Yesterday night, Zot Chanuka, me and my husband schlepped off to Hevron at 11pm, to do our bit to try to get to the 50,000 people Rav Berland said would be needed to sweeten the awful judgments of war hanging over Israel.
Let me put you out of your suspense right now, and tell you that 50,000 people didn’t come.
There were definitely thousands, but 50,000?
So, the question is, did it work?
Did the prayer gathering do enough to sweeten everything that’s going on?
I don’t know.
This morning, the news is full of multiple attempted terrorist attacks in Israel:
7 people wounded near Ofra in a shooting attack, including a 21 year old mother-to-be who ended up delivering her baby 10 weeks early. The baby is now fighting for it’s life.
A stabbing attack in Jerusalem, where a terrorist stabbed 7 police officers.
These seem to be clear signs that ‘the matzav’, as they call it in Israel, is heating up again.
So, did yesterday’s prayer gathering ‘work’?
I don’t know. I hope so.
What’s clear, is that the Rav could see this ‘deterioration’ in Israel’s security approaching, and according to his words, there may still be far worse to come.
Unless the prayer gathering worked.
But the required 50,000 didn’t show up.
And in case you think this is just Israel’s problem, it isn’t.
Whenever ‘the matzav’ worsens here, anti-semitism and anti-Jewish feeling across the globe ticks up alarmingly, as the media rushes to fill your screens and your head with images of the terrible ‘violence’ being perpetrated…by Israel.
And with Europe descending into chaos as it is, the anti-semites don’t need any more encouragement to start venting their existing frustrations on the local Jews.
They are already smashing up shops, windows and buildings all over France. It won’t take much for a few synagogues and Jewish institutions to get the Gilets Jaunes treatment, too.
And remember, just last month, a Jew-hater opened fire on a non-orthodox synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11. Anti-semitism is on the rise all over the world.
So, the worsening matzav is really not just Israel’s problem.
Did it work, yesterday?
I hope so.
But I really don’t know.
UPDATE: Someone just told me that the stabbing attack happened three weeks ago, not today, so BH for that. I live right next to Arnona and had no idea that happened up the road three weeks ago, because I barely check the news.
So, I feel a little better. Maybe, it did work after all.
Around 3 years ago, my life was in a real mess.
Me and my husband had lost everything we owned, we felt completely alone in the world, we were arguing with just about everyone you could think of or imagine, and to top it all off, I then had four early miscarriages in the space of a year and a half immediately before, during and after our move to Jerusalem.
To say we were going through the wringer was kind of the understatement of the century.
And still moshiach hadn’t come, and still no geula, but I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I either really needed life to get much easier, nicer and better pronto, or I didn’t really want to carry on.
(I get emails from a lot of people, BH, and I know so many people have reached that stage at the moment, may God send us all the balm and the cure and the solution for all of our woes.)
I always thought I had emuna, but at that stage in my life, I was in serious danger of falling away from yiddishkeit, God forbid. I’d been let down by so many of the rabbis in my life, and I’d been through so many difficulties and problems despite trying to follow all the extra chumrot and super-duper frummie stuff I’d been told would guarantee me the easy life that I felt like the floor had been ripped away from under my feet.
And then on top of everything else, came those four miscarriages, back to back, at the single most stressful, financially precarious moment of my married life. I’m sure the awful stress I was under contributed a great deal to the miscarriages, but long story short, I was completely and utterly wasted at all levels of body, mind and soul by the fourth one, and I was ready to throw in the towel.
Believing in miracles again
At that point, I started reading the Knishta Hadar newsletter that my husband was picking up from Chut Shel Chessed every few weeks – and what I read blew me away. What, there was still a rabbi out there who was the real deal?! Who was doing mamash open miracles?! Who could really help the people who turned to him with their problems?!
All this sounded far too good to be true, in the bitter, super-cynical state I was in back then.
But, I’m half-Moroccan, and while that fact often gets me into so much trouble, on this occasion, it was actually the source of salvation. Because my Moroccan side started saying: “Try it out! What have you got to lose at this stage? Ask for a blessing, pay a pidyon, and see if works! This Rav is the last shot you’ve got to keep believing that real tzaddikim actually exist…”
So, I called up the hotline, I sent in a brief email describing the 4 awful, early miscarriages, and how much physical, emotional and spiritual difficulty I was going through, and then, I waited for a response.
From the moment I spoke to the Rav’s gabbay (attendant), I already started to feel better than I’d been feeling, physically, for two years. And that’s what got me thinking: This Rav is the real deal.
Still, I waited to hear what the Rav himself had to say.
The Rav was in South Africa back then, so his attendants were recording his messages on WhatsApp and emailing them back to people. After a couple of days, I got sent an audio message via email where the Rav addressed me directly using my Hebrew name, and it’s hard to explain it, but I felt for the first time in my life that someone had finally ‘seen’ me.
Someone had finally ‘heard’ how much pain I was going through. Someone was behind me, finally, I didn’t have to stagger on alone any more.
I was told I needed to pay 5,000 nis as a pidyon nefesh, and I did that happily – I was already feeling better and happier than I’d felt for years.
Things moved fast after that. On the advice of Rav Berland, my husband moved over to the Shuvu Banim yeshiva, and so many of the difficulties and issues that we’d been struggling with for years just kind of resolved or disappeared.
Life got bearable again. Life even got kind of nice, mostly, again. We made peace with so many of the people we fell out with, we felt healthier and happier again, our parnassa started to do so much better, Baruch Hashem.
Throughout all my difficulties, I’d been praying my socks off, doing hours and hours of hitbodedut, and going to Uman regularly, and trying to make teshuva.
All that stuff is so important, and so helpful, but at this stage, it’s clear to me that there’s only so much we can do by ourselves, especially in this spiritually lowly generation.
If I hadn’t had the merit of connecting with Rav Berland three years ago, I dread to think what would have happened. As it was, I can tell you without the shadow of a doubt that the Rav is what pulled me and family through the hardest few years of our life, in one piece, and with our faith and sanity still intact.
And that’s why now, I am willing to do whatever it takes to try to help the Rav, in whatever way I can.
On the one hand, I know that if I hadn’t started writing about the Rav, it’s possible that I’d have far more readers at this stage, and certain that I’d have had far fewer unpleasant interactions with all the anonymous internet psychos out there.
It’s possible more people would have bought more of my books, and it’s also possible that I’d be part of the ‘chummy club’ of frum internet people who all promote each other’s stuff, and rub each other’s backs, and keep each other happy.
If I’m honest, making the decision to be behind the Rav 100% publically hasn’t always been easy, especially when there’s been another wave of lies and slander that’s rippled out of the recesses of some extremely disturbed people’s imagination.
If I’m honest, sometimes all I want to write about is my kids, and life in Israel generally, and all my holistic health stuff and mental health stuff. People like that, people respond positively to that, I know.
Before I start typing, I try to ask God to send me the words that He wants me to write, and I think that's why so often over the last two years, when I’ve sat down to write apparently ‘normal’, what’s come out is ‘geula’ and off the wall.
So often, I’ve decided to just leave the Rav’s stuff to one side for a bit, and just to concentrate on the everyday life stuff more, and then God pulls me right back around to writing more unexpected, often dramatic updates.
Dear reader, I yearn for ‘normal’.
But it seems, God is getting ready for ‘geula’.
So at this stage, I can’t think of anything more worthwhile to do with my time, and with my blog, and with my writing, than helping the Rav anyway I can.
After everything he’s done for me and my family, it’s the least I can do for him.
And this is what the people who are persecuting the Rav, and the people who are slandering him, will never, ever understand:
People don’t support the Rav with everything they’ve got because they’ve been brainwashed, or are part of a cult. If you see how the Rav really operates, you’d understand just how laughable these accusations really are.
People will do anything for the Rav for the simple reason that they know how much they owe him.
I owe the Rav so much. His blessings, his pidyonot, his advice helped me to make a 180 degree turnaround, and to go from a life that was literally a living hell, to one that is pretty nice, most of the time.
I know how low I fell, after that last miscarriage. I had no energy left, no hope left, no emuna left.
And the Rav somehow picked me up, put me back together, and set me back on my feet.
So, even though I’m yearning for ‘normal’, and I’m yearning to be a little more accepted, and a little more ‘standard, in the meantime, I will carry on posting up whatever is required to help the Rav, even when it’s 'out there', even when it’s disturbing and upsetting.
What can I do?
It seems increasingly likely that the days when ‘normal’ was normal, are drawing to a close.
They just posted up the full translation of Rav Berland's latest message about the prayer gathering called for Zot Chanuka, Sunday night, and it's extremely disturbing reading.
I'm bringing the full translation here below, and THIS is where you can see the original.
And now, I'm asking you, dear reader, to please send this to as many people as you can, because Rav Berland simply doesn't make empty statements. If he's saying things are this bad, they really are this bad.
Who cares, if they think you're a bit dumb or crazy? The important thing at this stage is to do your bit, however you can, to help as many people know what's really going on, and to encourage them to join the prayer gathering, or at the very least, to say the Book of Tehillim themselves on Sunday.
The whole world is going crazy: stockmarkets are dropping all over the place, half of Europe is rioting, the UK is about to plunge into utter Brexit chaos, and let's not even talk about the earthquakes and volcanoes that are popping off all over the place.
We've hit crunch time.
So please do your part, both for yourselves and Am Yisrael, and Bezrat Hashem, our prayers will tear up the evil decree.
This Sunday night, Zot Chanuka, Rav Eliezer Berland has called for a huge prayer gathering in Hevron, the city of the Patriarchs. The Rav has put out a number of urgent messages in recent days, encouraging people to attend the event, and underlining the importance of participating – because the situation is looking extremely grave.
Here is the full translation of the Rav’s most recent message:
“The whole of Am Yisrael is currently facing a terrible, threatening situation. Every part of Israel is now under threat of being deluged with rockets. After we saw 400 rockets falling on Ashkelon and the surrounding cities, including Beer Sheva, Netivot, Ofakim and Sderot, now they are preparing thousands and thousands of rockets, which will reach to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“And we have no possibility of stopping this from happening, because the whole world is against us. They can launch 10,000 missiles, and if we fire back even just one, they will say that we are the aggressors, and they are the victims.
“They will say that we began [hostilities], and that they are simply defending themselves.
“We have no [military] might, we only have the power of tehillim (psalms). All of the State of Israel’s efforts to stop the missiles of Hezbollah and Hamas ended in failure. Every day, we are threatened with thousands of new rockets. They can reach any target precisely…
“Am Israel is in the greatest danger, mamash, and our only possibility of coming through this lies in our mouths: “The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Esav.” (Bereishit, 27:22).
“We are now, mamash, at the final moments that we can stay in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel, because the goal of the Arabs is to destroy everyone here. They don’t care if its dati’im (observant Jews), chilonim (secular Jews), Chareidim, Neturei Karta - they aren’t interested.
“They want to annihilate every single Jew, until the very last one of us – regardless of whether he’s secular, or religious, or Mizrachi (Sephardi traditional), or kipat srugah (National Religious).
It’s written: “And I will divide them, into the light and into the dark” (Bereishit 1:4).
They are not going to distinguish between the ‘light’ and the ‘darkness’. Right now, we are all in the gravest danger, mamash.
So, we need to really urge people to attend this Prayer Gathering, so that almost 50,000 thousand people will come.
“And everyone should read the whole of the Book of Tehillim, which will [form] the shoes for the Shechina... every single person is obliged to complete the book of Tehillim at the Prayer Gathering, and to make good use of this opportunity for 50,000 people to say tehillim together.
“This will (be considered in Heaven) as though a billion people are saying tehillim (psalms), and this will certainly stop the tillim (rockets).
“Only tehillim can stop the tillim – not the IDF, not weapons, not tanks, not Patriot missiles, no Iron Dome – none of these things can stop the missiles. Only the tehillim that we will say at this Prayer Gathering can stop the missiles.
“And in the merit of this, everyone will have a long life, like Yitzhak, in the merit of participating in this Prather Gathering....
"And the Rav will of course be coming, without doubt.
“The whole of Am Yisrael is invited to come to the Prayer Gathering, and to finish the book of Tehillim, and this will erase Hamas from the face of the earth.”
I just got sent a recording of Rav Berland saying that the whole of Israel is in very grave danger, and that if we don't manage to get the decree cancelled with our prayers, rockets are going to start raining down on the whole of Israel again, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
I will let you know as soon as it's translated into English, but things really are getting very serious - even though it may still not look like it, 'down here'.
(If you have both eyes squeezed tight shut, your fingers in your ears, and your head in the sand.)
UPDATE: Here are the key points, from the ravberland.com website:
If it's at all possible, please consider joining the Prayer Gathering in Hevron this coming Sunday night. There will be specially-chartered buses coming to and from the location all night, so you can come whenever you want, and leave whenever you need to.
Call: 077-229-2222 for more details.
If you can't come in person, then please commit to saying as much of the Sefer Tehillim you can on the eighth day of Chanuka.
We all need to pull together, and to pray that things are going to get sweetened.
Our prayers can turn everything around!
This poem was at the end of a post written by Esther Cameron, over on Sasson, and it really spoke to me.
It's always darkest before the dawn, and for sure it's pretty dark right now for a lot of people. But BH, the light of Zot Chanuka will turn it all around.
Let us keep one another from despairing
though desperate matters in the world abound,
build bright the thought of one another’s caring
to keep at bay the fierce eyes all around.
Let’s each be witness to the other’s world:
before the other’s eyes let each unroll
those maps of truth that lie in darkness furled
when unperused by any kindred soul.
Granted, we lack the power to turn the course
of history, which tomorrow as today
declines from bad to worse and worse and worse;
yet, while we can, let’s mock it in our play.
Each moment of shared truth and shared delight
sets a bright star against the faithless night.
(Let him lift up his eyes and his heart to us,
To the light,
Last month, I picked up a dog-eared copy of the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, and for some reason, I actually read it. Napoleon was born to Corsican parents just before France invaded Corsica, which depending on how you look at it, was probably the biggest lucky break the French republicans ever got.
Because the newly ‘Frenchified’ Napoleon was a born artillery genius.
When the people who cut off King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette’s heads (which actually was a good thing, as the Bourbon kings of France, Spain, and other parts of Europe were completely and utterly corrupt) found their revolution stalling under their feet, a young corporal called Napoleon bounded up with his guns, and saved it.
From that lowly start, Napoleon rose to become the Emperor of France, and he had quite an empire going for over a decade. He was probably the most fair and principled ruler Europe had seen for at least two thousand years – which is not saying much, as Europe’s rulers have nearly always been degenerate low-lifes.
Long story short, Napoleon, and the French Revolution completely changed the face of the world, in a myriad different ways.
And it seems to me, history may be about to repeat itself.
This week, France is in virtual melt-down as a bunch of yellow-jacketed protesters are flooding the streets, outraged at yet another tax hike being imposed on their petrol. France’s youthful President Emmanuel Macron has bought all the ‘man-made climate change’ baloney hook, line and sinker.
That means he’s made privately-owned cars Public Enemy #1 (while basically ignoring all the Radical Islam terrorists floating about France), and has been hiking taxes all over the place to ‘save the world’ from fossil fuels.
But the people are revolting.
The French always are. But it seems to me, something big is about to shift in France, because there are literally millions of people taking to the street over there, and the politically-correct President is also a snowflake who has no idea how to really handle a bunch of angry citizens who are marching for his head.
Not literally, like in the old days (or at least, not yet…) – but they want his resignation, and they want it NOW. And the party who will probably take over when that happens is Marine Le Pen’s National Front (recently renamed 'National Rally').
Le Pen came second in last year’s Presidential Election, but now the shine has well and truly rubbed off of Macron and his cronies, she is surging ahead in the polls so strongly, I really don’t know what could stop her land-sliding into power, if there’s another election.
Meanwhile, Britain is lurching from bad to worse, in the wake of Brexit. There are headlines all over the place saying that Jeremy Corbyn, that openly Hamas-loving loonie Leftie, could be PM by 2019. I doubt it’ll be that fast – but I don’t doubt that something dramatic is on the cards there, too.
And then, there’s the US.
Ah, the US.
All last week, I was learning about the two million (and some say, 18 million) Native Americans that were routinely massacred during the middle of the 19th century, by greedy pioneers with guns in one hand and gospels in the other.
There’s a lot to say about that subject, but for now, let’s focus on the one thing that I’m still very interested in: volcanoes. Do you know the Native Americans used to consider the volcanoes in their midst to be sacred ground? Do you know how many native ‘legends’ there are describing absolutely massive eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and even big parts of the North American continent breaking off and sinking into the Pacific?
(And all this happened in the last few thousand years…)
Do you know, that the American government has been drilling its fracking wells and geothermal pumping ops on the flanks of a whole bunch of volcanoes that they believe to be dead or dormant, but which are really still alive and kicking?
Partially, they’re doing that to try to alleviate some of the seismic pressure that regularly comes across the continent every 200 years or so, and that could destroy the USA’s infrastructure literally in a minute, were it to happen again. And partially, they are doing it to get all the oil, gas, steam and minerals out of the ground, that is currently worth some very big bucks.
But, the point is this: the USA was built on greed, mass-murder, and an over-weaning xtian arrogance that they were the new 'chosen people'.
If the 90,000 or so greedy gold-rushers who swarmed into California had treated the locals a tad more kindly, and a tad less selfishly, maybe they would have realized that trying to build their new world on one of the most unstable, seismically-active and potentially dangerous bits of real estate on the planet was not such a good idea.
When it comes to volcanoes and earthquakes, the American continent is an absolute basket-case. That’s why the Native Americans were semi-nomadic, that’s why they regarded the volcanoes in their midst with such awe, and that’s why their folklore is packed to the gills with tales of exploding mountains, floods, fire that travels under the ground and ‘fights’ between Heaven and earth.
A few days’ ago, Anchorage in Alaska was hit with an enormous 7+ magnitude earthquake, that caused so much deformation of the ground, roads literally dropped 10-15 metres.
And probably, this is only the beginning of the dramatic geophysical events that will start playing out over there, between now and 2030.
In the midst of all this, Rav Berland has been giving over some very disturbing shiurim recently, where he’s talking about Moshiach dying, and how there are now more enormous judgments hanging over Am Yisrael, on an even bigger scale than we saw six years’ ago, when the Iranian nuke scare was at its zenith.
Once again, we seem to be reaching a collective tipping-point. Once again, we seem to be standing on the edge of the precipice. For the people who are yearning so much for ‘the end’, let me just mention that Moshiach coming doesn’t mean everyone gets a first-class ticket to come take up residence in a swanky new apartment building in the Holy City.
What it means, at least first, is that the world is going to be plunged into the sort of chaos that will make materialism utterly meaningless. Who knows, when the dust finally clears, what that Moshiach world is actually going to look like?
USA = ESAV, make no mistake about it.
You only have to read the accounts of what was occurring there all through the 19th century – and take the blinders off, and realize just how many of the world’s current problems can be laid at the feet of American greed and self-centredness.
It’s ‘goodness’ is for show, it’s ‘piety’ is all external.
Don’t forget, the USA closed its borders to Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler, and refused to bomb the tracks that led to Auschwitz. And they knew what Auschwitz was, and who was being taken there, as did the UK, France, and the other Allies, too.
God has a lot of patience, and a lot of compassion. But there’s still a limit, and my guess is that any demands that Jews withdraw from even one square metre of Israel will be the match that lights the fuse connected to the thousands of volcanic ticking time-bombs located under America.
We know from our prophets that a third of the world will be utterly destroyed before Moshiach comes, and a third will be greatly damaged. Based on history, based on the spread and activity of the volcanoes in the world, and of the fault lines in the tectonic plates, the West Coast of the North American continent has very high odds of being in one or both of those categories.
And you know where else has historically been hit with massive seismic and volcanic activity?
Greece and Italy.
Italy, in particular - where the Roman Exile began - still has the most volcanically active bits of ground in the whole of Western Europe.
And, you remember that New Zealand was in the lead of the funny business at the UN against Israel, as Obama’s stooge, just before he left office? Well, guess where else is sitting smack dab on hundreds of active volcanoes?
I could go on and on, but let’s sum it up like this: Pretty much every nation in the world has some sort of volcanic or seismic weakpoint, that God can switch on, or agitate, in the blink of the eye.
The only reason more people aren’t stressing over this is because they’ve swallowed all the fake science baloney that tells them these volcanoes, etc, are billions of years old, (sic), and they have nothing to worry about.
So, what can we do?
What can you and me, the regular people, the regular Jews, do, to try to ease us in to the next stage of geula without seeing half of America sink into a massive lava lake, or collapse under the Pacific ocean, in the next decade or so?
The answer is so simple, but still so hard:
Support our true Tzaddikim and work on our own bad middot.
And top of the 'True Tzaddikim' list is Rav Berland.
As time goes on, I see more and more of the people who have publically gone against the Rav being outed as just plain disturbed individuals. Thank God, it’s getting easier and easier to see that nasty, crazy people with bad middot are very vocally ‘anti’ the Rav, and that everyone else is not.
I was heartened by these new videos from Rav Glazerson (scroll down to see them), because it showed me that this clarity really is starting to get out there, and to be amplified in the world.
But in the meantime, the Rav really needs our help. He’s 80, he’s maintaining a schedule that no-one else can keep up with (believe me, I’ve seen them trying), and he is doing his very best to bring geula for us the sweet way.
But our bad middot keep getting in the way.
Between you and me, I already know that no-one is going to read this and throw away their i-Phones, or read this and publically apologise for all the machloket they’ve caused, or make teshuva for all the lashon hara they’ve spoken, or people they’ve hurt.
We are the ‘heels’ of Moshiach, after all, that dead, numb, super-tough piece of skin at the very bottom of the body that nothing can really puncture.
But we can still do something: we can come and pray with the Rav in Hevron, this Sunday night, December 9th, 2018.
In the past, I’ve seen the tremendous power these prayer gathering have to mamash tip the spiritual balance back in a better direction, and sweeten the judgments that are piling up against all of us.
A couple of years’ back, the Rav called for a prayer gathering in Hevron, to end the so-called ‘stabbing intifada’ that had been sweeping Israel for months and months. They held the gathering, 10,000 people showed up to pray, including Rav Arush – and the stabbing intifada suddenly faded away.
You can’t make this stuff up, you can’t fake it.
Yes, I know it’s hard schlepping off to Hevron late Sunday night after you’ve stuffed your face with yet more donuts, but is it harder than seeing the chaos in the world intensify? Or going through another war with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in the North?
Is it being harder than being nuked by Iran, or seeing half of America explode and collapse?
And let’s not even talk about what’s going on in our own lives.
So, BH, I hope to see you there on Sunday. Yes, there’s a women’s section, yes, there are very cheap buses to and from Hevron that will be running all night. The Rav put out a recording just now saying people should come without worrying how they are dressed, or whether they will ‘fit in’.
Who cares what you're wearing?!
What’s important right now is Jewish unity and Jewish prayers.
What’s important right now is to heed the words of the True Tzaddikim, and not to make the mistake of thinking someone else out there is going to pick up the slack.
Come and do your bit to sweeten the judgements. Come to Hevron and pray with the Rav.
Because it’s clear to all of us: things are not going to continue like this for very much longer.
And here's another one from Rav Glazerson, also discussing the process of redemption laid out by Rav Eliezer Berland, between 5776 and 5781:
Such confusing times we live in, aren’t they? Part of what I’ve been finding so hard is just how quickly ‘friend’ can become ‘foe’ and vice-versa, the last few years.
It’s hard to trust anyone. It’s hard to really know where anyone is really coming from these days.
Back in 2015, I realized that God has done all this on purpose, because what He really wants is for us to keep talking to Him every single day – about everything going on in our lives – and to not just turn our brains off, and give away our free choice to other people.
That ‘other person’ could be a doctor. They could be a politician. They could be a scientist, or a schoolteacher, a parent, or even a rabbi.
Because free choice is the whole reason God made us; it’s the defining ability of a human being, and it’s something we have to exercise all the time – even if that means we’re going to end up making a mistake, or suffering something we’d prefer to not have to deal with.
I know there is a lot of controversy raging about the vaccines issue right now. (For my take on it, see THIS post.)
I was doing some praying on what’s really going on with it all, and here’s what came to me: the story of Rav Eliezer HaGadol, and the Sages, in the Gemara.
Turns out, Rav Eliezer HaGadol was 100% right, when he and the Sages were arguing about the halachic status of an earthenware oven. Rav Eliezer was so right, the river ran backwards, the walls of the yeshiva caved in, and a bat kol, a voice from Heaven, even announced that Rav Eliezer was correct.
But the rest of the Sages still banded together, ignored all these phenomena, and actually ex-communicated Rav Eliezer! The cherem was only lifted shortly before he died, so the Sages could attend his funeral.
We are talking about massive tzaddikim here – including Rabbi Akiva, the redactor of the Oral Torah, the teacher of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, the person who said that no-one in his generation was on the level to rebuke another Jew.
Yet, even Rabbi Akiva joined the other Sages in excommunicating his teacher, and the most outstanding Rabbi of the generation, Rav Eliezer HaGadol.
And Rav Eliezer HaGadol was 100% right, don’t forget! Even the angels said so!
So, what was really going on here?
In a nutshell: Jewish unity.
Having peace between Jews is the single most important thing, the single best guarantee of good health and blessing.
At the end of last week, I spoke to one of my relatives in the States who is a believing Jew, a quick thinker, and more amenable than most to hearing new ideas. I broached the vaccines topic with him – and I was amazed at how he was having a hard time accepting even the most basic ideas.
Like, the stronger a person’s immune system is, the easier they will find it to fight off disease easily.
Like, germs are around us all the time, and the main factor in whether we’ll get really sick (which is really just God, but we couldn’t really get to that level in the discussion) is whether we’re already weak and ailing in some way.
Like, the measles vaccine doesn’t guarantee immunity from measles – even according to the Department of Health’s own figures, 3% of all people fully vaccinated will still develop measles.
So that means measles can never actually be fully eradicated.
The man just couldn’t hear it. He just couldn’t agree. He’s living in a world where he’s bombarded with information telling him that germs are the only factor causing disease, and that vaccines are the solution to avoiding disease.
He told me one other piece of information that I thought was very pertinent: Apparently, there’s been a few measles breakouts in Monsey, amongst predominantly chassidish communities.
“Having a measles epidemic in the Jewish community is making us look bad to the goyim,” he told me. “We already got blamed for the Black Death in the Middle Ages, we don’t need to give them any more ammunition.”
I have a feeling this last sentiment may be holding more weight when it comes to the hysteria over the measles outbreak than any of the other things so far discussed
But bottom line is: most of the people out there are so caught up in the world of lies that even if they are sincere, believing, thoughtful Jews, there is still no-one to really talk to when it comes to broaching the topic of how health really works.
So, what are our rabbis to do? Are they to promote divisive pronouncements that a majority of even frum Jews are literally incapable of accepting or following? Where is that going to lead?
So, even though Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol is figuratively right, the Sages chose unity and achdus, and hoped that God would keep everyone healthy and well.
Did they make the right decision? Honestly, there’s a machloket about that.
But what all this comes down to is that there is no shortcuts, and that the only way to get through this world in one piece, sanely, without being overwhelmed by doubts and confusions on all sides, is to keep talking to God every single day, and asking for clarity and emuna.
The last thing to say is this: Any rabbi who counsels a couple with conflicting opinions on the issue of vaccines to get divorced over the matter is not coming from a good place at all, spiritually.
God values peace above all else. God values shalom bayit above all else. And if a rabbi is saying to divorce because the other person wants to vaccinate, or doesn’t want to vaccinate, then get the heck away from them.
Bezrat Hashem, God will help us all to find our path through this maze, and to stay close to Him, and to keep our kids truly healthy in all ways, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
After I put this up, I realized I'd forgotten perhaps the most important point of all, which is that our rabbis make the reality.
When that Bat Kol came out from heaven, the Sages argued that halacha was not decided in Heaven, it was decided on earth - by the true rabbis that God had set over the people.
And God agreed!
Yes, I know what's going on is difficult. I know vaccines are not the health panacea they are made out to be by the Pharmaceutical industry. But at the same time, if our rabbis are saying we should vaccinate, we now have an additional layer of spiritual protection for our vaccinated children that wasn't there before.
The rabbis make the reality!
That's a fundamental foundation of Emunat Tzaddikim. And the true rabbis in our midst see much further down the road than we can, and are taking many more factors into account than are immediately obvious to the rest of us.
Again, Rabbenu is 100% anti-doctor. That is the Breslov path. And yet, he was pro-vaccines.
How these two things really go together is something requires an awful lot of hitbodedut, but go together, they do. And as I've said before on this blog, Rabbenu is always right.
Rebbe Nachman tells us: it’s a huge mitzvah to be happy! And to be happy all the time!
But then he also tells us: Happiness is also the single hardest thing to achieve in life, and you are going to have to work at it ad 120, to really get there.
Which is why when I sometimes have a sad day or two, I don’t get too freaked out about it.
Honestly, there’s a lot of hardships going on in the world. Barely a day goes by without an email bringing its own tale of nasty disease, horrible divorce, or some other massive personal challenge.
We can’t close our eyes to the suffering that’s going on all around us – to do that turns us into unfeeling robots, and that’s not what God wants. At all.
At the same time, we also can’t let other people’s ‘stuff’ take over too much of our headspace, or take out too much of our joy. Because when we’re down, we get distanced from God, we get discouraged and demoralized, and we don’t tend to do very much to build the world.
Main-lining Youtube videos generally does not build the world!
Moping around in bed, or on the couch, instead of washing up or making the supper generally
does not build the world!
Getting in bad moods about how unfair it all seems, somehow, or how pointless, generally does not build the world!
At the same time – we can’t close our eyes to the suffering all around us. And especially not to the suffering that we ourselves still experience deep down inside.
So then, what’s the answer?
How do we walk this narrowest of bridges?
Honestly? I don’t really know.
But what seem to work for me at the moment is to not run away from the occasional sad feelings that still crop up, and to not ignore them, but also to not give them too much encouragement.
“Ok, Rivka, you want to feel sad that the evil pioneers killed a whole bunch of Native American tribes off in such vile, awful ways? You can! But only for half an hour. Then remind yourself that God is running the world, and snap out of it.”
Ditto, when I saw that poor, abused boy on the bench after he’d been kicked out of the house by his folk. My first inclination was just to feel really, really sad. But after a couple of hours of that, I realized it wasn’t really helping. It wasn’t building the world. It wasn’t putting God in the picture.
All it was doing was making me angry, apathetic and overwhelmed with thoughts of how ‘bad’ the world actually is, and how retarded so many parents appear to be.
So first I snapped out of it, with God’s help. And then, I spent a week seeing if there are any opportunities for me to start volunteering with at-risk teens in Jerusalem, and there might be.
We can’t ignore the darkness, we can’t just wish the evil away – we’re not on that level.
But at the same time, Rebbe Nachman tells us: don’t lose your simcha! Hang on to your happiness! Really, that’s the way out of the gloom, it’s the winch that will hoist you – and everyone else - out of all the yuck, and into the geula.
Following this advice is really not easy, especially as so many people are struggling today.
But one thing I do know for sure, and this is it:
Rebbe Nachman is always right.
I’ve been going on about the link between rising magma, rising seismicity and wildfires for a while now, in connection to what’s been happening in California.
Dutchsinse – the amateur geophysics genius on Youtube who seems to know far more about real science then most of the ‘real’ scientists out there – basically nailed the process of what’s occurring:
There’s a big earthquake that occurs out to sea, but close enough to get the plates moving.
That seismic activity shows up as a swarm of much smaller quakes striking on the flanks of a whole bunch of volcanoes, including many officially listed as ‘dormant’ or ‘dead’.
Within a few days of those earthquakes striking, the wildfires begin.
Because the earthquakes mean that magma is on the move, and as part of that seismic activity, some of the volcanic gases contained in magma – including methane – are released from the ground, and seep up through the surface of the earth, where they can spontaneously ignite, if the conditions are right.
And all it takes is a spark, so getting the methane to light is not so hard, especially if you’re God.
Back in THIS POST, I linked to the fact sheet from the USGS that explained how methane has been leaking out around the Sutter Buttes volcano in the Sacramento Valley for centuries.
Sacramento Valley is the location of most of those wildfires in California, and the ones that weren’t located in that area were also located very close to ‘old’ volcanic fields that had recently experienced swarms of micro-quakes.
A few days’ back, Dutchsinse happened to mention that Australia had experienced a rare (for them) earthquake. Then today, there are stories of awful wildfires breaking out all around Deeptown and Round Hill in Central Queensland.
Authorities are describing these fires as ‘unprecedented’ – because Australia is still at the close of its rainy season. Even though most of the rain fell very late in the season, causing drought conditions for the first part of the Australian winter, at this point, the ground is soaked (and they’ve been having ‘unprecedented’ flash flooding).
So yes, heatwave, blah blah blah. Drought, blah blah blah.
But something else appears to be going on here.
Queensland is full of volcanoes, and ‘extinct’ volcanic fields – including the ‘Agnes Water Volcanics’, which happens to be right where the fires are breaking out around Baffle Creek.
Lucky for the residents, the scientists have dated most of the volcanoes and volcanic fields in Queensland to the Triassic age – i.e. some 200-250 million years ago (sic) – based on a few plant fossils that were found in some sandstone.
If you hold by the idea that the world is only 5778 years old, as the Torah tells us, clearly this dating is plain wrong.
What if the volcanoes, and the volcanic fields in Australia are all starting to wake up, same as we’re seeing California?
Again, there is a reason that the American continent, and particularly the West coast, and Australia were sparsely inhabited by ‘primitive people’ when the ‘civilised’ Europeans discovered them a couple of centuries ago, and started a systematic program of ethnic cleansing and mass murder.
Let’s do the maths together:
(See HERE for more details on this, if you like maths).
A couple who lived in the UK 2,000 years ago, at the time of the Roman invasion of Britain, would have an estimated 500,000 descendants, 16 generations later (400 years). By a thousand years later, they’d have an estimated 50 million descendants.
Science tells us Australia and California (and everywhere else) are billions of years old.
So, where were all the people?
Why were there only a maximum of 600,000 people living in the whole, gigantic West of America 200 years ago? Why only 250,000 Australian Aborigines found in the whole continent, when the Europeans made ‘first contact’ in the 19th century?
Could it be, that these places experienced regularly, massive geological upheaval and change, which periodically wiped out nearly all the inhabitants in one go, as the ground raised up out of the sea, cracked, plunged into it, and magma and volcanic gases spread across the earth?
While you’re chewing that over, I had an email from the North of Israel this week, that told me there has been a fire burning uncontrollably near the Zaki stream, at the foot of the Golan Heights, in the Betiha Valley. (I haven't been able to independently verify if this is true - if anyone lives close and can give me more info, or better yet, take a picture, please do!)
The Zaki Stream was one of the places that got closed in the Summer, because of an outbreak of Leptospirosis in the water sources in the area of the Golan Heights. (It’s a post for another time, but I think the leptospirosis outbreak is somehow linked to the earth becoming warmer, or the gases being released, as magma rises towards to the surface.)
The Golan Heights is volcanic, and still active – there are at least 16 volcanoes there.
Israel has also been experiencing a higher number of small quakes in and around the North over the last few months. (Go HERE if you want to keep tabs on Israel’s earthquakes yourself.)
Is the same scenario playing out all over the world?
Are the volcanoes waking up? Is magma on the move?
Are things about to change in a spectacular fashion, throwing large parts of the world back to the Stone Age as part of the birth pangs of Moshiach?
I guess we’ll find out.