Around 3 years ago, my life was in a real mess.
Me and my husband had lost everything we owned, we felt completely alone in the world, we were arguing with just about everyone you could think of or imagine, and to top it all off, I then had four early miscarriages in the space of a year and a half immediately before, during and after our move to Jerusalem.
To say we were going through the wringer was kind of the understatement of the century.
And still moshiach hadn’t come, and still no geula, but I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I either really needed life to get much easier, nicer and better pronto, or I didn’t really want to carry on.
(I get emails from a lot of people, BH, and I know so many people have reached that stage at the moment, may God send us all the balm and the cure and the solution for all of our woes.)
I always thought I had emuna, but at that stage in my life, I was in serious danger of falling away from yiddishkeit, God forbid. I’d been let down by so many of the rabbis in my life, and I’d been through so many difficulties and problems despite trying to follow all the extra chumrot and super-duper frummie stuff I’d been told would guarantee me the easy life that I felt like the floor had been ripped away from under my feet.
And then on top of everything else, came those four miscarriages, back to back, at the single most stressful, financially precarious moment of my married life. I’m sure the awful stress I was under contributed a great deal to the miscarriages, but long story short, I was completely and utterly wasted at all levels of body, mind and soul by the fourth one, and I was ready to throw in the towel.
Believing in miracles again
At that point, I started reading the Knishta Hadar newsletter that my husband was picking up from Chut Shel Chessed every few weeks – and what I read blew me away. What, there was still a rabbi out there who was the real deal?! Who was doing mamash open miracles?! Who could really help the people who turned to him with their problems?!
All this sounded far too good to be true, in the bitter, super-cynical state I was in back then.
But, I’m half-Moroccan, and while that fact often gets me into so much trouble, on this occasion, it was actually the source of salvation. Because my Moroccan side started saying: “Try it out! What have you got to lose at this stage? Ask for a blessing, pay a pidyon, and see if works! This Rav is the last shot you’ve got to keep believing that real tzaddikim actually exist…”
So, I called up the hotline, I sent in a brief email describing the 4 awful, early miscarriages, and how much physical, emotional and spiritual difficulty I was going through, and then, I waited for a response.
From the moment I spoke to the Rav’s gabbay (attendant), I already started to feel better than I’d been feeling, physically, for two years. And that’s what got me thinking: This Rav is the real deal.
Still, I waited to hear what the Rav himself had to say.
The Rav was in South Africa back then, so his attendants were recording his messages on WhatsApp and emailing them back to people. After a couple of days, I got sent an audio message via email where the Rav addressed me directly using my Hebrew name, and it’s hard to explain it, but I felt for the first time in my life that someone had finally ‘seen’ me.
Someone had finally ‘heard’ how much pain I was going through. Someone was behind me, finally, I didn’t have to stagger on alone any more.
I was told I needed to pay 5,000 nis as a pidyon nefesh, and I did that happily – I was already feeling better and happier than I’d felt for years.
Things moved fast after that. On the advice of Rav Berland, my husband moved over to the Shuvu Banim yeshiva, and so many of the difficulties and issues that we’d been struggling with for years just kind of resolved or disappeared.
Life got bearable again. Life even got kind of nice, mostly, again. We made peace with so many of the people we fell out with, we felt healthier and happier again, our parnassa started to do so much better, Baruch Hashem.
Throughout all my difficulties, I’d been praying my socks off, doing hours and hours of hitbodedut, and going to Uman regularly, and trying to make teshuva.
All that stuff is so important, and so helpful, but at this stage, it’s clear to me that there’s only so much we can do by ourselves, especially in this spiritually lowly generation.
If I hadn’t had the merit of connecting with Rav Berland three years ago, I dread to think what would have happened. As it was, I can tell you without the shadow of a doubt that the Rav is what pulled me and family through the hardest few years of our life, in one piece, and with our faith and sanity still intact.
And that’s why now, I am willing to do whatever it takes to try to help the Rav, in whatever way I can.
On the one hand, I know that if I hadn’t started writing about the Rav, it’s possible that I’d have far more readers at this stage, and certain that I’d have had far fewer unpleasant interactions with all the anonymous internet psychos out there.
It’s possible more people would have bought more of my books, and it’s also possible that I’d be part of the ‘chummy club’ of frum internet people who all promote each other’s stuff, and rub each other’s backs, and keep each other happy.
If I’m honest, making the decision to be behind the Rav 100% publically hasn’t always been easy, especially when there’s been another wave of lies and slander that’s rippled out of the recesses of some extremely disturbed people’s imagination.
If I’m honest, sometimes all I want to write about is my kids, and life in Israel generally, and all my holistic health stuff and mental health stuff. People like that, people respond positively to that, I know.
Before I start typing, I try to ask God to send me the words that He wants me to write, and I think that's why so often over the last two years, when I’ve sat down to write apparently ‘normal’, what’s come out is ‘geula’ and off the wall.
So often, I’ve decided to just leave the Rav’s stuff to one side for a bit, and just to concentrate on the everyday life stuff more, and then God pulls me right back around to writing more unexpected, often dramatic updates.
Dear reader, I yearn for ‘normal’.
But it seems, God is getting ready for ‘geula’.
So at this stage, I can’t think of anything more worthwhile to do with my time, and with my blog, and with my writing, than helping the Rav anyway I can.
After everything he’s done for me and my family, it’s the least I can do for him.
And this is what the people who are persecuting the Rav, and the people who are slandering him, will never, ever understand:
People don’t support the Rav with everything they’ve got because they’ve been brainwashed, or are part of a cult. If you see how the Rav really operates, you’d understand just how laughable these accusations really are.
People will do anything for the Rav for the simple reason that they know how much they owe him.
I owe the Rav so much. His blessings, his pidyonot, his advice helped me to make a 180 degree turnaround, and to go from a life that was literally a living hell, to one that is pretty nice, most of the time.
I know how low I fell, after that last miscarriage. I had no energy left, no hope left, no emuna left.
And the Rav somehow picked me up, put me back together, and set me back on my feet.
So, even though I’m yearning for ‘normal’, and I’m yearning to be a little more accepted, and a little more ‘standard, in the meantime, I will carry on posting up whatever is required to help the Rav, even when it’s 'out there', even when it’s disturbing and upsetting.
What can I do?
It seems increasingly likely that the days when ‘normal’ was normal, are drawing to a close.
NOTICE: The blog is only restarting at this address temporarily.
I will be migrating this blog over to a new site at: rivkalevy.com