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.
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.
The earthquakes that are striking in the top 1/5 of the Kinneret, very close to the Northern shore where all those yucky church buildings are on the 'consecrated land' that belongs the Vatican (!) are continuing.
I've done a short 5 minute video with much better sound to show you exactly where they are hitting, and also, to show you exactly where Harrat Ash Shamah - that volcanic field is - and how huge it is.
It last erupted a lake of boiling lava in 1850.
The only reason no-one is talking about this place is because there's been ongoing war in the area for the best part of a century, and that's not conducive to running lots of tests and studies. But Harrat Ash Shamah is huge.
The last massive earthquakes that destroyed Tsfat and Tiberius took place in 1837, around the same time there was volcanic activity in Syria and this lava lake sprang out of the ground. That could have happened before 1850, but was only 'noticed' by Europeans writing this stuff down then.
But earthquakes always precede volcanic events, as we've seen with all the eruptions going off recently around the globe. Definitely something to keep an eye on, as maybe God's patience with all the militant 'anti-authentic Judaism' stuff is starting to wear thin.
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.
If I tell you what’s going on with the house stuff, you probably won’t believe me. But I’m going to tell you anyway, because a good story is a good story.
So, two weeks’ back, the whole house saga took another twist into bizarro land.
My husband met our old landlord from the last apartment we were in, the infamous ‘rented dump’, on the street close to Rav Berland’s shtiebel, where he was coming to meet me after the prayers.
The landlord is crazy, but nice, in a Moroccan-drinks-too-much-beer kinda way. So they’re talking, and my husband is telling the landlord about the utter nightmare that our house purchase turned into, when the landlord says to him:
Tell me where it is, and I’ll go and talk to them for you.
The landlord is well over 6ft, and is a crazy Moroccan, so this proposal had its pluses and minuses. My husband decided there were too many minuses involved, so he put him off. But the landlord insisted on knowing at least the address – and that’s when we discovered the bizarre news that the woman who we tried to buy the house from is his ex-sister-in-law.
She was married to our landlord’s older brother who got divorced eight years ago, then died in a car crash five years ago a little while before he was meant to move into the flat we ended up renting for over three years.
Even more bizarre, our landlord is the one who built the illegal roof (which is part of the reason the bank reneged on giving the mortgage) with his own two hands.
Even more bizarre, we found out that Doda (Hebrew for Auntie), who technically was the one who owned our flat even though we mostly dealt with our landlord, gave our seller the money she needed to buy her house in the first place.
We were amazed at the very small circle the world actually is, because we now have a whole bunch more crucial information about our seller, without anyone even really telling us, and just because we’ve been listening to our landlord’s stories for the last four years.
For example, we know that our landlord’s big sister works for the Jerusalem Town Hall as a lawyer in the building permissions department, which is why no-one can even find the file describing the illegal roof, let alone tell us if it was actually sorted out the way we were told it had been by the seller.
It’s got ‘disappeared’ somehow, and now we understand how.
The Morrocan Mafia of Musrara has struck again.
We also now know 100% that our seller never got a mortgage on the property, because Doda paid for it in cash as part of the divorce settlement.
So now, you’d think that our landlord could sort all this mess out for us, right?
He and our seller fell out over the roof eight years ago, and haven’t spoken since.
When we were buying the flat, the seller warned me about using crooked builders (ah, the irony of it all….) and told me she’d used a family member who had ripped her off.
And now we know who that was: our landlord.
So, they haven’t spoken to each other for almost a decade, because our seller is also a crazy, mule-head Moroccan, and the plot is just getting thicker and thicker.
In the meantime, I decided to stalk our seller and speak to her face to face, seeing as her lawyer has been refusing to even answer our emails. (My husband was a little anxious about this plan.
It’s still unclear if he was more worried about what she might do to me, or what I could do to her…)
While she’s not a bad person, per se, I understood that our seller definitely feels entitled to our money, as we were dumb enough to sign a contract that was so cleverly worded we had no idea that it was describing a completely different property.
In fact, we signed such a bad contract that it’s a miracle we didn’t also agree to donating a kidney, or something, as part of the purchase price.
And if you want to know what happened to our original lawyer, he’s gone AWOL since all this blew up, and is spending as much of his time on holiday as he can. We just found out that he’s lost half the papers from the sale (on top of not actually reading them, to begin with), which means that we have to ask our seller’s horrible lawyer for a copy of the contract we signed, but which our lawyer now has no record of.
Who can make this stuff up?
People keep trying to encourage me to sue to get our money back, if some miracle doesn’t happen to get our seller to act fairly.
But really? Can I really carry on with this circus for another three years, with all the laziness, corruption and bad faith going on all over the place?
You’d have to pay me way more than 250k to devote three years of my life to this rubbish.
On Shabbat, I was doing some praying about it all, and God gave me the very clear realization that if we are meant to recover that money, God can send us a million easier and nicer ways of doing it than going to court.
And if we’re not meant to have it, then even if we have a crack legal team, and a super-solid case the judge will end up knowing the other side from the army, or something, and that will be our claim down the toilet.
We will still try to get the money back, but this month is the crunch time for all this. We have to move on. We have to move forward. There is no point crying over spilt milk, instead, we have to go find another cow.
I think that’s what God wants.
And I hope that if we do our best to give God what He wants, somehow or other, it will still all work out OK for us, too.
When we first moved to Jerusalem, four years ago, neither of my children were pleased. Back in the old hood, they had their friends, their school, their ‘place’, their nice, massive big rooms with matching furniture.
When they asked us, literally with tears in their eyes, why we were moving to Jerusalem – to a much smaller and much more expensive rented dump – it was hard to find an answer they’d accept.
Because the only answer for why we moved here back then is ‘we think that’s what God wants us to do.’
Were we convinced ourselves? Mostly. But that first year was a baptism of fire, and we spent most of it trying to deal with teens who were feeling so miserable, and also feeling so angry at us, for messing up their lives.
And what made it worse is that they had a point.
I’ve written about that year a lot, not least in The Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife, but over the last four years, I’ve been given a lot more reasons why we moved to Jerusalem. Like, I feel so much happier here, the bloke feels so much happier here, we both got ‘real’ here, and stopped feeling like the ‘biggest tzaddik in town’ (a problem that happens very easily if you’re trying to be more machmir than most of your neighbors.)
As a family, we get on so much better these days, and a lot of that has to do with living in close quarters with each other, so teenagers (or mothers…) can’t permanently escape for weeks at a time by closing themselves up in their rooms.
So on the real stuff, the inner dimension stuff, Jerusalem has been such a blessing.
But it’s still hard, sometimes, like this morning, when I schlepped my family off to see another potential rental in Rehavia, and the youngest kid got profoundly depressed and angry about the whole situation again, because we'd have to chuck out most of our furniture to fit into that flat.
“Why are we living in Jerusalem?!” she wanted to know. “Just because some ‘rav’ said so?! Weren’t we meant to get a nice house from doing what he said?! Why can’t we just move out and live somewhere normal, and then you can come back here when we’ve left home and live in some small, rented yucky place!”
Hmmm. Something to look forward to.
The hardest thing with teenage rants is that they often throw the things you are struggling with yourself right in your face.
Because the last few months, I’ve also had some big struggles over what the heck is going on, and why, and some big questions than I can’t really find answers for.
I’ve noticed the last three or so months that a lot of the people who are very close to the Rav are being hit with some ginormous issues, mostly connected with money problems and houses.
Some of these people are mamash tzaddikim – like really.
And some of the tests these people going through have been stretching on for so long now, literally years, that it’s kind of mind-boggling that they’re still going.
How is it possible, to keep standing up in this stuff, to keep moving forward, to keep retaining emuna, to keeping having a smile on your face and words of Torah on your lips?
And yet, somehow, it is.
So I explained to my kid that we are all going through some huge tests at the moment, and that I appreciate that the house thing is a very big test for her too, and that right now, I don’t have answers for why it has to be so difficult.
But I also told her what I’m telling myself, over and over again: thank God it’s just house stuff, it’s just money problems. Thank God, if we have to go through some big difficulties right now, that they are only manifesting as money problems.
The teen didn’t exactly start smiling when I’d finished my speech – these are very hard concepts to understand, and there are people five times her age who are still struggling with the idea of happily accepting God’s will, when it’s so clearly going against their own.
But, she stopped ranting.
She started thinking.
And I know that by this afternoon, she’ll bounce back again and start to see that the good far outweighs the bad, even with all our difficulties.
Someone wanted to know why so many people are having house issues. I’m sure it’s connected to the Temple. God wants more and more of us to feel His lack, to understand that until the Temple is rebuilt, we’re all effectively homeless, regardless of how many mansions or penthouses we own.
And I think it’s also an inyan of encouraging more of us to pull out of the heavy materialism of our world, and to ‘live in the corridor’ a bit more. This world is only a corridor, a passage way leading to real world, i.e. the world of the soul.
The Chofetz Chaim famously kept his suitcase by his door, in case Moshiach showed up and he’d have to jump on the boat to Israel. I’m not at that level, but when I see my books still packed in their boxes; when I realise I can’t change or paint anything because it’s just rented; when I don’t buy any new furniture, because I have no idea where I’m going to be living in another six months and whether it will ‘fit’ – I have a small taste of the Chofetz Chaim’s suitcase.
And probably, that’s not a bad thing.
We’re all so tired at the moment, aren’t we?
Even if we don’t have something particularly stressful going on in our own lives (and if you are that person, please do get in touch so I know you really exist) – we’re all feeling that ‘things can’t continue’.
Why are we all feeling that?
We don’t really know, because if you look at life objectively, it’s still pretty good for most of us. There’s no holocaust happening, currently no war (kites notwithstanding), no pogroms, nearly all of us have a roof over our heads and food on the table.
Most of us have hot showers and hot coffee whenever we want them.
We have families, we have clothes on our backs, many of us even live in the holy land itself, which for two millennia was an unreachable dream for all but a tiny handful of the Jewish people.
So life is good! Really!
But at the same time, so many of us are sitting here feeling dazed and stressed out of our skulls for not always obvious reasons. We’re feeling like things can’t go on like this.
I’ve been having a mega-dose of that recently, but something quite bizarre occurred on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz: the cloud started to lift, and the last few days I’ve been feeling much happier, even though things are still maximally stressful on the house front.
Each day brings a new clause our cack lawyer overlooked, or didn’t read, that’s causing us fresh problems and difficulties; I still have no idea where I’m meant to be moving to next month; I still stand to lose a heck of a lot of cash which means I can’t buy an apartment in Jerusalem.
But so what.
Life is still good!
Rebbe Nachman wrote that the yetzer hara is always trying to convince us that the old days were always better, and that present times are awful, and that the future can only be even worse. Rebbe Nachman says really?
God is running the world better and better all the time.
It’s a trick of the yetzer to get us all despairing when life is actually better than it’s ever been. Even the richest people in the world didn’t have airconditioners and fridges 100 years’ ago. Even the most powerful person in the world still had to spend weeks travelling by carriage to get from A-B, and had to wait months for their seamstresses to create a new suit or piece of clothing for them.
Do you know how amazing it is that I can walk out my house and buy a 5 pack of underwear for 20 shekels? I mean, how long would it take you to sew a pair of knickers by yourself? (And how comfy would they even be?) Or that I can walk two minutes and find a whole cornucopia of food in my supermarket – most of which even has a decent hechsher?
Life is good, life is amazing!
Yes, there is still evil in the world, and bad things happening. Until Moshiach really and truly shows up, that’s the way it is. But underneath all that, life is good!!
I realized something profound about my house issues recently, namely that even if God took this problem away easily (which I’m still hoping He will, let’s be clear) – I will still need to have other challenges and tests in my life, as that’s the whole point of being down here.
So, Baruch Hashem, I’m just being tested with money and house stuff that doesn’t actually mean that much. So what, I don’t get to live where I want, I don’t get to buy my own place, I don’t get to decide how my kitchen looks, or whether I live in a house with a bath.
In the big scheme of things, who really cares?
God is in charge, and He is running the world better than ever. He knows what I need to experience in order to get fixed.
Millions upon millions of people used to starve to death every single year, even in recent history. Each year, they are figuring out more and more ways to grow food economically, in places that you couldn’t do that before (just take a look at the greenhouses in the Yarden valley, or in the Negev.)
Is the world perfect? No!
Are there still a lot problems? Yes!
Is that going to change before Moshiach comes? No!
So in the meantime, let’s try to enjoy our lives as much as we can, and stop expecting the world to be a Disney Movie.
I have learnt so much from my current house troubles, about what it really means to try to have some emuna. Emuna means that I really do my best to accept God’s will, and to try to be happy with my lot, and I try to figure out what response God wants me to have to my troubles and difficulties.
Emuna doesn’t mean that I expect God will answer all my prayers exactly how I want, and fix things to go exactly how I want them to.
This distinction is crucial, and it’s the key to a happy life and good mental health.
Sure, it’s upsetting when outposts get dismantled. But is it more upsetting than someone developing a terminal illness? Or someone going through a horrible divorce? Or someone’s child passing away, lo aleinu?
Personally, I don’t think so.
In some way right now, we all have our massive challenges to deal with, and the key to getting through it is to know that it’s just a test, that tests are inevitable, and part of the process of being refined, and that there is still so much good in our lives to be grateful for.
This is the antidote to yeoush. This is how we can get off our couches and do the washing up. And this is how we can really prepare ourselves for geula and for Moshiach.
By seeing the good, and trusting Hashem that it’s all going to come right.
Because every time we develop a little more emuna in our own lives, and about our own challenging circumstances, the world gets fixed and rectified a little more fundamentally, in all the ways that really count.
In between my bouts of house yeoush, I’m actually researching a new book about dinosaurs and volcanoes (amongst other things…) which, if I do say so myself, is going to be a complete game-changer when it comes to understanding how our world has been caught in the grip of so much fake science.
Dinosaurs definitely existed, macro evolution (where a creature turns into a completely different creature) definitely didn’t happen, dinosaurs didn’t give rise to birds – and volcanic eruptions are the key to understanding how radiometric dating techniques have got things so incredibly wrong.
I mean, duh, if a creature becomes fossilized as part of a boiling hot volcanic mudflow, while all that volcanic ash is still flowing around in the air, and all that pure carbon pyroclastic material is still spurting out of the earth – are you really going to tell me the carbon levels are going to be same as a regular day?
Just can’t be!
But that’s how they measure all this stuff, using the baseline of how fast carbon (and potassium argon, and all the other radioactive isotopes they are trying to use) decays at present rates, and then extrapolating that back over time to say,
“Well, bud, this thing must be easily 500 million years old… I mean, look at all carbon dating read outs…”
When in reality, it was entombed by pure carbon, at a time when carbon emissions in the localized environment were stratospherically through the roof, because a volcano had just exploded.
Anyway, so I’m busy pulling all the science together on that, and more, because even with all the science pulled together, it’s still very hard to go against the brain-washing we’ve all imbibed since childhood about the world being BILLIONS of years old (sic).
(This video is shmirat eynayim friendly, and explains the problems with carbon dating from 'orthodox science's' own perspective.)
But as part of that process, I’ve also been researching how Darwin’s little group of atheist ‘free-thinkers’ basically took over academia 100 years' ago, and foisted their false science on everyone else for the very worst of reasons.
Take Marie Stopes.
Do you know who she is? She’s the woman who invented the birth control pill, and she’s been lauded as a wonderful, magnanimous paragon of virtue for doing that. Really?
Stopes, and the ‘humanist’, eugenics-loving crowd she ran with were racking their brains trying to come up with more ways to stop ‘the unfit’ from having so many babies, and breeding ‘the fit’ out of existence.
With all this talk about Jeremy Corbyn being an anti-semite, you should know that anti-semitism is hard-wired into the British intellectual lefties that created the Labour Party and the welfare state.
Sidney Webb wrote the original constitution of the British Labour party. In 1907, he also wrote a pamphlet for the Fabian Society that said:
“Twenty-five per cent of our parents … is producing 50 per cent of the next generation. This can hardly result in anything but national deterioration; or, as an alternative, in this country gradually falling to the Irish and the Jews.”
The deeply-religious catholic Irish, and the deeply-religious Jews were enemy #1 for Webb and his ‘humanist, evolutionist-pushing’ crowd, and today, the deeply-religious anybodies still are.
So, Webb wanted to see more government intervention to ensure that “the best and most patriotic of the citizens” have more children in order to avoid “race deterioration, if not race suicide”.
If that sound scarily like the thinking that underpinned the Third Reich, than congratulations, you are starting to join the dots about where the theory of evolution actually let, and where the fake science and frankly evil ideas of the ‘humanists’ that promoted it are still taking the world.
So, let’s return to Marie Stopes. Back in 2012, the Royal Mail in the UK wanted to put out some stamps to ‘celebrate’ Maries Stopes, whose name still graces one of the most aggressive abortion clinics in the country. The Guardian newspaper told its readers:
“Being permanently pregnant through ignorance? Then thank Dr Marie Stopes. The lifestyle and personal fulfilment enjoyed by British women today owes more than many realise to this remarkable character…”
And then went on with some wonderful waffle about how visionary, and determined, and amazing the ‘feminist pioneer’ Ms Stopes really was.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MARIE STOPES
Here’s the unvarnished truth. The same year she founded her first ‘planned parenthood’ clinic, in 1921, Stopes also founded the “Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress”.
Right from the start, Stopes and her ‘humanist’ posse saw birth control and abortion as way to prevent: “the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded” from having more children. Stopes wrote a book called Radiant Motherhood in 1920, where she said that: “the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [should be] made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory.”
To quote the Catholic Herald (sorry…): “[Stopes] contributed a chapter to The Control of Parenthood (1920), which was a sort of manifesto for her circle of eugenicists, arguing for a “utopia” to be achieved through “racial purification”.
(Stopes was also closely connected to Margaret Sanger, founder of 'Planned Parenthood' in the States, and the two met in the UK when Sanger ran away from America where she was at risk of being prosecuted for her 'feminist' activities.)
Stopes was also a huge admirer of Hitler, y’msh, and even sent him a volume of her own love poems in 1939(!). In 1935, she went to the Nazi-sponsored International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, and in 1942, at the height of the holocaust, Stopes expressed her ‘love’ for her fellow human in the following poem:
The Jews and the Russians,
All are a curse,
Or something worse…
THE CONNECTION TO FAKE SCIENCE AND THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION
Now, why does this matter? It matters because the racist, evil ‘science’ of eugenics, and of population control by forced sterilization and abortion, was fed by the same group of fervent Darwinists who have been warping science for a century.
It’s this same group of people, and their intellectual heirs, who have been so ‘anti’ religion and so ‘anti’ God that they were prepared to foist any number of delusional, fake scientific ‘theories’ on the world in order to peel people away from believing in a benevolent Creator and the sanctity of human life.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Stopes was lecturing in paleobotany, when she became Manchester University's first female academic.
Because the theory of evolution, and all its guff about ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘natural selection’ led straight to the false science of eugenics (which was developed by Darwin’s cousin, Frances Galton).
Darwin’s false science provided the ‘scientific’ cover for racist Europeans to colonize and kill half the world, and to prevent the ‘unfit’ like Irish and Jews and working class people from having the vote. (In case you're wondering, that's just one of the reason that so many of Europe's 'unfit' decided to set sail for the new continent of America.)
A little later on, it also gave Nazi Germany the ‘scientific’ pretext it needed to set up the gas chambers.
EUGENICS GOES UNDERGROUND POST WW2
It’s only once the eugenicists in the rest of the world saw what had happened to the Jews, gypsies and disabled people in Germany that they went ‘undercover’ with their own eugenics ideas. Not so much because they didn’t still agree with Hitler and his policies, but more because by that point, it was so obviously evil no-one else in the world could agree with it.
So now, what does all this have to do with us? And with volcanoes? And with carbon dating and dinosaurs?
Let's try to sum it up, as follows:
#1: The whole ‘science’ of climate change is based on completely false premises. The world is NOT 4.5 billion years old, it’s 6,000 years old (or maximum, 8,000 years, to accommodate the 974 worlds that came before ours.)
#2: In that time, there has been a number of enormous catastrophes in which the contours of the earth, and the oceans, were completely redrawn by Hashem.
This is clearly sourced in the Gemara, and Rav Dovid Brown identifies six times that the world underwent massive geological and biological changes.
And that’s not including the ‘smaller’ events of Joshua making the sun stand still in the Ayalon, or Nakdimon Ben Gurion causing the sun to shine again after it had already set.
#3: It’s a fair bet that these catastrophes all included massive volcanic eruptions on a wide scale. As we’ve seen in Hawaii, that’s how new earth is created, that’s how valleys are raised and mountains are lowered as part of the natural course of events.
#4: Noah’s flood probably doubled the amount of water present in the world, and that water came from planet earth passing through the tail of a massive, planet-sized comet. Noah’s flood happened only 4,122 years ago.
#5: Radiometric carbon dating assumes that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and the amount of water in the world have always been constant. If there are thousands of volcanoes going off (or even, just one the size of Yellowstone…), and a huge flood happening, (to name but a couple of possibilities) that’s clearly not the case, which is why all the radioactive isotope dating techniques keep bringing back completely false readings, and also readings that change from day to day, even on the same things being measured.
#6: The idea that human consumption of carbon is causing climate change is completely laughable. One volcanic explosion alone accounts for 700 million tons of carbon being vented into the atmosphere, and that's not even including the 'invisible' stuff happening around volcanoes like constant release of methane gas. (That's what caused the strange blue lights around Hawaii's volcanic vents.) It’s all based on false science.
In reality, God is the one who is heating the world up, or probably more likely cooling it down, not people. And God is probably using the twin mechanisms of:
a) a bigger, super-heated Gehinnom at the earth’s core and
b) the extra-terrestial influence of the ‘Kochav Yaacov’, or some other big comets to do that.
And now, to the main point of this post, which comes courtesy of the following news piece about Berkeley and Climate Change:
Berkeley declares 'climate emergency' worse than World War II, demands 'humane' population control
The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night declared what it called a "climate emergency" with more global significance than World War II, and called for an immediate effort to "humanely stabilize population" and "reverse ecological overshoot."
The article continues:
More than 60 million people died during World War II, according to most estimates -- a huge portion of the global population. But according to the Berkeley City Council, another thinning of the herd might be needed.
I read that comment, and shuddered.
POPULATION CONTROL, CIRCA 2018
We’re back to eugenics! We’re back to forced population control! 70 years after WWII, the fake, uber-atheist science that powered the holocaust is now back with another ‘rational scientific basis’ for killing a bunch of people it deems surplus to requirements!
And you know what? The same horrible ‘science based’ ideas that powered the Nazis are also underpinning the ‘intellectual elite’ in Israel, too, and that’s really scary because these people actually wield real power here.
Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Jpost entitled: Racing towards disaster: Israel’s unsustainable population bomb:
“On August 14, the Israel National Economic Council issued a seemingly banal, technical publication called “Regional Population Scenarios for the State of Israel During the Years 2015-2040.”
The local press paid little attention to the report even though its findings should have troubled anyone who cares about the Land of Israel and the future of the Third Jewish Commonwealth.
Distilled to its essence, the report’s three main findings are: Israel’s population is set to expand by 5 million people over the next 23 years; the number of elderly citizens will double; and the percentage of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Israelis will increase from 11% to 20%.”
You got that? 'The Third Jewish Commonwealth' is being threatened by Jews having too many babies, and the most troubling thing of all is that the ‘ultra-Orthodox’ are exploding off the map!!
And how do you get ultra-orthodox, and Beduin, and Palestinians and all those other 'unfit' to stop breeding so much? You do it by 'empowering women' and getting them into the workforce.
And this is not a one-off message, it’s one that’s coming across louder and louder from the intellectual lefties that are pushing their fake climate change science all over the world.
Back in February, 2018, there was a joint conference in Tel Aviv between the University of Maryland, Tel Aviv University and Zafuf, the Israel Forum for Population, Environment, and Society called “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Culture and Sustainable Population Dynamics.”
‘Zafuf’ is full of left wing professors including one Alon Tal, chairman of Tel Aviv University’s public policy department, who recently wrote a book called: “The Land is Full: Addressing Overpopulation in Israel.”
Here’s what he had to say to Ha’Aretz:
“What does it mean that the government tells its citizens, ‘We’ll give you more money if you have more children’? The ultra-Orthodox have 6.5 children on average, and that’s solely thanks to public policy. Once, the average was 2.5.”
“In his book, Tal writes that “Israel’s population growth is driven more and more by high ultra-Orthodox fertility rates.”
Thus, if ultra-Orthodox fertility “doesn’t drop significantly, the social and environmental indicators by which quality of life in Israel is measured will deteriorate. In general, ultra-Orthodox parents have more children than they’re capable of supporting, so they have to rely on subsidies to survive. Given the poverty into which most ultra-Orthodox children are born, they don’t enjoy equal opportunities for a prosperous future.”
Tal, who hails from an American Jewish Conservative background then caps it all off with this statement:
“Our society has a taboo about not bringing children into the world – everyone feels they have to have children. But we’re a developed country, in which it’s relatively easy to break taboos.
“Over the last 10 years, society’s attitude toward the gay community has changed completely. Society threw out one of the hardest taboos to get rid of and entered a much healthier phase. With regard to childbirth, too, if we tell the truth I think we’ll get there.”
ATHEIST, EVOLUTIONARY 'UTOPIA'
And you know where ‘there’ is, don’t you? It’s a ‘utopia’ where no-one is religious, lifestyles that limit children are encouraged, and where people are punished or prevented from bringing new life into the world.
That whole push by Yesh Atid four years ago to slash child support budgets, and to push more chareidim into adopting a secular lifestyle and to disrupt early marriages by forcing chareidim into serving three years in the army was based in this exact same alarmist, false climate change ‘science’, that in turn is based on Darwin’s false ‘theory of evolution / the world is billions of years old’ science, that in turn was nourished by the Malthusian theory that there are finite non-renewable resources in the world and everything is about to run out.
It’s behind the recent laws to raise the age that people can get married in Israel, and to relax the rules on abortion on demand, so it’s the easiest thing in the world to get rid of another ‘unfit’ Jew coming into the world.
And it’s all completely and utterly ‘anti’ yiddishkeit, and anti-God.
I know it’s hard to take all this in, but if you really want to understand what’s going on in Israel and around the world, you have to understand where it’s all coming from.
And this is where it’s all coming from:
Darwin’s false theory of evolution, and all the false science it spawned that is continuing to be used as an ‘objective’ fig leaf for pure evil.
That’s why I keep banging on about this stuff, and that’s why I’m going to keep putting stuff out there to show how and why it’s false, so more people can stop falling for all this ‘climate change’ and ‘population control’ rubbish that is essentially the same ideology of eugenics and ‘survival of the fittest’ that powered the Nazis.
There is a battle for the soul of humanity going on, and the same people pushing ‘climate change’ are the same ones persecuting orthodox Jews in the UK, and who are promoting ‘alternative lifestyles’, abortions, feminism, nihilism and atheism all over the world, including in Israel.
It all fits together.
And a believing Jew needs to be very aware that ‘climate change’ – and all the fake science that underpins it - is really all about killing off more human beings, and not about saving polar bears.
Yesterday, in the middle of my ongoing pity party, I went for a little walk to get a sandwich for lunch – and then I realized it was starting to rain, so I walked back to the apartment quickly, to get my washing in.
As noted in previous posts, the housekeeping is taking a nose-dive at the moment, so getting that stuff out there in the first place is taking some major effort. So, I was gathering in my towels and sheets….when I suddenly realized it’s the middle of June, and I live in Israel.
And rain just isn’t meant to happen in Israel in June.
In the end, it was just a little smattering, but today it’s looking so cloudy outside, and feeling so cold, relatively, that I just went to look up the weather forecasts for Jerusalem and they are predicting thunder storms and rain.
Whether the forecast will be another incidence of navi sheker, we’ll soon find out.
But in the meantime, it really looks like it’s possible.
And so, the highly unusual weather that’s happening all over the world continues….
Over on the Ravberland.com website, they've just posted up a prayer for the molad, or new moon, of Tammuz 5778, that is happening today, at 18.44 Israeli time, that I think is highly significant.
The Rav is talking about cancelling the laws of nature, and of the sun standing still, like it did for Joshua, so that Israel could 'take revenge' on their enemies.
You can see it for yourself HERE.
Given that the Rav is the only one who is has been consistently talking about comets fighting for Jews, and rivers running backwards as a result of celestial events, and that the tone of his shiurim has gone from complete forgiveness for enemies and wicked people to something much harsher (at least from my reading of them in the Hebrew) over the last two weeks - I really do think something big is about to happen.
And that Hawaii, and 'pele' is the key to it all.
There is a lot to pray for, this coming month, in a whole bunch of ways.