Geula (or some spell it ‘Geulah’) is the Jewish term for the spiritual redemption of the Jewish people, which will occur at the end of days.

Here, we take a look at:

  • Geula and Geulah
  • Geulah Meaning
  • Geula Blog
  • Geula Definition
  • Geula Moshiach
  • Geula News
  • Meaning of Geula

Before Rav Berland left on his self-imposed exile more than three year’s ago, while he was still living for a while in Beitar Illit, someone asked him in one of his classes to explain the saying of Chazal that:

Moshiach is only going to come when the whole generation is either worthy, or unworthy.

The obvious question is how can this be?! After all, we all know people who are not so worthy, so clearly the ‘100% worthy’ option isn’t happening right now. At the same time, if the whole generation was unworthy there’s a good chance that Hashem would decide just to pull the plug on the whole of humanity again, like He did with Noah’s flood.

So clearly, something else is going on here.

Rav Berland explained that in the time before Moshiach, the main test would be for people to choose the path of kedusha, and to follow after God – or the opposite, God forbid.

But they weren’t going to be able to continue to sit on the fence and to play both sides of the game anymore.

Rav Berland explained that it’s the same test that occurred when Elijah the Prophet famously challenged the prophets of Ba-al to a show-down, on Mount Carmel. At that time in history, it’s not that the Jewish people didn’t believe in God, exactly, because they did, at least in theory. The problem was that they didn’t believe in God enough to stop trying to hedge their bets for health and wealth by also worshipping the Ba’al.

There was just one problem with this approach: God Himself hates idol-worship, defined as ‘having other gods’ that you believe can give you good health, a new house, a fat bank account, or even, more children.

As we learned from all the hoo-ha with yoga, it’s all too easy to fall into a mindset of believing that God is out there ‘somewhere’, but that you have to follow other methods and practices and belief systems to really achieve the outcomes you want in life, whilst cutting God completely out of the picture.

Judaism says: you’re sick because God made you sick, and you’ll feel better again once you make Teshuva and repair that spiritual breach. Idol-worship says: Forget all about God and repairing your soul, just take this pill / pull this pose / eat this green stuff, and all your health problems will vanish by themselves!

And often, they do.

That’s why it’s often so hard to follow whole-heartedly after God, because, well Ba’al worship really pays off, man!

So, that’s why Elijah the Prophet came along to challenge his generation to finally pick a side. He let the prophets of Ba’al arrange their sacrifice first, and gave them the best part of the day to encourage their ‘god’ to send down the fire that was going to burn it up.

“Yell louder!” He told them. “Maybe he’s sleeping, or he stepped outside for a wee!”

Of course, the prophets of Ba’al weren’t going to give up that easily. They’d hidden a man inside their sacrifice who was willing to immolate himself to ‘prove’ that the Ba’al existed, by lighting a secret fire. Unfortunately for them, God killed the man off somehow (I think he got bitten by something poisonous) before he could strike his flint and tinder.

So then, it was Elijah the Prophet’s turn. He arranges his sacrifice on the pyre, he asks for it to be completely drenched in water three times, and then he prays. Man, did his prayer get answered! Whoosh, the whole thing went up in such an impressive display of Heavenly firepower that the whole congregation fell on their face, and exclaimed: ‘Hashem, He IS God!!’

Like, duh.

Elijah turned to the Children of Israel, and asked them:

How long are you going to continue to dance between two camps? If the Ba’al is god, then worship it wholeheartedly. But if Hashem is God – then worship Him wholeheartedly, and stop sitting on the fence!

And according to Rav Berland, that’s the same test that we face today, the test of knowing that God is all there is.

It’s not the doctors or the yoga poses that keep us healthy or cure us – it’s God.

It’s not the politicians or the army that keeps us safe and protected from our enemies – it’s God.

It’s not the long hours we put into our jobs, or the huge amount of sucking up to the boss that pays our mortgage – it’s God.

When people really believe in God wholeheartedly, they act SO differently from what passes for ‘normal’ these days, even in the religious world. For a start, they really talk to Him. And they believe in miracles. And they stop obsessing over every little detail, and stop trying to control every tiny aspect of their lives.

They definitely ditch their yoga, and their bad middot, and their unsavory habits. They give 10% of their income to charity, even when it’s hard. They treat their kids nicely.

I could go on and on, but the point is this: there is no more sitting on the fence. There is no more staying in the middle. Ambiguous is OVER, as the recent Brexit fiasco just underlined every so dramatically.

Either we’re with God, or we’re not.

That’s the final test before Moshiach, and it’s one that each of us really needs to pray that we’re going to pass.

So, I went to check who had won the ‘Brexit’ referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU.

I switched on my computer, and got a real shock: my whole screen was completely upside down.

The day before, I’d accidentally spilled some water on my keyboard, so I figured it was from that – but couldn’t work out WHY the computer appeared to be functioning normally, albeit 100% upside down.

As I was sitting there, thinking about how to get this problem fixed, and how much it would probably cost, it suddenly struck me: my computer, and the wider world it connects to via the internet, had finally flipped.

For once, IT was upside down, while I was feeling the right way up.

A little later, it transpired that one of my kids had made my screen go upside down as a joke (ha ha. No, really.) I logged on to my now right-way-up screen – and I found that the world had indeed flipped upside down (or right side up, depending on what view you hold).

Britain had voted to leave the EU.

Dear reader, this is a huge development, and it’s going to lead to some very big and dramatic changes, very quickly. One thing it’s DEFINITELY going to lead to is a global recession that’s going to give the Great Depression a run for its money in terms of how much impact it’s going to exert on the world’s economy.

Here’s why:

London and the UK is at the end of one of the largest and most fragile property bubbles ever seen. Brexit is going to burst that bubble over the next few days, weeks and months, as a lot of big international money starts to pull out of the UK.

When the property market plunges off a cliff, it’s going to drag the British banks with it – some of whom already lost 17-30% of their value in trading on Friday. British banks, like pretty much any bank you care to mention, are only officially ‘solvent’ because they have dibs on a whole bunch of over-priced (and effectively unsaleable) properties.

Once the property bubble bursts, the banks bubble is going to follow after it pretty sharply – and that’s going to have an instant impact on the world’s financial stability, as the debacle with Lehman Bros et al demonstrated very clearly, back in 2008.

To put this another way: the world is about to change in some huge ways.

Brexit is not a storm in a tea cup, or an isolated incident. It’s the touch paper that’s going to spark off global transformation on an unprecedented scale.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that when a person has true yirat shemayim, or fear of God, then all the crazy things happening around him in the world don’t scare him, because he knows that they’re just signs that the world is moving closer towards Moshiach and redemption.

Over the next few days and weeks, I think we’re all going to see a lot of crazy things kicking off all over the place.

It’s going to take a few more months (maybe…) until this is commonly accepted, but the EU is done, finished, gone. It’s going to implode under the weight of its own moral corruption, just like the former USSR did 30 years ago.

And with Trump poised to be the next US president (yes, I’m afraid that’s really going to happen!) – anything is possible, literally. Clinton is bonkers and evil, but still officially plays politics ‘by the rules’. Trump has no such limitation, and as such is probably the biggest catalyst for dramatic change for a generation.

God is throwing everything up in the air right now. The world is literally about to flip upside-down (or right side up…). And if we’re not clinging to Hashem, it’s going to be one heck of a scary ride.

Front cover of one in a generation Volume 1, biography of Rabbi Berland

It’s time for setting the record straight Rav Eliezer Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia.

With all the talk of Rav Berland’s imminent return to the Holy Land, the slanderous talk, or lashon hara has unfortunately also returned with a vengeance.

In some ways, I can understand what’s going on. In this world where the media is feeding us lies and half-truths 24/7 about absolutely everything, you can kinda understand why it’s so hard for people to accept that the media tells lots of lies about lots of things, lots of times.

The media is controlled by powerful people in the world, and every single one of those powerful people has a personal agenda, and a set of vested interests, and a view of the world that they want to disseminate to the masses.

That’s a fact.

And the media in Israel is no different from the media anywhere else in the world, and you could even argue that the biases, personal opinions and vested interests are even bigger here than elsewhere.

The point is this:

In 2016, no thinking person who is interested in the truth should automatically take anything reported in the press at face value, before checking and rechecking what they’re being told.

Which brings us on to the subject of this particular post, inspired by a phone call from a friend of mine who was still struggling to believe that the media actually tells lies, or that there are powerful figures in Israel who are so against orthodox Judaism, they are willing to stoop to the lowest of levels to smear some of our biggest Tzadikim, including Eliezer ben Etia, aka Rabbi Berland.

Again, in some ways I can understand the problem: God has created the world so that the forces of good and evil are always evenly balanced, in some way. What that means in this instance is that for every ‘good’ holy Rabbi who’s being framed and persecuted for political reasons, there’s at least one ‘bad’ unholy so-called Rabbi who truly is guilty of the most appalling deeds.

So how can we know who is who, or what we’re really dealing with: an appalling miscarriage of justice, or the rightful prosecution of terrible crimes?

That’s’ what I hope to share with you, in this post. It’s going to be pretty long, as I also want to bring snippets and quotes from other places to provide enough background, context and additional information for you to start seeing the huge holes in the web of lies that has been woven around Rav Berland.

1: Who is Rav Berland (aka Eliezer ben Etia)?

Many people, especially in the English-speaking world, only heard about Rav Berland three years’ ago, when he hit the headlines. But in Israel, Rav Berland has been known as a superlative Torah scholar, devoted communal leader, and holy Rabbi for 60 years’, already.

In his early years in Bnei Brak, he had a chavruta with no less a personage than the Steipler Gaon, and he was marked for greatness in the more mainstream Yeshiva world, before he discovered the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, and forged a new path in Breslev Chassidut.

You can read more about Rav Berland’s early years and impeccable Torah credentials here:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2014/05/11/how-rabbi-eliezer-berland-came-to-breslov-translated-from-the-hebrew-knishta-chada-journal/

In the 1970s, Rav Berland started a fledgling baal Teshuva movement that attracted many secular Israelis to start to explore and learn about their religious background. This was back before the baal Teshuva movement was popular, and those early figures who started reaching out to less religious people were treated with a great deal of suspicion and hostility by certain elements in the mainstream ‘frum’ world.

But that didn’t deter Rav Berland, and he slowly but surely started to build a yeshiva and community for baal teshuvas that included such modern-day luminaries as Rav Shalom Arush, Rav Ofer Erez, and Rav Tzanani, plus many, many others – before they got ‘frum’.

You read more about the early beginnings of Shuvu Banim, Rav Berland’s yeshiva and organization, HERE.

Over the years, Rav Berland forged very warm ties with many religious leaders, across the whole spectrum of Jewish society, many of whom praised him in the highest of terms.

TO SUM THIS PART UP:

Rav Berland was a Torah prodigy, and was recognized as being a superlatively holy, spiritual person from a very young age, by some of the leading figures in the religious world, including the Steipler Gaon.

He gave up all that prestige and potential honor to follow his heart towards the path of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, at a time when the frum world considered Breslev to be only for bona fide ‘crazy’ people.

A few years’ later, he again went against the tide of prevailing attitudes and frum public opinion to open a yeshiva for baalei Teshuva, and devoted his life to trying to bring more people closer to Yiddishkeit, and Rebbe Nachman. At times, his work necessitated huge amounts of self-sacrifice on behalf of his students, many of whom will happily tell you their own stories of how much Rav Berland put himself out on their behalf.

So far, this doesn’t sound like a person who’s got an abusive ‘power’ complex going on, does it?

So now, we’re starting to get into the meat of this post.

Eliezer ben Etia, and The Deal

Anyone who regularly reads ‘geula’ blogs, or the posts by the autistics will know that many figures in the Jewish world have been predicting terrible things for the Jewish people for the last decade or so.

But so far, thank God, those predictions have come to naught, despite all the wars, terrorism and intrigue Israel and the world has been caught up in. So what happened?

It’s now common knowledge among many in the Hebrew-speaking frum world that some years’ ago, there was a meeting of the three biggest Tzadikim in the country: The Baba Elazar, Rav Eliezer Berland, and the generation’s leading kabbalist (whose identify I’m not revealing out of respect to him – you’ll see why in a moment.)

These three giants each agreed to take some terrible form of suffering upon themselves, to atone for the sins of Am Yisrael, and let us have the geula the sweet way, without the terrible wars, deaths and suffering that would otherwise be required.

The Baba Elazar took it upon himself to be killed al kidush Hashem – and that’s what occurred a little while later, when he was shockingly stabbed to death in his own waiting room.

Rabbis agree: The Baba Elazar’s death saved Am Yisrael from harsh decrees

The Kabbalist took it upon himself to be exiled from Eretz Yisrael.

And Rav Berland took it upon himself to be slandered so terribly, that he would lose his good name (which is also akin to being ‘murdered’, in many ways.)

For some reason, the Kabbalist left Israel – but couldn’t cope with the ordeal of going into exile, and was forced to return. Undaunted, Rav Berland took on BOTH decrees: the decree of losing his good name, and also the decree of exile.

Years before he actually fled the country, Rav Berland was hinting to his students (and even telling them outright) that he would have to leave the country for an extended period of time, and that he would be persecuted for a number of years, in order to atone for Am Yisrael.

So many of his students heard him say this first-hand, that when it actually came to pass some years’ later, they already knew what was happening and why. This is one of the main reasons why Rav Berland’s own community have been 100% rock-solid behind him, the last three years.

The Rav’s ‘escape’ from Israel

If we next look at the truly bizarre course Rav Berland’s ‘prosecution’ has taken, we’ll also start to recognize that the whole situation is completely abnormal. For many weeks after the ‘news’ broke, the Rav left his home in Jerusalem, and was living in Beitar Illit, where he gave shiurim to hundreds of people, and received many, many visitors.

The Israeli authorities didn’t arrest him. Why not?

And why, if Rav Berland was simply a fugitive trying to escape justice, did he tell hundreds and even thousands of people where he was going?

If you take a moment to think about these questions, you’ll already start to see that the picture being painted in the media of Rav Berland doesn’t add up.

Later on, when the Rav left the country to go to Africa (again, HOW did he manage to escape being arrested at the airport, if he wasn’t receiving Divine assistance?) – we saw the same pattern again.

Within hours of him landing in Morocco, in Zimbabwe, in South Africa, in Holland, in South America, hundreds of people had been explicitly told about where he was staying and how to get messages to him, and even, how to fly out to meet him.

Again, does this sound like someone who is a) fearful of the authorities or b) simply trying to escape being brought to justice?

OR, does this sound like someone who knows he has a job to do, but also knows the parameters of that ‘job’ have been predetermined by Hashem, and who is determined to carry on serving Hashem, and his community, to the best of his ability?

When Rav Berland ‘disappeared’ from Holland – despite being under police guard – that was one of the clearest signs that he was still enjoying Divine favor, and able to pull off some out and out miracles.

When people truly are guilty of the terrible crimes being slanderously attributed to Rav Berland, they are very far away from God. God doesn’t do open miracles for people like that.

Throughout his three year exile, Rav Berland has continued to work miracles for literally hundreds of people, and you can hear many of their stories first-hand on the Knishta Hada hotline (mostly in Hebrew).

The reaction of other Tzadikim

As mentioned, there are unfortunately many scandals in the orthodox world, just as there are in every segment of society these days. Many years’ ago, I worked as a journalist on a Jewish paper, and I experienced my fair share of ‘bent’ Rabbis and the fall-out that came along with them.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had more recent experiences of very damaged individuals who are pretending to be Tzadikim. We live in a very mixed-up world, and not everyone who is a ‘Rabbi’ is a good, upright person.

BUT – when these ‘fake’ Rabbis are revealed for who and what they truly are, their support – especially amongst other religious leaders – usually dries up very fast. And even if they do continue to receive support, it’ll be ‘behind the scenes’ as opposed to being given in a public or open way. (It’s a separate post, but it’s useful to mention here that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ – true Rabbonim are normally connected to other true Rabbonim, and the reverse is unfortunately also true.)

Even after Rav Berland was publicly accused and went into exile,

ELIEZER BEN ETIA HAS ENJOYED UNWAVERING SUPPORT FROM SOME OF THE BIGGEST TRUE TZADIKIM IN THE COUNTRY.

Again, this point cannot be overstated. Tzadikim like Rav Shalom Arush, or Rabbi David Abuchatzeira, are at such a level of holiness that they can literally see straight through into a person’s Neshama.

They know if a person is telling the truth or lying, if they’re truly as good as they look, or not. Both of these Tzadikim – plus many, many more, including Rav David Kook in Tiveria, Rav Matityahu Glazerson, the Milkman plus Rav Elazar Mordechai Menser, have come out firmly in support of Rav Berland.

If he was truly guilty of the crimes he’s being accused of, this simply wouldn’t be the case.

Below, I’m bringing some of the more recent statements from these huge Rabbis, in defense of Rav Berland:

Click HERE to download an English Translation of the Knishta Hada newsletter put out by Shuvu Banim, that has many, many quotes from leading rabbis in defense of Rav Berland.

Plus some of the latest:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2016/05/28/rav-moshe-tzanani-the-sitra-achra-knows-that-all-of-the-redemption-depends-on-rav-berland-and-thats-why-hes-making-all-of-these-terrible-tests/

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2016/02/02/watch-rabbi-matisyahu-glazerson-read-chief-rabbi-of-israel-yitzchak-yosefs-letter-requesting-diaspora-jews-to-host-and-accept-rabbi-berland-and-shuvu-banim/

http://shiratdevorah.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/his-return-will-usher-in-redemption.html – Rav Kook speaking about Rav Berland’s return to Israel

http://rabbieliezerberland.blogspot.co.il/2016/05/listen-to-words-of-rav-aaron-boymil-all.html – ‘All the Gedolim are praying for Rav Berland’

“Don’t think that only Anshei Shlomeinu in Breslov are praying for Rav Eliezer Berland, Shlita.  All of the bigAdmorimRabonim, and Tsadikim from the whole world are praying for the Rav, Shlita

“From Rav Shteinman to the Belz Admor, to the Gur Rebbe until Rav Kanievsky, everyone is praying for Rav Berland, Shlita, and are always interested in what is happening with him.  The gabbai of Rebbe David Abuchatzera, Shlita, called me personally last week and told me that the Rebbe wanted to know what’s happening with Rav Eliezer Berland,Shlita

“The house of Rav Shteinman called and wants to know what’s happening with HaRav.  The son of the Belz Rebbe himself called me to find out what’s going on with the Rav and said that his father wants to know.  It’s not that Rav Eliezer Berland, Shlita, is alone in the world and only his chassidim are the ones that care about him. 

“All the Gedolim of Israel from the whole world care about the Rav and are praying for him.”

If you’re casting aspersions against Rav Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia, then you’re also casting aspersion against all of these Torah giants.

This is really the crux of the issue. There is no ‘middle way’ with Rav Berland and his Rabbinic supporters. Either, they are all huge Tzadikim that know something the rest of us don’t, OR they are all swindlers trying to deceive Am Yisrael.

I can only speak for myself, but my husband studies at Rav Arush’s yeshiva every day. We’ve seen Rav Arush in a number of situations, both our own and other people’s, and Rav Arush is 100% the real deal.

Ditto for Rav Ofer Erez, another one of Rav Berland’s old-time pupils and a staunch public defender of the Rav.

Who can dare to question the integrity of people like Rav Arush? Or Rav David Abuchatzeira? Or Rav Kook? Or the hundreds of other leading religious figures who have come out publicly in support of Rav Berland?

But that’s exactly what’s happening every time someone entertains the doubt that somehow, these Rabbonim either don’t know what they’re talking about, when it comes to Rav Berland, or that they’re also somehow ‘in’ on the whole thing.

“But why would people lie, like that?”

To people who live outside of Israel, it might seem strange that the people in authority here would view an elderly Rav like Rav Berland as being as big a threat as Hamas or ISIS. But when you live here – and you don’t believe everything you read in the media as being the gospel truth – it’s very easy to see how there is a whole swathe of the ruling elite who positively loathe religious people.

And religious people who are making more Jews religious, like them, are public enemy number one.

Why?

Because religious Jews aren’t going to vote for that ruling elite. And religious Jews have big families, which means they are going to ‘take over’ the country and turn it into Jewish Iran. And religious Jews (generally…) don’t believe in diplomacy, and land-for-peace, and ‘anything for an easy life’.

In the last 20 years, the baal Teshuva scene in Israel has exploded. That’s a very worrying trend for the ‘powers that be’, and they are very happy to do whatever they can to discredit Yiddishkeit, and its leaders, in any way they can.

Rav Berland is by no means the only Rav who’s recently been falsely persecuted by the authorities, and I highly recommend you go and research this issue for yourself.

In case you’re still in doubt, this link will take you to the story of the secular chief of police who was given the ‘job’ of framing Rav Berland. He came to Rav Arush in tears a few months’ back, wanting to know how he could fix his sin, because since then he’s gone through a divorce, been involved in a number or serious accidents, and has seen his life implode.

Click HERE to read that story for yourself, and hear the recording.

Rav Berland’s prophetic powers

Last but not least, I just wanted to mention that Rav Berland predicted the current intifada many months before it began, and has successfully been ‘ahead of the curve’ in a number of ways, even while in exile.

Read what Rav Berland said about the present Intifada a year before it began

The people around the Rav have experienced many ongoing open miracles, including recently when the South African police came to arrest the Rav, turned his hotel complex upside down looking for him, but apparently couldn’t ‘see’ him as he walked down the stairs straight in front of them, and left the building.

Hundreds of other people saw the Rav leave, only the South African police couldn’t see him….

This is the same point I made earlier: God doesn’t do open miracles like this for people who are guilty of the crimes that Rav Berland is accused of.

If you want to read more true, first-hand miracle stories about the Rav, which have happened since he left Israel, I highly recommend you pay a visit to his website, and particularly the following links:

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2015/10/28/another-miracle-story-about-rabbi-berland-that-we-just-recieved/

http://en.shuvubanimint.com/2015/07/30/story-in-which-rabbi-berland-saves-troubled-individuals-in-holland/

TO SUM UP:

We live in very confused upside-down times. It’s impossible for us to know who to trust, or who to believe, if we’re not talking to God every single day.

If we talk to God every day and ask Him to help us, He will clue us in about who the hypocrites in our midst truly are – and there are many of them, at all levels of religious and non-religious Jewish society.

But that’s not the only way we can know what’s true.

If we have a Rav ourselves that we KNOW is the real deal, 100%, kosher (and again, if you’re not doing hitbodedut every single day, I wouldn’t rate your chances of being able to actually know that with any certainty) – and that Rav is 100% behind Rav Berland, dayenu.

Because only someone who’s 100% connected to God can tell if someone else is 100% connected to God, which is where our emunat tzadikim really comes in.

You don’t have to believe me, because I’m nothing and no-one.

BUT – to not believe Rav Arush? To not believe Rav Kook? To not believe Rav David Abuchatzeira?

That’s a huge problem, spiritually-speaking.

So let’s end our defense of Rav Berland with this:

  • Don’t believe everything you’re told by the media.
  • Check into everything yourself – and if you don’t have firsthand evidence, proceed with extreme caution.
  • Click on the links you’ve been given here, to help you fill out more of the picture
  • Ask yourself if so many of our most holy Tzadikim would really risk their souls and reputations to publicly come out in defense of someone who was guilty of what Rav Berland has been falsely accused of.
  • Think about whether you can honestly say that you know more about what’s going on than these holy Rabbis do – many of whom spent years learning with Rav Berland, many of whom are clearly the holy of holies in their own right, and many of whom are the most straight, upright, humble and tznius people you could ever hope to meet – about what’s really going on with Rav Berland.
  • Ask yourself if God would continually do so many open miracles – both personally and communally – for a person accused of what Rav Berland has been accused for.
  • For a deeper spiritual understanding of what’s really going on with Rav Berland, read THIS.

And then, pick your side.

On one side, Rav Berland, Rav Arush, Rav Kook and Rav Abuchatzeira et al.

On the other side: A bunch of low-life politicians, bent policemen, slanderous journalists and I don’t know who else.

There is no middle ground with this issue.

So, who’s side do YOU want to be on, when Moshiach shows up?

You can buy the biography about Rav Eliezer Berland, (Eliezer ben Etia) One in a Generation Volume 1, on Amazon, and on the Book Depository. Buy Volume 2 HERE.

UPDATE:

Today (June 3) is the day of Yesod she be Yesod in the counting of the Omer, or ‘foundation focusing on foundation’, or ‘sense of purpose focusing on sense of purpose’.

Yesterday, I got a phone call asking me if I’d heard any more about Rav Berland’s imminent arrival back in Israel. I hadn’t, but I sent my husband off to yeshiva to find out from his source if there was any more news.

Then, I did the usual trip around some of the geula blogs to see if anyone had anything about the Rav’s return. There was a post over on Shirat Devorah (see HERE) with a clip from Rav Dovid Kook, the kabbalist in Tiveria, explaining how Rav Berland’s return to Israel is going to usher in the redemption.

I so hope that’s the case.

This counting the Omer has been such an intense time, that maybe, just maybe, geula really is around the corner.

I hope that by the time you read this, today, Rav Berland WILL be back home, and that things WILL be proceeding geula-wise, the sweet way. Because today is ‘foundation of foundation’, and the biggest tzadikim are said to be the ‘foundation of the world’, so it would be very fitting if today was the day Rav Berland returned.

(BTW – if you haven’t yet paid your 98 nis monthly protection pidyon from terrorists, please go HERE to do that ASAP. Even if geula comes the sweet way, there’s still going to be quite a rough ride involved, at least in parts, until we really finish the process.)

As for me, I’m spiritually exhausted at the moment.

Every day since Rosh Chodesh Nissan has brought its own trials and tribulations, and ‘middot  growth opportunities’.  It seems to me that God is dealing out a whole bunch of last chances to people, to take their blinkers off and finally see what’s going down in their lives.

It’s like there’s all this spiritual light coming down into the world ahead of Moshiach, but wherever it hits a ‘blockage’, it’s causing a lot of pain and drama and anxiety. Clear the blockage (which is usually related to working on a bad character trait, or a weak connection to Hashem) – and the light can pass through your life easily again, giving everything a rosy, warm glow.

Don’t clear the blockage (which is what I’m still seeing SO many people do) – and you literally start to crack-up and go insane.

Thus it is that the problems are spiraling up out of control, the negative character traits are coming to the fore like never before, and the health issues are plummeting to greater depths.

Why?

Hashem gave us a clue as to why this is all happening in last week’s parsha, where we learned of the many curses that would befall Am Yisrael if they related to God ‘casually’. That’s an interesting word, isn’t it?

What does it mean to relate to God casually? Maybe, it means that we don’t even take God into account, and pretend like everything that happens is completely random and down to chance. Maybe, it means that even though we profess to be believing Jews, we still don’t want to admit that God is behind every tiny thing that’s going on in our lives, so we make big speeches about ‘how it’s impossible to know what God wants’, etc, or how ‘everyone has their troubles’, so we don’t need to be too fussed to try to work out WHY God is making us sick, or poor, or miserable.

Maybe, it means that we relate to God like a lifestyle choice, something to boost our energy and give us a high, like a good workout or spinach smoothie, just somehow better.

Or maybe, we talk about how God is going to do a whole bunch of things to everyone else, leaving us to blog contentedly about the destruction of the world that somehow isn’t going to affect us.

God wants us to put Him first, even when it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable and difficult. He wants us to explore every little thing that happens to us from a place of understanding that it’s part of the meaningful dialogue Hashem is trying to have with us, about what we need to acknowledge, work on, or fix, in some way.

To put it another way, we’re back to Rav Arush’s three rules of emuna, namely:

  • Hashem is doing everything in the world
  • Everything Hashem does is for the ultimate good
  • Everything is a message

Those three rules of emuna make every tiny thing that happens to us meaningful and important; the exact opposite of casual and insignificant.

God says: ‘You want to pretend like those kidney stones are just a fluke, and nothing to do with all your bad habits and character traits? Here, try this additional debilitating illness on for size!!’

And:

“You want to pretend that you’re hitting the skids financially just because of the economic downturn!? Here, I’m going to cut every source of income you have off from you, until you finally get the message that you need to start treating your wife (the pipe of all abundance in the home) better!”

And so on, and so forth. ‘A fury of casualness’ – a maelstrom of horrible illnesses, difficult experiences, poverty and ill-health, until we finally wake up and realize that none of it was ‘casual’ or ‘random’, and everything right from the start was God.

The last few weeks, I’ve had so many messages that despite all the hard work I’ve done the last few years, THERE ARE STILL THINGS THAT NEED SOME WORK, PRONTO!

Like anger. And resentment. And rage. And hatred.

(Viz: My husband discovered that the person who damaged the windscreen wiper on our brand new car was a neighbor who hates people parking in ‘his’ spot. I was so worked up when he told me I started fantasizing about spilling a box of tacks behind the neighbor’s front wheels etc. Then, I woke up and realized this! This horrible character trait is what God is telling me needs some work! Duh!)

So God has been giving me that work to do in spades, the last few weeks. IF Rav Berland makes it back today, BH, and if the geula kicks off as predicted by Rav Kook – well then, that all makes sense.

And if not?

I guess God is fast-tracking my Teshuva and character development for some other good reason, only known to Him. And I guess that’s OK, too.

One of my favorite Rebbe Nachman stories is ‘The Master of Prayer’, which tells the story of how a great storm wind comes and throws the world into chaos, scattering the King’s ten advisors in the process.

The Master of Prayer is one of these advisors, and he takes it upon himself to go round the world reuniting the King with the other advisors, and rectifying all the countries who are now following ‘foolish’ beliefs about the meaning of life, as a result of the terrible storm they went through.

One group believes that the purpose of life is to eat; another that’s it to procreate; another chooses wisdom; another picks honor etc etc, but the most problematic land of all is the Land of Money.

You see, in all the other lands, there’s at least a moment, a second, when they’re satiated with their particular lust or desire, which gives the Master of Prayer an opportunity to come and talk to them about serving God, and the real meaning of life. But in the land of money, that simply never happens: they think about money ALL THE TIME, and it colors their every thought and every waking moment.

Worse, the people of the Land of Money literally kill themselves for money; and they also turn their richest citizens into ‘stars’ and ‘gods’ (Rebbe Nachman’s language…) who they worship incessantly.

By contrast, people without a lot of money are considered to be sub-human animals, and given no respect, rights or accorded even basic human dignity. As a result, the Master of Prayer is finding it next to impossible to rectify the inhabitants of the Land of Money, and to bring them back to God.

By this point, you may well be squirming a little in your seat, because guess what?

 In 2016, nearly all of us are living in the Land of Money!

And here’s how it’s affecting us:

  • It’s killing our marriages – because either or both parents are obsessed with parnassa, and never seem to be making enough to pay for all the ‘necessities’ of modern life, even when they both work full-time and bring home a packet. Then, all the blame and mutual recriminations start, which can poison relationships to their core very quickly.
  • It’s killing our kids – especially if the mum has a full-on ‘career’ that requires an awful lot of attention and time. The kids take a back seat to the boss, or the business, and they get ‘scheduled’ to death to enable mom to keep to her timetable. If their personal crises happens in a ‘scheduled’ moment – all well and good. When they don’t – it’s a huge problem for everyone, and the kid doesn’t always come first.
  • It’s killing our happiness – because people in the Land of Money never have enough, and they’re always worrying that they’ll be demoted to ‘animal’ status if they don’t keep earning a fortune (even when they have millions already in the bank…) To keep your humanity and dignity intact, remember this: money serves us, not the other way around. If I’m scared to spend money, it’s because I’m making that dollar bill more important than my own happiness and wellbeing.
  • It’s killing our souls – because when you’re thinking about money 24/7, you simply don’t have time to think about things like praying, or taking a time out to reflect on life, or to appreciate that GOD is giving us our parnassa, and we’re not achieving it by our own efforts.
  • It’s killing our bodies – because when people are stressed about money all the time, and working like dogs, and living above their means and borrowing huge amounts, and constantly worrying that they don’t have enough or won’t have enough, that puts so much pressure on the body that sooner or later, a whole bunch of nasty illnesses and diseases start to show up.

I could carry on, but you get the idea.

To sum up the problem, it’s like this:

When people live in the Land of Money, money is the first consideration, and beats out everything else.

Some common examples of this could include:

  • “I can’t make Aliyah, because I’m worrying about parnassa”
  • “I can’t quit my soul-destroying job, because I’m worrying about how to pay my huge mortgage if I do that”
  • “I can’t buy myself a new dress / new saucepan / new pair of shoes /[some other basic necessity], because I’m worrying about my money running out if I do that”
  • “I can’t give 10% of my income to charity, because I won’t have enough for myself then”
  • “I can’t stop running on the treadmill to make more money, because if I do that the money won’t just appear by itself.”

All of these statements have a ring of truth to them, don’t they? I know they do for me still, and I’ve been trying to leave the Land of Money for years’ already.

But there’s the problem: God is missing from this picture.

And when that happens, we start to build lives for ourselves based on the rules of the Land of Money, which states that our kids need expensive summer camps, and extra-curricular activities, and we need to be wearing labels, and to have everything matching, and that our homes need to be very big and spacious, and that every person over 17 needs their own car, and holidays are a necessity not a luxury, and that gourmet meals in fancy restaurants are what makes us happy, and guests must be offered a selection of expensive whiskeys and liquers to drink, and we must be working on plans to ‘get on’ and upscale our living arrangements, or our 401k plans, or our stockmarket holdings, or our property holdings and and and….

I’m exhausted just from typing that.

Here’s another problem that happens when you live in the Land of Money: You’ll literally sell your soul for cash.

Just ask all the bent politicians in Israel who take bribes for ‘peace’, or who (secretly…) sold Kever David to the Vatican for some big bucks, or who are happy to let Reform partition the Wailing Wall because they waved some dollars in their face.

When you live in the Land of Money, money talks, and God doesn’t. Or at least, not to you. Or at least, not in any way you care to listen to.

So how do we leave the Land of Money?

In the story of the Master of Prayer, it turns out the only way people can leave is via ‘the path to the sword’, i.e. very harsh judgments.

Those judgments could be severe health issues, severe marital problems, severe problems with kids going crazy or going off the derech, severe mental illness issues, or even (perhaps ironically), severe financial issues.

You want to know why so many of us are going through so much difficulty today, in every sense of the word?

This is why.

God is trying to get us out of the Land of Money once and for all, so we can stop obsessing about earning, and instead start yearning to get closer to God and to live a more spiritual life again.

It’s hard work, I know. But you know what’s even harder work? Getting stuck in a life, in a mindset, where money is the only thing that counts, no matter how miserable it makes you, how much it wrecks your peace of mind and relationships, or how much it kills your soul, your humanity, and your spiritual dimension.

Three weeks’ ago, I was doing some hitbodedut (personal prayer) when I suddenly started getting this crazy idea in my head that I had to get a book written about what’s really going on with the Erev Rav issue, RIGHT NOW!!!

Never mind that Pesach was in a month; never mind that I’ve already written 6 books and 2 courses (plus all my other blogging) in the last 6 months; never mind that I was approaching mental exhaustion, and was actually looking forward to dusting, instead of typing, for a change.

The more I tried to ignore that ‘suggestion’, the stronger it got – until I stuck up the white flag and said ‘Ok, God, if you’re sending me a vibe to write the book, I’ll do it already.’

Dear reader, I somehow managed to churn out 30,000 words in a week.

But the nagging didn’t let up. Now, I was getting the steer to ‘publish and print’, ASAP. WHAATTT? Do you have any idea how much time, effort and money is involved in getting these things ready for publication? Do you KNOW how many cheerios I probably have to track down underneath my couch right now? Do you get how tired I’m feeling.

But the same thing happened again: I couldn’t get any peace until I gave in, and got on with it.

That’s why I stuck all those ‘Erev Posts’ up like a crazy person, the last couple of weeks. I was getting a big push in my hitbodedut that it needed to be done, and it needed to be done ASAP.

I posted the last one up – and then the next day, I crashed through the floor. I felt SO awful, heavy, sick, like there was some sort of dark, heavy cloud pressing down on my head.

Usually when I feel like that, I KNOW a war is in the offing.

So I went to bed for pretty much three days solid, and only on Shabbat did the cloud start to lift somewhat. But I’m still feeling pretty shattered. It struck me that maybe, this is what the Egyptians felt, a little, in the plague of darkness, where they were so weighed-down and stuck that they couldn’t even raise a hand.

I feel like that a little at the moment – and most of my Pesach cleaning still needs to get done.

Clearly, posting all that stuff up was directly connected to me feeling so awful for three days. So then I started wondering: did I get the wrong end of the stick, somehow? Was it really my yetzer, just trying to get me to kill myself with herculean typing efforts two weeks before Pesach?

As I was musing on this (and starting to feel even more disgusting and miserable) – a friend called me. She told me that she’d read the ‘Erev Rav’ posts, and that she felt they contained some amazing energy and light.

“I felt good, and filled-up all day after reading them,” she said. “The opposite of how I usually feel after I read stuff about the Erev Rav on other sites.”

That phone call did wonders for me.

It made me feel that even if the only person those posts helped was my friend, Dayenu – it was worth it.

In the meantime, I still have no idea what’s really going on, or why. But I do believe that everything that happens in the world, and in my life, and on my blog, is for a very profound reason.

God clearly wanted that stuff up and circulating around. He clearly wanted some sort of ‘counter-point’ to all the ‘evil star / evil Erev Rav / end of the world / America sinking beneath the waves’ false prophecies that are still going, relentlessly in other parts of the blogosphere.

Do I know why? No.

But Rav Arush teaches that whatever you get in your hitbodedut, you take it at face value (clearly, as long as it’s not telling you to do something against the Torah.) So I did. And where it’s all going to lead to? I have no idea.

  • You can buy my book, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav, on Amazon and on the Book Depository.

Is it just me, or does the world feel pretty darned tense at the moment?

On the surface, not a lot is apparently going on (at least, according to the main news sites – and what do they know anyway?!)

But everyone I’m talking to right now seems to be having their own flavor of mega-stress going on. I felt like I got hit by some sort of tsunami last week, that had me off-balance and feeling half-panicked the whole time. This week, it’s already much better again, but that’s probably not least because I did a big 6 hour session of personal prayer again over the weekend, and that always works wonders (and is probably the single biggest reason why I’m not an inpatient at some loonie bin, somewhere.)

But I can see that the pressure is mounting, so I want to tell you about a few things that I think will help:

  • There is a huge prayer rally being called for Tuesday night, the Fast of Esther, in Mearat HaMachpela, in Hevron. They are literally bussing people in from all over the country for this event, which has come down the tube from Rav Berland.

(I know some people still feel a little uneasy when I mention Rav Berland, so this is the time to tell them that the chief of police who manufactured the charges against him recently went to Rav Arush, and publicly confessed what he did, because his life has been going from bad to worse as a result of the false claims he manufactured against Rav Berland, and he wanted to know how he could fix it.

Rav Arush told him that he has to come clean and tell everyone what he was involved with. The man is scared of reprisals from his superiors, but my guess is that the reprisals from his real ‘Superior’ will get so difficult, sooner or later even the Jerusalem Post will be reporting the story.)

Rav Berland predicted the current Intifada we’re going through many months before it began.

Part of why he’s wondering around the world in exile is because he took it upon himself to sweeten the very harsh judgments hanging over Am Israel. He, and many other of the real rabbis, have done so much to minimize them – but we still have our part to play, and that’s what the prayer rally is all about.

You can join one of the buses heading to Hevron Tuesday night HERE.

  • Still with Rav Berland, he recently made an announcement that the health and safety of anyone who is willing to pay a pidyon nefesh of 98 shekels a month for their family to Shuvu Banim doesn’t have to worry about getting caught up in any terrorist attacks.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the deal of the century to me. A few months’ back, I sent in a different pidyon to the Rav about a health issue that had been troubling me for literally years – and BH, from the day I sent the request in to him (never mind, actually pay the money) the situation has been improving all the time.

Rav Berland is a huge tzaddik, and the real deal, so if he says ‘I guarantee your safety if you pay this pidyon’, then you can believe him.

  • The last thing to share with you comes from Rav Shalom Arush, who on Shabbat mentioned that Purim is the most auspicious time to pray of the whole year. Rav Arush explained that usually, he just tells people to say ‘thank you’ and to not request things, as that can stir up some big spiritual judgments and make things even more difficult for them.

But on Purim, there are no judgments! So he told everyone to pray as much as they can, and to ask Hashem for whatever they need. Usually, midnight (chatzot) is the best time of all to do this, but whatever time you manage to squeeze some personal prayer in, Purim is the day to do it.

Things are turning around, somehow. But I still have no idea if the hurricane is ending, or just beginning.

Before I threw all my secular CDs away, Queen was one of my favorite bands by a long chalk. The beats, the melodies, the guitar riffs, the clever lyrics. I loved Queen to bits. One of my all time favourite songs was ‘Under Pressure’.

Dum dum dum diddy dum dum. Dum dum dum diddy dum dum (oo-wa-oop).

Just now, my husband told me that since Chanuka, he’s been feeling like he’s been under non-stop pressure, without any let-up.

Thank God, we can pay our bills and nothing particularly ‘major’ is happening to explain this big build-up of tension and stress, but there’s no doubt about it: we’re under pressure.

And we aren’t the only ones.

As ‘the matzav’ in Israel continues to wind its way towards whatever Heavenly goal it’s being designed to achieve, I’ve noticed more and more short tempered outburst going on around me. People are honking more; they’re walking faster (or staying home…); they have less patience for people, they’re more out of it.

In short, they’re under pressure.

All of us are feeling the stress at every level of our being. That much is clear. What’s less obvious (at least to me) is what all this pressure is meant to be achieving. Because for sure, God is doing it for a good reason.

Is He trying to provoke a collective national melt-down, that will lead to a mass teshuva movement?

Is He trying to show us all that we simply can’t get by without Him any more, and He’s going to keep upping the ante until any semblance of arrogance and independence is crushed out of us?

Is He secretly working for Big Pharma, and has bought a bunch of shares in Prozac et al?

I don’t know – which is actually quite strange for me, as I like to think I at least have a small inkling of what God might be planning with all this stuff. But I don’t. Despite all my hours of praying, and all my efforts to talk to God, and all my attempts to read the runes and decode the hints He’s sending me, and everyone else, I feel that I’m currently sailing in unchartered waters.

To put it another way, I haven’t had a clue what’s been going on in my life, or around me, since Succot, and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. I know the pressure is building – we can all feel it, and you’d have to be crazy to not recognize that ‘something’ is bubbling under the surface.

What the something is, or how it’s going to manifest in the world, is anyone’s guess. I hope its Moshiach. I hope its redemption. I hope it’s chanukat habayit (both personally and nationally).

But right now, all I really know is that I’m under pressure, and some days, it really feels like I just can’t take it anymore.