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What does it really mean to ‘go to yourself’?

This week, we’re reading Parsha Lech Lecha, where Avraham Avinu is given a clear steer by Hashem that he needs to leave his birth place, his family, his status and go to some unknown destination.

We know that the deeds of the forefathers are a ‘sign’ or message for their descendants, and that each of us will have to face some form of lech lecha in the service of Hashem. What do you think that would look like, for us today?

I was pondering this after my piece on Who is Armilus? over on the RavBerland.com site attracted some comments that caused me to raise an eyebrow.

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Apparently, few sacred cows are as sacred as Donald Trump…. Again, I’m not political in the least, and I really couldn’t give a monkeys who sits in the White House, or what party they belong to.

The political system everywhere in the world is an illusion, a Greek-inspired fantasy world that keeps us all at each other throats arguing partisan politics while the real baddies continue to pull the strings from behind the scenesAt this point, it seems sensible to assume that:

All politicians are bad, and are serving a system that is bad.

Are some better than others? Maybe. Who knows? Who really cares? It’s a shade of grey that only distracts from the underlying clarity that the political system is a fantasy that’s used to manipulate and confuse people into believing that they have some choice, or some say, in how the planet is really being run.

Really? We don’t.

And personally, I’m so weary of all these pointless discussions about impeachment, and Democrats vs Republicans, and Brexit yes or no, and Lieberman and Blue and White, and all the rest of it.

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All of this stuff is just keeping us away from the tachlis, the main point, the purpose of life:

To get closer to Hashem, and work on our own bad middot.

All this other stuff is just a pointless distraction. Partisan politics replaced religion as the ‘opium of the masses’, and it’s so frustrating to see how many people are literally wasting their time, their lives, on something that is 100% fantasy.

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The facts are these:

The US is interested in one thing, and one thing alone: it’s economy.

The US is using its army for one thing, and one thing alone: threatening and taking over third world countries so it can asset-strip them of their valuable natural resources, especially oil and natural gas.

The US ‘recognised’ the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel for one reason, and one reason alone:

There is a massive oil field there, that the Israeli mafia who run the country, together with the corrupt billionaires who are pulling the strings in the US and the UK have already divvied-up between them.

US company Genie was granted the contract to start exploring for oil in the Golan in 2013 – conveniently 18 months after Syria’s civil war began. The following information on Genie comes from the petroleum-economist site:

Genie was founded by Howard Jonas, who also founded the telecoms company, IDT. Jonas tried to emigrate to Israel in 2005 but found it impossible to manage his business from there. IDT is one of the largest private employers in Jerusalem, which Jonas has called the “centre of the world”.

Genies’ advisory board includes Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney and Jacob Rothschild.

The chairman of Genie’s Israeli subsidiary is Effie Eitam, a former leader of the Israeli National Religious Party, which represents Israeli settlers, and former minister for infrastructure. Eitam fought in the Golan and lives in one of its settlements.

Uzi Landau, the minister of infrastructure until last month, who granted the licence to explore for oil to Genie was a cabinet colleague of Eitam in at least two Israeli governments.

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Are you starting to see how all this works?

What’s amazing to me is that no-one is talking about what went on with the obvious corruption and croney-ism that’s behind this Genie / Golan Heights deal.

(Read THIS for more. I’m not sure how far down that rabbit hole I want to venture, at this point, and let me also point out that while this author is making some very interesting connections, clearly not everything he’s saying is true.)

But make no mistake, that any profit from these natural resources that should be going to you and me, the citizens of Israel, and to building the country, has already been slated to inflate the bank accounts and power-bases of the tiny handful of ‘elites’ who already own everything else in the world.

Trump good, Trump bad – who cares?

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Jews all over the world have a duty to stop lying to ourselves about what is really going on in the world.

The truth is, the Muslim regimes that the US and the West are trying to overthrow actually have far more in common with authentic Judaism than the ‘enlightened’ forces battling them. Of course, I’m not condoning ISIS violence, or Sharia law, or chopping people heads and hands off, God forbid, anything but.

God forbid, I’m not condoning the Iranian nuke, or it’s aggression against Israel.

But let’s take the blinders off, and ask ourselves a serious question, for a moment:

If we are really honest about what the US has done and is doing in the world, in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’, we will find that the US has wrecked and pillaged one country after another, both overtly and covertly, to service its insatiable greed.

(Let’s be clear that the European colonialists were doing all this before them, just the US has taken over where the Brits, French, Dutch and Belgians apparently stopped.)

The CIA, the NSA, MI6 and some of the other spook agencies have deliberately destabilized one country after another politically, so they could install a ‘puppet regime’ who would be very happy to let the Americans asset-strip the country. American companies get the fat contracts to ‘exploit’ the resources, and the American government sets the ‘fair’ price they are willing to pay for them.

And who loses out?

The poor citizens of these countries.

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I’m pointing this out because unless there is some massive, sincere teshuva unleashed in the US and the West, and particularly in the Jewish communities there, sooner or later God is going to pull the rug out from the USA’s feet.

The earth is already shaking, although the media is studiously ignoring all the signs that the seismic pressure is alarming, and pointing to the distinct possibility that the North American landscape may soon be about to change in a whole bunch of ways.

And I’m not talking about politics.

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Iran hates America, because the US overthrew its democratically-elected government back in the 1950s, to install their corrupt puppet, the Shah. The Shah oppressed his people ruthlessly – but sold oil to the Americans for a knock-down price. So he was painted as the good guy!!!

And the same thing has happened all over Latin America and Africa, too.

The world is in the awful mess it is in today, with billions of people stuck in a permanent ‘Third World’, because the US and NATO and the CIA went in time and time again to overthrow a democratic government that was inimical to Western economic interests, to replace it with a brutal, corrupt dictatorship that let the Americans and Europeans asset-strip to their hearts’ content.

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So what does all this have to do with lech lecha, and the Jews?

Rebbe Nachman teaches that each of the 70 nations of the world has a particular evil ‘trait’ that the Jews who live in that nation will have to overcome, in order to rectify it.

It’s as clear as daylight that the main evil trait of the USA is a lust for money.

It’s as clear as daylight, that the US has totally wrecked and corrupted half the world in their blind pursuit of oil, gas, and economic abundance.

It’s as clear as daylight, that the lust for money is also the main reason why more of America’s orthodox Jews aren’t moving to Israel – and why so many Jews in the US abandoned their yiddishkeit and assimilated in the first place.

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This week, God is giving us a prod in the back, and He’s telling us:

Lech Lecha!

Leave all that materialism, all that phoney talk about ‘justice and democracy’, all those lies about America being the world’s ‘good guy’, all that Greek fantasy about politics mattering an iota – and get real.

Get real.

Understand that the Jews who are living in America – and of course everywhere else in the world – have an awful lot of teshuva to make.

Enough with the pretend perfect.

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All God really requires of us, is for us to be honest about what the problems really are, and to ask for His help to overcome them.

But for as long as we’re pretending that the USA is ‘justice’ embodied, and for as long as we’re pretending that all the awful, bad, disgusting things that we ourselves do to other people are ‘justified’, we are a million miles away from really doing Lech Lecha, and leaving the bad behind to return to Hashem.

But maybe, just maybe, 5780 is the year to finally face that truth down.

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It’s a funny time, isn’t it?

Here’s what’s going on my life, right now: on the one hand, I am gathering more and more information together on a whole range of subjects that shows that most of the modern world we live in is based on a pack of lies. And on the other, I’m trying to sort out the most ‘real world’ business venture I’ve embarked upon for close to two decades.

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If I touched on everything I’ve found out is a lie over the last few years, it would be a very long list. But when you really look at it, all our problems really just boil down to this:

We are scared to be real, and to really face up to what’s going on in our lives and our middot, and to have a real relationship with ourselves, other people and Hashem.

100%, this is the only reason that we’re still in golus, and still spinning our wheels, living superficial lives that are generally making us pretty miserable, and scared to open up and connect in any real way to anyone – including ourselves.

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Over the last 15 years, I’ve had a mighty struggle to try to develop some of that REAL in my own life. When I got to Israel back in 2005, I was still so caught up in all the materialism and competition that the secular world is built on.

God had to keep giving me some sharp raps across the knuckles to really bring my attention to the fact that my ‘wonderful life’ was actually making me totally miserable. I was doing everything the magazines told me to do – I had a career, was making good money, owned a house, had a nice husband, two  nice kids – what’s the problem here?!?!?

I didn’t know the answer to that question in London, where I was feeling more and more anxious, depressed, stressed, miserable and overwhelmed before we made aliya.

I’ve been through so much the last 15 years, as part of the process of getting re-educated about what life is actually really meant to be about, especially if you’re a Jew. I don’t own a house anymore, I don’t have a career, I don’t spend Shabbos lavishing entertaining, or trying to stuff every spare minute with ‘action’, so I don’t have to spend any time in my own head, just being.

And I am so, so happier because of it.

And my relationships with the people who really count in life – i.e. my husband, my kids, myself and Hashem – are doing so much better than they were back in 2005.

And what made the biggest difference?

Learning to talk to Hashem, and to be real, and to stop running away from the truth, especially about myself and my own limitations.

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You know why it feels so ‘weird’ right now? Because the light of Moshiach – the light of truth – is slowly rising in the world, and it’s that ‘sun with healing on its wings’ that is going to burn all the wicked up, but heal all the righteous.

On the blog here, and over on spiritualselfhelp.org, I’ve been pretty honest about the bad middot I’ve got, and the issues I’ve had in my relationships, and what I’ve had to do and acknowledge and work on, to stop being a bona fide psycho to my husband and children.

I’m not telling myself any fibs that it’s ‘ok’ to try and control other people via rage fits and insults; or that it’s ‘ok’ to act like a hypocrite, dishing out advice from that place up on high that I myself can’t hold by in a million years. As soon as I realized that it’s not ‘ok’ to go around trying to control people, or trying to force my children to be ‘perfect’ so that I’ll look good in front of my neighbors, I got to work trying to live that truth.

I’m still falling down on my middot a million times a day, let’s be clear.

But that’s OK. I know I’m on a low level spiritually, and I also know that Hashem just wants the effort, but the outcome is up to him.

But I look around, and I still so many people who seem to be stuck in the lies – and as the light of Moshiach continues to rise in the world, those lies are starting to weigh heavier and heavier. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that politics is the ‘answer’ to anything. It’s getting less and less credible to believe in ‘man-made global warming’. It’s getting way harder for us all to keep pretending that all the problems are just because of ‘everyone else’, and their bad middot.

All of us are down here to work on one person:

OURSELVES.

And the main work to be done is to be real, and authentic, and to start to serve Hashem joyfully from that low place of knowing we are totally imperfect – but that there is actually nothing fundamentally ‘wrong’ with us!!

God created us this way, with bad middot, and gave us the job of working on those bad middot over 120 years, to try to rectify them.

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This is a bit of a rambling post, I know. It’s because I’m trying to blast through the ‘head fog’ that seems to keep descending up on everything worthwhile and meaningful and true, and that keeps sucking us all back into that superficial, nasty space where nothing really matters, and no-one really cares about anything or anyone.

Here’s what I’m really trying to say.

Over the last few years, so much of the public discourse, so much of society, has been shaped by self-absorbed ‘go getters’, who constantly talk about themselves and what they think, and who cow everyone else into falling in line behind them. I have some aspect of that myself, and it’s something I’m continually monitoring and working on, to do my best to ‘use it’ for Hashem, instead of just for myself.

In common parlance, these types of people are often referred to as ‘narcissists’, but I prefer to call them ‘motivators’.

They have a ton of energy, they are very focused, and they often get a lot done. But when they aren’t balancing all their ‘fire’ with humility, and a genuine desire to serve Hashem, they usually just end causing a lot of arguments and destruction, instead.

Then, there are all the quiet, gentle, ‘nice’ people out there – so many of them!! – who generally feel too shy to share their views, and are often too gentle to want to wade into the cut-throat business of taking a stand or having a real opinion, or being authentic.

Over the years, I’ve met some of you in person and over email, when you had the courage to reach out and say hello.

Here’s the thing:

You guys are the people who are really going to bring the geula, and really going to fix the world.

It’s you, that silent majority, the salt-of-the-earth types that don’t really believe in your own goodness, your own importance, and who lack confidence in your own ability to change things for the better, who are really going to bring the geula.

Not the big mouths, or the firebrands, or the holier-than-thou preachers and gurus.

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Gosh, I’m finding this so hard to put into words, which is very unusual for me.

So let me just cut to the chase.

After 15 years of going through SO much stuff, emotionally, spiritually, career-wise, health-wise, relationship-wise, you name it, baruch Hashem, I now have a lot of insight into how people really work.

And I want to start teaching it to others out there, but particularly, the salt-of-the-earth women, who are finding it hard to say ‘no’ to others, and to make their voices heard, and to set healthy boundaries, and to put their quiet goodness out there in a way that will really shape the world in a profound way.

In the next month or so, BH, I will be launching a pilot program to teach this information to a small group of 10 women. I’m still figuring out the packaging, but I already know what this program is going to do:

It’s going to help those ‘good’, but quiet women to finally find their voice, and the confidence they need to stand up for themselves and for ‘right’ without being steamrollered by all the mouthy, self-obsessed ‘motivators’ out there.

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Why is that important?

Because these women are the ones who are going to bring the geula.

The world needs them, and it desperately needs for them to to start expressing their inner wisdom, and their inner goodness, and their inner clarity to start countering all the lies, and to help get us ready for Moshiach.

What is going to bring Moshiach is being real, and doing our best to work on ourselves, and to create an authentic environment in our homes and communities where the voice of the soul – the voice of peace, love, humility, emuna and truth – can start to shine out and be heard.

Phew.

If this speaks to you – at all – please drop me an email, and let’s discuss how to really do this.

I’m not pretending I have all the answers, or that I’m totally fixed, anything but. But Hashem has given me a lot of information that I know could help a lot of people, and especially the gentle people out there, to start putting down the boundaries they need to in a loving way, and to stop enabling ‘bad’.

And once more of us start to put that light out in our own dalet amot, the ‘bad’ that is preventing Moshiach from coming will disappear by itself.

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Just as the women brought the redemption in Egypt, so they will bring it again in our days.

One lasting marriage at a time, one loved kid at a time, one honest and caring conversation at a time.

That’s really the only thing that matters, and not who becomes president, or who is going to end up being Moshiach, or all the other pointless things we waste so much time and energy debating.

I know ‘real’ is scary, but facing up to our ‘real’ – with tremendous compassion and understanding – is how we actually get out of galut, personally and nationally.

So, if you’d like to join me, either take the minute required to fill in the survey HERE, or drop me an email HERE.

It’s time for the ladies to start roaring.

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UPDATE:

Baruch Hashem, I’m starting to pin this down more already.

I basically want to do ‘Azamra’ as a practical course, which will give concrete, tangible ways for:

1) Understanding the 4 main ways our yetzer hara takes us out, based on Likutey Moharan, as reflected in cutting edge science
2) Taking down bad middot like: anger, yeoush, depression, people pleasing, fear and anxiety – in ways that actually totally work in real time.
3) And perhaps most importantly of all, this is the main focus of the program:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to feel good about yourself, and feel good within your relationships, in six weeks or less, so you can wake up happy, and enjoy being yourself around other people.
Because I think that is really the key to giving Hashem what He really wants from us, and bringing the geula happily, the sweet way, in both our private and public spheres.
How does this sound? I’m VERY open to feedback and ideas.

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Do you want join me, and see where this goes?

Drop me an email!

This could start to get pretty interesting, with God’s help!

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“Whoever finds fault, finds his own fault” – Tractate Kiddushin 70a

With a couple of days to go before the Yom HaDin, Rosh Hashana 5780, I thought that we’d take a look at a passage in the Gemara, Kiddushin 70a, which is where the ‘mirror principle’ is first stated by Chazal.

In case you don’t know what the ‘mirror principle’ is, it’s a statement by the Baal Shem Tov that the whole world is a just a mirror, and that whatever ‘bad’ we see peeking out at us in others is somehow just a reflection of our own ‘bad’.

But that’s not just a tenet of chassidut, it’s actually brought down in the Gemara. And if we look at the context of that statement, we can learn some truly remarkable things. Let’s begin this post over in Chapter Four of Tractate Kiddushin, where the Sages are discussing the genealogical laws, and describing the different categories of Jews who ascended to Israel, from Babylonia, before the Second Temple was built.

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The Gemara tells us:

Ten genealogical classes went up from Bablyonia to Eretz Yisrael: Kohanim, Leviim, Yisraelim, chalalim (disqualified Kohanim), converts, freed Caananite slaves, mamzerim, nesinim, shetukim and asufim.

While all of these classes were considered to be 100% Jewish, there were restrictions on who was allowed to marry each other. The Gemara sets out the basic rules:

Kohanim, Leviim and Yisraelim – can marry each other.

Leviim, Yisraelim, chalalim, converts and freed slaves – can marry each other.

Converts, freed slaves, mamzerim, nesinim, shetukim and asufim – can marry each other.

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Before we continue, let’s just explain some of the more unfamiliar terms:

Mamzer – Refers to someone who is 100% Jewish, halachically, but who was born as a result of a union that is forbidden by the Torah. This doesn’t apply to someone who was born out of wedlock, but whose biological parents could still have stood under an orthodox chuppah. It also doesn’t apply to the Jewish child of a ‘mixed marriage’ where the father is not Jewish. But it DOES apply to adulterous extra-marital relationships, and also to children born of incest, amongst other things.

Nesin – This refers to a group of Canaanites called the Gibeonites, who tricked Joshua into converting them to become Jews, so that he wouldn’t kill them when he was conquering Eretz Yisrael. Even though their conversion was considered valid, Joshua forbid the other Jews from marrying them as long as the temple stood. Then later, King David saw how cruel and barbaric they were, and permanently forbid them from marrying into the mainstream Jewish community.

Shetuk – According to the Gemara:

“These are shetukim, anyone who knows the identify of his mother, but does not know the identity of his father.”

Asuf – According to the Gemara:

“Anyone who is gathered in from the street and does not know the identity of either his father or his mother.”

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The Gemara then gets into a very interesting discussion about how Ezra the Scribe basically forced all these ‘genealogically unfit’ categories of Jews to ascend with him to come and rebuild Eretz Yisrael.

He was worried that if he left them behind in Babylonia, the rabbis there wouldn’t know how to keep them properly contained.

(It’s an interesting aside, but the Babylonian Talmud asserts that because Ezra took all the ‘unfit’ Jews with him to Israel, he left Babylonian Jewry “like fine, sifted flour.” So they state that Babylonia at that time was the most genealogically ‘fit’ Jewish community, followed by Eretz Yisrael, then followed by the rest of the diaspora (!) I’m willing to bet the Talmud Yerushalmi has a different view, but I don’t have a copy to compare….)

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The Gemara then gets into a whole big discussion about what a big, genealogical mess the whole thing is already (1800 years ago…).

There were so many Kohanim who’d married goyim and ‘forbidden’ women without anyone knowing; and there were so many slaves who didn’t follow the proper procedure for being freed (which would render them as halachically Jewish converts) before marrying a Jew; and there were mamzerim walking around all over the place, due to adulterous affairs.

The Gemara then states this:

A Tanna taught…Elijah [the Prophet] writes, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, signs: Woe to him who disqualifies his children and who taints his family, and who marries a woman who is not fit for him. Elijah ties him, and the Holy One, Blessed is He, whips him. And whoever declares others to be genealogically unfit is himself genealogically unfit. And he (i.e someone who is genealogically unfit] never speaks in praise of others.

Let’s just pause for a moment, and digest this, as it’s a statement with huge implications.

In the Artscroll footnotes, they note that Rashi comments that:

[A]nyone who regularly demeans the genealogical status of other families reveals himself to be genealogically blemished.

In other words, we are back to the mirror principle, big time. The Gemara continues:

And Shmuel said: The Baraisa means: He declares them unfit with his own blemish.

I.e., whatever he’s accusing others of being, he’s actually just describing himself.

The Gemara then tells the following story, to underline this point:

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There was a certain man from Nehardea who went into a butcher shop in Pumbedita[1]. He said to them: “Give me meat.” They said to him: “Wait until the attendant of Rav Yehudah bar Yechezkel[2], who is standing here, takes his meat, and then we will give you yours.”

He said: “Who is Yehuda bar Sheviskel that he should precede me and take before me!” They went and told Rav Yehuda what this man had said. [Rav Yehuda] placed a ban upon him. They told Rav Yehuda: “He habitually calls people slaves.” [Rav Yehuda] issued a proclamation that he [i.e. the Nehardean] was a slave himself.”

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What happens next is that the aggressive, brazen, disrespectful Nehardean than sues Rav Yehuda in the rabbinical court of Rav Nachman, the leader of the Nehardean community.

The story continues:

“Rav Nachman began the questioning: He said to [Rav Yehuda]: ‘Why did master place a ban upon that man?’

Rav Yehuda responded: ‘Because he harassed an agent of the Rabbis.’

Rav Nachman: ‘Then master should have given him lashes…Why did you excommunicate[3] him?’

Rav Yehuda: ‘As a penalty. I dealt with him even more stringently than that.’

Rav Nachman: ‘Why did master proclaim that he was a slave?’

Rav Yehuda: ‘Because he frequently calls people ‘slaves’. And a Tanna has taught in a Baraisa: Anyone who declares others… unfit, is himself unfit. And he never speaks in praise of others. And Shmuel said….’It is with his own blemish that he declares other unfit.’

(Try this: swap out the word ‘slave’ for ‘Erev Rav’…)

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Now, the Nehardean gets all bolshy, and starts shouting down Rav Yehuda, who is one of the Gedolei HaDor of Babylonian Jewry:

“Me you call a slave, when in fact I am descended from the royal family of Hasmoneans!”

Rav Yehuda says to him:

“Thus said Shmuel: ‘Whoever says, ‘I am descended from the family of the Hasmoneans is in truth a slave!”

Rav Nachman gets into a small discussion about whether Rav Yehuda is just making up quotes to try to bolster his case, and Rav Yehuda says no, Rav Masnah also heard this teaching. Rav Masnah hadn’t appeared in Nehardea in 13 years, but whaddya know? As they’re having this conversation, Rav Masnah happens to show up, and he confirms Rav Yehuda’s statement.

The Gemara continues:

“[Rav Nachman] subsequently proclaimed that the plaintiff was indeed a slave. That day, many ketubot were ripped up in Nehardea” – because Jewish men now suspected they were married to ‘slave’ women who they’d mistakenly believed to be Jewish.

Now, Rav Yehuda leaves town, and the people of Nehardea follow him, because they want to stone him to death, for all the trouble he’s making. Rav Yehuda gets them to quiet down by telling them that if they doesn’t leave him alone, he’s going to reveal right there the big secret that Shmuel taught him about the Jewish community in Nehardea, namely:

“There are two families in Nehardea: One is called the family of Yonah [i.e. the kosher dove] and one is called the family of Orvasi [i.e. the non-kosher and cruel oreiv, or raven. Perhaps another hint to the ‘Erev Rav’ problem.]… The family named after an impure bird is impure, and the family named after a pure bird is pure.”

The townspeople dropped their stones and ran away, before Rav Yehuda could disclose which family was which.

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Now, the Gemara goes through a whole bunch of proclamations the Sages of Babylonia made about all these ‘impure’ and ‘disqualified’ people in the Jewish community.

This problem is even in Eretz Yisrael, and when Rabbi Pinchas’ students start investigating the families in the Land of Israel, they realise they have to stop. Rashi explains why:

“Their research led them to discover the disqualification of certain powerful families who would kill them [if their impurities were revealed.”

Which brings us on to a VERY important point, about how Chazal decided to deal with this situation, and how they said it would ultimately get fixed (we’re now in Kiddushin 71a):

(R’ Yitzhak said):

“Once a genealogically tainted family is mixed with Israel, it is mixed. One should not isolate such a family and clarify which of its members are pure and which are impure. Rather, one should leave it, and in the Messianic era all of its members will be deemed pure.”

The Gemara continues, and makes a distinction between ‘genealogically impure’ families who forced their way into the Jewish community (i.e. like Herod the Great, for example), and tainted families where it all kind of just happened:

(Abaye explains):

“Families… whose impurities are publically known and who became mixed with Israel only through force, will be dealt with by Elijah the Prophet. But a tainted family that became mixed with Israel because people were unaware of its status, Elijah will allow to remain mixed.”

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Let’s finish with one more story from the Gemara, in Kiddushin 71b, then we’ll sum up what we just learnt together.

Rav Ulla comes to visit Rav Yehuda in Pumbedita, and he sees that his son, Rav Yitzhak, is still unmarried, so he asks Rav Yehuda:

“What’s going on? Why haven’t you married your son off?”

Rav Yehuda replies: “Who knows where I can find a genealogically fit wife for him?!”

Rav Ulla says to him: “Do we know where we come from?”

And then starts listing a whole bunch of verses stating how idolaters ravished Jewish women in the town of Judea in Biblical times; and talking about Jews who ‘defile their couches’, which R’ Abahu explains as referring to wife-swapping.

“Since our predecessors engaged in this type of adulterous activity, no-one can assume that he is genealogically fit!” says R’ Ulla. So then, Rav Yehuda asks him, “So what do we do?” Ulla answered him: “Go after silence, i.e. seek a family whose members are quiet and peaceable…[In Eretz Yisrael] they use the following method to investigate someone’s lineage:

“When two people would quarrel with each other, they would see which one is the first to quiet down, and then they would say, ‘that person is genealogically purer than the other.”

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LET’S SUM THIS UP:

It’s a great, eye-opening piece of Gemara, isn’t it? Can you imagine what might start to happen if more of our rabbis and commentators would actually learn some Gemara?

So, here’s the main takeaway points from Kiddushin 70a-72b:

  • Whenever we find fault in other Jews, we are really just identifying our own faults.
  • That particularly applies to finding fault with other people’s ‘genealogy’, like for example, going around calling other people ‘Erev Rav’, etc.
  • Even 1800 years ago, there were so many forbidden and / or adulterous unions going on in the Jewish community, that even the head of the Torah Academy in Pumbedita was having trouble finding a ‘genealogically fit’ wife for his son.
  • Adulterous affairs and immoral behavior have been going on for so long, not even the most illustrious Jew today can be 100% sure that some ancestor of theirs didn’t put a massive spanner in their genealogical works. So it behooves us all to act with a little humility, and to stop pointing fingers at other Jews.
  • When Moshiach shows up, he will declare everyone pure.
  • The exception to this is those people who pushed their way into the Jewish community ‘by force’, i.e. they never intended to convert sincerely, or to serve Hashem, they just wanted the status, money or other perks of technically being part of the Jewish community. Elijah the Prophet will push these people away.
  • The way you can tell how ‘genealogically pure’ someone is, is by checking their middot and temperament. If they are angry, argumentative, brazen, obsessed with their own honor, always have to be right, and can never back down, make peace and apologise – then they probably aren’t so ‘fit’, Jewishly-speaking. The more calm, conciliatory, peaceable and kind a person is, the more genealogically ‘fit’ they probably are.

====

On that note, let me end by apologizing to any of my readers or email correspondents who I may well have upset or irked this year.

I’m a flawed human being, and I don’t always act and react appropriately, so please forgive me!

And I unconditionally forgive all the psychos, weirdos, and holier-than-thou pseudo-prophets who continue to make my life interesting, too.

May we ALL be blessed with a peaceful, productive, happy, healthy and sweet 5780.

====

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Pumbedita was the main centre of Torah learning in Babylonia, but Nehardea also had a significant, and learned Jewish population.

[2] This is the ‘Rav Yehuda’ of the Babylonian Talmud, who was head of the Torah academy in Pumbedita.

[3] By designating this man a ‘slave’, Rav Yehuda effectively removed his communal status as a Jew.

====

Photo by Daniela Holzer on Unsplash

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The Israeli elections seem be a choice between Mr Evil, Mr Eviller, and Mr Evillest

Three weeks ago, my husband snapped his Achilles tendon whilst playing tennis. Baruch Hashem, it’s on the mend, but in the meantime I’m ferrying him backwards and forwards in the car to his workplace, close to Jerusalem’s central bus station.

What that means (amongst other things….) is that I’m getting to see all the massive, ginormous, monstrous billboards of yucky-looking politicians that are currently springing up like poisonous mushrooms all around the entrance to Jerusalem, in preparation for next week’s elections.

I can tell you this:

Whoever you vote for, it’s going to be a vote for Mr Evil.

Some of these super-sized pictures are so disturbing I’m amazed they’ve been approved for public consumption. What these politicians don’t seem to realise is that when their faces are blown up to building-size proportions, it makes it much harder to hide their true characters. You see it in the eyes, you grasp it by the beetling brows, and the cunning, calculating expression that even the greasiest smile can’t hide.

====

Where to start, on which one of these posters bothers me the most?

For a while, Ehud Barak’s lot were definitely in the lead, with a cast straight out of Dr No. There’s the beautiful, red-haired woman that looks like a secret assassin. The angry-looking, grey-haired rogue scientist is on the left of the picture. And then ‘Mr Evil’ himself, with his dyed-black hair and shifty expression, is right in the middle of all that.

After the whole Epstein affair, how can anyone, much less a woman, much less a party that claims to stand for ‘human rights’ have anything to do with this guy!

So he was in the lead for a while.

But then, Netanyahu’s lot stuck up a bunch of MASSIVE posters of him shaking hands with Donald Trump, bearing the slogan: Netanyahu: a different league.

I almost crashed a few times coming round the corner of the Jerusalem Gateway, because I couldn’t take my eyes off how plain evil Netanyahu looked on that billboard, and how totally crazy Trump appeared.

So for two days, that was in pole position.

Then yesterday, Benny Gantz of Blue and White got stuck up on the other side of the Prima Park Hotel, in a poster that looked like a cross between Men In Black and the Terminator.

Oooo, look how thick his neck is!!! Look how menacingly grey his skin is!!! Notice how totally unemotional and devoid of any human kindness his cruel blue eyes appear!!!

He looked like a ‘Class A’ psycho, and clearly that’s the effect that all these politicians are trying to achieve.

Vote for me, I’m a total psycho! If anyone even so much sneezes in my direction, I’ll nuke them! Israel is in safe hands!

====

But then today, the Labor / Gesher Party decided to remove its poster of Amir Peretz looking like Stalin, and replace them with Amir Peretz looking like a character out of Goodfellas instead. Last week, Peretz shaved off his trade-mark moustache, I don’t know why.

But personally, I think it was a mistake.

For as long as the moustache was pulling the eye, you didn’t notice how strangely menacing the guy underneath it was. Now, with Mr Fluffy gone, Amir Peretz looks like he could get a job with Iran’s Revolutionary Guide.

Vote for me! I can break a man into pieces in five seconds flat!!!

Now, you might be wondering where all the women are in this election. That’s what one of the graffiti artists clearly had in mind when she spray-painted the Amir-Peretz-As-Stalin poster with: “I’m a woman and I can also vote.”

Ayelet Shaked’s party decided to put a few massive posters of just her perfect, Barbie-like face across various bridges on the Begin Highway, and after studying them all week (yes, it’s a miracle I haven’t crashed the car) – I can tell you they are airbrushed.

The woman is 42 and has a very stressful job, and yet she has the flawless complexion of a 20 year old supermodel. It’s an open miracle.

Vote for me! I don’t have any wrinkles!!!

This morning, someone had punched two massive holes in the middle of both her faces, and it took some really careful planning to pull that off in the middle of Jerusalem’s busiest and fasted road.

I think it was the Shabak.

Orly Levy-Abecassis (or whatever her name is…) also popped up on a poster looking really miserable, but with great hair, next to Goodfella Peretz, and some other man who I don’t know the name of, but who also looks like a shark in a suit.

Vote for me! I have the best hairdresser in all of Israel!!!

====

Sigh.

Whichever way you turn, there’s evil, evil and more evil.

Driving my husband to work has become a Kafkaesque nightmare, a cross between a bad Bond movie and the Oscars.

Although yesterday, I did see a poster of someone that I’d half consider voting for.

He was a cute Saba advertising a new flavor of milkshake.

So, a vote for Mr Evil – for political gangsters and their molls – or for Mr Milkshake, for PM?

I think the answer is obvious.

====

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Rebbe Nachman points up some interesting similarities between ‘spies’ and demons.

Last week, I was re-reading Rebbe Nachman’s story of The Cripple, when I suddenly started to see some interesting connections between Rebbe Nachman’s description of demons, and what’s going on today with the ‘deep state’.

(You can get an English translation PDF of it HERE).

I suddenly got the idea into my head that Jeffery Epstein could be the ‘son of the demons’ in Rebbe Nachman’s story, who was imprisoned and tortured, sparking off a war between the different factions of ‘Deep State’ demons that eventually leads to geula happening. So, I’m bringing it here, to see what you think, too.

FIRST, A QUICK RECAP OF THE RELATIVE BITS OF THE STORY OF THE CRIPPLE

The Cripple hears the Sun and Moon talking, and the Moon is complaining that there is a place of two thousand mountains, where a whole bunch of demons live, and these ‘demons’ are taking all the power from her feet.

Feet is an allusion to emuna, and true faith and trust in Hashem.

The Moon is often used as an allegory for the Jewish people.

The Cripple decides to visit this place called the ‘Two Thousand Mountains’, here’s what Rebbe Nachman says about that:

“When he got there, he stood at a distance from the two thousand mountains. He saw thousands and myriads of demon families. They have children just like human beings and are therefore very numerous.

“He saw their leadership sitting on a throne. No human being ever sat on such a throne. He also saw them ‘joking’ – one of them was ‘joking’ about the child he’d hurt, another about injuring someone’s hand, and another about injuring someone’s foot. They also joked in other ways.”

====

I read this, and I immediately thought:

Mafia, crime families, ‘untouchable’ criminals and bent politicians sitting on pedestals where no-one can get near them, billionaires who are ‘worshipped’ for their wealth, child trafficking, child abduction and child abuse.

Before we continue, I also went to look up ‘Two Thousand Mountains’, to see where it’s located. Whaddya now? The only place I could find with that name is right next to Forth Worth, Dallas, Texas. Forth Worth was the last place JFK gave a speech, before he was shot dead by the mafia, under contract to the CIA.

(The former head of CIA, Allan Dulles, had a score to settle with Kennedy after the latter refused to bail out the CIA’s attempted ‘regime change’ in Cuba, as part of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Kennedy had a strong dislike of the FBI and CIA, and their abuses of power, and was on record stating that he wanted to splinter the CIA into a 1,000 parts and scatter them to the wind, before he was assassinated.)

The links between the mafia and the spy agencies are well-documented. The former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover was part of a massive corruption racket that basically blurred the lines between criminals and law enforcement, with the mafia simply acting in the illegal sphere, while the spy agencies ‘pretended’ to act within the law. Robert Kennedy was knocked off because he had a sincere wish to tackle the mafia and organized crime – against Hoover’s wishes.

They look like you and me, they have children, they have families, but really – Rebbe Nachman tells us – they are demons!

====

The story then switches to a pair of ‘demon’ parents who are very upset, because their son got kidnapped and tortured by a sorcerer who was working for a King who’d been ‘hurt’ by this demon-son, and his friend.

Back to Rebbe Nachman:

“We had an island in the sea, which we made our base. The king who owned this island decided to build it up, and began to lay the foundations. [The demon-son] said to me, “Let’s hurt him!” With that, we went and took away the king’s strength.”

In the footnotes to Aryeh Kaplan’s translation of this story, we find the following:

This ‘Island King’ wished to repent. This act on his part ultimately led to the downfall of the demons…. ‘Foundations’ is yesod in Hebrew. This usually refers to the se*ual organ. Thus the king wanted to begin by rectifying himself se*ually.

Let’s switch out ‘King’ for ‘President’, from here on it, to give it a more contemporary feel.

And before we continue, let’s also remind ourselves that over in US, the Feds are currently exploring Epstein’s ‘pedo Island’, our in the American Virgin Islands. Man, the clues are coming thick and fast, here.

The demon parents go to the Demon King with this story, and he orders that the President should be given back his ‘strength’. It’s not so easy to do that, because the demon who took the President’s strength has now become a cloud on a particular city.

[We’re going to skip the middle part of the story, which involves an old Jewish sage taking on the ruling atheists and the demons, and continue with the story of the demon-son and the President.]

“The Demon King ordered that the cloud’s strength be taken and given back to the President, and it was done. The demon-son was then able to return to his parents. He came back worn out and in great pain…since he had been tortured very much there. He was very angry at the sorcerer who had tortured him so much, and he left orders to his sons and their families, that they should always lie in wait, to entrap the sorcerer.”

====

When Rebbe Nachman is talking about ‘families’, could he really be referring to clannish crime families and spy organisations here?

Let’s continue.

“The talkers amongst the demons told the sorcerer to watch himself, since [the family] were lying in wait for him. The sorcerer made use of his devices to protect himself from them, and also asked other sorcerers to help him, who knew other [crime] families.

“The demon-son and his family were really furious at the talkers for revealing their secret to the sorcerer. Once, this son’s family and some talkers were going to serve a term of duty for the President. The family fabricated a false accusation against the talkers, and the President killed them.

“The surviving talkers were very angry, and they incited rebellion against all the kings. The demons were stricken with hunger, weakness, sword and plague. There were wars among all the kings, and this caused earthquakes. The ditches fell in and the tree was completely watered. All the [demons] were then destroyed, and nothing remained of them. Amen.”

Note: ‘the tree’ refers to the Tzaddik, aka Moshiach, and the demons spend their whole trying to keep people away from the Torah and mitzvos that will ‘water’ this Tree, and enable it to take it’s true place in the world.

====

Lots to unpack… let’s continue.

I don’t watch TV, thank God, but someone told me I should look at THIS post on the Tomer Devorah website. I went, and it’s talking about a new documentary about THE FAMILY, a bunch of power-obsessed evangelicals who apparently rule Washington DC by co-operating with other evil groups like the Vatican, and all the usual suspect spy agencies / mafiosos.

====

Because they are all connected to each other, and they all coordinate their activities with each other, just they operate as different crime ‘families’ or syndicates.

So now, let’s take that piece of information, and plug in THE FAMILY for every mention of ‘family’ in Rebbe Nachman’s tale, and see what other insights that starts to spark off in your head.

====

THE GEMARA EXPLAINS WHO THESE ‘DEMONS’ ARE

In Makkot 6b, in the middle of a long discussion about false witnesses and criminals being given ‘prior warning’ of imminent punishment by a ‘Demon’, the Gemara says the following:

“The one giving the warning…may even be [the victim] himself, and even a demon. The warning necessary to convict the offender need not come from one of the witnesses, but is acceptable from any source.”

Ramban in the footnote explains that: ‘demon’ refers to “any voice whose source cannot be observed.”

In Brachot 3b, we get the following statement:

“The Rabbis taught in a baraisa, that one should not enter a ruin for the following three reasons: 1) Because of suspicion, i.e. because people may suspect one of entering there to meet a harlot, 2) Because of the danger of collapse, 3) and because of the danger of demons, who lurk in deserted areas and ruins.”

The footnotes state:

Demons will not attack two people together. Separately, it also states: [W]here men of low moral character are concerned, even ten men are not trusted to be alone with a woman.

In Brachot 43b:

“To one person [a demon] appears and does harm; to two people it appears but does no harm; to three people it does not appear altogether.”

The footnote states: The demon will not take action to harm him, but the person will suffer the effects of having seen a demon (i.e. they get ‘warned off’ and they threatened if they start digging too much into what the demons are doing, or saying too much about their activities. But they only actually get assassinated if they are alone, with no witnesses.)

But Chagigah 16a is really the kicker:

“There are six characteristics that were said regarding demons: Three like ministering angels and three like human beings. These are the three characteristics in which demons are like ministering angels:

  • Demons have wings like ministering angels

  • And [demons] fly from one end of the world to the other end [of the world] like ministering angels

  • And [demons] know what is destined to be in the future like ministering angels.

The Gemara interrupts the Baraisa to clarify this last point:

“Can it enter your mind that they know the future on their own?… Rather, the Baraisa means that [demons] hear what is announced from behind the Partition, like ministering angels.”

Doesn’t this excerpt from the Gemara conjure up visions of spies with recording devices, who fly all over the place in their personal jets and unmarked planes?

And here’s how demons are like humans, from that same Gemara:

  • Demons eat and drink like human beings
  • Demons are fruitful and multiply like human beings
  • And demons die like human beings.

====

I haven’t made an exhaustive survey of every instance of where demons are mentioned in the Gemara, but one other notable place, in Niddah 24b, places demons bang in the middle of a discussion about aborted fetuses.

All this, when taken together, suggests quite a lot, doesn’t it?

To recap the main message:

before Moshiach actually is revealed (aka ‘the Tree’ gets watered), all these crime families and spy agencies start to turn on each other, and take each other out. And the demonic forces who are leading these activities are the talkers. Talkers could refer to journalists, spies, bloggers, social media ‘manipulators’ and also movies and Hollywood (the original home of the ‘talkies’.)

Demons look like human beings, but really aren’t.

They have zero real emuna and faith in Hashem (the ‘chicken feet’ = atheists), and they are organized as crime families and syndicates. You’ll find demons in the middle of abortions…. And in the middle of hurting children and other people… And in locations where men are lured to be ‘entrapped’ with harlots…. And demons love ‘devices’ and can listen in on people’s conversations, fly all over the world and appear to be totally untouchable.

The last thing to tell you about demons is probably the most important.

In Rebbe Nachman’s tale, he explains that the human beings who are with the Jewish Sage who stands up to the King Demon, and who are within his ‘circle’, are safe from the harm demons can do.

Rebbe Nachman tells us:

“The demons approached, but they could not come near [the humans] because of the circle [that the wise man had made] around them. [The King Demon] sent other messengers, but they also failed.”

====

We need to stay close to the Tzaddik HaDor, and to stay far, far away from the places where these ‘demons’ hang out. When Moshiach comes, they will all disappear. But for now, they are still all over the place, and still causing a lot of harm, wars and ‘earthquakes’.

====

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It’s time to draw a line in the sand, and to stop excusing and flattering evil.

The last few years, we’ve all just sat here and watch the politically-correct brigade demolish one fortification in the wall of personal holiness and morality after another.

They encouraged men and women (or let’s be honest, teenage boys and girls and even younger, lo alenu) to have intimate relationships that were totally divorced from any idea of marriage, or bringing new life into the world. They encouraged promiscuous behavior at every turn. They threw all notions of self-discipline and personal holiness out the window, and mocked the people who tried to stand up to them as ‘bigots’.

The internet accelerated the process of moral disintegration, beaming its smut straight into our homes, phones and neshamas. All of a sudden, there was no getting away from it, all that politically-correct programming, that told us we all just had to sit here and say nothing, as these people assaulted the foundations of holiness.

They hold all the cards, that’s how it seems.

They have all the money. They have the expensive lawyers. They have the politicians stitched up, and the judges in their back pockets.

What can small people like you and me do, to really protest all this, and to stand up for personal holiness, and what is objectively right, as defined by God and His Torah?

Not much, that’s the truth. I am regularly censoring myself on my blog with every third word, worried that the thought police who have taken over the internet will find some way of ‘de-platforming’ me, too – even though the only platform I really have is my blog.

Google has gone after so many ‘alternative’ voices the last few months, and totally buried them with algorythms designed to only give ‘the official’ version of events, as decided by the immoral, anti-God and anti-holiness people who are running Google.

So, I measure my words carefully, and try to tell you what’s going on without naming names, or sailing too close to the wind. Because also here in Israel, these same forces for immorality – all those Jewish billionaires based in the States, but who have been warping the sanctity of the Holy Land with millions of dollars from their ‘charitable foundations’ – are operating here, too.

These people, and their front men, were the ones who were really pulling the strings behind the investigations into Rabbi Berland and Rabbi Pinto, and the late Rabbi Yoram Abergel, zt’l. It was part of a stated aim to take down the so-called ‘kabbalah rabbis’ who were so revered by so many Jews in Israel, and to break their power.

But that’s only a small part of the spiritual and moral corruption that has so many Jews at its heart, and which seems to have spread around the globe.

And which is on the cusp of finally being exposed, even though the mainstream media is still trying to divert the public’s attention away from the real stories and facts that are unfolding. 

(Clue: go and Google ‘Epstein and Mossad’ and see what you find.)

====

The reason the MSM doesn’t report on all of this stuff, or reports this stuff with a ‘fake news’ spin is very simple: The MSM is owned by a small group of immoral billionaires who are up to their necks in vice and criminality. And sadly, a large percentage of these people are Jews.

There is a growing band of independent journalists who are bravely putting the facts together and putting them out there on the internet. Even though the corrupt establishment is trying to stop them, the trickle is building to a flood, as more and more people are realizing that so many of the people who are in the top positions in our societies are actually evil, in the truest sense of the world.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

====

Three weeks ago, I got an email asking me if I wanted to review the latest book by a very well known ‘defender of the State of Israel’. This guy had recently been in the press for very successfully defending billionaire child abuser Jeffery Epstein, 10 years ago. Thanks to this guy’s legal smarts, Epstein literally got away with murder.

When I got the request, I started pondering on all this. Here’s a little of how that conversation went:

The guy is defending Israel. He must be good, no?

The guy defended a known pedophile. He must be bad, no?

Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, until finally, the brainwashing dissolved and I got some clarity:

This guy is awful!!! He’s spiritually corrupt!!! How can anyone sleep soundly in their beds at night, knowing that they are regularly abetting the scum of society to escape justice, just because these evildoers have the money to pay their outrageous legal fees?!

So what, that this guy is famous? So what, that he’s got money, or a lot of connections? So what, that he publically defends the State of Israel. He’s totally immoral. He sold his soul for some dollar bills.

Instead of placing these people on a pedestal, more of us need to start calling these greedy, immoral bullies out, and to stop flattering evil.

====

At this stage, every Jewish organization and charity and individual that accepted cash from Epstein, and from all the other immoral Jewish billionaires that are closely associated with the awful things currently being investigated in New York, are morally suspect in the profoundest of ways.

How can I state that so directly? Because like attracts like. It’s an iron-clad rule, and even our Sages taught that: show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you really are.

And in the meantime, I had another penny drop about how I can and probably should be reacting to the tsunami of evil engulfing the Jewish world, in my personal dalet amot, too. And it comes down to this:

BH, I want to start putting way more emphasis on my own personal holiness again.

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I already told my teens that I can’t hear their soul-destroying secular music being blasted through the house any more. I went out today and bought longer socks, to replace my ankle socks. And I have decided that I am going to start standing up for kedusha and holiness again, and to stop flattering evil.

What does that mean, exactly?

I’m still figuring it out, but one thing it for sure means is that I am no longer giving the benefit of the doubt to people who are going against the Torah, or railing against a mitzvah-observant lifestyle, and especially those people who are going against holy people like Rabbi Berland.

Without naming names, I went to check the social media of a big-mouth commentator who has made a huge deal about being pro-human rights, and being pro-women’s rights, and who publically left orthodox Judaism because of all the ‘terrible’ things he was seeing happening in his community.

Now, this guy is openly pushing immorality like it’s the biggest mitzvah in the world, and of course, he was one of the main guys writing negative stuff about Rabbi Berland a few years’ ago.

What did that bastion of justice, morality and human rights have to say about Epstein, a secular New York Jew with connections to a whole bunch of other New York Jews, who is guilty of some of the most mind-boggling human rights abuses in modern times?

Nothing.

The silence is deafening.

(I went to double-check after I wrote that, and this lone tweet is all I found. Compare and contrast.)

The guy is a total hypocrite (at best), and the ‘orthodox’ people who are continuing to buddy-up to him, and to defend and excuse his spiritual corruption and immorality, are 100% guilty of flattering evil.

====

Let’s try to define the term a bit more carefully.

Flattering evil is where you know someone else is saying or doing evil or immoral things (as defined by God, in His Torah), but you still hang out with them and suck up to them because of their wealth and connections; or because they can do favors for you; or because they are a ‘minor celebrity’; or because it just suits you better to turn a blind eye to their bad behavior and immoral lifestyle choices.

That is flattering evil.

And so very many of us are guilty of it.

When I sent back my reply to the famous author’s publicist, I made sure to tell her why I’m saying no to reviewing his book:

In all good conscience, I can’t promote something written by someone who thinks its ok to defend known pedophiles.

And I felt pleased with this minute step towards trying to tip the balance towards God and good again. If I’d have said ‘yes’, that would mean that I’m effectively also condoning that pedophile’s awful, immoral behavior, and enabling it to continue, God forbid a million times over, and saying its ok to hang out with these people, and to keep pretending like there’s nothing wrong with them, and their world-destroying ideas and actions.

I can’t protest everything, I can’t stand up to every sin, and every evil person out there, but whatever God gives me to do, I’m going to do it.

I’m drawing a line in the sand.

From here on in, no more flattering evil, just because someone is well-known, or gives a lot of charity, or defends Israel, or has a lot of ‘backing’ from their community, or is a ‘king’ of political-correctness, or because I’m scared of them.

And I’d be thrilled if you’d consider joining me.

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Rebbe Nachman on real Jewish leaders.

Reposting this article on the difference between luminaries of fire and luminaries of light, from 2016.

In Part 2 of Likutey Moharan, Lesson 67, he writes:

“There are luminaries of light and luminaries of fire, and they are antagonistic [i.e. opposing each other.] When the luminaries of light are empowered, the luminaries of fire are subdued, and inversely, when the luminaries of light are subdued and diminished, the luminaries of fire are empowered.”

A little later on in that same lesson, Rebbe Nachman explains that:

“When someone who totally lacks God’s name becomes renowned – when his name becomes renowned and exalted – God’s name becomes diminished and disappears. Then, pseudo-miracle workers and magicians become exalted, and things happen in the world against which only the names of demonic powers are able to protect….

“Fires are caused in the world on account of the names of these ignominiously renowned people becoming great and enhanced, for this causes God’s name to disappear, the luminaries of light to be subdued, and the luminaries of fire to become empowered.”

What is Rabbenu telling us here?

Firstly, he’s telling us that some of the rabbis, leaders and spiritual mentors in the world are the good guys – the ‘luminaries of light’, and that some of them are the bad guys, or the ‘luminaries of fire’.

This is a fact, however upsetting, and the sooner we come to terms with it, the easier it will be to spot the ‘luminaries of fire’ before they burn us up with their bad advice, false judgment and heretical ideas that are really the antithesis of emuna and serving Hashem.

Rabbenu is also telling us that when the ‘famous’ people in the world are essentially God-less heretics, that’s when these ‘luminaries of fire’ will come to the fore, and that’s when all the pseudo-miracle workers etc will start pouring out of the cracks to confuse us even more.

It’s hard to think of a more secular bunch of ‘elites’ than we have in the world today, whether in Israel or elsewhere.

Who talks about God these days, or includes Him in any policy decisions? Certainly not the politicians, pundits, academics and journalists in Israel, and certainly not the politicians, pundits, academics and journalists anywhere else, either.

So that’s the situation we’re currently in.

====

But Rebbe Nachman is also telling us HOW we can spot who is a faker, and who isn’t:

A luminary of light does just that: they light you up. They exude spiritual light. They shine in the darkness – really literally as well as figuratively.

Unaltered image taken of Rabbi Eliezer Berland

I remember a few years’ back one of the first times I went to see Rav Arush giving a shiur, his face was mamash shining, and I spent most of the night trying to figure out where the spotlight was…. There was no spotlight.

The same with Rav Berland. So many people describe meeting him in the same way: they were instantly struck by the light of holiness coming off him. It was enough to affect powerful spiritual changes in them without him even saying a word.

Luminaries of fire don’t have that light.

What they have instead is thunderous rhetoric, quick one-liners, heapings of blame, self-righteousness, arrogance, and often very quick tempers for anyone who dares to challenge them, take up too much of their time, or otherwise upset them in some way.

Luminaries of fire are scary people, once you peel off all the ‘fake nice’ that they go to great pains to cover it up with.  They roast you for not being good enough. They blast you for not being tznius enough, or having enough emuna (or simply, for being a flawed human being.)

They dole out judgment and advice with narrowed eyes and an obvious dislike (all carefully concealed). Also, whatever ‘spiritual uplift’ they do possess, it doesn’t illuminate so much as completely burn you out.

Your rapt attention, your obvious devotion and respect – it’s all just fuel for the insatiable fire of their own ego and self-interest.

====

Before I knew all this, I used to occasionally have phone calls with a ‘luminary of fire’ that would leave me feeling very weird afterwards, like I’d just been mugged somehow, but couldn’t for the life of me work out how, or who’d done it.

It was the luminary of fire, taking all of my respect for them to build a bigger bonfire for themselves. There was some light, too, but it was so hot and uncomfortable speaking to them I subconsciously decided to keep my distance.

It’s only when I overcame that reticence, to have the first ‘real’ conversation with them in all the time I’d been following them, that it became shockingly obvious that I was dealing with a faker, a luminary of fire, not a luminary of light.

Let’s end with this: Luminaries of light can hold their candle up even in your darkest hour, and give you a path out of despair.

Luminaries of fire can’t.

The only thing they can do is ‘explode’ in some way – at you, for being such a useless, worthless, imperfect sinner. Fire is anger. Fire is intolerance. Fire is harsh words, and criticism and machloket.

May the luminaries of light be empowered again very soon, may God’s name be exalted and spoken about once again, and may we all have illumination instead of destruction in our lives.

====

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The last few days I’ve been pondering: am I really writing for me, or am I really trying to write for God?

One of my readers emailed me after the last post to tell me that she hopes I’m going to win the argument with my husband, as she’s missing my ‘current affairs’ insights.

So, I asked him at breakfast today:

“Would it be OK if I don’t make any comment about things, but I just stick up some links and let people go and figure it all out by themselves, if they can? I mean, it’s all out there, it’s all public knowledge, just it’s not being connected properly….”

He shook his head.

“I don’t want them taking your website down, or hacking the computer, or all the other things they do to harass people. You have too many other important jobs to do on your site.”

You know what? I didn’t argue with him.

Because deep down, I know he’s right.

====

Who am I really blogging for, me or God?

The last few months, I’ve been thinking more and more about how all these so-called ‘geula blogs’ are really just an exercise in feeding the gullible public information about what will be. Most of them got their start by translating the messages from the autistics into English, or by cobbling together bits of stuff from the Torah Codes and other self-styled ‘seers’ to come up with what were essentially predictions for the future.

But it’s totally forbidden for Jews to try to ‘predict’ the future, unless we’re bona fide prophets being sent to the people with a message to deliver on behalf of Hashem. We aren’t goyish soothsayers, looking for signs and omens so we can try to game the system with insider information.

Our future has always and only depended on us making some real teshuva.

I think that’s how all the stuff with the autistics got so bent out of shape, in the geula blogosphere. For as long as the information was being used to get us to make some real teshuva, and to get us to stop being such phoney, fake Jews, and to really understand that Jews need to live in Israel, and that we need to work on our bad middot, it was actually very useful.

When me and my husband read the book Galia back in London, it had a lot to do with our decision to make aliya, because it gave us a totally different perspective about what was going on in the world, and how we’d need to change our lives if we really wanted to be a part of the more God-fearing, Moshiach-ready Jewish people.

But sadly, most people haven’t reacted like that, at least, not the English speakers that I know.

====

Other people loved the autistics’ messages for very different reasons. For some, it gave them the reflected aura of being some sort of ‘prophet’, who could pretend to have more wisdom and insight than others. I also got sucked into that for a while, especially around the banking collapse in 2008, when all the scary predictions appeared to be materializing before my eyes.

Until they got sweetened by our true tzaddikim, especially by Rabbi Berland

Other people loved the autistics because they felt all their messages about the Erev Rav gave them carte blanche to go around pointing the finger at everyone else. That was never the point.

The point was for us to identify those bad, ‘Erev Rav’ traits inside ourselves, and to work on uprooting them.

That work requires some humility. It requires a lot of honesty. It needs a lot of prayer and broken-hearted pleading for God to please help us act nicer to other people, and to work on understanding ourselves more.

How many of us really took that message to heart, in the geula blogosphere?

I kept reading more and more drivel about everyone else….being eradicated from the world, and having disgusting middot, and acting like Erev Rav, and all the rest. But what about us? What about all the teshuva that we ourselves needed to make?

Where was all the stuff about how all these geula bloggers, and the people who read and comment on their blogs, were actually trying to make some real teshuva in their own lives?

Totally absent.

====

After mulling this over for a few years already, I think a lot of the problem comes down to the fact that practically every geula blogger and commentator out there is anonymous.

They can tell you that they’re God-fearing, they can tell you who their rabbi is (or isn’t…) they can tell you what they really believe blahdie blahdie blah.

But because they are totally anonymous, there is absolutely no way of checking these people out, independently. Once there’s a name to ground someone into reality, it’s much easier to go and see if all their pious talk and holier-than-thou stuff is matched by an equally ‘holy’ personal life, or whether you’re actually dealing with a lunatic whose private life is a trainwreck.

I know that I can’t write a thing without it having to stand up to reality in ‘the real world’.

I have a real name, I have a real family. Anyone could talk to my kids and my husband and find out in a split second that I’m a recovering psycho. Being real obliges me to own up to my struggles and my issues, because if you come across me in real life while I’m still trying to be a pseudo-pious-pretend-geula-blog-persona, you’re going to call me out on my hypocrisy very, very fast.

But there just isn’t that same accountability with so many of the other people online who have been setting the tone of the debate around geula and moshiach for the last two decades.

How would it change things, if you knew someone was a ‘secret mesichist’, who hates the idea of anyone being the Moshiach other than their own (dead…) leader? How would it change things if you knew someone had a really bad relationship with every single one of the family members? How would it change things, if you knew someone had a pot habit, or a gambling problem, or a really horrible, nasty temper?

Would you still take what they have to say so seriously? Would you still praise them for being so wise and all-knowing? Would you still relate to their ‘pretend perfect’ online persona so respectfully? Would you still think they are far more interested in blogging for God than just blogging in order to inflate their own egos?

I wonder.

====

Then there were all the people who loved all the autistics and ‘predicting the future’ stuff because of the Nibiru buzz.

For two whole years, we all sat entranced by the Youtube prophets and ‘geula watchers’ who were going on…and on…and on… about the dark star, the killer planet, the brown dwarf, the dreaded Nibiru.

Do I think something like that is out there? Yes, probably. It’s part of God’s much bigger plan for our planet, and it will play whatever role it’s meant to, in getting us to the next stage of things.

But why do I not really care so much about NIBIRUUUUUU, even if it does exist?

Because I’m trying to keep my focus on working on myself, identifying my issues and flaws, and trying to acknowledge and work on the stuff that I really need to work on, regardless of whether some massive comet comes close to the earth and causes a tidal wave of energy to ripple through the earth’s crust.

Right now, I’m working on trying to not shout the heck out of my teenage kids, when they come home really late too many nights in a row. That’s not easy (for me…) It’s showing me I have a lot of patience to learn, still, a lot of anger to control.

All that stuff has absolutely nothing to do with trying to predict the future, and trying to create a ‘buzz’ around current events that I can orchestrate into some massive, and massively pointless discussion (at best…) in my comments section.

====

If that was the only problem with our decades’ long obsession with trying to ‘predict the future’, and trying to skim off the superficial excitement about ‘geula happening’ while ducking the hard work of really getting to grips with our own bad middot and moving to the Holy Land, maybe it still wouldn’t be so bad.

But ever since those selfsame autistics that everyone just loved, when all they were doing was just talking about the Erev Rav, Illuminati and Nibiru, started coming out with clearer and clearer messages identifying Rabbi Berland as the hezkat Moshiach of our generation – well, things have gotten very interesting, from a psychological perspective. It’s got way, way clearer who is doing stuff for God (or trying to…) and who isn’t.

One blogger has spent the last 15 years making her name off the back of peddling autistic ‘prophecies’ and blasting 14.99999999 million Jews as being ‘fakers’ we could all turn our backs on and condemn to permanent hell and damnation. As soon as the autistics suggested the Rav could be Moshiach – she put up a notice on her blog explaining she no longer ‘endorsed’ them.

The irony is, that the autistics said whoever can’t accept Rabbi Berland could be Moshiach is an ‘Erev Rav’.

(Personally, I’m not convinced they’re right, just to make this even more confusing than it already is.)

====

This blogger happens to be an excellent writer, and a really good researcher.

When I was looking into all the anusim stuff the last couple of weeks, I wondered a little wistfully why this person couldn’t bend her fearless (anonymous…) blogging abilities to really trying to help out her fellow Jews who are suffering so much in South America, instead of wasting so much time and energy on pointless rants.

How different this could all look, if more of the bloggers out there stopped stroking their own egos and started thinking about how to better serve Hashem, with their writing.

Who cares, really, what some militant guy with a beard and an obsession with machine guns said 20 years ago? There are real, live Jews that need your help! Go and put your money where your mouth is, o anonymous blogger, and go and stand up to the real baddies out there. Go and do something useful with your blog, instead of just stirring trouble and hatred all the time.

And I guess, that’s what I really want to say to all the geula bloggers out there, who pretend not to read my stuff, but then make pointed comments about me being delusional etc.

God gave you your blog to spread some light in the world, and you aren’t doing the job.

For years, you’ve been milking the geula process for all that it’s worth, so you can build a big audience and feel like a ‘someone’. And now, when we’re really coming down to the wire, and when people really need to be encouraged to scrub the scales from their eyes and to make some real teshuva – you are still doing your best to keep us all stuck back there, in the ‘make believe world’ comfort zone.

You don’t need to make aliya, not at all! The Beit HaMikdash is going to be rebuilt in America!

You don’t need to make some real teshuva, not at all! Carry on leaving poisonous comments about the Gadol HaDor, and having disrespectful discussions about him online, that’s guaranteed the best way to get geula and Moshiach the sweet way!

You don’t need to stop treating other people badly – not at all! – to get to the end safely. Just carry on watching your Netflix, spending hours gossiping on Facebook, and peddling half-truth headlines and pseudo-frum Youtube rabbis as the REAL purveyors of Torah and truth!

Business as usual! (With a side-helping of geula).

====

But that’s not what our REAL rabbis are saying. Not at all.

A few days ago, I saw a bizarre story in the Yeshiva World News (which I don’t read, btw, because it’s full of fake news and lashon hara, but which came up in a Google Search I was doing for something.)

It said this:

“United States President Donald Trump reportedly sent two anonymous Jewish colleagues to meet with HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita. According to a BeChadrei Chareidim report, they told the Gadol Hador they are friends of the US president, sending Mr. Trump’s personal regards.

Rav Kanievsky reportedly asked what they wanted, and they said the US president was interested in knowing when Moshiach will arrive.

“The weekly Torah sheet “Divrei Siach”, which contains Rav Kanievsky’s Torah, reports on the visit, explaining Rav Kanievsky was not overly interested when the two sent the president’s regards, and asked if they wanedt anything else.

“When they asked about Moshiach’s arrival, Rav Kanievsky reportedly asked “What have you done to hasten Moshiach’s arrival? Have you moved to Israel?” When they responded negatively, Rav Kanievsky added,

“Then move to Israel and Moshiach will soon arrive”.

====

Assuming the story is true (always a big ‘if’…) let’s rewrite the headline to describe what Rav Kanievsky apparently really told his illustrious Jewish visitors from America:

If you really want to bring the Moshiach, you should move to Israel.

As usual, Rav Kanievsky pierced straight to the heart of the problem:

If you REALLY want to be part of the geula, if you REALLY want Moshiach to come, you should be in Israel. You should be LIVING that reality, and not just endlessly discussing it.

Sigh.

Just before Rosh Hashana, I deleted my blog after a very unpleasant email interaction with one of these ‘geula bloggers’. For 4 months, I stayed offline. I told God then, God, I want to give You what You want. Please show me what You want me to do with myself, and how I can use my writing to best serve You.

The message I got back consistently, every single time, was to tell more people about Rabbi Eliezer Berland, and to help him any way I can.

That’s the only reason I started this blog back up.

Today, I’m still asking God for guidance, and today, I’m still getting that message back loud and clear. That’s why I really don’t care if people don’t like me, or if they diss me for talking about this stuff, of if they go on the attack.

I’m trying to use this blog for the only reason God created it, namely to put the spotlight on the true Tzaddikim of the generation, and on our own great need to make a lot of teshuva and off myself, and my own stupid ideas about things.

Because really, what do I know?

Even if I do think that I have so very much information I could share with you about what’s really going on right now, so what? Let’s say I did set it all down, what good would that do? How would it really change your life?

Is anyone out there making aliya, because of what they read on this blog? Is anyone really making teshuva? Is anyone getting closer to God and the true tzaddikim? I honestly don’t know.

But that’s the only real measure of ‘success’ that counts.

So at least for now, the husband has won.

Because at some point, we have to stop treating the geula like some sort of superficial and ultimately meaningless debate or ‘prediction process’, and we have to actually start living it ourselves.

====

Ego picture by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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With each day that passes, I realise even more that we’re living in a mad world.

In case you’re wondering why there aren’t a lot of posts going up the site at the moment, there are two reasons for that.

  • I’m in the middle of writing another book, and it’s taking a lot of time.
  • I’m currently having a minor disagreement with my better half, as I really want to write a whole lot more about what’s really going on with the yucky people who are sadly running our part of the world, and my husband is scared that if I do that, I’ll get myself in trouble.

So in the meantime, we’re having something of a stand-off and I’m not sure what exactly I should be writing, if I can’t write what God is putting in my soul to write.

But I can tell you this: it’s a mad world.

And it’s getting madder by the day.

On Shabbat, I went for a walk around Talpiot early in the morning, as the new book is taking a lot of mental concentration and I needed to ‘decompress’ my brain a little, with a longer hitbodedut session than usual.

As I rounded the bend that took me deep into Talpiyot’s industrial zone, which was all but deserted save for a couple of taxis, one police cruiser and a couple of local Arabs on foot, I spotted a strange figure motioning at me to come closer to the bus stop, where he / she was standing.

From a distance, I didn’t know who or what I was dealing with, but I could see the person didn’t look ‘normal’, and I also knew that there was no-one else around to help, if help was required. I took a deep breath, and went over.

It turned out to be a middle-aged woman with a buzz-cut and glasses, wearing boy’s clothes and a pair of oversized black man’s shoes. Even before she opened her mouth, I knew she was totally crazy.

====

“There’s a pedophile here!” She told me, motioning up the road. “He’s attacking his grandchildren, he’s attacking children!”

Well, that certainly got my attention. I debated how I should react to this news.

“Do you want me to flag down the police car?” I asked her.

“No!!!!!” she responded emphatically. “They all want to date me. All the policemen want to date me.” Just then, the police car cruised by and beeped at us, as the crazy woman told me “Don’t look at them, don’t look at them! But you see? They all like me. They were smiling at me, right?”

I tried telling her that I hadn’t been looking at them, as per her instructions, but she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Crazy people don’t like being told cold, hard facts that interfere with their narrative.

“You from America?” she asked me, suddenly switching into English. It’s part of my ongoing experience of being humbled on a daily basis that even the brain-damaged people I meet in Israel typically speak better English to me than I can speak Hebrew to them. “I’m from England,” I told her warily.

“Yeah!” she nodded. “Eastenders! Teletubbies! I know! I’m your angel, do you know that? God sent me to you to protect you from that pedophile. I want you to stay with me here until my madrich comes to get me.”

It was Shabbos. It was clear (to me) that no madrich was coming to get her.

“Do you have a phone?” she asked me. “No, it’s Shabbat.” “I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me!” she responded angrily. “I’m also making teshuva. Do you have a head-covering for me?” I didn’t.

====

So now I said to myself, God, what do you want from me?

What do you want me to do with this stark-raving crazy lady in the middle of Talpiyot who wants me to wait with her until the Moshiach comes?

The Police cruiser came around again, and this time I went against her instructions and looked in their direction and tried to subtly flag them down. The two policewomen in the car looked at me, then drove off.

“You see? They love me! Right they were smiling at me?! They all want to be my boyfriend. But most of them are married! And I’m not a slut,” gabbled on the crazy lady. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that there were no policemen in sight, and the police women clearly felt they had better things to do than take a crazy lady back to her institution.

“Listen,” she said to me suddenly, as though she’d been reading my thoughts. “I’m not crazy. I just have CP. You know what is CP?” I nodded. “I need you to walk me back to my madrich. I’m your angel. You need me.”

I raised my eyes to the Heavens again.

Lord, what do you want from me?

Go with the crazy woman. You can’t leave her here.

“Where is your madrich?”

“Tzomet Pat”

That was miles away! I sighed heavily. Ok, God. Ok. If that’s what You want, that’s what I’ll try to give You.

====

We started walking, and I realized with sinking stomach that the crazy lady had a really bad limp.

This was going to take ages. She looked at me, saw my bemused expression, and started insulting me.

“You’re a sick person, you know that? You’re mentally ill! You should be in a hospital!”

I raised an eyebrow, than agreed with her. That threw her. So she tried to insult me again.

“What do you have, schizophrenia? Depression? You know, you’re a sick person. You’re not nice. You don’t trust anyone. Come on, trust me!” she told me emphatically. “I’m not going to do anything to you!”

Thanks to my teenagers, my tolerance for being insulted is pretty high.

But even so, she was approaching the cresting point. I realized it would be better for everyone if she continued her monologue in Hebrew. That way I could pretend to be listening without having to get too involved.

====

So she took my hand – for my own safety, of course, so the pedophile wouldn’t get me – and we walked along at 2 cms an hour, over the bike track and up onto the other side of Makor Chaim.

The whole way, she was telling me about her 11 year old son, who wasn’t adopted. And her ex-husband who was a Russian Jew, but they still had to get married in a civil wedding in Cyprus. Now they were divorced. She told me she had cancer. She told me she’d had two serious operations. She told me that Avi had just killed himself, because she’d refused to marry him.

“His Facebook account is blocked now, right?” I nodded mechanically. “That means he’s dead! It’s very sad.” She started crying. “You didn’t kill him,” I told her emphatically (who knows if ‘Avi’ even existed, but when you’re in Mad World, there are certain rules you have to follow.)

She turned on my angrily. Don’t be aggressive with me, ok? I’m a black belt karate! I’ll hit you so hard you won’t get up again!”

She looked at me with angry eyes, and I looked back at her 5ft nothing, limping frame and sighed a very deep sigh again. You can’t disagree with crazy people about anything. They are always right. So I apologized and nodded, and we carried on.

At 2cm an hour.

In the boiling sun.

And I didn’t have any water.

And I was starting to need the toilet.

====

I cleared my throat.

“Do you know where we’re going?”

“Come on! Trust me! What’s the matter with you!!” she started yelling at me again.

I ignored her.

Do you know where we are going? I can’t spend all day going to Tzomet Pat with you.

Right at the beginning of the journey, we’d had a disagreement about the direction to take and fool that I am, I thought she’d really known where she was going. I wasn’t going to make that mistake twice.

“I’m going to ask someone” I told her – which again got her a little mad and panicked, but I wasn’t going to take no for an answer this time.

“It’s FORBIDDEN for you to speak to a man, what sort of religious woman are you?!” she shouted at me, then ran off to flag down the jogging bald-headed man that was heading straight for us.

“Where’s Tzomet Pat?” I asked him. He pointed me in a direction, and the crazy lady started up that he was lying, and that it was the other way. My patience broke.

“Listen,” I said in English. “She’s a little bit crazy, and I’m trying to help her get to her madrich. Please tell me where Tzomet Pat is.”

That was it. I’d done the unthinkable. I’d dared to state that the crazy person was crazy.

I’d broken the cardinal rule of the ‘Mad World’. This was unforgivable.

====

The crazy person turned on me and started abusing me roundly on the street.

“I knew you were a sick person! Get away from me, before I put you in hospital! I don’t want you to come anywhere with me! Go away!”

Now my guilt reflex kicked in. Should I leave the crazy woman here, in the middle of the road? Am I now responsible for getting her home?

I decided to try to follow her stealthily for a minute, hiding out behind some cars, to check she’d be OK. She spotted me immediately, and started abusing me again.

“You’re disgusting! You’re sick! Stop stalking me! Go and get help!”

Just like that, the tables had been neatly turned, and now I looked like the crazy person.

Talk about a mad world.

I turned and walked back in the other direction, towards my home.

The little bit of nachas I’d schlepped from putting myself out to do a mitzvah, however strange and unwillingly, had totally disappeared. Instead, I just felt pretty bad about myself.

God, what was I meant to have done differently? How was I meant to have reacted? Am I really responsible for trying to help these people, who are totally insane?

I don’t have an answer.

I came home in a thoughtful mood, and not for the first time, I thanked God for keeping me out of the loonie bin. Who knows how crazy people really get that way. Certainly, there’s usually been a lot of suffering, a lot of pain, a lot abuse on the way down into the madness.

There but for the grace of God go I.

But in the meantime, it’s a mad world out there, and getting crazier all the time.

And I have no idea, really, how it’s all going to get fixed.

====

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Mad World photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words.

Definition of clickbait

something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.
“It is difficult to remember a time when you could scroll through the social media outlet of your choice and not be bombarded with: You’ll never believe what happened when … This is the cutest thing ever … This the biggest mistake you can make … Take this quiz to see which character you are on … They are all classic clickbait models.”
— Emily Shire

Cartoon of an angler fish using'click bait' to entice a naive reader (fish)

Nuff said.