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Around three years ago, a new face appeared amongst Jerusalem’s ‘bag men’.

Those people who sleep rough in the Holy City. This new face stood out, because it belonged to a fairly young man who began his journey into madness and destitution wearing Nike trainers and looking like a male model. It happens not infrequently that some visitors to the Holy City, especially younger men, spend a night or two sleeping rough on one of the benches dotted around.

Usually, they’ve run out of money before the plane home, although sometimes, it can also happen to people who live here more permanently. The crime rate is so low, even in a big city like Jerusalem, and the weather for 7-8 months a year is so warm, that sleeping outside on a bench is not a terrible option.

So, the first few weeks I saw this young man asleep on a bench, I figured he was a student, a backpacker, a tourist, who’d run out of cash and was just waiting for his plane home.

He had a large knitted kippa on his head, and a straggly beard together with his long blonde hair, so I had him pegged as a new baal teshuva from America, or some place similar.

Maybe, he’s found God and his parents back home are upset and have cut off the funding…

That’s what I thought, the first few weeks I saw him sleeping rough.

Then, he went off the radar for a while, and I forgot all about him.

A year later, I saw him again – and this time, he was wearing an outfit made entirely of black bin bags, that he’d turned into some sort of suit. He even had bin bags wrapped, and wrapped again, around his feet, like a cheap copy of the shoes worn by mine zappers.

The beard was longer, and there was a wild look in his eyes that signaled that the madness had completely taken over, and dragged him down to that place of searching trash cans for the recyclable bottles that were going to buy him a meal.

I felt so sorry for him.

But what could I do? Honestly, he looked a bit scary at that point, and I wasn’t so close to him, to go over to try and speak to him or give him some money. And he wasn’t asking for money – if anything, he was giving off a mad, proud vibe that he was some sort of independent hunter-gatherer, spearing one old coke bottle after another, for supper.

No-one should get in the way!!!

That’s the vibe I got, as he stalked over to one trash can after another, a look of intense concentration on his face.

The next time I saw him, I was in the car and he was speed walking along the pavement by the trempiada leading out Jerusalem. Again, he had that fixed, mad determined look on his face, in a rush to get somewhere fast. His clothes had deteriorated even more – he was wearing some sort of loin cloth made of supermarket plastic, and another plastic bag on his head that he’d fashioned into some sort of head-covering.

The bags on his feet were gone, and with his long blonde hair and beard, he looked for all the world like the poster boy for an ecological apocalypse.

My heart went out to him. I couldn’t stop the car, I couldn’t pull over, but I decided there and then, next time I see him, I am going to buy him some clothes.

The next time I saw him was yesterday, almost a year later.

He was walking along the road by the French Hospice that leads onto Tzahal Plaza¸then on again to the Old City. Thank God, he was wearing real clothes, and even a pair of real sneakers, that were ripped at the sides but still functional.

The bag on his head had been replaced by a big knitted kippa, but the fixed, determined madness still shone out of his face, and he still walked fast.

This mad, homeless man was always in a perpetual rush to get somewhere else.

It took me a few second to figure out who he was as he passed by, but then I realized it was the man I’d promised to buy clothes for. I fumbled in my purse for some money, saw that I had 20 shekels I could give, as an opening gambit, and ran after him.

As I got close to him, I made the mistake of calling out hey! I’ve got some money I want to give you!

For a moment, I forgot he was mad. I forgot he’d been living rough for three years. I forgot that people only go mad like that in the first place when they’ve been through unspeakable things in their childhood.

First he cowered away from me, like I was going to attack him. Then he half-pushed / half-slapped me away, and sped walked off.

It didn’t hurt.

Mad as he was, he was still pretty gentle. He could have punched much, much harder, but he didn’t. He just didn’t have the words to tell me to leave him alone, and it was very clear that he wanted me to leave him alone.

He didn’t want money, he didn’t want my concern, he didn’t want any offers to buy a new pair of pants. He was off, searching for truth, searching for God, running away from who-knows-what, and he didn’t want anyone getting in the way.

I sighed a deep sigh, stuffed my money back in my purse, and walked off in the other direction.

I can’t help him. He’s so far gone, no-one can help him. Only God can help him.

And let’s be clear, God is helping him, because he’s totally out of this world, and yet he must still be finding food, and a place to sleep and even a place to shower every day, because he looked clean and didn’t smell bad at all.

And then I thought of all the other people out there struggling with such enormous problems, and the poor, mad person came to personify our poor, battered nation.

We’re all in such a rush, rush, rush today, and we have no idea why. No-one can talk to us, no-one can offer us help. Even when our Tzaddikim rush after us with bounty and blessings in their hands, we attack them and push them away.

Leave us alone! We know what we’re doing! We know where we’re going! We don’t need help from anyone!

The same madness that is propelling this man from trash can to endless trash can is weaving its pernicious spells around us, too. We’re so busy dumpster-diving, trying to come up with a new deal, a new client, a new business, a new project, a new holiday, we have no time to stop and to really think.

What is all this for? Where is all this going? What is the point, really?

Not for the first time, God showed me that I can’t solve other people’s problems.

All I can do is pray.

I’ve been getting a few email about what the ‘Breslov’ attitude is in relation to non-Jews, and also whether Breslov believes that the Jewish people should be a ‘light unto the nations’ or not.

Let’s start with the idea that the Jewish people should be a ‘light unto the nations’. This idea is explicitly mentioned in the Book of Isiaiah three times, in the following verses:

49:6 – “It is insufficient that you be a servant for Me [only] to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the ruins of Israel; I will make you a light for the nations, so that My salvation may extend to the ends of the earth.:

60:3 – “Arise! Shine! For your light has arrived, and the glory of Hashem shines upon you. For, behold, darkness may cover the earth and a thick cloud [may cover] the kingdoms, but upon you Hashem will shine, and His glory will be seen upon you. Nations will walk by your light and kings by the brilliance of your shine.”

62:1 – “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still, until her righteousness emanates like a bright light, and her salvation blazes like a torch. Nations will perceive your righteousness and all the kings your honor…”

And then the general idea that the Jewish people should be active in bringing all of mankind back to serve Hashem (and that God actually very much wants that to happen), and that there is a ‘place’ for the righteous non-Jews in the post-Messianic world can be found in the following verses, all from Isiaiah:

45:21 – “There is no other god besides Me; there is no righteous god besides Me and no savior other than Me. Turn to Me be and saved, all ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other.”

56:1 – “I will bring them to My holy mountain, and I will gladden them in My house of prayer; their elevation offerings and their feast offerings will find favor on my Altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”

60:9 – “Then the sons of foreigners will build your walls and their kings will serve you.”

61:5 – “Foreigners will stand and tend your flocks and the sons of the stranger will be your plowmen and your vineyard workers. And you will be called ‘priests of Hashem’; ‘ministers of our God’ will be said of you.” [By other people, i.e. the non-Jews].

Over in Pirkei Avot (the Ethics of the Father), Rabbi Akiva tells us in 3:14 that:

“Beloved is man, for he was created in [God’s] image. It shows an even greater love that it was made known to him that he was created in [God’s] image, as it is written, “For in the image of God, He made man” (Genesis 9:6)”

The Tosfot Yom Tov writing on this verse explains that it ‘refers to all of humankind’ – not just the Jewish people, who are referred to more explicitly by Rabbi Akiva as ‘God’s children.’

Now that we’ve established that it’s standard Jewish thought that righteous non-Jews who believe in the One true God of the Jews have a place in the post-Messianic world, and that God does want the Jewish people to play an active role in being a ‘light unto the nations’, let’s take a more specific look at what some Breslev sources say about the issue of dealing with non-Jews.

Let’s start with Rebbe Nachman, who tells us the following (in Tzaddik):

“The Rebbe said that there are seventy nations and all of them are included under Esau and Ishmael: thirty-five under one and thirty-five under the other. In the future, they will be conquered by two Messiahs, Mashiach the son of Joseph and Mashiach the son of David. There is one Tzaddik who is a combination of the two messiahs.”

From this, we can see that the basic idea is the Jewish Moshiach will ‘conquer’ the nations of the world, and presumably bring them back to belief in the one true God of Israel.

Next, let’s go to Likutey Moharan I:244 where Rebbe Moharan gives a warning to those of us who aren’t on a very high spiritual level (i.e. pretty much everyone…), when it comes to dealing with non-Jews:

“Anyone who intermingles with gentiles, that is, who has business dealings with them, must be on very careful guard that this should not harm him. Otherwise, it’s very easy to be caught in their trap and to distance oneself from one’s Jewishness.”

In other words, as soon as money, or ‘business dealings’ with non-Jews come into the picture, Jews need to be very, very careful to not compromise their Jewishness and spiritual integrity because a ‘bribe blinds the eyes of the wise’.

On this note, Rav Shalom Arush once went to speak to a church in South Africa who’d just bought a very large amount of his emuna books. He got on stage in front of 5,000 people and told them in Hebrew: “You are all fornicators and idol worshipers!” That’s a classic example of not letting money and business dealings compromise your Jewishness and spiritual integrity.

The last thing to quote for now, which I think sums up the position and also includes the deeper kabbalistic underpinnings of why a Jewish Moshiach comes for the benefit of the whole of mankind, comes from Rav Berland’s speech to more than 8,000 people at the Winter Stadium, a few years’ back, when he said:

“When Rebbe Nachman was alive, he stated that he stood as guarantor for the whole world – for all of mankind, including the Jews, the non-Jews and everyone else. Because the Tzaddikim told Hashem to go ahead and create all of mankind, while the angels told Him not to bother, because in the end he would only end up failing, and there was only a miniscule chance of him making Teshuva.

“But I say different! I say that there’s only a miniscule chance of him not making Teshuva, and that’s what this gathering is all about – to encourage everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike, to make Teshuva and to return to their Father in heaven!

“God created everyone in His image, and in every person there is a spark of the Divine, in every Jew and in every non-Jew – the spark of God is in everyone, and we are all created in God’s image. And the whole point of this gathering is to spread the light of Hashem, and the light of Rebbe Nachman, to the whole world, to every Jew and to every non-Jew….

“…As soon as the whole world recognizes Hashem’s greatness, we’ll be able to immediately rebuild the third Temple, and to see the revival of the dead.”

The Jewish people is about Tikkun haolam, or the rectification of the whole world, and bringing the whole world back to God, the Jewish way. That means the non-Jews accept the 7 noachide commandments, stop with all their yoshki, muhammed and booda rubbish, and accept that God is running the world (without any help from anyone else) and that the Torah is true, and the Jewish people are God’s representatives.

That pretty much sums up the authentic Jewish approach that you’ll find in Breslov, and also any other Jewish group that has a deep knowledge of our sources, and a strong grasp of what the whole concept of the Moshiach, and Tikkun haolam is really all about.

So, what’s the ‘big idea’ behind 49 Days?

Well, it’s like this: God created the world via 10 ‘worlds’ or spheres of energy, that are commonly referred to in the Jewish mystical tradition, (a.k.a. Kabbalah) as Sefirot.

According to the Kabbalah, these 10 sefirot are split into three higher ones, and seven lower ones – and the seven lower ones are associated with a whole bunch of different things, including the main ‘attributes’, or character traits, that us human beings are meant to work on and perfect.

There are different ideas as to what each of these seven Sefirot are actually referring to.

In the Hebrew, they are listed as:

Chesed

Gevurah

Tiferet

Netzach

Hod

Yesod

Malkhut

(Btw, if you want more of a deeper understanding about the different Sefirot, I highly recommend the book Sefirot (what else?), by Rabbi Haber. Click HERE to take a look at it on Amazon.)

My take on what these seven attributes are telling us to work on is as follows:

  • Love & relationships
  • Self-improvement
  • Truth
  • Seeing the good / specialness
  • Gratitude
  • Sense of Purpose
  • The Spiritual Dimension

 

Now, the best time to work on perfecting these seven attributes / worlds / character traits is considered to be the 49 days between Passover, and the Jewish festival of Shavuot, that occurs exactly seven weeks’ later.

Now, this is where the 49 Days interactive journal can come in, because each day it will spell out what particular character traits need some work, and give you an exercise to do that will really tap-in to the spiritual energy of that day, to get things moving.

  • You can buy 49 Days on Amazon HERE, and on the Book Depository HERE.

One of my elderly relatives has reached that stage in their life and health that they have been moved to an old age home here in Israel.

As nearly all of their closest relatives live abroad, it’s falling to me to make the occasional visit to see how they’re doing.

My relative suffers from dementia; we don’t have a language in common; and I’m not close to them in any way. But a mitzvah is a mitzvah, so last week I collared my husband (to do the double mitzvah of keeping me company) and we went to visit.

The place itself was actually relatively cheerful: most of the nurses were Jewish, and we got there just in time for the parsha of the week, that was being given over by a super-jolly frum lady. Which was lucky, because the rest of the experience was actually quite wrenching.

Our relative sat stoically in a chair, and I pretended to talk to her in English, and she pretended to answer me in French.

So far so good. But then one of the elderly men seated next to us started cursing everyone around them for being heartless, because they wouldn’t bring him a doctor to treat his terrible stomachache.

Now, the nurses were not cruel or heartless. I watched them dealing with the other patients, many of whom are seriously ill and plugged into all sorts of strange things on the wall of the dining room, and they are also caring for my relative very nicely, thank God.

The man’s problem is that he still thought that doctors could solve or cure all of his problems, but clearly, they couldn’t. One nurse after another explained that they’d checked him, and that there was nothing wrong with his stomach, and no medicine that would help him. But the man wasn’t buying any of that, and he carried on cursing and shouting until despair overcame him, and he sank his head down on the table in front of him and started weeping.

At that point, my husband got that funny fixed smile on his face that usually tells me he’s not feeling too happy.

But I’d made a deal with myself that we were going to visit for an hour or so, and I had to stick to it, however uncomfortable.

I looked around the room at most of the lonely, sick old people who were having troubles breathing, and troubles eating, and troubles even just ‘being’, in the most basic sense of the word, and I sighed a big sigh as I started to ponder the prospect of it being me sitting there like that, in another 40 years.

Would I also be suffering so much as so many of the people around me? Would I also be sitting there, waiting for the misery to end in some way?

But then I decided: no, I wouldn’t. First of all, I already know that doctors can’t cure all that ails me, or medicate my pain away. Second of all, I talk to God every single day, and when you’re in the habit of doing that, the spectre of loneliness doesn’t scare you in anywhere near the same way. Lastly, I really hoped that in contrast to my relative, my own children would still live in the country, and that I would have a close relationship to them, and to my grandchildren.

We’d speak a common language. I’d know who they were. Hopefully, they’d want to come and visit, at least for a short while, and I would still be able to love them in some way, even if my body was old and broken.

At least, that’s what I hope and pray for.

We left, and in the car park my husband burst into muffled sobs. It took him a while to calm down (he’s not a big fan of hospitals or nursing homes) and it turned out he’d been very affected by what he’d seen, and the seeming futility of life.

Is that how it ends? Broken bodies and demented minds? Lonely, bitter, crazy people? Why come into the world, only to leave it like that?

We talked, and I reminded him of what carries me through these difficult situations and thoughts: this world is just a corridor, it’s not the main event. Often, people spend their whole lives trying to run away from God and their spiritual selves. When they’re old and sick, God has one last chance to bring them back to Him, to get them fixed, spiritually, and to teach them the true meaning of life.

It’s not about amassing money, wealth, success of status.

It’s not about doing what we want, or having things turn out the way we planned.

It’s about building a relationship with God, serving Him to the best of our ability, and regretting all the opportunities we missed to love others (and ourselves…) more, and to build the world in some way.

And even if you’re incapacitated, and hooked up to a million tubes, and you barely know your own name, there’s still a part of you that can connect to your Creator, acknowledge His Omnipresence, and yearn to love more.

And if you manage to do that by the end of your life, then regardless of how bad it looks on the outside, you still achieved everything.

A little while back, my husband and I went into the Old City to do a bit of praying by the Wall, and to grab a bite to eat.

That’s not such a big deal – we’ve been going to the Kotel pretty much most Friday nights for over a year, and my daughter goes to school in the Old City, so I’ve been driving in and out for a month now.

But this was the first time in a few weeks that we actually spent some time there. We got our shwarma, found a table to sit at outside, and then had to spend the next half an hour listening to some older Anglo woman complaining loudly into her cellphone about all the people who were ‘living in a dream’ around her.

‘These people are crazy! They’re letting their two year olds play outside by themselves [in the completely pedestrianized Hurva Square in the centre of the Jewish Quarter]; there’s no policemen here, no security, nothing! Anything could happen! I can’t believe what’s going on here and no-one is taking me seriously. I complain and complain but no-one makes a move to come back to me.’

I’d had enough of hearing her moaning after a minute, but sadly, she kept on going and even outlasted my shwarma.

I walked down to the Kotel afterwards, and I pondered that woman and her hyper-vigilance, and hyper-anxiety about the ‘matzav’, and her hyper-criticism of the people who weren’t just cowering in their basements or walking around with arm guards.

Is that life? Is that really how God wants us to live?

OK, sure, I know things a little crazy right now, and I’m driving my kid to school instead of letting her walk like usual, but there comes a point where quality of life in the here and now has to trump quantity of life.

I’ve just finished reading Bernie Siegel’s ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’, and apart from a couple of passing references to yoshki, it’s one of the best and most uplifting spiritual books I’ve ever read, despite being full of death and cancer.

One of the themes that Siegel, a busy surgeon who had an epiphany 30 years’ back that attitude, emotions and soul were much more powerful healing forces than anything he could offer his patients, underlines again and again that life shouldn’t be measured in years; it should be measured in happiness.

Rav Levi Yitzhak Bender said the same, when he commented:

‘You may only live a little, but live it well and make it nice!’

Siegel saw patient after patient hating their life, and looking to their incurable disease as the ‘out’. He also saw patient after patient having their life unnaturally extended by all sorts of horrific medical interventions, instead of being able to die naturally and at peace, surrounded by their loved ones.

(I’m not a halachic authority, and I’m not going to get into the whole ‘right to die’ debate, but what I can tell you is that Rebbe Nachman was really against doctors and medicine and he advised to avoid both completely, as much as possible.)

One of the things Bernie Siegel used to ask his patients is:

‘If you knew today was your last day, how would you live it? What would you change?’

It’s a question for all of us. I sat in the Jewish Quarter listening to the unhappy, hyper-critical ‘concerned citizen’ and I wondered what she’d be doing with her time if she knew today was the last day of her life. I asked myself the same thing – and it was the first time that I can remember being thrilled that I’d spent far more time writing than tidying up my house and hanging laundry.

I asked my husband that question, and he immediately snapped out of his funny mood, and found something more productive to do with his time.

Our sages say that we should make teshuva the day before we die, which practically means we have to live as though every day is our last, because maybe it is. Yes, there’s a place for precaution and soldiers on street corners, but in our modern world there’s too much emphasis placed on length of days, and nowhere near enough put on amount of happiness.

I’ll come back to this idea again, BH, but let me leave you with this:

If you knew today was your last day, what would you do differently?

That’s a heavy headline, isn’t it?

It’s also a quote from the Gemara, and it crops up in a whole lot of places whenever you get into a discussion about why apparently ‘bad’ things can happen to apparently ‘good’ people.

This idea underpins the basic fundamentals of living life with emuna, as set out by Rav Arush, namely:

 

1) God is doing everything in the world.

2) Everything that happens to me is for my good, even the stuff that’s hurting me and is very painful and incomprehensible.

3) God is using the event, incident, occurrence or suffering to send me a message that I need to work on something, fix something, or change in some way.

 

Now, there are many flavours of heresy in the Jewish world, but one of the most popular, particularly in frum circles, is the idea that God sends people suffering stam, for absolutely no good reason.

The basic complaint goes like this:

“I’m a kosher person; I keep tons of mitzvoth; I pray with a netz (sunrise) minyan every day; I stopped watching Superman movies 20 years’ ago; I’ve made a number of sacrifices to keep Hashem’s torah, ergo – I don’t deserve any of this hard, horrible stuff that’s happening to me.”

It sounds pretty convincing, doesn’t it?

Until you remember one thing:

There is no suffering without prior sin.

If someone is being sent a difficult or hardship, it’s ALWAYS for a good reason.

Here’s where we hit a very necessary and often overlooked point of clarification: sometimes, the issue you need to fix in your soul is left over from a previous lifetime. It could well be that in this lifetime you are Miriam the super-pious light of the world, but in a previous lifetime, you may well have been Jack the Ripper – and that’s a spiritual debt that still needs paying down.

So you get sent a whole bunch of very difficult trials that really, Miriam the super-pious light of the world doesn’t deserve, but that are still a deep discount for Jack The Ripper.

This is where a person gets to really live their emuna, and this is often the whole test, and the whole ‘sin’ that needs fixing: are you going to see God behind everything that’s happening to you, and to acknowledge that He’s doing it all for your eternal good, and to get the message that you need to do some super-human work on your emuna?

Or are you going to complain, feel sorry for yourself, and convince yourself that you’re already perfect, and God must have made some big mistake so start picking on you so unfairly?

The rule is this:

If you’re alive, you have work to do. If you’re still alive, no matter how ‘perfect’ you think you are, there are still bad character traits to fix, mistakes to rectify, and levels of emuna to work on achieving. The process of self-improvement only ends when we die.

In his book Words of Faith, Rav Levi Yitzhak Bender puts it like this:

“Know yourself! Even if the entire world says that you are righteous, you have to know who you are…When a person truly knows himself, it is not possible that he shall not mend his ways…But when he deceives himself and imagines that he is something – why should he work to get better?”

On a personal note, a few months’ ago I went through a period of extreme difficulties and very hard tests in emuna. Initially, I couldn’t understand why God was sending me all this hard stuff. I mean, I’d sacrificed so much for my frum lifestyle, I spoke to God for an hour every single day, I was continually working on myself.

My underlying attitude was:

“You’ve got the wrong gal, Hashem! Stop sending me all these undeserved difficulties and go pick on someone else!!”

Really?

It took me many, many months of working things through, and at least one trip to Uman, but finally I realised that God really had sent me exactly what I was due – and had probably even giving me a huge discount on what I could have had coming to me.

I was so full of arrogance and pride about all my religious ‘accomplishments’, that I hadn’t realised just how flawed and occasionally nasty I still actually was (especially to my husband and kids…)

I was completely fooling myself as to my true level, and God didn’t want that state of affairs to continue any longer.

There really was ‘no suffering without prior sin’, even though it didn’t look like that to me, or others, at the time.

God is just.

He’s righteous. He only sends us what we need to do the work of fixing our souls for eternity. And if we don’t believe that, than however ‘pious’ and ‘perfect’ we may think we are, we still have an awful lot of spiritual work to do.

Someone told me that the US has just legalized gay marriage across the whole country. That same someone (who lives in the USA) told me that she had a feeling she’d be moving to Israel sooner rather than later (even though she hasn’t been here for years) because “Once you start messing around with the 7 Noachide Laws, that has a way of diminishing God’s love for your country.”

I know reams and reams is probably being written about this landmark decision of the US Supreme Court. I’m not going to add to all the speculation with this post; what I DO want to talk about, though, is how important it is at this stage in Jewish history for us Jews to stand up for God.

When I moved to Israel 10 years’ ago, it was a little ahead of the first ‘gay parade’ in Jerusalem. Back then, I was still working for the British Government as a ghostwriter for Ministers, and one of my best clients (in terms of how much work they asked me to do for them) was the Women and Equality Unit.

But in terms of what I had to write for them, it was the most drecky, horrible job ever. In just one speech, I’d have to laud women who rushed back to work as soon as their kids were born (the ‘women’ bit); praise muslims for having 6 wives (the ‘equality’ bit), and then also toss in at least one comment about how great and wonderful same gender relationships were (more of the ‘equality’ bit).

And bizarrely, in that ultra politically-correct environment where any notion of ‘right and wrong’ had gone completely out of the window, no-one seemed to notice how all these ideologies were completely at odds with each other, out there in the real world.

I hated those speeches.

I hated the feeling that I was selling-out my soul and my beliefs just  to pay my mortgage – but of course, that’s exactly what I was doing because back then, the Women and Equality Unit paid me very nicely to turn those things around for them.

It was part of the equation of being a religious Jew in galut, or exile.

So we moved to Israel, and all the fuss of the gay parade broke out here, and I kind of watched it a bit bemused, over to one side. My Israeli rabbis were encouraging me to take a stand, and to sign petitions against it, and to register my displeasure. And part of me really wanted to do that stuff – but the other part of me was far too scared of dong anything so UN-politically correct, because, well, political correctness was a central plank of my career and bank balance.

Or so I thought at the time.

So I felt very uncomfortable, but I did and said nothing.

Fast forward a decade, and a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Firstly, I actually went and researched the issue about why spilling seed is so bad, spiritually, for my old writing gig at breslev.co.il. You can check out those articles HERE.

To sum it up, whenever a man spills seed that has no chance of impregnating a woman, (however slim that chance might be), the millions of souls contained in that ‘seed’ get trapped in the realm of evil, which then sucks all the spiritual strength out of those souls, to pursue its own evil agenda in the world.

Scary stuff! And a concrete explanation of why gay marriage, and why promiscuous self-pleasuring lifestyles really are destroying the world.

The other thing that happened is that I gave up my career, and went through a patch of ‘being’ instead of doing that lasted for quite a few years. In that time of enforced career failure, my ego took quite a beating, and I started to realize more and more that God is running the show.

God is putting food on my table (or not…) God is paying my bills (or not…) God is responsible for my successes in life (I’m ready when You’re ready, Hashem).

That understanding helped me to start shifting all the political correct brainwashing out of my system, and to stop worrying that if I stood up for what was right, in whichever way God expected that of me, that I was going to lose my cred, career or bank balance. I anyway lost all of those things, which was a very painful process, but now I see it has a huge upside:

I got out of spiritual galut.

I can say GAY MARRIAGE IS REALLY BAD, and not care about the consequences of making that statement.

But if I was back in the UK? Or still working for the Women and Equality Unit? Now, you’re talking about a huge moral test – and the chances are high that I would probably fail it.

The decision by the US Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage is both a huge test, and a huge opportunity for God-fearing Jews. Anyone who can stand up for God is effectively proving they’re out of slavery, out of exile, out of bondage to foreign beliefs and political correctness. Anyone who can’t (and man, believe me that I know that there’s bills to pay and tuition to cover) – is stuck, spiritually, in a very bad place.

A place where God is missing, and man’s desires and animal-self is ruling the roost.

So the choice is simple, but also incredibly profound: Stand up for God and protest gay marriage in whichever way you can.

Or stay in spiritual exile.