The last 12 months or so, since last Elul, I’ve been feeling like the whole Jewish calendar somehow got mixed up, at least for me. The whole of Elul, instead of lifting me up to the heights of teshuva, something happened to show me that I was not on the lofty spiritual level I really thought I was, and spent weeks feeling absolutely heartbroken and kind of washed-up, Jewishly.
It’s hard to be a baal teshuva the first time around. It’s even harder when you’ve been a baal teshuva for 20+ years, and then God shows you how much work you still have to do.
But then it was Rosh Hashana. A new year! A new beginning! A time to turn things around. I couldn’t find a shul to daven in, so I went to the default local shul, full of ‘traditional’ Moroccans.
There was a Downs syndrome boy on the other side of the partition who got so excited by the Shofar blowing, he started making all sorts of yells and weird noises.
Of course, you’re meant to be quiet when the shofar is blown. Of course, this precious soul was bringing God so much more nachas with his whoops then all the studied ‘silence’ of the rest of us.
Immediately after shofar blowing, some idiot man started berating the boy and his father and demanded that they leave the shul immediately. On Rosh Hashana! The argument spread to the women’s section and there on the first Day of Judgment, the most awful sinat chinam was going on, all for the best, most holy reasons, of course.
I didn’t know it then, but that shul was right next to the house we were destined to fail at buying this year, which plunged us into our own maelstrom of self-righteous arguments and sinat chinam. Probably, the woman who was selling it was sat in the women’s section too, being covered in all that machloket fall-out.
The whole thing showed me how hugely important Rosh Hashana really is, it really does set the tone and create the blueprint for the year. Thank God, my husband was in Uman by Rabbenu for Rosh Hashana, because I dread to think how much worse things could be, otherwise.
Then, the first of the days of awe – my mother-in-law unexpectedly died, and me and my husband found ourselves back on a plane to the UK. I spent the majority of the days of awe eating fishballs from the only kosher deli in town (where all the nice serving people are Liverpudlian yoks) and packets of blueberries, serving tea and making ‘small talk’ at the shiva – just like you’re not meant to do – and then topped that off with unavoidable ‘hugs’ with grieving men from my husband’s extended family.
The only plus in my favor is that by compromising our ‘religious standards’, and eating food we wouldn’t usually eat, and keeping quiet about things that upset us and disturbed us greatly, we made a lot of peace with a lot of people we’d been fighting with for years.
But we got back to Israel erev Yom Kippur, and I was so exhausted I literally slept the whole way through the chag.
Succot happened in a fog – not least because we’d just been told our landlord was selling the apartment we’d been renting for 3 ½ years, so it was no stretch to feel the ‘temporary’ nature of our lives and our dwelling, and Chanuka also passed in a blur as we were trying to buy AND also trying to rent something for six months and both my kids were stressed to the max over their new ulpanas (dorming high schools).
All year, it’s felt like the festivals have been creeping up on me before I was ready, and that I have been so spiritually unprepared and on the back foot and doing everything at ‘bare basic’ level.
Two days before Purim, we moved house, so that was another holiday that passed in a blur.
Then Pesach arrived, and with it a bunch of guests for seder that we’d recently made peace with in the UK. Kids were trying to blow out my Shabbos / Pesach candles, flipping the toilet light on and off (because I forgot to tape it down….), pressing the door buzzer for two minutes, really loudly…
We had a slight stand-off by the end of the seder, as the guests wanted to skip Hallel, and I refused. I told them ‘leave if you want, but we’re going to the end’. So a compromise was reached where my husband sped-read through Hallel in the record time of 11.36 minutes so peace would continue to reign.
But I didn’t feel so happy about it. I felt maybe I was compromising too much for the sake of peace….
The next day, the first day of counting the Omer, the bombshell dropped that the bank had pulled their mortgage approval, plunging us into months of machloket, yeoush, anger – and enormous work to try to rustle up some real emuna.
All year, God has been showing me that He wants peace, not standing on principle, and all year, I’ve been trying to give Him what He wants, but it’s come really, really hard.
So, we get to the week before Tisha B’av, and the situation with the house is giving me no peace. Their disgusting lawyer tells us we ‘burnt their house’ and I know that’s a hint from God to look past the puppet show and see what’s really going on here.
But I can’t sleep, I can’t concentrate, I’m consumed by agitation and fear and rage – and we just hit the nine days when it’s all about fixing the sinat chinam that ‘burnt God’s house’ and is still continuing today.
God, what am I meant to do to fix this! The situation is so bad, it’s so unfair, it’s boiling up every bad middot I own!!!
God told me last week: Go and do six hours, and beg Me to help you make peace.
So that’s what I did. The day after I did that, my husband got a phone call from the estate agent that brokered the deal: the other side want to talk, without lawyers, they want to come to some agreement.
We met on Friday – erev Tisha B’av! – and again, God is the one that made the peace because all we did for an hour was argue. It looked to me like we were going to end up in court. Me and my husband stepped outside to discuss what was going on (and to avoid punching someone…) and when we returned 10 minutes later…. The other side had transformed.
Gone was all the blaming, distortion and power plays. On the table was a simple proposal: pay our costs to date, and we’ll finish everything peacefully next week.
We still need to agree what those costs actually are, but a sum was named that sounded reasonable, and much better than the amount our ridiculous contract stated we needed to pay.
Bezrat Hashem, the sinat chinam disappeared, and the path of peace prevailed.
Instead of Tisha B’Av, I feel like I’m already in Elul.
Let’s be clear, that it wasn’t us that did anything. God did the many miracles last week, and I also tried to bind myself to all the tzaddikim of the generation before we sat down at the table, to let them take over the actual discussion.
All I did, a lot, was yearn for peace, and ask God to save me from being overwhelmed by my enormous bad middot, especially my arrogance and my victory-seeking tendencies.
Because making peace is not easy, not at all. It means coming off my high horse, and trying to see the other side, and accepting that everything that’s happening is only and solely coming from Hashem.
I’m writing this on the tenth of Av – this year’s pushed-off fast of Tisha B’Av. And I’m writing this because the one thing Hashem really wants from the Jewish people is for us to make peace with each other.
Don’t wait until Rosh Hashanah, do it now, in the seven or so weeks we have until the Yom HaDin. Make peace with your relatives, even if you’ll have to suffer through a ‘man hug’, eat dodgy fishballs and rush through the more meaningful bits of your seder.
Make peace with the people you’re arguing with, even if it’s going to cost you some money, and the satisfaction of seeing them eat it.
But most of all, make peace with your husband (or wife…) and your children. Stop holding all those old grudges in your heart, and stop blaming them for the things that aren’t going right in your life.
Last week, on the Ari’s yarhtzeit, my teenager started telling me some really hurtful, yucky things about myself– all the things I secretly worry about, but try not to notice too much. She threw them all in my face, which to be fair I completely deserved, because I’d started berating her about not taking school seriously enough and wasting her life, which wasn’t really accurate or fair.
So, she hit back with ‘teenage troof’, maximum strength, and as my blood started to boil – the oven shorted out and a small fire sparked behind it, right next to the gas pipe. We both held our breath for a very long second. Thank God, the fire burned out, I turned off the gas, she turned off the electric mains, and I unplugged the scorched oven plug with a long, grateful sigh.
Machloket is what burns down the house.
Machloket is what burned down the Temple.
This Tisha B’av, let’s really try to fix the problem at its root: i.e. in our own homes, and our own lives.
It’s not going to shock you if I tell you I’m not a tzaddik, right? I mean, if you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, or even just for the last couple of weeks, you should already know that I’m really not a tzaddik, and that I struggle with some enormous bad middot, a lot of the time.
What stops me from turning into a full-blown psycho is hitbodedut, the practice of talking all my stuff through with Hashem for an hour every single day, and the police. ;-)
But even so, the last few days I have been struggling, and struggling, and struggling some more to stay on top of a rising internal feeling that I can’t take much more of this.
The ‘this’ in question being the awful situation I’m in with the mendacious and greedy seller of the apartment, whose lawyer is refusing to even respond to our letters, or even begin to discuss giving us back at least the part of the deposit we paid over that they have no possible legal
That it’s unfair is one thing. That she lied through her teeth to trap us into signing the contract is another thing. That our lawyer was cack and her lawyer was a Mafioso is still yet another thing.
So far, the hitbodedut has helped me to deal with all that stuff enough that I’m not going crazy.
But now, I’ve hit the worst: inaction.
Nothing is getting anywhere and I can’t see anyway of moving this forward without going into mega-psycho mode.
I’m a nice, polite British woman much of the time. But inside, there’s this hulk, and you really don’t want to get it angry.
(Just ask my husband).
God has helped me with my anger issues so much the last few years, and it’s really transformed my home and my relationships, especially with my kids.
But the bad middot are back bubbling away furiously inside now, and I told God this morning: I can’t take much more of this.
I feel like I’m trying to keep the lid clamped down tight on all the rage, and to try to turn it into emuna via my hitbodedut sessions, but I’m reaching the limit of what I can handle.
The hulk is starting to get very restless. And you really don’t want to get it angry.
So I asked God straight today, to please start properly fighting on my behalf, because if I take up arms against our seller, there is no telling how bad it could get. And I really don’t want to fight with her. Not because I’m scared, and not even because I might lose, but because it’s really not what God wants me to do.
He wants me to have emuna, and to let Him fight the battle, in whichever way that needs to happen.
And I want that too.
But I can’t hang on much more, the way it is. It has to change soon, something has to shift, something has to move.
Because otherwise, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop my bad middot from bubbling out, and making an already bad situation even worse.
And that’s the last thing I want 3 days before Tisha B’Av.
On the volcanic 'pressure building' front, the USGS has started publically slandering Dutchsinse, the earthquake forecasting guy on Youtube, since he started telling people 3.0+ quakes are hitting the centre of the Mauna Loa volcano, on Hawaii.
Recently, the USGS has also been cutting the earthquake feeds on the West Coast of the US, making it very hard for anyone to figure out what's really going on.
My guess is: the pressure is building, underground.
There are fissures showing up in the ground next to Yellowstone, the caldera of Kilauea has collapsed but the magma is now starting to come back, and who really knows how all the pressure is going to get released that won't involve a huge volcanic explosion and / or a massive earthquake.
Although, God can always turn down the heat again, if that's what He chooses to do.
In the meantime, Dutchsinse is offline, and he was the best source of real-time info and insight about what's really going on, seismically, that's out there.
And from the last few forecasts, things are only getting MORE active, not less.
The pressure builds, indeed.
Yesterday, I phoned up my dentist to cancel my daughter’s appointment. It was last minute, because I thought she was actually going, so I confirmed the appointment earlier in the week. But then yesterday, an hour beforehand, I discovered she had to go to work instead.
I offered to pay the dentist – which they refused to take – but the receptionist then had a gentle go at me for not telling them earlier. Let’s be clear: she was 100% in the right! And I wasn’t. But
I still bristled, I still got defensive and I still argued a bit that it wasn’t really my fault…until I could finally just apologize and accept the rebuke as being deserved.
Now, I work on myself, I do hitbodedut, I’m really trying, most of the time, to work on things and improve my middot.
And rebuke still doesn’t work on me.
Now, let’s imagine we’re dealing with a really nasty, self-righteous character who believes they can do no wrong. Or, let’s pretend we’re dealing with a permanent ‘victim’ who thinks the whole world owes them because of how much they’ve suffered.
Let’s say you catch that person ripping you off in some way, or you catch them saying disgusting things behind your back, or in front of your face, or speaking evilly of some of the biggest true tzaddikim in the world.
Let’s say you try to tell them, gently, that they’re doing something wrong.
What do you think is going to happen?
Do you really think they are going to agree with you, and start praising you for helping them to make teshuva?
Or, do you think they are going to hunker down and get even more abusive, and even more abrasive, and even more disgusting?
In our generation, no-one can hear rebuke, no-one can take it, it just makes people act even more nasty, and it just strengthens their resolve to do even more yucky, anti-Torah things.
That’s why almost 2,000 years ago, Rabbi Akiva said that he didn’t think there was anyone in his generation who was capable of rebuking properly.
And in our generation, what can we say?
That’s why Rabbenu taught us to look for the good, and to take all of our issues and problems back to God, instead.
And that’s often much harder work, spiritually, because our ego likes to make us feel that we are the ones making a difference, with our rebuke, and with our public protest, and with our angry comments.
Ein od milvado.
God is just waiting for more of us to turn to Him to solve our problems, especially all the unsolvable problems that are piling up in our own lives, and to protest our own bad middot most of all.
Because remember, whatever we see in others that’s bothering us, we still have that in ourselves in some way, too.
And while we can’t change anyone else, not even our kids, not even our husbands, we can for sure change ourselves….
But only if we ask God to help us do it.
A quick update on the volcanoes out in Hawaii: the magma is starting to flow back into the collapsed caldera that was the summit of the Kilauea volcano. But now it’s all collapsed, it’s blocked with millions of tons of rock effectively sealing the usual exit closed.
Either the force will build up to an explosion, when the magma will punch through the ‘seal’ of the rock fall, or the magma will have to come up through some other vent and start creating a new volcano somewhere else on the Island.
There may be a third option, but I don’t know what that is.
In the meantime, the bigger volcano next to it, Mauna Loa, is now starting to get earthquakes striking right inside its crater, which could mean it’s also getting ready to explode soon.
The number of volcanoes popping off at the moment is growing every day, and while the last 100 or so years wERE volcanically very quiet on planet earth, this is highly unusual. Volcanic activity and earthquakes go together, so there’s a lot going on, and it’s probably:
3. Definitely all proceeding 100% according to Hashem’s plan, which is why it’s impossible to predict using ‘natural’ methods.
We’ve all got volcanoes and earthquakes and ‘building pressure’ going on at the moment, haven’t we? One way or another.
BH, I’m working on a big post about volcanoes and how they affect climate drastically, which I hope to have up tomorrow.
(The take home message: it’s not plastic straws or driving your SUV that’s causing freak weather and massive hail to fall across the planet…)
In the meantime, do you know how many ground fires are happening in the UK? Saddleworth Moor you know about already, but there’s also been wildfires in Scotland, wild fires two days ago around Heathrow Airport in a West London Suburb, and now a massive wildfire in Epping Forest, to the South East of London, that is apparently the size of 150 soccer stadiums.
I used to go to Epping Forest as a kid, so I know it well (kind of).
But that’s not all: Hamodia this week had a picture of a rubbish (garbage…) collecting truck in Newbury, England whose wheels had got stuck in melting tarmac.
The standard explanation for all these things is that it’s all because of the heatwave that the UK is experiencing. But you know what? That doesn’t really fly. Saddleworth Moor, to take one example, lit up on day 2 of the ‘heatwave’, and it’s known that the marshy land there stays wet and soggy throughout summer.
One day of ‘heatwave’ is not going to get that place to stay on fire for a month.
And also, if hot weather causes dumpster trucks to sink into the tarmac, why don’t we see that happening all the time in Israel, where temperatures are much warmer than the UK, for much longer?
One possible answer for what’s going on in the UK right now is that the heat is coming up from the ground.
The British Isles was also shaped by volcanic activity, and once you get the false timescales out of the way, there is absolutely no reason to think that molten magma couldn’t rise closer to the surface again there, just as it’s doing all over the place at the moment.
Over the last two weeks, the UK has experienced some very unusual earthquake activity in Surrey, to the South East of London, around Gatwick airport. Locals are blaming new fracking operations, but my view is that the seismicity and the fires are all related, as earthquakes happen when magma is on the move.
And magma is very hot. And the gases that go along with it are extremely flammable.
No-one is looking for that in the UK of course, or testing it, or even considering it as a hypotheses, because hey! All the volcanic activity stopped half a billion years ago, didn’t it?
A recent scientific discovery has drastically changed our view of the global carbon cycle and identified a new significant risk. Researchers have discovered a giant lake or reservoir made up of molten carbon sitting below the western US.
THE MASSIVE LAVA LAKE UNDER THE US
Remember that massive lava lake they found a few months ago under North America, something like a trillion tons? Of course, they told everyone to go back to sleep, that stuff is going to take a billion years to come anywhere close to the surface.
But that’s simply not true.
It’s up to God if it’s going to punch through again, and if all havoc is going to kick off in the world. At any point, Hashem can decide to make thousands of volcanoes go off, to have magma erupt through fissures in the ground anywhere on the planet, and to have earthquakes and tsunamis. We live here on planet earth mamash b’chasdei Hashem, through Hashem’s great mercy.
We all take our stable climate and lack of volcanoes and earthquakes, and crop production so much for granted.
But if there is one thing that seems to be happening this year, it’s that God is starting to open our eyes to just how fragile the whole appearance of controlling nature and the food cycle really is.
God has kept things unusually quiet, climate-wise, for over a century, to give all the Darwinists and heretical ‘evolution’ people the best possible shot at convincing humanity that God is absent, the world is billions of years old, and that life is totally random and meaningless, so do whatever the heck you want.
But that period of time is now coming to a close.
And it’s going to become clearer and clearer now that there is One ‘person’ really in control here: God.
And the people who keep going against God, and who keep trampling on the laws of basic morality and justice are finally going to have to face the music.
(On that note, do you know the immensely anti-Israel Norway, Denmark and Sweden are currently having a freak heatwave and drought that’s causing them acute crop shortages?)
It’s not just the countryside in the south of Israel that’s being set alight by terror kites from Gaza.
London (and much of Europe and the US) is also burning.
War seems to be in the air at the moment, doesn’t it? Even before the rockets started falling again on Shabbat, across Israel’s south, Friday was a particularly ‘snipey’ day, where lots of people were bothering me, and probably, vice-versa.
The person who was bothering me the most is the other side’s devious lawyer, who I went and researched Friday and learned a lot about. Like, he’s an expert in cooking up devious contracts that say one thing, but really mean another. And that he’s an expert in helping people deceive other people ‘legally’, within the technical parameters of Israeli law.
To put this in other words: he’s a class A jerk, and probably the absolutely worst lawyer we could be up against, in so many ways.
All this upset me deeply, and I had a lot of inner turmoil going on again that wasn’t giving me any peace, and questions of how God could let us fall into this man’s hands. So on Shabbat, I decided to do a long talking to God session to try to get my equanimity and emuna back.
As I like to do, I ‘randomly’ opened Likutey Moharan while I was talking to God about this yucky, horrible lawyer and I got to this (Likutey Moharan 1:251):
Know: on account of feuds – conflict – the thoughts of the wicked enter the minds of upright people, specifically, thoughts of heresy beset them.
Rectifying this requires surrendering the feud to God – allowing God to fight the battle. In this way, one nullifies the thoughts of the wicked.
As usual, I was blown away by how accurate and pertinent the advice was. One of the things that has been upsetting me the most about this whole house saga is that I’ve had to battle 24/7 to keep remembering that God is running the world, and that ‘the other side’ are just puppets who are being used by God to teach me something, and help me rectify something, spiritually.
Without an hour a day of hitbodedut, there is simply no way of holding on to the reality of ein od milvado, because the feelings of anger and bitterness and injustice can otherwise be overwhelming.
And even with it, it’s still pretty hard going.
So I was thrilled to get this advice from Rabbenu about how to proceed – on so many of the issues that are bothering me at the moment.
Keep your mouth shut, Rivka
That’s what God is telling me.
Sure, I could be going great guns pointing out all the ‘bad’ that seems so obvious to me, and apparently so hidden to others. I could be slagging off this one, pulling down that one, endlessly listing all the flaws and the problems that really are there, and really do exist.
But that’s not what God wants, especially in the Three Weeks.
Because as soon as we start fighting other people instead of recognizing that God is behind everything, instead of recognizing that the only valid, helpful response is to just take it back to God to figure out what message He’s trying to give us, what teshuva or change He wants from me – we fall into heresy and start thinking like wicked people.
So, God wants me to keep my mouth shut, and to let Him fight the battle on my behalf.
And like all of us at the moment, I have so many potential battles raging on so many potential fronts, there really isn’t any other answer.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling really shaky. I’d had a weird dream which wasn’t ‘bad’, but was just weird, but before I even opened my eyes, I just felt like my brain was jumping around all over the place.
Now, we can put that down to me being highly-strung and half-Moroccan, but my husband was also feeling pretty shaky yesterday, for no obvious reason.
If I could be bothered, I’d go and check out the Schumann Resonance read-outs, or I’d write another few paragraphs here explaining how space weather affects human moods and health.
But today, I can’t be bothered.
Maybe it’s part of the vibe going on, but I’m losing my motivation to keep pointing things out. I mean, haven’t we all been here before, with so many exciting and dramatic ‘predictions’ that actually never happened?
Haven’t I spent more than a decade with my life on hold waiting for ‘the end’ to start happening?
So even though ironically, more and more of the pieces seem to be slotting into place, and even though I believe that Rav Berland is 100% on the money with his timescale of geula by 5781, I’m still finding it a little hard to get into the spirit of things.
Because what if it all fades out and fizzles again?
I got so burned by all those false ‘predictions’ from the autistics, that I don’t have a huge amount of energy left for the real deal. And I know I’m not alone. I’m seeing so many people give up, all over the place, in a myriad different ways.
That one is giving up on living in Israel, this one is giving up on trying to keep Shabbat or wearing tzitzit, that one is giving up on guarding their eyes – the list goes on and on.
Because so many of us made a super-human effort to get into the right place, the right ‘space’ spiritually, for geula – and then geula receded off into the distance and we were left feeling pretty lost and confused.
Uh, I AM meant to have made all that sacrifice to be in Jerusalem, right God? Even if geula doesn’t kick off tomorrow? I AM meant to have committed to covering my hair 24/7, even if judgment day doesn’t happen in my lifetime, right? It wasn’t a dumb idea to put soul ahead of body, even though body has got a pretty rough ride of things the last few years and it looks like I'm never going to be able to live in my own home again?
That wasn’t just stupid and retarded thinking, right God?
These are the discussions I’ve been having with God recently, where I’m seeking some reassurance that all the effort, the self-sacrifice, the struggle to try to give God what I believe He wants is actually worth it.
Luckily, God manages to reassure me every single time that it is.
HE WHO PREPARES FOR SHABBAT EATS ON SHABBAT
A while back, I spent weeks killing myself to make a seder, where we’d be joined by ‘out of towners’ who didn’t really keep mitzvoth.
As my hands turned to that pre-Pesach sandpaper from all the cleaning and cooking, I started to feel a bit grumpy and fed-up, that I was the one slaving away like Cinderella, while my guests would get a ‘free ride’ for the seder.
(Yes, my middot are really that bad.)
“Dear, don’t be jealous of those people who showed up to a gorgeous seder they didn’t do anything to prepare themselves,” God told me then. “Even though it seems you’re eating the same food, and attending the same event, because you made all that effort to prepare it, you’re actually experiencing something completely and totally different.”
And it’s the same with geula.
I’m not one of those psycho-bloggers who is wishing mass death and destruction on people because they couldn’t find the strength or courage to move to Israel. I know how hard that move can be, I know how complicated it can get, I know how much emuna it can take to move here, and then to stay here when the going gets tough and you start to feel so lonely and alone.
It’s a much, much bigger test than most of the psycho-bloggers are willing to admit, and their lack of compassion for Jews in the diaspora bothers me tremendously.
I want every Jew to make it to the end point, to the netz, and to greet Moshiach, wherever they might live and even if they aren’t perfect. Because who the heck is perfect, in 2018?!?
But at the same time… I still have that niggling feeling that it’s not really so fair, that I’m slaving away over geula like Cinderella while other people are focused on getting their nails done and booking their next holiday to the Bahamas…
Until God reminds me:
“Because you made all that effort to prepare for it, you’re actually going to experience something completely and totally different.”
WE ALL HAVE TO DIE BEFORE WE GET REVIVED
While we’re talking about geula, here’s something else I recently learned from Rav Berland:
Everyone is going to have to die, at least for five minutes, before techiat hameitim, or the revival of the dead.
So, you can’t move to Israel just to avoid an exploding Yellowstone, because we’ve got our own version right here on our doorstep in Harrat Ash Shamah (or ‘The Mountain of Guilt’, as my husband pointed out.)
God is going to judge each and every one of us on our own individual merits wherever we happen to live, and we’ll all have to snuff it before we can get to the revival of the dead and the World to Come.
So then, why make all that effort? Why try so hard to move to Israel, or to continue to live in Israel, or to keep wearing socks when the thermometer hits 42 degrees, or to keep doing hitbodedut and or getting up to pray at dawn when you can’t really see, often, how it’s getting you anywhere?
That’s something so many of us are grappling with at the moment.
But there is an answer:
To serve Hashem lishma, simply for its own sake, and not because we’re going to get geula, or money, or houses, or an easy life back in return.
And when I remember that, I don’t want to give up anymore.
Following on from the discussion in the comments on THIS post, one of my readers sent me an email where she made a very profound point, that I'd like to share with you. She wrote that:
'I really wish that just wanting to be a mother and a wife and taking care of your home wouldn't be looked down upon. That instead of praising women who earn a PhD or become a mayor or the like, we would praise mothers who keep it together when their toddler throws a tantrum in the supermarket or the wife who is cleaning the floors for the 1035th time.
"I think one of the problems today is that nobody wants to have the wife's role, that also women want wives who take care of the drudgery of housework and childrearing. However for me personally I have come to realize that as difficult as it is to being a wife and a mother when I am taking care of my children I am actually building eternity."
This precious reader really hit the nail on the head:
No-one wants the job of being a wife today.
All the elements of that job are being outsourced, because we value it so little. The cleaning is going to the nice Polish lady, the caring is going to the nice Phillipino lady, the cooking is being catered in, the kids are being sent out to sleep-away camps, and if anyone actually wants to have a real, deep conversation and pour out their heart - hey, that's what shrinks and counsellors are for!
I'm part way through reading 'From Darwin to Hitler', which is actually a much more nuanced and well-written book than perhaps its title might suggest.
Part of what happened post-Darwin is that all the 'thinkers' in Europe started seeing human life in terms of 'valuable and productive to society' or 'worthless and pulling society down'.
Disabled people, criminals, and people with mental and physical health problems were in this last category, together with different 'races' and poor people, depending on how racist and snobby the Darwinist 'thinker' actually was.
And the only people in that first, 'worthy' category were people who earned money and helped society flourish. Mothers weren't valued, except as the 'source' of society's future workers. But the actual 'job' of being a mother, being a wife - that was completely devalued and looked down upon.
(And yes, there were a whole bunch of Zionist, atheist Jews who thought that way too. This lead directly to the shocking idea that women should give their babies over to other people to raise as soon as they'd given birth and go back to being 'productive members of society' again, which was the Kibbutz ideal way of life for a few decades, until even the atheist Zionists started to figure out that was completely retarded and damaging to everyone involved.)
Darwin's false, atheistic science completely warped the fabric of society in so many profound ways, including how many of us women have been brainwashed into believing that we only have value if we are working and have a paid job.
But as my correspondent put it so eloquently, the real job, the real value we add to the world is by expending our precious time and effort primarily and principally on trying to raise happy, emotionally-healthy kids who are still connected to their souls.
And if that wasn't enough of a full-time job, we also have our hands full trying to help unrectified husbands get over all their issues and become the amazing people God created them to be, too.
Just before I sat down to type this, I had another upsetting fight with one of my teens, who is still going through a lot of stuff and acting horribly, as a result. The last two days, she's been giving me the strong 'vibe' that all her problems are down to me and my cack mothering abilities, and as someone who quit my career to look after my family, that's pretty painful.
Motherhood is very hard! Motherhood is often very unrewarded and taken for granted (especially by moody teenagers). But being a mother, and being a wife, is the most important, precious job we have in the world, despite the awful wages and cack employment conditions and mouthy co-workers (who all think they are the boss).
It sucks that you can't quit the job no matter how bad it gets, and there is no paid sick leave or overtime!!
But that's the main job we women got given to do by Hashem.
And as someone who used to have a high-flying career, I can tell you that being at the office is definitely the easier option.
Since all this house stuff has updended my life in about a million different ways, I’ve been finding it very hard to get a grip on myself.
I’m trying so hard to keep working through all the bad middot this keeps bringing up, wave after wave, like terrible anger, hatred, feelings of vengeance and the urge to ‘win’ the argument. I go and do my hitbodedut walk for an hour, I mind-map all my bad middot out in my journal, I try to face down my reactions and feelings honestly, and then try some more to bring it all back to God and have emuna about it all.
And that works for about an hour.
But then, I find myself snapping into really aggressive, confrontational modes at the drop of a hat at the moment. All my effort to accept bizayon (humiliation), all my effort to not throw the diamonds back, seems to have gone out the window.
Intellectually, I know what’s going on. The person who ripped us off over the house, and the lawyer who helped her do it, and our lawyer who let it happen, have kind of traumatized me again, and I’m feeling pretty vulnerable, attacked and betrayed.
This has switched my flight-or-flight stress response into high-gear, and now I’m seeing enemies behind every curtain and robbers under every stone. My ability to ‘see the good’ and to not take things personally has evaporated at the moment, and that’s playing out in myriad different ways that try as I might, I can’t seem to get a grip on.
It’s not so much ‘passive-aggressive’ as ‘aggressive-aggressive’. There are moments when I could literally rip someone’s eyeballs out of their head.
And of course, this is completely anti-emuna! And not at all how I want to be acting and re-acting, yet the stress of the last few months has overloaded the system, and there’s simply no more juice available for azamra and not throwing the diamonds back.
I was talking to my husband about it yesterday, and he told me:
“I think maybe you’re still angry at God.”
He’s very smart, my husband.
Because yes, of course I’m still angry at God, even though I’m not meant to be, and even though I’m doing my best to have some emuna and to be grateful it’s only money and not health or shalom bayit or kids going off the derech, God forbid.
It’s only money! It’s only a house!
I repeat this like a mantra at least 50 times a day, and it’s definitely useful to have that perspective.
And yet, the anger keeps spilling out around the sides, and the emuna I spend an hour pumping up every day keeps evaporating pretty quickly.
Intellectually, I know this is all for my good, and is a huge tikkun, and is fixing stuff from who knows how many lifetimes ago.
But emotionally, I’m still having to deal with all these bursts of anger that keep rising inexorably to the surface, like a big bubble of magma, and that sometimes pop with such fury I start pacing my house like a caged animal.
How could God deliver me up to such shysters like that, after all the years of me praying to get a house in Jerusalem? How could He make my lawyer treat our contract (and all the terrible consequences of signing it) so casually? Why are there so many people in the world who put grabbing more money ahead of every noble human quality? Why do I never seem to get a happy ending? Why are all my efforts – on so many fronts - not enough to get me anywhere in life?
There goes my emuna again. There goes my ability to ‘see the good’, and to have patience with other people’s foibles and flaws, and to fight down my ‘aggressive-aggressive’ tendencies.
POP, POP, POP!!!!
I want to be a nice, believing human being. I want to go back to seeing the good in the disgusting shysters who apparently deliberately tried to trick me into buying their worthless, cruddy property that they don’t even really own.
I want to go back to accepting God’s will as only good and only just.
I want to go back to believing that underneath all the venality, casual cruelty, arrogance, greed and selfishness, my fellow Jews are fundamentally good and holy.
But man, it’s going to take a lot more praying, and a lot more asking God to give me emuna, for me to really get there.
I just got a comment on my blog from someone called ‘antifeminist’ who has created a whole website bewailing how bad American women are. It’s definitely a real website, although the comment is probably spam, so I’m not going to post it up, but here’s a little of what he said:
“I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?
“American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.”
Over on his blog, he explains how he spent four years trying to develop a serious relationship with a number of American women, and how they all ended in failure.
Now, clearly there are two sides to every argument, and who knows what sort of character traits and temperament this guy has himself.
But I always take the view that if God is taking the time and trouble to put these things into my face, there must be some pertinent message, or lesson to learn from it, even if it’s delivered in not such appealing packaging.
So the question is this:
Could there be some connection between what this man perceives to be the huge failings of materialistic American feminist society, and our own enormous shidduch crisis, which seems to be particularly acute in North America?
We know that the Jews in a particular country or society are always affected by that country’s mores and attributes, both for the good and bad.
Personally, I’ve also been increasingly put-off by the militant ‘feminist’ vibe that’s been picking up speed recently, and is manifesting itself in more and more bullying attempts to force Jewish publications to have pictures of women on their pages, etc.
I can’t stand all these apparently frum women who start screaming ‘discrimination’ against anyone who thinks posing for pictures on Instagram or Facebook is not the epitome of frum female achievement in the world.
I find their general aggressiveness, self-importance and pushiness pretty off-putting, and I’m a woman! And I’m not planning on trying to marry any of these ladies any time soon, BH! So I can appreciate how walking down the aisle with one of these types could be a less than thrilling prospect for a man.
So let me put it out there: Could this materialistic-American-militant-feminist vibe be behind a lot of what’s causing the shidduch crisis in the Jewish world?
Clearly, the menfolk are also not doing so well at this stage of the game, and I know it’s not black and white by any means, and that a lot of the single (and also married...) men today also have some serious work to do on their middot and attitudes.
But as this blog is for women (mostly….) let’s start with our side of the equation, and try to figure out if ‘anti-feminist’ has a point, and if we need to do some collective soul-searching about how much this aggressive American-feminist worldview may be negatively impacting our own relationships and attitudes in the frum Jewish world.
So woman or man, weigh in here, and tell me what you think.
Could the materialistic-American-militant-feminist approach to life be behind a lot of the problems we’re seeing in getting people married and keeping them happily married in the frum world?
And if yes, what can we do to start changing things around?
Over to you, dear reader.
(When I went to look for some images for 'feminists' for this post, it came back with a bunch of moody, pouting 'angry' women in various states of undress holding a whole bunch of 'angry' signs. Now I ask you, why would anyone want to marry anyone who has such a big chip on their shoulder and is always looking for the next fight?
And if you think 'feminism' and all the 'alternative' lifestyle stuff are separate issues, think again. The same people who are promoting the 'rainbow' lifestyle are behind all this feminist clap-trap too. Go google 'feminist' for yourself, and see what comes up - this 'rainbow' lipstick image above is pretty much the tamest picture I could find.)
The last few weeks, I have been feeling incredibly lethargic and drained. Most days this week, I feel like I’ve been moving through treacle. It’s been so hard to get anything done, from the smaller things like wash up to the bigger things like trying to write stuff for my blogs, and my book.
Mamash, it’s taken an enormous effort of will to do anything, because I really just wanted to curl up and go back to sleep. Was I sick? Nope. Over-tired? A little – when am I not, tho? Stressed? Yes, obviously. Again, that’s nothing new.
This morning, I’m feeling a little better again, but there is such a fatiguing vibe that’s settled over the planet recently, and it’s all connected to the freak weather and volcanoes.
I’ve written a bunch of posts about how our moods and health are affected by the electromagnetic conditions prevailing in the world over on spiritualselfhelp, and if this topic interests you then go take a look.
But the point is, God is sending a different electro-magnetic ruach down to the world at the moment, that is affecting us all and making us all feel slow, lethargic and ‘switched off’. Some people are experiencing that has head fog, others as an inability to remember stuff, others as an awful feeling of stuckness, and kind of mental paralysis, others as pure fatigue.
And maybe all of these things together.
But it’s an electro-magnetically-induced situation, that’s being engineered in the world by Hashem. This is also why blog posts are slowing up, why no-one feels like commenting, or doing much – it’s part of the Divine plan for right now.
And at the same time as the slo-mo is going on in our personal lives, things are going crazy with planet earth. There was another big eruption yesterday, this time in Indonesia. Meanwhile, a third ‘wildfire’ has started up in the UK, which they are blaming on sparks from firing guns at a nearby shooting range.
That’s complete BS! This third fire also started on Sunday, when the Saddleworth Moor fire began, but in a location some 30 miles away. There were no shooting ranges near Saddleworth or Winter Hill, and ‘whatever’ caused those fires to begin is also underneath this third fire at Otterburn.
We saw this same sort of miraculous fire starting here in Israel, back in November 2016, the day when the Rav was convicted in Kangaroo Court and forced to demean himself with a public ‘confession’ that was broadcast all over the TV and internet.
The cause of causes for all this stuff is ultimately God.
The mechanism He’s using to heat the planet up is electro-magnetic, and connected to the celestial spheres, particularly the sun.
And a lot of things are starting to come together, from Trump’s ‘peace’ plan, to what’s going on with Hawaii, to all the record-smashing freak weather and floods still happening all across the planet, and now, new volcanic activity.
And in the meantime, we’re all stuck feeling like we can’t do anything or get anywhere, and that everyday life is like moving through treacle. It’s a tough time. It feels like the Three Weeks came early this year.
I’ve been sitting here all week feeling pretty lousy again, that I can’t do anything, achieve anything, plan anything, get anywhere. It’s all treacle, treacle, treacle.
But this is God’s plan for us at the moment, and really, it just has to change soon, doesn’t it?
I know ‘everything is fine’ intellectually, but feelings-wise, I’m just bouncing off the bottom a lot at the moment, and I’m having to deal with a lot of yeoush and despair on an hourly basis.
(Especially when I have to have anything to do with estate agents…)
Even my talking to God sessions have been pretty rubbish recently, because the head fog has been all encompassing, and I can’t focus, or settle down.
But it will change! It’s just a temporary electro-magnetically induced phenomenon, and some very good things are hopefully around the corner. We just have to ask God to keep hanging on to us to get us there.
PS: I realized there might be some copyright issues with the video of Saddleworth Moor, so I’m going to take down the video for now, and do them in a different way in the future, BH, brain fog permitting.