As you may or may not know, around four years’ ago I wrote a whole series on the ‘Erev Rav’ for the Breslev.co.il website.
At that time, I’d been immersed in all the traditional sources about the Erev Rav for a couple of years, and the more I read these sources – and all the ‘commentary’ from the autistics etc that surrounded them – the blacker the picture became: The Erev Rav were this evil, shadowy group of people who’d somehow insinuated themselves into the very spiritual heart of the Jewish people, and were poisoning the community from the inside out.
As my research and pondering continued, after a couple of years’ I had an ‘Eureka!’ moment, when I realized that the descriptions of the Erev Rav, and their behavior, found in the Zohar and in the writings attributed to the students of the Vilna Gaon, appeared to exactly match up to modern descriptions of people with personality disorders, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
And that’s when the bottom kind of fell out of my world for the next two years, because according to modern psychiatry, personality disorders are unfixable.
And according to the more traditional take on the Jewish sources talking about the Erev Rav, the Erev Rav were similarly unfixably ‘evil’.
At that same time, I started to notice that most (if not all….) of the people I knew – including my own self! – had many of the traits typically assigned to the Erev Rav. And thus began the toughest two years of my whole life, because I was consumed by the question of whether all these people – including myself! – were actually permanently unfixable, evil, ‘doomed’ Erev Rav, or whether something else was going on here.
Man, I cannot begin to tell you the amount of heartbreak I had at this stage, because in case you haven’t noticed, nearly all of us in 2017 are completely messed up, and act (at least sometimes…) in the ways typically ascribed to the Erev Rav.
It took me multiple trips to Uman, and hours upon hours of talking to God about it all, until Hashem finally shined His light into the darkness, and I discovered a pivotal shiur given by Rav Eliezer Berland, a decade ago, where he explained that
EVERYBODY can be fixed, and that there are NO wicked people in Am Yisrael anymore.
That shiur changed the whole picture, and then I found a whole bunch of ‘hidden’ stuff about the Erev Rav problem, and how to fix it, hidden away in Likutey Moharan, and other of Rebbe Nachman’s works, too – and that’s when I sat down and wrote the ‘Unlocking the Secrets of the Erev Rav’ book, which basically set all the info and sources out to show that the problem is Erev Rav TRAITS (that we all have, including myself…) and not permanently unfixable Erev Rav PEOPLE.
THE CONNECTION TO MY EYE
And here where the story takes it’s usually ‘weird’ twist that I’m sure you’re coming to expect from posts here on my website.
As you probably know, my eye has been playing up, and kind of ‘evil-looking’ for around two months now. I have done a TON of teshuva about this eye, dear reader, and I can see that God is really using it to clear up so many of my remaining issues and bad middot.
Each stage of teshuva I’ve done has definitely improved things with my eye, but tachlis, it’s still a little ‘evil-looking’ and I’ve really had enough of it.
Yesterday, I finally decided to get back on with podcasting my way through the ‘Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav’ book, and I saw I was up to Chapter 6, talking about Rebbe Nachman’s lesson of AZAMRA!
Anyway, as I was going over it again, the following jumped out at me, and smacked me in the face (taken from the shiur by Rav Berland):
“Every single Jew will one day make teshuva!…Now, it’s possible to speed this process up, but only if we start looking with a ‘good eye’.
Only if a person merits to look at every Jew with a ‘good eye’ then, ‘he will consider his place, and he [the wicked person] won’t be there anymore [i.e. in the place of being wicked].
If people would realize this, and internalize that if they started to judge others favorably, and to stop looking at them with an ayin ra, or ‘bad eye’, then there wouldn’t be anymore wicked people in Am Yisrael.
Because it’s possible to bring them all back in make teshuva, in the blink of an eye…”
I suddenly got that I have a ton of teshuva still to make on this subject, not least because I wrote that series of articles over on Breslev that is still suggesting, incorrectly, that Am Yisrael is chock-full of evil, ‘unfixable’ Erev Rav people.
Once that penny dropped, I sent an email over to the English editor of Breslev.co.il, and I’m really hoping I can start to clean this stuff up properly, now:
I also realized it’s not enough to have written that book about the Erev Rav, and to now just leave it to gather dust. Mamash, I have to start getting the info in it out in any way possible, because it’s really part of how we’re going to get the geula faster, and easier.
We have to look at our fellow Jew with a good eye, and to stop talking about ‘Erev Rav’ PEOPLE, because it’s all a crock. Yes, there are Erev Rav TRAITS, and we all have them, and we all have to work on them.
Again, people usually develop Erev Rav TRAITS because they’ve experienced severe trauma, emotional neglect and / or other difficulties in their childhood. I.e. – it’s learned behavior! And it can be unlearned fairly simply, once you know what’s really going on and you get the Tzaddikim involved in the equation.
I really, really hope that’s the missing bit of my ‘evil-looking eye’ teshuva that I need to make now, but (no pun intended) I’ll guess we’ll see…