Why ‘confirmation bias’ is such a big spiritual problem

A long time ago, when infographics were still all the rage, I came across this infographic which clearly showed the 20 main ‘cognitive biases’, including confirmation bias. This infographic basically dissects the playbook the yetzer hara uses to convince us that we’re always right about everything, and that everyone else is always wrong. (Click the link to see a bigger version, this is just for illustration purposes.)

An infographic showing 20 cognitive biases including confirmation biasNow, I wouldn’t care so much, except that I’ve been noticing a strange phenomena around Volume II of One in a Generation, which is that most people don’t want to read it, and don’t want to talk about all the proof it contains about just how corrupt the media actually is.

For as long as the media was coming up with one false, salacious, slanderous story after another about Rabbi Berland (aka ‘Eliezer ben Etia’), my email was glowing red-hot with people wanting to have the discussion with me. Now that the other side of the story is out there, clearly, showing exactly how we all got manipulated, bamboozled and downright deceived by the MSM – no-one wants to know.

Yawn.

Now that we can conclusively show that all the lies about the Rav abusing women, God forbid, came down to the same two people who were trying to extort money out of Rabbi Berland, it’s no longer interesting.

What is still interesting, tho, is that the Rav is taking money to do pidyon nefesh for people. Ooooo, this is still so interesting, because the same ‘anti chareidi’ media who have been behind so many of the lies right from the start ran a whole big ‘splash’ campaign about it.

People paid money, and it didn’t work!!! He took money from people on their death beds!!!!

Etc etc etc.

I haven’t looked into the details of all these stories (yet…. I might do at some point) – but I personally know of two occasions when the pidyon nefesh didn’t work, and the person died. In both instances, the Rav offered to repay the whole sum.

When all is said and done, the Rav is not God, and God will still do as He sees fit.

On the other hand, I know of literally thousands of cases where the Rav’s pidyon nefesh worked open miracles, saved lives and totally turned around a lost situation. (Some of which actually happened to yours truly)

So now, who are you going to believe, the anti-chareidi, anti-God, atheist MSM with massive agendas, or people who have seen open miracles in their own lives?

Or rather, the question is who do you WANT to believe?

Because that’s really a far trickier problem. Here’s why so many people are still having a hard time believing that Rav Berland is a true tzaddik and a very holy man, as opposed to the ucky individual they read about online, and gossiped about with their friends, and attacked on Facebook:

  1. People are over-reliant on the first piece of information they hear – in this case, all the slanderous stories and lies put out by the Rav’s persecutors.
  2. People place too much credence on the limited information they have available – before they know all the facts of the matter.
  3. People like to jump on bandwagons – even when they’re heading in totally the wrong direction.
  4. People have blind spots about their own subconscious motivations and biases – so it suits them when a big Rabbi who spent his whole life telling people to ditch i-Phones and act in a holier way can be totally written off and ignored.
  5. Once people ‘choose’ a side, or a thing, they have a vested interest in protecting it at all costs – even if they’re wrong.
  6. “So many people are saying it, it must be true!!!” – of course they are, because they all read the same ucky, poisonous, anti-religion online news sites that you do.
  7. People only want to hear things that confirm their existing opinion – they are much more interested in being right than being truthful.
  8. People are very slow to change their minds about things – it can take a lot of repetition before they finally grasp what you’re trying to explain.
  9. People prefer to just gather more information, than to actually act on it – if they wait long enough, they are sure that ‘new information’ will emerge that will prove their original view point correct, and absolve them from any need to make teshuva or admit they were wrong.
  10. People are burying their head in the sand about just how bad and corrupted the MSM actually is – it’s a very uncomfortable thought to consider that the media might be spoon-feeding massive lies to the public. Much easier to ignore the whole problem and hope it will just go away by itself.
  11. “But he went to prison! There’s nothing more to discuss!!!” – this is called outcome bias.
  12. People are convinced that they know everything, and are always totally right – i.e. they suffer from tremendous arrogance.
  13. People WANT to believe that the news is factual, so that makes them believe that the news IS factual – the alternative scenario is far too scary.
  14. People believe the newest stuff is always more relevant than the older stuff – hey, all that abusing women stuff is old news!!! We already moved on to how the Rav is extorting money out of terminally-ill people now! Talk to the hand!
  15. People don’t like to re-examine the past – they prefer to deal with what’s in front of their eyes today, i.e. more lies and slanders that haven’t yet been refuted or disproved.
  16. People pander to their own world views – many people are much more ‘comfortable’ with the idea of abusive rabbis than they are with the idea that the press is a lying, manipulative, anti-God, propaganda machine.
  17. People believe what they want to believe. (This needs no additional explanation).
  18. People rely on stereotypes instead of facts – of course, all Breslov rabbis with large followings and mystical tendencies must be ‘crazy’ or ‘bad’.
  19. People believe the media is always right – because the media very rarely, if ever, tells them about the thousands upon thousands of factual errors and false stories it’s putting out there, every single day.
  20. People prefer their comfortable lies to the uncomfortable truth – even though that’s keeping them far away from God, stuck and miserable.

Truth vs lies

Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that the number of people who are happy to stay stuck in the web of lies and deceit that is modern life is far greater than those who are looking for the truth. And I can understand where they are coming from, kind of.

Who wants to be a social pariah by calling out all their Fakebook friends who spent two solid years posting up self-righteous rants dripping with lashon hara bout Rabbi Berland? Who wants to really take a look under the bonnet and realize just how many flaws and issues they themselves actually have? Or how many people they are hurting with their own ucky behavior?

Who really wants to ‘fess up to being duped by unethical journalists, or to following rabbis and others who aren’t the real deal, or to having a vested interest in trying to make an elderly Breslov tzaddik look ‘bad’ to make themselves feel better about their own obsessions with internet, licentiousness, gossip, ego-stroking, making money and materialism?

You can see why it’s so challenging, honestly.

But here’s the problem:

All that stuff that’s keeping us away from acknowledging the truth about Rabbi Berland is the same stuff that’s going to keep us away from the world to come, too.

Geula is mamash on the threshold, and we can’t cross over into it for as long as we’re still dragging all that arrogance, hatred and bad middot behind us. God isn’t asking us to be perfect, He knows that’s impossible. He’s just asking us to be truthful, and to put our hands up and to admit that we make mistakes, and we have vested interests, and we do a lot of things wrong and hurt a lot of people, every single day.

A bit of truth and humility is all that’s required to get us into the world to come.

But judging by what’s going on with Rav Berland and One in a Generation Volume II, even a bit of truth and humility is way beyond what most people can apparently manage.

Again, let me state for the record: I’m not ‘anti’ vaccines, per se, not least because Rebbe Nachman was pro the smallpox vaccine, and he for sure knew what he was talking about.

At the same time, Rebbe Nachman was also – vehemently – anti doctor, and anti the medical establishment, and again, he for sure knew what he was talking about.

And in the middle of this paradox, we try to figure out what was really going on then, and how that really applies to us all today.

Personally, I am lukewarm to sceptical on vaccines. Both my kids are vaccinated, but we didn’t have to follow the draconian schedule imposed in places like the US, where there is a ‘pill for every ill’, including anti-depressants and other examples of outright medical fraud and quackery by people who depend on the pharmaceutical industry to pay their mortgages.

Also, both my kids are now young ladies. If they were younger, I would research this issue much more, and undoubtedly have a much firmer view on it.

At the same time, I think sometimes the anti-vaccine people go a bit OTT. Whenever I read screeds with “pHARMaceuticals!!!!” littered all over the place, my eyes start to roll back in my head all by themselves. I can’t help it.

The human body can take a lot of wear and tear, and repair itself.

We eat poisonous food, we breathe poisonous air, we’re surrounding by, and ingesting, poisonous toxins all the time. As long as the human body isn’t overwhelmed, God has given it amazing regenerational abilities.

If a kid grows up in an emotionally-healthy environment, where the parents don’t have obvious personality disorders, and there isn’t 3 million percent stress going on all the time, and everyone isn’t plugged into energy and soul-sapping technology 24/7 – then it’s possible that vaccines will still cause some serious damage, if the child’s system is weak, if they are stressed / ill, and / or if they are being bombarded with three major illnesses at once in one deceptively small ‘shot’.

Very possible.

But, the less ‘negativity’ and ‘toxicity’ a kid has to try to deal with on a daily basis, both from the physical environment, but particularly from the emotional and spiritual environments, too, the less they have to worry about serious danger resulting from being vaccinated – as long as it’s one shot in a long while, and the kid is basically healthy when the shot is happening.

That’s my (uneducated…) view.

At the same time, I am a huge believer in people educating themselves about what’s really going on with the corrupt Western medical model, that is far more based on keeping people dependent on paying for doctors and drugs than encouraging them to turn to Hashem and / or making teshuva for the awful behaviors and bad middot that are literally making them sick.

So, when I came across this article on vaccines – that is actually balanced, and reasonable, and gives evidence and facts and not angry hyperbole and accusations for and against – I was thrilled. And I wanted to share it, so here’s the link:

This is also a great video – tons of facts and information from real, live medical doctors who do understand the science, and who believe that every person should be able to choose to vaccinate, or not.

Almost the whole of Shabbat, it was pouring and howling wind in Jerusalem, with a fair sprinkling of thunder and lightning, too.

These are the ‘late rains’ we pray for in our davening, until Pesach. And this year, God seems to be answering the prayer for rain abundantly, after almost 5 years of relative drought.

The last time the Kinneret started to fill up to full capacity was way back in the winter of 2013 when Operation Pillar of Defense was going on in the Gaza strip, as a response to terrorist rockets falling across Israel.

But the wettest winter in recent times happened in 1991, when the Gulf War was occurring, and Israel was being rocketed with Saddam’s scuds, and everyone was huddling in their ‘safe’ rooms with tape over the window, as instructed by the authorities.

(What makes the connection between rain and war even more distinctly is that the only year when Israel got absolutely ZERO rainfall was 2000, when Ehud Barak was PM and trying to negotiate half of Israel away to Yasser Arafat, at the failed Camp David ‘peace accords’.)

Last week, on Thursday, two rockets were apparently ‘accidentally’ fired at Tel Aviv.

You know how that goes, Ahmed accidentally leant against the control panel, and sent a precision Grad straight to the heart of the country.

Oooops!

And then, while Ahmed was still feeling bad about his blooper, Mohammed came in, tripped on a bit of dodgy carpet and also accidentally ‘fell’ against the missile launching control panel, to send a second rocket hurtling at Tel Aviv.

Accidents, accidents.

And this accident triggered a flurry of ‘tough man’ statements from our God-less politicians, each one trying to pretend that the safety of the country lies in their hands, alone.

With the lefties, the lie is obvious.

But with our current PM, so many otherwise believing Jews also seem to have been sucked into the fiction that all we need to emerge victorious in any confrontation with the enemy is to have Bibi as PM.

Things have gone so far, it’s approaching a modern form of idol-worship.

Who was ‘tougher’ than Ariel Sharon? But who was more of a disaster, ultimately?

Who was ‘weaker’ than Ehud Olmert? Yet that’s the guy who was steering the ship when the country went to war, twice.

Our Sages told us,

‘The heart of kings is in God’s hand’.

If the Jewish people are worthy, we’ll get miracles and protection even with a PM from Hamas, and if not – then not.

Even with Bibi.

Rav Berland has been telling us for months that our enemies have tens of thousands of rockets pointed at every part of the country, and that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will not be spared, when the next round of hostilities start up.

He’s working day and night to try to sweeten things at their source, spiritually, in Heaven – but he needs us to work with him.

Rabbenu, Rebbe Nachman, explained that while we can’t do anything, really, without the help of the Tzaddikim, they also can’t do anything, really, without our active participation and yearning and prayers, however flawed.

Rav Berland called the prayer gathering for 4th Nissan, 5779, (Monday night, April 9, 2019) in Hevron weeks before the election was called, weeks before they found the ‘terror tunnels’ in the North. He made some pretty hair-raising statements about what is really on the cards, what we are really up against.

The Rav needs 50,000 people to join him in prayer, to really be able to sweeten the judgements we can all feel hanging so heavily in the air right now.

Sure, getting to Hevron is a shlep. Sure, it’s inconvenient, time consuming, uncomfortable. And then, there’s also the small point of convincing yourself that the Rav really is a huge tzaddik, and that all the effort is really worthwhile.

Everyone has the same tests, the same questions, the same inner battle.

But when you look at his track record, like when he said getting 10,000 people to Hevron would stop the ‘stabbing Intifada’ in its tracks, two years ago – and it did, immediately – that should hopefully give you enough strength to gird your loins, and make plans to be in Hevron Rosh Chodesh Nissan.

Because the alternative is getting a rocket through your roof.

So, rockets and rain seems to be going together again this year.

And I have a feeling, there are more storms on the way, before Pesach.

There’s a French saying, plus ca change.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I couldn’t help thinking of that when I was trying to get over the massive spiritual fall-out from reading that awful book a couple of weeks’ ago that was mamash slandering the land of Israel, and so many of the Jews who live here, and which made out that it’s a bigger ‘mitzvah’ to stay in galut than to make aliya.

It’s amazing how any discussion of the sin of the spies always seems to be missing from so many of these ‘controversial’ discussions about moving to Israel, at least, in English. Or at least, from the pulpits of so many of the English-speaking ‘rabbis’ who live outside of Israel.

All week, I was trying to weigh up how best to tackle the subject, and if I should tackle the subject at all, even, because God forbid we should have more pointless machloket and sinat chinam floating around, more pointless divisiveness, more pointless ‘opinion’.

As often happens, Rabbenu gave me a clear way to proceed on Shabbat.

I started reading Lesson 20 in Part 1 of Likutey Moharan, and this is part of what I read:

“In the merit of the Torah that is drawn, one attains the Land of Israel, as in, ‘He gave them the lands of nations’ (Psalms 105:44). But the land of Israel is one of the three things that can only be attained through suffering (Brachot 5a), and the main suffering is the obstacles of the wicked, who slander the land.

“These wicked must first be subdued and punished with a sword and death, and only then can one enter the Land of Israel. However, the power to punish the wicked can only be acquired from the power of Edom, for that is his power, as in, ‘You will live by your sword’ (Bereishit 27:40), and he draws sustenance from the astrological sign of Mars.”

SLANDERING THE LAND OF ISRAEL IS STILL A HUGE SIN

Rabbenu wasn’t writing before the destruction of the Second Temple; he was writing 200 years ago, for our generation.

Edom is identified with the church / the West – i.e. all those countries that love their missiles and bombs and massive warships, and which are constantly developing new ways to try to ‘live by their sword’.

(Just look at what’s going on right now in Venezuela, and what’s been going on for decades in so many countries around the world, where the West ‘mixed in’ to ensure that its economic interests would be given first priority by any incoming governments – often to the detriment of that nation’s own citizens.)

Elsewhere, Rabbenu tells us that we’re in exile amongst the nations still, because there are 70 negative character traits, one for each of the 70 main nations of the world. And when we Jews continue to display the negative character traits of a particular nation, then we empower that nation in the world, and give them the ability to keep us in exile.

In other words, geula really is just dependent on Jews working on our own individual bad middot, wherever we happen to live in the world.

So now, Rabbenu told us that Edom / the West ‘draws sustenance from the astrological sign of Mars’, let’s see what that actually means, in terms of what we need to specifically work on.

According to a Baraisa written by Shmuel HaKatan, the planet Mars is related to the following character traits (btw, they happen to all be bad – this is not the case for most of the other planets / celestial bodies.)

THE TRAITS ASSOCIATED WITH MARS:

  • Bloodshed
  • Wickedness
  • Strife
  • External injury
  • War
  • Hatred
  • Jealousy

Doesn’t this list give you the shudders?

Doesn’t it describe so much of what is ‘wrong’ in the Jewish world, and the world generally?

We have our work cut out for us!

This is basically the checklist for sinat chinam, or the hatred that a Jew feels for another Jew, that caused the destruction of the Second Temple in the first place, and our long, horrible exile to begin, 2000 years ago.

I know so many of us feel powerless to bring the geula any closer, or any faster, or any sweeter, but that’s so not true. If each Jew would take it upon themselves to really make a serious effort to uproot these seven traits from our lives totally, we’d have geula in the blink of an eye.

And we can do this regardless of where we happen to live.

If we are exhibiting these seven negative characteristics in our own lives – ‘warring’ with people in the comments section online, arguing with people all the time, sending yucky emails, feeling jealous over ‘that one’s’ big house, or bigger bank balance, or thinner thighs, or bigger family, or hating people for holding different opinions, or believing different things, or resorting to guns to deal with our enemies, instead of resorting to prayer and turning to God – then WE are continuing the exile of Edom.

And WE will be held to account for that, by God.

That’s why Breslov emphasizes the personal aspect of geula, or redemption. Breslov teaches:

Get out of your own bad middot, work on rectifying your own negative characteristics, and you’ll experience both personal redemption – and the geula of Am Yisrael.

This is our work. This is our responsibility.

So please, let’s stop wasting time arguing with crazy people, and let’s just got on with doing the work of identifying these ‘Edomite’ characteristics in ourselves, and finally uprooting them.

So Moshiach can come soon, the sweet way.

In Israel, the weather this winter has actually been pretty good.

It hasn’t been so cold, and we’ve had regular and plentiful rainfall for the last 2-3 months, which is fantastic.

But in other parts of the world, the ‘deep freeze’ is really starting to kick in, and be felt.

Parts of Canada and the US Mid-West have been dealing with many days of arctic temperatures, where the wind chill is making it feel like minus 67 degrees. That’s crazy! When I lived in Montreal, we had a really bad winter where there was a lot of minus 40 degree weather, with wind chill, and I literally didn’t leave the house for a month.

Every time I tried to get outside, I’d feel that my eyeballs were starting to turn into little blocks of ice, and I’d rush indoors somewhere to defrost, before they froze solid.

And the snow is also being dumped in crazy amounts all over the place at the moment, like:

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/snow-snow-go-away-ottawa-breaks-record-for-snowiest-january-and-we-all-suffer

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2019/01/29/toronto-record-breaking-snowfall/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/16/alps-on-avalanche-alert-after-record-breaking-snowfall

That’s global warming for you, of course.

Or rather, it’s ‘climate change’ caused by excess CO2 (which has an insulating and warming effect).

Is there really any sane person out there, who still believes that’s what is going on with the weather?

Don’t the facts on the ground match up far more closely with the ‘Grand Solar Minimum’ model of climate change, which has been predicting for decades that 2017 would see the start of a new period of global cooling, together with a massive uptick in seismic events? (See the video below – shmirat eynayim friendly).

If the Grand Solar Minimum model is right, then the weather is going to continue to cool off for at least the next 15 years or so.

And then how quickly the world starts to warm up again depends on a lot of things, not least whether a new ice age got triggered.

Even with all the modern technology, all the electric-powered heating, all the icebreakers and snow ploughs, it’s getting hard for people to actually ‘live’ in these frozen conditions. If they only happen once, for a week, every 30 years, then that’s no big deal, right?

But what if this weather is going to become the norm, and it’s going to get colder and colder for longer and longer in places like Chicago? Then what? What does that mean for the economy? What does that mean for the quality of life, in these places? Even with all the modern technology and electricity?

Another thing I just wanted to mention, briefly, is all these reports of dead fish and dead birds from around the world. (Here’s just a few, to whet your whistle:)

https://phys.org/news/2019-01-sea-white-hundreds-thousands-fish.html

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Thousands-of-Birds-Found-Dead-at-Salton-Sea-504735561.html

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-20/galahs-falling-from-the-sky-in-milang-south-australia/10637842

When I was researching the volcanoes book, I came across a lot of historical reports of volcanic eruptions and massive earthquakes that were preceded by mass die-offs of fish and birds in the area, beforehand.

The reason for this is pretty straightforward. The asthenosphere is a layer of partially molten magma, combined with volcanic gases including methane and a few other gases, some of which are toxic if inhaled. When that magma starts to move, and to rise closer to the surface, a few different things start to happen.

There will be lots of minute, and not so minute, fissures and ‘cracks’ in the ground, as moving magma is what causes earthquakes. (It’s a side point, but fissures, cracks and sink-holes are happening a-plenty in Iran right now.)

And much of the volcanic gas contained in the asthenosphere then also starts to rise up, and escape out. As I mentioned elsewhere, this seepage of natural gas was behind the recent spate of awful wildfires in Califonia, and it’s also behind why they’re finding so many dead birds around Salton Sea, and so many dead fish in the creeks in Australia, to name but a few.

If there’s enough of that stuff escaping out, it can poison water supplies, and also form a toxic gas cloud, before dispersing.

The scientists don’t really know what’s causing millions of fish to suddenly start dying in Australia, but there’s a lot of theories being floated that the rivers are being ‘de-oxygenated’ in some way, with many people blaming the lack of rain and drought conditions.

I think what’s going on is two things: there is less water to ‘dissolve’ the volcanic gases in, so it’s becoming more concentrated (or at least, there was. Queensland just got hit with record-breaking rainfall which now saw rivers rise to a 120 year-high), AND there is also more volcanic gas being produced, because magma is on the move underground.

Why do I think there is also more volcanic gas being produced? Because of the reports of mass bird die-offs that are coming in from all over the place, but especially from areas that are known to have been very seismically active in the past. It’s the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’.

If low water supplies was the only factor, then only the fish would be affected, it wouldn’t also be affecting the birds.

Again, is there really still anyone out there who things all the record snow and cold, and freak weather and weird geological phenomena, and dead creatures is just because you’re driving a diesel-powered vehicle?

Really?

Doesn’t it make far more sense, logically, that we are now in the opening stages of a Grand Solar Minimum, where the sun’s activity decreases so much that the earth starts to become cooler, and the earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis start to pick up?

(The seismic activity is related to more cosmic rays hitting the planet, and ‘agitating’ the silicon molecules that make up magma. BTW – human beings are also composed of a lot of silicon molecules too, so yes, you and me are also being ‘agitated’ at the moment.)

Doesn’t that make way more sense, logically and scientifically?

Tremendous things are happening all over the place with the weather and planet earth. That’s where the real story is at, that’s where the real news headlines should be pointed, instead of all the politics and political correctness.

There will be more cold weather (caused by diminishing heat from the sun) and more freak weather (caused by stratospheric volcanic eruptions) and more weird planet phenomenon (caused by underwater eruptions, eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis – and the fallout from all these things on the marine and animal world.)

This is the ‘scientific’ completely UN-miraculous view of what is currently going on around us. Of course, Jews are above nature, and God is the One who is really calling the shots, so who knows what’s actually going to come next?

Everything depends on our teshuva, our emuna, our efforts to work on our own bad middot and get close to the true tzaddikim.

Everything.

But in the meantime, no wonder so many of feel like we’re in hibernation at the moment, or at least, that we should be.

So much is going on at the moment.

Last Wednesday, December 26, 2018, Israel was hit by no less than 8 earthquakes ranging between 2.1 and 3.8. That’s an unusually large number of earthquakes in one day, and the 3.8 hit in the Dead Sea Basin region. All this was going on in Israel the same day that Mount Etna volcano in Italy was hit by a 5.1 quake, and started erupting lava from its flanks.

Then today / yesterday, North Egypt was hit with a highly unusual 4.0 earthquake.

Seismic and volcanic activity is picking up across the planet, and according to Dutchsinse (who is a more accurate earthquake forecaster than any of the, ahem, professional earthquake organisations with huge vested interests in playing all this stuff down) – it’s going into an upswing again, over the next few days.

You probably know that Anak Krakatau erupted big time last week, which generated an undersea landslide which in turn caused a tsunami to hit the Java and Sumatra Islands. Lots of people died in that disaster, and thousands were displaced. I have a feeling that there a lot of submarine volcanic eruptions happening right now, that aren’t being reported for the simple fact that hardly any underwater volcanoes are being monitored.

In fact, even when these volcanoes are relatively close to shore, most of the time the volcanologists still have no idea if they’re actively erupting or not, unless they happen to have people on site looking at it when it blows.

But if you want to know what’s causing all these dead fish to keep washing up all over the place, my bet is that they’re getting caught up in deep sea underwater eruptions.

In the meantime, according to official science, the world gets on average 20 7.0 or greater earthquakes a year.

In the month between November 30 and December 29, 2018, there were five of these events:

  • Nov 3 – 7.1 in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Dec 5 – 7.5 in New Caledonia
  • Dec 11 – 7.1 in the South Sandwich Islands
  • Dec 20 – 7.4 in Ostrova, Russia
  • Dec 29 – 7.2 in the Phillipines

Seismic activity is clearly picking up.

To come back to the volcanoes for a moment, official estimates say that usually, anywhere between 50-70 volcanoes erupt in any given year. In 2018, 77 volcanoes popped off (some repeatedly, but they are still only counted as one eruption) – a 10% increase on the high end estimate.

And this is probably only the beginning.

In the meantime, back in Israel, the Tsfat Breslov leader Rav Elazar Mordechai Koenig, z”tl, died yesterday. And two days ago, Rav Eliezer Berland put out a message asking everyone to pray for him to not be taken from the world before Pesach 5779, and that he should live until 210.

I got chills when I read that, because I feel fundamentally in my bones that Rav Berland is really keeping us all going, and keeping Am Yisrael safe, and God forbid a million times over that he should be taken from the world before we get Moshiach and geula.

Because things are challenging enough as it is.

Do you know how much happened, since the Rav called for that prayer gathering in Hevron? Since then:

  • The IDF discovered a whole bunch of massive, multiple tunnels dug by Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel.
  • We had another ‘mini’ intifada, where there were at least 4 terrorist attacks, and 3 people killed and another 10 or so injured in the space of 4 days.
  • Trump announced he’s pulling US forces out of Syria.
  • Israeli elections were called for April 9, 2019 (just three days after Rav Berland called for the next atzeret, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan).
  • The stock market dropped massively, sparking fears that we’re heading into a re-run of 2008.

And that’s just the stuff I know about – and really, I don’t read the news.

It feels like we’re on a knife-edge again.

And now, so many of our tzaddikim are passing away, or seem to be seriously ill.

Man, we all just need to pray a lot at the moment, and to focus urgently on making peace with our fellow Jew, getting real, and getting offline as much as possible.

My inbox is full of people who are suffering so much hardship at the moment, and so many of them are such amazing, astounding individuals. Everyone is being challenged, everyone has their work cut out for them.

And the main work is to really just come back to God, and to know that the illusion is not going to last forever.

And to pray that our tzaddikim like Rav Berland will continue to be in good health, and to lead us forward to geula. Because while it’s hard going at the moment, it’s a piece of cake compared to what will happen if we have to go it alone.

  • Please say a tikkun haklali for Rav Eliezer ben Ettia.

​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.

But 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.

Pheyew, it’s hard to believe how crazy the pace has been the last couple of weeks.

I thought it was just because my kids were both starting new schools, and it was the usual end of Summer rush to get bags, bits and books, but now they’ve both been in school for three days already, and if anything I’m even busier.

From the moment I open my eyes, I’m rushing, rushing, rushing – and I can’t get it to stop. Today, I got up, tried to exercise while fielding three phone calls, wrote some stuff, tried to get some more text books (! – yes, the torture continues) – but the queue was too big to deal with, went to visit a friend who just moved out of town, then drove on to my ‘one brain’ lady to fix some more subconscious trauma and bad middot, then went to deliver all my husband’s paperwork to the accountant that lives in my old village, then fielded another long and pretty intense phone call, then went off to the other book shop in Geula to try to get the text books (! – yes, the torture still continues, one was out of stock…)

And now, after all that, I’m sitting down for the first time all day trying to work up the energy to make supper. And it’s already 7.30.

I simply don’t know how people who have more than two kids, or who have to work, do it.

How do you do it? Without drugs? I can barely move.

All I can do it type, but my brain also feels like it’s got zapped the last couple of weeks, so I have no idea what I’m actually writing.

There’s so much going on for everyone at the moment, isn’t there? If it’s not floods, hurricanes and forest fires, its potential divorce, difficult children, financial problems and crazy relatives.

Two days ago, I had to take my oldest to the Beit Din in Jerusalem to get her formal exemption papers for the army.

Even though she’s only 16 ½, they’re already sending her the sign up forms, so we had to get her officially certified as ‘religious’.

So we get there, and we’re sat in the waiting room next to a very edgy couple + friend who are clearly about to get their religious divorce, or get, finalized. Man, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife, it was so tense and yucky.

The only thing that broke it was a very loud conversation, in English, from another woman clearly also on the way to a get, God forbid, loudly cursing out her husband on the phone for being such a loser and not having a job and only jogging all day and leaving her in a situation where she’s going to end up on the street with her kids.

The phone call was extremely personal, extremely loud, and extremely traumatic to listen to, at least for me. I started spacing out and developing more C-PTSD, so my daughter kind of slapped my face, told me to focus on her, and tried to distract me.

Thank God, we got her papers and left pronto, but it was a sobering glimpse into just how much human misery is abounding at the moment.

The Gemara says that before Moshiach comes, a new trouble appears before the old trouble is even done, and it certainly looks like that’s happening all over the place.

Nuclear Iran….Brexit….President Trump….the ‘fire intifada’….Islamic Terrorism….Syria’s civil war….rockets from Gaza….killer heatwaves that last three months….nuclear North Korea….hurricane Harvey….the queue for text books at Moshe Hai….unprecedented forest fires.…hurricane Irma….

So, is Moshiach really coming, or what?

It certainly looks that way.

But whether or not that’s really what we’re all seeing unfolding right now is anyone’s guess.

Most of us have no idea just how much of the modern scientific establishment that we believe to be grounded 100% in scientific veracity and truth-seeking is actually built on the flimsiest foundation of conjecture and dogma.

Much of modern science – maybe even most of modern science – is built on theories that were floated around in the 1800s, and seemed to be ‘true’ enough then to be accepted, but which have subsequently been shown to be completely false.

Some sciences, notably physics, have been able to move with the times, and to free themselves from the shackles of this ‘wishful thinking’ from the past. But much – maybe even most – of modern science is still firmly hitched behind these myths, building ever-taller houses of cards around ‘axiomatic’ principles that are simply completely untrue.

One such example of this is the theory of evolution, which I wrote about a little while ago here, here and here.

Douglas Axe demolished the theory of evolution, and the theory of natural selection, in one fell swoop, when his recent experiments with folding proteins showed that the amount of time it would take to get EVEN ONE useful mutation in a living organism is a number so large, the world would have to be many trillions of years’ older than the already ridiculously inflated numbers being bandied about by ‘truthful science’.

The theory of evolution is a mathematical impossibility. Full stop.

But try telling that to a biologist, or a doctor, and see how far you get.

What many people aren’t aware of, though, is that Darwin in turn built his deceitfully false ‘scientific theories’ on another utterly false premise that was introduced by his teacher and colleague, Sir Charles Lyell.

Lyell was a lawyer and a geologist who wrote a book called Principles of Geology, where he spent an awful lot of time trying to prove black was really white. His big ‘contribution’ to the false foundation of modern science came to be known as the ‘principle of uniformity’.

In a nutshell, Lyell went around persuading his fellow ‘scientists’ at the local geology mens’ club in Victorian London that:

“no process took place in the past that is not taking place in the present.”

The principle of uniformity also states that:

“not only nature, but the intensity of physical phenomena of our age are the criteria of what could have happened in the past.”

While even a cursory reading of this statement must surely call forth a big question mark in even the most unscientific reader – I mean really? Should we believe a holocaust never happened 70 years ago because we can’t see it happening today?

Or that Vesuvius and Mount Etna never really exploded, because now they are quiet? Or that the Tsunami from a few years’ ago never ripped through Asia, because today the sea is quiet?

But apparently, the scientific minds of Victorian England were much easier to convince that this clap-trap was true, despite the fact that the geologists of that time – including Lyell himself – could clearly see from the rock formations they were finding that the earth had been through a great many violent upheavals in its past that current observations of how nature apparently worked simply couldn’t explain.

To quote Immanuel Velikovsky, someone who I hope to introduce you to properly in a future post, Lyell:

“acknowledged that the surface of the globe has the appearance of having been subjected to great and violent sudden changes, but he believed that the record is incomplete and that the major part of the evidence is lost.”

I.E., Lyell spun the story that his theory was correct, but the ‘facts’ that would prove it hadn’t yet been found. A couple of decades’ later, Darwin trotted that trick out again – and modern evolutionary scientists are continuing to razzle dazzle the unsuspecting public with it – by claiming that his theories were also true, but the facts that would prove it (most notably in the fossil record) simply hadn’t turned up yet.

Guess what: It’s now 150 years’ later, and they still haven’t turned up, not for the theory of uniformity, and not for the theory of evolution.

But that won’t stop many, maybe even most ‘scientists’ trying to fit every piece of information they discover into these two hugely deceitful boxes, and discarding anything that doesn’t fit the twin paradigms of uniformity and evolution.

Why should you care about all this stuff? How is it affecting you, and your life?

Great question!

In a nutshell, uniformity – the principle that nothing ever really changes, and that the earth must be incredibly, unbelievably old to have achieved ANY of the changes that we see in our planet, given how we see nature apparently working today – was put in place to counter a belief in what came to be known as ‘catastrophism’.

As the name suggests, ‘catastrophism’ suggests that enormous changes, enormous catastrophes, even ‘extra-terrestial’ catastrophes took place even in the recent past, and could easily happen again at any moment.

Let’s be clear that the fossil record, the archeological records and the geological records ALL bear this out. Let’s also be clear that our own Torah, and the midrashim, and other holy Jewish writings also state this explicitly (and you can remind yourself of some of those sources HERE.)

What was Noah’s flood, and the plagues of Egypt, and the dispersion of the builders of the Tower of Babel, if not enormous natural disasters that directly affected mankind all over the planet?

Do you know how many smashed animal fossils have been found in rock strata, crevices and caverns all over the world? Do you know how many ‘underwater’ forests there are, when dry land became the sea and vice-versa? Do you know how many deposits of marine fossils have been found on the tops of the highest mountains? Do you know that many scientists believe that the range of mountains that includes Everest is less than 4,000 years old, because that’s what the geological and scientific evidence actually shows, when all the lies are cleared out the way?

——

Unless you’re really researching this issue, you’ll have no idea, and you’ll for sure believe that the world is 4.5 billion years old (at least….)

– although as we mentioned, even that amount of time is not enough for an amoeba to morph into…anything, actually.

But the ‘scientifically’ minded gentlemen back in Victorian London weren’t interested in proving the Torah right, or proving God’s existence – quite the opposite – which is why their scientific theories went all-out to try to prove ‘black’ is really ‘white’ – and that’s still happening today.

Geologists will tell you that the world is billions of years’ old, because the idea that ‘something’ – call it the hand of Hashem, call it a huge, planet-sized comet – came and literally turned the world upside-down repeatedly, even in modern times, is simply too hard for them to accept.

So all the chaos and destruction and different ‘worlds’ that were created and destroyed by God – 974 times altogether, in the 2000 years preceding the creation of our world, 5777 years’ ago – is magicked billions of years’ away into the past by the collective scientific imagination that ascribes all changes to the gentle trickling of water, and the quiet accumulation of dust.

That still doesn’t describe HOW or WHY any of this stuff actually happened, but it reassures everyone that it definitely WON’T happen again. Not in our times. Not with modern science at the helm of the human endeavor.

And it banishes God, and God’s plan for humanity, firmly out of the picture.

Moshiach is coming. Global redemption is not so far away. The world is going to change, and change radically. Modern science, modern society, would have you believe that that’s all a fairy tale, and that the world will continue along the same path, just with more technological gizmos, for another 4.5 billion years…(which is maybe long enough for the atheists to evolve a brain cell that actually works and can do maths.)

But they’re lying!

We live in a world where the Himalayas appeared literally overnight! Where the world was flooded to the point of extinction in less than six weeks! Where hundreds, even thousands of different species of animals disappeared literally overnight, when hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes ripped the earth to pieces.

That could happen again, so easily.

God is so awesome.

We need to take Him, and His Torah, seriously.

And we need to know that modern science is built on a foundation of deceit, conjecture and atheism, designed to keep the public away from believing in God, and believing in the eternal truth of the Torah.

But days are coming when all the denial, all the fancy polemics, all the evolutionary theories, and belief in uniformity are going to crumble in the face of a new reality that will prove once and for all that God, and only God, is in charge – and really, He always has been.

When I’m not driving myself crazy with other things, I’ve been continuing to trawl through the Gemara sources and Tanach to see what else we can learn about how Hashem has typically used comets in the past.

Here’s some good news: There are so many instances in the Gemara where we find discussions of how Hashem used a comet to actually come and fight on behalf of his Tzaddikim / the Jews, and in this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some of those sources.

Let’s kick off with this, from Tractate Rosh Hashana, 11b, which describes how God used a ‘rogue star’ to cause Noah’s flood, aka the mabbul:

“In the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. R’ Yehoshua says: ‘That day was the seventeenth of Iyar, a day on which the constellation Kimah normally sets during the daytime – and the subterranean fountains normally become depleted.

“’But because the generation altered their practices to deviate from the natural order, the Holy One, blessed is He, altered upon them the works of creation. And He brought the constellation Kimah up during the daytime, and He took two stars from Kimah and brought a flood to the world.”

Here’s some more details about those two stars and the Kimah constellation, taken from the Artscroll notes:

“The constellation Kimah is a minor constellation located in the tail of the Lamb [i.e. connected to the ‘Aries’ constellation, which rises in the month of Nissan.]”

Why is it important to know that we’re dealing with a lamb (Aries) here?

More connections will be made when we get to the section, below, about Rebbe Nachman’s story called ‘The Bull and the Ram,’ but for now, suffice to say that the Israelites were redeemed in Nissan, the month connected to the Aries constellation, and were told to slaughter a Paschal LAMB by Hashem.

We also know that this ‘lamb’ was worshipped by the Egyptians (because remember, their pagan gods were all named for celestial bodies) – so the Jews were sending a very deep message to the Egyptians about Who really rules over the heavens.

Now, let’s skip over to Sanhedrin, 95b, where the Sages are discussing how Sancheiriv’s army was miraculously killed by Hashem as they camped outside the Jerusalem city walls on the eve of Pesach. (There’s that Nissan / lamb thing going on again!):

“The wicked Sancheiriv came upon the Jews with an army…The Gemara adds that this was not the only time a force so vast was marshaled against the Jews. And so they came upon Abraham, and so they are destined to come with Gog and Magog.”

According to the Maharsha:

“The three enemy forces mentioned here – Sancheiriv’s army, the army of the four kings and Gog and Magog were all defeated through clearly miraculous circumstances. Furthermore, all three wars represent turning points in world history.”

The Gemara continues:

“And an angel of Hashem went forth and slew one hundred and eighty five thousand of the campy of Assyria, and they arose in the morning, and behold they were all dead corpses….With what did [the angel] strike them? R’ Eliezer says: [The angel] struck them with its hand…The Jews who witnessed the splitting of the Sea saw the same hand that was destined to punish Sancheiriv.”

The Gemara is setting up a link between the ‘modus operandi’ God used to bring about the miracles of the Exodus, and the punishment of Pharoah’s army, and the way Sancheiriv’s army was miraculously killed. What is that ‘modus operandi’? Read on.

The Gemara then puts forth different options for how the angel Gabriel (God’s agent for this purpose) killed the Assyrians, with one saying that ‘Gabriel breathed into their nostrils and they died’, while others saying that ‘Gabriel clapped his hands and they died’.

Elsewhere in the Gemara, we’re taught that Nadav and Avihu died the same way that Sancheiriv’s army died. How did they die? They were electrocuted! The descriptions above also accord with the idea that ‘something’ disturbed the static electricity held in the dielectric air of our atmosphere, and channeled it down in a way that it electrocuted literally hundreds of thousands of Assyrians.

In 96a, the Gemara tells us:

“With reference to Abraham’s war against the four kings, Scripture states: And at night, he and his servants deployed against them and struck them etc….R’ Yitzhak Nafcha said:…the implication is that ‘night acts’ were performed on behalf of Abraham (i.e. the very stars in the sky fought on his behalf.)”

TO SUM UP WHAT WE’VE LEARNED SO FAR:

  • The stars came and ‘fought’ for Avraham against the four kings
  • There’s a link between how the four kings were miraculously defeated, how Sancheiriv’s Assyrian army was miraculously killed (on Pesach Eve), and the future war of Gog and Magog.
  • There’s also a link between Sancheiriv’s defeat and the events of the Exodus – with the ‘same hand’ being used to punish the Assyrians and the Egyptians.
  • We’re explicitly told that God took two stars from the ‘Kimah’ constellation to cause the mabbul
  • The Kimah constellation corresponds to the month of Nissan, and Aries, the Ram.
  • We know that the Exodus occurred in Nissan, and that the miracle involving Sancheiriv was also Nissan (erev Pesach).
  • We also know that there is a famous teaching that the Jews will be redeemed in the future, too, in the month of Nissan.

OTHER TIMES THAT HASHEM USED ‘COMETS’ TO COME AND FIGHT FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE

Now, let’s head over to Tractate Brachot, 58a, where there are some more connections to be made. There, it says (talking about Hashem’s power):

“Who performs great deeds that are beyond comprehension…and the strength – This is a reference to the Exodus from Egypt, for it is stated regarding the Exodus: Israel saw the great hand etc. And the splendor – This is a reference to the sun and the moon, which stopped for Joshua, as it is stated: Then the sun stood still and the moon stopped… even everything in heaven and earth – This is a reference to the battle against Sisera, for it is stated regarding that battle: From heaven they fought; the stars from their courses, etc [fought against Sisera.]”

That same section of the Gemara then goes on to talk about the fall of Rome, the war against Amalek and the war of Gog and Magog.

What the Gemara in Brachot seems to be telling us clearly is that:

  • God regularly moves stars out of their regular orbits, and the celestial bodies to fight against the Jews’ enemies.
  • When this occurs, it’s often referred to in Scripture as ‘the great hand’ of Hashem.
  • This ‘great hand’ showed up at the Exodus; when Joshua fought the Caananite nations; and when Deborah the Prophetess fought against Sisera.
  • There is a connection between these events, and future events including the fall of Rome, the final disappearance of Amalek and the war of Gog and Magog.

———

MORE REFERENCES TO THE ‘KIMAH’ CONSTELLATION

In case the links weren’t starting to come into sharp enough focus, in the very next section, Brachot 58b, the Gemara then starts talking about comets, the ‘Kimah’ constellation, and the blessings a person should say when they experience:

  • Earthquakes
  • Thunder
  • Lightning and
  • Tempests (i.e. very strong winds)
  • Rainbows

As we know from THIS post, all these things start happening in abundance when a large comet approaches and starts disrupting the earth’s weather and other things.

The Gemara has a whole discussion about earthquakes in Brachot 58b, that makes it clear that earthquakes happen because God is upset about the ongoing exile of the Jewish people, and that He’s shaking the ground in sympathy, as it were, with Jewish suffering.

I.e. – the earthquakes are on our side!

What’s even more interesting, though, is the discussion about the comets and the Kimah constellation. The Gemara tells us:

“Upon seeing the Zikin, one says Blessed are You… Whose strength and might fill the world…What is the meaning of zikin? It is a kochva d’shavit.

The notes explain that Rashi describes this kochva d’shavit as having a long shape, like that of a rod, while the Rambam describes it as a star with a tail – clearly, a comet.

“Shmuel said: The paths of heaven are as clear to me as the paths of Nehardea, except for the path of a kochva d’shavit, of which I am ignorant.”

The Jewish sages who codified the Gemara knew all of the heavens inside and out, as Shmuel attests. But, even they couldn’t predict the path of a comet, because (as we learnt in THIS post) a comet’s tail is always changing, and the amount of ‘drag’ it exerts on the body of the comet can radically change its course and path.

To put this another way, a comet’s course is only known to God, and is 100% affected by the actions and teshuva of the Jewish people, and mankind more generally. No-one can predict ‘comet events’ with any accuracy!

———

MORE ABOUT THE KIMAH (ARIES) CONSTELLATION

Now – no coincidence here! – the Gemara starts talking about the Kimah constellation, that we already know was responsible for the mabbul, and by inference (because it’s part of the Aries constellation that governs Nissan), probably also played a major part in whatever ‘comet’ experiences were going on at the time of the Exodus, and Sancheiriv – and maybe the other times too.

(I haven’t found any specific dates for Sisera’s defeat or Joshua’s miracle over the Ayalon valley, that we’ve seen are also associated with ‘stars’ fighting for the Jews. If you, dear reader, can help fill in those blanks, that would be amazing.)

Let’s get back to the discussion about the Kimah, and other, constellations in Brachot 58b:

 

“He makes [the constellations] Ash, Kesil and Kimah…. What is the reason for the name Kimah? Shmuel said: It is called Kimah because it looks like a hundred stars.”

In modern astronomy, ‘Kimah’ has been identified with the Pleiades star cluster.

I’m going to paraphrase the next bit, but feel free to go and look all this up for yourselves and draw your own conclusions.

The Gemara explains that the constellation ‘Ash’ is also called ‘Yotha’, and that it could either be the ‘tail of the Ram’ (i.e. Aries) or the ‘head of the bull’ (i.e. Taurus, which equates to the month of Iyar, when Noah’s flood began).

The Gemara then explains that ‘Ash’ follows ‘Kimah’ (i.e. Taurus follows Nissan) because: “When the Holy One, Blessed is He, wanted to bring a flood on the world, He took two stars from Kimah…And when He wanted to close the gap [in Kimah], He took two stars from Ash and closed it up.”

The discussion ends:

“Rav Nachman said: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will restore [Ash’s stars] to her…”

Why is this so important to know?

Because Benayahu explains that God will take the stars from Kimah, and put them back in Ash, and then create two new stars for Kimah, in fulfillment of the Prophet Isaiah’s statement about what’s going to happen when Moshiach comes and the redemption actually happens, that: “Behold, I am creating new heavens and a new earth.”

IN OTHER WORDS:

  • It appears that the time that redemption / Moshiach is going to occur, is when Kimah / Ash are ascendant (Nissan / Iyar).
  • We now know that at that time, stars will once again be moving around the heavens in weird ways – two stars will ‘disappear’ from Kimah and go back to Ash, and Kimah will then have two ‘new’ stars appear in their place.
  • The last time two stars ‘disappeared’ and then ‘reappeared’ from Kimah, Noah’s flood happened as a result.
  • If the Tzaddik of the generation, Noah, had prayed for mankind to make teshuva, the flood wouldn’t necessarily have destroyed the way it did…. So it’s still all to pray for IN 2017.

———

REBBE NACHMAN’S TALE OF THE BULL AND THE RAM

Now, let’s take a look at Rebbe Nachman’s tale of the Bull and the Ram. You can read that story for yourself HERE, but here’s the main points:

There’s a king who decreed that anyone who wanted to stay in his land would either have to stop being religious, or leave.

Some left, many stayed, and the ones that stayed become marranos, or hidden Jews.

This first king died and his son takes over. He rules with an iron hand, and his ministers start plotting to kill him. One of the ministers is a Jewish marrano, and he goes to tell the King about the plot, and saves his life.

The king then swears to give the marrano whatever his heart desires – so the marrano asks for the right to wear his tallith and tefillin in public, and openly practice as a Jew.

The king begrudgingly agrees.

This king dies and is succeeded by his benevolent son, who is really into astrology, and asks his astrologers what could destroy his children. The astrologers tell him to be careful about a bull and a ram.

This king dies, and is succeeded by his son, who also rules in a very autocratic way, and comes up with a plan to conquer the entire world without war. This son also bans all bulls and rams from his kingdom.

This king creates a statue made of gold, silver and other metals [similar to the one seen by Nebuchadnezzer in the book of Daniel] and puts it on a hill, so that ‘all seven planets shine on it’. People start asking this statue what they should do in life (i.e. worshipping it), and by way of this statue, the king conquers the whole world.

This statue only has power if the king ‘lowers the haughty and raises up the lowly’. So, the king issues a command that all the privileges, rights and rank should be stripped from the ‘worthy’ people of his realm, including the Jew’s privilege to wear his tallit and tefillin.

One night, the king has a dream, were the bull (Taurus) and the ram (Aries) signs of the zodiac are laughing at him. He wakes up extremely angry and frightened, and asks all his wise men what’s going on, and whether its connected to his family’s tradition that they could be destroyed by a bull and a ram.

One wise man speaks up and tells him about an ‘iron rod’ that can dispel all his fear, and the king takes his family and sets out to go there. BUT – the road is guarded by the angel that oversees anger, and this angel is in charge of all the destructive forces in the world. Only he knows the path to the iron rod.

When they get to this angel, he directs the King and his entourage to go on a path that passes through a fire that is so hot, that a person is burned if they get within four miles of it.

The entourage looked, and they saw kings and Jews wearing tallit and tefillin walking through this fire. When the king sees this, and against the advice of his counsellor, he decides he and his family can also cross through the fire. They are burnt to a crisp.

When then counsellor returns home and tells everyone what happened, the Marrano has this to say:

“They were destroyed because of me. The astrologers saw something, but they didn’t know what they saw. From the skin of the bull, tefillin are made. From the wool of the ram, the tzitzit tassels of the tallith are made. Therefore, because [of the tallit and tefillin], the king and his family were destroyed.

“The kings who walked through the fire unharmed have in their land Jews who wear the tallit and tefillin. But [this king] did not allow the Jews in his land to wear the tallit and tefillin, and therefore he was destroyed.”

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THE CONNECTION WITH PSALM 2

Rebbe Nachman’s story is connected to Psalm 2, which Artscroll tells us: ‘alludes to the encounter between the nations and the Messiah.’

Once again, there are a lot of ‘hints’ about what’s going to be, when the Moshiach is revealed:

“Why do nations throng and regimes talk in vain? The kings and princes of the earth take their stand and conspire together against Hashem, and against His Moshiach…He who sits in heaven will laugh at them and mock them. He will speak to them in His anger and His wrath, and terrify them….[Talking to the Moshiach]:

“You will smash them with a rod of iron, like a potter’s vessel you will shatter them. O kings, be wise, o judges of the earth, be disciplined! Serve Hashem with awe, so that you may rejoice when there is trembling.

“Yearn for purity, lest He grow wrathful and your way will be doomed, for blaze in a brief moment will His anger. Praiseworthy are all those who trust in Him.”

TO SUM UP WHAT WE JUST LEARNT FROM REBBE NACHMAN AND PSALM 2:

  • There are four ‘kings’ or kingdoms, and these correspond to the four kings who persecuted and exiled the Jews.
  • The last kingdom is Rome / Edom / Xtianity.
  • The kingdom’s astrologers have a tradition that a ‘bull and a ram’ can destroy the (non-Jewish) king and his descendants – but they don’t know how, or what it really means.
  • The non-Jewish king and his family are ultimately mislead by the angel of anger and destroyed by fire.
  • The non-Jewish kings who encourage their subjects to practice Yiddishkeit can ‘pass through the fire’ unscathed, as can practicing Jews.
  • The tallit (wool) and the tefillin (leather) are what mitigates the power of the ‘ram’ (Aries) and the ‘bull’ (Taurus).
  • The non-Jewish king and his descendants are killed because of the Marrano, i.e., the Moshiach.
  • The world’s leaders who are ‘conspiring’ against Hashem (and the Jewish people) are going to be smashed into pieces when the world starts ‘trembling’.
  • Anyone who’s at least yearning to serve Hashem properly, and to act appropriately, and to have emuna will come through the process OK. (And clearly, it also helps if they’re careful to lay their tefillin every day and wear tzitzit, if they’re Jewish men…)

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I’M NOT PRETENDING I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT ALL THIS MEANS

Or, how it all fits together. I know there are people out there with a much higher level of Torah scholarship than I possess, and I’d be very happy to get more ideas or pointers about what all this may be telling us, tachlis.

But at the end of the day, God has been pushing me to get all this stuff out there, because some clear themes are poking through that if we trust in God, or at least WANT to trust in God and to walk in His path, we’ll be OK.

That’s not my idea or my opinion – that’s the message from Rebbe Nachman, the Prophet Isaiah, the Sages of the Gemara, and many other huge Jewish leaders, too, right up to our own modern times.

Emuna and emunat Tzaddikim (which includes believing in ALIVE Torah sages, and not just in Torah sages who already passed on) are the key to being on the right side of the comet equation.