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For the last few years, I’ve kind of being playing softball with a lot of the bloggers, ‘rabbis’ and commentators out there.

But after I read the latest message from Rabbi Aharon Stern, son of the famous kabbalist Rabbi Dovid Chaim Stern, and a mekubal in his own right, I realise that it’s time to take the gloves off, here on the blog.

First, please go and read what he has to say, in full, for yourself here:

If you’re short on time, here’s the takeaway points:

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“Chazal tell us that there are things that the judgment is ‘signed’ because of them. When they came and took Rav Berland, and put him in jail – this was the cry that ascended to the Heavens.

All of this big commotion is happening because this Tzaddik (Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlita) is languishing in prison – in ‘bidud’ (isolation).

Hashem is angry….

Rav Berland is stuck in prison, and Am Yisrael is stuck with this Coronavirus.

We need to go out, and to cry out, until they free Rabbi Berland from the prison. If you have any brains in your head, if anyone wants to really save this [Jewish] people….

Perhaps, it was decreed that the Coronavirus was meant to be in the rest of the world, but in Eretz Yisrael, there was not supposed to be any Coronavirus.

EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING ONLY BECAUSE RABBI BERLAND IS LANGUISHING IN PRISON.”

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Rav Stern continued:

“We need to cry out to Hashem, and then maybe he will take away from us this terrible gezeira. But we also need to act! We need action!

If we don’t get Rabbi Berland out of prison, then Am Yisrael will be in a huge problem! Chas v’shalom, this can continue to worsen and spread.

I didn’t want to open my mouth, but this thing depends on us. We can save Am Yisrael, RIGHT NOW.

Even though these words may sound strange, you should know that I am telling you the truth.”

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Yesterday, I tried to go and pray at the Kotel, for day 23 of my 40 day prayer-a-thon.

I was stopped at the entrance to the plaza by a female guard – who herself was totally disregarding any rules about ‘social distancing’, and doing the usual flirting with the male guards thing until I showed up – which is when she told me to halt in my tracks (Achtung!!!!!)

Where are you from? She asked me aggressively.

I told her Abu Tor.

She repeated that literally four times, until I felt I should reassure her I was a Jew coming to pray at the Kotel, and not an Arab, because maybe that was the problem. Halavai. The real problem was that I was a Jew coming to pray at the Kotel.

A female Border Policewoman then looked over the top of the wall at me, (Raus!!) and started making veiled threats about Abu Tor being more than 100 metres away from the Kotel, and that I was running the risk of getting a 5oo nis fine for walking more than 100 metres from my house.

What happens if the grocery store is more than 100 metres away from my house? I wanted to know.

It’s ok to go out to get things like food, things that you need, she told me.

What if I need to pray? I wanted to know. Because believe me, I really needed to pray at the Kotel yesterday…

You can pray at home, she told me dismissively.

I so wanted to punch her in the face.

Thankfully, I’ve had a lot of practise now at squashing my more unhelpful Moroccan tendencies, so I spat out a ‘todah’ that was as sarcastic as I could make it, and turned around.

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As soon as I was out of sight of the Wailing Wall’s Wehrmacht, I burst into tears.

Come on, Hashem, I can’t believe this! I’m being barred from praying at the Kotel by ‘Jews’!!! How much longer are You just going to let all the evil rule the world, and to continue to crush everyone’s soul into the floor, Hashem?!

To say I was gutted is a total understatement.

They’ve shut down all the shuls, all the yeshivas, all the kollels, all the men’s mikvas.

In the chareidi world, there are THANK GOD still large pockets of resistance, and a great many people who really do believe in Hashem, and have the emuna that keeping mitzvot is important regardless of what heretics think about Coronavirus.

More and more of those people are starting to wake up and to protest the terrible evil that’s going on here, and they aren’t just taking all these anti-Torah, anti-Semitic decrees mildly, like lambs to the slaughter. (Where have I heard that phrase somewhere before?)

But in the so-called modern orthodox world, the ‘dati leumi’ world, even the anglo-Chareidi world? The picture is very different.

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Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who would self define as ‘dati leumi’, and she was telling me how she’s very scared the government is about to close down the women’s mikvahs. The conversation then lead on to how little protest against all these anti-semitic, anti-Torah decrees is coming out from the dati leumi camp in Israel – who are still more obsessed with politics than with Hashem and His Torah – and I ended up blurting this out:

All this Coronavirus stuff is really showing me who has real emuna and yirat shemayim and who doesn’t, and I have to tell you I’m seeing very little emuna and fear of Heaven in the dati leumi camp.

There. The elephant in the room had finally been mentioned.

And now it’s been publically identified, let it rampage around for the next few paragraphs.

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For years and years, I’ve been writing about what a huge Tzaddik Rabbi Berland is.

I wrote two meticulously researched books that set out first his history, background and Torah pedigree – based on thousands of hours of taped interviews with some of the world’s biggest Tzaddikim – and then the whole, corrupt ‘trial’ that saw him go to prison in 2017 for crimes he never committed.

Let’s be generous and say that back then, so few people had heard of him before the media in Israel started slandering his name and muddying the waters with outright lies and fake videos, it’s understandable that they could have been fooled into thinking the worst.

But that wasn’t the real problem.

The real problem is that so many people out there – even people who consider themselves to be fine, upstanding religious Jews – are actually up to their necks in lashon hara, slander, arrogance, heretical thinking and Facebook.

So when all those juicy Rabbi Berland lies came along, they swallowed it down so very easily, because it came from the same sewer-source they were already happily swimming in 24/7.

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Fast forward three years, and back in October 2019, it all started happening all over again.

More obviously fake stories by Channel 13,  more obviously politicised smear pieces and hatchet jobs carefully placed throughout the Israeli media, including on pretend-chareidi sites.

Hashem geared it all up again, to give Am Yisrael a second bite at the teshuva cherry, and to show them just how easily they’d been fooled by the same tactics the first time around, so they could understand how they – and so many people together with them – were duped.

Thankfully, many people had their eyes open this time around, so the fake news had far less impact on far fewer people than the forces of evil hoped. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that so many of us are still so emuna-deficient, and still so emunat-tzaddikim compromised, that the fact that the Tzaddik HaDor was sent back to prison on obviously falsified charges didn’t move us at all.

And so, Hashem decided to send a very big test along, that was really going to show us just how much emuna we really have, and just how much yirat shemayim we really have, and just how much true connection to kedusha and real tzaddikim we really have, and He called that test Coronavirus.

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The last couple of weeks, I have watched alternatively amazed and horrified at the ZERO emuna so many of our so-called rabbis and religious leaders have displayed, particularly in the dati leumi / modern orthodox camp, and particularly in the anglo so-called chareidi camp, especially out of Israel.

As these people have rushed to excuse and justify the closing of talmud Torahs, shuls, mikvahs and now even holy sites like the Kotel and the Tomb of the Patriarchs; and have rushed to pass new ‘rulings’ that make traif kosher – anything to go along with the evil people running the country, and to keep their own status and salaries – they have made it blindingly obvious that their path is not one of real Torah or yirat shemayim.

Really, it’s OK to do ‘Zoom’ at the seder?

Really, it’s OK to hold a ‘minyan’ via smartphone?

Really, it’s OK to tell people to stop going to mikvahs?

REALLY?

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Over the last few weeks and months, so many leading kabbalists and rabbis in the chareidi world have come out with strong statements linking the spread of Coronavirus specifically with the defamation and disgrace of Rabbi Eliezer Berland, as well as with talking lashon hara and spreading slander, more generally.

Most of the apparently ‘orthodox’ bloggers and commentators and news sites out there have totally ignored these statements, at best, and some have even openly mocked the rabbonim who made them.

When I wrote the Geula P*rn post yesterday, I had these people and sites in mind.

But after reading Rav Stern’s latest statement, and having been turned away from praying at the Kotel yesterday, I feel that veiled statements and shadow-boxing with bad is no longer enough.

So, let’s lay it on the line.

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What I’ve learned from all this Coronavirus saga, so far, is that the main reason why rabbis, bloggers, writers, papers, commentators haven’t been coming to defend Rabbi Berland is because they actually don’t give a monkeys about God or His Torah, either.

That is now as clear as day.

How can they close the Kotel, and you aren’t protesting? How can they stop synagogues from operating, and you stand there applauding this action on the grounds of health and safety?

These people are totally disconnected from their own souls, and from truth, and from Torah.

And that’s the reason why they are also disconnected from our real Tzaddikim, and ignoring and disparaging huge kabbalists and Tzaddikim, and slandering or ‘pointedly ignoring’ Rabbi Berland.

So really, I have to say thank you, Coronavirus, for finally ripping the masks off so many faces, and showing us all what we’re really dealing with.

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Four years ago, I wrote a whole bunch of stuff bringing quotes from people like the Milkman, and Rabbi Dovid Chaim Stern, which basically made it clear that Rav Berland is the last test before Moshiach comes, and geula arrives unmistakeably.

So many people failed that test last time around.

But God is giving us all one more chance to be on the right side of the spiritual equation, when the curtain finally comes down.

If you care more about your own social standing, your status, the State of Israel, or petty partisan politics which means you will only broadcast messages from people in your own camp who wear the sort of kippa you approve of, you are probably going to fail the current test involving Rabbi Berland really badly.

You aren’t going to risk writing a blog post pointing out the link between Coronavirus and Rabbi Berland being in jail on false charges.

You aren’t going to protest that synagogues and holy sites and Jewish life is being totally shut down in the Jewish state on the flimsiest of pretexts.

You aren’t going to admit that so many of the leaders and ideas in the dati leumi and anglicised chareidi world are spiritually ‘off’, and disconnected from real Torah and true emuna.

You aren’t going to accept that YOU are playing a huge part in the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, and the ongoing suffering it’s causing to literally billions of people around the world, because you are choosing to shut your eyes to our true Tzaddikim, and closing your ears to our real rabbis, to continue empowering charlatans who like to churn out more Geula P*rn and mislead the masses about the real reasons things are happening in the world.

And the REAL teshuva we all need to make, to get things to turn around.

If that’s you, I really don’t envy you.

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But if you want to be in the other camp – the camp that really does care about Hashem, and about Torah, and about mitzvot, and is really trying to make teshuva and to have some real emuna and connection to our real rabbis, it’s so easy to put yourself into it.

Just take a stand, publically, for the Rav, and either share something, or write something, or record something, telling your family and friends that the Coronavirus pandemic is only going to stop when Rav Berland gets out of jail.

Screw up your courage, and have some real emuna and real emunat tzaddikim.

I know it’s scary, but once you try it you’ll feel so liberated from the rule of tyranny that’s clamped down on us all in such a suffocating fashion the last two weeks.

All you have to do is say this:

When Rav Berland is released from prison, the Coronavirus epidemic will end, and Am Yisrael will be saved.

Right now, it’s so very easy to put yourself on the side of good and right.

And also, so very hard.

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UPDATE:

In the UK, I just found out that 4.5% of the fatalities from Coronavirus are Jews, while Jews make up just 0.3% of the overall population. To put this another way, there are 10 times more deaths occurring from Coronavirus in the UK Jewish community, than in the non-Jewish community.

This is NOT because Jews like to mingle and hug each other. It’s because God is sending this Coronavirus specifically for Jews in the UK to make teshuva. Remember this?

Meanwhile, someone sent me a text message that said this:

TEHILLIM NEEDED:

Brooklyn Rosh Yeshiva Critical

5 Town Rov Critical

Petira of Derech Chaim Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood

Boro Park Corona victim, HaRav….

Son of [NAME] Rebbe, Corona victim

Posek of Paris, Dayan, Moreh Tzedek… succumbs to Coronavirus

Principal of Beis Chana in Paris passes away

[Name] Rebbe of London niftar

First fatality in Montreal is chassidic Jew

ZAKA France: “A large percentage of victims are from the frum kehilla”

“What’s the chances, statistically, of all these frum rabbis dying in chul?”

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Also, let’s throw into the mix that so many of the communities in the US being quoted in the press as being at the heart of this epidemic are Young Israel, aka modern orthodox. And so many more of the communities coming into sharp focus because of the pandemic are also often very vocally ‘anti’ Breslov.

Do you believe in coincidences?

Because I don’t.

God is trying to get our attention, and cancelling our mitzvot observance to kowtow to secular diktats about what’s really causing this pandemic is not going to solve the problem. It’s only going to make it worse.

 

You might also like this article:

 

 

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…

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

====

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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This morning marked the 18th day I walked off to the Kotel to pray.

It’s been raining pretty much non-stop for 5 days here in Israel, so it’s hard to know how much the bad weather is keeping people away, but today -Shabbat – when I got there, I was like the 13th woman on the female side of the mechitza, at 8am.

That’s pretty sad.

But Baruch Hashem, the sun was even a little bit shining, the showers were temporarily drying up, and I had such a good feeling when I was touching those holy stones. I had the strong impression that things are moving spiritually, and that the dream of geula happening soon, the sweet way, is becoming more real with each passing day.

On the way out, I passed a confused French Lubavitcher who was looking for Kever David.

I was on the way there myself, so he followed after me, and asked me where I was from.

London, I told him.

You sound French, he told me.

A lot of people say that. I’m not.

The young French guy told me that all of his family are in France still, and completely uninterested in making aliya.

I’ve tried talking to them so many times, they just don’t want to hear about it. 

Then, the conversation turned, inevitably to COVID-19.

It feels like a big joke to me, he said. Nothing is really going on with it, I can’t understand why it’s a ghost-town round here, he said, pointing to the totally empty plaza.

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So I get to Kever David, and there is a solitary woman in there doing a Shemona Esrei. I get in there, and she immediately darts an evil look in my direction and lifts up the collar flap of her coat on one side, to cover her mouth.

10 seconds later, she left, clearly upset that I’d entered her space.

I rolled my eyes as loudly as I could, then read through Rav Natan of Breslov’s prayer to be saved from a plague, that someone has kindly stuck on the Kever.

Half way through, I heard someone come in behind me who was hacking and coughing away like a champ.

I turned my head to see who it was – and noticed it was the paranoid woman who’d rushed out as soon as I entered. Yet again, she lifted up the flap of her coat to cover her mouth – she really should patent that – and darted another dirty look in my direction.

The irony of it all. With her hacking cough she was 100% more likely to have COVID-19 than me….

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Anyway, on the way back from the Kotel, Hashem put the idea in my head that as I’m going there, BH, every day for the next 22 days, and that most people can’t or won’t have that opportunity, I should try to share my Kotel visits more widely with you, dear readers.

So, if you want me to ‘take your prayers with me’ to the Kotel, here’s your chance.

In return for you taking something upon yourself to help the Tzaddik HaDor Rabbi Berland to get all this Coronavirus stuff sweetened and over by Pesach – which is currently looking like an open miracle of the highest order – I will ‘take your prayers with me’ to the Kotel, when I go.

Here’s 3 ways you can do something to help Rabbi Berland get this sweetened:

  1. Recite at least 1 Tikkun Haklali a day (up to 7 a day)
  2. AND /OR Recite Rabbi Berland’s prayer to be saved from the Coronavirus, and send it around to as many people as you can
  3. AND / OR Say the stones on the ephod 7 times, as per Rabbi Berland’s request HERE.

The stones are:

אֹדֶם פִּטְדָה וּבָרֶקֶת נֹפֶךְ סַפִּיר, וְיָהֲלֹם לֶשֶׁם שְׁבוֹ, וְאַחְלָמָה תַּרְשִׁישׁ וְשֹׁהַם, וְיָשְׁפֵה

Odem, pitdah, baraket, nofech, sapir, yahalom, leshem, shvo, achlamah, tarshish, shoham and yashpeh.

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HERE’S THE DEAL:

In the comments section below, let me know what you’re taking upon yourself, then let me have the names you want me to add to my ‘Kotel prayers’ list.

Alternatively, you can send me a message on my comments form, too, including the same info, if you want it to be a bit more private.

People, we can do this! With Hashem’s help, we can get this to turn around, and stop all the pointless panic in its track. 10,000 people have died so far this year just from the flu. According to this site, more than 600,000 people are going to die from cancer in the USA alone in 2020; 840,000 die from heart disease every year, again just in the US.

Hashem doesn’t need COVID-19 to kill us, and it’s so important for us to retain perspective on what’s going on, and to not start to panic unnecessarily.

Hashem holds our lives in His hands, but that’s always the case.

====

In the meantime, so many more people kept Shabbat in so many more ways here in Israel than ever before this week.

The first (secular…) guy who got COVID-19 and then got released said the loudest Shema Yisrael you ever heard live on national TV in Israel.

More and more people are waking up and talking about geula and Moshiach as a real possibility now, something that wasn’t even on their radar a couple of weeks’ back.

Things are moving.

We are in a crucial time right now, and the next week or so is going to tip us into irrevocable madness… or see this Coronavirus panic fizzle out.

If we join with the Tzaddik HaDor, pray, and keep a lid on the panic, this can all turn around by Pesach, God willing.

So send me your names, let me know what you’re willing to do in return and let’s see if we can make this happen, BH!

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Confusion reigns about what is actually happening.

All week, Israeli officials have been hinting that we’re going to go into a full-blown lockdown where Israeli Home Command will be delivering food straight to the doorstep, and people will be totally forbidden from leaving their homes.

That’s what I feared was coming.

But now, Yeshiva World News reported that the lockdown that was actually introduced yesterday over the next seven days look like this.

(BTW, I double-checked back with the Israeli Health Ministry website guidelines HERE, and for once the reporting on YWN appears to be reliable. The original Hebrew version of these rules will follow the English.)

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The rules mandate that a person not leave their home at all except for one of the following reasons:

1) Going to or from work
2) Buying food, medicines and necessary products and receiving necessary services
3) Receiving medical services
4) Blood donations
5) Demonstrations
6) Unorganized sports of up to 5 people
7) Exiting a residence by an individual or people living in the same place for a short time and close to home
8) Leaving for a religious ceremony including a wedding or funeral or for prayers
9) Leaving to help a person who due to his age, medical issues or disability needs help
10) Leaving for a necessary reason not detailed in articles 1-9

Rules of behavior in public:

1) Keep a distance of at least 2 meters between people as much as possible, except people living in the same place
2) Up to 2 passengers in a private car, except for people living in the same place. Does not include a worker in an essential job.

Deliveries must be left outside the door.

None of the following businesses can be open:

1) Malls or shopping centers of 10 or more stores except for places selling food or hygiene products or pharmacies
2) All cultural institutions including discotheques, bars, pubs, event halls, gyms, swimming pools, water parks, zoos, safaris, petting zoos, bathhouses, movie theaters, theaters, libraries, museums and other cultural institutions, amusement parks, non-medical bodily therapy, places for holding shows and fairs, public boats, cable cars, nature reserves, national parks, heritage sites, and tourist attractions.

The following businesses can operate:

1) Restaurants can sell food to be eaten off the premises.
2) Places to sell food, pharmacies, stores meant mainly to sell hygiene products
a) The store’s management must try to keep people 2 meters apart if they don’t live together and mark places to wait on line
b) Avoid crowding in the stores and stagger entry of visitors

Any store not mentioned in 1 and 2 have to follow the rules in number 2 if they’re open.

Enforcement:

Managers and owners of a store or business who break the law can go to prison for six months or have to pay a fine.

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לאור האמור, מוצע לקבוע בתקנות באילו מקרים ניתן לצאת ממקום מגורים או ממקום שהייה קבוע אחר למרחב הציבורי:

1.    הגעה למקום עבודה וממנו, בכפוף לכך שמקום העבודה יכול לעבוד לפי התקנות שנקבעו לשם כך בנפרד.
2.    הצטיידות ורכישה של מזון, תרופות, מוצרים ושירותים בסיסיים או חיוניים אחרים
3.    קבלת שירות רפואי.
4.    תרומת דם.
5.    הפגנה.
6.    הליך משפטי.
7.    פעילות ספורט יחידנית, למעט במסגרת בני אותו תא משפחתי.
8.    יציאה ממקום מגורים לזמן קצר ובקרבת מקום, של יחיד או יחידים בני אותו תא משפחתי השוהים יחד במקום שהיה אחד.
9.    יציאה לטקס דתי, ובכלל זה לחתונה או הלוויה וכן יציאה לתפילה של עד 10 אנשים תוך שמירה של מרחק של 2 מטרים אחד מהשני.
10.    יציאה לצורך סיוע לאדם אחר שיש לו בעיה רפואית או קושי אחר הדורש תמיכה.
11.    יציאה לצורך חיוני אחר.

כן מוצע לקבוע בתקנות כללי התנהגות במרחב הציבורי שמטרתם יצירת “ריחוק חברתי” ומניעת הדבקה מאדם לאדם, ובכלל זה:

12.    שמירה על מרחק של 2 מטרים לפחות בין אדם לאדם, ככל הניתן.
13.    נסיעה ברכב פרטי, עד 2 נוסעים באותו הרכב. הוראות אלו לא יחולו על יחידים בני אותו תא משפחתי, או כאשר יש צורך חיוני בנסיעה של מעל ל-2 נוסעים באותו רכב.
14.    בכל הנוגע לנותני שירות, התקנות קובעות כי בשירות משלוחים למקום מגורים, המשלוח יונח סמוך לפתח בית המגורים ומחוצה לו, וכי ניתן לקיים שירות תיקונים חיוניים לבית מגורים.

כן נקבע כי אסורה כל פעילות מסחר, בילוי ופנאי במקומות המפורטים בצו –
1. קניון וכן מתחם קניות הכולל 10 חנויות ומעלה או שהשטח הכולל של החנויות במתחם עולה על 3000 מ”ר, ולמעט מקום למכירת מזון, בית מרקחת, או חנות שעיקר עיסוקה מכירת מוצרי היגיינה המצויים בקניון או מתחם כאמור: לעניין זה, מתחם קניות לא מקורה אשר סך החנויות בו, למעט חנויות שאינן מנויות בפסקה (2) להלן, אינו עולה על 10, יוכל להמשיך בפעילותו.
2. דיסקוטק, בר, פאב, אולם אירועים, מכון כושר, בריכת שחייה, פארק מים, גן חיות, ספארי, פינת חי, בתי מרחץ, בתי קולנוע, תיאטראות, מוסדות תרבות, פארק שעשועים, לונה פארק, עסקים לטיפול לא רפואי בגוף האדם, מקומות לעריכת מופעים וירידים, כלי שיט ציבורי, רכבל, מוזיאון, שמורת טבע, גן לאומי, ספרייה, אטרקציות תיירותיות ואתרי מורשת.
יחד עם זאת, נקבעו מקומות בהם מותרת פעילות מוגבלת בתנאים המפורטים בתקנות: בית אוכל ובכלל זה בית אוכל בבית מלון; מקום למכירת מזון, בית מרקחת או חנות שעיקר עיסוקה מכירת מוצרי היגיינה; חנות שאינה מהחנויות המפורטות בפסקה (ב)(2).

תוקפן של התקנות הוא למשך 7 ימים, ולאחר מכן ייבחן אם יש צורך להאריך אותן או לשנותן.

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This morning, I went down to the Kotel to pray – as allowed under point #8, above – and then went to the supermarket and bakery to get stuff for shabbat – as allowed under point #2, above.

SO, THE ‘LOCKDOWN’ IS REALLY NO DIFFERENT FROM HOW IT’S BEEN THE LAST 10 DAYS.

And if you look at that last point listed, #10, that permits:

“Leaving for a necessary reason not detailed in articles 1-9”

This still sounds like a pretty tame lockdown to me.

Is this a case of boiling the frog, and Home Front Command still intends turning it up to high heat over the next few days, a la the Soviet Union in its worst days?

I guess we’ll see.

But in the meantime, I got Day 17 at the Kotel under my belt.

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UPDATE:

Israelnationnews, HERE, has a clearer description of what’s allowed.

In plain English, it’s also permitted to go for a walk and a jog or do some other form of non-organized exercise; it’s permitted to take the family out for a drive in the car.

And it’s permitted for two people who aren’t related to drive in a car, too.

Don’t be scared, Am Yisrael!

This is all just a massive test of our emuna and our middot.

So pull on your walking shoes, and go do some hitbodedut outside in the fresh air for an hour. It’ll make a world of difference to your mood, and also your ability to cope with the difficult times we’re experiencing right now.

Just a quick post, to say that yesterday evening, Wednesday March 18th, 2020, the panic was starting to really swell here in Israel.

Even I was feeling it… Even the tough sephardi guys in Talpiot were starting to crack…Even people who really don’t get stressed about anything were starting to get worried.

And then today….

It feels like it all got sweetened.

It feels like the mood has changed, the cloud has lifted, the downward spiral we were heading into here at a million miles an hour has been reversed.

And now I’ve spoken to a few other people, I know I’m not the only one who is feeling it.

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The Mossad imported 100,000 faulty Coronavirus test kits that would have duly produced an enormous ‘spike’ in the the infection rates – simply because of the number of people being tested – and would have lead to total shutdown.

The government has been hinting as much for the last 3 days, already.

But now, that seems to be off the cards, at least for now. Baruch Hashem.

It’s starting to feel a little more ‘normal’ again, a little more breathable, I can still walk to the Kotel tomorrow, I can still buy challah for Shabbat….

So, what happened today to sweeten all this?

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Today, Rabbi Eliezer Berland appeared before yet another judge in yet another court, and the judge said that he should be released to house arrest, as long as he was accompanied by police guards and army guards.

Guess what?

Apparently, the State of Israel couldn’t find any police guards to spare.

Maybe they are all in lockdown.

So now, they are keeping the Rav in prison for another 11 days, until the next hearing on March 30th, in conditions that are mamash a danger to his life

And in the meantime….Coronavirus in Israel (at least….) got sweetened.

I can feel it in the air.

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But we’re not out the woods yet. So, please continue to do your bit by:

  • Reciting 7 Tikkun Haklalis a day (or at least ONE)
  • Reciting Rav Berland’s prayer to be saved from Coronavirus
  • Reciting the stones on the ephod 7 times a day:

אֹדֶם פִּטְדָה וּבָרֶקֶת נֹפֶךְ סַפִּיר, וְיָהֲלֹם לֶשֶׁם שְׁבוֹ, וְאַחְלָמָה תַּרְשִׁישׁ וְשֹׁהַם, וְיָשְׁפֵה

Odem, pitdah, baraket, nofech, sapir, yahalom, leshem, shvo, achlamah, tarshish, shoham and yashpeh.

These are all things that Rabbi Berland has stated are helping to tip the scales and eradicate COVID-19 from the world by Erev Pesach. 

And today, I think the tipping point in this crazy saga was reached, BH.

Thank God, for Rabbi Eliezer Berland.

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UPDATE:

Today, I got an email from Amazon officially confirming that they are banning publication of Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Prayers for Health, which includes the prayer against the Coronavirus.

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When you understand that it took two decades of concerted pressure from a large number of people to get Amazon to ban Adolph Hitler’s book Mein Kampf (which only happened two days ago…) you can start to get a feel for what’s really going on here, around the Rav.

So, with Amazon banning the book and the prayer that’s going to help sweeten Coronavirus, we’re trying some other options.

You can buy the printable PDF on the ravberland.com website HERE for $2, or the epub version HERE. We will also get the mobi (Kindle) version sorted out ASAP.

And then, it’s over to you, how you choose to respond to this Coronavirus epidemic, with fear and facemasks, or with prayer and emuna.

From where I sit, it’s a no-brainer.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

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Today, I read the following signs up at the Kotel:

“According to the directives of the Ministry of Health, it is forbidden to kiss the stones of the Western Wall.”

Every day I go at the moment, there is some fresh madness, some new ‘announcement’ designed to put me off from praying to Hashem.

My husband gave up on trying to find a minyan at Kever Rachel – where they are strictly enforcing the no more than 10 people rule – and ended up praying in the Sephardi minyan up the road here, where people are still shaking hands then kissing their fingers afterwards, like they’ve been doing for 2000 years already.

Then, I logged on to the news sites (which I’ve started reading a few times a day again, primarily so I get some warning if they decide to shut down all the supermarkets or cancel all the buses) – and there was a whole parade of what I’m going to call:

Headlines that get me worried

But probably not for the same reasons they are getting most people worried. Let me list a few of them below, so you can get the flavor of how the police state we apparently all live in – regardless of what country we call ‘home’ –  is starting to come out of the shadows

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Worshippers told not to kiss stones at Western Wall; attendance limited

Government approves digital surveillance of Coronavirus police

No more touching – your life is about to change

Health Ministry approves experimental treatments for coronavirus

Due to recent instructions from the Health Ministry, MADA paramedics had to shave their beards to reduce being infected with COVID-19.

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Puhleeze!!!

How can anyone take this seriously?

Two months ago, when the State of Israel started going after Rabbi Berland and Shuvu Banim, they said then that Shuvu Banim was only going to be the beginning of a war against religion and religious Jews.

With the anti-religious Benny Gantz trying to become PM by sucking up to the Arab parties – exactly as Rabbi Berland predicted months and months ago – that war looks like it’s heating up.

The last two days, I’ve been taking my kids to a load of different places, trying to get ready for the apparently inevitable ‘lockdown’ that the authorities here keep saying is only a matter of time.

Never mind that of the 7000 people tested for COVID-19 in Israel so far, only 324 of them have it, and of those only 5 are in serious condition, and NO-ONE has died here at all yet, thank God.

Regardless of the facts on the ground, the lockdown appears to be coming.

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So, while I’ve been running around trying to prepare for that, I’ve been all over Jerusalem, refuelled my car in Shoresh, and been all around Gush Etzion and also Petach Tikva. And here’s what I’ve noticed:

Way more people in Israel are adopting a laissez faire attitude to Coronavirus than are taking it seriously.

There are still cafes and restaurants open, there are still ‘non-essential’ stores open and doing business, the number of people in face masks and gloves is minuscule (but strangely, face masks seem to be far more prevalent amongst the Arab residents) – in short, most of the people I’m seeing are just not buying all the government propaganda.

And while that’s true generally for a lot of Israelis, amongst the chareidi community, there is even less buy-in to the idea that normal life and Torah learning and praying and going to school needs to somehow stop just because there’s another virus on the loose out there.

And so, the battle lines are being drawn, between those members of the population who believe the government – wherever they happen to live – and those members of the public who really don’t.

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We live in such interesting times.

Rabbi Berland is sweetening all this COVID-19 stuff at its root, which is why the next week or so is going to be ‘hinge’ event where everything starts to turn around.

Right now, the government can still get away with imposing draconian measures on the public by using fear tactics and manipulation. But if the number of new cases doesn’t get more ‘impressive’ very soon, God forbid, and if the number of people dying from it stays at zero, God willing, the Israeli public’s patience with the circus that is going on here will start to wear very thin.

And then, things will get very interesting.

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One last thing to add, for now, is that I think this current panic is just a dry run.

I believe Rabbi Berland, when he says it will be sweetened and over by Erev Pesach, however unlikely that currently looks, but I also think that then there will be a short window of opportunity to learn the lessons of what’s going on now, and to make plans to move to Israel, if you’re currently abroad.

Because the next ‘birth pang’ won’t be long in coming, even when COVID-19 fades from sight.

Remember that wave of antisemitic attacks that occurred in the USA a few months ago?

I reported an unconfirmed statement from Rabbi Berland HERE that said the attacks would stop until the 7th day of Pesach.

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Sure enough, as soon as I posted that statement up, the attacks stopped.

But I’ve been wondering about that ‘7th day of Pesach’ thing ever since, and pondering what’s meant to happen then.

I’m not a prophet, so I don’t know.

But I do know that unless this COVID-19 concludes with the open revelation of Moshiach, we will need at least one more ‘birth pang’ to move us forward, and it’s common knowledge that they get stronger and more unbearable as the actual delivery approaches.

So don’t wait for the situation to be as difficult as it is right now, with COVID-19, to make your plans to move here.

There will be another short window.

But it won’t be there for long.

And things are only going to get more intense from here.

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Let’s give the last word to Shwekey. Press ‘play’ and dance along, because what else can we really do, at this point?

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Thirteen days ago, I decided I was going to pray at the Kotel for 40 consecutive days, for the hatzlacha of a particular person.

I thought the main challenge would be finding the energy to shlep up there every day – it’s exactly a half hour walk to the Kotel, and exactly a half hour back, the perfect hitbodedut hour.

But with all this Coronavirus overkill going on, I’m starting to wonder if the authorities are going to let me keep walking up the hill to the Western Wall. Already on Shabbat, ominous tents appeared in both the ladies and mens sections, together with big signs telling visitors that no more than 50 people at a time should congregate inside of them.

It was raining – pouring! – on Shabbat, so I thought maybe that it was connected to that.

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The Kotel was a pretty forlorn place.

There was maybe 20 people in each tent, plus another 5 or so ladies standing by the wall. I went up, kissed the stones, prayed my ‘Azamra’ prayer on behalf of Am Yisrael, then stepped back.

Today, Monday, I got to the Kotel to find it festooned in yellow police tape. Basically, they’ve divided the plaza up into random squarish shapes, and hanging on each piece of tape is the message from the from Misrad HaBriut that no more than 10 people at a time should congregate within each ‘square’.

If it wasn’t so ominous, all this would be totally hilarious.

There were two taped-off rectangles next to the wall itself, so I ducked under the tape to join the 15 women (ooo, naughty!) who were already praying there, kissed the stones, prayed my Azamra prayer and stepped back.

My 40th day is falling out on Sunday April 12th – the third day of Pesach.

It’s a little hard to imagine how the world is going to look by then, but what I can tell you is that whatever is going on here, it’s being perfectly scripted and choreographed across the planet.

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I came back home to find my husband, who told me they have closed down all the mikvahs.

Then, I logged on to discover they have also shut down all of the yeshivas and kollels, too.

My first thought was: we are back in Mitzrayim.

When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, this is also how it started, the slowly, slowly approach that boiled the frog oh so gently that the Children of Israel didn’t even realise what was going on – until it was too late.

If it wasn’t for Rav Berland, and his latest message, and the fact that I know what a holy, kadosh angel he is, and everything he’s doing to sweeten all this Coronavirus stuff, I would probably be panicking my bottom off right now, like I see so many other people doing.

In case you don’t know what he said, his latest message said that he is working to get the Coronavirus pandemic totally eradicated from the world by Erev Pesach, 5780.

Compare and contrast that with the headlines on the news.sky website saying that public health officials in the UK believe this pandemic is going to continue on until Spring 2021.

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And now, let’s talk about more of the crazy things that are happening with Coronavirus being used as the excuse to basically try to introduce martial law, strip every single one of us our freedoms and rights, and to totally crash the economy in the worst way it’s ever been crashed.

I’m currently having an argument with my husband over *who* is behind all this, because he still feels that it’s just random reaction, as opposed to something planned from the top.

Who is the ‘they’ you are talking about?

He wants to know, when I tell him things like Trump and Bibi and just puppets, and that they are just playing the part, and reading the script they’ve been given by the real power behind the thrones.

But who is that meant to be?!?

My very rational husband wants to know.

And I can’t really answer that question.

At least, not yet.

At least, not with as many facts, and not with as much clarity and research as I usually like to bring to all these things, so right now, I can’t really tell him who they is.

Sigh.

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But I know they exist.

And I know that very soon, what they’ve been up to for the last 75 years behind the scenes is about to be revealed very drastically and unmissably.

But beyond that, I can’t speculate.

And in the meantime, please do yourself a favor and print off the prayer to be saved from Coronavirus that Rav Berland wrote, and say it yourself, and send it on to as many people as you can.

Because whatever else is going on, that’s what is really going to tip the balance in our favor.