I just got sent this nice, short (8 min) video about Rav Dov Kook, which is a nice intro for readers who may not be so familiar with this Tzaddik of Tiveria.
While all this stuff with Rav Berland was going on, lots of people wanted to know why more rabbis weren’t coming out publicly in support of him.
While a very small percentage of rabbis were themselves taken in by the lies and slanders they were hearing, many of our true rabbis stayed quiet for a different reason: They knew that if they started trying to defend the Rav and pointing out the evil people behind this whole, terrible miscarriage of justice, they would be the next ones with their heads on the chopping block.
At the height of the persecution and slander of Rav Berland, around two years’ ago, some of his supporters tried to rally the generation’s leading Rabbis to begin publishing letters of support for the Rav, to try and redress the balance and inform the public about what was really happening.
One Rav who was asked to participate responded,
“They [the people who are persecuting Rav Berland] are Erev Rav, and it’s forbidden to get involved with them, or give them any strength or attention. If I come out against them, then tomorrow they will turn on me, and they will also start telling lies about me, too.”
This same concern was heard many, many times from other leading Rabbis in Israel.
In the clip that Rav Glazerson released three years’ ago called: ‘The appearance of Rav Eliezer Berland in Torah codes,” Rav Glazerson showed how the words “Eliezer Berland Tzaddik” appeared together with the words, “The arising of the Erev Rav against Judaism.”
Some notable apikorsim already came out with awful slanders against one of the Rav’s biggest defenders, Rav Chaim Dovid Stern, God forbid. Then another one of the Rav’s defenders, Rav Yitzhak Meir Morgenstern, had his synagogue demolished by the Jerusalem municipality shortly after positive statements that he’d made in defense of Rav Berland were publicized.
A couple of years’ ago, another very famous rabbi asked his son to contact me here, on Emunaroma, to take down a statement he’d made defending Rav Berland because he was scared of reprisals against him and his yeshiva.
And now, it seems to be the turn of the kabbalist and tzaddik Rav Dov Kook of Tiveria, God forbid.
Rav Kook warned his students before Shabbat that the Israeli media are planning a ‘blood libel’ against him, probably beginning this coming week, and he asked his followers to pray for him.
Dear readers, I’m asking you to please pay attention to the awful character assassination that is about to begin, and to work with me to expose how these erev rav types who just love to spread false gossip and rumours around, especially about the gedolei hador, really work.
I don’t have details of what they have cooked up against Rav Kook yet, but for sure it will be the same sort of unprovable stories, false witnesses, lurid headlines and scandalous lies that they have used to great effect against Rav Berland.
The media – sadly, including the so-called ‘chareidi’ media – starts all this stuff off to boost their ratings and get their audience to turn against the true leaders of the nation. Then, regular people who are either gullible and naïve, or who actually just love to gossip and to stir things up get involved, and start carpeting the internet with all this ‘fake news’ and slanderous lies, making out like it’s actually true because everyone is talking about it.
This is so, so contrary to how observant Jews are meant to deal with rumors and gossip, and I highly recommend you brush up on the laws of lashon hara before this next round of slander begins, so you don’t fall afoul of listening to it and believing, or spreading it further afield.
It’s such a hard test, not least because speaking lashon hara is one of the main tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with someone with pronounced erev rav traits. And so many of the people in the media, and in the Jewish blogosphere – including the so-called ‘frum’ Jewish blogosphere – sadly have a very big problem with this erev rav trait.
But don’t make their problem, your problem.
Don’t believe the lies, don’t get caught up in replying to, or posting up, scandalous comments with no factual basis, don’t visit blog sites and news sites where you’re being fed fake news and lashon hara 24/7, don’t give credence or respect to those journalists and bloggers who enjoy stirring up machloket against our true tzaddikim.
As time goes on, it’s becoming clearer and clearer which ‘side’ these people are really on, spiritually, and where they’re going to end up – for eternity! – if they don’t make teshuva pronto.
It’s a huge test, I know.
But I have a feeling that by turning on Rav Dov Kook, the Israeli media may have finally bitten off more than they can actually chew, and that more and more people out there will start to realise what’s really going on in this country, and with the media and the ruling elites generally, and will make some serious teshuva about believing lies they read or watched on the internet etc.
I certainly hope so.
UPDATE: Below, you'll find the Gemara's definition of an 'apikorus', or heretic. You can learn more about this definition for yourself HERE, and HERE.
A heretic may be distinguished from an apostate in that, although he holds beliefs which are contrary to currently accepted doctrines, he does not renounce his religion and often believes that he represents the true tradition.
Some identify the talmudic minim with the Judeo-Christians, others with unspecified groups who denied rabbinic authority and/or the belief in the coming of the Messiah.
In the Talmud the term apikoros refers to the *Sadducees (Kid. 66a); to those who denigrate rabbinic authority.
Kofer may be best translated as "freethinker." In Sanhedrin the kofer is identified as one who asks needling questions and points out contradictions between biblical texts (Sanh. 39a–b). The term kofer ba-ikkar in rabbinic literature refers to one who denies a basic and essential ikkar ("dogma"; on the various formulations of dogmas in Judaism see S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism (1896), 147–81). Maimonides defines a kofer ba-Torah as someone who denies either the divine inspiration of the Torah or the authority of the Oral Law and the rabbis who teach it, or one who maintains that the legislation of the Torah has been superseded (Yad, Teshuvah, 3:8)
Someone calling themselves ‘A. Zintzheim’ – because if I’ve learnt one thing about these self-righteous anti-Berland gossip mavens, it’s that they never use their real names when trying to castigate me over the internet – left a comment on THIS post saying the following:
The video you have posted here is highly misleading. If you look at the longer video from which your "fabricated" video is taken, it is clear that the audio and video are not intended to be related to each other. Indeed, part of the video is just shots of R' Berland hiding under his tallis in court. Source is here:
I have to admit, I had no idea what they were actually trying to say, given that the post on the Channel Two site is entitled: הווידוי של ברלנד: "אנסתי אותה" – “Video of [Rav] Berland: I r**** her!”
So I went back to them asking them for clarification, and I got this back:
Your attempt was to show the movie was a fabrication consisted of the following steps:
(I distinguish here between "audio", "video", and a "movie" - the combination of audio and video)
1. Assume that the audio (and sub-titles) in the movie corresponded to the actual video in the movie.
2. Show that the original video for the movie in question actually corresponded to a different, non-incriminating audio.
I agree with your point #2, but your assumption in point #1 is false. The movie I linked to was clearly the source for your movie, yet it is clear from watching that movie that there is not intended to be any correlation between the audio and the video tracks in the movie. Thus your movie completely fails to demonstrate any "fabrication".
Which showed me two things:
Let’s start with the faked video / audio, which I’m reposting here so you can compare and contrast the lurid claims about it with the truth. Here’s some of the headlines – that are still up on the internet – from that time (in the interests of modesty, I’m starring out words that none of us need to be reading:)
Jul 27, 2016 - Years-old footage released of newly extradited Eliezer Berland shows him explaining how he forced a married woman into s**.
Well, this says it all, doesn’t it! Read this headline from the Times of Israel and you have the whole picture. Except….first it was badly FAKED audio from Y.T.C., and NOT a video, and everyone knows that faking audio (especially as badly as this was faked) is ridiculously easy.
Secondly, Rav Berland was never ‘extradited’ from South Africa, he made a voluntary agreement to return to Israel to clear his name. Third of all, even the faked audio doesn’t actually say what these lurid headlines are claiming.
Fourthly, the Rav’s opponents never even tried to admit this ‘evidence’ into court because it was so clearly faked. In that same article, Moshe Nussbaum of Channel 2 (the same Moshe Nussbaum that Netanyahu recently said on social media lies to the Israeli people every single night) – says that:
In spite of what was heard in the Rav's recording, there is a problem in accusing the rabbi of committing rape offenses. In the framework of the request to extradite the rabbi to Israel after he was abroad, the State Attorney's Office stated that he is only responsible for offenses of indecent assault and harassment, and that the indictment must rely solely on the request for extradition. Rabbi Berland cannot be accused of rape.
Do you see how cleverly these journalists hide the truth from their readers in plain view? The Rav can’t be accused of r*** – because there is absolutely no evidence and the State knows that, and Moshe Nussbaum and Channel 2 also knows that! But that’s not going to stop them running false stories and headlines claiming to have video-taped confessions.
While we’re on the subject, all the prosecution could claim (and what the Rav was forced to ‘admit’ to, in order to be released for treatment for his life-threatening cancer that subsequently required him to have a kidney and part of his colon removed) was two minor counts of ‘inappropriate touching’ and one count of sending people out to ‘assault’ the State’s Witness back in 2013, before he’d even gone public with his claims and long before his wife started telling her own fake story.
There is so much to say about how these claims were also 100% deliberately falsified by the police, the media and the Rav’s persecutors too, but you’ll have to read Volume II of One in a Generation for more details on that.
Let’s fast-forward two years, and another ‘video story’ about Rav Berland surfaces, with more breathless headlines:
Shocking Video Of Rabbi Berland Surfaces; Followers Defend It As ...
https://www.theyeshivaworld.com › Headlines & Breaking News
Feb 4, 2018 - Home Headlines & Breaking News Shocking Video Of Rabbi Berland Surfaces; Followers Defend It As 'Miraculous Healing. ... On Sunday morning a shocking video went viral on social media that depicted Rabbi Eliezer Berland conducting, what appears to be an act that goes against all the teachings of ...
Again, this says it all doesn’t it! Never mind that Klara Hammer had uncurable throat cancer which disappeared after the Rav touched her throat. That’s a small detail that must be mocked and overlooked, because the point they are trying to make is that Rav Berland is ‘committing acts that go against all the teachings of the Torah’.
(You can see the full story behind Klara Hammer’s miracle HERE).
Yeshiva news loves video stories about Rav Berland and his students. Last year, they ran this one:
SHOCKING VIDEO: Breslov Mashpia HaRav Moshe Kramer Attacked ...
https://www.theyeshivaworld.com › Headlines & Breaking News
Feb 5, 2017 - The followers of Rabbi Eliezer Berland who was convicted of offenses have taken to attack his opponents. In the opening scene, a prominent Mashpia who dared to speak against Rabbi Berland was attacked violently. In the second you see followers of rabbi Berland covering their heads with Taleisim ) as ...
There was just a small problem with this story: It was all lies. When the police investigated, they discovered that the people who’d attacked Rav Kramer were involved in a monetary dispute with him, and had absolutely no connection to Shuvu Banim.
If you go and view this video yourself (below), it will become abundantly clear that apart from their misleading headlines about it, there is absolutely no link with Shuvu Banim students or Rav Berland – it’s just a video of regular, Meah Shearim chassidim.
But yeshivaworld is continuing to have this false, slanderous story up on its website anyway, because hey! What’s a little thing like the truth when it comes to slamming Shuvu Banim and Rav Berland?
Ynews also doesn’t miss any opportunity to write awful stories about the Rav, including this latest offering from a couple of weeks’ back, when the Rav went to visit the Kotel:
Rabbi Berland allowed to enter Western Wall plaza with car - Ynetnews
Apr 8, 2018 - Convicted s** offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland was allowed to enter the Western Wall plaza with his car, an honor normally reserved only to the greatest of rabbis. During the intermediate days of Passover, when the Western Wall is particularly crowded with ...
Again, the media is going all-out here to impress on you that only a selfish, awful person would visit the Kotel when it’s so crowded!! On Pesach!! In a car!! As though he was ‘the greatest of rabbis’, or something. How could the authorities let Rav Berland visit the Kotel?!?
Recently, Ha’Aretz also dipped their toe back in the ‘bashing Rav Berland’ water, by running a piece entitled:
Rav Berland’s followers have a flesh-and-blood God
The article then goes on to say that:
“Haredi society as a whole denounces Berland (even if not publicly), and most of the Bratslav rabbis came out against him harshly after a rabbinic court investigated the allegations against him and came to the conclusion that they were true.”…
Ha’aretz certainly excels in squashing a maximal amount of lies into one short sentence.
As even a casual glance at the list of rabbis who have recently and publicly come out in support of the Rav shows – including Rav David Abuchatzeira, Rav Shimon Badani, Rav Matityahu Glazerson, the Spinka Rebbe, Rav Reuven Elbaz, Rav Dov Kook, Rav Dovid Chaim Stern, to name but a few – shows, Haredi society as a whole is NOT denouncing Rav Berland at all.
Not even close.
Next, it tells us that ‘most of the Breslov rabbis came out harshly against him’ – which again is completely untrue.
There are a small core of people, centred on the Breslov shul in Meah Shearim, who have been against Rav Berland for 30 years. And Y.T.C., the main persecutor of the Rav within Breslov, the main source for ALL of these slanderous stories about the Rav, and the person named below, belongs to that group.
"A rabbinic court investigated the allegations against him and came to the conclusion that they were true” Ha’Aretz informs us.
But again, that’s a lie. The ‘rabbinic court’ in question was made of Y.T.C. and a few more of his group who have been persecuting the Rav for decades, none of whom are dayanim, and who no real Breslov Rabbi would so much as touch with a bargepole. (See HERE for more info).
The email address that is given for this supposedly 'Special Beis Din' is that of the breslevemet website, a joint venture between I.N.S. the 'State's Witness' against the Rav, and Y.T.C., his main persecutor.
Strange indeed that the Beis Din that allegedly 'came to the conclusion the allegations against the Rav were true' should share an email with the Rav's two main persecutors, and stranger still that this small detail is not something that Ha'aretz feels is at all relevant to its story, or the 'facts' it's presenting, or the credibility of its sources.
Like I said, Ha’Aretz manages to pack in a lot of lies into one short sentence, and the unwitting reader is none the wiser about just how deliberately deceitful this article actually is. Then, we get to the main man of the story, who tells us that regardless of anything you might hear - from thousands of people - to the contrary:
“even if outwardly his followers sometimes offer blanket denial, "inside they speak differently," says Rabbi Yom Tov Cheshin, perhaps Berland's greatest opponent and one of his close associates before the affair broke out. "They claim that he is permitted, that he is God."
There is SO much to say about this individual, and his impersonations of the Rav's voice. The book will set out exactly how Y.T.C. was behind the ‘take over’ of Shuvu Banim and the imprisonment of the Rav in his own home for almost a decade.
Y.T.C. threatened the Rav that if he escaped, Y.T.C. would go to the press with all sorts of made up stories and lies about him – and that’s exactly what he’s done.
In every negative story that you read about the Rav, you will find Y.T.C. either explicitly mentioned, or anonymously referred to as a ‘former student and confidant’. Someone emailed me about this story to ask if Rav Berland really believes that he’s God.
Of course he doesn’t!
There is barely a word spoken about the Rav in the media that is true or honest, and that’s especially so when you’re dealing with ‘anti-religious’ media with Y.T.C. as their only source of information.
It would be bad enough if only the secular media sites were continually lying to their readers and manipulating them in such a disgusting way, but sadly, as the following story I happened to come across recently shows, the ‘frum’ media sites are also not being run according to halacha, or anything even approaching it (I'm removing names below, to minimise the lashon hara):
Shocking, isn’t it?
Yet extortion has come out as the key motive for many of the people behind the false allegations of Rav Berland, which is why this story shouldn’t be a shock to anyone:
Civil suit against Rabbi Berland
Some of the complainants against the Shuvu Banim leader file civil suit amounting to 4 million shekels.
Again, even this headline is deliberately misleading, because it gives the impression that only a small number of the actual complainants are filing the suit, and that there must be millions more women out there that aren’t.
In truth, there were only two women the whole time, both false witnesses:
That’s it. There are no other women, there never were any other women. That’s why the rest of the story reads like this:
Three women filed a civil suit Wednesday against a convicted s** offender rabbi and fifteen others who they claim enabled him.
The women are suing Eliezer Berland, 80, for NIS 4 million ($1.1 million) and also demanding that he be barred from leaving the country until the case is concluded, Channel 2 reported.
The suit was filed in Jerusalem District Court by the two women, who Berland admitted to and was found guilty of assaulting, along with another woman who was not involved in the criminal case against the rabbi.
Why not? Why wasn't this women involved in the 'criminal case' if she had a real complaint to make?
There are so very many lies that have been told by this case, by so very many people, that even fitting all the information into a book is proving quite challenging. But as I’ve started, so I’ll try to finish.
May God protect us from all the liars, hatemongers and gossip-mongers out there. And may the Moshiach come soon, and deal with them all once and for all.
Go HERE to see all the Emunaroma FAQs and articles on the Rav Berland scandal in one place.
One of the things that hasn't ceased to amaze me is the 'pick and choose' approach so many orthodox bloggers and journalists have taken to covering what's going on with Rav Berland, and the awful miscarriage of justice that's occurred with his false prosecution and imprisonment.
BH, I'm writing up some more stuff for the book, some of which I'll post up here before condensing it for inclusion in Volume II of One in a Generation, which I hope to get finished soon.
Perhaps you could understand that secular journalists who have made a notorious name for themselves by falsely accusing all sorts of men in Israel of attacking women, and who have been repeatedly caught making up negative stories about Chareidim, would have no qualms about telling open lies about people like Rav Berland.
There was a certain secular female journalist who made up a whole story about a 5 year old apparently being violated in a synagogue in Modiin Illit which caused an enormous scandal in Israel - until it was checked out, and was found to be a complete fabrication.
Which then caused another type of scandal about terrible journalism and deliberate slander of the chareidi community, which few outside the orthodox world even noticed.
A month after this female journalist's story was found to be completely false, she was back with another story 'proving' that the chareidi world was as bad as she said it was - i.e. the false accusations against Rav Berland.
Then there is Channel 2 anchor Moshe Nussbaum, who has also built up a steady reputation for sacrificing truth on the altar of pushing his own ideology and opinions. A little while back Bibi Netanyahu wrote this on his Facebook page (as reported HERE) about Nussbaum and the Israeli media generally:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today described the Israeli print and broadcast media, almost in its entirety, as “fake news” and “liars.”
Amnon Levy we already know about, from THIS over on the Rav Berland website.
But what continues to amaze me is the attitude of so many apparently 'orthodox' bloggers and journalists out there, who will happily quote Rav Yekutiel Fish, shlita, until the cows come home on any subject - except his outspoken support for Rav Berland.
Or, who will happily post up videos from Rav Matityahu Glazerson on any subject, except those that happen to mention Rav Berland favorably, or show him in a positive light.
Or who will eagerly glean the last word from tzaddikim like Rav Dov Kook, especially when it comes to 'geula' matters - except when a video shows up where Rav Dov Kook and Rav Berland are together, talking about imminently bringing the Moshiach and redemption.
Or, who report on every Rabbi and Rebbe's visit to each other - but fail to mention how so many of the nation's leading rabbis and admorim have welcomed Rav Berland publicly, with open arms.
Then, they fall strangely quiet on the subject (at best...). At worst, they start spewing awful lashon hara all over the internet about how 'they've never heard of any rabbis supporting Rav Berland', etc, and then link to slanderous statements from obvious apikorsim to support their position.
Or take the apparently 'frum, chareidi' journalist on Kikar Shabbat who worked hand-in-glove with one of Rav Berland's main persecutors, YTC, to write one negative, knocking and false story about the Rav and his community after another.
Take this story, for example:
It's talking about how a number of Breslov rabbis apparently 'deleted' shiurim connected with Rav Berland, as a result of the scandal engulfing the community. One of the yeshivas the piece mentions is Chut Shel Chessed, Rav Shalom Arush's organisation.
The shiurim deleted happened to be those given by one of Rav Berland's extended family members who at that point was engaged in spreading the slanders against him.
That piece of information changes the whole picture - and the writer knew it.
And he deliberately withheld that piece of information from his readers, because he had a false agenda he wanted to pursue, and he wasn't going to let a little thing like the truth get in the way.
We don't expect anything different from 'loony left' publications like Ha'aretz, who are still running poisonous pieces today, which if you read them carefully, all mention the same person and his opinions as the only source of information: YTC.
But surely frum, 'orthodox' journalists and bloggers shouldn't be in the same malicious, untruthful and chareidi-bashing boat as the people who are reporting for Ha'aretz, Army Radio and Channel 2?
And if they are, what does that mean about who these people really are, and what they really stand for?
That's why Rav Eliezer Berland, and the libel surrounding him, really is the last test before the Moshiach comes, as Rav Glazerson, Rav Dovid Chaim Stern and a few others have clearly stated.
It's really bringing out people's true colors, and regardless of whether they call themselves 'orthodox', honest, open-minded, truthful, it's actually providing a litmus test of a person's true character that can not be faked.
So I guess it's a very good thing, ultimately, and a very necessary part of the process leading up to Moshiach and geula. And it's only going to continue and strengthen from this point on.
Below, you'll find a Hebrew video that recently came out that sets all the information out about who the Rav's main persecutors are within Breslov very clearly. It's eye-opening and highly recommended.
The truth will out.
A reader asked me to re-post details of how to get to Rav Berland's shul, to daven with the Rav, in Jerusalem.
The shul, called the Beit HaRav is a makeshift place attached to the Rav's building. The arrangement began while the Rav was still under house arrest and is continuing for the foreseeable future.
You can get to it on Ido HaNavi Street, across from the Meah Shearim road. The Rav davens vatikin (at sunrise), and usually does mincha and maariv together at the latest time for mincha.
There is a women's section, but women daven outside the building. There is seating (for women) but it's limited and squashy, so come early.
Click HERE to buy the book and to learn the true story of Rav Eliezer Berland in English.
I’m doing my darndest to stay off news sites as much as possible at the moment, but even so, it’s hard to ignore the looming showdown on the horizon between the US and Russia in Syria.
While I’m not big on ‘conspiracy theories’, having been sucked into one too many paranoid delusions by crazy bloggers in the past, it does strike me as rather strange that whoever it is should have apparently used chemical weapons against civilians AGAIN in Syria.
I mean, you can do a much better job of killing people by sticking to conventional weapons and bombs, and the world is so hypocritical that it doesn’t care a hoot if 70 Syrian children got blown to pieces by a regular bomb (unless they could somehow claim that the Joos did it – and yes SOTT and all the other rabidly anti-semitic ‘alternative’ news sites, will definitely try to do that.)
But apart from when Jews kill aggressive Arab terrorists, no-one really cares when anyone else does it, or how they do it, as long as they don’t use chemical weapons.
So the question begs to be asked: with Trump publicly stating he wants US soldiers out of Syria just last week; and with the rebels fighting the Assad government on their last legs; and with a few more attempts at creating a real cease-fire in the pipeline – why, o why would whoever it is use chemical weapons at this point in the game?
Unless whoever it is was really, really keen on triggering World War III, but crazy as Trump and Putin honestly really are, even they aren’t itching for a direct confrontation. If they were, it would have happened by now, but both of them seem to be strangely reticent about being the one to hit the ‘start’ button on that particular bit of madness.
As I wrote about HERE, there’s been something strange rumbling on in the UK for weeks, also involving Russians and chemical compounds, and a whole bunch of things about that particular story also don’t add up.
Again, it just looks like another clumsy attempt by whoever is is to try and sow more discord in the world, and bring us a whole bunch closer to WWIII.
While I was pondering this, I was researching some stuff about giants – like real giants, as described in the Torah – which lead to the discovery that the UK has some ancient folklore traditions that ‘Gog and Magog’ was the giant-sized ancestor of the ancient, original inhabitants of the British Isles.
I know this sounds so bizarre, but while all of us in the geula-sphere have been trying to figure out the identity of Gog and Magog in today’s world, massive straw effigies of the giant GogandMagog have been parading in London’s Lord Mayor’s Show every year for the last 2,000 years…
When the US first became an independent country, King George (Gog) III was on the throne in the UK. The first president of the US, as we all know, was George (Gog) Washington. Gog and Magog. So Britain and the former British colony, the US, are collectively GogandMagog.
Who left the British Mandate of Palestine in such a deliberate mess that Arabs and Jews would be at each other’s throats for at least the next thousand years, barring Divine intervention and Moshiach? Britain.
Which brings me to another strange observation. A few months’ ago, I was walking through Ben Gurion airport when I noticed a massive picture ‘celebrating’ the State of Israel’s 70th year, and Zionism’s 120th birthday.
I couldn’t help but reflect that in yiddishkeit, both of these numbers reflect the end of an era, a set period of time, an allotment of life, that is now coming to a close. Until 120! To put this another way, it seemed a clear sign that ‘Zionism’ was on its last legs, which seemed to be compounded by the US decision to open up their embassy in Jerusalem on the State’s 70th birthday, which could lead to who knows what happening.
And then, there was the awesome video of Rav Berland and Rav Dov Kook coming together to ‘bring the geula’ on rosh chodesh Nisan, traditionally our month of redemption.
When you start to take all this together, and then combine it with all the absolute craziness, massive tests of emuna and general ‘I can’t continue on like this anymore’ vibe hitting everyone I know in their private lives…
And then add in the fact that mutation-causing UVC rays are now penetrating the earth’s atmosphere and actually hitting the earth’s surface for the first time in modern history, which could lead to all sorts of strange developments, perhaps including human beings growing wings before the whole planet gets flooded with water as part of the geula process, as we find being described in the deeper Jewish sources…
And never mind all the strange weather and geological phenomena everyone all over the world is experiencing right now, because that’s old news, right?
Then, it really does seem to be pointing in the direction of something about to kick off, very soon, that could potentially completely transform the whole world as we know it.
( See Sanhedrin 92a, 92b and 97a)
The last strange musing to share with you is that I read THIS article over on the Rav Berland website about the Rav and Rav Yitzhak Yosef calling for Israel to intervene to save human lives in Syria, which was a big part of the reason the Israeli government decided to go after him six years ago.
And then I went over to THIS article on Ha’aretz, which described some of the shock and surprise that even the lefties in Israel felt after hearing the Rav’s words. And I scrolled down to the bottom, and was amazed to find that one of the ‘chassidim’ that Haaretz decided to photograph that night was the man who two short week’s later turned ‘State’s witness’ against Rav Berland and started the whole slanderous campaign off against him.
The chances of him being photographed out of a crowd of 8,000 people are very small.
Did Haaretz know what was about to come, or is this just another small sign that God is running every detail of the world, and there is a tremendous harmony and unity hidden behind all the surface chaos, that occasionally peeks through in these small ways?
But we certainly live in very interesting times.
Last week, the local Chabad shlichim in my area arranged a communal seder - for free - for 120 people. That’s an awesome achievement, by any measure. Where do they get their strength from, their energy, their ahavat Yisrael to keep doing this stuff?
It can only be from the late Lubavitcher Rebbe.
As I was thinking about this, I started to ponder how much you can tell about a person by the rabbi they follow. Rebbe Nachman teaches that you can see the ‘imprint’ of a person’s rabbi on their follower’s ‘face’ in some way, with a true student resembling their rabbi more and more.
This is certainly true when a person is doing their best to follow a true Tzaddik and holy person, and sadly, if we’re following a yucky ‘controversial’ apikorus-type rabbi, that will also rub off on us, too.
And if a person doesn’t follow any rabbi? Well, that tells its own story.
YOSHKI ALSO DIDN'T BELIEVE IN HAVING A RABBI
Yoshki, the founder of xtianity notably didn’t follow rabbis. the Talmud relates how when he tried to interrupt his teacher, Rabbi Yehoshua, in the middle of his prayers, the Rabbi gestured to him to wait until he was finished, but Yoshki got offended and stalked off.
The Talmud then recounts that Yoshki ‘set up a brick and started worshiping it’. There are different explanations for what that actually means in practice, but one very strong explanation is that this meant that Yoshki started worshipping himself as the last word, and the ultimate ‘opinion’ on every subject.
This has sadly been a xtian trait ever since. Even today, so many xtians and ex-xtians have perfected the art of slagging off our true rabbis and true Tzaddikim (who xtians like to term ‘Pharisees’, but a Pharisee was just that generation’s ‘haredi’ rabbi) as being ‘backwards’ and ‘corrupt’ and people no-one should listen to.
The argument is always the same, although 2,000 years have passed since Yoshki first came out with it. “Don’t be scared to think for yourselves!!” he used to yell at his disciples, as he encouraged them to break one Torah law after another.
“Eat rice on Pesach, you don’t have to follow the rabbis or halacha! Hardly anyone actually believes in the Shulchan Aruch, it’s not binding on any Jew!” he’d inform all his eager disciples.
But then occasionally, someone would stand up and challenge him: “Er, esteemed rabbi yoshki, that’s not what Rabbi Akiva up the road in Bnei Brak is saying….”
“Him?? That’s just Jewish replacement theology,” rabbi yoshki harrumphed. “You don’t need any rabbis! They are mostly nearly all corrupt erev rav that no-one properly xtian….er, Jewish, needs to listen to. You just need to be a good person, and stop worrying so much about all those petty laws and rules that just bring everyone down and ruin their Pesach.
“Now, let’s all go over to mine to bake our own soft matzahs for Seder - and guess what! No-one needs to wait between eating chicken and drinking a glass of milk, either! That’s another outdated ‘law’ those pathetic, Pharisee-haredim came up with when they had nothing better to do! They are teaching you the Torah of exile!
“So chicken enchiladas with cream sauce it is for Seder night! I can’t wait!!”
XTIANS HATE RABBINIC JUDAISM
King Shlomo himself taught us there is nothing new under the sun, so it’s really no surprise that xtians, and so many of the Jews who grew up in xtian environments in the West still have such a distaste for ‘rabbinic Judaism’, and are still firmly committed to ‘worshipping the brick’.
They absorbed that arrogant, completely un-Jewish outlook in galut, in exile, and sadly they are continuing to bring it into every aspect of their Yiddishkeit.
Something else xtians love (apart from being able to eat chicken enchiladas with cream sauce on Seder night) is ‘Armageddon’ type prophecies where the whole world dies a yucky, violent death - except them and the people who think the same way they do.
Sadly for me, I went to a xtian school and I read through the book of Revelations more than once. Poor me, that I had to go through that.
So this ‘Armageddon obsession’ struck me with all the recent ‘Nibiru’ stuff that was going on online with WSO and a bunch of the other ‘xtian-inspired’ sites out there. The basic idea, again perfected by xtianity and its adherents over two millennia, is this:
Come up with a terrible prophecy, the more gory and dramatic the better, where billions of people are going to die awful deaths, because they aren’t ‘good enough’ and don’t believe the same things that you do.
If you can also find a way to disparage and tarnish the reputation of our real Tzaddikim and holy rabbis while doing this, preferably by dismissing them all as erev rav, or as ‘people who are scared to think’, or people who are somehow ‘practicing another religion’, then you get extra bonus points.
Next, hype-up all this ‘end of the world’ stuff unceasingly for as long as you can keep it going.
Never mind that the prophecies don’t materialize, never mind that the dates come and go and the world keeps turning. The point is just to keep everyone scared and panicked, because then you can control them and keep dragging them down your own particular path to ‘salvation’.
The Catholic Church has been beating this same drum for two millennia, to great effect.
But it’s not the Jewish way.
Orthodox Jews have never been encouraged to seek out ‘prophecies’ and predictions of the future, and in fact we have a number of very strict laws specifically forbidding us from trying to divine what the future holds for us in tumah-dik ways.
But xtians?!? And the Greeks and Romans that inspired them?!? They just lurve their oracles, and their ‘signs’, and their fortune telling stuff. Before any big undertaking, Kings and leaders would usually nip up to the local pagan Temple, sacrifice a bull or two to some dark side force and then ask for a ‘message’ from the other side.
Today, people are still doing this sort of thing notably via séances and Ouija boards, where the messages from the evil spirits involved in all this stuff are spelled out, letter by slow letter, to the unwitting audience.
Facilitated communication from the forces of evil.
Of course, it’s only the old-fashioned Pharisee-Haredim who have a problem with dabbling in all this ultra-tumah-dik stuff. All the more ‘enlightened’ people who aren’t ‘scared to think for themselves’ have absolutely no problem with it.
THE DARK SIDE FORCES ALWAYS BEGIN BY ATTACKING THE REAL RABBIS
Is Niribu / the Star of Yaakov still out there? I think it is, yes.
But it’s impossible to really know what’s going on or when anything may or may not occur, as that information is solely in the keeping of our true Tzaddikim, like Rav Berland and Rav Dov Kook.
I know, I know, the xtian-minded folk who hate Pharisee-Haredi ‘rabbis’ won’t like that idea at all.
But it’s the truth.
Our history if full of ‘false messiahs’ who started their careers by attacking the true Tzaddikim. It began with Korach, continued with Yoshki and Shabta Tzvi, and is still thriving in the midst of all those ‘alternative’ Jewish movements who like to claim you don’t need to listen to rabbis or obey Torah laws.
Just set up your brick and worship it! Don’t let anyone else tell you what to think! You’re as good as Moshe Rabbenu, all those rabbis - and the people who are following them - are just erev rav anyway, don’t you know?
It’s the olam hafuch, the backwards, upside-down world.
May God right it speedily, and may the Jewish people finally rid ourselves of all these yucky xtian-inspired ideas about our true rabbis and Tzaddikim that are definitely doing more than anything else to keep the fires of sinat chinam burning, and to hold-up the geula.
Another oldie but goody. How many predictions of death and destruction from the autistics (and others...) have come and gone since I wrote this two years' ago?
We've all become so immune to real warnings from real Tzaddikim, and so confused and apathetic about what's going on in the world because we've been relying on 'false prophets' and tumah-dik sources of information and insight who keep putting a false spin on what is truly happening, and why.
Whatever is going on out there, the true tzaddikim are really the only people we should be listening to and paying attention to. It's like in Egypt: Pharoah's advisors could all 'predict the future' to some degree, but they couldn't see the full picture, and so their predictions were distorted half-truths.
And we're still chasing after the Prophets of Ov and Yidoni today...
There was great excitement in the town: the town crier had just gone round the streets yelling at the top of his voice: “The bone has a message! The talking bone of Ov has another message! Everyone come gather in the town square!”
Mothers rushed out of their homes, leaving their boiling pots of soup unattended. Fathers put down their Gemaras and left their shop-fronts: The Talking bone of Ov had a message! They were about to find out what was really going on in the world.
Only in the house of Rabbi Gershon did this news not cause a stir. Rabbi Gershon was sick of all the messages from the talking bone of Ov, and also its competition, the talking bone of Yidoni. It was never uplifting messages about how much God loves His people. It was never a message to make real teshuva and to come back to God, and to start treating other people more kindly and more gently.
The talking bone of Ov was always full of ‘oys!’, and full of the whole-scale destruction of the Jewish people and conspiracy theories that elbowed God out the picture, and just caused people to walk around panic-stricken about the terrible tidings they’d heard.
Who needed that?!
In his youth, Rabbi Gershon had also been a follower of the talking bone of Ov, but in recent years, he’d started to ponder why the talking bone never mentioned the nation’s holy rabbis, and all the work they were doing to sweeten the decrees hanging over the Jewish people. It never talked about the importance of going to Uman for Rosh Hashana. It never brought messages of hope…
Still, he knew why people continued to run out of their homes to listen to the talking bone of Ov every few weeks: human beings hate uncertainty. We all like the idea that we know what’s coming next, and that we’re prepared for it. Knowledge is power.
Rabbi Gershon sighed deeply and picked up his chumash. He started to read again about divination and sorcery, and why our Sages had outlawed all those weird attempts at trying to predict the future like raising the dead, or listening to a talking bone that someone had shoved in their armpit.
Information is power. Knowledge is power. But information can also be used to mislead and deceive, and knowledge can also be used to control and manipulate.
Rabbi Gershon sighed again. When the sages of the generation pasted up posters telling the town residents to stop speaking so much lashon hara, and to spend more time praying and learning Torah and less time visiting the local market and circuses, no-one was interested. No-one ran from house to house, trying to gather a crowd to hear what the Sages were saying.
But this talking bone of Ov showed up, and hey presto! It immediately pulled in a crowd of thousands with its messages of imminent death and destruction.
Did people realize how ridiculous they looked, hanging on every word of a talking bone?!? Did they understand that there are no short-cuts, spiritually-speaking, and that the only people who really knew what was going on hardly ever communicated that to the masses?
Did they understand that the only way to get though the world in one piece was by making sincere, genuine teshuva, and coming back to God? It didn’t matter how many tins of tuna the talking bone told you to stock up on, how much death and destruction was being predicted (typically to coincide with the next Jewish holiday…) - even if you knew all that, even if it was true, how was it really going to help you?
Rav Gershon’s ponderings were interrupted from shouts and screams from the street. As his friend Shlomo rushed past, Rav Gershon called to him from the window, and asked him what was going on.
“The talking bone has predicted that a tidal wave will smash into our village on Shabbat, and destroy everyone who isn’t wearing sackcloth and ashes. I’m running over to Rami Levi right now to pick up some sackcloth, and 50 tins of tuna,” Shlomo called over his shoulder.
“But we’re 3,000 foot up a mountain!” Rav Gershon called after his friend. “And the sea is 30 miles away!” But Shlomo had disappeared already.
Rav Gershon sighed again. Shabbat would come, and be ruined for most of the villagers who would sit there with fear in their hearts and terror on their faces. Never mind that the last 83 predictions of earthquakes hitting on Chanuka, nuclear bombs being dropped on Pesach, and ginormous Martian cockroaches invading on Purim hadn’t materialized.
Whatever the talking bone said, that was law.
Rav Gershon returned to studies, and pondered the world around him. A world were people preferred to listen to talking bones, CNN and Arutz Sheva, instead of listening to the words of our true sages.
November 2016, the whole family was in the car taking one of my kids back to her ulpana, up North. After a pregnant pause, the oldest one said to me: “Ima, how do you know Rav Berland really didn’t do everything they say he did?”
This was just after the Rav’s ‘show trial’, where he had to plead guilty to 3 relatively minor counts in order for the courts to release him for treatment for some very serious cancerous growths. Of course, no-one really knew that at the time, so it just looked really, really bad.
I sighed, and told my daughter about the pidyon Nefesh I’d done with the Rav the year earlier, that had resolved three years of a chronic, debilitating health issue that had been getting worse and worse. “He’s a holy man,” I told my daughter. “God doesn’t work miracles like that through frauds.”
The discussion continued, because the youngest also had kids in her class that were avid Youtube watchers, and who claimed to ‘personally know’ the victims involved. Again, I didn’t try to shut my kids up or close them down, because they were asking valid questions that deserved a response, however ‘weak’ that response seemed to sound, back in November 2016 when so many of the facts were still obscured.
We discussed it for an hour, we talked about the prohibitions of listening to and believing lashon hara, or evil speech, and at the end of the hour, I hoped that enough had been clarified to at least encourage my kids to avoid discussing the subject with their friends, so they wouldn’t get pulled into a big argument.
It's impossible to avoid the argument
We have a big picture of the Rav in our home, and every time one of my kid’s friends would see it, she’d start up a whole discussion about how she wished we’d take it down, with a pointed look and flashing, indignant eyes. I changed the subject, and made any ‘lashon hara’ discussions out of bounds in the house.
This kid is a really good kid. She’s really passionate, she’s really kind, she really cares about other people. Sadly, she and her family also treat Youtube videos as a valid source of ‘news’ and consume a lot of ‘news’ online.
This Shabbat, a bunch of my girls’ friends came for Shabbat, and a few minutes after candlelighting, a huge shouting match began in the kitchen. This is not unusual with opinionated teenage girls, so I let them get on with it for half an hour. Then I caught Rav Berland’s name being mentioned, and the penny dropped what they were arguing about.
The picture had sparked this girl off again, and a huge argument had developed. Except now, out of the group of 7, there were 5 girls defending the Rav, and two still accusing him. I decided it was time to get this discussion properly out into the open, as whispering in backrooms - about anything - is never a good thing.
The yetzer thrives when things can't be discussed openly
The yetzer thrives in places where topics can’t be properly discussed, explored and addressed, especially with teenagers. So I invited the group to the sitting room, and I started laying out the real facts of the story.
I learned so much from that encounter. By the end, both the girls who were ‘anti’ the Rav asked me to stop, and wanted to change the subject. They are both really good girls, but I could see that I hadn’t changed their minds with what I’d told them. What had happened is that I’d changed their willingness to slag the Rav off so publicly, as they’d started to realize that they were actually on pretty shaky ground with their ‘facts’ and their ‘victims’ - who all essentially boiled down to the same one deranged woman, the wife of the false witness.
It all boils down to the same two people
That encounter taught me so much about how the yetzer is operating with this stuff. I know all the stories are coming from two people, the false witness and the main persecutor of the Rav within Breslov. But what happens is that people who get caught up in lashon hara like to embellish the story, and like to give it more of a ‘ring’ of truth, so that more people will take it seriously.
So instead of telling you straight: “All the information I have about this comes from watching Youtube videos and reading stuff online from places like Ynet and Kikkar HaShabbat”, they start making up taller and taller stories about the people ‘they know personally’, and the big Rabbis ‘they know personally’ who have apparently said the most scurrilous, horrendous lies about the Rav.
But if you press on the sources - you ask for specific names, you ask for specific details - it quickly becomes apparent that the person you are talking to is lying. It’s human nature. You can’t spend the best part of five years crusading for ‘justice’ against Rav Berland and then easily accept you were wrong, even if the most obvious facts and information are presented to you on a platter.
Which is when I realized that I have to tread very, very carefully from here on in, because God forbid we should ‘win the battle’ with the Rav Berland stuff, and ‘lose the war’.
The point is to get more Jews back to Hashem, not to be 'right'
God forbid that we should prove the truth about what’s really gone on with the Rav, only to have so many holy Jews get even more entrenched in their yetzers because they can’t easily back down or ‘lose’ an argument, even one as important as this.
Rebbe Nachman talks a lot about this ‘urge to win’, and explains that the people who have this usually find it very, very hard to make teshuva. Because in order to make teshuva, you first have to admit you did something wrong, you believed lashon hara, you spoke lashon hara, you went around slagging off the Gadol HaDor.
And that’s a really hard thing to admit.
I realized yesterday, I also have to be much more on guard against my own ‘urge to win’, because the main goal here should be to get as many Jews as possible out of the world of lies and back to Hashem, and not just to mow them down with ‘truth’ and facts.
The adults are finding this even harder than the teens
Yesterday, my husband saw an old acquaintance of his from a different Breslov yeshiva. The guy asked my husband where he was learning, and when he told him ‘Shuvu Banim’ the man took that as a cue to start defaming Rav Berland.
Long story short, it was exactly the same scenario we’d had on Shabbat, except the man was in his 40s and was a talmid Chacham. Which meant that he really should have known better to keep trying to pass off lies as truth, and that he really should have known better when he started calling my husband an ‘apikorus’ very loudly, in the middle of a sandwich bar in Meah Shearim.
Again, when pressed for the sources of his information, and for the facts that would support his point of view, this man tried to angrily dismiss my husband as being an ‘am ha’aretz’ and started verbally abusing him instead.
Again, what made this encounter so distressing was that this man is generally a really good sort, and a nice guy. Again, it underlined just how powerful the spiritual corruption that’s behind all the slander of the Rav actually is. God wants this person back, he doesn’t want him getting even more entrenched in his issues, God forbid.
Lies (and the people telling them...) are so fragile
In Hebrew, the word for lies is ‘sheker’, which begins with the letter shin, ש. It’s taught that this is a very unstable, wobbly letter, because it balances on a narrow point. The smallest push, the smallest challenge, can send it toppling over.
That’s so true. And when that happens, the person caught in the lie then has a choice: either, they can take a deep breath, makes some serious teshuva and admit they were wrong. Or (and sadly, this is by far the more common reaction) they can get even more abusive and blustery as they try to brazen things out.
The paperback of ‘One in a Generation’ on Amazon is being inexplicably held up. There is no obvious problem or issue, just Amazon still isn’t displaying it as being ‘for sale’. I’ve been pondering why that is - why the whole process of getting this book out has been one long catalogue of delays and issues and obstacles - and this week, I think I finally may have worked it out.
The truth has to seep out slowly, so that as many people as possible can have the time to digest it, and to acknowledge it, and to make the teshuva they need to make quietly, without getting pulled under by this need to be ‘right’ at any cost.
It's going to take a long time to turn this tanker around
Reversing five years of slander and falsehoods is not going to be fast work. People’s souls have become so bound-up with the forces of evil that run Youtube and Ynet and Channel 2 that it’s going to be a really hard, long and tricky process to spring them out of that dark place.
It’s immensely challenging, on so many levels, to believe that people with the title of ‘rabbi’ could lie so brazenly, that the Israeli police could be so corrupt, that the courts could be 100% in the pocket of the prosecutors, that the media could fabricate so many falsehoods and continuously refuse to acknowledge the truth.
This goes to the heart of why so many people want to continue to believe ‘bad’ about Rav Berland, even when the facts are presented clearly in front of them.
So the truth will have to come out very slowly, to prevent too many people from completely losing their minds. And in the meantime, I can’t rush things along or force the issue. When the time is right, the world of lies will fall, and the world of truth will replace it.
And this week I learned a very clear lesson that if I put the emphasis on ‘winning the battle’ over Rav Berland, instead of winning the war to get more Jews back to Hashem, that really won’t be a good thing for anyone involved.
I need to do an awful lot of praying about how to proceed from here.
A few years’ back, an acquaintance of mine invited me to come with her to Ashdod, to go and take a look at some exciting-sounding cheap clothing place for kids. It was quite a hot day, and when I got into the car I was already sweltering.
Now, I knew this acquaintance had some ‘issues’ around spending money, but before I got into the car with her on that boiling Summer day, I had no idea how bad they actually were. Two seconds in, I told her I was hot. She opened the windows (half - we were on a motorway) - and that’s when I started to get that horrible, claustrophobic feeling that I was about to have a really challenging couple of hours.
Because while I can tolerate heat to a point, I can’t stand being in a hot car with no air-conditioning in the middle of an Israeli summer. I literally feel faint and want to throw up. But my acquaintance clearly had zero intention of turning on the aircon under any circumstances, because air-conditioning costs money.
I understand that we have to be careful with money, I really do. I also understand that sometimes, there isn’t money for petrol, and there isn’t money for food. And that under those circumstances, you can’t blow it on air-conditioning.
But we weren’t talking about those sorts of circumstances.
On the journey back, I swore to myself I would never, ever get in a car with that acquaintance again, because the lack of control I had over the situation was so distressing for me and I really, nearly threw up a few times. I was tempted - a few times - to just plonk down 50 shekels on the dashboard and to ask her to turn on the aircon, but that wouldn’t have gone down at all well with this particular person.
She could see I wasn’t handling the heat very well, but she was so intent on saving a few cents she simply couldn’t put my need to overheat ahead of her need to save money. And she also couldn’t accept that maybe, it was reasonable of me to want the aircon on in those circumstances, so there was nothing else to talk about.
A few months after that experience, another acquaintance asked me if I’d drive her to the Baba Sali. It was now winter in Israel, and not so hot, but this acquaintance had a very low tolerance to anything resembling heat, and she asked if we could put the aircon on.
Partially, it was because it really wasn’t hot at all in the car, and partially, I was also mindful of the cost of the gas (which she hadn’t offered to help me pay for, despite her wanting to make the trip) and partially, again, it was that lack of control thing.
I turned the aircon on - resentfully - and for weeks and even months afterwards, I tried to figure out why I’d been so upset about doing that. After all, I knew firsthand how horrible it was to feel like you were suffocating to death in a too-hot car. So why was I reacting with such bad grace to this second acquaintance?
After this second acquaintance asked me for a few more favors - like driving her to hospital at 1am for an emergency scan so her husband could stay at home with her kids - the penny finally dropped: there was zero gratitude blowing back from this acquaintance, who was very keen on the idea that people should be committed to the mitzvah of doing kindnesses for others.
Or at least, kindnesses for her, because the kindnesses coming back over the fence were few and far between.
This all happened 5-6 years ago, when I was the height of my process of discovering that so many people (including myself…) are literally crazy.
What makes this a problem is not that people have their foibles, because we all have our eccentricities and our ‘red lines’ many of which are completely illogical but no less powerfully policed.
The bigger problem by far is that we aren’t honest enough about our own issues, so we can’t figure out genuinely useful compromises. If my tight-fisted friend could have explained that she could see I’m half-dying in the heat, but that she simply couldn’t justify the ‘waste’ of money switching the aircon entailed, but she’d be very happy to give me the option of paying to cover it - we’d have both have been happy and that friendship probably would have lasted a lot longer than it did.
Similarly, if I could have been honest with my other acquaintance that I was feeling like she was taking me for a ride, and using me as an unpaid taxi service (like when she commanded me to switch the music I was listening to, because she didn’t like it) - things would have also been much easier, at least for me, and we could have figured out a compromise that worked for both of us.
And if we couldn’t, then I’d have known much earlier on to put this person on my ‘awkward’ list, and to give her a much wider berth.
These days, I generally spot these people much earlier on, mostly, so it’s much easier to avoid getting dragged into all these horrible, complicated situations which really just boil down to a power struggle where you are being forced to do things that you really don’t want to do.
The ‘control’ belongs to God. The ‘power’ belongs to God. The more I can live by that credo, the easier it is for me to get along with my fellow human being, even the really crazy ones. At the same time, I have to recognize that I’m not an angel or a tzaddik, and that I also have my own red lines and wants about how things should be.
If I ignore that side of things too much, I get extremely moody, miserable, stressed and even sick.
Getting the balance right between these two things, so I’m not completely self-centred and selfish, and also not completely spineless and a doormat, is the work of 120. No problem is ever 100% the other person’s fault, but figuring out the percentages is really, really hard.
And as Pesach approaches, this is one of the key bits of work that we all have to do. Rav Ofer writes that true freedom is getting out of all our bad middot and negative desires and behaviors.
And as usual, I seem to have my work cut out for me.
The last few days, I’ve had a few emails from a few different people that are demonstrating that the vaccine debate in the orthodox community, particularly in the US, is starting to burst wide out into the open.
Personally, I think this can only be a good thing. I’m not ‘idealogical’ about this either way, I just want to know what the real truth is when it comes to whether vaccines are:
a) Safe as claimed
b) Effective as claimed
My view -about everything - is always that the available information should be clearly put on the table, and that people should be encouraged to question, evaluate, and decide for themselves.
This is part and parcel of people having God-given free choice to decide for themselves and to bear the consequences for their actions and decisions, and whenever I see healthy debate being squashed, or people trying to control others and close a respectful discussion down, my red flag immediately goes up that something isn’t quite right with this picture.
On that score, I want to bring your attention to a recent article written by a Rabbi Yair Hoffman, that was published HERE. You can see the full text for yourself here, but this is some of what Rabbi Hoffman has to say about what he views as the Torah imperative to vaccinate:
“The anti-vaccination advocates have two concerns that are often intertwined. The first is the MMR vaccine itself. They believe that there is some heretofore unidentified element in it that causes autism. The second is that some vaccines contained the preservative thimerosal, which contained ethyl mercury, a type of mercury that had been suspected of causing autism. Thimerosal has actually been removed from the MMR vaccine with no accompanying drop in the incidence of autism. No matter; this has not impacted the anti-vaxxer movement.”
Rabbi Hoffman is presumably going on the information given out by the FDA / CDC on official Governemnt websites like THIS ONE, which state:
Current Status of Thimerosal in Vaccines
If you plain English this carefully-worded answer, you’ll find that what it’s really saying is:
1) While vaccines for young children are now available in a formulation that doesn’t contain thimerosal
2) The ACIP doesn’t actually recommend that these ‘thimerosal-free’ formulations should be the ones that are routinely given to the general public.
I.e. You have to specifically ask for a thimerosal-free vaccine, and vaccines including thimerosal, specifically the flu vaccine, are still being routinely given to children in the US.
What about Rabbi Hoffman’s contention that there is no proven link between vaccines and autism?
Here’s what I found on THIS website, and please do go and take a look for yourselves:
“In 2008 top public health officials at HHS conceded that vaccines caused autism.
You’ll notice that thimerosal is NOT being discussed here as specifically causing autism, but that exposure to the vaccines themselves caused a ‘metabolic overload’ that triggered Hannah’s autism.
The issue if far deeper than a simple discussion of thimerosal (i.e. mercury, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins known to man) causing all the problems.
The human immune system wasn’t designed to be exposed to three very serious illnesses in one shot, even if vaccines are 100% effective and 100% safe.
On the safety front, I’m personally highly convinced at this stage that there is a significant risk associated with vaccines. On the effectiveness front, it’s clear that flu shots can’t be working, because the flu they vaccinate against is last year’s strain, and this year’s strain has mutated already.
But that’s where I’d like to learn more, personally, because if vaccines are also not effective (as can clearly be seen with the flu shot) and also pose significant health risks, or if there is a safer way to achieve the same sort of effective protection against contagious diseases in a non-toxic way (as seems to be the case with so called homeopathic ‘green vaccines’) then it becomes a no-brainer to not vaccinate.
So where does the truth really lie?
Over on Sasson, you’ll find two highly recommended articles setting out an alternative view of vaccination in halacha, written by a dayan in the US who does not vaccinate his own children, but who is scared to publish under his own name due to the pressure tactics he fears (probably justifiably) could be used against him as a result:
Vaccines in halacha - Part 1
Vaccines in halacha - Part 2
If you compare and contrast the approach of Rabbi Hoffman and this Dayan to the subject, you’ll find that the ‘pro’ vaxxer cites very few real sources of information, or up-to-date facts, and relies quite heavily on trying to persuade his readers to vaccinate, or else.
By contrast, the ‘anti’ vaxxer cites hundreds of footnoted sources of recent information and evidence to support his position, which is always a good sign that you’re dealing with someone who is on a search for truth, and who is trying to share the clues he’s finding along the way with as many other people as possible.
The issue is clouded because of the assumptions that a lot of rabbis are making that the information they are being provided by the pharmaceutical industry and the Government etc is 100% reliable and truthful.
That certainly flies in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, including all the falsified trials about anti-depressants and many other medications.
In the meantime, I’m also trying to collect as many ‘clues’ for us all to follow as well, so we can continue learning for ourselves, and deciding for ourselves, with God’s help, where the truth really lies.
To that end, another excellent recent piece over on Sasson about the need for questions to be properly asked and properly answered about vaccines in the Jewish community, which you can read HERE, turned up this video (at the top of the post) from the World Mercury Project.
It’s a quick 9 minute view, shmirat eynayim friendly, and basically describes how vaccines are treated as ‘biologics’ (whatever that means) and NOT medications by the FDA, which means the US government doesn’t require new vaccines to go through the drug testing process in the first place.
The Safety Trials process for vaccines is corrupted
The video also shows that the ‘safety trials’ that have been conducted on vaccines typically last for a maximum of 4 days, i.e. a kid is monitored for 4 days after their injection, maximum, and then if they don’t immediately have a fit or worse, God forbid, they are no longer monitored.
Of course, the incubation time for things like asthma, severe learning disabilities and a bunch of other very serious illnesses that the ‘anti’ vaxx lobby claim are caused by vaccinations don’t show up in 4 days, or even in 4 weeks, and often not even in 4 months…
And the last thing to note is that even with this minimal sort of oversight and checking, around 60,000 children in the US are still being formerly registered as having some sort of serious reaction to vaccines every single year. And there’s a strong suspicion that this undisputed, official figure may only be the tip of the iceberg, as so many parents are being actively discouraged from linking any chronic or acute health issues to their kid’s vaccinations.
As always, watch the video, and decide for yourself.
If any ‘pro’ vaxxers out there have detailed, credible information to specifically answer these points and concerns, I’d love to hear from you, as would most of the Jewish parents out there.
But as time is going on, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that while the ‘anti’ vaxxers have an impressive amount of information to share and a willingness to discuss the matter to its depth, the ‘pro’ vaxxers generally do not.
The only way to really get clarity on this matter is for us to keep taking it back to God, and to ask Him to show us what's really going on here, and how He wants us to react. No-one can control what really goes on with their children and their health, whether they load their kid up with every shot going, or do the exact opposite.
God is the only One who's really calling the shots when it comes to our health. So whatever conclusion we ultimately come to about whether or not to vaccinate our children, we still need to be asking Hashem to look after our kids 24/7.
Because that's really what's going to make all the difference.
UPDATE: One of the commentators, Daisy, apparently has a lot of useful background info on vaccines on her website HERE. Please check out the comments for more details.
It was only when I was talking to Alizah, the fiction editor over on Sasson, that the penny dropped.
We were discussing the new writers’ workshop that BH is almost ready, which is basically an online interface that will enable participants to upload their work, and have other writers critique it - in a careful, helpful way - to help the author polish their piece.
Alizah was explaining that a good critique always starts by praising the good in the piece, then includes some points where things could be improved, then ends with more praise of the good in the piece.
And that’s when the penny dropped about why I’ve been feeling pretty so low about continuing to write for Emunaroma, and so bizarrely upset about life, and that I should just give up now and go work in Shufersal, or something.
The story begins last year, when my husband and I offered our services - for free - to translate a really awesome Breslov book that we wanted to help get out to the English-speaking public.
Neither of us were paid for the work we did, and both of us worked really hard to get it ready, to the best of our collective abilities. It was literally a week away from being sent to print when in swooped ‘the sponsor’.
The sponsor had also read the book in the original Hebrew, and also loved it, and also wanted to do whatever he could to get the book out there to the wider public. There was just one problem with this plan: he wanted the book to be professionally edited by someone who could make everything read like something from Artscroll and Feldheim.
Because this is what the English speaking frum book reading public wants! More suave, wordy stuff that loses the heart and soul of what’s really being said and is technically a million percent accurate - but so bland and lifeless you just want to dig some hole for it already, and say kaddish.
I had huge misgivings. I did a lot of hitbodedut about it. Maybe, this was just my ego? (Very likely…) Maybe, this was just sour grapes that someone was being paid a lot of money to improve on something I’d poured my heart and soul into for free? (Could be…)
At the end of the day, I really want the book out there, and I really want it to sell well. The person who wrote it richly deserves that, they really do. So I made an agreement with the middleman that the ‘professional’ can and should look at it, and could and should tweak it, but that me and my husband would have the last word on the changes, to make sure the essential flavor wouldn’t be lost in translation.
What can I tell you?
Clearly no-one told the sponsor or the other editor.
The whole process was extremely challenging from day one, as I was increasingly given the impression by both these individuals that they were ‘rescuing’ the book from my extremely poor writing and editing.
I am the first to admit that grammar and punctuation are not my forte, and I always get my own books edited to catch the typos and mistakes, and I’m very happy to hear suggestions on how the work can be tightened up and improved.
But from the first second, the editor that was brought in to ‘save’ the book was out to impress on me that he was the professional here, he knew better than me how the book should read and sound (despite having zero Breslov tendencies and even being mildly ‘anti’ a lot of the deeper kabbalistic ideas being expressed in the book) - and that me and my opinions were basically surplus to requirements.
Dear reader, I did so much hitbodedut about what was going on, and how I was feeling about it all, because I know I have an ego, and I know that having two writers working on one project is always tricky.
But until Alizah’s comment, I hadn’t realized just how poisonous and toxic working with this person really was for me, and just how problematic that man’s approach to life - and to me! - actually is.
He didn't say one nice word to me the whole time.
The last two weeks, I have been inexplicably moody, miserable and on a trigger-hair with my husband and kids. I have been feeling like my writing absolutely sucks. I have been feeling so lowly and pointless - which is all helpful, and from God, I know - but because I didn’t know where all this stuff was coming from, I literally started to think I was going a bit mad.
Shabbat, I did a six hour prayer-a-thon to try to get the cloud to lift a bit, and to figure out what was going on and why I’d run out of energy, hope, and the will to live.
I didn’t realize it then, but now I can see 100% what just happened:
I got tangled up with someone who was out to prove their own ‘brilliance’ at my expense; who went over my head to the sponsor every single time we had a disagreement where right was on my side; who continually and consistently trashed and belittled all the hard work and effort me and my husband had put into the book; and who clearly has a lot of work to do on their bad middot.
The whole thing just reminded me again of how awful these types of people really are for the mental and physical health of those around them.
It’s been so long so I got blind-sided by a full-on narcissist that I’d almost forgotten how they suck out all your will to live and leave you so moody and lost in the world because interacting with them is just one big competition to prove to you how terrible you are, and how great they are.
And in the meantime, now that the penny has dropped, I am feeling so much happier and healthier again.
So if you’re having a bizarre chronic health issue, or some bizarre mood fluctuations and a feeling like life is not worth living, take it back to God and ask Him to show you which poisonous individuals in your environment may by sparking off the problem.
Because for sure, you’ll find them.