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I know it’s bad to look at Facebook.

I know, believe me I know. That’s why I have a fake account that lets me just dip in and out when I need to go and look up things for research purposes.

So yesterday, I was doing some research that took me to a Facebook page, and then I noticed a picture of a young woman with striking red hair and a sad face under all her makeup – Shiran – and something compelled me to look at it.

Man, I got so sad, so fast.

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As I scrolled through all her selfies from the last five years, I saw how a beautiful, religious, ‘edgy’ girl went totally off the rails.

It started in small ways. The skirt was still black, but way too tight. Then it got shorter. Then the tops started revealing more and more cleavage.

Then, some big ‘break’ happened, and the hair got dyed a vampy red.

Then the makeup went up a level, with kohl-ed eyes and dark red lipstick to match.

And the clothes continued to disappear.

And then the first tattoo showed up – something ‘subtle’, just a signature on one wrist.

And now, five years later, she’s totally covered in tattoos up and down all her limbs, and a few other places, too.

I know this, because the last ‘selfies’ posted up were artistically-shot pictures of Shiran running through some grass with her tattoo-ed butt cheeks hanging out of her cut off shorts. P*rnography, pretty much, but so artfullll….

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What can I tell you?

My heart broke.

The last few months, I’ve been getting to know quite a few of these ‘souls of tohu’, these big souls that can’t really fit into the world as it’s currently configured, and so they want to destroy, and tear it down to its foundations.

At their root, these kids, these teens, these young people are really only good.

They want that ideal version of planet earth so badly, it literally pains them to have our current flawed version. So they lash out, and they try to do anything they can to minimize the pain of simply being alive in our current, difficult reality.

And the first person they lash out at is themselves.

What are tattoos, after all, except bruises of the soul, publically displayed for all to see?

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Honestly?

I’m still heartbroken about all this. There are so many kids like this, who are growing up in homes – frum or not – and falling straight to the bottom of the world. And everything is being documented with selfies on Facebook and Instagram.

I can’t help but wonder, if there was no Facebook page to post all this amateur p*rn up on, and no Smartphone to take pictures of the ‘latest’ self-mutilating tattoo, and no fake Facebook friends to egg-on all this self-destructive behavior with little red hearts and ‘thumbs up’ emojis, would it still be happening?

Would Shiran have transformed so violently, from an off-the-derech girl to a tattoo-d vamp-call-girl-wannabe?

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I find that question so painful.

This world is so hard.

So please, go and give you teens a big hug right now.

Tell them how good they are. Tell them how much you love them – even if they’ve already slipped, even if they’ve fallen. There is always a way back, there is always a stairway up and out of the muck – I learnt that from Rabbenu, and from Rav Berland.

But the first step is our love for our kids.

Turn that love on, whack it up to full volume and let it shine a path for your kid to return to their true selves, return to their souls, and return to God.

He wants everyone back.

Even Shiran.

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As I was writing this, one of my kids told me she wanted to show me an ‘amazing’ video.

It’s called neshamot shel tohu – souls of chaos – and it depicts a little of what I’m writing about in this post. These lost young people, running through the streets of Jerusalem, smoking, drinking, hanging out in Mahane Yehuda. Acting out, because the world is just so painful to them. They are mamash the biggest neshamas.

The chorus says:

Neshamot shel tohu

Machapsot ca’av

Bishvil l’argish mashu

English:

Souls of chaos, looking for ‘pain’, just so they can feel something.

What can I say?

I started crying again.

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UPDATE:

Here’s an English translation of the lyrics:

Souls of ‘chaos’

Looking for ‘pain’

Just in order to feel something

Only so they can feel something

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I got used to this now

Prisoner of the cycle

Scared to come close

‘Diseased’ and frightened

Knots and more knots in the heart

I want [to come closer] but don’t know how

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A scared boy

Angry at the world

He runs away to each place

And doesn’t understand where he’s even going

To love from close up, it’s still not possible

There is a ‘ruach sayera’ (storm wind)

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Shards of light from those days

Broken vessels are wandering around

Thirsty, angry

Broken-hearted because of other people

The smallness of ‘skin’

The separation between light and light

The heart is so very sensitive

It’s hard to endure the world

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So if you are wandering around

With a hungry heart

Know something:

The buried treasure is within your own deepness

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Here I am, live-blogging my COVID-19 induced nervous breakdown….

On Friday, I cracked up.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, because it’s impossible to go through months and months and months of intense stress without something giving.

So on Friday, I fired up the laptop, did the usual trawl-thru of all the cr*ppy fake news websites that are basically just churning out lies and government sponsored propaganda 24/7… and then my eyes went funny.

Not just a little bit funny, full-on funny which made it really hard for me see, and meant I had to go to bed for 8 hours, while my kids cooked Shabbat.

I’ve had this happen 2 times before in my life, each time at the end of a period of extreme and prolonged stress. When it first happened around 12 years ago, it literally took me out for a year, and began my whole process of figuring out how human health and emotions actually fit together, that culminated in Talk to God and Fix Your Health.

The second time it happened, was just after we moved to Jerusalem and everything started falling apart big time, as chronicled (partly….) in The Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife 1 – Move to the Golden City.

That time, too, it took me a few months to make the teshuva required to get my eyes back to normal, and to deal with the underlying emotional issues and lack of emuna that had basically totally fried my body out.

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This time around, things came much faster.

I stuck some whole red lentils on some key places, including where the eyes are located in the Sujok system on the hand to strengthen my energy; I liberally doused on some lavender essential oils to take the physical stress down; and then I decided I am taking a news fast for hopefully at least the next 2 weeks.

No more heart-attack inducing headlines from ynet; no more upsetting opinion pieces from Jpost, no more fake ‘facts’, misleading statistics or made up quotes from corrupt ‘experts’.

By the time Shabbat came in, I already started feeling much, much better, although honestly, I’m still a bit weak at the moment.

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The other thing I realized I have to work on is having some emuna that God is really behind all this, and accepting His decisions, including that I have to wear the stupid, pointless mask every time I go outside.

I’ve been railing against this so much, as it’s just pure control for control’s own sake, and I feel that deep in my bones.

At the same time… It’s God who is actually deciding that everyone has to wear masks right now, and it’s not even that I don’t have a clue about what this is really all about, because I wrote a whole post about what particular area of teshuva that’s related to.

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So, instead of spending my time fuming and gnashing my teeth, and hating government institutions wholesale, I decided I’m going to spend the next two weeks trying to ‘enjoy’ the situation God has put me in.

And trying to see the good.

And also using this time to work on things that I pushed to the back burner for so many years, like my Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife series, which are based on the best bits of my blog.

Today, the paperback version of Volume II of the Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife series went live on Amazon (and I can’t buy it myself still, as I’m in Israel and they aren’t delivering here yet), and the Kindle should be ready middle of the week, BH.

It’s called Questions for God, and it spans my blog for the year 2016 – when I was going through a lot of things that sound like I could be writing about what many of us are experiencing right now, during this whole COVID-19 madness.

Stuff like accepting God’s will wholeheartedly.

Even when it seems to be the very opposite of what you yourself are hoping for, and praying for, and wishing for. And how to deal with teenagers in a real way, that doesn’t negate their budding sense of self, but which also keeps them at least broadly trundling in the right direction down the tracks. And questions about what our true sense of purpose really is, when all the ‘reality’ we knew suddenly disappears and we’re left feeling totally lost in the world…

And a bunch of other stuff, besides.

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The next two weeks, I have plans to also get Secret Diaries Numbers 3, 4 and 5 pulled together and ready to get out too – to bring us up to 2019.

So, keep your eyes peeled for that.

And in the meantime, no news is good news.

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Go HERE to buy Questions for God on Amazon.

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Well, I’m typing this in the middle of a dystopian novel…

This morning, I got up early and went with one of my kids to walk in the forest nearby to my home. This particular kid has been pretty depressed the last two weeks, because she’s had no face-to-face contact with friends for 5 weeks, and she’s 16.

Plus, she’s been feeling – like so many of her peers – that there is absolutely no point in waking up, just to spend hours cooped up bored in the house.

But yesterday I told her, don’t let them win! Don’t let the b*stards win! They want to make us all fat, miserable and totally depressed and apathetic, so we just roll over and let them take over every aspect of our lives. Don’t let them get you down!! Keep setting small goals every day, and find small things to make you happy!

So today, she amazed me by getting up early enough to come for a walk with me.

We both took our stupid, pointless masks – the most obvious sign of the medical dictatorship that’s taken over the world –  and headed into the woods. It was fresh and crisp, a little overcast, quiet and green. It was magic.

For 20 minutes.

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Then, the stupid cops showed up again, and asked us where we lived. We told them – it was within 500 m of forest – so then, they went to their next complaint: why are you walking in the forest?

Why can’t we walk in the forest? My daughter wanted to know.

If we can walk on the street, if we can walk around a super, what is the frigging problem with walking in a totally empty forest at 7am when there is no-one else around?!?!?!?

The policeman went into his ridiculous shpiel, my daughter’s eyes glazed over, and mine hardened into two shiny little black lazer beams. I didn’t say anything, I just looked at him. I’ve learned from experience, that freaks them out way more than anything I could say.

So, we got our marching orders, and the girl who used to be a convinced, ardent Zionist is increasingly coming around to the viewpoint that the State of Israel – and its institutions – really are evil.

I guess that’s one of the silver linings of all this.

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But then when I got home, I slumped a little.

How much longer can we all continue living in this dystopian novel, where fresh air and walking in forests has been outlawed?

I’ve taken to shopping as much as possible in the corner shop, even though it’s more expensive, as every time I go to the super, the mandatory temperature taking and grim-faced customers in masks just totally freaks me out.

They’ve turned the whole world into an open air prison, and none of us are even complaining.

And so many sheeple are still buying the lies, and genuinely thinking that all this is being done for our benefit. As if.

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Many months ago, Rav Berland talked about how the Tzaddik and his people would have to go and spend 9 months in the desert, before Moshiach came.

The son of David can’t come until after 9 months of being in the wilderness, where they will do true, real Teshuva. There is nothing like pressing some ‘Moshiach’ button and then Moshiach will arrive…. Am Yisrael will need to be in the wilderness, in the desert, in order to make true Teshuva.”

When I first read that, it seemed kind of unrealistic.

Today, I’m honestly pondering if that’s going to be the only way me and my family can avoid the  COVID-19 neo-fascists. If I drop off the grid entirely, and go and see if there’s some patch of desert I can live on where no-one will fine me for breathing fresh air.

See, I just wrote that, and I’m back in the dystopian novel.

It’s a strange time you live in, when John Wyndham and George Orwell books start to sound like prescient journalism, as opposed to exaggerated prophecies of doom.

I hope God is going to get us out of this situation soon.

Because living in a world where it’s illegal to take a walk in a forest or breathe fresh air is really not fun.

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This isn’t going to stop, anytime soon.

Most people were hoping that Pesach would come and go, and that we would be freed from our present Mitzrayim, and free to go back to our shopping, and working out and socializing.

Here in Israel, it’s clear as day (at least, to me) that this is just not going to happen.

Not because the ‘risk’ from the Coronavirus didn’t go away on Seder night, the way Rabbi Berland said it would. If you look at the statistics, FEWER PEOPLE DIED IN THE LAST MONTH IN ISRAEL THAN IN THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR.

There is no pandemic. There are no ‘mass deaths’, at least, not in Israel.

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What there is, though, is an illusion of a super-dangerous virus, with the media talking up ‘spikes’ in death rates and infection rates that are frankly laughable, and the government split into ‘good cop’ and ‘bad cop’, but actually all on the same team, and just delivering their scripted messages on cue.

What all the people who are waiting for things to go back to ‘normal’ fail to realize is that IF this ‘pandemic’ was based on facts and real evidence, no-one would be in lockdown now anyway, and none of this would be happening in the first place.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, it’s all an illusion, so don’t hold your breath waiting for things to be relaxed significantly any time soon, because the facts aren’t guiding our governments’ fascist and dictatorial actions.

Something else is.

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What the something else might be is the question, and there is definitely the secular answer to that, which I sometimes get too caught up in, and the spiritual answer to that, which is actually where more of us need to be focused right now, including me.

Slowly, slowly, more of the rabbis in the chareidi world are starting to put out statements linking the terrible things going on with the ongoing lashon hara and slander, particularly against Rabbi Eliezer Berland, and his Shuvu Banim community, and Breslov more widely.

There’s a lot going up on the shuvubanimint.com Hebrew website, and some of that stuff is starting to be translated into English, too like this:

https://ravberland.com/leading-kabbalists-stark-warning-that-talking-against-rav-berland-is-linked-to-covid-19/

And this:

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But to boil things down into their most simple, we are going to be stuck with the neo-fascists running Israel, and the rest of the world, until more Jews realise that the real ‘prison’ we’re stuck in is one of our own making.

That same lying media, that same anti-God government, who spun a bunch of lies into a ‘story’ that the Rav was a criminal, God forbid, is now doing the same thing again with COVID-19.

If you check into the facts, do even a little bit of basic research, just switch on one brain cell and use it to THINK – it’s obvious that there is nothing going on here right now, medically, that hasn’t been going on every single year, to a greater or lesser degree, since history began.

But, just as we swallowed down all the media lies about the Rav without switching that brain cell on, without doing even a tiny bit of research, without wanting to read One in a Generation, or to listen to the thousands of interviews with Gedolei HaDor all praising the Rav’s virtues and kedusha – now we are paying the price.

Me personally, I wear a mask outside only and solely to try and avoid any trouble with the police. If there were no police, I wouldn’t give a stuff about wearing a mask, because I know all the fearmongering about COVID-19 is a bunch of baloney, at least in Israel.

If God wants me to die, He’ll kill me. And as I wrote about HERE, the efficacy of masks to prevent infection is frankly a joke.

And the authorities know it too.

That’s why all the politicians and media people aren’t wearing masks. That’s why you see 5 police in a car together – and no-one wearing masks. The powers-that-be have the plebs chasing their tails and lying to them about pointless ‘social distancing’ rules and facemasks, because they want to see how gullible and pliable and brainwashed the populace really is.

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There’s a growing resistance, it’s true.

More and more people are starting to feel uncomfortable, are starting to feel that ‘something’ is not quite right, with the picture being painted for them, that they can’t quite put their finger on.

But most of my kids’ friends have been forcibly kept under conditions of the strictest ‘lockdown’ in their own homes for more than a month now, by fearful parents who believe the media lies 100%.

Ooooo, there was just a massive ‘SPIKE’ in the deaths of old people to 14 a day[1] from COVID-19!! I read it on ynetnews, they wouldn’t lie…. Kid, you are not leaving the house until you’re 40 – or until they’ve injected you with the ‘cure’ to COVID-19, whatever happens first.

Sigh.

And of course, my kids’ friends have been gorging on ‘public health videos’ during the last month of lockdown, which encourage OCD handwashing rituals, discourage breathing, exercise and fresh air, and keep brainwashing them that a vaccine is the only answer to all their problems.

So of course, these people’s paranoia and fear of going outside, and their dependence on the news and government information to gauge what’s really going on in the world has rocketed up.

They’re making the Police State very happy.

It’s pure genius.

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For the people who are seeing through the lies, there’s less paranoia and very little fear about COVID-19.

Instead, there’s a growing and abiding fear of the fascist government and violent police, and where all this is really headed –  and that’s why the focus still has to be on the spiritual response for these people, too.

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It basically breaks down like this:

People who believed the lying media to become ‘anti’ Rav Berland, and ‘anti’ Breslov, and ‘anti’ Chareidi, generally, are probably also believing the lying media and big Pharma-funded medical establishment about COVID-19.

If and when the scales fall from their eyes, they will get out of the COVID-19 lockdown overnight, because they will come to understand that it’s all an illusion, together with so many of the other things the lying media and fascist government has been telling them about how the world – and people, and human health – really works.

For the people who already know this stuff, the test is to understand that Hashem Himself is arranging all of this to happen right now. And that there is no point getting angry at ‘the stick’, even when it’s dressed up as a hypocritical, violent policeman, or the lying, corrupt politicians, or the fascist, dictatorship-cum-democracy state, because everything is really just Hashem.

It’s a different test, but also incredibly challenging.

Especially as the fascist tendencies are really starting to show.

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I went to shop in Mahane Yehuda this morning (Friday), as that’s the only way I can get a long walk without being hassled by the police.

I checked the news sites before I went, and there was nothing to suggest Jerusalem was being locked down tight again, apart from the chareidi areas like Meah Shearim, where the violent police have started firing stun grenades straight into the faces of defenceless 8 year old girls.

Ah, our heroes.

[sarcasm off]

So anyway, I left early and there we no police around, and I had the stupid mask under my chin so I can pull it up whenever I spot a cop, and a shopping bag under my arm to ‘virtue signal’ to the fascists that I’m following the rules….

It was the best walk I’ve had in a long time.

I get to Mahane Yehuda, and at least 95% of the stores were closed. I heard that around half the market was still open and operating, in recent weeks, so I was kind of surprised. But I found some fruit and veg, and some other bits that I needed, without having to be zapped by a thermometer gun or wait in the massive line for bread that is so reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia.

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As I was finishing up, I spotted a group of 10-12 police – all totally ignoring the social distancing rules, only some of whom are wearing masks – having a ‘pow-wow’ at the main entrance to the market.

My heart sank.

Two minutes later, they’d set up barriers to the entrance and exit of the market, and a couple of cops a piece were hanging off the gates, radiating intimidation. I was already weighed down with shopping – see! I’m keeping the rules! – so I scooted pass them, with the stupid mask pulled up properly, then called my husband to come get me in the car.

It took him a while.

Why?

Because the police had cordoned off the whole of downtown, and he had to get into an argument with a cop just to be allowed through.

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There was absolutely no public announcement of this extra ‘lockdown’ within a lockdown made on the news sites, but hey, once the fascist police state starts to flex its muscles, there is just no stopping it.

Didn’t we learn that already, from Nazi Germany?

So then, my husband pulls up to get me, and then does a U-turn to go back home – which is when one of the cops decides to come and question him about his illegal maneuver, pulled on an almost totally deserted street.

My husband apologized profusely (that always confuses them…) but what struck me as particularly menacing about this episode is that the police guy asked him twice:

Are you feeling OK, that you would drive like that? Are you feeling well?

My husband told him:

I’m just scared of the police.

Like we all are these days.

Especially when they start asking pointed questions about your state of health.

What, was the police guy going to force my husband out of the car to administer a ‘COVID-19’ test on the pavement? And then banish him to some COVID-19 gulag for 8 years?

I fear that’s what is coming next, God forbid.

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But then, I also have to remember that ein od milvado. God is behind all this. That police guy is just an illusion. I just need to work on my emuna, and keep channeling all the anger I keep feeling about what is going on right now into emuna, that it’s leading to something good.

Moshiach is at the end of this process, make no mistake.

But that’s also why more of us need to wake up now, and to realise that there is no ‘normal’ any more.

There is just a path towards geula, and whether that path will be easy or hard depends on us, and our teshuva.

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] The average number of deaths in Israel a day, with no COVID-19, is 131. Given that the authorities are claiming anyone who dies as a ‘COVID’ death, what this actually shows us is that 100 people LESS a day are currently dying in Israel, than is normal for this time of year.

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The last few weeks have been such a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us, haven’t they?

I was pretty chipper for the first 3 ½ weeks of this COVID-19 ordeal, not least because right from the start, I was relying on the Rav’s promise to sweeten it by Pesach, and also because I wasn’t letting all the Health Ministry’s propaganda scare the pants off me.

I wasn’t wiping things down as they entered my home, or using a UV light wand to ‘desanitize’ them. I’ve tried to come out of my home as much as I’m able to, given the horrible restrictions that we’ve been under during this lockdown.

I shunned the gloves and the alcogel cleanser. I hate the whole idea of wearing facemasks, and the only reason I just went and bought some now is because I don’t want to have to deal with the police if I’m out for a walk.

But I can tell you now: the facemask thing is not going to last more than another 2 days in Israel. I can already see that most people totally resent them, and they’re only going along with it because of the fines being threatened for non-compliance.

When all this ends, even ordinary, law-abiding citizens are going to be distrusting and hating the police and politicians so very much.

But I digress.

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Seder night was actually really good – and I heard from a few other people that their Seder night was also surprisingly nice. When you don’t have to accommodate cranky relatives, or cook for 4 gazillion people, or worry that your kids don’t have new clothes, or the ‘right’ type of clothes for Seder, that takes so much pressure off.

But as I wrote over HERE, the following day a dark cloud of yeoush settled over me, and I began to feel like I was in prison, mamash. That feeling was exacerbated on Friday morning, when I tried to drive over to Mahane Yehuda – many hours after the overall ‘lockdown’ on Jerusalem was meant to have been lifted – to find some board games for my bored teens to play over Shabbat.

Everything was shut.

And in the meantime, I got stopped at a police checkpoint, who were stopping every single car. There was something about having to wind down my window, and having to say where I lived and where I was going that really got me so, so down.

What, is this the gestapo I’m dealing with here?!?

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As Mahane Yehuda was a bust, I tried Romema, figuring that maybe the chareidi parts of town may have more going on.

If anything, it was even more deserted. I spotted a few solitary guys trying to do a minyan on opposite sides of the street, in accord with the retarded ‘social distancing’ rules, but otherwise it was a ghost town.

My heart sank.

I began to think that this horrible police state could be here to stay for a longggg time, God forbid.

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My last shake of the dice was to try Talpiot, nearer to where I live. I went to the one store that was still open, that looked like maybe they might also have some games or toys stuffed underneath the toilet roll and deodorant – and an aggressive woman with her own mask under her chin stopped me at the door.

You can’t come in without a mask! She told me.

But that rule only begins on Sunday! I tried to argue.

But she wasn’t having any of it. Clearly, one of those people who totally holds by all the Health Ministry propaganda that says that other people are Public Enemy #1.

I felt so angry.

I begrudgingly bought a mask for 4 shekels, then even more begrudgingly got ‘shot’ – twice – with the guard’s ‘thermometer gun’, to check my temperature wasn’t over 38 degrees.

Clearly, the thing wasn’t working properly, because even though my blood was boiling, she still let me in.

I had the mask on – under my chin – resenting every second, and I really started to feel like if this is how life is going to be from now on, then bring on the COVID. Better to live like a mensch with Coronavirus than to subsist like a bemasked shadow, scared of every little interaction.

I didn’t find anything I needed.

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On the way back home, the police stopped me again.

Again, with the stupid questions, where do you live, where were you just now, what did you buy….

I didn’t buy anything, I snapped back, finding it really hard to control myself. Everything is shut.

As she gave me back my teudat zehut, the policewoman told me, Geveret, don’t drive around too much. It’s dangerous. You need to be at home right now.

It took a superhuman effort for me to not roll my eyes so much you could actually hear them moving, and I nodded and smiled my tight smile.

As I drove off, I cursed all these institutions that have transformed Israel into Stalin’s Soviet Union, replete with bans on prayer gatherings and government approved ‘ghettos’ for religious Jews.

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And then I got home… and I felt really, really down about what’s happening.

Is my kid just going to spend the next 10 months in bed, only waking up at 5pm because there is nothing to wake up for anyway?

Am I never going to be able to walk around again and talk to God freely? Is the Kotel always going to be off-limits? Are the police going to be able to intimidate me and harass me just for the ‘crime’ of trying to breathe some fresh air forever? When am I going to be able to take a hike in nature with a friend my own age again?

You know what I mean. I’m sure in your darkest moments, you’ve had similar fears bubble up.

For the next two days, this continued.

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Then, two things happened:

  • I picked up a copy of the book You will succeed by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, and even the little bit I started reading profoundly changed my mood. In a nutshell, the whole book is just reassurance that God loves us, and that God can and does change things around in a nanosecond, so there is no reason to ever despair.

Those words worked on my so powerfully and so quickly, I made a decision to spend some of my ‘free time’ in lockdown translating the book into English, for the ravberland.com website.

Take that, yetzer hara!!!!

  • The second thing that happened is that I saw that all over the world, the numbers of people dying, or seriously ill with Coronavirus are now dropping, just as Rav Berland said they would start to do, post-Seder night. In Israel, they dropped from 13 people dying a day to 3 after chag, and yesterday it dropped to just 2.

This slide comes from the Worldometer site HERE, and it shows that there was a 27% drop in global deaths in the 5 days between April 5th and April 12th – this is massive news! (Or at least, it should be, if our media was being remotely honest in reporting what’s really going on here.)

chart showing the number of deaths from COVID-19

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There is a lag going on here, because it takes 5 days (minimum….) for test results to come back, but the Coronavirus is already on the way out, however hard the Health Ministry is trying to persuade us that it isn’t.

Within a week, things COULD be back to normal-ish, at least in Israel where the death toll has anyway been ridiculously low. And if not, Grotto, Bar Siman-Tov and Netanyahu are going to really struggle to justify why not.

Even all the ‘anti-conspiracy theory’ people out there will start to smell a rat, if this state of affairs continues when no-one is dying anymore, and the numbers infected start to rapidly fall.

So, both of those things cheered me up tremendously.

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Off the back of these two things, I realized I have to start planning ahead for the future, and to come out of the dark COVID-19 corridor I’ve been stuck in, the last month.

Today, I’m working on pulling together some blog posts to create The Secret Diary of a Housewife #2.

And, I also decided to giveaway a free copy of my People Smarts Stress Personality book, to anyone who makes a real promise to review it on Amazon, even just with the stars and no words, if I send it to them.

You can get it as a PDF, or as a Kindle version, so just email me, and I’ll send you a copy. Everyone who has read it has found it really helpful, and with all this ‘stress’ we’re all under now, I’m sure it will give you a lot of tools to start handling your – and other people’s – stress-induced meltdowns way better.

And the last thing I decided to do is to break the negative spiritual power of COVID-19 in my own life, by listing out some of the positives that have come about as a result of it.

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I got up to 25 things, and they include the following:

  1. People are more open to real conversations now.
  2. God is starting to come back into the picture.
  3. It’s doing a thorough job of ‘birur’, and is really showing who has emuna and who doesn’t, appearances notwithstanding.
  4. It’s turned off the ‘rat race’ overnight. Life has slowed right down, now.
  5. It got rid of so much of the tarbut ra, or bad culture, including the bars, pubs, clubs and non-stop shopping.
  6. It’s severely reduced immorality. If you don’t live with someone right now, you can’t be with them. And that particularly applies to teenagers.
  7. It’s bringing the core family back together.
  8. It’s forcing people to deal with themselves, and to finally turn and face down their fears.
  9. It’s making some space for the ‘sound’ of the neshama to finally be heard a bit.
  10. Many people enjoyed their seder nights way more, without friends to entertain, or cranky extended family members to deal with.
  11. It’s creating a situation where we are seeing the true face of people and organisations, both for good and for bad.
  12. It’s breaking up the superficial ‘grasp’ of the world.
  13. It’s causing more and more people to start questioning the ‘official narratives’ about what’s really going on, and why, and it’s encouraging them to start thinking for themselves.
  14. It’s causing the public to hate the police.
  15. It’s causing the public to increasingly distrust the authorities.
  16. It’s causing the public to start questioning the media’s lies.
  17. It’s bringing people closer to God – like e.g., my family did kabbalat Shabbat together, Carlebach-style, this Friday night for the first time I ever remember. Usually, my kids just fall asleep on the couch until it’s time to eat.
  18. It’s creating more achdut – both ‘against’ COVID-19, and ‘against’ the anti-semitic authorities.
  19. It got a lot of people to seriously start contemplating aliya.
  20. It’s creating a more tznius, spiritual world that’s more ready to receive Moshiach.

That was general stuff. For me personally, I also added in things like:

  • I cleared the garden out.
  • We built a fire pit.
  • I got chickens.
  • I’m crocheting my husband a kippa for the first time in the 24 years we’ve been together.
  • I’m starting to appreciate the most basic things in life, like having water to drink, clean underwear, and fresh air to breathe without a sodding mask getting in the way.

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It’s turning around! Hold on!

And when the ‘pseudo-normal’ reappears sometime next week, please just remember which Tzaddik is still toiling away in an Israeli prison cell, in order to keep sweetening the birth pangs of Moshiach, and get as many of us over the finish line as possible.

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UPDATE:

The corrupt government, and the corrupt WHO-controlled Health Ministry is apparently going to lock us all down again until Sunday at 6am.

It’s so upsetting for so many reasons….

But what’s heartening is that I’m seeing that so many people out there are starting to wise up to the fact that there is something very fishy going on here. If the danger is so very great, why are so few politicians and journalists and police following social distancing rules and wearing masks in the course of their jobs?

Why have the government offices in Jerusalem continued to operate with full staff, even in their minor posts, as though it’s just another day, while totally wrecking the livelihoods of a million other people?

Why are the main places being tested for COVID-19 predominantly haredi neighborhoods where the population is way younger than the national average, while the nation’s nursing homes – just to quote one example – are mostly being overlooked?

In Egypt, the main way they prevented the Jews from leaving for the Promised Land was fear-based manipulation.

As it was then, so it is now.

When more of us raise this fallen fear about COVID-19 up to its root, and understand that only God decides who lives and who dies, and develop some true emuna and yirat shemayim…. that’s when we’ll finally get out of the prisons we’ve really just made for ourselves.

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Don’t forget, email me if you want a review copy of People Smarts: The System. Just let me know if you want PDF or Kindle.

You can see the book on Amazon HERE, so you know what you’re getting.

 

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Everyone has their limits

There’s something about being stopped by the police right next to your home, for the ‘crime’ of taking an early morning walk around the block, that I thought fell within the 100 meter boundary, that can put a person in a really strange mood.

That happened to me this morning – the policeman told me that I’m just meant to come out of my house to gulp in a breath of fresh air, then turn tail and head back into prison and ze hoo.

I came home feeling so claustrophobic.

I came home feeling like I can probably do this whole ridiculous lockdown prison thing for another week, and then I will go nuts.

How that’s going to look, I have no idea, but when you know that my grandmother was regularly tied to her hospital bed to prevent her from escaping – even with a broken hip – then you know I have a deep need for freedom it in the genes, mamash.

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In the meantime, I had a tough day today mentally.

I was just feeling like bad always wins, and that I’m trapped in an Orwellian nightmare that just seems to be intensifying – because so many of us are lying to ourselves about the fact that the medical profession is not all-powerful, and that we’re not really in control of ANYTHING, let alone COVID-19 – and today, I just felt pretty down and beaten by it all

What can a small person like me really do, to fight bad?

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But then, my friend Chana sent me this video to watch.

A couple of days ago, she called me up to check that she hadn’t gone totally froot-loops herself, because she’d heard shofar sounds coming from the Jerusalem night sky:

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I tried to reassure her that if she’s crazy, then I’m also definitely crazy (not sure how reassuring that was….)

Because in Succot 5776 (2015), when Rav Berland said that we’d hear the shofar hagadol announcing Moshiach on the first day of chol hamoed Succot, me and my husband heard precisely that…. He ran in from the Succah to tell me what was going on, and he opened the window so I could catch the last minute.

It was awesome….

And I really felt it was the shofar hagadol, as it really didn’t sound like anything else I’d heard before. But then, Moshiach apparently didn’t come, and I’ve wondered about what we really heard ever since.

Until I heard this video.

What I heard with my husband was very similar, especially the last minute of it when it seems to become more ‘musical’.

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Geula IS happening people!

Hold on, because the bad is putting the choke hold on us right now, and all our mitzvoth, precisely because it’s on its last legs.

BIBI, YOU WILL NOT MAKE ME FAT!!!

Whatever else happens, I am just going to switch my exercise routine from walking to the Kotel to dancing in my house, and smashing the heads of bad with my dancing heels.

Your time is SO OVER, all you bad boyz…

In the meantime, pass me a beer. Or something.

It’s been a tough day.

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

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

That’s pretty sad.

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

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

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

London, I told him.

You sound French, he told me.

A lot of people say that. I’m not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The stones are:

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

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

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HERE’S THE DEAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things are moving.

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

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

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

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The last few days, I’ve been rushed off my feet moving house.

Baruch Hashem, God found us a gem of a rental very close to the Old City, and for only a little bit more than we were paying for the mold-infested place we ended up renting for two years in Baka, after my attempted house purchase went very, very wrong.

What can I tell you?

This is the first house I’ve ever lived in, that I can actually see myself staying in for a very long time… The fact that we’re just renting it, and not buying it, is admittedly a small obstacle to that, but to paraphrase an Uman song, God already brought us this far, and He can for sure take us all the way to that outcome, too.

If He wants to.

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And in the week I’ve been offline….

So much is going on, isn’t it?

We are heading into na’hafochu land, where the upside-down world is about to get tipped on its head, and that blanket that we were warned about a long time ago is getting shaken around a million miles an hour.

One minute we’re up, the next minute, we’re down. One minute it’s all great, fine, wonderful, and the next minute we can be sobbing our hearts out, and feeling like the world really is mamash about to end.

I’ve been whipped around from one emotional to extreme to another non-stop the last few weeks.

But the strange thing is that the very same day that ‘everyone else’ started really panicking about Corona Virus, and economic meltdowns, and war with Gaza, and a million other things…. I woke up feeling better than I’ve felt for a very long time.

True, that was also the day I moved house, and it definitely could be connected.

But also true, that I tend to pick up the energetic ‘vibe’, whatever God is sending down to the planet, 2-3 weeks before everyone else starts to feel it.

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I’ve been feeling pretty bad, since November.

And now, I’m feeling calm and quietly optimistic that the best is yet to come, and that there are going to be some magnificent spiritual surprises in store for Am Yisrael, and those who have been doing their best to hang on to their neshamas in the face of tremendous tests and challenges.

It’s going to come good.

I feel it in my bones.

And I also read a very interesting Likutey Moharan that I thinks links Azamra, or seeing the good in our fellow Jew, with the Corona Virus….

More on that soon, BH, once I’ve unpacked a little more, and have a bit more headspace.

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So hang on, dear reader. Rav Berland told us a long time ago that the lies would have to intensify to the point where none of us have any idea what is really ‘true’ and what is really ‘false’ anymore, before Moshiach will be revealed.

Judging by what’s playing out currently – and all the confusion we’re all feeling in every part of our lives, both public and private – I think we must be very close to that happening.

And that’s when things really start to get exciting.

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While I’m here, I just wanted to send ‘Nachum’ – the fake name, of someone who used a fake email to send me two obnoxious comments about what’s going on with Rabbi Berland, a quick message:

You are a nob.

I tried sending it to his email, but it was fake….

Gotta love that willingness to bravely stand up for your viewpoint, ‘Nachum’. What an awesome warrior for truth and justice you must be. I’m sure you’re making your mum very proud of you. Oh, and maybe up your meds? Just a thought.

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POSTSCRIPT:

After I wrote that small rant, I went and checked up the IP address of ‘Nachum’ – yes I can do that legally – and guess what I learned?

The comments were sent from an email registered to someone called ‘Namad’ in Jerusalem. Namad is an Arab name… (and the print out I got includes their real email and their mobile phone number. See? I can also act like a psycho when I want to.)

And so, the plot thickens. I’m starting to wonder just how many of the psychos out there commenting in all sorts of poisonous ways about Jews are actually not Jews at all, but anti-Semites trying to muddy the waters even more…

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

How many non-Jews have been stirring things up between Jews online by pretending to be kosher ‘Nachum’ from Jerusalem?

I have a feeling all this is going to start getting revealed in some very interesting ways, very soon.

TBC

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The last few weeks (months…) I’ve been fighting a losing battle against apathy and despair.

Most of the time, I feel like life boils down to playing the unwinnable game, where my yetzer is constantly tripping me up and testing me with new circumstances and situations designed to bring out the worst.

The last two months, I’ve just had so many tests to try to stand up, external and internal – and for the most part, I don’t think I managed so well.

The problem is, I seem to have very unreasonable expectations of how things should be, and how things should look, and God for the most part just isn’t giving that to me. I understand that the fault, the error, the problem, is 100% on my side. I also understand that I have a part of me that is a perfectionistic control-freak, and that getting that part ‘sweetened’ is probably at least one of my major tikkunim that I’m down here to do.

But sometimes, I still find day-to-day life just so painful.

It’s not easy to have face down your ‘broken-ness’ every single day, and to have to admit – to yourself, to your husband, to your kids – that you’re actually still a lunatic, despite all your efforts to blossom into something a tad less crazy.

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So, to come back to the last two months.

I’ve been noticing a strange phenomenon in the middle of all the apathy and despair that’s been winning out recently.

The more I can’t ‘do’ it, the more I’m giving up and letting God take over, the more things are starting to work out.

And I’ve seen that in a few different places now, so I wanted to share it as it’s giving me some chizzuk that maybe precisely in this low-down place of giving up, salvation can sprout.

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Three months ago, I gave notice on our apartment, to move out end of February.

The apartment is OK – it’s pretty big, pretty reasonable rent, and it’s in the very ‘comfortable’ neighborhood of Baka, where you hear English and French way more than you hear Hebrew.

The body has been relatively pleased with this apartment, but the soul has been stifling since we got here, and I knew that staying in Baka was not a good option, long-term. But finding a good, affordable apartment in Jerusalem ranks up there with finding the holy grail.

Property developers are slowly destroying this city, and making it a place where only millionaires from abroad who don’t want to actually live here can afford to buy anything. Everything they build is ‘luxury this’ and ‘luxury that’, so they can charge a fortune for it.

So, Jerusalem real estate is increasingly becoming ‘old, dumpy, mold-infested affordable’, or ‘luxury-sell-a-kidney-to-pay-your-rent’.

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Our apartment in Baka was a little dumpy, and a little mold-infested, but otherwise pretty OK.

Places like this are not so easy to find, so I was really nervous when I gave notice. The next few weeks, I kept scanning Madlan, and Janglo, and Craig’s List, looking for a reasonable apartment back closer to the Rav, in or around Musrara.

The only things coming up were in the ‘luxury and unaffordable’ range.

So then, I widened the search out to Rehavia, Shaarei Tzedek and Nachlaot – and strange to say, every single estate agent I contacted seemed incredibly uninterested in showing me any properties. I had one of my kids call up too, and she had the same experience.

In the meantime… the clock was ticking, and I had no-where to move to.

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Two weeks ago, after I got back from Uman, I told my husband:

We just have to give up on trying to live in the neighborhood we want. I’m just going to start viewing apartments all over the place, and see if anything clicks.

Because hey, we aren’t going to find a community wherever we live. And I’m not going to be able to ‘settle down’ for more than a year or two anyway. And instead of looking at all of this as another horrible experience to grin and bear through, I decided I have to stop complaining that I can’t get what I want, and just let God give me what He decides is best.

Shortly after that conversation, something came up in Abu Tor, a neighborhood that I would never have considered in a million years beforehand, and we went to look at it.

It’s the house of my dreams.

It’s two storeys, has a garden I’m allowed to plant things in, they just put in a totally new bathroom, including a bath, and they are in the process of putting in a new kitchen, too, which will be ready before we move in.

I don’t have to sell a kidney to pay the rent, and the landlords are also really nice people.

And that neighborhood is also interesting. It’s green, it’s got a village feel, and a view of Har Habayit that is simply the best in all of Jerusalem.

So, we’re doing the experiment, and we’ll see what happens next.

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Then, there was the whole mortgage fiasco that I wrote about HERE.

We are meant to be completing on the flat we bought in Harish end of the month, and for two months the bank has been telling us they won’t give us a mortgage again.

What could I do?

I think I used up all the tears on this subject the last time it happened, two years ago, so I basically just sank into apathy and told God:

Whatever You want. Mortgage, no mortgage, I don’t even care anymore.

In the meantime, we made some minimum hishtadlut – and three days ago we had a miracle.

A few hours after a friend told me she’d been at the Baba Sali, and had spontaneously said a few prayers for us to get a mortgage, we got a phone call from the bank that they were approving it, after all.

Not only that, they made a mistake and gave us a mortgage 1.5 times bigger than we asked for….

Which means that now, we can look into maybe investing that extra money into something else. It’s a totally unexpected result, and way better than what I was hoping to achieve under my own steam.

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Yesterday, I was at the Kotel with a few hundred other people who came to pray for the Rav.

What can I tell you?

We’re back in the State-sponsored anti-Torah madness that is even more unfair and even more patently evil than the first time around – and I barely have the energy to do anything about it. I made myself go yesterday, even though I was feeling so tired and apathetic about everything.

How are my prayers going to help? How can we stop this evil from winning, all the time? What’s the point in even trying?

But after all the help the Rav has given me, and all the difficulties he’s helped me to smooth out and pass through in my own life, going to the Kotel was the least I could do.

So I got there, and of course there are no seats. After milling around for a few minutes, I decided to go sit on my heels by one of the side walls in the ladies section, as I just can’t recite tehillim with any concentration when I’m standing up.

I told God:

If You want me to have a chair, God, I guess you’ll send me one. And if not, I’m just going to sit here like this and pray, even though it’s a little unconventional, because what can I do?

Half-way through the first tikkun haklali, a middle-aged woman basically ran at me with a chair.

Sit!! Sit!! She shrieked.

You can’t do things like that anymore, think about your knees!!

So I sat.

And I said thank you.

And I started to feel that maybe, this feeling of total apathy and giving things back to God is actually the secret to redemption.

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I’ve tried so hard to ‘fix’ things, in so many ways, over the last few years. So often, I sit here and it seems I don’t have much to show for myself. And honestly, that’s making it very hard to continue.

I’ve had days I don’t feel like doing my morning brachot, I’ve had days where I don’t feel like getting out of bed. I’ve had days where I literally have to force myself to do the things on my list of chores and commitments, because nothing gets anywhere, so what’s the point?

I have so many things to be getting on with right now, from packing up my house to finishing my course, to writing new blog posts, that I have zero urge to engage with.

But maybe, the last two weeks has been proving the theory that it’s exactly when we’re so totally despairing of redemption occurring, that it finally shows up.

I guess we’ll find out.

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Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

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Back when I lived in Musrara, there was a small makolet on the main street, where I used to get most of my groceries.

I was in that place pretty much every day for four years, and over that time I got to know the makolet guys, and their workers, who ran the place.

One guy, Eden, stuck the job out for years, and right around the time that the teenage boy was having his visions of the coming apocalypse in Israel, he stuck a kippa on his head and started laying tefillin.

I know this, because he’d be ringing up my groceries with his phylacteries stuck to his head, which I know is wrong, but it still struck me as kinda cool.

Then there was the French guy who was fresh out of the army and wrestling with a lot of grudges against God. Sometimes the knitted kippa on his head grew, sometimes it shrank, and then a few months after he got married – it disappeared altogether.

He moved out of the neighborhood shortly afterwards, so I have no idea if it ever grew back.

And then, there was Shimon.

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Shimon could have been in his thirties, or maybe even his forties.

By the time I met him, he was a chain-smoking, secret alcoholic who was destined to eventually get fired because he kept forgetting important details like whether he’d already rung up a purchase, or whether someone had already paid.

He stuck it out for two years, steadily deteriorating, and over that time, I got to know him a little. What was left of his blonde hair was cut in an awkward crew cut, and his beer belly was usually perched dangerously on a low-riding pair of jeans that really should have left far more to the imagination.

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One day, I went in to get my daily pint of almond milk and I found him looking at a dog-eared photo, with a sad expression on his face.

Was this a dearly departed mum? An old girlfriend that it never worked out with? His childhood pet?

That day, Shimon was in a thoughtful mood, so even though my Hebrew was rubbish and his English wasn’t much better, he started talking as he rang up my pint of milk.

That’s me in the army, he told me, shoving the dog-eared picture into my face.

I’m at the age where I have to move things back a few inches, before they swim into focus, so I took the picture cautiously, and maneuvred it far enough away to actually see it. It was the standard shot of a young man wearing army trousers and displaying his pecs, while sucking on a cigarette and holding a machine gun.

I guess it was kinda ‘cool’, in that superficial, glorifying violence kinda way.

I was in a special unit in the army, Shimon told me, clearly fishing for some compliments for his 20-something self.

I looked at the fat, red-eyed man before me, who was already missing some teeth and I sighed a deep, secret sigh.

No wonder Shimon was steadily drinking his brain cells to death, if that picture represented his best shot at ‘happy times’.

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All this took place a few years’ ago, but recently I’ve been thinking again about this whole idea of ‘cool’, and how it’s one of the yetzer’s best ploys for ensnaring our souls in the madness of this world.

‘Cool’ can be so dangerous, precisely because it hides a multitude of sins, while secretly promoting them. ‘Cool’ people smoke. ‘Cool’ people drink lots of alcohol. ‘Cool’ people waste large chunks of their lives in bars and clubs, dancing to stupid, brain-cell destroying music made by other ‘Cool’ people, many of whom are addicted to drugs and pornographic lifestyles.

In so many ways, ‘Cool’ is the anti-thesis of the Torah lifestyle, and of the good middot, and of the calm, good stability that is actually the foundation of a happy life. But which is also, often, totally ‘unCool’.

Until I hit Breslov, which paired massive payot and Rabbenu’s Torah with trance music, I was kind of despairing of finding even a hint of ‘Cool’ in the Torah world.

Because I have to admit, ‘Cool’ still has some attraction for me, still, even though I’m 46 and really should know better.

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It’s so, so easy to fall back into the deceptive allure of that world of lies, where ‘Cool’ people spend their days surfing in Eilat, smoking their lungs black and piercing their tongues.

How can learning a blatt of gemara really compete with that? How can I explain to my children that ‘Cool’ has a short-lived shelf-life, and that ‘Cool’ young people are way more likely to end up addicted, poor and alone, eating their hearts out over pictures of themselves looking ‘Cool’ twenty years ago?

If I still lived in Musrara, if that makolet was still there, I’d tell them (and their friends…):

Go take a look at Shimon’s picture, and then see where all that ‘Cool’ lead.

‘Cool’ is poisonous, my precious children. It’s soul-destroying.

If you want to live a truly happy life, be guided by the Torah and channel your urge to be ‘Cool’ into some outrageously long payot and a tendency to talk to God by the beach.

Ah.

When is Moshiach going to show up, already?

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UPDATE:

I got the following comments from a reader, who is making some important points, so I’m adding them in here:

I just read your post about Shimon at the makolet and coolness, and I just had to say, maybe Shimon was showing you the photo of himself in the army because that was the last time he did anything that he’s proud of and that he worked hard for. Poor guy.

He got out of the army and spends his days drinking and smoking and working in a makolet. He’s not happy. He’s unmotivated. Probably depressed. The army is a real challenge, especially for a combat soldier, who is under-appreciated and works really hard in generally awful conditions. Any one who did his army service as a combat soldier should be proud of himself, and this Shimon deserves our prayers and compassion and to look for his good points to help him have the strength to do teshuvah and serve Hash-m.

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