Yesterday, one of my readers sent me an email with screenshots from another ‘story’ that belongs to the genre of Geula P*rn.

In case you don’t know what Geula P*rn is, let me try to describe it.

Much like p*rn itself takes something that is the epitome of holiness and kedusha, i.e. the unification of a husband and wife in the quest to create a new life, and sucks all the kedusha out of that whole process, and makes it totally about cheap thrills and dark side ‘titillation’ – Geula P*rn does the same thing to our unfolding redemption process.

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Without a doubt, the situation is currently very stressful, dramatic and emotionally-wrenching.

Fear is rampaging all over the globe, and our elected officials and their media lackeys are doing their best to keep us all totally over-strung in a state of permanent fight-or-flight.

They know that panicked people can be easily controlled. They know that scared people are operating from their ‘primitive brain’, and that when that snake brain kicks in, the more mature functions and insight that we associate with acting like a sentient human being, as opposed to acting like a trained animal, get switched off.

All this fear and panic is being deliberately engineered, and it’s 100% coming from the dark side.

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As I talked about before, the whole work here is turn all this ‘fallen fear’ about Coronavirus into yirat shemayim that only God is controlling the world, and only God decides who will die and what’s going to kill them.

As a corollary to that, only God decides if someone is going to get infected by Coronavirus, and if so, by which route that’s going to happen. So, panicking and beating ourselves up about possibly being an ‘agent of transmission’ to our loved ones is totally anti-emuna.

We aren’t controlling the world!

All we can do is pray, and ask Hashem that we shouldn’t be used as the means to hurt other people, in any circumstances, and then we’ve done our part and we don’t need to stagger around guilt-ridden and paralysed by fear that we’re bringing ‘death’ to our loved ones, God forbid.

Open your eyes and see the manipulation going on here!

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Yesterday, the Times of Israel reported that 35% of all Coronavirus cases were ‘caught’ in a yeshiva or synagogue. This is totally fake news, and anti-Semitic. I challenge the government lackeys who put that information out to show the methodology they used to come to that conclusion.

With less than a quarter of a percent of the population being tested for Coronavirus, and with predictions that over a million Israelis have it – which by the way, shows the morbidity rate to be EVEN LOWER than the really low rate it’s already at – there is simply no logical way that the Times of Israel reporters, nor the ‘researchers’ from the Orwellian Ministry of Health could have ANY IDEA of how those people really got infected with Coronavirus.

But straight away, the Chief Rabbinate takes the bait, and announces they are closing all the synagogues.

And then more false leaders jump on the bandwagon, and announce that you can totally break the sanctity of Yom Tov by doing Zoom with grandpa and grandma during Seder night, so they don’t feel so lonely.

This is total madness!

But the one very clear silver lining in all this is that it’s starting to do the job of birur, or clarification, between our true leaders and our false leaders very efficiently.

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But I digress.

Let’s get back to Geula P*rn, and the role that’s playing in holding up the actual Geula.

Just as an addiction to p*rn literally prevents the people caught up in it from actually forming a healthy, holy bond with the opposite sex, an addiction to Geula P*rn is preventing the Jewish people from forming a real connection to Hashem, and to binding themselves with our real tzaddikim.

In case you’re confused about what a real tzaddik actually is, it’s someone who learns Torah, has an intrinsic level of holiness that most of us simply can’t get our heads around, and who eschews trying to ride off the back of current events to churn out more Geula P*rn.

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Let’s give some examples of what I’m talking about, starting with the story I was sent yesterday by a reader.

It was about a passage someone apparently found in the Zohar, talking about two viruses that would cause pandemics before the end of days. The first virus would be somewhat controlled and contained, and the second virus would be totally out of control.

My reader headlined her email with ‘Scary!’

This is classic Geula P*rn.

All doom and gloom and scary predictions, with absolutely zero connection to our real tzaddikim, or Torah, or teachings about how prayer, charity and teshuva can overturn even the harshest decree.

Rebbe Nachman used to rail about this, 200 years ago, that instead of hunkering down and praying to God to sweeten harsh decrees, the Jewish community would first choose to ignore and downplay the problem, and then ping straight into total yeoush and fatalism.

There is a different way of handling all this fear and panic!

It’s called praying, giving charity and making teshuva, and Baruch Hashem, more and more people are starting to opt for that route.

But in the meantime, what Geula P*rn does is cook up some dramatic ‘predictions’, or unearth some ancient ‘prophecy’, and then totally focus on the death and destruction aspect that could precede geula, instead of giving out encouragement to follow the path of prayer, charity and teshuva, to overcome the decree.

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If you look at our real rabbis, our real tzaddikim, they are all putting out the same message:

Make some sincere teshuva, stop treating others badly, have some humility, stop speaking lashon hara – especially about Rabbi Berland – and split the heavens with your prayers. And then everything will turn around, and the harsh decrees will be sweetened!

(REMEMBER: THIS VIDEO WAS FIRST POSTED UP ON FEBRUARY 27TH, 2020. LOOK HOW MUCH HAS CHANGED SINCE THEN….)

 

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If you look at the purveyors of Geula P*rn, it’s all about the ‘buzz’ the ‘drama’, the horrible predictions, the action, the latest news and statistics and conspiracy theories that are designed to just tip the reader into a greater state of anxiety and panic.

All of this is happening just to get us to wake up, and to return whole-heartedly to God.

That message is totally missing from Geula P*rn, and the poor people who are addicted to it are really suffering as a result.

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So now, let’s talk tachlis. What is the main teshuva we need to make?

Rav Kanievsky said lashon hara, rechilut, and letting things go with other people instead of making a big deal out of them.

Rav Menashe Amon (above) said Coronavirus came because people in Israel were speaking against Rabbi Berland, who is currently still being held in prison in awful conditions, and has been persecuted non-stop by the State of Israel for many long months and years.

It’s zero coincidence that the same week Rav Berland got imprisoned, Coronavirus exploded into the headlines.

Over on the Hebrew shuvubanim website, there’s an article that states baldly that as long as Rav Berland sits in prison, and we don’t protest that, and we don’t pray for his release, and we don’t stop pretending that he’s in a totally different category of kedusha and is a good candidate for this generation’s Moshiach – Coronavirus will continue.

Now, THAT’S a scary thought, isn’t it?

Do you really want to spend another 3 months cooped up with your kids with no way to make parnassa as the world implodes around you?

Or, do you want to get things back to something approaching ‘normal’ before Pesach, as Rabbi Berland himself has said can happen?

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Let’s recap:

Geula P*rn is where we eagerly suck in all the juicy details, all the drama, all the fearmongering surrounding the unfolding geula process, but don’t make the underlying teshuva required to actually get redemption the sweet way.

Sure, we blog about it, we comment about it, we talk about it – but we don’t sit down and do a proper cheshbon hanefesh about all the lashon hara we’ve read, written and believed about Rabbi Berland, and other tzaddikim.

And we don’t double-check how badly we’re really treating our children; or how we’re emotionally and verbally abusing our family members; or how we’re trying to manipulate and control the people around us to make sure we always end up getting what we want.

And we don’t really look at how full of fallen fears we are about Coronavirus – which means that we’re even willing to break Shabbat, and stop praying in a minyan, and to stop learning Torah, and to stop visiting the Kotel and to stop dipping in a mikva – and how empty we actually are of genuine emuna and real yirat shemayim.

That is the work to do right now, that is the teshuva required, to get geula the sweet way.

Geula P*rn is very heavy on facemasks, stats, false predictions and conspiracy theories.

Real geula is hyper-focussed on teshuva, humility, prayer and charity.

Make sure you know the difference.

Because the one is going to get us out of the awful mess we currently find ourselves in, while the other is only going to exacerbate it.

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Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash

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POSTSCRIPT:

In terms of figuring out the midda k’neged midda with slagging off Rabbi Berland and other tzaddikim and the spread of Coronavirus, you might get some clues below:

https://israeltruthtimes.blogspot.com/2020/03/can-you-put-two-and-two-together-those.html

 

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That’s what I read, when I ‘randomly’ opened up a Breslov book called Hishtapchus Hanefesh.

Here’s a brief description of that book:

“Hishtapchus Hanefesh is a powerful work dealing with prayer. Rabbi Nachman taught that tefilah is our main weapon and that any challenge can be overcome.” 

I read that during a six hour hitbodedut session that began at 3.55 am this morning, after I woke up in the middle of the night and just couldn’t get back to sleep. I spent more time yesterday rushing around making sure I can make seder if the ‘end of the world’ descends on us before Pesach.

And then, as I was eyeing up the onions, and debating if I should buy another 400 onions to add to the 400 onions I already bought – because how am I meant to cook anything tasty if I don’t have onions?! – I suddenly realised that I have come to the end of my ability to prepare for what comes next.

I have no more koach to buy onions.

Or toilet paper.

Or tuna.

I have no more koach to write blog posts about what’s really going on, and why.

I have no more koach to spend hours listening to people pour out their troubles and woes, all the time telling me they are Litvaks or Lubavitchers, so they don’t believe in things like doing hitbodedut or going to Uman; or that they heard bad things about Rav Berland, so they don’t want to read any of his books or listen to any of his Torah; or that I just don’t understand how their massive problems AREN’T a result of their own bad middot, arrogance and lack of emuna, and so me telling them to make some real teshuva about these things is just insulting and unhelpful…

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Right now, my 16 year old is still in bed.

She’s totally and utterly depressed by being forced to spend 24/7 in our house with her parents, and without her friends. And as a rule, I get on really well with my daughter, and give her a lot of leeway and respect, and also let her do things like build chicken coops and big bonfires in the garden.

But 16 year olds need their space away from parents – especially controlling parents who eagerly set upon COVID-19 hysteria as a great way to get their recalcitrant teen 100% back under their thumb – and so, I’m watching my daughter, and so many of her friends, sink into a terrible, Bibi-induced depression.

There’s so much I can say about the manipulation and deceit being instituted at the highest levels right now, but I don’t have the koach to do it.

Suffice to say that just as all the control-freak parents are doing to their teens right now – i.e. totally destroying their mental health and emotional resilience in the process of getting them back under the thumb with fear, guilt and coercion tactics – so the control-freak government is doing to the wider population.

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In a minute, I’m off for my last walk to the Kotel.

Bibi et al have decided that I can no longer walk down to the Kotel – even totally by myself – and as of this evening, I will only be allowed to walk 100 metres from my home.

Bibi et al have also decided that my husband can no longer go to shul, or dip in a mikva.

Bibi is 70 – the high risk age group! – but is still appearing in public flanked by way more than 10 people, none of whom are following the retarded ‘two metre social distancing rule’.

I see the police at the Kotel Plaza, and no-one is wearing face-masks or wearing gloves, and everyone is hanging out way closer than 2 metres to each other.

But according to the media, synagogues are the main way COVID-19 is meant to be being spread.

Surely, what’s going on here is now so obvious that even the most dense person has to acknowledge that ‘something’ isn’t quite right in this picture?

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I have an article all written up and ready to go about stats from Italy, amongst other things, that show that 99% of the fatalities there were over 60, and 99% of the fatalities there had multiple, pre-existing conditions.

But I don’t have the koach to put it up, not least because the Israeli government is now prosecuting people who dare to say that having 5 people over 79 (all of whom had pre-existing medication conditions) die from COVID-19 in Israel in the last month doesn’t add up to a massive death toll.

In short, I have yeoush.

What more can I write, what more can I argue, what more can I pray?

That’s what I told Hashem this morning, as I lay in bed also trying to fight off a gathering feeling of depression.

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But then, I opened up Hishtapchus Hanefesh (siman 50), and I’m going to translate the full section of what I read, below:

For in truth, there is no despair in the whole world! And every person needs to go through many, many things, before he merits to enter into kedusha (a state of holiness).

Who amongst us is greater than Adam HaRishon, who separated from his wife, and sat in complete teshuva for 130 years? And precisely then, in those 130 years, demonic spirits came and ‘warmed him up’ [a polite way of saying they enticed Adam to spill seed], as our rabbis taught us. And of course, this weakened his daat (spiritual awareness) greatly each time, and of course the baal davar (the Satan) put one over on him, and wanted to totally pull him down from his spiritual level, each time.

But on each occasion, he got a grip on himself, and didn’t move from his path of teshuva, that he continued until he merited to give birth to Shet (Seth) after 130 years. And from him, the world descended; the Patriarchs descended from him, and Moshe, and the Moshiach. And Adam HaRishon himself was a tzaddik and chassid all of his days, and died with a good name.

And even though we still need to tikkun (rectify) his pgam (spiritual blemish) in each and every generation, even so, if he hadn’t got a grip on himself and strengthened himself to rectify whatever he rectified, then the tikkun (spiritual rectification) would certainly have been way more difficult to accomplish for the tzaddikim who came after him.

And of course, [part of the soul of Adam HaRishon] is also present in each person even now, because this is the essence of the test, that he strengthens himself during all of the spiritual descents, Hashem should have mercy, and everything else that happens to him. And that he should accustom himself every day to start afresh, and to imagine to himself that he was only born today, etc.

Whatever he manages to have the merit of rectifying by way of his teshuva is certainly very good. And that which he doesn’t merit to completely rectify will be guaranteed (underwritten…) by the strength of the holy Tzaddikim, who possess the strength to transform everything for the good.

But only if we don’t despair of ourselves.

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Slowly, slowly, that message is sinking in.

I can’t prepare for every eventuality, I can’t fix everything that is still broken, both within myself and with my relationships, even though I’ve tried so very hard to do that, the last few years.

But Rebbe Nachman is teaching me that I don’t have to get the job totally finished.

I just need to do my very best, make the best teshuva I can make, then trust that the true Tzaddikim will be able to get the job finished, and to turn everything around for the good.

Personally, I can’t wait for that to happen.

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Despite the difficult situation we all find ourselves in with Coronavirus, suffering is still optional

Day 20 at the Kotel today, and Baruch Hashem, there were a few more people there than yesterday – like maybe 18 women in the whole, massive plaza, as opposed to yesterday’s 13.

This whole test is about controlling our fallen fears, and developing some genuine yirat shemayim, or fear of heaven, which basically boils down to having emuna that God is running the world.

In the middle of all this, it’s impossible to fake what you really think and feel about what’s going on. If you are still sleeping OK at night, if you aren’t consumed by worry, then either you are:

Still living in total denial about what is actually going on at the moment

OR

You have a lot of genuine emuna.

Here’s a quick way to figure out which camp you might actually be in: if you already stocked up enough food to last you over the next few weeks, including buying at least the basics required for Pesach, then you are probably in the last camp.

And if not….

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Stocking up with some essentials is part of how to get through the madness in one piece.

But a much more crucial part of how to not lose your marbles over the coming weeks can be found in lesson 250 of Likutey Moharan.

There, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches us:

“Know: the sole cause of all types of pain and all suffering is a lack of daat (deeply internalized spiritual knowledge), for whoever possesses daat and knows that everything is ordained by God – that “God gave, and God took” (Job 1:21) – does not suffer at all, and experiences no pain.”

Rabbenu continues:

“….pain is very light and easy to accept when one is clearly aware that everything is ordained by God….[pain and suffering] will not be felt at all if one possesses daat, for pain and suffering are mainly on account of one’s daat being taken away, so that one should experience the suffering.

“This is the essence of Jewish pain in the exile: all on account of their falling away from daat and attributing everything to nature, circumstances and fate. This is what causes their pain and suffering.”

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It’s a profound lesson that is speaking mamash about what we are seeing occur all over the world right now with Coronavirus hysterical panic (which so far, seems to be far more infectious and dangerous than the actual virus itself…)

Later on in Lesson 250, Rabbenu explains how the Jewish people are above nature, and how our prayers can mamash transcend nature and change it, and then ties all of that in to bringing an ‘end’ to non-Jewish nations, and remembering the Jews who are sunk in exile within them, still.

Well worth a read.

But for today’s post, let’s come back to this idea that suffering and pain really only happen when we forget that God is in charge of the world, and is ordering everything that is happening to us and around us.

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What lessons can we learn from Rabbenu, about how to deal with the Coronavirus madness we all find ourselves caught up in?

Here’s where I’m holding with things:

  • I’m working on my emunat tzaddikim and emuna.

That means that whenever I start having a self-induced panic attack because I’ve read things by fearmongering heretics about this whole saga lasting for another 6 months, or lo alenu even more, 18 months, I remind myself that Rabbi Berland is working hard to sweeten this, and he said it will be over by Pesach.

And then, I go and say the Rav’s prayer to be saved from Coronavirus, or I go and say a Tikkun HaKlali, or I do a bit more hitbodedut, or I dance around for a bit and clap my hands – and like magic, I start to feel way, way happier again.

  • I’m trying to avoid sites written by heretics and fearmongerers

People are strange. We have this peculiar pull to hearing bad news, and watching horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, even though we know they are going to disrupt our sleep and give us nightmares for the next 2 months.

And this Coronavirus matzav is bringing that tendency out very strongly.

I realized a few days back that when I’m not reading doom-and-gloom predictions about economic collapse, 5G zombification and 50 million people dead, I’m actually pretty happy on a day to day basis.

Also, I can’t see any justification for these awful predictions in my dalet amot. People aren’t dropping dead on the street, I don’t know anyone who is seriously ill, and despite Bibi’s massive hysterical fit, the public ‘mood’ really isn’t so hysterical.

On some level, I think so many of us can feel that God is hiding behind this whole Coronavirus thing, and that however bad it looks, looks are currently very deceptive.

But reading news sites and blogs written by hysterical atheists (some of whom are pretending to be ‘religious’) gets me super antsy, super-fast. So, I’ve stopped visiting sites which are full of fear, emotional manipulation and ‘blaming statements’ about chareidim having blood on their hands just because they happen to still be davening in a minyan and learning Torah.

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  • My main response to this matzav (apart from panic buying essentials…) is teshuva and prayer.

On Shabbat, I did another six hour talking to God session, which really helped me to feel way, way calmer about everything, and way more connected to Hashem.

I’ve also started saying a prayer every single day to avoid speaking lashon hara and rechilut, and I’m trying very hard to let go any bad feelings I have about people, as per the instructions of Rav Kanievsky.

When I have energy, like on Shabbat, I’m trying to do 7 Tikkun HaKlalis on behalf of the Rav. When I don’t have that much energy (i.e. most of the time…) I made an agreement with my husband that we’ll split the 7 between us, and whoever had more koach and headspace will do more.

I’m also trying very hard not to go bonkers at my kids, and let’s face it, that’s probably the biggest test we’re all having, day to day.

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Trying to keep bored teens busy enough and happy enough that they don’t start ripping your house to shreds, or tearing holes in their parents, siblings and themselves is a massive challenge.

Like today, I saw that one of my kids left paint brushes full of diluted mahogany wood gloss on the new, white, downstairs sink. And we’re renting. I had a rant to myself for half a minute about how retarded teenagers can be, rushed off to clean it, then worked really hard to not hold a grudge against my kid in my heart.

In Israel, we’ve been in partial lockdown for 10 days already, and that’s a long time to share space with teens.

But I know it’s all coming from God, and that it’s just a test of my middot and my emuna, and that’s really helping me to deal with this whole situation so much better, and to remain so much calmer, and to turn the work inwards, into prayer and introspection, as much as possible, and far less into rants and unrealistic expectations about how other people should be acting and reacting.

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The last thing I’m trying to do is to just live in the moment, and to stop trying to peer around corners.

Right now, I have enough food to get me through Pesach. I have enough toilet paper. I have enough interesting projects to be getting on with. I have enough space that everyone can do their own thing without being in view of others 24/7, Baruch Hashem.

I’m going to the Kotel every day, which I’ve never done before in my life.

I’m taking the opportunity to smell the roses, and to stop being online all the time.

I’m baking cookies for my families, and even starting to plan a new painting.

In short, life is good.

Really good.

God is in charge of the world, not me. And the more I can remember that, the less I stress and worry.

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There is a lot of stress and yeoush rushing around the world right now. It’s so easy to get caught up in the panic and the fear, and to forget that God is the only One pulling the strings, here.

When that happens, we start to suffer terribly, and then the situation can become overwhelmingly painful and scary.

But we Jews are above nature. Our prayers can literally change reality.

God is locking us all down right now so we stop acting like the non-Jews, and stop panicking about face masks, hand sanitizer and staying 2 metres away from each other, and turn back to God wholeheartedly. This is part of the whole process of leaving galut, both physically and spiritually.

And as soon as we really put God back into our picture, our pain and suffering will stop.

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This morning marked the 18th day I walked off to the Kotel to pray.

It’s been raining pretty much non-stop for 5 days here in Israel, so it’s hard to know how much the bad weather is keeping people away, but today -Shabbat – when I got there, I was like the 13th woman on the female side of the mechitza, at 8am.

That’s pretty sad.

But Baruch Hashem, the sun was even a little bit shining, the showers were temporarily drying up, and I had such a good feeling when I was touching those holy stones. I had the strong impression that things are moving spiritually, and that the dream of geula happening soon, the sweet way, is becoming more real with each passing day.

On the way out, I passed a confused French Lubavitcher who was looking for Kever David.

I was on the way there myself, so he followed after me, and asked me where I was from.

London, I told him.

You sound French, he told me.

A lot of people say that. I’m not.

The young French guy told me that all of his family are in France still, and completely uninterested in making aliya.

I’ve tried talking to them so many times, they just don’t want to hear about it. 

Then, the conversation turned, inevitably to COVID-19.

It feels like a big joke to me, he said. Nothing is really going on with it, I can’t understand why it’s a ghost-town round here, he said, pointing to the totally empty plaza.

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So I get to Kever David, and there is a solitary woman in there doing a Shemona Esrei. I get in there, and she immediately darts an evil look in my direction and lifts up the collar flap of her coat on one side, to cover her mouth.

10 seconds later, she left, clearly upset that I’d entered her space.

I rolled my eyes as loudly as I could, then read through Rav Natan of Breslov’s prayer to be saved from a plague, that someone has kindly stuck on the Kever.

Half way through, I heard someone come in behind me who was hacking and coughing away like a champ.

I turned my head to see who it was – and noticed it was the paranoid woman who’d rushed out as soon as I entered. Yet again, she lifted up the flap of her coat to cover her mouth – she really should patent that – and darted another dirty look in my direction.

The irony of it all. With her hacking cough she was 100% more likely to have COVID-19 than me….

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Anyway, on the way back from the Kotel, Hashem put the idea in my head that as I’m going there, BH, every day for the next 22 days, and that most people can’t or won’t have that opportunity, I should try to share my Kotel visits more widely with you, dear readers.

So, if you want me to ‘take your prayers with me’ to the Kotel, here’s your chance.

In return for you taking something upon yourself to help the Tzaddik HaDor Rabbi Berland to get all this Coronavirus stuff sweetened and over by Pesach – which is currently looking like an open miracle of the highest order – I will ‘take your prayers with me’ to the Kotel, when I go.

Here’s 3 ways you can do something to help Rabbi Berland get this sweetened:

  1. Recite at least 1 Tikkun Haklali a day (up to 7 a day)
  2. AND /OR Recite Rabbi Berland’s prayer to be saved from the Coronavirus, and send it around to as many people as you can
  3. AND / OR Say the stones on the ephod 7 times, as per Rabbi Berland’s request HERE.

The stones are:

אֹדֶם פִּטְדָה וּבָרֶקֶת נֹפֶךְ סַפִּיר, וְיָהֲלֹם לֶשֶׁם שְׁבוֹ, וְאַחְלָמָה תַּרְשִׁישׁ וְשֹׁהַם, וְיָשְׁפֵה

Odem, pitdah, baraket, nofech, sapir, yahalom, leshem, shvo, achlamah, tarshish, shoham and yashpeh.

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HERE’S THE DEAL:

In the comments section below, let me know what you’re taking upon yourself, then let me have the names you want me to add to my ‘Kotel prayers’ list.

Alternatively, you can send me a message on my comments form, too, including the same info, if you want it to be a bit more private.

People, we can do this! With Hashem’s help, we can get this to turn around, and stop all the pointless panic in its track. 10,000 people have died so far this year just from the flu. According to this site, more than 600,000 people are going to die from cancer in the USA alone in 2020; 840,000 die from heart disease every year, again just in the US.

Hashem doesn’t need COVID-19 to kill us, and it’s so important for us to retain perspective on what’s going on, and to not start to panic unnecessarily.

Hashem holds our lives in His hands, but that’s always the case.

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In the meantime, so many more people kept Shabbat in so many more ways here in Israel than ever before this week.

The first (secular…) guy who got COVID-19 and then got released said the loudest Shema Yisrael you ever heard live on national TV in Israel.

More and more people are waking up and talking about geula and Moshiach as a real possibility now, something that wasn’t even on their radar a couple of weeks’ back.

Things are moving.

We are in a crucial time right now, and the next week or so is going to tip us into irrevocable madness… or see this Coronavirus panic fizzle out.

If we join with the Tzaddik HaDor, pray, and keep a lid on the panic, this can all turn around by Pesach, God willing.

So send me your names, let me know what you’re willing to do in return and let’s see if we can make this happen, BH!

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Day 3 of the partial lockdown in Israel, and Baruch Hashem, no-one has (yet) killed anyone in my house.

What open miracles! What revealed good!

At this stage, it seems to me that the real danger from Covid-19 is not so much the pathological nature of the virus, but how much it’s empowering the police state to force me to try to spend 24 hours a day SOLID with my kids….

But you know what?

I’ve been practicing for this for months, if not years. For months if not years, I’ve barely had a single week where both of my teenagers have been in the ‘framework’ they’ve meant to be in. I literally can’t remember the last time they were both in school when they were meant to be, or both doing whatever else it was they were meant to be doing, that gave me a whole week ‘off’ home alone.

So, when this current phase of Coronavirus madness descended, I actually wasn’t so bothered. I’m used to my kids being around when I’m trying to do other things. I’m used to them playing their music at ear-splitting levels, and totally taking over the kitchen to cook weird things that apparently don’t come with lots of instructions for how to clean up afterwards.

In short, I’m used to hanging out with my kids, on their terms, and kind of ‘squishing myself’ into the sidelines, so they have the space and freedom they need to not go bonkers at home.

====

And at this stage of the game, I say thank God for all this practice, because it means we’re actually doing ok.

To help things along, I’ve been panic buying a bit more every day, because I don’t trust the government as far as I can throw them. Sure, all the supermarkets will stay open whatever happens….. yadda yadda yadda. Whatever you say, Health Ministry Ubermenschen.

And I also bought two live chickens…. And I’ve also bought some 2x4s for the people in my house that like to make things out of wood…And I also bought some crochet yarns and hooks to make kippas…and a cast iron pot to cook things over a campfire in case we mamash go back to the stone age….

So, we have plenty to keep ourselves busy with.

Of course, I’m getting pretty much zero work or writing done.

And of course, I’m cooking three times a day because everyone is home and comfort eating, so as well as lunch and supper I’ve also been baking more cakes than a conditoria this last week.

What can we do?

====

This situation has definitely got its challenges.

It’s definitely got its stresses. But most of all, so far, this lockdown has had a massive silver lining for me, as I see just how much I actually like and love my family, and just how good God has actually been to me the last few years, that I’m in the position I’m in today mentally, emotionally and socially, with my husband and kids.

Imagine being locked down with spouses you don’t speak to or like very much, or kids you haven’t really spoken to for 12 years, since you sent them off to kindergarten, or three million small kids running around that usually the teachers handle because you’re at work drinking cappuccino and pretending you’re doing some real hard work.

Bweeoooaaahhhh.

I’m getting the shivers just thinking about those scenarios.

====

In the meantime, so far I can still get to the Kotel every day to pray, baruch Hashem.

In the meantime, the bakery that makes my spelt bread is still open – albeit everything is now pre-bagged – and even the hardware shop is ignoring the rules to keep selling nails, screws and wood stain.

Baruch Hashem.

And then, there are other kindnesses, too. Like, I remember how we were meant to sign on our mortgage 2 weeks ago, and the bank just refused to action it…. Just one of those ‘Israeli-bank-mental-torture’ things that happen. Except this time – Baruch Hashem! Because we didn’t sign, we aren’t paying for a mortgage. And because the whole plan was to rent that apartment out to pay for the mortgage – and everyone is now in partial lockdown – the bank’s torture routine has probably ended up saving me a fortune in time and money.

Baruch Hashem.

I have to say, in the midst of all the madness I’m feeling pretty happy.

====

Someone sent me a comment, asking if it’s OK to feel kind of ‘happy’ about all these birth pangs of Moshiach that are going on all over the place, even though things are so stressful and apparently ‘bad’.

Here’s what Rebbe Nachman has to say about that (from Sefer HaMiddot, the section on Yirat Shemayim, or fear of heaven, #28):

One who has yirat shemayim will not be afraid when frightening events come upon the world. To the contrary, he will rejoice.

So, it seems that how we’re reacting to this whole COIVD-19 hoohah is a pretty good measure of how much yirat shemayim we actually have.

And while we’re on that subject, let me just toss in #29 from Sefer HaMiddot here, too:

One who has yirat shemayim will certainly submit himself before the Tzaddik.

Because rejoicing in this difficult matzav we all find ourselves in, and submitting ourselves before the Tzaddik certainly go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one if you don’t have the other.

====

So, I’m up to day 16 of my 40 day stint praying at the Kotel, and I can’t really believe just how much things changed since the first day I began.

There are 24 days left to go – until the third day of Pesach chol hamoed – and who knows how much things will change again, by then

But I’m holding on to the Rav’s promise that all this will be sweetened by Erev Pesach, however unlikely that seems right now.

The footsteps of Moshiach are fast approaching.

But who knows how many of us are going to still be sane by the time they actually arrive?

That is the question.

====

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

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Today, I read the following signs up at the Kotel:

“According to the directives of the Ministry of Health, it is forbidden to kiss the stones of the Western Wall.”

Every day I go at the moment, there is some fresh madness, some new ‘announcement’ designed to put me off from praying to Hashem.

My husband gave up on trying to find a minyan at Kever Rachel – where they are strictly enforcing the no more than 10 people rule – and ended up praying in the Sephardi minyan up the road here, where people are still shaking hands then kissing their fingers afterwards, like they’ve been doing for 2000 years already.

Then, I logged on to the news sites (which I’ve started reading a few times a day again, primarily so I get some warning if they decide to shut down all the supermarkets or cancel all the buses) – and there was a whole parade of what I’m going to call:

Headlines that get me worried

But probably not for the same reasons they are getting most people worried. Let me list a few of them below, so you can get the flavor of how the police state we apparently all live in – regardless of what country we call ‘home’ –  is starting to come out of the shadows

====

Worshippers told not to kiss stones at Western Wall; attendance limited

Government approves digital surveillance of Coronavirus police

No more touching – your life is about to change

Health Ministry approves experimental treatments for coronavirus

Due to recent instructions from the Health Ministry, MADA paramedics had to shave their beards to reduce being infected with COVID-19.

====

Puhleeze!!!

How can anyone take this seriously?

Two months ago, when the State of Israel started going after Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim, they said then that Shuvu Banim was only going to be the beginning of a war against religion and religious Jews.

With the anti-religious Benny Gantz trying to become PM by sucking up to the Arab parties – exactly as Rabbi Berland predicted months and months ago – that war looks like it’s heating up.

The last two days, I’ve been taking my kids to a load of different places, trying to get ready for the apparently inevitable ‘lockdown’ that the authorities here keep saying is only a matter of time.

Never mind that of the 7000 people tested for COVID-19 in Israel so far, only 324 of them have it, and of those only 5 are in serious condition, and NO-ONE has died here at all yet, thank God.

Regardless of the facts on the ground, the lockdown appears to be coming.

====

So, while I’ve been running around trying to prepare for that, I’ve been all over Jerusalem, refuelled my car in Shoresh, and been all around Gush Etzion and also Petach Tikva. And here’s what I’ve noticed:

Way more people in Israel are adopting a laissez faire attitude to Coronavirus than are taking it seriously.

There are still cafes and restaurants open, there are still ‘non-essential’ stores open and doing business, the number of people in face masks and gloves is minuscule (but strangely, face masks seem to be far more prevalent amongst the Arab residents) – in short, most of the people I’m seeing are just not buying all the government propaganda.

And while that’s true generally for a lot of Israelis, amongst the chareidi community, there is even less buy-in to the idea that normal life and Torah learning and praying and going to school needs to somehow stop just because there’s another virus on the loose out there.

And so, the battle lines are being drawn, between those members of the population who believe the government – wherever they happen to live – and those members of the public who really don’t.

====

We live in such interesting times.

Rabbi Berland is sweetening all this COVID-19 stuff at its root, which is why the next week or so is going to be ‘hinge’ event where everything starts to turn around.

Right now, the government can still get away with imposing draconian measures on the public by using fear tactics and manipulation. But if the number of new cases doesn’t get more ‘impressive’ very soon, God forbid, and if the number of people dying from it stays at zero, God willing, the Israeli public’s patience with the circus that is going on here will start to wear very thin.

And then, things will get very interesting.

====

One last thing to add, for now, is that I think this current panic is just a dry run.

I believe Rabbi Berland, when he says it will be sweetened and over by Erev Pesach, however unlikely that currently looks, but I also think that then there will be a short window of opportunity to learn the lessons of what’s going on now, and to make plans to move to Israel, if you’re currently abroad.

Because the next ‘birth pang’ won’t be long in coming, even when COVID-19 fades from sight.

Remember that wave of antisemitic attacks that occurred in the USA a few months ago?

I reported an unconfirmed statement from Rabbi Berland HERE that said the attacks would stop until the 7th day of Pesach.

====

Sure enough, as soon as I posted that statement up, the attacks stopped.

But I’ve been wondering about that ‘7th day of Pesach’ thing ever since, and pondering what’s meant to happen then.

I’m not a prophet, so I don’t know.

But I do know that unless this COVID-19 concludes with the open revelation of Moshiach, we will need at least one more ‘birth pang’ to move us forward, and it’s common knowledge that they get stronger and more unbearable as the actual delivery approaches.

So don’t wait for the situation to be as difficult as it is right now, with COVID-19, to make your plans to move here.

There will be another short window.

But it won’t be there for long.

And things are only going to get more intense from here.

====

Let’s give the last word to Shwekey. Press ‘play’ and dance along, because what else can we really do, at this point?

====

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Thirteen days ago, I decided I was going to pray at the Kotel for 40 consecutive days, for the hatzlacha of a particular person.

I thought the main challenge would be finding the energy to shlep up there every day – it’s exactly a half hour walk to the Kotel, and exactly a half hour back, the perfect hitbodedut hour.

But with all this Coronavirus overkill going on, I’m starting to wonder if the authorities are going to let me keep walking up the hill to the Western Wall. Already on Shabbat, ominous tents appeared in both the ladies and mens sections, together with big signs telling visitors that no more than 50 people at a time should congregate inside of them.

It was raining – pouring! – on Shabbat, so I thought maybe that it was connected to that.

====

The Kotel was a pretty forlorn place.

There was maybe 20 people in each tent, plus another 5 or so ladies standing by the wall. I went up, kissed the stones, prayed my ‘Azamra’ prayer on behalf of Am Yisrael, then stepped back.

Today, Monday, I got to the Kotel to find it festooned in yellow police tape. Basically, they’ve divided the plaza up into random squarish shapes, and hanging on each piece of tape is the message from the from Misrad HaBriut that no more than 10 people at a time should congregate within each ‘square’.

If it wasn’t so ominous, all this would be totally hilarious.

There were two taped-off rectangles next to the wall itself, so I ducked under the tape to join the 15 women (ooo, naughty!) who were already praying there, kissed the stones, prayed my Azamra prayer and stepped back.

My 40th day is falling out on Sunday April 12th – the third day of Pesach.

It’s a little hard to imagine how the world is going to look by then, but what I can tell you is that whatever is going on here, it’s being perfectly scripted and choreographed across the planet.

====

I came back home to find my husband, who told me they have closed down all the mikvahs.

Then, I logged on to discover they have also shut down all of the yeshivas and kollels, too.

My first thought was: we are back in Mitzrayim.

When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, this is also how it started, the slowly, slowly approach that boiled the frog oh so gently that the Children of Israel didn’t even realise what was going on – until it was too late.

If it wasn’t for Rav Berland, and his latest message, and the fact that I know what a holy, kadosh angel he is, and everything he’s doing to sweeten all this Coronavirus stuff, I would probably be panicking my bottom off right now, like I see so many other people doing.

In case you don’t know what he said, his latest message said that he is working to get the Coronavirus pandemic totally eradicated from the world by Erev Pesach, 5780.

Compare and contrast that with the headlines on the news.sky website saying that public health officials in the UK believe this pandemic is going to continue on until Spring 2021.

====

And now, let’s talk about more of the crazy things that are happening with Coronavirus being used as the excuse to basically try to introduce martial law, strip every single one of us our freedoms and rights, and to totally crash the economy in the worst way it’s ever been crashed.

I’m currently having an argument with my husband over *who* is behind all this, because he still feels that it’s just random reaction, as opposed to something planned from the top.

Who is the ‘they’ you are talking about?

He wants to know, when I tell him things like Trump and Bibi and just puppets, and that they are just playing the part, and reading the script they’ve been given by the real power behind the thrones.

But who is that meant to be?!?

My very rational husband wants to know.

And I can’t really answer that question.

At least, not yet.

At least, not with as many facts, and not with as much clarity and research as I usually like to bring to all these things, so right now, I can’t really tell him who they is.

Sigh.

====

But I know they exist.

And I know that very soon, what they’ve been up to for the last 75 years behind the scenes is about to be revealed very drastically and unmissably.

But beyond that, I can’t speculate.

And in the meantime, please do yourself a favor and print off the prayer to be saved from Coronavirus that Rav Berland wrote, and say it yourself, and send it on to as many people as you can.

Because whatever else is going on, that’s what is really going to tip the balance in our favor.

The picture in Israel has changed radically over the last few days.

We’re now looking at a partial lockdown straight in the face. Already, the cafes, restaurants and malls in Jerusalem and across Israel are meant to be closed.

They’ve closed the schools and kindergartens.

And now, we’re not meant to have any gatherings of more than 10 people.

It’s amazing to me that so many people aren’t figuring out that the official guidelines they keep putting out are totally illogical and unworkable in practise.

On Friday, my kid was working in the bakery. The queue kept erupting into fights, because people felt that other people were standing too close to them….

On the buses, they have now police-taped off the first 4 seats close to the driver, to save the bus driver from Coronavirus.

Again, totally retarded, because when someone coughs or sneezes it travels way, way further than that distance.

If people weren’t taking all this so terribly seriously, it would be hilarious.

Monty Python meets the Great Plague of London.

In the meantime, I joined in on the panic buying by nipping out to get more toilet paper…

I couldn’t help it. My oldest has been streaming snot like a river for the last 5 days, and she single-handedly went through a whole pack.

====

Belatedly, when you can’t just buy chocolate when you feel like it, and when you start to realize that toothpaste is not to be taken for granted, and that even an onion is a present from Hashem, the whole picture really starts to change.

You start to realise just how much shefa, just how much good, Hashem has actually been showering down upon you all those years, when you were just whining and complaining and taking so much for granted.

The essence of the world is literally changing right now, as Rav Pinto said.

Everything is being reconfigured along more spiritual lines, and it’s truly pretty scary, just because it’s hard to see how we get from ‘here’ to ‘there’ in one piece, and without going nuts or running out of toilet paper in the meantime…

But God has a plan.

And He seems to be putting it firmly into action.

TBC

In ten days time, I’m meant to be flying out of Israel to go to my brother’s batmitzvah celebration in London.

I spoke to him a couple of days ago, and I told him I don’t think I’m coming.

Israel had just announced that anyone coming back from abroad would have to self-isolate for 14 days in bidud, and much as I love my brother, we have no family here, we just moved and I don’t know the neighbors, and there is no-one who could keep my family unit going with groceries if I’m out of action.

Such strange days we live in.

My daughter is currently coughing her guts up and streaming phlegm, as she always does when Spring appears and her hayfever kicks off. Although this year, with all the anxiety about Corona and a few other things going on in her life, her asthma has also ramped up again.

Most years, my daughter’s seasonal hayfever and asthma is not a big deal.

This year, with all the hysteria about Corona, she’s scared to leave the house in case people think she’s going to kill them with a sneeze.

====

In the meantime, in my own dalet amot I’m having such a strange mix of tremendous good, and tremendous confusion. On the one hand, the house we managed to miraculously rent has blossomed into such a beautiful home.

We had Purim seuda yesterday, and for the first time in 7 years we had enough space to invite a few families together. Honestly, it was initially a little strange, but then we whacked the music up, started dancing and the magic happened and le ha fochu. The weird atmosphere broke and everything turned around.

For a few hours.

====

So much of the time right now, I don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, what’s right and what’s wrong.

Yesterday, I went for a walk to the Kotel, and I was really pondering to myself if I’m more a Haman, or more a Mordechai, because I honestly have no idea right now if I’m giving God what He really wants, or the opposite.

Everything seems so upside down at the moment.

I know it’s all exploding in madness everywhere you look, but it still seems to me that the best response to everything that’s going on right now (apart from making some serious teshuva, particularly in how we treat other people) is:

To bake cookies.

Yes, you read that right.

====

There is nothing better to do right now, apart from reciting lots of tehillim and doing lots of hitbodedut, except to bake cookies. Because until Hashem decides that the world really is ending, we parents have a duty to show our children that the world is still continuing in the meantime.

Already, our kids are struggling to stay in school. Already, they are struggling to get up in the mornings. Already, they are feeling like there is no point in continuing or carrying on, because the apocalypsa is around the corner, so what’s the point?

Honestly, don’t we grown ups feel that way too, so much of the time?

==

I’m not saying this lightly.

I’ve been waiting for geula, and trying to prepare for it in as real a way as I can for at least the last 15 years. But now that it looks like we may be coming down to the wire, and the geula really might be materializing before our eyes, increasingly the most important priority for me, as a mother, seems to be keep things as ‘normal’ as I can.

That means baking cookies. That means cleaning toilets. That means doing my best to look after my children, my family, my husband the best way I can right now.

I have my People Smarts Course that’s half done, and my People Smarts book that has been waiting six months to get sent to the printers already. For months, I haven’t been able to get to it.

Finally, last week, I realized that maybe, that’s not my main work right now.

My main work seems to be to look after my family – even tho my kids are 16 and 19 already – and to make my family my main priority.

So, I find myself making sandwiches and suppers in a way that I haven’t done for years, since they were much smaller. I find myself ferrying them around in the car – not least so I can have some quality time to really talk to them – and taking them to different places and appointments and people, because it seems like there is just so much going on, at the moment.

In some ways, it feels like my family, my responsibilities to these people who I live with, and care for tremendously, have kind of been ‘getting in the way’ of my life.

At least, that’s how it looked.

But today, I’m thinking more and more, this is actually my test, right now.

====

There is no better way of working on my bad middot and doing acts of kindnesses that really count than by focusing on the people in my home.

Rav Berland explained weeks ago that Corona has the same gematria as ‘mitvot bein adam l’havero’ – the mitzvahs that take place between people.

And nowhere are those mitzvahs more trampled – or more needed – than in the home.

And especially between parents and teens.

So, if you’re reading this, and you have a teen at home, and especially if you have a difficult teen at home who is struggling, stop reading this and go give them a hug. Go tell them that you think they’re amazing. Go and find something to praise about them, to their face, go make them a sandwich, take them out and get them a new top, or take them somewhere they’ve been bugging you to go for ages.

In short, go and love them unconditionally, with as much energy as you can muster.

Because that is the main test right now.

====

So many people are now being forced to spend 14 days cooped up with their families, with no distractions.

There’s no malls and chugim to run away to, no work deadlines, no shopping, no shiurim, no beaches and expensive holidays and restaurants.

All there is, is our raw family unit.

And that is the real test – does it feel like gehinnom or gan eden?

Is there love in the home, or constant arguments, guilt trips and withering criticism about all the things that aren’t being done 100% ‘perfectly’?

Are cookies being baked in that home, or not?

That is the question.

====

Photo by Ruth Reyer on Unsplash

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Yesterday, I was talking to my brother in the UK, who kind of summed up what’s going on:

Half of me feels like this is an overhyped load of b*llocks, and half of me feels that this is way, way worse than we’re being told and is going to be a disaster. And I don’t know which half is right.

I get you, mate! I feel exactly the same way about all this Coronavirus stuff, but in the meantime it seems the whole world is turning into a Purim Shpiel.

Aussies are slugging it out over toilet roll, and the panic buying has spread to London, too, where my mum told me my dad was out trying to track down some Kleenex and kitchen roll before it all disappeared.

Tomorrow, he’s heading back into the fray to try to pin down as many tins of beans as he can carry…..

====

And even in the Levy household, there was minor panic from the husband this morning when I told him that Italy had just put 16 million people into lockdown until April.

He went really quiet, his leg started jigging, and then after a minute he said to me:

Can we go and get some extra water, and bits, just in case?

Déjà vu!

====

I instantly flashed back 10 years ago, when I was stockpiling tuna, packets of couscous and mineral water like a crazy person because the autistics were telling me it was the end of the world….

Back then, my husband thought I was totally nuts, but he went along with me.

This time around, I think stockpiling is totally pointless, but I went along with him, and spent an hour unexpectedly rushing around Super Sapir trying to fit 4 six packs of water into the trolley around various canned goods, big boxes of cornflakes and bumper packs of rice cakes.

When we got home, I asked my husband:

Do you feel better now, that we got two massive boxes of cornflakes and 20 tins of tuna?

He tried to tell me that yes, that had made some difference to his mood, but honestly?

We both knew that he was lying.

====

All this stockpiling, what does is really do, except just delay the inevitable?

One of my kids told me that they want to be the last ones standing, if it comes to total apocalypse, God forbid, and I laughed in their face. Way, way better to be amongst the first ones to go, and to avoid weeks and months of agonizing panic and total fear.

And in the meantime…. I believe in Hashem, and I’m adopting the ‘no big deal’ approach to all this. Because whatever God wants, that’s totally fine with me, and I’m not going to start frantically trying to plant potato tubers in the patch of earth next to my house (like my oldest kid wants to) because there is totally no point.

If God wants me alive, He’ll make sure I have what’s required to do that.

====

Ironically, I’m actually enjoying myself more than I have been for over 8 years right now, since we moved in to the new place.

I love the garden. I love the view. I love the space. I love that it takes me exactly one hour to walk down to the Kotel, kiss the stones and return to my home – the perfect hitbodedut route.

Today, I headed off to the Baba Sali, to pay a long overdue visit and to tell him that finally, that palace in Jerusalem that he promised me so very long ago – with a garden! – has appeared.

I always get a lot of clarity, a lot of insight at the Baba Sali, and today was no different. I got a ‘message’ about what’s going on to share with my readers, so here it is. Take it or leave it, this is what I wrote down:

“Love Hashem! He is doing all of this for the nation of Israel. How much we suffer is totally in our hands. Lack of emuna = fear = great suffering. The more you can trust Hashem, the easier this next part will be.”

====

The second book of prayers from Rabbi Berland, including the special prayer to say to be protected from Coronavirus, is due to come out in the next couple of days. I’m sure it’s going to do something big, something massive, to change the whole equation again.

Each time those books come out, they coincide with some absolutely massive things happening in the world, that simply couldn’t be foreseen.

Also, Purim is almost here, when everything can turn around again.

I already don’t know the difference between ‘Mordechai and Haman’ at this stage, so I guess I won’t need to drink very much – at all! – to fulfill the mitzvah.

====

And in the meantime, the Purim Shpiel continues in full force.

It’s got to the point where I literally can’t believe some of the stuff I’m reading, like Chief Rabbis telling us not to kiss mezuzahs, and synagogues putting out instructions to not kiss the Torah in shul because of Coronavirus. The world is getting madder by the second.

Everything is changing and nothing is. The world is hanging by a thread, and yet continuing on as though nothing is happening. It’s the end of civilization as we know it, and also just another day of the media totally hyping things up and lying through their teeth.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

It’s going to take another few weeks until we see if this really is a big storm in a teacup, or God forbid, the start of a massive, fatal pandemic.

And in the meantime….it’s Purim.

And this year, we’re all feeling that everything has tipped upside-down.

====

UPDATE:

I just got sent this link for a Facebook page promoting Rabbi Berland’s Coronavirus prayer. I’m not on Facebook, but if you are, and you want to help tip the scales away from a massive pandemic, please do get the link around in whatever way that happens, in Facebook world. Here’s the page:

https://www.facebook.com/Universal-Prayer-for-Coronavirus-100113791621534/?view_public_for=100113791621534

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