The media has been unusually quiet in their ongoing campaign against the Rav in recent months.

But that’s about to change. After two whole months of almost no negative stories about Rabbi Berland, Channel 13 has decided to do an ‘expose’ of the Rav doing pidyonot for people and advising them to avoid doctors.

What can we do?

Channel 13 clearly never read Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom, where the Rebbe warned his followers in the starkest terms:

“A physician may use many hazardous treatments and still be totally ignorant of their effect. It is not surprising that they often do more damage than good. Why depend on a natural cure when it is most likely to cause harm?…

“Doctors are agents of death and do little more. Happy is the man who avoids them and depends on God alone.”

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Channel 13 clearly also knows precisely zippy-dee-do-da about what a pidyon nefesh actually is, and what it actually does – and also why sometimes, it doesn’t work.

Rav Yaakov Selma goes through a lot of the sources from Likutey Moharan in Hebrew, below:

But in Lesson I:215 of Likutey Moharan, Rebbe Nachman tells us:

“Know: There are 24 types of pidyon nefesh, corresponding to 24 courts of justice. For each and every court, there is a unique corresponding pidyon nefesh to ameliorate its judgments. Therefore, a ransom is not always effective, since not everyone knows all 24 pidyon nefesh, and even if one does, he cannot perform them, and when one does not perform the specific ransom required by a specific court, it is not effective.

But know: there is a certain ransom that includes all the twenty-four courts of justice and is able to ameliorate [the judgments] of all the twenty-four courts….

“….Only one in a generation knows of it, and sometimes even when this tzaddik performs the ransom, it is ineffective. The reason for this is that this ransom is greatly desired Above, for such a ransom does not frequently come from below that is able to ameliorate all 24 courts simultaneously. Therefore, when this amelioration does come, it is used for other purposes, such as to make converts….[W]hen judgment and wrath are ameliorated, idolatry is ameliorated and people convert.”

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Of course, the secular journalists at Channel 13 who hate the Torah-observant world and everything it stands for aren’t fully conversant with Chassidic thought and Likutey Moharan, and they are also part of this huge, Godless conspiracy being pushed on us all that people are 100% in charge of their own health, and their own destiny.

If Channel 13 would do an expose of all the iatrogenic illnesses and deaths occurring in Israel’s hospitals, then we’d very quickly see who the real ‘killers’ are, who are freely walking around the country.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who have been killed or maimed by the treatment they received from doctors.

Like the woman who was talked into having a replacement knee, but wasn’t told she’d need pain-killing injections every month for the rest of her life… Like the woman who had her stomach cut out because of cancer, and then was bombarded with round after round of chemotherapy, only to die shortly afterwards in excrutiating agony from all the surgery and poison anyway… Like the man who went into hospital with an exploded gallbladder and who died on the operating table because the anesthetist misjudged what was going on, and the patient had a fatal heart attack as a result.

I could go on and on. And please, let’s not even get started on anti-depressants, or ‘gender re-assignment’ surgery, or all the weird stuff they are putting in vaccines (go and research MCR 5), and a million other things that are lauded as medical panaceas, but usually are anything but.

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Modern medicine is God-less, modern medicine is far more limited and clumsy than it likes to pretend, and often does far more damage than good, especially when it comes to chronic illnesses.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this, for starters:

The third-leading cause of death in US most doctors don’t want you to know about

Let Channel 13 gird their loins and do an expose on all the horrendous medical malpractice happening in Israel (and everywhere else…). Like the doctor in Shaarei Chesed who I met over Shabbat lunch a decade ago, who boasted about going around quietly killing people that she’d decided were suffering ‘unnecessarily’.

Don’t hold your breath.

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But in the meantime, let’s return to the question of whether Rabbi Berland’s pidyons always work.

The answer, as provided by Rabbenu, is no. They don’t always work.

Why not?

Because God is still running the world, and sometimes, God decides to take the Rav’s pidyonot and to use them for a greater good, i.e. fighting the general forces of evil in the world and causing non-Jews to want to convert.

Who are we, to think we can fathom the mind of Hashem, the Creator of the world?

So then, does this mean that Rav Berland is doing pidyon nefesh under false pretences?

No.

The vast majority of time, what he says will happen actually occurs. Sometimes, you have to wait a while, often, the miracle is ‘hidden’ in some way, but sooner or later, it shows up.

And on the rare occasions when it doesn’t, of course that’s upsetting to the people involved, especially if they don’t have a lot of emunat tzaddikim, and are really only interested in using the Rav like a miracles-caspomat.

Of course, it requires a lot of emuna tzaddikim to navigate that situation and not come out as an ‘opponent’, who feels justified in dissing the Rav, God forbid. That’s part of how the birur process is working, especially for those who dress themselves up as ‘mega-frum’, at least externally.

At the end of the day, Rebbe Nachman clearly explains that there is no such thing as a pidyon that is 100% guaranteed to work, even when you do it with the One in a Generation who actually controls the 24 heavenly courts.

Why not?

Because God is still running the world, and people aren’t in control, and free choice has to be maintained.

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So, this expose will air Monday night in Israel, and when it does, the people who have weak-to-zero emunat tzaddikim; and the people who hate Torah and religious Jews; and the people who have a vested interest in ‘proving’ that they were right all along, when they were passing off slander and falsehood as self-righteous ‘troof’ all across Facebook will come out swinging.

You know what?

Let them.

It’s all just part of the birur, or clarification process that precedes the coming of Moshiach.

You want to believe Channel 13 over Rebbe Nachman?

Go right ahead.

There’s a special place in gehinnom that’s been set up especially for all these anti-Torah journalists who spend months, years and decades putting so much effort into trying to make Rabbis look bad.

I have no problem with honest journalism.

Like I said, some people don’t see obvious results from doing a pidyon nefesh with the Rav, for the reasons explained above. So sure, cover that angle – but then balance it out by interviewing some of the hundreds and even thousands of people who have mamash seen open miracles from doing a pidyon nefesh with the Rav.

That’s responsible journalism. That’s ethical reporting. That’s enabling people to make up their own minds about something, and not just trying to push your anti-Torah brainwashing agenda down people’s throats.

That is not at all what you’re going to get on Monday night from Channel 13.

But it’s not all their fault. People don’t buy into their brainwashing agenda because it’s particularly convincing or well-reasoned, but because they have their own vested interest in making Rabbi Berland ‘wrong’, and themselves right.

And you know what? Let them.

At this stage, I can’t be bothered fighting or arguing with them, because the faster all the yucky people get birured properly, the sooner we’ll get to the geula.

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Last week, one of my extended family members asked me to enquire about doing a pidyon with Rav Berland for someone they know who doesn’t really believe in God, or the tzaddikim, but who is rich and extremely desperate for something to change.

The message I got back was ‘no pidyon’.

If Rabbi Berland was really doing pidyonot just for the money, chas v’shalom, how do we explain this?

I know others, too, that simply didn’t have the merit to be able to do a pidyon nefesh with Rav Berland. God stops them by filling their heads full of doubts, or filling their mouths full of slander, or doesn’t even let them get to the point of being told a sum of money to pay.

Every time a person gets the chance to do a pidyon with the Rav, it’s a huge merit, a massive spiritual gift.

I haven’t seen the fruits of all my pidyonot yet, honestly, but I would say that 4/5 of the ones I’ve done have worked tremendously.

And as for the rest?

I accept that either their time hasn’t come yet, and / or they are being put to a higher use, right now, to fight evil in the world.

And judging by Channel 13’s output, there’s still a way to go before it’s totally defeated.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Enough with the tinsel, already.

Living in a building where almost no-one has a balcony, let alone a balcony that you could build a Succah on, means that as soon as Yom Kippur is over, there is a mad rush to try and grab a spot for your pop-up Succah outside on the path leading up to our building complex.

Last year, there were 7-8 Succahs out there, including ours. Already this year we seem to be holding at 10-11 – and we’re still one day to go. Part of me is really happy that more people are participating in the mitzvah of building a Succah, part of me is worrying that all the secular neighbors are going to explode in rage, about having to navigate all this canvas…

Last year, some stroppy bint had a go at me and my husband for ‘selfishly’ practicing the mitzvah of Succot at the expense of ‘people in wheelchairs’ who can no longer use the pathways.’

There was more than enough room for someone in a wheelchair to get pass our Succahs, as I’d seen a few people in wheelchairs doing it. But the bint just wanted to rant at religious people, so who were we to spoil her fun?

But now that the Succahs are also taking over large swathes of the parking lot too…. And a bit more of the space on the pavement…. Well, I’m feeling a little nervous, I have to admit.

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One of these new Succahs was printed up with xmas-looking decorations on all 4 sides – tinsel and metallic decorations – plus a massive close-up of the Temple inside.

And there was something about that, I don’t know what, that put me in a funny mood.

I came back into our house Friday morning, and I told my husband:

I’m sick of hanging up cheap xmas overflow decorations for Succot. Totally and utterly sick of it. It just looks so tacky, so xmas-y, and this year I’m not going to do it.

He looked at me with a bit of a worried look on his face, because if there’s no tinsel, how are we going to get into the festive mood?!

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I went and googled ‘natural Succah decorations’ and it brought up a whole bunch of totally over-the-top images of Succahs that looked like they were fresh of the cover of the ‘Ideal (Succah) Magazine’. Nope, hand-carving uplifting messages into variegated colored pumpkins stacked by the Succah entrance was not going to happen this year…

But, creating decorations made of dried out orange slices, leaves and beads really appealed to me, so instead of making my Shabbat chicken, I started trying to dehydrate orange and lemon slices in my oven Friday morning. (I cut the drying time down to 1 ½ hours, so they are still a little bit soggy, but Shabbos waits for no man, so what can you do.)

My daughters eyed me like I’d gone crazy. I could see them wondering, scared to ask:

What, is Ima back on her extreme ‘health food’ kick, and she’s just feeding us dried orange slices for Shabbos?!

Man, were they relieved when I explained that I was just having an anti-tinsel, anti-xmas-decorations-masquerading-as-Succah-decorations thing.

And then, they spent the next four hours crafting some really beautiful natural decorations, and finding a big stick to tie them all too.

I also made one.

And the husband also made one.

And while the Shabbos food still got made on time (just about), there was just something so awesome about the fact that for once, we’d sat down and made some Succah decorations ourselves, as a family.

I’ve wanted to do it for years and years and years, and never managed it.

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So even though some of my orange slices still look more ‘chewy’ than totally dried (and will probably attract five million wasps and bugs) – who cares?

At least for this year, I’ve kicked the tinsel into touch.

I don’t have great hopes for Succot, as my chagim have been pretty lackluster so far…. I still don’t know what I’m going to cook. Our Succah is still roofless and floorless. I’m totally unprepared in a million ways, still.

But one thing I’m sure of:

This year there will be no tinsel.

And that, at least, is something.

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Photo by Jukka Heinovirta on Unsplash

It’s not so hard to judge someone’s soul to the side of ‘good’.

A little while before Rosh Hashana, Rachel from New York challenged me over in the comments section to ‘walk the walk’, and judge Avigdor Lieberman favorably.

In case you happen to live on planet Mars, Avigdor Lieberman is the Russian-born head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, who is trying to force all chareidim to leave their shtenders, and to serve in the IDF.

Lieberman is so adamant about this, he brought down the last government – and is continuing to sow chaos in Israel politically, by refusing to sit with Bibi Netanyahu in any new government, and also by refusing to sit with the ‘religious’ parties that make up the Knesset’s natural right-wing ‘bloc’.

Because of Lieberman, we’ve already had 2 elections in five months – and no government. And you read it here first, we will be going to third elections, very soon.

So, how to judge Avigdor Lieberman to the side of ‘good’?

It’s a tough challenge, but after doing a fair bit of praying on it, here’s where I’m up to.

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The starting point with Rebbe Nachman’s lesson of Azamra is that while we have to clearly state when ACTIONS are bad and evil and anti-Torah and anti-God, that’s very different from saying the ESSENCE of a person is evil. Rav Ofer Erez explains this magnificently, in this video with full English subtitles:

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A Jew’s essence, their soul, is only good.

But what happens? All these klipot, all these external forces of evil come along to confuse and trip us up, and then before long you have people who are committing the worst sins in the world, but who are still telling themselves that they are doing ‘the right thing’, and that this is just how it has to be.

Let’s take a look at Lieberman, to see how that’s playing out.

Lieberman lacks emuna, and he doesn’t believe that God is running the world and controlling everything and everyone.

If he had more emuna, he would know that the best defense for the land of Israel is for all of the Jews who live here to wholeheartedly return to God, and to start doing what God wants, i.e. living a Torah-observant lifestyle.

But poor guy, he doesn’t know that.

He never went to cheder, he never went to yeshiva, he grew up in the Soviet Union where religion and God were anathema, and then he moved to Israel and started moving in political circles where religion and God are still anathema.

A guy like Lieberman, he wakes up every morning, and what does he see?

He sees Hamas with rockets in Gaza. And Hezbollah with rockets in Lebanon. And Syria trying to build a nuclear reactor on the Northern border. And Iran trying to complete their nuclear reactors, so they can nuke Israel, God forbid, over in the Gulf – and he’s totally petrified by the idea that some mad mullah can flip a switch, and boom!!! No more Israel.

Because Lieberman doesn’t have God in the picture, what does he think can help to solve this awful problem, this terrible danger to the Jewish state?

In his mind, Israel can only be defended against all these threats by a strong army.

In Lieberman’s mind, if the country fills up with pacifist frummers who only want to learn Torah and don’t want to serve in the army – then Israel will be finished.

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Before we continue, I challenge you, dear reader, to take a long, hard look in the mirror and to ask yourself if you also believe that the IDF is what is really protecting Israel.

Because if the answer is ‘yes’, that means you and Lieberman are essentially on the same page.

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Now, people with emuna know that God is protecting Israel, and that this country gets open miracles morning, noon and night.

People with emuna know that people like Rabbi Berland, and the late Baba Elazar, z’tl, and all the other big rabbis, tzaddikim and kabbalists, are working around the clock to keep ‘sweetening’ the spiritual judgments that manifest as terrorists, rockets and nukes, God forbid.

People with emuna are aware that it’s the Jewish people’s own sins that is causing us our terrible security problems with our neighbors, and that if we would return to God and His Torah, the whole Iranian nuke issue will fizzle like a sparkler in a shower.

Lieberman doesn’t have emuna.

So, according to his incorrect paradigm of what’s going on here, unless he can find a way to ‘force’ all the peacenik yeshiva bochurs into the army, sooner or later, he believes the army will collapse and the State of Israel will be destroyed or overrun by our enemies, God forbid.

Because of that belief, he has now apparently declared an all-out war against religion, or what he calls a ‘halachic state’, where Torah law would be pre-eminent.

Is this ‘good’ or ‘right’? No, it’s totally evil.

Why is he doing it?

Because he has very little emuna, doesn’t believe in God, and believes that superior force, and targeted killings, and all the other super-evil stuff that’s being done in the name of ‘security’ here and elsewhere, is the only way to protect the Jewish state.

(Lieberman’s Wikipedia entry makes very interesting reading. In many ways, you could argue he’s consistently acted as one of Israel’s more principled politicians, including severing ties with the corrupt Mossad, back in 2011. I also found this, which certainly muddies the waters on his views of ‘organized religion’ in Israel, too:

While his party is sometimes described by the news media[55] as doctrinally secular and aiming to reduce the role of the rabbinical system in government, it actually supports the continuation of the role of Orthodox rabbinical courts, but wants more nationally minded religious people, rather than the ultra-orthodox, in charge.[56] It does not advocate introducing civil marriage within Israeli law, but rather to find a solution to some of those who cannot marry under such laws.[55] It does not advocate a separation of religion and state in Israeli society.[56]

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So now, we circle back to the message of the ‘whoever finds fault‘ post, because Lieberman isn’t the only one who think that ‘chareidim’ are bad, and wrecking the economy, and need to be forced to serve in the army.

There are a whole bunch of ostensibly ‘religious’ Jews both here and abroad who also totally lack emuna, and believe the same thing, too.

Just they are less vitriolic (and probably, also less honest….) about expressing it. They think it’s fine for a few yeshiva bochurs to carry on learning, but they clearly would prefer most Moshes to put down their gemara and pick up their uzis, and to become truly productive citizens of Israel.

Honestly? It’s much, much harder for me to judge them favorably, because you’d think that surely they should know better than some Russian guy who never went to cheder and who grew up under atheist, communist rule….

But I digress.

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So, let’s sum up where we’ve got to:

Lieberman’s ACTIONS of going after the Torah world, and trying to ‘secularise’ Israel are clearly wrong, bad and evil.

Lieberman’s MOTIVATIONS are confused and mixed-up, but at least conceivably could stem from a genuine concern that if Torah observant Jews don’t serve in the IDF and ‘contribute economically’ to Israel, the Jewish State will either be destroyed, conquered or collapsed.

So that’s how we can judge the ESSENCE of Lieberman to the side of merit, even though his actions are clearly evil and atrocious.

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Ahead of Yom Kippur, it’s a really good idea to practice this Azamra thing as much as possible, because however we judge others, that is how God will judge us.

 

We’re all doing things wrong ALL THE TIME.

We hurt people, we step on them, we selfishly put ourselves first, we look down our noses at other Jews, and act holier-than-thou. We act like pigs, so very much of the time.

BUT OUR ESSENCE IS GOOD.

And the more we make an effort to see that in others, the more we’ll uncover that true goodness in ourselves, too, and rescue our souls (and everyone else’s….) from the klipot.

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The State of Israel is meant to be a ‘home’ for every Jew. That’s not exactly what’s happening.

Following on from my posts about the quagmire relating to conversions in Latin America (which I still have way more to write about, in due course), I received the following interesting email from a reader.

I don’t agree with everything she says (especially about secular politicians providing some sort of ‘solution’) – but I think her insight and the information she is sharing is a very valuable contribution to the discussion on what is really going on with orthodox converts, on today’s State of Israel.

So with her permission (and removing any identifying details), I’m sharing it with you below.

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I am a giyoret (charedi) from Latin America, and sadly (yes) I know more or less the conversion system.

You probably already know, but to explain why I wasn’t simply able to vote for the religious parties I first have to explain how the conversion system works in Israel.

In Israel you have two options, you either go to a private court (many of those are charedi) or you go to the State conversion system.

For a citizen of Israel, this is a non-issue, but for non-citizens it’s about choosing to have automatic political rights (i.e. the ability to make aliyah) or not. 

You could say, “then everyone should just do the process via the Rabbanut” but sadly, to get into the system you need approval from the Exceptions Committee, which is a joint committee (Rabbanut and the Interior Ministry). 

And passing the approval process in a reasonable amount of time is almost impossible if you are from a third world country, and even more difficult if you are from a third world country and charedi. Many of those cases end up without a solution and end up being deported from Israel or leaving voluntarily.

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To give you more perspective, I know girls that have been trying for more than three years to convert with the Rabbanut (they are already giyorot (converts) because usually, you finish the private, charedi conversion process first).

Three years, without a work permit or something similar (they usually have to work as cleaners).

It’s physical and psychological torture (I went through something similar, but I was luckier), and sadly, seeing this continue (even up until today) marked me forever.

You probably know about Karen Jemima Mosquera.

(Ed. Note: I didn’t, but now I’m looking into it.)

Well, I know her mother and sister, and her rabbi, who are all tzadikim, especially her rabbi who no matter what, helps people). Sadly, I couldn’t meet her, but when I learned the real story (that right-wing newspapers never told) I was shocked by the amount of cruelty this woman had to go through. Not only from the State (and particularly, the Interior Ministry) but also from religious institutions.

In the moment of her death, Jemima was not Jewish according to the State of Israel. I mean, she was clearly Jewish (she had a mehadrin conversion) but she was not politically Jewish. The fact that she could be buried on the Mount of Olives was a political miracle.

I personally think she died for a reason, and it was to call the frum community’s attention to the existence of people like her.

But nothing changed.

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Now, like many charedim, I was told that Lapid is a rasha (evildoer) (don’t get me wrong, I didn’t vote for them either), that if he gets the power then we are done.

I don’t think he is a rasha, he is just a massive fool. And I don’t think he is so important as the religious leadership wants us to believe.

We as frum people tend to think that since we’re extra careful about certain things (Shabbat, kashrut, arayot (modest behavior) that our permanence in this land depends on keeping those prohibitions.

As far as I know, Hashem has never exiled us for breaking those things.

Hashem has exiled us for violating mitzvot ben adam le chavero (the mitzvahs between a man and his fellow man.)

For oppressing the widow, the stranger, and the orphan.

And this is because He has a special sympathy for the stranger, the widow, and the orphan. Hashem cares for the weary.

Shabbat, Kashrut, and Arayot are of course important but are not the ikkar (main thing).

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And forgive me for what I’m saying, the religious parties are complicit in this suffering.

Who is the Interior Minister? Aryeh Machlouf Dery, a “charedi” guy. He’s the one who is is behind the suffering of those gerim (converts).

(This comes from the Ministry of Interior website:)

The Population Administration deals with the personal, formal, and legal status of residents of Israel, in accordance with Government policy on citizenship, immigration, and entry to and exit from the country. It provides documentation and registration services and monitors movements and changes such as births, deaths, changes of address, entry to and exit from the country. It issues passports; conducts border checks; and manages the population registry, passport, and border check databases, which are a primary source of information for the Population Administration offices and, through them, for other government agencies.

Laws determining personal status and modalities for entering and leaving Israel include the Law of Return 5710-1950; the Entry to Israel Law 5712-1952; the Citizenship Law 5712-1952; the Passports Law 5712-1952; the Names Law 5716-1956; the Population Registry Law 5725-1965; the Possession and Presentation of Identity Cards Law 5743-1982; and the Emergency Regulations (Exit from the Country) 5708-1948.

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I was heavily conflicted, and this dirty trick of using the Gadol Hador (who is probably clueless about this situation) to push the tzibbur (community) to vote for gimmel because it was in our interests.

(Ed. Note: this isn’t my understanding of why they said to vote to Gimmel.)

I was heavily considering voting for gimmel because even if their political allies (Shas) hurt me and my friends, I truly wanted to be loyal.

But something happened.

In my seminary, there are currently 4 girls trying to make aliyah with a charedi private conversion (the State of Israel’s Supreme Court gave them this right).

Three of them are stuck (no answer).

One of them (a sixty-year-old lady), got a B1 visa meanwhile, while they decide her fate (she must reapply in a year).

She spent 9000 NIS to get this.

(From the Nefesh B’Nefesh website🙂 Work (B-1): Granted to those who qualify under the Law of Return and who do not hold prior Israeli citizenship. This visa allows you to legally work in Israel. The visa is for a three year period. You can apply to extend it for another two years, but you cannot exceed a period of five years in total. At the end of this time period, you can either apply for Aliyah or apply for an A-5 visa, which can be extended every 2 years. (Scroll down for an update on this – apparently Nefesh B’Nefesh have this wrong.)

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B1 visas are working visas for foreign workers (non-Jews) and goyish girlfriends, its known as the “girlfriend visa.”

With this visa, you don’t have right to have a teudat zehut (national ID number) (as opposed to a A5 visa) or to bituach leumi (National Insurance), or health care.

I was also a victim of this tactic, but I got a better arrangement while my fate was decided (I got a humanitarian visa and the right to hold a teudat zehut). I got this based on a liberal conversion I made in the diaspora (my lawyer told me “don’t disclose that you’re a charedi convert ” – she was right, It could have hurt me).

I was in the seminary, and this woman came and asked me “do you think that when I come back, they will give me a teudat zehut?” She said it in such a tone that it broke my heart. I couldn’t tell her “yes”.

I know of cases where the Rabbanut said yes, but the Interior Ministry said no.

The head of the Exceptions Committee is, naturally, a Shasnik.

(Ed. Note: I haven’t checked this out yet.)

Then I realized I couldn’t simply vote for these people or their enablers (and this includes Gafni and Litzman).

I can forgive what they did to me, but I couldn’t forgive what they are doing to others.

I know you may think that I’m wrong, that Lapid is worse, and I would understand that.

But I simply couldn’t.

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In a second email, my correspondent added the following:

I forgot to tell you that this is not the fault of the Rabbanut.

They make it seem as if it’s the Rabbanut, but the Rabbanut is basically strangled by the secular authority (the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Religious Affairs).

Inside the Rabbanut, there is also a certain school of thought that rejects any non-State sanctioned conversion (they would accept army conversions over a charedi private conversion), but many there are innocent and good people that have very good intentions.

I suspect that’s why Shas would like to take control of the ministry of aliyah and integration and change the Law of Return.

The excuse is always the Reform and the Russian non-Jews, but given that they already attempted to exclude converts in general from the right of return, I wouldn’t be surprised that they would try to do that again.

(Ed. Note: I haven’t heard that they have been trying to exclude converts, generally, from the right to move to Israel, and BH I will be looking into this.)

Remember last week’s parsha?

אָרוּר, מַטֶּה מִשְׁפַּט גֵּר-יָתוֹם–וְאַלְמָנָה; וְאָמַר כָּל-הָעָם, אָמֵן.

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Not everyone wants to advance those weird agendas.

Particularly, we know that the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi is trying to fix much stuff inside.

Also inside the Interior Ministry, there are very nice people without power who are willing to help (they can’t usually)

I also used to be too judgy regarding the Rabbanut but I learned that inside it, there are many Rabbanim who do believe that the ultimate criteria of acceptance is not politics/economic situation but halacha.

They just do what they think is right.

I honestly think this is hurting the religious community (attempting to tell the chilonim (secular Jews) who they should marry and stuff proved to work against us).

I may be paranoid, but now I get why Ben Gurion offered us the status quo. There is famous Israeli religious university professor who used to say that Ben Gurion himself told him that he didn’t want to have religion and state separated, because that way he would have the power to control religion.

I think army conversions (which from what I know, makes many Rabbanut rabbis feel uncomfortable) are a proof of that.

The Rabbanut cannot even decide how many time a ulpan giur should last. (Ulpan giur is the conversion process). For citizens, it will always last 10 months (everyone has to finish the process in 10 months) – but no Beit Din in the world has such a restriction.

Keep up the good work Rivka, and pray for us.

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Lots to think about, isn’t there?

I will start looking into all this stuff with the Interior Ministry, and we’ll see what fantastic can of worms is about to open up over there, too.

The one thing that I just want to note, is that I don’t think the Gadolei haDor like Rav Berland and Rav Kanievsky told us to vote ‘gimmel’ from a political perspective, odd as that sounds. No true gadol gives a stuff about the Knesset at this point in time, they have their eye on the geula process, and just making the transition from where we are right now to that stage as easy as possible.

Voting ‘gimmel’ was just part of the heavenly plan to totally hamstring the secular, totally corrupt, political apparatus in Israel, while we’re waiting for the last bit of the geula process to unfold.

No truly God-fearing party could ever head a government in the State of Israel, and be complicit in all the murders, crime, and vice that is happening every single day. We are still not even uncovering the tip of the iceberg, but soon, all the awful corruption will start to come out.

What’s clear is that ‘politics’ is not the answer to what’s going on here.

(Hopefully, more of the ‘religious’ people out there are starting to realise that.)

What’s required is to tear all this old, corrupt stuff down, and to rebuild it anew, with justice, morality and Torah at its base.

And that’s exactly what Moshiach is going to do.

The main question for us at this stage, is how does God want us to respond to what’s going on with the  State-sponsored abuse of sincere, orthodox converts while we’re waiting for that to happen?

TBC

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UPDATE:

I just got this over email:

Please change your description of the B1 visa (you don’t have to be Jewish according the law of return to get it, that’s the A1 visa).
Looks like what I posted up from the Nefesh B’Nefesh website is wrong. Just goes to show how much confusion is reigning on this subject, if even they can’t keep their visa information straight.
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Photo by Sergio Rodriguez – Portugues del Olmo on Unsplash

I’m probably in a minority here, but I have to say I am totally thrilled by the latest election results in Israel.

My oldest daughter was explaining how all the votes finally stacked up, and this is what she told me:

Blue and White:                33

Likud:                                    31

Joint (Arab) List:                13

Shas:                                     9

Yisrael Beitenu:                 8

Agudat Yisrael:                  8

Yamina:                                7

Labour-Gesher:                6

Democratic Union:          5

Meretz got totally wiped out (yippee!!), and none of this other lot can form a government because they all hate each other way too much, and / or stand for totally opposite things.

I just can’t see a government containing Yisrael Beitenu and the Joint List lasting too long…. I just can’t see a government containing Lapid and ANYONE ELSE lasting too long…. I just can’t see a government containing Amir Peretz and Ehud Barak lasting too long…. I just can’t see a government containing Netanyahu and Gantz lasting too long….

You get the idea.

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Hashem is a total genius.

If the lefties hadn’t been trying so hard to get rid of Netanyahu (who I don’t like, don’t get me wrong), then he wouldn’t have passed legislation protecting a sitting PM from being indicted. But that legislation ONLY applies to the prime minister, not to a regular government minister, which is why Netanyahu cannot concede that Gantz should be the ‘first’ PM in any rotation, because if he does, he’ll end up in the slammer.

And Gantz for his part is way too full of arrogance to let Netanyahu continue to be PM for a stint when his party technically ‘won’ the election…

I’m telling you, it’s pure genius.

And as for the state of the country – my trash is still being collected. The lights are still working. The supermarket is still stocked with food, the kids are still in school.

All that’s ‘different’ is that there aren’t a bunch of yucky people trying to pass bills designed to punish half the country for being religious, or to give away half the country for some nebulous political puffery.

Who needs a government?! We’re doing just fine without them! This situation can continue for years, and we’d all be way better off!

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But, my daughter wanted to know, what if a war breaks out. What then?

What then?

Good question. If there are no politicians pretending that they are in charge, and pretending that they run the world and controlling the outcome of Israel’s wars, maybe more of us will put our faith where it really belongs, namely in Hashem.

The Steipler famously remarked that it was a good thing when so many of Israel’s doctors went on strike a few decades ago, because now fewer people would die.

I feel the same way about this election. With the politicians effectively emasculated for the foreseeable future, we can all breathe a sigh of relief in the meantime, until Moshiach shows up to permanently relieve them from duty.

For what it’s worth, I think one of two things will happen next:

  • We can’t get a government together, and we’ll soon have election #3 followed shortly by Moshiach and obvious geula.

OR

  • We can get a government together, but it won’t last long because they are all egotistical monsters with terrible middot and no patience or tolerance for other people, and other people’s beliefs and ideas. Which means the coalition will fall even faster than it was cobbled together, and we’ll soon have election #3 followed shortly by Moshiach and obvious geula.

Of course, it’s possible that the army will try to pull off a peaceful coup if all that starts to happen, and especially if a war does kick off in the meantime, which is when things will definitely get even more interesting. If that happens, it will also be followed shortly by Moshiach and obvious geula.

Hey, life is looking up!

I’m looking forward to 5780.

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Sanhedrin 98a tells us when the gate of Rome falls for a 3rd time, it won’t be rebuilt.

Lots and lots going on at the moment, isn’t there? Both personally and nationally, the Nation of Israel is being shaken all over the place. It’s that time described in Sichot HaRan by Rebbe Nachman, when we need to be holding on to the Tzaddik, if we don’t want to be shaken off the world, especially here in Jerusalem…

“It’s written about the time of Moshiach (Job 38:13): ‘To grasp the ends of the earth and shake the wicked from it’. However, one who comes close to a true Tzaddik, [he] can grab hold of him, and not be cast off. When we hold on to the Tzaddik, we can stay firm.”

Yesterday, the day of the State of Israel held its second elections in four months, as no ruling coalition could be formed because all the politicians mamash hate each other and have awful middot.

I woke up yesterday feeling pretty rough.

I had no energy, my legs were shaky, I was totally spaced-out. I could feel the din in the air, and so could at least one of my daughters, who kept muttering about how ‘heavy’ the atmosphere was.

I still got out to vote – because Rabbi Berland had stressed how important it was to vote ‘gimmel’ – but then I came home and just spent the rest of the day in bed, until around 6pm in the evening, when the fog finally started to lift a bit. Something just got sweetened, I thought to myself.

This morning, with 92% of the votes counted, it looks like the State of Israel is still stuck in another stalemate, unless something remarkable happens to break it.

And this is actually the best possible outcome that anyone could hope for, at the moment.

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Why do I say that?

Because all these yucky politicians have effectively ‘checkmated’ each other, and are preventing each other from putting any massive (and massively evil….) policies into action.

Rabbi Berland already warned us in very clear terms that Gantz, Lapid and Lieberman want to launch a war against Torah and the religious population in Israel. (That ‘war’ is currently being conducted covertly, through the corrupt courts, funded by anti-God Jewish Billionaires in the USA, who are using their cash to create all the NGOs who are bringing these court cases in Israel.)

But, there is still a basic line of ‘religious status quo’ in Israeli society that hasn’t been crossed, and which Blue and White et al are determined to totally smash into pieces.

And if they can’t form a government, they can’t do it.

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On the other side of the equation, looms Likud and all the ‘right wingers’, who were hoping to impose another horrible USA-inspired ‘peace plan’ on Israel, that would involve giving the land of Israel away to a bunch of Arab terrorists.

(And let’s not even talk about the terrible degradation in morals and Israeli society generally, that has occurred on the watch of the current Prime Minister, who has been slowly ‘eroding’ the Torah world, as opposed to smashing it to pieces.)

But now, if they can’t form a government, the Likud can’t sign a ‘peace plan’ with anyone.

So, ‘checkmate’ is the best possible outcome right now.

And of course, it’s all connected to the looming geula process, which is gradually unfolding itself more and more obviously, for anyone who has eyes to see it.

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A little while back, this site ran THIS interview with Rabbi Eliyahu Meirav, where he gave his eye-witness account of Rav Kaduri saying 40 years ago that Moshiach is imminent:

“When there will be will elections, but there won’t be a government.”

It seems that could be happening twice in a row, and that a third election (without any government being formed…) could conceivably be on the cards.

And that reminded me of this, from the Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 98a:

Rabbi Simlai says in the name of Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon: The son of David will not come until all the judges and officers will cease to exist from among the Jewish people, and there will be no more autonomous government in Eretz Yisrael, as it is stated: “And I will turn My hand against you and purge away your dross as with lye and take away your base alloy. And I will restore your judges as at the first” (Isaiah 1:25–26).

There’s more. A little later on, Sanhedrin 98a continues:

Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma’s students asked him: When will the son of David come? Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma said: I am hesitant to answer you, lest you request from me a sign to corroborate my statement. They said to him: We are not asking you for a sign.

Rabbi Yosei ben Kisma said to them: You will see when this existing gate of Rome falls and will be rebuilt, and will fall a second time and will be rebuilt, and will fall a third time. And they will not manage to rebuild it until the son of David comes.

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Doesn’t this seem to fit our current circumstances like a glove?

In the old days, the ‘government’ sat inside the gate of the walled town or city. That’s where they’d get all the news, that’s where they could control who was coming in and leaving, that’s where they could levy the taxes, and read their proclamations.

If you go to the Jaffa gate even today, you will see that it’s a big room-like structure, it’s not just a ‘gate’ that leads into the city. So when we take about the ‘gate of Rome’ falling, this could also very easily be a reference to the government falling.

As if that’s not enough of a clue, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and a bunch of other State of Israel government ministries are located in an area called the Jerusalem Gateway. They are currently in the process of building a massive new business and office complex by the same name, a minute away from the Knesset and the ‘seat of power’ in Israel.

(The video below shows how they are planning to turn Jerusalem into Tel Aviv Mark #2 – and in so doing, they are killing the spiritual soul of the place.)

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For all that it’s body is in Jerusalem, there’s no question that the ‘soul’ and the ‘mind’ of our secular government is 100% in Rome, i.e. the West.

We’ll see what happens next, but if they can’t get a coalition together – and let’s pray they can’t! – then they will have to go to elections a third time.

And if that happens, the actual revelation of Moshich must be so very close.

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GOING BACK TO THE ZOHAR

Over in this piece, I set out a possible timeline from the Zohar, that talked amongst other things of wars kicking off, 5 tzaddikim being killed, and how it was all connected to Moshiach.

It’s uncanny how each time we approached one of the ‘milestones’ for war / something bad happening, as set out in the Zohar, the ‘war’ part somehow got sweetened and sent away again.

I just want to pull out one bit of that post here, but please do go back and read it, and make up your own mind about what’s really going on.

The Zohar on Parshat Balak states:

“But, in the Northern Land and in the Yemenite government, how many hardships upon hardships will be awoken upon Am Yisrael, on that same day. But their prayers will be accepted b’ratzon (favorably), when they will pray about their suffering.”

In that piece, I also pegged the ’32 days’ being talked about in the Zohar, to September 16-17th – the date of the Israeli elections.

On September 14th, 2019, the Houthi rebels in Yemen (apparently…) attacked Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil refinery.

Here’s how Tomer Devorah described the situation, two days ago:

This may actually be “IT” – the point of war between Persia and Edom, otherwise known as WWIII.

(Debka Breaking News) Iran launched nearly a dozen cruise missiles and more than 20 drones from its territory in the attack on key Saudi oil facilities in Saturday, a senior Trump administration official told ABC News on Sunday night. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the assault, but the senior US official said that was false. “It was Iran. The Houthis claim credit for something they did not do.” President Donald Trump tweeted that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” adding “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

And every Jew should know, if he doesn’t already, that following on these reports is a flood of accusations being brought across the globe that Israel is the real culprit, that this was a “false flag” attack perpetrated by Israel in order to force Trump into a war he doesn’t want, for the sake of Israel.

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And now?

So far, there is no war.

Even though Trump is talking tough, he fired John Bolton last week, and clearly doesn’t want to be pressured into war with Iran. People, we only need to open our eyes to see what’s going on in front us!

There should have been a war between the US and Iran 5 times over, already. The only person standing in the breach and saying the calamities will only happen in 200 years time is Rabbi Berland.

Rabbi Berland also told us to get as many of his prayers translated and out there ASAP over the last few weeks, because geula coming the sweet way depends on every home having a prayer from the Rav.

And this week, what do we see?

The war between the US and Iran seems to have been ‘paused’ again – totally miraculously! – and the ‘war’ between Israel’s secular politicians and the Torah world seems to have been ‘paused’ again – totally miraculously! – and the US plan to impose ‘peace’ on Israel also seems to have been ‘paused’ again – totally miraculously!

We need to get more of the Rav’s prayers, and more of the Rav’s books out there, ASAP.

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Which brings me to the last thing I wanted to touch on in this post.

There’s a bunch of new books coming out in English, including today:

 

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Advice 

 

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Prayers –  should be available on Amazon next week, and they hope to get:

 

Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Miracles (although that title might still change) – out for Rosh Hashana.

 

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Or Zerua le’Tzaddik.

And hopefully, more and more of us are starting to see that open miracles are mamash being done in front of our eyes, and that Moshiach is on the cusp.

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A vote for Mr Evil

Photo by Rafael Nir on Unsplash

I’m usually totally a-political on this blog (or even ‘anti’ political).

However, after the last election in Jerusalem, when we nearly had a radical, anti-religious, Meretz-backed mayor come into office, I realised that it’s important to vote after all. Not so much because I’m voting for someone, but more because I’m voting against someone else.

Until Moshiach shows up, this is the corrupt system we’re stuck with, and we have to deal with it the best we can.

After I read THIS, over on the ravberland.com site, and also after I read Rav Kanievsky’s message exhorting people to vote ‘gimmel’, I’m going to vote gimmel – Agudat Israel.

Here’s some of what I read:

This Sunday, an election rally held by the two factions that make up UTJ – Agudat Yisrael and Degel Hatorah – will take place on the streets of Jerusalem. It is to see the attendance of rabbinical leaders of both parties.

“The fact that the ‘Minister of Torah’ is troubling himself to embark, despite his extraordinary age, on hundreds of kilometers of travel around the country requires everyone to take extra effort and add more and more supporters to the party that sanctifies Heaven and stands in the face of those seeking to threaten Israel’s Torah,” the preparatory committee said.

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And this, from the ravberland.com website, quoting remarks made by Rabbi Berland last week:

“Now, Lapid announced that they are closing all the yeshivas. There won’t be any yeshivas, there won’t be any budget [from the State to help pay for them]. And there won’t be any places where there will allow ‘separation’ [between men and women]. They will abolish all the mechitzot (partitions used to divide between men and women’s sections at public gatherings including weddings, etc.), as they cancelled the ‘separation’ in Afula and Haifa.

They want to have here a State that is more abominable than even the countries of the goyim, and they are more awful than even the goyim.

And they want to destroy everything here, the whole Jewish religion, and to destroy Shabbat. They will force cars into chareidi areas (on Shabbat) and they will not permit anyone to put up any ‘fences’ (gederot).[1]

They have already announced everything, this is their platform for the elections.

This is a situation of pikuach nefesh (saving a life). We need to know that this is like a war, now, and whoever doesn’t go to vote simply doesn’t understand the severity of the situation.

Gantz, Lapid and Yisrael Beitanu – Lieberman – want to annihilate all of Judaism.

Within two years, there won’t be a religious Jew here, we will need to flee to Egypt, or to Jordan, or to move to New York or Miami.

We already opened a yeshiva in Miami, the Breslov Center, someone donated everything – they donated a mikva for $300,000. We are already preparing everything in Miami. If a war breaks out here, everyone is going to Miami.

There, we will begin Yiddishkeit from anew, the whole of Miami will make teshuva.

In one second, everyone will make teshuva today, all the goyim (non-Jews) will make teshuva. We will invite the mayor [of Miami] we will invite Trump to the chanukat habayit.

And this will be known next week. Next week, we will find out if Gantz will win, together with Lapid and Lieberman. They want to do it together, they will even accept the Arabs [the Arab parties]. The ikker (whole thing) is that they will have 61 [seats]. Here, we talk about 61. 61 is the magic number.

Whoever brings 61, he will be the king.

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When Rabbi Berland made comments about the whole of Shuvu Banim upping sticks and moving to Africa a few years ago, everyone thought he was joking. So, I really am not sure what to make of all this. We also know that the Rav said a few months’ back that if the decrees weren’t sweetened with more of us making teshuva and sticking close to the true Tzaddikim, he’d have to take another, even worse ‘exile’ on himself again.

But since then, the prayers have come out, and they seem to be sweetening things tremendously, as we can see by all the wars that haven’t (yet…) happened.

So…. who knows what’s about to happen?

But today, I’m voting gimmel.

The Vilna Gaon was really into the Moshiach and calculations of ‘End Times’.

There’s a book exchange station next to the bike path in the German Colony, and because it’s arguably the most Anglo neighborhood in Jerusalem, I often find some really good stuff there. Last week, I picked up a book called: The Gaon of Vilna and His Messianic Vision, by an observant Israeli academic called Arie Morgenstern. I have to tell you, it’s one of the most interesting books that I’ve read in a very long time.

I learned so many things that I didn’t know before, both about the Vilna Gaon himself, but also about the Chassidic community, the roots of the machloket between the mitnagdim and the chassidim, and also, how there was still a very strong yearning for Moshiach in the Ashkenazi world even after the Shabtai Tzvi false messiah disaster.

BUT – there was a huge clash of ideas about how best to bring the Moshiach and get to the end of days, which is basically what most of the book explores. BH, I want to explore what all that means for us today in the next article, but before I do, I first just wanted to share some of the more general interesting nuggets of information I picked up from the book.

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  • Why is there such a strong Armenian presence in Jerusalem?

Every time I drive or walk through the Old City, I skirt the Armenian quarter, and I find myself asking again:

WHY is there an Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem?!?!

It’s quite a small denomination, as xtian sects go, it’s not a world power, heck, Armenia doesn’t even neighbor Israel. So what’s going on here? Read on, to find out.

The Italian Jew Raphael Mordechai Malchi moved to Israel in 1673, and practiced medicine in Jerusalem until his death in 1702. He treated many of the residents of the Holy City, including non-Jews, and he recorded a conversation that he had with an Armenian priest, who explained why the Armenian church had built so many buildings in Jerusalem. Malchi wrote:

“He showed me some writings in Assyrian and Hebrew…and told me that on Mt Sinai, where a monastery stands today, they found a large tablet of lead in a cave, bearing Hebrew letters and these verses from Jeremiah.”

Ed. Note: This is Jeremiah’s prophecy of Messianic times, 30-35, that begins: For behold, days are coming – the word of Hashem – when I will return the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, said Hashem, and I will return them to the land that I gave their forefathers and they will possess it.

(It’s worth looking at these chapters in detail, which BH we will do in a separate post.)

What the Armenian priest told Dr Malchi is that after they ‘searched the whole world’ trying to figure out how to read it, “they discovered explicitly that at the end of day, the Semites will demand Jerusalem from all places around the world where they have been living.”

So the Armenians built monasteries in the holy city, arranged for a different patriarch to live in the city every year, and sent huge amounts of money to Jerusalem to ensure they had a strong toehold and a grip on the future seat of power. (And let’s be honest, probably also to try to put a dent in the ‘Semites’ plans to reclaim their country and usher in the time of Moshiach.)

Halavi, the Jews would take Jeremiah’s prophecies as seriously.

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  • Messianic fervor didn’t ‘disappear’ from the Jewish world after Shabtai Tzvi, the false messiah from Izmir who ended up converting to Islam.

I know that’s not obvious from our viewpoint of 2019, where the whole non-Chassidic, Ashkenazi Jewish world likes to pretend that after Shabtai Tzvi, everyone except Breslov and Lubavitch stopped even thinking about Moshiach, but as we’ll see in the next post, there was a big cover up going on at the end of the 18th century.

Shabtai Tzvi lived between August 1, 1626 – c. September 17, 1676. While his ‘false messianic’ vision certainly did enormous harm to the Ashkenazi world, it seems the problem was more that he created a false – and fundamentally evil – new ‘religion’ called Sabbateanism, that continued after his death, than that he was talking about Moshiach and the geula.

Very soon after he disappeared from the scene, Jews from all different backgrounds continued to have ‘Moshiach fever’, and even to discuss specific dates for the end of days to begin, based on their understanding of allusions to this time in the Zohar.

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Most notably, there was a widespread movement of making aliya to Israel between the years 1740 and 1781.

This was based on kabbalistic calculations that 1740 marked the half-way point in the 6th millennia – and the time when the house of Yaakov would finally rise up against the house of Esav.

Here’s the quote from the Zohar that got all the kabbalists of that time so excited, based on Genesis 32:13-26, where Yaakov wrestles the angel of Esav until dawn:

“Until dawn.” For by then, [Esav’s] dominion has passed on. So it will be in the future. The current exile resembles night. It is night. And it’s dust dominates the Jews. They are hurled into the dust until the light ascends and illuminates the day. Then Israel will be dominant and the kingship will be given to them…

“…Israel’s deliverance will not be revealed in one stroke but rather like a dawn, which progresses and grows in light until true day appears.”

The kabbalists of that time, including one named Rabbi Shalom Buzaglo, estimated that the ‘time’ spoken of by the Prophet Daniel was 480 years long, as the gematria for hashahar (dawn) is 480. So when Daniel (in 7:25) speaks of ‘a time and times and half a time’, Rabbi Buzaglo worked out that this would be 1680 years after the second Temple was destroyed, which equated to the Hebrew year 5508 (1748 C.E.)

Ahead of that date, a whole bunch of big kabbalists, rabbis and other important communal figures from both the Sephardi and Ashkenazi world suddenly upped sticks, and moved to Eretz Yisrael, swelling the population of Jerusalem from just over 1000, to more than 5000 in five years.

Moshiach didn’t come then – but what did happen instead was that many members of the community started to die prematurely, including in a terrible plague, that killed hundreds of the Jews in Israel. The Ohr HaChaim died in Jerusalem in 1743, and the RaMCHaL succumbed to the plague in Acco, in May 1746.

The rabbis in Jerusalem responded to what they saw as this ‘Divine punishment’ by issuing ‘Moral Legislation’ in 1749, which forbade the wealthy new olim to the Holy Land from wearing their expensive clothes and jewelry in public. The Jerusalem rabbis also gave all the single men in the city an ultimatum to either get married, or leave town, to minimize the untznius behavior they were trailing in their wake.

In the meantime, the Moshiach didn’t come in 1748.

But what certainly did happen is that the ‘end of days’ process did begin in earnest at that point, after all, because so many people moved to the Holy Land at that time, more than at any other point in preceding 1600 years of exile.

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  1. The Baal Shem Tov ‘speaks to Moshiach’ in 1747, and discovers that geula depends on the Jews making teshuva, not on a fixed date

Very interestingly, while all this was going on, the Baal Shem Tov wrote a letter to his brother-in-law, Reb Gershon of Kutow, that his student Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye was meant to take to Israel to deliver, when he also made aliya ahead of 1748. The letter was never delivered, because Rabbi Y.Y. stayed home, after Moshiach didn’t show up then as hoped.

Instead, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef sat on this letter for over 35 years, only publishing it in his book Ben Porat Yosef in 1780. Why did he wait so long to publicise the letter? It seems that even amongst the Baal Shem Tov’s leading students, there was a strong belief that Moshiach had to be imminent. To put this a different way, it seems Rabbi Yaakov Yosef was hoping the Baal Shem Tov’s insight about the end of days, which he described to Reb Gershon, was wrong.

So what did the letter actually say?

In his missive, the BESHT described how his neshama had ascended to heaven on Rosh Hashana in 1747 – the year before ‘the end’ was meant to occur, according to the kabbalists – and had met the Moshiach, who was learning Torah with the Patriarchs, Tannaim and the Seven Shepherds.

This is a quote from the BESHT’s letter:

“I asked the Messiah when he would be coming. “This is how you will know,” he replied. “When your teachings become public and revealed to the world, and your wellsprings of my teachings, which you will have mastered, overflow to the outside, so that [others], too, will be able to perform mystical unifications and ascents of the soul like you. Then all the husks will be eradicated and a time of [Divine] desire and salvation will come.”

The Baal Shem Tov continues:

“[This reply] left me puzzled and severely troubled. Such a long time! When can it possibly come to pass?”

To phrase this another way, as Arie Morgenstern points out, this experience totally shifted the question of ‘when will the Moshiach come?’ out of the realm of ‘time’, and into the realm of ‘behavior’.

We’re back to that discussion in the Gemara, about whether the redemption depends on the Jewish people making teshuva, or is totally just a matter of ‘timing’. Rabbi Yehoshua said the latter, Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol said the former – and according to this letter from the BESHT, Rabbi Eliezer was right.

The Baal Shem Tov was explaining to Reb Gershon that the Moshiach is going to come, and the end of days is going to happen, only when the Jews start to really connect to God, and experience ‘ascents of the soul’, and to really learn and understand Torah on the deep level of chassidut.

And not a second before.

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That’s why the Baal Shem Tov was so troubled, because in order for the Jewish nation to reach that high spiritual level, so much had to change first.

And if he was thinking it was a tall order in his generation, what can we begin to say about ours?

In the meantime, the kabbalist’s date of 1748 came and went with no Moshiach, but Rabbi Yaakov Yosef only published the Baal Shem Tov’s letter in 1780, because at that stage, there was another date for imminent redemption being mooted: 1781.

And at that stage Rabbi Y.Y. wanted to pre-empt any more ‘Moshiach no-show letdown’ by publishing the BESHT’s letter, which described in detail how the rules of the game had actually changed.

And here’s where things get even more interesting.

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  1. Various groups of kabbalists keep trying to ‘force’ geula in various ways.

Back in 1753, a small group of Jerusalem kabbalists including Rabbi Shalom Sharabi (the Rashash), Rabbi Chaim de la Roza, and Rabbi Chaim Joseph David Azulai (the Chida) formed a ‘secret society’ with the aim of trying to force Hashem to bring the geula that year.

The year 5313 spells ‘ha shahar’  – the dawn, and was also connected to the word ve-nivneta, talking about the rebuilding of Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 30:18). There are four separate accounts of what these three kabbalists tried to do, but the long and short of it is that after weeks of lengthy preparations and self-mortifications, they tried to use different holy names to ‘force’ the coming of the Moshiach.

Suddenly, the three heard a voice from Heaven telling them to stop from their “brazen undertaking” before they totally unhinge the world, because they “wish to hasten something whose time has not yet come, as God has counseled.”

The voice then tells them:

“One of you will have to leave the holy city, for only the three of you together in unison can force the Messiah’s hand.”

The decree of exile seems to have fallen upon the Chida, who immediately left Jerusalem for unknown reasons on January 9, 1753 and stayed out of Israel for the next 5 years.

The three kabbalists were terrified at the sin they felt they had committed, by trying to go against God’s will to hasten the end, so much so that Rabbi de la Rosa asked his student to perform the four types of execution upon his body, after he died.

His students couldn’t bring themselves to do it – but Rabbi de la Rosa’s funeral procession was attacked by Arab bandits, and his body was thrown into a ravine. The Tzaddik’s decree was fulfilled, one way or another.

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  1. There was a wave of Chassidic aliya before 1781

So now, the next date that loomed into view for the ‘end of days’ was 1781. A well-known kabbalist by the name of Immanuel Hai Ricchi, from the previous generation, had calculated that the ‘in its time’ redemption would occur in May 1781, corresponding to the Hebrew year of 5541.

And historical events certainly seemed to be heading in that direction.

The vicious Haidamak pogroms began in 1768 (and saw 30,000 Jews murdered in Uman, alone), and then were was also an awful outbreak of bubonic plague in 1770 (!) which killed hundreds of thousands of the Jews in the pale of settlement.

This from HERE:

In Western Europe, the last outbreak of plague was in southern France between 1720 and 1722. Towns like Marseilles and Toulon were devastated. In Eastern Europe, Kiev in Ukraine suffered a severe outbreak in 1770. The last serious outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe was in Moscow in 1771.

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Then, Russia conquered Poland in 1772, and also some of the Turkish empire, too, in 1774 – and it really looked like ‘the End of Days’ was fast approaching.

Many leaders of the growing chassidut movement thought so, with some of chassidut’s biggest luminaries, including Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, and Rabbi Avraham of Kalisk, making aliya to Israel in 1777.

But the Chassidic aliya quickly ran into severe problems, mostly of the financial kind, so when the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel if he should also ascend to the holy land in 1780, Rabbi Menachem Mendel basically told him to hold off until the next year, to see if the Moshiach really was about to show up.

Again, he didn’t.

So at that point, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye decided to finally print the letter describing the Baal Shem Tov meeting the Moshiach, from many years before. Presumably, he was trying to ‘bank’ any disappointment that Moshiach hadn’t shown up, and to set out a new path, one based on perfecting behavior and fixing bad middot, instead of a fixed ‘time’ of redemption.

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The point of all these tidbits is to point out that the Jewish community has actually weathered far more disappointments over Moshiach not showing up than you might think, even after the whole Shabtai Tzvi affair.

And we actually came through all these false starts OK.

History shows that it’s been far more damaging, spiritually, for Jews to totally forget about Moshiach and geula, and considering moving to Israel, than obsessing over these things too much.

In part two of this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the disagreement that erupted between the Vilna Gaon and the Lithuanian rabbis and the chassidim in 1781 – there’s that date again! –  because we’re going to learn something amazing about the ‘end of days’ by the time we’ve reached that end of that story.

To be continued…

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The Israeli elections seem be a choice between Mr Evil, Mr Eviller, and Mr Evillest

Three weeks ago, my husband snapped his Achilles tendon whilst playing tennis. Baruch Hashem, it’s on the mend, but in the meantime I’m ferrying him backwards and forwards in the car to his workplace, close to Jerusalem’s central bus station.

What that means (amongst other things….) is that I’m getting to see all the massive, ginormous, monstrous billboards of yucky-looking politicians that are currently springing up like poisonous mushrooms all around the entrance to Jerusalem, in preparation for next week’s elections.

I can tell you this:

Whoever you vote for, it’s going to be a vote for Mr Evil.

Some of these super-sized pictures are so disturbing I’m amazed they’ve been approved for public consumption. What these politicians don’t seem to realise is that when their faces are blown up to building-size proportions, it makes it much harder to hide their true characters. You see it in the eyes, you grasp it by the beetling brows, and the cunning, calculating expression that even the greasiest smile can’t hide.

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Where to start, on which one of these posters bothers me the most?

For a while, Ehud Barak’s lot were definitely in the lead, with a cast straight out of Dr No. There’s the beautiful, red-haired woman that looks like a secret assassin. The angry-looking, grey-haired rogue scientist is on the left of the picture. And then ‘Mr Evil’ himself, with his dyed-black hair and shifty expression, is right in the middle of all that.

After the whole Epstein affair, how can anyone, much less a woman, much less a party that claims to stand for ‘human rights’ have anything to do with this guy!

So he was in the lead for a while.

But then, Netanyahu’s lot stuck up a bunch of MASSIVE posters of him shaking hands with Donald Trump, bearing the slogan: Netanyahu: a different league.

I almost crashed a few times coming round the corner of the Jerusalem Gateway, because I couldn’t take my eyes off how plain evil Netanyahu looked on that billboard, and how totally crazy Trump appeared.

So for two days, that was in pole position.

Then yesterday, Benny Gantz of Blue and White got stuck up on the other side of the Prima Park Hotel, in a poster that looked like a cross between Men In Black and the Terminator.

Oooo, look how thick his neck is!!! Look how menacingly grey his skin is!!! Notice how totally unemotional and devoid of any human kindness his cruel blue eyes appear!!!

He looked like a ‘Class A’ psycho, and clearly that’s the effect that all these politicians are trying to achieve.

Vote for me, I’m a total psycho! If anyone even so much sneezes in my direction, I’ll nuke them! Israel is in safe hands!

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But then today, the Labor / Gesher Party decided to remove its poster of Amir Peretz looking like Stalin, and replace them with Amir Peretz looking like a character out of Goodfellas instead. Last week, Peretz shaved off his trade-mark moustache, I don’t know why.

But personally, I think it was a mistake.

For as long as the moustache was pulling the eye, you didn’t notice how strangely menacing the guy underneath it was. Now, with Mr Fluffy gone, Amir Peretz looks like he could get a job with Iran’s Revolutionary Guide.

Vote for me! I can break a man into pieces in five seconds flat!!!

Now, you might be wondering where all the women are in this election. That’s what one of the graffiti artists clearly had in mind when she spray-painted the Amir-Peretz-As-Stalin poster with: “I’m a woman and I can also vote.”

Ayelet Shaked’s party decided to put a few massive posters of just her perfect, Barbie-like face across various bridges on the Begin Highway, and after studying them all week (yes, it’s a miracle I haven’t crashed the car) – I can tell you they are airbrushed.

The woman is 42 and has a very stressful job, and yet she has the flawless complexion of a 20 year old supermodel. It’s an open miracle.

Vote for me! I don’t have any wrinkles!!!

This morning, someone had punched two massive holes in the middle of both her faces, and it took some really careful planning to pull that off in the middle of Jerusalem’s busiest and fasted road.

I think it was the Shabak.

Orly Levy-Abecassis (or whatever her name is…) also popped up on a poster looking really miserable, but with great hair, next to Goodfella Peretz, and some other man who I don’t know the name of, but who also looks like a shark in a suit.

Vote for me! I have the best hairdresser in all of Israel!!!

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Sigh.

Whichever way you turn, there’s evil, evil and more evil.

Driving my husband to work has become a Kafkaesque nightmare, a cross between a bad Bond movie and the Oscars.

Although yesterday, I did see a poster of someone that I’d half consider voting for.

He was a cute Saba advertising a new flavor of milkshake.

So, a vote for Mr Evil – for political gangsters and their molls – or for Mr Milkshake, for PM?

I think the answer is obvious.

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There are going to be no more Facilitated Communication messages

As you know, if you’ve been with me for a while, I’ve had a very convoluted relationship with the autistics over the years.

I won’t rehash all the history – I’ll stick the relevant articles at the bottom of this post, for you to take a look at – but I basically moved from total obsession and believing every word they said as the gospel truth, through disillusionment with their unremittingly negative viewpoint that seemed to go directly against Azamra and the optimism of Breslov and chassidut, and then into mild confusion, as a few months ago they started putting out messages that Rabbi Berland is Moshiach ben David.

As you can see from THIS post, I came to the conclusion before all these announcements about the Rav being the hezkat, or ‘suspected’ Moshiach, that the autistics were reliable for present and past statements, but totally unreliable for any statement about the future.

This was based on the very clear psak din the autistics received from Rav Shteinerman, z’tl, which stated that the autistics were there to give chizzuk to Am Yisrael, but shouldn’t be asked any questions in relation to trying to divine the future – which is totally forbidden.

So, I had no problem whatsoever with all their pronouncements that Rabbi Berland is hezkat Moshiach, because anyone with eyes in their heads can see that.

When R’ Mendel Kessin puts out a shiur explaining that the Moshiach will be using the letters of the Torah at such a high level no-one will understand what he’s really saying – who comes to mind, except Rabbi Berland? Ironically, the people who are stuck in galut, mentally and physically, used the incredible complexity of some of the Rav’s conversations as a ‘sign’ that he isn’t the real deal.

Why?

Because they have a vested interest to stay stuck in galut, mentally and physically, and in a million, billion years they aren’t going to accept a Moshiach who they’ve spent years dissing and speaking lashon hara about.

That’s why.

So anyway, much of the what the autistics have said in the past has rung true, and probably was true. But their predictions about the future – have ALWAYS been problematic.

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Which brings me to the crux of this post.

Over the last couple of months, Shuvu Banim has been posting up a few of the messages from Ben Goldin, because the Dani18.com website basically got cold-feet after a whole bunch of autistic-fanatics turned on them, after they posted up the message saying Rabbi Berland was David ben Moshiach.

So then, the messages had no outlet, except the Rav Berland site (I wasn’t interested in posting them up, regularly, because I don’t buy in to the ‘prophecy’ aspect, as explained.)

But even then, there seemed to be a clash occurring between the autistics’ predictions of imminent war and armageddon – which lets be honest, seems so darned obvious, doesn’t it? – and Rabbi Berland’s insistence that the wars will only be in 200 years.

The Tzaddik is sweetening things all the time.

I can tell you first-hand, the Rav has said that all these hundreds of prayers that are going up on the ravberland.com site are sweetening things in a world in an unprecedented way. Which is great news, because there are still another 1,000 to translate….

But I digress. The point is, that the autistics don’t know the future, and have a very negative outlook, and Rav Berland does know the future, and has an optimistic outlook (mostly, except when the judgments loom very large and need an awful lot of self-sacrifice and prayer to sweeten.)

Last week, the autistics told the facilitators they were stopping giving messages, from this this point on. They’d done their job, and announced that Rabbi Berland is Moshiach ben David (suspected…). When the facilitators double-checked this with the Rav, he told them to stop, at least for now, and he added that not everything that the autistics say is true. In particular,

The wars are only going to be in 200 years time.

Does anyone really know what this means? Nope. Does it seem obvious? Nope.

But here’s what I’ve been noticing, lately. The State of Israel has been doing its very best to subtly spark off another war with our neighbors to the North. I know that doesn’t look so obvious, but that’s what is happening. And each time, something is stopping the lit fuse from reaching the explosives.

Trump turns his planes around from bombing Iran when they are already in the skies….

Hezbollah launches reprisal attacks that don’t hurt anyone and barely do any damage…

Hamas inexplicably calls off its massive rocket attacks on the South after just a day or two…

None of this makes any sense.

Now, why would the State of Israel WANT a war right now? Great question! Basically, they are looking for a pretext to flatten Iran before Iran has completed its preparations to nuke Israel.

And then there is all the deeper psychological need for the secular State to be permanently at war, because that’s the big excuse they use for why they need to crush the charedim, and force everyone into the army, and continue to operate Israel like a police state cum secular dictatorship.

If there’s a war, they can take over the government and install a military dictatorship, using the war as a pretext – so it doesn’t matter, then, if the chareidim and the religious become the majority in Israel, because they can still stay in power undemocratically.

The last thing the people who are really ruling Israel today want is peace, because peace would weaken their grip on the country, on the Israeli psyche, and on the reins of power. So, they keep trying to spark a war… and their efforts keep flopping.

So, war only in 200 years.

But the Rav has said absolutely nothing about the natural disasters being ‘wrong’. So, keep an eye on all the volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods going on in the world, and particular in Iran and the US.

Radical change is still a-coming to the world. But in a very different way than most people think.

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