Two days back, both my teens came back from their ‘national religious’ high schools in a state of semi-panic. For once, it wasn’t exam pressure or social issues, it was something much more existential and Orwellian: the looming threat of nuclear war.
After Bibi dished the dirt on Iran, clearly hoping to nudge Trump into nixing the Iranian nuclear deal, the whole country seems to have kind of frozen in place, expecting an imminent Iranian nuke in response.
Now, that stuff is passé for us geula blog aficionados, I know, who love to discuss all that stuff before breakfast (at least, in theory). But I don’t remember it being a topic of conversation in my girls’ ‘national religious’ high schools before, and it’s having some profound effects.
One of my kids told me her and her class had read through the whole of the prophecies of Gog and Magog in the book of Ezekiel. The bit she was particularly freaked out about this section, helpfully headlined: ‘Prophecy against false prophecy’, in my Artscroll edition (Ch. 13).
“The word of Hashem came to me, saying, ‘Son of Man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel…who prophesy out of their own hearts…
Each person can decide for themselves who these ‘false prophets’ are who are misleading the nation, and how that might be connected to all the freak weather we're currently experiencing.
But my daughter and her friends were particularly struck by the pouring rain / huge hailstones / stormy wind / annihilation bit, especially given the recent tragedy when 10 teens around their age died in a flash-flood in the desert.
(Interestingly, some really big hailstones – 2 cm diameter – also fell in Israel last week - see the Youtube above. And parts of the US are predicted to get 4-inch hail this week, which is definitely big enough to kill you, if that drops on your head from a height.)
So that, combined with their Bibi-inspired nuclear war freak-out meant that they suddenly got all unusually biblical on me, and started talking about wars, floods and mountains collapsing.
(Interestingly, that just happened in North Korea, when the nuclear test site they built under a big mountain collapsed after the last test, effectively putting their nuclear program on ice and prompting Kim Jong Un to sue for peace, instead.)
Then the youngest piped up: ‘Ima, I don’t want to die in a nuclear war.’
I reassured her that nobody does. But that also, if God decides that’s actually what’s going to happen, lo aleinu, getting incinerated in a nano-second is actually one of the better ways to go, in terms of how much that would actually hurt.
We had a big chat about dying, and nukes, and the purpose of life from a Jewish perspective, for a good half an hour, and then it was time for them to go and get on with sorting out L’ag B’omer.
This conversation taught me many things, not least that even our teens are picking up the panic in the country that Israel may be on the verge of another war, and also apparently picking up the deeper geula vibe that inevitably strengthens at these times.
Maybe, that’s also why I’ve been feeling pretty ill the last few days, and all achy, dizzy and a little pukey. There’s a heavy vibe in the air, and that’s often the pre-cursor to ‘something’ kicking off in the world, as I’ve written about many, many times before.
Or it could just be that I’m also feeling pretty scared, on a number of fronts, about what the future is going to hold. Not so much about Iranian nukes because hey, I do that for breakfast, remember! My fears have more to do with keeping on the right side of Hashem, and away from all the truly bad people out there.
RASHBI DOES IT AGAIN
The last five years, I’ve been going up to Meron on L’ag B’omer with my husband, but this year I didn’t know if I could hack it. I’d been in bed for two days, and really didn’t feel great. But we really need some miracles this year on the house front (I know, some things never change).
And then I found out Rav Berland was going to be up in Meron after all, as his opponents simply couldn’t find a legal case to stop him, hard as they tried. So that gave me the strength to do the 9 hour round trip up to Meron and back.
We left at 3am today, and got back an hour a go.
And I feel so much better.
I was too tired to do any fabulous hitbodedut up in Meron, but I felt very peaceful up there, and I got a strong sense that whatever is going to happen, it’s all ultimately going to turnaround for the good.
At least, for the people who are sticking close to our true tzaddikim and trying to work on their own bad middot.
And if not then you may want to seriously consider springing for a jumbo-pack of super-strength anti-anxiety meds instead.
Because it seems that stormy times are ahead.
Another oldie but goody. How many predictions of death and destruction from the autistics (and others...) have come and gone since I wrote this two years' ago?
We've all become so immune to real warnings from real Tzaddikim, and so confused and apathetic about what's going on in the world because we've been relying on 'false prophets' and tumah-dik sources of information and insight who keep putting a false spin on what is truly happening, and why.
Whatever is going on out there, the true tzaddikim are really the only people we should be listening to and paying attention to. It's like in Egypt: Pharoah's advisors could all 'predict the future' to some degree, but they couldn't see the full picture, and so their predictions were distorted half-truths.
And we're still chasing after the Prophets of Ov and Yidoni today...
There was great excitement in the town: the town crier had just gone round the streets yelling at the top of his voice: “The bone has a message! The talking bone of Ov has another message! Everyone come gather in the town square!”
Mothers rushed out of their homes, leaving their boiling pots of soup unattended. Fathers put down their Gemaras and left their shop-fronts: The Talking bone of Ov had a message! They were about to find out what was really going on in the world.
Only in the house of Rabbi Gershon did this news not cause a stir. Rabbi Gershon was sick of all the messages from the talking bone of Ov, and also its competition, the talking bone of Yidoni. It was never uplifting messages about how much God loves His people. It was never a message to make real teshuva and to come back to God, and to start treating other people more kindly and more gently.
The talking bone of Ov was always full of ‘oys!’, and full of the whole-scale destruction of the Jewish people and conspiracy theories that elbowed God out the picture, and just caused people to walk around panic-stricken about the terrible tidings they’d heard.
Who needed that?!
In his youth, Rabbi Gershon had also been a follower of the talking bone of Ov, but in recent years, he’d started to ponder why the talking bone never mentioned the nation’s holy rabbis, and all the work they were doing to sweeten the decrees hanging over the Jewish people. It never talked about the importance of going to Uman for Rosh Hashana. It never brought messages of hope…
Still, he knew why people continued to run out of their homes to listen to the talking bone of Ov every few weeks: human beings hate uncertainty. We all like the idea that we know what’s coming next, and that we’re prepared for it. Knowledge is power.
Rabbi Gershon sighed deeply and picked up his chumash. He started to read again about divination and sorcery, and why our Sages had outlawed all those weird attempts at trying to predict the future like raising the dead, or listening to a talking bone that someone had shoved in their armpit.
Information is power. Knowledge is power. But information can also be used to mislead and deceive, and knowledge can also be used to control and manipulate.
Rabbi Gershon sighed again. When the sages of the generation pasted up posters telling the town residents to stop speaking so much lashon hara, and to spend more time praying and learning Torah and less time visiting the local market and circuses, no-one was interested. No-one ran from house to house, trying to gather a crowd to hear what the Sages were saying.
But this talking bone of Ov showed up, and hey presto! It immediately pulled in a crowd of thousands with its messages of imminent death and destruction.
Did people realize how ridiculous they looked, hanging on every word of a talking bone?!? Did they understand that there are no short-cuts, spiritually-speaking, and that the only people who really knew what was going on hardly ever communicated that to the masses?
Did they understand that the only way to get though the world in one piece was by making sincere, genuine teshuva, and coming back to God? It didn’t matter how many tins of tuna the talking bone told you to stock up on, how much death and destruction was being predicted (typically to coincide with the next Jewish holiday…) - even if you knew all that, even if it was true, how was it really going to help you?
Rav Gershon’s ponderings were interrupted from shouts and screams from the street. As his friend Shlomo rushed past, Rav Gershon called to him from the window, and asked him what was going on.
“The talking bone has predicted that a tidal wave will smash into our village on Shabbat, and destroy everyone who isn’t wearing sackcloth and ashes. I’m running over to Rami Levi right now to pick up some sackcloth, and 50 tins of tuna,” Shlomo called over his shoulder.
“But we’re 3,000 foot up a mountain!” Rav Gershon called after his friend. “And the sea is 30 miles away!” But Shlomo had disappeared already.
Rav Gershon sighed again. Shabbat would come, and be ruined for most of the villagers who would sit there with fear in their hearts and terror on their faces. Never mind that the last 83 predictions of earthquakes hitting on Chanuka, nuclear bombs being dropped on Pesach, and ginormous Martian cockroaches invading on Purim hadn’t materialized.
Whatever the talking bone said, that was law.
Rav Gershon returned to studies, and pondered the world around him. A world were people preferred to listen to talking bones, CNN and Arutz Sheva, instead of listening to the words of our true sages.
This is another oldie, but goody, from a couple of years' ago.
The birth of Moshiach
We’re all so used to all the ‘birthpangs of Moshiach’ imagery that’s been tossed around for decades already, that I think many of us have forgotten what a birth is actually like.
Births are messy - blood, poop and I-don’t-know-what other gross things flying around the place.
They’re incredibly stressful - until the very last second when the baby pops out, everyone has a worry that it might not get there, God forbid, or that something could go wrong to harm the baby, or the mother.
They’re long, drawn out processes with a lot of stopping and starting - “I’m in labour!” - no, it’s just Braxton Hicks. “The contractions have started!” They’ve stopped again. “I’ve been having painful contractions for three weeks, already, I MUST be more than ½ cm dilated by now!!” etc etc
By the time the mother is ready to have the baby, she can’t move, can’t sleep, can’t really eat without getting terrible heartburn is and heartily SICK of the whole thing already - and that’s before the kid even makes it out into the real world.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I think a lot of us have a false image of what’s going to be going on in the world when Moshiach finally shows up. We think he’s going to call a press conference to announce he’s Moshiach, have a bunch of angels show up to coronate him, and then start riding around Jerusalem on his white donkey doing the ‘regal wave’ thing and magically disappearing all the problem people in our midst.
It’s not going to be like that at all. Moshiach is going to enter the world exhausted, after a long, difficult, messy and painful birth process where he’s been covered with every type of spiritual filth and cack you can imagine.
Remember, King David, the forbear of the Moshiach, was incorrectly considered to be a mamzer by his father and brothers for many long years, which is why he was sent out to tend the flocks and go and fight off lions and bears at just three years’ old.
Yishai was hoping something would eat him, and get rid of that ‘embarrassing’ family issue.
Remember, Tamar, the forbear of the Moshiach, was incorrectly accused of acting like harlot, when she got pregnant by Yehuda in a ‘libum’ arrangement to perpetuate her dead husband’s spiritual legacy (she had twins because she had two dead husbands to perpetuate, by that point.)
Can you imagine what Channel 2 would be saying about these people today?
“Chief Rabbi’s daughter admits to being a prostitute!!!!!!!”
“Rabbi Faker-so-so says: “This woman MUST face justice, and be burnt alive!!!”
“David’s own father shuns him: ‘The man is a MAMZER, and should be eaten by a lion!!!”
“EXCLUSIVE: David’s brothers admit: He forced the Prophet Shmuel to crown him at gunpoint!!!
We’re scared for our lives!!!”
And so on, and so forth.
And then, all the armchair commentators would be having a field day.
“How can this man be KING when he’s clearly committed so many war crimes?”
“Yet another cover up by the religious establishment. King Amalek would NEVER have acted like this…”
“I can’t believe they let Tamar off the hook. She’s guilty as charged! Look at how she acted! If she wasn’t guilty, then why didn’t she just SAY THAT in court? I can’t believe these people.”
The Zohar curses anyone that views the Torah as ‘history’ with terrible curses. The Torah is a blueprint for living that’s as relevant for us today, in 2016, as it was 3,000 years’ ago.
So bearing that in mind, let me ask you something:
Who's side would you have been on?
When the Egyptian establishment shoved Yosef HaTzaddik in prison for 12 years on the trumped-up charges of Potifar and his wife, who’s side would you have been on? I mean, Yosef went to prison!!!! For 12 years!!!! It doesn’t get more clear-cut than that, does it?
Or, when Moshe Rabbenu got shoved down a well in Midian for 12 years, who’s side would you have been on? I mean, he’s a wanted criminal in Egypt, a dangerous fugitive who killed an innocent man!!!!
Or, when Yaacov Avinu ran away from Laban, and then got chased down by him and all his men, who’s side would you have been on? I mean, WHY WAS HE RUNNING AWAY, if he hadn’t done anything wrong???? Why didn’t he stay in the country, with his wealth and his wives, if he wasn’t guilty of doing all the things that Laban was claiming????
What would Channel 2 (funded by the Rasha Corp, Inc) have to say about all these ‘so-called’ holy people? What headlines would Arutz Sheva and the JPost be posting up? What comments would all the ‘experts’ reading about Yosef HaTzaddik from their armchairs in Eretz Yisrael be saying about him? What juicy quotes would they be squeezing out of the wicked Esav, about how terrible his brother Yaacov really was?
“Yes, he did exactly the same thing to me before he left - and that’s also why he ran away!” Esav would tell Channel 2, in an exclusive interview. “He stole my blessings! No one can trust him!”
And then, they’d wheel in one of Esav’s wives (with her face blurred and identify disguised) to pile on the ignominy.
People, the creation is renewed every day! King Shlomo told us there is nothing new under the sun.
Each of our biggest Tzaddikim was covered with spiritual filth, lies, controversy and scandal. It’s always been that way, and until Moshiach comes, it will continue to be that way. In case you’re still unsure, here’s a few more ‘big’ Tzaddikim, many of whom were pegged as being the potential ‘Moshiach’ of their generation, and who were persecuted by the authorities of their time, and vilified by their fellow Jews, including even ‘religious’ people:
Other tzaddikim who ran away and / or were wanted or punished by the authorities
The Rashbi - Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai - who ran away from the Roman police and sat in a cave learning Torah for 12/13 years.
Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol - who was wrongly excommunicated by the Sanhedrin until a day before his death.
The Baal Shem Tov - excommunicated and vilified by even some of the biggest rabbis of his day.
The Baal HaTanya - Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad chassidim, who was persecuted and repeatedly slandered to the secular authorities (including by so-called ‘frum’ Jews…), resulting in him being chased all over the country, and spending time in prison.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev - Another huge Chassidic master, the Shpola Zeide, took against Rebbe Nachman and started a slanderous campaign against him, that began so much of the controversy against him.
Even his own uncle, another Chassidic Master Rabbi Baruch of Medzhiboz, opposed Rebbe Nachman for a time. (Can you imagine the juicy quotes Channel 2 would have tried to get out of him?)
Rabbi Natan Sternhartz - who took over from Rebbe Nachman, and who suffered the most terrible persecution, including being falsely accused of all sorts of things, and spending period of time in exile and imprisoned by the secular authorities.
And who was behind this libelous, slanderous and even murderous campaign? (Because at one point, they dispatched a murderer to kill Rav Natan, but the man killed the wrong ‘Rav Natan’ and his family instead?) - RABBIS! And not just any rabbis, the most influential chassidic rabbis of their time, including the Savraner Rebbe.
History is simply repeating itself.
If you don’t know what happened before, you won’t know how to pass the test this time around.
Again, the main point is that our biggest Tzaddikim have always been slandered, persecuted and chased by the evil people in our midst. That’s just how it is.
But how embarrassing, if you get up to Shemayim and they show you all the times you pinged on that horrible libel about Yosef HaTzaddik…or all the times you rushed to judgment against the ‘dangerous fugitive’ Moshe Rabbenu…or all the times when you could have stood up and defended King David, but instead you put the boot in, instead.
We read that stuff now, and OF COURSE we see how holy our Tzaddikim actually were, and how misguided (at best…) the people were who were persecuting them and slandering them.
But that’s the test.
Moshiach is not going to be ‘elected’ like a president. Redemption is a birth process. It’s messy, filthy, stressful, confused and incredibly taxing, spiritually. There are people who are literally trying to kill our holy people, just like they’ve been doing all down history.
Do you REALLY want to be a partner in their activities? Do you really want to end up where Korach ended up, or where Potifar’s wife got to, or even Absalom, King David’s son, who ended up in the lowest pit of Gehinnom?
So take a breath, and try to put the modern events unfolding right now in their proper, historical and spiritual context. As a people, we’ve been down this path before - many times - and always made the same mistake. If we really want Moshiach to happen, this time we need to really see what’s going on - all the lies and forgeries and slander that’s happening - and to pick the right side.
Before we begin, here’s one of my favorite infographics, showing the Erev Rav traits versus true Jewish traits.
You’ll notice that speaking lashon hara, indulging in harsh judgments against others, brazenness (which is refusing to accept that you ever do anything wrong, or may be at fault), trying to make a name for yourself, craving honor - all these things are very clearly associated with the Erev Rav.
The Gemara teaches that when a Jewish person lacks compassion, we should question whether that person’s feet stood at Mount Sinai. Anyone who knows their Erev Rav sources properly knows exactly what this is referring to.
Before we go on, again, I just wanted to bring this excerpt talking about (trauma-induced) Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as it’s so useful to help you understand the context of what is currently playing out online, and in the media, both in the Jewish and non-Jewish world:
“People with NPD won’t (or can’t) change their behavior even when it causes problems at work or when other people complain about the way they act, or when their behavior causes a lot of emotional distress to others.”
Here’s how NPD plays out in real terms:
(As an aside, I've noticed that blogging and having a public 'platform' can definitely bring these tendencies out and exaggerate them. It's one of the reasons I'm very keen to keep pointing out my own flaws and to field questions on Emunaroma, and to give others a platform to express themselves, too, so it's not just 'all about Miiii'.)
Why this stuff is important to know:
I’ve spent the last 3 years researching and writing about mental health issues over on spiritualself-help.org and in a bunch of books, and what I learned is that Erev Rav tendencies and personality disorders are one and the same.
People act like ‘Erev Rav’ because they are mentally-ill, and mental illness is primarily caused by experiencing serious trauma and / or emotional neglect, especially in childhood.
And it can be fixed and changed when God, and connecting to our true Tzaddikim are in the picture!
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s whole work in this final generation before Moshiach was to give our generation the tools we needed to overcome all the heresy, and mental illness, and ‘Erev Rav’ traits that would be flooding the world at this stage.
If anyone wants to learn more, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav gives all the background to this concept, including sources, but it’s very important to understand one thing:
The only way the Erev Rav can get fixed is by coming close to the Tzaddik of the generation.
The Zohar brings down how the Erev Rav are actually ‘sparks’ of Moshe Rabbenu’s soul, which is why he wanted to bring them out of Egypt and rectify them.
That first time around, the job was too big for him, but over the last 3,300 years, each of the Tzaddikim of the generation have been involved with this task of rectifying the soul-sparks from the Erev Rav, because when that is completed we will have finally rectified the world, spiritually, and we can get to geula.
In Rebbe Nachman’s story of The Cripple, he depicts the Tzaddik of the Generation as a wondrous tree, with every type of healing and bounty in its leaves.
Rabbenu tells us that there are large communities of demons in the world whose whole purpose in life is to spread lies and slanders about the true Tzaddikim, to prevent people from drawing close. Every few years, the king of these demons tries to totally uproot the tree, but the tree lets out a piercing scream that reduces these demons to jelly, and scares them off.
So in the meantime, they content themselves with digging ditches around the tree (with their lashon hara, trouble-making and slander) that prevent it from being ‘watered’, and from truly blossoming in the world.
The human beings in the world have no idea that half the planet is populated by these ‘demons’, many of whom presumably have blogs and write things online, and have no clue that these demons are focused on one thing, and one thing only: keeping people away from the true tzaddik of the generation.
Rebbe Nachman teaches us that at the end of time, the ‘talkers’ amongst the demons will turn on each other, and start a civil war.
This one will give an interview to the Jpost decrying corruption in the police, while ‘that one’ will give an interview to Channel 2 decrying corruption within the Knesset.
This ‘rabbi’ will speak evilly about that ‘rabbi’, this organization will slag off that organization, this blogger will criticize that blogger - and all this will lead to massive earthquakes and natural disasters, that means that finally the ditches collapse, and the tree - the True Tzaddik of the generation - finally gets watered.
And then we have geula.
Looks like we are getting very close!
So, judging by the contents of my inbox this morning, we’re seem to be very, very close. But in the meantime, pay attention to all the ‘Erev Rav’ tendencies, and NPD traits that are coming to the fore at the moment, and know that most people today are literally insane, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
BH, when the True Tzaddik is finally revealed in the world, he’ll hopefully give them (and the rest of us!) another chance to come clean, admit that we have some serious mental health issues, and to make the teshuva we so desperately need to make.
Because God really does want all these people back.
And the only people who’ll tell you different are the ones who are struggling with some enormous (but fixable!) ‘Erev Rav’ / NPD tendencies themselves.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome, as long as they don’t contravene the laws of lashon hara. God forbid we should act like ‘demons’ and put more evil speech, slander and strife into the world!