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.