think for yourself

Yesterday, I got some interesting emails.

(My emails are currently going through the roof, btw, so if I don’t respond to yours, please forgive me.)

I had a whole bunch of emails talking about the Baal Shem Tov, and ‘excommunicated tzaddikim’, and how we are forbidden to question tzaddikim.

And then, I had some other emails related to NWO stuff, that I’m still evaluating and sifting through.

And then, amongst other things, I had an email telling me this:

[M]y husband is friends with someone very close to the Rav. This friend asked if he should take the vaccine and which company. He got a response back to vaccinate with Pfizer!!!! 


It seems all this is actually linked, so let’s try to unpick what is really going on here.

Let’s start with that last email, a person who asked someone who is ‘very close to the Rav’ about whether to get ‘vaccinated’ with an experimental gene therapy with very limited efficacy, plus a list of unknown and potentially very serious side effects, especially over the long term.

Here’s my thoughts on this, in no particular order:

  • I have no idea if the ‘friend’ really knows someone who is close to the Rav.
  • I have no idea if the ‘friend’ is genuinely pious and good, or a religious faker.
  • I have no idea if the ‘friend’ really asked that question to someone who is close to the Rav in the first place, or is using the Rav’s name to try and sway other people.
  • Assuming the ‘friend’ really does know someone close to the Rav, and really did ask them the question – I have no idea if that ‘person close to the Rav’ actually asked the Rav this question (or whether they are genuine or a faker). It seems unlikely to me that the question was even asked, given that the Rav is currently still in prison, and it’s very hard for even his closest family members to speak to him.
  • It’s also very difficult for me to believe that the Rav would say something like this – assuming all the other points above are taken care of – because the way of Breslov rabbis is not to tell people to definitely do things, but to give gentle advice, and encourage people to think for themselves.
  • To that end, I have seen a whole bunch of people get mighty confused when they started trying to use the Rav as some sort of ‘oracle’ or ‘prediction machine’. The Rav – and no other tzaddik – is a shortcut for trying to have your own conversation with God, or working on your own emuna.
  • The best way to get the ‘advice’ from the true tzaddikim is to read their books, and find yourself in their advice.
  • Assuming the Rav really was asked in a genuine way, and really did respond like this- the Rav is currently being held in prison, in awful conditions. If they can coerce and threaten rabbis outside of prison to say what they want with violence and threats, how much more so, this applies to the Rav.

They are literally trying to kill him in there, God forbid.


All this reminds me of all those people I knew back in London, who insisted on ‘asking a rabbi’ if they should make aliyah, or stay put.

The very fact that they were asking the rabbi showed that they were divided about the idea of going to Israel. That they lacked the inner conviction probably required to put up with all the difficulties and hardships involved.

So, they ‘asked a rabbi’ to offload the decision to someone else, and to try and throw a sop to their own consciences, and if they picked their rabbi well – they didn’t have to move.

Lucky them!

Olam hazeh and olam habah, in one bundle.


The yetzer hara has been given permission to confuse people tremendously right now.

Even rabbis and tzaddikim with impeccable credentials are apparently being manipulated, duped, threatened, ‘deep fake video-d’, or I don’t know what, around this whole vaccine question.

Remember, when there was that whole hysteria about a measles epidemic in Uman, a couple of years back?

(That was probably just a dry run for what’s going on with Covid, but I digress….)

Some mysterious ‘message’ appeared on the Shuvu Banim Hebrew site saying that the Rav had told everyone to get vaccinated with the measles jab, before heading out to Uman for Rosh Hashana.

I read that – and I just knew in my bones that it wasn’t ‘real.’

Doesn’t matter who really said what, how it got there, whether or not it was genuine.

The point was, it went against my own inner daat, so I had to check it out very carefully in hitbodedut, and the message I got back, for me, was to ignore it.


There are no shortcuts here.

If I was buying into all the media (fake…) hysteria about measles in Uman back in 2018, and I was subconsciously looking for a reason to get the measles jab – then would have pounced on this ‘announcement’ like manna from the sky.

This whole thing is just a test of emuna, a test of who we really are, and where we are really holding, spiritually.

We live in a world populated by high-level fakers and charlatans who excel in ‘appearing to be perfect’ in their religious observance, and in giving long speeches and mussar shiurim about how the rest of us should really behave, and should really act, if we want to have perfect emuna like them.

I’m not perfect.

I struggle mightily to know what God really wants from me.

I struggle mightily to maintain emuna, in the face of a constant onslaught of lies and apparent ‘bad’. It’s only my hitbodedut that helps me out, and keeps me going.

But because I keep going into that birur process, internally, it’s giving me a clearer and clearer signal that ‘something isn’t quite right’, when I hit people and pronouncements that don’t seem to be coming from a good place.

Regardless of who is apparently making those statements.


For the record, even if a ‘video’ comes out with the Rav apparently clearly telling me I HAVE to go and get jabbed with an experimental gene therapy, I’m not going to do that.

But also for the record, if in my hitbodedut, God starts telling me that I’ve got this all wrong, and I need to go and get jabbed with an experimental gene therapy – well, I can tell you that I will at least reconsider all angles very carefully again, before coming to a decision.

That’s how we keep our thought processes healthy and flexible, and open to new information and insights that might change the whole picture.

Black and white thinking – the ‘all of nothing’ paradigm – is a clear indication that you are a psycho.

Remember that.


So now, let’s just take a quick look at another topic my inbox was full of yesterday: did the Baal Shem Tov really get excommunicated by the Vilna Gaon?

The short answer is: No, he didn’t.

The Baal Shem Tov died in 1760, and the first (very limited and short-term) excommunication of the chassidim in Vilna is meant to have happened in 1772 – 12 years after the death of the BESHT.

Also, it’s totally unclear whether even then, the Vilna Gaon is meant to have excommunicated chassidim, the way we understand that word today, or chassidim – meaning the secret followers of Shabtai Tzvi and Jacob Frank who remained in the Jewish community.

(Yes, I know who was leading chassidut at that time. There is still a lot of unpicking required here.)


I wrote a great deal about these things two years ago, before I got into ‘Frankist real history mode’, and you can read some of that stuff below:


Just for the record, Rebbe Nachman was never excommunicated. And Moshe Rabbenu was never excommunicated. And the Rambam himself wasn’t excommunicated, even though some of his works (The Guide for the Perplexed) were.

Yes, there was a lot opposition to them.

But these tzaddikim were never excommunicated.

It’s important to stick with the facts as much as we’re able, because what really happened in the past is murky enough without adding to the confusion.


As always, I’m very happy to be sent more information and more sources, to continue this birur process.

As new information comes in, it will for sure change the picture, and the conclusions to be made.

That’s good. That’s healthy.

As soon as people want to close down a discussion based on facts and credible information (as opposed to name-calling and groundless opinion), that always gets me worried.


Let’s end with this.

For sure, we have to be super-careful with lashon hara, and with accepting false reports about any Jew, let alone a true tzaddik.

But that doesn’t mean that can’t question what’s really going on, and that we can’t voice our kooshiot about our leaders and rabbis in our hitbodedut. 

That is the real – and only – place that you’ll get the truth.

And it’s not only something you can do, it’s something that you are absolutely obligated and obliged to do at this period of time, when so many of our leaders literally have heresy dripping out of their pockets.

There are no shortcuts.

And the best fakers have a veritable team of professional PR people singing their praises 24/7.


Of course, we don’t question True Tzaddikim, God forbid.

But for sure, we question who is really a ‘true tzaddik’? – exhaustively! – before we let our guard down and move them into the ‘untouchable’ box.

Too many people have been hurt by too many fakers, because they didn’t do this. This is the minimal hishtadlut required of all us.

Because it’s no mitzvah to mindlessly follow after false prophets, charlatans and evil people.


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15 replies
  1. Yosi
    Yosi says:

    Listen to this story from Rabbi Daniel Stavsky about how 250 of the most esteemed Rabbi’s agreed to excommunicate the Baal Shem Tov in Brodt. Rabbi Moshe Osterer author Arugat Habosem on Shir Hashirim joined the efforts to excommunicate the BESHT.

    The story is told in Hebrew here by Rabbi Stavsky (Rabbi Stavsky is a REAL Rabbi and 100% trustworthy person and also ‘talks to Hashem’) and here you can read the story in English

    By the way, I’m sure you heard that Rabbi Wosner one of the most esteemed Rabbi’s signed on the infamous “Special Beis Din Psak” just passed away yesterday ‘from Covid’

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Yosi, maybe you can help me out with this. According to this:

      “Arugat HaBosem is a commentary on the Torah by Rabbi Moshe Greenwald of Chust (1853–1910), progenitor of the Puppa Hasidic dynasty.”

      Were there two ‘Arugat HaBosems’ – written by two different Rabbi Moshes – and if not, how do we explain that this one was only born almost 100 years after the Baal Shem Tov died?

        • Rivka Levy
          Rivka Levy says:

          This book was published in 1895, according to this link you sent me.

          That is the time frame of R’ Moshe Greenwald of Chust – the guy I referenced above.

          The Baal Shem Tov died in 1760, and the whole ‘story’ with the Baal Shem Tov revolves around how the book ‘Shir HaShirim’ was printed with the passage on Arugot HaBosem missing… So, this can’t be the right person, to fit in with the story.

          Also, I can’t find any references to ‘R Moshe Osterer’ outside of that Chabad story? No geni descendants, no other references to him whatsoever. That’s strange, if he’s a real person.

          • Yosi
            Yosi says:

            Wow. This is whole controversy is getting deeper and darker.
            Why would Chabad want us to think that R Moshe Greenwald of Chust who is obviously the REAL author of Arugat Habosem, is really a non-existent Rabbi named Moshe Osterer who they lie and claim lived 100 years earlier and excommunicated the BESHT?
            Since we now know that he really lived in 1895 could it be that he was of the Rothchild family or maybe he was Rothchild himself or a hidden Frankist?
            If we would have a picture of him maybe we could compare the faces and understand what’s really going on here. What are they hiding from us.
            Also, why would Rabbi Daniel Stavsky be so naive in relating a story about someone who doesn’t appear on Geni and therefore certainly did not exist, and why would he say he wrote a book called Arugat Habosem in the times of the Baal Shem Tov when clearly shows it was printed in 1895 one hundred years later. One would assume that a Rabbi of the stature of R Stavsky knows how to do basic internet research. Unless he is in on it also…

            The suspicion gets even deeper now that I just opened my Likutei Moharan of Rabbi Nahman and it says it was published in 1965!!! Who was the REAL Rebbe Nahman? When did he exist? DID he exist?! There IS a Geni page for him but how do we know that it wasn’t purposely edited by the Geni bully’s to mislead us into getting to the bottom of all this.

            Please, does anyone have some clues???

            Wait, now I did some more serious research on Geni and I see that there is NO page about me either. I’m starting to doubt my own existence. Am I a real person? Why would Chabad do this to me? Is the Alter Rebbe behind this whole thing? Or maybe it’s Frank or the evil Baal Shem… Or maybe it’s all three, they must be the same person, or are they…

            Please someone help!!!!

            No, no, no, just turn the PAGE!!! The front page says it was published in 1895 but the following page of approbations says it was written in 5505 which WAS the time of the BESHT. Wait! And look at this!!! Also the Likutei Maharan was first published in Rebbe Nahmans time and later had other publishing dates as probably was the car with all books of hundreds of years ago. Even my bible says it was published in the 1900’s.

            The question about Geni still remains, though. We must do some more investigation maybe a few more articles need to be written about this to figure it all out, how can it be someone existed over 200 years ago but there is no Geni page about them. If I exist without a Geni page maybe he can also. But we can’t just accept that as FACT, I need to THINK FOR MYSELF, not let myself be fooled and believe what they want me to believe especially if it comes from chabad…


          • Rivka Levy
            Rivka Levy says:

            That’s funny, thank you for making some good points, and for keeping me on my toes, it’s very important.

            Another question for you: When was the Pri Megadim by R Yosef Teomim actually published the first time?

  2. Hadassa
    Hadassa says:

    Rivkah, the Torah relates that the heads of Sanhedrin came out against Moshe Rabbenu until he was forced to leave the camp. If that’s not an excommunication I don’t know what is.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Excommunication is not the same thing as people coming out against you. It’s a formal procedure that’s done in a beit din.

  3. Rachel Erman
    Rachel Erman says:

    Sorry, I just don’t understand why you’re absolutely refusing to take the information you’ve been given at face value. Maybe someone did ask Rav Berland this question about vaccination, and he did say to vaccinate with Pfizer (without any coercion). Do you think you understand him so thoroughly that you can judge with absolute certainty what he could or couldn’t say? Maybe he did in fact say that, and so you now have reason to rethink some of your assumptions?

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Maybe he did. That’s not ruled out in my post.

      And if I have to rethink some of my assumptions, I will.

      As noted above, black and white ‘fixed’ thinking is a major clue you are dealing with mental illness.

      The more of us start to question our assumptions, the faster the truth comes out.

    • Yosef from the Galil
      Yosef from the Galil says:

      Two important things to note about anything that Rav Berland may or may not have said about the “vaccine”.

      First, what the Rav, or any rebbe says to someone is for that person and that person alone. Unless they make it a broad public statement, which in this story was not the case.

      Second, I am also connected to Rav Berland and am told that he has made no such blanket statements either way about taking it or not. Given his situation, it would be a very bad idea to do so anyway. The Shuvu Banim leadership has been consistent however, even as recent as late last week, that they recommend against taking it at this time.

  4. Bead-Head
    Bead-Head says:

    I concur! IMHO, Thinking for yourself based heaps of personal prayer is a great way to navigate ones life during these most unusual days.


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