I know the mainstream media really isn’t telling anyone anything much, unless they have to, about what’s really going on with ‘climate change’ in the world, and volcanoes and earthquakes.
ut last week, 20 different volcanoes erupted across the planet, including the massive blast at Krakatau, Indonesia, which sparked off a volcanic tsunami that’s killed and displaced hundreds of people.
There are huge geological changes going on right now. The Krakatau blast shot sulphuric particles 55,000 ft up into the stratosphere – which means, amongst other things, that more freak weather is on the way.
A few weeks ago, Manam Volcano in Papua New Guinea also shot a bunch of fine volcanic debris and dust 40,000 ft up, into the stratosphere. I think that probably has something to do with the massive hail now falling on Sydney, and other parts of Australia.
(Although clearly, there are other more spiritual reasons for why Australia is currently getting hit with apocalyptic weather like wildfires, flashfloods and now hail the size of golf-balls.)
Things are heating up – and geologically, this is set to continue, and is probably going to get much, much more dramatic over the next 20 years, regardless of whether Moshiach shows up right now or not. If Moshiach shows up, it’ll be easier for the world. And if not, we’re on the cusp of another serious Grand Solar Minimum period, which will see dramatic global cooling, and an enormous uptick in volcanoes and earthquakes.
My husband, God bless him, is really not convinced by the Grand Solar Minimum information I keep giving him, even though it’s based on something approaching real science, for a change, and not ‘prophecies’ from autistics, or xtians with an ‘armageddon’ complex, nor politicians and professors who have made a career out of lying to the public about what’s really going on.
Things are about to get very challenging, geologically-speaking.
And if Moshiach comes now, we’ll be saved the worst of it and it’ll be sweetened. And if not, then derech hateva, naturally, we are in for a rough ride as a civilization, because mass communication and heavy industrialization has never been tested with the sort of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, freak weather and electrical discharges that are going to be unleashed with greater and greater force across the planet over the next 20 years, as part of the Grand Solar Minimum.
So, how can we prepare for what might be coming next?
The answer is to get real, finally, and to stop wasting our precious time and effort on all the pointless circus that is politics, entertainment and the media. To take our head out of Fakebook, and to go and give our kids a hug, and to have a real conversation with the people we really love (if they didn’t get yeoush and give up on us, already.)
Getting prepared spiritually means really coming back to God, making teshuva, and accepting that life is not going to continue on as normal. One way or another, there are big changes on the horizon.
I know, its human nature to deny all this, and pretend it’s not happening. I get that, I really do!
No-one likes change, no-one likes upheaval, no-one likes the idea that we’re not in control of what’s happening.
(I feel like that person at the party that everyone sees coming, then immediately ducks into the toilets, or runs out the room to avoid…)
But - at least have a plan ‘B’, at least start admitting the thought that the world may not continue exactly how it is right now, for too much longer. At least, spend five minutes thinking about what aspects of life you might change, or do differently, if some of these big changes really are on the horizon.
Over the last few years, I’ve seen so many people draw back from the brink, when it comes to this stuff. The evidence piles up, the facts flow in, the obvious conclusion to be made is that something radical needs to change in their lives, for them to become the Jews God really wants them to be.
And at that point, the fear kicks in, the doubts take over – and the person freezes up and turns into a robot, going through the motions, talking the talk without really walking the walk.
I’ve seen that happen so many times.
And then, the excuses start, and the superficial approach to life gets laid on super, smotheringly, thick, and the person loses themselves in shopping, and inanity, and Fakebook, because that seems to be easier than really looking reality in the face.
And then, usually, their kids start acting up, dropping out of school, and speeding off the derech at a million miles an hour, or getting sick, God forbid, and apparently no-one knows why this is happening.
It’s happening, because we are all down here to work.
The volcanoes, earthquakes, illnesses and wars are coming because God wants the heart. He wants us to be brave enough to step out of our comfort zones, and follow Him into the desert.
As it was in Egypt, so it is again.
Which is why you can see how so many people didn’t make it out of galut, even when the world was literally crumbling around them.
After I wrote this, I got sent an email by someone close to Rav Berland, where the Rav apparently said that there was some massively horrible thing that was meant to happen on the 10th of Tevet, but that it’s been sweetened – temporarily.
There’s still a lot of spiritual work required to get it removed, but at the very least, the awful ‘whatever it is’ (probably, another war in Israel….) got pushed off.
But that would certainly explain why I was feeling so down the last few days, and why today I’m feeling much, much happier again.
Thank God for our true tzaddikim.
Yesterday, I had my kid’s parents’ evening. Thank God, she’s doing better this year (Uman really helped), but as I sat there for an hour (outside the wrong classroom….) waiting for my turn to speak to the teacher, I started pondering why it is school = torture.
Because make no mistake about it, it really does.
Both for the kids, and for the parents.
I’ve been pondering on how the only real difference between school and prison is that in prison, you get let out early for good behavior, while in school, good pupils are expected to add on another 3-4 years to their sentence by going to university.
And I’m not sure about this last one, but I think the food is probably better in prison.
One kid keeps finding spiders in the lettuce, dead flies stuck to the tomatoes, and other pieces of ‘mank’ that should be no-where near a kitchen, and especially not an apparently ‘kosher’ kitchen.
The other one just keeps getting fed white pasta…and more pasta…and more pasta… Except on Chanuka, when the pasta is replaced by donuts. Her candida is now way off the charts, and she’s bloating up like the proverbial blimp – and I’m just waiting for her sentence to finally end, in June, so I can start her proper school detox program.
The other one just eats cans now – cans of tuna, cans of corn, anything to avoid the insect-infested salad and dry bread. (I know, doesn’t this sound Victorian?) And her spots are also way off the charts.
Sometimes, I wonder if school was designed by the medical establishment, as it’s hard to think of a better way of wearing kids down, filling them up with poisonous things of all stripes, and stressing them out no end.
And we all know, stress is the underlying cause of nearly all illnesses, not least because it weakens the immune system a whole bunch.
And we all know, school is incredibly, awfully stressful.
Part of it is the endless, pointless, exams, where the kids aren’t really being taught to think for themselves, but just to regurgitate material, like some masticating bovine.
Part of it, is the endless, pointless expectations and pressures on the student to conform, and to fall into line, and to become one with the herd.
And part of it is the fact that school goes on for way too long.
As my kids have passed through this penal system called ‘school’, I’ve come to realize that they could easily finish their bagrut by 16, and then be off doing far more useful things with their life.
I’ve seen how each one got so depressed and miserable that first year of high school, at age 14, because they could feel in their bones that they were completely and utterly wasting their time, and wasting their lives.
Why ‘force-feed’ Tanach to students and then set exams on it?
Just so they’ll hate it so much when they’re adults, they’ll never open up a sefer of navi ever again in their lives?
One kid tells me her Tanach teacher just projects biblical verses up on the screen in the darkened classroom, and drones on in such a boring voice that my kid is usually asleep within 5 minutes. I’ve asked her to record it, as it sounds like a fabulous sleep aid and healthy replacement for Lunesta.
And then there’s sport, where they’re expected to drop to the floor and do 10 press-ups a minute, mamash like boot camp.
Except boot camp is less stressful, because no-one is grading your press-ups in boot camp, and telling you that the rest of your life depends on how well you do those 50 stomach crunches.
Here’s what I can see about school:
My kid comes home telling me all sorts of stuff that is the ‘mainstream’, secular view of the world (even though she’s in a religious ulpana) and I have to explain that there’s another view of things. We discuss, we argue – and she starts to see that so much of what’s she’s being told is actually just not true. And certainly, not in alignment with the authentic, Torah view of things.
But then, that puts her in a quandary. Once, she made the mistake of trying to discuss an alternative view of things with one of her teachers, and the teacher was extremely disconcerted and didn’t know what to do with her.
(The pupils aren’t the only ones who are being brain-washed in school.)
So I told my kid: ‘Play the game, nod and smile, and keep your mouth shut. Tell the teachers whatever they want to hear that will get you a passing grade and keep you out of trouble, and then come home and ask me your real questions. We’ll go find things out together.’
Because I don’t pretend that I know everything. (My husband would probably say I’m lying.)
2. It’s the main cause of teenage’d depression.
Not least, because most of it is a complete and utter waste of time, and has only been put in place as a brain-washing program by the secular atheists who run governments and universities.
Thank God, I live in Israel where a huge chunk of the society is already very suspicious of school.
Thank God, I’m not stressing my kids out endlessly about bagruts, or making a living, or going to university blah-de-blah-de-blah.
I tell them:
Just get through your prison sentence, and try to get a bagrut if it’s at all possible, as it’s a pain to go back and do it when you’re older. But, you CAN go back and do it when you’re older, if you need to figure things out first. And only go to university after you’re married, and if you really need a degree for the career you want to do. Otherwise, avoid it like the plague!!!
Yes, there are some good things about school, it’s true. Learning how to self-motivate, complete tasks, get on with other people, work as part of a team and problem solve is all useful stuff.
I find that these skills are mostly developed after hours, when the students are working together to figure out how to properly game the system and stay out of trouble.
Horrible, torturous school.
Throw-back and relic of Victorian times, when children were expected to be ‘seen, but not heard’, and cruelty to children was considered necessary for building their character.
There’s got to be another way, don’t you think?
Today in my inbox, someone who is a trustworthy source sent me the following:
“Hezbollah has 100's of tunnels running under Israel's Northern cities. In a matter of minutes they could pop-up capture & slaughter full cities. These tunnels are bunkers made of massive layers of cement and are fully protected against all kinds of Israeli bombs.
“In addition Hezbollah has 150,000 precision missiles capable of reaching any Israeli city including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Their missile launchers can launch 100+ missiles simultaneously, the iron dome can only intercept up to 20 missiles at once. Hezbollah has proven this 13 years ago and today they are many times more sophisticated.
“Down in the south Hamas is preparing a simultaneous attack of hundreds of their own missiles which are capable of covering the entire South if the country up to and including Jerusalem. All this is supplied by Iran who is suffocating financially due to sanctions.
“When Hezbollah & Hamas are given the green light for the Palestinian terrorists to take control, Iran will no longer have any need for their nukes. Mission accomplished.”
No wonder Rav Berland asked 50,000 people to come and pray together, to try and stop this worst-case scenario from actually playing out.
But, is it true?
I went to do a bit digging, and here’s what I found, firstly on the official website of Raytheon, who partnered with Raphael, the quasi-governmental Israeli armaments firm, to come up with the Iron Dome:
“Ten Iron Dome batteries protect Israel, and each battery includes three to four stationary launchers with 20 Tamir missiles and a battlefield radar. Tamir missiles feature electro-optical sensors and steering fins with proximity fuze blast warheads.
"Each of the Iron Dome batteries can defend up to nearly 60 square miles, but the systems are strategically placed around cities to intercept threats headed toward populated areas and ignore those fired at uninhabited regions.”
Let’s do the maths together:
10 Iron Dome Batteries x 4 launchers x 20 missiles a piece = a maximum capacity of 800 missiles.
How many missiles does Hezbollah have?
According to the Israeli Government’s own figures, they have 150,000 missiles.
How many missiles does Hamas have?
I’m finding it very hard to track that piece of information down, but you can be sure it’s also many tens of thousands of missiles.
Again, how many incoming missiles can the Iron Dome handle, assuming that every Tamir missile is on target, and takes an enemy missile out?
Is it plausible that Hamas / Hezbollah could fire more than 800 missiles at once, at Israel?
Now, let’s take a closer look at the tunnels
Here’s what Bibi and the Israeli government is officially saying about the Hezbollah tunnels:
“Whoever tries to attack the State of Israel – will pay a heavy price. We are taking determined and responsible action in all sectors simultaneously. We will continue with additional actions – open and covert – in order to ensure the security of Israel."
But before you go back to sleep, this is what the Israeli government was officially saying about the Hezbollah tunnels 2-3 years ago, when residents in the North complained they could hear underground digging noises:
“Ex-defense minister admits officials lied about Hezbollah tunnels for years.
“Moshe Ya’alon defends hiding knowledge of subterranean threat from residents of northern Israel, says it was for their own good and to trick the Lebanese terror group.”
And of course, the lies are continuing. The same ex-defense minister went on:
“Even today, I will continue to calm down northern residents. None of the tunnels reach any of the communities where people said they’d heard [tunneling], nor to any home,” he said.”
You can believe him!! It’s not like he’s ever lied about stuff like this before!!
So are innumerable tunnels reaching underneath a number of Israel’s northern cities, town and settlements? It’s at least plausible.
According to the ucky ynet:
“It turns out that Hezbollah has been busy for years digging tunnels not only in Lebanon, but also toward Syria and Israel and even in Yemen….
“The discovery of the tunnel near Metula is only the tip of the iceberg for a whole tunnel system in Lebanon and on the borders with Syria and Israel. In fact, Hezbollah is far more prepared for a campaign against Israel than it in 2006.”
And this is what Bibi was quoted as telling foreign ambassadors about Northern Shield:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Thursday that Hezbollah seeks to send “entire battalions” into Israel, including via the tunnels Israel is now tackling, in order to seize land, and kidnap and kill Israelis.”
Why did Israel wait years before dealing with the Hezbollah tunnels?
Why isn’t the Israeli government dealing with this threat properly, instead of trying to give us all false assurances of security and boasting endlessly about the ‘might’ of the IDF?
Rav Berland answered that question very succinctly:
“The whole of Am Yisrael is currently facing a terrible, threatening situation. Every part of Israel is now under threat of being deluged with rockets. After we saw 400 rockets falling on Ashkelon and the surrounding cities, including Beer Sheva, Netivot, Ofakim and Sderot, now they are preparing thousands and thousands of rockets, which will reach to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“And we have no possibility of stopping this from happening, because the whole world is against us. They can launch 10,000 missiles, and if we fire back even just one, they will say that we are the aggressors, and they are the victims.
“They will say that we began [hostilities], and that they are simply defending themselves.”
It’s amazing to me that for the last 15 years or so, there’s been all these people online, and in the Jewish magazines, that have been waffling on about ‘politics’, and about ‘geula’, and about the end of days – and now all this stuff is mamash playing out in front of our very eyes, they have absolutely nothing useful to say.
Either, they just continue waffling on with the same theoretical, Godless baloney and ‘debates’ they’ve been re-hashing for years, or they’ve gone completely quiet, and are focusing on ridiculous nothings that don’t make a blind bit of difference to anyone.
Before Sunday’s prayer gathering in Hevron, I sent Rav Berland’s statement, and plea for 50,000 to come and pray for Israel’s security, to nearly all the geula bloggers I’ve had any dealings with.
One came back to me with an excuse why they couldn’t get involved.
Two were brave enough to post something up (you go, girls!)
The rest completely ignored me.
Of course they did! I’m the crazy person who actually believes in Tzaddikim, and in sweetening judgments, and in people praying to get God involved in keeping Israel safe, as opposed to just believing in politicians and the IDF, and that the world is going to carry on exactly the way it has, forever.
This morning, there was a headline in the JPOST that read thus:
“A volcano of violence is at risk of erupting in the West Bank.”
You probably don’t know this, but there are literally tens of underground volcanic hotspots starting to show up on satellite images from Oregon, Washington State and North California – including offshore, where magma is intruding into the plate under the ocean.
In the past, those hotspots have been directly linked to earthquakes, and then wildfires breaking out, like the one that recently burnt out the whole of the town of Paradise.
There have been 3 7.0+ earthquakes in the world just in the past week, including one in Alaska.
Dear reader, God is making it clearer and clearer that Palestinian violence and erupting volcanoes and earthquakes (especially in the US) are connected in some very fundamental ways.
In case you missed it, half of Europe has been protesting over the last month, spurred on by the punitive taxes and red tape governments are trying to impose on private cars and their drivers, including by hiking fuel prices up ridiculously high.
All this is being done in the name of ‘controlling man-made global warming’.
(Someone should tell the Carolinas about 'global warming' - they just had 30 inches of snow dumped on their doorstep, and still more to come.)
But the people aren’t buying it, and in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, they’ve been vocally (and sometimes violently) protesting. So much so, that even the arrogant President of France has decided he needs to back-track a little, and at least pretend to give the people what they want.
Most of the world’s oil, most of its petrol, is still produced by Arab states.
That’s why the US couldn’t go against Saudi Arabia, even though their Crown Prince is apparently implicated in ordering a Saudi dissident to be tortured and murdered in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.
That’s why the EU and China don’t want to go against Iran, no matter how many nukes they have pointed at Israel, nor how many tunnels and missiles they are bankrolling for Hezbollah and Hamas.
When push comes to shove, even the most idealistic of politicians will always cave before their own angrily protesting voters and vital economic considerations.
It's the economy, stoopid!
Which is why Israel truly has no-one to rely on.
Do you think Trump wouldn’t turn his back on Israel in a nano-second, if that was the cost of keeping the American people happily fueled up, and the American economy on track?
The answer is so obvious, it’s not really even a question.
So really, we only have God to rely on.
That’s always been the case, of course, but perhaps it just hasn’t been as clear as it is now.
And that’s why Israel’s future, the Jewish people’s future, really depends on sticking close to our true Tzaddikim, sticking together, and praying to get all these horrible scenarios sweetened.
At the end of the prayer gathering in Hevron, Rav Berland apparently said the next one will be on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. It sounds like maybe, we got a few months' reprieve again.
I hope so.
And if we did, it’s all in the merit of the thousands of ‘crazy, brainwashed’ people who schlepped off to Hevron on a cold, wintry night, to pray for Israel’s safety.
Let’s give the last word to Seal:
“But we’re never going to survive, unless, we get a little crazy.”
At this stage in history, it seems that getting a little crazy is really the only sane thing the Jewish people can do.
Last month, I picked up a dog-eared copy of the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, and for some reason, I actually read it. Napoleon was born to Corsican parents just before France invaded Corsica, which depending on how you look at it, was probably the biggest lucky break the French republicans ever got.
Because the newly ‘Frenchified’ Napoleon was a born artillery genius.
When the people who cut off King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette’s heads (which actually was a good thing, as the Bourbon kings of France, Spain, and other parts of Europe were completely and utterly corrupt) found their revolution stalling under their feet, a young corporal called Napoleon bounded up with his guns, and saved it.
From that lowly start, Napoleon rose to become the Emperor of France, and he had quite an empire going for over a decade. He was probably the most fair and principled ruler Europe had seen for at least two thousand years – which is not saying much, as Europe’s rulers have nearly always been degenerate low-lifes.
Long story short, Napoleon, and the French Revolution completely changed the face of the world, in a myriad different ways.
And it seems to me, history may be about to repeat itself.
This week, France is in virtual melt-down as a bunch of yellow-jacketed protesters are flooding the streets, outraged at yet another tax hike being imposed on their petrol. France’s youthful President Emmanuel Macron has bought all the ‘man-made climate change’ baloney hook, line and sinker.
That means he’s made privately-owned cars Public Enemy #1 (while basically ignoring all the Radical Islam terrorists floating about France), and has been hiking taxes all over the place to ‘save the world’ from fossil fuels.
But the people are revolting.
The French always are. But it seems to me, something big is about to shift in France, because there are literally millions of people taking to the street over there, and the politically-correct President is also a snowflake who has no idea how to really handle a bunch of angry citizens who are marching for his head.
Not literally, like in the old days (or at least, not yet…) – but they want his resignation, and they want it NOW. And the party who will probably take over when that happens is Marine Le Pen’s National Front (recently renamed 'National Rally').
Le Pen came second in last year’s Presidential Election, but now the shine has well and truly rubbed off of Macron and his cronies, she is surging ahead in the polls so strongly, I really don’t know what could stop her land-sliding into power, if there’s another election.
Meanwhile, Britain is lurching from bad to worse, in the wake of Brexit. There are headlines all over the place saying that Jeremy Corbyn, that openly Hamas-loving loonie Leftie, could be PM by 2019. I doubt it’ll be that fast – but I don’t doubt that something dramatic is on the cards there, too.
And then, there’s the US.
Ah, the US.
All last week, I was learning about the two million (and some say, 18 million) Native Americans that were routinely massacred during the middle of the 19th century, by greedy pioneers with guns in one hand and gospels in the other.
There’s a lot to say about that subject, but for now, let’s focus on the one thing that I’m still very interested in: volcanoes. Do you know the Native Americans used to consider the volcanoes in their midst to be sacred ground? Do you know how many native ‘legends’ there are describing absolutely massive eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and even big parts of the North American continent breaking off and sinking into the Pacific?
(And all this happened in the last few thousand years…)
Do you know, that the American government has been drilling its fracking wells and geothermal pumping ops on the flanks of a whole bunch of volcanoes that they believe to be dead or dormant, but which are really still alive and kicking?
Partially, they’re doing that to try to alleviate some of the seismic pressure that regularly comes across the continent every 200 years or so, and that could destroy the USA’s infrastructure literally in a minute, were it to happen again. And partially, they are doing it to get all the oil, gas, steam and minerals out of the ground, that is currently worth some very big bucks.
But, the point is this: the USA was built on greed, mass-murder, and an over-weaning xtian arrogance that they were the new 'chosen people'.
If the 90,000 or so greedy gold-rushers who swarmed into California had treated the locals a tad more kindly, and a tad less selfishly, maybe they would have realized that trying to build their new world on one of the most unstable, seismically-active and potentially dangerous bits of real estate on the planet was not such a good idea.
When it comes to volcanoes and earthquakes, the American continent is an absolute basket-case. That’s why the Native Americans were semi-nomadic, that’s why they regarded the volcanoes in their midst with such awe, and that’s why their folklore is packed to the gills with tales of exploding mountains, floods, fire that travels under the ground and ‘fights’ between Heaven and earth.
A few days’ ago, Anchorage in Alaska was hit with an enormous 7+ magnitude earthquake, that caused so much deformation of the ground, roads literally dropped 10-15 metres.
And probably, this is only the beginning of the dramatic geophysical events that will start playing out over there, between now and 2030.
In the midst of all this, Rav Berland has been giving over some very disturbing shiurim recently, where he’s talking about Moshiach dying, and how there are now more enormous judgments hanging over Am Yisrael, on an even bigger scale than we saw six years’ ago, when the Iranian nuke scare was at its zenith.
Once again, we seem to be reaching a collective tipping-point. Once again, we seem to be standing on the edge of the precipice. For the people who are yearning so much for ‘the end’, let me just mention that Moshiach coming doesn’t mean everyone gets a first-class ticket to come take up residence in a swanky new apartment building in the Holy City.
What it means, at least first, is that the world is going to be plunged into the sort of chaos that will make materialism utterly meaningless. Who knows, when the dust finally clears, what that Moshiach world is actually going to look like?
USA = ESAV, make no mistake about it.
You only have to read the accounts of what was occurring there all through the 19th century – and take the blinders off, and realize just how many of the world’s current problems can be laid at the feet of American greed and self-centredness.
It’s ‘goodness’ is for show, it’s ‘piety’ is all external.
Don’t forget, the USA closed its borders to Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler, and refused to bomb the tracks that led to Auschwitz. And they knew what Auschwitz was, and who was being taken there, as did the UK, France, and the other Allies, too.
God has a lot of patience, and a lot of compassion. But there’s still a limit, and my guess is that any demands that Jews withdraw from even one square metre of Israel will be the match that lights the fuse connected to the thousands of volcanic ticking time-bombs located under America.
We know from our prophets that a third of the world will be utterly destroyed before Moshiach comes, and a third will be greatly damaged. Based on history, based on the spread and activity of the volcanoes in the world, and of the fault lines in the tectonic plates, the West Coast of the North American continent has very high odds of being in one or both of those categories.
And you know where else has historically been hit with massive seismic and volcanic activity?
Greece and Italy.
Italy, in particular - where the Roman Exile began - still has the most volcanically active bits of ground in the whole of Western Europe.
And, you remember that New Zealand was in the lead of the funny business at the UN against Israel, as Obama’s stooge, just before he left office? Well, guess where else is sitting smack dab on hundreds of active volcanoes?
I could go on and on, but let’s sum it up like this: Pretty much every nation in the world has some sort of volcanic or seismic weakpoint, that God can switch on, or agitate, in the blink of the eye.
The only reason more people aren’t stressing over this is because they’ve swallowed all the fake science baloney that tells them these volcanoes, etc, are billions of years old, (sic), and they have nothing to worry about.
So, what can we do?
What can you and me, the regular people, the regular Jews, do, to try to ease us in to the next stage of geula without seeing half of America sink into a massive lava lake, or collapse under the Pacific ocean, in the next decade or so?
The answer is so simple, but still so hard:
Support our true Tzaddikim and work on our own bad middot.
And top of the 'True Tzaddikim' list is Rav Berland.
As time goes on, I see more and more of the people who have publically gone against the Rav being outed as just plain disturbed individuals. Thank God, it’s getting easier and easier to see that nasty, crazy people with bad middot are very vocally ‘anti’ the Rav, and that everyone else is not.
I was heartened by these new videos from Rav Glazerson (scroll down to see them), because it showed me that this clarity really is starting to get out there, and to be amplified in the world.
But in the meantime, the Rav really needs our help. He’s 80, he’s maintaining a schedule that no-one else can keep up with (believe me, I’ve seen them trying), and he is doing his very best to bring geula for us the sweet way.
But our bad middot keep getting in the way.
Between you and me, I already know that no-one is going to read this and throw away their i-Phones, or read this and publically apologise for all the machloket they’ve caused, or make teshuva for all the lashon hara they’ve spoken, or people they’ve hurt.
We are the ‘heels’ of Moshiach, after all, that dead, numb, super-tough piece of skin at the very bottom of the body that nothing can really puncture.
But we can still do something: we can come and pray with the Rav in Hevron, this Sunday night, December 9th, 2018.
In the past, I’ve seen the tremendous power these prayer gathering have to mamash tip the spiritual balance back in a better direction, and sweeten the judgments that are piling up against all of us.
A couple of years’ back, the Rav called for a prayer gathering in Hevron, to end the so-called ‘stabbing intifada’ that had been sweeping Israel for months and months. They held the gathering, 10,000 people showed up to pray, including Rav Arush – and the stabbing intifada suddenly faded away.
You can’t make this stuff up, you can’t fake it.
Yes, I know it’s hard schlepping off to Hevron late Sunday night after you’ve stuffed your face with yet more donuts, but is it harder than seeing the chaos in the world intensify? Or going through another war with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in the North?
Is it being harder than being nuked by Iran, or seeing half of America explode and collapse?
And let’s not even talk about what’s going on in our own lives.
So, BH, I hope to see you there on Sunday. Yes, there’s a women’s section, yes, there are very cheap buses to and from Hevron that will be running all night. The Rav put out a recording just now saying people should come without worrying how they are dressed, or whether they will ‘fit in’.
Who cares what you're wearing?!
What’s important right now is Jewish unity and Jewish prayers.
What’s important right now is to heed the words of the True Tzaddikim, and not to make the mistake of thinking someone else out there is going to pick up the slack.
Come and do your bit to sweeten the judgements. Come to Hevron and pray with the Rav.
Because it’s clear to all of us: things are not going to continue like this for very much longer.
You know what?
Something good is starting to happen, I can feel it in the air.
The last few days, I’ve been getting yet more bashing via email from yet another anonymous online psycho who actually lied about what his real name is, even when I made writing with a real name a condition of accepting comments on the blog.
(Because ‘anonymous’ and ‘psycho’ always go together, online.)
The problem with these people is that they affect the whole tone and mood of my writing, because I’m still not on the level where I can just ignore them and happily gather up all the spiritual diamonds they are flinging at my head.
That’s a big part of why I took the blog down, repeatedly, the last few months, because I kept feeling it was being hijacked by anonymous psychos, who don’t like it when I write about loving other Jews; and who get very angry when I write about the importance of working on our own bad middot instead of pointing fingers; and who get very upset when anyone suggests that hating other people is not what God really wants.
And like it or not, those people have been setting the tone for most of the ‘discussion’ online for over a decade. No wonder it’s so ucky and poisonous! No wonder, so many people have gone seriously bonkers the last 10 years! No wonder that so many of us are feeling alienated and turned off from our fellow Jews and other human beings!
It’s exactly as our Sages said would occur at the end of days, when all of these disturbed people start setting themselves up as ‘leaders’ and fake spiritual mentors.
These bullying types push themselves ‘to the front’ in every area of life, Jewish or not, and set a tone for human relationships that basically comes down to shaming, flaming and insulting people personally until they break and go along with what they think, or what they want.
No wonder, communication between people has fallen into the gutter over the last decade, in so many different ways!
But something is starting to change.
Around the edges, the good is making a come-back, and the anonymous psychos and spiritual fakers are starting to beat a retreat.
I’m seeing that more and more of us are waking up to what’s really going on, and we’re starting to move away from them, and their pernicious influence on our thinking and outlook and faith.
More and more people are looking for ahavat Yisrael, not more tirades and rants and sinat chinam.
More and more of us are looking for sincerity, and ways to practically give God what He wants, and not just pointless, harsh and judgmental theorizing about what ‘perfect’ people should be doing in a ‘perfect’ world.
The worm is turning. The tanker is turning around.
I know that doesn’t look so obvious still, but I can see it coming.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
The following is a translated excerpt of a shiur Rav Eliezer Berland gave a few years ago, on the topic of 'Azamra', aka the importance of judging our fellow Jew favorably.
“Vayetze Yaakov Vayelech Charana” (‘Yaakov left and went to Charan’) (Bereishis 28:10)
The Torah tells us: “Vayetze Yaakov” (‘and Yaakov left’). When Yaakov left Beersheba, he’d already completed the seven levels of holiness, the seven Sefirot, namely: Malchut, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiferet, Gevurah and Chessed. These are the seven ‘Gevurot’.
“Vayelech Charana” (‘and he went to Charan’). Yaakov went to Charan, to the place where the roots of din, or judgment, was found because he wanted to draw down chessed, or kindness, into the world, and to bring shefa (bounty) into the world, because the work of the Tzaddikim is to bring chessed and shefa into the world.
From the moment that Rebbe Nachman of Breslev came into the world, he sweetened all of the judgements in the world until the end of all generations. He drew down Shefa into the world, he drew down Chessed into the world, and he announced that there are no more wicked people, and that the age of wickedness in the world had come to an end!
From the moment that Rebbe Nachman was born, the age of wickedness finished; there were no more wicked people in Am Yisrael, as he himself revealed in Lesson 282 of Likutei Moharan (popularly known as ‘Azamra’).
In that lesson, Rebbe Nachman explains: “Od me’at v’ain rasha”, (‘a little more, and there is no longer a wicked person). Just a little more - today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow – and we’ll already see that there won’t be any more wicked people in Am Yisrael, because everyone will be on the path of teshuva, or repentance.
This verse, “Od me’at v’ain rasha”, comes from Tehillim (the book of Psalms), and Rabbenu explained its simple meaning: Just a little more! A little more, and there will be no more wicked people, and everyone will be Tzaddikim, and everyone will reach the level of
“Your entire nation are Tzaddikim” (Yeshaya 60:21).
One Jew will become a Tzaddik today, another one will become a Tzaddik tomorrow, and yet another one the day after. And the one who will become a Tzaddik after a few days will fulfil the verse: “the smallest one will be like a thousand, and the youngest will be like a vast nation” (Yeshaya 60:22).
This ‘small’ one will rise up and up, as the greater the soul that a person possesses, and the more refined their soul, the more difficulties and obstacles they have to overcome when they want to make Teshuva.
Rabbenu teaches us in Lesson 282 that there is no such thing as a wicked person in Am Yisrael! There is no such reality. Even if you see a completely wicked person, from his head to his feet, you can’t see any Yiddishkeit in him at all, he is completely anti-Torah, anti-observance, God forbid, even if it seems to you that there was never a more wicked person than this since the creation of the world, you should know that the main problem is that this person simply lacks da’at, or spiritual awareness.
But a huge fire of holiness still burns inside of them! A raging fire of holiness and yearning for Hashem Yisbarach burns inside of every Jew, just that it’s covered over by mountains of dust. Their neshama is on fire for God, but it’s covered in a layer of dirt. These Jewish souls are like spiritual volcanoes; from the outside, a huge mountain covers the heat and the lava flowing just beneath the surface, but the moment the fire and the lava burst forth it consumes the entire mountain. The mountain explodes!
A spiritual mountain of dirt and rocks is currently resting on every Jewish soul, but the day will come when the fire will bursts forth, and consumes all of these mountains of sand and dirt.
In lesson 282, Rebbe Nachman writes:
“And you need to search and find in him a small amount of good. And in that small place, he is not a wicked person.”
Rabbenu is teaching us that here is no such thing as a wicked Jewish person, from his head to his toes, just that it currently seems that way to you.
But it’s only your imagination! You imagine that he’s a completely wicked person, but if you train yourself to look for some little bit of good that he has done, or some kindness that he did to help someone else, you’ll always find even in the most worst wicked person lots and lots of good. And the very act of you finding some good in this person, and judging him favourably, through this very act you raise him up to the side of good, and you can cause him to make Teshuva.
We need to look at every Jew with a ‘good eye’, and stop thinking to ourselves: ‘Well, I made Teshuva and I keep Shabbat, and I learn Torah, so why doesn’t he make Teshuva like me?! Why doesn’t he keep Shabbat like me?! He should be doing the same! I went through what he went through and more, so why doesn’t he also make teshuva!?’
It’s exactly about this that Rabbenu said: “Od me’at v’ain rasha”. A little more! He is going to do it eventually, tomorrow or the day after. You can’t interfere with Hashem’s order for the world, and the order of the teshuva process. The order of Teshuva, when each person will make Teshuva, how he will make Teshuva, this process is hidden from all of His creations, but it’s a process that needs to happen to every single Jew.
Every single Jew will one day make teshuva!
Now, it’s possible to speed this process up, but only if we start looking with a ‘good eye’. Only if a person merits to look at every Jew with a ‘good eye’ then, “he will consider his place and he [the wicked person] won’t be there any more”, [ie, in the place of being wicked]. If people would realize this, and internalize that if they started to judge others favourably, and to stop looking at them with an ayin ra, or ‘bad eye’, then there wouldn’t be any more wicked people in Am Yisrael.
Because it is possible to bring all of them back to make Teshuva, in the blink of an eye.
Even when a Jew appears to be the most wicked person, know that he really has the most righteous Neshama, or soul. It’s the opposite of how it appears to be externally: the more ‘bad’ the Neshama seems, the more righteous it actually is. Only, because it’s so full of righteousness it’s scared. It has a hidden, internal fear about keeping Mitzvot, because it knows if it starts the process of teshuva, it will go ‘to the end’!
There are many Jews who are far away from Yiddishkeit who say, ‘if I start to fulfil Mitzvot, then I will go to the end… not like you! I will go to the end, I will learn Torah day and night; I will become holy, I will purify myself, to the end!’ But to go ‘to the end’ seems very difficult for them.
So, we try to say to them, ‘go at least halfway, and keep half the laws’. But they tell us no, they are not prepared to do that, because by them, they want everything - or nothing. And in truth, if you were to show them and to explain to them how to reach the entire way, and how to become holy, and how it’s really not as difficult as they think, they would all make Teshuva!
Every Jew is a part of Hashem, and every person has Godliness in him. “Man is beloved that he was created in the image of G-d” (Avos 3:14). The heart of every Jew, even the most wicked, burns for Hashem Yisbarach.
There is no Jew whose heart does not burn for Hashem Yisbarach.
Because a Jew is not a cow or a sheep, every Jew is a holy Neshama, that was carved out from theKiseh Hakavod [the Throne of Glory]. Every Jew in the place where he is, even if the burning coals of his soul and heart are currently covered over by mountains of sand, billions of grains of sand, nonetheless, the coals continue to burn.
We need to blow away the dirt covering his heart, the mountains of sand covering his heart, and this is what Rabbenu said – come lets blow away the mountains of sand from his heart, because there is no such thing as a wicked person in Am Yisrael. There is no such thing as ‘chilonim’ [secular Jews], there is no such thing!
There are people who succeed in fulfilling the Torah’s commandments 80% of the time, 70%, 20% and 10%. Every Jew fasts on Yom Kippur, and eats Matza on Pesach. There is no such thing as a ‘secular Jew’! Every one of them fulfils some aspect of the Torah. Every Jew is a holy Jew, a pure Jew.
This is the foundation of what Rebbe Nachman taught us, that there are no wicked people in Am Yisrael. It’s forbidden to call any Jew ‘wicked’. It is forbidden to say: ‘this one is wicked’. We need to fix this way of speaking, because there’s no such thing.
How can you believe that so-and-so is wicked? Were you in his place? Do you know where he was born? Do you know who his parents were? What he went through? How can you decide to call a Jew wicked?
How can you decide to call a Jew ‘chiloni’ (secular)? How can you say things like this? Do you think you can decide who is righteous and who is wicked? Do you think that you can really know? You need to know that everyone is righteous, because “Your nation are entirely righteous”, and there are no wicked people in Am Yisrael.
FOLLOWING THE TRUE GADOLEI HATORAH
It's often very hard to see the world through the eyes of our true Gadolei Torah like Rebbe Nachman, and Rav Berland, and to try to judge our fellow Jew favorably - especially when our bad middot are clamoring for a 'target' to attack.
But, to quote something I was just sent by Rav Avidgor Miller, who was responding to someone who had criticised the late Satmar Rebbe's stance on the State of Israel:
"So you’re bringing a proof from yourself? Who cares what you think? Are you a gadol batorah? You’re merely saying your opinion, that’s all. The question is, are we going to ask you, you over there, an unknown man; are we going to ask you for your opinion for the Jewish Nation?! Or shall we ask the great men who have Torah minds, the ones who lead our nation? Who should we ask, you or the great men?
Q: The great men we should ask.
A: So keep quiet. Keep quiet! Keep quiet, then. Your da’as is not da’as Torah, so we don’t care about your opinion. Da’as Torah means that you go to the gedolei Yisroel and ask their opinion. If you get gedolim to tell you that you’re right about it, then you’re right.
Everyone and his dog is entitled to their own opinion. But when it comes to who we should really be listening to, especially on a topic as 'fraught' as rebuke and harshly judging our fellow Jew, I'm following the Gadolei HaTorah, like Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and Rav Berland.
Let’s see if we can apply what we’re discovering about what really sparks off our bad middot to the recent, absolutely bonkers, ‘measles madness’ that’s apparently going on in the States right now.
I basically read no Jewish news sites, so the first I heard of all the balagan about a measles epidemic was when I started getting phone calls and emails from a few of the people I know there.
One person – a non-vaccinating mother – told me that even some of her friends were turning on her over the whole measles thing, and sending her emails blaming her, *and people like her*, for the recent death of a child from measles. Then today, someone forwarded this email on to me, that she’d just received from someone clearly very upset about her public decision to not vaccinate:
"You are a Rodef and Mazik according to all Gedolei Yisrael spanning all spectrums of Judaism. You might want to think twice before you go out against all of these big people. You might want to think about what you are going to answer to Hashem after 120."
Without getting into all the discussion about vaccinations generally (you can go HERE to read a very thoughtful, and meticulously-researched article on the subject, written by an orthodox American posek), I think it’s useful to really understand what’s actually playing out here.
God is just using the vaccination thing to draw attention to the real work to be done here, i.e. working on our middot.
And the same is true of pretty much every ‘great debate’ currently raging in the Jewish community. As soon as we get too caught up in the details, we lose sight of that big picture, but everything that’s going on around us right now – whether it’s Trump, Brexit, California’s fires and stirring volcanes, measles epidemics, terrorism – all of it is just God trying to talk to us, and trying to give us a message.
So, let’s see if we can get past all the superficial stuff, to see what’s really going on with the measles madness in America, right now.
Let’s go back to that curt, three line email. What are the underlying emotions, or ‘vibes’ we can pick up from it, to see where the writer is really coming from? This is what I picked up:
Now, let’s go back to our infographic from the last post, which sets out how these different bad middot are actually related.
There are two main routes to anger:
Route 1 is JEALOUSY.
I don’t think that’s at play with our pro-vaccine abusive emailer, (although jealousy is often a huge factor behind many people’s anger issues. We’ll return to this subject another time.)
So, it seems to be FEAR that’s leading to this emailer’s ANGER.
So now, let’s take a look at what’s causing the FEAR, as that is the key to understanding where this person is really coming from, and dealing with the problem at its root.
The FEAR is being caused by WORRY and ARROGANCE.
Where is the WORRY coming from? That’s pretty easy to figure out. It’s coming from the media stories about kids dying from measles, it’s coming from the schools, it’s coming from the people in the medical industry who are using all parents’ innate concern and love for their children to motivate them to vaccinate their children.
(Again, with absolutely no judgment about whether vaccinating is the correct route, or not.)
When we boil things down, we start to understand that this emailer is worrying that their kid may be injured or killed by an infectious disease, God forbid. That’s the first bit of clarity.
Already, that should enable us to feel a lot more compassion and understanding for the other person, because aren’t we all just worrying about our own children, too?
But there’s another factor in here, too, which is ARROGANCE.
ARROGANCE is the one sin that Hashem can’t stand, that He can’t be around. When a person has the bad trait of ARROGANCE, it basically means they have very little real emuna, they aren’t seeing God in their lives at all, and they think everything is in their own control, and down to them.
By contrast, emuna is when you live with the idea that EIN OD MILVADO, there is only Hashem.
If Hashem wants your kids to get sick or pass away, God forbid a million times, no vaccine in the world is going to prevent that.
This is the very uncomfortable truth that a lot of people –even in the frum world - find very, very hard to accept.
Now, God isn’t a tyrant, God isn’t a sadist. God forbid, He isn’t looking to maim and kill our loved ones. What God is trying to do, is to get us to face up to our bad middot, and to work on strengthening our emuna.
In the case of the measles vaccination, the ‘truth’ that has to be accepted by everyone, on both sides of the debate, is that God is running the world, and whatever God decides, that is what will be.
If God wants your kid to be healthy and strong, that’s going to happen even if you shtup your kid with a million vaccinations. And if God doesn’t want that, that’s what’s going to happen even if you shtup your kid with a million vaccinations.
This is the truth.
But, when people are ARROGANT, they don’t acknowledge that truth, which is when they start telling themselves lies about what’s really going on, and looking for scapegoats to blame for the fact that life is not 100% in their control.
These FALSEHOODS then lead to self-righteous ANGER – and then voila, people start acting like psychos and sending OTT emails.
THE FALSE PARADIGM
Giving the OTT people in our midst more information about the pros and cons of vaccination is not going to help at all, or calm them down.
Because the real problem isn’t a lack of correct information. The real problem is a lack of emuna.
When people have very little emuna, they come to believe that their child’s health is 100% in their own hands, and dependent on their own actions, and that God is out of the picture.
This false belief is what makes them feel justified in writing such ANGRY, yukky emails to the people who happen to be on the other side of the debate to them.
The better course of action would be for us to figure out what’s causing our feeling of overwhelming FEAR, and to work on that instead. Rabbenu is telling us “the more you can reduce your WORRY - (which would include getting proper information, researching the subject to its depth, and minimizing the consumption of news, generally) – the more you will reduce your FEAR!”
At the same time, we need to be working on our ARROGANCE, too, which basically means working on our emuna that God is running the world, and what God decides happens.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE EQUATION
The key thing to note is that the bad middot described above can play out on both sides of the vaccination debate. If someone believes that eating healthy and avoiding vaccinations is all they need to do to keep their children fit and well, that’s also ARROGANCE.
God is the one deciding things, not us.
That ARROGANCE can also lead to FEAR, FALSEHOODS, and then OTT ranting about vaccinations, and self-righteous, attacking ANGER.
Wherever we stand in relation to the subject of vaccination, the real and only answer is just to keep asking God what He expects and wants from us. If a person is working on their emuna, and asking God for guidance to do what’s best, then if at the end of that discussion with Hashem they decide to vaccinate their children – then that’s what best for them.
And, if at the end of that discussion they decide to not vaccinate their children– that’s what best for them.
AND NO-ONE SHOULD BE CRITICISED FOR FOLLOWING THE PATH GOD HAS LAID OUT FOR THEM.
Vaccinations don’t prevent illnesses from striking – only God does.
Not vaccinating doesn’t prevent illnesses from striking – only God does.
At the end of the day, there are parents on both sides of the vaccination question who are feeling a lot of FEAR about their children’s health and well-being, and that’s what is motivating the vitriol and ANGER. If more of us understand where all of this is coming from, then we’ll have a much better chance of finding a way forward together that promotes achdus, empathy and understanding of the other person’s position.
And maybe, that's the whole point.
Apparently, lots of Americans have heard of the play ‘Our Town’, set at the turn of the 20th century in rural America.
As a Brit, I’d never heard of it, so when my friend from the Women in Theatre (WIT) group called to invite me to an all-woman production of it in Jerusalem, I had no idea what to expect.
The blurb on Wikipedia didn’t really enlighten me, other than to let me know there would be minimal props.
Was that a good thing? A bad thing? Who knows.
So, I get to the Hirsch Theatre in Jerusalem, took my seat and waited for the show to begin. There’s a few things I can tell you about it, without giving the game away: one, is that the acting was really top drawer.
I’ve been seeing Women in Theatre perform the last four years, and they seem to be getting better and better each time.
The second thing to tell you is that I’m starting to feel that maybe there is more value in the performing arts for a frum Jewish person than I previously thought. I know that Rav Kook, z’l, was a big supporter of Jewish artists, but since him, most of our real rabbis haven’t been so keen on the subject, generally.
You can kind of understand that. It’s hard to think of a more corrupting source than Hollywood, it’s hard to think of a more ‘street’ culture than that which is commonly portrayed, sung about and acted in 2018.
And yet for all that, I found ‘Our Town’ moving, and even, meaningful, and definitely, thought provoking.
Watching a play that was written over a hundred years ago kind of underlined how much so many things have changed, but also, how much things have stayed the same. Humans are still humans, after all. People still fall in love and (and least in the frum world…) get married. Wives still worry about their husbands. Parents still fret over their children.
Time still passes.
And yet, how different the pace of life was then. If parents were too busy to relate to their children and enjoy the important parts of their lives, and to really smell the roses back then, in 1904 – then what can we say?
We who are addicted to our phones and screens….we who communicate by snippets of sentences, fragments of recorded conversation, and emojis…what can we say?
As I walked home from the show, along Jerusalem’s night-lit streets, I pondered on how hard it seems to be to really connect to other people today. Earlier in the week, I’d been talking to someone who promotes events of all types for a living, and she’d told me it’s getting harder and harder to entice people to come out and attend anything in person.
The screen has shrunk the whole world down into the palm of our hands, and now even leaving our living rooms sometimes feels as difficult as flying to the moon.
But it’s so good to interact in person. It’s so good to make some effort, to get out of the house, to try something new, learn something new, and support the effort and investment being made by other people.
It boggles the mind, how the ‘Stage Manager’ character in Our Town managed to learn all the lines that she did, and to deliver them so superbly. It boggles the mind, how many days and nights of efforts went in to producing such a professional show. One of my friends does a lot of the stuff backstage, as well as acting in the show, so I know first-hand just how much a labour of love these things are.
So as I walked back to my home, I was pondering on how we can expand ‘my town’ into ‘our town’, and start to relate to people as more than just email addresses or twitter handles again. It’s going to take a lot of effort. A lot of prayer. A lot of courage, to be those people to step out more from behind the screen and to take a step over to another flesh-and-blood person.
But if I took one message away from ‘Our Town’, it’s this: life is precious. Life is short. And the best investment we can make is to put more of our time, effort and love into the people who surround us.
The last few days, it’s been pretty hard to think straight.
There’s always a lot going on in the world these days, it’s true, but between the 500 rockets in 24 hours that Hamas dropped on us two days ago, and the wildfires scorching through California, and the freak weather, early snow and flash flooding all across the globe, including the Middle East – well, I’m just feeling overwhelmed at the moment.
Even when I don’t listen to the news, I’ve still had that uneasy feeling that keeps me pacing the floor of my home, that ‘something’ is going on.
What could that something be?
How much time have you got, to really start answering that question…
But something is definitely going on, and the birth pangs of geula seem to be accelerating.
But tomorrow, next week, next month, the intensity will suddenly disappear again, the pressure will reduce, the stress with drop off, and for another day, week, or month, we’ll all go back to ‘normal’ again.
In those increasingly rare windows of relative calm, that’s when I start planning my next book, that’s when I notice that my floors need a clean, that’s when I have the headspace to try and do some proper hitbodedut again, and to start figuring out where I’m trying to go in my life.
I make some lists, I take some action, I put some irons in the fire – and then boom! The birthpangs start up again, and I find myself walking around in a daze struggling to even put supper on the table.
How long is this birth process going to last, that is the question?
From what Rav Berland said HERE, it looks like we still may have two years left to go. I know a lot of people don’t like to hear that. I know many of us are struggling hard to hold things together in our homes and lives, and we want Moshiach now!!!
But, Moshiach doesn’t work like that. Moshiach doesn’t come and magically change our moany, critical spouses into someone nice to be around. He won’t turn all our off-the-derech kids into yeshiva bochurs or Beis Yaakov girls.
(I’m digressing, but I have to say thank God for that!! I just found out you need 400,000 shekels as a dowry, if you want to marry your Beis Yaakov girl to a full-time learner, otherwise no-one will even look at you. Finally, there’s a silver lining to my kids wearing jeans and piercing their nose!)
Moshiach is not going to come and fix all our bad middot for us with the wave of his magic wand, because he’s not Dumbledore, or Merlin. God gave us the job of working on our bad middot, and all Moshiach is going to do is to help us recognize what they really are.
Talk about a scary prospect!
What Moshiach will do is create more God-awareness in the world. He’ll be part of that process that increasingly makes it clear that only God is behind every little thing that is happening to us, from the fires in Paradise, to the teen who refuses to come to the Shabbat table, to the inability to buy a house, or have another child, or land a good job.
It's all God.
And God is doing everything in order to fix us, and to get us to acknowledge and work on our own bad middot.
So from what I can see, while the freak weather, earthquakes and volcanoes are starting to soften a lot of us up, (and let’s not even talk about Hamas, Brexit and Trump), there’s still quite a long way to go.
A lot has to change between now and 5781 (2021).
And one way or another, like it or not, it probably will.
This morning, I walked past my building on the way to the Kotel at 7am – and saw an older man slapping what appeared to be a sleeping teenage boy on one of the benches outside my home.
That got my attention.
I was walking up behind the man, so he didn’t notice me watching him. He didn’t notice me watching him do something utterly disgusting to the teenage boy, who I quickly realized was unconscious.
I was so angry, I started yelling at him in my very poor spoken Hebrew: “What are you doing?!? Leave him alone!!! What are you doing to him?!?”
The man turned around, and started telling me that he’d called Magen Dovid Adam, and that the boy had asked him for help before collapsing unconscious on the bench, because he’d been kicked out of his house.
I was pretty sure I’d seen what I’d seen, but not 100%.
So I tried arguing with him a bit more, and then he switched to English (he was a Russian man) and told me more of the boy’s story. The boy had been kicked out, asked him for help, he’d phoned Magen Dovid Adam, then the boy effectively went unconscious.
I decided: I am staying with this boy until something gets sorted out here, and he’s safe.
I ignored the old Russian man (who I’m still convinced was a pervert), and tried talking to the boy. He had his eyes scrunched shut and was in the fetal position. He was clearly traumatized and shocked – not least by the assault on his person that the old Russian pervert had tried to pull off.
But the main thing I could feel coming off that kid in waves was fear: fear of his parents. Fear of what his parents would say once the police showed up, and they were informed that he’d been found half-frozen to death, on a bench in Baka on a Shabbat morning.
The kid was reasonably well-dressed, and seemed to be between 14-15 and orthodox. He had braces and a smart small suitcase with him, good shoes – the family that had kicked him out clearly had at least an average amount of cash.
I told the kid my address, and tried to get him to move off the bench, and come up with me to my apartment – but he couldn’t move. He was literally frozen with fear.
Just then, the police showed up, and the ambulance, and they bodily lifted him on to a chair, and took him away in the ambulance.
The whole scene shook me up tremendously, and I walked off to the Kotel in a bit of a daze.
What sort of 'frum' people could kick their own kid out of the house, on a Friday night, and leave them to be preyed on by the perverts that sadly even walk the streets of the holy city?
I was so disturbed by it all.
Keeping up with the Cohens
When I got home, my kids woke up and I told them I’d found a kid on a bench outside who’d been kicked out of his house by his parents, and did they know anyone else that had happened to? (I left out the bit about the Russian pervert – it was intense enough as it was.)
I was stunned when they told me they knew quite a few people themselves that it happened to.
“Why?” I wanted to know. “Why are the parents kicking their own kids out of the house?”
Sometimes, it’s because they’d been having a big argument. (That happens, and it can happen a lot with teenagers, where a parent says something stupid, gets all their buttons pressed, and then a bad situation turns into an absolute disaster.)
Other times, they told me the kids were being kicked out because the kid had started smoking.
Way to go, retarded parents! Kicking the kid out is the single best way to encourage him to add a drug habit to a smoking habit.
And then the last reason they told me was the most disturbing of all: parents are kicking kids out, because of shidduchim. Apparently, they don’t want to look ‘bad’ that they have a troubled kid at home, so they decide it’s better to send these 14-15 year old struggling souls out on the streets.
I literally couldn’t believe my ears.
Someone, please tell me that this can’t be true? That a supposedly ‘frum’ parent would kick out their own flesh and blood – to be abused and preyed on, on the street – just because that kid is having trouble keeping Shabbat?
I have no words.
So let me end with another plea to all the parents out there who may be reading this:
Please, please, please, love your children unconditionally, with all your might. Give way as much as you can, accept them as much as is possible, keep anger and pride out of the parenting equation any way you can.
I know it’s hard to parent teens these days – I have two myself. But I tell you this:
God will not easily forgive a parent who kicks an underage kid out on to the street just to keep up the appearance of being a heimishe family.
It’s the height of hypocrisy. It’s the height of disgusting. It's the polar opposite of what authentic, orthodox Jewish parenting and chinuch is really about.
And if that’s what is passing for normal behavior in certain sections of the frum world – then we're in big, big trouble.
NOTICE: The blog is only restarting at this address temporarily.
I will be migrating this blog over to a new site at: rivkalevy.com