Even when the body is being locked down, our souls can still join together this Rosh Hashana.

Man, it’s been a tough day mentally today.

Word on the street is that despite Ron Lauder getting involved (!) to send a letter to the Ukrainian PM Zelensky telling him just how important Uman, Rosh Hashana is for Breslov chassidut (!), the answer is still a nyet for those amazing Jews stuck in no-mans-land at the Gomel crossing in Belarus.

There are no coincidences in the world, and it is totally no coincidence that those amazing, emuna-dik Jews have been dancing and praying with tremendous kavana (and also sleeping rough outside with very little food for 3 nights…) in Gomel.

This comes from the myjewishlearning website:

Birkat Hagomel (pronounced beer-KHAT hah-GOH-mel), sometimes known as “benching gomel,” is commonly said after recovering from serious illness but can also be recited in gratitude for completing a dangerous journey.

This blessing for deliverance is typically recited in the presence of a minyan, or prayer quorum, often in the synagogue following an aliyah to the Torah.

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My take on this is that the tremendous mesirut nefesh of those 1,000 (plus 1,500 others, also stuck in Belarus but not at the Gomel crossing) has helped the world ‘recover’ from the ‘serious illness’ that has plaguing us all year, COVID-1984, and has also helped the Jewish people to finally complete the ‘dangerous journey’ that has been our 2,000 year long exile.

The amount of bizayon and suffering they went through is indescribable, and in their zchut the geula is coming fast, and the sweet way.

But still, it’s so sad that apparently they aren’t going to make it here for Rosh Hashana 5781 after all.

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Then, there’s the heavy-handed police presence all over Pushkina that I wrote about HERE, that is making me and half the rest of my family feel like we just don’t want to go outside. At all.

But I have Rosh Hashana to prepare, so this morning I went with half my family in a taxi to a local super, to pick up the rest of what’s required to actually make yom tov.

The supermarket trip was surprisingly chilled and nice (outside the police state of Pushkina, it’s way, way more relaxed in every way).

But then, we got stopped coming back along Pushkina by a posse of 4 Ukrainian policemen, asking us for our papers.

We didn’t have our passports on us, so one of the policemen decided to get into the taxi – he practically sat on my lap, until the driver told him that Jews don’t hold by that sort of behavior, so he made a bit more space for me. Soo thoughtful….

Then, we get back to where we’re staying, we show him the passports clearly stamped with ‘August 28th’ – the last day a tourist could legally get into Ukraine for Uman, without special permission from the government – and then he starts Google translating questions in English like:

But you are women. Women not allowed here.

I thought his translation was off, so I tried to ask him what he was really trying to say.

Women not allowed here.

He typed back.

At that point – just before my blood pressure zoomed off through the roof, because what, after all this I’m going to get deported from Ukraine for being a woman?!?!? – one of the men in the household who knows a little Ukrainian told him da, da, women OK here.

Once he heard it from a man, the police guy took his mask off, asked for a cup of tea and then started joking about whether we’d poisoned it.

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Two minutes later, he left.

And then I had another mini nervous breakdown because I already haven’t slept for 2 days in a row, for reasons not entirely obvious to me, and I’m not eating so much here, and I literally felt I was going to fall over.

I need a falafel, something, I moaned to my husband.

So we went down the street, and saw black-masked police stopping the 3 1/2 Jews on the street very few minutes to ask them for their documents.

There were also at least 3 local Ukrainian TV crews trying to get shots of Jews looking like disease-carrying COVID-1984 hotspots, and I felt pretty uncomfortable when I realised one cameraman had his lens focused on me. I pulled a really gross face, then started waving to the camera like he was my mum, or something.

That embarassed him enough to move another 500 metres down the road, away from me.

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I came home and just felt so miserable about everything that is going on right now, both in Uman and Israel and everywhere else.

After the falafel, I went to bed to do some quiet hitbodedut for an hour, as the Tziyon is now closed to women.

I felt much calmer afterwards, although still a bit shaky and exhausted.

My middot are just really not up to this test. At all. And we’re still in the middle of the test, with no obvious end in site.

Then my husband came back from the kever, and told me with obvious surprise:

They took the snake away. The Kever is pretty much back to normal again. There are people davening there and praying there again.

I was so pleased.

At least that.

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Then, I went over to the Breslovnews.com website, which is in English, and I read this article, which really spoke to me about the ‘test’ that we’re all going through right now, especially in the Breslov community:

When I reflect on the insanity of the current situation and the multifarious experiences centered around the issue of Uman 2020 within the Breslov world, I get the feeling that Rabbeinu HaKadosh is putting us to the test here, each of us in our own way – granting us all a glorious opportunity to put various facets of his teachings to work.

The author then lists about 15 different tests related to staying at home for Rosh Hashana 5781, or trying to get here, and succeeding or failing, and lists different teachings from Rabbenu that are linked to each one. It gave me so much chizzuk to read it, and I’ve asked permission to reprint the whole article here. But in the meantime, you can go to the Breslovnews site and read it in situ.

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Then I read about the global Tikkun Haklali, which is recited every Erev Rosh Hashana in Uman, and will be read again tomorrow too, at 12pm Israel time, 5am New York Time.

I will be your shaliach here, for that Tikkun Haklali.

Just be sure to recite it wherever you happen to be, at the same time, and have in mind that I’m your shaliach in Uman for that prayer, and God will consider it as though you said it here.

Even though the forces of evil have mamash succeeded in keeping us all apart on the physical plane, in so many different ways, tomorrow we can still have spiritual achdut.

We can still join together in prayer, each in our own little corner, and bind ourselves to the tzaddik and to Hashem, and to the kibbutz here in Uman.

The Tikkun Klali in Uman will be broadcast live tomorrow here:

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Gosh, I can’t wait to be rid of this difficult year.

BH, 5781 will be so much better.

We will be rescued from all serious illnesses and dangerous journeys, and moshiach and geula will finally unfurl the sweet way.

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Let me end by asking forgiveness for anything I wrote here that upset any of my readers in any way.

I’m definitely still a work in progress, and my middot are sometimes really bad, sorry.

Also, I forgive anyone and everyone unconditionally for anything they said or did to me this year, including the a-holes that hacked my site.

I forgive you!

And may we all have a sweet, blessed 5781.

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UPDATE:

I got permission from the Breslovnews.com website to republish the article in full. Here it is:

By Reb Yaakov Klein of the Lost Princess Initiative – The Lost Princess Initiative

I know that people feel very passionately about the subject at hand. I have listened to and processed many of the arguments on both sides, having been back, and forth, and then back again myself. At the end of the day, I don’t know whether there is a clear “right” or “wrong” on the Uman issue. As R’ Chaim Kramer put it, “I can’t tell you to go and I won’t tell you not to go.” To my knowledge, there is no prophet in this generation who can definitively tell us one way or another. A person who approaches the conversation with an open mind will find that there are plenty of fair points on either side. But without trying to answer The Question of “what is one to do” – something Rebbe Nachman himself always shied away from (see Chayei Moharan 430) – the reality is that by virtue of the varied opinions, propensities, proclivities, circumstances, and personal feelings on the matter, the “Uman-goers” have been divided into many camps this year.

When I reflect on the insanity of the current situation and the multifarious experiences centered around the issue of Uman 2020 within the Breslov world, I get the feeling that Rabbeinu HaKadosh is putting us to the test here, each of us in our own way – granting us all a glorious opportunity to put various facets of his teachings to work.

– Those who feel compelled to travel at all costs are being charged with “conquering Hashem” by not capitulating to His decree (Sichos HaRan 69 and Likutei Moharan 124), and doing their utmost to overcome any barriers that stand in their way. (Likutei Moharan Tinyana 46, 48)

– Those who travel only to be turned back are being charged with rejoicing in the knowledge that they tried their best and that the main thing is the desire. (Sichos HaRan 12)

– Those who feel that this is simply not the year to go to Uman must hold firm to the tzaddik’s declarations that “fanaticism is not necessary”, and that “even while acting with simplicity, it is forbidden to be a fool,” (Sichos HaRan 51) as well as his teachings against obstinacy. (Chayei Moharan 431)

– Those who have sacrificed to spend Rosh Hashana with Rabbeinu and indeed managed, with great personal difficulty, to arrive in Uman must try their best to judge favorably those that didn’t even make an attempt, seeking to find the good points even in what – from their perspective – represents a gross miscalculation. (Likutei Moharan 282.)

– Those stuck between borders, faced with lines of impassive soldiers with riot gear as their children cry for water, are charged with finding the presence of Hashem even in the dark clouds of their suffering. (Likutei Moharan 33, 115, 195)

– Those who endure unspeakable waiting times along their travels to the resting place of our Rebbe are granted an opportunity to fulfill the teaching of “Hamtein”, putting their Breslover patience to work. (Likutei Moharan 6)

– Those who will, for the first time in decades, be spending Rosh Hashana away from Rabbeinu’s kibbutz and far removed from the spirit of the Breslover chassidim, must try their very best to remain joyous within their situation (Likutei Moharan Tinyana 24), hold tight to their faith in Hashem’s hashgacha (Likutei Moharan 250), and think only positive thoughts on Rosh Hashana. (Sichos HaRan 21)

– Those who are utterly confused, frustrated, and angry over this issue and can’t seem to find Hashem in any of this are charged with putting the Rebbe’s lesson of “Ayeh” to the test (Likutei Moharan Tinyana 12) and allowing the tzaddik’s silent songs of faith to reveal Hashem’s presence within the void. (Likutei Moharan 64)

– Those who will be joining together with other Breslover chassidim in special minyanim throughout the world are given the opportunity to truly believe that – as Reb Nosson taught – wherever Breslover chassidim gather, Rebbe Nachman’s spirit hovers upon them.

– Those who have been subject to ridicule by those who can’t possibly understand the unique Breslover Consciousness are charged with remaining silent in their experience of shame (Likutei Moharan 6) and judging the bullies favorably. (Likutei Moharan 277)

– Those who find themselves in the strangest, most God-forsaken places along their journey toward the place of their yearning are given the opportunity to remember that wherever a person travels, there is something for him to fix in that specific place. (Sichos HaRan 85)

– All are charged with taking responsibility for the collective suffering of our world (Likutei Moharan 4), with calling out to Hashem in personal prayer to request the final redemption (Likutei Moharan Tinyana 25), and with dancing the broken-hearted dance of humility to sweeten the judgments (Likutei Moharan 10).

– All are charged with crying tears of hope and joy (Likutei Moharan 175), believing that no matter where we might end up this Rosh Hashana, that’s exactly where we were supposed to be – because this is all part of Hashem’s master-plan. Like puppets in the hand of the master Puppeteer, all we know is that in the end it will be good, because despite all outward appearances, Hashem is running the world “better and better” all the time. (Sichos HaRan 307)

– All are charged with feeling the sheer power of this particular tzaddik’s spiritual-gravitational pull on thousands of souls in our generation (Likutei Moharan 70) – to the point that many were compelled to make sacrifices that so infuriated others solely because this degree of commitment to a cause (something they are personally unable to fathom) makes them a bit more uncomfortable than they are willing to admit.

In sum, we are once again experiencing the realization of Rebbe Nachman’s promise that “I will make you into many groups.” (Chayei Moharan 319) But at the end of the day, no matter where you stand on this glorious spectrum of heated debate and sensitivity, we are all bound with the spirit of this singular tzaddik whose life-giving waters flow in a great many directions. So no matter where we find ourselves this Rosh Hashana, let’s hold tight to these teachings with great joy and unity, roaring like animals in the field – as Rabbeinu wanted – for a time when the light of Hashem and His tzaddikim will envelop the world in a wondrous blanket of illumination with the coming of Moshiach, b’mheira b’yameinu.

ASHREINU!

 

5 replies
  1. Darin Sunley
    Darin Sunley says:

    Thank you for being my shaliach for the Tikkun Haklali! I joined you in it at 3 am, US Mountain time, on the morning of September 18. from Salt Lake City, and promptly made a donation to Shuvu Banim upon completion!

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  2. Glenn
    Glenn says:

    Thank you Rivka, B’H for the opportunity for several of my family members to join in this global Tikkun Klali, this was early for us, lol. A great way to help prepare for Rosh Hashanah! It has been a rough year, so many challenges to strengthen emuna for sure. We are almost to the finish line!

    Reply

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