Posts

Yesterday, I was listening to Rav Eliyahu Meirav’s interview with the Israeli media, and I felt very sad. For those who don’t already know, Rav Meirav’s stepson, Yosef Cohen, Hyd, was one of the two Nahal Chareidi soldiers gunned down at Givat Assaf, close to Bet El, last Thursday.

Rav Meirav was raised on the totally secular Shomer Hair Kibbutz of Bet Alfa, and was a fighter pilot in the IDF airforce. He made teshuva after the Yom Kippur war – along with so many others of that generation, who’d seen with their own eyes just how limited the army really was.

Rav Meirav met Rav Berland – and became one of his closest students.

If you read the secular press descriptions of Rav Meirav, you’ll notice that they kept stressing that he was part of the Breslov ‘sect’. That’s their way of using subtle language to keep dissing religious people anyway they can, and to sow division and hatred.

After Rav Meirav’s son was killed al Kiddush Hashem, all those ucky news sites with their agendas to sow hatred and strife between the Jewish people started running false stories about how Yosef had been ‘thrown out of his home’ for joining the army, and how his parents had ‘sat shiva’ for him even before he died.

Because hey, why miss any opportunity to put the boot in to the chareidi community, and especially the Breslov Chassidic ‘sect’?!

This led to the absolutely sickening spectacle of Rav Meirav and his wife having to give interviews to the press – before they’d even buried their son – refuting the lies that had been spread about their family.

I listened to Rav Meirav speak – about Yosef’s last words, about his own background and teshuva, and most of all about the need for us to stop all the awful hatred, and to come together as one people, respecting each other’s differences – and it really made me pause for thought.

The haters out there are on all sides of the equation.

They work for Ha’aretz, they live in Tel Aviv, they hate any hint of yiddishkeit, and they use the media to paint awful pictures of frum Jews as ‘blood-sucking, medieval parasites’ at any opportunity. But that’s not the only place you’ll find them.

You’ll also find plenty of apparently ‘frum’ haters out there too.

‘Frum’ haters pour scorn on the Jews who don’t live in Israel and wait for big comets to smash into America and kill everyone. They hate people who want to convert to yiddishkeit, they hate people who don’t conform, they hate people who aren’t ‘frum’, or who aren’t ‘frum’ enough, or who are too ‘frum’, or not the right sort of ‘frum’.

‘Frum’ haters also hate people who don’t vaccinate….and they hate people who do vaccinate. They hate people who voted for Trump, they hate people who don’t think exactly like them, and see the world exactly the way they do.

Every bit of the Jewish world is riddled with this disease of hating other Jews – including our bit.

And there is no segment of society that is doing better at loving our fellow Jews than any other.

We all have the problem and we all need to work on it.

One of the things that drew me to Breslov, and drew me to Rabbenu, is that in Rabbenu’s tent, everyone is welcome. When you go to Uman, you stop seeing people as ‘frum’ and ‘not frum’, or as part of your group or not part of your group.

You just see them as individuals, as Jews.

And some of those Jews are really nice, and really deep and really holy – however they may look externally. And some of those Jews are really not so easy to get on with, and have a number of obvious bad middot and issues – however they may look externally.

The yetzer works overtime to convince us that ‘our bit’ of the Jewish world is fine, the best, the shining example for the rest of Jewish society, while all the other bits are the ones with the problem.

But it’s not true! Not at all!

The problem comes down to this:

There are Jewish people who look for reasons to hate other Jews, and there are Jewish people who look for reasons to try to love them.

And both groups are scattered and embedded across all the different segments of Jewish society.

Sadly, our world being the morally-degenerate mess it currently is, it seems the people who hate the most are also the ones with the biggest mouths, and the biggest audiences, and the biggest following on Youtube.

The haters pop-up all over the place, to have a go at others, and to put the boot in, and to harp on about how great they are, and how great their group is – always at the expense of others.

I’ve had to learn the hard way, that this is not at all what God wants from us.

I’ve also had ‘hating’ tendencies that I’ve had to really work on, and to try to uproot, over the last few years. That process of teshuva taught me that the haters ‘hate’ because they actually don’t like themselves very much at all. And that they’re secretly jealous of other people, and it’s the envy that causes them to diss the other Jew, the other group, so loudly, so poisonously, so arrogantly.

Whatever the hater is criticizing so much in others, that ‘thing’ is somehow embedded in their own souls.

So, I listened to Rav Meirav talk, and I wondered ‘how can I do more, to get from hate to love’? How can I do more, to make my house a ‘no-tolerance for sinat chinam’ zone?

I’m going to pray on it, and I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Because one thing is for sure:

Nothing is slowing up Moshiach more, or causing us more problems and heartache in our own lives, than hating other Jews.

A few years’ ago, me and my husband got burned by three ‘big’ rabbis in a row.

Each one was a ‘name’, each one was connected to Breslov, and each one left an indelible imprint on our lives. One of them started up a sadna that was based on the opposite of Torah and Breslov principles  – particularly the principle of Azamra, or seeing the good especially in yourself – which my husband attended a few short months after his dad unexpectedly died.

My husband was in a particularly vulnerable place at that stage, and his dad’s passing had left him with a lot of unresolved issues. This sadna was billed as ‘the answer’ to all of life’s questions, and this big, Breslov rabbi was behind so it seemed like a great idea.

When my husband got this big Breslov rabbi as his personal mentor, we thought ‘wow, what an honor!’ Six weeks’ in, my husband really, really wanted to switch mentors, and I wouldn’t let him. I thought it was just his ego, and that this ‘big Breslov rabbi’ was heaven-sent to help us both grow and progress.

Man, was I wrong. That guy completely messed my husband up, severely messed up my shalom bayit (for years!) by telling my husband that he ‘lacked manliness’ and left us in a place where my husband was profoundly disliking himself and everyone else, too.

That set the stage for false rabbi #2 to step in.

As a result of false rabbi #1, we started to think that so many of our relationships were unhealthy and toxic. We asked rabbi #2 what to do about all these poisonous, unhealthy, distressing relationships – and he told us to cut off contact and ‘challenge’ everyone on their flaws.

(Again, the polar opposite of the ‘Azamra’ approach).

Within a few short months, we were almost completely friendless and so very, very lonely. Still, I had no idea that all these rabbis weren’t the real deal, didn’t have ruach hakodesh and were actually no more clued up about my life and what I should be doing in it than I was myself.

Around this same time, false rabbi #3 started giving a whole bunch of classes about how people with emuna shouldn’t work for a living (without telling his class that his wife was slaving away at a full-time job in order to support his family….)

At that point, my husband was so miserable, and so desperate for things to feel better, he decided he needed to show God how much emuna he had by quitting the job that he’d also come to hate. He told this ‘rabbi’ his plan – and instead of talking him out of it, the guy egged him on!

So he quit.

And six months later, we had to sell our house to pay the bills, which segued into a whole, incredibly difficult few years that Baruch Hashem we finally started to come out of a couple of years’ back.

At the time all this was happening, we had no clue that all three of these ‘rabbis’ weren’t so good for us.

They all knew more Torah than us, they all had impeccable credentials, they all looked the part and talked the talk.

But following their advice left our life in tatters, and came pretty close to permanently sinking my faith in humanity.

Within two short weeks of asking Hashem to show us who the real Tzaddikim in the world really were, all these ‘false rabbis’ got unmasked – at least in our eyes – one after another. Which was a good thing, because we finally had clarity, but also a ‘bad’ thing, inasmuch as my desire to ‘out’ them and to tell everyone else about them was so overwhelming, I almost set up a website devoted to doing just that.

What stopped me was a visit to Rav Arush.

Without us saying the names or any identifying details of the rabbis who had burned us so badly, we could see that Rav Arush knew exactly what we were talking about. He told my husband he wasn’t crazy for thinking what he was thinking – three times – and then told my husband – again three times – to just have patience.

Things would sort themselves out, eventually.

Again, this was clearly advice from a true tzaddik, but at the time it took so much effort to calm down and follow it. I was so full of vengeance! I was so angry! I was so disgusted! Today, I thank God a hundred times a day for Rav Arush and his advice, and that Hashem helped us to actually follow it.

Because after doing a good couple of years’ hitbodedut on the whole subject of ‘false rabbis’ I’ve realized that while it would be SOOO easy to blame all my problems and my difficulties on them, in reality, God was behind everything that happened to us, and we certainly deserved everything we went through.

It’s human nature to want the short-cut, to want the easy life.

The idea that I can find a ‘rabbi’ who will tell me what to do, and how to think, and how to act and decide all the difficult details of my life – and it’ll then all turn out perfect all the time – is overwhelmingly appealing to most people, especially in our generation, when we’re so beset by inner turmoil and huge doubts, anxieties and fears.

But Hashem only created us in order for us to get to know Him, and to exercise our free choice. So when we try to give our free choice away to another person – even if that person is genuinely a tzaddik and amazing in all respects – that’s only going to lead to trouble, one way or another.

Whatever ‘reed’ we rely on, that is not Hashem, is destined to splinter in our hands.

When it came to our three false rabbis, each one was reflecting our own prejudices and problems, in some way. That’s why we liked them so much. One of them was basically telling us that our lives were entirely in our hands, and that all it took to fix everything was ‘clarity and willpower’. God was effectively out the picture.

Another one was basically telling us that the way to deal with whatever and whoever we didn’t like was simply to cut them out of the picture and pretend they didn’t exist – even though God had sent them into our lives for an express purpose. We had a lot of teshuva we needed to make and that’s why we had all these difficult people mirroring our own difficulties back at us in such a disturbing way.

Again, cutting these ‘messengers’ out of the picture the way we did was effectively cutting God out the picture.

Another one was playing to our false sense of piety, and reflecting back at us our (false…) inner conviction that a) we were on a high enough spiritual level to be sustained economically with no effort other than prayer and b) God somehow ‘owed’ us an easy, good life for doing all this extra, super-duper pious stuff. Again, we liked this guy initially because he was telling us what we wanted to hear.

And so it is with all these false rabbis.

They tell us what we want to hear, they play to our prejudices, they promise us shortcuts in our spiritual work, if only we follow them and throw our ability to choose for ourselves away.

And then when it all goes wrong, they go AWOL and / or tell us it was all our fault, anyway.

And on some level, they’re actually right, because we are all responsible for our own actions and our own decisions.

You went ahead and married the guy? Stop blaming the matchmaking for forcing you into it.

You went ahead and quit your job? Stop blaming your friend for talking you into it.

You went ahead and made a really terrible business investment? Stop blaming the person who made the introduction.

This is the lesson I had to learn – the hard way – for myself. We chose to start blaming other people for our problems. We chose to listen to people who told us to cut ourselves from everyone else. We chose to try to live on prayer alone.

Ultimately, the buck stops with us.

There is no-one else to blame, and no-one else to point the finger at.

Understanding that is key to moving past the hurt and betrayal, and to getting to the next stage of the process called: how to trust again.

Fresh off the back of yet another awful horrible story of potential marriage break-up, God forbid, this is a plea from the heart to all married readers to

PLEASE PUT YOUR SPOUSE FIRST!!!

I’ve written about this before, but it’s not being talked about enough in the frum Jewish world, that probably the biggest reason that couples break up today is because of a very unhealthy relationship with the parents and parents in law.

And I’m including both sets of ‘parents’ and ‘parents in law’ here, because there is no such thing as only one half of the couple coming from a dysfunctional background, however it may look externally.

When people grow up in emotionally healthy, accepting, God-fearing, functional families, they simply can’t jive with a spouse who grew up in a dysfunctional family that is not all of these things (i.e. nearly everyone in 2017).

I know this flies in the face of conventional marriage guidance and Western psychological thought. But the Zohar teaches us very clearly that husband and wife are two parts of the same soul. In some way that means that both people coming into the marriage experienced the same sorts of traumas, lacks, problems and issues – albeit it’s often dressed up in such different clothing, that usually that’s not at all obvious.

Again, if one set of parents are any admixture of emotionally unhealthy / controlling / neglectful / dismissive of their children’s true feelings / grasping / selfish / rigid / intolerant of difference / snobby / angry / jealous of their children’s love, attention and loyalty going towards a spouse (I’m missing a bunch of things out here, but you get the picture…) then IT’S IMPOSSIBLE for the other set of parents to be totally emotionally healthy.

Everyone has their issues, everyone their problems.

Some are more obvious, some are more hidden, and God puts couples together dafka to bring those ‘hidden’ issues up to the surface, so they can finally be worked on and fixed.

Dear reader, I have heard so many horror stories of parents who are so caught up in what they want, and what they prefer, and what’s good for them that they are wreaking havoc upon their children’s marriages, shalom bayit, emotional health and general well-being. I know this stuff is so hard to spot (also because it’s so common that we think it’s ‘normal’ behavior) – so here’s some examples of what emotionally unhealthy parents do, so you can see what I’m on about:

Emotionally-unhealthy parents:

  • Expect their kid to put them and their needs first, ahead of what’s good for their spouse.

This takes many forms, including: inviting themselves to stay for ages; expecting the kid to attend any events / holidays they deem necessary; making decisions on behalf of their kids without checking it’s what the kid (AND THEIR SPOUSE!!) really wants or can manage (‘we’ll all come to you for Seder again this year!’) etc

  • Only corresponding with their child, while ignoring the spouse (and their wishes) completely.

Instead of encouraging the kid to make a joint decision with their spouse, emotionally unhealthy parents completely sideline the spouse, and speak only to the kid. The spouse doesn’t really ‘exist’ – but here’s the thing, neither does the kid. It’s just harder to hide that reality from a grown-up who didn’t get used to this situation from childhood (at least, from that set of parents).

  • Criticise, pick holes in and generally slag off the kid’s spouse to the kid.

Whatever problems are going in the marriage, it’s very rarely ever only one person’s fault.

Emotionally unhealthy parents excel in seeing the ‘bad’ in the spouse, while excusing their own kids’ contribution to the situation.

This is because they see their kid as an extension of themselves, so when the kid starts acting in their marriages according to the bad middot and mentally ill behaviors they learnt at home, the parents find it very hard to accept this behavior is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’.

If they accepted that it was ‘wrong’, they’d be acknowledging that much of their own behavior is crazy and ‘wrong’ – and emotionally unhealthy people struggle to do that tremendously.

So it’s much easier to just blame the other person and ‘the other side’ for all the issues, and avoid looking at what’s really going on in our backyards, with our own dysfunctional and destructive family dynamics.

  • Drop hints, obviously and otherwise, that if the marriage ends that’s no big loss.

This one is SO upsetting to me when there are kids involved, because the people who do this are operating from the mistaken assumption that you can somehow surgically remove a parent out of the equation and it won’t have any impact on the kids.

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with chronic abuse or a level of madness that is almost impossible to fix, it could be there is no choice except to get divorced. I understand that. But divorce even in those circumstances is still the lesser of two evils, and not a ‘good’ thing.

Whatever the parents don’t fix, it just gets passed down the line to the kids. If you don’t work together with your spouse to fix their bad traits (and also your own…) those bad traits get passed on to the next generation, who then find themselves with a huge job on their hands.

When you divorce, your ability to fix your spouse – and the parts of your spouse that are PART OF YOUR CHILDREN – diminishes considerably.

You don’t get the same siyatta dishmaya, you don’t have the same motivation to do six hour sessions, to pour your heart out to God to help you, to help your spouse, to fix the problems in your family.

Getting divorced is SO much easier than dealing with disappointment, frustration and thwarted dreams day in and day out. At least, that’s how it looks, if you pretend that your spouse is not an integral part of your kids, and the other half of your own neshama…

The buck stops with us! Don’t give up on your marriages! Don’t give up on your spouses!

I know it’s so, so hard, I really do.

But getting divorced is NOT an easy option (even when there are extreme circumstances and your God fearing Rabbi is counselling you that this is truly the best option for you and your family.)

For so many people, it’s the apparent shortcut out of all the drama and hassle that turns into the longest and most painful road of your life.

Just ask the divorcee I hear screaming most nights a week that she’s going crazy, and can’t do it all by herself anymore!!! Ask the lost, miserable kids I see wandering around my neighborhood, smoking cigarettes at age 11 and getting into all sorts of trouble. Ask the dad who misses his kids so badly, and who dies a bit more inside every time he thinks of his kids growing up in some other man’s house.

Fight for your marriages, fight for your spouses! Don’t leave your kids to rectify all those massive bad middot they inherited by themselves!

Pray your hearts out!

Be aware that most of us come from highly dysfunctional families, and that if you’re seeing that by your spouse’s family, it’s 100% for sure also lurking in your own background too, just waiting for you to wake up and acknowledge it, and to fix the problem in your own family tree.

And the first way to start that process is this:

PUT YOUR SPOUSE FIRST.

May God bless us all with the emuna, strength, patience, prayer, perseverance and love we need to hold our families together in these extremely troubling times.

As you know if you’ve been with me for a while, a few weeks’ back I deleted all of my Facebook accounts, because I couldn’t tolerate the lashon hara, hatred, arrogance, insanity and general atmosphere of Gehinnom that is Facebook.

Thank God, I was barely on it anyway, so it’s not like I had a million mentally-ill ‘friends’ to worry about insulting or losing, but it was still a small test, as the yetzer has everyone convinced that they really NEED Facebook, in order to do anything, or get anywhere in life.

One thing I’ve noticed about the increasingly mentally-ill nature of ‘debates’ and comments on Facebook in particular is how many of the really crazy people online are trying to close down any real discussion of real topics in the following bullying and abusive ways:

Way 1: the publicly-posted expletive filled rant:

“Don’t [expletive] send me anymore [expletive] [expletive] like this [expletive] [expletive], you [expletive].”

I’ve seen this response so many times (if you can really call something so Neanderthal a ‘response…) from ‘religious’ atheists, gay rights activists, anti-Trump ‘intellectuals’ and of course, the self-appointed moral guardians of the Jewish world who are anti Rav Berland.

The slightly more civilized version of this bullying rant (again, from the same bunch of people just described) is:

Way 2: “Don’t contact me / tag me / send me stuff ever again about [this issue]”

written with so much hatred and contempt it literally makes you shudder.

Recently, I’ve been pondering how it is that the people who seem to believe that they are so open-minded, so tolerant, so intellectually-refined, so apparently wedded to the principles of truth and justice etc etc etc are invariably the ones acting liking mini mentally-ill dictators online.

Dare to have a different opinion to them, dare to question them, or their ideas, dare to challenge them to actually consider that they might be wrong about what they believe and all you get back is self-justifying vitriol and more personal abuse. What you definitely don’t get, in any way, shape or form, is any cogent, logical counter-arguments, or any interest in discussing and debating the issue in question, in the time-honored Jewish way to discover where the point of truth really lies.

Instead, you get threats, hatred, insults, lashon hara, verbal abuse, personal attacks, and anything else they can think of to try and close the discussion down (and permanently vilify…) the person challenging their ideas ASAP.

Why this insane over-reaction?

Why are they so ‘fragile’ and defensive that they have to try and annihilate and ‘punish’ anyone that disagrees with their view or position in a way that the Third Reich would be proud of?

Personally, I welcome honest debate. Personally, whenever I’m challenged (which can sometimes happen a lot) I take that discomfort that I sometimes feel, and the shame and embarrassment it sometimes engenders, into hitbodedut, and I go and ask God to show me the truth.

What I’ve discovered is that the truth is very rarely a 0-100% split. Usually, the person challenging me is right about something, at the very least 1% right about something, that I haven’t considered or acknowledged before, and that’s why God has put them in my face to make me uncomfortable.

Remember the three rules of emuna:

  • God is doing everything, and is behind every single thing that happens to us.
  • Everything that happens is somehow for our good.
  • There’s a message hidden in every single thing that occurs to us, and also within us, about what we ourselves need to work on and fix.

All the self-righteous Facebook ‘haters’ clearly aren’t operating according to the three rules of emuna, or anything close to it. Now, you wouldn’t really expect that from a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, a gay-rights activist, or an anti-Trump person.

But all those people, all those apparently ‘frum’ people who are ‘anti’ Rav Berland, and who clearly believe themselves to be the guardians of morality, and the keepers of Jewish truth in the world, what’s their excuse for cutting God so completely out of the picture, and acting like a bunch of mentally-ill heretical haters?

Maybe, someone out there can enlighten me?

Like most of the people reading this, the first time I heard about the Erev Rav in any ‘real’ way was from the autistics.

The more I read the autistics, the more I started suspecting other people of ‘being’ Erev Rav. Initially, it answered so many questions, cleaned up so many problems! I mean, the only reason that a Jew would or could act in such a horrible, disgusting way could only be because they must be Erev Rav….

Like many others, the Erev Rav quickly became a kind of obsession by me. And when I get obsessed with things, I research them as much as I can, and I try to bottom them out as much as possible. So, I threw myself into reading anything I could about the Erev Rav, including a document called ‘The Modern Erev Rav’, which brings together a lot of the sources about the Erev Rav in English.

By the time I’d finished going through that document, I had a very clear understanding of what sorts of things the Erev Rav did, and that the Vilna Gaon, amongst others, was telling me that I should cut them out of my life and avoid them as much as possible.

So over the next few years, that’s what I tried to do. (This was when I wrote that series on the Erev Rav over on www.breslev.co.il.)

As a result, I lost so many friends, stopped speaking to so many close family members, and even started suspecting my husband of being an Erev Rav (! – if you ever met the guy, you’ll understand just how crazy that particular statement is…)

And then, I came to the ultimately disturbing conclusion that I myself must also be an ‘unfixable’ Erev Rav, because I also spoke lashon hara (sometimes…) and made trouble between people (sometimes…) and was obsessed with making a name for myself (sometimes…)

It’s axiomatic that when you follow God’s laws, and really try to give God what He wants, you see brachas and blessings from doing that. Dear reader, all I got from cutting all the supposed ‘Erev Rav’ people out of my life was heaping doses of heartache, misery and suffering.

The more I tried to run away from ‘Erev Rav’ people, as the Vilna Gaon’s students suggested, the more I came to realize that in 2017, we are ALL Erev Rav people.

At the same time as this was going on, I realized that the secular world was also noticing the negative character traits associated with the Erev Rav, particularly the traits of lack of compassion and empathy for others and rigid thinking, and defining them as the basis of personality disorders, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

According to modern psychiatry, most of these personality disorders, but especially NPD, can’t be fixed. The person with NPD will stay permanently broken, egotistical and nasty. Again, I spent years and years going through all the literature on personality disorders, and measuring it up against my own experiences of difficult people, and it dovetails amazingly with all the ‘Erev Rav’ stuff.

Except, I came to the same problem with that stuff, too: I started to notice that I MYSELF sometimes acted like I had NDP, (especially after I went through the worst year of my life, when I got hit with so many traumatic experiences that my capacity to feel compassion or empathy for anyone else pretty much completely disappeared.)

Which is when the turning point happened, and I realized that TRAUMA is what makes people act like narcissicists, etc, and what makes people act like Erev Rav, etc.

So then, I started researching trauma, and C-PTSD obsessively, and again it was a perfect ‘fit’ for what I was seeing around me and experiencing in myself, and it convinced me once and for all that just as personality disorders CAN be overcome, so can Erev Rav traits.

Then, I started looking for proof from authentic Jewish sources that this was the case, and I hit the jackpot with various teachings from Rav Berland and Rebbe Nachman himself, a lot of which I bring down in the book Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav.

So, here’s where we currently stand:

It’s not a Jewish idea to call someone ‘bad’, anymore than it’s a Jewish idea to call someone ‘Erev Rav’.

Xtians go in for that sort of global, meaningless ‘good and bad’ people rubbish.

By contrast, Jews talk about good and bad DEEDS, good and bad TRAITS, but we don’t give people labels like good and bad, because we understand that is something that only God is qualified to do, at the end of a person’s life, when all their merits and sins are weighed up together in the Heavenly court.

In that sense, the Erev Rav is a completely false paradigm.

Who can claim to be qualified to call someone an ‘Erev Rav’ and to assume that person can never make teshuva and will be permanently consigned to an eternity in Gehinnom?!

People with pronounced ‘Erev Rav’ traits aren’t just left-wing politicians or corrupt journalists, you know. If we’re honest, then we’ll admit that each and every one of us know people, are related to people, talk to people EVERY SINGLE DAY that fit at least some of the criteria set out by RASHBI and the Vilna Gaon (amongst others) for the Erev Rav.

We’re not just talking about Shimon Peres here, we’re talking about your ‘Erev Rav’ mum, and your ‘Erev Rav’ kid, and your ‘Erev Rav’ spouse. Do you really want all these people to be permanently consigned to destruction and Gehinnom?

And if the answer is ‘yes’, then there’s an enormous irony here, because only people who have a severe lack of compassion and empathy for other people (which remember, is one of the key traits of the ‘Erev Rav’ as identified by our Sages…) would willingly go around accusing others of being ‘Erev Rav’, with all that entails.

That’s why the authentic Jewish approach is to talk about EREV RAV BEHAVIOUR, and not EREV RAV PEOPLE.

It’s a crucial, massive distinction.

Because people can always stop behaving like Erev Rav, but they can’t stop being Erev Rav.

God is full of kindness and compassion for His creations. Does it really sound realistic to you that this kind, merciful Creator would create a category of person that can never, ever make teshuva, no matter what effort they make to improve, no matter how much suffering they go through? Does that sound ‘right’ to you?

God can do anything!

We saw in the Torah so many times – including in this week’s parshat Korach – that God was going to destroy the Jewish people because of their disgusting behaviour, but didn’t because the Tzaddik of the generation, Moshe Rabbenu, prayed for them.

Which brings me to my last point for today (although I will be returning to this subject again and again, until we all start to really get what I’m going on about here):

If we really want all the horrible ‘Erev Rav’ type traits and behavior that are definitely flowering all over the place in our modern world to really disappear, we need to pray for other people, and also for ourselves.

Again, asking God for help, and really believing in God’s mercy and compassion and willingness to help out, and really building a genuine, personal relationship with God is something that people with pronounced ‘Erev Rav’ tendencies find very difficult to do.

That’s one of the reason’s why hitbodedut, personal prayer, is the fastest and most effective way of neutralizing a person’s ‘Erev Rav’ tendencies, because it goes to the very heart of the problem, namely that ‘Erev Rav’ people don’t really believe in God in any real way, and certainly don’t believe that He’s compassionate, kind and good.

SO TO SUM UP:

  • Most people with Erev Rav tendencies CAN and WILL eventually make teshuva (as per the teachings of Rav Ofer Erez, Rav Eliezer Berland, and Rebbe Nachman).
  • We have no way of knowing who is going to ultimately going to make teshuva and who isn’t, so we have no right to call anyone a ‘permanently unfixable’ Erev Rav in the meantime.
  • The people who are most wedded to the idea of calling other people ‘Erev Rav’ are, ironically, themselves demonstrating a number of key traits of the Erev Rav, namely a severe lack of empathy and compassion for others, together with pronounced tendencies to speak badly of their fellow Jews, to stoke sinat chinam, and to create trouble, controversy and machloket between the Jewish people.

As you may or may not know, around four years’ ago I wrote a whole series on the ‘Erev Rav’ for the Breslev.co.il website.

At that time, I’d been immersed in all the traditional sources about the Erev Rav for a couple of years, and the more I read these sources – and all the ‘commentary’ from the autistics etc that surrounded them – the blacker the picture became: The Erev Rav were this evil, shadowy group of people who’d somehow insinuated themselves into the very spiritual heart of the Jewish people, and were poisoning the community from the inside out.

As my research and pondering continued, after a couple of years’ I had an ‘Eureka!’ moment, when I realized that the descriptions of the Erev Rav, and their behavior, found in the Zohar and in the writings attributed to the students of the Vilna Gaon, appeared to exactly match up to modern descriptions of people with personality disorders, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

And that’s when the bottom kind of fell out of my world for the next two years, because according to modern psychiatry, personality disorders are unfixable.

And according to the more traditional take on the Jewish sources talking about the Erev Rav, the Erev Rav were similarly unfixably ‘evil’.

At that same time, I started to notice that most (if not all….) of the people I knew – including my own self! – had many of the traits typically assigned to the Erev Rav. And thus began the toughest two years of my whole life, because I was consumed by the question of whether all these people – including myself! – were actually permanently unfixable, evil, ‘doomed’ Erev Rav, or whether something else was going on here.

Man, I cannot begin to tell you the amount of heartbreak I had at this stage, because in case you haven’t noticed, nearly all of us in 2017 are completely messed up, and act (at least sometimes…) in the ways typically ascribed to the Erev Rav.

It took me multiple trips to Uman, and hours upon hours of talking to God about it all, until Hashem finally shined His light into the darkness, and I discovered a pivotal shiur given by Rav Eliezer Berland, a decade ago, where he explained that

EVERYBODY can be fixed, and that there are NO wicked people in Am Yisrael anymore.

That shiur changed the whole picture, and then I found a whole bunch of ‘hidden’ stuff about the Erev Rav problem, and how to fix it, hidden away in Likutey Moharan, and other of Rebbe Nachman’s works, too – and that’s when I sat down and wrote the ‘Unlocking the Secrets of the Erev Rav’ book, which basically set all the info and sources out to show that the problem is Erev Rav TRAITS (that we all have, including myself…) and not permanently unfixable Erev Rav PEOPLE.

THE CONNECTION TO MY EYE

And here where the story takes it’s usually ‘weird’ twist that I’m sure you’re coming to expect from posts here on my website.

As you probably know, my eye has been playing up, and kind of ‘evil-looking’ for around two months now. I have done a TON of teshuva about this eye, dear reader, and I can see that God is really using it to clear up so many of my remaining issues and bad middot.

Each stage of teshuva I’ve done has definitely improved things with my eye, but tachlis, it’s still a little ‘evil-looking’ and I’ve really had enough of it.

Yesterday, I finally decided to get back on with podcasting my way through the ‘Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav’ book, and I saw I was up to Chapter 6, talking about Rebbe Nachman’s lesson of AZAMRA!

Anyway, as I was going over it again, the following jumped out at me, and smacked me in the face (taken from the shiur by Rav Berland):

“Every single Jew will one day make teshuva!…Now, it’s possible to speed this process up, but only if we start looking with a ‘good eye’.

Only if a person merits to look at every Jew with a ‘good eye’ then, ‘he will consider his place, and he [the wicked person] won’t be there anymore [i.e. in the place of being wicked].

If people would realize this, and internalize that if they started to judge others favorably, and to stop looking at them with an ayin ra, or ‘bad eye’, then there wouldn’t be anymore wicked people in Am Yisrael.

Because it’s possible to bring them all back in make teshuva, in the blink of an eye…”

Wwowowoww.

I suddenly got that I have a ton of teshuva still to make on this subject, not least because I wrote that series of articles over on Breslev that is still suggesting, incorrectly, that Am Yisrael is chock-full of evil, ‘unfixable’ Erev Rav people.

Once that penny dropped, I sent an email over to the English editor of Breslev.co.il, and I’m really hoping I can start to clean this stuff up properly, now:

I also realized it’s not enough to have written that book about the Erev Rav, and to now just leave it to gather dust. Mamash, I have to start getting the info in it out in any way possible, because it’s really part of how we’re going to get the geula faster, and easier.

We have to look at our fellow Jew with a good eye, and to stop talking about ‘Erev Rav’ PEOPLE, because it’s all a crock. Yes, there are Erev Rav TRAITS, and we all have them, and we all have to work on them.

Again, people usually develop Erev Rav TRAITS because they’ve experienced severe trauma, emotional neglect and / or other difficulties in their childhood. I.e. – it’s learned behavior! And it can be unlearned fairly simply, once you know what’s really going on and you get the Tzaddikim involved in the equation.

I really, really hope that’s the missing bit of my ‘evil-looking eye’ teshuva that I need to make now, but (no pun intended) I’ll guess we’ll see…

When my grandma died a few weeks’ back, the relative who’d been primarily caring for her decided to keep her death secret for two weeks, and to bury her all by himself.

No-one in the family came to the funeral. Two weeks later, he decided to put up the headstone all by himself – again, with no-one else in the family present.

This relative did these things because he was operating from a place of pure spite and vengeance. He was ‘paying back’ the other relatives for things he believed they did to him, and also for things he thought they should have done for him.

For two weeks after my grandma died, without anyone knowing or mourning for her, I felt SO bad in just about every way, physically, mentally and spiritually. Once the news finally came out and I went to her grave, I started to feel better in a lot of ways, but then a new test started up:

I had an overwhelming urge to find this relative and to go and punch him in the face.

Again, this was completely understandable, and not something ‘bad’, per se, as what he did was extremely awful, on a number of levels. I’m not a Tzaddik (and let me break this to you gently, dear reader, the odds are extremely high that you aren’t either) – and when you’re not a bona fide Tzaddik, you have to be honest about your bad feelings, and give them some space to be expressed, if you don’t want them to fester away and start literally killing you.

So I knew it was ok to have a day or two of feeling rage and vengeance, but then it had to stop. And getting it to stop was pretty darned hard!

Because for a couple of days there, I really hated this relative’s guts for what he did to me, my grandma, and the rest of my family.

I had to do a lot of talking to God about it all to figure out:

  • The guy is 100%, seriously mentally ill (and it’s a real shame more people don’t know how to spot this, and call it out at an earlier stage, instead of assuming that these people will behave, act and think like ‘normal’ human beings)
  • He justified his horrendous behavior by believing he had a ‘right’ to take vengeance against people who he believed (rightly or wrongly) had hurt or upset him
  • If I carried on hating him, and wanting to rip his eyeballs out, then I would be acting just like him.

And that realization brought me up short.

Objectively, the guy HAS done something awful, on a number of levels. But if I carried on hating him and wishing bad things on him, then even if I didn’t actually act on these thoughts, I’d still be guilty of the same sin he’s steeped in.

And that’s the last thing I want, because let’s remember, the guy is 100% seriously mentally ill!

So I had to do some serious, serious inner work to try to rip out all that hatred and vengeance stuff, and it was really exhausting.

As I was dealing with all that, I got some information about how the bottom has just fallen out of another hate-filled person’s life.

Again, this person has spent years and years and years hating others for doing something that hurt them, and has taken every opportunity to take vengeance, and to bad-mouth them, and to ‘punish’ them at every turn.

Here’s the thing: hate, when it’s turned outwards, for sure hurts the people it’s directed at, especially when you act in a spiteful, vindictive and cruel way towards the people you hate.

BUT, hate also corrodes our own souls, and over time, that corrosion spills over into our own health, and our own life, and our own circumstances, too.

The more a person is cut off from their own feelings, the more that corrosive effect will be relayed to, amplified and picked up by their nearest and dearest, instead.

To put this another way, when we viscerally hate someone else over a long period of time, and we don’t let it go, not only can that severely damage our own health and happiness, it can very easily also stuff-up the health of the people we actually love dearly, but who are being bombarded by our ‘hate’ vibes 24/7.

(I write a lot more about the science backing up these ideas over on www.spiritualselfhelp.org.)

To sum it up, feelings trigger bio-chemical processes in the human body, both for the good and bad. And we pick up other people’s feelings, especially their strong, repressed, feelings ‘bio-electrically’ (or if you prefer to say it this way), spiritually, via our souls.

We’re all connected!

Humanity generally, and Jews specifically, which is why God made it very clear to us on repeated occasions that all Jews are responsible for each other, and part of a big, over-arching Jewish spiritual presence that the kabbalists talk about a lot.

So now, let’s bring all this down to a tachlis, practical level, and sum up the point I’m trying to make here.

1) There are a lot of truly mentally-ill, crazy people out there who are consumed by their bad middot, and continually justify their evil behavior as just ‘paying back’ the wrong that was done to them. (That’s what makes them bona fide crazy people.)

2) All of us have been hurt, and all of us have hurt others – it’s part of the human condition. (Anyone who claims they’ve never hurt anyone else is a bona fide crazy person.)

3) The more we can see God behind these ‘hurts’ that are done to us, the easier we’ll find it to let go of hatred, spite, vengeance – and a million other bad middot, besides.

4) The more we let our hate, jealousy and spite fester, the more poisonous we’ll act towards other people (and the more big sins we’ll rack up).

AND ALSO

5) The more physically and mentally ill we ourselves will become, and also the more physically and mentally ill our nearest and dearest will become, as being around a hate-filled, jealous, vindictive, cruel, crazy person is mega-stressful at every level.

Again, cleaning this stuff out of the system is really, really hard!

If we’re not talking to God every single day, it’s virtually impossible to do it. But if we ARE talking to God – it can and does move out really, really fast.

Dear reader, let’s not turn into those hate-filled crazy people we see all over the place who feel 100% justified about all the nasty, awful things they do.

We all hurt others, we have all been hurt ourselves.

It’s how we choose to react to these things that make all the difference to whether we’re going to build the world and get closer to Hashem, or destroy it.

I’m really not into Facebook.

I got an account two years’ ago because all the book marketing stuff I was reading told me I HAD to have Facebook, if I wanted to get anything done online!!! So, I got an account, and used it to set up some ‘fan pages’ for my blog and books, so I could post stuff from Emunaroma straight from my blog, and that’s it.

Until about two months’ ago, when I was so desperate for The Secret Diary of a Jewish Housewife to do well, I decided I should probably have more of a presence on Facebook. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was starting to accept ‘friend’ requests, as that instantly transformed me into someone who was ‘consuming information’ from Facebook, and not just putting it out.

I had about 12 friends until yesterday.

Yesterday, I clicked on a ‘friend notification’ message and found myself in the middle of one of the most poisonous, disgusting and mentally-ill pieces of writing I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across on the web.

Worse, this masterpiece of slander and evil speech had 10,000 ‘likes’, and a slew of equally warped, poisonous comments.

It was an orgy of hatred and bigotry. There’s simply no other way of describing it.

And the fact that it was written, commented on and ‘liked’ by so many externally frum Jews, in complete contravention of all the laws of evil speech and slander, all the laws of avoiding machloket, all the laws of seeing our fellow Jew with a good eye, and respecting Torah, and Torah scholars – well, the Shechina surely tore kria and sat shiva for these people’s souls.

Tens of the generation’s leading rabbis were publicly slandered and scorned.

Tens of thousands of upstanding, God-fearing Jews were arrogantly dismissed as being gullible, brain-dead ‘cult members’ – almost as sub-human, in the author’s eyes, as people who voted for Trump…

Dear reader, I literally felt like I was going to throw up, I got such a strong whiff of Gehinnom floating across from the computer screen. I decided there and then that I had to show God that I wanted absolutely no part, no connection to anything so frankly evil – so I permanently deleted all of my Facebook accounts, there and then.

It’s like when Korach went after Moshe Rabbenu: anyone who had even the slightest connection to the guy, or his followers, even to the smallest degree, also got sucked down into the pit with him for eternity.

I felt SOOOOO much better afterwards!

But still very disturbed by what I’d seen. I started to ponder, what is it about Facebook that’s causing such rampaging mental illness to be accepted as ‘normal’? How is it that Facebook is bringing out the very worst in people, and turning formerly nice, thoughtful individuals into hate-filled demagogues?

After pondering it, I think there’s a few things going on. Firstly, Facebook constantly bombards you with pritzut – immorality, licentiousness, lack of modesty, in every sense of the word. It’s in all the pictures of people sharing very private occasions very publicly, all the comments, all the ‘look at me!’ and ‘please like me!’ attention-seeking.

A Jewish soul gets so de-sensitised to ‘gutter culture’ on Facebook, it can no longer easily recognise the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.

Facebook also exacerbates whatever mental illness a person has in the first place.

It encourages bullying narcissists to bully more, depressed types to feel even more like sad, invisible losers who are getting left behind by life, people with anger issues to ‘take it out’ on whichever poor sap’s post they happen to see first, whiners to whine more, exhibitionists to show off more, critics to criticise more – you get the idea.

And again, the more this behaviour is indulged in, the more ‘normal’ it becomes.

Writing reflects the inner dimension of a person much more accurately than the external social manners and mores so many of us have perfected from a young age. How a person writes, is how a person is.

That’s why there’s so many obvious psychos on Facebook, and so many people with obvious (and worsening…) mental health issues.

That stuff is actually there in these people all the time, just few places enable it to be expressed as easily, or as publicly, as Facebook.

Hang out with psychos, hang out with sociopaths, hang out with narcissists, hang out with mentally-ill people – and you yourself will start to think the way they think, and speak the way they speak, and do the terrible, evil, anti-Torah stuff they do online (and elsewhere…)

It’s properly scary.

So, I’m incredibly relieved that God permanently sprang me out of Facebook yesterday. As time goes on, it’s increasingly becoming the 8th circle of hell – a kind of modern add-on to Dante’s inferno.

I can’t think of anything more hellish than spending eternity online, plugged into Facebook, and swapping hate-filled, arrogant lies and calumnies about Tzaddikim and other upright Jews with your mentally-ill Facebook chums.

But what do I know?

Why popping pills really doesn’t ‘solve’ the problem of emotional illness

In the secular world, there is very little understanding of the soul’s impact on a human being, or of the spiritual imperative that is the foundation of human life.

Believing Jews know that people are here to get to know God, and to work on rectifying their souls, which is primarily accomplished by acknowledging and fixing our negative character traits and flaws, and asking God to help us uproot them.

Now, people just don’t tend to do that sort of tough ‘inner work’ when their life is fine and dandy. It usually takes a health crisis, a cash crunch, a personal relationship that’s really going off the rails, or some other form of serious suffering before a person will wake up, re-examine their lives, and start doing the spiritual work described above which is the whole point of being alive.

When we hit these very difficult patches, situations and experiences, they often (usually…) completely take the legs out from under us.

Again, this has been carefully designed by God to show us our own hopelessness and frailty, so that we’ll turn to Him and include Him more in our lives (and stop believing all that ‘masters of our own destiny’ arrogant baloney that’s so common in the West).

Tough experiences and tests doesn’t just mean things happening to us from the outside. In 2017, more than ever, they also include all the head-trips, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, difficult emotional states, and other feelings of depression and despair that every single one of us is going through right now.

Writing in the Garden of Healing, Rav Shalom Arush tells us:

“The modern world is characterized by emotional weakness and its associated diseases. In the past, there were life-threatening situations, but people lived with a spirit of vitality: they enjoyed life and they looked forward to ‘living’ each day.

“Today, the most tranquil and comfortable life is really no life at all, because people lack basic joy and contentment in their lives and they really have little will to live. This is the biggest problem we face today in these final days of our exile: weak souls that are filled with constant pain.”

The Gemara teaches us that: there is no suffering without prior sin.

But where this is often misunderstood is that the ‘sin’ doesn’t necessarily have to have happened in our present lifetime. Reincarnation is a basic tenet of the Jewish faith, and our Sages teach us that whatever we messed up in a previous lifetime, particularly in the area of interpersonal relationships, we will be sent down here again to rectify and fix it.

As mentioned above, nearly all our ‘rectification’ work will revolve around two things:

  • Getting to know God better, and strengthening our emuna in His Divine providence and goodness
  • Identifying, acknowledging and uprooting our bad middot and negative character traits.

WHY THE PILLS DON’T WORK TO SOLVE EMOTIONAL ILLNESSES

With that basis set out, now we can start to see why the pills don’t work to cure mental and emotional illnesses. Firstly, those negative emotions are coming to give us a message from Shemayim about what needs to changed, examined or fixed in our lives.

The single biggest reason adults feel clinically depressed (according to scientific research!) is because they were emotionally abused and emotionally neglected as children.

Pssst, here’s a secret: Every single one of us comes from a really screwed-up, dysfunctional family these days, and the more ‘perfect’ it looks on the outside the more messed-up it really is.

Moshiach is coming, and God wants us to finally get to grips with all the bad character traits, unpleasant beliefs and attitudes, and horrible behavior that we’ve all been indulging in over the last 3,300 years, and to finally uproot them from our souls.

That’s why all these emotional illnesses are coming to the fore more than ever before, because God is making it SO CLEAR that something needs to change in the way we interact with each other, and particularly with our kids.

So now, what happens if we go the ‘pills and shrinks’ route to dealing with things like serious depression, instead of doing what I’ve described above, and coming clean about what’s really causing our emotional issues?

  • We try to ‘turn off’ the warning light that God is sending us via our strong emotions.
  • That means we don’t fix the problem, we at best cover it up.
  • We continue to excuse all the bad, horrible behavior (ours and other people’s) that made us emotionally ill.
  • We pass the problem on to the people around us, especially our children, because we don’t fix our bad middot and continue to mistreat others the way we ourselves were mistreated.
  • We fail to fix our souls – which is the whole point of coming down here in the first place.
  • We fail to get closer to Hashem, or to work on our emuna, which is the other whole point of coming down here in the first place.

And the last thing to say is that whatever the parents don’t fix, just gets passed along to their children to have to deal with and fix.

So if mom’s depression problem was seriously bad, her kid’s depression (and ADHD, and BPD, and C-PTSD…) is going to be three times worse…

(As a side note on how this works in the ‘natural’ world: when people take anti-depressants, they typically become much more superficial, cut off from their feelings (and other people’s feelings) and less empathetic. A lack of parental empathy and real caring is a key factor in emotional neglect and emotional abuse. When a kid grows up in a house with an emotionally-absent parent, that in turn skyrockets their own probability of becoming clinically depressed (amongst other emotional illnesses…) as an adult.)

There are no short-cuts!

We are down here to work on our souls. We are down here to fix things. We are down here to feel bad in order to motivate us to learn some emuna and to stop behaving like jerks.

A while back, a correspondent told me that she liked anti-depressants because they ‘let her function like a normal human being, without having to do the work.’

That sounds great – except doing the work is the whole point of being alive. And THAT’s why God is simply not going to let us get away with popping pills instead of praying and working on our bad middot.

To do otherwise would be undermining the very purpose of creation.

One of the more perplexing phenomenon that I’ve witnessed time and time again is how you can get a truly amazing, big, holy Tzaddik – the real deal, 100% – but they’ll be surrounded by some of the most mentally-ill, disturbed characters you’re ever likely to meet.

This has happened so many times, in so many different situations, and with so many different Tzaddikim, that a couple of years’ back I realized it must be some sort of ‘spiritual rule’.

In fact, the bigger the Tzaddik, the crazier so many of the people on the inside of his ‘inner circle’. Then I learned that King David taught: ‘The wicked surround the tzaddik’.

Aha! I wasn’t going bonkers. I knew there must be something ‘deep’ going on here, because if someone on the low level of yours truly can figure out that these people are nasty and mentally ill, surely huge Tzaddikim – who can see right through a person, to the innermost recesses of their soul – couldn’t be fooled so easily?!

This is not a ‘theoretical’ discussion, at least, not for me.

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my husband and I got burned by one ‘false’, mentally-ill spiritual guide after another, all of who came with impeccable credentials. They looked the part (from a distance…); they talked the part (as long as you kept the conversation short, felt hugely honored for having the ‘privilege’ of being spoken to, and didn’t do anything else expect stroke their massive egos…); and most disturbing of all, they came with a patina of having been ‘pre-approved’ as a kosher, upright person by their (highly publicized…) associations with bona fide Tzaddikim.

After the last one exploded in our faces two years’ ago, leaving me with a ginormous crisis of faith that very nearly took me out, I decided I had to go and find out why the tzaddikim in the middle of the circle of madness hadn’t done more to warn me and protect me from these dangerous, mentally-ill, spiritually-corrupt individuals.

The discussion (in my hitbodedut…) went something like this:

“Do you know how bad, spiritually, these people really are?” They did. “Do you know how much suffering they caused me and my family, and how they nearly destroyed my faith in Hashem and his true Tzaddikim?” They did. “So, then why didn’t you stop them? Why are still keeping them so close? Why are you allowing them to continue to fool people, and to hurt them?”

The answers I got back were truly enlightening, and I’m sharing them with you here, dear reader, in case they can help you, too.

The true Tzaddikim know 100% about just how bad their mentally-ill ‘circle’ is. So why are they keeping them around?

There’s a few answers:

  • Firstly, some of the crazies are actually useful, as long as you don’t get too close to them. As we said, from a distance they play the part of a pious, upright Jew very well, and as long as you’re only dealing with them ‘at a distance’, they can’t do you a lot of harm, and they’re also probably giving you more ‘straight’ information and advice then many other people today, by sheer dent of the fact that they are at least connected to real Tzaddikim.

The problem comes when people take them too seriously, and actually believe that these people are ‘tzaddikim’ in their own right, but that’s not a problem for most of the people out there today.

  • If these people weren’t ‘encircling’ the Tzaddikim, they’d be out there doing much more damage to mankind. The point here is that these people are spiritually-corrupt, mentally ill, and (usually…) ruthlessly ambitious. The Tzaddik acts as a kind of ‘brake’ on their behavior, so at least it won’t go too far.

 

  • Whatever happened to me and my husband, we were meant to go through it as part of our Tikkun, or spiritual rectification. If it hadn’t been those particular nasty people who caused us so many difficulties, it would have been others. But it had to happen, and the fact that it happened ‘under the aegis’ of the bona fide Tzaddikim meant that we also enjoyed their spiritual protection to pull us through the experience in one piece.

 

  • The Tzaddikim themselves suffer incredibly from having to keep these people happy. The first people the crazies mistreat and cause problems for are the Tzaddikim they’re encircling. They can’t help it: as we noted, they’re mentally ill. They’ll keep a limit on their bad behavior and lack of respect towards the Tzaddikim in public, but in private they yell at them, rant at them, make ridiculous demands of them, treat them like ‘mates’, instead of holy Tzaddikim, and generally try to control them and manipulate them in a million different ways.

 

Now, I’m no Tzaddik. If I had to spend any time around such spiritually-corrupt, horrible people like this, I’d vomit.

But our Tzaddikim are even more atuned to evil and corruption, and even more affected by it. Which means that it’s a huge, enormous effort of will for them to keep these people in their inner circle, and to not boot them out. Which brings us to our next point:

  • The Tzaddikim keep these people close, because that’s what God wants. God wants these mentally-ill individuals to have the very best chance of ultimately making Teshuva, so he sticks a huge Tzaddik in front of their face to show them how they should really be acting, in the hopes that one day, the lesson will be learned. (God is clearly a huge optimist.)

The true Tzaddikim want to give God what He wants, even when it entails huge suffering and self-nullification on their behalf. Even if it means they end up being apparently ‘controlled’, at least on some level, by the mentally-ill people they’re surrounded by.

For as long as God wants that to be happening, the Tzaddikim will continue to give it to Him.

As noted above, I’m SOOOO not a Tzaddik. We can’t understand the level of self-control and self-nullification (or bitul) to God’s will these people have. If it was us, we’d complain! We’d clean house! We’d get rid of all these disgusting people who are making our lives miserable and tarnishing our reputations in 10 seconds! But the Tzaddikim aren’t like us – they’re Tzaddikim!

Time and again, I keep telling people that without doing regular hitbodedut (personal prayer), you have no chance of really understanding what’s going on today. Without my hitbodedut discussion, I would have harbored a huge grudge against the ‘tzaddikim’ that had apparently closed their eyes to the terrible spiritual corruption in their midst.

I would have got so self-righteous, judgmental and slanderous, God forbid.

With hitbodedut, it’s still been a real struggle to understand what’s going on (at least enough to have peace of mind…) But eventually, I got there. Thank God, I didn’t shoot my mouth off until God showed me what was really happening! Thank God, I didn’t rush to attack holy Tzaddikim, just because they’re surrounded by some very difficult, nasty people!

Thank God, that even though I was sorely tempted to ‘name and shame’ the individuals involved, I’ve kept my mouth shut. Sure, I hate what they’re up to. Sure, I still wish that they will be unmasked, so that other people won’t be hurt by them the way I got hurt. But God knows what He’s doing, the true Tzaddikim know what they’re doing, and when all is said and done, I really no nothing at all.

The last piece of good that came out of all this stuff is that I turned a lot of my insights and experiences into my book, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav. While I can’t tell people WHO the crazies are, I can still describe how they act, so you’ll hopefully be able to work it out for yourselves.

You can buy Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav on Amazon and on The Book Depository