I got a really strong dose of ‘stuckness’ around Rosh Hashana / Succot time - and I nearly went crazy from it, because even though I hated where I’m living, and my lack of direction in life, and my full-time ‘loser’ status socially and otherwise, I couldn’t seem to do anything at all to change it despite trying so hard on both the spiritual and more material fronts.
Then, God gave me a break from all the existential angst for a couple of months while I was finishing the manuscript of ‘One in a Generation’, but the last few weeks’ it’s roared back again big time.
When Rav Arush wrote that we’re all currently stuck in the plague of darkness, that’s when I realised what is happening in my life at the moment. Remember, the Egyptians couldn’t move when the plague of darkness struck. Whatever pose they found themselves in, they had to stay that way for three days and nights. They couldn’t ‘see’ anything, they couldn’t ‘see’ any way out of their situation, or understand what was happening or why.
All they knew is that they were ‘stuck’ for three days solid completely unable to move even as much as a muscle.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there?
Last week, I got to that familiar place of not being able to take it anymore.
One thing I get a lot of in my hitbodedut sessions is insight into what’s actually happening ‘behind the scenes’. After my showdown with my crazy relatives a couple of months’ back, I came to understand that the reason we can’t just ‘cut off’ from these people is because on a very deep spiritual level, we are connected to them.
(That’s not my idea, btw, it’s a standard idea in Jewish thought that all of Am Yisrael is responsible for each other.)
These people have been sinking like a stone over the last few years, morally and spiritually, and I finally realised that on some level, despite all our efforts, they’re dragging certain members of my own family down with them.
Once I finally got that message, I realised something else: Fixing them is going to fix us. But here’s where it got a little tricky, as believe me NOTHING can fix them in olam hazeh short of a lobotomy.
Which is when I got my next brainwave: Rav Berland has helped literally thousands and thousands of people to overcome even apparently ‘terminal’ physical illnesses, and regain their health by doing a pidyon Nefesh for them. (Click the pink to read more about what that is).
If the Rav’s pidyon worked for ‘terminal’ physical illnesses, then it for sure also works for ‘terminal’ spiritual illnesses, too.
We contacted the Rav, found out how much it’s going to cost (because pidyon Nefesh works by clearing the spiritual judgments off a person, and the bigger the spiritual judgments that have piled up, the more it costs to do) - and just paid the money across now.
I am starting to feel SO much calmer, BH.
But that’s not all. I also got a very strong message this week that me and my husband need to have just one Rav, who we trust implicitly. Given the number of ‘pseudo-tzaddikim’ we’ve had terrible experiences with over the years, this is not a simple matter at all.
As I was pondering the subject of which Rav to try to follow, etc, I got a phone call from my friend telling me all about Rav Berland’s ‘helpline’, where you can ask the Rav questions. Now, I knew about this helpline, but I never actually called it.
When this friend told me about it, I understand I was getting another big push from Shemayim to throw my hat 100% into Rav Berland’s camp. And BH, that’s what I’m going to do!
These are not simple decisions, and they’ve been weighing on us for years. Our life got so upended in every direction three years’ ago that we still don’t really have any area that’s ‘stable’ or settled in any true sense of the word.
Yesterday, we called up the hotline and gave over our six questions for the Rav’s advice. We hopefully get the answers back on Sunday.
And that’s when I realised how we get out of the plague of darkness: we attach ourselves to a true Tzaddik, who can shine his light on all those complicated, anxiety-ridden areas of our lives, and help us to move forward again.
And there is no other way.