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Before Moshiach shows up, it says the troubles will pile up non-stop.

The last few months, I don’t think I’ve had a single night of peaceful, unbroken sleep. Between the teenagers, the heat (I don’t have air-conditioning) and the endless mosquitoes, every single night has seen me wake up multiple times.

And this has been going on since November. And really, I can’t even blame the teenagers because even on the nights that they’ve both been in school, I still have been sleeping pretty badly.

All this means that I am plodding through life like a half-dazed zombie at the moment. There are some days I’m so tired, I can’t even think about what to make for supper, let alone actually go and buy the stuff. It’s a problem.

I feel I can’t really ‘interact’ at more than a basic level with anyone right now, because I’m totally whacked out and I just don’t have the energy to do it. And then, there’s the matter of the book.

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I was actually just finishing up a piece of creative non-fiction five months ago, that I’d been working on with a developmental editor, and it was coming along very nicely. Literally as I got to the last page of that, One in a Generation Volume II suddenly came back on to the radar as a ‘live’ project, and I spent the 6 weeks before Pesach working at the speed of light to get that book out before Seder night.

I don’t know why there was such a mad rush, exactly, but I had the sense that it was very important spiritually to get that book ‘out there’, even though so few people have actually bought it or read it.

Then it was Pesach, which I had to sort out in a week as I had so little time beforehand because I’d been working on One in a Generation, and like all of us, I found preparing for the festival pretty exhausting. Over chol hamoed, I was so whacked out that mostly all I did was stay home, which is pretty unusual for me.

Time to slow down a bit, paint some more, do things at a quieter pace, I told my husband back then, as he nodded sagely.

That’s not exactly what happened.

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Post-Pesach, Shuvu Banim decided that they’d like to make something of a PR push around the book.

They found a professional who was happy to volunteer their services, so that more people would have a chance of hearing the truth about the huge miscarriage of justice around Rabbi Berland. So, I spent the month after Pesach putting together one PR proposal after another, one website after another, and having regular meetings to try to get One in a Generation to take off, somehow.

So much effort. So much work. So little to really show for it.

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This is how the PR guy recently summed up our campaign, in an email he sent me about all the problems he was having with the newswires.

“They think Rav Merav didn’t say his quote, that we faked it. But they don’t want to speak with him and then they want him to have an email with an official domain of a business or a Shuvu Banim email to then go through some verification process. However the strength of his quote is the fact he is an independent well known rabbi and not part of Shuvu Banim. We followed their process without giving him a Shuvu email and they said it was not good enough…
They also said a couple lines from your quote must be removed because it is against the Israeli court ruling… They also said we could not link to your video because of the same.  They didn’t want the parts saying there was fake evidence, the accusations were false, and that this was like Yosef from 3,000 years ago.  They got very nasty on the phone…
Most opposition I ever got in 15 years and that includes working for a company accused of compromising US national security and another accused of causing cancer!”
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Go back and read that again, because I want you to really grasp how much censorship of information is going on in the world generally, and about Rabbi Berland specifically. The media is totally manipulating the public to only think what they want us all to think, and to suppress any facts that goes against their narrative.

In the end, we had to shoot a video of Rabbi Meirav with totally toned-down quotes, just so the newswire would agree to even cover it. More ‘troubles’….

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So then, we got up to Shavuot and I was feeling mega exhausted.

I asked my husband if we could go to Uman for the chag, just us two. He agreed, we went – and then I discovered that the kever is totally closed to women over Shavuot, so I couldn’t get in. More ‘troubles’…

Instead, I went to Gan Sofia, and spent isru chag lying under some massive trees on an island in the middle of the main lake there. It was bliss. It was probably the first time I’ve ever chilled out in Uman, and I felt like Rabbenu was giving me a massive dose of ‘relaxation’ to counter-balance all the stress and lack of sleep of recent months.

The night we flew out, we’d also swung past Hevron for an hour, to join in Rabbi Berland’s prayer gathering, which he’d called after we’d already booked our tickets to the Ukraine. Rabbi Berland promised: Everyone who comes won’t have a minute more of suffering!

Who could resist a deal like that?

So now we get to the crux of this post.

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The day after I got back from Uman, I answered an ad looking for a new service that was looking for books to launch as part of a pilot program that was heavily discounted from what they’d charge once they’d got it all figured out.

I figured I’d try my luck, so I sent a two line email describing a book that was ‘almost finished’, that maybe would fit their program. In reality, I hadn’t written it yet, I just had the title, but I was so sure they wouldn’t respond.

Long story short: they took the book.

Which means I’ve spent the last few weeks furiously typing like a banshee again, trying to get the draft done to something at least approaching the time scale. It’s nearly done now, but in the meantime I’ve been totally neglecting my household and family the last month, AGAIN, and I know that’s not good, but what could I do, really?

The ‘troubles’ pile up like one wave after another, before one trouble is over, another begins…

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Yesterday night, after another day’s hard typing, I staggered off to bed at 10pm to see if I could try and get a good night sleep.

Just as I was dozing off, the ubiquitous mosquito showed up, and started dive-bombing my face.

This usually occurs in the five minutes just before I’m about to drop off, and I can get so agitated trying to find the mosquito zapper to electrocute it that all my adrenalin starts pumping, and then it takes me hours and hours to calm down enough to get back to sleep.

Yesterday, I was so tired, I couldn’t be bothered fighting that thing.

Let it bite me, let it suck my blood. I’m past caring.

I fell asleep – and an hour later, I woke up again because my husband had come home, and had just switched on the bedside light to try and track down the mosquito. He’s a great guy, but he’s got this habit of shining that spotlight straight in my face in the middle of the night, like he’s practicing to join a Mexican torture gang.

I squinted at him standing there with the mosquito zapper, looking apologetic but determined, and I wondered to myself:

God, are You out to get me? Because I have to tell you, it’s really starting to feel that way.

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I was too tired to take it further yesterday night, but this morning, I think I finally figured out what’s going on.

It says before Moshiach comes, the troubles will come so thick and fast that before one ‘problem’ is even over, the next one starts up. I know so many people are going through the ringer at the moment, with awful, massive problems hitting them thick and fast.

And in my house?

The ‘problems’ are my books, which are taking up so much headspace and energy without really giving a heck of a lot back, and the ‘troubles’ are the mosquitos, that hide out in my room just waiting for me to go to sleep.

But this morning, I realized just how lucky I am to have troubles like these.

Yes, on one level I’m having difficulties coping with the daily challenge of not getting enough sleep, but I’m not really suffering from all this, even though it’s challenging.

After Hevron, it seems ‘the troubles’ got sweetened.

But let’s be clear, I’m still looking forward to the time when I get have a good night’s sleep again, and not walk through life like a spaced-out zombie, and have a bit of time to paint and to actually interact with people.

But at least until Tu B’Av, it seems that just ain’t going to happen.

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Photo by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash

You can feel the holiness shining off the pages.

That’s what someone told me a couple of days ago, when someone sent me a message about One in a Generation Volume II. I asked their permission to share it more widely, and they kindly gave it. It gave me a lot of chizzuk, as getting Rabbi Berland’s books out has been a lot of hard work, with very little ‘obvious’ success.

For example, we currently have a PR person trying to place a press release about One in a Generation II to tie in with the recent announcement by the Bet Din that all slander about Rabbi Berland has to stop, and that any complaint should be brought straight to them for evaluation.

The news wires rejected it.

But that’s not all, when our PR guy went back to find out what’s going on, they accused him of making up quotes, then insisted he take out any suggestion that any of the charges against Rabbi Berland were fabricated. They also totally refused to link to the video I made setting out the other side of the story.

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I never heard of anything like this. I asked the PR guy, has this ever happened to you before, on any of the things you’ve ever worked on?

Nope.

Hmm.

So as you can see, getting the real story about Rabbi Berland out there has not been so easy. Which is why I was thrilled to get this email. Every person who reads the books can feel the truth about Rabbi Berland. And I think probably, that’s the biggest reason that so many people out there don’t want to risk pick them up, and why the news wires are shunning our releases. It’s very hard to admit we got something wrong, especially something as significant as this.

But at some point, the truth has to get out there.

I hope.

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I’m a 42-year old observant Noahide, living in the US.

I’ve been a huge devotee of Rav Arush for a few years now, but it was only a few months ago that I made the connection between the Rav Berland who taught him and the Rav Berland I’d heard the scandal stories about.

I found your blog a few weeks ago, along with ravberland.com. I was curious to know if there had been any major developments in his story since I first heard it a few years ago, and to review R. Arush’s defence of him, which I’d heard of. In the same search session. I read a story by his detractors. They were just so ridiculous and over the top that, even without R. Arush’s testimony, they pretty much destroyed what little credibility they started with.

A week ago, actually it was the early morning of the 4th, I couldn’t sleep. Normally when this happens it’s a big hint to me that I really ought to be talking to HaShem, instead of just lying there like a dingbat. This time I actually did something about it.

I was lying in my hammock in my back yard. I believe I had asked God what the truth was about Rav Berland. Knowing almost nothing about him except that he taught R. Arush, the allegations seemed like the sort of thing that has been known to happen, particularly in other religions.

God made it very clear, very quickly, that this was not the case. Immediately I was seized by an impulse to go back inside and look at your blog. I saw the links for One in a Generation 1 and 2, and was driven to immediately purchase them, almost as if I had no say in the matter.

As I read them both over last week (I wanted to jump straight to two, but it felt righter to get all the background), the holiness of the Rav shone through in your words in a way I’ve never felt. Any tentative feeling of credibility even the slightest claims against the Rav had ever had evaporated like they’d been hit by a supernova.

The holiness of the Rav came through so strongly, in fact, that about halfway through volume 1 something in the text nudged sonething in my soul (I don’t know how else to put it) and I was inspired that there was a connection between the problem I’d been having around my eyes and the mitzvah of guarding one’s eyes, which I’ve never been very much for, sadly.

This week I’ve been really making an effort, averting my eyes from women around my office, saving them for my wife. I can’t even tell you how remarkable the difference us when I look at my wife now with holy (or at least slightly holier) eyes. Well, I’m sure your husband knows all about it. [I’ve also been talking to HaShem a lot more this week, in the light of this experience.]

Thank you very much. I just wanted you to know that, no matter how apparently insignificant the sales figures are, two of them were generated by HaShem Himself, and have brought some real, if small, measure of holiness into the world. You share the merit with Rav Berland in this. Thank you.

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For the next couple of weeks, you can get the Kindle version of One in a Generation Volume II for 99 cents.
Go HERE to buy it.

A thoughtful review of the biography of Rabbi Berland, aka Eliezer ben Etia, One in a Generation #2.

I’m still officially taking it easy throughout the rest of Pesach, but I just got emailed a great review of Volume II of One in a Generation: Into Exile, which finally sets the record straight about what happened with Rav Eliezer Berland, and why he was forced to admit to crimes he never committed.

The review appears on the myrtlerising blog, and you can see it at the link below:

http://www.myrtlerising.com/blog/a-tell-all-turned-inside-out-a-review-of-one-in-a-generation-volume-ii-into-exile

My co-author else sent me a personal review of the book they received over email, which I’m also bringing below:

I have just finished reading the whole book and it is totally amazing! Beautifully written and it reads like the greatest of fast-moving novels. I literally couldn’t put it down! I was just in Uman and I can picture it on the best-seller table at Steimatskys at the airport. If I had seen it there and read that great back-cover I would certainly have bought it.

The first book was more biographical, almost like a list of his early life, but this one actually flies!
I would consider myself to have a lot of emuna in the Rav, especially after being stuck to him body and soul for over 30 years, but I felt that even my belief in him was strengthened while reading the book. You have done a great and important job, and that Rivkah Levi, whoever she is, has enhanced it enormously.
(Yes, nothing like a book review to keep you humble….)

There’s a chance to get the book for free, next week

So stay tuned, especially from Tuesday (April 30th) onwards, and I’ll post more information and details up once I have them.
And last but not least – please leave a review of the book if you’ve read it and liked it, particularly on Amazon.
You don’t need to write anything, you can just rate it with stars if that’s easier. The Amazon algorhythm works on:
1) Number of sales
2) Number of reviews
If we don’t have a lot of either, then Amazon won’t recommend the book more widely to other readers. So, if you read it and liked it, please take the two minutes required to leave a review, and do your bit to get the real story ‘out there’ to more people.
Thanks.
I appreciate it.
You can leave a review on Amazon HERE.
You can get the PDF or paperback version at the ravberland.com website HERE.
And, you can also pick up the paperback version directly from the Ein Yaakov Bookstore in Meah Shearim.
UPDATE:

Baruch Hashem, if I didn’t have to clean for Pesach, I’d write a 50 page post on what a saga getting this book out there, finally, has been.

But Baruch Hashem, with so much siyatta di shmeya, after three years hard work, it’s finally out there!

This post over on ravberland.com has more info, and now I guess we’ll wait to see what ‘reaction’ this is going to bring.

(That’s the bit that’s scaring me, a little….)

But Baruch Hashem! It’s out!

BREAKING: One in a Generation Volume II is out!

You can buy it on Amazon HERE.

If you’re in Israel, it may be a better option to get it straight from the ravberland.com website HERE – it’s also $15 as opposed to $17.99.

And lastly, you can get the e-book / PDF version for immediate reading, HERE, for $8.99

Volume 2: One in a Generation – Into Exile

The last few days, since the beginning of the Jewish New Year, I haven’t been feeling so hot.

After pondering on what’s going on I’ve come to the conclusion that the ‘vibe’ of the planet – or to put it in more spiritual terms, the Divine light that God is sending down to us 24/7 – has speeded up, or cranked up in someway, and my body is having some problems adjusting to it all.

People are energy – souls covered by an energetic mass that’s vibrating at a slower pace, to give it the illusion of being solid matter. That’s not new-age mumbo jumbo, that’s quantum physics.

God sustains every single cell, every single atom, by maintaining it in perpetual motion.

Some people call this the ‘electric charge’ associated with every single atom, cell, object, all the way up to human beings. Others call it the life-force. But whatever you choose to call it, the simple fact is that we are energy in motion, and what keeps us in motion (and consequently, alive) is God.

Since the beginning of the year, I feel as though the ‘light’ God continually sends down to the planet, or energy, or shefa (the Hebrew word for bounty) or blessing, or however you want to refer to it has got so, so much stronger.

Trouble is, if the vessel – i.e. the body – hasn’t been cleaned out enough to receive this extra input, it can cause all sorts of problems, physically and mentally.

What cleans out the body? There’s a few things, but it basically boils down to this:

  • Working on our bad character traits, and uprooting them.
  • Building and maintaining a strong connection to God, via talking to Him in our own words every single day (aka personal prayer, or hitbodedut).

Bad character traits and negative emotions have a huge impact on a person’s mental and physical health. They block the smooth flowing of the energy, or life-force around a person’s body. The cause the body’s energy meridians to back up, blow a fuse, surge unhelpfully or stagnate, all of which leads to physical health issues if not dealt with.

They cause the brain to act and react differently, leading to all sorts of mental issues, personality disorders and suicidal tendencies (amongst many other things.) So if the body is full of negative emotions and bad character traits, that means that energetically-speaking, the body’s electric circuits aren’t functioning properly.

If the amount of ‘charge’ coming down from God then gets amped up – a person is going to start blowing circuits all over the place.

How do we clear out the bad character traits and emotions? First, we recognize that we actually have them (an enormous problem for most people…) Next, we recognize the damage they’re doing, particularly to us, but also to the people we love. Last, we ask God for help to get rid of them – which brings us to the second point, about talking to God regularly.

When you talk to God regularly, you gradually ‘up’ your body’s tolerance to Divine light and you strengthen your soul. When the soul is stronger, it can start to ‘talk down’ to the body more, and make its voice heard. It can steer the body away from the cheesecake, towards the salad bar. It can encourage the body to get a good night’s rest, instead of messing around on Facebook until 2am. And, it can persuade the body that working on things like bad character traits and negative emotions is actually in the body’s best interests, too.

There’s an idea in Judaism that a person’s sins are literally engraved on their bones.

Until we make Teshuva, the ‘bad energy’, or blockages, or problems our sins have created in the world are literally stored in the body, and are the source of our physical aches, pains, and other issues.

Once we make Teshuva, the energy ‘recombines’ into it’s proper order, the body starts to work better again and we feel so much happier and healthier and holier.

God is sending more and more light down to the world. Once I started having all the weird aches and pains the last week, I started exploring what’s going on in my personal prayer, and tried to figure out what’s underneath that pain in my hip, that bad headache, that difficulty breathing. I’ve been getting some amazing insights:

The hip is a bad character trait I ‘inherited’ from an old relative, that I really need to work on uprooting asap.

The breathing issue was connected to me still being angry at someone who hurt me a lot three years’ ago. I had to work on forgiveness, and letting go of this person with love.

The headache is my nervous system going haywire because there are huge things building up in the world. For that, I’ve had to work on my emuna, and also to sedate the bladder meridian and triple warmer meridian points, and to stick lentils in a few places to try and clear the block that’s happening there.

It’s a work in progress, and it’s probably never going to end. But each time I clean off whatever issue arises, I feel so much happier and better. A big reason why people’s bodies wear out in old age is because if we’re not cleaning the sins out of bones, and we’re just adding to them as we go along in life, sooner or later we get to a point where the body can’t cope anymore, and starts to disintegrate.

God is speeding things up right now.

Work that used to take years can now take weeks or even just days and hours.

So, if you’re also feeling more tired, achey, fatigued or stressed than usual, know that it’s because your body, your vessel, is struggling to cope with the extra ‘light’ God is sending to the world. And if you don’t deal with it, it’s only going to get worse!

As a first port of call, pick up a copy of ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health’, and then use all the ideas and techniques in that book to start clearing out your system across body, mind and soul. Whatever else is going to happen this year, God wants us to get to work on uprooting our bad character traits and negative emotions, and the sooner we start that process, the better and healthier we’ll feel.

You can buy Talk to God and Fix Your Health on Amazon and on The Book Depository

Someone said to me the other day:

‘The real battle today, in terms of idol worship, is in healthcare. We’ve got a real fight on our hands to show people that they don’t have to rely on doctors and medicines.’

My friend is a frum Jew, very involved in trying to promote more awareness about the potential harm associated with vaccines, and is part of the more alternative health scene, with a focus on healthy eating.

But here’s the rub: the big ‘healthcare’ idol worship problem we’re up against isn’t only on the conventional side of things; it’s also very much alive and kicking in the alternative healthcare world, too – and in some ways, even more problematic.

Before I continue, here’s the definition of ‘idol worship’ that I’m working with, so we’re all nice and clear what the problem actually is:

Idol worship is any time a person thinks they can cut God out of the picture, and achieve some aim or get some benefit ‘under their own steam’.

So, if you’re sitting with a doctor or psychiatrist who’s telling you how the latest little designer pill is going to cure all your woes without any further input, effort, or prayer from you – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.

Or, if you’re sitting with some meditation guru, who’s telling you how saying ‘om’ and emptying your mind completely of all thought is going to cure all your woes (again, without any further input, effort or prayer from you) – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.

As you’re probably working out for yourselves, idol worship is currently happening all over the place, from your dentist, to your reflexologist, to your macrobiotic diet expert, to your OBGYN, to your acupuncturist and your pediatrician.

The world is full of health ‘experts’, alternative and mainstream, physical and mental, Jewish and otherwise, who are trying to tell you that they can cure you, heal you, make you better, while God is completely out of the picture.

But while conventional medicine is only messing things up at the level of the body, or the Nefesh, which is the lowest and most coarse of the five levels of our soul, many alternative practices work on the principles of energy medicine, which tap right into the higher levels of the soul, namely the Ruach and Neshama.

To put this a little more clearly, Western medicine can (and often does…) kill your body. Alternative medicine can (and often does…) kill your soul.

There are three ‘cardinal sins’ that a Jew is meant to die, instead of transgressing: murder, idol worship, and sexual immorality.

If ‘murder’ is what Western Medicine specializes this (and please read THIS if you think I’m being overly dramatic, here) – then the other two are definitely the professional reserve of the alternative health world.

When God is out of the picture, for example, then you start getting all sorts of just plain evil messages about health and happiness being directly connected to your reproductive organs. Louise Hay, founder of the alternative health empire Hay House, regularly advises people to pleasure themselves as a ‘release’.

Spiritually, wasting seed is probably the worst thing you can do, in terms of destroying the world and fuelling the forces of evil (if you don’t know why, THESE ARTICLES set the problem out, very clearly).

But when God is out of the picture – hey, what do you care?

Even yoga, that kosher pig of a discipline, is very focused on reproductive energy. There’s all this talk about harnessing something called ‘kundalini’ energy, which is described as being a very powerful, ‘snake-like’ energy, that’s coiled at the bottom of the spine.

Hmm. SNAKE-ENERGY, anyone? Am I the only one picking up this clue?

Yoga journals are replete with stories of regular yoga fans who got zapped by a massive dose of ‘snake-energy’ and never recovered their mental or physical health, as a result. This stuff is dangerous, because it’s working at a much higher level of the soul, but still disconnected from God.

Maybe, the rest of the world can handle it better because their souls don’t have the huge spiritual potential of a Jewish soul. But for Jews, when their healthcare gets disconnected from God, that’s a disaster.

Because (and here I’m going to shout, sorry) NOTHING IS NEUTRAL IN THE WORLD.

Either something and someone is attached to God, and coming from a good place, or they’re disconnected from God, and coming from a bad place.

I will write more on this separately, as I experienced something recently (well, quite a few things actually) that really brought this point home to me in a very clear way.

If you asked me what’s better: go Western, and risk killing the body, or go Eastern, and risk killing the soul – at this stage, I really don’t know what I’d suggest.

But one thing I can tell you for sure, even at this stage of trying to figure it all out: If you don’t put God in your own personal picture, your chances of staying happy, healthy and holy are pretty much zilch.

And if that doesn’t scare you into doing at least a little bit of hitbodedut, at least a little bit of the time, then I don’t know what will.

  • If you’d like to find out how to approach holistic healthcare in a spiritually-safe, authentically-Jewish way, pick up a copy of my book: Talk to God and Fix Your Health: The Real Reasons Why We Get Sick, and How to Stay Healthy, on Amazon, or the Book Depository.

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

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

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

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

In the Hebrew, they are listed as:

Chesed

Gevurah

Tiferet

Netzach

Hod

Yesod

Malkhut

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Last Pesach, my husband got me a blue opal bracelet, set in copper settings.

(It sounds kinda weird, I know, which is probably why the man in the shop gave it to him for a bargain basement price). But when he brought it home and I put it on, I knew exactly what the message was: Fire and Ice.

Somehow, God was giving me a hint that this was the year that I was finally going to figure out how to balance those two elements, those two extremes, in myself, and my life and my work.

With God’s help, I wrote and published five books in the last year since Pesach, that tried to encapsulate the ‘fire’ of trying to live a spiritual, soul-full life in the middle of the emotionally ice-cold, ‘factual’ rationalism and fake materialism of our modern world.

But then…

The fire seemed to have sputtered out a little a couple of months’ ago. The fuel ran low, the replenishments ran out, and I kind of burned myself out in a big way, on many different fronts.

My ideas and my insights kept going, but my motivation to share them, or to believe that they might change the world in some way disappeared. I found myself stuck. Actually, I found myself completely frozen in place, unable to move forward in any direction.

After everything….what? What’s the point? What’s the point of writing things that people can’t relate to? What’s the point of talking about things that no-one wants to listen to, or believe? What’s the point of trying, when nothing ever gets anywhere?

What’s the point?

At this pretty low stage in my life, one of my daughters started blasting out a secular song from the Disney move ‘Frozen’. (She’s hitting that nearly teenage stage, and while we’ve made a point of banning secular music up until now, there comes a stage where you have to let it go a little.)

And guess what: The name of that song is: ‘Let it go’ – something that I’d been praying on for months, already, in my hitbodedut (personal prayer sessions). So instead of yelling at her and confiscating her phone, I knew it was a clue about something from Upstairs. So I went to find the lyrics, and here’s what I got:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,
not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.
Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.
Well, now they know!
1

Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.

(I have no idea what the movie is about, BTW, but given that it’s Disney, no doubt it’s up to no good.)

So anyway, here I was, feeling ‘frozen’ in my life, and stuck, and here’s my daughter playing ‘Let it go’ full blast, and then here’s all these lyrics that seemed to really resonate with me (all except the bit about not crying, because clearly, I’ve been crying a lot the last few days, and I’m not even sure why.)

That’s the ice bit of the equation.

Last week,  I started to feel really unwell again, which hasn’t happened for a few months. (If you want to know how I could write a book called ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health’, let’s just say I had to figure it all out the hard way.)

I anyway had an appointment scheduled with my reflexology lady, so I went even though I felt really poorly. And this is what she told me:

“Something’s moving! Your foot is full of fire today, and it’s not normally like that.”

My reflexologist practices according to a theory that divides the foot into four elements, namely earth, water, fire and air. Apparently, my foot is mostly ‘water’ with some air thrown in.  But seemingly, not anymore! As of the end of last week, the fire is back.

I know what the fire is: it’s Rabbenu.

Every single time I feel I’m spiraling down into ‘FREEZE/FROZEN/DEPRESSED’, I get a burst of the fire again, to thaw me out and keep me going.

As if to underline that point, yesterday I had this weird urge to call someone I don’t speak to very much. I called, left a message – and she called me back five minutes later from Uman, where she was praying at Rebbe Nachman’s grave.

I had no idea she was going, or that she was there.

Somewhere deep inside, a little bud of hope started to blossom again.

God DOES see me. He DOES notice my efforts. He knows how lonely the last ten years have been, and how hard I tried to fit in to all the boxes being produced for me by people I shouldn’t have trusted or listened to.

He knows how much effort I’ve made to fix things that I never even broke, and how hard I’ve tried to see the good in people, and situations, that have excelled in hurting me, and making me feel like all the problems in the world are somehow my fault.

Let it go! Let it go!

Can’t hold it back any more!

Let it go! Let it go!

Turn my back and slam the door.

Here I stand

And THERE they’ll stay.

Let it go, let it go.

The cold never bothered me anyway.

But only because I’ve got Rabbenu rubbing my feet, and giving me some will to continue.

Three weeks’ ago, I was doing some hitbodedut (personal prayer) when I suddenly started getting this crazy idea in my head that I had to get a book written about what’s really going on with the Erev Rav issue, RIGHT NOW!!!

Never mind that Pesach was in a month; never mind that I’ve already written 6 books and 2 courses (plus all my other blogging) in the last 6 months; never mind that I was approaching mental exhaustion, and was actually looking forward to dusting, instead of typing, for a change.

The more I tried to ignore that ‘suggestion’, the stronger it got – until I stuck up the white flag and said ‘Ok, God, if you’re sending me a vibe to write the book, I’ll do it already.’

Dear reader, I somehow managed to churn out 30,000 words in a week.

But the nagging didn’t let up. Now, I was getting the steer to ‘publish and print’, ASAP. WHAATTT? Do you have any idea how much time, effort and money is involved in getting these things ready for publication? Do you KNOW how many cheerios I probably have to track down underneath my couch right now? Do you get how tired I’m feeling.

But the same thing happened again: I couldn’t get any peace until I gave in, and got on with it.

That’s why I stuck all those ‘Erev Posts’ up like a crazy person, the last couple of weeks. I was getting a big push in my hitbodedut that it needed to be done, and it needed to be done ASAP.

I posted the last one up – and then the next day, I crashed through the floor. I felt SO awful, heavy, sick, like there was some sort of dark, heavy cloud pressing down on my head.

Usually when I feel like that, I KNOW a war is in the offing.

So I went to bed for pretty much three days solid, and only on Shabbat did the cloud start to lift somewhat. But I’m still feeling pretty shattered. It struck me that maybe, this is what the Egyptians felt, a little, in the plague of darkness, where they were so weighed-down and stuck that they couldn’t even raise a hand.

I feel like that a little at the moment – and most of my Pesach cleaning still needs to get done.

Clearly, posting all that stuff up was directly connected to me feeling so awful for three days. So then I started wondering: did I get the wrong end of the stick, somehow? Was it really my yetzer, just trying to get me to kill myself with herculean typing efforts two weeks before Pesach?

As I was musing on this (and starting to feel even more disgusting and miserable) – a friend called me. She told me that she’d read the ‘Erev Rav’ posts, and that she felt they contained some amazing energy and light.

“I felt good, and filled-up all day after reading them,” she said. “The opposite of how I usually feel after I read stuff about the Erev Rav on other sites.”

That phone call did wonders for me.

It made me feel that even if the only person those posts helped was my friend, Dayenu – it was worth it.

In the meantime, I still have no idea what’s really going on, or why. But I do believe that everything that happens in the world, and in my life, and on my blog, is for a very profound reason.

God clearly wanted that stuff up and circulating around. He clearly wanted some sort of ‘counter-point’ to all the ‘evil star / evil Erev Rav / end of the world / America sinking beneath the waves’ false prophecies that are still going, relentlessly in other parts of the blogosphere.

Do I know why? No.

But Rav Arush teaches that whatever you get in your hitbodedut, you take it at face value (clearly, as long as it’s not telling you to do something against the Torah.) So I did. And where it’s all going to lead to? I have no idea.

  • You can buy my book, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav, on Amazon and on the Book Depository.

Last week, a good friend of mine insisted that I borrow a book from her called ‘The Tipping Point’, by Malcolm Gladwell.

I’d heard about Gladwell previously, as he wrote a book called ‘Blink’ which basically explained how the gut reaction we have about people is right almost 100% of the time (if only we would pay enough attention to it…)

The book sounded interesting, so I was happy to oblige her, and the little bit I’ve managed to read so far has been very worth my while. But that’s not what this post is really about.

On Shabbat, I was doing a longer hitbodedut (personal prayer session) to deal with all the ‘stress vibes’ that seem to be pouring down from Shemayim at the moment, when I suddenly started having this strong idea that I’d passed the tipping point, somehow, in my life.

Hmmm.

Dear reader, the main way I know if something is from my own imagination (and therefore, wishful thinking) or from a holier source, (and therefore,  more worthy of attention) is how much I take it at face value, and how much I argue against it.

The times when I’m arguing, that’s usually when the penny drops that it may actually be true, in whatever sense that word is to be understood, in these contexts.

So I sat there having a back and forth with God for a good hour about where all this ‘tipping point’ nonsense was coming from.

I mean, things are definitely much better, in nearly every way, than they were last year. But last year was so bad, that pretty much the only way it could be worse would be if I was now pushing up the daisies, God-forbid.

My books have tanked; my unlimited ability to keep churning things out has stalled; my excitement about doing mitzvahs has all but disappeared. Purim is two days away, and I still have no idea what Mishloach Manot I’m making for who, or how I’m delivering them. I have guests for seuda, but no idea what I’m cooking. I have zero enthusiasm for dressing up, hearing the megillah, nothing.

Of course, I’m still going to do it all, because mitzvahs are mitzvahs. But I’m not sure where my spiritual joie de vivre has disappeared off to at the moment, and it’s a little worrying.

So in the middle of all this apathy, resignation and doubt that I’m ever going to get anything to actually change, shift or move in my life, in the ways I would like, God sends me a brainwave that I’ve somehow reached the tipping point.

For an hour straight, that’s what I was getting.

“God, how do I know that I’m not just making all this stuff up because I got that book from my friend?” I wanted to know.

“Biti, Who do you think arranged for you to get that book?” came the reply.

I love arguing with God, because He’s always got the soundbites that trump mine, and that’s quite a rare experience for me. 😉

So here I am, apparently past the tipping point, but feeling pretty listless and pointless and aimless about it all.

For the last few years, my life has been so ‘interesting’, in that Chinese curse type way, that I can’t conceive of a tipping point being anything but good. If it comes, it will tip me over from frustration to satisfaction; from losing (all the time, at everything) to maybe being successful; from small-minded mochin dekatnut into expansive-thinking mochin degadlut.

I think I’d like that.

But tipping points are not always objectively good.

If the world tips over into chaos, war and terrorism, that’s probably ‘bad’. If the economy finally succumbs to reality and tips over into massive deflation and depression, that’s also probably ‘bad’ (although then, maybe I’d stand a chance of being able to afford to buy a house again.)

If people wake up one day to a world where Donald Trump is president of the US (how crazy is that?) or worse, Hillary Clinton is, then that would be a pretty big tipping point. (American Jews: buy your place in Israel now.)

But the whole thing with tipping points is that we’re not in control of when or how they happen. They can’t be designed by us, controlled by us, or guided by us. As Gladwell’s book makes clear, tipping points are somehow orchestrated from Above, and they usually catch everyone by surprise.

So, I admit that if my personal inability to get anywhere with my writing tips over into some sort of success, I’d be thrilled. If my family finally gets to settle down and live somewhere happily for more than three years, I’d be thrilled. If my finances would tip over from ‘just getting by’ to ‘financially comfortable’, I think I’d like that.

But if I was on the other side of the fence, and currently enjoying my stability, money and materiality, then the potential tipping points looming on the horizon would be scaring the pants off me.