I'm reposting this from last Chanuka, but with the Carr Fire burning, and the Mendocino Complex Fire burning, and with Portugal, Ireland and the UK burning, and Sweden burning, and Israel's south burning, it's probably even more relevant now than it was when I wrote it. Luminaries of fire - and the people who give them more power and influence - mamash destroy the world.
Someone asked me what I thought the message might be, that God was trying to send the Jewish people, by causing that terrible fire in Flatbush a couple of days ago. I told them I had no idea - because you have to be on an incredibly high spiritual level to even begin to guess at the real reasons for these things, and the people who are genuinely holding ‘there’ don’t rush their views into a Youtube shiur within 24 hours of the tragedy occurring.
But that discussion then brought me back around to pondering the notion of the ‘luminaries of fire and the luminaries of light’.
In Lesson II:67, Rebbe Nachman explains how the luminaries of fire get empowered in the world when the luminaries of light get diminished.
Who are the luminaries of light? They are the true Tzaddikim, and particularly the Tzaddik Yesod ha’olam (Tzaddik, the foundation of the world), the one true Tzaddik that is to be found in every single generation. Rebbe Nachman explains very clearly that when these Tzaddikim, and especially this true tzaddik: ‘becomes renowned and famous in the world, the eyes of the entire world are then opened…whoever becomes his follower…his eyes are opened and he becomes able to see.”
And what, exactly, does this person begin to see?
Rebbe Nachman explain that: “his eyes are opened and he sees and beholds himself, how he is holding in all of the traits…One also becomes able to see and behold God’s greatness in the world.”
In other words, when a person becomes the follower of a true tzaddik, or a luminary of light, he first starts to see himself honestly, and to understand just how many bad middot and negative character traits and behaviors he still needs to work on; and then, he also starts to recognize the hand of Hashem in the world, i.e. he starts to really internalize ein od Milvado - there is only God!
But when people don’t follow the true Tzaddikim, and instead chase after ‘luminaries of fire’ instead, then what happens?
“…when the luminaries of light are subdued, the luminaries of fire are empowered. And fires are caused in the world on account of the names of these ignominiously renowned people becoming great and enhanced, for this causes God’s name to disappear, the luminaries of light to become subdued and the luminaries of fire to become empowered….This is symbolized by the burning of the Temple.”
The lesson continues:
“…what was, is gone. For our Temple has already been burnt. However, now that God waits to return to us and rebuild our Temple, it behooves us not to hinder the Temple’s rebuilding, but rather to endeavor to build it….
“…by mourning over the Temple, one subdues the luminaries of fire, so that the luminaries of light…are empowered. Thus MiT’ABeL (mourning) is the acronym of ‘Lo T’varu Aysh B’chol Moshvoteykhem’ - (you shall not kindle any fire throughout your dwelling places), for by mourning, one subdues the luminaries of fire.”
There’s always so much to try to unpack in Rabbenu’s lessons, so again take all this with the caveat that I understand less than 1%, and that 1% is what I’m sharing here.
There’s a few key things that seem to be jumping out here, as follows:
1) The more we try to make ourselves followers of the true Tzaddikim, the more this will empower the good leaders, the ‘luminaries of light’ in the world, and weaken the ‘luminaries of fire’.
2) ‘Luminaries of fire’ are not just people like Oprah and all those other celebs, big-wigs and Hollywood A-listers getting burned out of their Bel Air mansions by the Thomas fire (which btw, is still burning and set to become the biggest wildfire in California’s recorded history).
‘Luminaries of fire’ are also all those suave rabbis and rockstar rabbanits who are full of themselves, and their own learning, and their own opinions and who frequently make some very harsh judgment calls against their fellow Jews.
It’s those people who magnify their own importance in the world, and who by so doing, minimize Hashem’s greatness. Luminaries of fire never talk about their own flaws, they never describe their own battles, they always have to come off as the clever know-it-alls who have an answer for everything.
If you want a no-fail short-cut to spotting a ‘luminary of fire’, anyone outside of Breslov circles who mocks and disdains Rebbe Nachman and his teachings is almost certainly a luminary of fire. And within Breslov itself, anyone who mocks and disdains Rav Berland is almost certainly a luminary of fire.
3) I’m inclined to think that some huge cosmic event was scheduled for the end of Chanuka, potentially involving a lot more fire and destruction than we’ve already seen - volcanoes simultaneously erupting, North Korean missiles being fired at mainland America, some huge, fiery ball of molten gases and metals coming a bit too close to planet earth - who knows what, exactly.
But as the ‘luminaries of light’ are getting more and more empowered, and more and more people are ‘opening their eyes’ to see what’s really going on in the world, on a number of levels, these decrees are being sweetened more and more.
4) This poor, holy family in NYC were another korban, and their deaths by fire - by the light of the Chanuka candles - has most certainly sweetened the ‘decrees of fire’ hanging over the Jewish people and the world.
5) The more we do our bit to empower the ‘luminaries of light’ and take down the ‘luminaries of fire’, the less these terrible tragedies will have to keep occurring.
6) We can do that, tachlis, by:
That’s a lot of hard work, I know.
But Lesson 67 seems to make clear that THIS stuff is what’s causing all the fires in the world.
Of course, no ‘luminary of fire’ is going to make those sorts of connections for us, because they don’t read (or understand…) Likutey Moharan and they don’t hold by Rebbe Nachman.
So if you really want to know where the truth lies, and what the message really is behind all these terrible fires coming to the world, you have to pray on it, and to ask God to really show you.
There is no other way.
So at the beginning of last week, I was going bonkers again. The house debacle had got stuck again, and what was meant to be a simple concluding agreement kept pinging back and forwards, each time sending my blood pressure a little higher.
Then, there was all this childhood stuff the last few months had stirred up again, which I SO thought I’d worked through and sorted out by no! The lack of stability, the feeling of homelessness, the ‘bad’ people out to get me – I warped back to when I was 7 years old and spending every single night having terrible nightmares that wolves and triffids were chasing after me again.
Hashem, ad matai?!?!
When o when am I finally going to be able to put the past behind me?!?!?
I went to see my One Brain woman, who is usually so very good with this stuff, and even she couldn’t help me. So I knew I had to get on a plane, and go and see the one person who could help me sort all this stuff out at its root: Rabbenu.
My poor husband got dragged with me, and we went to Uman for Shabbat. Derech Tzaddikim absolutely insisted (literally) that we book into the fanciest hotel in Uman as everything else was apparently booked up, so we duly did that, and for the first time ever, I was in a hotel in Uman that apparently had some sort of room service.
But still no bath.
(Don’t ask me why there are no baths in the bathrooms in Uman hotels. Until recently, you were lucky to get a toilet in the same room that you didn’t have to share with 12 other people, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the baths another 10 years, or so.)
I got to Uman so absolutely, completely exhausted.
So much has been going on, for months, and internally it’s been intense, intense, intense. Usually, I go off and try to do six hours but dear reader, this time around, I just couldn’t. I did a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there, and I just left the rest to Rabbenu to sort out.
Let me tell you: he did.
I have no idea why more people, especially more Anglo people, don’t go to Uman. Every visit I make, I dump another load of inner childhood angst, another mega-load of crazy-person-ness, another ton of heartache, worry and fear.
But what I really wanted to tell you about is Rabbenu’s pipe.
On Shabbat, I saw someone in the kever who I have had a massive grudge against for around 4 years. They didn’t know it, of course, but I’ve been carrying around negative feelings towards them for years. And then, Rabbenu arranged for them to be in the kever.
This person was not a friend, but a ‘mashpia’, and we barely even spoke face to face more than once. But certain things occurred that were very upsetting to me, and I held them responsible, at least partially, for some very difficult experiences I had to go through.
So there they were in the kever. And they were still annoying! And I found all these hard feelings welling up again, so I asked God to let me make peace, real peace, and to finally let go of all my hakpada, because as much as it’s hurting others, it hurting me the most.
While all that was going on, I just got a mental picture in my head of Rebbe Nachman and his pipe. Which was pretty weird. But then, my husband made a comment later about Rebbe Nachman smoking a pipe himself, even though he used to warn his students away from smoking in very strong terms.
So then, why did he do it himself?
The answer is: true tzaddikim sometimes do things, confusing things that don’t seem quite right, for reasons that are far above and divorced from anything we could conceive as being the ‘real reason’. If we were less arrogant, we would understand that so much of what we don't understand about the real tzaddikim, or that we think is 'wrong', is simply because we aren't on the level they are.
(Clearly, I'm not talking about breaking clear halachas here, take a breath.)
And then I thought of this mashpia, who I know is the real deal, but who I’ve still had some great difficulties with, nevertheless, and Rebbe Nachman’s pipe came back to me as the answer to the kooshias that I’ve had about them, for years.
After Shabbat, we went to Medzhibozh for a day, before the airport, and the peace and calm of that place was so, so amazing. My husband and I went to the Apter Rebbe’s restored old shul, and just spent half an hour learning some Torah there. It was so awesome. So quiet. So simple.
No phones, no busy, no crazy, just a few roosters crowing, and some Torah.
I got a taste of that old life, before it all got so complicated, and I felt a little sad that it’s so hard to come by in our present world, where everything is busy busy all the time.
In the gift shop on the way out, I found a simple carved wooden pipe for the bargain amount of $2, which I bought as a reminder of Rabbenu’s pipe. And that we can’t know the reasons why massive tzaddikim sometimes do confusing things that don’t always look right to us.
That pipe is going to have pride of place on my shelf, so it can hopefully shut down any self-righteous fits about big tzaddikim before they even start up.
But in the meantime, Uman has done it again.
So, when are you going to book your ticket?
The more the world is getting crazy, the more the question is starting to loom:
Are we really ready for Moshiach?
Did we really do the work – on our bad middot like anger, jealousy, harsh judgment and vengeance (to name but a few that regularly come up for me)?
Did we really work on seeing Hashem’s hand behind every little thing that’s happening to us, for us and against us?
Did we really make an effort to give God what He really wants from us, even when it meant we went against what we really want for ourselves?
Are we connected to real Tzaddikim, who will shield us and protect us with their advice and spiritual merits?
That’s the question.
The more we can answer an honest ‘yes’, the less what’s going on right now will freak us out and scare us.
Moshiach is going to come with a lot of difficulties and natural disasters, we know that, the prophets told us.
The question is:
Are we really ready for Moshiach?
And if current events are getting too scary to deal with, it could be the answer is ‘no’, and that we really have our (inner) work cut out for us, over the next few weeks and months.
I was just looking over on the ravberland.com website for inspiration for the parsha of the week, when I came across THIS from last year.
I'm going to quote some of the most relevant bits, below:
The Zohar says that if we could have seen the eyes of King David, [we would know that] they contained all the colors that exist in the world. The eye of Bilaam contained within it all the evil in the world, but the eyes of David only wished good on another person, “you put joy in my heart…”
The gematria of עפרון Ephron, is ‘ayin ra’ – an evil eye, the opposite of a good eye. King David had such a good eye, that every place he looked, the whole city would immediately make teshuva. If David had lived for another 30 years, the whole world would have returned in teshuva.
The moment there would be love and friendship in Israel – and means ‘you should do what is just in the eyes of Hashem’ - then a person says some lashon hara (gossip) about someone, publishes something about someone, or says something that isn’t true or accurate, this is worse than [the sins] of immorality, bloodshed or worshipping idols – it’s worse than anything!
The Rebbe says, a person who’s distributing money, who’s giving, who had a good eye for everyone, and he throws money around without making an accounting of it, and he doesn’t pay attention to anything else – he can change the whole natural order. He can shift the sun, he can move the sun, the moon, the stars – he can shift everything!
So, tzedaka can move all the celestial orbs. There are 12 mazalot (signs of the zodiac), and 7 celestial bodies, and by way of tzedaka, by giving tzedaka to the Tzaddik…not every type of tzedaka shifts the celestial orbs, only the tzedaka that goes to the Tzaddik…
All the suffering and difficulties that a person has, every type of trouble and pain, everything – a person does it to himself, by being jealous, and by hating others, and by having a stingy outlook. He doesn’t have a good eye.
Ayin tova, a good eye. ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him, and you will heap burning coals upon his head’. Give your biggest enemy something to drink, something to eat, laud him, talk about his good points. This is the only way that God will destroy all of the rashaim (evildoers), and only then will we merit to the complete geula (redemption), may it be speedily in our days.
If we really want to bring the geula the sweet way, this is the work to do: to stop speaking badly of our fellow Jews, to give a lot of tzedaka, especially to true tzaddikim, and to work on having a good eye.
And that's way, way harder than pointing fingers and launching off into holier-than-thou attacks on other people. Which is probably why so many people still prefer doing the latter to doing the former.
So, there’s an interesting discussion that’s been happening in the comments section under the last post (and btw, I’m actually so pleased that people with so many different viewpoints feel comfortable enough to post their ideas up on the blog, in a respectful way that isn’t dissing anyone else, Baruch Hashem.)
But the basic discussion is this:
How can we await Moshiach every single day, as we’re told we have to do by #12 of the Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith, without getting so hung up on a specific date that it risks utterly ruining our emuna if that doesn’t happen?
As always, there is really no clear-cut or black-and-white answer, so let’s try to figure out together what the sources are actually saying, and how to apply that in reality in our own lives, because there is also a huge difference between ‘theoretical’ Judaism and real, live, sincere Judaism.
So many people are excellent at the former, and actually far less excellent at really applying the theories of what we’re all supposed to do, and how we’re supposed to actually do it, especially to themselves.
So tachlis, how can we balance waiting for Moshiach and eagerly anticipating him every single day, as the Rambam tells us we’re meant to be doing, without getting caught up in pointless false predictions and prophecies about ‘the end’, which is a particularly xtian past-time?
(On that note, I just have to say something: a few people, including my usually very switched-on brother, have recently sent me links to ‘Breaking Israel News’ with different stories about prophecies and predictions about the end of days. I get a really, really bad vibe from the stuff on that website, probably the xtian undercurrent that’s going on there is warping all the authentic Torah sources to its own end. Caveat emptor.)
Here’s what Rav Natan has to say, in Tzaddik (527):
“A number of leading Torah figures have made calculations of the time of the coming of Moshiach. In our own period a number of people have made specific claims about when Moshiach would come. The same has happened in previous generations. The Rebbe disagreed completely.
“He said that any date people gave for the coming of the Moshiach would certainly not be the date he would come. There are passages in the Holy Zohar and elsewhere cursing all who make such calculations. For “The Son of David will only come when no-one is paying attention.” (Sanhedrin 97a).
“At the moment, people are saying Moshiach will come in the year 5600 (1839-40) and they claim that the Zohar contains illusions to this. The truth is that he will definitely not come then. He may come before 5600, or he may come after. But in 5600 itself he will certainly not come.
There is no doubt about this, seeing as people are expecting him them.
“One thing is certain: any date someone gives on the basis of calculations as the date of his coming will quite definitely not be when he comes.
“The Moshiach will indeed come quickly and without delay in our days, but it will be when no one is paying any attention whatsoever. No-one would have dreamt that this would be when he would come – and suddenly he will come. Speedily in our days, Amen.”
There is lots of food for thought here. Before we continue, we should know that some of the people who have made calculations (and that word is crucial, I’ll explain why in a minute) about when Moshiach will come include Torah giants like the Vilna Gaon and closer to our times, Rav Yehuda Ashlag.
So this is not an error that ‘dumb’ or ‘unbelieving’ people make, far from it.
Rav Ashlag’s teachings were picked up and warped by the Kabbalah Centre, and all that interesting stuff on the kabbalahsecrets website is another offshoot of this warped, Kabbalah Centre / quasi-xtian obsession with calculating the end. (There’s that word again.)
So Moshiach is not going to come Succot 5779. How do I know? Simple – Rav Natan said: any date someone gives on the basis of calculations as the date of his coming will quite definitely not be when he comes. He may come before Succot, he may come after, but according to Rav Natan, on Succot 5779 itself, he definitely is NOT coming.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN, ‘CALCULATIONS’?
So now, let’s try to dig down a bit more, and to clarify a bit more about what’s going on, because in recent years, so many of our own huge tzaddikim have made clear statements about our generation being the time of Moshiach and geula.
Are we really saying they don’t know the Gemara in Sanhedrin, God forbid? Or that they’re going against what they’re meant to be doing, but saying what they’re saying, God forbid?
That simply doesn’t make sense. So clearly, something else is going on here. I’m going to bring together a bunch of quotes from One in a Generation Volume II that I think will shed some real light on the subject, and then I’ll sum things up at the end.
MOSHIACH WAS PREDICTED TO COME IN 2012
The Jewish year 5772 (corresponding to 2011-2012) had long been touted as a very likely date for the redemption of the Jewish people to begin. The late Rav Yitzchak Kaduri had publicly stated on a number of occasions that Moshiach would come during Av 5772.
Rav Yitzchak Shlomo Zilberman had also publicized the tradition he’d received that the Vilna Gaon had hinted that 5772 was the year of Keitz, or End of Days, as had other descendants of the Vilna Gaon’s students.
Meanwhile, Rav Yosef Scheinberger told over the story he’d heard directly from Rav Grosnas, one of the Chofetz Chaim’s students, that the Chofetz Chaim had said in the year 5692 that it wouldn’t take more than another 80 years for Moshiach to come — again, bringing us to 5772.
Over the last decade, an enormous amount of sources from the Zohar and other holy works, gematrias and anecdotal traditions were amassed, all pointing to the year 5772 as the year of redemption. As more and more of this information came to light and was publicized, the religious public waited with bated breath to see what will be in 5772.
(Guess what: Moshiach didn’t come then.)
MOSHIACH WAS PREDICTED TO COME IN 2014
As 5774 (2014) wound down, so many different Jewish groups and religious leaders seemed to be talking about Moshiach.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky is on record as saying at this time: “The Moshiach is no longer waiting at the entrance, he’s already been given permission to open the door!” And when he was asked specifically what he meant, he replied, “It’s possible that we’ve reached the end of the exile.”
When Operation Protective Edge began in July 2014, the Milkman, Rav Chaim Cohen, made the following statement: “They informed me from Heaven that the redemption process started today. Am Yisrael is going to be redeemed. No one knows how long it will take, dear brothers, but know that the complete redemption process (geulah sheleimah) has begun, and because of this, the troubles are not going to cease in coming.”
Meanwhile, the kabbalist Rav Dovid Chaim Stern from Bnei Brak told his students in the autumn of 2014 that the situation was only going to get worse from day to day, and that only Moshiach could solve the problem.
(Moshiach didn’t come then, either.)
MOSHIACH WAS PREDICTED TO COME IN 2015
Purim time, 2015, Rav Dov Kook of Tiveria said about Rav Berland’s exile: “There’s some profound siyatta d’Shmaya going on. He’s going to come and redeem us, and when he comes, Moshiach will come too.”
As 5775 continued, the feeling of impending doom that had enveloped the Jewish people (and the world more generally) continued to deepen.
Many of the Gedolei Hador put out messages at this time, including the following one from Rav Chaim Kanievsky, which was publicized around Pesach 5775 (April 2015) by the famous darshan and mashgiach, Rav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky.
Rav Mishkovsky made the following comments while he was speaking at a conference organized by Lev L’Achim:
“Today, we find ourselves at one of the most critical moments for the Jewish people,” Rav Mishkovsky announced. “One of the close relatives of our teacher and Torah giant, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, recently came to visit him, and the ‘prince of Torah’ [i.e. Rav Chaim Kanievsky] told him: ‘Go and announce to Klal Yisrael that we are at the time of ‘the footsteps of Moshiach,’ and that Moshiach is at the threshold, and the only possibility of surviving this time is through Torah and gemilus chassidim.’”
(Moshiach didn’t come then, either.)
MOSHIACH IS PREDICTED TO COME IN 2016
The prophecy in Zechariah speaks of all the soldiers of the nations gathering around Israel, and as 5776 began, it seemed that prophecy was about to come true.
A video of a secular teenage boy who’d had a clinical death, and who had apparently been shown some violent scenes in Heaven relating to the imminent coming of Moshiach, went viral across Israel, with hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Among the many things the teenage boy said was that the IDF would only be able to stand up against its enemies for two days, and that Israel was about to be conquered by literally hundreds of thousands of foreign soldiers. So many of the Youtube rabbis went crazy about all these 'predictions'. Guess what?
Moshiach didn’t come then, either.
The local makolet guy started wearing a kippa and laying his tefillin after he saw that video, around Rosh Hashana 5776. By the end of the year, when Moshiach hadn’t shown up and ‘armageddon’ hadn’t kicked off, as predicted, he took it off again.
THAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH PREDICTIONS BASED ON CALCULATIONS
So we can see, ‘predictions’ about Moshiach coming aren’t always helpful. But there’s a different between trying to CALCULATE the end, with all sorts of fancy gematrias and kabbalistic ideas, and between actually KNOWING that we’re at the end.
And I think what is going on now, with Rav Kanievsky, and the Milkman, and Rav Kook, and Rav Berland, is that they actually KNOW we are at the end, just Moshiach hasn’t been revealed yet.
To be clear, that could mean that Moshiach has actually come, that the true tzaddikim already know who he is and that he’s here, but that we haven’t yet merited for him to be revealed yet – which means no-one is making calculations about anything. They are simply referring to a factual occurrence that they are aware of, but that other people don’t know about.
Here’s some quotes to give us an idea about what our job actually is, at this period of time:
WE HAVE TO OWN UP TO OUR OWN FLAWS, INSTEAD OF POINTING FINGERS AT OTHERS
Rav Berland once said: “People think that Moshiach can come without prayer. That a person can simply travel to Uman, press a button, and Moshiach will appear. He’ll be there at the tziyun, and just needs to press a certain secret button, and then Moshiach will appear.
Moshiach can’t come until we do true teshuvah with a truly broken heart, and have true shmiras einayim!
“It’s time to cry out, ‘We are guilty!’ and then Moshiach will really come, and Moshiach will be revealed. Moshiach wants to be revealed at every moment. Motzoei Shemittah — this is the time that Moshiach needs to be revealed.”
The Rav concluded that all the wars, the intifada and the dangers that will accompany the coming of the Moshiach are only to get people to wake up and do teshuvah, so that we’ll cry out “We are guilty! That’s it,” he said. “That’s all we need to do.”
ATTENTION, ALL LITVAKS: WANTING MOSHIACH ALSO APPLIES TO YOU
Rav Yehezkel Levenstein, ztl, the former mashgiach ruchani (spiritual guide) of the Mir yeshiva, wrote in his book Or Yehezkel (7) the following words about the importance of believing in, and hoping for, the coming of Moshiach.
“Emuna (belief) in the coming redemption is one of our fundamental obligations. And not just a grudging, low level of emuna; the Rambam writes that: “A person is obligated to stand and wait for the coming of Moshiach, and anyone who doesn’t wait [i.e. anticipate Moshiach’s coming] is a heretic.
“And even though the whole of the nation of Israel believes in and recognizes the [idea of the] coming of the Moshiach, there is still an obligation to wait for it, and to anticipate it actually happening, and anyone who stops anticipating [the coming of Moshiach], even for just an hour, we see from this that they are not a believer.
“Once a person really expects and yearns for the coming of the Melech Moshiach (King Moshiach), then any of the occurrences happening in the world appear to him to be a hint, or connected with the [imminent] redemption, and will cause him to think that maybe, the Melech Moshiach is truly on the threshold [of being revealed].
“It should be underlined that people don’t see the signs of redemption because they don’t think about it all, or reflect on the matter [of Moshiach coming]. I remember how the Chofetz Chaim, ztl, used to wait for it, and connect everything to the geula (redemption).”
Elsewhere, Rav Levenstein returns to the subject, and adds: “The Rambam already wrote that anyone who doesn’t wait for him [i.e. the Moshiach] to come every single day, is a heretic in regard to the whole Torah. And this is particularly true in our time, when we shouldn’t only wait and hope for the Melech Moshiach, but actually know that we are in the days when Moshiach will come.”
MOSHIACH’S COMING WON’T CHANGE ANYTHING
(Excerpted from One in a Generation)
When Rav Berland was in South Africa during the summer of 2015, he gave a shiur where he explained that the revelation of the Moshiach wouldn’t change anything at all in the world. Until everyone did teshuvah, there simply couldn’t be a true redemption, and the real work of the Moshiach would be to bring everyone in the world back to God.
At that time, he said:
“These next six years, from 5775 to 5781 (2014-2021), are the years of redemption. These are the years when the whole of Am Yisrael will do teshuvah; even the biggest criminals and thugs are going to do teshuvah. There are no criminals in Am Yisrael, there are no wicked people in Am Yisrael. It’s all just stages of the redemption [process.] It’s all just stages in the evolution of the neshamah, in receiving the different stages of the soul. The biggest criminal is going to end up being the biggest tzaddik…
“We also need to bring the 70 nations back in repentance. The King Moshiach is going to return all the nations back to God, because God forbid that even a single goy should die! We don’t want any non-Jews to die, except for [exceptionally evil] people like Hitler, yimach shmo, but even common murderers can do teshuvah.”
REDEMPTION IS A PROCESS
The Rav was sending a clear message that redemption is a process, and that the process that will culminate in true peace, and the coming of the Jewish redeemer, is already occurring right now, however it may look externally.
Moshiach, “the son of Yishai,” is likened to a sprout for a very good reason: For many long weeks, months and even years, the seed of Moshiach lays underground, hidden from public view, apparently decaying and rotting away. Until… that first sprout of redemption finally bursts forth.
May it be speedily in our days, amen.
SUMMING IT ALL UP:
So, lots to think about here. The key points are this:
Over to you, dear readers.
Over on RavBerland.com, they just posted up another awesome translation of some of the Rav’s more recent comments about what is actually going on all around us.
Rav Berland has been dropping clues about all the ‘climate change’ that’s going to precede the coming of Moshiach for many months now, and to my knowledge, he’s the only real rabbi who is doing this. And you need a tremendous background both in Tanach and kabbalah, and also in climate change stuff itself to start picking up all his clues, and to try to figure it all out.
I don’t have the former, but I’m working on the latter, so let’s go through his latest words to see what we can try to figure out, together. The Rav’s words will be bolded, and my comments will be underneath.
It’s written in the Zohar that two years before the netz (end of days), the stars start to sing. A person needs to wake up two years before the netz.
The ‘song’ of the stars is electro-magnetic – it’s the pulse of life, it’s the pulse of all creation. If the stars are starting to ‘sing’ two years before the end, the geula, one of the things that means is that the electro-magnetic vibes flying around planet earth via cosmic rays, and a bunch of other ‘celestially inspired’ phenomena are going to lead to some very interesting developments down here.
Climate change, earthquakes and volcanoes erupting are all connected to this electromagnetism (as is human mental and physical health). That’s why every time there’s a huge spike in the Schumann Resonance, we all start feeling decidedly weird, emotionally.
So, this ‘singing’ has started now, and will continue for two more years until the geula starts in earnest. BTW, that matches up exactly with what the Rav said HERE, about the coming of Moshiach being a process that will last until 5781. Two more years takes us up to the cusp of 5781.
the ridicule of Hashem is arafel (fog, mist, haze)….
This is clearly a very deep, hard to understand passage (even in the Hebrew) but my best guess is that the people who are ‘ridiculing’ Hashem – we all know who they are – are going to have to deal with some serious hazey-fog-cloud thing.
To my volcano-obsessed mind, that could easily be an eruptive ash cloud, or a cloud of ‘laze’ – the dangerous lava-cum-haze that occurs when molten magma flows into the sea.
This is all referring to 50 seas…”And [God] said come until po (here).” Why is Yaffo (Joppa) called Yaffo? Because Hashem said ‘come until po’. And why is Haifa called ‘Haifa’? Also, because Hashem said ‘come until po’.
Yaffo, the ancient port of Joppa, is where the whale spat Yonah out. While Yonah was in the whale, he was also shown the entrance to sheol (purgatory / gehinnom) that was presumably on the ocean floor, in keeping with the idea we learned in THIS POST that the entrances to gehinnom are located in the desert, in the sea and in inhabited places.
Today, Jaffa has become Tel Aviv. Haifa is still Haifa. It’s very interesting that these are the only two cities that I know of, in Israel, to recently put up tsunami warning signposts all over the place.
God is the one who told the water to ‘stop’ and go no further. If the inhabitants of a city are ‘mocking’ or ‘ridiculing’ God (and we all know what that means) – then it seems like a midda-kneged-midda thing that just as they aren’t listening to God anymore, the sea could also stop ‘listening to God’ – resulting in some massive flood-type scenario.
The oceans were spreading out in all directions, the Mediterranean Sea was spreading out. In the time of Enosh, it spread out in the direction of Yaffo and Haifa, and after that, in the generation of the mabbul (great flood), it spread out in the direction of Gibraltar….
Enosh’s generation preceded Noah’s, and is considered to be the time of the Second World, after Adam and Eve. It’s a time when a third of the earth was permanently flooded as a result of that generation’s descent into idol worship. Here’s some of what our sources say about this time:
From Chazal: (Mechilta, Yitro, baChodesh 6)
At the time of Enosh God said, “You made an innovation and called others ‘gods’. I too will make an innovation, and call the waters of the sea.” And the sea rose and flooded one third of the earth.
From Brayshis Rabba 23:6:
In four ways nature changed in the time of Enosh. The mountains became rocky, the dead became subject to vermin, the faces of people became similar to apes, and men became subject to gremlins.
(No I don’t know what ‘gremlins’ are – this is taken from Rav Dovid Brown’s English translation in Mysteries of Creation. Any ideas what it’s actually referring to?)
Chazal tell us: (Shekalim 6:2, Braishit Rabba 23:7 and Yalkut Shimoni 2:543)
The Prophet Amos twice (5:8 and 9:6) declares that God ‘calls to the waters of the sea and spills them over the earth.’ The reiteration is not redundant; the ocean broke out twice and in these two surges the Mediterranean Sea came into being. The first time took place at the time of Enosh and the second at the time of the Dor HaFlaga [when the built the Tower of Babel].”
(There is then recorded a disagreement about which part of the world was flooded first, with some holding it was the shores of Eretz Yisrael first, then Calabria and the Barbary Coast, while others hold the opposite opinion. Rav Berland is going with the opinion that says first Israel, then Calabria was flooded.)
This is a good place to note that all this happened less than
5, 400 years ago.
This all happened AFTER Adam and Eve, so all that rubbish about massive earth changes only occurring in the ‘billions of years’ before man was first created it clearly baloney (if you believe the Torah is the living word of God.)
When we get up in the morning, and we see the new dawn, we see that the sunrise knows its place; “the four corners of the world are grabbed, and the wicked ones are shaken from it”. At the end, Hashem is going to shake off all the rashaim (evildoers). He’s going to turn everything over, and prevent the evildoers from seeing the daylight, and the deceitful limbs [He will] break.
This part is very hard to figure out….until you read Velikovsky who brings a whole load of evidence from folk traditions across the world that sun didn’t always use to rise in the east and set in the west. I’m bringing just a little bit here, to give you the picture (Worlds in Collision, Chapter 5, East and West):
Our planet rotates from west to east. Has it always done so? In this rotation from west to east, the sun is seen to rise in the east and set in the west. Was the east the primeval and only place of the sunrise? There is testimony from all parts of the world that the side which is now turned toward the evening once faced the morning.
This testimony comes from the Greek chronicler Herodotus (amongst many others), ancient Egyptians in the ‘Magical Papyrus Harris’, which talks of when ‘the south became north, and the earth turns over’, the Roman Pomponius Mela and a few others including the ancient Chinese, who say “that it is only since a new order of things has come about that the stars move from east to west.”
Again, Velikovsky has a whole, big chapter on precisely this subject, packed with sourced and footnoted references to different traditions that this happened within the last few thousand years.
We all know that quote that at the end of days God is going to shake the world like a blanket…Rav Berland is telling us that just as that happened in the past, and everything got ‘turned over’, it’s going to happen again in the future, and ‘shake off’ the evildoers.
Have you seen the fish in the sea? “Enquire of the t’hom (depths) to move about, and to disclose the shaarei mavet (the gates of death).” There [at the bottom of the ocean] are the gates where the Angel of Death walks around, and the Tzaddik rules over these gates.
The gates of death seem to be one and the same as the entrances to gehinnom that are located underwater. There are hundreds of thousands of volcanoes located underground – science has no way of even counting them. We know from THIS POST that volcanoes = entrances to gehinnom.
Rav Berland is telling us that the Tzaddik rules over these underground volcanoes, and that underground volcanoes is where the Angel of Death walks around, which again all kind of fits, doesn’t it?
Because the Tzaddik rules over these gates, a person can’t leave, [the Tzaddik] has total authority. So, Iyov (Job) was asked, ‘Can you rule over the gates of the Angel of Death? Can you stop the Angel of Death?’
“And you will see the gates of pitch-darkness”.
Now, how is the sun rising and shining? Every day, through a different window, who is causing it to rise in the East? The Tzaddik….If you know the secret of where the sun’s light derives from, then you’ll live for eternity.
Again, we can understand this much easier now we know the sun didn’t always rise in the east, and that the ‘gates of pitch-darkness’ are the ‘entrances to gehinnom’ that double-up as deep-sea underwater volcanoes.
There are two secrets that you need to know: To know where the light of the sun comes from, and where the gate and the path from where the light of the sun continues to shine – and then [if you know these two secrets], a person can live forever….
You need to uncover the treasure house of the snow, “and the treasure house of the hail, that I reserved for the time of siege, for the day before the war.” The hail doesn’t have any gate in the world….
Very deep stuff… but notice the reference to hail and snow. So many countries right now, all across the world, are dealing with massive hail on an ongoing basis, and also very unseasonal snow. (Parts of Canada had snow fall at the end of June, Sweden had snow after its hottest ever May, and South Africa last week was blanketed in snow.)
The ikkar (essence) is the dew drops, the dew of techiyat hametim (reviving the dead). Hashem wanted to reveal to Iyov the dew of reviving the dead….
Why was Korach called ‘Korach’? Because he was kerach (ice-cold)….Now, here, we have the greatest secret of all. “Connect the epochs of Kimah”. Kimah is 100 stars. When we see a star, it’s really 100 stars. How can you connect all these stars together? Only the Tzaddik [can do this].
“Or open the measures of Kesil.”
Can you take Kesil, and place it [where you want], and drag it to do what you want it to do? The Tzaddik can do this.
So, this is where it gets even more awesome, as Kimah and Kesil are the two stars that Hashem moved around in order to bring Noah’s flood.
The Rav is telling us that the Tzaddik can control these celestial objects, and so can ‘control’ what’s going on down here, on planet earth, with all the crazy climate stuff.
Did you ever wonder what happened to ‘Nibiru’, and all those end of the world predictions?
My best guess is that ‘the Tzaddik of the generation’ managed to move it out the way, or keep it in abeyance, somehow, and that everything really depends on us making teshuva and coming back to Hashem 100% and having emunat tzaddikim.
The people who make teshuva, and who stick close to the Tzaddik will make it through – just like they did at the time of Noah, and also when Moshe took the Jews out of Mitzraim. The people who don’t – won’t.
So please, please, please people, stop slagging off rabbis and big tzaddikim and believing all that cack about the world being 4.7 billion years old and massive earth changes only happening over eons.
They happen immediately, whenever God wills them to happen, and the best (and really only….) insurance policy is to stay close to a real tzaddik and to do your best to live life according to Hashem’s dictates, wherever you happen to be located, geographically.
We live in very interesting times.
 The Rav was referring to many of the concepts found in both the book of Iyov (Job) and in the Gemara, in his remarks on the constellations and stars. For example, "'Ash" or "'Ayish" is mentioned twice in Job, and has been identified with the Great Bear. The Gemara in Brachot 58b and says: “But for the heat of Kesil, the world could not endure, on account of the excessive cold of Kimah, and vice versa.”
‘Kimah’ the star (often associated with the Pleiades) is the source of cold in the world. Kesil the star (associated with Orion) is source of heat in the world. In Amos 5:8, Kimah is mentioned before Kesil. In Iyov 9:9, Kesil is mentioned before Kimah. The Talmud quoted above says that this means that God uses each constellation to balance the other. Pleiades keeps Orion from boiling the world to death; Orion keeps Pleiades from freezing the world to death.
Elsewhere, the Gemara explains how the stars Kimah and Kesil are directly related to the mabbul, which came about when God took two stars from one constellation and moved them to another, leading to Noah’s flood.
This week, we read Parshat Pinchas. The Haftorah for that Parsha is from Jeremiah, and part of it reads:
“Hashem said to me, “You have seen well, for I hasten to fulfill My word. The word of Hashem came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a bubbling pot, and its spout is facing north (alternative translation: its bubbling is from the northern side.)
“And Hashem said to me, “From the north shall the evil loose itself upon all the inhabitants of the land.”
This is one of the most famous passages in scripture, and it’s been explained so many ways, most recently involving the whole Syrian civil war and the face-off between Russia and America.
But after discovering that enormous volcanic field to the N-NE of Israel (or what would have been directly north in Jeremiah’s time, as the tribes of Reuven, Gad and Manasseh were located where present Jordan is today), I’ve started to see this verse in a completely different light.
That whole imagery of a ‘bubbling pot’ called to mind something else I’d read in Mysteries of Creation, by Rav Dovid Brown, where he brings some of the descriptions of gehinnom as found in the Gemara. Like this:
“The whole world is like the cover of a pot, compared to gehinnom.” (Taanit 10a)
“Once the people of Tiveria ran a pipe carrying cold water through a branch of the local hot springs in order to have piped hot water. The sages told them that the water flowing from the system on Shabbat is prohibited for both drinking and bathing; on yom tov, permitted for drinking, but forbidden for bathing.
“The Gemara (Shabbos 39a) explains that the story of Tiveria was cited as a precedent contrary to the opinion of Rabbi Yosi who permits cooking with a heat source other than fire. However, Rabbi Yosi finds no contradiction in that ruling, for the heat source of the hot springs [of Tiveria] is fire, as the springs get their heat by passing through the entrance of gehinnom.”
(Talking about Korach and his crew who spoke evil against the Tzaddik of the generation, and are now being roasted for eternity in gehinnom. An arab guide took Rabba bar bar Channa to the place in the desert where you could still hear their cries. The Gemara continues (Bava Batra 74a):
“The Arab told me, “Every thirty days gehinnom returns them to this spot, as pieces of meat stewing in a pot on the fire constantly churn in the liquid, and they scream, “Moshe and his Torah are true. We are frauds.”
What happened in Parshat Korach? The ground suddenly fissured, Korah and his entourage fell into gehinnom, and then “A fire went out from God and consumed the 250 men who had offered incense.” (Parshat Korach, 16:23-35).
Scary stuff! Doesn’t this sound at least a little like what we’re seeing going on with our own eyes in Hawaii right now, by Fissure 8 et al, albeit the lava is moving more slowly so no-one’s been killed?
The Gemara (Eruvin 19a) explains there are three entrances to gehinnom:
The Vilna Gaon explains (Even Shleima, 146):
“Gehinnom is in the depths of the earth.”
And now, back to the ‘pot’ theme again, this time from Bereishit Rabba, 33:1:
“One covers an earthenware pot with an equally earthenware lid. In the same way, God covers gehinnom….God proclaims, “I transported the rashaim (evildoers) to gehinnom and covered them with the t’hom.”
In a book called Continents in Motion, a geologist by the name of Walter Sullivan tried to explain how the earth came to be ‘spread out’ over the oceans, via molten magma rising to the surface. He said:
“Convection currents moving slowly in the deep of the earth… explain the distribution of the continents over the earth’s surface. In the churning pot, hot material arises directly over the flame, spreads and cools on the surface, thus becoming heavier, and sinks down the sides to be drawn in over the flame at the bottom, and heated again.”
“I see a bubbling pot, and its spout is facing north (alternative translation: its bubbling is from the northern side.)”
It seems to me, that ‘bubbling pot’ is referring to a huge underground lava lake – like the one close to Israel’s Northern border, next to the Harrat Ash Shamah volcanic field (which is in Syria, btw, and not Saudi Arabia as I incorrectly told you earlier.)
It seems to me, the ‘spout’ of that lake is facing North – i.e. AWAY from Israel itself, which is located to the South, and instead in the direction of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey (and beyond that, the Ukraine and Eastern Europe).
The last thing I wanted to share with you for now is the reasons that Jews got burnt up, or fell into gehinnom. It’s not because they worshipped idols (even though they did.)
It’s not because they broke Shabbat and ate traif (even though they did). If you look through Tanach, there are four main sins that caused Jews to get thrown into that boiling pot of molten magma which is actually gehinnom.
What are they?
Earthquakes are a precursor for volcanic activity. When the earthquakes start to pick up in an area, that means magma is on the move deep down below the ground. Magma = gehinnom.
This week’s earthquakes in Israel, near to where those 20+ volcanoes are standing sentinel along the Golan heights, is a warning that ‘the boiling pot’ is really starting to bubble, underground.
Now is the time to really think about where we’re holding in relation to the four sins mentioned above, and to make whatever teshuva is really necessary.
Following on from Daisy’s comment on the last post, I thought I should explain a little bit about where these ideas about enormous earth changes, particularly but not exclusively in Israel, are mentioned in the Tanach.
Because as we all know from experience, if ‘prophecies’ and theories and ideas aren’t found in the Torah somewhere, that means they are false.
Midrash Dvorim Rabba 4:11:
“How will God enlarge Eretz Yisroel? When a scroll is rolled up one cannot tell its length. When it is unrolled, its size becomes evident. Just so, Eretz Yisreol is mostly mountains and hills. God will flatten it as the navi (Isaiah 40:4) prophesies:
“Every ravine will be raised and every mountain and hill lowered, gullied lands will become level and rocky places, meadows.” Then the true size of Eretz Yisrael will become evident.
Zecharia 14:10 tells us:
“The whole land will become a plain, from Geva to Rimon south of Jerusalem, and it will rise and settle in its place.”
THE PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF HOW THIS CAN HAPPEN
I’ve been researching real geological processes, (as opposed to fake, atheist-assumption-laden geological processes about the world being billions of years old, blah blah blah), for a while now, and that’s why Hawaii has been so captivating.
It’s mamash showing the natural mechanism God will use to accomplish what’s described by the prophets.
Liquid magma is flowing under the whole of the earth’s crust. Where there are weaknesses, cracks or vents in the earth’s crust, pressure within the earth pushes the molten magma up to the surface at those spots, and then you’ll have a volcanic eruption, a Steamboat geyser, a mud volcano, something.
Changes in the earth’s pressure are registered as earth quakes. When magma is on the move under the crust, you get earthquakes. The more it’s moving, the more earthquakes and the bigger they are.
When the magma moves out from one place, especially a ‘weak spot’ like the caldera of a volcano, for example, that causes a vacuum under the earth’s crust, and unless the magma quickly flows back in, that causes the earth above that vacuum to destablise and collapse in on the unsupported space left by the magma moving somewhere else.
This has happened twice in the last few weeks in Hawaii, when first the caldera of the ‘mini volcano’ Pu’u O’o collapsed, and then beginning last week, the caldera of Kilauea itself has also collapsed.
In the meantime, the magma under the surface has flowed elsewhere – it’s filled in a bay, dried up a lake, and is now building a new promontory of brand new earth on the coast that’s currently a mile wide, and still growing.
We are seeing all this with our own two eyes, and it played out in under two weeks, in circumstances that are definitely ‘unusual’ but which no-one considers to be miraculous (yet….)
Now, how does this ‘fit’ with what the prophets have told us will happen in Israel? We know Israel is on the African / Asian rift, we know there are still volcanoes up in the Golan, we know the country has been hit with a number of big earthquakes, including the one that destroyed Tzfat a couple of hundred years’ ago.
The timings are not easy to pin-down 100%, we don’t know if what I’m about to describe will happen sooner or later as part of the era of Moshiach, but at some point in that process, some huge geological changes will happen that will ‘flatten’ the mountains in Israel, fill in the depressions in the land, and extend the land out much wider.
Very similar to what we’re seeing happening in Hawaii, just on a much grander scale.
The magma will start to move, there will be huge earthquakes, old volcanoes will roar into life, new volcanic ‘vents’ will start to spring up all over the place and as that stuff starts to flow, the earth’s crust will start to collapse in on any areas where there is too much weight ‘above’, and not enough magma ‘below’ to support it.
Mountains are a good candidate for this type of thing.
And this is all according to the laws of nature that are operating right now in Hawaii.
The only question is what could cause the earth’s core to heat up enough to send that boiling magma rising to the surface the way that it’s doing?
Spiritually, it’s toeva parades, immorality and all that other stuff Hashem hates, which is filling gehinnom to the brim – and our sources teach us that gehinnom is located within the earth, at its core. The more evil people there are in gehinnom, the hotter earth’s core becomes, the more that magma starts to rise up to the surface.
Physically, there is a probably a ‘Planet X’, or some other alignment of comets, planets and other celestial objects that is exerting a huge effect on the earth, and causing a lot of friction between the earth’s mantle and its core. That friction leads to heat, heat leads to pressure, pressure leads to earthquakes, volcanoes exploding and magma moving around all over the place.
The prophets have been telling us this is what’s going to happen when Moshiach finally comes for millennia, none of this is my idea.
Zecharia 14: 1-5 says very clearly:
“A day for God is coming… I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for war… And God will go out and fight with those nations like the day He fought the Egyptians at the Yam Suf. His feet will stand on that day on the Mount of Olives which is just east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will split in half forming a very big rift. And half the mountain will move north and half south.
“You will fell from the ruptures in the mountains, as the rift in the mountains will reach Otzal; you will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the time of Uzziah, king of Yehuda…”
What happened in the days of Uzziah? This comes from Velikovsky:
“In the 8th century BCE, in the days of Uzziah king of Jerusalem, there occurred a devastating catastrophe called ‘ra-ash’ [this is the Hebrew word for noise]. Amos, who lived at the time of Uzziah, began to predict a cosmic upheaval two years’ before the ra-ash took place.”
Amos is arguably the darkest of all the prophecies in Tanach. Here’s a little of what Amos says:
“The words of Amos…in the days of Uzziah…two years before the earthquake:
“Hashem will roar from Zion…thus said Hashem for three transgressions of Damascus [i.e. Syria] (I have looked away), but for four I will not pardon them….
“For three transgressions of Gaza [i.e. the Palestinians] (I have looked away), but for four I will not pardon them…
“For three transgressions of Tyre [i.e. Lebanon]….but for four I will not pardon them…
“For three transgressions of Edom [i.e. xtianity, the west, Europe, Russia, America]…. But for four I will not pardon them…”
And then for Ammon – currently the kingdom of Jordan, and then for Moav, also currently the kingdom of Jordan, and then lastly:
“Thus said Hashem: For three transgressions of Judah [I have looked away], but for four I will not pardon them – for their despising the Torah of Hashem and not observing His statutes; their falsehoods that their fathers followed have corrupted them. I will send fire into Judah and it will consume the palaces of Jerusalem.”
Later on, Amos says (8:8-9):
[The land] “shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.”
We’re so used to thinking that ‘floods’ must be referring to water, but molten magma is also liquid, and in listening to the descriptions of Hawaii I’ve been struck at how often the same words usually associated with water are being used in connection with magma: magma lakes, magma rivers, places being ‘inundated’ with magma, magma fountains, magma reservoirs, magma flows.
Could it be the prophet Amos is talking about a flood of magma that will completely re-shape the contours of Israel, and not just a more standard tsunami / deluge type thing?
But the more I look into Tanach, the more I see mountains moving around and being destroyed, floods, earthquakes and people being passed through fire – and that happens even to the third that survives all the stuff that’s being prophesized to occur when Moshiach shows up.
And the more I look around, the more I see the contours of that scenario starting to take shape in the world.
Moshiach’s coming is not a simple matter, not a simple matter at all. That’s why Amos warned us (5: 18-20):
“Woe to you, who desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness and not light…even very dark, and no brightness in it.”
I know so many of us are going through the wringer at the moment, and that it seems so hard to keep hanging on and waiting for Moshiach to show up. But just take a look at the rivers of molten lava blackening the earth, destroying hundreds of homes, and turning ‘paradise’ into ‘hell’ in Hawaii, and ask yourself if you’re really ready for Moshiach to show up now, if that’s what it takes.
And if not, then maybe that’s why Rav Berland and others are trying to hold Moshiach back a little, so it can come a different, and hopefully sweeter way.
So, after readers Alizah and Stella drew my attention to THIS post over on Rav Berland, talking about apartments falling from the sky, I decided I should go over to Musrara yesterday afternoon, to look at the sky and see if anything else would happen while I was doing that.
It’s a strange thing with the Breslov stuff, that whenever you open up a book by Rebbe Nachman, or by Rav Ofer Erez, or by Rav Natan, it always seems to give you a message about what’s really going on in your life.
True, a blog post isn’t exactly the same, but it’s close enough.
So while I was already going to Musrara, I thought ‘let me go and see if there’s anything else to rent there’ – because the old bag who has got my house money still isn’t giving it back in the meantime.
So I found the *one and only* apartment currently listed there for rent, and miraculously, it wasn’t one of the millions I’ve already seen over the last few years, and I looked at the sky a lot before I went to take a look at it.
On the one hand, it had three bedrooms, and they all had a window (kind of…), and two reasonably new bathroom / toilets which is already a plus. On the downside, the kitchen pre-dated the Second Temple, there were red ants everywhere, and while I could fit my furniture into the salon, walking around it would definitely be a challenge.
On the one hand, he was very kindly dropping the price to only double my last mortgage, and it had a place out front to sit, and it was very close to the Rav, and they had no plans to sell it anytime soon, so we could live in it for years. On the other hand….
I sat on a bench looking at the sky for a while in Musrara, and I started to feel really, really down.
I came home, and the down kind of spiraled even further down. I went to bed, I woke up – and I realized I was feeling really angry at God. The sticking point was not the grotty, ucky, disgusting kitchen, the red ants, or the weird shape of every single room. I could have lived with that.
The sticking point was the furniture.
I have a table and sofa that are approaching 20 years old, and are massive. I’ve been trying to tell my kids and husband for five years that we need to get rid of them, but as my daughter keeps telling me, they’ve moved so much that this furniture is their anchor point.
The table and sofas makes them feel at home. And the table and sofas are just way too big for any apartment we can afford to rent in Musrara.
And strange to say, this is what opened up the conversation with God this morning, because I started to get really angry at the stupid situation I currently find myself in where every option is really bad.
I decided I have to lay things out on the table, so to speak, as there is no point pretending, so I told God bluntly:
“I am not on the spiritual level to happily live in yet another hugely expensive rented dump just to be in Musrara. I can’t do it anymore.”
We moved to Musrara four years’ ago as part of our misguided ‘fake pious’ stage, where we really thought Meah Shearim was the pinnacle of Jewish perfection. We stayed because it’s where the Rav is, and being close to the Rav is really important.
But socially for anglos, Musrara is a wasteland.
And it’s so expensive and dumpy.
And I got burned on that property I tried to buy because so much of that area is problematic, legally.
And I just can’t do it anymore.
If I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that God wants us to be real. Maybe, this whole experience has been going on as part of the tikkun for the last time we tried to move to Musrara, because back then, we were trying so hard to be people we really aren’t, religiously.
On Shabbat, Hamodia ran an interview with Rav Dan Tiomkin, who wrote an amazing book for BTs called ‘Reclaming the Lost Self’. I read that book at the height of my religious identify crisis three years’ ago, and it was extremely helpful.
. In the interview, Rav Tiomkin set out his ‘5 stages’ of the baal teshuva experience, as follows:
This process is similar for immigrants to a new country, too, so if you’re a BT who moved to Israel (like I am…) and then gets all Breslov on top of that (which is like moving to a different planet) – then it’s a triple dose of what’s being described.
Man, no wonder things have been so difficult the last few years!
BH, with my ‘can’t do expensive dumps’ anymore epiphany, I think me and my husband are now, finally, moving into that fifth and last stage of harmony, where we really just start to serve God the way He intended.
Maybe, now we finally got the message about not trying to fit in where we don’t, or trying to be people who we aren’t, God can now clear the way for us to find the place where we really belong, at least enough, in all our freakshow-frum weirdness.
So, I didn’t get an apartment when I looked at the sky (yet….).
But maybe, I got something even better.
So, the house saga is continuing to rumble on.
Yesterday, my husband went with our new lawyers (the old lawyer being a big part of the problem…) to talk to the other side about getting the deposit back for the house, which will happen if they would cancel the contract seeing as no bank will give a mortgage on such a ‘complicated’ property.
Remember, we got into this mess because our bank initially said they would give us a mortgage, and gave us an ‘issur ekroni’ that it turns out was not binding. When the bank’s lawyer pulled the mortgage approval out from under our feet, we’d already signed the contract.
In the meantime, the last two months we have run around to every bank in Israel, trying to get another mortgage, with no luck.
It’s not our fault we can’t buy the house. The people selling us told us they’d got a mortgage on it in the past, so either the banks have recently changed their policy on mortgaging ‘Arab’ houses, or someone is lying. Either way, we can’t get a mortgage and we asked the sellers to cancel the deal and return our deposit.
I decided not to go to the meeting yesterday, as I knew I’d get too upset and might say or do something I’d really regret (remember the exploding Salmon, from last year?)
My husband is a lawyer, and he’s much better at keeping a poker face, but even so, he told me there was a lot of shouting going on. The other side have basically gone bonkers, and accused us of ‘burning’ their house by giving it a bad name with all the banks we’d gone to trying to get a mortgage.
I.e., the problem isn’t with the stupid property that is ¾ owned by absentee Arabs that no-one can track down, the problem is with us! We must have done something stupid, that no bank will lend on this property.
And because we did something ‘stupid’ – although clearly, no-one could tell us what that ‘stupid’ thing actually was, apart from actually signing the accursed contract in the first place - we ‘burned’ their house, and now they want the maximum amount to recompense them for their suffering.
To put this another way: it’s the worst case scenario.
I have no idea if they really believe what they’re saying, and / or whether they are just blinded by anger that their house isn’t worth what they thought it was, and greed, but either way it doesn’t look so good.
This has been such a test of my middot, and my emuna, it’s hard to tell you the struggle that is going on inside. When my husband told me the bad news, I immediately started coming up with all these crazy ‘battle strategies’ like kidnapping the seller’s dog and holding it for ransom; or stationing myself outside her flat with my children and a big sign saying ‘[NAME] stole our money!’
Probably my favorite was the idea to hire the New Zealand All Blacks (see above) to come and do the ‘Haka’ for us at the lawyer’s office before we kicked off the next round of shouting and blaming.
(In fact, I might still do that myself anyway, because even King David realized there is a useful side to acting like a crazy, insane person.)
But then I calmed down. I reassured my kids that I wouldn’t really try to poison her dog, or turn into ‘Mrs Psycho the Stalker’, and that I would try to muster up some more emuna to deal with what has been and continues to be a really, really difficult test.
My husband texted Rav Berland’s gabbay to ask for some help or advice from that quarter, and I sat down and wrote my seller a letter, woman to woman, explaining that I realise she’s angry and upset, but that it’s really not our fault that no bank will lend on her property, and trying to take ‘vengeance’ against us is really not going to help anyone.
Not even her, because spiritually, no good will come from the money she tries to squeeze out of us to ‘punish’ us for uncovering the truth about the legal status of her apartment.
(Clearly, I had to push down the urge to tell her I’d hex her for the next 50 generations if she took our cash for nothing. Take a breath, shake out the anger, move on.)
I went and slipped the note under her door, then came back and started to feel pretty low again, and a little teary and sorry for myself.
I know it’s just money. It’s just stuff. It’s not a big deal. We’re all healthy, baruch Hashem, we love each other. That’s what’s really important here.
I asked God to please give me some emuna, and to figure out what on earth the message is behind all this stuff.
How could she accuse me of ‘burning’ her house by trying to get a mortgage on it?! The mind boggles. And such strange phrasing…
Which is when I thought of that phrase that anyone who doesn’t rebuild the temple (the ‘house’ or bayit of the Jewish people) in their lifetime is like one who burned it.
And the sin that burned the temple is sinat chinam, or baseless hatred.
And baseless hatred occurs when we forget that God is in the world, and God is arranging and deciding everything, not my seller and her mentally-retarded macho-man lawyer. And not my negligent, too-laid-back-to-properly-check-any-of-the-details-of-the-contract lawyer, either.
(Take a breath, shake out the anger, move on.)
So yes, God is giving me a clue about what I need to work on still, and He’s set up an enormous test for me and my husband, where we are having to work so hard 24/7 to avoid falling into some massive sinat chinam and revenge tactics.
So ‘Woofy’ is safe for now.
But that haka thing is still kind of tempting.
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