picture of a man holding a burning newspaper

When I first started hearing about the war of Gog and Magog, primarily from the autistics, more than a decade ago, I got very caught up in trying to figure out which country was ‘Magog’ and who was ‘Gog’, their leader.

It’s George Dubbya!

It’s the US!

It’s Putin and Red Russia!

It’s the European Union!

It’s the UN!

And so on and so forth.

I was like that with everything a decade ago, thinking that all the apocalyptical events and dramatic upheavals, and wars being banded about were mamash just occurring in the physical world.

When you live in Israel, which averages a small war approximately every two years, (terrorist attacks not included) it’s easy to see why.

But a few years’ ago, I started to shift away from the ‘war on the outside’ model, to realize that the war being fought by the Jewish people today is 100% internal. Gog and Magog is taking place inside of us, inside of our homes, inside our relationships, inside our communities.

Gog and Magog is a spiritual war to clarify who is on Hashem’s side, and committed to God and His torah, and who isn’t. And things are so mixed-up today that just having a beard and a rabbinic ordination, or a long skirt and a reputation for being an excellent speaker on the ‘rent a rabbanit’ circuit doesn’t prove anything, in terms of who you’re really fighting for.

Two hundred years’ ago, Rebbe Nachman wrote what’s referred to as the ‘Secret Scroll’, a scroll written in code, that described in detail what would occur before Moshiach came. That scroll has been a closely guarded secret for years, but before he died a little while back, Rav Eliezer Schick, ZTL, wrote a little about the Scroll’s contents in his book, Paolot HaTzaddik.

(You can see the full excerpt HERE).

Rav Shick revealed that there would be a terrible ‘war’ prosecuted against the nation’s leading Tzaddikim, as part of the preparations for Geula.

He wrote (my translation):

“[T]he wars of Gog and Magog will include all the machloket (disagreements) and the accusations that will be made against the true Tzaddikim, those who uncover the true will of Hashem Yitborach.

“There are people who want to eat [these Tzaddikim] alive, and who say every forbidden thing against them, and mock them a lot. And by doing this, they greatly distance Jewish souls from coming near to them, and also lengthen the duration of our bitter exile.

“And they are the brazen-faced of the generation, the people with the face of a dog [RL note: these are both code words for the Erev Rav], the soldiers of Gog and Magog, who conceal the truth, and they are the wicked people of the generation…

“It’s written in the Midrash (BeMidbar Rabba, יח:י): ‘He who is brazen-faced, and who is not ashamed in front of those who are bigger than him, and he who is a baal machloket (troublemaker), you’ll see that he is the wickedest of the wicked.”

“And if I would have known, my dear brother, what was written in the Megillat Setorim regarding these soldiers of Gog and Magog, and the people who cover over the truth, I would have fallen on my face from fear and dismay, about how this bitter exile would be lengthened by them….

If you help the true Tzaddikim, then you will bring the geula closer, and you will merit to have all the good that has been set aside for the soldiers of the House of David. [Referring to Moshiach].”

What can we take from this?

Here’s the main points Rebbe Nachman, via Rav Schick, seems to be telling us about the true war of Gog and Magog:

  • It’s spiritual. We don’t need to look for the soldiers of Gog and Magog in Russia, or on the Syrian border, because really, they’re all around us, in our homes and communities.
  • The ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ are the people who mock our true Tzaddikim and Torah scholars, and who persecute them, libel them, speak falsehoods against them and generally do anything they can to ‘eat them alive’.
  • They conceal the truth – i.e., they don’t just make innocent mistakes or wrong assumptions, they go all-out to tell lies and fabrications, and deliberately bury the truth in a web of lies, mockery and deceit.
  • They make trouble for other people.
  • They aren’t ashamed to challenge people with more mitzvot, middot, learning, knowledge or experience – which covers pretty much everything that’s happening online, and in the world today generally, one way or another.
  • They are the ‘brazen-faced’ of the generation – which is always a scriptural ‘code-word’ for the Erev Rav. (My book, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav, contains a lot more information and background supporting this point. You can buy it on Amazon, and also on the Book Depository.)

So now, what can we learn about the ‘soldiers of the House of David’, i.e. the good guys that are going to bring Moshiach and help Am Yisrael get redeemed via their struggles and efforts?

They help the true Tzaddikim.

In World War II, Switzerland liked to make a big show of its famous ‘neutrality’. Really, they were in the Germans’ back pocket, and were happy to stow away as much stolen wealth, artworks and museum pieces as the Germans could send them, in return for being left alone and not officially invaded.

World War II showed Switzerland’s true moral colors, despite all its posturing of impartiality and ‘not taking sides’, and they weren’t pretty.

Today, I think many of us are trying to follow the Swiss template in the war of Gog and Magog, and to sit on the sidelines keeping out of the action and continuing to live the good life, while our Tzaddikim and the other good people in our midst get taken out by the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’.

  • Like the soldier who killed a terrorist in Hevron, and got sent to prison for 9 years to show how ‘just’ Israel is to the rest of the world…
  • Like the IDF Rabbi who is being hounded in the press for correctly stating what halacha is, and correctly quoting the Torah…
  • Like Rav Berland, and others, who have been hounded, persecuted, chased and vilified for years, by people who are anti-Torah and anti-God.

You want to be Switzerland?

Go right ahead – I’m sure that wherever those Swiss bankers ended up, there’s always room for more people to join them.

But if you want to really bring Moshiach and the geula, then you’re going to have to fight for them.

You’re going to have to throw your hat in the ring with the ‘soldiers of King David’, and start sticking up for God and his Torah and his Tzaddikim, even when it’s really uncomfortable or scary to do that.

The Vilna Gaon famously wrote about the Erev Rav that we have to split off from them, and not follow their path and their ways. And that if someone didn’t manage to do that – i.e., they wanted to continue being ‘Switzerland’, spiritually – then it would be better for them if they’d never been born.

All week, we’ve been seeing the latest episode of ‘Gog and Magog’ playing out in the world. On one side, Rav Berland, Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Dov Kook, Rav David Abuchatzeira and a bunch more Tzaddikim (both known and more ‘hidden’). On the other: the press, and the government, and the mocking, slanderous, emotionally-abusive people who like to jump in and comment on things they know nothing about.

I think it’s getting clearer and clearer which side is the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ and which side is the ‘soldiers of King David’.

And the war is still going on.

If you want Moshiach and redemption, help our true Tzaddikim! Get up and be counted. Don’t let the soldiers of Gog and Magog completely dominate the battlefield.

There’s big things at stake here. ‘Switzerland’ can’t exist in a world that’s only truth. But remember, the main weapon of a Jew is prayer. If it’s too scary to take on the crazy lunatics in the world, then at least start praying for the good guys to win, or give some tzedaka to the people who are waging the war on our behalf.

Start saying Tikkun HaKlali. Start talking to God every day. Start rooting out the ‘soldiers of Gog and Magog’ that are hiding out inside every single one of us. Do your bit!

And if you – and me, and as many other people as possible out there in the world – do that, then good will win out sooner rather than later, Moshiach will come now, and the war of Gog and Magog will finally be over.

Once you start to dig a little deeper, past the superficial, God-less way most of the world sees life and the events occurring within us and around us, so many things start to fall into place in an awe-inspiring way.

Most days, I have at least one moment when I think to myself: God is a genius!

The wisdom in creation is so awe-inspiring, and nowhere more so than in the area of human health. As I’ve been piecing together how things appear to be working, health-wise, it’s given me more and more appreciation for Yiddishkeit, and also for Breslev, because Rebbe Nachman set so much of this stuff down even 200 years’ ago, just we didn’t know what it was we were being told.

(OK: I didn’t know what it was we were being told – I’m sure the Breslev Tzaddikim haven’t had that problem, and are still so far ahead of the game it’s scary.)

I’m not pretending I know how it all fits together 100%, because I don’t. But I’m still trying to share what I’m learning as I’m going along, as it’s helping me so much to get a handle on so many of the challenges I’m dealing with in life, and I hope that it might also do that for other people.

So today’s slice of insight is this: why we are all going bonkers, and how it’s connected to working on our middot (isn’t everything?) plus climate change, plus geula and Moshiach.

First, some very basic background on how the human body works:

  • The human body is a bio-electric liquid crystal.

Physiologically, the human body conducts electricity like a liquid crystal. Every cell is polarized (i.e., it has a positively charged ‘end’ and a negatively charged ‘end’) and a great deal of the communication that happens within our bodies occurs using bioelectricity.

Think of it this way: when the cells change from being negatively or positively charged (or vice-versa) it’s like they flick a switch off or on – kind of like morse code – which signals different chemicals to be produced, different hormones to start coursing through the body, and different biological processes to begin or end.

  • Emotions and thoughts affect the body mamash like chemicals

You feel happy? That triggers a whole bunch of bio-electrical impulses and chemical responses within your body, that directly affect your PHYSICAL health, as well as your sense of wellbeing. Each emotion we feel triggers a different set of bio-electrical impulses and chemical responses, and the negative emotions and thoughts – if they’re chronic – can literally disrupt the healthy functioning of the body’s bio-electrical impulses, leading to ill-health and disease.

Negative emotions and thoughts can also LITERALLY change the way the brain is hardwired, leading to so-called ‘mental illnesses’, and physical health issues.

Here’s where we really start to get into the ‘God is a genius!’ stuff, because now that we know that God is using bio-electric impulses in our bodies to regulate our physical and mental health, we can also see that the more bad middot and negative emotions we have, the more mental and physical illnesses we will have to deal with.

Bad middot and negative emotions act as ‘blockages’ on the line, preventing the right messages from being passed on, skewing chemical transmission within the body by getting the lines crossed, and starting or stopping the internal processes necessary for human health in a very unhelpful way.

The more we work on uprooting our bad middot, and dealing with our negative emotions in the way God intended (which is NOT to just ignore them, go into denial or try to medicate them away) – the healthier we’ll be, body, mind and soul.

The more bad middot etc we have, the more ‘blockages’ and weaknesses we have in the bio-electric circuit that is the human body.

  • Electromagnetism can ALSO affect our thoughts, emotions and health from ‘the outside in’

So now, we hit another ‘God’s a genius!’ patch, because external sources of electromagnetism, energy and radiation can also affect our thoughts, emotions and health.

If the electromagnetism we’re experiencing from the outside world goes up or down – as it does all the time, as a function of the earth interacting with the different planets and stars God created in the universe – that will also spark off ‘bio-electrical’ signals inside of us to think, act or feel certain ways.

It’s like those days when ‘everyone’ feels inexplicably more down than usual, or more stressed, or more antsy, or more angry, or even, more giddily happy and optimistic.

What’s occurring is that God is manipulating our environment – with a Nibiru, or a solar storm, or a Haley’s comet, or a thinned-out atmosphere, or even with a microwave oven or an i-Phone – to program our bio-electric circuit to start experiencing a different set of feelings, emotions or thoughts.

This is what’s commonly known as a ‘ruach’ in our holy writings, and the phenomena is referred to by many of our sages. Eg, most of us have heard of a ‘ruach shtut’ or ‘spirit of madness’ that is described as somehow ‘entering’ people from the outside, causing them to act bonkers. This is what it’s talking about.

The ARIZAL once told his main student, Rav Chaim Vital, that in a few months’ time he was going to encounter a period of time when he’d feel extremely worthless and ‘bad’ about himself. The ARIZAL told his student: “It’s just a ruach that’s being sent down to the world! Don’t pay it any attention!”

And these different types of ruach are being sent down to planet earth all the time, as tests and measurements of character.

Which bring us to the next key point:

  • God is bringing all our bad middot to the fore at the moment, by way of atmospheric changes (including things like Nibiru); plus man-made sources of electro-magnetism including wi-fi, cell-phones and powerlines.

We’ve just hit the part where we can hopefully start to understand why so many people are literally starting to go bonkers.

It’s like this: When Moshiach and geula rolls around, we’re told that God will kill the yetzer hara, or evil inclination.

There’s also suggestions that anyone that isn’t ‘prepared’ spiritually for Moshiach will not make it into the time of redemption. And what’s the main preparation we need to make? We need to work on eradicating our bad middot, and upping our emuna, or belief in Hashem.

Now, we can see how all this starts to slot together (because like I mentioned, God is a genius.)

As covered in a previous post, the world is going to change physically when Moshiach comes (albeit these changes will roll out over time and they won’t be immediate). The atmosphere will change; the amount of energy we get from the sun and other planetary objects is going to change; the amount of electromagnetism rolling around the planet – and sparking off biological effects in the human body – is going to change.

If we still have bad middot ‘blocking’ our internal circuitry, our bodies literally won’t cope with these changes – they’ll be overwhelmed, flooded, backed-up, fried-out etc by all the increased energy, radiation and electromagnetism.

Instead of being able to harness the extra energetic input to live longer and healthier lives and to serve Hashem (and probably do some other ‘miraculous’ things, too) – it’s going to make us implode.

It’s not a ‘punishment’, it’s just a consequence of not doing the work to get our system ready, the way God has instructed us.

So now, what’s happening specifically today?

God is playing around with the atmosphere in a way that’s designed to ‘press’ as many bad middot buttons as possible, and to bring them out of hiding so we can deal with them properly, and uproot them.

That’s why there’s such heaping doses of things like despair, depression, anger, paranoia, fear, anxiety, guilt, hatred, worry etc etc going around.

God is creating a bio-electrical environment that’s perfectly designed to trigger those middot off, in anyone that has them.

Why is He doing this?

So that we can recognize the problem, and work on eradicating our bad middot ahead of Moshiach and geula, so that we’ll be able to cope with the enormous physiological (and spiritual…) changes that will occur at the period of time, and stay alive.

THERE’S JUST ONE PROBLEM:

So many of us are still not doing the work!

Instead of working on our emuna more, and including God more in our lives, and digging deeper to get to the real roots of our emotional, mental and physical illnesses, we’re buying all the God-less (and completely unproven, scientifically) pap about ‘chemical imbalances’ causing the problems; or pills and surgery being the answer to all our physical health woes.

(I go into this stuff a whole lot more in my books, especially Talk to God and Fix Your Health, which you can buy on Amazon and also on the Book Depository, so I’m not going to rehash it here.)

The basic idea is this: things like antidepressants turn off the warning lights – i.e. you don’t FEEL so bad any more, or so depressed, or so anxious – but really, the bioelectrical processes and blockages causing you to feel that way are STILL CONTINUING unchecked.

The block is literally still there in the liquid crystal that is your body, and hasn’t been dealt with. When Moshiach shows up, that’s going to be a huge problem.

But even if people aren’t trying to medicate their heightened emotional states away, they’re still not dealing with them properly.

(BH, I’ll cover how to deal with bad middot properly in a future post, but be reassured it’s really not so hard, as God is doing most of the work.)

Despite rising evidence to the contrary, they continue to insist that they’re NOT angry, or unhappy, or despairing, or obsessed with money and status, or trying harder and harder to control every little detail about their lives (because that’s what happens when God is out of the picture.)

And then, these blockages start to implode in a million different ways, manifesting as eating disorders, depression, rage fits, narcissism, and then on to physical illnesses too, like kidney stones (fear), gallbladder issues (hatred), liver problems (self-hatred and guilt), heart problems (anger) etc etc etc.

TO SUM ALL THIS STUFF UP:

God is using energetic forces in the world, like electromagnetism and radiation, to affect the ‘liquid crystal’ that is the human body, and to bring our attention to the fact that we all have a lot of bad middot that are mucking-up the way we’re meant to function, across all three levels of body, mind and soul.

Those forces could be the gravitational pull of a ‘Nibiru’, a solar flare, or even more prosaic things like i-Phones (which could also explain another dimension to WHY internet and i-Phones are having such a bad moral effect on so many people).

He’s doing that because He wants us to WORK ON FIXING OUR BAD MIDDOT, and learning more emuna.

If we do that, we’ll remove the energetic ‘blockages’ that our bad middot are creating in our bodies, and then we won’t implode when Moshiach shows up, and the world changes in some very dramatic physical, geological and spiritual ways.

Hopefully, we’ll talk some more about HOW to work on the bad middot, as it’s really the key to everything.

But in a nutshell, THAT’s why we’re all going bonkers.

A couple of weeks’ back, my husband told me that he’d heard rumors that another massive prayer rally was being organized in Hevron for the 4th of July (this Monday night).

At that time, I was a little puzzled: things had been pretty quiet in Israel for a good few months already, since the last time Rav Berland asked for a prayer rally in Hevron.

The following day after that prayer rally, there was the huge terrorist attack in Belgium – but things in Israel suddenly (and miraculously….) quietened down.

And it stayed quiet for months. Until a couple of weeks’ back when Arab terrorists shot up the café in Tel Aviv, killing four people.

Hmm.

Last week, a last minute message went around that they were holding an impromptu prayer gathering at the Kotel ahead of Rav Berland’s court hearing in South Africa, which would have hopefully seen the Rav returning back to Eretz Yisrael, bringing geula with him (as stated by a number of tzadikim and kabbalists, including Rav Dovid Kook).

Hmm. That’s strange, I thought to myself.

Why have a prayer gathering now, plus another one next week in Hevron, after the hearing?

A few days’ later, things are already in much clearer focus. The South African judge refused to free Rav Berland – and that same day 13 year old Hallel was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist who broke into her home in Kiryat Arba and murdered her in her own bedroom.

You could literally feel the heaviness in the air after that news broke, because it was bad enough that it happened. More than bad enough. But what made it worse is that it felt like it’s all kicking off again.

A little later, there was another stabbing attack in Netanya, with two wounded.

Motzash, I found out the terrible news that there had been another shooting in the Har Hevron hills again, killing a father of 10 and badly wounding his wife, and also injuring two kids.

By this stage of the game, it seems like all we can do is pray for God to turn things around and have mercy on us, because it’s becoming clearer each day that the terror doesn’t stop because of anything the Government is doing to help us: it’s all spiritual.

When Am Yisrael makes more collective teshuva, the terror stops. When we backslide, it starts again.

The point is, that this time last week I really had no idea why Berland had called for a prayer rally tomorrow in Hevron. I mean, the terrorism stopped! It’s been quiet for months! Who’s going to show up, Monday? These were all the things that I thought.

Now, I can see yet again how the real Tzaddikim in our midst can literally predict the future. It seems obvious that Rav Berland knew that the terrorism was going to start again, and he prepared the ‘balm’ – i.e. the prayer rally – before the blow.

This whole year it’s been unchartered waters. On the one hand, the stage seemed set for Moshiach to show up at the beginning of the year. But as the days have turned into weeks and then months, and things don’t seem to have changed it’s hard to know what’s going on, or even to guess about what’s around the corner.

At least, for me.

But not for the first time, the events of the last few days have proven yet again that when you’re a Tzaddik of Rav Berland’s calibre, you really can predict the future. Just as the Rav stated there would be a third intifada when everything was quiet – and no-one listened – seems he knew the Arab violence would flare up again this week, too.

When someone has the sort of track record for accurately predicting the future that Rav Berland has, maybe we should start to listen him about other things, too? Like the fact that Moshiach is only going to come when we actually stop obsessing over things like Nibiru and start to focus on clearing up our bad middot instead?

Or, that the only reason he had to go into exile in such shameful circumstances was because there was an outstanding Heavenly decree giving Iran permission to nuke Eretz Yisrael, unless something was done pronto to change it?

Rav Berland left more than three years’ ago now.

Many people, including some of our leading kabbalists, have been telling us for more than year that Iran already has a nuclear weapon. Have you stopped to ask yourself what’s preventing them from using it, or why Iran’s nuclear bomb has stopped making front-page news recently, when it’s been a staple feature of Israeli news for the last decade or so?

Have you wondered WHY the arabs stopped trying to stab us for a few months, or why they haven’t started blowing up buses again, or using their tunnels, or sending rockets over from Gaza and Lebanon again?

What’s stopping them?

If you think it’s something the government or the army is doing, then you clearly don’t live in Israel.

Doesn’t it strike you as weird that the very same day the Rav’s return to Israel got pushed off again, the Arab terrorism kicked off again?

Our teshuva (or lack of it…)  is what’s making all the difference, together with the mesirut Nefesh of our Tzaddikim, like Rav Berland, who has been sitting in a dregs-of-the-earth prison in South Africa for the last three months just to atone for our sins, while people who should know better continue to slander him all over the internet.

It’s a strange world we live in, that when autistic Jews start predicting the end of the world and ‘death stars’ that we all sit up and listen, and give them maximum respect and attention. But that when a Gadol HaDor tells us that our lack of Teshuva, and the terrible things we’re doing online, is bringing down one harsh decree after another, forcing him into exile to try and fix the problem – no-one wants to know.

Waiiiit a minute: this man isn’t autistic!!! How could he possibly be able to predict the future just by learning Torah 24/7, sacrificing himself repeatedly for Am Yisrael, and taking on all sorts of terrible things upon himself, including being falsely accused and slandered all over the world?

But at this stage, Rav Berland’s track record is so much more compelling than the autistics, and also much more hopeful: Do Teshuva, and everything will turn out fine. And Teshuva doesn’t have to be a big deal, even: just look for the good in yourself and others, stop speaking badly about people, and instead, start talking to God every day.

And that way, Nibiru will stop being a problem. The Arabs will stop killing Jews. And we’ll finally get what we’re telling everyone we really want:

Moshiach, redemption and an end to the madness.

One day, a shiny new van drove up to the small hamlet of Yidville, and a very fit, muscular, tanned man in tennis whites stepped out, with a large statue under his arm.

He strolled over to one of the local parks, set his shiny, black statue up in the middle of one of the grassy areas, and began to casually toss a stone or two in its direction.

One of the friendlier residents of Yidville came over to say hello, and to ask him what he was doing.

“This?” replied the man, tossing another stone at the statue. “Man, this changed my life! Before I started doing this, I had all sorts of aches and pains, and I just couldn’t breathe good. But once I started doing this – well, all my problems cleared up, I grew five inches taller and I developed 28 inch biceps overnight!”

The Yid couldn’t help but be a little impressed, but was also a little puzzled:

How could throwing stones at a statue have so many health benefits?

As the man continued to toss his stones, he explained:

“It’s all about posture, man. And self-control. And balance. See this stone? It looks to you like I’m just tossing it around, casual-like. But really, I learned how to throw stones like this up a mountain in Tibet for five years. Once you learn how to throw the stone right, you’ll see how you just start to feel so darned great!”

Convinced, the yid started learning with the successful stranger how to properly throw stones to Marculis – purely for exercise reasons – and very soon, the stranger had opened his own ‘Throw a stone to Marculis’ studio in Yidville, and was selling branded clothing and a throw-a-stone-to-Marculis line of soft furnishings.

All was well, until a little while later another shiny new van drove up to Yidville and stopped in the centre of town.

A supermodel-type lady got out, tucked a lithe white statue under her arm, and strolled over the local park.

She’d heard about the success of the ‘Throw a stone to Marculis’ studio, and she wanted a piece of the action, too. Her exercise routine was called ‘Ba’al Peor’, and it involved regular rounds of colonic irrigation and other things too complicated for mere plebs to understand.

The people of Yidville crowded round, keen to learn what this latest innovation in holistic health would do for them.

“Laydees,” she drawled, “I used to be FAT!” A gasp erupted from the crowd. “And POOR!” another gasp. “And SOCIALLY INEPT!!!” Now, people were really shocked.

“But then, laydees, I discovered this ‘Ba’al Peor’ exercise routine, and it completely changed my life! I lost 40 lbs in a day and a half, I won the lottery, and then I started to make tons of friends, when I put out my ‘Ba’al Peor Holistic Healing’ home-play DVD. And now, for just $1000 a month, I’m willing to teach you how to access these AMAZING health benefits too!”

Well, that sounded like a deal that was just too good to turn up, so the laydees of Yidville eagerly signed up for ‘Ba’al Peor Flow’ classes, and happily subscribed to the ‘Ba’al Peor Living’ magazine, when the first edition came out just in time for Rosh Hashana.

Things settled back down in Yidville – everyone was happily congratulating each other on discovering their AMAZING exercise routines, which contained so much INCREDIBLE wisdom for living the good life, and kept them so busy they didn’t have time for their more traditional pursuits like praying or learning Torah.

But this stuff was so much more FUN!

The men happily compared the bulging biceps they’d earned from spending 10 hours a day throwing stones to Marculis, while the women couldn’t wait to try out the latest purge-and-cleanse recipe they’d just seen in Ba’al Peor Living. Man, this was the life!

A little while later, another shiny van drew up to Yidville, and yet another successful, spiritually-inclined wise person got out, this time with a bright red statue and a big packet of matches. He knew he had a tough sell on his hands, but he was the best in the business for a reason, and he’d promised the boss he wouldn’t come home until he had at least 50 people signed up for his new exercise class, called:

‘Burn your children for Moloch’.

As the locals crowded around, he made his pitch:

“Guys, this stuff is the most hard-core exercise class out there. It’s only for the best-of-the-best. A lot of people out there don’t get how burning your child for Moloch can help you develop abs of steel, get you inner peace, and triple your income in just eight minutes…”

Here, his voice dropped to a whisper, and he motioned his audience to lean in a little.

“You know why they don’t get it? Because they didn’t do their research, that’s why! They didn’t check this stuff out properly! They’re still stuck in their narrow-minded ways of doing things, and they’re scared to try new things in life! You know, throwing a stone to Marculis is for beginners. If you really want to transform your life, this is the exercise class for you!”

And to close the deal, the rep from ‘Burn your children for Moloch’ passed out some cute devotionary candles that had a really interesting smell, and a bumper sticker that bore the legend: “There is nothing wrong with playing with fire!”

Dear reader, you get to pick what happens next. Do the residents of Yidville:

  1. Vote to relocate their town to an ashram in India (purely for ‘health’ reasons)
  2. Come up with their own new exercise routine called ‘Kosher-Burn-Your-Children-For-Moloch’ – and get a rabbinic psak for it
  3. Make Teshuva and bring Moshiach and the rebuilt Beit HaMikdash

Vote for your choice in the comments section!

Front cover of one in a generation Volume 1, biography of Rabbi Berland

It’s time for setting the record straight Rav Eliezer Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia.

With all the talk of Rav Berland’s imminent return to the Holy Land, the slanderous talk, or lashon hara has unfortunately also returned with a vengeance.

In some ways, I can understand what’s going on. In this world where the media is feeding us lies and half-truths 24/7 about absolutely everything, you can kinda understand why it’s so hard for people to accept that the media tells lots of lies about lots of things, lots of times.

The media is controlled by powerful people in the world, and every single one of those powerful people has a personal agenda, and a set of vested interests, and a view of the world that they want to disseminate to the masses.

That’s a fact.

And the media in Israel is no different from the media anywhere else in the world, and you could even argue that the biases, personal opinions and vested interests are even bigger here than elsewhere.

The point is this:

In 2016, no thinking person who is interested in the truth should automatically take anything reported in the press at face value, before checking and rechecking what they’re being told.

Which brings us on to the subject of this particular post, inspired by a phone call from a friend of mine who was still struggling to believe that the media actually tells lies, or that there are powerful figures in Israel who are so against orthodox Judaism, they are willing to stoop to the lowest of levels to smear some of our biggest Tzadikim, including Eliezer ben Etia, aka Rabbi Berland.

Again, in some ways I can understand the problem: God has created the world so that the forces of good and evil are always evenly balanced, in some way. What that means in this instance is that for every ‘good’ holy Rabbi who’s being framed and persecuted for political reasons, there’s at least one ‘bad’ unholy so-called Rabbi who truly is guilty of the most appalling deeds.

So how can we know who is who, or what we’re really dealing with: an appalling miscarriage of justice, or the rightful prosecution of terrible crimes?

That’s’ what I hope to share with you, in this post. It’s going to be pretty long, as I also want to bring snippets and quotes from other places to provide enough background, context and additional information for you to start seeing the huge holes in the web of lies that has been woven around Rav Berland.

1: Who is Rav Berland (aka Eliezer ben Etia)?

Many people, especially in the English-speaking world, only heard about Rav Berland three years’ ago, when he hit the headlines. But in Israel, Rav Berland has been known as a superlative Torah scholar, devoted communal leader, and holy Rabbi for 60 years’, already.

In his early years in Bnei Brak, he had a chavruta with no less a personage than the Steipler Gaon, and he was marked for greatness in the more mainstream Yeshiva world, before he discovered the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, and forged a new path in Breslev Chassidut.

You can read more about Rav Berland’s early years and impeccable Torah credentials here:

In the 1970s, Rav Berland started a fledgling baal Teshuva movement that attracted many secular Israelis to start to explore and learn about their religious background. This was back before the baal Teshuva movement was popular, and those early figures who started reaching out to less religious people were treated with a great deal of suspicion and hostility by certain elements in the mainstream ‘frum’ world.

But that didn’t deter Rav Berland, and he slowly but surely started to build a yeshiva and community for baal teshuvas that included such modern-day luminaries as Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Ofer Erez, and Rav Tzanani, plus many, many others – before they got ‘frum’.

You read more about the early beginnings of Shuvu Banim, Rav Berland’s yeshiva and organization, HERE.

Over the years, Rav Berland forged very warm ties with many religious leaders, across the whole spectrum of Jewish society, many of whom praised him in the highest of terms.

TO SUM THIS PART UP:

Rav Berland was a Torah prodigy, and was recognized as being a superlatively holy, spiritual person from a very young age, by some of the leading figures in the religious world, including the Steipler Gaon.

He gave up all that prestige and potential honor to follow his heart towards the path of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, at a time when the frum world considered Breslev to be only for bona fide ‘crazy’ people.

A few years’ later, he again went against the tide of prevailing attitudes and frum public opinion to open a yeshiva for baalei Teshuva, and devoted his life to trying to bring more people closer to Yiddishkeit, and Rebbe Nachman. At times, his work necessitated huge amounts of self-sacrifice on behalf of his students, many of whom will happily tell you their own stories of how much Rav Berland put himself out on their behalf.

So far, this doesn’t sound like a person who’s got an abusive ‘power’ complex going on, does it?

So now, we’re starting to get into the meat of this post.

Eliezer ben Etia, and The Deal

Anyone who regularly reads ‘geula’ blogs, or the posts by the autistics will know that many figures in the Jewish world have been predicting terrible things for the Jewish people for the last decade or so.

But so far, thank God, those predictions have come to naught, despite all the wars, terrorism and intrigue Israel and the world has been caught up in. So what happened?

It’s now common knowledge among many in the Hebrew-speaking frum world that some years’ ago, there was a meeting of the three biggest Tzadikim in the country: The Baba Elazar, Rav Eliezer Berland, and the generation’s leading kabbalist (whose identify I’m not revealing out of respect to him – you’ll see why in a moment.)

These three giants each agreed to take some terrible form of suffering upon themselves, to atone for the sins of Am Yisrael, and let us have the geula the sweet way, without the terrible wars, deaths and suffering that would otherwise be required.

The Baba Elazar took it upon himself to be killed al kidush Hashem – and that’s what occurred a little while later, when he was shockingly stabbed to death in his own waiting room.

Rabbis agree: The Baba Elazar’s death saved Am Yisrael from harsh decrees

The Kabbalist took it upon himself to be exiled from Eretz Yisrael.

And Rav Berland took it upon himself to be slandered so terribly, that he would lose his good name (which is also akin to being ‘murdered’, in many ways.)

For some reason, the Kabbalist left Israel – but couldn’t cope with the ordeal of going into exile, and was forced to return. Undaunted, Rav Berland took on BOTH decrees: the decree of losing his good name, and also the decree of exile.

Years before he actually fled the country, Rav Berland was hinting to his students (and even telling them outright) that he would have to leave the country for an extended period of time, and that he would be persecuted for a number of years, in order to atone for Am Yisrael.

So many of his students heard him say this first-hand, that when it actually came to pass some years’ later, they already knew what was happening and why. This is one of the main reasons why Rav Berland’s own community have been 100% rock-solid behind him, the last three years.

The Rav’s ‘escape’ from Israel

If we next look at the truly bizarre course Rav Berland’s ‘prosecution’ has taken, we’ll also start to recognize that the whole situation is completely abnormal. For many weeks after the ‘news’ broke, the Rav left his home in Jerusalem, and was living in Beitar Illit, where he gave shiurim to hundreds of people, and received many, many visitors.

The Israeli authorities didn’t arrest him. Why not?

And why, if Rav Berland was simply a fugitive trying to escape justice, did he tell hundreds and even thousands of people where he was going?

If you take a moment to think about these questions, you’ll already start to see that the picture being painted in the media of Rav Berland doesn’t add up.

Later on, when the Rav left the country to go to Africa (again, HOW did he manage to escape being arrested at the airport, if he wasn’t receiving Divine assistance?) – we saw the same pattern again.

Within hours of him landing in Morocco, in Zimbabwe, in South Africa, in Holland, in South America, hundreds of people had been explicitly told about where he was staying and how to get messages to him, and even, how to fly out to meet him.

Again, does this sound like someone who is a) fearful of the authorities or b) simply trying to escape being brought to justice?

OR, does this sound like someone who knows he has a job to do, but also knows the parameters of that ‘job’ have been predetermined by Hashem, and who is determined to carry on serving Hashem, and his community, to the best of his ability?

When Rav Berland ‘disappeared’ from Holland – despite being under police guard – that was one of the clearest signs that he was still enjoying Divine favor, and able to pull off some out and out miracles.

When people truly are guilty of the terrible crimes being slanderously attributed to Rav Berland, they are very far away from God. God doesn’t do open miracles for people like that.

Throughout his three year exile, Rav Berland has continued to work miracles for literally hundreds of people, and you can hear many of their stories first-hand on the Knishta Hada hotline (mostly in Hebrew).

The reaction of other Tzadikim

As mentioned, there are unfortunately many scandals in the orthodox world, just as there are in every segment of society these days. Many years’ ago, I worked as a journalist on a Jewish paper, and I experienced my fair share of ‘bent’ Rabbis and the fall-out that came along with them.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had more recent experiences of very damaged individuals who are pretending to be Tzadikim. We live in a very mixed-up world, and not everyone who is a ‘Rabbi’ is a good, upright person.

BUT – when these ‘fake’ Rabbis are revealed for who and what they truly are, their support – especially amongst other religious leaders – usually dries up very fast. And even if they do continue to receive support, it’ll be ‘behind the scenes’ as opposed to being given in a public or open way. (It’s a separate post, but it’s useful to mention here that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ – true Rabbonim are normally connected to other true Rabbonim, and the reverse is unfortunately also true.)

Even after Rav Berland was publicly accused and went into exile,

ELIEZER BEN ETIA HAS ENJOYED UNWAVERING SUPPORT FROM SOME OF THE BIGGEST TRUE TZADIKIM IN THE COUNTRY.

Again, this point cannot be overstated. Tzadikim like Rav Shalom Arush, or Rabbi David Abuchatzeira, are at such a level of holiness that they can literally see straight through into a person’s Neshama.

They know if a person is telling the truth or lying, if they’re truly as good as they look, or not. Both of these Tzadikim – plus many, many more, including Rav David Kook in Tiveria, Rav Matityahu Glazerson, the Milkman plus Rav Elazar Mordechai Menser, have come out firmly in support of Rav Berland.

If he was truly guilty of the crimes he’s being accused of, this simply wouldn’t be the case.

Below, I’m bringing some of the more recent statements from these huge Rabbis, in defense of Rav Berland:

Click HERE to download an English Translation of the Knishta Hada newsletter put out by Shuvu Banim, that has many, many quotes from leading rabbis in defense of Rav Berland.

Plus some of the latest:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2016/02/02/watch-rabbi-matisyahu-glazerson-read-chief-rabbi-of-israel-yitzchak-yosefs-letter-requesting-diaspora-jews-to-host-and-accept-rabbi-berland-and-shuvu-banim/

http://shiratdevorah.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/his-return-will-usher-in-redemption.html – Rav Kook speaking about Rav Berland’s return to Israel

http://rabbieliezerberland.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/listen-to-words-of-rav-aaron-boymil-all.html – ‘All the Gedolim are praying for Rav Berland’

“Don’t think that only Anshei Shlomeinu in Breslov are praying for Rav Eliezer Berland, Shlita.  All of the bigAdmorimRabonim, and Tsadikim from the whole world are praying for the Rav, Shlita

“From Rav Shteinman to the Belz Admor, to the Gur Rebbe until Rav Kanievsky, everyone is praying for Rav Berland, Shlita, and are always interested in what is happening with him.  The gabbai of Rebbe David Abuchatzera, Shlita, called me personally last week and told me that the Rebbe wanted to know what’s happening with Rav Eliezer Berland,Shlita

“The house of Rav Shteinman called and wants to know what’s happening with HaRav.  The son of the Belz Rebbe himself called me to find out what’s going on with the Rav and said that his father wants to know.  It’s not that Rav Eliezer Berland, Shlita, is alone in the world and only his chassidim are the ones that care about him. 

“All the Gedolim of Israel from the whole world care about the Rav and are praying for him.”

If you’re casting aspersions against Rav Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia, then you’re also casting aspersion against all of these Torah giants.

This is really the crux of the issue. There is no ‘middle way’ with Rav Berland and his Rabbinic supporters. Either, they are all huge Tzadikim that know something the rest of us don’t, OR they are all swindlers trying to deceive Am Yisrael.

I can only speak for myself, but my husband studies at Rav Arush’s yeshiva every day. We’ve seen Rav Arush in a number of situations, both our own and other people’s, and Rav Arush is 100% the real deal.

Ditto for Rav Ofer Erez, another one of Rav Berland’s old-time pupils and a staunch public defender of the Rav.

Who can dare to question the integrity of people like Rav Arush? Or Rav David Abuchatzeira? Or Rav Kook? Or the hundreds of other leading religious figures who have come out publicly in support of Rav Berland?

But that’s exactly what’s happening every time someone entertains the doubt that somehow, these Rabbonim either don’t know what they’re talking about, when it comes to Rav Berland, or that they’re also somehow ‘in’ on the whole thing.

“But why would people lie, like that?”

To people who live outside of Israel, it might seem strange that the people in authority here would view an elderly Rav like Rav Berland as being as big a threat as Hamas or ISIS. But when you live here – and you don’t believe everything you read in the media as being the gospel truth – it’s very easy to see how there is a whole swathe of the ruling elite who positively loathe religious people.

And religious people who are making more Jews religious, like them, are public enemy number one.

Why?

Because religious Jews aren’t going to vote for that ruling elite. And religious Jews have big families, which means they are going to ‘take over’ the country and turn it into Jewish Iran. And religious Jews (generally…) don’t believe in diplomacy, and land-for-peace, and ‘anything for an easy life’.

In the last 20 years, the baal Teshuva scene in Israel has exploded. That’s a very worrying trend for the ‘powers that be’, and they are very happy to do whatever they can to discredit Yiddishkeit, and its leaders, in any way they can.

Rav Berland is by no means the only Rav who’s recently been falsely persecuted by the authorities, and I highly recommend you go and research this issue for yourself.

In case you’re still in doubt, this link will take you to the story of the secular chief of police who was given the ‘job’ of framing Rav Berland. He came to Rav Arush in tears a few months’ back, wanting to know how he could fix his sin, because since then he’s gone through a divorce, been involved in a number or serious accidents, and has seen his life implode.

Click HERE to read that story for yourself, and hear the recording.

Rav Berland’s prophetic powers

Last but not least, I just wanted to mention that Rav Berland predicted the current intifada many months before it began, and has successfully been ‘ahead of the curve’ in a number of ways, even while in exile.

Read what Rav Berland said about the present Intifada a year before it began

The people around the Rav have experienced many ongoing open miracles, including recently when the South African police came to arrest the Rav, turned his hotel complex upside down looking for him, but apparently couldn’t ‘see’ him as he walked down the stairs straight in front of them, and left the building.

Hundreds of other people saw the Rav leave, only the South African police couldn’t see him….

This is the same point I made earlier: God doesn’t do open miracles like this for people who are guilty of the crimes that Rav Berland is accused of.

If you want to read more true, first-hand miracle stories about the Rav, which have happened since he left Israel, I highly recommend you pay a visit to his website, and particularly the following links:

TO SUM UP:

We live in very confused upside-down times. It’s impossible for us to know who to trust, or who to believe, if we’re not talking to God every single day.

If we talk to God every day and ask Him to help us, He will clue us in about who the hypocrites in our midst truly are – and there are many of them, at all levels of religious and non-religious Jewish society.

But that’s not the only way we can know what’s true.

If we have a Rav ourselves that we KNOW is the real deal, 100%, kosher (and again, if you’re not doing hitbodedut every single day, I wouldn’t rate your chances of being able to actually know that with any certainty) – and that Rav is 100% behind Rav Berland, dayenu.

Because only someone who’s 100% connected to God can tell if someone else is 100% connected to God, which is where our emunat tzadikim really comes in.

You don’t have to believe me, because I’m nothing and no-one.

BUT – to not believe Rav Arush? To not believe Rav Kook? To not believe Rav David Abuchatzeira?

That’s a huge problem, spiritually-speaking.

So let’s end our defense of Rav Berland with this:

  • Don’t believe everything you’re told by the media.
  • Check into everything yourself – and if you don’t have firsthand evidence, proceed with extreme caution.
  • Click on the links you’ve been given here, to help you fill out more of the picture
  • Ask yourself if so many of our most holy Tzadikim would really risk their souls and reputations to publicly come out in defense of someone who was guilty of what Rav Berland has been falsely accused of.
  • Think about whether you can honestly say that you know more about what’s going on than these holy Rabbis do – many of whom spent years learning with Rav Berland, many of whom are clearly the holy of holies in their own right, and many of whom are the most straight, upright, humble and tznius people you could ever hope to meet – about what’s really going on with Rav Berland.
  • Ask yourself if God would continually do so many open miracles – both personally and communally – for a person accused of what Rav Berland has been accused for.
  • For a deeper spiritual understanding of what’s really going on with Rav Berland, read THIS.

And then, pick your side.

On one side, Rav Berland, Rav Arush, Rav Kook and Rav Abuchatzeira et al.

On the other side: A bunch of low-life politicians, bent policemen, slanderous journalists and I don’t know who else.

There is no middle ground with this issue.

So, who’s side do YOU want to be on, when Moshiach shows up?

You can buy the biography about Rav Eliezer Berland, (Eliezer ben Etia) One in a Generation Volume 1, on Amazon, and on the Book Depository. Buy Volume 2 HERE.

UPDATE:

Someone said to me the other day:

‘The real battle today, in terms of idol worship, is in healthcare. We’ve got a real fight on our hands to show people that they don’t have to rely on doctors and medicines.’

My friend is a frum Jew, very involved in trying to promote more awareness about the potential harm associated with vaccines, and is part of the more alternative health scene, with a focus on healthy eating.

But here’s the rub: the big ‘healthcare’ idol worship problem we’re up against isn’t only on the conventional side of things; it’s also very much alive and kicking in the alternative healthcare world, too – and in some ways, even more problematic.

Before I continue, here’s the definition of ‘idol worship’ that I’m working with, so we’re all nice and clear what the problem actually is:

Idol worship is any time a person thinks they can cut God out of the picture, and achieve some aim or get some benefit ‘under their own steam’.

So, if you’re sitting with a doctor or psychiatrist who’s telling you how the latest little designer pill is going to cure all your woes without any further input, effort, or prayer from you – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.

Or, if you’re sitting with some meditation guru, who’s telling you how saying ‘om’ and emptying your mind completely of all thought is going to cure all your woes (again, without any further input, effort or prayer from you) – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.

As you’re probably working out for yourselves, idol worship is currently happening all over the place, from your dentist, to your reflexologist, to your macrobiotic diet expert, to your OBGYN, to your acupuncturist and your pediatrician.

The world is full of health ‘experts’, alternative and mainstream, physical and mental, Jewish and otherwise, who are trying to tell you that they can cure you, heal you, make you better, while God is completely out of the picture.

But while conventional medicine is only messing things up at the level of the body, or the Nefesh, which is the lowest and most coarse of the five levels of our soul, many alternative practices work on the principles of energy medicine, which tap right into the higher levels of the soul, namely the Ruach and Neshama.

To put this a little more clearly, Western medicine can (and often does…) kill your body. Alternative medicine can (and often does…) kill your soul.

There are three ‘cardinal sins’ that a Jew is meant to die, instead of transgressing: murder, idol worship, and sexual immorality.

If ‘murder’ is what Western Medicine specializes this (and please read THIS if you think I’m being overly dramatic, here) – then the other two are definitely the professional reserve of the alternative health world.

When God is out of the picture, for example, then you start getting all sorts of just plain evil messages about health and happiness being directly connected to your reproductive organs. Louise Hay, founder of the alternative health empire Hay House, regularly advises people to pleasure themselves as a ‘release’.

Spiritually, wasting seed is probably the worst thing you can do, in terms of destroying the world and fuelling the forces of evil (if you don’t know why, THESE ARTICLES set the problem out, very clearly).

But when God is out of the picture – hey, what do you care?

Even yoga, that kosher pig of a discipline, is very focused on reproductive energy. There’s all this talk about harnessing something called ‘kundalini’ energy, which is described as being a very powerful, ‘snake-like’ energy, that’s coiled at the bottom of the spine.

Hmm. SNAKE-ENERGY, anyone? Am I the only one picking up this clue?

Yoga journals are replete with stories of regular yoga fans who got zapped by a massive dose of ‘snake-energy’ and never recovered their mental or physical health, as a result. This stuff is dangerous, because it’s working at a much higher level of the soul, but still disconnected from God.

Maybe, the rest of the world can handle it better because their souls don’t have the huge spiritual potential of a Jewish soul. But for Jews, when their healthcare gets disconnected from God, that’s a disaster.

Because (and here I’m going to shout, sorry) NOTHING IS NEUTRAL IN THE WORLD.

Either something and someone is attached to God, and coming from a good place, or they’re disconnected from God, and coming from a bad place.

I will write more on this separately, as I experienced something recently (well, quite a few things actually) that really brought this point home to me in a very clear way.

If you asked me what’s better: go Western, and risk killing the body, or go Eastern, and risk killing the soul – at this stage, I really don’t know what I’d suggest.

But one thing I can tell you for sure, even at this stage of trying to figure it all out: If you don’t put God in your own personal picture, your chances of staying happy, healthy and holy are pretty much zilch.

And if that doesn’t scare you into doing at least a little bit of hitbodedut, at least a little bit of the time, then I don’t know what will.

  • If you’d like to find out how to approach holistic healthcare in a spiritually-safe, authentically-Jewish way, pick up a copy of my book: Talk to God and Fix Your Health: The Real Reasons Why We Get Sick, and How to Stay Healthy, on Amazon, or the Book Depository.

This Pesach, you can see that all the headlines of the ‘next intifada’ that the press has been steadily churning out over the last few months have taken a real toll on certain parts of the country.

Downtown Jerusalem, and particularly the Old City, have been unusually quiet for months, and even the recent ‘Sounds of Jerusalem’ street festival appeared to have had limited success in coaxing scared visitors back to Israel’s capital city. (That said, it was also unusually cold and rainy weather a couple of weeks’ ago, and if there’s one thing that Israelis fear more than a Palestinian terrorist, it’s getting caught in a downpour.)

The fear is also hitting places like Hevron, too, which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for weeks leading up to Pesach.

Most people have heard about the story of the soldier who ‘eliminated’ a terrorist a bit too permanently for the government’s liking, and ended up getting a very stiff prison sentence that could keep him behind bars for almost a decade (!)

So in people’s minds, ‘Hevron’ has unfortunately become synonymous with terrorism, and feels far too scary to visit at the moment.

This morning, I got in my regular Hyundai i20, (without rock-proof windows or bullet-proof body work) and I drove the regular route down Road 60, through Gush Etzion, straight down to Hevron. The hills were green and gorgeous, the ride was very peaceful (thank God) – and the Cave of the Patriarchs was the most quiet I’ve seen it in ages.

Normally, the town council for Kiryat Arba and Hevron put on a park and ride service, where you park your car in Kiryat Arba, and then take a five minute bus journey to the tomb of the Patriarchs, at the center of Hevron.

Normally, the car parks are full of hundreds of cars, but today – hardly any. Now, in fairness we did set out pretty early for Hevron, and we didn’t stay very long – I left by 10.30am. But it still struck me that people are scared to visit – and that’s a real shame, because Hevron is as safe as any where else in the world right now, appearances notwithstanding.

I know we hear about the stabbings and all the other things going on in Israel far more than we do about the attacks, assaults and murders happening in the rest of the world, so I came back determined to try to write something that would provide a little perspective on the wave of terror hitting Israel, to underline that this country is still just about as safe as it comes.

For example, if you take a look at the crime figures for February 2016 released by the Metropolitan Police (the police force responsible for enabling the citizens of London and Greater London to sleep ‘safely’ in their beds at night), you find the following scary statistics:

There were just under 5,000 reported cases of criminal damage and arson; just under 300 people arrested for possessing weapons (including knives and guns); and more than 25,000 (no, that’s not a typo) violent and / or sexual offences committed on London’s streets.

How about New York?

Well, the latest stats for NYC show that there were 8 murders in the last week, (and 19 in the last month); 25 shooting victims (involving 22 separate shooting incidents) in the last week, plus 360 violent assaults, and a whole bunch of other nasty things going on.

Now, what about Israel, even in the middle of its wave of terror? According to the official statistics from the Israeli government, by March 27, 2016, the picture looked like this

Since 13 September 2015, 34 people have been killed in terrorist attacks and 382 people (including 4 Palestinians) injured.

There have been 144 stabbing attacks (including 66 attempted attacks), 85 shootings, and 42 vehicular (ramming) attacks.

Let me pause for a moment to say every single person killed, every single person injured, is a terrible, horrible tragedy, and I’m not writing this article to minimize the problem, or the suffering of the people affected, God forbid.

But what I am trying to do is to give some perspective, that even in the middle of this current wave of terror, Israel is still probably the safest place in the world, particularly for Jews.

For example, the one day of Islamic terrorism that recently occurred in Belgium killed and wounded almost as many people as all the terrorist attacks combined in Israel.

What can we learn from this?

Each person must draw their own conclusions, but this much appears to be clear: don’t avoid coming to Israel, or going to the Old City, or visiting places like Hevron because you think these places are ‘dangerous’. The streets of New York are much more violent; the suburbs of London are much more dangerous; the terrorist attacks happening abroad are much more lethal.

There are no guarantees that anywhere today is truly ‘safe’. But one thing you can be sure of God is looking after Israel, and the Jews that live here, and visit here.

And once you really start to internalize that, you stop worrying so much and you start enjoying your Pesach vacation a whole bunch more.

I just finished the book: Anatomy of an Epidemic, by Robert Whitaker,

and I was shocked at just how many lies are being told by modern psychiatrists to keep the ‘consumers’ coming to their doors for psychiatric medicines, many of which are addictive, all of which are expensive, and most of which give their users far more mental and physical health problems than they solve.

This week, I’ve written a series of detailed posts about what’s going on with big pharma and the psychiatrists over on the spiritualselfhelp.org website, and I highly recommend you take a read BEFORE you or your loved ones agree to pop any pills recommended by a psychiatrist, regardless of how ‘frum’ they may be.

The biggest lie – that to this day has still not been proven with any evidence – is that people only have mental and emotional illnesses because of chemical imbalances in their brain.

Psychiatrists started telling this lie 30 years ago because it seemed like a plausible hypothesis, and at the time their revenues were seriously dwindling because why spend a fortune on a psychiatrist when you can go to a therapist, coach or counsellor instead?

So psychiatry fought back by updating the Diagnostic and Statistician’s Manual in the 1980s, and creating literally hundreds of new mental illnesses that could be ‘cured’ by medications that only the psychiatrists could prescribe. Overnight,  they were back in business, raking in the dollars again from people eager to ‘cure’ their chemical imbalances, and able to buy that second home in Cape Cod.

There was just one problem: the chemical imbalance doesn’t exist.

For any mental illness.

So it’s all a crock of lies.

Which is why the drugs they prescribe often do far more harm than good – and as the bandwagon has gathered speed, and they’ve started inventing ‘disorders’ for children too, now, the evidence is stacking up at a terrifying rate that they are literally maiming hundreds of thousands of patients, worsening their mental health issues, cutting 20-25 years off their life expectancy, and getting them stuck in a ‘drug trap’ that’s incredibly difficult to escape.

In the non-frum world, maybe we wouldn’t expect any better. But how can it be that frum psychiatrists are pushing these drugs to their patients? How can it be that frum schools are demanding that kids be drugged-up with ineffective, dangerous Ritalin? How can it be that the frum poster people of psychiatry aren’t ashamed to tell us that depression is just like diabetes, and is caused by a chemical imbalance?

I’m by no means a medical expert, but if the information about the terrible damage psych drugs are doing to people is out there and readily available – and has been for at least a decade already – why do our frum psychiatrists not know about it?

Chazal teaches us that ‘a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise’ – and as always, they knew what they were talking about. Patients will eagerly queue up to be ‘cured’ of their chemical imbalance, but trying to get people to do the real work of examining the true causes and cures of their emotional difficulties is always a much harder sell.

Trouble is, God wants option 2. The drugs don’t work, they just make things worse. Why? Because God doesn’t want any easy options or quick fixes for that stuff, as that would kind of bypass the whole point of creation.

You can understand (maybe…) why secular psychiatrists prefer drug dealing to encouraging their patients to fulfill their spiritual potential and to put God more in the picture. But what excuse do frum psychiatrists have? (If you’re a frum psychiatrist and you’re reading this, please write in and tell me, I’d love to know your side of the story.)

And how can we, as a community, continue to sanction and even encourage the use of psychiatric drugs when they are literally destroying people, body, mind and soul?

Zyprexa makes that packet of cigarettes look positively tame, by comparison.

I know, many people are desperate for relief, and mental issues are amongst the most torturous to experience – believe me, I know! But drugs is not the answer. If they were, God would make the drugs work, and He isn’t (at least, not in the way that actually fixes the underlying problem.)

So what’s the answer? To put it very simply, we need to live the sort of lives God wants for us, deal with our emotional problems and relationship challenges honestly, and put God much more in the picture than He currently is.

Over on the spiritualselfhelp.org website, I hope to start fleshing out these ideas in much more practical depth over the next few weeks, and I’d love your feedback. We aren’t going to find the solution to mental illness in Pfizer’s laboratories; rather, we’re going to find it in personal prayer, and a courageous determination to stop living all the lies that characterize modern life, and to finally come clean about what’s really happening behind closed doors.