I'm reposting this from last Chanuka, but with the Carr Fire burning, and the Mendocino Complex Fire burning, and with Portugal, Ireland and the UK burning, and Sweden burning, and Israel's south burning, it's probably even more relevant now than it was when I wrote it. Luminaries of fire - and the people who give them more power and influence - mamash destroy the world.
Someone asked me what I thought the message might be, that God was trying to send the Jewish people, by causing that terrible fire in Flatbush a couple of days ago. I told them I had no idea - because you have to be on an incredibly high spiritual level to even begin to guess at the real reasons for these things, and the people who are genuinely holding ‘there’ don’t rush their views into a Youtube shiur within 24 hours of the tragedy occurring.
But that discussion then brought me back around to pondering the notion of the ‘luminaries of fire and the luminaries of light’.
In Lesson II:67, Rebbe Nachman explains how the luminaries of fire get empowered in the world when the luminaries of light get diminished.
Who are the luminaries of light? They are the true Tzaddikim, and particularly the Tzaddik Yesod ha’olam (Tzaddik, the foundation of the world), the one true Tzaddik that is to be found in every single generation. Rebbe Nachman explains very clearly that when these Tzaddikim, and especially this true tzaddik: ‘becomes renowned and famous in the world, the eyes of the entire world are then opened…whoever becomes his follower…his eyes are opened and he becomes able to see.”
And what, exactly, does this person begin to see?
Rebbe Nachman explain that: “his eyes are opened and he sees and beholds himself, how he is holding in all of the traits…One also becomes able to see and behold God’s greatness in the world.”
In other words, when a person becomes the follower of a true tzaddik, or a luminary of light, he first starts to see himself honestly, and to understand just how many bad middot and negative character traits and behaviors he still needs to work on; and then, he also starts to recognize the hand of Hashem in the world, i.e. he starts to really internalize ein od Milvado - there is only God!
But when people don’t follow the true Tzaddikim, and instead chase after ‘luminaries of fire’ instead, then what happens?
“…when the luminaries of light are subdued, the luminaries of fire are empowered. And fires are caused in the world on account of the names of these ignominiously renowned people becoming great and enhanced, for this causes God’s name to disappear, the luminaries of light to become subdued and the luminaries of fire to become empowered….This is symbolized by the burning of the Temple.”
The lesson continues:
“…what was, is gone. For our Temple has already been burnt. However, now that God waits to return to us and rebuild our Temple, it behooves us not to hinder the Temple’s rebuilding, but rather to endeavor to build it….
“…by mourning over the Temple, one subdues the luminaries of fire, so that the luminaries of light…are empowered. Thus MiT’ABeL (mourning) is the acronym of ‘Lo T’varu Aysh B’chol Moshvoteykhem’ - (you shall not kindle any fire throughout your dwelling places), for by mourning, one subdues the luminaries of fire.”
There’s always so much to try to unpack in Rabbenu’s lessons, so again take all this with the caveat that I understand less than 1%, and that 1% is what I’m sharing here.
There’s a few key things that seem to be jumping out here, as follows:
1) The more we try to make ourselves followers of the true Tzaddikim, the more this will empower the good leaders, the ‘luminaries of light’ in the world, and weaken the ‘luminaries of fire’.
2) ‘Luminaries of fire’ are not just people like Oprah and all those other celebs, big-wigs and Hollywood A-listers getting burned out of their Bel Air mansions by the Thomas fire (which btw, is still burning and set to become the biggest wildfire in California’s recorded history).
‘Luminaries of fire’ are also all those suave rabbis and rockstar rabbanits who are full of themselves, and their own learning, and their own opinions and who frequently make some very harsh judgment calls against their fellow Jews.
It’s those people who magnify their own importance in the world, and who by so doing, minimize Hashem’s greatness. Luminaries of fire never talk about their own flaws, they never describe their own battles, they always have to come off as the clever know-it-alls who have an answer for everything.
If you want a no-fail short-cut to spotting a ‘luminary of fire’, anyone outside of Breslov circles who mocks and disdains Rebbe Nachman and his teachings is almost certainly a luminary of fire. And within Breslov itself, anyone who mocks and disdains Rav Berland is almost certainly a luminary of fire.
3) I’m inclined to think that some huge cosmic event was scheduled for the end of Chanuka, potentially involving a lot more fire and destruction than we’ve already seen - volcanoes simultaneously erupting, North Korean missiles being fired at mainland America, some huge, fiery ball of molten gases and metals coming a bit too close to planet earth - who knows what, exactly.
But as the ‘luminaries of light’ are getting more and more empowered, and more and more people are ‘opening their eyes’ to see what’s really going on in the world, on a number of levels, these decrees are being sweetened more and more.
4) This poor, holy family in NYC were another korban, and their deaths by fire - by the light of the Chanuka candles - has most certainly sweetened the ‘decrees of fire’ hanging over the Jewish people and the world.
5) The more we do our bit to empower the ‘luminaries of light’ and take down the ‘luminaries of fire’, the less these terrible tragedies will have to keep occurring.
6) We can do that, tachlis, by:
That’s a lot of hard work, I know.
But Lesson 67 seems to make clear that THIS stuff is what’s causing all the fires in the world.
Of course, no ‘luminary of fire’ is going to make those sorts of connections for us, because they don’t read (or understand…) Likutey Moharan and they don’t hold by Rebbe Nachman.
So if you really want to know where the truth lies, and what the message really is behind all these terrible fires coming to the world, you have to pray on it, and to ask God to really show you.
There is no other way.
So at the beginning of last week, I was going bonkers again. The house debacle had got stuck again, and what was meant to be a simple concluding agreement kept pinging back and forwards, each time sending my blood pressure a little higher.
Then, there was all this childhood stuff the last few months had stirred up again, which I SO thought I’d worked through and sorted out by no! The lack of stability, the feeling of homelessness, the ‘bad’ people out to get me – I warped back to when I was 7 years old and spending every single night having terrible nightmares that wolves and triffids were chasing after me again.
Hashem, ad matai?!?!
When o when am I finally going to be able to put the past behind me?!?!?
I went to see my One Brain woman, who is usually so very good with this stuff, and even she couldn’t help me. So I knew I had to get on a plane, and go and see the one person who could help me sort all this stuff out at its root: Rabbenu.
My poor husband got dragged with me, and we went to Uman for Shabbat. Derech Tzaddikim absolutely insisted (literally) that we book into the fanciest hotel in Uman as everything else was apparently booked up, so we duly did that, and for the first time ever, I was in a hotel in Uman that apparently had some sort of room service.
But still no bath.
(Don’t ask me why there are no baths in the bathrooms in Uman hotels. Until recently, you were lucky to get a toilet in the same room that you didn’t have to share with 12 other people, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the baths another 10 years, or so.)
I got to Uman so absolutely, completely exhausted.
So much has been going on, for months, and internally it’s been intense, intense, intense. Usually, I go off and try to do six hours but dear reader, this time around, I just couldn’t. I did a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there, and I just left the rest to Rabbenu to sort out.
Let me tell you: he did.
I have no idea why more people, especially more Anglo people, don’t go to Uman. Every visit I make, I dump another load of inner childhood angst, another mega-load of crazy-person-ness, another ton of heartache, worry and fear.
But what I really wanted to tell you about is Rabbenu’s pipe.
On Shabbat, I saw someone in the kever who I have had a massive grudge against for around 4 years. They didn’t know it, of course, but I’ve been carrying around negative feelings towards them for years. And then, Rabbenu arranged for them to be in the kever.
This person was not a friend, but a ‘mashpia’, and we barely even spoke face to face more than once. But certain things occurred that were very upsetting to me, and I held them responsible, at least partially, for some very difficult experiences I had to go through.
So there they were in the kever. And they were still annoying! And I found all these hard feelings welling up again, so I asked God to let me make peace, real peace, and to finally let go of all my hakpada, because as much as it’s hurting others, it hurting me the most.
While all that was going on, I just got a mental picture in my head of Rebbe Nachman and his pipe. Which was pretty weird. But then, my husband made a comment later about Rebbe Nachman smoking a pipe himself, even though he used to warn his students away from smoking in very strong terms.
So then, why did he do it himself?
The answer is: true tzaddikim sometimes do things, confusing things that don’t seem quite right, for reasons that are far above and divorced from anything we could conceive as being the ‘real reason’. If we were less arrogant, we would understand that so much of what we don't understand about the real tzaddikim, or that we think is 'wrong', is simply because we aren't on the level they are.
(Clearly, I'm not talking about breaking clear halachas here, take a breath.)
And then I thought of this mashpia, who I know is the real deal, but who I’ve still had some great difficulties with, nevertheless, and Rebbe Nachman’s pipe came back to me as the answer to the kooshias that I’ve had about them, for years.
After Shabbat, we went to Medzhibozh for a day, before the airport, and the peace and calm of that place was so, so amazing. My husband and I went to the Apter Rebbe’s restored old shul, and just spent half an hour learning some Torah there. It was so awesome. So quiet. So simple.
No phones, no busy, no crazy, just a few roosters crowing, and some Torah.
I got a taste of that old life, before it all got so complicated, and I felt a little sad that it’s so hard to come by in our present world, where everything is busy busy all the time.
In the gift shop on the way out, I found a simple carved wooden pipe for the bargain amount of $2, which I bought as a reminder of Rabbenu’s pipe. And that we can’t know the reasons why massive tzaddikim sometimes do confusing things that don’t always look right to us.
That pipe is going to have pride of place on my shelf, so it can hopefully shut down any self-righteous fits about big tzaddikim before they even start up.
But in the meantime, Uman has done it again.
So, when are you going to book your ticket?
Attention, ladies: If your husband is currently driving you bonkers, send him to Uman!
I know, I could give you the whole big shpiel about how sending your husband to Uman for Rosh Hashana will bring world peace, and speed the coming of Moshiach, and help to rectify the whole of Am Yisrael.
And that stuff’s all true, and all described in detail in various Breslov sources. But girlfren, really? You should send your husband to Uman for Rosh Hashana because between you and me, I know how annoying that guy can be, at least occasionally.
Yes, he’s sweet, and good-hearted and hard-working and often quite loving and generous. But he’s also half-earth, and that ‘earthy’ bit of him is far to drawn to making money, and cheering on the team, and spouting off ridiculous opinions, and spending too much time watching movies or surfing online.
I know how hard you’ve tried to get him to make more effort with the kids, and to get him to stop walking around like an egotistical stuffed-shirt, and to get him to open up and to be ‘real’ about what he’s really feeling, and what fears and worries he’s got that are really causing him to act and believe the way he does.
I know all this stuff makes pulling teeth (the old fashioned way, with a piece of string and minus anaesthetic…) look like a walk in the park, which is why I’m here to tell you straight what works to get the guy back on the right spiritual path. And it’s spelled:
Like so many of the Uman ladies out there, I don’t send my husband for an expensive, inconvenient jaunt to anti-semitic Ukraine just for the heck of it. I encourage him to go because I know how much spiritual help he’s going to get by Rabbenu at Rosh Hashana, that’s going to carry him - and me - through all the challenges we have to face in the coming year.
I know that sending my husband to Uman for Rosh Hashana means he’s going to come back with a drop more humility, a tad more introspection, an ounce more gratitude and generosity, a page more of learning, a bissel more emuna.
The guy goes to Uman, and he comes back and realizes all by himself, without me saying a word, that he needs to spend more quality time with the kids, or that he needs to stop worrying about money so much, or that he needs to start playing soccer again. (Hey, not every revelation you get in Uman is easy to predict…)
When our blokes go to Uman, they come back better husbands, and nicer dads. They come back with a lot more of a clue about their real path in life, and how best to travel it. And most important of all, they come back with much more appreciation for their homes, families and the good cooking of their loving wives.
And this stuff is priceless, never mind all the other spiritual ‘saving the world’ stuff that goes on there at Rosh Hashanah time.
There’s still time to book his ticket and lodging, and to make it even easier for you, I’ve pulled together some numbers to call. Try:
Derech Tzaddikim: +972-2-541-0100 - www.zadikimtours.com
David Bargshtein Tours: +972-2-999-2955 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Netivim Tours: +972-2-633-8444
Glatt Tour: +972-2-547-7600 - www.glattour.com
And if you want to do it the easy, 'anglo' way, try Inn Uman with Rav Arush and Rav Brody:
I know it’s not easy to pull the money together, I know it’s not easy to manage without him over the High Holidays for a few days, I know it’s mamash mesirut Nefesh (self-sacrifice) for the ladies who stay behind with their challenging broods.
But let me end by sharing the story of a lady I met a few years’ back, who was adamant that her husband shouldn’t go to Uman at Rosh Hashana, because Rosh Hashana was family time.
She was experiencing some serious difficulties with him, and his behavior, and no therapist or counsellor could touch them with a barge pole.
So, I suggested she send him to Uman for Rosh Hashana, and I got back a very stony stare, and a big explanation of how Rosh Hashana was a time when the family should be together.
Last year, she got divorced.
This is re-posted from last year, but it's so good, I think I may just keep posting it back up every Elul...
War seems to be in the air at the moment, doesn’t it? Even before the rockets started falling again on Shabbat, across Israel’s south, Friday was a particularly ‘snipey’ day, where lots of people were bothering me, and probably, vice-versa.
The person who was bothering me the most is the other side’s devious lawyer, who I went and researched Friday and learned a lot about. Like, he’s an expert in cooking up devious contracts that say one thing, but really mean another. And that he’s an expert in helping people deceive other people ‘legally’, within the technical parameters of Israeli law.
To put this in other words: he’s a class A jerk, and probably the absolutely worst lawyer we could be up against, in so many ways.
All this upset me deeply, and I had a lot of inner turmoil going on again that wasn’t giving me any peace, and questions of how God could let us fall into this man’s hands. So on Shabbat, I decided to do a long talking to God session to try to get my equanimity and emuna back.
As I like to do, I ‘randomly’ opened Likutey Moharan while I was talking to God about this yucky, horrible lawyer and I got to this (Likutey Moharan 1:251):
Know: on account of feuds – conflict – the thoughts of the wicked enter the minds of upright people, specifically, thoughts of heresy beset them.
Rectifying this requires surrendering the feud to God – allowing God to fight the battle. In this way, one nullifies the thoughts of the wicked.
As usual, I was blown away by how accurate and pertinent the advice was. One of the things that has been upsetting me the most about this whole house saga is that I’ve had to battle 24/7 to keep remembering that God is running the world, and that ‘the other side’ are just puppets who are being used by God to teach me something, and help me rectify something, spiritually.
Without an hour a day of hitbodedut, there is simply no way of holding on to the reality of ein od milvado, because the feelings of anger and bitterness and injustice can otherwise be overwhelming.
And even with it, it’s still pretty hard going.
So I was thrilled to get this advice from Rabbenu about how to proceed – on so many of the issues that are bothering me at the moment.
Keep your mouth shut, Rivka
That’s what God is telling me.
Sure, I could be going great guns pointing out all the ‘bad’ that seems so obvious to me, and apparently so hidden to others. I could be slagging off this one, pulling down that one, endlessly listing all the flaws and the problems that really are there, and really do exist.
But that’s not what God wants, especially in the Three Weeks.
Because as soon as we start fighting other people instead of recognizing that God is behind everything, instead of recognizing that the only valid, helpful response is to just take it back to God to figure out what message He’s trying to give us, what teshuva or change He wants from me – we fall into heresy and start thinking like wicked people.
So, God wants me to keep my mouth shut, and to let Him fight the battle on my behalf.
And like all of us at the moment, I have so many potential battles raging on so many potential fronts, there really isn’t any other answer.
No-one would argue that everyone has their own fair share of heartbreak, upset and stress in life. It manifests in different ways for all of us, according to what God decides we need to experience or rectify, but heartbreak, upset and disappointment are ‘bad’ experiences for all of us, whatever’s causing them.
Many years’ ago in London, I had a good friend who was very competitive (I also was very competitive at that point – survival of the fittest, after all!) We would compete over many issues, including how many people we’d invited for seder, how much money we’d given to charity, how early we’d got into work (she beat me – regularly showing up to the office at 5am was completely off my radar.)
It was only many, many years later that I realized we’d also been competing on how much suffering we were going through, too. I’d tell her my story of infertility (before God blessed me with my two amazing kids) and she’d counter that with something awful that had just happened to her sister.
I’d tell her about my stress at work, and she’d counter that with her ‘awful boss’ story. This pattern continued when we both got to Israel. I’d tell her how we’d lost our house and run out of money, trying to ‘win’ the ‘I’m suffering the most, be nice to me’ battle, and she’d counter with how she was on the verge of divorce…or how her kid was cracking up…or how she was under so much stress she needed anti-depressants….
On and on it went.
Until one day, I realized what was going on, and I had to start pulling myself up on it.
Why are you trying to squeeze sympathy out of people, Rivka? Why are you trying to throw your problems in other people’s faces? Don’t you think everyone has their ‘thing’ going on, too? Don’t you think everyone feels their own pain at the moment?
We are a pained and afflicted people, everything is contusion and wound, from head to foot. The prophet told us it would be like this, before Moshiach comes.
The question is, what can we really do about it? We all have problems we can’t solve, we all have stress we can’t defuse, we all have situations and circumstances that are stretching us to breaking point, in some way or other.
Trying to compete over whose problem is bigger, or more painful, or more deserving of sympathy is utterly pointless, and just causes more division and ‘competition’ between us.
Because who is in a position to really measure it, anyway, and to decide whose pain is greater?
So the answer has to lie in a different direction.
The answer has to lie in developing some emuna, and putting God back into the picture. Everything that’s happening right now is coming from God, for the apparently ‘good’, or for the opposite. Everything that’s happening right now contains a message about what we ourselves need to work on, acknowledge, rectify or improve.
This is the three rules of emuna, that Rav Arush set down so clearly in his books, namely:
I’ve noticed a lot of people have a problem with that first rule. What, God’s behind the Palestinians, behind World War II, behind everyone’s problems and suffering?!?
That’s the first rule of emuna, and it’s the first principle of faith codified by the Rambam. God did, does and will do everything.
Without that starting point, we will spend many long years barking up the wrong tree and blaming everyone and everything for things that actually all boil back down to our own relationship with God.
Who kicked the people out of Netiv Avot?
Who is sending incendiary kites, and rockets, over the Gaza border?
Who is ultimately behind all the injustice and ‘bad’ in the world?
To think otherwise makes us a xtian who believes that the devil has equal or even greater powers than Hashem, and is somehow operating ‘above’ God’s explicit control, God forbid.
That’s heresy! That’s anti-emuna!
That’s the opposite of what it means to be a believing Jew, a believing human being.
Ein od milvado.
So the first stage is to work on acquiring this level of emuna, and that by itself is a lifetime’s work.
But then, there’s the next stage, that everything that’s happening to us is somehow ‘good’. Again, how can this be? How can a holocaust be ‘good’, how can losing a child be ‘good’, how can being made homeless, or getting sick, or having your field all burned up by a Palestinian kite be ‘good’?
Again, the answer boils down to whether you accept that we are here to work on our souls, and to rectify things spiritually (which is the Jewish understanding of things) or whether you think God owes you a great life in the here and now and that this world is really where it’s all at (which is the Greek / xtian view of things.)
Once, a man who was suffering from terrible pains in his teeth and body came to see Rebbe Nachman. He’d been suffering awfully for years, and couldn’t take it anymore. The Rebbe told him: Even with all the pain you are suffering right now, just one singe in gehinnom is so much worse!
We are in this world to pay down our spiritual debts, and to fix the things we broke, and to develop our souls by clinging to God in the midst of all our difficulties.
We are not here to lead an easy life.
Again, when I first read these ideas, I was really angry and upset about them, and didn’t want to accept their validity. It goes against everything a Western (xtian…atheist…materialist) person is taught to believe about the purpose and point of life.
Drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
Jews don’t hold by that. Jews believe ‘do mitzvahs, learn Torah, do kindnesses for others and be happy with your lot, because tomorrow we die and that’s when the real joy and enjoyment and bliss starts.’
And the main mitzvah we have to do is to learn some emuna, and to understand that ein od milvado, there is only God, and God is good, and none of our suffering is stam, random.
Which brings us to the third rule of emuna: what’s the message, or lesson?
For as long as we refuse to see God’s hand in our lives, and for as long as we’re blaming other people, and we’re angry at other people, we can’t figure out the real response to this question, and we will look to superficial external reasons like our skirts not being long enough, or our kashrut not being strict enough.
Of course, tznius and kosher are important, that’s not what I’m saying. But I’m saying the real work to do down here is our middot, our personality traits, our way of looking at the world, and interacting with other people.
If we are keeping basic mitzvahs like kosher, taharat mishpacha, tznius and Shabbat, then the first place we need to look for the ‘message’ is in our middot.
God wants good middot, not just the longest skirt
I spent years agonizing over my skirts until I realized that God was far more upset with my harsh judgment of other people, and my anger issues, and my problems with hatred and jealousy and feeling sorry for myself.
I have no idea why other people have to go through what they go through. But I can tell you that I’ve had to go through what I’m going through because I have a lot of bad middot that really needed addressing, and the suffering I’ve experienced broke my arrogance and forced me to turn to Hashem for comfort and support.
That is really the only solution to all of the problems, be it forced evictions, Gazan rockets, terrible illnesses, or heartbreaking divorce proceedings.
I don’t believe any of this suffering – mine or other people’s - is stam, or that it’s unfair. I believe God is behind everything that’s happening to all of us.
And because I’m trying to believe that, I know that God will help me to figure out the real lesson I need to take away from everything that’s happening to me, and that sooner or later, it will all turn around for the good.
This is really, really hard work to do, in practice. But what’s the alternative?
A few years’ ago, we had a regular charity collector who’d come to our door (in an increasingly aggressive way), and spend half an hour bitterly telling us how he used to be a very rich man, but had lost all his money.
The first six times, I felt so sorry for him, and gave generously. But then, as the months went by and he continued with his bitter, angry rants on my doorstep, I started to dread his visits. I started to reduce the amount I was giving him, I started to pretend I wasn’t home when he came knocking.
It really taught me a big lesson about trying to accept my suffering with emuna, because no-one wants to listen to a never-ending stream of complaints, judgment calls, anger and bitterness, however ‘justified’ it might be.
We just need to take our complaints and our suffering back to God.
And that’s the whole point.
I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Uman over shabbat, and I’m so pleased I went. Last week, I was literally starting to feel like I was disintegrating, there was so much din in the air.
After Uman, I’ve got some energy and some clarity back, and I feel more like a human being again. Not that Uman was ‘easy’ – it’s never that, but it’s always worthwhile, as Rabbenu has a way of bringing things up to the surface that need acknowledging and resolving.
We took a red-eye to get there before Shabbat on Friday, so I fell asleep shortly after we checked in – and had one of the nastiest nightmares I’ve had in ages. I started dreaming the whole room was smoking and on fire, which meant I started screaming my head off – and my poor husband had to shake me awake.
This is maybe what happens when you’ve been watching Youtube videos of lava in Hawaii spurting 100s of feet into the sky. And that ‘event’ so isn’t finished yet, by any means. It’s probably only just beginning.
I went to the Kever, did some Tikkun Haklalis and prayed for various people, then got back to my strangely quiet hotel when I noticed something interesting: half the guests were deaf, and had come together as part of a group of deaf women from Israel.
So instead of shrieking, ululating and very loud statements of kappara aliy and chaim sheli, there was a lot of hand gestures and soft grunting noises going on in the lobby.
The women came from across the religious spectrum, and they were clearly having a whale of a time. Those deaf people ‘talk’ in a much more real way, these days, than most of the rest of us. They look into each other’s faces, they just don’t barge in with ‘clever comments’ (because no-one can hear them anyway) and they wait patiently for their turn to speak. I was extremely impressed.
Then came the Friday night meal, and another glorious sight: 50 deaf women wordlessly ‘singing’ Shalom Aleichem together in sign language. It was beautiful.
So, we ate, bentched, then went back to bed exhausted – and I had yet another bad dream.
This time, I was in Jerusalem trying to get Shabbat ready, when there was a flash flood and my car suddenly got swept out of the car park and down some hill towards the Al Aqsa mosque. I was standing there holding a salmon in my hands, unsure what to do next.
Again, I woke up in a bit of a panic – I mean, salmon is pretty expensive. I calmed down, gathered my wits about me, and realized that the toilet in the hotel room was running, and figured that might have contributed something to my dream. Then I got changed and headed off to the Kever.
I had some big insights there, even though I was so tired, spiritually and physically, I could barely open my mouth to pray. Sometimes, you just have to sit quietly and receive the information you’re being sent, and internalize the insights you’re being given as a free gift.
So that’s what I tried to do.
We had one other couple at our table, who clearly weren’t (yet…) married. The guy was a new baal teshuva, and he was trying to persuade his girlfriend of the deeper and more spiritual aspects of life.
At the next table sat a Chassidic family, be-strymelled and be-cloaked, straight out of Meah Shearim. Then there was the deaf community, and around another 10 families or groups of various sizes and appearance.
And that is really the magic, the miracle of Rebbe Nachman. That so many people from such different backgrounds can come together, and focus on what unites them, instead of what superficially divides them.
You only get that sort of tremendous unity, or achdut, going on by Rabbenu, although sometimes you can also find it by other big inclusive tzaddikim like the Rashbi in Meron, and Rav Berland.
I’ve noticed that so many of the people who are ‘anti’ Rebbe Nachman, and ‘anti’ Breslov are also the ones that cause so much strife and dissent amongst the Jewish people. They are the ones who spend an awful lot of time dissing and criticizing ‘the other’, and looking for other people’s flaws and defects to harp on and magnify.
No-one is interested in that stuff by Rabbenu, quite the opposite. In Uman, you get a small taste of the beauty that’s hidden in every Jewish soul, however ‘weird’ or different they may look from the outside. Including yours.
After someone has been to Uman, and seen how fervently all the blonde-haired ‘secular’ ladies in tight jeans and tattoos pray; or how the be-wigged anguished mother breaks into tears by the tomb; or how there is good and bad mixed up in every single one of us, the trouble-makers have to work so much harder to try to convince you that ‘the other’ is so bad, and so dangerous, and so different.
Maybe, that’s why the haters can’t stand Breslov and the real tzaddikim.
We got the red eye back to Israel, and I had my nightmare scenario on the plane: sat next to the fattest woman in the world, stuck in the middle seat while she blocked the aisle (and the toilet…). She promptly fell asleep, which means she spread over half my seat and I started to feel more than a little claustrophobic.
(My husband wanted a window seat, to make it easier to sleep. I acquiesced, as he’d let me go for the aisle on the flight in. I spent the next three hours fighting back the urge to wake him up as ‘punishment’.)
So, I’m exhausted. Every time I dropped off, the fat lady managed to flop an arm the size of a tree trunk onto my leg. She’d half wake up, fold it back over her three stomachs, then fall asleep and drop it back on me again. Like, 10 times a minute.
As I said, Uman always brings out what’s simmering underneath, so I realized a few things:
So, there’s a lot of work to be done before I’m all fixed up and ready to accept the Torah.
And only a week of the Omer to go!
So either Hashem has to cut me some slack here, or it’s going to be another wild week.
The king’s viceroy came to him with a very worrying report: thanks to all the crop-spraying and GMO food being grown, within three months the whole population would suffer from (hopefully…) temporary brain damage, which would cause them to act insane.
“What should we do?” asked the viceroy. “Should we just top eating gluten altogether?” The king weighed the matter up carefully, then responded: “No. We’ll also have to eat that poisonous stuff and start acting like crazy people. But!” he continued. “We will have t-shirts printed up bearing the legend: ‘Remember, you are crazy.’ I will see your t-shirt, and remember that I’m nuts, and you will see mine, and do the same.”
And so it was agreed.
Four months’ later, the GMO and MSG and Round-up had done a great job of making everyone insane, so the king sent the viceroy on a mission to go from house to house, to distribute the millions of t-shirts they’d printed up with ‘Remember, you are crazy’ on them. As the viceroy had also gone nuts at this point, he thought it was a great idea.
He rolled up to the first house, rang the bell, and waited. Suddenly, three externally-mounted surveillance cameras swung round in his direction, and focused in, while a taut voice barked out through the intercom “What do you want?! Did the people of the Great Star send you?”
The viceroy cleared his throat, and replied: “I’m from the king. We’ve got a food supply problem that is sending us all crazy at the moment, and I’m trying to educate people about it. I’m also giving out these t-shirts.” The viceroy held one up to the nearest camera, which seemed to scan it carefully and nod.
“Listen, buddy, I’m fine, but my neighbor really needs to hear what you’re telling him. I’ve been warning him for years that the people from the Great Star are about to open up a vortex in the sky and suck everyone up over to a different dimension – and the guy can’t hear a word I’m saying! So try next door.”
Because the viceroy was a little crazy himself, he did as the man suggested.
He tramped up to the rhinestone-encrusted door, and rang the bell. It was opened by a woman in her 50s with dyed-blonde hair and an unfortunate habit of wearing too-tight black tank tops. “Yah?” she drawled out. “I’m from the king…” the viceroy began, but that’s as far as he got.
“Can’t be!” she cut him off. “The king lives here, and I’d know if you were working for us.” The viceroy was temporarily speechless, so the woman decided to prove her point. “Ellllvisssss!!!” she yelled behind her. “Come here a moment, honey, someone wants to see the king.”
An aging, overweight man with 10 rings on each hand and a huge, dyed-black quiff suddenly appeared behind her. “Elvis, honey, tell this guy who you are,” the blonde gatekeeper prompted. “I’m da king!” Elvis exclaimed.
“How can that be?!” the viceroy remonstrated. “Elvis died more than 30 years ago!” “Geez, you guys and your conspiracy theories…” the blonde rolled her eyes theatrically. “Elvis honey, you’re alive aren’t you?” The man grunted “Uhuh”, and went straight into a rendition of “You ain’t nothing but a hound-dog.”
Just then, the viceroy felt his phone vibrating – a message. He pulled it out and read: “Remember you are crazy, and so are they.” It was from the king. The viceroy mopped his face with his hanky, gosh, that was a close call. They were so convincing he’d got a little confused there for a moment.
Elvis and his sidekick didn’t want a t-shirt telling them they were crazy – because clearly, they weren’t – but they suggested that the viceroy try the guy next door, who had some very strange ideas about the Palestinians being real partners for peace.
Because the viceroy was a little crazy, he took their advice.
Sadly that guy was out flying kites over the Gaza fence, so the viceroy left a t-shirt in his mailbox, and continued on to the next house. There, the door was opened by a professorial looking gentleman in tan chinos and a tasteful, blue-tinted shirt. “Can I help you?” the professor replied.
The viceroy swallowed. Wow, this guy was so polite and ‘normal’ it was actually freaky. He explained about his mission, while the professor continued to listen intently, occasionally nodding. When the viceroy finished his tale, the professor invited the viceroy in, to discuss what they could actually do to spread more awareness of this problem.
Again, the viceroy swallowed nervously. This guy was acting so nice, it was really weird. “Do you mind if I ask Rita to join us?” the professor asked. The viceroy was meant to be guarding his eyes, but these sort of challenges unfortunately came with the job of trying to do hafetza. “Sure,” he muttered, “why not?”
As it turned out, the viceroy had nothing to worry about. “Rita” was a bearded, strapping 6ft 2, built like the proverbial brick house, who had a thing for twinsets and high heels. The viceroy’s eyes nearly fell out of his head. “Rita, this gentleman has just shared some very disturbing information with me, about the state of the nation’s mental health, and I’d appreciate your input.”
“I just knew something was up!” Rita responded warmly. “Last week, I saw someone walking down the street wearing a bright orange top with grey slacks! If that’s not a sign of global insanity, I don’t know what is!”
The viceroy fumbled for his hankie again. It had suddenly got pretty hot in the professor’s cosy kitchen. Suddenly, his phone rang: it was the king. “It’s the boss,” he mouthed to his hosts, “I have to take it, sorry!” The viceroy took the call outside, and the king kept is short and to the point.
“Don’t forget, everyone is crazy!” he reminded his loyal servant. “Give them a t-shirt and get the heck out of there. I’m having a lucid moment, and I’m starting to think it was a really bad idea to send you out on this mission.”
So the viceroy made his excuses, and left.
On the way home, because he was a little bit crazy himself, he decided to try one last time. He lifted his hand to knock on a door, when it suddenly opened by itself, and he found himself face-to-face with an obviously observant Jew.
“I know why you’re here,” the Jew observed drily. “And I know what you want.” Because the viceroy was crazy, he believed him. “How do you know?” he asked the Jew incredulously. The Jew took a step towards him and told him in a conspiratorial whisper: “My sofa told me! My sofa is one of the hidden lamed vav Tzaddikim, and whatever the sofa predicts, it always comes true!”
Wow, this was amazing. Talk about saving the best to last. “Can I speak to the sofa too?” The viceroy asked in awe. “Sure,” replied the Jew. “But please take your shoes off first.” The shoe-less viceroy shuffled into the salon, overcome by the huge honor he was being shown. “Ask the sofa anything you want!” the Jew prompted him, so pleased to have gained another convert to the cause.
“Honored sofa, what can I do to hasten the cause of good in the world, and to bring peace to all men?” The sofa answered: “Stop spending so much time reading all those horrible, slanderous stories online about the true Tzaddikim.”
The viceroy had been bending over reverentially, to hear the sofa’s answer, but at this he immediately snapped up straight and shook his head. “I may be crazy,” he told the Jew, “but that’s still the most insane thing I’ve heard all year.”
And with that, he left a t-shirt in the simple Jews hands, and headed back to the palace.
When it started to rain so incredibly hard again in Jerusalem yesterday, out of rainy season, which ends at Pesach (as per our daily prayers), what came to mind was Rebbe Nachman’s teaching that a flood of atheism would come to the world, and that even ‘big’ rabbis would have atheism literally ‘dripping out of their pockets’.
Then, the horrible news came in about the teens who’d been swept away by a flash-flood in the desert, and the incredible pictures (like the river flowing down Yoel Salomon Street above, or Yaffo below, in the very heart of the pedestrianized centre of down-town Jerusalem) started going viral on my daughters’ phones, and we all sat in our flat a little awe-struck at Hashem’s power and might.
A little bit of rain can do an awful lot of damage, God forbid, and lead to terrible destruction.
This morning, I started looking through Rebbe Nachman’s books to see if he said anything else about floods. He did. I’m bringing it below, and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I read it:
TZADDIK (the English translation of Chayey Moharan), #417
(In the section called: Avoidance of Philosophy and the Importance of Faith)
There were rumours that the Czar wanted to introduce a number of decrees against the Jews, including a regulation requiring Jewish children to be taught secular studies and foreign languages.
Regarding this decree, the Rebbe said that the Jews should call a fast, and cry out to God more vehemently than against all the other decrees. This decree was more calamitous than any other evil in the world, since it would turn the children against religion completely – as have indeed seen, because of our many sins.
The brutal fact is that anyone who enters this path becomes totally estranged from religion. Many God take pity on his people Israel, and save a remnant of all their throngs.
The Rebbe once said:
“Oy! Oy to us! That we do not devote the least thought to how we can save our children and the generations to come from these evil, storm-ridden waters, which threaten to engulf the entire world, God forbid.
"For this is the only way to describe the spread of secular studies, the study of foreign languages and philosophy.”
May Hashem comfort all the families who lost their children in this terrible disaster, and may we as a people wholeheartedly return to the path of simple emuna and Torah observance, so that we won’t have to go through any more of these awful tragedies.
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.
I've been having a lot of internal battles the last few days, not least about which direction my writing is going in, and whether blogging is the best use of my time. While I'm trying to sort it all out, I'm re-posting some good things from the last 3 years of Emunaroma, including this one from December 2017, which is really speaking to me still, wavering as I am between continuing and giving up.
I don’t think it will shock most of the people reading this blog if I confess to having being completely stressed out of my brain for the last three months.
Even before my mother-in-law unexpectedly passed away the day after Rosh Hashana, Elul 5777 had been a really crazy month, and then when my mother-in-law died, the craziness kind of went up a whole other level, and has stayed there for three months’ solid.
Every week there has been something ‘significant’ to deal with, and by last week, I had got so jumpy and grumpy and irritable that I was even yelling at my poor husband in my sleep. Baruch Hashem, I knew I had Uman coming up, so I was really hoping that Rabbenu would work his magic and return some equanimity to me, so I could stop being a mega-stressed pseudo-psycho.
But last week, suddenly Uman looked like it might not happen after all. My mum sent me a text on Friday telling me about the general strike (what general strike?!) that was going to shut down Ben Gurion all day Sunday, the day me and my family were meant to fly out. My adrenals were too exhausted for me to stress any more, about anything, but I decided I should still do a longish hitbodedut on Shabbat, and then leave the outcome entirely in God’s hands.
If He wanted us to fly out, great. If not, great - what else was I meant to do, at this point?
Motzash, we learned the general strike was reduced to a half day, and that our late afternoon flight would be leaving as scheduled. Cue the next obstacle: strikers causing huge traffic jams by the exit out of Jerusalem just as we needed to head off to the airport. I heard about that while I was out getting some last minute bits for Uman, so I rushed home, corralled my family to get ready now!!! and by some open miracle, both my teenagers managed to get changed and ready within 20 minutes.
So, we get to Uman, and after a balmy, dry 10 degrees all of Shabbat, on Sunday the snow and ice showed up - as did ‘Boris’, our Ukrainian cab driver. I’ve been to the Ukraine so often now that the completely crazy way people drive over there doesn’t really faze me anymore. My husband climbed into the passenger front seat, me and my two girls squished in the back. I looked for a seat belt - I had the ‘belt’ but no buckle could be found - so I gave up and went to sleep, because I was exhausted.
I woke up twice: once when Boris refueled the car with petrol, and another time when he refueled himself with a beer - behind the wheel! This is the traditional Ukrainian way.
My husband later told me that the visibility during that night-time drive was around 2 metres as there was driving snow, and that Boris was going at Grand Prix speeds. I couldn’t really see any of that from the back as it was dark and the windows were all fogged up, but apparently my husband was praying very sincerely for a good 2 hours, until Boris safely delivered us to our hotel.
And man, what a hotel! The first time I went to Uman, 8 years’ ago, there were two showers for 60 women - both located directly opposite the front door. There were power cuts every couple of hours, I had to bring my own toilet roll, there was no mobile phone access, and a lot of the locals were still getting their water from the local well on a sled. It was SO primitive.
The last couple of years, Uman has developed in a no less than miraculous way, and the clearest sign of that was that the new hotel we’d somehow managed to book was actually almost like a real hotel! There were single beds, not bunk beds, a nice (looking….) shower, a door person and a front desk person who both tried to be helpful.
Me and my husband were completely stunned by all this, and my kids were thrilled to be going to a ‘real’ hotel for a change.
We arrived at 2am, so we lit chanuka candles, then went straight to bed. The next day, even before I got to the Kever, I had an urge to do some ‘writing hitbodedut’ in the room before everyone else woke up - and out came a huge list of things that I’ve been mega, mega stressed about over the last couple of months.
No-wonder I’ve been so tense and highly strung!
Once I realized that I’m not just turning into a psycho, and that I truly have been under some immense pressure and stress recently, I felt so much better. But my davening seemed a bit flat the rest of the day, tell you the truth. I went to the Kever 3 times with my kids, recited some Tikkun Haklalis, did some more hitbodedut etc.
But no big revelations hit me this time, and I have to say I felt a bit disappointed. We were leaving at 5am the next morning, so I turned in for the night at 9pm - and at 11pm a new group of loud, crazy secular-looking women from Ashkelon stormed the hotel and tried to turn it into a disco.
This sort of thing happens a lot in Uman, because avodat hamiddot is one of Rabbenu’s favorite things. So I swallowed the loud screams, the ululations, some annoying woman’s really loud, horsy laugh - all of it. But then when they started playing trance music right outside my door at ear-splitting levels and screaming along with it, my patience evaporated and I went into ‘I need to go to sleep now!’ psycho mode.
I opened the door to yell at them to ‘sheket!!!’ and my eyes nearly fell out of my head. Some 20-something woman was literally dancing in the corridor holding a massive i-Phone and just wearing her underwear.
I thought I’d got to the point where nothing in Uman could shock me, but man, I was wrong. I shut the door, stunned. Then opened it up again to yell at them to be quiet, because the thought struck me that if I didn’t manage to shut them up, my husband might have a go instead.
Who wears their underwear in a hotel corridor filled with chareidi men?! In the middle of a freezing Ukrainian winter?! And then starts playing music from their i-Phone loud enough to fracture your skull?!
The mind boggles.
God helped me by sending a couple of other Israeli guests who also came out to yell at them in a much better way than I ever could, and peace returned…For two hours. Then the screaming and beatbox started up again. Again I went out to yell at them and one of them told me:
“Who goes to sleep when they come to Rabbenu?!”
Well, I do.
And this time they finally took the hint and quietened down.
I asked my daughters the next day if they’d heard the crazies in the middle of the night. One of them had slept like a log, and the other one told me: “Yes! I went to join them because I was so bored.”
So now, we get in the car with ‘Sergei’ - a solid lada type car this time, nothing fancy. And I said goodbye to Uman feeling as though I hadn’t really achieved so much this time around, except maybe stop feeling like a stressed-out psycho. Which shouldn’t be under-rated, I admit.
Two minutes into the drive, I started to realize this was going to be a pretty bumpy journey. It had snowed overnight, and now icy sleet was raining down and covering the snow drifts with black ice.
Our driver was really good, but it was pitch black, and they aren’t set up to clear the streets so fast or so efficiently in Uman. BH, we left 5 hours to get to the airport, so we thought we’d still manage it OK, even in the really bad driving conditions. (Boris had taken three hours, but clearly he’d been speeding like a fiend).
20 minutes into the drive, I noticed a bunch of lorries left by the side of the roads, emergency lights blinking, and I started to worry a little. 30 minutes later, we started to hit huge queues of jack-knifed lorries buried in snow drifts all over the highway - and that’s when I started to pray my socks off, as I’ve never seen that before.
When our side of the motorway got blocked by three parallel lines of lorries - all stalled in their tracks - I was convinced we’d just lost all hope of making our flight. But I figured without Sergei, who neatly reversed back, crossed the dual-carriageway barrier, and started driving at 80 km and hour on the other side of the motorway.
Long story short, we all prayed extremely intently for two hours solid, and somehow or other, we got to the airport just in time to make the flight.
That return trip taught me a great deal about the power of perseverance, and of not giving up in the face of truly overwhelming circumstances.
It taught me about the power of prayer. And it taught me that when things get far too scary to deal with, you can always pull your hat down over your face and manage things that way, too.
The bizarrest thing of all is that after two days of no sleep, and two really crazy trips to and from Uman, you’d think that I’d be feeling even more stressed and antsy. But the truth is, I feel better than I have done in months.
Rebbe Nachman has pulled it off again.
In the meantime, I’m waiting to see what other presents we brought home from Uman. There’s a lot ‘pending’ in my life at the mo, which I hope will move forward soon. If Rabbenu could get us to Borispol airport in the pitch black, on the other side of the road, when even snow ploughs had given up the ghost and pulled over to the side of the road, then anything is possible.
I will keep you posted.
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