On the way back from the airport, where I dropped my husband off for his annual pilgrimage to Uman this morning, I swung past the IKEA in Rishon LeTzion to try and find a tablecloth for Rosh Hashana.
As I was wondering round the textiles department, Boyz II Men started blasting out over the store speakers, ‘The End of the Road’ - a song I haven’t heard probably for almost two decades.
Given that it’s Rosh Hashana 5778 Wednesday evening, it was extremely appropriate. But maybe, other things are approaching the ‘end’ too?
Certainly, my own personal stores of stamina, patience and energy are nearly gone. I don’t know if it’s just the unrelenting 35 degree plus heat (that’s been frying my brains since July, and appears to still be going…).
Or the ongoing twists and turns with Rav Berland’s persecutors, one of whom, Itay Nachman Shalom, filed a petition to stop the Rav from going to Uman this year, despite the fact that the Court itself agreed, and the State Prosecutor didn’t appeal the decision.
(At the time of writing, I still don’t know whether the Rav actually made it or not. I guess we’ll pick that story back up post Rosh Hashana).
Maybe, it’s because everything still feels so heavy and stuck, still. Barely a day goes by when I don’t hear some other horrendous tale of personal suffering and woe, and it seems to be intensifying all around me.
(And probably, all around you as well…)
How much longer can this continue? How many more hurricanes can Hashem throw at the world before someone wakes up and realizes there’s a lot of teshuva we all need to make, particularly on the personal morality front?
(While ‘parade participants’ certainly need to introspect and fast, we probably all still have some work to do in this area, even if we don’t so much as own a rainbow sticker. I had some recent insights into just how easy it is to act very untzniusly, even when you have 0% intention of attracting attention from people you aren’t actually married to. But that’s a post for another time.)
I’m spiritually exhausted right now. I have no idea how Rosh Hashana is going to turn out, as I still don’t know where I’m even davening, or if I’m even going to hear the shofar blasts I’m meant to.
So in so many ways, I kind of do feel like this is the end of the road. Maybe I always feel like this the day before Rosh Hashana, it’s possible.
But one thing’s for sure: we so need some renewal and redemption in 5778, whether personal, national and / or global.
BH, we should all be blessed with a good, sweet, happy, healthy, peaceful, uplifting and fulfilling year in 5778.
This gorgeous picture was sent to me by Sara. She’s selling these prints in different sizes for the Succah this year. If you’d like to order one - and bring a bit of Uman into your Succah - please drop Sara an email HERE.
I heard rumors this could be happening for a couple of weeks, but it seemed so unlikely I didn't pay them so much attention.
But it's true! Over on the RavBerland.com website, they're telling us that Rav Berland has been given permission to fly out to Uman for Rosh Hashana, 5778!
I can't tell you exactly why this feels enormously hugely BIG, but it really is.
If I was sitting on the fence about 5778 maybe being the year for geula, this piece of news is tugging me off.
As and when I get more details, I'll let you know, but hold on to your hats! The Rav hasn't been in Uman for more than four years' in a row, so any way you look at it, him davening there is going to be an incredibly meaningful thing.
But as to what else is cooking by Rebbe Nachman, we'll have to all just wait and see.
So, when I went to London, I thought I had two weeks to go until Rosh Hashana. And the truth is that I did a week and a half ago, when I was planning my trip to the UK.
So when I got back just now and saw that Rosh Hashana is THREE DAYS AWAY I freaked out.
I am completely not ready for a new year right now. I feel like Elul passed me by in a blur, blotted out by my mid-life crisis and my kids both starting new schools. There’s been precious little cheshbon hanefesh going on, precious little formal teshuva, precious little looking back over the year to see what I need to really atone for or fix.
Spiritually, I’m all over the place at the moment, still trying to figure out who the real me is, religiously.
And now it’s Rosh Hashana again, that most dreaded, awesome, and for me plain awful time of year, when everything is hanging in the balance for the future.
How can God judge me favorably this year, when I spent the first three months of it crying my eyes out and sketching out mental plans in my head to move back to the UK, (God forbid) so I could start to feel like a human being again?
That darkest night of my soul coincided with Rav Berland being falsely locked up in an Israeli prison at the end of November, and there’s an idea that when you’re connected to the Tzaddikim in any way, you kind of experience a very small fraction of what they’re going through.
So with each milestone of the Rav’s slow redemption, I’ve been feeling better. When he finally left prison for house arrest at Hadassah hospital, the gloom lifted a little. When he returned to Musrara, the gloom lifted a lot.
But I have to say that since Shavuot, when he came back and I’ve been trying to pray with his community once a day, I’ve been hit by an internal ‘Hurricane Rivka’ pretty much every day. I seem to get so much inner work to deal with when I’m by the Rav, and it’s blowing away so many of my certainties, flooding me with humility (and occasionally a deep sense of shame), and fusing all my ideas about who I really am and what sort of spiritual level I’m really standing at.
Sure, it’s all for the good, because as Rav Dessler taught, the problem isn’t so much that people do bad things, because we all do bad things all the time. The problem is that we don’t acknowledge our bad, and try to pretend that we’re someone and something we’re not.
And at least for me, that option has been taken off the table the last few months.
And now, it’s Rosh Hashana 5778.
What’s going to be?
The honey cake isn’t made, the menu isn’t planned, the shopping isn’t bought - and now it’s two days away. That lack of external prep seems to be mirroring the lack of internal prep.
What’s going to be?
Whatever it is, it’s clearly going to come as a present this year. I can’t throw all my good deeds at the Lord this year, and proudly proclaim my piety. I’m a mess! I’m relying on God’s mercy 100%.
But maybe, that’s the way it should be?
I got off the plane at midnight, London time, and breathed in the crisp, cold, damp air so typical of British ‘summertime’. So, I’d come back to my old hood after all, to face all my demons down and to firmly address the question once and for all about whether moving Israel had been some sort of ‘mistake’, God forbid.
My brother picked me up from Luton, and asked me if I thought I was capable of hurdling two metal railings (next to the busy main road…) as he was a bit worried about getting a ticket where he parked, as they’d changed all the parking rules again.
I’m a game girl, but long jeans skirts aren’t so useful when it comes to hurdling high bits of metal, so I told him we’d probably have to go round the long way. It was so good to see my brother.
As we were talking in the car, I noticed he was gripping the steering wheel in a pretty anxious way.
“Bruvs, are you OK?”
“Yeh, I’m just worrying about the speed cameras. They basically video you the whole time to get your average speed, and if then you get slapped with an £80 speeding ticket.”
Hmm. I started to cheer up as even as that early hour, I could see that London life is far more stressful than is apparent to tourists.
The next day, I decided to go and walk around all my old Jewish haunts in NW London: Hendon, (where I used to live), Golders Green (where I used to shop), Temple Fortune, and Hampstead Heath (where I used to jealously eye up all the big mansions looking out onto the heath and wish that I lived there…).
While half of Hendon is still pretty Jewish, the other half is now almost entirely ‘ethnic’. Not only that, a huge, shiny ‘Jews for J’ shop has opened right next door to Hendon Tube. I used to live in the more Jewish bit, so I walked down the street to my old house, and I saw that apart from the trees I’d planted in the front garden now being toweringly tall, nothing else about the house - or street - had really changed at all.
It was stuck in a time warp, like I’d been. Looking at my house, I realized it had actually been pretty big, and pretty nice. But I’d never, ever been satisfied with it. I always had a jealous eye on the fancier, bigger houses up the road, or the nicer locations elsewhere.
I started to realize why God has put me through all my trials with houses in Israel, because jealousy is a form of sinat chinam, or baseless hatred, and I could see how jealousy is probably the single biggest pervasive bad midda coursing through London’s veins.
I heard so many stories of friends and siblings who stopped talking to each other when one of them got more financially successful, or a much bigger, or better house than his peers. How yucky!
A large swathe of the kosher shops in Golders Green had recently burned down, giving that half of the street a bit of an eery, empty feel. At the other end of the road, by the station, a beige banner announced the exciting news that the old Hippodrome building had just been acquired by an Islamic group, who had plans to turn it into a massive Islamic education centre. I raised an eyebrow.
When I got home, I checked that bit of info out and discovered it’s all true. They want to build the largest ‘Islamic education centre’ in Europe, right on the doorstep of one of the most solidly chareidi Jewish neighborhoods in the UK.
I bought some ubiquitous, incredibly expensive kosher fish and chips on the way home, and sat in Hendon Park to eat them. With a start, I realized that this was the first time I’d ever really just sat in that park, watching the sky and the people, even though I’d lived in Hendon for the best part of 10 years.
It was a beautiful scene, but I’d always been too busy to notice it, or too worried about getting mugged or harassed by drug addicts to spend any time there.
The following day, I caught the bus into town with my brother, and discovered that you can no longer use cash to pay for a bus ticket. Everything is credit cards or automated online travel cards. My brother lent me his card for the day, but I started to ponder what would have happened if I didn’t have him to help me, or if I was a tourist, or someone down on their luck who simply didn’t have a credit card?
London is getting so expensive and so complicated to live in, that the down and outs simply have no chance these days. You can’t even catch a bus without a pin number.
I got off at Oxford Street, near Selfridges, and hit Primark (together with about 20 other frum ladies from Israel, and 20 more from Saudi Arabia). Stuff was so cheap in Primark! I started to see some ‘up’ to living in London after all. Except, I couldn’t find any skirts to buy, or even to look at. Everything was trousers.
I wondered off down Oxford Street, popping into all my old favorites, and I had the same experience over and over again: the stores were full of clothes, but they were all so trashy, tacky, short, immodest or inappropriate that I didn’t feel like buying anything.
So then I tried my ‘expensive designer fashion street’ - just as an experiment, not to actually buy anything - and lo and behold, I found the first skirt I liked, boasting a price tag of £500… (around 2000 shekels).
Gosh, no wonder I used to buy expensive designer skirts when I lived there. There wasn’t much else available for a frum Jewish female. It was strangely comforting to realize that my exaggerated gashmius had been pinned on a strong spiritual basis, after all.
I spent another three hours walking around central London. Through the Burlington Arcade, pass all the fancy designer shops, up past Nelson’s Column and Horse Guards’ Parade into St James Park, where I sat down to look at the gorgeous massive duck pond that used to be a 10 minute walk from my work, but that I hardly ever came to because I was always so stressed and busy.
As I was looking at the grey geese, I realized that nearly all the ‘couples’ parading around the park locked in deep conversations were men - and I suddenly got that uncomfortable feeling that was popping up a lot in London that I’d tripped into some covert bastion of pinkness.
Sure, men do occasionally hang out with each other, and talk to each other, it’s not unheard of. But something about the way that so many of these men were gazing into each other’s eyes, and dressing almost identically sent alarm bells ringing that I was witnessing part of the ‘pink revolution’ that’s currently revving away at full throttle in the UK.
All the highest paid TV presenters are gay; the trashy papers are full of ‘gay couple escapades’; or stories about small boy children being sent to school in dresses in the name of ‘gender neutrality’ and ‘equality’ (and also of schools banning skirts from their school uniform - clearly only for girls - in the name of the same misguided principles.)
Uck, uck and uck again.
I got up briskly, and headed off to Whitehall, where I used to work. Right outside Richmond House, and opposite a very heavily barricaded Downing Street, you’ll find London’s main memorial to the dead of World War II.
I stood on the pavement rooted to the spot. Each side of that monument bore the inscription: ‘The Glorious Dead’ - and it suddenly struck me that this epitaph summed up London life to a tee. The whole time I’d been living there, I’d felt so stressed and spiritually-dead - but hey, so gloriously dressed and well-paid!
God had put that message right outside my office, and I saw it at least twice a day. But I never paid attention, because I was always too stressed, preoccupied and busy.
Last stop in Central London was the British Museum. I joined the queue to go through all the security checks that definitely weren’t there last time I lived in London, but which now reminded me of life in Israel.
I entered the great hall, turned left to the Egyptian and Assyrian galleries full of dead pharaohs and massive winged lions - and then left, bored, 20 minutes later. After reading Velikovsky, I knew that most of what was being described on the plaques next to the exhibits was pure conjecture or scholarly fancy, and without a real context the exhibits themselves became meaningless statues.
All that shefa, all that bounty, all that wealth, all that treasure - yet it all felt so empty and pointless.
Just outside the museum, I got accosted by a down-and-out guy obviously from Africa.
“Don’t run away!” he implored me. “I just want to talk to you! People are so scared of me here they run away as soon I get close to them!”
I took a good look at him, and saw that while he was poor and certainly a little grimy, he wasn’t dangerous, drug addicted or mad. So I listened to what he had to say, which was basically that he was a school teacher from Nigeria who’d applied for asylum in the UK, and been refused.
In the meantime, he was completely indigent, living from hand to mouth, and had no money for food. “In Africa, people look out for each other, they share their food,” he told me. “Here, people treat me like I’m not even human.”
So much for all the ‘political correctness’ and ‘equality’ being mouthed, pointlessly, by the chattering classes.
I felt sorry for him, and handed over a few pound coins - the money I’d brought with to use on the bus, but which no longer worked for those purposes. “You didn’t have to give me the money,” he said. “It was enough that you just talked to me like I’m a real person.”
And maybe it was, but I felt that the cash probably also wouldn’t hurt him.
That chat with the Nigerian hobo was the highlight of my day out in Central London.
I caught the bus back, and I thought about how this glitzy, glittery city where people are still throwing so much cash at the gods of superficiality and fashion is actually dead at its core. They have the ‘latest’ this and that, Primark with its mountains of cheap stuff from China, designer knick-knacks, designer haircuts, designer beards - and no heart.
So much more happened in the three short days I was there, but let’s sum it up this way: I was so pleased to be coming back to my rented pseudo-slum flat in Jerusalem by the end. Jerusalem is so full of soul, and meaning, and real people, and joy and laughter.
(And clearly also ridiculous bureaucracy, deranged Arab terrorists, crazy house prices, lunatics of all stripes, financial problems, and missionaries).
But it’s home. My home. The only place I want to be. And if I hadn’t bitten the bullet and gone to London to feel things out, I’d never have known that that way I do now, with complete clarity, 200%.
There’s no going back.
Another interesting Gemara from Rabbi Reuven Levy, aka 'the bloke'.
This time, he's taking a look at who the mysterious 'Elder of Elders' talked about in the Gemara could be, and how he comes to help Am Yisrael at the End of Days.
At this age, I’ve already seen so many marriages go to the wall, so many children messed up by parents who ran away from their true selves, so many people walking around in bitterness and frustration and utter loneliness, that it literally breaks my heart.
I know God is behind this plan somewhere, clearly so hidden that’s it’s almost impossible to see Him. But emuna dictates that God is behind everything, even this terrible human suffering that is unfolding on a day to day basis on every block, every street, within every sector of Jewish society.
This is not a ‘secular’ problem, or a ‘frum’ problem, or an ‘anglo’ problem, or an ‘Israeli’ problem - it’s a problem we all have today, bigger or smaller, lesser or greater, and the only remedy for it is the emuna that God is running the world, and can and will ultimately heal our shattered souls.
That there is hope.
That people CAN change - we can change, the people we love but despair of can change, the parents can change, the spouses can change.
This is the main war we’re all fighting, the propaganda being put out by the yetzer that humanity can’t be fixed, that people will always be so petty, scared, selfish, jealous and small.
But it’s not true!
I’ve seen so many things change and transform in my own life over the last few years. I’ve seen so many people who I despaired of shifting an inch out of their spiritual and emotional ruts bud wings and fly off to a completely different perspective, a completely different way of being.
Things can change for the better.
And the way we get things to change is to recognize that it’s not us who’s going to make this miracle happen, but God.
God has all the answers, all the remedies, all the solutions for all the broken marriages, broken children, broken adults, broken hearts out there, that continue to pile up higher and higher with each passing day.
God can fix things - everything!
But we need to ask Him to do it.
Recently, I’ve been increasingly niggled by this question. On the one hand, it’s clear that Eretz Yisrael is in a whole different spiritual dimension, and that a person’s emuna and Jewish identity can blossom here in a way that it really can’t do, in most normal circumstances, anywhere else.
At the same time, Israel is still home to some of the craziest, nastiest, ickiest Jews I’ve ever met. It’s a place of contrasts, a place of extremes, because the good and the holy is so palpable and tangible here, the bad and the profane has to also be at sky-high levels to maintain free choice.
So, the question remains: is being in Israel a guarantee that ‘you’ll make it’, whatever that actually means, when the chaos currently enveloping the world finally hits tipping point? And then there’s a second, no less pressing, question: is being out of Israel a guarantee that ‘you won’t make it’, God forbid?
I know that so many of us who made aliya over the last decade or so were prompted by the thought that our chances of ‘making it’, whatever that means, would be much higher in Eretz Yisrael.
But then came the intifada…and Lebanon II…and rockets from Gaza…and more rockets from Gaza…and then the threat of the Iranian nuke, which kind of started to rock the certainty of who was going to make it, where…
Now, the pendulum appears to have swung back again, with Islamic terrorism across Europe, black fascists and white fascists slugging it out in the US, and wildfires, earthquakes, floods, Harveys and Irmas stirring everything up all over the place.
So who’s going to ‘make it’? (Whatever that means…)
And does it only depend on where a person lives?
You’ll probably be reading this when I’m in the UK for three days, trying to finally get my soul unstuck from the streets of London. (Note to robbers: The rest of my family is staying at home, so don’t even think about it.)
When I step off the plane at Luton airport, does that instantly turn me into a person who ‘couldn’t make it’, God forbid, because now I’m in the wrong place? Or would God have mercy on me, and still find a way to spirit me back to Israel if Moshiach revealed himself while I’m gone?
It’s not a simple point. Rav Yitzhak HaKohen Kook got trapped outside of Eretz Yisrael when World War I unexpectedly started, and he spent four years in galut, primarily in London, until he was able to return.
If someone like Rav Kook didn’t have the merit to be brought back to the land miraculously, what are my chances?
Let’s look at it from the other direction. Let’s say someone from outside - someone who likes to parade their gaava around in city centres - flies into Jerusalem just as Moshiach is revealed. Does that person now get to ‘make it’ (whatever
Does that person now get to ‘make it’ (whatever that means) by sheer dint of being in the right place at the right time?
And if the answer is ‘no’ to the first scenario, or at least a ‘maybe’, and if the answer is ‘no’ to the second scenario, then clearly, something else is going here that would enable a person to ‘make it’ when Moshiach comes.
For all of us who sacrificed so much to come to Israel, this isn’t always a comfortable conclusion.
What, I could have stayed in chutz l’aretz in my soul-destroying job and my comfortable ‘modern orthodox’ box without having to go through all the tests, challenges and excruciating soul corrections I’ve had over the years, and still have ‘made it’?!?!?
That doesn’t sound fair!
But is it true?
After pondering this, I think the answer is probably ‘yes and no’.
Yes, if I’d grown the way I’d grown in Israel, spiritually, or changed the way I changed, or tried to learn the humility and emuna that I’ve tried to learn here, then I think probably, I would still make it. (Whatever that means).
But if I didn’t change an iota? Or at least, not very much? Or even, got even more arrogant, nasty and materialistic?
Then I probably wouldn’t.
Flipping the question over to the Israeli side, we can draw the same conclusions. It’s very, very hard to live in Israel, with all its ongoing security challenges, social issues, terrorism, corrupt politicians and financial hardships without growing your emuna and humility, in some way.
But it’s still possible.
So, if a person is living in Israel, and is including God in their life, and is responding to the cues they get every single day here, smack in the face, to return to God and work on their bad middot ASAP - their chances of making it are probably pretty good.
And if not?
Then they aren’t. And not only that, at some point God will probably arrange for them to be unceremoniously dumped out of the country. Of course, they won’t see things that way. It’ll be phrased as ‘an opportunity’ abroad, a great job, a chance to make more money, a person they fell in love with and want to marry, yadda yadda yadda.
But the point to be made here is that at any point in the process, a person can return to God from anywhere in the world. I know people who made a lot of sincere teshuva dafka when they were forced out of Israel. For whatever reason, it was something they just couldn’t do for as long as they lived here.
I also know people who fell off the frum wagon big time, when they moved here.
Which brings us back to the question we started with, and hopefully also give us something of an answer.
Being in Israel is no guarantee of ‘making it’, but the reality of life in Israel maximizes your spiritual potential, and encourages you - every second of the day - to acquire the traits and the beliefs and the behaviors that are necessary to ‘make it’, ultimately.
The spiritual current here tends to pull a person ‘up’, while the spiritual current in chutz l’aretz tends to pull a person ‘down’.
But whether we’re going to grow from our experiences, and learn more emuna, and turn to Hashem regardless, is only and always up to us. And the people who can genuinely do that even in the very heart of galut may be the biggest neshamas of all.
So to sum up, location does make a big difference. Being in Israel does make a big difference. But it’s by no means the only factor deciding who’s going to ‘make it’ when Moshiach shows up.
The last few days, I’ve been in quite a strange mood. On the one hand, much happier generally, on the other, full of yearning for things to be better, different, bigger, real-er.
And that last one is really what I’m yearning for, because I’m so sick of us all walking around like small, superficial people who are scared to emote, to think for ourselves, to shake things up, to try something different, to make mistakes.
The yetzer is running riot in 2017, and one of its biggest coups is that it’s managed to convince the Jewish people that we’re obsessed with food, and with money, and with property, and with clothes, nails, holidays and status when really?
Not even a little bit.
And that goes for even the most apparently brain-dead, superficial, crazy, materialism-obsessed Jew you care to mention.
Part of the reason so many Jews are literally going bonkers - I just read that a million people in Israel are on either on Ritalin or Adderall, which is completely shocking when you understand that we’re a country of six million residents - is because we’re trying to shoe-horn our huge, massive, light-filled neshamas into these incredible small, constrictive boxes called ‘the real world’, ‘physical existence’ and ‘bodies’.
And to say it’s a very tight, uncomfortable fit is the understatement of the century.
I think that’s one of the big changes that will intensify as the time of Moshiach strengthens in the world, that we’ll stop being scared to really be ourselves - in all our weird, glorious holiness - and we’ll start to be real people. Big people. Real Jews.
The yetzer knows that this is the beginning of redemption, mamash, both personal and global, so it’s going all out to keep us stuck in materialism and other petty notions of how ‘bad’, and ‘lacking’ and ‘unholy’ we are.
Most of us today are so scared to lift the lid and peek under the bonnet of our true selves because we think we’re going to find some really icky, yucky, ‘big’ stuff, like jealousy, anger, hatred, spite etc.
And we will!
But so what?
Because when you really start to internalize just how huge, big, beautiful, holy, amazing your Jewish neshama is in comparison to all the klipot and lies the yetzer’s spun around us about who we really are, and how we really think, and what we really want - even the biggest negative character trait then becomes no more than a knot to untie, a puzzle to solve, a mess to clean up.
And that’s all.
This all came to me the last couple of days, after I finally cracked under the pressure and allowed myself to download and play ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ 50 times in a row over two days.
The first day, I was so worried that ‘uhoh, there goes my neshama, swept away by a hard-core electric guitar riff…’
But already by the third day, the song seemed to lose its grip on me, and today, nearly a week later, I’m ready to delete it into oblivion again.
It all showed me that while my yetzer had me fooled that I wanted Guns N Roses, really, I just want God, and kedusha, and Gad Elbaz.
I am so much bigger than Sweet Child O Mine, but I never knew that, until I did the experiment, turned around and finally faced down the issue.
Over on ravberland.com, Rav Ofer Erez recently brought a quote from Rav Eliyahu Dessler, author of Michtav MeEliyahu, that really resonated with me, and underlines what I’m talking about here, about the need for us to be real about who we really are, and what we really want.
He wrote that:
“Rav Dessler says in his book “Michtav MiEliyahu” in the name of the Maharal of Prague, that what is holding back the redemption is not our lackings and our sins, rather it’s the falsehood in a person that he doesn’t see the truth about himself. The work of judging oneself is an immense tikkun because it removes the screens between us and Hashem and helps us come close to Him.
This is such a profound thought.
(BTW, I highly recommend you go read the full article about the healthy way to judge ourselves and our shortcomings, HERE.)
But the point here is that there are two truths we need to see about ourselves. The first, more worrying and potentially ‘dangerous’ truth is that we love Guns N Roses.
But the second much bigger, much more real truth, is that we love God more.
And when more of us Jews really start to internalize that, we’ll finally start to be the big, huge, real people God designed us to be - and that will usher Moshiach and global redemption into the world.
Pheyew, it’s hard to believe how crazy the pace has been the last couple of weeks. I thought it was just because my kids were both starting new schools, and it was the usual end of Summer rush to get bags, bits and books, but now they’ve both been in school for three days already, and if anything I’m even busier.
From the moment I open my eyes, I’m rushing, rushing, rushing - and I can’t get it to stop. Today, I got up, tried to exercise while fielding three phone calls, wrote some stuff, tried to get some more text books (! - yes, the torture continues) - but the queue was too big to deal with, went to visit a friend who just moved out of town, then drove on to my ‘one brain’ lady to fix some more subconscious trauma and bad middot, then went to deliver all my husband’s paperwork to the accountant that lives in my old village, then fielded another long and pretty intense phone call, then went off to the other book shop in Geula to try to get the text books (! - yes, the torture still continues, one was out of stock…)
And now, after all that, I’m sitting down for the first time all day trying to work up the energy to make supper. And it’s already 7.30.
I simply don’t know how people who have more than two kids, or who have to work, do it. How do you do it? Without drugs? I can barely move.
All I can do it type, but my brain also feels like it’s got zapped the last couple of weeks, so I have no idea what I’m actually writing.
There’s so much going on for everyone at the moment, isn’t there? If it’s not floods, hurricanes and forest fires, its potential divorce, difficult children, financial problems and crazy relatives.
Two days ago, I had to take my oldest to the Beit Din in Jerusalem to get her formal exemption papers for the army. Even though she’s only 16 ½, they’re already sending her the sign up forms, so we had to get her officially certified as ‘religious’.
So we get there, and we’re sat in the waiting room next to a very edgy couple + friend who are clearly about to get their religious divorce, or get, finalized. Man, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, it was so tense and yucky.
The only thing that broke it was a very loud conversation, in English, from another woman clearly also on the way to a get, God forbid, loudly cursing out her husband on the phone for being such a loser and not having a job and only jogging all day and leaving her in a situation where she’s going to end up on the street with her kids.
The phone call was extremely personal, extremely loud, and extremely traumatic to listen to, at least for me. I started spacing out and developing more C-PTSD, so my daughter kind of slapped my face, told me to focus on her, and tried to distract me.
Thank God, we got her papers and left pronto, but it was a sobering glimpse into just how much human misery is abounding at the moment.
The Gemara says that before Moshiach comes, a new trouble appears before the old trouble is even done, and it certainly looks like that’s happening all over the place.
Nuclear Iran….Brexit….President Trump….the ‘fire intifada’….Islamic Terrorism….Syria’s civil war….rockets from Gaza….killer heatwaves that last three months….nuclear North Korea….hurricane Harvey….the queue for text books at Moshe Hai….unprecedented forest fires.…hurricane Irma….
So, is Moshiach really coming, or what?
It certainly looks that way.
But whether or not that’s really what we’re all seeing unfolding right now is anyone’s guess.
Books by Rivka Levy: