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Out of all the Sefirot, one, Malchut, is considered to be ‘female’. The main reason for this is because Malchut only receives, while the other sefirot all ‘give’, which according to the Torah is a male trait.

Malchut is when you crown God as King of the world, primarily by seeing Him actively engaged in every area of your life. This is a working definition of what it means to have emuna, so emuna and malchut are very connected.

It’s no accident that women tend to have a lot more emuna than men; they tend to be much more connected to the spiritual realm, and much more in tune with God, and what God actually wants, especially if they’re regularly talking to Him.

Which brings me on to the main topic of today’s post:

In the story of the Exchanged Children, Rebbe Nachman explains how the main protagonist, the prince-turned-slave, is set a riddle by the land of the wise people with a foolish king, in order to become their king.

The prince-turned-slave is shown a tableau where everything has been rearranged and taken out of its proper place, and his job is to put it all back in its right order.

The first thing the prince-turned-slave does is take the rose that he finds at the bottom of the throne, in the mud, and to return it to its proper place at the top.

A few months’ ago, I was having a chat with God, like you do, and I suddenly got some startling clarity about that particular story, and what the rose represents: the rose is us!

It’s you and me, and the rest of the ladies out there.

For all the so-called progress made by the ‘Women’s Lib’ movement, women today have never been so disrespected, downtrodden and demeaned.

The Hollywood culture has turned us into bodies to be ogled and used in the most heart-breaking fashion; the materialistic culture has turned us into slaves to the paycheck, forcing us to put having a job ahead of having the time and patience we need to really nurture our families; and Women’s Lib has made us feel guilty that we’re not as competitive, unfeeling and insensitive as the men in our lives.

I’d love to tell you that things are better in the Jewish world, and especially in the religious Jewish world, but really, they’re not.

Here too, women are routinely in the mud.

I hate all the stereotypes that abound in the religious world, and that are used to hit various groups over the head with, so I’m going to pause, and let you look around your own community, your own group, to recognise how this may be playing out in your world.

What I see, is tired, stressed female faces on every side; I see lonely woman who clearly feel ‘something’ has gone wrong; I see daughters growing up promising themselves they are never going to live like their mothers; I see wives and girlfriends hoping and wishing it could somehow be different, and that the men in their lives could somehow grow up, and start treating them with respect and genuine love and caring.

I see this happening all over the place. It’s not confined to any single stereotype, community or neighbourhood. We women are in the mud.

We need someone, somehow, to take us from our lowly position, and replace us as the beautiful crown of our homes. Rav Arush, bless him, has been trying to do this for a few years’ already, with his books about marriage.

In those books, Rav Arush makes it clear that it’s the man’s role is to GIVE and the woman’s role is to RECEIVE. That’s how God made the world. That’s the right order of things.

So in this week of Malchut, let me give us all a bracha that things should return to their right place, and that we women should be raised out of the difficult places we currently find ourselves in, in every sense of the word.

I’m busy writing the draft of my book on Jewish Energy Medicine, and I just got up to the section describing Rav Arush’s 8 Deeper Needs, and how they can severely impact our sense of health and well-being if they’re not being met, in some way.

Deeper Need number 5 is ‘Sense of Purpose’. Without giving the whole game away, I’m reproducing the ‘Sense of Purpose – Rules to live by’ for you to print off and stick on your fridge while you’re waiting for the book to come out so you can order 10 copies to give to all your friends (I’m working on my optimism, can you tell?)

Enjoy!

Rules to live by – Sense of Purpose

  1. My husband signed the ketuba not me.
  2. The Arizal taught that the main soul correction we’re all here to do is to learn emuna.
  3. Men learn emuna (and correct their souls) via making parnassa; women learn emuna (and correct their souls) via their families.
  4. When I try to do my husband’s job, two things happen: I prevent him from learning emuna and turning to G-d; and I prevent myself from doing my own soul correction, because I’m off trying to be a man, instead of being a mother.
  5. When there are financial issues, they are ONLY coming to teach the man emuna and to get him to make teshuva. (this sounds controversial, but it’s all based on Rav Arush and Torah.)
  6. The Gemara tells us: honour your wives and become rich. This is a big clue about what the man might need to make teshuva on. Other big ‘money’ issues include: lack of tznius (including ogling other women on the internet) spilling seed (including using birth control without rabbinical approval) anger; and, of course, lack of emuna.
  7. ‘Lack of emuna’ is when people refuse to see G-d behind their financial issues, and instead blame their wives for not working, or not working enough.
  8. Spiritually, women are the pipe of abundance for the home, including for finances. If we’re miserable – even if we’re working 3 jobs – our finances will be lousy. If we’re happy – even if we aren’t working at all – our finances will be blessed, even if there isn’t a lot of money.
  9. ‘Work’ is not the same as ‘purpose’, and for women, they can often be diametrically opposed.
  10. It’s not ‘forbidden’ for a woman to work, and it’s not even a bad thing, but only under the following circumstances:
    • She has to enjoy it enough to do it for free.
    • It doesn’t come ahead of her children, or at least, not on a regular basis (the odd deadline, the odd ‘big’ push is fine, but not as a regular way of life.)
    • She has to WANT to be doing it, and not just doing it because her husband refuses to learn some emuna.

I was talking to someone a little while ago about the number of people taking SSRIs (what we’ll generically call ‘Prozac’), when they said: “You know, when you told me that half the people in your town were taking Prozac, I really thought you were exaggerating. But yesterday I was talking to one of my neighbours, and they started telling me about what’s going on with the people in my neighbourhood, and half of my village is also on them! The woman I was talking to was a pharmacist, and she told me that as fast as she’s stocking them, people are cleaning them out. It’s an epidemic.”

Since the latest war in Israel, anxiety has become a major problem for a lot of people. It’s easy to understand why: anyone with eyes in their head can see that the threat to Israeli security posed by Gaza and Hamas was only temporarily curtailed. Sooner or later, the rockets will be back, and they may well be joined by other rockets from Hezbolla in Lebanon, and who knows what else from ISIS, currently camped out on the Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian borders.

And the economy? Pleeze, let’s not talk about the economy. Until now, Israel has escaped most of the ‘down’ experienced by the rest of the world, but the cracks are starting to show. I live in Jerusalem, and businesses are starting to close (including my own, in the Old City). Money is starting to be pretty tight. Banks are starting to pull in their credit in quite an aggressive way.

All of this puts a lot of stress on most people’s nervous systems. As a result, they are more on edge, more likely to fight with their spouses, more likely to have kids acting up and acting out, and finding it harder to unwind, relax and even to sleep.

It’s a vicious spiral down, and many people are struggling to cope, and hoping that drugs like Prozac are the magic panacea that’s going to solve all their problems.

One day soon, I’m going to write a few detailed posts (with citations) showing why SSRIs are dangerous drugs, that usually cause far more problems than they solve. But today, I want to focus on natural alternatives for reducing anxiety, because if more people knew there were other things out there that really worked to reduce their anxiety, they’d probably be less inclined to start trying to drug their problems away.

The first thing you can do if you’re feeling incredibly anxious is to gently hold the neurovascular points on the front of your forehead (the bony bits just above your eyebrows) for a couple of minutes. It’s a very simple technique, but it brings blood back into your forebrain and away from the limbic system, and helps to eliminate the physical ‘stress response’ that causes anxiety.

Just actively bring to mind the thing you’re worrying about, gently hold the front neurovascular points for up to five minutes, and you’ll see that it’s somehow ‘de-compressed’ the problem.

You can still think about the issue or worry, but without the pounding heart, nausea, dry mouth and sense of panic. You can go through all your worries one by one, and defuse them with this technique.

The next thing you can do is use aromatherapy. Put a few drops (up to 6) of sweet marjoram or chamomile (or another ‘sedating’ essential oil) in the bath, soak for 20 minutes and you’ll feel physiologically much calmer and able to deal.

The next thing is to turn off the news. Go ‘news-free’ for a week, and I guarantee you’ll notice a marked difference in your equanimity and peace of mind.

The last thing is to start talking to G-d about what’s bothering you. Drop the mask, and come clean, because the more we try to shove our issues and anxieties under the carpet, the larger they start to loom in our subconscious.

Today, we are all full of worries, fears and anxieties, whether we want to admit that or not. Running away from our problems is not an answer – the anxiety we continue to feel at an unconscious level will simply seep out into myriad health issues, ‘stress’, insomnia and anger.

We need to face our anxieties head-on; we need to be honest about what’s worrying us; we need to put G-d in the picture – and then we need to hold our neurovasculars in the bath for five minutes.

And if we do all those things, we’ll start to feel calmer, happier, and less anxious, and we won’t need the Prozac any more.