The trip to the UK was eye-opening in a lot of ways. Every time we return, there seems to be even more pointless rules that have been introduced simply to dull the spirit and turn people into stressed, fearful zombies.
For example, now there is apparently a ‘law’ that you can’t spend a long time in the fastest lane on the motorway (even if you are the fastest car), which is punishable by a fine and points. And given that most of the M1 and M6 now has a speed limit of 50 miles an hour, and traffic cameras literally every 50 metres, the joy of driving has all but evaporated from the UK.
But the biscuit was taken by the flight home.
My husband and I were passengers on an Easy Jet Flight from Manchester that was somewhat akin to an airborne gulag. The cabin crew – headed up by a horrible man called Roger – made my skin crawl from the get-go, with a bunch of fake-polite, passive-aggressive ‘requests’ that made me feel like I was the naughty girl in school, because I’d had the temerity to take my shoes off.
That’s sadly pretty standard behavior on the UK – Israel route, at least with the budget airlines. Even with all the madness that is Uman, the flights to and from Ukraine are generally so much more laid back, cabin-crew wise. But yesterday was awful, even by ridiculous-British-rules standard.
ROGER, THE CHEAP FLIGHT DICTATOR
Yesterday, we were in row 12, two rows behind a poor frum family with three small kids that were forced off the plane at Sofia, Bulgaria, by the cheap flight dictator, Roger. What was their crime?
The mother had dared to ask for a thermometer, as her 5 month old baby was feeling a little warm, and she wanted to see what was going on.
Roger told her that only a doctor or medical professional could administer the thermometer, and paged on the intercom for a doctor, nurse or paramedic. A doctor was found, who measured the child’s temperature as being 37.5 – definitely a temperature, but well within the bounds of what any mother would consider ‘normal’, if a little concerning.
A spoonful of Calpol was given, and Roger told the parents that the doctor would have to check the temperature again in another 10 minutes. From this point on, Roger became increasingly aggressive, hysterical and controlling.
When the doctor was called back, the baby’s temperature had reduced to 37 degrees – still hot, but not overly concerning for anyone with any experience with babies. In the doctor’s opinion (who I spoke to first-hand), the baby was OK to continue on with the journey. The mother and father also believed that the baby would be OK to continue on with the flight to Tel Aviv, which at that stage was approximately another 2 hour flight away.
But Roger, who was clearly ‘one of those’, over-rode both the doctor and the parents, and started shouting, hysterically, that the baby could start having a fit on the airplane. While this is theoretically possible, in reality babies with a temperature of 37 very rarely, if ever, fit.
The same cannot be said of Roger.
It didn’t matter that the doctor told him it was probably fine. It didn’t matter that the parents offered to sign a waiver form taking all the responsibility for whatever would happen. The hysterical, emuna-less chief steward decided to force the plane to land in Sofia, Bulgaria, to get an ambulance to attend to the baby.
That poor family with their three small kids left the plane against their will, with whatever food the rest of the frum passengers could cobble together to try and tide them through a trip to a Bulgarian hospital.
In the meantime we were on the ground for 5-6 hours, trying to get a new take-off slot, and also going through more ridiculous ‘rules’ where the bags had to be re-checked to make sure the family that had been forced off the plane against their will by Roger hadn’t somehow managed to leave a bomb behind them.
While all this was going on, the plane only had one toilet working, so the queues snaked down the whole aisle, and the flight attendants still kept popping up with more ridiculous fake-nice, passive-aggressive ‘rules’ that were basically much more about them cracking the whip over the poor passengers than it was connected to looking after them.
These types of mini-dictators are increasingly popping up all over the place, as the general standard of mental health continues to nosedive in the Western world. If Roger believed in God; if Roger wasn’t clearly engaged in a lifestyle that set him completely at odds with belief in God; if Roger actually had even the smallest bit of self-awareness, he’d probably realize that he’s a hysterical, paranoid, emotionally-abusive individual who is completely not cut out for the job of reassuring passengers or helping them to ‘enjoy’ their flight.
Instead of managing the situation calmly, and with a cool head, this guy blew the child’s temperature up completely out of proportion, and went into a hysterical fit that no-one could talk him out of.
Neither the poor parents nor the doctor could talk him back down from his self-righteous ‘worse case scenario’ perch, that was completely removed from reality.
Anyone with a kid knows that they can spring a fever of 37.5 degrees at any time, and it’s usually not at all a big deal. And even when it is a big deal, it’s not an ‘ambulance’ big deal.
But Roger clearly didn’t have children of his own, and clearly had no idea about babies and the real world. In another Kafka-esque twist, the mother of another 11 month boy then complained that the wait was making her son feel poorly – which of course, it would for any small kid – and then Roger rushed up the aisle, nostrils quivering, where he stated:
“Madam, I will not let this plane move until I am 100% sure that your son is fully fit to fly!!!”
We all held our breath, waiting to see if the madman was going to cause us to lose the precious flight slot we’d just been given by another display of abusive, OTT ‘caring’. Thankfully, Roger backed down the second time and we were finally on our way.
We arrived at 2.15am, 10 hours later than planned.
WHY THE WEST IS LOST
And so I pondered on the decadence and weakness of Western society, as displayed by ‘Roger’ and his crew. So over-reliant on pointless rules, so puffed-up with their own importance and egos, so completely disconnected from reality that they could send a 5 month old baby with a 37 degree temperature to hospital in the middle of Bulgaria just to satisfy their inner sense of panic and out-of-controlness.
If people like Roger can’t even run a plane sensibly, and they can’t even deal with a 37 degree temperature in a 5 month old baby, then it stands to reason that anything approaching a real crisis is going to completely topple these people into full-on insanity.
And a lot of them have very responsible jobs, including key positions in the government and the army.
So once again, I came to the conclusion that it’s a matter of when the West topples, and not if.
The lunatics are now so firmly in charge of the asylum, it’s hard to see a way back.
And the way forward is going to be far more challenging than most of these people can manage, psychologically. (For the record, I think the bridge collapse in Genoa happened because the ground is shifting in Italy - it all goes together with increased seismic activity and rising magma).
The take homes:
 I changed his name for this post. In the formal complaint I made to Easy Jet, I spelled out exactly who we was, as he’s a real menace to the public, and more of us need to start pointing this stuff out.
It’s amazing what four days without internet activity can teach you.
It can teach you how much of your time is being sucked into a pointless blackhole of ‘predictions’ and doom and gloom stories.
It can teach you how many of the people blogging are actually flat-out crazy (naturally, I include myself in this category).
And it can also teach you how so many of the things that your yetzer has you convinced are SO important, really aren’t.
Top of that last thing is pointing out flaws in other people, and especially, other groups of Jews.
I came back from Uman, scanned through all my usual sites (I have about six I regularly check) – and realized that most of them just put me in a bad mood. Ok, Sky News is no big surprise.
But I’m also so sick of reading long screeds having a go at other people, and other Jews, on Jewish blogs, too.
That’s part of why I was very hesitant to ‘protest’, formally, the rainbow stuff, but after a lot of praying and contemplation, I could see that standing up for God’s honor demanded some public protest.
But part of my hesitation is that when you start criticizing another group of Jews, even a group that is doing such awful things, that just opens the door to sinat chinam and more criticism, and more ‘troof’, and more finger pointing and blaming.
And that’s all so pointless and damaging!
Because as I keep trying to emphasize, the only people we can really change, the only people we can really influence, is ourselves.
So, I scanned through the blogs, saw things that made me feel pretty yucky, and went to do some hitbodedut about it all. Because I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Being part of the solution means trying to pull Jews together, trying to see the good, trying to put the emphasis on God, and not on guns, or politics, or other ‘strength of my right arm’ tactics that only end up back-firing because they are rooted in a complete lack of emuna.
That’s the stuff I want to be writing about, that’s the stuff I want to be reading.
Uman always gives me a pause for thought, and a chance to re-evaluate what I’m really doing with myself, to see if it’s heading in the right direction. BH, over the next few days that process will play out again. Each time it does, it’s useful.
And in the meantime, the next few days I’m going to re-blog my posts about the differences between ‘luminaries of fire’ and ‘luminaries of light’.
Because while they look superficially similar, one lights up the world and leads to the geula, while the other just leads to destruction.
ON A SEPARATE NOTE: Since the 'we protest' blog went up, Weebly has been blocking my automatic posting function to Facebook. Just curious if this is a 'coincidence', or if any other of the bloggers who protested last week are also experiencing this issue now?
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?
Today, I walked back from davening a little with Rav Berland’s minyan in Musrara to Baka, past the Liberty Bell Park, where the lamp-posts on all the main drags are festooned with rainbow flags.
My stomach lurched.
When Trump came, everything was stars and stripes. When the President of Guatemala came, everything was the Guatemalan flag. When four French Jews were killed in the Hyper Cache attack, everything was ‘Je suis Charlie’ and Tricolors.
Everything is a rainbow.
And my heart sank.
Who is the ‘guest of honour’, the Head of State who is being honored like this? It can only be the Samech Mem himself.
So I walked back pondering what’s the best way to show God I really do care about this enormous desecration of His name, and the truckload of tumah this is piling up on every street corner and inside every house. Because make no mistake, it’s already breached the walls.
My youngest has been having a running argument with her best friend about all this surrogacy stuff, because her friend thinks that gay men should be allowed to rent-a-womb to try to get round the simple fact that biology (and clearly, God) is not on their side.
My daughter’s friend comes from a very frum background, where both parents are in kiruv, so I was astounded. Maybe she’s just trying to hold ‘edgy’ views to upset her parents, I have no idea, but what I do know is that the tumah has already breached the walls.
In the UK, another friend was telling me how her 7 year old grand-daughter – who goes to a modern orthodox Jewish school – started asking her: “Grandma, what do you call that thing that’s not a man, or a woman?” My friend was stumped, so the kid explained. “You know, it’s between being a man and a woman…You can’t call them ‘he’ or ‘she’, so what do you call them?”
How on earth is a seven year old in an orthodox Jewish school even talking about this stuff?!
The tumah has already breached the walls.
MOST ORTHODOX JEWS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE REAL PROBLEM IS
A huge part of the problem is that most orthodox Jews simply have no idea about the spiritual dimension to spermatozoa; they don’t know that it contains billions of souls, and that the koach of those billions of souls are entrapped in the dark side – and literally used to fuel all the evil in the world – when men engage in intimate acts without the appropriate kedusha.
This also applies to single men, this also applies to licentious and adulterous men, this also applies to when men are with their wives while using contraception that hasn’t been rabbinically-sanctioned. Long story short, any time a man is doing something like this outside the bonds of marriage, where there is no possibility for creating a life, even just in theory, then all that ‘soul power’ is getting delivered straight up to the dark side.
That is why it’s such a problem, spiritually.
But a person can be ‘orthodox’ all their long lives, and never even have the first idea about this underlying spiritual reason why spilling seed is so very, very bad. So then they think ‘hey, no big deal! Let people live how they want! Let people be who they really are! Let them adopt, let them make babies in test-tubes, no big deal!’
But spiritually? It’s a massive deal. It’s mamash fuelling all the forces of evil in the world at the spiritual level.
And then, there’s the poor kids themselves that are raised in unnatural homes. Modern medicine has split bodies off from souls, so it has mostly no idea of just how many illnesses, physical and mental, results from unfinished business from parents and grandparents.
It’s hard enough raising healthy, emotionally-balanced children when you actually love the other half of their gene pool, and actually know who they are. But can you imagine finding out that your ‘dad’ was an anonymous sperm bank donor? Or some poor women who was ‘rented out’ for nine months to create you?
Do you know what torture to a person’s psyche this stuff actually causes?
A while back, I was talking to an older woman who confided that her parents had conceived her out of wedlock – they’d had a shotgun wedding a few months before she was born. This woman was well over 50 – and she was crying when she told me still feels so dirty, from how she was conceived.
I was so shocked that five decades on, this was still causing her so much pain.
But that completely pales next to the mental suffering and spiritual anguish all these poor kids being raised in unnatural families are going to have. And I think that’s what’s upsetting me the most, that these parents are so incredibly selfish to be deliberately bringing children into the world with so many emotional handicaps.
It’s all about doing what’s good for them, the parents, and nothing at all about doing what’s right for the kid.
This stuff is far deeper, far more fundamentally disturbing to a person than our modern society is anywhere near being able to accept or understand, stuck as they are in the ‘body-centric’ view of the world that discounts and dismisses the soul. But those kids are being condemned to a lifetime of massive emotional and spiritual angst and unhappiness.
So, the question returns: How do I show God that I really do care about the terrible things going on all around me?
What does God want from me, right now?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: Every time I see a rainbow flag, I’m asking God to help all these people to develop some yirah shemayim and make teshuva. I’ve also decided I have to stop listening to that one George Michael song I still love so much, and any other music by ‘rainbow’ people. Ditto for reading any books, opinion pieces or other output.
Because it’s impossible for these people to be coming from a good place, or to be having a positive impact on me, for as long as they are directly fuelling the forces of evil in the world.
Wherever possible, I’m going to vote with my feet and with my wallet, to avoid any of the companies and organisations who have come out publically in favor of all this stuff, including those companies that ‘proudly’ let their employees have a day off last week.
And then, there’s the whole ‘pride’ thing.
Pride = pride, or arrogance, and that’s something else I’m going to try my best to work on and take down in myself. That I shouldn’t think I’m better than others, that I shouldn’t unnecessarily hurt others, that I shouldn’t act like an angry, selfish, materialism-obsessed superficial pig, and I shouldn’t big myself up and big others down, because honor really only belongs to God.
And the last thing on the list is tznius. To try to pick it up a little again. I’m not sure how yet, but that’s the plan and we’ll see what God inspires me to do.
What more can I do? What more can I say?
I desperately want God’s honour to be restored in the world, and for people to stop acting like body-obsessed, selfish animals. That’s what I want, God.
But only God can really give it to me.
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.
I know that received wisdom states that teenagers should be pressed into service, and should be tidying my house as well as their own rooms, but as usual chez moi it’s all backwards.
Yesterday, after weeks of watching my kids’ rooms descend into a maelstrom of mess and chaos that is really just reflective of what’s going on internally, I decided to grab the dustpan and brush, and enter the dragon’s lair.
The one room wasn’t so bad – a bit dusty, just a couple of old bowls of cereal, nothing too scary.
The second room, well, that was way more challenging.
In the space of an hour, I solved the mystery of where all the socks in the house had disappeared too, as well as all the deodorants. For the last five months, I usually have to go play ‘hunt the BO Basher’ because as soon as I buy one, it goes missing. Baruch Hashem, three of them were safely recovered and are now being reunited with their loved ones.
Then, there was the bags of mouldy clothes, which had been taken for a swim at the Lifta before the Three Weeks started, then donated to science, who used them to grow all sorts of weird strains of mould, some of which I’m sure will save a life someday.
In the meantime, the smell from opening the bag nearly knocked me out.
So, straight into the bin it went.
I discovered five toilet rolls under one bed (which also resolved that mystery, of why I can buy a new bag and three days later it’s already finished.)
I discovered stolen goods that had been the object of many an argument, with both sides claiming the other one had used it – and thus lost it – last.
I found two old, broken phones, one old, not quite-yet-broken computer, and four phone chargers, one of which may actually work.
I will spare you the details of the peach pits I found growing into the floor tiles, the old bottles of water that could probably half refill the Kinneret, and a few other things that were so gross they also just went straight into the bin bag.
As I was pottering around, I pondered the strange overlaps between teenagers and hamsters.
Hamsters also stuff all sorts of things, including food, under their beds. Hamsters also like to pile things up on the floor of the cages. Hamsters also get the most active around 2.07am, which is when you can hear them twirling around on their squeaky wheels, and whooping it up on WhatsApp.
Hamsters can also bite if you try to handle them, and frequently run away if you approach their cages.
In short, hamsters and teenagers are very, very similar.
It’s that ‘animal or angel’ dichotomy going on, and in our generation, our teens have such a big battle to pull out of ‘hamster’ mode and to give true expression to the enormous soul that every single one of them actually is.
It’s so easy, as a parent, to fall into the trap of reinforcing the inner ‘animal’, that’s telling them 24/7 that they are lazy, that it’s all pointless, that they’re bad, that they’re never going to get there, they’re never going to be able to pull out of the muck and mud that is material life in 2018.
But when I go and tidy up their rooms – at great personal risk to life and limb – I’m sending them a different message. I’m telling them: you are an angel! You are a bat melech, a very holy soul. Look, God even sent you a servant to look after you!
Sure, you have some hamster tendencies right now, it’s true. But it’s not the real you. The real you is so much better, so much holier.
And you will get there, my daughter!
And in the meantime, I need to find myself a gasmask or something, because those bags of mouldy clothes probably rank up there with asbestos.
Yesterday, I phoned up my dentist to cancel my daughter’s appointment. It was last minute, because I thought she was actually going, so I confirmed the appointment earlier in the week. But then yesterday, an hour beforehand, I discovered she had to go to work instead.
I offered to pay the dentist – which they refused to take – but the receptionist then had a gentle go at me for not telling them earlier. Let’s be clear: she was 100% in the right! And I wasn’t. But
I still bristled, I still got defensive and I still argued a bit that it wasn’t really my fault…until I could finally just apologize and accept the rebuke as being deserved.
Now, I work on myself, I do hitbodedut, I’m really trying, most of the time, to work on things and improve my middot.
And rebuke still doesn’t work on me.
Now, let’s imagine we’re dealing with a really nasty, self-righteous character who believes they can do no wrong. Or, let’s pretend we’re dealing with a permanent ‘victim’ who thinks the whole world owes them because of how much they’ve suffered.
Let’s say you catch that person ripping you off in some way, or you catch them saying disgusting things behind your back, or in front of your face, or speaking evilly of some of the biggest true tzaddikim in the world.
Let’s say you try to tell them, gently, that they’re doing something wrong.
What do you think is going to happen?
Do you really think they are going to agree with you, and start praising you for helping them to make teshuva?
Or, do you think they are going to hunker down and get even more abusive, and even more abrasive, and even more disgusting?
In our generation, no-one can hear rebuke, no-one can take it, it just makes people act even more nasty, and it just strengthens their resolve to do even more yucky, anti-Torah things.
That’s why almost 2,000 years ago, Rabbi Akiva said that he didn’t think there was anyone in his generation who was capable of rebuking properly.
And in our generation, what can we say?
That’s why Rabbenu taught us to look for the good, and to take all of our issues and problems back to God, instead.
And that’s often much harder work, spiritually, because our ego likes to make us feel that we are the ones making a difference, with our rebuke, and with our public protest, and with our angry comments.
Ein od milvado.
God is just waiting for more of us to turn to Him to solve our problems, especially all the unsolvable problems that are piling up in our own lives, and to protest our own bad middot most of all.
Because remember, whatever we see in others that’s bothering us, we still have that in ourselves in some way, too.
And while we can’t change anyone else, not even our kids, not even our husbands, we can for sure change ourselves….
But only if we ask God to help us do it.
A quick update on the volcanoes out in Hawaii: the magma is starting to flow back into the collapsed caldera that was the summit of the Kilauea volcano. But now it’s all collapsed, it’s blocked with millions of tons of rock effectively sealing the usual exit closed.
Either the force will build up to an explosion, when the magma will punch through the ‘seal’ of the rock fall, or the magma will have to come up through some other vent and start creating a new volcano somewhere else on the Island.
There may be a third option, but I don’t know what that is.
In the meantime, the bigger volcano next to it, Mauna Loa, is now starting to get earthquakes striking right inside its crater, which could mean it’s also getting ready to explode soon.
The number of volcanoes popping off at the moment is growing every day, and while the last 100 or so years wERE volcanically very quiet on planet earth, this is highly unusual. Volcanic activity and earthquakes go together, so there’s a lot going on, and it’s probably:
3. Definitely all proceeding 100% according to Hashem’s plan, which is why it’s impossible to predict using ‘natural’ methods.
We’ve all got volcanoes and earthquakes and ‘building pressure’ going on at the moment, haven’t we? One way or another.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling really shaky. I’d had a weird dream which wasn’t ‘bad’, but was just weird, but before I even opened my eyes, I just felt like my brain was jumping around all over the place.
Now, we can put that down to me being highly-strung and half-Moroccan, but my husband was also feeling pretty shaky yesterday, for no obvious reason.
If I could be bothered, I’d go and check out the Schumann Resonance read-outs, or I’d write another few paragraphs here explaining how space weather affects human moods and health.
But today, I can’t be bothered.
Maybe it’s part of the vibe going on, but I’m losing my motivation to keep pointing things out. I mean, haven’t we all been here before, with so many exciting and dramatic ‘predictions’ that actually never happened?
Haven’t I spent more than a decade with my life on hold waiting for ‘the end’ to start happening?
So even though ironically, more and more of the pieces seem to be slotting into place, and even though I believe that Rav Berland is 100% on the money with his timescale of geula by 5781, I’m still finding it a little hard to get into the spirit of things.
Because what if it all fades out and fizzles again?
I got so burned by all those false ‘predictions’ from the autistics, that I don’t have a huge amount of energy left for the real deal. And I know I’m not alone. I’m seeing so many people give up, all over the place, in a myriad different ways.
That one is giving up on living in Israel, this one is giving up on trying to keep Shabbat or wearing tzitzit, that one is giving up on guarding their eyes – the list goes on and on.
Because so many of us made a super-human effort to get into the right place, the right ‘space’ spiritually, for geula – and then geula receded off into the distance and we were left feeling pretty lost and confused.
Uh, I AM meant to have made all that sacrifice to be in Jerusalem, right God? Even if geula doesn’t kick off tomorrow? I AM meant to have committed to covering my hair 24/7, even if judgment day doesn’t happen in my lifetime, right? It wasn’t a dumb idea to put soul ahead of body, even though body has got a pretty rough ride of things the last few years and it looks like I'm never going to be able to live in my own home again?
That wasn’t just stupid and retarded thinking, right God?
These are the discussions I’ve been having with God recently, where I’m seeking some reassurance that all the effort, the self-sacrifice, the struggle to try to give God what I believe He wants is actually worth it.
Luckily, God manages to reassure me every single time that it is.
HE WHO PREPARES FOR SHABBAT EATS ON SHABBAT
A while back, I spent weeks killing myself to make a seder, where we’d be joined by ‘out of towners’ who didn’t really keep mitzvoth.
As my hands turned to that pre-Pesach sandpaper from all the cleaning and cooking, I started to feel a bit grumpy and fed-up, that I was the one slaving away like Cinderella, while my guests would get a ‘free ride’ for the seder.
(Yes, my middot are really that bad.)
“Dear, don’t be jealous of those people who showed up to a gorgeous seder they didn’t do anything to prepare themselves,” God told me then. “Even though it seems you’re eating the same food, and attending the same event, because you made all that effort to prepare it, you’re actually experiencing something completely and totally different.”
And it’s the same with geula.
I’m not one of those psycho-bloggers who is wishing mass death and destruction on people because they couldn’t find the strength or courage to move to Israel. I know how hard that move can be, I know how complicated it can get, I know how much emuna it can take to move here, and then to stay here when the going gets tough and you start to feel so lonely and alone.
It’s a much, much bigger test than most of the psycho-bloggers are willing to admit, and their lack of compassion for Jews in the diaspora bothers me tremendously.
I want every Jew to make it to the end point, to the netz, and to greet Moshiach, wherever they might live and even if they aren’t perfect. Because who the heck is perfect, in 2018?!?
But at the same time… I still have that niggling feeling that it’s not really so fair, that I’m slaving away over geula like Cinderella while other people are focused on getting their nails done and booking their next holiday to the Bahamas…
Until God reminds me:
“Because you made all that effort to prepare for it, you’re actually going to experience something completely and totally different.”
WE ALL HAVE TO DIE BEFORE WE GET REVIVED
While we’re talking about geula, here’s something else I recently learned from Rav Berland:
Everyone is going to have to die, at least for five minutes, before techiat hameitim, or the revival of the dead.
So, you can’t move to Israel just to avoid an exploding Yellowstone, because we’ve got our own version right here on our doorstep in Harrat Ash Shamah (or ‘The Mountain of Guilt’, as my husband pointed out.)
God is going to judge each and every one of us on our own individual merits wherever we happen to live, and we’ll all have to snuff it before we can get to the revival of the dead and the World to Come.
So then, why make all that effort? Why try so hard to move to Israel, or to continue to live in Israel, or to keep wearing socks when the thermometer hits 42 degrees, or to keep doing hitbodedut and or getting up to pray at dawn when you can’t really see, often, how it’s getting you anywhere?
That’s something so many of us are grappling with at the moment.
But there is an answer:
To serve Hashem lishma, simply for its own sake, and not because we’re going to get geula, or money, or houses, or an easy life back in return.
And when I remember that, I don’t want to give up anymore.
Since all this house stuff has updended my life in about a million different ways, I’ve been finding it very hard to get a grip on myself.
I’m trying so hard to keep working through all the bad middot this keeps bringing up, wave after wave, like terrible anger, hatred, feelings of vengeance and the urge to ‘win’ the argument. I go and do my hitbodedut walk for an hour, I mind-map all my bad middot out in my journal, I try to face down my reactions and feelings honestly, and then try some more to bring it all back to God and have emuna about it all.
And that works for about an hour.
But then, I find myself snapping into really aggressive, confrontational modes at the drop of a hat at the moment. All my effort to accept bizayon (humiliation), all my effort to not throw the diamonds back, seems to have gone out the window.
Intellectually, I know what’s going on. The person who ripped us off over the house, and the lawyer who helped her do it, and our lawyer who let it happen, have kind of traumatized me again, and I’m feeling pretty vulnerable, attacked and betrayed.
This has switched my flight-or-flight stress response into high-gear, and now I’m seeing enemies behind every curtain and robbers under every stone. My ability to ‘see the good’ and to not take things personally has evaporated at the moment, and that’s playing out in myriad different ways that try as I might, I can’t seem to get a grip on.
It’s not so much ‘passive-aggressive’ as ‘aggressive-aggressive’. There are moments when I could literally rip someone’s eyeballs out of their head.
And of course, this is completely anti-emuna! And not at all how I want to be acting and re-acting, yet the stress of the last few months has overloaded the system, and there’s simply no more juice available for azamra and not throwing the diamonds back.
I was talking to my husband about it yesterday, and he told me:
“I think maybe you’re still angry at God.”
He’s very smart, my husband.
Because yes, of course I’m still angry at God, even though I’m not meant to be, and even though I’m doing my best to have some emuna and to be grateful it’s only money and not health or shalom bayit or kids going off the derech, God forbid.
It’s only money! It’s only a house!
I repeat this like a mantra at least 50 times a day, and it’s definitely useful to have that perspective.
And yet, the anger keeps spilling out around the sides, and the emuna I spend an hour pumping up every day keeps evaporating pretty quickly.
Intellectually, I know this is all for my good, and is a huge tikkun, and is fixing stuff from who knows how many lifetimes ago.
But emotionally, I’m still having to deal with all these bursts of anger that keep rising inexorably to the surface, like a big bubble of magma, and that sometimes pop with such fury I start pacing my house like a caged animal.
How could God deliver me up to such shysters like that, after all the years of me praying to get a house in Jerusalem? How could He make my lawyer treat our contract (and all the terrible consequences of signing it) so casually? Why are there so many people in the world who put grabbing more money ahead of every noble human quality? Why do I never seem to get a happy ending? Why are all my efforts – on so many fronts - not enough to get me anywhere in life?
There goes my emuna again. There goes my ability to ‘see the good’, and to have patience with other people’s foibles and flaws, and to fight down my ‘aggressive-aggressive’ tendencies.
POP, POP, POP!!!!
I want to be a nice, believing human being. I want to go back to seeing the good in the disgusting shysters who apparently deliberately tried to trick me into buying their worthless, cruddy property that they don’t even really own.
I want to go back to accepting God’s will as only good and only just.
I want to go back to believing that underneath all the venality, casual cruelty, arrogance, greed and selfishness, my fellow Jews are fundamentally good and holy.
But man, it’s going to take a lot more praying, and a lot more asking God to give me emuna, for me to really get there.
There's a huge scandal that's just broken out in the UK about 456 older people who were effectively deliberately 'killed off' by doctors at an English hospital who prescribed 'medically unnecessary opioids' for them.
The UK has a bad habit of GPs secretly poisoning pensioners - Harold Shipman killed over 60 people that way, before he was found out and charged with murder. Now, this latest episode is putting more unwelcome attention on the way the medical system is 'secretly' trying to kill off as many 'unfit' people as it can.
This is not an accident, this is exactly what evolution, and St Darwin himself, promoted and suggested as the 'ideal' state of affairs for humanity. The following is Darwin's own words, written in 'The Descent from Man':
"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment.
There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.
It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
...we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”
I've just started reading a book by an academic called "From Darwin to Hitler", which traces how the theory of evolution, and in particular the emphasis on 'natural selection' and 'survival of the fittest' lead straight to the gas chambers.
The theory of evolution overturned the sanctity of human life, and made human life cheap and expendable. More, it turned it into a 'mitzvah' to do away with the weak and unproductive ('unfit') members of society.
In the past, people were taught that the human soul was what powered the person, and that regardless of the body it was contained in, the soul should be respected and honored. Darwin came along, threw the soul out the window, and created a whole new religion based on crushing and killing weaker human beings, and lesser 'races', so that the 'fittest', (i.e. the more inhuman, strong, cruel, greedy and selfish) could have the world to themselves.
The theory of evolution has wreaked so much havoc, so much evil, so much death and destruction.
I will write more about this, BH, so you can also start to figure out that all these deaths from opioids, and the terrible state of modern medicine which is often and obviously doing more harm than good to so many people caught in its clutches, are part and parcel of all this 'false science' that is preventing us all from seeing the truth about what's really going on.
Good health depends on a healthy soul, mind and body - I write about this a lot in Talk to God and Fix Your Health, and spell out how it's all connected.
The evolutionists threw out the first one, corrupted the second, and now want to turn the third into a robot.
All this is not part of some big conspiracy. It's fair more simple than that, and is simply the direct result of an open system of atheistic, immoral beliefs taught by the universities, academics and 'scientists', who have been put in charge of 'educating' and influencing the rest of us to 'think right'.
That's why a university education is often anathema for a Jewish soul, and why it has pulled so many people off the path of really believing in God, the Torah, and the innate value of a human being.
This is not a simple mattter, not at all. Because these atheistic, evil, cruel beliefs are underpinning every single branch of modern 'science', most obviously in the bio-medical sphere.
For years, I've been wondering why on earth anyone would want to promote a health system based on drugs that's so clearly killing and maiming millions of people.
Now, I'm starting to get the answer.
And it's pretty scary.
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