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.
So, I ran away with my husband to Tsfat for Shabbat, that city of refuge, where the Arizal, Rav Yosef Caro, Rav Moshe Cordovero, and a few other massive tzaddikim are buried in the ancient graveyard, that dates back to first temple times.
One of my kids wanted the house to herself, to throw an 18th birthday party for her bestie, and the other one had a Shabbat away with her school, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to ‘get away from it all’, for a weekend, and try to regain some equilibrium.
Just one problem: the hotel couldn’t find our booking.
And we got there 10 scant minutes before Shabbat began.
And the hotel was completely, utterly, totally booked up.
I looked at my husband, he looked at me, and for a minute there, I thought I’d be spending Shabbat in the car, just eating the nosh we’d brought with for the meals.
The nice manager type immediately got on the phone, and called another hotel which had lots of room – of course it did! It was so skanky!
But it was a bed. It had a toilet. So we ignored the pink fixtures dating from the 1970s. We made peace with the fact that the entire bathroom was overlooked by a neighboring building and had no curtains. And we were grateful that God put it into our heads to bring a duvet with, as the one thin blanket on the beds was no match for a cold winter night in Tsfat.
A bed is a bed is a bed. Even if it’s right next to a wall that’s as cold as a block of ice, and abuts a built in wardrobe so snugly, you can’t really wiggle your toes.
And a toilet is a toilet is a toilet. Even if it’s salmon pink, older than your children and overlooked by neighbors.
And the nice manager type told us we could come back to his hotel for the meals, so we also had food aplenty to eat, Baruch Hashem.
My husband headed off to the Carlebach-style shul in the Old City, while I headed down to the graveyard, to do some tikkun haklalis. The sun was lowering over the hills that face the Old City of Tsfat, and the fields where the Ari and his disciples used to go out on a Friday night, to greet the Sabbath Queen.
As I looked out over those massive mountains – Meron, Shammai, Hillel, and Nof HaYamim – all I could in the distance was the streaks of red, purple and bluey-grey that announced the sun’s departure. Some of the clouds were piled up in weird shapes that suggested more mountains, and a whole other vista, a whole other world, just there over the hills.
I couldn’t take my eyes off the view. I just stood there for 15 minutes, drinking it all in and somehow feeling as though I’d arrived at the edge of the world, and something much better was just there, over the distant peaks, waiting to unfold.
I cried a bit – I don’t even really know why – and then I started to feel a little better, and a little more hopeful, than I’ve been feeling of late.
I tramped back up the four million stairs leading into the Old City, and went to stand outside the shul my husband was davening in. That shul has a reputation for achdut, or unity. You get just about every type squeezed into its four walls, and they were singing their hearts out when I got there.
The women’s section was full to busting – people were crammed in at the top of the stairs, trying to get a peak at the action – so I decided to wait downstairs on the street, and watch the stars appear over Tsfat.
After 10 minutes or so, an older lady who was also standing outside came over and asked me if I spoke English. I told her I did – and long story short, while my husband was welcoming the Shabbos with 400 Jews and a lot of dvekut with Hashem, I got stuck talking to a staunch Baptist from Oregon, who started telling me about ‘the rapture’ and ‘the tribulation’.
Thankfully, the rest of Shabbat picked up significantly.
The hotel we were eating in had tons of youth groups. The guy who started up Shabbat.com was there, and he was talking about the need for achdut, and Jewish unity. Then there was another group there of English-speaking yeshiva high school boys from Bet Shemesh, and from the way their Rebbes were talking at the meals, I could see that it was a school that was trying very hard to put the ‘inner dimension’ of the student first.
And then, there was the group of black-hatters from America, who also seemed to be on some sort of yeshiva group tour of the holy land.
Long story short, there were a lot of different people together in that hotel – and all speaking English! The only Hebrew I heard spoken was by the Arab waiters.
Later in the afternoon, we took a free tour of the Livnot building in the Old City, which you can learn more about HERE.
Livnot basically organizes for volunteers to come and dig, hike and learn in Israel, and has been going for over 40 years. 20 years ago, they wanted to expand their operations and extend the building they bought in the middle of the Old City of Tsfat.
When they started renovating, one of the workers found an underground passage. After 20 years of digging, and 35,000 volunteers, Livnot uncovered a huge, 16 room community centre in their basement, that dates back to the times of the Ari, in the 16th century.
While they still have another 200 metres to uncover, they’ve fixed up around 6 of the rooms and give free tours around it on Shabbat. As well as a bunch of small, underground houses and water cisterns, we also saw the communal mikva, the communal kitchen (which contains a huge stone oven, that Livnot has got working again, and where you can come and bake challot), and a few other rooms besides.
All Shabbat, I was asking God for some direction, some spiritual inspiration.
It seems so hard to keep going at the moment, for a number of reasons.
When I heard the story of how Livnot found the Ari’s community centre – one of only three buildings from that time that remained standing, after the horrendous earthquake that struck Tsfat in 1837 – it gave me a lot of hope.
Sometimes, it can seem that the light is so covered over, so hidden under layers of dirt and decay. But I felt like God was saying all shabbat: “Keep digging! Keep going! Sooner or later, you will hit the paydirt!”
It may take 20 years of hard work, but eventually it will pay off.
Ken yiyeh ratzon.
The last few weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty aimless again.
got the volcanoes book finished – I wrote it like it was a PhD, mamash, everything was footnoted and sourced in research papers, and I was quite proud of the amount of info I’d managed to uncover and pull together.
Problem was: it was boring as heck for most people who aren’t PhDs themselves.
I was stuck on the horns of a furious dilemma, because I’m not a scientist, so I had to quote tons of papers and research to be taken seriously, but at the same time, quoting all that stuff made what I was writing too ‘high level’ for most people.
For six weeks I ummed and ahhed about what to do about the book. Then a couple of days ago, I finally decided to dismember the content into Quora posts, and hope to get the information out that way.
All that effort….and nothing really to show for it.
As often happens, my mood follows my publishing experiences, so it plummeted off a cliff for a week. But then, I decided to try to pull myself back into ‘doing’ mode again, and to start again, to start over, to start afresh.
For the 400 millionth time, because isn’t this what Rabbenu tells us we have to do? Renew every second, don’t get old, keep making a new start.
It’s excellent advice, just not always so easy to implement.
Especially when you start looking around and asking yourself where exactly, all your effort has got to date. But I rolled up my sleeves, did the first mind map for a good few months, and started trying to plan a course ahead again.
Then, the atzeret in Hevron came along to distract me, and then last week all the terrorism kicked off big time, and I felt like I was in the middle of craziness again, and couldn’t do anything much except wait and see how it was all going to play out.
Then – that awful terrorist attack which killed the two Yosefs at the junction with Bet El, and which upset me greatly. But, their deaths also seems to have ‘sweetened’ things again, holy souls that they were, because by this week, everything is ‘back to normal’.
Or so it seems.
And so, having pinged back from the edge of geula again last week, with its yellow jackets, plunging stock markets, rising anti-semitism, Hezbollah tunnels and terror attacks, this week I’m back to wondering what on earth I’m doing with my life.
Everything has gone back to ‘fantastic plastic’, the fake, superficial world has got a reprieve and we’re back in nonsense land again. We’ve all got that fake smile pinned firmly back in place, and there’s nothing more to worry about than what colour to repaint the walls.
I don’t do so well in nonsense land.
So, I cracked open the Likutey Moharan to get a clue from Rabbenu what, what, WHAT?!?!?!
And I got to lesson 45 in part 1, where I read the following:
“[T]he exile in Egypt was essentially an exile of speech, for which reason Moses stuttered.”
Then, I read the following in lesson 46:
“[S]peech is a manifestation of consciousness, as in, “From His mouth come knowledge and discernment.”
And then, I started to understand why communicating in any sort of ‘real’ way is becoming increasingly difficult these days.
The exile is deepening, it’s reaching it’s zenith. It’s an exile where people can’t pray; where people can’t speak out what’s really in their hearts, where they can’t even really talk to themselves - or listen to themselves - honestly.
Speech today has been hi-jacked by the yetzer, and so we live in a world of superficial platitudes, pointless rants and painful silences.
And not much else.
Once Rabbenu explained what’s really going on, I started to feel a little more sane. Because sometimes, when I’m going on about how ‘plastic’ and how ‘fake’ and how ‘phoney’ so much of our communication is today, so many people apparently have no idea what I’m talking about.
It’s the world of lies, mamash, and 99.9% of us are in it up to our eyeballs.
As I wrote about HERE, I got chewed out last week for trying to cross a quiet Jerusalem road, on Shabbat morning when there are three cars an hour, when the red man was showing.
I was chewed out by an elderly chiloni lady, who clearly wasn’t very happy with her own life, so welcomed the opportunity to vent her frustration and anger on yours truly.
It really made me think about how most of us communicate, because while I was 100% in the wrong, for trying to cross the road with the red man, the way she spoke to me was so unnecessarily aggressive, I had to fight hard to keep myself from going off on one myself, and giving her a mouthful back.
Speech is in exile.
It’s in exile, when parents can’t have real heart-to-heart conversations with their children, and can’t tell them who they really are and where they really came from, and can’t share their experiences and mistakes with them in any but the most superficial and condescending ways.
It’s in exile, when husbands can’t tell their wives how much fear they actually feel about trying to make ends meet; or how much worry and confusion they are carrying about the future. It’s in exile when wives can’t tell husbands how much they miss them, when they’re working late again, and how much they miss them, when they just walk around with their fake smile plastered on their face and their heads stuck in an i-Phone, or a gemara, as a way of avoiding intimate contact and real conversation.
It’s in exile when one friend can’t tell another: I feel for you so much. I wish things were different. And when we just keep playing the same, awful, game of keeping up with the Cohens, instead of stepping out of the competition, and off the rat wheel.
It’s in exile when we can’t say to God, “God, help me! I’m lost! I’m totally overwhelmed, I don’t know if I’m coming or going! I’m bouncing off the bottom here, Hashem, pick me back up!”
Of course we can’t say that to God.
Most of us can’t say anything to God, so we pretend we’re communicating via the Shemoneh Esrei when really, our mind is on work, and the bills, and the upcoming barmitzvah, and the blocked drain.
Speech is in exile.
I feel it nearly every day, when I sit down to write, or sit down to answer a few more emails, or catch up with someone else only to have to sit through another phone call where I can feel there is so much more to be said, so much more going on, but the other person can’t quite put it into words.
So I read that, then I asked God:
“What’s my job then, in this nonsense land where most people are completely lying to themselves and can’t speak out what they are really feeling and experiencing?”
Because in case you haven’t noticed, most people think I’m crazy (but entertaining…)
And the answer I got back is this: Just be real.
Just carry on writing about your struggles.
Just carry on telling people that sometimes you fall down and watch some pop videos on Youtube, because it makes you really happy to see Mariah Carey got so fat. Just keep sharing how hard you sometimes find it in the fake world.
Just be real.
There’s nothing more to do.
Until Moshiach comes, speech is going to stay in exile.
But once geula gets under way in earnest, we’re going to need to remember how to actually talk to each other again.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s where me and my writing could come in a little bit useful.
Yesterday, I was listening to Rav Eliyahu Meirav’s interview with the Israeli media, and I felt very sad. For those who don’t already know, Rav Meirav’s stepson, Yosef Cohen, Hyd, was one of the two Nahal Chareidi soldiers gunned down at Givat Assaf, close to Bet El, last Thursday.
Rav Meirav was raised on the totally secular Shomer Hair Kibbutz of Bet Alfa, and was a fighter pilot in the IDF airforce. He made teshuva after the Yom Kippur war – along with so many others of that generation, who’d seen with their own eyes just how limited the army really was.
Rav Meirav met Rav Berland – and became one of his closest students.
If you read the secular press descriptions of Rav Meirav, you’ll notice that they kept stressing that he was part of the Breslov ‘sect’. That’s their way of using subtle language to keep dissing religious people anyway they can, and to sow division and hatred.
After Rav Meirav’s son was killed al Kiddush Hashem, all those ucky news sites with their agendas to sow hatred and strife between the Jewish people started running false stories about how Yosef had been ‘thrown out of his home’ for joining the army, and how his parents had ‘sat shiva’ for him even before he died.
Because hey, why miss any opportunity to put the boot in to the chareidi community, and especially the Breslov Chassidic ‘sect’?!
This led to the absolutely sickening spectacle of Rav Meirav and his wife having to give interviews to the press – before they’d even buried their son – refuting the lies that had been spread about their family.
I listened to Rav Meirav speak – about Yosef’s last words, about his own background and teshuva, and most of all about the need for us to stop all the awful hatred, and to come together as one people, respecting each other’s differences – and it really made me pause for thought.
The haters out there are on all sides of the equation.
They read Ha’aretz, they live in Tel Aviv, they hate any hint of yiddishkeit, and they use the media to paint awful pictures of frum Jews as ‘blood-sucking, medieval parasites’ at any opportunity. But that’s not the only place you’ll find them.
You’ll also find plenty of apparently ‘frum’ haters out there too.
‘Frum’ haters pour scorn on the Jews who don’t live in Israel and wait for big comets to smash into America and kill everyone. They hate people who want to convert to yiddishkeit, they hate people who don’t conform, they hate people who aren’t ‘frum’, or who aren’t ‘frum’ enough, or who are too ‘frum’, or not the right sort of ‘frum’.
‘Frum’ haters also hate people who don’t vaccinate….and they hate people who do vaccinate. They hate people who voted for Trump, and people who go to Uman for Rosh Hashana (or who don't go to Uman for Rosh Hashana); they hate people who don’t think exactly like them, and see the world exactly the way they do.
Every bit of the Jewish world is riddled with this disease of hating other Jews – including our bit.
And there is no segment of society that is doing better at loving our fellow Jews than any other.
We all have the problem and we all need to work on it.
One of the things that drew me to Breslov, and drew me to Rabbenu, is that in Rabbenu’s tent, everyone is welcome. When you go to Uman, you stop seeing people as ‘frum’ and ‘not frum’, or as part of your group or not part of your group.
You just see them as individuals, as Jews.
And some of those Jews are really nice, and really deep and really holy – however they may look externally. And some of those Jews are really not so easy to get on with, and have a number of obvious bad middot and issues – however they may look externally.
The yetzer works overtime to convince us that ‘our bit’ of the Jewish world is fine, the best, the shining example for the rest of Jewish society, while all the other bits are the ones with the problem.
But it’s not true! Not at all!
The problem comes down to this:
There are Jewish people who look for reasons to hate other Jews, and there are Jewish people who look for reasons to try to love them.
And both groups are scattered and embedded across all the different segments of Jewish society.
Sadly, our world being the morally-degenerate mess it currently is, it seems the people who hate the most are also the ones with the biggest mouths, and the biggest audiences, and the biggest following on Youtube.
The haters pop-up all over the place, to have a go at others, and to put the boot in, and to harp on about how great they are, and how great their group is – always at the expense of others.
I’ve had to learn the hard way, that this is not at all what God wants from us.
I’ve also had ‘hating’ tendencies that I’ve had to really work on, and to try to uproot, over the last few years. That process of teshuva taught me that the haters ‘hate’ because they actually don’t like themselves very much at all. And that they’re secretly jealous of other people, and it’s the envy that causes them to diss the other Jew, the other group, so loudly, so poisonously, so arrogantly.
Whatever the hater is criticizing so much in others, that ‘thing’ is somehow embedded in their own souls.
So, I listened to Rav Meirav talk, and I wondered ‘how can I do more, to get from hate to love’?
How can I do more, to make my house a ‘no-tolerance for sinat chinam’ zone?
I’m going to pray on it, and I’ll let you know what I come up with.
Because one thing is for sure:
Nothing is slowing up Moshiach more, or causing us more problems and heartache in our own lives, than hating other Jews.
UPDATE: You can see Rav Meirav giving over his message of unity in English, below:
One of the things that happens when the terror attacks start up again is that you become hyper-sensitive to ambulance sirens. So it is, that every siren portends another pigua, God forbid, and you go quiet and start listening to see if that one, lone siren, is going to be joined by many others – the sure sign of terror stalking the land.
On Shabbat, I fell asleep on the couch, and started dreaming about crashes and sirens. I woke up with a start – to find one ambulance, 5 ‘first responder’ motorbikes, a first responder car and even, a first responder on a bike, right outside my building.
In the middle of the road, there was an unconscious Domino’s Pizza delivery guy, lying a good 4 metres from where his bike had fallen. They stretchered him into the ambulance, blared off to hospital, and the locals all gathered around to discuss.
Was it a pigua? (terror attack). Was it a hit-and-run? Had the pizza guy just fallen off his bike randomly, in the middle of a quiet Jerusalem street on Shabbat, and somehow knocked himself unconscious?
In the meantime, it just brought back again how fragile life actually is.
One of my correspondents lives in the shadow of a live volcano, In Central America, a place where they also get a lot of large earthquakes. I asked her if that was scary, and she told me that after she learned most accidental deaths happen in the bathroom, she stopped worrying about the volcano up the road.
God is in charge.
Whatever He decides, goes.
It’s a very useful lesson, isn’t it? Especially if you’re a parent of teenagers who have an uncanny knack of finding themselves in the middle of the ‘action’, wherever that action tends to be.
What am I going to do? Lock them in a box for the next five years? Chain them to their beds, so they can stay ‘safe’ at home but go completely bonkers?
(It’s still tempting…)
But after the last, horrible, spate of terror attacks a couple of years ago, where people were being stabbed and run over on my doorstep on a regular basis, I realized life is to be lived, and that I can’t let my fear of ‘what might be’ run my life or control my children.
True, I can’t rely on miracles.
But also true, we all rely on miracles every single day just to function. Every morning I wake up in one piece, that’s a miracle.
There’s a bumper sticker in Israel that reads:
“You woke up this morning. Everything else is a bonus.”
At times like this, it’s good to be reminded.
Sometimes, when I’m doing hitbodedut and I feel like I need a bit of extra inspiration or guidance, I open up a Breslov book at random, and see what I get. This is what I got, this Shabbat, when I was praying about ‘the matzav’:
“Prior to this last Shabbat before Rosh Hashana, the Rebbe had been visited by two prominent Chassidim, who ate with him. In the course of the conversation, the two Chassidim started ridiculing a certain man in Nemirov who used to clap his hands a great deal, while praying. The Rebbe was upset by their comments, and told them sternly: “How do you know what it means to clap one’s hands while praying, and everything it involves?! What right do you have, to make fun of this man whose hand-clapping isn’t meeting with your approval?!”…
“A few weeks later, after Succot, this man who had been with the Rebbe before Rosh Hashana, and who had made fun of the man who clapped his hands in Nemirov, came to the Rebbe, and asked him to intercede for his son, who was now sick. The Rebbe showed him a passage in the Pri Etz Chaim…[and] afterwards, the Rebbe told him the lesson about hand-clapping in Likutey Moharan 46, discussing the three hands etc.
“However, the man refused to incline his shoulder to bear the yoke of Torah and become a follower of the Rebbe.
“The man returned home, and his son’s condition became more serious. He told me the entire story of how the Rebbe had dealt with him and the lesson he had given. He also told me that the Rebbe had told him a story about a certain aristocrat who was extremely hard, and brazen… The man asked me to remind the Rebbe about his son’s illness, next time I went to him, and to ask him for help.
“Soon afterwards, I went to the Rebbe and spoke with him about this. He said, ”The boy is still alive?” in a tone of surprise. I stood there trembling, because I understood from this that the boy’s decree of death was already sealed. The Rebbe said: “If this man had accepted what I said, the boy would already be healthy” – but now, it was impossible for the boy to stay alive. And indeed, the boy died shortly afterwards.
“When the Rebbe spoke to me about the man, I started making excuses for him, saying, “How can he become your follower, when he already has a leader?” – namely, one of the Rebbe’s opponents.
“The Rebbe replied: “If so, it is a big test for him.”
“In other words this did not mean it would be impossible for him to become the Rebbe’s follower, only that his test would be greater. He should certainly make every effort to withstand the test, overcome all the obstacles, and become a follower of the Rebbe.”
This passage hit me like a ton of bricks.
There’s more to say, but I’m strangely reticent to say it. Let each person understand what they will.
One of my kids is in school in a yishuv that’s smack bang in the middle of the area that’s been experiencing all the terrorist attacks of the last three days. 12 minutes drive from Ofra, 10 minutes drive from Givat Assaf, 14 minutes drive from Bet El (when there’s no traffic).
Also, everyone caught up in that shooting attack in Ofra has siblings, or parents, or cousins in my kid’s school. And the young woman who was seriously hurt in yesterday’s shooting at Givat Assaf is the commonarite, or local head, of the Beit El branch of the youth group Ariel, so a whole bunch of the kids in the ulpana know her directly.
These are the kids that stand at the trempiadas (hitch-hiking posts) and bus stops up and down Route 60, the road that leads out past Pisgat Ze’ev, and then forks between Ramallah to the left, and Bet El, Ofra, and the northern route up through the Shomron on the right.
I know it well.
I was driving it almost every day for six months last year, when my kid was having a nervous breakdown most days and just couldn’t get herself to school on the bus.
This is the road, these are the communities, being hit by this awful spate of terrorist incidents.
Yesterday, even before I heard about Givat Assaf, I got an email from the school’s principal explaining how the kids were down in the main hall reciting tehillim together, and how counselling services were being offered to any kid that required them.
You know, I hate getting emails like that.
My kid was late home from school, of course.
Budding ‘hill top yoof’ that she is, she and five of her friends decided to make massive banners stating “Am Yisrael Chai” and “Jewish blood is not hefker” (ownerless). Then, they went and climbed up on some of the rocks next to the junction that pulls off into the yishuv where they’re studying – on that self-same Route 60! – to pin them to the fences up there.
Thank God, she told me all this after she was home safe.
“Ima, do you beep when you agree or when you disagree?” she asked me. “Because we had a lot of Palestinian cars beeping us.”
For once, I was speechless.
Then that night, both kids told me there were going to an atzeret, or gathering, in Jerusalem, organised near the PM’s residence, where they were going to sing songs, light candles, and ‘demand’ that the Government do something to beef up the security in the West Bank.
My kids are very idealistic. They are very good, holy kids.
Probably, they are also a little naïve.
What can I tell them?
“Dear children, the government can’t do anything to stop this current wave of violence, and really, we just need to open our eyes and realise what’s really going on. The government is over a barrel. Whatever they do, it’s only going to escalate the situation, and bring all the Jew-haters in the world after us.”
It’s exactly as Rav Berland said a few days ago, that if we lift more than the tiniest finger to really start defending ourselves, the whole, PC, Jew-hating world will be after us in all in the international (kangaroo…) courts of law, screaming ‘war crimes!!!’ and ‘genocide!!!’ and ‘sanctions!!!’ and who knows what else.
There are no military solutions that really solve the problem.
Really, the government knows this. That’s why they are so big on pseudo-reassuring bluster, and so short on real, concrete action.
I wish more people in the religious community here would realise that, and stop pinning all their hopes on the army, and on some massive ‘offensive’ to finish the problem off.
The problem is coming from God, the Arabs are just a stick in God’s hand, to bring the Jews back to Him, and get us all to make teshuva.
If more of us would realise that, then more of us would have showed up to the Rav’s prayer gathering in Hevron on Zot Chanuka, to try to get the awful decrees the Rav could see coming down the pipe cancelled, or sweetened.
As it is, now there are atzerot and gatherings of a different kind happening this week, and large groups of people reciting tehillim together in very different circumstances.
My kid showed me a clip she’d been sent on WhatsApp of people taking the law into their own hands, and smashing the windows of Arab cars in the West Bank with stones.
She wanted to know what I thought, because she was of the view that this is what it would take, for them to stop killing Jews so freely.
I told her that answering senseless violence with more senseless violence doesn’t solve anything, and just brings us Jews down to the terrorists’ very low spiritual level.
So what, then, can we do?
Pray. Make teshuva. Stop pinning our hopes on the IDF, and the government, stop wasting our time discussing politics and arguing with each other, and reading all the God-less news sites.
God wants the heart. God wants us back.
And when more of us give God what He really wants, the violence will stop, and the problem will disappear by itself.
This is what I told my kid, who is now in her room reciting the Tikkun HaKlali, because there was another stabbing in Bet El this morning, and there is talk that her school is going to close on Sunday in protest, and to ‘force’ the government to do something.
Of course, closing the school doesn’t change anything (except to make my kid very happy to have a free day off.)
This is out of our hands.
Because the hands are the hands of Esav.
And the voice is the voice of Yaakov.
Let me just tell you again, my kids are vaccinated (minimally).
But what is clear to me that vaccines do have some potentially serious side effects, and no-one should be taking the decision to vaccinate - or to not vaccinate - lightly, nor trying to make that decision without putting God in the picture.
The Western medical profession always like to paint the rosiest picture of medical interventions like drugs and surgery. But all drugs and surgery have potentially very serious side effects, and the options have to be weighed up very, very carefully before we make whatever decision God encourages us to take.
Below, you'll find an interview (17 minutes) with a doctor who completely changed his ideas about vaccines, after seeing some of his patients regress into autism, and other serious side effects, caused by vaccine damage.
This MD believes in God - that's why he's speaking out. And he's part of a group of MDs called Physicians for Informed Consent, who are trying to ensure that all parents have the full information required, before they choose to vaccinate or not.
(The first minute is a little annoying, but the woman shuts up after that, and the rest of the interview is actually really good.)
THIS ISN'T JUST ABOUT VACCINES, IT'S ABOUT WESTERN MEDICINE GENERALLY
Here's some other articles you may want to peruse:
The whole of Western medicine is built on the notion of bullying people and scaring people into taking medications, instead of looking at their lifestyle choices, stress levels, and bringing things back to God and making teshuva.
Is this really the Jewish way?
[Shmirat Eynayim friendly, at least as much as anything on Youtube is.]
I just went to the Physicians for Informed Consent website, and they have an excellent PDF on both measles and the MMR, which just gives parents information without trying to 'bully them' into vaccinating, or not vaccinating. You can access both those PDFs HERE.
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.
NOTICE: The blog is only restarting at this address temporarily.
I will be migrating this blog over to a new site at: rivkalevy.com