Recently, I’ve been having some correspondence with a reader about how easy it is to get swept up (and away…) with all the end of days stuff, to the point that you literally stop functioning in this world.
That happened to me for around long eight years, and while I do know that everything that happens is all from Hashem and all for the best, a part of me is still grinding an axe that my ‘pseudo-tzaddik’ spiritual guides didn’t step in and prevent me and my husband from getting too carried away.
Last year, one of my friends watched the video of Natan, the secular Israeli teen who died a clinical death, and who started sharing a whole bunch of stuff that he’d seen in Heaven, like foreign armies invading Israel in 2 days and Tel Aviv and Haifa getting nuked, God forbid.
My friend called me all het up, and asked me if she should quit her job and just spend her time making teshuva and preparing herself spiritually because, ya know, MOSHIACH IS COMING!!!!
And Moshiach is certainly coming, but the problem for me is that I quit my job, and my ‘regular’ life, and pretty much all I did was work on myself for eight years, which was all really good on the one hand, but on the other it’s still causing me some serious difficulties in my day-to-day finances and circumstances as Moshiach didn’t come in time to prevent me and my husband running out of cash.
This is what I told my friend last year:
“BH, work on yourself spiritually, do an hour of hitbodedut a day, make as much teshuva as you can – but don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if Moshiach wasn’t definitely coming tomorrow.”
Because the yetzer is very clever, and there are few tests of emuna bigger than turning your whole life around in anticipation of redemption, only for redemption not to show up on time and all your money to run out.
I always thought that me and my husband were pretty unique in how swept up we’d got in our fervent yearning for Moshiach. Part of why he struggled to go back to work so much was the idea that he was ‘selling out’ on the spiritual ideal of not being online, of guarding his eyes properly, of avoiding speaking to female clients. And on some level, he did sell out, but what could we do? Moshiach hadn’t shown up and we still had bills to pay and groceries to buy.
So, when a reader got in touch to tell me that she’d also recently got very swept up in all the stuff on the internet (and in other places) about the end of days and Moshiach, it made me very thoughtful. There are clearly many of us out there at the moment struggling with the balance between ‘this world’ and ‘the world to come’.
With her permission, here’s a little of what she shared:
“I am normally a very calm and rational person but I felt completely paralyzed with all of this [end of days / Moshiach stuff]. I knew I had uncovered the ultimate truth and everyone else was in total denial of the hectic state of the world and thought everything was normal.
“The Talking Bone of Ov” sounded like I was when I first heard about Nibiru and other end of days stuff. I was totally overboard freaked out and glued to the news… I caught myself before I went downhill totally but there was a low point for me when my behavior was scaring my husband a bit.
“Now, I have gotten out of the Armageddon outlook and decided to favor the rabbeim that talk about Hashem’s love for us instead…
“I feel so weird sometimes as if I am floating around, not grounded at all. I had myself 100% convinced that Moshiach would be here already and therefore assumed we wouldn’t have even celebrated Rosh Hashana this year…
“Now, I am just working on strengthening my connection with Hashem and really not going crazy about other things I’m reading on all of the geula sites other than Torah. It doesn’t serve a purpose for me anymore and I have to say it turned into something negative before when I was so deep into it as I forgot how to relate to the world and everyone around me. I walked around expecting doomsday every moment and couldn’t deal with fellow frum Jews walking around as if everything was normal. My friends were planning simchas and I couldn’t fathom them actually working out to be normal simchas. I was sort of pitying them in their oblivion. The yetzer hara at its best.
“Getting myself normalized has been a huge struggle as I don’t want to go the other way. I want my emuna to be stronger than ever and I want to approach life calmly, knowing Hashem, like always, is in charge of it all.
“It’s not a bad thing that I am into the geula – that in itself is wonderful – problem is that I drove head first right into it and I couldn’t properly relate to reality and people in the same way afterwards. That took me far away from the personal geula that we all need to do within ourselves.
“There is a Moshiach element in all of us, like the Divine spark that is part of us and like the bit of the original Adam inside us that unites us all as part of humanity… I am referring to an important part of life that is often forgotten about as we work for our daily bread. We have to look for and accept that this physical world is not all there is and elevate ourselves to actually look forward to a better world that is less and less physical and more and more spiritual.”
I can SO relate.
I got a lot of chizzuk from knowing I wasn’t the only ‘crazy’ in town who was so serious about Moshiach coming I actually made the spiritual work of preparing for Moshiach my main job for eight years. (Clearly, I’m not saying I finished.)
It’s difficult for me to know where I’m really holding these days, as while my Yiddishkeit is definitely more real, more compassionate and more grounded, it’s also more accepting of ‘the real world’. My husband is back at work, back online. I accepted my daughters need to find their own way and choose their own wardrobes. Two week’s ago, I even re-did my CV for the first time in 8 years, with the vague notion that perhaps I should stop writing such spiritual blogs and books, and get a ‘real’ job writing marketing material for some hi-tech start-up.
I’m still really stuck on that last one, as REALLY, I just want the books I’ve written to start selling in their millions, and for me to solve my cash flow problem that way.
Moshiach is definitely coming. Just I’m really not sure what I’m meant to be doing with myself now until he actually shows up. But it’s nice to know I’m not the only one wrestling with that question.