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

 I find myself so hungry for real Torah at the moment – not ‘predictions’ and not fluffy stuff, real Torah that will help me make sense of everything that’s going on around me and (even more challengingly…) inside of me.

That search for real Torah that would actually answer my real questions, and work to help me in my real life, brought me to Breslov and Rebbe Nachman, and time and again, Rabbenu’s Torah has given me answers and support when I just couldn’t seem to get it anywhere else.

Yesterday, I read something on the Shuvu Banim Hebrew website that really helped me a lot, to penetrate some of the fog I’m still stumbling around in, a little. It was a shiur by a very ‘hidden’ student of Rav Berland who is apparently an outstanding Torah scholar, called Rav Avraham Hadgbi.

Rav Hadgbi was explaining why it is we hit so many difficulties, or miniot, when we’re trying to do the right thing, make teshuva, and get closer to Hashem.

He explained that if a person ‘achieved’ all this stuff all at once, immediately, his arrogance would automatically shoot up – and that is the single worst thing that can happen, because God can’t be with an arrogant person.

Rav Hadgbi also explained that when you’re following the Breslov path, Rebbe Nachman is extremely exacting about crushing any trace of pride out of his followers.

Aha!

I read that and finally, I started to get an answer that ‘worked’ for me about why so much has gone ‘wrong’ for me the last decade or so, ever since I started getting into Breslov.

God is crushing every last little speck of pride out of me.

Great!

But man, it’s so hard to endure. At this stage, I really don’t think I’ve got anything left to be proud of, from A-Z of things that people usually big themselves up on.

That’s where Rav Hadgbi also gave me a bit of chizzuk. He brought a conversation he had with Rav Berland, where Rav Berland explained that sometimes, the ‘waiting’ that’s required when you’re following Rebbe Nachman’s path can feel like it’s literally going to kill you. But, he says, if you continue to hang on, sooner or later you’ll get everything you hoped for, and more.

That rang such a big bell for me.

I was doing so much talking to God-teshuva about my eye the last few weeks, and as I kept peeling off more layers of the teshuva onion, including

  • I’m spending too much time online…
  • I’m looking at spiritually-dodgy stuff…
  • I’m not looking at MYSELF with a good enough eye…
  • I’m not looking at others with a good enough eye…
  • I’m not focusing on the right things in life…

Etc etc – and the eye still kept playing up, despite me spritzing industrial amounts of colloidal silver into it, and other eye drops, and anything else you can think of – I realized I had to be missing something still.

Finally, a couple of days ago, Hashem clued me in to the underlying emotion that’s completely stuffing my eyeball up: it’s frustration.

Man, I am SOOOO frustrated! About a million different things.

Because dear reader, you should know that in my previous life in the UK, I was the furthest thing from a loser you could imagine. I had a very high-profile, well-paid job, I ran my own company, I had a nice house, I had a good circle of friends, I gave a lot of charity, I’d just had my second child after years of infertility, I had a wardrobe full of really nice looking clothes – and truthfully, I was one of the most arrogant people you could probably ever wish to NOT meet…

So yes, I completely get that God had to take it all away to humble me, and because He’s God, He’s done a really thorough, excellent job, baruch Hashem.

The only issue I have with it all is that it seems to be taking so long for me to come out the other side of it all. I mean, 12 years SOLID of being a loser is pretty hard to take for most people, and two days’ ago, I realized it’s underneath my eye issues. Hard as I’ve tried to let go, and to have emuna about everything, the fact that I’ve continued my slide towards Class A loser status – despite tons and tons of effort to make something, anything, happen different, or better –  is really messing up my health.

Two days’ ago, I realized I just have to let it all go, if I want to get better again.

I have to stop railing (internally…) against my fate. I have to stop pretending I’m not jealous of the people who haven’t had to go through all this stuff, and to face up to my bad middot squarely, and deal with them properly.

I’ve got to stop thinking that God – or anyone else – owes me anything at all, because really, they don’t! Everything, everything, everything is a free gift.

That people even bother to read my blog is a gift. That I can type (or see…) is a gift. I have to stop hanging out waiting for ‘more’, because that ‘more’ is causing me so much frustration, it’s nearly killing me.

And in the meantime, at least now I know Rebbe Nachman is behind it, and that it’s all purposeful, which is really reassuring, because when you start to feel like you’re ‘bad’, or ‘cursed’ for your life to be so difficult all the time, that’s a very hard place to be in.

All that’s going on is that I’m being a Breslov loser, as described by Rav Hadgbi, in order to crush every last little bit of arrogance and pride out of me.

Yet again, Breslov Torah came through for me with some real answers to my real problems. And all I – we – have to do, dear reader, is hang on a little bit longer, and we’ll get everything back again, even better than it was before.

But minus the ego problem.

So the last few days I’ve been trying to figure out WHAT, exactly, has been causing me my eye problems and health issues.

Again, it’s a fundamental principle of emuna that nothing happens ‘stam’ or by accident, and that everything is 100% tailored from Hashem to give us some sort of message about what we might need to work on, change or fix in our lives (and souls) – so I’ve been pondering this a lot in my talking to God sessions the last few days.

Here’s what I was exploring:

1) After last week, I got 100% that my eyes went funny because I was looking at stuff that was coming from a very bad place spiritually.

2) WHAT was that stuff, exactly?

I wasn’t so clear on number 2, because I had three possible areas that I’m currently engaged in:

1) I’m reading books by Immanuel Velikovsky at the moment, who was basically an externally secular Jew who took on the scientific establishment after World War II. Velikovsky was extraordinarily erudite, and he demolished their arguments about things like the age of the world, and about how and when massive, comet-induced natural disasters devastated the planet, and also showed how the events described in Torah and Tanach is to be found all over ancient history – if you know where to look for it.

Now, he definitely wasn’t a religious man in the modern sense of the word, but he believed in God, and believed in the veracity of the Torah and Tanach (which makes him more ‘frum’ than a lot of the apparently orthodox people walking around in 2017.)

Was that making my eyes funny?

Or, was it:

2) The research I’m doing on the ‘Electric People’ book, where I start off reading equations from people with impressive PhDs in quantum physics and then two seconds later I find myself reading about a Tibetan view of the afterworld?

(It’s a crazy thing: Chemistry seems to lead to atheism, and physics either leads to God, or to avoda zara, or to a belief that ‘aliens’ created life on earth…)

Was it that, that was making my eyes funny?

Or, was it:

3) Jewish blogs and websites by ‘frum’ Jews who aren’t so into believing in Tzaddikim, definitely aren’t into Rav Berland, and have a very ‘cool’ take on what it means to be an orthodox Jew in 2017?

I cracked open Rebbe Nachman’s Book of Traits (sefer HaMiddot) and this is what I got:

“It’s forbidden to learn from one who draws after idol-worship, and one who learns from him is liable to the death penalty.”

Gosh, well that seemed to be pretty clear cut. It seemed like number 2 on the list was the culprit. Except….when you’re doing hitbodedut, and really talking to God about things, things are rarely so cut and dried.

As I was rolling around the idea that I have to quit writing ‘Electric People’, Rav Natan’s maxim that ‘whatever brings you closer to God is true, and whatever takes you further away from God is false’ popped into my head.

Just yesterday, I was sketching some of my ideas from Electric People out to a friend, and she told me that I’d just given her emuna a real boost by what I’d described, because it really showed her that people aren’t in control, and only God is.

Hmmm.

So maybe Electric People wasn’t the problem after all (although clearly, the Tibetan ‘channelling’ PhDs are people I need to stay away from…)?

So what WAS it, then? Reading Velikovsky’s stuff has also brought me much nearer to God, and His awesomeness, and has similarly made me realize how God is really the only One in control of what’s occurring down here on planet earth.

So I don’t think it’s that, despite all the disturbing packaging that some of Velikovsky’s ideas come wrapped in. (Briefly, he compared the mythologies and histories of ancient peoples to try to find some sort of big, world-wide natural disaster that would synchronise ancient history. Boy, did he find it… But that’s a post for another time.)

So then that left me with the frum Jewish blogosphere…

To cut a long story short, the last few weeks I was trying to connect to a whole bunch of Jewish bloggers and internet people, to interview them about their stuff, and to hopefully get the word out about my new book, The Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife.

I spent literally hours poring over different websites, trying to find good ‘fits’. Then, I spent a bunch more time emailing people, to see if we could collaborate somehow. I’ve had a few nice responses (mostly from the less obviously ‘frum’ people) – and some really yucky responses from the more apparently ‘frum’ people, who castigated me for publicly supporting Rav Berland on my blog.

Bingo!

After I got another yucky response last week, I had a fleeting moment when I thought maybe I should take the stuff about Rav Berland down.

I mean, if it was limiting my marketing opportunities, blah blah blah, stopping me from connecting to other cool, creative, ‘frum’ Jews, blah blah blah, making me feel like I’d done something ‘bad’, blah blah blah…

After talking to God about it all, I decided to stick to my guns, and to continue to support the Rav with everything I’ve got, for as long as it takes for the truth to come out, regardless of how many ‘opportunities’ it’s costing me.

When I applied Rav Natan’s rule, I realized that trying to cosy up to these ‘frum’ bloggers had taken me pretty far away from emuna, and emunat Tzaddikim, or believing in our true Tzaddikim.

To put it another way, these guys were REALLY bad for my health!!!

And for my soul. And for my spiritual connection to Hashem, and His holy Tzaddikim.

So, now I’ve figured that out, I’m going to continue trying to demolish all the lies modern science is built on (that leads to atheism…), and I’m going to continue trying to show how human health really works (which could lead to avoda zara, unless people are firmly connected to the Torah and the true Tzaddikim…)

And I’m also staying away from pretty much every Jewish blog and website out there – because when you’re striving to be a believing Jew, that’s the REALLY dangerous stuff on the internet.

The last few weeks have been so challenging, on so many different fronts.

Domestically, I’ve had kids going in meltdown because the school they love is closing down; and other kids getting suspended twice in three days, apparently because of a long list of misunderstandings and crossed wires that means they now hate school and are getting stomach aches in the morning.

Personally, I’ve had a whole bunch of weird health issues going on again, plus a pervasive feeling that I completely ran out of energy again and can’t continue like this anymore.

Professionally, my great idea to bring a whole bunch of creative Jewish women from different backgrounds together on my blog bit the dust when the most ‘religious’ people I contacted to participate decided to chew me out for publicly supporting Rav Berland on my blog.

Rav Shalom Arush said a while back words to the effect that getting secular people to make teshuva is peanuts compared to getting the already religious people to make teshuva, and boy, was he ever right.

It wasn’t just that they’d been reading a whole bunch of lashon hara and slander online and believing it was 100% true (probably all from the ‘frummest’ websites out there…)

What made it worse is that they were completely unwilling to even consider any of the information and research I’ve been pulling together over the last year that paints a very different picture of what’s going on.

They think they know what they think they know, and anyone who is daring to challenge them about what they think they know is also ‘bad’. Score one for the closed mind of apparently frum, apparently ‘enlightened’ people.

All my hopes to start building some achdut and unity in my little corner of the blogosphere, and all my hopes that Jewish women could start to repair all the breaches and divisions between us, kind of vanished the last couple of weeks.

The husband has been having his own issues, too.

So altogether, I feel like I got hit by a tsunami, then a typhoon, then an earthquake – and Shavuot is still two weeks away!

The period of counting the Omer is often really tough, as it’s the time when God is shining a very bright light on all our bad middot and icky character traits, and asking us to do a little better. The last few years, I’ve dreaded counting the Omer, because it’s typically been weeks of craziness, stress and one difficulty after another.

I’ve been groping around trying to find the emuna that is meant to keep me going through these times, but I think maybe it got shoved somewhere into a dark recess under my bed, when I cleaned up after Pesach.

The last couple of days, since L’ag B’omer, things seem to have lightened up a little bit, thank God. I can type again, see straight again, not feel so disgustingly stressed out of my skull the whole time.

These are big things to be grateful for.

But I’m still sad that my attempts to reach out, and across the divides in the Jewish world, haven’t really worked out so well.

I think most of us want to connect a lot more than we’re able to at the moment. The yetzer is knocking itself out, trying to keep us Jewish women away from each other and mired in stress, worry and gossip, because it knows that Jewish women brought the redemption in Egypt with their love, compassion and emuna, and that we’ll bring it again this time around, with God’s help.

How?

I don’t know.

But who said we have to have all these details figured out ahead of time?

What is Moshiach going to fix, and what do we need to work on ourselves?

This is a question I’ve been musing over again the last few days, in part due to an email I received from one of my readers, a bit of which I’m including below, with her permission:

“I was really hoping there would be some changes already in the moshiach process [after Pesach] and nothing is different that we can see. I am sure things are happening behind the scenes but that doesn’t give me anything tangible to hold onto. Faith is hard. Everyone mocks me in a way because I am so connected to Moshiach being a reality. Nothing can be proven as every evidence people find reasons to say it doesn’t mean anything…

“I think I look to Moshiach arriving as a solution to my issues or at least a distraction from them. I want a change so badly that I’m dependent on it for my sanity. I really couldn’t take a few more years until things get rolling. So many issues are relying on him coming soon… I am waiting for moshiach to fix all of my problems and I know that is not right.

“I take myself out of the picture for a moment and I still want moshiach to come for Hashem’s glory and the rest of the world but then I put myself back in the picture and I just see an end to my issues that have no other solution. Agh, I guess I’m human. This is why I have run out of patience. Because I can’t wait without these issues getting bigger.

“It is a tease to believe that any moment he can arrive and then each chag passes without improvement. So why can’t I [just] give Hashem these problems? I don’t need this stress. I don’t need to worry about money and moshiach’s arrival. I know that but I can’t incorporate it fully into my emunah.”

WHAT STUFF IS MOSHIACH ACTUALLY GOING TO FIX, WHEN HE COMES?

This is not a superficial topic, and requires a lot of thoughtful consideration, so please consider this post just a start, and not a definitive response.

We’re taught that when Moshiach comes, the yetzer hara, or evil inclination is going to be ‘slaughtered’. It doesn’t say anywhere that when Moshiach comes everyone will be a millionaire, and that illnesses won’t happen anymore, or that husbands and wives (and mother-in-laws…) will all get on with each other brilliantly, all of the time.

People will still have hardships. People will still die. Rebbe Nachman said (#276 in ‘Tzaddik’):

“People assume that when the Messiah comes there will be no death. This is not so. Even Mashiach himself will also die.” (See tractate Sukkah 52a).

So, if we’ve still got money problems, health issues, hardships etc after Moshiach shows up, then what is Moshiach actually coming to fix?

This is what came to me, after pondering the question. IF our problems are related to the fact that God’s providence and influence is currently hidden in the world, then Moshiach’s coming will definitely fix those issues.

After Moshiach is openly revealed, there will be no place in the world for atheism, heresy and all those people who like to claim everything is a ‘coincidence’ in life. In the time of Moshiach, Hashem’s Divine providence will be as clear as day.

That means instead of people swallowing handfuls of Tylenol to cope with their headaches, or backaches, or toothaches, they’ll first go out to the field and talk to God directly about WHY He’s sending them their aches and pains, and what sort of teshuva He wants them to do to fix the problem.

Ditto, for money issues. Ditto for shalom bayit issues. Ditto for childrearing, relationships and existential angst issues.

Most of our issues and problems are only coming because God wants us to fix something in our lives, behaviours, beliefs and attitudes.

Once we get the message, the problem disappears.

So people will be ‘getting the message’ that God is running the world, and behind all their problems much, much more when Moshiach comes – and as a result, they’ll have far fewer problems, and far less troubles.

That’s what it means that the ‘yetzer’ will get slaughtered. That yetzer that’s telling you that YOU and OTHER PEOPLE are running the world will disappear forever.

But, for the problems that aren’t directly related to having emuna and seeing God’s hand in our life, and making the required teshuva – I’m not sure how those problems will disappear after Moshiach. For example, if someone’s tikkun requires them to be poor forever as a way of rectifying their souls, that will probably still happen post-Moshiach.

Just what? The person themselves will no longer be beating themselves up for being a loser, blaming their bad luck, or being jealous of other ‘richer’ people. They’ll have 100% clarity that being poor is their Divinely-ordained tikkun, and that will make the whole ordeal so much sweeter and nicer.

So what does that mean for us and our problems now?

As I wrote to my correspondent, so many of us are overwhelmed by difficulties and suffering at the moment, that it’s only human to want Moshiach to come and get us out of the mess our lives are in. I certainly also have a lot of times when I start to feel despairing about my own life, and just want to escape from all my problems somehow.

At those times, I have to make a lot of effort to connect my problems back to God, and to keep searching for the messages hidden inside them, and to keep making the teshuva required to solve them.

God is hidden right now, which is what makes the whole test of ‘having emuna’ so difficult. How do I KNOW my money problems are from God, and not just because I’m lazy? How do I KNOW that I’m just meant to accept my shalom bayis issues as calmly as I can, instead of acting on my impulse to get divorced? How do I KNOW that God is just using my kid to give me a big message, and that they’re not actually completely screwed up (by my bad parenting…)?

The differences between how a person tries to live their life with emuna, and how they live their life when God is completely out the picture are huge.

The more emuna you have, the more you’re seeing God’s hand in your life right now, in every single facet of what’s happening to you and inside you, the more you’re already living with the light that Moshiach is going to bring to the world.

There’s so much more to say about this, not least the fact that as the geula process continues, the differences between the ‘early post-Moshiach’ stage and the later ‘post-Moshiach’ stages will get more and more pronounced. Initially, there won’t be such amazing changes and supernatural miracles, but as we get used to the idea that God is all there is, the miracles and the ‘supernatural’ level of the world will continue to rise.

BH, I’ll come back to this topic again in another post.

But to sum this part up:

If your problems are rooted in a lack of emuna, and a lack of God-awareness in the world, Moshiach will solve those problems as soon as he shows up. It will be impossible to live in a post-Moshiach world without having emuna that God is all there is.

But, if your problems aren’t rooted in a lack of emuna and a lack of God-awareness, then they may well continue even post-Moshiach, as part of the tikkun, or spiritual rectification, your soul has to make.

Did you ever wonder how Moshe Rabbenu would go down in a Monsey Beit HaMidrash?

“Shlomie! Shlomie! You gotta hear this! Some guy in a frock just showed up in the beis medrash, and told everyone he’s the Moshiach!!!”

Shlomie heaved his stomach back inside the belt line of his black pants, stood up and went over to talk to his chevrusa Yankie, who was anxiously pacing backwards and forwards by the kollel’s coffee vending machine.

“Whaddya talking about, Shlomie? Calm down, speak slower. Who just showed up in the beis medrash?”

Yankie took a breath, stopped pacing, and turned to Shlomie.

“Some guy called Moshe something… He said G-d sent him to redeem the Jews, and he wants to take us out of Monsey to the promised land!”

Shlomie’s eyes narrowed. Another nut-job talking about G-d! The last 210 years, there’d been a lot of these imposters who’d showed up trying to con the Jews of Monsey that one day they’d have to leave and go to the ‘holy land’.

Wherever that place was meant to be…

“Where is this guy?” Shlomie demanded. “I wanna talk to him.”

With Yankie following behind, Shlomie headed off to the beis medrash, swung the doors open, and saw a tall, bearded figure standing in the corner with his eyes shut, rapturously reciting the bracha over a cup of water out loud.

Shlomie whispered to Yankie,

“Uhoh, this already doesn’t look good! What’s with this guy’s accent? Is he Sephardi?! And who spends five minutes blessing a cup of water?! This is definitely bitul Torah!”

Yankie muttered back, “Shlomie, we didn’t get the Torah yet…” But Shlomie didn’t hear him, as he’d already marched up to ‘Moshe the moshiach’ determined to kick this imposter out of the beis medrash.

“Sooo, Moishe… where’d you learn?” challenged Shlomie.

Moshe Rabbenu studied Shlomie with wise, kind eyes and told him gently:

“I’ve spent the last 60 years communing with Hashem in the desert.”

Shlomie eyes rolled so far back in his head they almost popped out his neck. Geez, the nerve of this guy!!! Still, Shlomie prided himself on being open-minded, so he decided to ask a couple more questions before officially excommunicating him.

“So, who’s your Rav?” he asked.

Moshe lowered his head slighty and said:

“Hashem. Hashem’s teaching me Torah. Although I did meet Rabbi Akiva a little while back…”

Shlomie snorted again. What? That guy whose parents were goyim who converted?!?

He tried one last time,

“Where did you grow up? Did you study at the Mir?”

“I grew up in Pharoah’s palace,” Moshe Rabbenu replied gently. “I had to flee Monsey-raim at the age of 20 after I killed an Egyptian by uttering one of Hashem’s ineffable names. I never got a chance to learn at the Mir….”

“Kishoofim!!!!” roared out Shlomie.

“Out, out, get outta here with all your dangerous Moshiach talk! You’re nothing but a crack-pot, a false messiah, a person who’s trying to pull the Jews away from learning Torah with all your talk about serving Hashem!”

Yankie muttered again “But Shlomie, we didn’t get the Torah yet…” but again, Shlomie didn’t hear him.

With quiet dignity, Moshe Rabbenu picked up his staff, and headed out of the beis medrash.

Yankie was anxiously biting his fingernails.

“The nerve of that guy!” sputtered Shlomie. “I can’t believe people are falling for this! We’re only meant to be learning about Moshiach, not believing it!”

“But Shlomie, a lot of the really big rabbis – like Aharon HaKohen – say he’s the real deal…”

Shlomie harrumphed. “All these ‘rebbe’ types stick together, you know that.”

“But Shlomie,” Yankie tried again,

“This morning he turned the whole Nile to blood, and he’s told Pharoah there’s more natural disasters to come, if he doesn’t send the Jews out of Monsey-raim…”

“Kishoofim!!” Shlomie yelled again.

“Unbelievable bitul Torah! Instead of learning another three blatt Gemara this guy’s off doing black magic and talking to goyim! Don’t fall for it, Yankie, don’t let him fool you. Seriously, where was the guy’s hat??”

Yankie tried one last time:

“But Shlomie, we have a tradition from Yaakov Avinu that at some point, the Jews have to leave Monsey-raim, and that a redeemer will show up and take them out of galus…”

Shlomie sighed a big sigh, and put his enormous arm around his frail, naïve learning partner.

“Yankie, you’re a great guy, do you know that? Here, take a look over the other side of the beis medrash. Who’d ya see?”

Yankie turned his head, and spotted Korach, the Rosh Kollel, shtiggering away to the bachorim about how why the beis medrash doesn’t need a mezuzah on the door. Korach cut a fine figure in his Armani black suit, smart tie and brushed fedora, tilted at just the right angle to set off his jutting chin.

“Now, if someone told me that’s Moshiach, I’d believe it,” explained Shlomie.

“That guy’s related to one of the most important families in Monsey-raim; he’s got 14 kids – all shomer Toyrah ve-mitzvos – and he encourages his students to think for themselves. That guy is all about Toyrah and mitzvos. And his wife bakes a great kugel!

“But Shlomie, we didn’t get the Torah yet,” Yankie wanted to say. But he didn’t because he knew there’d be no point.

Shlomie heaved his stomach back behind his shtender, and went back to learning his latest blatt on his My-Gemara i-Phone app.

“The nerve of that guy, ‘Moshe Rabbenu’!” he muttered to himself, thankful that he’d managed to save the guys in the beis medrash from another false messiah. Hrrmph!

As if the Moshiach would be someone who’d never stepped foot in the Mir…

One of the things that I struggled really, really hard with for years was the idea that no matter what happened to me, or how bad I feel about it, I should just paste a ‘happy’ face on and pretend I didn’t care, and I wasn’t upset about it.

This fake concept of emuna is something I’ve come to call ‘all emuna, all the time’.

The first time I realized just how dangerous ‘all emuna, all the time’ can be is about six years’ ago, when my neck started seizing up and got really painful and sore. At that time, I was still (just about…) going to Western doctors, and no-one could tell me what was going on, what was causing the problem, or how to fix it.

Out of desperation, I went to a more holistic healer called David Amichai, and he asked me a question that blew me away: Had I been waiting for something that hadn’t materialized for a long time?

The short answer was: yes.

I’d been trying to have more children for eight years, and the toll it had taken on me was incredible. BUT – I told him – NOW I have emuna!!!! I have ‘all emuna, all the time’, and I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself, and stopped feeling heartache and despair every month when it didn’t happen again, and I’m approaching my infertility with ‘all emuna, all the time’!!!!

He looked at me very thoughtfully, and then he told me in a very kind tone:

The level of emuna you’re describing is a very high level, and it’s very hard for most people to get there sincerely.

Then, he told me that the neck was the ‘bridge’ between the heart and the head, and it seemed as though something had got pretty stuck there. My head was telling me I had ‘all emuna, all the time’, while my heart was whispering the truth at me, namely that I was still grieving the fact that every month, I’d missed another opportunity to have more children.

That true feeling was getting ‘stuck’ in my neck, and was causing me a whole bunch of physical health problems. Once I started to accept my true feelings again, he told me, my problem would clear up.

He was right.

But boy, did I have a spiritual challenge after I went to see him.

Because the main person I was listening to back then had ‘all emuna, all the time’ as their mantra. They made it clear that if I ever felt overwhelmed, sad, occasionally despairing, or all the other very normal feelings that we ALL feel some of the time – there was something deeply wrong with me, and also my emuna.

It took me years to try to square that circle, and I beat myself up endlessly over being so ‘bad’ that I couldn’t automatically break into a song and dance when faced with some very tough challenges. It was only when my challenges reached ‘peak’ levels – and I was still getting castigated for not having ‘all emuna, all the time’ when I’d run out of money for food, and when my life fell apart in a million ways, and when I had four miscarriages in a row from the stress after waiting 10 years to have more kids – that I finally gave Mr ‘all emuna, all the time’ the heave-ho.

When we don’t allow ourselves to grieve our losses properly, when we don’t allow ourselves to feel what we really feel, and to process it all in an unrushed, uncritical and self-accepting way, we end up doing a huge amount of damage to our emuna, our peace of mind and our physical health.

——-

So it was amazing to read the following in Rav Ofer Erez’s latest book, Al Parshat Drachim, where he said: (this free translation is my own, so may not be 100% accurate):

“All of us need to learn how to properly navigate the difficult times…the first thing is to not to blame anyone [others or yourself] and to understand that [difficulties] are the way of the world. The [spiritual] reality of this world is that it’s a place where we have to work, and we are all obliged to learn the practical ways of how to manage and overcome the tzimtumim (contractions, or difficult times) that each of us has to face….and Rabbenu teaches us that the main way of doing this is by being happy, always.

At this point, I got a little anxious as to whether I was going to have to deal with another dose of unrealistic ‘all emuna, all the time’, but Rav Ofer blew me away with what he wrote next, as he squared the circle.

He said that when other people try to give this advice to a person who is going through a very difficult time, they routinely react very badly to being told this.

Rav Ofer explains that giving over advice from the Tzaddik’s Torah is not like selling someone a big car sticker bearing the legend ‘smile!’

Rav Ofer says that you have to understand the depth of what Rebbe Nachman is really teaching us, when he tells us that the ikker is to be happy, always. He then brings an explanation from Rav Natan, who asks the question: What does God really want from the Jewish people, that he brought them down to a world where barely a moment passes without some sort of difficulty, persecution or severe hardship?

Rav Natan then explains in Likutey Halachot that the reality of the world is actually one of wars and difficulties.

The whole world is in a state of ‘hester panim’, where God’s benevolent face is often hidden behind some enormous challenges, and this applies particularly to the Jewish people.

Rav Ofer (via Rav Natan) then goes on to explain something amazing:

The way we ‘stay happy’ in this reality is by continuing to attach ourselves to Hashem, even in those deepest, darkest places we find ourselves in. And this is the true measure of a person in this world, that he continues to search for every piece of advice, and every way he can continue to stay connected to God, while he’s undergoing his trials and tribulations.

What a relief!!!

Mr ‘all emuna, all the time’ clearly never read Likutey Halachot, because if he had, he would have known that ‘being happy with my lot’ didn’t mean I had to walk about with a big grin because I’d just had another miscarriage and I couldn’t afford to buy a loaf of bread.

Real emuna happens when those horrible things happen to you, and you still grope around trying to find God’s hand to hold onto in the middle of it all, and you still try to believe that God is behind it all, and that it will eventually turn out for the good.

Emuna is the belief that you will make it through in once piece, as long as you keep trying to cling on to Hashem.

And you can do that even when you’re bawling your eyes out, and feeling like you’re half-dead.

Thank God for Rav Ofer Erez, who knows that serious hardships can’t be superficially erased, covered over and ignored. They have to be acknowledged, grieved and worked through, but they key thing to remember is that all this stuff has to happen WITH GOD IN THE PICTURE.

And that is the real definition of trying to have emuna.

I only ask, because recently someone sent me an email where they were referring to some comments made by Rav Berland that Moshiach comes as part of a many years-long process. According to my correspondent, the process started in [year] and will continue until [year], and the whole time, there will be more tests and more birur, or clarification, of where people are really holding vis-à-vis their true relationship with Hashem.

Now, I know three years is not really a long period of time in the big scheme of things, but I have to admit to feeling just a little down-hearted after I read that email. Because things are not exactly ‘easy’ – for anyone – at the moment, and so many of us are just kind of holding on in the face of some huge issues that we seem powerless to resolve or overcome by ourselves.

A lot of days, I get emails from readers telling me they’re literally just holding on by the tips of their fingers, waiting for Moshiach to haul them back up over the top of the ledge they seem to have fallen off.

Man, I can relate.

I have this weird ‘gift’ of picking up the heavy vibes bouncing around the world, and translating them into bizarre physical issues. (I write much more about the connections between body, mind and soul over on my spiritualselfhelp blog, and also in my book, Talk to God and Fix Your Health.)

So anyway, the last few weeks I’ve been dealing with another strange, but familiar phenomena, namely a weird bump that showed up on my left eye around a month ago.

This is the fourth weird bump on my eye I’ve had over the last few years, and when the first one showed up around seven years’ back, I completely freaked out and thought the worst. The nice eye specialist reassured me it was just ‘one of those things’ and would disappear by itself eventually.

It took that bump two years to go, which coincided with an EXTREMELY stressful period of time for me personally, and also Israel, that was going through a number of ‘mini-wars’ with Gaza.

And then a few months later, another bump showed up on my other eye.

Hmmm.

To cut a long story short, I have now realized that by the time the ‘eye bumps’ show up, there are some mega-huge ‘heavy judgment’ vibes flying around, that in the past have corresponded to rockets from Gaza, terrorist attacks and small wars.

(Clearly, they also correspond to me having to make a lot of teshuva for things in my own life too, usually connected to very deep anger issues that are still floating around from way back when.)

But the point is this: Who can hack another three years of stress and heavy judgments like the last three have been?

I spend a lot of time trying to clear things out of my spiritual and emotional system, and trying to figure out what other bits of my character need some work, and that’s definitely helping to ‘lighten up’ the heavy vibes, at least in my own personal space.

But you know what? It’s really, really hard work, and I’m feeling kind of like I haven’t got so much energy left to keep digging that stuff up and dealing with it.

I’m not talking about small stuff here, I’m talking about big, life-changing things that have enormous consequences attached.

That’s the whole test we’re all going through right now, the test of ‘clarification’, or birur, where God is shining a very strong spot-light into all the nooks and crannies of our souls, and inviting us to fix things that we’ve left hanging since Adam HaRishon was walking around 5,777 years ago.

It’s really hard work! And that’s if you’re trying to do the work…

If you’re not trying to do the work, then paradoxically, it’s even harder work, because Hashem is just turning the heat up higher and higher and higher until we get the message and start to deal with all the issues we all have that we prefer not to look at or acknowledge.

The deeper our heads are in the sand, the harder God is now slapping us, to try to get us to wake up.

I know that really, it’s a kindness that this process of revealing Moshiach in the world is stretching out over a number of years. If it happened quickly, like most of us think it should, nearly everyone would keel over from the shock of it all.

Whaaat? You mean I’m not a perfect angel, and it’s not all everyone else’s fault that my life and relationships are in such a mess?!?!?!?

It’s not easy to go from a world of darkness and lies to a world of purity and truth, even when you’re inching slowly along the path. To do it in one day, or even in one week or one month, would literally give most people an instant heart-attack.

But still….three more years of this?! Really?

Sigh.

We can’t hurry Moshiach along, and we can’t force God’s hand. There’s a time and a place and a process that has to occur. But some small part of me still hopes that ‘three years’ is a typo, and that really, Moshiach is going to show up tomorrow.

When I’m not driving myself crazy with other things, I’ve been continuing to trawl through the Gemara sources and Tanach to see what else we can learn about how Hashem has typically used comets in the past.

Here’s some good news: There are so many instances in the Gemara where we find discussions of how Hashem used a comet to actually come and fight on behalf of his Tzaddikim / the Jews, and in this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some of those sources.

Let’s kick off with this, from Tractate Rosh Hashana, 11b, which describes how God used a ‘rogue star’ to cause Noah’s flood, aka the mabbul:

“In the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. R’ Yehoshua says: ‘That day was the seventeenth of Iyar, a day on which the constellation Kimah normally sets during the daytime – and the subterranean fountains normally become depleted.

“’But because the generation altered their practices to deviate from the natural order, the Holy One, blessed is He, altered upon them the works of creation. And He brought the constellation Kimah up during the daytime, and He took two stars from Kimah and brought a flood to the world.”

Here’s some more details about those two stars and the Kimah constellation, taken from the Artscroll notes:

“The constellation Kimah is a minor constellation located in the tail of the Lamb [i.e. connected to the ‘Aries’ constellation, which rises in the month of Nissan.]”

Why is it important to know that we’re dealing with a lamb (Aries) here?

More connections will be made when we get to the section, below, about Rebbe Nachman’s story called ‘The Bull and the Ram,’ but for now, suffice to say that the Israelites were redeemed in Nissan, the month connected to the Aries constellation, and were told to slaughter a Paschal LAMB by Hashem.

We also know that this ‘lamb’ was worshipped by the Egyptians (because remember, their pagan gods were all named for celestial bodies) – so the Jews were sending a very deep message to the Egyptians about Who really rules over the heavens.

Now, let’s skip over to Sanhedrin, 95b, where the Sages are discussing how Sancheiriv’s army was miraculously killed by Hashem as they camped outside the Jerusalem city walls on the eve of Pesach. (There’s that Nissan / lamb thing going on again!):

“The wicked Sancheiriv came upon the Jews with an army…The Gemara adds that this was not the only time a force so vast was marshaled against the Jews. And so they came upon Abraham, and so they are destined to come with Gog and Magog.”

According to the Maharsha:

“The three enemy forces mentioned here – Sancheiriv’s army, the army of the four kings and Gog and Magog were all defeated through clearly miraculous circumstances. Furthermore, all three wars represent turning points in world history.”

The Gemara continues:

“And an angel of Hashem went forth and slew one hundred and eighty five thousand of the campy of Assyria, and they arose in the morning, and behold they were all dead corpses….With what did [the angel] strike them? R’ Eliezer says: [The angel] struck them with its hand…The Jews who witnessed the splitting of the Sea saw the same hand that was destined to punish Sancheiriv.”

The Gemara is setting up a link between the ‘modus operandi’ God used to bring about the miracles of the Exodus, and the punishment of Pharoah’s army, and the way Sancheiriv’s army was miraculously killed. What is that ‘modus operandi’? Read on.

The Gemara then puts forth different options for how the angel Gabriel (God’s agent for this purpose) killed the Assyrians, with one saying that ‘Gabriel breathed into their nostrils and they died’, while others saying that ‘Gabriel clapped his hands and they died’.

Elsewhere in the Gemara, we’re taught that Nadav and Avihu died the same way that Sancheiriv’s army died. How did they die? They were electrocuted! The descriptions above also accord with the idea that ‘something’ disturbed the static electricity held in the dielectric air of our atmosphere, and channeled it down in a way that it electrocuted literally hundreds of thousands of Assyrians.

In 96a, the Gemara tells us:

“With reference to Abraham’s war against the four kings, Scripture states: And at night, he and his servants deployed against them and struck them etc….R’ Yitzhak Nafcha said:…the implication is that ‘night acts’ were performed on behalf of Abraham (i.e. the very stars in the sky fought on his behalf.)”

TO SUM UP WHAT WE’VE LEARNED SO FAR:

  • The stars came and ‘fought’ for Avraham against the four kings
  • There’s a link between how the four kings were miraculously defeated, how Sancheiriv’s Assyrian army was miraculously killed (on Pesach Eve), and the future war of Gog and Magog.
  • There’s also a link between Sancheiriv’s defeat and the events of the Exodus – with the ‘same hand’ being used to punish the Assyrians and the Egyptians.
  • We’re explicitly told that God took two stars from the ‘Kimah’ constellation to cause the mabbul
  • The Kimah constellation corresponds to the month of Nissan, and Aries, the Ram.
  • We know that the Exodus occurred in Nissan, and that the miracle involving Sancheiriv was also Nissan (erev Pesach).
  • We also know that there is a famous teaching that the Jews will be redeemed in the future, too, in the month of Nissan.

OTHER TIMES THAT HASHEM USED ‘COMETS’ TO COME AND FIGHT FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE

Now, let’s head over to Tractate Brachot, 58a, where there are some more connections to be made. There, it says (talking about Hashem’s power):

“Who performs great deeds that are beyond comprehension…and the strength – This is a reference to the Exodus from Egypt, for it is stated regarding the Exodus: Israel saw the great hand etc. And the splendor – This is a reference to the sun and the moon, which stopped for Joshua, as it is stated: Then the sun stood still and the moon stopped… even everything in heaven and earth – This is a reference to the battle against Sisera, for it is stated regarding that battle: From heaven they fought; the stars from their courses, etc [fought against Sisera.]”

That same section of the Gemara then goes on to talk about the fall of Rome, the war against Amalek and the war of Gog and Magog.

What the Gemara in Brachot seems to be telling us clearly is that:

  • God regularly moves stars out of their regular orbits, and the celestial bodies to fight against the Jews’ enemies.
  • When this occurs, it’s often referred to in Scripture as ‘the great hand’ of Hashem.
  • This ‘great hand’ showed up at the Exodus; when Joshua fought the Caananite nations; and when Deborah the Prophetess fought against Sisera.
  • There is a connection between these events, and future events including the fall of Rome, the final disappearance of Amalek and the war of Gog and Magog.

———

MORE REFERENCES TO THE ‘KIMAH’ CONSTELLATION

In case the links weren’t starting to come into sharp enough focus, in the very next section, Brachot 58b, the Gemara then starts talking about comets, the ‘Kimah’ constellation, and the blessings a person should say when they experience:

  • Earthquakes
  • Thunder
  • Lightning and
  • Tempests (i.e. very strong winds)
  • Rainbows

As we know from THIS post, all these things start happening in abundance when a large comet approaches and starts disrupting the earth’s weather and other things.

The Gemara has a whole discussion about earthquakes in Brachot 58b, that makes it clear that earthquakes happen because God is upset about the ongoing exile of the Jewish people, and that He’s shaking the ground in sympathy, as it were, with Jewish suffering.

I.e. – the earthquakes are on our side!

What’s even more interesting, though, is the discussion about the comets and the Kimah constellation. The Gemara tells us:

“Upon seeing the Zikin, one says Blessed are You… Whose strength and might fill the world…What is the meaning of zikin? It is a kochva d’shavit.

The notes explain that Rashi describes this kochva d’shavit as having a long shape, like that of a rod, while the Rambam describes it as a star with a tail – clearly, a comet.

“Shmuel said: The paths of heaven are as clear to me as the paths of Nehardea, except for the path of a kochva d’shavit, of which I am ignorant.”

The Jewish sages who codified the Gemara knew all of the heavens inside and out, as Shmuel attests. But, even they couldn’t predict the path of a comet, because (as we learnt in THIS post) a comet’s tail is always changing, and the amount of ‘drag’ it exerts on the body of the comet can radically change its course and path.

To put this another way, a comet’s course is only known to God, and is 100% affected by the actions and teshuva of the Jewish people, and mankind more generally. No-one can predict ‘comet events’ with any accuracy!

———

MORE ABOUT THE KIMAH (ARIES) CONSTELLATION

Now – no coincidence here! – the Gemara starts talking about the Kimah constellation, that we already know was responsible for the mabbul, and by inference (because it’s part of the Aries constellation that governs Nissan), probably also played a major part in whatever ‘comet’ experiences were going on at the time of the Exodus, and Sancheiriv – and maybe the other times too.

(I haven’t found any specific dates for Sisera’s defeat or Joshua’s miracle over the Ayalon valley, that we’ve seen are also associated with ‘stars’ fighting for the Jews. If you, dear reader, can help fill in those blanks, that would be amazing.)

Let’s get back to the discussion about the Kimah, and other, constellations in Brachot 58b:

 

“He makes [the constellations] Ash, Kesil and Kimah…. What is the reason for the name Kimah? Shmuel said: It is called Kimah because it looks like a hundred stars.”

In modern astronomy, ‘Kimah’ has been identified with the Pleiades star cluster.

I’m going to paraphrase the next bit, but feel free to go and look all this up for yourselves and draw your own conclusions.

The Gemara explains that the constellation ‘Ash’ is also called ‘Yotha’, and that it could either be the ‘tail of the Ram’ (i.e. Aries) or the ‘head of the bull’ (i.e. Taurus, which equates to the month of Iyar, when Noah’s flood began).

The Gemara then explains that ‘Ash’ follows ‘Kimah’ (i.e. Taurus follows Nissan) because: “When the Holy One, Blessed is He, wanted to bring a flood on the world, He took two stars from Kimah…And when He wanted to close the gap [in Kimah], He took two stars from Ash and closed it up.”

The discussion ends:

“Rav Nachman said: In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will restore [Ash’s stars] to her…”

Why is this so important to know?

Because Benayahu explains that God will take the stars from Kimah, and put them back in Ash, and then create two new stars for Kimah, in fulfillment of the Prophet Isaiah’s statement about what’s going to happen when Moshiach comes and the redemption actually happens, that: “Behold, I am creating new heavens and a new earth.”

IN OTHER WORDS:

  • It appears that the time that redemption / Moshiach is going to occur, is when Kimah / Ash are ascendant (Nissan / Iyar).
  • We now know that at that time, stars will once again be moving around the heavens in weird ways – two stars will ‘disappear’ from Kimah and go back to Ash, and Kimah will then have two ‘new’ stars appear in their place.
  • The last time two stars ‘disappeared’ and then ‘reappeared’ from Kimah, Noah’s flood happened as a result.
  • If the Tzaddik of the generation, Noah, had prayed for mankind to make teshuva, the flood wouldn’t necessarily have destroyed the way it did…. So it’s still all to pray for IN 2017.

———

REBBE NACHMAN’S TALE OF THE BULL AND THE RAM

Now, let’s take a look at Rebbe Nachman’s tale of the Bull and the Ram. You can read that story for yourself HERE, but here’s the main points:

There’s a king who decreed that anyone who wanted to stay in his land would either have to stop being religious, or leave.

Some left, many stayed, and the ones that stayed become marranos, or hidden Jews.

This first king died and his son takes over. He rules with an iron hand, and his ministers start plotting to kill him. One of the ministers is a Jewish marrano, and he goes to tell the King about the plot, and saves his life.

The king then swears to give the marrano whatever his heart desires – so the marrano asks for the right to wear his tallith and tefillin in public, and openly practice as a Jew.

The king begrudgingly agrees.

This king dies and is succeeded by his benevolent son, who is really into astrology, and asks his astrologers what could destroy his children. The astrologers tell him to be careful about a bull and a ram.

This king dies, and is succeeded by his son, who also rules in a very autocratic way, and comes up with a plan to conquer the entire world without war. This son also bans all bulls and rams from his kingdom.

This king creates a statue made of gold, silver and other metals [similar to the one seen by Nebuchadnezzer in the book of Daniel] and puts it on a hill, so that ‘all seven planets shine on it’. People start asking this statue what they should do in life (i.e. worshipping it), and by way of this statue, the king conquers the whole world.

This statue only has power if the king ‘lowers the haughty and raises up the lowly’. So, the king issues a command that all the privileges, rights and rank should be stripped from the ‘worthy’ people of his realm, including the Jew’s privilege to wear his tallit and tefillin.

One night, the king has a dream, were the bull (Taurus) and the ram (Aries) signs of the zodiac are laughing at him. He wakes up extremely angry and frightened, and asks all his wise men what’s going on, and whether its connected to his family’s tradition that they could be destroyed by a bull and a ram.

One wise man speaks up and tells him about an ‘iron rod’ that can dispel all his fear, and the king takes his family and sets out to go there. BUT – the road is guarded by the angel that oversees anger, and this angel is in charge of all the destructive forces in the world. Only he knows the path to the iron rod.

When they get to this angel, he directs the King and his entourage to go on a path that passes through a fire that is so hot, that a person is burned if they get within four miles of it.

The entourage looked, and they saw kings and Jews wearing tallit and tefillin walking through this fire. When the king sees this, and against the advice of his counsellor, he decides he and his family can also cross through the fire. They are burnt to a crisp.

When then counsellor returns home and tells everyone what happened, the Marrano has this to say:

“They were destroyed because of me. The astrologers saw something, but they didn’t know what they saw. From the skin of the bull, tefillin are made. From the wool of the ram, the tzitzit tassels of the tallith are made. Therefore, because [of the tallit and tefillin], the king and his family were destroyed.

“The kings who walked through the fire unharmed have in their land Jews who wear the tallit and tefillin. But [this king] did not allow the Jews in his land to wear the tallit and tefillin, and therefore he was destroyed.”

———

THE CONNECTION WITH PSALM 2

Rebbe Nachman’s story is connected to Psalm 2, which Artscroll tells us: ‘alludes to the encounter between the nations and the Messiah.’

Once again, there are a lot of ‘hints’ about what’s going to be, when the Moshiach is revealed:

“Why do nations throng and regimes talk in vain? The kings and princes of the earth take their stand and conspire together against Hashem, and against His Moshiach…He who sits in heaven will laugh at them and mock them. He will speak to them in His anger and His wrath, and terrify them….[Talking to the Moshiach]:

“You will smash them with a rod of iron, like a potter’s vessel you will shatter them. O kings, be wise, o judges of the earth, be disciplined! Serve Hashem with awe, so that you may rejoice when there is trembling.

“Yearn for purity, lest He grow wrathful and your way will be doomed, for blaze in a brief moment will His anger. Praiseworthy are all those who trust in Him.”

TO SUM UP WHAT WE JUST LEARNT FROM REBBE NACHMAN AND PSALM 2:

  • There are four ‘kings’ or kingdoms, and these correspond to the four kings who persecuted and exiled the Jews.
  • The last kingdom is Rome / Edom / Xtianity.
  • The kingdom’s astrologers have a tradition that a ‘bull and a ram’ can destroy the (non-Jewish) king and his descendants – but they don’t know how, or what it really means.
  • The non-Jewish king and his family are ultimately mislead by the angel of anger and destroyed by fire.
  • The non-Jewish kings who encourage their subjects to practice Yiddishkeit can ‘pass through the fire’ unscathed, as can practicing Jews.
  • The tallit (wool) and the tefillin (leather) are what mitigates the power of the ‘ram’ (Aries) and the ‘bull’ (Taurus).
  • The non-Jewish king and his descendants are killed because of the Marrano, i.e., the Moshiach.
  • The world’s leaders who are ‘conspiring’ against Hashem (and the Jewish people) are going to be smashed into pieces when the world starts ‘trembling’.
  • Anyone who’s at least yearning to serve Hashem properly, and to act appropriately, and to have emuna will come through the process OK. (And clearly, it also helps if they’re careful to lay their tefillin every day and wear tzitzit, if they’re Jewish men…)

———

I’M NOT PRETENDING I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT ALL THIS MEANS

Or, how it all fits together. I know there are people out there with a much higher level of Torah scholarship than I possess, and I’d be very happy to get more ideas or pointers about what all this may be telling us, tachlis.

But at the end of the day, God has been pushing me to get all this stuff out there, because some clear themes are poking through that if we trust in God, or at least WANT to trust in God and to walk in His path, we’ll be OK.

That’s not my idea or my opinion – that’s the message from Rebbe Nachman, the Prophet Isaiah, the Sages of the Gemara, and many other huge Jewish leaders, too, right up to our own modern times.

Emuna and emunat Tzaddikim (which includes believing in ALIVE Torah sages, and not just in Torah sages who already passed on) are the key to being on the right side of the comet equation.

I was really planning to leave the whole ‘Kochav Yaacov / Planet X’ subject alone for a while, and to write more about different things, but God doesn’t seem to be letting me.

I sit down to type, and all that comes out is….Nibiru! Idol worship! Star gazing!

So, instead of fighting the impulse, I’m bowing to it. I’ve been reading a lot of things in our holy sources that are directly related to all the ‘Nibiru’ phenomena that I suspect we’re all going to start hearing a lot more about, and I guess God wants some solid Jewish sources in place to damp down the paranoia, panic attacks and crazy conspiracy theories that seem to flourish in the wake of ‘Nibiru’, when God’s out the picture.

It’s crucial to understand that STAR WORSHIP = IDOL WORSHIP, and that giving the planets / sun / moon / comets ‘powers’ without connecting their effects on the planet (and on human beings…) directly back to Hashem is the essence of idol worship.

All those ‘deities’ we may be familiar with from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome (to name the most well-known) were all representatives of the planets and other celestial bodies.

Even today, the hard-core pagan astrologists out there have sites that read like NASA probe reports.

Whenever we fall into the error of being ‘scared of Nibiru’ – we’re effectively worshipping idols, same as our ancestors did when they used to offer incense to the ‘Queen of Heaven’ (i.e., planet Venus) to ‘stop it’ from ravaging planet earth. I’ll give you some more historical sources of this in a following post, but for now, let’s go back to our Gemara, Tractate Avoda Zara II, 54b (Artscroll translation) to see how our Sages explained this phenomenon:

“The Rabbis taught in a Baraisa: The philosophers asked the Jewish Sages in Rome, ‘if your God is not favorably disposed toward an idol, why doesn’t He get rid of it?!’ The Jewish Sages replied to the philosophers: ‘If they would worship something that the world has no need for, He would indeed get rid of it. But behold, they worship the sun, the moon, the stars and the constellations.

“’Should He destroy the world because of the fools?! Rather, God allows the world to function according to its natural order, and the fools who have acted corruptly will ultimately have to give an accounting of their sins.’”

A little later on in that same Gemara (55a), there’s a discussion about why the matters connected with idol worship / paganism often seem to be so convincing, as though they really can affect the world without Hashem, and predict the future:

“Rava bar Rav Yitzhak said to Rav Yehuda, ‘There is this pagan temple in our place that whenever there is a drought, and the world needs rain, [the idol] appears [to its followers] in a dream and tells them: ‘Sacrifice a man to me and rain will come.’ They sacrifice a man, and rain rain indeed comes. How do you explain this?’

“Rav Yehuda replied to him:…’What is the meaning of that which is written: ‘And lest you raise your eyes to the heaven and you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars – the entire legion of heaven – and you be drawn astray and bow to them and worship them, which Hashem, your god, has apportioned to all the peoples under the entire heaven!’

“‘This teaches that God smoothed the way for the idolaters to slip by means of stuff and nonsense, such as these deceptive dreams, in order to drive the idolaters from the world. If a person wishes to pursue the vice of idolatry, his free will is given ample opportunity to do so, until the point of utter self-destruction.’”

Again, sitting in our vantage point of 2017, we think that our ancestors were the most primitive idiots alive for ‘worshipping’ little stone idols and turning their backs on Hashem.

But here’s the thing: the ancients used those ‘stone idols’ as a way of ‘tapping into’ the power that really does exist in the Heavens, and that is the root and essence of idol worship.

For example, the pagan god ‘Markulis’ that shows up in a lot of the Gemara’s discussion was actually named by the Romans for the planet Mercury – and so it was with all the ‘pantheon’ of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

Even on a very ‘materialistic’ plane, the celestial bodies effect our weather, food supply, health and moods. On the spiritual plane, they can effect our destiny – if that’s what we believe, as the Gemara discusses in detail, and as I will BH bring in a post soon.

It seems to me that part of the test of ‘Kochav Yaacov / Nibiru’ is to not fall back into the same mistakes our idol-worshiping ancestors made, who attributed power to the celestial bodies that was disconnected from Hashem.

Hashem is pulling the strings in the heavens (and everywhere else).

To all the peeps out there who are trying to expect Moshiach every day without going bonkers, I thought I’d try to describe the paradox we’re all facing.

On the one hand, there is more and more evidence mounting that the world is about to see some very dramatic and apparently dangerous and destructive events.

We all know the weather’s gone cuckoo, that our personal lives are SO challenging in about a million different ways, and that the world really can’t continue being this fake, superficial, uber-materialistic place where God is effectively out of the picture for most of mankind.

(Even most of the so-called ‘religious’ people in the world often don’t have an authentic connection to God that makes Him really real to them, sadly including many otherwise observant Jews.)

Part of us feels like something has to change, and part of us even really, really wants that change to happen.

But then, there’s the other side of the coin, where much as we hate being enslaved to our i-Phones, and the internet, and our jobs, and our appearances etc etc etc, we also still quite like it all. And the idea of changing fundamentally, or having our lives change fundamentally, so that our souls really are in the driving seat and God is all there really is, Ein Od Milvado, is actually really scary.

Then, there’s the third element in the mix (at least for me…) in that I’ve been down this path before, and I really did try to live in that spiritual world for a few good years – until we went broke and reality dawned on us that if we didn’t ‘come back down’ into the material world, we were literally going to end up living in a dumpster.

I’m so nervous of that happening again!

I was wrong before, or at least, ‘premature’ before, so this time around, I’m really trying to not get carried away again, as God showed me clearly that we have to keep working, and functioning, and making teshuva, and having Shabbos guests, and cleaning our toilets right up until the last moment.

So, how do we deal with all the evidence the End of Days is really right around the corner – and is probably going to involve a huge comet / planet disrupting modern life so thoroughly, that NOTHING is going to be how it was before – which will lead to Moshiach, but also, potentially, to changes that are so big, we can’t really get our heads around them?

The short answer is, I don’t really know.

But at the same time, these are the guidelines I’m trying to follow in my own life, so I’m kind of ‘Moshiach ready’ (at least, as much as I can be given my ongoing flawed state) without going completely and utterly bonkers:

1) Talk to God for an hour a day.

This isn’t just a ‘Breslov’ idea, it’s the only way to really start internalising our emuna that God is real, and running the world. When there’s a big planet bearing down on you and / or WW 3 kicking off, believe me you won’t be able to fake it at that stage.

2) Avoid pointless speculation as much as possible.

Sure, it’s kind of ‘fun’, in that weird way, to spend half an hour reading about all the horrible things about to happen to other people, and about all the theories about who is trying to do what, and why. But how is that helping, really? Much better to spend that ‘speculation time’ saying a Tikkun HaKlali, or grabbing some face time with the Creator.

3) Work on your own bad middot, instead of dissing other people.

This is where I really fell down in that aborted post last week, as it’s SO EASY to project our issues (especially the more subconscious stuff we’re still half-blind too, and that keeps overpowering us) on to other people. Remember, the world is just a mirror. The more I go on about evil Erev Rav / crazies / horribles etc, the more that shows me I STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO ON MYSELF.

4) Avoid machloket and lashon hara like the plague.

It’s another tough one, especially with all the lies masquerading as truth, but again, what good does it do YOU to take a stand on other people’s issues? Who really cares if Trump is good or bad? Who really knows, anyway? And if that holds for things like Trump, it holds a billion times over for discussions about holy Tzaddikim. If you can’t say something good, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Your life seriously depends upon it.

5) Minimize internet, movies, i-Phones and Facebook as much as possible.

Yes, it’s half fun I know, but it’s still really just killing us all, and stopping us from developing spiritually. I have such fights with myself to stop wasting precious time on internet crud – and I barely read anything at all online!

6) Get close to the true Tzaddikim.

And this one is really the main game in town, because if you check back through all the ‘natural disasters’ and enormous events that the Jewish people came through in the past, they only ever merited it by sticking close to the true Tzaddikim, or Tzaddik of the generation.

  • If you weren’t tight with Noah, you drowned.
  • If you didn’t follow Moshe into the desert, you died in the plague of darkness.
  • If you didn’t rally to the Maccabees flag, you died with the Greeks.

And so on, and so forth.

If we stick close to our true Tzaddikim, we’ll be OK whatever is coming down the pipe, even if it’s miraculously, earth-shakingly ‘bad’ for the whole rest of the world.

But without strong emuna, regular hitbodedut and at least a desire to live a more spiritual life, actually doing that in real life is going to be really, really hard.