I hope this attempt will be better, with God’s help.
Let’s set out what’s going on first, to see the paradox we’re all facing. On the one hand, there is more and more evidence mounting that the world is about to see some very dramatic and apparently dangerous and destructive events.
We all know the weather’s gone cuckoo, that our personal lives are SO challenging in about a million different ways, and that the world really can’t continue being this fake, superficial, uber-materialistic place where God is effectively out of the picture for most of mankind.
(Even most of the so-called ‘religious’ people in the world often don’t have an authentic connection to God that makes Him really real to them, sadly including many otherwise observant Jews.)
Part of us feels like something has to change, and part of us even really, really wants that change to happen.
But then, there’s the other side of the coin, where much as we hate being enslaved to our i-Phones, and the internet, and our jobs, and our appearances etc etc etc, we also still quite like it all. And the idea of changing fundamentally, or having our lives change fundamentally, so that our souls really are in the driving seat and God is all there really is, Ein Od Milvado, is actually really scary.
Then, there’s the third element in the mix (at least for me…) in that I’ve been down this path before, and I really did try to live in that spiritual world for a few good years - until we went broke and reality dawned on us that if we didn’t ‘come back down’ into the material world, we were literally going to end up living in a dumpster.
I’m so nervous of that happening again! I was wrong before, or at least, ‘premature’ before, so this time around, I’m really trying to not get carried away again, as God showed me clearly that we have to keep working, and functioning, and making teshuva, and having Shabbos guests, and cleaning our toilets right up until the last moment.
So, how do we deal with all the evidence the End of Days is really right around the corner - and might well involve a huge comet / planet disrupting modern life so thoroughly, that NOTHING is going to be how it was before - which will lead to Moshiach, but also, potentially, to changes that are so big, we can’t really get our heads around them?
1) Talk to God for an hour a day.
This isn’t just a ‘Breslov’ idea, it’s the only way to really start internalising our emuna that God is real, and running the world. When there’s a big planet bearing down on you and / or WW 3 kicking off, believe me you won’t be able to fake it at that stage.
2) Avoid pointless speculation as much as possible.
Sure, it’s kind of ‘fun’, in that weird way, to spend half an hour reading about all the horrible things about to happen to other people, and about all the theories about who is trying to do what, and why. But how is that helping, really? Much better to spend that ‘speculation time’ saying a Tikkun HaKlali, or grabbing some face time with the Creator.
3) Work on your own bad middot, instead of dissing other people.
This is where I really fell down in that aborted post last week, as it’s SO EASY to project our issues (especially the more subconscious stuff we’re still half-blind too, and that keeps overpowering us) on to other people. Remember, the world is just a mirror. The more I go on about evil Erev Rav / crazies / horribles etc, the more that shows me I STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO ON MYSELF.
4) Avoid machloket and lashon hara like the plague.
It’s another tough one, especially with all the lies masquerading as truth, but again, what good does it do YOU to take a stand on other people’s issues? Who really cares if Trump is good or bad? Who really knows, anyway? And if that holds for things like Trump, it holds a billion times over for discussions about holy Tzaddikim. If you can’t say something good, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Your life seriously depends upon it.
5) Minimize internet, movies, i-Phones and Facebook as much as possible.
Yes, it’s half fun I know, but it’s still really just killing us all, and stopping us from developing spiritually. I have such fights with myself to stop wasting precious time on internet crud - and I barely read anything at all online!
6) Get close to the true Tzaddikim.
And this one is really the main game in town, because if you check back through all the ‘natural disasters’ and enormous events that the Jewish people came through in the past, they only ever merited it by sticking close to the true Tzaddikim, or Tzaddik of the generation.
- If you weren’t tight with Noah, you drowned.
- If you didn’t follow Moshe into the desert, you died in the plague of darkness.
- If you didn’t rally to the Maccabees flag, you (fought with, defended and then...) died with the Greeks.
And so on, and so forth.
If we stick close to our true Tzaddikim, we’ll be OK whatever is coming down the pipe, even if it’s miraculously, earth-shakingly ‘bad’ for the whole rest of the world.
But without strong emuna, regular hitbodedut and at least a desire to live a more spiritual life, actually doing that in real life is going to be really, really hard.