I want my site to be for stressed-out women, not conpiracy-minded men.

Two weeks ago, I kind of had an ‘epiphany’ moment, about my life and my writing.

For years, I’ve been writing blog posts and articles and even books that have often been very serious, and very ‘justice warrior’-oriented, and where I’ve really tried to do my bit to expose evil and go after the bad guys.

Where did that approach get me?

Honestly…. Not so far. I have a couple of thousand readers of my blogs, the majority of whom Google Analytics tells me are men….

Those men don’t buy my books. They aren’t really the ‘tribe’ I want to interact with, or write for, however nice they actually all might be. So once I took the time to actually read my Google Analytics report (for the first time in 8 years!) I realized that something fundamental has to change here, in the way I’m trying to write for and interact with my audience.

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Part of me really loves all the buzz of reporting news, and ‘badness’, and unmasking the truth.

That’s my investigative journalist side – the side that lost me my job all those years back, on one of London’s Jewish papers, and has gotten me sued a couple of times, and has kept me awake on countless nights, fighting the dark forces in my head.

But really, where did that part get me, or get anyone else?

I’m pondering that a lot at the moment.

Nearly all the baddies I’ve exposed are still going strong… the bad people are still being protected and defended by the other bad people… No-one really did any major teshuva as a result of what I’ve written about this stuff, or changed their life in any fundamental way.

And I don’t know what I’ve really got out of blogging about these things, all these years.

Honestly.

So much effort, for so little anything much.

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Two weeks ago, I was ready to start ripping a whole bunch more lies and masquerades to shred in print, and to set out ‘the bad’ in that obvious, hard-to-argue-with way that clears up so many questions, and brings sterling clarity to an issue.

But God kept stopping me from doing that, in my hitbodedut.

And for two weeks, I didn’t know why.

But in the meantime, I had this course on the backburner about reducing stress I’m trying to do for women, so I’ve been turning my attention to that, while I’m waiting for the clarity to descend about where I go to next in my writing.

Yesterday, I think I started to get my answer. Yesterday, I taught two classes on how to start de-stressing over Zoom, and I learnt something profound:

I totally loved interacting with those women.

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I totally loved teaching about something that really help people tachlis, in their real life, to stop feeling so stressed and anxious and to start to feel like they really can cope, with all the cack we all have to deal with, and that there is fundamentally nothing wrong with them.

All stress is really just a call to action, a message that something needs to change – and that something, nine times out of ten, is internal.

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So, I came back on to rivkalevy.com yesterday, after doing the usual rounds of the 4 blogs and sites I read every day, once, just to stay up on things.

And that’s when it hit me:

I don’t want to be writing about politics or current affairs anymore.

I don’t want to be trading barbs with nutso bloggers who get all their life force from taking provocative stances online and making dumb statements guaranteed to rile people up.

I want to be a force for good in the world.

So, I am hoping to be taking my writing on this blog in a different direction. More along the lines of the Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife – but way more upbeat and actually helpful!

I have been through so much stress, so many crazy experiences the last few years, that God has really shown me how to deal with, using the teachings and advice of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and his students.

I want to help other people – and specifically, other women – to access that light more easily, and to enjoy it in their own lives.

And I can’t do that, if I’m constantly picking fights with nutso bloggers, or opining on pointless politics, or trying to deal with negative commentators who have massive chips on their shoulders. It can honestly ruin my week.

I don’t want to deal with those people any more, I don’t want to cater for them. I don’t want my site to attract that sort of person, because they have been tying up my energy and my headspace for years and years, and preventing me from doing what God really created me to do in the world.

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So, I’m going in a different direction here on rivkalevy.com, where the focus is going to be far more on stressed-out WOMEN and far less on conspiracy-theory-enjoying men.

And far more on putting together real, practical EMUNA EXPERIENCES to help my readers navigate their lives as happily as they can, holding God’s hand, and far less on self-righteous, impractical rants about what everyone else needs to do, to fix the world.

I’m nothing special, not at all. But I do have a bunch of very bad middot that God has helped me to get a grip on (mostly….). If Rebbe Nachman’s advice worked for me, it can work for anyone – and that’s what I’m going to start focusing on doing, sharing that stuff out, as best I can.

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I was so stoked yesterday, to teach those classes.

I was so thrilled, when another reader called to tell me how much the ‘stress exercise’ had helped her sort something out, in her actual, real life.

So guys, you can carry on reading this blog if you want, but I’d much prefer you tell your wives about what’s going on here now, and let them take over. And nutsos, you can also carry on reading this blog if you want, but I’d honestly much prefer that you don’t, because we are about to blast off into the realm of EMUNA EXPERIENCES, where humility, caring and compassion for others are going to be the name of the game.

There are plenty other blogs out there providing a steady diet of propaganda, fake prophecy, self-righteous opinion and scare stories.

I’m retiring from that field.

I have much bigger and better things to do with my time, a lot of ladies out there who I know I can really help, bezrat Hashem.

And that’s the focus going forward, to build a tribe of LADIES who are trying to bring geula really the only way we can, i.e. by working on ourselves, and our emuna and our stress, and our relationships with our fellow Jews.

This blog, my writing, me  – we’re ready to evolve out of the pupa, and to start doing something useful in the world.

I have to say, I’m pretty excited.

TBC

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Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash

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RE: THE BETA REDUCE YOUR STRESS COURSE

UPDATE:

Baruch Hashem, there is someone in my house who is better at this stuff than I am. The husband took a look at the last post, and told me to carve this off as a standalone post, so it won’t get lost – so here it is!

He also told me I’m apparently confusing you, dear reader, by saying it’s free then attaching a price tag. So, let’s clear that up now: THIS IS A TOTALLY FREE TRAINING! The plan is for me to try it out on 10 people, and get their feedback.

So if you got confused or put off by the ‘price tag’, please come back and sign up for a time on Wednesday Dec 4th, 2019:

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Here’s what the course is going to do, BH:

  1. Help you to clearly identify your unique stress response and ‘stress personality‘ (based on the Torah, but ‘hidden’ in secular language).
  2. Help you to ID typical occasions when your unhelpful stress response shows up.
  3. Give you easy, practical tools to defuse your unique stress response, so you can manage stress better, and cope better.
  4. Teach you how to do mindfulness meditation (i.e. hitbodedut) that will work for your particular character and stress response.

I’m teaching the first part totally for free, via Zoom, so I can get some feedback from participants before going forward.

I am still trying to finalise the time slots, but spots will be limited to 10 people, and it looks like I will be doing a morning and evening time slot at the moment, on Wednesday, Dec 4th, later this week.

So, if you’re a woman, and you’d like to find out some easy ways to start defusing your stress and to cope better with life, you can sign up below:

 

Photo by Dustin Belt on Unsplash

When the pressure ramps up, we really have two choices.

I’m currently trying to put together my ‘how to halve overwhelming stress in 30 days’ tachlis course, and it’s proving pretty stressful….

But also very useful, in figuring out why people react the way we do to overwhelming stress, and what we can really do about it, tachlis.

We’re all so sick and tired of ‘gurus’ preaching about how to do stuff, and how to change – things that they themselves are a million miles away from actually living in their own lives.

That’s true in the orthodox Jewish world, and also – I’ve been shocked to discover – in the non-Jewish world.

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For every Youtube ‘rabbi’ and ‘rabbanit’ that’s been droning on about Hashem, and emuna, while deceitfully swindling people, feeding their own massive egos, and trying to cash in on the public’s need for reassurance and guidance, there’s at least 100 secular ‘gurus’ that have been doing exactly the same thing, in their field.

I’ve come across this phenomenon in the area of book publishing, and of course, in holistic health, but I had no idea how widespread the problem has become, and how cynical it’s made us all. So, this course is not preaching anything. It’s 100% tachlis, focused exactly on helping people to figure out what’s stressing them out, what they can really do about it, and how to reduce their stress by at least 50% in 30 days.

That’s a big promise to make, I know, but I’m standing fully behind it.

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So, while I’ve been busy putting that course together, the world has helpfully been melting down into a massive, oozing puddle of overwhelmingly stressful circumstances.

The latest example is xtian pastor, anti-Semite (and almost certainly, secret Freemason) Rick Wiles’ public rant about a ‘Jew Coup’ taking place in the US.

One of my US-based friends kindly sent me the clip, so I went to check out his website, and his following on Youtube – apparently 185,000, before he got banned – and I came away from all that investigation feeling pretty stressed! And I don’t live in the US.

As this site is now a pointless politics-free zone, instead of pointlessly ranting about ‘erev rav’, and trying to ‘blame’ people for not moving to Israel 50 years ago, I thought I’d try to do something constructive to help my readers in the US, while also trying out some of the tachlis principles I’m putting together for my course.

Ready?

Great! Let’s do this together, with no ranting, no blaming, no holier-than-thou finger pointing, or demonization of whole groups of Jews who happen to think and act differently from us.

We are all in this together.

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We’ll kick this off by setting out the stall, describing the ‘stress’ problem we all have, and then going through the following steps, to try to resolve it. Here’s my STRESS DEFUSING CHECKLIST.

  • Identify the potential source of stress.
  • Clarify the situation, to see if the ‘stress’ and underlying worries and fears are valid, or not.
  • Clearly state the specific problem of issue that is stressing you out.
  • Once we have the full facts (as much as we can), to move through the process of ACTION or ACCEPTANCE.
  • Depending on which route we’ll take, the work will either be more externally-focused ACTION, or more internally-focused ACCEPTANCE.
  • Clearly state the ACTIONS required, and / or what can’t be changed and must be ACCEPTED with emuna.
  • Feel way less stressed, because we’ve clarified what’s going on, what we really think about it, and what, if anything we need to do to deal with it.

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It’s a very common reaction, to go into denial when we feel overwhelmed, despairing and stuck.

most of the planet does that, and sometimes it has its benefits. But, if the source of stress is ‘real’, or nagging, or chronic, or acute, and it’s not being faced down and dealt with, denial quickly morph into a feeling of massive underlying anxiety and panic.

When people aren’t addressing their stress, their fears, head-on, that also leads to a range of chronic health problems – they can’t sleep, they get headaches, their digestion stops working, peptic ulcers show up, they get eczema or asthma flare-ups, they start to experience all sorts of different psychosomatic pains and backaches, that have no ‘physical’ cause etc etc.

Don’t do that to yourself!

It’s way, way better to bite the bullet, deal with reality, and then have a concrete plan of either ACTION or ACCEPTANCE, depending on what you discover when start to address the problem properly.

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So, let’s apply this ‘de-stress’ solution to the problem of Rick Wiles. I’m not going to answer the following questions for you – that’s your part of this project – but I will walk you through it, and hold your hand, as much as required. Let’s kick off:

  1. IDENTIFY THE POTENTIAL SOURCE OF STRESS.

In this case, let’s focus in on Rick Wiles, and his ‘Jew Coup’ statement. Let’s start with a stress rating:

How stressful is Rick Wilkes and his public Jew-hatred, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the maximum)?

Before I went to his site, I would have ranked this for myself as a ‘3’, as I live in Israel. After I read his site, it went up to around a ‘6’.

If you’re ranking anything below ‘3’, that means it’s not a potent source of stress for you.

I’m ranking this at a ‘6’ now, which means I need to deal with it.

(As a side note, I usually deal with all this stuff in hitbodedut, and you can, too. Just take this checklist, plug in your own ‘stress’ issue, and go talk to God about it.)

Now, let’s move on to our second step:

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  1. CLARIFY THE SITUATION

This is often way harder than it looks, especially if there are a lot of vested interests involved, or a lot of ‘confirmation bias’ standing in the way of getting to the truth. In this case, here’s a few of the questions we need to be exploring:

  • Is Rick Wiles speaking for a lot of Americans, or just a negligible percentage?
  • Are his Youtube followers fanatical, or violent?
  • Do you live close to any of these fanatical, violent people? Could they directly impact your life in some way?
  • Who else might Wiles be influencing with his statement?
  • What are the possible outcomes of this statement being widely publicized in the US?

(Tip: you want to be covering the range of possibilities here, from ‘best case’ to ‘worst case’ scenario. For big stresses, or big decisions, it’s often best to write this down, or do a mindmap. I use pen and paper, but there is also free and easy mindmap software that you can download and use, too.)

Once you have that list of possible outcomes, it’s time to drill down, to see what you are really worrying about, and how likely you believe that outcome to be.

Here’s how I would do that.

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I’d take my list of ‘possible outcomes’.

And then I’d give them a ranking out of 10 (or out of 100, if you want more precision) as to how likely I believe this might be. 1 would be ‘impossible’ and 10 / 100 would be ‘absolutely certain’.

That would leave me looking at something like this:

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(I know, I spelt his name wrong… I don’t really care.)

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POSSIBLE OUTCOMES OF WILES’ STATEMENT

  • More people start to talk against the Jews – 75%
  • Anti-Semitism could start to increase in the US – 75%
  • People feel more comfortable discriminating against Jews – 70%
  • That could impact how comfortable I feel being obviously Jewish in the US – 80%
  • There could be more violent anti-Semitism – 60%
  • There could be more attacks on shuls and Jewish schools – 60%
  • Jewish life in the US could become more difficult – 90%
  • It’s a storm in a teacup nothing will happen – 20%

Are you seeing how this works?

If you feel that you don’t have enough information or knowledge to be comfortable with your ‘clarity’, you might want to go and read up on the subject, find an expert to talk to, check out the latest stats for anti-semitism etc in the US, to inform your opinions and beliefs.

And of course, take it back to God, because that’s where you’ll get your best insights from.

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Now that I have my ‘clarity’, to the best of my ability, and taking my own innate biases and preferences and beliefs into account, I can move to the next step of identifying and defusing my stress:

3)            CLEARLY STATE THE SPECIFIC PROBLEM OR ISSUE THAT IS STRESSING YOU OUT.

So for me, I’m going to formulate it like this:

“I’m worried that there is about to be a big upswing in anti-Semitism in the USA, and that there will be more discrimination and violent attacks against the Jews who are living there, which includes my relatives.”

Again, this is my personal statement. You should write yours in your own language, and with whatever details are relevant to you, and your levels of stress.

But now I have the problem clearly stated, I can move on to the next stage:

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  1. ACTION or ACCEPTANCE.

Here’s where I list out all the actions that are currently available to me, that could help me deal with this problem.

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POSSIBLE ACTIONS:

  • Phone people I know in the US to discuss the situation and warn them?
  • Write something urging people to move?
  • Encourage people to buy a firearm and learn how to use it?
  • Give practical information and help about making aliya?
  • Research US antisemitism to see if it really is a big problem?
  • Suggest people look at buying a cheap property somewhere in Israel?
  • Give people chizzuk and support?
  • Try to ‘scare’ them into making aliya?
  • Put more focus on making Teshuva and working on our humility and emuna?

Now, I go through each one, and I see if it’s workable, practical, useful.

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I know from previous experience that trying to ‘scare’ people, or browbeat them, or guilt them, into moving to Israel just doesn’t work, and isn’t helpful.

I’ve had family members who stopped talking to me for 4 years because I kept trying to pressure them to make aliya. So, all those options are out.

I don’t believe in violence as an answer, so I’m not going to encourage anyone to buy a gun.

So, I’m left with the options to write things that will encourage and support my fellow Jews in the US, and to help them get clarity in some way about the options available to them, and to put the focus on teshuva and working on out bad middot and returning to God, as the best solution to the problem.

So now, I have clarity about what I personally need to do about this, moving forward, and I’m feeling way less stressed.

And whatever I can’t change, whatever I can’t take action about right now, that’s the stuff I need to work on accepting happily, without whining, moaning of complaining.

If I can’t take the ACTION I want to take, I have to accept God’s will, and maybe, start praying for things to change or open up in the future, so that ACTION could be available to me at a different stage.

(I know I’m not breaking this stage down into all the nitty-gritty details. I will do it in the course properly, but I don’t want this post to get too long!)

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6)            Clearly state the ACTIONS required, and / or, what I need to ACCEPT with emuna.

For me, I have to ACCEPT that trying to force my family members to make aliya is simply counter-productive, and just leads to bad blood and soured relationships.

I also have to ACCEPT that I can’t even broach this issue with my relatives in the US, as doing so will only upset them, and won’t achieve anything positive.

On my ACTIONS list, I now have:

  • Pray more for God to help the Jews in America (and everywhere else! We all have our issues, right now.)
  • Focus my blog on chizzuk and emuna, instead of holier-than-thou finger pointing and ranting.
  • Look to see what practical help and support I can give my readers, to help them deal with their challenges and stress, including the stress caused by anti-Semites like Rick Wiles.

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Now I’ve gone through this process, I’m feeling way less stressed!

I have my clarity about what might be happening, what limited role, if any, I can play, and where I need to be focusing my time and energy for maximum benefit.

Breathe out….

This is EXPERIENCING EMUNA, not just preaching about it. You can apply this formula to absolutely any ‘stress’ that you are currently experiencing, and you’ll see how it instantly starts to reduce, as you get better clarity about what’s really going on, what your options really are, and what God might be expecting from you.

BH, I hope to be able to share more of this stuff with you soon.

Next week, Wednesday, Dec 4th, I’m hoping to live teach the first module of the FAILPROOF METHOD TO REDUCE DESTRUCTIVE STRESS BY AT LEAST 50% IN 4 WEEKS COURSE, focusing on:

‘IDENTIFY WHAT’S STRESSING YOU OUT, AND DEFUSE IT’.

If you are a woman, and you would like to join me for that – on Zoom – please sign up HERE.

I’m limiting enrollment to the first 10 people, so grab your spot while you can.

You can also sign up directly, below:

 

The last two weeks, I’ve been finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

I’m generally sleeping OK, and enough. I’m in good health, baruch Hashem. I have a lot of ‘stuff’ to be getting on with… But it’s a struggle to throw the covers back and get out of bed.

I know why.

Deep down, I’m feeling pretty scared of what the future holds.

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While pointless ‘politics’ is all anyone really seems to be thinking about or discussing, there are real changes going on in the world that we can all feel, but no-one is really talking about them.

The world is still shaking – a 6.4 earthquake just hit Albania, in Southern Europe, doing major damage to a number of buildings and roads, and even causing a number of deaths.

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Did you know about that, from your MSM, before I just told you?

Nope. Didn’t think so.

Now, the quakes are fanning out across Europe, large parts of which is also (not coincidentally….) experiencing ‘extreme’ weather events. This headline kind of says it all:

Storms in France, Greece and Italy leave ‘biblical destruction’.

The Alps have been experiencing some record-breaking, heavy snowfall recently. You won’t know that unless you live in that area or follow alternative news channels, because this fact goes against the whole ‘global warming’ fake news thing. But when you have a lot of snow on mountains, plus the prospect of 4.0+ earthquakes in the area, then you are looking at a high possibility of avalanches.

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Over in the US, the wildfires in California have started up again, this time called ‘The Cave’ fire.

What’s interesting, is how the news sites are telling their viewers that this fire literally ‘exploded overnight’ – but then immediately try to blame that on fake news global warming.

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but it’s probably a good time to remind you that when there is a lot of seismic activity, that kind of ‘shakes loose’ all the natural methane that’s trapped underground, and that starts to rise to the surface.

Methane is highly flammable.

All it takes is a spark, and poofff!! A whole area can instantly light up. I think that’s also what’s causing the wildfires that are still burning all over Israel, too, but which (BH) have currently been contained, because there is no massive winds whipping them all over the place.

No-one talks about this, because it’s not ‘politics’. It’s just God controlling the weather, and the seismic activity, and who the heck wants to mention that?!

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There are other things, too, that if you know to look for them, build out the picture that there is a very strange ‘vibe’ coming down to the planet at the moment, or what our sages often refer to as a ruach, or spirit.

So many people are being viciously attacked by wild animals, especially dogs, that it’s almost not news anymore. But a few days ago, a 59 year old woman in Texas was mauled to death outside a house by a bunch of wild pigs….

That’s kinda unusual, no?

And also kinda symbolic, because we all know that the ‘pig’ is Esav, that most traif of pretend-kosher creatures.

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And then, there’s all the stuff I’m trying to deal with internally, that is also scaring me at the moment.

Like, trying to get my People Smarts course together… and trying to launch the book that goes with it… and trying not to get my hopes up too much that this, finally, will mark the turnaround where I’ll actually discover what it is God really wants me to do with my life and (whisper it….) that I may even get paid for.

The only reason that matters is because my family has decided, collectively, that we want to move back to the holy madness that is the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem, and even renting there is CRAZY expensive.

Right now, the apartment we are in is great for us, and the rent is reasonable. But the area is pretty ‘dead’ spiritually, and after two years of living back in civilization, where people pick up their own trash and most families have way less than 12 kids, I’m yearning to get back to a place where my neighbors know there is more to life than just cooking a great roast for Shabbat. Or politics….

So, there’s also a lot of anxiety around that, too, which keeps bubbling up when I’m talking to God.

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And then, there are the non-stop efforts by the State of Israel to start another war in this region, to try and take everyone’s minds off the fact that the political experiment here has effectively checkmated itself out of existence.

Nothing like a massive war, to get the nation rallying around the idea of a ‘unity government’!!!

Who cares, that so many people, so many Jews, could get wounded or killed, if the Muslim nations decide to retaliate massively!!!

Let’s keep the circus going for as long as we can, let’s keep talking about politics as the cure for all ills, to take everyone’s mind off the fact that God is actually running the world, and deciding things!!!

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There are very good reasons why taking the terrorists on in Gaza may be a very bad idea.

You can sum it up like this:

Israel is surrounded by literally hundreds of thousands of rockets. The Iron Dome is very easily overwhelmed, and if the terrorists start firing multiple barrages of rockets at us, they will kill and injure a lot of people, God forbid.

At the same time, there is no way the nations of the world will ever let Israel really clean up the problem in Gaza, so any war would be totally ‘cosmetic’, and just for public opinion, just so the politicians can keep the whole circus going a little while longer.

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Personally, I increasingly don’t think it’s worth risking Jewish lives just to give a politician a campaign slogan that they are tough on terror.

Personally, I’m really praying and hoping that Rabbi Berland is going to be able to continue to sweeten all this warmongering, because war doesn’t solve any problems, unless it’s a ‘war’ that God wants and has commanded, like Joshua’s conquering of the holy land.

How did we all get so brainwashed into believing that killing people en masse is the best way to solve our problems?

I believe in defending ourselves where appropriate, in a measured way. But recently, I’ve been asking myself some hard questions, about whether killing large swathes of ‘enemy’ civilians is really what God wants from the Jewish people.

Killing people – any people – should be the very last option on the table, and only if the alternative is that they would kill us, God forbid.

Killing people is a ‘feral pig’ kinda thing to do – an ‘animal’ thing to do – it’s really not a holy Jewish response.

So, I’m also scared that there are bunch of angry, violent fools with zero yirat shemayim ready to rush in where Sanhedrins fear to tread.

Until I remember that God is actually running the world, (even though no-one really talks about Him so much), and that nothing will happen that God doesn’t want to happen.

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And in the meantime, life goes on.

I’m trying to deal with all this by keeping my head down, and trying to continue with my routine, as best I can. I keep reminding myself of the words of the Rav, that Gog and Magog is only going to happen in 200 years time, but the good things can already start now.

Because otherwise, I just can’t get out of bed in the morning.

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Photo by Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash

It’s time for the way we relate to ’emuna’ to evolve.

This was first written for the ravberland.com website, but I think it’s touching on something that’s close to the heart of people on this website, too, so I’m reposting it here.

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The last few months (ok, years….) it’s been so flipping heavy, hasn’t it?

Every day has brought new heartaches, new challenges, new worries to us all.

Ten years ago, when the first emuna revolution really started to develop, it looked we were so close to sorting all this yucky golus stuff out, and finally getting into geula and redemption, personal and national.

The three rules of emuna came out and what else did we need, to really cope with life’s vicissitudes and to get to geula and moshiach already?

(In case you’ve forgotten, the three rules of emuna are:

  • God is doing everything.
  • Everything God does is good, even if it’s sometimes painful and hard to bear.
  • Every single thing that I experience contains some message, or clue, from God, about what I might need to work on, fix, rectify or otherwise acknowledge.)

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But there was a problem.

Call it a marketing issue, call it a misunderstanding, call it a problem in translating deep spiritual concepts into a language that materialistic Westerners can really grasp, however it happened it doesn’t really matter. But the problem was this:

Emuna back then appeared to be being ‘sold’ as a way to get God to do what you want.

At least, that’s how I understood what I was being told, 10 years ago.

Just pray enough, do enough six hours, ratchet your level of observance up to the absolute max – even if it’s not really where you’re truthfully holding – and then, you’ll be able to force God into giving you what you want! More kids, better health, a new apartment, a great job! You can get it all, if you just follow this blueprint!

What can I tell you?

Over the years, my email filled up with people who’d done their best to follow this blueprint, and who still – inevitably – found that at some point, at some stage, the emuna solution stopped ‘working’, and they were left with a big problem they couldn’t solve, or make disappear, no matter how much hitbodedut they did, or books they gave out, or people they preached at.

Disappointed, a lot of these people then turned their back on ‘emuna’, and came to believe that it didn’t work, the way they’d been told it would.

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The same thing almost happened to me.

I was very clear about why I started to do an hour day of hitbodedut: I was trying to force God to expand my family from just the two kids I had, to maybe four, or even six.

And guess what?

It failed miserably!

My hitbodedut also failed miserably at giving me my own home in Jerusalem – even WITH a mortgage. It failed miserably at getting my kids to grow up like perfectly frum Beis Yaacov princesses. It failed miserably at getting my family to move to Israel, and at making me friends who weren’t psychos, and sometimes, even at getting my cakes to come out half-edible.

Sure, there were also a lot of miracles that have happened, and things that did move, and unexpectedly amazing insights that occurred, all thanks to hitbodedut, but if I had to sum it up, I would say this:

The miracles I saw as a result of my hitbodedut were almost never because my prayers succeeded in changing God’s mind, and almost always because they’d succeeded in changing me.

I’d get a steer in my hitbodedut that I’d need to apologise to someone, or back down on something, or work on some really bad middot that I’d just been whitewashing and justifying, and then, very often, the ‘problem’ would disappear miraculously.

But not every problem.

12 years after I began to do hitbodedut to have more kids, I still don’t have more kids. I still don’t own a house in Jerusalem. I still don’t have a lot of things ticked off on my list of what I was trying to force Hashem to give me.

But what I do have, I hope, is a much clearer idea of what real emuna is, and how much we need it.

====

Recasting the three rules of emuna

To sum it up, real emuna is where we do our best to know that God is doing everything – so we stop beating ourselves up and blaming others, for not being perfect, and we act with more understanding and compassion.

Real emuna is where we do our best to internalize that even the very painful circumstances we sometimes have to go through are ultimately for our good – so we can still smile through the tears, and still sincerely acknowledge and thank for all the tremendous good we all still have in our lives.

That doesn’t mean we become unfeeling robots, pretending we don’t hurt when we do, or pretending we aren’t sad when we are. What it does mean, is that we understand that we need to work on those feelings of pain and sadness, until they transform into joy and acceptance of the way Hashem is running the world.

And to have patience with that process, because sometimes, it can take a very long time.

And lastly, real emuna is where we understand that the miracle will really only come once we change ourselves, and get the message that God is sending us. And that sometimes, the ‘miracle’ will never come, no matter how much we pray for it, because the lesson God is trying to teach us is one of bittul, nullifying ourselves to His will, and accepting how He chooses for us to live our lives.

====

Everybody has their heartache today, everybody has their pain.

Some people lack health, others lack spouses, others lack children, others lack true love and understanding, others lack money, others lack a sense of purpose…. The list goes on and on.

But while all these problems and ‘lacks’ are so different, the solution is the same for them all:

To let go of our expectations, and our demands, and to accept that however God chooses to run our lives, that’s the best it could be.

That’s really what emuna is for. That’s really the ‘secret’ of how having emuna can help you live life happily and joyfully. Not by ‘forcing’ God to do what we want, chas v’halila, but by accepting that whatever God does, that’s OK by us.

That’s the work, that’s the goal.

That’s certainly the message I get loud and clear from almost everything I read, and everything I hear, from Rabbi Eliezer Berland.

And that’s what the next emuna revolution is really going to be about.

====

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The real battle is always internal.

The last few weeks, I’ve gathered so much material together on so many different subjects – then deleted it all. I haven’t just done that once, I’ve done it a good four, maybe in five, times.

I had so much information to share on how the first Reform-minded Jews were actually freemasons, and how 60% of the Reform rabbis in the US in 1927 reported they were members of their local lodge – including 8 ‘rabbis’ who’d reached the 33rd degree.

I deleted it all.

Then, I had a whole bunch of information gathered together about moral (and other forms) of corruption in a particular orthodox group.

I deleted it all.

And then, I found myself gathering more information about a popular Jewish leader who encouraged Jews to see themselves as violent ‘chayas’ – beasts, or animals – and who also had a long history of acting in some very immoral ways.

I deleted it all.

====

The last few weeks, I’ve had a mighty battle raging in my soul, between trying to call out so much of the ‘bad’ and obvious hypocrisy of the Jewish community, and to set it down clearly in black and white, and between Rebbe Nachman’s clarion call to focus on Azamra, or seeing the good.

It’s been driving me bonkers all November.

The Rav warned that Cheshvan – November – was the month of wars, and sure enough, different types of battle have been joined all over the place. There’s been rockets from Gaza, rockets from Syria, political wars of every stripe – all over the planet – and also, that internal war, to try to do what God really wants and to avoid machloket.

And at least speaking for myself, that war has been the hardest.

I can’t stand all the half-truths, posturing and hypocrisy that I keep coming up against in a million different ways. I can’t stand all the yucky people who like to pretend they want a solution, but are really innately part of the problem. All the falsehood, all the carping and attacking, all the lying to ourselves, it’s been getting me down a lot, recently.

====

A few weeks’ ago, I thought the best thing to do would be to try to blast the lies out of the water, as much as possible, by doing one expose after another, just stacking up the plain, incontrovertible facts. No opinion, no spin, just facts and solid information.

I had so much collected up, so much ready to go….

And then God stopped me.

In my hitbodedut, I kept getting steers to get back to my PC and to delete every last bit of it. And that has happened so many times now, that I think I’ve finally got the message:

God doesn’t want Jews slagging other Jews off in public, no matter how ‘bad’ those other Jews appear to be behaving.

====

This is really hard for me to accept, I have to be honest.

What, I should just let all the misinformation go unchallenged?! I should just sit here writing fluffy stuff about trips to the Hula Valley, instead of hard-hitting pieces about the endemic corruption that’s oozing out of every part of the Jewish communal structure, both home and abroad?!

God said:

YES!!!!

A million times, YES!!!!

====

People need a lot of chizzuk right now.

The anti-Semites are spreading so many calumnies about Jews being behind every bad thing in the world, and Jewish writers and bloggers have to understand that every word we write about our communities are being scrutinized, and often twisted, to blame the Jews for everything that’s going wrong.

That’s a massive responsibility.

And here’s the thing:

Even the worst Jews out there are still just puppets and pawns in the hands of a bunch of very evil non-Jews.

They’ve been using these renegade Jews as ‘cover’ for their really bad activities for centuries, but that time is soon coming to a close. And we Jews need to stick together, we need to stay close to our true Tzaddikim, and we need to see the good, both in other Jews, and also in ourselves.

That’s our job right now.

====

So, even though I have a ton I could say about what’s really going on politically and Jewishly, I want to draw a line in the sand here on the blog, and move in the direction of what’s really going to help us all get through the next few months of global insanity. That means putting the focus on:

Emuna, azamra, chizzuk and practical stuff about working on our bad middot.

As much as possible, this blog is going to be a Trump-free zone, a Bibi-free zone, a pointless politics-free zone.

Why waste any more time on all this divisive cack that doesn’t help anyone, and just sets us at each other’s throats? Much better to focus on the bad middot we all need to work on; much better to talk about emuna, much better to talk Turkey about what God really wants from us as individuals and Jews, and to try to spread more of the light of the true Tzaddikim in the world.

So that’s what I’m hoping to focus on, going forward.

BH, God will help me to do it.

====

UPDATE:

I just wrote this, for my blog over on RavBerland.com. I think it’s time we re-examined what it really means to ‘have emuna’, and how we can start to apply it again. So many of us got disappointed with the whole idea of ’emuna’ because we were being taught that it’s a way to ‘force’ God to give us what we want.

Really, true emuna is only about acceptance. It’s about accepting that we are flawed, and have work to do, and also about accepting that God is in charge of the world, not us.

Read more here:

====

Photo by Piotr Makowski on Unsplash

Aka, why ‘bad’ things don’t really happen to ‘good’ people.

In the Gemara, Tractate Brachot 5b, we find the following:

Rav Huna had four hundred barrels of wine that soured, i.e. they turned into vinegar. Rav Yehuda, the brother of Rav Salla Chasida, as well as other Sages, went in to visit him…They said to him: “Let master [Rav Huna] examine his affairs to determine the cause of this loss. He said to them: Am I suspect in your eyes? They said to him:

Is the Holy One, Blessed is He, suspect of punishing without justice?

He said to them: “If there is anyone who heard something about me that I must rectify, let him speak!”

They responded to him: “This is what we heard about you: Master did not give branches to his sharecropper.” He said to them: “Did he leave me any of them?! He stole all of them from me!” That is, he took far more than his rightful share.

They said to him, “This is an example of the popular adage: Steal from a thief and feel the taste of stealing!”

He said to them: “I accept upon myself to give him his share of the remaining branches.”

Some say that then, a miracle occurred and the vinegar reverted to wine. And others say that the price of vinegar rose, and [his vinegar] sold at the price of wine.

====

Rav Huna was a massive Sage who could do open miracles and revive the dead.

When Rav Huna’s vinegar soured, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to start throwing around his ‘tzaddik’ credentials, and to avoid examining his deeds.

“I’m such a big tzaddik!! I don’t deserve this!! Why is Hashem punishing me for nothing (God forbid)?! Why is Hashem doing such a bad thing to such a good person, like me?”

We all do this, at certain times. It’s understandable.

But there’s a massive problem (or 8…) with this approach, and that is:

That it makes Hashem out to be the bad guy.

It’s basically saying, “Nothing wrong with me, or my deeds, bub. This is a totally unjustified punishment. God has somehow got this wrong, He’s picking on the wrong guy…”

This is the polar opposite of how a Jew with emuna is meant to approach things. A Jew with emuna doesn’t throw all the problem on God, and start flashing their ‘tzaddik’ credentials all over the place.

A Jew with emuna takes a deep breath, a long spiritual pause, and tries to apply the three rules of emuna, namely:

  • God is doing everything.
  • Everything God is doing is ultimately for my benefit, even though right now I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t causing me a lot of pain, suffering and heartache.
  • God is trying to send me a message, here, that this is something I need to work on or fix or change or tikkun.

====

Unlike us, Rav Huna really was a bona fide tzaddik.

He wasn’t a secret member of the local Freemasons lodge; he wasn’t sucking up to corrupt politicians for ‘donations’ to his yeshiva, or firebombing buses, or working for the Mossad or the FBI on the side.

Rav Huna wasn’t flirting with women he wasn’t married to. He wasn’t speaking lashon hara all over the place (like yours truly…) He wasn’t angrily raging at his poor wife and children behind closed doors after a bad day at the beit midrash; or harshly criticizing everybody else on Youtube; or dancing for the Pope; or being paid by Big Pharma to sign on to a psak din trying to force everyone to vaccinate their children.

He was a bona fide tzaddik.

And yet, his vinegar still turned sour.

====

Having emuna doesn’t mean that we pretend the hard things in our life don’t hurt us, or bother us.

Before we get to the story of Rav Huna, we have the stories of Rav Yochanan (who lost 10 children) and Rav Elazar (who was seriously ill) – and in both instances, the Gemara makes it very clear that these tzaddikim were feeling their pain and sorrow acutely.

They weren’t robotic, emotionless ‘super-tzaddikim’, who could go through awful suffering and just keep telling everyone how great it all was. They suffered, they admitted they were suffering, and that they felt sad and pained – and then, they pulled themselves together and got on with life.

====

Just to confuse matters, there is also  such a thing as being sent a ‘suffering from love’.

If we examine our deeds, and we truly find there is absolutely nothing we can think of that we need to fix, acknowledge or work on, that would somehow explain why God was sending us our harsh circumstances, then we’re dealing with a ‘suffering from love’.

In our generation, there are a lot of loose ends, a lot of tikkunim from previous lives that need to be paid down. Maybe, we were sacrificing our children to Moloch in temple times, or snitching on our fellow Jew for money to the Sultan or the Czar, or cheating on our spouse, or cheating on our taxes…

Who knows?

And now, God is cleaning that stuff off our souls by sending us some hard experiences to go through.

====

I learned from the experience with my father-in-law being a Freemason that the sins of the fathers really are visited on the sons up until the third or fourth generation, exactly as it says in the Torah.

When my husband’s left foot refused to heal up for four months, it could have been tempting to pretend my husband is a tzaddik[1], and God is just punishing him, stam, because Hashem is mean and sadistic (God forbid a million times!!!).

But that’s not the path of emuna.

The path of emuna is to keep praying about our suffering, to keep justifying Hashem, and to know that He’s totally righteous, kind and good, and to keep searching for what the heck is going on here?!

It took us 4 months of effort, many long hours of praying, much soul-searching, and eventually a big pidyon with the Rav to start to uncover the real spiritual source of my husband’s dodgy left foot. But thank God, probably all in the Rav’s zchut, eventually we got there.

====

Rav Huna was a massive tzaddik.

And even Rav Huna’s vinegar went sour.

====

The last thing to take from the story of Rav Huna is that as soon as he got the message, everything turned around for the good. Sephardim say, his vinegar miraculously turned back into wine! Ashkenazim say, the price of vinegar suddenly shot up, and overtook the price of a good cabernet sauvignon!

Either way, the suffering was sweetened once Rav Huna took the steps required to fix the problem.

====

What’s the tachlis, to take away from this?

  • We need to justify Hashem, and stop pretending He’s got the wrong guy when He sends us suffering or difficulties.
  • We need to do our best to figure out what we need to correct and fix, in order for the problem to go away. That usually means spending an hour a day doing hitbodedut, or at least a good, solid chunk of time where we sit and just take an honest look at ourselves.
  • If it’s still not clearing up, we need to bite the bullet and do a pidyon with the Rav, which is effectively a short-cut to getting out of the suffering, or even avoiding it in the first place. Money instead of blood.

====

May Hashem help us all to do this, as it’s sometimes really, really hard.

And may this piece be for the refuah of Menachem Mendel Shlomo ben Chaya Rachel, who needs to raise money for a pidyon with the Rav urgently. You can donate for the pidyon HERE, and please say it’s for him in the message section.

====

FOOTNOTE:

[1] The fact that my husband has put up with me for 23 years clearly gives credence to the idea that he could actually be a tzaddik, at least in theory.

====

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None of us have a clue about what’s really going on, right now.

One of the striking elements of reading books like Tzaddik, and Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom, is the number of times Rabbenu tells his followers: I don’t know anything.

And he really means it!

Over recent weeks, I’ve been thinking more and more how the people who regularly admit that they truly don’t know anything are really the only ones any one of us should be paying attention to. That’s for a few reasons.

First, true wisdom, true insight, isn’t linear.

It comes as flashes of inspiration that often catch you totally off guard, and up-end everything that you thought and believed was ‘true’.

The very action of acquiring more of this heavenly-inspired ‘knowledge’ and wisdom leaves you in a profound state of not knowing.

I know that’s what’s happening to me. The more I find out about Freemasons, vaccines, or even just what’s going on behind the façade of so many of the ‘regular’ people in my dalet amot, the less I truly feel that I ‘know’ anything.

At any moment, a new piece of information could come rushing up from the depths, or rushing out of the shadows, to turn everything all on its head, and change the whole picture.

There are no certainties in 2019, no guarantees.

Truth has become an expendable commodity for just about everyone, and in its place we have dogma, propaganda and totally unfounded assurances from other people that they know something we don’t.

Really?

The only source of clarity right now is what you get straight from talking to God, and from the mouths of our true Sages. And guess what? (Whisper this…) Our true sages don’t give a monkeys about impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill. It’s all a charade, a façade.

====

Which brings me to the second reason why we need to only be listening to the people who aren’t trying to impress us with how much they know, and that boils down to humility and honesty.

Humility means that you aren’t trying to set yourself up as a ‘navi’, or a seer, pretending you have the inside edge about what’s going on all over the world when all you’re doing is watching Youtube videos and scrolling through your Facebook feed.

Let’s say it again: None of us know what’s going down at the moment, which side is up, who is really ‘good’, what is really ‘bad’.

All we have to go on is our intuition, the mirror principle, and any flashes of insight we might get in hitbodedut. While I’m a big believer in intuition and hunches, until the facts are incontrovertibly proved either way, everything is still just an educated guess.

====

I think the Freemasons control most of the world and covertly (and not so covertly…) worship the devil. But I could be wrong about that, I admit it.

Ditto, I think Trump has been installed to pull off the ‘deal of the century’ which will see the US permanently installed in Israel to ‘protect us’ from our neighbors, while steadily asset-stripping the massive oilfields they just found in the Golan Heights (conveniently just recognized by Trump as belonging to Israel…) and the gas fields out to sea.

And maybe, something else, too. Who knows?

All I can tell you is that all of these ‘announcements’ from US and Israeli politicians seem to be aimed squarely at trying to provoke another war in the Middle East. Last week’s provocative hit on a PIJ leader didn’t lead to all-out war – miraculously! – so here, the Trump administration is trying to stir things up again, with another pointless ‘recognition’ of settlements in the West Bank, which changes precisely nothing, but is guaranteed to spark off riots in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Cynic that I am, I can’t help wondering if oil, or some other valuable natural resource, has just been found in the West Bank, too.

Under international law, if you try to cash in on the natural resources in an area whose sovereignty is under dispute, that counts as a ‘war crime’. That was the main problem with the oil fields up in the Golan – which Freemason Trump has now nicely solved for all his billionaire buddies with drilling rights.

But of course, I could be totally wrong about all this!

And if that’s the case, that’s OK with me. I’ll be the first to admit it.

====

Which brings me back to the genius of Rabbenu’s “I know nothing’.

When you get in the habit of admitting that you really know nothing, then it gets way, way easier to admit when you inevitably get it wrong, and when you need to rethink things, make teshuva, and maybe apologise.

When you’re in the habit of knowing nothing, the ego doesn’t kick up quite the same fuss, when you have to put your hand up to being fallible and making mistakes. And while so many of us find that process painful and difficult, the more your practice it, the easier it gets.

Knowing nothing – and admitting that regularly – also works a treat to keep you humble, and open to learning from new information, new people, new facts you didn’t know before.

====

Two weeks ago, I was in the local supermarket when there was an obviously American woman at the till, asking loudly:

Yesh condensed milk??

The lady serving her wasn’t being very helpful, so I arrogantly took it upon myself to inform her that I’ve never seen condensed milk in Israel, I’m not sure they even have it.

She gave me a glare and a tight smile, and then basically ignored me.

Hah! I thought to myself. Stupid new immigrant! What does she know about shopping in Israel… Not like me, who has lived here 15 years, and knows there is no condensed milk to be had!!!

====

A few days ago, I was walking around that same supermarket when an elderly, Russian man literally sprang in front of me, and shoved two cans into my face.

He asked me in broken English what they were.

I took one can and read it carefully. My eyes opened in surprise.

It’s condensed milk, I told him.

He shoved the other can at me, and asked me to read the label of that one, too:

It’s also condensed milk, I told him, starting to flush.

He smiled happily at me – then put both cans back on the shelf and walked off.

====

I don’t know much, but I know why God made that happen.

It was to show me how little I really know – about anything! – and to bring me down a peg or two.

Ah, Rivka.

So, you think you know ‘stuff’? You think you have some insight, some super-duper information no-one else has access to? Tut tut, the truth is, you really know nothing.

You don’t even know that the supermarket you’ve lived next to for two whole years and visit almost every days has not just one brand of condensed milk, but two!

====

It’s humbling, having to admit I know nothing.

But it’s also actually a massive gift. I don’t have to pick fights because my ego is squirming, or because other people have different opinions to me.

Maybe, Trump really is going to drain the swamp.

(Excuse me while I laugh my head off hysterically.)

But maybe, that’s true! What do I know, really?

So I’m not going to take it personally if someone else has a different opinion.

Until the birur process starts to accelerate, it’s just getting more and more confusing, and harder and harder to figure out where the truth lies.

God doesn’t mind that we guess and get it wrong. Or that we suppose, based on totally false information and propaganda. He just gets upset with us when we arrogantly start dissing other people, because we think we know better than they do.

Because the truth is, we know nothing.

====

Photo by Dave Webb on Unsplash

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You might also like this article:

Watch this, from a PhD MD in the US.

Then make up your own mind as to whether you think the way vaccines are being produced today is ethical.

To cut to the chase, they are basically using live tissue from aborted babies to grow vaccine cultures – but the babies are born alive, and only then killed for their tissue.

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1zqJVEWDyMlGB

(They like to take these things offline fast, so I would watch it sooner rather than later.)

====

UPDATE:

One of the commentators wanted to know ‘what can we do about this?’

Here’s what I think is the next steps (apart from praying an awful lot that Hashem should protect us from all the terrible evil that’s being exposed in the world…)

I think we urgently need to find out if the rabbis and poskim actually have the full information on how vaccines are produced – including this information.

And then they have to render a halachic decision on whether this is acceptable.

Personally, I can’t see how halachically a believing Jew can use a vaccine that’s directly created via killing a newborn fetus for its heart tissue cells. We are supposed to ‘die’ instead of participating in murder, idolatry or forbidden relations, and it seems this is outright murder, however it’s spun.

That’s probably why the vaccine people didn’t want the public to actually have real information, and have just resorted to fear tactics and intimidation to close the discussion down.

I still don’t know where the truth lies in this matter, but I’d sure like to have more information given to me in a transparent way, and not just pressure tactics and ‘experts’ who like to tell you you’re talking rubbish, but strangely can’t point to any specific instances of where what you’re saying about vaccine harm and production is incorrect…

Don’t forget this, tomorrow:

My late father-in-law was a Freemason.

I knew that many years ago, and I vaguely disapproved of it, as I’d see him hunched over his Freemason ‘manual’, mamash like a scholar learning a Tractate of Gemara. But I didn’t realise just how bad Freemasonry really is, until this week.

This is going to be one of the stranger posts you’ll read, I’ll warn you now. But there is no way I can really tell you why I’m writing this post, without explaining some of the high strangeness that’s occurred behind it.

And so with that introduction out the way, let’s begin.

====

Back in the beginning of August, my husband snapped the tendon – the Achilles heel – of his left leg, playing tennis.

It was a bad injury, as these things go, so his foot was wrapped in bandages, he got a pair of crutches, and I applied all my essential oils, Sujok and lentils weirdness to getting it to heal.

The first 10 days, he was doing really well, relatively. Then, he happened to trip over a piece of carpet – and we were back to square one. Two days later, he tripped over a dip in the pavement. And then, over the next four weeks, every single time his ankle was approaching the point of starting to properly heal up, something would happen again, to re-injure the foot and take him back to square one.

Over Rosh Hashana in Uman, he fell down some stairs and also banged it badly, on a separate occasion. And so, this weird pattern continued on for a few more days, with more strange strains, knocks and accidents.

The last straw happened one Friday morning, during the 10 days of teshuva, when I heard my husband yell sharply before falling over, somewhere in the backroom. I ran over there to find him clutching his ankle again, his face contorted in pain.

What happened?!?

He’d fallen over the centimeter-high lip of the doorsill leading into my daughter’s room. Totally ridiculous.

====

 At that stage, the Moroccan genes took over and I told my husband:

I have a really bad feeling about all this. There is some serious ‘din’, or judgment, going on with your foot, and we need to ask the Rav what’s going on.

I put in a request for a pidyon – and the answer came back with quite a big sum. That wasn’t the worrying part. The worrying part was that the Rav told him he had to pay it within the next hour. We scrabbled all over the place to take a loan[1] to do it, because the next day was Yom Kippur, and we both had the strong feeling that the Rav doesn’t say anything stam.

In the recording we got back after we paid the pidyon, the Rav told us:

I will come to your house, and everything will open up.

====

Over Succot, I found myself obsessed with researching my husband’s father’s family tree.

I don’t know why, but I just had the feeling it was all connected to his Achilles Heel problem. All Succot, I basically sat in the Succah with my laptop, trying to track down all these long-forgotten relatives.

After a week of obsessive research, I’d discovered that my husband’s ancestors hailed from the Lithuanian coastal town of Palanga; that my husband’s great-grandmother was one of 9 siblings who moved en masse to Liverpool in the late 1800s – and that nearly all of them had totally assimilated.

My father-in-law was born into a third generation Jewish household that effectively kept almost no mitzvahs, and really knew nothing about their yiddishkeit.

I thought maybe marking the yarhtzeits of all these dead relatives was part of the reason my husband had hurt his foot, so I duly copied down the dates – and the Achilles Heel started to improve. For the first time in months, there was some solid and sustained healing going on. But it was still a slow process.

====

Two weeks ago, I got a message from one of the Rav’s attendants that the Rav would be coming to my house, for a visit.

I was a little overwhelmed, but then I remembered the Rav’s message, and I understood that we’d got up to the next part of the healing process for my husband’s foot.

The Rav came and met a small group of people in my home. I spent a whole day trying to clean the house properly beforehand, then most of the day itself feeling awestruck that I actually was having the Tzaddik HaDor in my house, and then the next two days in a bit of a daze.

That was 10 days ago.

While my husband’s heel was still improving overall, it was still hurting him. By this point, I’d tracked down every relative I could find, on both sides of my husband’s family. He’d been putting some serious effort into trying to make teshuva about anything he could think of, that could be related, and he was also upping his Torah learning.

Both of us were stumped, at this point, as to what was still causing the problem.

I did a long six hours on Shabbat, to try to get some insight, and by the end of it, all I really had was a strong urge to go and visit the old city of Acco.

The Rav had recently been writing a lot about Acco, and about how Napoleon tried but failed to conquer it, and it seemed to be linked to all this ‘illuminati’ stuff, and the general struggle for good to triumph over bad.

I’m a history buff, and I’ve been wanting to go to the old city of Acco for literally 15 years, and it’s never happened. So on Shabbat I told my husband, yalla, I can’t wait anymore, I’m going to Acco by myself on Monday.

So that’s what I did.

====

The first few hours in Acco, I was so pleased I came.

I visited the old Turkish bathhouse built by the cruel Turkish ruler Al Jazzer, ‘The Butcher’, the man who’d beaten back Napoleon’s forces when they tried to storm old Acco’s walls.

Seven times Napoleon launched an attack on Acco, and seven times he failed.

Napoleon didn’t know this, but Rebbe Nachman was staying in the city exactly at that time, and fled to the port just as the Turks and English announced they were closing to gates, as Napoleon’s troops were approaching.

Rabbenu got passage on a Turkish war ship that was anchored in the port of Acco[2] – risking his life in the process – and somehow or other, Napoleon was stopped in his tracks, the Turks prevailed, and the French failed to conquer Acco, and by extension, the land of Israel.

So, as I wandered around the very Arab old streets, I tried to imagine where Rabbenu may have been staying, and which path he took down to the old port, back in 1799. I sat on the quay for a wonderful half an hour, looking at the shoals of fish in the sea and trying to imagine Acco port full of long-masted ships o’war, instead of small yachts.

By Oren Rozen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57357504

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I decided I was going to see everything Acco had to offer, historically, in the day I was there.

So I went to the Turkish bathhouse, the Ramchal’s synagogue, walked around the perimeter of the huge Al Jazzer mosque, walked the ramparts of the massive walls which had held back Napoleon, walked through the Old City markets, walked through the deep underground Templars’ Tunnel that the Crusaders had built to link the port to their now destroyed castle – and then popped up in something called the Knight’s Kingdom, which was the unearthed fortress of the Hospittaler Knights’, built 900 years ago.

And here is where the story gets pretty strange.

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The Knights’ Fortress was found almost by accident.

In the late 1940s, the British had taken over the Turkish fort at Acco, and used part of it as a jail, where they put the prisoners from the Jewish underground organisations like the Irgun, Lehi and even a few Haganah men.

On May 4, 1947, the Irgun launched a bombing raid on the prison to try and spring their comrades out. 40 prisoners escaped, but some of the raiders were captured or killed by the British, who went on to hang three of the Jewish raiders, on the special gallows they’d built within the Acco fortress.

Before the raid, the prisoners had been attempting to dig their way out, but they hit a massive stone structure that blocked their path.

That structure was the Hospitallers’ Fortress.

By Lev.Tsimbler – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28914575

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From the 1950s on, the State of Israel started excavating the site, and they quickly discovered a perfectly preserved Crusaders’ Fortress, buried in the mud. When the Arabs had finally beaten the Crusaders and conquered Acco in 1291, they destroyed the Crusaders’ palace, but left the fortress intact, and simply built their own, new fortress on top of it.

Today, that Crusader Fortress is a massive draw for all the xtian pilgrims and visitors to the Holy Land. The Ministry for Tourism has cleaned it up so nicely. It’s spent a fortune on ‘multi-media’ displays – 44 in total! – which tell you all sorts of interesting snippets of (mis)information, and ‘cute’ stories, about those loving, caring Crusaders, who opened a hospital in Acco to help everyone!

Including the local Muslims and Jews! Because they were just such amazing, loving and giving xtian souls….!

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After I went through exhibit #44, I was totally sickened by all the whitewashing of the Crusaders, and all the ‘Disney-fication’ of who these people were, and what they really did, particularly to the Jews.

How can it be, I kept asking myself, that in modern-day Israel we have a perfectly preserved Crusader fortress and medieval town museum, that makes absolutely no mention of the thousands of Jews butchered to pieces by the Crusaders, on their way to ‘liberate’ the holy land from the Muslim infidel?!

I have a book that I bought to read on Tisha B’Av one year called The Jews and the Crusaders, that contains four eye-witness accounts by Jews of the barbaric atrocities and wholesale murder doled out by these loving and caring Crusader knights to the Jewish communities of what is today France and Germany, on their way to the Holy Land.

But not a word of the Crusaders’ murder of Jews was to be found anywhere, amongst all the exhibits and historical literature put out by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in Acco.

I decided that when I got home, I was going to research these Crusaders properly, and fill in some of those gaps.

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So Tuesday, just as the latest ‘war’ with Gaza was kicking off down South, I spent the whole day trying to track down references to the Knights Templar, and to the Knights of the Hospitaller Order of St John, and the other order of Teutonic Knights who had taken over Acco 900 years ago, and ruled Israel for 150 years, before being expelled by the Muslim Turks.

Very quickly, I tripped into a whole bunch of information that started to make my head spin.

What follows is a very brief, potted version, just so you can follow the gist. I may well come back to some of this stuff in a future posts to give more details, we’ll see.

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The first thing I discovered is that after a few years in Israel, the Knights Templar quickly degenerated into a fabulously wealthy, devil-worshipping sect who were the people who originated the tenets of the modern banking system.

At the height of their operations in Acco, they were bringing massive ships containing up to 1000 pilgrims at a time to Israel, and they were also at the heart of a European trading network that included sugar cane, spices – and drugs.

Many of Europe’s royalty basically bankrupted themselves and their kingdoms to raise funds for the three Crusades, and nearly all of them became indebted to the Knights Templar, (and in a lesser fashion, to the other orders of Knights and Crusader rulers in Israel at that time.) At their height, the Knights Templar owned 9000 properties and estates in Europe, plus all the associated revenues – tax free.

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The Knights Templars were known for their violence and bravery, which in plain English means they were a bunch of murderous psychopaths that everyone was scared of.

While they started off owing allegiance to the Pope, very quickly they became a law unto themselves – and all of Europe’s rulers were scared of them, particularly when they were kicked out of Israel and returned to the continent.

In 1307, French King Phillippe IV rounded up as many of the Knights Templars as he could on one day, and formally accused them of being a cult of practicing homosexuals who engaged in black magic, murder, pedophilia and devil worship. Many of the group were burned at the stake, but the Templars’ large fleet of ships at La Rochelle – and most of their treasure[3] – disappeared before Phillippe could get his hands on them.

Some of the Templars appear to have joined the ranks of the Knights Hospitallers, while other Templars turned up in Scotland, where they fought alongside Robert the Bruce during his wars against the English monarchy.

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There’s a ‘disagreement’ between modern historians about whether the Knights Templar really had become so evil and corrupted, or whether the French King made it all up, just to get his hands on their wealth and to break their power.

I went through an awful lot of documents and information to research this, and here’s the ‘potted’ version of what I discovered, which I think has been deliberately obscured for a lot of different reasons.

When the Knights Templar first got to Israel, they were exposed to a number of different religious influences here, that they didn’t have to contend with back in Europe. This included ‘heretical’ proto-xtian Gnostic beliefs, and the good old fashioned hardcore idol worship being practiced by the ancestors of the people that we know as the modern Druze.

If you research the Druze, you’ll find that they are neither ‘Muslim’ nor ‘Xtian’, but tend to blend in with whatever religion or people is controlling their surroundings. Their core beliefs are kept strictly secret even to this day, and stories abound of them worshipping golden calves (!) kept in silver boxes, up mountains and in hidden groves across what is today modern Lebanon and Syria.

The Druze are known to have had some close interactions with a group of idol worshipers who maintained a lot of ancient occult knowledge from Egypt, known as the Sabians. There is evidence that the first Templars in the Middle East – a very small, elite group of 9 wealthy knights – went to these Sabians in Harran before they did anything else, to try to learn more of their ‘occult’ ancient Egyptian knowledge, on the direct orders of Bernard of Clairveaux.

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But there’s another, more philosophical, explanation for how the Knights Templar and the other crusaders in Israel literally went to the dark side and started worshipping the devil:

It appears that the Knights Templars were exposed to the Jewish texts that explained that Mary the mother of yoshki was actually a prostitute, and that yoshki himself was a mamzer. In the contemporary Jewish accounts written in The Jews and the Crusaders, the Jews being put to the sword explicitly told their xtian murderers that they weren’t about to exchange belief in the One True God for:

a crucified scion who was despised, abominated and held in contempt in his own generation, a bastard son conceived by a menstruating and wanton mother.”[4]

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At the same time, the Templars came into contact with demonically-inspired Gnostic beliefs that stated the very opposite of what we know to be true, namely that God is only good and the opposite of God is evil and Satanic.

The Templars saw that Judaism, and Hashem, were part of a tradition that called their ‘god’, yoshki, an evil, idolatrous mamzer. So, they decided that anything that was ‘against’ yoshki must be bad, and hey presto, that lead to them saying that white was really black, and to deciding that the opposite of Hashem was what was really good.

It’s easy to see how swiftly this erroneous belief leads to straight-out devil-worship, and all of the unspeakable evil associated with it.[5]

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Meanwhile, the Hospitaller Knights of Acco also seem to have become spiritually corrupted whilst in Israel – although it’s even harder to find any specific historical details or accounts describing this period of their history – and they went through a number of metamorphoses, until they became the modern orders of St John / the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), and Knights of Malta – all apparently different, but actually all just the same “Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.”

And here’s where we’re about to take off into ‘Illuminati World’.

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I found it a little strange that it was so hard to pin down any real, concrete information about the dark side of the Knights Templar and the Knights of Malta / SMOM on Google.

Consistently, the first few pages were coming up with the same sort of sanitized, superficial Disney propaganda plastering the walls of the ‘Knights’ Kingdom’ in Acco. It’s all about charidee!! And helping sick people!! And running hospitals and organisations for displaced people and poor, orphaned kids!!

So, I started skipping straight to pages 7-8-9, to see what Google was trying to keep buried.

All of a sudden, I started finding all these pages from ‘conspiracy theorists’ about both the Knights Templar, and the Knights of Malta.

I don’t want to overload you in this post, so let me just pick out a few significant things that are actually FACT, not wild speculation, that will hopefully serve to show you that there is way more going on here, than is superficially obvious:

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FACT 1: For centuries since the Crusades, SMOM has acted as the military arm of the Vatican, particularly in the Holy Land.

FACT 2: The British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and many other members of the British Royal Family, and European Royal Families, are members of SMOM (despite the fact it’s Catholic. The Queen is the putative head of the protestant Church of England.) Queen Victoria opened up a branch of the Knights of Malta in 1885 in the UK, with herself as the head.

FACT 3: None other than Napoleon forced the SMOM out of Malta in 1798 – a year before attacking Acco. At this point, the SMOM formally relocated to Rome.

FACT 4: The Knights of Malta only accepted nobles and royalty in its highest classes of membership until the 1990s, when they dropped that requirement – and membership in the US started to boom, as a result. You can only join SMOM by invitation. The leader of the Knights of Malta is called the ‘Prince and Grand Master’, is elected for life, and has to be approved by the Pope.

FACT 5: The Knights of Malta set up the Red Cross and the Red Crescent – and still have very close ties with these organization. (In the UK, for example, it’s still called the ‘St John’s Ambulance Brigade’).

FACT 6: The Knights of Malta gave the infamous Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen their highest honor for “services rendered” immediately after World War II.

FACT 7: The Knights of Malta has diplomatic ties with 108 nations (obviously not including Israel…) and ‘permanent observer’ status at the UN, despite having no country or government or citizens of its own.

FACT 8: The Knights of Malta were also big in Russia, with Czar Paul I becoming their Grandmaster after 1798, when he gave many of the Knights refuge in St Petersberg.

FACT 9: In 1794, SMOM contacted James Monroe, the American ambassador to France, to propose an alliance between the Knights of Malta and the newly-formed USA. No-one knows (or at least, no-one is telling) what happened next.

FACT 10: According to Wikipedia: “[The Knights of Malta’s] annual budget is on the order of 1.5 billion euros, largely funded by European governments, the United Nations and the European Union, foundations and public donors.” This is a massive amount of public money being funneled into the hands of secretive aristocrats and the Catholic Church.

FACT 11: In the times of the crusades and afterwards, the Hospitaller Knights were often in direct competition with the Knights Templar. It’s not too much of a stretch to say this rivalry could have extended itself into our days, too.

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While you’re chewing over all of that – and believe me, it’s a LOT to chew over – let’s turn our attention back to the Knights Templar, because I want to explain how all this is connected to my late father-in-law and my husband’s damaged, left Achilles heel.

After the devil-worshipping Knights Templar got to Scotland, they went through something of a rebranding exercise, and after 300 years or so, they emerged as the nascent order of the Freemasons.

Again, remember that European nobility and these corrupted orders of Knights were very heavily intertwined with each other, particularly around the areas of military force and finance.

And that pattern is continuing today.

When the Scottish (Freemason) King James I took over the English throne, after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, that’s when the Freemasons’ Lodges started to pop-up all over England – which coincided with England’s rapid ascent to become the #1 power in the world.

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In the middle of researching all this, I got an email from a reader which said the following:

“According to the Baal HaTanya, Napoleon was a sorcerer see here

http://www.shturem.net/index.php?section=artdays&id=209

Also for that reason, when Napoleon was pursuing him, he went back to his previous location on one occasion, at considerable risk to take a small personal item he forgot, because if Napoleon found it, he would use his kishuf to locate him.”

All of a sudden, things came full-circle, and I decided to research whether Napoleon was a Freemason.

You already know the answer, don’t you?

Napoleon was a Freemason, and actually opened a lodge of Freemasons in Egypt in 1798– called the ‘Isis’ lodge – shortly before trying to conquer Eretz Yisrael and Acco.

All roads lead back to Acco.

Napoleon basically planted the seed of Freemasonry in the Middle East, and it’s been flowering, behind the scenes, ever since, regardless of who is really publically leading these countries.

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Before we get back to my father-in-law and my husband, let me just throw out there that so many of the senior figures in the USA, including many of the founding fathers and George Washington himself, were openly Freemasons. There’s even a ‘Freemasons’ bible that George Washington – and so many of the US presidents after him – have been sworn into office on.

Winston Churchill was a Freemason. FDR – US President during WW 2 – was a Freemason. CIA head Allen Dulles was a Freemason. A whole bunch of US High Court Justices were and are Freemasons. J. Edgar Hoover (FBI) was a Freemason.  Ralph Bellamy (author of the US Pledge of Allegiance) was a Freemason.

A whole bunch of high-profile ministers – many of whom have founded their own churches and popular ministries – are Freemasons. Freemasons founded the US Navy, and commanded American Forces during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. To name just a few of the ones who are publically known.

There are apparently 50 Freemason Lodges in the State of Israel, and even so-called ‘Jewish lodges’ in the UK and US that count a great many pretending-to-be-orthodox Rabbis amongst their initiates.

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Officially, Freemasonry says that it’s all about charity, all about lofty principles of brotherly love, etc, and it goes to great pains to dress itself up as a good ‘social justice’ society, with just some eccentric initiation rites.

I’m a journalist. I try very, very hard to explore all angles of the stories I write about here, and to research every aspect as meticulously as I can, and to share that research with my readers, before rushing to a conclusion.

The fact that Google is apparently censoring so much of the information about the origins of the Freemasons, and the history of the Knights Templar and the Knights of Malta, immediately made me think that something strange is going on here, because otherwise, why would they bother?

On the other hand, while the original Knights Templar were clearly devil-worshipping sodomites with black magic rites and customs straight out of ancient Egypt, including worshipping the mummified heads of dead people, just as Laban used to, it’s still quite a stretch to say that more recent Freemasons like US President George Washington were up to the same sort of things.

So for two days, I decided to just sit on all this information, and not write about it, because who really knows what’s going on?

Until last night, when I had a strange dream.

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All night, I was dreaming of my father-in-law, the Freemason, who kept telling me to ‘go and check what Freemasons do with their left foot’.

Literally all night, the same statement, over and over again.

Yesterday evening, my husband’s Achilles heel had been hurting him again.

So this morning, after I did some hitbodedut about the weird dream, and got a strong steer that I really should take it seriously, and look into the actual initiation rites for Freemasons, I fired up the laptop to take a look.

Again, this information is almost totally absent from Google, which I find very suspicious, because why does Google care about ‘arcane’ initiation ceremonies for charitable organisations that are apparently only doing wonderful things in the world? So I had to switch to duck-duck-go, which censors ways less than Google, and very quickly, I found some xtian sites trying to warn people away from joining the masons.

I typed in ‘left foot Freemasons’ – and here’s a short version of the initiation rite that you need to undergo just to get your foot in the Lodge door as a ‘First Degree’ initiate:

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UPDATE:

Over Shabbat, I realised that this stuff is so dark, and so obviously occult, I actually don’t want it specifically on my website, as it’s mamash demonic. If you go HERE, it will tell you everything that’s involved in the initiation stage of what’s called the ‘Shock of Entrance’ – Google is totally censoring this information, so you may have to use Firefox or Duck-Duck-Go.

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There’s way, way more to this – including Masonic gold rings inscribed with the Hebrew letter yud, connected to the kabbalistic concept of Yesod – but to be honest with you, I started to get freaked out by what I was reading – even on the sites that are trying to pretend that Freemasonry is only a charitable brotherhood.

As a believing Jew, it’s very clear that whatever is hiding behind the secular façade of masonry is anything but secular.

Even just this first initiation rite is full of symbolism and customs that are the exact opposite of what Judaism teaches a person should do, right down to which foot a person should put first.

Judaism says put the right foot first.

Freemasons teach the exact opposite.

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I read all this, and I understood what my father-in-law had been trying to tell me, and why my husband, and the rest of the extended family, have had such a challenging time, in so many different ways, since my father-in-law’s death, eight years ago.

My father-in-law was a tinok shenishba. He grew up in a home devoid of even basic Judaism, and he had a lot of kindness in him, and tried his best to be a good husband and to support his family. For years, I simply couldn’t understand why there seemed to be so much harsh judgment, so much din, hanging over my father-in-law and his family – including my husband.

Now, finally, I get it.

He was basically co-opted into a society of black magic and devil-worship that even at its most ‘mild’ and watered-down, had still bound his Jewish soul to the Sitra Achra, with solemn oaths taken on the Bible.

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So then, I had the question: how do we fix this?

How do we stop other Jewish souls – other people – from falling into the trap of thinking Freemasonry is ‘harmless’, and losing their souls as a result?

After pondering it, I realized that I had to write this, and share this information with others.

I know it’s weird, I know it’s challenging.

All I can tell you, is that I’ve left out way more information than I’ve included here, and much of that makes an even stronger case for who and what is behind so many of the senseless wars, drug abuse, and human misery prevalent in today’s world.

God is only good. If we follow God’s commandments, we really will get to nirvana, to geula, to the redemption of the Jewish people, and of mankind more widely.

That’s the right path, the right foot.

And Freemasonry is idol worship, and selling your soul to the devil.

Once we have that crystal clear, the process of geula the sweet way can start to move forward again.

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Written for the ilui neshama of Baruch ben Silka.

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] Since we took that loan, my husband has been inundated with the work required to repay it.

[2] You can read the whole story in Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom, published in English by the Breslov Research Institute.

[3] There are a bunch of associated xtian myths with this time, claiming the Knights Templar were the custodians of the ‘Holy Grail’. This seems to be more Disneyfication of the Templars, to obscure the fact they were banished and persecuted because they were literally worshipping the devil.

[4] Chronicle of Solomon bar Simson, written in 1140 C.E., The Jews and the Crusaders, by Shlomo Eidelberg.

[5] It’s also easy to see why so many of the xtians who write about the subject of the Illuminati try to obscure the very xtian origin of the problem of how all this devil worship has resurfaced in the very heart of modern xtian societies, and instead make the false claim that the Jews have created Freemasonry as a form of the ‘Noachide laws’, to try to ‘entice’ xtians away from the true path.

[6] The original Knights Templar also used to wear their trademark cross on the left breast, over the heart.

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Photo by Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash

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