Today, I tried to climb up a nine metre ladder in Wadi Og, by the Dead Sea.

I have a few girlfriend peeps that like to tiyul in nature, and every 2-3 weeks (when we aren’t being locked down), someone picks a new place and off we go.

This week, someone picked Wadi Og, a tiyul described as being suitable for families, and kids over the age of 8.

We get there, and it starts off pretty good – gorgeous weather, deep cliffs, and a shaded descent into the wadi (dry river bed) overhung by chunks of terracotta cliff.

Then, we get to the first ‘ladder’ – aka metal handles approximately 8 inches long, drilled into the cliff face.

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I was the first one there, so I headed up – then had to stop around 2 metres up, as I suddenly started to feel totally petrified, and my hands got so sweaty I thought it was impossible to maintain any grip on those metal handles.

I took a couple of breaths, then climbed back down again.

Hmm.

Strange.

I’m not a big one for heights, it’s true, but I’m also not a chicken.

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In the meantime, a couple of families with small kids clamber up the ‘ladder’ while my friends arrive, and I see it’s definitely do-able.

In theory.

Two other ladies in my group also gave the ladder a try – and stopped in the same place I’d stopped.

Number 4 in our group is the last one to try it, and as she begins her ascent, some chubby savta pokes her head over the top and tells us it’s not as scary as it looks!!

My friend believes her, and as a result manages to clamber up.

I try again, after her, and again, I find myself gripped with fear and panic and sporting a pair of hands so sweaty you could almost wash your face with them.

I have to come down.

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(As a side note, there is NO WAY that chubby Savta got up to the top bderech hateva. Either she knew a short-cut, or she was Eliyahu HaNavi.)

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The other two ladies in my group head off to do some ‘Chi Gong’ in a shaded bit of the Wadi, while I sit on a rock and ponder what’s going on, here.

The night before, me and my husband got into a ‘discussion’ that took us 4 times around our block.

Long story short, he wanted to know how do I know that all this information I’m putting out is really what God wants?

I told him straight:

I don’t.

I just keep asking God to show me what He wants, to help me do what He wants me to do, and then even after I’ve deleted and deleted, and shut down a million tabs, and burnt notes and family trees – I find myself right in the middle of another blog post, or three.

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That answer didn’t reassure him.

So, he’s asked me to not publicise more information at the moment (yes, there is WAY more information to publicise…) until he has more clarity on what God really wants.

Believe it or not, I actually don’t care either way.

I really am just trying to give God what He wants, and I know from past experience, that’s often radically different from what we think He wants, before we do the experiment of actually asking Him directly.

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So, back to the ladder.

I’m sitting there, doing some hitbodedut, asking God to show me what that whole ‘petrified about ascending the ladder’ thing was all about, when I got this idea pop into my brain:

Biti, you can’t do anything that I don’t want you to do.

If you are trying to get into places you shouldn’t be going, I will send you that same fear you felt now, and you will stop and back down.

So, until that happens, continue!

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God is right, that I will back down immediately, if I think it’s not what He wants.

I’ve done that at least 4-5 times already, with all this research I’m doing into real Jewish history.

But each and every time I check it out in hitbodedut, I get the message to continue.

How do you know that you’re just not a shaliach for the yetzer hara? 

I asked my husband yesterday, when we were having our ‘discussion’.

He had the same problem I had: he doesn’t know that.

And so, the confusion and doubt continues.

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What’s the point of doing all of this, and of putting it all out there? What’s it going to change?

That’s what my husband wanted to know.

After I thought about it for a minute, this is what I told him:

I believe that the truth heals.

I believe that once the truth is told, all the machloket and all the false divisions, and all the petty disagreements that have us all at each other’s throats will vanish.

Telling the truth can do that, because people feel truth on the inside of their souls, and they can’t deny it – at least, to themselves.

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I’ve seen how telling the truth, from a place of humility, has healed so much in my life and in my relationships.

Sure, “telling the troof” can be weaponised, and used to try and demonise and shame others, and to ‘big up’ the person telling the truth.

That’s not what I’m talking about here.

I know there are good Jews – amazingly good Jews – all over the Jewish world, in every group and every ‘sect’ you care to mention, religious and secular, in Israel and in Chul.

And I also know there is no group, religious or otherwise, in Israel or in Chul, that doesn’t also have its fair share of problems and ‘interesting’ people.

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Telling the truth, with compassion for the other, and with the full understanding that there but for the grace of God go I, is going to lead us to geula, and to the type of achdut most of us have been dreaming about for years, already.

But at the moment, my husband disagrees.

And I understand where he’s coming from, and I respect him tremendously for sharing his views.

I think he’s wrong.

But, I’m going to let God decide about what I should be doing with all this stuff, so I told my husband:

When God tells you to tell me to start writing about this stuff again, that’s when we’ll know that it really is what God wants.

But don’t hold your breath.

It could be a long time coming.

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