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.
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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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