easy to take the wrong turns without realising it.

But the main lessons I learnt yesterday, were 100% spiritual, and here’s a rough outline of what I got.

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  1. If you don’t have an accurate description of the terrain, then even if you are ‘following your roadmap’ to a tee, it can still lead you off the edge of a cliff.

The only accurate ‘road map’ is the Torah, which is God’s ‘user manual’ for how to find our way through this labyrinth called ‘life’ in one piece, and to actually get to where we’re headed.

Connected to this, is the idea that you also need ‘guides’ you can really trust, and who are willing to put themselves out for you, in order to help you reach your destination in one piece.

That is the TRUE tzaddikim.

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2. Even when you think you know things, and you’re ‘prepared’ and experienced, God can and will throw you curve-balls where you’ll end up feeling totally lost.

When that happens, don’t start blaming yourself, or your spouse, or your kid, or your friend. No-one makes ‘bad decisions’ on purpose, not even retards. It’s just sometimes, Hashem blinds us to certain things, or kind of ‘fools us’ in to thinking that certain stupid ideas are good and useful.

Hashem is orchestrating everything that happens to us, to a) pay down old spiritual debts (aka ‘tikkun’) and b) get us to develop our emuna, and to pray, and to work on our negative character traits.

And that’s why we sometimes make really bad decisions, or take wrong turns in life.

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3. Clapping away the judgements REALLY, THE HECK WORKS.

We met the three angels 10 minutes after I started clapping, and we met no-one else – at all, the whole time – until we were by the Bedouin village.

Without those three angels, we would probably still be driving around the crater… or worse.

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4. Don’t give up half way.

That was really the main message that came through again, and again and again, yesterday.

It’s true, I really wanted to give up about 3,000 times yesterday.

Hanging off cliffs in the middle of no-where is not really fun. And we were feeling pretty paralysed and ‘stuck’ and scared at various points in our drive.

But if we hadn’t continued inching forward, cautiously, we really would have been in trouble.

So, don’t give up ESPECIALLY when you hit the tough spot. That’s when the prayers and the clapping need to go up, massively – but don’t give up.

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5. We can’t do this by ourselves.

So many people say to me they don’t need a rabbi, they don’t need a spiritual guide.

They have the right roadmap – the Torah.

They have the right ‘vehicle’ – a good brain, good middot, a good spiritual grasp of life.

But the truth is, in our lowly generation – we still can’t do this by ourselves.

The vehicle is good, but it’s simply lacking the strength to drive up some of the mountains we now have before us.

Sometimes, we have to get out of the driving seat – aka ‘throw our brains aside’ – and just let Rabbenu, Rebbe Nachman get that jeep up the hill, or tell us to turn ‘right’ into an army firing zone….

Otherwise, we end up stuck, despairing – or worse.

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6. Appreciate everything.

The last thing I learnt, is how I should mamash appreciate every small, little thing, that God is doing for me.

For example, I spent two hours yesterday really appreciating tarmac.

Now when I drive up hills on the motorway, I’m seeing that whole experience through totally different eyes.

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Am Yisrael is currently still on the ride of our life.

We are still driving through the desert, and up and down cliffs, on our way to geula and moshiach.

There are so many dangers, on all sides.

And there is no ‘safe, easy’ way out of the predicament we are already in.

The parallel is obvious.

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I came back to a couple of messages from my contacts by Rav Berland.

  1. Is that the situation is seriously hotting up again (even though it looks to us like everything is ‘calming down’ at the moment, because it’s the olam hafuch.)

2. Is that the Rav is trying to sweeten things by taking on more bizayon – hello, Channel 13 expose number 258!

3. The Rav is asking people to start saying 7 Tikkun Haklalis a day, until Tu B’Av.

Personally, I don’t know if I can manage 7 a day, but I can certainly manage 3, so that is what I’m aiming for now, BH.

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I know, this has been a long, arduous and exhausting few years.

And it’s not over yet!

So take a breather if you need, but don’t give up in the middle.

The end is looming into sight.

And there’s just a few more Everests to climb until we get there.

Only with God’s help, and by following the advice of the true tzaddikim.

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Over Shavuot, I had some more guests from the place where my daughter works for abused girls from chareidi backgrounds.

Many of these girls have stories that would mamash make you weep, about the level of cruelty and depravation they have been exposed to – within their own families.

But not all of those girls were physically or bodily abused.

And the girls that were *only* having to deal with emotional and mental abuse and manipulation actually have it the worst of all, in many ways. Because very people understand the torture they’ve actually been through.

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I was having a conversation with someone yesterday who has small kids in gan in Jerusalem, about what parents can really do, to keep our children safe from abusers.

The first response is to pray, and to ask God to protect our kids from all harm. Because parents can’t hover over their kids’ shoulders 24/7 – and even if we could, somehow, that would still be mentally-ill behaviour and very harmful for our children’s development.

Getting that balance between ‘protection’ and ‘suffocation’ is tricky, for sure, especially in our world.

Personally, if I didn’t really believe in Hashem, and really try to work on my emuna that Ein Od Milvado, I would probably also be one of those psycho parents who won’t let their children out of their sight, and who uses their kids mobile phone to eavesdrop on their conversations (without them knowing…) and to ‘track and trace’.

Sigh.

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So, prayer is the parent’s first line of defense.

But there is something else that can also have a very powerful effect on whether our children will be targeted by abusers, and that’s how much the parent themselves creates an ‘atmosphere of abuse’ in the home.

I’ve written a bit about this before, but today I wanted to do more of a deep dive on the subject. It’s not an easy topic to cover, and I hope God will give me the right words, here.

Let’s start with a story.

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On Shavuot morning, I walked over to the Rav’s ‘outdoor shul’ on Ido HaNavi.

It was totally packed, and there were no chairs, so because I had a long walk to get there, and also a long walk to get back, I went to the back of the courtyard, where I knew there was a wall I could sit on.

The area was full of small Shuvu Banim boys, throwing half-full bottles of water up in the air tied to plastic bags that acted as parachutes. I nearly got hit in the head by one as I walked over the wall, which is when I realised why no-one else was sitting there…

So, I sit down, and keep my eyes peeled so that if a ‘bottle rocket’ heads my way, I can hopefully move or duck before it hits me, and that’s when I noticed an older boy, around 11-12 years old, that just didn’t look like a Shuvu Banim kid, despite his peyos.

This older kid was engaged in ‘wrestling’ games with the younger kids – not unusual at all.

But over the next five minutes, I noticed a couple of things that were starting to disturb me.

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This older kid was really trying to hurt the smaller boys he’d ‘captured’.

And not only that, when the small boys had clearly had enough, he wasn’t letting them go.

And not only that, at one point, he ‘captured’ two small boys, and started roughly marching them away from the courtyard, to take them ‘to prison’.

The boys were struggling to get away from him, and he was just doubling-down, with a pretty nasty look on his face, and basically man-handling them out the back of the courtyard.

At that point, one of the kids, who was maximum 5-6 years old, started screaming at the top of his voice ‘Don’t touch me!! Don’t touch me!! Get away from me!!’

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I’d been watching the bully for 5 minutes, but I still didn’t know if it was just a game, albeit a sadistic, yucky one.

But as soon as I heard that small kid say those words, I got up and went over to the bully, and asked him what the hell he was doing.

He glared at me, but let the kids go.

And I returned to my wall.

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On the walk back home, I was thinking about what happened a lot.

And I was thinking about how that small Shuvu Banim kid had been excellently trained by his parents, to stand up for himself, to respect and validate himself, and his feelings, and to firmly assert his boundaries, in the face of an ‘abusive outsider’.

As soon as he started yelling out ‘don’t touch me!!’, that gave me, the adult passerby, the clear message that I could come and intervene.

But if he hadn’t have reacted like that….it would have been much harder for me to read the ‘cues’ to know if I should get involved or not, to chase the bully away.

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Sometimes, it’s hard for us to create an environment where our kids can really stand up for themselves, respect and honor their own experience of what is occurring, and assert healthy boundaries.

And it’s particularly hard if we’re training our kids to ‘obey us’, or to ‘back down’ from doing what is right for THEM, but may be inconvenient or against what we, as their parents, prefer.

I’m not even talking here about physical abuse.

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It’s clear, obvious, that if a parent is physically abusing their kid, then they are already teaching their kid that their physical boundaries effectively don’t exist.

If you are slapping your kid around, and not letting them fight back, and punishing them even more harshly if they dare to try and fight back – you may as well just paste a big ‘come and abuse me’ sign on their foreheads.

Except you don’t have to.

Because abusers have a sixth sense, and they can sniff these kids out all by themselves.

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That’s hopefully obvious.

What’s way less obvious, is that emotional and mental manipulation of our kids can also achieve the exact same dangerous ‘conditioning’, that abusers can so easily exploit.

When kids grow up in homes saturated with the message that ‘the grown up is always right’, and that ‘the grown up can never be challenged’, and that ‘the grown up must always be obeyed, even when that feels totally wrong to you and is against your best interests’ – then that kid’s protective boundaries are also being dangerously eroded.

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As parents, we try our best.

But we also have to recognise that we are also bonkers, at least some of the time.

And at least some of the time, we are operating from a place of bad middot, and not from a place of ‘perfect chinuch’.

And at least some of the time, we do put our kids in situations where we want them to go along with what is best for us, and not what is necessarily right for them.

If any parent believes they never do this – they are totally lying to themselves.

We all do this, at least some of the time.

(Wherever you hear lots of speeches about how important it is to ‘respect the parents’, you can be sure what’s described above is happening on a regular basis…)

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The point here is not to say we can never put our needs and preferences ahead of what our children’s needs and preferences.

That’s not realistic, and this is not about pinging from one extreme to another.

What I AM trying to put across, is that even if we expect our kids to do certain things that they feel are not in their best interests, we can’t just pull the ‘I’m the grown up here, so obey me or else’ shtick on them.

We have to encourage them to have their own opinions – even if they are diametrically opposed to ours.

And we have to RESPECT and protect their right to have their own opinion, even if we strongly disagree with it.

And that needs to start at a very young age.

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Let me tell you another story.

One of my kids has very different opinions from me on the whole ‘gay’ issue.

She’s much more accepting, much more understanding of the struggles that is going on inside the souls of many gay people, at least in the modern orthodox community of Jerusalem.

Over the last couple of years, we have been having some very interesting discussions, and I have been learning a great deal from here about what is really going on.

Like, for example, all of the gay young women she knows come from very broken, very dysfunctional homes, where ‘marriage’ and ‘family life’ were synonymous with hell on earth. (And that’s the ones who weren’t being sexually abused by their ‘frum’ fathers and brothers…)

Before Rosh Hashana, when she asked me if I’d be OK if three of her gay friends came and stayed in my house for two days, for the chag, we had a full and frank discussion, about what I would and wouldn’t tolerate.

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I told her straight: I’m very happy for them to come, on the condition that I don’t have to sit at the table on Rosh Hashana listening to a whole bunch of LGTB++123whatever cack.

If they want to come to the house as my fellow Jews, and to leave all the ‘labels’ behind for two days, then let them come b’simcha.

They came, and we all got on well.

Why?

Because they were accepting me for who I am, and I was accepting them for who they really are – beautiful souls that have been through tremendous trauma, and who needed a place for Rosh Hashana.

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On Shavuot, one of them came back again, this time covered in even more tattoos, including a massive ‘pattern’ in black, all over her wrist and lower arm.

I hate tattoos.

Mamash, I hate tattoos, and the more tattoos a person has, the more I understand that they are suffering tremendously, inside, because tattoos are just a socially-acceptable form of self-harm.

So, I was feeling bummed out about the tattoos, when my daughter explained something to me:

Mum, her arm was covered in scars from where she’s been burning herself and cutting herself. Since she got the tattoo to cover all the scars up, she’s had a lot more self-confidence.

Let’s be clear, I still hate tattoos.

But now I understand way more about why my guest was going nuts, covering her body in permanent ink, and that understanding is helping me to feel a lot more compassion towards her.

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Let’s bring this back around to ‘abuse in the home’.

That tattoo’d guest of mine was not physically or bodily abused in the home.

If you met her “Class A Narcissist’ mother, you would think she was the cutest, frummest, kindest little woman on the planet.

But my guest endured such horrible mental and emotional abuse from that ‘cute, frum woman’, she is still struggling to hold herself together (and in many ways, she’s not holding herself together.)

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The Jewish community currently has a massive problem.

For the last 350+ years, we have been getting our cues and our messages about how we should treat our children, and how we should treat others, from a bunch of spiritually-corrupt, mentally-ill, highly abusive hypocrites.

These hypocrites hold others to impossibly-high standards in public, while giving themselves carte blanche to do whatever they want behind closed doors.

These hypocrites teach us that ‘might is right’, and that children, and people generally, should be ‘forced’ into doing things against their will.

They teach that people in positions of authority can never be questioned.

That it’s ‘bad’ to have your own opinions, and to stand out from the crowd.

And some of their biggest weapons of control are guilt, manipulation and threats of being ‘shunned’ or ‘cancelled’ for daring to disagree.

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We win this spiritual battle against the Erev Rav ‘leaders’ who have taken over our Jewish community by distancing ourselves from their tactics and their teachings, as much as possible.

Sometimes, it is so very hard for me to give my children the space they need, to become healthy, spiritually-connected, self-aware adults.

Sometimes, my fears about ‘what can happen’ really get in the way of just letting them figure life out on their own terms, in their own way.

But the biggest present I can give my children is teaching them how to think for themselves, and not just to blindly follow the dictates of other people.

Even when that ‘other person’ is their mum.

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Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, for all of us.

But the point is this:

Encouraging your child to ‘be them’, and giving them the space to say and do things that you don’t always like, and don’t always agree with, and respecting your child’s mental and physical boundaries is the single best line of defense against abusers.

Together with praying for their safety.

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Let’s end with this, a quote from the self-righteous ‘Message’ from Penina Taylor, the editor of the Reform-funded ‘Unorthoboxed’ website.

“This blogger is of the opinion, and she is by no means alone in this, that trans people are invalid and should not be given a voice, but rather, must be silenced at all cost – and these anti-trans activists will go to no end to silence them.”

I’m pulling this out, because I want to give you an example of how ‘unhealthy dialogue’ looks, in real time.

(Taylor is talking about me, here, BTW, in case you hadn’t grasped that)

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God forbid, I don’t think any human being on the planet is ‘invalid’.

I DO have huge problems with ‘invalid ideas’ and agendas and behaviors, that are evil, anti-God, and piggy-backing off young people’s inner turmoil to encourage them to undergo radical surgery and other harmful experimental procedures that can never be reversed if they change their mind in the future.

If Taylor was really interested in giving people with different opinions a voice, instead of just pushing the anti-Torah agendas and brainwashing of the Frankist-Reform paymasters of ‘Unorthoboxed’, then the right thing to do would be to give someone like Miriam Grossman a column next to ‘Shuli Transwoman’.

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Or maybe, Taylor should run a column from the growing numbers of people who went through the ‘trans’ process – only to find that it left them scarred, ill, and even more miserable than when they began. Like Chris Binford, below. For example.

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That’s what real journalism looks like – it provides balanced, helpful content for readers to make up their own minds about the issue, instead of just trying to brainwash them.

How is that, for a radical idea?

====

If my daughter asks me if a ‘trans’ can come for a meal on Shabbat (and at this stage, anything is possible…) what am I going to tell her?

I am going to tell her that IF that person is:

a) A nice human being and pleasant to be around generally;

and

b) Can respect me, and my belief in God’s Torah, at least enough to focus on other areas of their life that are not LGFT123++whatever related for 25 hours – then come with pleasure!

====

I live in a world where people are so much more than their sexual orientation.

I live in a world where I can find so many other things to talk about and discuss than just ‘gender’ or relationship preferences.

There is so much more that connects us, as people, as Jews, than all this ‘trans’ or gender cack.

We’re souls, remember.

Not just bodies.

And if people are connecting to their souls and transcending their bodies, in whatever modest way that might be happening, then we’ll find plenty of things to talk about and ‘connect’ through.

But if someone is a mentally-ill narcissist, who wants to spend a whole day forcing others to listen to inappropriate details about their personal choices and private life – then stay the heck away!

Because that is grossly abusive behavior.

And ‘respect’ goes both ways.

====

UPDATE:

I just spent the last two hours watching Matt Walsh’s ‘What is a Woman’ documentary on the Daily Wire.

I paid $14 to do that, and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!

Watch the official trailer below (not at all shmirat eynayim  friendly, FYI.)

====

I watched it with my daughter (the one referred to above) – she was totally blown away.

All the lies being told about biology literally just exploded in a puff of smoke…

Highly recommended.

(And btw, just watch how totally abusive all these brave ‘fighters for transgender rights’ actually are…. We have to agree with whatever they believe – even when that flies in the face of objective reality – but they get to tell us that all our beliefs and ideas are wrong and ‘bad’. Classic.)

====

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“It was pretty hard reading that post yesterday”.

My husband told me.

I know. But what can we do? If we carry on pretending this stuff isn’t happening, they will just carry on assaulting innocent children and covering it all up….

That’s the problem, isn’t it? We want, so want, the world to be ‘good’ and ‘perfect’ and ‘happy’.

And there IS so much that is still so good and so happy going on.

But the bad isn’t going to go away all by itself, however much we want it to.

It’s going to go away – permanently – when enough of us take our heads out of the sand, and start really praying for God to destroy all this evil once and for all.

====

And here is where I want to talk about hitbodedut again.

Rebbe Nachman teaches us, for an hour a day, you look at the bad, you get to grips with the bad, you pray about the bad, you dance and clap about the bad – especially the bad that resides inside ourselves.

And then for the other 23 hours – be happy!

Not the ‘fake happy’ that comes from a Prozac prescription, or an escape into Netflix, work or shopping.

A real happy, that comes from taking the time to connect back to God, and dumping all our issues and problems on His shoulders, and asking God to show us what we’re meant to be doing in the middle of all this madness.

And trusting that He will let us know.

Because anyone who calls out to Hashem from a place of sincerity and humility, with a broken heart – God answers them.

====

That hour a day of ‘looking at the bad’ and engaging with it, and wrestling with the world of lies, keeps me sane.

But the 23 hours a day when I paint, cook, walk around, chat with a friend, go to the Rav’s prayers (some days….) work on my fiction novel, take a trip out somewhere interesting, play my guitar….

That also keeps me sane.

 Good mental health depends on both: acknowledging the ‘bad’ and the evil – particularly within ourselves, for an hour a day.

And then spending the next 23 hours happy, that we’re riding this wave with Hashem, and that He’s guiding everything, and that even the blackest, baddest stuff CAN AND WILL turn around for the best, once WE make some sincere teshuva.

====

So much is so hidden, right now.

So many of us are trying so hard to hang on to ‘truth’ and to ‘goodness’, while the world of lies just ramps up louder and louder.

Two days ago, there was a massive fire in the forest in Jerusalem that’s near my house, around 9pm at night. We had a great view, if you can call it that, as the whole mountainside lit up bright orange, filled with smoke, and the fire raged for at least an hour.

Man, that’s going to look brutal tomorrow, I thought to myself. It’s going to be bleak, black carnage.

The next day, I opened the blinds, and low and behold: If I hadn’t seen a massive forest fire going on with my own eyes for an hour the night before, I would have no idea that anything had happened at all.

Because there are a bunch of trees on the hill in front of the ravine where the fire raged, and they were untouched. 

And so, it looks like nothing at all happened.

====

Strange to say, that forest fire gave me a lot of chizzuk.

I think a lot of my readers are going around lighting fires under the world of lies, both in their personal lives, and nationally, and globally. We see a few of those lies whoosh, burn and crash. And we think to ourselves yay, a huge bit of the world of lies just got vaporised!

But then the next day, we find our good friend still believes that Covid shots are totally ‘safe and effective’.

Or we read another post blaming what happened at Meron totally on the ‘chareidi animals’, while completely exonerating the corrupt police.

Or we read more rubbish about planned ‘monkey pox’ pandemics, or more ‘interfaith’ cack, or more puff pieces about how President Zelensky is the best Jewish leader since Moshe Rabbenu….

And then we think to ourselves:

Wait a minute…. What’s going on here?!? Where did all that clarity, all that truth, all that effort go?!?

Because yesterday, we mamash saw the world of lies burning down with our own eyes.

But today – apparently nothing at all has changed.

====

Take heart, dear reader.

Before Hashem destroyed the Temple physically, via the Romans, it was first ‘destroyed’ spiritually.

That’s why it was said that the Romans just ‘ground flour that had already been ground’.

But that principle works the other way, too.

Our Temple has been rebuilt, spiritually, already, and is just waiting to be revealed in this lowly, physical world.

Each time we incinerate another bit of the world of lies, we are bringing that time closer and closer.

Even though right now, the mask keeps moving back into place, the scenery keeps just rearranging itself, and the world keeps appearing as though ‘nothing has changed’.

But all that’s an illusion.

====

My husband suggested that I try to write a ‘happy post’ at least once a week, to counter some of the harder things that we’re uncovering here.

If I planned anything I write – at all! – that would be a great idea.

As it is, I just sit down and start typing, and whatever God decides I’m going to write about today is what appears on the site.

I don’t plan anything.

But I can tell you that we are approaching that time when the ‘happier posts’ are going to start showing up a lot more, all by themselves.

Because the world of lies is mamash on its last legs.

====

Remember what happened with the former Soviet Union?

It looked like it was going to continue forever.

Then one day, poof, the Berlin Wall came down, and the USSR imploded all by itself.

We are very close to that happening again.

Our corrupt governments and institutions are being shaken to their core, and while they look like they are going to stand forever and ever…

That’s just an illusion.

====

These days, who cares about the war going on in the Ukraine?

Hardly anyone.

Who is running off to get ‘Covid tested’, even though they have all the symptoms and have been feeling exhausted for weeks?

Hardly anyone.

Who is really buying into ‘Monkey Pox’ scare stories, or continuing to wear their mask now they don’t have to anymore by law?

Hardly anyone.

Even the people who still ‘believe the news’ are tuning it out and switching it off in droves.

====

Sure, there is still a plan to control the world, and probably kill most of it off.

But it won’t get there.

Everything is being sweetened, all the time.

That is the ‘good’ that I see 23 hours a day.

That is the reality.

====

So.

Don’t give up.

Don’t despair.

Don’t switch off and go back into Prozac-land where everything is sababa because we can’t really feel anything, anymore.

Carry on fighting the evil!

Carry on feeling the pain of the world, and praying about it.

But know, that God has everything covered, and there is a plan going on here: His plan.

With patience and emuna and an hour a day of hitbodedut, we will soon see salvation sprout.

And we’ll also be able to hold on to our sanity while that process continues to play out.

====

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Last week I went to Shimon HaTzaddik.

Just for 20 minutes, before I headed off to the evening prayers of the Rav, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, that happen 8:30pm every night, outside on Ido HaNavi Street.

I got in, sat down – and immediately heard a booming voice coming from the men’s section, telling everyone:

Halacha!! When a person prays for Am Yisrael, all his own sins are forgiven!

OK, I took that as a hint.

And I prayed a bit for Am Yisrael.

====

A couple of minutes later, the booming voice was back.

Halacha!! I personally heard from Rav Steinman himself that when someone becomes arrogant from learning Torah, all their Torah learning immediately goes straight to the dark side!!

Interesting.

====

Over Shabbat, I was pondering about why all this Frankist-Reform-funded ‘ortho fem’ stuff is just so poisonous.

And then I remembered that guy from Shimon HaTzaddik, and it struck me that the ‘Torah’ that is being taught by these ortho-fem institutions is all about making the person who learns it believe in their own superiority to others.

I.e., it’s all about the intellect and the ego.

It’s about handing out ‘source sheets for your shiur’ with a billion entries on them, to show how clever and learned you are.

It’s about spending a whole hour telling people about what YOU THINK is written in the Gemara, instead of breaking your head trying to understand WHAT OUR SAGES THINK.

It’s about showing ‘the men’ that you are just as good as they are!!!

(I.e. you can also bore people to death with your pointless shiurim about halachic minutiae that basically, you are in absolutely no position to have a real opinion on, because your middot suck, you’re totally arrogant, and you have no siyatta di shmeya because your Torah learning doesn’t have even a milligram of ‘lishma’ about it…..)

====

This is the ‘Torah’ of the Jewish demon Torah Scholars.

(BTW, apparently it’s not only Rabbenu, Rebbe Nachman, who wrote about them. Also the BESHT’s leading disciple, R Yaakov Yosef of Polnnoye, and the Zohar, and also the Tanya of the Alter Rebbe also speak of them. See HERE for more details.

You can find a discussion about these Jewish demon Torah Scholars in Likutey Moharan, Part 1:12)

This is the ‘Torah’ that Rebbe Nachman explains even ‘wears out God’ – i.e. it turns everything into an ego-fuelled, pointless, philosophical discussion, that misses the whole point of learning Torah, which is to work on our own bad middot  – especially our arrogance – and to learn more emuna.

====

In the old days, when women weren’t so ‘learned’, the Sages spoke a lot about the simple emuna of women.

And how it could move mountains.

While the men were off with their thumbs, pilpulling away in pointless ‘splitting hairs’ fashion, the women would pull out a Sefer Tehillim, or put their hands on their mezuzah, and just pour their hearts out to God.

And their prayers moved mountains.

====

The Reform-Frankists who are funding all these ‘ortho fem’ movements and institutions know the true power of a woman’s simple emuna.

That’s why they are going full out to try and replace that simple emuna, our simple, heartfelt, soul-deep connection to God with ‘precious Torah-based rubbish’ instead.

Before I got to Breslov, I used to try with all my might to ‘enjoy’ Torah classes at Matan, and from other ‘ortho fem’ sources that so many of the people I hung out with were raving about.

It was nearly always a struggle to stay awake – at best.

Other times, I’d find the discussion so pointless, so dry, so spiritually ‘dead’ and uninspiring, talking for talk’s own sake – that I’d usually make a break for the toilet, and try to stay there as long as possible.

This is the power of the shiurim of the Jewish Demon Torah Scholars.

They fill your head with ‘information’, but empty out your soul.

====

That’s why when I hit the simple emuna of Breslov teachings, they totally blew me away.

Listen to this, and you’ll see what I mean:

====

The first time I heard this, I sat transfixed in my car for a good 10 minutes, because all of a sudden my soul woke up.

Not more boring pilpul, not more boring ‘speeches’ with a million sources discussing something that felt totally irrelevant to my real life and real issues.

But someone talking about how Hashem wants a real, direct relationship with every single one of us; and how everything that’s happening around us, and to us, is part of that direct conversation the Creator is trying to have with us.

All of a sudden, the mitzvot stopped feeling like such a burden, such a bore – however important and necessary – and my soul woke up.

====

The difference between the ‘Torah’ of these Jewish Demon Torah Scholars, and the ‘Torah’ of Breslov is literally night and day.

The first boosts the ego, and destroys the soul.

The latter uncovers the true power of the soul – and takes down the ego.

====

I’m not against women learning lishma – for it’s own sake.

I think it’s beautiful, when we women steal a few precious moments from the demands of working, looking after our families, running our homes, to learn a few pages of Tanach, or to read some Rambam, or to learn some Likutey Moharan.

But lishma – for its own sake – means you aren’t getting a ‘degree’ at the end of your learning.

You aren’t getting a diploma, or title.

You aren’t getting an ‘ortho-fem’ platform, or a position in an institution, to start boring everyone else to death with your fab-u-lous insights into the Torah that have absolutely nothing to do with working on overcoming bad middot, getting to know God, or developing some real emuna.

====

So, now I know why all these ‘ortho-fems’ are bothering me so very much, Freemason-Frankist funding of their institutions notwithstanding.

They may or may not be very nice people personally.

But when you learn Torah for any other reason than lishma, it becomes a sam hamavet – an arrogant potion of death – and not an emuna-dik potion of life.

And that’s why Rabbenu explains about the people who learn and teach Torah like this: (LM 1:12)

“a carcass is better than this person.”

====

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Last week when I went to get my challah from the bakery, there was an interesting conversation going on around rising prices of bread.

The nice French baker was explaining to a woman who was complaining about the price of the challah going up, that 70% of Israel’s wheat comes from the Ukraine – and the war in the Ukraine means that wheat apparently isn’t getting here right now, sending wheat prices rocketing.

I kind of filed the info away at the back of my mind – no point worrying, until I have to – and then this week, I went to get flour from my local supermarket, so my kid could make challah at home.

They had three bags left, all the ‘weird’ stuff that most people don’t bake with (but which actually was OK for me, as I use all sorts of weird, wholemeal flours.)

It looks like things are starting to hit closer to home, here in Israel.

====

I’m still not engaging with the news here hardly at all, but my kid told me there was a pigua in Elad yesterday, with three people killed and three injured.

I can’t help but think that the shmira, the protection, that the State of Israel used to enjoy from our enemies is waning.

We are so used to open miracles, that having multiple people die and be injured in these terror attacks is still kind of shocking, although of course that has happened in the past.

Most notably, during the Second Intifada, when evil Peres and a bunch of other murderous Sabbatean-Frankists were trying to ‘give away’ parts of Eretz Yisrael.

God didn’t like that.

And today, we have this whole radical LGBT123+++ whatever, ‘trans’, immorality-pushing agenda going on everywhere (not to mention all the horrible things happening behind closed doors in every corner of our community, even the most ‘frum’).

And that’s exactly why Bilaam advised the Midianites to try and engage the Jewish people in tumah – immorality and idol worship – because he knew that THIS is guaranteed to separate the Jewish people from God, and His protection.

And he was right.

====

But there are also glimmers of light on the horizon.

Another kid told me that people are leaving the Israeli police in droves, to the point that the police here is really starting to struggle to find enough cops for regular duties.

Personally, I’m thrilled.

Those ‘regular duties’ have included fining people for walking too far away from their homes, fining people for trying to breathe fresh air, and lest we forget, deliberately murdering religious people like Ahuvya Sandek, and the 45 holy martyrs of Meron.

And it’s not just the frum community who hate and distrust the police here and levels never before seen.

Most people, in most places in Israel, now distrust and dislike the police at a visceral level.

And the police can feel that public hostility – and that’s also why so many of them are now quitting.

So, the principle of midda-kneged-midda is starting to kick in here, and the ruling elite who thought they could use the police as their own personal security force over Covid 19, and in other ways, are starting to understand that after all, the public here has a limit to what they would tolerate.

And we passed it, a long time ago.

====

The last thing to tell you, is that the same corrupt police and judiciary who murdered Ahuvya, and used Directed Energy Weapons to create a death trap at Meron last L’ag B’omer – and who covered all this up – are still going after the people close to Rav Berland.

One of his close gabbaim has been told that if doesn’t pay a million shekel fine for the ‘crime’ of enabling people to pay pidyonot to the Rav, the State of Israel is going to send him to prison for two years.

So far, he’s managed to raise half a million shekels, but the court has said if he can’t raise the full thing – he’s going to prison for two years.

If you can help, please get in touch via the contact form.

But you see what I mean?

How is it possible to not dislike and distrust people who act like this, and the institutions they serve?

TBC

====

 

What to do with these ‘clever heretics’ who don’t really believe in God?

Or in hashgacha pratit?

Or in the idea that Ein Od Milvado – God is all there is, and so every single thing in the world is meaningful, and a communication from God, and a personal message to us that there is something that we ourselves need to pay attention to, or fix, or change, or think about?

How do you ‘blunt the teeth’ of people like this?

I was thinking about this a lot in my hitbodedut this morning.

And that’s when God reminded me that Rebbe Nachman already set everything out, in his tale of the ‘The Chacham and the Tam’ – the clever-clogs and the simple man of faith.

====

The following comes from the Wikisource page for Rebbe Nachman’s Sipurey Ma’asiot.

(HERE.)

It really sums everything up, including how to deal with these ‘clever heretics’.

Enjoy!

====

Once there were two home-owners in a city who had great wealth, large houses and two sons; that is, each one of them had a son.

The two children learned together in the same schoolhouse. One of them was a khakham [clever, smart, sophisticated, wise] and the other was a tam [simple, innocent, artless, wholesome] (not that he was a fool; rather, his intellect was simple, without sophistication). The two sons loved each other very much. Even though one was khakham and the other was tam, they nevertheless loved each other very much.

Came a time when the two householders began to decline. They continued to decline until they lost everything and became destitute with nothing remaining but their houses. As the sons began to grow up, their fathers told them: We do not have enough to pay for you, to sustain you. Do for yourselves what you can.

[The Simple Man and the Clever Man Learn Trades]

The tam went and learned shoemaking. The khakham, who was a bar-havana, [an astute, discerning person], didn’t want to apply himself to such a common trade. He decided he would travel the world and see what to do. As he was going about the marketplace, he saw a large wagon with four horses in harness speeding through. He called out to the merchants, “Where are you from?” They answered him, “From Warsaw.” “Where are you going?” “To Warsaw.” He asked them, “Perhaps you need workers?” They saw that he was astute, motivated, and looked good. So they accepted him. He traveled off with them and served them very well on the way.

When they arrived in Warsaw, since he was a bar-havana, he decided, “Since I am already in Warsaw, why should I remain with these [merchants]? Maybe there is a better place than [with] them. I shall go search and see.” As he walked around in the marketplace, he began to investigate and inquire about the men who had brought him, and whether there would be a better place than [with] them. They answered that these people [who had brought him] are honest people and it’s good to be with them. However, it is very difficult to be with them since their business dealings are in very distant places.

==

So, he went on. He noticed clothing shop workers as they were going around in the marketplace, with all their customary charm, with their caps and pointy shoes and the rest of the affectations and flair in their gait and appearance.

Since he was so sharp and discerning, this occupation looked very proper, being pleasant and local. So he went to the men who had brought him, gave them his praise and appreciation, but told them that it is not comfortable for him to be with them. As [for recompense] for them having brought him, he had served them on the road.

So he went and offered himself to a proprietor. And the way with servants is, at first one has to be hired for less and do the heavier work. Then later, one advances to better jobs. The proprietor would use him for very hard work, sending him off to nobility carrying merchandise in the manner of servants–prominently displaying the garments on their extended arms; this work was very hard for him.

Sometimes he needed to carry the merchandise to upper floors, and this work was very hard for him. He decided, since he was a philosopher, a discerning person: “Why do I need this work? Is not the main point the ultimate purpose–to get married and make a living? I don’t need to see to that yet; I will be free for that later, in the years to come. Meanwhile, it would be better to travel, visiting countries, feasting my eyes on the world.”

==

He went about the marketplace and saw merchants riding on a large wagon.

He asked them, “Where are you going?” “To Lagorna.[1]” “Would you take me there?” “Yes.” They took him there. From there he traveled to Italy, and from there, to Spain.

Meanwhile, many years passed and he became even more knowledgeable on account of having been in many countries[2]. He decided, “Now, it’s time to look at the ultimate purpose.” He began to philosophize about what he should do. It seemed to him that he should learn goldsmithery, which is a major occupation, a nice craft, entailing great insight and very profitable.

And since he was such a bar-havana and philosopher, he didn’t need to study the trade many years; merely in a quarter year he received the skill, and he became quite a great craftsman, even more of an expert than the one who had trained him.

==

Afterwards he concluded, “Even though I have such a trade in hand, nonetheless I do not have enough with this. Today, this is an important [profession], but maybe at another time some other thing will be considered important.” So went ahead and placed himself with a gem cutter. And on account of his cleverness he acquired this skill in a short time as well — in a quarter year.

Then he philosophically decided, “Even though I have two trades in hand, who knows, perhaps neither of these will remain important. It would be better for me to learn a craft that will always be important.”

Probing with his insight and philosophy, he determined to learn medicine, which is always needed and always esteemed. Now, the way of learning medicine is to first learn Latin, the language and its writing, as well as the wisdoms of sophistry. And this too, on account of his brilliant mind, he mastered in a short time–a quarter year–and he became a big doctor, a philosopher and expert in all fields of wisdom.

==

After all this, the world began to seem, in his eyes, as nil.

For due to his genius, and since he was such a great craftsman and so wise and such a doctor, every person in the world was like nil to him. He decided that he would now accomplish the purpose and take a wife. He opined to himself: “If I marry here, who will know what has become of me? Let me rather go back home, so that people will see what has become of me. I left as a young boy and now I have come to such greatness.”

And he picked up and traveled home, experiencing great afflictions on the way. For on account of his sophistication he didn’t have anything in common with people about which to converse. [He was so worldly and refined that] he found no lodging up to his standards and so, he felt constantly afflicted.

==

For now, let us set aside the story of the clever man; and we will begin to tell the story of the simple man.

The simple man learned shoemaking, and since he was a simple person he had to study the trade a great deal until he got it, and [even then,] he did not have complete expertise in the craft. He took a wife, and he sustained himself from his work. And since he was a simple person and was not such an expert, therefore his livelihood came with a great deal of pressing and was very limited.

He didn’t even have time to eat because he always had to work, due to his inability to [be more proficient] in his craft. Only while he was working–when he had inserted the nail and pulled through the cobbler’s thread–only then would he take a bite of a piece of bread and eat.

==

[The simple man’s] customary behavior was to be always very joyful.

He was constantly full only of happiness. And he had all the foods, all the drinks and all the clothing. He would say to his wife, “My wife, give me to eat;” and she would gave him a piece of bread and he ate. Then he would say, “Give me the sauce with buckwheat groats,” and she would cut him off another slice of bread and he ate. And he would praise and say, “How very good and nice is this sauce!”

Similarly he would order himself served meat and other delicacies, and for each dish, she would give him a slice of bread from which he would have great pleasure and give great praise. “How well prepared this is!” as if he had actually eaten that very dish. For he would really and truly feel, in the bread that he ate, the taste of all the foods he wanted; on account of his great temimuth [the quality of being tam; simplicity; wholesomeness; naivete; innocence] and his immense joy.

And similarly he would say, “My wife, give me a drink of beer;” she would give him water and he would praise, “How nice is this beer!” [Then he would summon,] “Give me mead;” she gave him water and he would praise it the same way. “Give me wine” or other drink; she gave him water and he would delight in and praise the drink as if he really drank [wine, etc.]

==

So too with clothing.

He and his wife shared one peltz [Yid. pelt coat; an unfinished piece of fur used as a coat]. He would say, “My wife, give me the peltz, when he needed it namely, to go to the market. She would give him the peltz. When he needed a tulep [fancy overcoat with fine fur on the inside which rolls over onto the collar] to go out socially, he would say, “My wife, give me the tulep,” and she would give him the peltz.

He would take great delight in it and praise, “What a beautiful tulep this is!” When he needed a kaftan [long suit coat] for instance, to go to synagogue, he would summon and say, “My wife, give me the kaftan,” and she would give him the peltz. He would praise and say, “How nice and beautiful is this kaftan!”

And so too when he needed to don a yupa [a long silk robe worn for formal occasions] she would also give him the peltz, and he would also give praise and delight: “How beautiful and nice is this yupa!” And the like. Thus he was full only of joy and delight constantly.

==

When he would finish a shoe — and the shoe probably had three corners [i.e., it was not symmetrical] since he did not have complete proficiency in his craft — he would take the shoe in his hand and praise it highly.

And he would take great pleasure from it and would say, “My wife, how beautiful and wonderful is this shoe! How sweet it is! What a honey, what a sugary shoe this is!” She would ask him, “If that is so, why do other shoemakers take three gulden for a pair of shoes, and you take only a half thaler (one and a half gulden)?” He replied, “What’s that to me? That’s the other person’s business and this is my business. And besides, why do we have to talk about other people? Let’s just start calculating how much I earn with this shoe “from hand to hand” [from his hand to the hand of the customer–i.e., considering all factors in the process of making and selling the shoe].

The leather costs me this much, tar and thread cost this much, the filling between the skins this much, and likewise other items this much; comes out that I profit ten groschen from hand to hand. And with such a profit from hand to hand, what is there to be concerned about?”

==

So he was only happy and cheerful at all times, but to the world he was a laughingstock; in him, they had just what they wanted–someone to mock however they pleased, for he seemed like a lunatic.

People would come and start speaking with him intending to make fun and mock.

And the simple man would say to them, “Just without mockery.” And as soon as they answered him, “No kidding,” he listened to them and started talking with them, for he did not want to further suspect witticisms — that perhaps this itself [their reply] is mockery — for he was a tam.

But when he would see that their intention was indeed to ridicule, he would say, “So what if you are more clever than me? Would you not then be the real fool? For what do I amount to? So if you’ll be more clever than me, you’ll still be a fool!”

(All this were the usual ways of the simple man. Now we will return to the original subject [i.e., the clever man].)

==

In the meantime, there was a commotion–the clever man is traveling and coming here with great pomp and sophistication!

The simple man also came running to greet him with great joy. He said to his wife, “Give me quick the yupa! I shall go and greet my dear friend; I will see him.” She gave him the peltz and he ran to greet him. Now the clever man was riding pompously in a horse-drawn carriage; the simple man came out to greet him and welcomed him joyously, with great love.

“My dear brother, how do you do? Blessed is God for bringing you and giving me the privilege of seeing you!” And the clever man, for whom the entire world was like nothing, as was stated above [that everyone and everything in the world was insignificant to him, for he considered himself above all the world] — all the more so such a person as [the tam] who seems crazy. But nonetheless, on account of their shared childhood love, he drew him close and traveled with him into town.

==

Now the two householders, the fathers of these two sons, had died during the time when the clever son was traveling the world.

Their houses had been left [as an inheritance]. The simple son, who had remained local, moved into his father’s house claiming his inheritance. The clever son, however, had been in foreign countries and had no one to receive the house. So the clever man’s house became ruined and was lost–nothing remained of it.

Thus the clever man had no house to enter when he arrived. He traveled to an inn but was anguished there because it wasn’t up to his standards.

==

The simple man now found himself a new occupation–he would constantly run from his house to the clever man with love and joy.

He noticed that the clever man was suffering from the lodgings. So the simple man said to the clever man, “Brother, come over to my house and stay with me! I will gather all my belongings into one bundle and you’ll have my entire house at your disposal.” This was agreeable to the clever man, so he moved into his house and stayed with him.

==

Now the clever man was always full of suffering, for he had left behind a reputation of being a wondrous sage, an artist, and a great doctor.

A nobleman came and ordered him to make him a gold ring. He made him quite a wonderful ring and etched out engravings in very amazing ways. He engraved in it a tree that was a total marvel. The nobleman came and the ring did not please him at all. He had enormous suffering because he knew, in himself, that if this ring with the tree would be in Spain, it would be esteemed as an amazing work of art. And similarly, one time a great nobleman came and brought a rare precious gem, brought from distant lands.

He also brought with him another gemstone with an engraved image and bid him to etch out that exact image onto the rare gemstone he had brought [from distant lands]. [The khakham] precisely engraved that exact image, except he made a mistake in one thing which nobody at all would discern except him alone. The nobleman came and took the gem and he liked it very much.

But the clever man had great agony from his mistake, “As smart as I am, and this mistake should happen?!”

==

And similarly in his doctoring, he suffered as well.

When he came to an ill person and he gave him treatments of which he knew clearly that if the patient would only survive, it would certainly have to be these treatments through which he had healed, for it was an excellent course of treatment. Then however the patient died. The public said that he died because of him, and he had huge suffering from this. Likewise, sometimes he gave an ill person treatments and the ill person became healthy, and the public said that it was a chance occurrence.

So, he was always filled with pain.

==

Similarly, when he needed a garment.

He summoned the tailor and took pains with him until he taught him to make the garment to his specifications, according to his knowledge of fashion. The tailor understood the directions and made the garment just as he wanted, except on one lapel, he erred by not shaping it well.

[The khakham] suffered great anguish from that because he knew in himself that, although here it would be considered handsome, because no one would perceive [the defect], but “if I were to be in Spain with this lapel, I would be a laughingstock and I would look like an imbecile.”

And so he was always full of suffering.

==

The simple man would joyously run over to the clever man all the time; but he always found him afflicted and full of suffering.

He asked him, “How could it be? A wise and wealthy person such as you — why do you always have anguish? [Look!] Am I not constantly happy?”

This was a big joke in the eyes of the clever man. [The tam] seemed crazy to him.

The simple man said to him, “Even plain people, when they make fun of me, are fools as well, for if they’re already smarter than me, they are first fools themselves [as mentioned above]! All the more so such a clever person as you. So what if you are smarter than me?”

The simple man spoke up, saying to the clever man, “May the One Who gives grant that you should come up to my level [and become a simple person]!”

The clever man replied, “It is possible that I could reach your level — if my intellect would be taken away, God spare us; or if I became sick, God forbid, I could also become insane. For what are you anyway, but a madman? But that you would come up to my level? No way! It is completely impossible that you would become wise like me!”

The simple man answered, “With Hashem Yithbarakh, everything is possible. It could happen in the blink of an eye that I ascend to your [level of brilliance].”

The clever man made great fun of him.

==

Now these two sons were known in public by their nicknames: “Khakham–Clever” and “Tam–Simple.”

Even though there are many clever and simple people in the world, still, in this case, it was unusually apparent. For they were both from the same town, went to school together, and the one had become such an extraordinary genius, while the other was so extremely simple. Even in the public registry (the book listing the citizens) where they record everyone’s given name and family name, these two were registered only by their nicknames–“Khakham” and “Tam.”

One time, the king was perusing the registry and found these two recorded solely by their nicknames, “Clever” and “Simple.”

The king was amazed and very much wanted to see them. He realized, “If I suddenly send for them to come before me, they will be very frightened. The clever one won’t know at all what to make of this, and the simple man might go crazy from fear.” So, the king decided to send a khakham to the khakham and a tam to the tam. But where does one get a tam in the royal [capital] city?

For in the royal city [where the king lives] the majority are smart people.

However, the one who is appointed overseer of the treasury — he is intentionally a simple person. For they do not want to appoint a clever person overseer of the treasury. Perhaps through his cleverness and his intellect he will embezzle all the funds; therefore they expressly put a simple person in charge of the treasury.

==

So the king summoned a clever man and the above-mentioned simple man (the treasurer) and sent them to the two sons.

He gave each one a letter. And he gave them an additional letter to the provincial governor under whose authority the two sons dwelt. In it, the king commanded that the governor should send letters of his own to the clever son and the simple son so that they shouldn’t be frightened. He should write to them that the matter is not obligatory, that the king is not explicitly decreeing that they should come, but rather the choice is theirs: if they want, they should come.

Just that the king desires to see them.

The emissaries traveled off, the clever one and the simple one, arriving at the governor, delivering the letter. The governor inquired after the two sons.

They told him that the “khakham” is an extraordinarily clever person, quite a wealthy man and the “tam” is an exceedingly simple person who [believes he] has every kind of garment from the single peltz [piece of fur] as mentioned before. The governor took counsel that it is certainly inappropriate to bring him before the king dressed in a peltz. So he arranged for appropriate garments and placed them in the simple man’s carriage. And he gave them the aforementioned letters.

==

The messengers traveled off and arrived there.

They delivered the letters to them; the clever one delivered to the “khakham” and the simple one to the “tam.” Now the “tam”, as soon as he was delivered the letter, spoke up to emissary (who was also simple, as above) saying, “See here. I don’t know what is written in the letter. Read it to me.” He answered him, “I’ll tell you by memory [Yid. oysveynik < Ger. auswendig; Heb. be`al peh by rote] what is written in it. The king wants you to come to him.”

Immediately he asked, “Are you making fun of me?”

He answered him, “It is the absolute truth; no kidding.” [The tam] was instantly filled with joy and ran, saying to his wife, “My wife, the king has sent for me!” She asked him, “What is it about? Why [has he sent for you?!]” He had no time to answer her at all. He immediately and joyfully rushed off to travel with the emissary, right away entering and sitting down in the carriage.

There he found the above-mentioned clothes and he became happier and happier.

==

In the meantime, reports were sent that the governor was corrupt, and the king deposed him.

The king made up his mind: it would be good to have a simple person be governor, for a tam would conduct the country with truth and justice, since he would not know any sophisticated or contriving ways. So, the king decided that he should make the above-mentioned simple son the governor.

He issued orders that the “tam,” for whom he had already sent, be appointed governor immediately upon entering the provincial capital. For that would be the route the “tam” must travel. Therefore they should watch the city gates so that as soon as the “tam” arrives, they should detain him and install him as governor.

They did so. They stood over the gates and as soon as he drove through, they stopped him and told him that he had been appointed governor. He inquired, saying, “Please don’t clown around with me.”

They answered him, “Of course! No joking at all! The “tam” immediately became governor, with authority and power.

==

Now that his mazal went up  — and [as the Talmud teaches,] mazal machkim[3] [as the mazal (flow) goes up, so does one’s wisdom]– the “tam” acquired a bit of discernment.

Nonetheless, he did not make use of his wisdom at all but just conducted himself with his temimuth (simplicity) as before, and he led the state with temimuth, with truth and with integrity, with not a drop of corruption.

For management of state requires no great intellect nor special knowledge, just uprightness and temimuth.

When two people came before the “tam” for judgment, he would say, “You are innocent and you are liable,” purely according to his simplicity and truthfulness, without any crookedness nor deceit. And thus he conducted everything truthfully.

==

The country loved him very much and he had loyal advisers who truly loved him.

And on account of love, one of them advised him: “Inasmuch as you will certainly be summoned to appear before the king–and behold, he has already sent for you–and moreover, the procedure is that a governor has to come before the king. Now, even though you are very sincere and the king will not find any fault in you of your leadership of the country, still however it is the routine of the king, when he converses that he digresses into discussing philosophy and languages. Therefore, it will be pleasing and of proper etiquette if you are able to respond to him; therefore it will be good for me teach you philosophy and languages.”

The simple man accepted this saying, “Why shouldn’t I learn the wisdom of philosophy and languages?”

It immediately came to his mind that his friend, the clever man had said to him that it would be impossible in any manner that he should reach his [level]. “Here I have already arrived at his wisdom!” (And still even though he now knew wisdom, he did not use the wisdom at all, but rather conducted himself only with simplicity as before.)

==

Afterwards the king requested that the “tam“, the governor, should come to him.

He traveled to him. At first, the king discussed the leadership of the country with the “tam“, and the king was very well pleased. For the king saw that he was conducting himself justly and with great honesty, without any wrongdoing or scheming. Then the king began speaking about wisdom and languages; the simple man replied appropriately, and the king was even more pleased.

The king said, “I see that he is such a smart person and yet conducts himself with such innocence.” The king esteemed him more and more, ending up making him the minister over all the ministers; mandating a special place for him to stay, and commanded to wall him about with very beautiful walls as is befitting, and gave him a writ of appointment that he be chief minister.

And so it was; they built him very fine beautiful buildings in the place where the king had ordered, and he received his sovereignty with full effect.

==

[Returning to] the khakham–the clever man.

When the letter from the king came to the “khakham,” he replied to the clever person who had delivered it, “Wait. Spend the night here. We’ll talk it over and we’ll come to a decision.” That evening, he prepared him a great feast.

During the meal the khakham waxed wise, analyzing with his cleverness and philosophy.

He spoke up and said, “What can this mean, that such a king should send for such a lowly person as me? What am I that the king should send for me? Such a king with such authority and prestige! And me, so insignificant and despicable compared with such a great king — well, how is it conceivable that such a king should send for so unimportant a person as me? If I should say on account of my wisdom, what am I next to the king? What! The king doesn’t have any wise men? Moreover, the king is certainly a great sage himself. So what is this, that the king should send for me?”

He was very, very astonished by this. He spoke up, saying (that is, the original khakham, who was the simple man’s childhood friend–for all this conjecture was the original khakham’s monologue describing his astonishment and surprise, to which he now answers his own rhetoric, saying to the clever messenger):

“You know what I say? My opinion is that it clearly must be that there is no king whatsoever in the world. That the entire world is mistaken in this foolishness; that they think there is a king.

“See! Understand — how can it be possible that the entire world should give itself over to depend on one man, that he should be the king? There is certainly no king in the world at all.”

==

The clever messenger replied, “Haven’t I brought you a letter from the king?”

The original khakham asked him, “Did you yourself receive the letter from the king’s hand directly?” He answered him, “No. Just another person gave me the letter in the king’s name.” He answered up, saying, “Now see with your own eyes that my words are correct–that there is absolutely no king.” He returned to asking him,

“Tell me, are you not from the capital city and did you not grew up there all your life? Tell me, have you ever, in all your days, seen the king?”

He answered, “No.” (For in fact it is so, that not everyone is privileged to see the king, for the king does not reveal himself [publicly] except on rare occasion.)

The original khakham declared, “Now open your eyes and see that I am correct, that there is definitely no king whatsoever, for even you have never seen the king.”

Once again the messenger answered the khakham, “If it is really so, who then rules the country?”

The first khakham responded, “That — I’ll make clear to you, for it is [specifically] me you should ask, since I am an expert in this. I have wandered about in [many] countries; I’ve been to Italy. The customary practice is that there are seventy ministerial advisers [senators] who go up and lead the country for a certain time. Then the authority is given over to the next group until each and every resident takes a turn.”

His words started to penetrate into the clever messenger’s ears until they came to agree and conclude that there definitely is no king in the world at all.

==

Again the original khakham spoke up, “Wait until morning and I will show you one example after another that there is no king in the world at all.”

The original khakham (that is the khakham who is the friend of the tam–we are always referring to him as the “original khakham;”) got up early in the morning, woke his friend, the clever messenger, and said to him,

“Come out with me. I will show you clearly how the whole world is mistaken and that there is really no king whatsoever. Everyone is making a huge mistake.”

They went through the marketplace and noticed a soldier. They got his attention and asked him, “Whom do you serve?” He answered, “The king.” (They asked him,) “Have you ever, in all your days, seen the king?” “No.” [The original khakham] answered up and said, “See! Could there be a foolishness like this?

They went on to an army officer and entered into conversation with him until asking him, “Whom do you serve?” He answered, “The king.” “Have you seen the king?” “No.” He proclaimed, “Now see with your own eyes! The matter is clear. Everyone is mistaken. There is no king at all.

==

The original khakham furthermore declared, “Come! Let us travel the world; I will show you more how the entire world is in great error.”

They went and traveled the world and wherever they arrived they always found the public in error. The matter of the king became an example for them. In other words, just like the public was in error in their belief in the existence of the king, so too everything held to be true by the populace must be mistaken.

With this attitude, they traveled the world until they ran out of [money and supplies.] They began by selling one horse and then the other until they had sold everything and had to go on foot. Incessantly they kept examining the world, finding fault.

They became poor vagrants, their status disintegrated, for no one would give consideration to such paupers.

==

The circumstances played out that they were wandering about until they came to the city in which the minister lived (that is, the “tam,” the simple man, the friend of the “khakham,” the clever man).

There in that city was a genuine Baal Shem [lit. “Master of the (Divine) Name;” a holy man and miracle worker]. The Baal Shem was held in high esteem because he had done truly amazing things, and even among the nobility he was important and famous.

The two clever men came into the city, walked about and came before the house of the Baal Shem. They saw many wagons stationed there–forty or fifty–with sick people. The khakham figured that a doctor must live there. He wanted to go into the house, for since he too was a great doctor, he wanted to go in to make his acquaintance.

He asked, “Who lives here?” They answered him, “A Baal Shem.”

This filled his mouth with laughter and he said to his friend, “This is another lie and an outrageous mistake! This is even more nonsense than the mistake about the king! Brother, let me tell you about this fallacy, how very much the world is fooled by this lie.

==

Meanwhile they became hungry and found that they still had three or four groschen.

They went into a soup-kitchen type restaurant (Yid. gorkekh, everyman’s kitchen) where food is available for even three, four groschen. They ordered food and they were served.

While they were eating, they talked and made fun of the “lie” and the “error” of the matter of the Baal Shem.

The restaurant owner (gorkekher) heard their talk and was very annoyed, because the Baal Shem was highly esteemed there. He said to them, “Eat up what you have and get out of here.”

Then a son of the Baal Shem arrived there, and they kept on ridiculing the Baal Shem right in front of his son.

The restaurateur growled at them for making fun of the Baal Shem in front of his son, until he lashed out, beating them with injurious blows, and shoved them out of his home. It made them furious and they wanted to seek judgment against the one who had beaten them.

==

They decided to go to their innkeeper, where they had left their luggage, to take counsel with him as to how to obtain judgement for the above assault.

They came and told him that the restaurateur had severely beaten them. He asked them, “Why [did he hit you]?” They told him that they had spoken against the Baal Shem. He responded, “It definitely is not right to hit people, but you behaved completely improperly by talking against the Baal Shem, for the Baal Shem is highly regarded here.”

They saw that he was not for real, that he too was in “error.”

They left him and went to the city clerk, (who was a gentile). They told him the story that they had been beaten. He asked, “What for?” They responded that they had spoken against the Baal Shem. The clerk beat them bloody and shoved them out of his office.

==

They went from this one to that one, each time to a higher authority until they came before the above-mentioned minister.

There, in front of the ministry, were stationed soldiers, i.e., sentries. They announced to the minister that a person needs him, and he ordered him to enter. The khakham came before the minister who immediately recognized him, that this khakham is none other than his friend. However, the khakham did not recognize [the tam] due to his superior status.

Immediately the minister initiated, saying to him, “See my temimuth (my simplicity), to what it has brought me — to greatness such as this! And to what has your cleverness brought you?”

The khakham spoke up and said, “That it turns out that you are my friend, the tam — about this we can speak later. Right now, give me a judgement against them for having hit me.”

He asked him, “Why [did they hit you]?”

He answered him, “Because I spoke against the Baal Shem, that he is a lie and a great fraud.”

Answered up the tam prime minister saying, “You still adhere to your contrivances? Look, you once said you could easily reach my [level], but I could not reach yours. Now see that I have already long reached your [level], as mentioned above [that the tam had already become exceedingly wise as well] but you still have not reached mine. And I see that it is far more difficult for you to come to my temimuth [level of simplicity].”

However, since the tam minister had known him from long ago when [the khakham] was still great, he ordered that he be given garments in which to be attired and he bid that he dine with him.

==

While they were eating, they began to converse, the khakham started trying to prove his aforementioned opinion that there is no king at all.

The tam minister snarled at him, “What!? I myself have seen the king!” The khakham answered him glibly, “Do you know personally that it was the king? Do you know him, his father and his grandfather to have been kings? From where do you know that this is the king? People have told you that this is the king. They have deceived you with a lie.”

The tam became deeply vexed about the khakham, that he should deny the king’s [existence].

==

Meanwhile someone came and said, “The Devil has sent for you!”

The tam shook with terror and ran and told his wife with great trepidation how the Devil had sent for him. She advised him to send for the Baal Shem. He sent for him; the Baal Shem came and gave him kame`as [amulets containing holy names] and [other] protections and told him that he need no longer fear at all.

He had great faith in this.

==

So the khakham and the tam were again sitting together as before.

The khakham asked him, “What were you so terrified about?”

He answered him, “Because of the Devil, who had sent for us.” The khakham ridiculed him, “You believe that there is a Devil?!” He responded, “If not, then who sent for us?”

The khakham answered him, “This is definitely my brother. He wanted to be seen with me, and set up a scam to send for me.” The tam asked him, “If this is so, how did he get past all the sentries?” He answered him, “He certainly bribed them, and they are saying fraudulently the lie that they did not see him at all.”

==

Meanwhile again someone came and said as before, “The Devil has sent for you.”

This time, the simple man was not shaken at all and had no fear whatsoever, on account of the protections from the Baal Shem. He spoke up, saying to the khakham , “Now what do you say?”

He said, “I will inform you that I have a brother who is angry at me. He has set up this scam in order to frighten me.”

He stood and asked the one who had come for them, “What does he look like, the one who sent for us? Which type of facial [structure] and hairstyle does he have, etc., and the like. He answered him, such and such.

The khakham answered up, saying, “See! That is my brother’s appearance!”

[Ed. note: He’s lying…]

==

The tam said to him, “Will you go with them?”

He responded, “Yes. Just give me a few soldiers as zalaga (escorting guards) so that they shouldn’t hurt me.” He gave him a zalaga and the two clever men [the original khakham and the messenger] went with the man who had come for them. The soldiers of the zalaga returned and the tam, the minister asked them,

Where are those sophisticates?” They replied that they do not know at all how they disappeared.

The Devil had snatched those two sophisticates and carried them off to [a place of] slime and mud.

There the Devil would sit on a throne amidst the muck. He threw them into the mire which was thick and sticky, literally like glue, and they were completely unable to move in the muck.

They (these clever guys) screamed (at those who were afflicting them, that is the Devil and his henchmen), “Wicked ones! What are you torturing us for? Is there really a Devil in the world? You are evil, torturing us for no reason!”

(For these smart men still did would not believe that there is a Devil; instead they insisted that evil thugs were persecuting them without cause.)

The two sophisticates were left in the thick mire and were trying to figure out, “What is this? These are nothing but hooligans with whom we had once quarreled, and now they are afflicting us so harshly.”

They remained there, tortured and horribly abused for a number of years.

==

One time the tam–the simple man [who became the prime] minister–passed by the Baal Shem’s home and was reminded of his friend, the khakham, the clever man.

He went in to the Baal Shem and leaned in to him (as is the way of officials [wishing not to be overheard]), asking whether it would be possible to show him the khakham and whether he could extricate him.

He said to the Baal Shem, “Do you remember the khakham whom the Devil sent for and carried away, and who has not been seen since?”

He answered him, “Yes.” He bid him to please show him the place [of the khakham] and to extricate him from there. The Baal Shem said to him, “I can certainly show you his place and take him out. Only no one but you and I may go.”

So they went together. The Baal Shem did what he knew [to transcend space and time in order to locate and go to the place] and they arrived there.

He saw how they lay there in the thick muck and slime.

==

When the khakham noticed the minister, he screamed to him, “Brother, look! They are beating and torturing me so intensely–these hooligans–for no reason!”

The minister snarled at him, “Still, you hold to your contrivances and don’t want to believe in anything at all?! You say these are people?? Now see here! Look! This is the Baal Shem whom you had denied. He is specifically the one who can take you out (and he will show you the truth).”

The tam, the minister, beseeched the Baal Shem to take them out and show them that this is the Devil and that these are not humans.

The Baal Shem did what he did, and they were left standing on the dry land with no mire there at all.

And the damaging demons became plain dust.

Then the khakham saw and begrudgingly was forced to admit to everything, that there is indeed a king [and there is indeed a genuine Baal Shem], etc.

====

[Notes Following the Story]

[Rav Nosson adds the following:] Regarding this story [Rebbe Nachman] gave over the teaching (Likutei Moharan Tinyana #12) which discusses khakhmoth (wisdoms/sophistication/cleverness) and temimuth, (innocence)–that the essence of personal wholeness is only temimuth v’pshituth (innocence and simplicity).

[It further discusses] the matter of Amalek who was [the epitome of] a “khakham” [casting doubt through constant clever over-analysis], who heretically denied the main point [i.e., Hashem and the True Purpose of life] etc.

(See there on the verse in Mishlei (Proverbs) 24, “ShevA` yipoL tzaddiK wekaM/ Seven [times] the tzaddik falls, but rises” — the end-letters of each word spell out `AMaLeK.

==

For the main reason for spiritual falls is khokhmoth [cleverness–always trying to be smart in analyzing and figuring out everything].

Likewise, King Agag, who was a descendant of Amalek, even though he could see his imminent downfall when Samuel arrived…to execute him, he still did not believe, as it says (1 Sam. 15:32), “Agag went ma’adanoth” which Targum Yonatan translates as “went in a self-indulgent manner.” For he still did not believe in his immanent demise.

Not until the the very end did he see his vanquishment with his eyes, as then [he says], “Has the bitterness of death indeed turned unto me?”

For until then, he still did not believe.

(If you will look into this tale, you will perceive wonder of wonders:) And if prayer is not as it needs to be, this is [an example of] the “three-cornered shoe” [Yid. a shikhele mit drei ecken]. Understand this well.

And see also at the end of the book the Rav’s explanation, and you will see wonderful analogous commentaries.

====

Dedicated to ‘Nathan of Gaza’ and JR.

====

This is a translated excerpt of a shiur given by Rav Berland a couple of weeks ago.

It really helped me to shift my perspective into one of having more emuna again, after dealing with that horrible story of the 108 small, frum children repeatedly kidnapped from Jerusalem and assaulted in horrible ways – while the police here continue to totally cover it all up.

BH, I will translate more snippets from the Rav this week, and he’s saying a lot of things that are giving some much deeper insights into what is really going on at the moment.

In the meantime, here it is, and I hope it gives you chizzuk, too.

====

Words from the Rav on the Parsha

It’s like now, we read a story that occurred in the Shoah, that a grandfather said to his grandson, either you will be a Jew, or you’ll die. I don’t want you to be a goy.

He – the grandson – was placed with a priest, and the grandfather made a condition with the priest that under no circumstance should he be forced to become a christian. He agreed this with the priest, that he should protect his grandson from the Nazis, on condition that he wouldn’t missionize him.

Because that grandfather had saved the priest’s life when he fell in some pit with his wagon. There, in chutz l’aretz, everyone was falling into swamps and pits. (And so to show his gratitude, the priest agreed to save his grandson from the Nazis.)

In [the book] Kivsha Hashachora, he brings down [this story.] I read it, with the Rabbanit.

==

Long story short, he recounts how one person put his child with the Priest, and how he told him, if the Priest wants to baptise you, go and kill yourself, go and commit suicide. Jump from the window, and die.

[And in addition to this] he also made a condition with the Priest, that he wouldn’t baptise him. Ultimately, the Priest died after two years, so he [the grandson] ran away to the forests, exactly when the Shoah began in Poland, on the 17th of Elul.

After that, there were more pogroms, after this on the 25th of Av there was a pogrom, it was a year where they were doing pogroms without stopping.

==

This captain [in the Russian army] who saw how the Tzion exploded, he came to Poland with the army.

He was a Breslover. He was in the KGB’s Yevetskiya. He was going to be the biggest commander, but in the end he said that he was going to make teshuva, and that he’s going to go now and conquer Uman.

The first thing is to capture Uman, the first thing, everyone travels to Uman. Tonight, everyone is travelling to Uman, this is the first thing.

They fought precisely right next to [Rebbe Nachman’s] Tzion – the Germans and the Russians. And he [i.e. the captain] saw how the Tzion exploded, and even, which shell exploded it. He saw it with his own eyes.

==

After that, he got to Poland with the whole army, and he went into the beit knesset there.

He was still a bachor (young man). He got there with 10 falafel (Israeli slang for the shoulder epaulets that show an officer’s rank) on his shoulders,

He was a captain – they thought the KGB had come. This was the evening of Kol Nidre, everyone was petrified, they didn’t know whether they should just run away. He said: Don’t run away! I myself am also a Jew!

He saw how everyone was broken, and how they were so overwhelmed with fear, they couldn’t even pray.

==

He asked them: Who are you afraid of? Are you scared of me? You have nothing to fear! I’m not the KGB, I’m just a captain who is chasing after Nazis.

They said to him: No, tomorrow they are going to come and kill everyone! They are saying that tomorrow there will be pogroms, and they are going to kill all of the Jews. They already announced it! There is no escape, there is nowhere to run to.

He said: What, what is this ‘pogrom’? Who is going to do this pogrom?

They answered: All the goyim (non-Jews), all the Poles, all the hevra’men, all the gangsters of the city.

He replied, ain’t going to happen! I’m now going to stand watch over you!

He stood on the roof and saved everyone. He didn’t leave a trace of them [the sonei Israel] Maybe they went to Gan Eden, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe [they went] to Mars. It needs to be clarified.

==

In any case, we are telling the story [of a Jew who left his child with a Priest], and he told him, if the Priest wants to baptise you, jump off the roof! Commit suicide! Take poison!

“It’s better that you die as a Jew, instead of being a non-Jewish young man!”

And this Priest kept his word, and he didn’t convert him. And when the Priest died, he didn’t have what else to do. He said that he was the son of [the Priest’s] sister, and that he had to go back.

He was pale, and he had blond hair. When the Nazis passed next to him, they used to hug him and kiss him, because they thought he was a German boy. He couldn’t stand that. He knew they were murderers, the people who had killed his grandfather and his mother, and his family.

==

One day, he went next to the fence – the wall bordering the ghetto. And he heard some girl crying out, maybe, you have some food? I’ve already been here for a few days, with no food.

He heard the girl crying, and he ran home, (took some apples and threw them to her.) He did like this for five days, then went and told the Jewish partisans that there was some girl hiding out by the fence. He didn’t know how she looked, but he knew that each time she was catching the apples.

She yelled at him, throw something, some food! She also didn’t know who was doing the throwing. She didn’t know if it was a Nazi, some ‘Nazi-Chassid’ from the nations of the world, some Pole. Whoever it was who saving her life, she didn’t know. She was a child aged 10.

Her uncle had hidden her under the bushes, next to the wall.

So, the boy called the Jewish partisans, and then he climbed over the wall and grabbed hold of her – and the Nazis didn’t see. Maybe, it was dark. He found her in the bushes and took her away to the forests – for three years. There was another three or four years, until the end of the war. So they brought her to the forest.

==

After she grew up in the forest, there was a trip to Eretz Yisrael. She was broken. She’d seen such awful things. She said, where was God? Where is God?!

When I was growing up, I always thought about where was God. I was a child aged 7. I used to answer them, about all their kooshiot (difficulties / questions). I was 7 years old, and everyone came back from the Shoah.

My cousin, and my uncles. Everyone used to come to me with a million difficulties, I used to talk. Even my father used to come to me.

I said to them, what’s all this? They went straight to Gan Eden! This was without any din! (Harsh judgements, that need to be ‘scrubbed off’ by a temporary stay in gehinnom.)

It’s written that a single ‘singe’ in gehinnom is far worse than the whole of Auschwitz.

[Ed. note: stop and think about this sentence for a moment. It encapsulates everything, about why there is so much suffering going on in this lowly world of ours – and why God is still only good, regardless of the suffering going on.]

==

[Those who were murdered in the Shoah], it’s six million people who made a ‘request’ of Hashem, that they wanted to come down in a generation of shmad (annihilation).

That they wanted to come down in this way, because they wanted everything to be atoned for.

No [stain of sin] remained for them! They asked Hashem for this! This is the whole reason they came down to the world!

It’s not like there was some mistake here. They chose this, and there was a pigua (terrorist attack) here.

All sorts of questions – but they chose this! They asked Hashem before they came down to this world, ‘send us down in a generation of shmad!’

==

Translated from the Shivevei Or Newsletter, 255.

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Like you, I have no idea what’s really going on.

Probably also like you, I’ve been feeling literally stressed out of my skull for days, weeks and months – and yesterday, I decided that whatever else is going on, I can’t carry on like this.

That decision actually crystallised when I met someone in the local mall who six months ago was apparently about to die from ‘terminal cancer’.

I hadn’t heard from her for a while, so I assumed the worst.

Then yesterday, I bumped into her, and she looked really happy.

Her divorce from a really yucky person had come through; she’d managed to scrape together the money to buy her apartment; and her daughter had dumped her long-term loser boyfriend and was now engaged to a much better man.

And how is your health?

That’s what I wanted to ask, but it wasn’t polite. But she must have figured that out anyway, because she said to me:

I decided to just forget about all that other stuff and get on with my life. I’m late for my yoga class, but if you can come to the wedding, I’d love to see you….

====

She rushed off.

And I stood there trying to absorb the very important lesson Hashem was teaching me:

Happiness solves all problems.

====

There is for sure a narrow bridge to tread, between ‘fake-always-happy-keep-my-head-in-the-sand-and-avoid-reality’, and falling into a doom-and-gloom mindset, because the world can be just so heavy sometimes.

But at least in my part of it, the sun is now shining.

There is still good food to eat.

I have lights on, clean clothes, good music to listen to.

B’kitzur, life is actually really good at the moment.

====

Meanwhile, the craziness goes on outside the windows.

If you read stuff like THIS, it seems obvious that the only economies the sanctions against Russia are really going to tank is those of the USA and Europe.

When World Economic Forum puppet-Zelensky starts mouthing scripted stuff “from his bunker” about how the whole world needs to ditch fossil fuels and go green – that’s when you know we are being set up for another stage of the Swiss Templar’s ‘Great Reset’ plan.

You know, all those food shortages, and fuel shortages, and terrible economic conditions that were meant to come along with the Covid 19 plandemic, but which didn’t quite materialise, because everything got ‘sweetened’ behind the scenes.

The bad people didn’t go away, and are continuing to do bad things.

====

But at least in my world, I am realising that acknowledging that reality can go hand-in-hand with still enjoying my own reality, and still being grateful to Hashem for all the tremendous blessings He’s continuing to give me.

And in the meantime, I will spend my hour a day ‘stomping on the bad’, praying that it goes away, asking God to rid the world of all this evil.

And I will try to do at least one tikkun haklali a day, to help ‘sweeten’ things.

And I will continue to pay pidyonot over to Shuvu Banim, whenever things start to get too much for me, in my own little world, so my reality at least can be ‘sweetened’ again.

And then – I need to focus on being happy.

====

Part of the way the oh-so-corrupt media takes us ‘away’ from ourselves, and from God, and from what really matters, is by continually getting us to focus on things that don’t matter, and / or are not in our control at all.

Before ‘the war in Ukraine’ was made everyone’s problem, I was actually doing a lot of research into stuff that can apparently cure cancer and AIDS very easily and cheaply.

(Yes, apparently AIDS is not infectious, and can be cured. Read THIS, for more on what was really causing the first ‘wave’ of what came to be known as AIDS in the gay community.)

Snippet:

More poppers, more AIDS

====

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Given the ongoing fall-out from all the experimental gene therapy ‘Covid 19’ shots, that is where I want to return my research focus now.

On that, and on things that will help to ‘boost our immune system’ by pumping up our real world emuna.

Of course, I’m going to get sidetracked by other things, and of course, sometimes I will still write about ‘Ukraine’ – especially if it’s relevant to me in Israel, when they start flooding the country with non-Jewish neo-Nazis as part of their ongoing attempts to attack, terrify and even murder Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

Once a good (Swiss Templar) Jew-killing crusader, always a good (Swiss Templar) Jew-killing crusader.

====

The point is not to ignore the ‘bad’.

But the point is to focus on the ‘good’.

And there is still so much of that around, for each of us, however difficult some areas of life may currently be.

It’s all just a test, to bring us closer to Hashem and break our yetzer haras, that keep us so stubborn, selfish and arrogant.

====

So, the rest of today I’m going back to my Pesach cleaning, and my hobbies, and putting some effort into making a nice supper for my family.

In short: I’m focussing on the many, many good things in my life, and I’m going to remember that God is so good to me, and that all we really have is today.

Because really, we don’t have to ‘pursue’ happiness. We just have to open our eyes to the millions of presents God is giving us right now, without any additional effort required.

Trouble is bad enough when it actually comes. I don’t need to be craning my neck right now trying to spot it way off in the distance.

====

 

Over the years, I have lived in many different Jewish communities.

And I’ve also worked as investigative journalist for 25+ years, and that’s brought me into contact with many different people, and their stories.

What I can tell you is that sexual abuse of children is a massive problem today, everywhere.

But I guess I’ve been focussing more on the frum world in this blog, because so many of us want to believe that things like this don’t happen in ‘religious’ communities.

And so we trust perhaps way more than we should, and don’t recognise the warning signs in quite the same way, because  we don’t want to believe that ‘religious’ people, frum Jews, would be capable of acting in these awful, despicable ways.

And of course, so many of the rabbis and leaders in these communities want to keep all the shmutz and yuck covered up, because they are protecting their ‘brand’. And that seems to take precedence over protecting the victim, for people who don’t really fear Hashem, and who are more interested in receiving honor and kavod, than doing the right thing.

====

BUT – as one commentator pointed out, this problem goes way, way beyond the religious community.

In the secular world there are also enormous problems – as you’ll remember from THIS post a few weeks ago, that mentioned the gang rape of a young teenage girl by a pack of feral teenage boys in a Netanya school. That story was totally blanked by the media here, to ‘protect the guilty’.

In the meantime, the poor girl and her father apparently ended up in a mental institution, from the trauma of what had happened – which was compounded by the cover-up.

====

Today, the world is a very sick place.

There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ place, spiritually, today.

(Although I have to say, ironically, that Rav Berland’s community seems to have way, way less issues than any other community I’m aware of. After the last 10 years of slander and scrutiny, Shuvu Banim is pretty much the last place a pedophile would try to hang out in.)

Let me tell you a story that emphasizes this point, and then we’ll move on to tachlis, what we as parents can really do to try to protect our children, to the best of our abilities.

====

A few years back, I lived in a very large, mixed yishuv, that had chardal communities all the way up to dati ‘light’, and was mixed between olim from many different backgrounds, and Israelis.

It all seemed so ‘wonderful’ there, externally, the first two years. Then, I started figuring out that appearances can be very deceptive, that literally half the yishuv was on Prozac (or something similar) – and that sexual abuse and wife-swapping was also occurring there.

I knew a lady whose 9 year old daughter was repeatedly raped by a ‘frum’ cousin – a stellar, solid dati leumi-type older teen.

When that news came out, her world fell apart – and the dati leumi rabbis counselled her not to go to the police about what had happened, because it would ruin the cousin’s life.

In the meantime…. that guy got married, and continued on in the dati leumi community as apparently a paragon of virtue.

While this lady’s kid went totally ‘off’, started smoking, and experienced tremendous tzaar in her soul.

Does this sound right, to you?

====

So now, let’s move into talking tachlis, what can we do, as parents, to try to protect our children?

There is a separate discussion to be had about changing the culture, both in the (Freemason-Frankist….) secular world and in the (Freemason-Frankist….) religious world about not playing down abuse like this any more, and not trying to just keep covering it up.

We’ll leave that for now, although you can be sure that is something that I will come back to in future posts, BH.

Today, I want to focus on what we can do as parents, with God’s help.

====

When I was looking into this more, I tripped over the ‘BrightBeginnings’ website, of R’ Yakov Horowitz.

You can find that website HERE.

He’s written a book about how to keep children safe, and he’s also put out this 10 minute video, that covers some very useful information on how to deal with this issue, tachlis:

====

Here’s a screenshot of the 4 main messages R’ Horowitz says parents have to give over to their kids – in as calm a way as possible, because when the parent is agitated, the kid won’t remember what they are saying:

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Watch the video above, to really understand how to put these messages across to your children.

He packs a lot of good information into 10 minutes, and he’s also got books in both Hebrew and English called ‘Let’s stay Safe!’, that you can get HERE.

Here’s a precis:

  1. Teach your child that NO-ONE should ever tell them to keep a secret from you, their parents. This is a massive red flag for predatory behavior.
  2. Give your child a sense of having firm boundaries – that their body, their personal ‘space’, belongs to them, and they get to decide who can enter it, and when.
  3. Explain to them the ‘bathing suit’ rule, that no-one else should touch them in places covered by their bathing suit – except for very specific people, in very specific instances (i.e. the parents or main caregivers, when they need to clean them up or care for them in some way – but keep these parameters as tightly-defined as possible.)
  4. Teach your children to trust their own instincts – and to get away from people who make them feel uncomfortable, AS SOON AS they start to feel uncomfortable, even if nothing ‘bad’ has happened.

====

This is great advice.

But if we’re honest, as parents, we already know that WE have to do a lot of work on our own bad middot and issues, to really put this advice into practise.

What do I mean?

Well, from my own experience of being a sincere baal teshuva, I know I put so much pressure on my kids to ‘conform’ to a certain very high religious standard, that for a couple of years meant that they simply stopped telling me what they were really up to, because they knew I wouldn’t approve.

And when a kid feels that they can’t tell their parent everything, that’s when the kid enters the ‘danger zone’.

I had to do a lot of work on my own bad middot, including my own anger, disappointment and unrealistic expectations, before I could really create a ‘space’ where my kids felt it was safe to tell me about their struggles again, without me going ballistic at them for not being ‘perfect.’

====

Another problem is peer pressure.

It’s hard to encourage our kids to call out predatory, bullying behavior when it might cost us, the parents, socially.

For example, a few years ago I had a really good friend, who outside her home was amazing and wonderful – but whose house was full of dysfunction and problems, from the perspective of the children.

Long story short, her kids were routinely bullying and beating up my kids, and it took me two years to really stop making excuses and to tackle the problem, because I knew tackling the problem was going to cost me my own friendship.

And it did.

But in these myriad small ways, we can send our kids messages that they shouldn’t ‘rock our boat’ – and predators, especially predators who are ‘close to home’, can take advantage of this very human tendency, God forbid.

====

And perhaps R’ Horowitz’s last ‘message’ can be the most difficult one of all, for a parent to really convey to their children.

Because if I’m a forceful parent, I’m a super-frum, or super-idealistic parent, who has all sorts of ideas of how my kid should be acting, and dressing, and what sort of super-healthy food they should be eating, and who they should be hanging around with….

….And I don’t really give my kid the ability to develop their own instincts about what is right for them, let alone to trust them….

That gives predators a huge ‘in’.

And we parents can do that, without even realising what a disadvantage we are actually giving our children, because we WANT THEM to listen to us, and to obey us, and to not challenge us all the time with their own opinions and ideas.

Can you see the problem?

====

The solution again comes down to us parents working on our own bad middot.

It again comes down to challenging our own assumptions about what is really ‘right and wrong’; and being prepared to take a cold, hard look at where we ourselves trample on our children’s ability to honestly feel what they feel, and to honestly express what they feel – without being harshly judged and punished for it.

It’s so easy to write these words, but it can be so, so hard to live up to them.

Especially when we ourselves often came from homes where kids were meant to be ‘seen but not heard’, and where the parents were meant to be held high up on a pedestal by the child, and never questioned or crossed.

====

It’s sadly true, that when a kid is bullied, and / or ignored, and / or harshly judged at home, by their parents, that will make them way more ‘at risk’ of attracting predators.

Spiritually-warped people have a kind of ‘sixth sense’, where they can sense which kids don’t have a ‘back’ – don’t have a parent on their side, really supporting and listening to them.

====

One more thought, then we’ll talk more about bringing God into the equation.

Like most mothers, I have always loved my kids a lot. But until my oldest was 5, I was trying to hold down a very demanding career, that meant I had pretty much zero time or headspace to really ‘be’ with my kids, after work.

I was usually so exhausted from the day job, all I wanted was for them to disappear to bed, as soon as possible, when I got home.

It was only after we moved to Israel, that Hashem really started giving me the present of understanding just how toxic my career was, for my family (and also, for myself!)

When my oldest was six, that’s when I made the excrutiatingly difficult decision to quit my high-paying job – and to become a stay-at-home mum.

====

On some level, I just knew that I couldn’t do both.

And with the benefit of 15 years’ hindsight, I can now honestly say it was the best decision I ever made, for my family and for myself – even though I can’t overestimate how hard it was to do, personally.

I feel now that so many of my kids’ issues with being bullied etc, mostly stem from that time that I was neglecting them emotionally, when they were younger. And that it took me a good 4-5 years of constant work on my own bad middot, via talking to God regularly for an hour every day, to start redressing the balance, and to start resolving the problems.

Thank God, my kids are great.

But we still live in a sick world, and we’ve all still got so many challenges to deal with, on so many levels.

I dread to think, how bad things would be if I hadn’t made the decision to put my kids’ need to have a ‘present’ mother ahead of my own need to do a job I really enjoyed, and that made me a ton of cash.

====

So now, let’s put God firmly in this equation.

As mentioned, the key to so much of this is to know that we need God’s help to really protect our kids – both from ‘stranger dangers’, and also from our own bad middot that can render them vulnerable to predators, God forbid.

I cannot overemphasise the importance of getting into the habit of talking to God regularly, every day, to make a strong spiritual ‘connection’, and overcome our own programming to ignore what we really think and feel about bad people and situations.

If we can’t be ‘real’ with ourselves, if we also have unhealthy boundary issues, if also push down things that make us uncomfortable to avoid ‘rocking the boat’ – then so will our kids, however much we try to educate them differently.

So, the first thing is to get into the habit of asking God to help us, ourselves, uproot all these negative habits and bad middot.

====

Then of course, we ask God – all the frigging time! – to protect our kids from the ‘bad’ out there.

If you have trouble formulating these prayers by yourself – and many people do – then Rav Berland has a whole bunch of booklets, that are filled with very powerful prayers that really make a difference.

If you go HERE, you’ll find a bunch to pick from.

Here’s one I recommend, Prayers for Holy Children:

 

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If you don’t speak Hebrew, just try to do one a day – it’s the effort that counts, not the quantity.

Alternatively, you can get that book in English translation – and get the hard copy FOR FREE, from the RavBerland.com site, you just pay for the postage, HERE.

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With God’s help, our children will be protected from all the ‘bad’ in the world.

And we will uproot all the ‘bad’ within ourselves, as their parents, that can make them more vulnerable to predators, God forbid.

And BH, Moshiach will come soon, and finally all this tremendous evil will be banished from the Jewish communities, and the wider world, for good.

====

UPDATE:

I had a couple of comments telling me that R Horowitz is anti Rav Berland, and pro ‘vaccinating’.

All I can say, is that this is all part of the birur  process, and I guess part of that process of moving away from the unrealistic black and white world where we are pushed to an ‘extreme’ of having to agree with everything a person says, 100%, before being willing to quote them in other areas, and moving towards a more nuanced approach.

I feel R Horowitz advice in this area is useful, so I’m quoting it.

Clearly, I feel he’s totally wrong about Rav Berland, and Covid 19 shots.

Hope that clears up the confusion.

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