In Breslov, we take a look at some of the core Breslov beliefs, explore some Rebbe Nachman books, and some Rebbe Nachman quotes, meet some of the leading Breslov Rabbis of modern times, including Rabbi Eliezer Berland, and look at:

  • Breslov hasidim
  • Breslov Torah
  • Breslov Books
  • Azamra Breslov
  • Breslov customs
  • Everything Breslov
  • Breslov Rabbi Eliezer Berland
  • Breslov hitbodedut
  • Breslov communities in Israel
  • Breslov Jew
  • Breslov Jerusalem
  • Breslov Leaders
  • Breslov Learning
  • Breslov Lectures
  • Breslov Meditation
  • Breslov Mea Shearim
  • Breslov News
  • Breslov Nachman
  • Breslev Noahide
  • Breslov Quotes
  • Breslov Stories
  • Breslov Teachings
  • Breslov Therapy
  • Breslov Zionism

Back at the end of January, I decided to start doing 40 days at the Kotel for a chareidi family I’ve become acquainted with, who are seriously messed-up.

While the mother is practically a burka-babe, and the father likes to spout pointless divrei Torah for hours (that no-one can interrupt or disagree with, as that would be disrespectful) most of their kids are off the derech, most of them started smoking aged 12 and one of them preferred to leave home and to sleep on the streets than stay at home.

Coming from my own background, and experiencing what I’ve experienced in life, I found it so very hard to try to judge this family favorably, l’chaf zchut, or to do Azamra on them, as per the instructions of Rebbe Nachman in Likutey Moharan, 1:282.

There, Rabbenu tells us:

Know: one must judge every person favorably. Even if the person is totally wicked, one must search and find in him some bit of good, regarding which he is not wicked. By finding in him this bit of good and judging him favorably, one actually elevates him to the direction of righteousness and is able to bring him to repentance.

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I really want this family to make teshuva.

The mother spends most of her time with her kids carping about their faults – to their faces – and complaining that they’ve let her down and come out ‘ruined’ because they aren’t frum enough. Never mind all the kids’ good points. Never mind all the effort they are still making to try to respect their parents, and to take all the blame for their own profound emotional issues upon themselves.

Whenever I hear her interactions with her children, I literally start cringing inside. It’s a non-stop fountain of onaat devarim,  poisonous self-righteousness, criticism, lashon hara and arrogance.

But she thinks she’s a tzaddeket.

Why?

Because she dresses SO tzniusly…. And she won’t eat meat anymore because no hechsher is good enough…. And she has no tumahdik computers in the house (which means her husband is really struggling to make parnassa, but hey, let’s not hairsplit here)…. And she won’t listen to any music – at all! – because she can’t be sure it’s coming from a good, kosher place.

Such a tzaddeket.

Did I mention that the family is strongly Litvish, and kind of ‘anti’ Breslov, and especially ‘anti’ Rav Berland?

No?

Ah, my bad, sorry.

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So, like I said, I’ve been really struggling to do Azamra for these people – and all the hundreds of thousands like them in the chareidi world, who are so anal about all their mitzvoth bein adam l’makom, and so very awful in their mitzvoth bein adam l’chavero.

In the chareidi world as it’s currently configured, your choice is to become a frum robot – and to totally choke down any vestige of individuality or independent thought, and to care more about what the neighbors think than what Hashem really thinks – or to leave.

Thank God for Rebbe Nachman, because when I was faced with this choice, at least I could still find refuge in Breslov.

Or at least, the Breslov of Rav Berland and his students, that welcomed Sephardim, and baal teshuvas, and people like me, who were never going to fit the ‘frum robot’ mold that is de rigeur in mainstream chareidi society.

That strand of Breslov emphasizes the inner world over the outer appearance. It values practice over preaching. And it underscores again, and again, and again that the main work we are down here to do is to work on our own bad middot, and particularly those feelings of arrogance that take us away from Hashem, cut us off from our own neshamas – and hurt so many of the people we should be caring for.

Especially our kids.

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So, I started that 40 days 3 months ago, and man, it’s been a struggle for so many different reasons.

Today, I got up early to make sure I’d get to the Kotel to complete the 40th day, in the middle of all the ‘Yom Yerushalayim’ (non) celebrations.

When I finally got my 1 minute ‘slot’ to stand at the wall, I got there, kissed it, then started crying.

God, it’s too hard for me. I can’t judge all these horrible, arrogant people favorably. I can’t think good thoughts about people who prefer seeing their own kids sleeping rough on the street than ‘looking bad’ in front of the neighbors.

I can’t stand the hypocrisy, I can’t stand the lack of real connection to Hashem, I can’t stand all the pretend piety, controlling emotional manipulation and holier-than-thou fakeness. 

God. I’ve failed. This 40 days has failed.

I’m doing less Azamra now for these people than when I started….

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Deep down, I know nothing is for nothing, but that’s how I felt as I left the wall this morning.

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I came home, checked my emails, and found one from someone called rivkyalbert@gmail.com that said in big, crowing capital letters:

GAME OVER!!!

She’d kindly forwarded all the ‘psak din’ that had just come out against Rabbi Berland from an anti-Breslov beis din located in Bnei Brak, that she’d got straight from the Rav’s main Breslov persecutors.

There’s so much to say about what’s going on here, and after I’ve done more hitbodedut, if God wants me to start clarifying matters – again, for the 500th time – then I will.

But in the meantime, I’m in no rush.

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You know why?

Because I understand that this is a very important part of the clarification process.

Just like God kept on hardening Pharoah’s heart in Egypt, so he could maintain his free choice, so God is doing the same thing here.

  • After all the mounting evidence of the last few months that the State of Israel has been waging a war specifically against the chareidi community…
  • After all the mounting evidence that the media is totally biased and corrupt, and bought and paid for by vested interests that are ‘anti-God’ in the most profound, evil way…
  • After all the arguments that have occurred recently in the chareidi world between those people who think that praying to God is dangerous, and those who think the opposite…
  • After all the deaths in the chareidi world globally that were attributed to COVID-19…
  • After all the strict lockdowns of specifically chareidi neighborhoods…
  • After all the kabbalists, and big rabbis, and lamed vav Tzaddikim who stated plainly that talking against Rabbi Berland is directly connected to COVID-19….

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So, the test is being repeated again, to see who has really learned their lesson, and who hasn’t.

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I’m in no rush to explain what’s going on here.

God has given the chareidi world – and all the other ‘anti Rav Berland’ people – a large quantity of rope, and He’s waiting to see who is going to hang themselves with their own evil speech, and their own bad middot.

Rebbe Nachman told us that before Moshiach would come, heresy would cover the land like a flood, that even ‘big rabbis’ and ‘Torah scholars’ would have heresy dripping out of their pockets, and that most of the leaders of Am Yisrael would be false.

There is a birur going on here.

It’s picking up speed.

It’s becoming more and more obvious that a person’s middot and real connection to Hashem can’t be judged by their appearance, position or title.

But by their actions. And their deeds.

And most of all, whether their homes are full of love and kindness and shalom bayit, and full of children who feel loved and accepted in their homes – or not.

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The last thing for now, is that it’s no coincidence that as all the lashon hara about Rav Berland ratcheted up a level today, this was the lead story on the JPost website:

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Walking around today, I see that the masks seem to be making a come back in Jerusalem, after a week where more and more people had stopped wearing them.

Logically, this makes no sense. The weather is still hot. Everything is meant to be ‘opening up’ more and more.

But spiritually, it all fits perfectly.

Thanks to that ‘beis din’ in Bnei Brak, which has unleashed another, awful wave of sinat chinam and lashon hara against Rav Berland,  I reckon we are now about to head into a second wave of COVID madness.

So, go stock up on your water, toilet paper and whatever else you need now.

Because the next stage of the birur has arrived. And if you thought the police brutality against the chareidi communities in Israel and beyond was bad before, I have a feeling that far worse is now to come.

Unless we finally make teshuva, and stop pretending that we’re the biggest tzaddikim on the block.

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UPDATE:

Strange as it sounds, the majority of the Shuvu Banim community seem to be doing OK with this ‘psak din’ – even feeling relieved and calmly content.

Why?

Because we all knew that ‘beit din’ was anti-Breslov and anti-Rav Berland right from the start, so no-one is shocked at this outcome.

Also, the Rav was hinting for years that something like this had to happen to get us to the next stage of geula.

And also, because it’s a relief that this ‘fig leaf’ has now been provided by Hashem, to unmask all those yucky horrible people who pretend to be religious, and who pretend to be connected to Hashem.

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Yalla, yucky people!

Write as many horrible comments and posts as you can in the short amount of time that probably remains to you!

It’s all dissing diamonds, it’s all helping the Rav to sweeten the judgments, and it’s helping his community too.

It’s like I told someone close to the Rav who called me before Shabbat feeling quite shaken up and upset:

I’d much rather have all their dissing and carping, and keep my health, shalom bayit and parnassa, than the opposite.

I’m (trying to be…) a sincere student of the Rav, after all, and here’s what he’s been teaching us for years:

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God will deal with all the yucky people in due course – and it won’t be pretty.

So, hang on my sweet readers! This is a bump in the road, but it’s a necessary part of the geula process to unmask all those pretend frum fakers out there, and show us all what we’re really dealing with.

And it’s already working!

BH, the revealed good is on the way soon, and in the meantime, don’t throw the diamonds back.

They are ‘buying’ us good health, shalom bayit, parnassa, and all the other good stuff that’s really important.

And the truth will out soon enough.

People are already nudging me to write Volume III of One in a Generation….

And I’m almost ready to say yes.

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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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Slow posting here, as I’m moving house soon, BH.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share this excellent shiur with you, by Rabbi Yissachar Berg, which explains why Rav Berland has to sit in prison right now, as part of the process of dismantling the Erev Rav and bringing geula.

You can also read the key points HERE.

Enjoy!

Here’s the details of where you can catch the replay of my first official class for Breslov Women.

It’s on the subject of why setbacks are really just a present from Hashem.

You can access the shiur at the following link – but as it’s for ladies only, it’s password protected:

In order to get the password, please sign up to the Breslov Ladies mailing list, HERE:

Get the replays of the Breslov Womens’ class!

The only way to get the link for the replay of Rivka’s weekly Breslov Women’s class is to sign up!

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Heads up, that the sound quality is not the best in this recording, but this has already been fixed for the next class, which will be happening at 10am Jerusalem Time, Sunday, February 9th.

The class is for women only, and you can join in on Zoom HERE. 

Ladies, it’s really happening!

This Sunday at 10am Jerusalem time (7 hours ahead of EST), we’ll be kicking off the first Zoom class for ladies only, with yours truly.

The idea is to talk about how we can apply some of Rebbe Nachman’s, and Rabbi Berland’s, teachings to our own lives and experiences.

This week, I opened up one of the Rav’s books to get some inspiration for how to kick off, and it opened up to some interesting ideas on humility, so that’s the topic we’re going to kick off with, and we’ll see how things develop.

I’m going to keep the first few classes to 30 minutes, while we figure out how they are going to work best. The idea is for me to set the tone, but I really want YOU to be the ones talking and sharing and discussing, as you get so much input from me anyway, via my blog.

I’m putting the Zoom link for the first class here:

 https://zoom.us/j/231772543

Show up 5 minutes earlier if you’re not sure how to use Zoom, to get comfortable with the set up.

It’s ladies only, so don’t worry about having your video or audio switched off.

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If you can’t make it live (and I know there were a lot of ladies in the US who expressed an interest, but who can’t make this time slot) – replays will be available, but only sent out to people who sign up. Once I move house again in 3 weeks, I’ll look to add another slot, maybe on Mondays, that will work for people in the US, too.

You can sign up below, and I’ll also put this link in my sidebar, and in the sidebar of my blog on ravberland.com, too, to make it easy to access.







Get the replays of the Breslov Womens’ class!

The only way to get the link for the replay of Rivka’s weekly Breslov Women’s class is to sign up!

Marketing by

 

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BH, I'm a little nervous about this, but also quite excited. For years now, I've had the privilege of getting to know some really amazing women, all over the world, and I've been wishing that there was a way more of us could get to know each other.

And now, there just might be!

So, take the plunge with me, and let's see where this goes. No-one has to come every week - not even me! - and in the meantime, it would be so nice to spend half an hour a week chatting things through with other ladies who also happen to really believe in God...

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And in the meantime, the better half has also taken the plunge, and started recording a 5 minute parsha shiur, you can catch his first one here:

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He was also a little nervous - new beginnings are always hard.

But something beautiful is starting to sprout here, BH, in more ways than one.

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Getting back to talking about God.

It keeps happening to me that I intend to leave all the awful corruption, and ‘politics’, and yucky stuff going on in the world behind, and to try to return to more spiritual matters – but I can’t.

God just isn’t letting me.

I had a couple of nice pieces planned out in my head to write up for the site about my own struggles with the idea of ‘renewal’, and whether it’s possible for me to have ‘renewal’ without also having to move house every five minutes, when I woke up with a brainwave to go and research 666 5th Avenue, NYC.

That number is interesting, isn’t it? It’s the number the xtians like to assign to their ‘anti-Moshiach’, and they call it colloquially ‘the mark of the beast’. It also happens to be 66.6 – the remainder of the 33.3 that the Freemasons are obsessed with, the top third of the pyramid on the back of the dollar that happens to contain Bilaam’s all-seeing evil eye.

There’s a lot going on with that property, and once I’ve finished researching it properly, I’ll lay it all out here for you, dear reader, as long as it’s safe for me to do that.

In the meantime, I’ve had no time to write up anything else….but lucky for me, over on the ravberland.com website, Rabbi Yissachar Berg has started giving classes again. Here’s a taste of his most recent class, about finding the good point within, aka Azamra:

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You can sign up for the full-length webinar classes HERE. And if you’re feeling like you need some uplifting Torah, or feeling like you’re struggling to find the good in others, and particularly in yourself, then this is highly recommended.

And BH, there will be more classes in English coming too. I’m pushing my better half to return to giving classes again online. He did it for years at Chut Shel Chessed, but kind of burned out, and so hasn’t been giving classes for years now.

So far, I’ve twisted his arm hard enough to get an agreement from him to start doing a short ‘Parsha of the week’ shiur based on Rabbi Berland on the Parsha starting this week. I’ll post it here when it’s up, but it’s permanent home will be on the new ‘Breslov TV’ channel over on ravberland.com.

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And then, in turn I’ve also had my arm twisted gently to get on with doing some classes again on Breslov teachings.

Like my better half, I also totally went off the idea for a long time because doing those classes took a lot out of me, n a whole bunch of ways. And they also fed into my ga’ava in a massive way around 6 years ago, which led to a lot of big problems that I simply don’t want to pop up again.

So I’ve been running away from that idea for years.

But in Uman, I had a conversation that brought me around to the idea again, and as I wrote about HERE, I know so many of us are pretty lonely at the moment, because we can’t talk about ‘real’ stuff with most of the people we know, without them thinking we are totally nutso.

So, I floated the trial balloon to see if there is interest, and BH, 17 women came back to me.

We’re going to be trying to apply Rabbenu’s teachings in a real, gentle way to the craziness that is our own life. I’m trying something new with this class, and not structuring it to death. I’m going to try talking from the heart, based on Breslov and Rav Berland sources, around a particular subject, then make some space for others to share their ideas, too.

The idea is to build a community, not just a class, so we can stop feeling so lonely and alone in our emuna, and commitment to really seeing God’s hand in the world, and in our own lives, and sticking by our principles even when ‘everyone else’ thinks we’re crazy.

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The first class will be 10am Jerusalem time this Sunday, February 2nd, via Zoom, and it’s for women only.

I’ll post the link up on the website, and also over on my blog on the ravberland.com site a little closer to the time

If it works, I’ll try to do a class in the evening that will work for people in the US, too, but I’m building up slowly to that. There will also be a recording available for ladies who sign up to the mailing list. You can do that below, and yes, I will also sort that side of things out properly too, going forward, with God’s help, so it’s easier to share links and sign up information around.

There’s only one way to fight all this awful corruption spreading everywhere. And that’s by taking a look inside, connecting to our own good and amplifying our own yearning for Hashem and kedusha.

If that sounds interesting to you, come join me Sunday:

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Last week, I had a little nervous breakdown.

The only reason it was little, as opposed to BIG, is because on Thursday morning I told my husband that if I didn’t make it out to Uman for Shabbat, I was probably going to crack up into a million pieces.

The warning signs had been gathering steam for two weeks, but we were deep in a massive cash crunch, so there was just no way I could get to Uman. Then on Tuesday, I was chasing some receipts for my husband’s end of year when we realized we’d been accidentally overcharged for something by 4, 000 shekels – the cost of spending Shabbat in Uman.

So, my husband asked for repayment, and Thursday morning, we booked the flight.

Thank God, because I was in such a low place by that point, I felt like the sky was falling in.

Usually, I’m pretty open about what sparks all this stuff off, and I can tell you that I’m definitely dealing with a million and one big stressors at the moment, that have all been depleting my strength and challenging me. I’ll list them here, to make it neat, but that’s not really what sent me off the deep end.

  • I have to move apartment by end of Feb, and still haven’t found somewhere.
  • I have to complete the purchase of an apt in Harish by end of Feb, and the bank turned down the mortgage.
  • I have to complete my ‘Crush your stress’ masterclass (haha!) and start marketing it properly.
  • I have to somehow figure out tickets for trips to the US and UK for family simchas.
  • My kid wants to drop out of school again.
  • My other kid is leaving her National Service half way through the year

All these stressors could easily pass for ‘the reason I’m cracking up’, and in the past, I’ve made the mistake of thinking they are the root cause of my emotional distress.

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But last week, I realized they are just the icing, not the cake.

The stuff that was really causing me to crack up last week is far more intangible. It just runs so deep, and goes to the heart of this whole idea of what I’m really meant to be doing in the world.

After 46 years, I realized that I’m still the perpetual weirdo, that I’m never going to see things the way other people do, or react to things ‘normally’, or be able to fit myself into the neat little boxes that apparently suit ‘everyone else’ – whoever the heck they are.

I’ve been fighting that clarity since I could think, because it brings a whole big bag of loneliness and self-doubt along with it. For four and a half decades, I’ve been waiting for me to mellow enough to fit in with the world, or for the world to speed up enough to keep up with me.

And last week, I finally understood that it’s never going to happen.

That understanding totally blew me out the water, and left me feeling like ET would feel once he understood the Mothership was never showing up to take him back home.

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I am a perpetual weirdo, stuck in a place where no-one is ever going to ‘get’ me.

This has implications for a lot of things, not least all my ongoing attempts to keep trying to ‘brainwash’ people – including my family members – into seeing things and experiencing things the way I do.

Up until last week, I thought it was just a matter of time until everyone comes around and starts to pick up the same vibes I do about things. Just a bit more ‘Moshiach light’ needs to slip under the door, just a bit more ‘Moshiach consciousness’ needs to shine in through the windows, and they will finally understand.

But now, I accept that’s never going to happen.

So last week, I fled to Uman to get some advice about how I’m meant to relate to myself in this new paradigm.

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Now I know I’m just never going to get that meeting of minds I’m craving, that sense of connection, now I know that I have to keep ‘the real me’ mostly under wraps if I want to have peaceful relationships and not cause constant friction, how do I relate to myself? How do I like myself?

How do I use all my ‘weirdness’ in a way that will still benefit the world, without causing me all this heartache because I feel so lonely and misunderstood so much of the time?

That’s why I came knocking on the door of Uman, the only place that makes me feel a little bit ‘normal’.

There was no bolt of lightning, no neon sign that suddenly lit up over the Tziyon saying

Rivka, do THIS!!!!! Be like THIS!!!! Just change THIS!!!!

But I came to Uman dragging a whole big chain of doubt, unhappiness and emotional pain behind me, and mostly, it’s gone.

I’m feeling connected back to my soul and connected back to God and the true Tzaddikim again. I have a lot to figure out still, but somehow, everything is going to turn out for the best.

And now, I have to get on with finding somewhere to live, and putting the finishing touches to my ‘Crush your stress’ course (haha!)

God certainly has a sense of humour.

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Why did Trump state he was going to attack precisely 52 Iranian sites, if they dared to fight back after the US illegally blew their 2nd in command to pieces in Iraq?

Over Shabbat, I found something that shed some light on what’s going on here, and I wrote about it over on the ravberland.com site, HERE.

I have to say, it’s very interesting reading, especially after a reader got in touch to draw my attention to a prayer that Rabbi Berland wrote a couple of years ago that links in exactly to some of the insights I got on Shabbat.

Long story short, the next piece of the geula puzzle is falling into place, and you can read more about that HERE.

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For years, the Prophet Jeremiah told the people of Judea that the Temple would be destroyed, and they would be exiled.

Jeremiah’s message didn’t go down at all well. He was shunned, imprisoned and threatened, and even his own family in Anatot, his home town, tried to bump him off by poisoning him. But God protected him through all these trials, and sure enough, Nebuchadnezzar showed up in 689 BCE, and laid siege to the rebellious city of Jerusalem.

As the Bablyonian army tightened their squeeze on the nation of Israel, and on the King Tzidkiyahu, even the most resolutely ‘optimistic’ fake prophets fell into despair, and stopped trying to pretend that Jeremiah was a psycho conspiracy theorist who was somehow following the wrong Rebbe.

There’s only so far you can stretch credulity, even when you so desperately want to believe that everything is going to turn out totally for the best, and that all there is left to do before Moshiach shows up is to ‘polish the buttons’.

But then, at that point in time when Jeremiah’s dire warnings were literally manifesting before the eyes of the Jewish nation, God comes to him again, and tells him something pretty strange:

“Prophet Jeremiah, take a break from all that End of Days stuff for a bit, and go buy your cousin Hanamel’s field in Anatot.”

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As you might expect, Jeremiah is a little taken aback by this.

I mean, Jerusalem is about to be totally sacked and destroyed, the Jewish people is about to be cruelly exiled from their land for at the next 70 years, and here’s God obsessed with contracting a real estate deal.

What’s with that?!?!

But, Jeremiah buys the land for seven shekels and 10 silver pieces (bargain!), and then tells his servant Baruch ben Neriah to place the bill of sale in an earthenware pot, where it will be kept safe and “endure for many years.” Why?

“For thus said Hashem, Master of Legions, God of Israel: ‘Houses, fields and vineyards will yet be bought in this land.’”[1]

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What can we learn from this, we who sit here watching the world tip upside down, and chaos and madness encroach from every direction?

I’ve been asking myself that a lot recently, as I find myself way more caught up with gathering potatoes than gathering diamonds at the moment.

(There’s a Rebbe Nachman story about that, which is basically that a man goes to a faraway land to collect diamonds, but when he gets there, gets confused and starts collecting potatoes instead. The parable is obvious.)

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The last few months, I have literally been working like a dog to try to get books out, and self-help courses out, because at some point, I want to be able to buy my own ‘field’ in Jerusalem and finally settle down under my own fig, under my own vine.

In the course of doing that, I’ve been finding it very hard to hang out at the prayers of the Rav as much as I used to; or to sit at the Kotel, or even to recite my daily tikkun haklali. All my time is going on redeeming the field, i.e. acting as though that normal part of the world is going to continue, regardless of all the madness going on around me.

I honestly don’t know what to think about it all.

At the same time, I’ve spent so much of the last two decades trying to mend my ways, and to listen to Hashem’s messages about moving to Israel, quitting my job to focus on raising my kids, working on my emuna, trying to have a bit of humility….

It’s really not like all I’ve been doing the last few years is trying to redeem the field, anything but.

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When I was mulling all this over in hitbodedut, and talking to God about the crazy pace of life at the moment, and my seeming inability to hang on to so many of the spiritual diamonds I put so much effort into collecting over the last few years, He reminded me of Jeremiah and the field.

Sometimes, even in the middle of the madness, you still have to try to continue to do ‘normal’ things, and still to think about tomorrow, even though tomorrow is so very uncertain. I spent years paralysed by ‘geula anticipation’, thinking there was no point doing anything except making teshuva and learning Torah.

Was that wrong?

Probably not. Probably, almost definitely not.

But in the meantime, life continues, life goes on, and that’s also a reality I have to accept and integrate into my lifestyle. So many of our young people are dropping out of school, and getting depressed, and feeling unable to overcome their tremendous apathy and ennui because they feel there is no point.

There is no tomorrow. Why make an effort, why wake up on time, why try to progress or achieve anything?

I have a lot of sympathy for that outlook. I suffered from it myself for so many years. But these days, I’m in a different space. A space where while I’m still searching for diamonds, I’m also appreciating that you can’t eat them. Sometimes, you need a potato.

Sometimes, the way you serve Hashem is by redeeming the field.

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] See Jeremiah 36:8.

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Photo by Polina Rytova on Unsplash

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This is the best explanation of Azamra I’ve ever heard.

It’s not the first time I’ve posted this up here, but this video by Rabbi Ofer Erez – with full English subtitles – is the single best explanation of how to do Azamra, or seeing the good in bad people without getting corrupted yourself – that I’ve ever come across.

I’m working SO hard at the moment, trying to get my ‘Stressbusters for Mums’ course completed. It’s like doing my finals in Uni, except worse, because no-one cared in Uni if I didn’t wash up for two weeks, but that’s not the case at this stage of my life!

So, posting will probably be slow here for the next week or so.

Unless God decides different.

So in the meantime, enjoy!

This video is probably one of the main reasons Youtube was even created.

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PS: Rav Ofer has a new book out, with his explanation of Rebbe Nachman’s story of the 7 Beggars. I don’t know where you can buy it online, but if I find out, I’ll update this post.

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