The darkness seems to be lifting…

Every end of Summer, I have a mini nervous breakdown, and I’m thrilled to report that this year was no different. My kids are bigger now – 16 and 18 – so the problem wasn’t one of having to keep them entertained for six weeks straight.

One of them was jet-setting off all over the place (and thank God, is now thoroughly sick of travelling.) The other one was communing with nature, and camping out by the Kinneret for the best part of the Summer, trying to detox from her awful school.

So until around Tu B’Av, I was managing OK, mostly. Sure, sitting in 40 degree heat with no air-conditioning for three months has been a little challenging. Sure, having one massive deadline, one massive project, after another has been raising my stress levels. Also sure, it’s been hard for me to get a good night’s sleep all year, as 5779 has been the year of ‘no shut-eye’.

But aside from all those things, I was mostly OK.

Until three weeks ago, when all of a sudden the pressure seemed to ramp up a billion times over and I was walking round feeling like a gasket was going to explode any minute. Partially, it’s because my husband badly twisted his ankle playing tennis, which meant I’ve been ferrying him to work and back in the Jerusalem traffic.

Partially, it’s been the never-ending list of things ‘to do’ – including get stuff for the kids for another new institution a piece come September. Partially, it’s been working like a dog on all these unexpected things that keep popping up, and that seem so very important.

But mostly, the stress was just in the air, and was driving me crazy.

Last week, I reached cracking point, exacerbated by my kids deciding that they were going to stay out until 4am every night because it’s the last week of holiday.

For them.

For me and my husband, we’ve still been trying to get up at our normal, early time, to pray, do hitbodedut, get on with all the stuff we need to get on with.

But by Thursday, I just couldn’t anymore. I felt like a totally overwhelmed zombie of misery and rage, as my kids stuffed up yet another night of sleep, which meant I just didn’t have the head required to work on the latest book.

At 4am Thursday night, when the oldest still hadn’t come home, the scud got lit, and exploded, in a rage fit that lasted most of Friday.

It didn’t help that some kid had cleaned me out of every last piece of nice, wearable clothing, for her new school wardrobe… and that I had to do all the Shabbat shopping and cooking by myself, as my husband was laid up still… or that it was still so frigging hot, and because I’d only got my act together to leave the house at 9am, instead of 7.30, I was being roasted by the sun.

I came home in a foul, foul mood, just feeling so unhappy and put upon and taken for granted.

And man, did everyone know about it.

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The mood continued until I lit my Shabbat candles, ushering in Rosh Chodesh Elul – and I started to feel a little better. I went to bed straight after supper, and the next day I woke up feeling way, way happier.

For no obvious reason.

But it’s like Elul has shone some light into the darkness again.

Which is so lucky, because at 3am Saturday night, the day before she was starting a new school, my youngest tried to smuggle a dog into the house. Some ‘friend’s’ dog had cute puppies, so my retarded teen decided to buy one, stick it in her jumper, and then smuggle it in my spare toilet.

I caught her in the act.

What, are you doing drugs, that you came up with such a retarded idea?!?!?

I mean, I hate dogs, we have no garden, not even a mirpeset, and on top of that the kid was starting a new boarding school the following morning.

If this had happened in Av…. I dread to think.

As it happened in Elul, I could half see the funny side. She stuck the thing in a box with one of her old tops, gave it a plate full of Shabbos chicken and a bowl of water, and we all went to sleep for three hours.

The next morning, it was crying.

Why’s it crying???? She wanted to know.

Ooooof, why did I bring the stupid thing home, what’s wrong with me????

Ah, finally she’s talking some sense.

Long story short, as soon as the thing was out of its box, it weed on the floor. (My husband dealt with that.) And then it spent the next half an hour trying to gnaw my shoes – while they were still on my feet.

Kid, the dog can’t stay a second longer. What’s the plan?

The plan was to dump it on a friend for two days, until my kid comes back from school and figures out the plan. The friend showed up yesterday, and I happily shoved the box of cute dog into her arms and breathed out.

A respite! At least for two days.

And so, for the first day in many, many weeks, I finally have a little time to myself, a little ‘space’, mentally, to relax into.

The Israeli government is currently busy trying to provoke a war with our neighbors. Only the Rav’s prayers are stopping the situation spiraling out of control. Things are still crazy, and getting crazier, I know, we all feel it.

And yet….

Elul has brought with it a hair of hope, that maybe, just maybe, the turnaround is going to come in a totally different, ‘sweetened’ way after all.

Ken yiyeh ratzon.

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Photo by Reka Dora on Unsplash

It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and to stop excusing and flattering evil.

The last few years, we’ve all just sat here and watch the politically-correct brigade demolish one fortification in the wall of personal holiness and morality after another.

They encouraged men and women (or let’s be honest, teenage boys and girls and even younger, lo alenu) to have intimate relationships that were totally divorced from any idea of marriage, or bringing new life into the world. They encouraged promiscuous behavior at every turn. They threw all notions of self-discipline and personal holiness out the window, and mocked the people who tried to stand up to them as ‘bigots’.

The internet accelerated the process of moral disintegration, beaming its smut straight into our homes, phones and neshamas. All of a sudden, there was no getting away from it, all that politically-correct programming, that told us we all just had to sit here and say nothing, as these people assaulted the foundations of holiness.

They hold all the cards, that’s how it seems.

They have all the money. They have the expensive lawyers. They have the politicians stitched up, and the judges in their back pockets.

What can small people like you and me do, to really protest all this, and to stand up for personal holiness, and what is objectively right, as defined by God and His Torah?

Not much, that’s the truth. I am regularly censoring myself on my blog with every third word, worried that the thought police who have taken over the internet will find some way of ‘de-platforming’ me, too – even though the only platform I really have is my blog.

Google has gone after so many ‘alternative’ voices the last few months, and totally buried them with algorythms designed to only give ‘the official’ version of events, as decided by the immoral, anti-God and anti-holiness people who are running Google.

So, I measure my words carefully, and try to tell you what’s going on without naming names, or sailing too close to the wind. Because also here in Israel, these same forces for immorality – all those Jewish billionaires based in the States, but who have been warping the sanctity of the Holy Land with millions of dollars from their ‘charitable foundations’ – are operating here, too.

These people, and their front men, were the ones who were really pulling the strings behind the investigations into Rabbi Berland and Rabbi Pinto, and the late Rabbi Yoram Abergel, zt’l. It was part of a stated aim to take down the so-called ‘kabbalah rabbis’ who were so revered by so many Jews in Israel, and to break their power.

But that’s only a small part of the spiritual and moral corruption that has so many Jews at its heart, and which seems to have spread around the globe.

And which is on the cusp of finally being exposed, even though the mainstream media is still trying to divert the public’s attention away from the real stories and facts that are unfolding. 

(Clue: go and Google ‘Epstein and Mossad’ and see what you find.)

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The reason the MSM doesn’t report on all of this stuff, or reports this stuff with a ‘fake news’ spin is very simple: The MSM is owned by a small group of immoral billionaires who are up to their necks in vice and criminality. And sadly, a large percentage of these people are Jews.

There is a growing band of independent journalists who are bravely putting the facts together and putting them out there on the internet. Even though the corrupt establishment is trying to stop them, the trickle is building to a flood, as more and more people are realizing that so many of the people who are in the top positions in our societies are actually evil, in the truest sense of the world.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

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Three weeks ago, I got an email asking me if I wanted to review the latest book by a very well known ‘defender of the State of Israel’. This guy had recently been in the press for very successfully defending billionaire child abuser Jeffery Epstein, 10 years ago. Thanks to this guy’s legal smarts, Epstein literally got away with murder.

When I got the request, I started pondering on all this. Here’s a little of how that conversation went:

The guy is defending Israel. He must be good, no?

The guy defended a known pedophile. He must be bad, no?

Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, until finally, the brainwashing dissolved and I got some clarity:

This guy is awful!!! He’s spiritually corrupt!!! How can anyone sleep soundly in their beds at night, knowing that they are regularly abetting the scum of society to escape justice, just because these evildoers have the money to pay their outrageous legal fees?!

So what, that this guy is famous? So what, that he’s got money, or a lot of connections? So what, that he publically defends the State of Israel. He’s totally immoral. He sold his soul for some dollar bills.

Instead of placing these people on a pedestal, more of us need to start calling these greedy, immoral bullies out, and to stop flattering evil.

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At this stage, every Jewish organization and charity and individual that accepted cash from Epstein, and from all the other immoral Jewish billionaires that are closely associated with the awful things currently being investigated in New York, are morally suspect in the profoundest of ways.

How can I state that so directly? Because like attracts like. It’s an iron-clad rule, and even our Sages taught that: show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you really are.

And in the meantime, I had another penny drop about how I can and probably should be reacting to the tsunami of evil engulfing the Jewish world, in my personal dalet amot, too. And it comes down to this:

BH, I want to start putting way more emphasis on my own personal holiness again.

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I already told my teens that I can’t hear their soul-destroying secular music being blasted through the house any more. I went out today and bought longer socks, to replace my ankle socks. And I have decided that I am going to start standing up for kedusha and holiness again, and to stop flattering evil.

What does that mean, exactly?

I’m still figuring it out, but one thing it for sure means is that I am no longer giving the benefit of the doubt to people who are going against the Torah, or railing against a mitzvah-observant lifestyle, and especially those people who are going against holy people like Rabbi Berland.

Without naming names, I went to check the social media of a big-mouth commentator who has made a huge deal about being pro-human rights, and being pro-women’s rights, and who publically left orthodox Judaism because of all the ‘terrible’ things he was seeing happening in his community.

Now, this guy is openly pushing immorality like it’s the biggest mitzvah in the world, and of course, he was one of the main guys writing negative stuff about Rabbi Berland a few years’ ago.

What did that bastion of justice, morality and human rights have to say about Epstein, a secular New York Jew with connections to a whole bunch of other New York Jews, who is guilty of some of the most mind-boggling human rights abuses in modern times?

Nothing.

The silence is deafening.

(I went to double-check after I wrote that, and this lone tweet is all I found. Compare and contrast.)

The guy is a total hypocrite (at best), and the ‘orthodox’ people who are continuing to buddy-up to him, and to defend and excuse his spiritual corruption and immorality, are 100% guilty of flattering evil.

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Let’s try to define the term a bit more carefully.

Flattering evil is where you know someone else is saying or doing evil or immoral things (as defined by God, in His Torah), but you still hang out with them and suck up to them because of their wealth and connections; or because they can do favors for you; or because they are a ‘minor celebrity’; or because it just suits you better to turn a blind eye to their bad behavior and immoral lifestyle choices.

That is flattering evil.

And so very many of us are guilty of it.

When I sent back my reply to the famous author’s publicist, I made sure to tell her why I’m saying no to reviewing his book:

In all good conscience, I can’t promote something written by someone who thinks its ok to defend known pedophiles.

And I felt pleased with this minute step towards trying to tip the balance towards God and good again. If I’d have said ‘yes’, that would mean that I’m effectively also condoning that pedophile’s awful, immoral behavior, and enabling it to continue, God forbid a million times over, and saying its ok to hang out with these people, and to keep pretending like there’s nothing wrong with them, and their world-destroying ideas and actions.

I can’t protest everything, I can’t stand up to every sin, and every evil person out there, but whatever God gives me to do, I’m going to do it.

I’m drawing a line in the sand.

From here on in, no more flattering evil, just because someone is well-known, or gives a lot of charity, or defends Israel, or has a lot of ‘backing’ from their community, or is a ‘king’ of political-correctness, or because I’m scared of them.

And I’d be thrilled if you’d consider joining me.

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Maybe, the State of Israel should take a leaf out of Martin Luther King’s book.

I’m in the middle of reading the autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr, the great black civil rights leader, who was assassinated – probably by one of the American alphabet agencies – in 1968, while advocating the non-violent resistance path of peace.

While the writing is a little stodgy in parts, what I’m finding very interesting is how much hypocrisy and moral corruption was riddling USA ‘officialdom’ back in the 1960s, and how brave King and his fellow activists were, in approaching the issue purely with the creed of non-violent resistance and emuna.

Because the two go together.

Time and again, King found his strength in his religion, and particularly in his connection to God – Who he mentions far more than the yoshkiyite idol – in his writings.

And then, that got me thinking about what’s going on in Israel.

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Like many people here, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the groups of chareidi men who stage sit-ins by the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem, and in Bnei Brak. I know when they are protesting, it’s usually because some religious young man – or also, young woman! – has been arrested by the police, and is sitting in jail because they refuse to enlist in the army.

Until very recently, I was kind of looking at these protests more as ‘street entertainment’ than anything more serious. But reading this Martin Luther King book is kind of changing my perspective on what’s actually going on here.

Recently, I saw a video where the Israeli police were blasting some poor chareidi men with what’s known as ‘skunk water’ at close quarters, mamash squirting it straight into their faces.

‘Skunk Water’ is so potent, it can make a person nauseous for many days after they come into any contact with it, let alone when it’s been sprayed straight into their chops. A couple of weeks ago, one of my girls found herself in the middle of a sit-in demonstration by the bus station, and she felt pretty ill for a few hours, after getting a sniff of the skunk water the police were spraying all over the demonstrators, to get them to disburse.

Then of course, there’s been all the pictures of the police pulling peaceful chareidim along by their side-curls… and then there was the case where the police here beat up an autistic young man, just because he was chareidi… and I could give you many more examples of where bald-headed, vicious bullies in uniform are beating up peacefully-demonstrating religious Jews in Israel.

WARNING: THIS FOOTAGE OF A CHAREDI BOY BEING BEATEN UP IN MEAH SHEARIM IS PRETTY DISTURBING:

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Which brings us to an awkward cross-roads.

Whether or not you believe that violence is the only way to solve our national problems, and that having a strong army is the only solution to our woes (more on that in a moment), it seems ethical that people who are opposed in principle to killing other people should not be forced into bearing arms.

The people in the IDF making these life-and-death decisions about who should live, and who should die, are not believing Jews, and they aren’t guided by Torah law on these matters. Judaism believes in the sanctity of human life, and taking another person’s life is NOT a simple matter. So serving in the IDF is not a simple matter, morally, and it shouldn’t be something that we try to push on other people indiscriminately, without first really exploring the issues in depth.

I know this perhaps sounds even ‘treasonous’ to big parts of the dati leumi world, and also anathema to many others in Jewish society– and I understand their position. Until fairly recently, I shared it.

But not any more.

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Let’s get back to the charedim who are protesting, and who are getting manhandled by bald-headed bullies in uniform, and sprayed in the face with nausea-inducing chemicals, and water-cannoned off the pavement, and arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’ – exactly how the black civil rights’ protesters were being treated by the racist, white authorities in America’s Deep South.

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It suddenly struck me how brave these charedim are, because they come out and protest time and time again, and they know they will get beaten up, and blasted off the pavements with water cannons,  and all the rest of it – and yet they don’t fight back.

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I know, we all take that for granted, don’t we?

That the police can come in and beat the charedim up, and the charedim never fight back. In fact, we take it so for granted that we start moaning about how much traffic these peaceful protesters are holding up, and how awkward they are making life for everyone around them.

In this olam hafuch, where brutality, violence and guns are worshipped as the real measure of bravery and heroism, it’s totally passing us by, just how much restraint and inner strength and emuna it actually takes, to just sit there while some aggressive, bald-headed police-nik comes after you for trying to stand up for God and His Torah.

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The State of Israel believes that its army is the only reason the Arabs didn’t over-run us and kill us, a long time ago.

It’s such a convincing argument, isn’t it? But if you look at the wars that have occurred in Israel, it doesn’t actually stand up.

Israel’s ‘army’ in 1948 basically consisted of two rifles left over from the Boer War, and about 10 bullets (I’m exaggerating to make the point, but barely). That war was a resounding success for the Jews ONLY because Hashem did open miracles, and the Arabs ran away.

1967, and the Six Day War, is often touted as the apex of Israel’s military might:

Again, it was God, and God’s miracles, that led to the State of Israel pulling off the Six Day War, and suddenly reclaiming the holiest sites in Judaism – and the secular government here was very unhappy about it, when that happened. They have been trying to figure out how to get rid of the Temple Mount and Hebron ever since.

1973, the Yom Kippur War, actually started off as a total disaster, when the State of Israel came within a whisker of being over-run by our hostile Arab neighbors. Again, God pulled us out of the fire, and did miracle after miracle, including having a lone tank secure the whole Northern front against the Syrian troops.

And since then…. All the IDF has done, really, is get us deeper into the cack, morally and politically.

The IDF is a mirage, it’s an illusion. It’s far more about shaping future generations of Israelis and breaking their allegiance to the Torah than it is about defending the country.

The army doesn’t need chareidim to serve; the army is over-run by too many young people already that the army doesn’t know what to do with. What’s more, new research shows that half the country now wants to move to a professional army, and away from mandatory drafting.

The whole draft issue revolves around one thing, and one thing only: the State of Israel wants our religious young people in the army so they can immerse them in a totally secular, promiscuous culture and pull them away from Torah and God.

And that’s it.

No serious army would mix men and women together the way the IDF is doing.

One of my kids summed it up succinctly, when she told me that parts of the army are pushing for re-segregation, because the men soldiers are spending so much time looking at the lady soldiers butts, they aren’t learning how to fight properly. Anyone with eyes in their head can see this is true. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve driven through a checkpoint into Jerusalem only to be totally ignored by the male and female soldier on guard who are too busy openly flirting to even so much as glance in my direction.

So much, for the much-lauded professionalism of the IDF.

Or try this: do a Google Search for ‘Ofer Erez’, and see what comes up. And then understand that Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and laughing their heads off at the IDF right now. FACT: women are physically weaker than men. FACT: women have way less testosterone pumping around than men. FACT: women make much more vulnerable soldiers than men, for a number of reasons.

These are biological facts, not opinion. And that’s even without all the flirting and open promiscuity that’s going on, which I’ll write more about in another post.

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Let’s be 100% clear:

I am enormously grateful to the soldiers who put their lives on the line to fight for the Jewish people, and I know how much idealism is still fuelling so many of the young people, secular and religious, who go to the army.

This is not about them and their self-sacrifice, it’s about the morally-corrupt politicians, army bosses and secular mafiosos who are actually running the country, and using the IDF as a perverted social engineering tool.

There is a reason that this issue of the draft is the one that is paralyzing the political process in the State of Israel, and that’s because God wants us all to take a careful look at so many of the assumptions that we keep making, about the place of guns and violence in our society. Which brings me to the next point about what could really lead us to the truth path of peace.

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Over the last few months, I’ve increasingly been coming to the view that violence and guns is never really going to get us to a good place in Israel.

The more I’ve been thinking things through, the more I can see that we are in the unwinnable game here, if we keep relying on bigger bombs and smarter weapons to try to ‘keep the peace’ with our neighbors.

At this point, many of you might interject, and say:

But if the international community would allow Israel to use its military might properly, and if the State of Israel would stop practicing restraint, then all of our problems with the Arabs would be over! We’d re-establish our military deterrence and go back to ruling the roost, in the Middle East!!!

Again, it sounds like a convincing argument on the face of things, and for a long time I didn’t think to challenge it or question it. But recently, I did.

Are we really saying that carpet-bombing Gaza is the answer to all our woes? Are we really saying that killing thousands of Arabs is really a solution to Israel’s problems? What evidence do we have to back up this approach, from the last 70 years?

Because tachlis, every time we suppressed the Arabs with violence, they have just regrouped and come back with something bigger. Long-term, violence is not a solution. Long-term, killing tons of Arabs only breeds more hatred and creates more terrorists.

And I’m not even going to address the lunatics out there who keep advocating for the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Gaza, but who can’t see how contemplating that would put us in the same category as so many of the most evil ideologies that have existed throughout history.

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Does that mean that we Jews should just sit here, and let the terrorists in Gaza fire rockets at us willy-nilly?

Of course not. Life is precious. Every life is so very precious, every person is a whole world.

And so, we have what they call in the Talmud a kooshia, or difficulty, that seems impossible to resolve. Morally, we can’t just sit here and let Jews continue to be slaughtered by rocket attacks. Morally, we can’t just go in and commit wholesale murder in Gaza.

So, what’s the answer?

Those yeshiva boys who are protesting – and the rabbis who are sending them out – might know. Maybe, just maybe, the answer is to put down the guns, and to turn to God in prayer and supplication and teshuva.

I know, that’s challenging isn’t it? On so many levels.

But we have to fight!!! We have to keep defending ourselves!!! We can’t just go like lambs to the slaughter!!!

Agreed, agreed, agreed, a million times over.

But, we have to change the way we are fighting from the Esav-machine gun-Rambo model, to the Yaakov-prayer-teshuva-and Torah model.

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If you look at all the real social upheavals that led to genuinely positive outcomes since World War II, they were all achieved with emuna and non-violent protest. But Israel’s whole secular society is built on violence, and promoting violence and murder as the answer to all of our woes.

If only we could murder all the Palestinians, we’d have nothing else to worry about!

That’s how so many of us have been brainwashed to think. But we have to stop, and we have to ask ourselves honestly: does that sound like a solution that God actually wants? I know, if God Himself decides He wants to wipe out a whole nation of people, that’s something else, and God doesn’t need anyone’s help to do that. We don’t need to get in the middle of God’s calculations.

But we do need to clear all the State’s propaganda out of the way, and really look at the culture of spying, intimidation and violence that has become the State of Israel’s stock-in-trade. And instead of being so proud of it, we have to ask ourselves some hard questions about whether all this violence is moral? And whether it’s ethical? And whether it’s in line with, or anti, the halacha?

We need to pause and examine whether God also believes that forcing yeshiva bochurs to learn how to use machine guns, and encouraging promiscuous behavior between men and women soldiers, and putting obedience to a bunch of secular mafiosos ahead of obedience to God and His Torah is really going to solve the State of Israel’s problems, long-term.

And if we spend some time exploring that question, however uncomfortable it makes us to start challenging the axiomatic ‘truths’ we’ve all been raised with, it’s possible that we’ll start to realise that these ‘truths’ aren’t so true, after all.

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Violence isn’t working to solve the problem, because it’s not addressing the root cause of the State of Israel’s woes, which is that it is anti-Torah, and anti-God. If the State of Israel became a ‘halachic state’ tomorrow, I guarantee our problems with the Arabs would disappear overnight.

If Martin Luther King had encouraged the 20 million blacks in the US to resort to violence instead of peaceful protest, do you think he would have achieved what he did? Do you think Gandhi would have got the British out of India if he’d resorted to terrorist tactics?

If the State of Israel had put God in the picture from its inception, God would have been fighting our battles for us – without tanks, planes and missiles – and all these wars and misery would be far behind us, already.

So, as we head into the next Israeli election, and as the rhetoric about ‘draft-dodging charedim’ heats up again, we need to take a breath and think about what’s really going on here, and what side of the equation we really want to be on.

Do we want to be Gandhi, or the British? Do we want to be Martin Luther King Jr, or the racists who shot him? Do we want to be Yaakov, who solves his problems peacefully with prayer and emuna, or Esav, who ‘solves’ his problems with murder and violence?

That is really the question that is looming ever larger for Israeli society.

And there are no easy answers.

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In our prayers, we ask God to save us from the ‘Medina of Gehinnom’.

I think I’m starting to figure out what that’s really referring to.

On Sunday, I stuck an overnight bag in the car, unplugged my laptop and drove up to Kadita, a small village made mostly of recycled wood, close to Tsfat.

Kadita is hidden in the middle of the Birya Forest’s pines and hills – and even with a map and directions to guide me, it still took me the best part of an hour to find it. Part of the problem was that what my host was calling a ‘road’ was actually sign-posted as a bike track. After the fourth attempt, I finally found the ‘road’, and pretended my Hyundai i20 was really a jeep.

Sometimes, a car’s gotta do what a car’s gotta do.

And my car had to drive up a steep dirt track that was much better suited to goats than tyres.

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I didn’t really notice how bad the road was, as I was just concentrating intently on following instructions for how to find the place, a small rental shack in the middle of a farm, with no internet and barely any electricity.

Everything was solar powered, which meant the fridge switched off at night, and I was left with the light of two struggling lightbulbs. For the two days I was there, I spent most of the time trying to get my manuscript describing the 16 4 Element personalities into good enough shape so that I could send it off to an editor, for the next stage.

I went to bed early – 9pm – because the light was so bad and it was pitch black outside. I started to get that this is how people used to live, before the advent of electricity and street lighting, and I could see it had some big pros – and also some big cons. Life was certainly simpler and more ‘home’ focused in the past, because really, there wasn’t any other choice.

The roads were treacherous enough to traverse in the daylight, let alone when you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.

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I woke up early in the morning, around 6am, and went to explore the neighborhood as part of my daily hour long hitbodedut, or ‘talking to God’ session. Which is when I stumbled across the tomb of Rabbi Tarfon, a tanna, who was buried halfway up a hill at an achingly beautiful site where his tomb was partially covered by one of the biggest, wide-trunked trees I’d ever seen in my life – ‘The Tree of Mercy.’

That ‘Tree of Mercy’ had to be at least a 1000 years old, if it was a day.

I had the place to myself, and as I sat there watching the sun come up over the surrounding hill, backlighting the groves of olive trees dotted all around, I sighed a deep sigh. If not for electricity pylons and their bobbing bright orange buoys, this same sight could have been seen for the last 5000 years…

I started poking around Rabbi Tarfon’s tomb, wishing that I knew a little more about him and who he was, when I came to a sign that had been hung against that massive tree. I’m reproducing exactly what the sign said, below:

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The Tree of Mercy

The tree you see before you used to be a sapling. At that time, Jews had hope that one day, Hashem, in His great strength, would place His holy nation within the borders of the Land of Israel. The tree grew tall, and stands strong for the world to see.

At the end of one long and wide branch, the tree grows once more, but in small form. The short growth on the branch reminds us that we ourselves as only a remnant of a mighty nation, the generation that returned.

We should not be satisfied and settle for less than Hashem asks of us.

Hashem will hear us, on the day we call. Call to Hashem, that He grants His mercy to our generation; that through this mercy Israel will be restored to its former state and to its former spiritual status.

May it be that through our love, fear and unshakeable belief in Him, through our Torah study, mitzvahs and good deeds for one another, He will continuously keep us close to Him, so we never wander away again.

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Under this message, which quite took my breath away, was the following:

Rabbi Tarfon says: The day is short and the work is multiplying, and the workers are lazy, and the salary is great, and the Baal HaBayit (owner) is insistent.

He used to say: It’s not for you to finish the job, but you are also not a ‘free agent’ to absolve yourself from doing it.

If you learned a lot of Torah, you will be given a lot of reward. The ‘owner’ of the operation is trustworthy, to pay you for your work. And know! The reward of the tzaddikim is given in the world to come.

Pirkei Avot 2: 15-16

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What can I add to that, that wouldn’t just detract?

I felt like Hashem was talking straight to me, via Rabbi Tarfon. I stood up to go, and noticed a peeling sticker that had been stuck to the backside of the ner tamid, the memorial light set up over Rabbi Tarfon’s marker stone. It said:

I believe with total faith in the coming of the Moshiach. And even though he tarries, despite this, I will continue to wait for him every single day, that he should come.

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My husband asked me to stop here. I’m respecting his wishes.

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What’s really stopping us from seeing the truth?

I was discussing with my husband why so very many people, including ‘big’ rabbis, just don’t seem to want to see what’s right in front of their eyes at the moment, or to hear anything about geula being imminent, or to discuss any possible candidates for Moshiach.

It’s all business as usual! Nothing unusual going on here!

I know how hard it is to move country, and to put parnassa at risk, and to leave behind the nice homes we have… and the nice shul we belong to… and the nice community of friends and family we have around us.

I know how easy it is, to fool ourselves into think everything will happen the ‘sweet’ ‘easy’ way, because isn’t that just more convenient all round?

We can just stay in our little bubble, easily, until Moshiach shows up and then we just jump on the nearest synagogue that’s grown wings and is flying its way to Israel….

Part of me also wants things to be like that.

I had a big argument with my kids over Shabbat, because a big part of them is clearly not at all ready for what it would mean to be really living in that next, much more spiritual, dimension that is going to be the era of Moshiach.

One of my kids told me straight, “It’ll be so boring!”

Another one started ranting at me that I belong to a cult, and that ‘normal’ people just don’t think about the geula and Moshiach all the time. Sadly, I know she’s right. So what does that say about the ‘normal’ observant world we live in?

We want Moshiach now!!!!, but only if we don’t have to change anything, or do anything different.

Only if we can carry on living where we live, and listening to traif music, and stuffing our eyeballs with movies and Facebook and Instagram, and only if we can carry on only doing the bits of yiddishkeit that appeal to us, and feeling like true tzaddikim, while dismissing all that other stuff that doesn’t really appeal or comes very hard.

So I told my kids,

I get where you’re coming from, I really do. A part of me is also scared to give that stuff up, and to lose the ‘wiggle’ room. But a much bigger part of me is SO sick of all the lies flying around, and all the self-righteous posturing, and all the people with terrible middot who secretly think they are one of the lamed vav tzaddikim who are sustaining the world…

The world is such an awful mess.

I also know that you, dear reader, would prefer me to write superficial ‘uplifting’ posts telling you that we’re all tzaddikim and that everything is going to be 100% OK and that we don’t have to change anything about ourselves, or work on any of our bad middot, or spend hours pouring our hearts out to God about what a mess everything is.

My kids are also resistant to hearing that their i-Phones, goyish music and eyebrow piercings will NOT be accompanying us to the era of Moshiach. Or that they won’t be able to carry on ignoring God and doing whatever the heck they want, while still considering themselves to be ‘perfect’ Jews.

We had a big argument about it all over Shabbat, I get where they are coming from, I understand why it’s so hard.

Part of me also wants the world to continue the way it is. Part of me knows I’m also not giving God everything He wants, 24/7, or anything close to it.

And that part is very scared of what’s about to come next.

But as I see the moral darkness enveloping us, and as I see how many of us are literally losing our neshamas as we chase after cash, and stuff, and physical pleasures, and ‘fun’ – that’s what gives me the strength to say to God:

I’m scared of what’s coming next, really scared.

But I can’t stand the moral depravity in the world for a second longer.

Evil is so banal today, we don’t even register what’s really going on all around us. We see all the miserable people, we hear about the huge spike in people on anti-depressants and smoking pot just to get through the day, and the massive rise in people killing themselves, we see small children literally being butchered by a medical profession gone mad who has somehow decided these kids are in ‘the wrong body’, we see people lying to themselves and hurting others all over the place – and we tell ourselves this is ‘good’.

We tell ourselves this ‘normal’. 

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It’s not easy when your teenagers start ranting at you that you’re wasting your life on a ridiculous pipedream that seems to be cutting you off from ‘fun’ things like spending 2 weeks on holiday in Thailand, or ‘fun’ things like watching the latest movies from the Hollywood sickos, or ‘fun’ things like spending every waking minute chasing after more cash so you can buy more designer clothes and eat more fast food and live in an even bigger house.

After my discussion on shabbat, I can see that I have to do an awful lot of praying for my teens, because it seems there are no free rides into the geula dimension. It seems that every single one of us will have to decide if they’re more wedded to evil-normal or good-abnormal over the coming weeks and months.

It’s a scary prospect, because I can see already that most of us are just not ‘there’ yet.

And I don’t know what it’s going to take to get us ‘there’, but I can tell you it won’t be soft and fluffy, or easy to ignore.

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And that idea is clearly very scary, for a lot of reasons.

And my teens aren’t even stuck in materialistic chutz l’aretz where there’s also other things that could be holding them back from really embracing their yiddishkeit.

So, I can see why so many frum people just don’t want to hear about anything ‘real’ today, connected to geula and Moshiach, and don’t want to see that all hell is about to break loose all across the world, in so many different ways, and don’t want to talk about the changes and teshuva we might all need to be making, in real time, to meet the looming spiritual challenges up ahead.

I understand them.

And I’m praying that somehow, some way, God will make it clearer for the truth to start getting out there, in a way that people can really digest and accept it.

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cartoon of three monkeys with their ears, eyes and mouths stuffed with dollar bills

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Plagues of rats, swarms of locusts, killer hail and tar bubbling out of the payment – what is going on in the USA?

Last week, I was browsing the incredibly anti-semitic SOTT website – which I wouldn’t have to do, if any of our mainstream media actually printed any real information about what’s really going on in the world – when I noticed a few stories that made me think “the 10 Plagues of America.”

First, there were a couple of stories about how LA and Baltimore – and a few more of the US’s biggest cities, besides – are basically facing a plague of rats that is growing by the day, and that they can’t seem to get rid of.

Now, people will tell you that this rat plague is being caused by all the garbage lying around the streets – particularly in LA, which appears to be imploding under the weight of its own moral corruption – but honestly? I’m not so sure. More on that in a mo.

If LA’s garbage problem is the only reason for the rats, then why are so many other big cities in the US also having a plague of rats?

Something else, other than the garbage, has to be causing the problem.

And then that same day, there was also a story of how Las Vegas got shut down for a day because it was blanketed by a bizarrely massive swarm of locusts.

So many massive hailstone storms have hit the US the past couple of years that’s almost not news.

What? Hailstones the size of baseballs and grapefruit hit Colorado again? Yawn. What’s for supper?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGEoL2-VAHs

But what with the earthquakes rocking the West coast…and the wildfires that have come back with a vengeance in Oregon near to where some recent quakes were located, and the 850,000 acres that are currently burning up in Siberia, and volcanoes mightily popping off all over the place – well, strange geological events are definitely on the rise all over the planet.

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It would appear that the expected Grand Solar Minimum which I wrote a whole bunch of stuff about HERE has shown up, exactly on schedule.

Again, without rehashing everything I’ve written about this, suffice to say that Grand Solar Minimum occurs roughly every 210 years, and the bottom of the cycle can last for 20 years – or way, way more, if it sparks off another ice age.

Throughout that 20 year cycle, the intensity and frequency of the earthquakes and volcanoes increase all over the planet, and our weather first gets crazily erratic, and then starts to get much, much colder. We’re in the opening stages of the Grand Solar Minimum drama, and from here on it, it’s going to be quite the rollercoaster ride, weatherwise.

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But I’m digressing. Let’s get back to the rats.

While I was pondering all these strange plagues of rodents and other creatures in the US, a reader sent me an email to say that bubonic plague has started back up in LA and Oregon. By itself, that’s not so shocking, because California has been steadily reporting isolated cases of plague for the last few decades. Or to put it another way,

Bubonic plague never actually stopped in California, just so far it’s been very well contained.

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Here’s a few articles I found noting the problem, and blaming it on the corrupt politicians, the lack of waste disposal, California’s drought (which ended two years ago…) and the growing army of homeless people in America, that everyone likes to pretend doesn’t really exist:

There have been 42 cases of plague in California since 1970, and nine were fatal.

This is from a post from a few months’ ago:

“All that garbage [in LA] attracts rats, which “pose a public health risk,” an infectious disease specialist told the [NBC news] outlet, because the rodents can lead to the spread of salmonella and bubonic plague — not to mention fleas that have been infected with typhus.

At least nine people were reported ill with typhus in downtown Los Angeles between July and September [in 2018], with officials pointing to refuse and stray animals as potential catalysts, according to reports from October.”

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While it’s tempting to say it’s all because LA is so corrupt and politically backwards that they can’t even arrange proper garbage collection for its residents, I personally think that’s a red-herring.

I think what might be going on there is far more interesting – and potentially, far more disturbing.

I haven’t written one of these long wild-side posts for a while, but it seems the time has come to take a deeper look at:

Black death pandemics, ‘Nibiru’ and the 700 year connection

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A while ago,  I was reading Immanuel Velikovsky’s ‘Mankind in Amnesia’, where he basically set out that every 700 years or so, there’s some sort of cataclysmic ‘supernatural’ event that comes along with a whole bunch of weird ‘supernatural’ phenomena, and strange portents in the sky.

We are currently in the Hebrew year 5779. In the Hebrew year 1656, 4068 years ago, Noah’s flood occurred, with all its comet-inspired attendant supernatural miracles, and enormous deluge of water.

Some 789 years later, in the Hebrew Year of 2445, the Exodus occurred, with all its comet-inspired attendant supernatural miracles, fiery hail / meteor showers, plagues, earthquakes and geological disruption, including seas splitting and awesome electric storms as the Jewish people received the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Another 760 years’ later, in the Hebrew year of 3205, (known as – 687 BCE in the secular world), Sennecharib’s army of 185,000 men was destroyed on the eve of Passover, as they camped outside the Jerusalem City walls ready to invade and destroy the holy city. That same year, Sennacharib’s army had conquered the Kingdom of Israel, and dispersed the 10 tribes who lived there.

While Greek sources like Herodotus claimed that these soldiers had been killed by ‘the plague’, deeper Jewish sources suggest they were actually electrocuted to death instantaneously, as part of a comet-inspired supernatural miracle which also saw the sun reverse five hours as the earth’s axis and orbit were once again affected by ‘action at a distance’ from an enormous, planet sized celestial object.

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In the Hebrew year of 3828, 623 years’ later, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, and the Jewish people lost sovereignty in Israel. 52 years after that, in the Hebrew year of 3880, the Bar Kochba revolt ended, and the Jewish people were sent into exile.

There is nothing new under the sun

When all that stuff was happening in Israel, around 2,000 years ago, speculation about ‘end of days’ was at its peak within the Jewish nation. This was the time when all the Yoshki stuff started to gain a footing in the world, and it’s also the time of the Essenes and their Dead Sea Scrolls talking about teachers of darkness and the teacher of light. In 44 B.C.E., a brilliant comet was seen in the daytime sky for months after the murder of Julius Caesar in Rome – as recorded in many contemporary sources.

Big geo-political world changes always seem to go hand-in-hand with a renewed obsession with comets. From Parshat Balak, we know of Bilaam’s prophecy of the ‘Kochav Yaakov’, which will usher in time of the Moshiach, and the Zohar in Parshat Shemot 7b also talks of this:

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The non-Jews of this time, just before the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E, were also obsessed with portents and signs, due to the heavens being lit up by tons of comets and other unusual celestial activities.

A pagan philosopher / writer, called LUCRETIUS wrote about this time: “destruction awaits the heavens and the earth…within some short time you will see the worlds in commotion and the universe convulsed with shocks…the universe can collapse, borne down with a frightful-sounding crash.”

(If he was alive today, that guy would DEFINITELY have his own Youtube channel…)

At this time, the Sibylline Oracles were also written, shamelessly plagiarizing from Jewish traditions, to predict the forthcoming end of the world because:

“God, Whose dwelling is in the sky, shall roll up the heavens as a book is rolled, and the whole firmament in its varied forms shall fall on divine earth and on the sea; and then shall flow a ceaseless cataract of raging fire and shall burn land and sea, and the firmament of heaven and the stars and creation itself shall cast into one molten mass and dissolve. Then no more shall there be luminaries, twinkling orbs, no night, no dawn… no spring, no summer, no winter, not autumn.”

Compare that to this description of the end of days from Isaiah (Chapter 34) (and then figure out why they decided to rewrite it, a little):

4: And all the host of heaven shall melt, and the heavens shall be rolled like a scroll, and all their host shall wither as a leaf withers from a vine, and as a withered [fig] from a fig tree.

5: For My sword has become sated in the heaven. Behold, it shall descend upon Edom, and upon the nation with whom I contend, for judgment….

8. For it is a day of vengeance for the Lord, a year of retribution for the plea of Zion. 

9. And its streams shall turn into pitch and its dust into sulfur, and its land shall become burning pitch. 

10. By night and by day, it shall not be extinguished; its smoke shall ascend forever and ever; from generation to generation it shall be waste, to eternity, no one passing through it.

The proto-xtians also got in on the ‘end of days’ act (does any of this sound familiar to anyone, btw?) and based their book of Revelations on the Sybylline Oracles, which in turn was plagiarized from the deeper Jewish sources, including the book of Isaiah.

“So highly regarded were the Sibyl’s prophecies that the fourth century church usurped her second book, inserted narratives that dealt with Christian characters,and then said it was a divine revelation given to the apostle John by Jesus Christ from Heaven, and added it to their New Testament.

Church records state that Cerinthus ‘rewrote’ the original Sibyl’s prophecies to create a falsified version, that was adjusted again in the fourth century, when it was added to the New Testament. The early church was so concerned that the general populace would learn that its Book of Revelation was a forgery, that in 405 CE the Bishop of Rome ordered the Roman general Flavius Stilicho to burn as many copies of the Sibylline Books as he could find.”

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Here’s what’s so interesting, from a Jewish perspective: each time Moshiach could have or nearly did come, it was attended by unusual comets, political chaos and unusual geophysical occurrences.

When Noah left the ark, we’re told he could have rectified the whole of creation and ushered in redemption right there and then – but he stuffed it up by getting drunk. And so, we carried on another 700-odd years until the time of the Exodus.

Again, Am Yisrael could have ushered in redemption after they accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai – but again, they stuffed it up, by building a golden calf. The next ‘et ratzon’ for Moshiach to come occurred around another 700 years later.

That’s when King Hezekiah could have been the Moshiach, and the Assyrian invader Sennacherib could have been Gog and Magog –  except Hezekiah wasn’t appropriately grateful for the miracle that God had done for him (and us…) by saving Jerusalem. The Talmud (in Sanhedrin 94a) says that:

The reason Chizkiyahu was not the Mashiach is that he didn’t sing after Hashem did miracles for him.

And so geula was pushed off for around another 700 years.

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At that stage, Rabbi Akiva (incorrectly…) believed that the Jewish rebel Bar Kochva was the Moshiach – but he wasn’t, in the end. Which just goes to show that even a massive Torah personality and Gadol HaDor can be wrong, when it comes to making predictions about who Moshiach might actually be.

The Second Temple was destroyed, the Jews were banished from their land, the Shechina went into exile – and God’s face was hidden from the world.

Yet 2,000 years ago, all the peoples of the world, Jewish or not, could still ‘feel’ that something huge was going on, that was somehow connected to the end of days.

I know, what’s all this got to do with the black plague in LA? Patience, we’re getting there.

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Another 700 years’ later, in 541-2 C.E., we get to a time when the Western Roman Empire finally ended.

And the nail in its coffin was a terrible outbreak of an unusually virulent, mysterious ‘plague’ that was centered around the Byzantine Empire’s capital, in Constantinople. That pandemic was called Justinian’s Plague, and it killed a quarter of the Empire’s citizens.

Five years after that plague struck, Constantinople was almost totally razed by the biggest earthquake it experienced in the last 2,000 years. It’s walls were severely damaged, and that made it a cake-walk for the Huns to conquer Constantinople, and put an end to the tottering Roman Empire crumbled.

After this, the so-called ‘dark ages’ began in Europe.

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It’s roughly 700 years’ after Justinian’s plague, and now we’re in the 14th century.

Once again, there are strange portents and omens in the skies (i.e. comets and meteors), strange geological phenomena and earthquakes, reports of death-dealing ‘miasmas’ rising from the ground, and water sources being poisoned.

While modern science and modern history scoffs at these descriptions as being the product of superstition and ignorance, it sounds to me like a very good description of the processes we are now seeing going on around us. The ‘miasma’ could well be an unscientific medieval description of natural methane gas rising up from the ground.

Well water – water that is raised from deep underground – would also be more susceptible to being affected by volcanic gas and if there was more ‘heat’ happening underground, to speed up the process of organisms multiplying in still or stagnant water.

Europe’s ‘Black Death’ pandemic is traditionally blamed on sailors entering the Italian port of Sicily in October, 1347. The story goes they were carrying rats aboard that spread the plague all over Italy and then on across the continent.

Very interestingly, Italy was hit with a massive earthquake in 1348:

“The 1348 Friuli earthquake, centered in the South Alpine region of Friuli, was felt across Europe on 25 January. The quake hit in the same year that the Great Plague ravaged Italy. According to contemporary sources, it caused considerable damage to structures; churches and houses collapsed, villages were destroyed and foul odors emanated from the earth.”

Medieval people connected the Black Death to the earthquakes, but didn’t go beyond explaining them both as acts of God. (If only we modern humans had their degree of perception…)

Also very interestingly, Sicily is one of the most volcanically-active areas on the planet, home to Mount Etna (which is still erupting today), and also home to Vulcano and Stromboli – after which the field of volcanology is named.

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LEPTOSPIROSIS AND PNEUMONIC PLAGUE

Last Summer in Israel, the stagnant water pools in the Golan – Israel’s volcanic region, with 63 volcanoes being officially acknowledged by geologists –  had a massive problem with the leptospirosis bacteria that is very similar to yersina pestis.

I don’t want to throw too many curve balls at you at once, but here’s an excerpt from a scientific journal from 2017 that noticed that killer pneumonic plagues seem to be connected to both the yersina pestis bacterian, and leptospirosis:

“Conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo provide an ideal environment for leptospirosis and plague, both of which can cause severe pulmonary manifestations. In December 2004, an outbreak of lethal pneumonia occurred in a local mining camp, affecting 130 persons and killing 57 of them. Clinical signs, fast disease spread, and initial laboratory investigations suggested pneumonic plague….

Twenty-nine of the 54 patients or convalescents tested for leptospirosis were seropositive. Two cases showed a confirmed infection for both plague and leptospirosis. While evidence supports the plague nature of this outbreak, the results suggest that some of the suspected plague cases might be due to leptospirosis. In any case, this diagnosis will have to be evoked in the future if a similar outbreak occurs in this region.”

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OK, let’s get back to the 14th century, and the Black Death.

Here’s an excerpt from Historical Tales, by Charles Morris:

“The middle of the fourteenth century was a period of extraordinary terror and disaster to Europe. Numerous portents, which sadly frightened the people, were followed by a pestilence which threatened to turn the continent into an unpeopled wilderness.”

(Point to note: ‘pestilence’ is often used interchangeably with ‘plague’ in many historical accounts. It refers to some unidentified ‘disease’ that kills an awful lot of people in a very short amount of time.)

Morris’s account then goes on to list the following:

  • 1337 CE – a great comet appears in the heavens
  • 1337-40 CE – three years of terrible famine, caused by never-ending swarms of locusts
  • 1348 CE – an enormous earthquake strikes Europe, devastating large parts of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the Alpine valleys, together with fiery meteors and a ‘gigantic pillar of flame’ that’s seen by hundreds of people descending on the Pope’s palace in Avignon.
  • 1348-1349 CE – The black death began in Europe, killing between a third and a half of the inhabitants. (It broke out again in 1361-62 and then for a third time in 1369).
  • 1356 CE – another massive earthquake destroys the whole of Basel

Here’s a few more interesting things to note:

Morris recounts that:

“The disease appears to have been a very malignant type of what is known as the plague, a form of pestilence which has several times returned, though never with such virulence as on that occasion.”

He also notes that:

“In many localities, the hatred of the Jews by the people led to frightful excesses of persecution against them, they being accused of their enemies of poisoning the wells. From Berne, where the city councils gave orders for the massacre, it spread over the whole of Switzerland and Germany, many thousands being murdered….”

Shortly after all this killing of innocent Jews occurred, the Swiss city of Basel got destroyed by a massive earthquake.

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The crusades had happened a century before all this.

God had clearly tried to wake the Jewish people up to make some serious teshuva, preceding another golden occasion for Moshiach and geula to begin, but again we dropped the ball, and the supernatural ‘change’ that came to the world was one of wholescale death and destruction instead.

Velikovsky, writing 50 years ago, said:

“If we project this periodicity of [comet inspired / end of days] frenzy, occurring at intervals of approximately seven hundred years, into the future, will the twenty-first century mark another epoch of terror and frenzy?”

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I know, I know. You want to know about how all this is connected to LA’s rats and bubonic plague.

Patience, we’re getting there.

‘Space weather’ – the solar wind and cosmic rays – directly affects human health, including our immune systems. Space weather also affects things like the rate that bacteria and other organisms mutate and reproduce.

It seems to me that some comet-induced changes to the earth’s electromagnetic atmosphere probably had something to do with the regular ‘plague’ – which has always been present, just as it’s still with us today, even in ‘civilised’ California – morphing into ‘Justinian’s plague’, and then the black death pandemic, around 700 and 1400 years ago, respectively.

Because even now, the scientists don’t really know why yestis persina, as it’s called, morphed from the bog-standard bubonic plague into such an awful pandemic. Or even, whether yestis persina was really the culprit.

Two scientists released a book in 2001 where they set out a very compelling argument for how the ‘Black Death’ can’t have been spread via rats and fleas – which meant something else was responsible for creating the pandemic, and causing it to spread so fast:

“First of all, bubonic plague is intimately associated with rodents and the fleas they carry. But the Black Death’s pattern of spread doesn’t fit a rat and flea-borne disease. It raced across the Alps and through northern Europe at temperatures too cold for fleas to hatch, and swept from Marseilles to Paris at four kilometres a day – -far faster than a rat could travel.

Moreover, the rats necessary to spread the disease simply were not there. The only rat in Europe in the Middle Ages was the black rat, Rattus rattus, which stays close to human habitation. Yet the Black Death jumped across great tracts of open country-up to 300 kilometres between towns in France-in only a few days with no intermediate outbreaks. “Iceland had no rats at all,” notes Duncan, “but the Black Death was reported there too.”

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What there WAS, however, was a lot of reports of urban centres in Europe being totally over-run by rats, shortly before the killer plague began.

Now, are you starting to see what I’m getting at?

And the same thing happened in San Francisco in 1904, when they had a massive rat problem, and a bubonic plague problem a couple of years before the 1906 earthquake hit and devastated the city.

This comes from a piece in the NY Times in May, 2019 called ‘Rats are Taking Over NYC’:

[T]he onslaught of rats extends beyond New York: Cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles are also confronting outbreaks.

“Everywhere I go, rat populations are up,” said Robert Corrigan, a research scientist in New York who estimates that their numbers may have increased by as much as 15 to 25 percent in some cities.

The rodents are not only a nuisance and a blight on the quality of life, but also a health risk. A bacterial infection spread by rat urine, leptospirosis, killed a Bronx resident in 2017.

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Let’s take a breath, and ask the question:

Why are all these rats coming out of hiding from their nests and tunnels underground in the US?

Like all rodents, rats prefer dark places to sunlit ones. And even if there is a ton of garbage lying around, they would just come and scavenge it at night, before returning to their underground nests.

But now, apparently, something is forcing them up and out of their underground burrows.

If you ask me, it’s rising methane, rising heat, something do with the magma in the US coming much closer to the surface. A few weeks’ ago, before the two large earthquakes struck California, there were a lot of reports of boiling tar literally spilling out across pavements in the La Brea area of Los Angeles.

Does that sound normal to you?

[WARNING: This video is not shmirat eynayim friendly.]

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It’s a long post, I know, so let’s try to sum things up neatly, to give you the take-away points.

  • Every 700 years, there seems to be some massive plague pandemic that engulfs humanity.
  • This ‘plague’ or pestilence is usually accompanied by a lot of celestial ‘portents’, i.e. comets, meteors and other unusual disturbances in the Heavens.
  • It’s also accompanied by freak geological events, unusual swarms of rodents and other creatures, earthquakes, fires, ‘poisoned water’ and poisonous ‘miasmas’, or gas clouds, rising from the earth.
  • Many of these pandemics have been historically associated with plagues of rats being seen in urban centres shortly before they began.
  • Yersina pestis – the bacteria thought to be responsible for the black death – is always with us. It’s unclear whether yersina pestis was actually responsible for the mass pandemics of the past, or whether things like the Black Death were caused by something more like an ebola virus..
  • Rats are pouring out of the ground all over America.
  • Plague cases are on the rise in California.
  • We are approximately 700 years after the ‘great plague’ decimated Europe in the 14th
  • This seems to be another of Hashem’s et ratzon’s for Moshiach and Geula.
  • Hopefully, we won’t drop the ball this time and see another massive spike in violent anti-semitism / Jews being blamed for everything.

We certainly live in interesting times.

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Before Moshiach shows up, it says the troubles will pile up non-stop.

The last few months, I don’t think I’ve had a single night of peaceful, unbroken sleep. Between the teenagers, the heat (I don’t have air-conditioning) and the endless mosquitoes, every single night has seen me wake up multiple times.

And this has been going on since November. And really, I can’t even blame the teenagers because even on the nights that they’ve both been in school, I still have been sleeping pretty badly.

All this means that I am plodding through life like a half-dazed zombie at the moment. There are some days I’m so tired, I can’t even think about what to make for supper, let alone actually go and buy the stuff. It’s a problem.

I feel I can’t really ‘interact’ at more than a basic level with anyone right now, because I’m totally whacked out and I just don’t have the energy to do it. And then, there’s the matter of the book.

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I was actually just finishing up a piece of creative non-fiction five months ago, that I’d been working on with a developmental editor, and it was coming along very nicely. Literally as I got to the last page of that, One in a Generation Volume II suddenly came back on to the radar as a ‘live’ project, and I spent the 6 weeks before Pesach working at the speed of light to get that book out before Seder night.

I don’t know why there was such a mad rush, exactly, but I had the sense that it was very important spiritually to get that book ‘out there’, even though so few people have actually bought it or read it.

Then it was Pesach, which I had to sort out in a week as I had so little time beforehand because I’d been working on One in a Generation, and like all of us, I found preparing for the festival pretty exhausting. Over chol hamoed, I was so whacked out that mostly all I did was stay home, which is pretty unusual for me.

Time to slow down a bit, paint some more, do things at a quieter pace, I told my husband back then, as he nodded sagely.

That’s not exactly what happened.

====

Post-Pesach, Shuvu Banim decided that they’d like to make something of a PR push around the book.

They found a professional who was happy to volunteer their services, so that more people would have a chance of hearing the truth about the huge miscarriage of justice around Rabbi Berland. So, I spent the month after Pesach putting together one PR proposal after another, one website after another, and having regular meetings to try to get One in a Generation to take off, somehow.

So much effort. So much work. So little to really show for it.

====

====

This is how the PR guy recently summed up our campaign, in an email he sent me about all the problems he was having with the newswires.

“They think Rav Merav didn’t say his quote, that we faked it. But they don’t want to speak with him and then they want him to have an email with an official domain of a business or a Shuvu Banim email to then go through some verification process. However the strength of his quote is the fact he is an independent well known rabbi and not part of Shuvu Banim. We followed their process without giving him a Shuvu email and they said it was not good enough…
They also said a couple lines from your quote must be removed because it is against the Israeli court ruling… They also said we could not link to your video because of the same.  They didn’t want the parts saying there was fake evidence, the accusations were false, and that this was like Yosef from 3,000 years ago.  They got very nasty on the phone…
Most opposition I ever got in 15 years and that includes working for a company accused of compromising US national security and another accused of causing cancer!”
====

Go back and read that again, because I want you to really grasp how much censorship of information is going on in the world generally, and about Rabbi Berland specifically. The media is totally manipulating the public to only think what they want us all to think, and to suppress any facts that goes against their narrative.

In the end, we had to shoot a video of Rabbi Meirav with totally toned-down quotes, just so the newswire would agree to even cover it. More ‘troubles’….

====

So then, we got up to Shavuot and I was feeling mega exhausted.

I asked my husband if we could go to Uman for the chag, just us two. He agreed, we went – and then I discovered that the kever is totally closed to women over Shavuot, so I couldn’t get in. More ‘troubles’…

Instead, I went to Gan Sofia, and spent isru chag lying under some massive trees on an island in the middle of the main lake there. It was bliss. It was probably the first time I’ve ever chilled out in Uman, and I felt like Rabbenu was giving me a massive dose of ‘relaxation’ to counter-balance all the stress and lack of sleep of recent months.

The night we flew out, we’d also swung past Hevron for an hour, to join in Rabbi Berland’s prayer gathering, which he’d called after we’d already booked our tickets to the Ukraine. Rabbi Berland promised: Everyone who comes won’t have a minute more of suffering!

Who could resist a deal like that?

So now we get to the crux of this post.

====

The day after I got back from Uman, I answered an ad looking for a new service that was looking for books to launch as part of a pilot program that was heavily discounted from what they’d charge once they’d got it all figured out.

I figured I’d try my luck, so I sent a two line email describing a book that was ‘almost finished’, that maybe would fit their program. In reality, I hadn’t written it yet, I just had the title, but I was so sure they wouldn’t respond.

Long story short: they took the book.

Which means I’ve spent the last few weeks furiously typing like a banshee again, trying to get the draft done to something at least approaching the time scale. It’s nearly done now, but in the meantime I’ve been totally neglecting my household and family the last month, AGAIN, and I know that’s not good, but what could I do, really?

The ‘troubles’ pile up like one wave after another, before one trouble is over, another begins…

====

Yesterday night, after another day’s hard typing, I staggered off to bed at 10pm to see if I could try and get a good night sleep.

Just as I was dozing off, the ubiquitous mosquito showed up, and started dive-bombing my face.

This usually occurs in the five minutes just before I’m about to drop off, and I can get so agitated trying to find the mosquito zapper to electrocute it that all my adrenalin starts pumping, and then it takes me hours and hours to calm down enough to get back to sleep.

Yesterday, I was so tired, I couldn’t be bothered fighting that thing.

Let it bite me, let it suck my blood. I’m past caring.

I fell asleep – and an hour later, I woke up again because my husband had come home, and had just switched on the bedside light to try and track down the mosquito. He’s a great guy, but he’s got this habit of shining that spotlight straight in my face in the middle of the night, like he’s practicing to join a Mexican torture gang.

I squinted at him standing there with the mosquito zapper, looking apologetic but determined, and I wondered to myself:

God, are You out to get me? Because I have to tell you, it’s really starting to feel that way.

====

I was too tired to take it further yesterday night, but this morning, I think I finally figured out what’s going on.

It says before Moshiach comes, the troubles will come so thick and fast that before one ‘problem’ is even over, the next one starts up. I know so many people are going through the ringer at the moment, with awful, massive problems hitting them thick and fast.

And in my house?

The ‘problems’ are my books, which are taking up so much headspace and energy without really giving a heck of a lot back, and the ‘troubles’ are the mosquitos, that hide out in my room just waiting for me to go to sleep.

But this morning, I realized just how lucky I am to have troubles like these.

Yes, on one level I’m having difficulties coping with the daily challenge of not getting enough sleep, but I’m not really suffering from all this, even though it’s challenging.

After Hevron, it seems ‘the troubles’ got sweetened.

But let’s be clear, I’m still looking forward to the time when I get have a good night’s sleep again, and not walk through life like a spaced-out zombie, and have a bit of time to paint and to actually interact with people.

But at least until Tu B’Av, it seems that just ain’t going to happen.

====

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Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash

The last few days, I’ve been in a funny mood.

I’m working on a book that’s explaining how the ‘animal’ brain that’s in charge of the body’s FIGHT-FLIGHT-FREEZE-FLATTER stress response has managed to hijack most people’s personalities, and it’s not coming easy.

So yesterday, I took my notepad and pens, and went to sit in the kever of Shimon HaTzaddik. I had the whole of the women’s section to myself, and I managed to write a lot about the FLATTER / EARTH dimension.

What’s so wrong with flattering other people? What’s so wrong with ‘making nice’ to people, even if they aren’t so nice and maybe are doing things that are really, really wrong?

That’s what I was trying to explain.

I wrote 10 pages, and came home. But, I was still feeling restless, so next I went off to Kever Rachel, up the road from me, where I sat down and tried to write about FREEZE / WATER. That’s where you isolate yourself, get discouraged and depressed, and totally give up on humanity (and yourself…) because there’s just no point.

I came home, made supper – but was still feeling restless. So in the evening, my husband and I went off to the Kotel, where I sat before the Wall for an hour writing about FLIGHT / AIR, which is where you can’t sit still, you can’t focus, you’re full of worry and anxiety and nervous energy which keeps you constantly ‘doing’ and stops you from really thinking about anything too deeply.

At the end of all that, I realized: the world is in such a big mess.

====

Two weeks ago, I happened to trip over a ‘fake dayan’ in the course of researching something else.

Without going into details, he’d clearly forged his dayanut claims, and was a small-town crook pretending to be a ‘dayan’ who’d been invested by the Eida HaChareidit. He lives in chutz l’aretz, in a place where there are very few knowledgeable Jews who are able to catch him out, and he’s an excellent con man.

I’m still mulling over what to do with this information, particularly as he seems to have ‘retired’ from his claims of being a dayan to go and do other things.

Really, far more disturbing to me than the fake dayan himself, who clearly didn’t get enough love from his mum when he was growing up, are all the apparently real rabbis he was associating with. These ‘real’ rabbis must have known he was a total fake, but they apparently kept their mouths shut because it suited the enterprises they were associated with to be able to claim they had a fake dayan on board.

Why? Because having a dayan is a great USP.

These days, there a million people claiming to have smicha, or rabbinic ordination, but being a dayan is still a notable achievement. It still stands out. It still impresses people. And it’s much, much harder to fake, because it takes a minimum of seven years to achieve and actually requires some real knowledge of halacha that is rigorously tested by other very knowledgeable Jews.

That’s part of how I know this fake dayan is so clearly and utterly fake.

====

So how did this guy manage to fool so many other ‘real’ rabbis, especially here in Israel?

Simple.

He didn’t. They knew he was totally fake, but they kept their mouths shut because they wanted to encourage more clueless non-Jews to hand money over to their organisations.

As I was researching this, I was wondering how could so many of our ‘real’ rabbis have such bad middot, and no-one else appears to be noticing it? How can they be such vain, money-obsessed phoneys, and yet people are still lining up on Facebook (and elsewhere) to laud them and praise them?

After doing a lot of praying on it, it came to me that LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE.

For as long as we ourselves are totally obsessed with dollar bills, it’s not going to strike us as ‘strange’ that a ‘rabbi’ spends literally half his shiur just talking about money. For as long as we ourselves are full of hatred and harsh judgments and anger, it’s not going to put us off to hear someone dissing a whole generation of young Jews, or upset us when ‘secular people’ get written off as being totally evil and beyond repair.

In fact, quite the opposite. We’ll actually be thrilled to hear all this stuff, and we’ll heartily approve of this hashkafa, because it’s just confirming our own bad middot and our own warped outlook on life.

LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE.

====

Right now, there is an earthquake brewing under Manhattan and under the Knesset.

Without going into details, I think that a scandal is about to break that is going to turn the Jewish name into mud all over the world.

It’s up to God how much attention it will get, and how much damage it will actually do, but it could mark a turning point, because as long as the Jews and the Jewish State can claim the moral high ground, the good people of the world will be on their side and supporting them against the anti-Semites.

But what happens when a bunch of very prominent Jews are publically exposed as doing a lot of very ‘wrong’ things? Things that are so sickening and so morally perverted that any right thinking person will be totally disgusted?

What then?

It’s an interesting question.

How many Harveys and Jefferys and Bernies can non-Jewish society take, before it starts to dawn on them that Houston, we have a problem?

God is about to shine a massive spotlight down onto Jewish communities all over the world. We are heading into that next part of the birur, or clarification, process when more and more people will be singled out and asked:

Why didn’t you protest what was going on? How were you happy to keep on justifying such awful behavior, such monstrous people? How could you continue to hang out with these people, without noticing that something was terribly wrong? And to even praise them to others?

And the answer will be:

LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE.

We didn’t notice the problem by them, because we had it ourselves, in some way.

But soon, God’s going to start exposing all these ‘hidden’ issues in the Jewish community in the most distressing way.

And then, there will be no more pretending.

====

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With each day that passes, I realise even more that we’re living in a mad world.

In case you’re wondering why there aren’t a lot of posts going up the site at the moment, there are two reasons for that.

  • I’m in the middle of writing another book, and it’s taking a lot of time.
  • I’m currently having a minor disagreement with my better half, as I really want to write a whole lot more about what’s really going on with the yucky people who are sadly running our part of the world, and my husband is scared that if I do that, I’ll get myself in trouble.

So in the meantime, we’re having something of a stand-off and I’m not sure what exactly I should be writing, if I can’t write what God is putting in my soul to write.

But I can tell you this: it’s a mad world.

And it’s getting madder by the day.

On Shabbat, I went for a walk around Talpiot early in the morning, as the new book is taking a lot of mental concentration and I needed to ‘decompress’ my brain a little, with a longer hitbodedut session than usual.

As I rounded the bend that took me deep into Talpiyot’s industrial zone, which was all but deserted save for a couple of taxis, one police cruiser and a couple of local Arabs on foot, I spotted a strange figure motioning at me to come closer to the bus stop, where he / she was standing.

From a distance, I didn’t know who or what I was dealing with, but I could see the person didn’t look ‘normal’, and I also knew that there was no-one else around to help, if help was required. I took a deep breath, and went over.

It turned out to be a middle-aged woman with a buzz-cut and glasses, wearing boy’s clothes and a pair of oversized black man’s shoes. Even before she opened her mouth, I knew she was totally crazy.

====

“There’s a pedophile here!” She told me, motioning up the road. “He’s attacking his grandchildren, he’s attacking children!”

Well, that certainly got my attention. I debated how I should react to this news.

“Do you want me to flag down the police car?” I asked her.

“No!!!!!” she responded emphatically. “They all want to date me. All the policemen want to date me.” Just then, the police car cruised by and beeped at us, as the crazy woman told me “Don’t look at them, don’t look at them! But you see? They all like me. They were smiling at me, right?”

I tried telling her that I hadn’t been looking at them, as per her instructions, but she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Crazy people don’t like being told cold, hard facts that interfere with their narrative.

“You from America?” she asked me, suddenly switching into English. It’s part of my ongoing experience of being humbled on a daily basis that even the brain-damaged people I meet in Israel typically speak better English to me than I can speak Hebrew to them. “I’m from England,” I told her warily.

“Yeah!” she nodded. “Eastenders! Teletubbies! I know! I’m your angel, do you know that? God sent me to you to protect you from that pedophile. I want you to stay with me here until my madrich comes to get me.”

It was Shabbos. It was clear (to me) that no madrich was coming to get her.

“Do you have a phone?” she asked me. “No, it’s Shabbat.” “I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me!” she responded angrily. “I’m also making teshuva. Do you have a head-covering for me?” I didn’t.

====

So now I said to myself, God, what do you want from me?

What do you want me to do with this stark-raving crazy lady in the middle of Talpiyot who wants me to wait with her until the Moshiach comes?

The Police cruiser came around again, and this time I went against her instructions and looked in their direction and tried to subtly flag them down. The two policewomen in the car looked at me, then drove off.

“You see? They love me! Right they were smiling at me?! They all want to be my boyfriend. But most of them are married! And I’m not a slut,” gabbled on the crazy lady. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that there were no policemen in sight, and the police women clearly felt they had better things to do than take a crazy lady back to her institution.

“Listen,” she said to me suddenly, as though she’d been reading my thoughts. “I’m not crazy. I just have CP. You know what is CP?” I nodded. “I need you to walk me back to my madrich. I’m your angel. You need me.”

I raised my eyes to the Heavens again.

Lord, what do you want from me?

Go with the crazy woman. You can’t leave her here.

“Where is your madrich?”

“Tzomet Pat”

That was miles away! I sighed heavily. Ok, God. Ok. If that’s what You want, that’s what I’ll try to give You.

====

We started walking, and I realized with sinking stomach that the crazy lady had a really bad limp.

This was going to take ages. She looked at me, saw my bemused expression, and started insulting me.

“You’re a sick person, you know that? You’re mentally ill! You should be in a hospital!”

I raised an eyebrow, than agreed with her. That threw her. So she tried to insult me again.

“What do you have, schizophrenia? Depression? You know, you’re a sick person. You’re not nice. You don’t trust anyone. Come on, trust me!” she told me emphatically. “I’m not going to do anything to you!”

Thanks to my teenagers, my tolerance for being insulted is pretty high.

But even so, she was approaching the cresting point. I realized it would be better for everyone if she continued her monologue in Hebrew. That way I could pretend to be listening without having to get too involved.

====

So she took my hand – for my own safety, of course, so the pedophile wouldn’t get me – and we walked along at 2 cms an hour, over the bike track and up onto the other side of Makor Chaim.

The whole way, she was telling me about her 11 year old son, who wasn’t adopted. And her ex-husband who was a Russian Jew, but they still had to get married in a civil wedding in Cyprus. Now they were divorced. She told me she had cancer. She told me she’d had two serious operations. She told me that Avi had just killed himself, because she’d refused to marry him.

“His Facebook account is blocked now, right?” I nodded mechanically. “That means he’s dead! It’s very sad.” She started crying. “You didn’t kill him,” I told her emphatically (who knows if ‘Avi’ even existed, but when you’re in Mad World, there are certain rules you have to follow.)

She turned on my angrily. Don’t be aggressive with me, ok? I’m a black belt karate! I’ll hit you so hard you won’t get up again!”

She looked at me with angry eyes, and I looked back at her 5ft nothing, limping frame and sighed a very deep sigh again. You can’t disagree with crazy people about anything. They are always right. So I apologized and nodded, and we carried on.

At 2cm an hour.

In the boiling sun.

And I didn’t have any water.

And I was starting to need the toilet.

====

I cleared my throat.

“Do you know where we’re going?”

“Come on! Trust me! What’s the matter with you!!” she started yelling at me again.

I ignored her.

Do you know where we are going? I can’t spend all day going to Tzomet Pat with you.

Right at the beginning of the journey, we’d had a disagreement about the direction to take and fool that I am, I thought she’d really known where she was going. I wasn’t going to make that mistake twice.

“I’m going to ask someone” I told her – which again got her a little mad and panicked, but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer this time.

“It’s FORBIDDEN for you to speak to a man, what sort of religious woman are you?!” she shouted at me, then ran off to flag down the jogging bald-headed man that was heading straight for us.

“Where’s Tzomet Pat?” I asked him. He pointed me in a direction, and the crazy lady started up that he was lying, and that it was the other way. My patience broke.

“Listen,” I said in English. “She’s a little bit crazy, and I’m trying to help her get to her madrich. Please tell me where Tzomet Pat is.”

That was it. I’d done the unthinkable. I’d dared to state that the crazy person was crazy.

I’d broken the cardinal rule of the ‘Mad World’. This was unforgivable.

====

The crazy person turned on me and started abusing me roundly on the street.

“I knew you were a sick person! Get away from me, before I put you in hospital! I don’t want you to come anywhere with me! Go away!”

Now my guilt reflex kicked in. Should I leave the crazy woman here, in the middle of the road? Am I now responsible for getting her home?

I decided to try to follow her stealthily for a minute, hiding out behind some cars, to check she’d be OK. She spotted me immediately, and started abusing me again.

“You’re disgusting! You’re sick! Stop stalking me! Go and get help!”

Just like that, the tables had been neatly turned, and now I looked like the crazy person.

Talk about a mad world.

I turned and walked back in the other direction, towards my home.

The little bit of nachas I’d schlepped from putting myself out to do a mitzvah, however strange and unwillingly, had totally disappeared. Instead, I just felt pretty bad about myself.

God, what was I meant to have done differently? How was I meant to have reacted? Am I really responsible for trying to help these people, who are totally insane?

I don’t have an answer.

I came home in a thoughtful mood, and not for the first time, I thanked God for keeping me out of the loonie bin. Who knows how crazy people really get that way. Certainly, there’s usually been a lot of suffering, a lot of pain, a lot abuse on the way down into the madness.

There but for the grace of God go I.

But in the meantime, it’s a mad world out there, and getting crazier all the time.

And I have no idea, really, how it’s all going to get fixed.

====

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The facts on the ground, about converts and corruption in Latin America.

The last few days, I’ve been up to my eyeballs investigating a whole bunch of things related to what’s going on with corruption and converts in Latin America, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • The straight up halacha of performing an orthodox Jewish conversion appears to be much more simple than I realized.

According to this article, by Rabbi and Dayan Yirmiyaho Kaganoff, all you need is three orthodox Jews – not necessarily even Rabbis! – and a commitment from the would-be convert to do their utmost to keep the Torah, and abide by its commandments for the conversion to be valid.

“The basic requirement for becoming a Jew is accepting Hashem’s commandments, since a Jew is, by definition, someone who has a covenant with G-d to observe the Torah.”

“As mentioned before, conversion is an act that requires a proper beis din, meaning minimally, three fully-observant male Jews.”

  • There is a difference between an ‘halachically correct’ conversion, and a conversion that is recognized by the local orthodox community and / or the State of Israel Rabbinate.

Long story short, the whole situation with the anousim and with conversions generally, has become horribly politicized, and there seems to be a lot of vested interests who don’t want to see hordes of newly-orthodox Sephardic Jews in their communities and / or moving to Israel; and who especially don’t want to see millions of orthodox Sephardim suddenly upsetting the political balance and challenging Ashkenazi dominance in the worldwide Jewish community.

  • Latin America countries have had a takana, or agreement in place since the 1935 which was first introduced by the expat Syrian community in Argentina, that they won’t accept any new converts.

I had never heard of this before, so I did some digging and this is what I found:

“[T]he 1935 Takana… forbids marriage to those who convert for the purpose of marriage… [with] subsequent reaffirmations issued by Rabbi Jacob S. Kassin, the Brooklyn, NY Syrian Jewish community’s Chief Rabbi, and the Rabbinical Council of the Syrian community.

“Such marriages were not to be recognized by the community. Children of such marriages could not attend community yeshivot. Further, rites of passage such as bar mitzvahs, weddings and the right to be buried in the community’s cemetery were denied, as well as synagogue honors.”

It’s important to note that this Takana was first introduced to discourage insincere converts who only wanted to marry a Jew. But now, it’s been wholesale applied to the Bnei Anousim in Latin America who have Jewish roots, and want to return to their faith.

And ironically, the only people who can get around this Takana today tend to be the wealthy, connected Jews who dafka are trying to get someone converted just so they can marry them.

  • This Takana is making it very hard for potential converts to meet the requirement set out by the Israeli Rabbinate, that they have to have spent at least 9 months living in an active, orthodox Jewish.

Their local communities are totally shunning them, so even though their conversion may be halachically valid, they can’t meet the requirements to have their conversion recognized by State of Israel.

  • The current position with the State of Israel’s Rabbinate is that they will not accept any orthodox conversion done in Latin America.

The convert will either have to move for a year to the US and convert there, or try to move to Israel for a year and convert here. If you don’t have money and connections, clearly neither of these routes are really so viable. (As a side note, there has been so much corruption going on with selling conversions that in some ways, this is a sensible approach to take, as far as it goes. But not enough is being done to help sincere converts find other ways to meet the criteria.)

  • People with money in Latin America are often finding ways to convert ‘orthodox’ – by hook or by crook – in any case.

People without money – even if they are totally sincere and have been living as orthodox Jews for a few years already without formal recognition of their conversion – are basically stuffed.

====

Of course, this is totally the olam hafuch, or the upside-down world!

Moshiach is meant to be overseeing the ingathering of exiles and a lot of them can’t get on the plane because all the politics and conversion corruption in Latin America (and elsewhere…) is preventing them from being recognized as Jews, and they don’t have the money required to beat the system.

This is what one of my readers sent me, when she got in touch with one of her local Orthodox Rabbis to discuss the problem:

Screenshot of a text message from a rabbi talking about conversions

====

I also learnt that there is a difference between Bnei Anousim and Bnei Conversos.

Bnei Anousim are secret Jews who kept many of their Jewish customs, albeit it secretly, often without knowing why, and who were usually very strict about marrying into each other’s families.

These people are considered to be Jewish (if they can prove their traditions and geneology), but will often have to undergo an immersion in a mikva without saying a bracha.

Meanwhile, the Bnei Conversos are people who started off as Jews, but who converted to Catholicism and totally assimilated into the non-Jewish society. The descendants of these people are considered non-Jews, and will have to undergo a full conversion.

There is a lot more to be said about the subject of converts and corruption in Latin America. The more I’ve been researching, the more unbelievable corruption at every level I’ve been uncovering. It’s been very disappointing, to be honest.

====

The last thing to tell you is a story I heard about someone who converted through a Beit Din that’s known as one of the strictest in Chutz L’Aretz.

For four years, this person learnt halacha, went to shul, did everything they were told. (They had a Jewish boyfriend who was very keen that they convert properly before they got married, but who really doesn’t believe in the Torah.)

The man had been raised in an orthodox family, so he and his wife-to-be played their part beautifully for the four years required by the conversion process.

Very soon after the wedding, the wife returned to her roots, and can now be found back in church on an Easter Sunday.

You tell me: Is this woman really Jewish? Are her kids really Jewish?

But this is the woman with orthodox papers from the ‘strictest’ Beit Din in the world, for converts.

It’s the olam hafuch. And until Moshiach shows up to ‘sniff out’ who is really Jewish and who isn’t, it’s probably going to continue. And when that birur process starts in earnest, I think there are going to be a lot of very surprising things coming to light, in a whole bunch of different ways.

====

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