That’s what I read, when I ‘randomly’ opened up a Breslov book called Hishtapchus Hanefesh.

Here’s a brief description of that book:

“Hishtapchus Hanefesh is a powerful work dealing with prayer. Rabbi Nachman taught that tefilah is our main weapon and that any challenge can be overcome.” 

I read that during a six hour hitbodedut session that began at 3.55 am this morning, after I woke up in the middle of the night and just couldn’t get back to sleep. I spent more time yesterday rushing around making sure I can make seder if the ‘end of the world’ descends on us before Pesach.

And then, as I was eyeing up the onions, and debating if I should buy another 400 onions to add to the 400 onions I already bought – because how am I meant to cook anything tasty if I don’t have onions?! – I suddenly realised that I have come to the end of my ability to prepare for what comes next.

I have no more koach to buy onions.

Or toilet paper.

Or tuna.

I have no more koach to write blog posts about what’s really going on, and why.

I have no more koach to spend hours listening to people pour out their troubles and woes, all the time telling me they are Litvaks or Lubavitchers, so they don’t believe in things like doing hitbodedut or going to Uman; or that they heard bad things about Rav Berland, so they don’t want to read any of his books or listen to any of his Torah; or that I just don’t understand how their massive problems AREN’T a result of their own bad middot, arrogance and lack of emuna, and so me telling them to make some real teshuva about these things is just insulting and unhelpful…

====

Right now, my 16 year old is still in bed.

She’s totally and utterly depressed by being forced to spend 24/7 in our house with her parents, and without her friends. And as a rule, I get on really well with my daughter, and give her a lot of leeway and respect, and also let her do things like build chicken coops and big bonfires in the garden.

But 16 year olds need their space away from parents – especially controlling parents who eagerly set upon COVID-19 hysteria as a great way to get their recalcitrant teen 100% back under their thumb – and so, I’m watching my daughter, and so many of her friends, sink into a terrible, Bibi-induced depression.

There’s so much I can say about the manipulation and deceit being instituted at the highest levels right now, but I don’t have the koach to do it.

Suffice to say that just as all the control-freak parents are doing to their teens right now – i.e. totally destroying their mental health and emotional resilience in the process of getting them back under the thumb with fear, guilt and coercion tactics – so the control-freak government is doing to the wider population.

====

In a minute, I’m off for my last walk to the Kotel.

Bibi et al have decided that I can no longer walk down to the Kotel – even totally by myself – and as of this evening, I will only be allowed to walk 100 metres from my home.

Bibi et al have also decided that my husband can no longer go to shul, or dip in a mikva.

Bibi is 70 – the high risk age group! – but is still appearing in public flanked by way more than 10 people, none of whom are following the retarded ‘two metre social distancing rule’.

I see the police at the Kotel Plaza, and no-one is wearing face-masks or wearing gloves, and everyone is hanging out way closer than 2 metres to each other.

But according to the media, synagogues are the main way COVID-19 is meant to be being spread.

Surely, what’s going on here is now so obvious that even the most dense person has to acknowledge that ‘something’ isn’t quite right in this picture?

====

I have an article all written up and ready to go about stats from Italy, amongst other things, that show that 99% of the fatalities there were over 60, and 99% of the fatalities there had multiple, pre-existing conditions.

But I don’t have the koach to put it up, not least because the Israeli government is now prosecuting people who dare to say that having 5 people over 79 (all of whom had pre-existing medication conditions) die from COVID-19 in Israel in the last month doesn’t add up to a massive death toll.

In short, I have yeoush.

What more can I write, what more can I argue, what more can I pray?

That’s what I told Hashem this morning, as I lay in bed also trying to fight off a gathering feeling of depression.

====

But then, I opened up Hishtapchus Hanefesh (siman 50), and I’m going to translate the full section of what I read, below:

For in truth, there is no despair in the whole world! And every person needs to go through many, many things, before he merits to enter into kedusha (a state of holiness).

Who amongst us is greater than Adam HaRishon, who separated from his wife, and sat in complete teshuva for 130 years? And precisely then, in those 130 years, demonic spirits came and ‘warmed him up’ [a polite way of saying they enticed Adam to spill seed], as our rabbis taught us. And of course, this weakened his daat (spiritual awareness) greatly each time, and of course the baal davar (the Satan) put one over on him, and wanted to totally pull him down from his spiritual level, each time.

But on each occasion, he got a grip on himself, and didn’t move from his path of teshuva, that he continued until he merited to give birth to Shet (Seth) after 130 years. And from him, the world descended; the Patriarchs descended from him, and Moshe, and the Moshiach. And Adam HaRishon himself was a tzaddik and chassid all of his days, and died with a good name.

And even though we still need to tikkun (rectify) his pgam (spiritual blemish) in each and every generation, even so, if he hadn’t got a grip on himself and strengthened himself to rectify whatever he rectified, then the tikkun (spiritual rectification) would certainly have been way more difficult to accomplish for the tzaddikim who came after him.

And of course, [part of the soul of Adam HaRishon] is also present in each person even now, because this is the essence of the test, that he strengthens himself during all of the spiritual descents, Hashem should have mercy, and everything else that happens to him. And that he should accustom himself every day to start afresh, and to imagine to himself that he was only born today, etc.

Whatever he manages to have the merit of rectifying by way of his teshuva is certainly very good. And that which he doesn’t merit to completely rectify will be guaranteed (underwritten…) by the strength of the holy Tzaddikim, who possess the strength to transform everything for the good.

But only if we don’t despair of ourselves.

====

Slowly, slowly, that message is sinking in.

I can’t prepare for every eventuality, I can’t fix everything that is still broken, both within myself and with my relationships, even though I’ve tried so very hard to do that, the last few years.

But Rebbe Nachman is teaching me that I don’t have to get the job totally finished.

I just need to do my very best, make the best teshuva I can make, then trust that the true Tzaddikim will be able to get the job finished, and to turn everything around for the good.

Personally, I can’t wait for that to happen.

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A billion, million years ago (aka, last week), I sent the draft of my new People Smarts book to get laid out.

Two days ago, he sent it back to me, and I uploaded it to Amazon. Then I held my breath, to see if the only books they are banning are by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, or whether I’m also now on the hit list.

Whaddya know?

They approved it within 24 hours, and it’s now up for sale on Amazon, as the paperback, with the Kindle version hopefully being available later this week.

That’s important, because Amazon has now stopped deliveries to Israel while all the Coronavirus hysteria continues, which basically means I can’t even get a hard copy of my own book. Such are the times we live in. But, once the Kindle version is ready (it’s being worked on by my designer, who is currently locked down in the Philippines….) it’ll be available for instant download.

Alternatively, you can also get the PDF to download, and print it off yourself at home, if you send $12.99 to my paypal here: paypal.me/RivkaLevy , and then drop me an email to let me know you want the book.

====

Two billion, million years ago, I was teaching the prototype ‘Crush Your Stress’ Masterclass for women, that is meant to go along with this book.

I’m still trying to get that course completed and uploaded. As you can imagine, all these plans kind of got totally disrupted the last few weeks. But, with God’s help, I’m still planning to get that completed, and then to figure out some live group coaching slots for any women out there who are hanging on to their sanity by their fingernails, and would appreciate some time hanging out online with other women to ‘destress’.

I will keep you posted.

And in the meantime, if you live in the US or UK, you can still get this book hardcopy, HERE.

It’s probably more timely than ever now. But I appreciate that few people have the headspace to read it at the moment.

====

The ravberland.com site is also doing a special offer on the Prayers for Health book at the moment, which includes a prayer to be saved from the Coronavirus, where someone donated 50 copies free, for the first 50 people who download the book.

Go HERE for more information.

====

And lastly, I highly recommend you read THIS, if you want to start doing something practical to get on top of the emotional, spiritual and financial destruction being wrought by the Coronavirus.

The forces of evil are using this whole scene as an excuse to shut down mikvas, shuls, yeshivas and Talmud Torahs all over the world, including in Israel. Every day, my husband hears more rumors of the police in Israel showing up at more Torah institutions and trying to arrest and fine even more people.

This is an unprecedented attack on the Torah, by people who are trying to play God and control the whole world with fear tactics and manipulation.

Mamash, I have to pinch myself at the moment, because I keep feeling like I’ve stumbled into some Kafkaesque nightmare where Jews in Israel are being threatened and punished for trying to go to shul… and for trying to learn Torah…and for trying to pray.

====

Three billion, million years ago, when all the police persecution started up again against Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim, so many people thought there was some justification to it all, however warped. At that time, we were told starkly in a number of different ways that Shuvu Banim was only the start, and that this was part of a much wider campaign against the Torah world:

When is the religious community in Israel going to wake up, and to realize that what’s going on against Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim is just the prototype for a much wider campaign of suppression and persecution aimed at the Torah world?

====

Barely six weeks have passed since the Rav was arrested for the ‘crime’ of doing pidyon nefesh and accepting donations, and now look what’s going on.

A couple of days ago I actually had a big attack of yeoush, or despair, at the situation, because if more of us would throw our weight behind the Rav, and add our prayers to his, and make the teshuva required for slagging off the Gadol HaDor, and lacking emuna and emunat tzaddikim, all this would turn around overnight, and Coronavirus would completely disappear off the scene.

But even at this stage, and even after we’ve seen the Rav make so many correct predictions of what was to come, and seen so many disastrous situation turn around and sweeten after following his instructions, and even after so many kabbalists and rabbis have spoken out publically about what is really happening here….

Most of Am Yisrael remain totally oblivious.

Sigh.

====

We can get this to change, we really can.

I sit here alternating between panic and emuna, because I KNOW that once more of us get the message, and make teshuva about all our arrogance, and all our control-freakery, and all our lashon hara, and all the poisonous ‘news’ we believed over our own true rabbis, the redemption process will start to proceed in much smoother, nicer way.

But until that happens, things are going to be really, really hard.

I’m already seeing what all this ‘social distancing’ and quarantine is doing to a lot of my kids’ teenage friends, and there is going to be a mental health epidemic that could easily see people start to kill themselves, if we don’t get this decree sweetened ASAP.

Tachlis, we can’t keep our families at home for another 4 months – I don’t think most people will manage more than another week, before they literally start to crack-up, emotionally and mentally.

====

SO, HERE’S A PLEA FROM THE HEART:

Am Yisrael, please, please, stop being so stubborn and arrogant, and stop believing all the heretical news headlines and false accounts of what’s going on here, and what the response should be to it. There is only one way to get this Coronavirus destruction to stop, and that is teshuva, prayer, and binding ourselves to our true tzaddikim, especially Rabbi Eliezer Berland.

If this doesn’t turn around by Pesach, as Rabbi Berland is trying to do, it’s going to be really, really bad.

That’s the reality.

And each one of us has a part to play, and a responsibility to fulfill, to put more effort into our prayers, our teshuva, and our hafetza.

PS: Baruch Hashem, I got day 21 at the Kotel done this morning. Hashem only knows if I’m going to be able to reach the 40 days, but each day is its own miracle.

====

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Despite the difficult situation we all find ourselves in with Coronavirus, suffering is still optional

Day 20 at the Kotel today, and Baruch Hashem, there were a few more people there than yesterday – like maybe 18 women in the whole, massive plaza, as opposed to yesterday’s 13.

This whole test is about controlling our fallen fears, and developing some genuine yirat shemayim, or fear of heaven, which basically boils down to having emuna that God is running the world.

In the middle of all this, it’s impossible to fake what you really think and feel about what’s going on. If you are still sleeping OK at night, if you aren’t consumed by worry, then either you are:

Still living in total denial about what is actually going on at the moment

OR

You have a lot of genuine emuna.

Here’s a quick way to figure out which camp you might actually be in: if you already stocked up enough food to last you over the next few weeks, including buying at least the basics required for Pesach, then you are probably in the last camp.

And if not….

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Stocking up with some essentials is part of how to get through the madness in one piece.

But a much more crucial part of how to not lose your marbles over the coming weeks can be found in lesson 250 of Likutey Moharan.

There, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov teaches us:

“Know: the sole cause of all types of pain and all suffering is a lack of daat (deeply internalized spiritual knowledge), for whoever possesses daat and knows that everything is ordained by God – that “God gave, and God took” (Job 1:21) – does not suffer at all, and experiences no pain.”

Rabbenu continues:

“….pain is very light and easy to accept when one is clearly aware that everything is ordained by God….[pain and suffering] will not be felt at all if one possesses daat, for pain and suffering are mainly on account of one’s daat being taken away, so that one should experience the suffering.

“This is the essence of Jewish pain in the exile: all on account of their falling away from daat and attributing everything to nature, circumstances and fate. This is what causes their pain and suffering.”

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It’s a profound lesson that is speaking mamash about what we are seeing occur all over the world right now with Coronavirus hysterical panic (which so far, seems to be far more infectious and dangerous than the actual virus itself…)

Later on in Lesson 250, Rabbenu explains how the Jewish people are above nature, and how our prayers can mamash transcend nature and change it, and then ties all of that in to bringing an ‘end’ to non-Jewish nations, and remembering the Jews who are sunk in exile within them, still.

Well worth a read.

But for today’s post, let’s come back to this idea that suffering and pain really only happen when we forget that God is in charge of the world, and is ordering everything that is happening to us and around us.

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What lessons can we learn from Rabbenu, about how to deal with the Coronavirus madness we all find ourselves caught up in?

Here’s where I’m holding with things:

  • I’m working on my emunat tzaddikim and emuna.

That means that whenever I start having a self-induced panic attack because I’ve read things by fearmongering heretics about this whole saga lasting for another 6 months, or lo alenu even more, 18 months, I remind myself that Rabbi Berland is working hard to sweeten this, and he said it will be over by Pesach.

And then, I go and say the Rav’s prayer to be saved from Coronavirus, or I go and say a Tikkun HaKlali, or I do a bit more hitbodedut, or I dance around for a bit and clap my hands – and like magic, I start to feel way, way happier again.

  • I’m trying to avoid sites written by heretics and fearmongerers

People are strange. We have this peculiar pull to hearing bad news, and watching horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, even though we know they are going to disrupt our sleep and give us nightmares for the next 2 months.

And this Coronavirus matzav is bringing that tendency out very strongly.

I realized a few days back that when I’m not reading doom-and-gloom predictions about economic collapse, 5G zombification and 50 million people dead, I’m actually pretty happy on a day to day basis.

Also, I can’t see any justification for these awful predictions in my dalet amot. People aren’t dropping dead on the street, I don’t know anyone who is seriously ill, and despite Bibi’s massive hysterical fit, the public ‘mood’ really isn’t so hysterical.

On some level, I think so many of us can feel that God is hiding behind this whole Coronavirus thing, and that however bad it looks, looks are currently very deceptive.

But reading news sites and blogs written by hysterical atheists (some of whom are pretending to be ‘religious’) gets me super antsy, super-fast. So, I’ve stopped visiting sites which are full of fear, emotional manipulation and ‘blaming statements’ about chareidim having blood on their hands just because they happen to still be davening in a minyan and learning Torah.

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  • My main response to this matzav (apart from panic buying essentials…) is teshuva and prayer.

On Shabbat, I did another six hour talking to God session, which really helped me to feel way, way calmer about everything, and way more connected to Hashem.

I’ve also started saying a prayer every single day to avoid speaking lashon hara and rechilut, and I’m trying very hard to let go any bad feelings I have about people, as per the instructions of Rav Kanievsky.

When I have energy, like on Shabbat, I’m trying to do 7 Tikkun HaKlalis on behalf of the Rav. When I don’t have that much energy (i.e. most of the time…) I made an agreement with my husband that we’ll split the 7 between us, and whoever had more koach and headspace will do more.

I’m also trying very hard not to go bonkers at my kids, and let’s face it, that’s probably the biggest test we’re all having, day to day.

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Trying to keep bored teens busy enough and happy enough that they don’t start ripping your house to shreds, or tearing holes in their parents, siblings and themselves is a massive challenge.

Like today, I saw that one of my kids left paint brushes full of diluted mahogany wood gloss on the new, white, downstairs sink. And we’re renting. I had a rant to myself for half a minute about how retarded teenagers can be, rushed off to clean it, then worked really hard to not hold a grudge against my kid in my heart.

In Israel, we’ve been in partial lockdown for 10 days already, and that’s a long time to share space with teens.

But I know it’s all coming from God, and that it’s just a test of my middot and my emuna, and that’s really helping me to deal with this whole situation so much better, and to remain so much calmer, and to turn the work inwards, into prayer and introspection, as much as possible, and far less into rants and unrealistic expectations about how other people should be acting and reacting.

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The last thing I’m trying to do is to just live in the moment, and to stop trying to peer around corners.

Right now, I have enough food to get me through Pesach. I have enough toilet paper. I have enough interesting projects to be getting on with. I have enough space that everyone can do their own thing without being in view of others 24/7, Baruch Hashem.

I’m going to the Kotel every day, which I’ve never done before in my life.

I’m taking the opportunity to smell the roses, and to stop being online all the time.

I’m baking cookies for my families, and even starting to plan a new painting.

In short, life is good.

Really good.

God is in charge of the world, not me. And the more I can remember that, the less I stress and worry.

====

There is a lot of stress and yeoush rushing around the world right now. It’s so easy to get caught up in the panic and the fear, and to forget that God is the only One pulling the strings, here.

When that happens, we start to suffer terribly, and then the situation can become overwhelmingly painful and scary.

But we Jews are above nature. Our prayers can literally change reality.

God is locking us all down right now so we stop acting like the non-Jews, and stop panicking about face masks, hand sanitizer and staying 2 metres away from each other, and turn back to God wholeheartedly. This is part of the whole process of leaving galut, both physically and spiritually.

And as soon as we really put God back into our picture, our pain and suffering will stop.

====

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Day 3 of the partial lockdown in Israel, and Baruch Hashem, no-one has (yet) killed anyone in my house.

What open miracles! What revealed good!

At this stage, it seems to me that the real danger from Covid-19 is not so much the pathological nature of the virus, but how much it’s empowering the police state to force me to try to spend 24 hours a day SOLID with my kids….

But you know what?

I’ve been practicing for this for months, if not years. For months if not years, I’ve barely had a single week where both of my teenagers have been in the ‘framework’ they’ve meant to be in. I literally can’t remember the last time they were both in school when they were meant to be, or both doing whatever else it was they were meant to be doing, that gave me a whole week ‘off’ home alone.

So, when this current phase of Coronavirus madness descended, I actually wasn’t so bothered. I’m used to my kids being around when I’m trying to do other things. I’m used to them playing their music at ear-splitting levels, and totally taking over the kitchen to cook weird things that apparently don’t come with lots of instructions for how to clean up afterwards.

In short, I’m used to hanging out with my kids, on their terms, and kind of ‘squishing myself’ into the sidelines, so they have the space and freedom they need to not go bonkers at home.

====

And at this stage of the game, I say thank God for all this practice, because it means we’re actually doing ok.

To help things along, I’ve been panic buying a bit more every day, because I don’t trust the government as far as I can throw them. Sure, all the supermarkets will stay open whatever happens….. yadda yadda yadda. Whatever you say, Health Ministry Ubermenschen.

And I also bought two live chickens…. And I’ve also bought some 2x4s for the people in my house that like to make things out of wood…And I also bought some crochet yarns and hooks to make kippas…and a cast iron pot to cook things over a campfire in case we mamash go back to the stone age….

So, we have plenty to keep ourselves busy with.

Of course, I’m getting pretty much zero work or writing done.

And of course, I’m cooking three times a day because everyone is home and comfort eating, so as well as lunch and supper I’ve also been baking more cakes than a conditoria this last week.

What can we do?

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This situation has definitely got its challenges.

It’s definitely got its stresses. But most of all, so far, this lockdown has had a massive silver lining for me, as I see just how much I actually like and love my family, and just how good God has actually been to me the last few years, that I’m in the position I’m in today mentally, emotionally and socially, with my husband and kids.

Imagine being locked down with spouses you don’t speak to or like very much, or kids you haven’t really spoken to for 12 years, since you sent them off to kindergarten, or three million small kids running around that usually the teachers handle because you’re at work drinking cappuccino and pretending you’re doing some real hard work.

Bweeoooaaahhhh.

I’m getting the shivers just thinking about those scenarios.

====

In the meantime, so far I can still get to the Kotel every day to pray, baruch Hashem.

In the meantime, the bakery that makes my spelt bread is still open – albeit everything is now pre-bagged – and even the hardware shop is ignoring the rules to keep selling nails, screws and wood stain.

Baruch Hashem.

And then, there are other kindnesses, too. Like, I remember how we were meant to sign on our mortgage 2 weeks ago, and the bank just refused to action it…. Just one of those ‘Israeli-bank-mental-torture’ things that happen. Except this time – Baruch Hashem! Because we didn’t sign, we aren’t paying for a mortgage. And because the whole plan was to rent that apartment out to pay for the mortgage – and everyone is now in partial lockdown – the bank’s torture routine has probably ended up saving me a fortune in time and money.

Baruch Hashem.

I have to say, in the midst of all the madness I’m feeling pretty happy.

====

Someone sent me a comment, asking if it’s OK to feel kind of ‘happy’ about all these birth pangs of Moshiach that are going on all over the place, even though things are so stressful and apparently ‘bad’.

Here’s what Rebbe Nachman has to say about that (from Sefer HaMiddot, the section on Yirat Shemayim, or fear of heaven, #28):

One who has yirat shemayim will not be afraid when frightening events come upon the world. To the contrary, he will rejoice.

So, it seems that how we’re reacting to this whole COIVD-19 hoohah is a pretty good measure of how much yirat shemayim we actually have.

And while we’re on that subject, let me just toss in #29 from Sefer HaMiddot here, too:

One who has yirat shemayim will certainly submit himself before the Tzaddik.

Because rejoicing in this difficult matzav we all find ourselves in, and submitting ourselves before the Tzaddik certainly go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one if you don’t have the other.

====

So, I’m up to day 16 of my 40 day stint praying at the Kotel, and I can’t really believe just how much things changed since the first day I began.

There are 24 days left to go – until the third day of Pesach chol hamoed – and who knows how much things will change again, by then

But I’m holding on to the Rav’s promise that all this will be sweetened by Erev Pesach, however unlikely that seems right now.

The footsteps of Moshiach are fast approaching.

But who knows how many of us are going to still be sane by the time they actually arrive?

That is the question.

====

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

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Today, I got an email from someone I’m close to who works on the Shuvu Banim website.

It was quite a simple email, hinting that there’s a possibility that the person could be arrested soon, in connection with the ongoing police investigation against the Rav.

My contact wanted to know if I could keep an eye on the English ravberland.com website, if that happened.

What can I tell you? I kind of freaked out.

I got on the phone to find out what’s going on, and I learned that seven of the Rav’s attendants are still being kept in prison – together with the Rav himself – and that another 30 of the people around him are due to be targeted by the police any day soon.

Where am I living?!? Soviet Russia, Pinochet’s Argentina, or a country that prides itself on being ‘the only democracy in the Middle East?

That’s what I was asking myself after that call.

Because when all is said and done, there is no crime involved in telling people they should pay sums of money for a pidyon nefesh, and there is no crime involved in receiving that money.

Everyone has free choice – it’s the whole reason why God created the world – and everyone can CHOOSE to believe what they want, and to give their money to whoever they want.

Rebbe Nachman defined free choice like this:

If you want to do something, you do it.

End of discussion.

====

(Btw, if you want more background about the spiritual concept of pidyon nefesh  – as described in the Breslov tradition – you can find that HERE and HERE.)

True, sometimes the pidyonot don’t work out as hoped.

Sometimes, you can go to the best doctor in the world, and then still die on their operating table. Sometimes, you can follow the healthiest diet in the world, and still come down with stomach cancer. Sometimes, you can force-feed yourself mega doses of Vitamin C, and chew powdered turmeric all day, and drink your 3 litres of spring water chased with wheatgrass shots – and still get COVID.

Why?

Because God said.

Because this world is full of hidden tikkunim and loose ends from previous reincarnations that aren’t obvious at all.

Because there are no absolute guarantees in life, except that one day we’ll all die.

====

What I want to know, is if the police are happy to go after Rabbi Berland for doing pidyonot, not all of which work, but many of which work miraculously amazingly well, are they also going to start going after all these doctors and their institutions who also make big claims that they can cure people for lots of money?

And if not, why not?

Even in my small bubble, I’ve heard so many stories of patients being charged massive sums by greedy surgeons for operations and procedures that still failed miserably, and often did more harm than good.

Where is the equality, here? Where’s the justice?

====

In the meantime, after that call I got a little shaky.

I mean, I’ve written two books about the Rav with my real name on them… maybe that’s also now an arrestable offence in the Soviet State of Israel?

Maybe, putting up blog posts pointing out the obvious persecution, and the obvious foul play and corruption going on in relation to this latest ‘investigation’ into the Rav and Shuvu Banim could also land me in the clink?

Who knows?

If there were real legal rules being abided by here, real laws you could examine and clarify, there would clearly be nothing to worry about. Remember, Israel is the only ‘democracy’ in the Middle East!!!!

One of the few silver linings of this whole horrible situation is that it should be painfully clear to even the most ‘anti’ idiot out there that the Israeli Police are politicized, corrupt, and crossing every legal red line you can think of. If this is not about the pursuit of ‘justice’ – and clearly, it isn’t – then it does get a little stressful, pondering whether writing a book and a blog post could be enough to get me thrown in the slammer too….

Hopefully not.

But I still got a little shaky this morning.

====

Sigh.

I wish all this confusion would disappear, already. I wish things would be easier, smoother.

Each day, I’m bowled over by something else to consider, something else to try to birur and clarify, something else to test my emuna and emunat tzaddikim.

I’m tired, God.

And still the madness continues.

====

UPDATE:

I just got this via email from someone in Shuvu Banim:

moments ago Rav Berland was removed form the police interrogation room in a stretcher to the emergency room, exact situation not known. He’s been suffering from heart problems… this is the second time he passed out during interigations. the police have him hadncuffed to the hospital bed even after undergoing heart cath. please pray and share the link.

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They’ve started up a chesed fund campaign to try to raise money to free the Rav from the hands of the evil Israeli government – pidyon shvuyim, but it’s beyond crazy that this is happening in the supposedly ‘Jewish’ state.

You can see the campaign HERE – and it has approbations from many big rabbis, if you want a very good cause to donate to.

Man, how much lower can things go? BH, I’m off to the prayer gathering for the Rav at Kever Rochel now, happening at 7pm. Please also say some tehillim, do a tikkun haklali, whatever you can, to add your prayers into the mix. We need all the help we can get, at this point.

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Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

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The last few weeks (months…) I’ve been fighting a losing battle against apathy and despair.

Most of the time, I feel like life boils down to playing the unwinnable game, where my yetzer is constantly tripping me up and testing me with new circumstances and situations designed to bring out the worst.

The last two months, I’ve just had so many tests to try to stand up, external and internal – and for the most part, I don’t think I managed so well.

The problem is, I seem to have very unreasonable expectations of how things should be, and how things should look, and God for the most part just isn’t giving that to me. I understand that the fault, the error, the problem, is 100% on my side. I also understand that I have a part of me that is a perfectionistic control-freak, and that getting that part ‘sweetened’ is probably at least one of my major tikkunim that I’m down here to do.

But sometimes, I still find day-to-day life just so painful.

It’s not easy to have face down your ‘broken-ness’ every single day, and to have to admit – to yourself, to your husband, to your kids – that you’re actually still a lunatic, despite all your efforts to blossom into something a tad less crazy.

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So, to come back to the last two months.

I’ve been noticing a strange phenomenon in the middle of all the apathy and despair that’s been winning out recently.

The more I can’t ‘do’ it, the more I’m giving up and letting God take over, the more things are starting to work out.

And I’ve seen that in a few different places now, so I wanted to share it as it’s giving me some chizzuk that maybe precisely in this low-down place of giving up, salvation can sprout.

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Three months ago, I gave notice on our apartment, to move out end of February.

The apartment is OK – it’s pretty big, pretty reasonable rent, and it’s in the very ‘comfortable’ neighborhood of Baka, where you hear English and French way more than you hear Hebrew.

The body has been relatively pleased with this apartment, but the soul has been stifling since we got here, and I knew that staying in Baka was not a good option, long-term. But finding a good, affordable apartment in Jerusalem ranks up there with finding the holy grail.

Property developers are slowly destroying this city, and making it a place where only millionaires from abroad who don’t want to actually live here can afford to buy anything. Everything they build is ‘luxury this’ and ‘luxury that’, so they can charge a fortune for it.

So, Jerusalem real estate is increasingly becoming ‘old, dumpy, mold-infested affordable’, or ‘luxury-sell-a-kidney-to-pay-your-rent’.

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Our apartment in Baka was a little dumpy, and a little mold-infested, but otherwise pretty OK.

Places like this are not so easy to find, so I was really nervous when I gave notice. The next few weeks, I kept scanning Madlan, and Janglo, and Craig’s List, looking for a reasonable apartment back closer to the Rav, in or around Musrara.

The only things coming up were in the ‘luxury and unaffordable’ range.

So then, I widened the search out to Rehavia, Shaarei Tzedek and Nachlaot – and strange to say, every single estate agent I contacted seemed incredibly uninterested in showing me any properties. I had one of my kids call up too, and she had the same experience.

In the meantime… the clock was ticking, and I had no-where to move to.

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Two weeks ago, after I got back from Uman, I told my husband:

We just have to give up on trying to live in the neighborhood we want. I’m just going to start viewing apartments all over the place, and see if anything clicks.

Because hey, we aren’t going to find a community wherever we live. And I’m not going to be able to ‘settle down’ for more than a year or two anyway. And instead of looking at all of this as another horrible experience to grin and bear through, I decided I have to stop complaining that I can’t get what I want, and just let God give me what He decides is best.

Shortly after that conversation, something came up in Abu Tor, a neighborhood that I would never have considered in a million years beforehand, and we went to look at it.

It’s the house of my dreams.

It’s two storeys, has a garden I’m allowed to plant things in, they just put in a totally new bathroom, including a bath, and they are in the process of putting in a new kitchen, too, which will be ready before we move in.

I don’t have to sell a kidney to pay the rent, and the landlords are also really nice people.

And that neighborhood is also interesting. It’s green, it’s got a village feel, and a view of Har Habayit that is simply the best in all of Jerusalem.

So, we’re doing the experiment, and we’ll see what happens next.

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Then, there was the whole mortgage fiasco that I wrote about HERE.

We are meant to be completing on the flat we bought in Harish end of the month, and for two months the bank has been telling us they won’t give us a mortgage again.

What could I do?

I think I used up all the tears on this subject the last time it happened, two years ago, so I basically just sank into apathy and told God:

Whatever You want. Mortgage, no mortgage, I don’t even care anymore.

In the meantime, we made some minimum hishtadlut – and three days ago we had a miracle.

A few hours after a friend told me she’d been at the Baba Sali, and had spontaneously said a few prayers for us to get a mortgage, we got a phone call from the bank that they were approving it, after all.

Not only that, they made a mistake and gave us a mortgage 1.5 times bigger than we asked for….

Which means that now, we can look into maybe investing that extra money into something else. It’s a totally unexpected result, and way better than what I was hoping to achieve under my own steam.

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Yesterday, I was at the Kotel with a few hundred other people who came to pray for the Rav.

What can I tell you?

We’re back in the State-sponsored anti-Torah madness that is even more unfair and even more patently evil than the first time around – and I barely have the energy to do anything about it. I made myself go yesterday, even though I was feeling so tired and apathetic about everything.

How are my prayers going to help? How can we stop this evil from winning, all the time? What’s the point in even trying?

But after all the help the Rav has given me, and all the difficulties he’s helped me to smooth out and pass through in my own life, going to the Kotel was the least I could do.

So I got there, and of course there are no seats. After milling around for a few minutes, I decided to go sit on my heels by one of the side walls in the ladies section, as I just can’t recite tehillim with any concentration when I’m standing up.

I told God:

If You want me to have a chair, God, I guess you’ll send me one. And if not, I’m just going to sit here like this and pray, even though it’s a little unconventional, because what can I do?

Half-way through the first tikkun haklali, a middle-aged woman basically ran at me with a chair.

Sit!! Sit!! She shrieked.

You can’t do things like that anymore, think about your knees!!

So I sat.

And I said thank you.

And I started to feel that maybe, this feeling of total apathy and giving things back to God is actually the secret to redemption.

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I’ve tried so hard to ‘fix’ things, in so many ways, over the last few years. So often, I sit here and it seems I don’t have much to show for myself. And honestly, that’s making it very hard to continue.

I’ve had days I don’t feel like doing my morning brachot, I’ve had days where I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I’ve had days where I literally have to force myself to do the things on my list of chores and commitments, because nothing gets anywhere, so what’s the point?

I have so many things to be getting on with right now, from packing up my house to finishing my course, to writing new blog posts, that I have zero urge to engage with.

But maybe, the last two weeks has been proving the theory that it’s exactly when we’re so totally despairing of redemption occurring, that it finally shows up.

I guess we’ll find out.

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“Mum, did America start World War 3 yesterday?”

That’s what my 16 year old asked, when I picked her up from the Jewish quarter after Shabbat.

Erm, I don’t think so….

I know America has been trying very hard to start a war with Iran for months, but each time the Rav manages to pull the plug on it. I know America killed some top Iranian general in a targeted killing on a foreign nation’s soil.

I know that if Iran had pulled the same stunt on an American General visiting Mexico, the US would have already nuked them off the map…. But the world has been conditioned to accept that ‘rules’ apply to everyone except America.

Why do you think they started World War 3?

“Stam. They are making jokes about it on my friend’s Instagram.”

The jokes on Instagram is how my daughter gets all the latest news. If there aren’t a million jokes in Hebrew about the latest threat / war / crisis, then absolutely no-one takes it seriously.

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The last week, I’ve been rushed off my feet trying to get this ‘stress less course for women’ finished, so I haven’t been keeping up on the news. Even so, I know that Jews have been attacked on multiple occasions in NYC, I know that Australia is burning, I know that the US is doing all it can to start a war with Iran….

Strange times we live in.

So much going on under the surface.

I’m meant to be flying out to the US in the next few weeks, to spend some time with my brother and sister there, and meet their kids. I hate leaving Israel, but I realized that blood really is thicker than water, and that sometimes, you have to go down to Mitzrayim to reunite your family, if only for a few days.

Just as I started looking at tickets online, the internet exploded with stories of Jews in NYC getting chairs thrown on them on the street, Jews getting punched, Jews getting machete’d, Jews getting shot.

I have to say, I got a bit scared. I still haven’t booked the tickets.

Then before Shabbat, I heard an unconfirmed rumor that Rav Berland has said that there will be no more terror attacks on Jews in America until the 7th day of Pesach. I am planning to be there and back long before that…. So I’m warming up to the idea of booking my tickets again.

But in the meantime, I can’t help but wonder: what is meant to happen on the 7th day of Pesach?

Assuming of course, that the rumor is true and that’s really what the Rav said.

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Last week, the corrupt police in Israel took the Rav in for 4 hours of questioning, so that’s at least one war that seems to be continuing unabated. We know from previous experience, that the ‘wars’ on the outside get transformed into ‘wars’ against the Rav and his community, and sure enough, that’s what is going on again.

Are we going to have a war between Iran and the US?

I don’t know.

I know that Rav Berland has been doing everything he can – for years – to prevent that from happening. He’s said, repeatedly, the wars will only be in 200 years time, even when the autistics were continuing to beat the war drum and predict Armageddon imminently.

But the Tzaddik is continually sweetening things.

That’s why the world seems to be so rudderless at the moment, because we passed the points ‘predicted’ for geula / war / something ‘big’ so many times already, we are in totally unchartered water.

In the meantime, the prayers continue to go up on ravberland.com, and the books continue to come out, and each time another Rav book gets published on Amazon, I have the odd feeling that another brick in the rebuilt temple has just been cemented in place.

But I could be wrong. It certainly doesn’t look like that, from the outside.

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When this course is finally done, I will take a bit of time and research what could be causing Hashem to burn up Australia’s coastline.

I have the feeling it’s connected to all those Nazis and pedophiles that Australia has been harboring and protecting for decades.

Like the US, there are a lot of dirty secrets hidden in the deserts down there, and like China Lake got put out of business by a massive earthquake on July 4, 2019, and the Bahamas got crushed by Hurricane Dorian a few months back, I have the odd feeling that God is now dealing with some Australian link in that particular chain.

Strange times we live in.

Each day seems more surreal than the last.

Like so many other people, I’m trying to put my head down and mostly ignore the news, because honestly? No-one has any idea of what tomorrow might bring right now. Except Rabbi Berland, and he’s keeping his cards very close to his chest.

But one thing he has been mentioning is how the Maccabean leaders of Israel died immediately, one after the other, as soon as they made some sort of ‘agreement’ with the Romans or Greeks of their time.

And we know who the Romans and Greeks of our time is, and also, who has probably made an agreement with them. So that’s definitely an interesting angle to watch.

Life is disjointed at the moment, and I guess that’s reflecting in this post.

There’s so much going on, under the surface.

And none of us knows, really, where all this is heading.

So all we can do is keep praying.

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

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

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

Where did that approach get me?

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

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

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

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

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

I’m pondering that a lot at the moment.

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

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

Honestly.

So much effort, for so little anything much.

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

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

And for two weeks, I didn’t know why.

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

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

I totally loved interacting with those women.

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

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

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

And that’s when it hit me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I was so stoked yesterday, to teach those classes.

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

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

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

I’m retiring from that field.

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

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

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

I have to say, I’m pretty excited.

TBC

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